A week to go

2 Sep

Just about this time tomorrow week I’ll be about to descend the grand staircase in our hotel, join my newly coiffured husband-to-be, and speed off to get married.

There’s been quite a lot going on. On Saturday we moved house temporarily, on Wednesday we sold my flat and yesterday we signed the paperwork to buy our house.

Not to forget the 72m of bunting.

And yes, the dress. Before anyone gets too concerned, this is the muslin. I haven’t written on the real one.

Now just the veil and bag to go.

With all this pinning, no wonder Thimbleanna’s bunny looks a little glum. ¬†He’s been working overtime.

P.S. Lots more blogging to come when we’re at the end of it all ūüėČ









So how is the dress/planning/wedding going?

21 Jun

Lots of changes around here. Without boring you, we’ve had to topsy-turvy our plans for the wedding to accommodate some family. It’s been a little challenging but we’ve come around to it, salvaged quite a lot of the original arrangements in one way or another, and now we just have to find new caterers and confirm the other suppliers who are being a little elusive. Ahem.

I am still on for making the wedding dress. I may be channelling my inner bridezilla by deciding to go on a diet first and them make the dress later. Yes, I know, I know, less than three months to go but given that the diet has to happen no matter what for the sake of my health, then there’s little point in spending time on a fitted dress now when I might not be the same size in six weeks (this all makes sense in my head). Instead, in the meantime I am going to do important things like make bunting... yay! But it’s all got to be done, right? Tonight we’re off to look at a suit for Mr D, which is very exciting indeed. It’s a rather unusual one so if it works then I might even do a little outfit rejigging…

Also I realised that I was peering too hard at the pattern pieces, struggling to fit them on the dressmakers doll, unable to figure out why they just didn’t look right. Then I realised I’d omitted reading one rather important instruction: on the fold. Whoops. Time to step back and return to it fresh!

Making a wedding [dress]

8 Jun

I’m hooked on Pinterest, with both Wedding and Craftyness boards going on. Though given that I just hemmed curtains with Bondaweb, standards around here may have slipped a little.

However, the plan to at least attempt to make my wedding dress with Abi is still alive. We went fabric shopping and found¬†wondrous¬†things. ¬†Gorgeous laces and silk satin. I started to think about using a pattern I’ve used before, with a cowl neck (Pippa Middleton’s bridesmaid frock puts me off slightly though). But with the fabric coming in about ¬£250, it’s certainly wasn’t a cheap option. And I’m a bride on a budget.

I realised perhaps Perhaps I’m just looking in the wrong fabric shops? Soho is never going to be cheap (or even competitive, as we gradually realised that at least three shops we visited, on the same street, are all part of the same company) but the quality is stunning. The girls in the last two shops we visited were sweet and helpful – and I realised that I was warming more towards the suggestion from the second, because her figure was more like mine. It’s a sensible principle, like picking the department store assistant whose make-up you like best.

Eventually I went back to the old faithful – John Lewis. I bought some oyster polyester satin, pictured above – ¬†which will have a lovely drape to it – and I’m going to give this Burda pattern a go.

I’m thinking slightly higher hemline and a big petticoat underneath with a wide satin binding. (I’ve seen one online so that might be a purchase rather than something I’d make.) I figure this dress has potential because it hasn’t got as many seams as most of the vintage Vogue patterns I’ve been looking at, as uses less fabric. Also with the almost Empire line bust, I hope I’ll be able to mix and match the pattern pieces to fit my mix and match figure. ¬†First step is a muslin – all my fabric is in storage as we moved lots of stuff out of the flat prior to selling it so tomorrow I’m off to the market. Also hoping that my sewing machine finally comes back from the shop tomorrow!

2011 – the Year of the Wedding

4 Mar

How the hell did we get to March already? I’ve been busy being mostly starry-eyed, as it turns out that 2011 is going to be the year of the wedding. No, not that one though good luck to them, and yes, I do want to know what her dress looks like. ¬†But it turns out that in 2011 my brother is getting married, and so is my boyfriend’s sister, and indeed, so am I. Yes, that’s right. Release the doves, shower the confetti, buy the big hat – WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!

So far the preparations have consisted mainly of whispering furtively about it and now that we’ve got the ring on the finger (Edwardian, his great-grandmother’s, a beautiful dainty diamond daisy) we can start to plan what exact kind of shindig this wedding is going to be. ¬†Well, after we come home from a business trip and holiday to the US next week.

There seem to be about a million ideas in my head.  Mainly involving brightly coloured letterpress invitations, a vaguely vintage dress, and lots and lots of food.

I should already stop looking at Martha Stewart weddings, no? Given that my sewing machine hasn’t been out from under it’s cover in a year… But look at this! ¬†The one thing that keeps popping into my mind is…. a dessert bar. As well as admiring all of the weddings that have heartfelt and often home-made touches involved.

With our budget we’re not looking at a sit-down dinner so no elaborate table decorations but simple, clever ideas like strings of lights encased in voile and coloured lanterns are delightfully effective to decorate a room. The most likely thing is that we’ll hire a pub somewhere to have family upstairs, and the boy’s metal band elsewhere (no, really.)

There’s a vague possibility that I may attempt to make my own dress, but if not I do rather like this fabulously swooshy style from Vivien of Holloway as well as the rather¬†slinkier number below too. A visit to the shop is going to be on the cards for April, that’s for sure. OhmgodIamsoexcited!

Etsy seller Bohemian Bisoux has lots of beautiful ideas to inspire. I may also decide I somehow need to feature an aqua birdcage somehow.

Regardless of whatever amazing healthy living plan I might embark on to slim a little for the wedding, I’m never going to have vintage proportions as I’ve got boobs and have never had much of a waist regardless of what dress size I happen to be currently wearing. ¬†This is what’s propelling me towards finding a dressmaker or having a go myself. Maybe I’ll be able to persuade Abi to help me. Actually, half of the skill in organising this wedding will involve me not trying to make it all by hand!

Though it isn’t my intention to go all bridezilla (not that anyone ever starts out that way, right?) this should propel me back to crafting a little I hope. ¬†Roll on a handmade year.

Winter projects

31 Oct

I’ve got some small ambitions for handmade presents for the holiday season this year. Small, in that I probably won’t end up making too many things myself this year but there will probably be lots of Etsy orders.

As a stash busting measure, and a present trial, I thought I’d see how long it would take to do a version of the Eleventh Hour Scarf with Texere Bella – the answer is, an afternoon on the sofa.

Only downside – matching it with a black wool coat is a bit of a no-no because it’s really sheddy. But at ¬£5.20 for a skein, which makes a perfectly adequate scarf, it’s a pretty good deal. Buying a different coloured coat might make it less of a bargain.

New York crafty goodness

21 Oct

Most of the recent New York holiday was taken up with food, food and more food. Cupcakes, both good and bad. Macaroni cheese – with cheeseburger in it. There was good, bad and ugly.¬† There was also unfortunate, which was the leaving-at-home-of-the-camera-memory-card. Sigh. They were so expensive to buy that I resorted to iPhone and stealing the boy’s camera. In short – not as many photos as I’d like.

I marched the boyfriend to Purl (after we’d been to the places on his list).

And promptly developed OP (Option Paralysis).¬† On reflection – it’s a lovely space. Having both fabric and yarn in the same store now, rather than the former separate Sullivan Street locations, makes life easier. But the quality of their photography online is beguilingly good and I find the website infinitely more tempting.¬† Perhaps it’s also because slowly but surely, the selection available here in the UK is improving even if it’s still difficult to source the Japanese graphic prints – can you recommend anywhere?¬† The last time I was in Purl I bought a bundle of Katie Jumps Rope fat quarters by Denyse Schmidt which formed a large part of my first bed-quilt.

In the end I came away with a $30 grab-bag including a healthy swatch of Kokka Echino Ni-Co ‘Sunglasses’ fabric in the brown colourway as well as other spotty fabrics. I was specificially looking for something I could use to try out some of the patterns in Lisa Lam‘s delicious new book, ‘The Bag Making Bible‘, which arrived just before we went away so this medium weight fabric should give me lots of options. More on that soon.

We walked along the boardwalk on Coney Island,¬† marvelled at the Parachute Jump, , wondered who goes to the Roller Rink, ate a Nathan’s hot dog.

The really great baked goods (because frankly, the rest of them were terribles) came from Baked in Red Hook. Have since bought the books. Expect an update on how my own version of Sweet and Salty went soon.

Granny Squares and Stripes

24 Aug

There’s been a WIP languishing in a plastic plaid bag in this house for quite some time. I started it in May 2007 I think, judging from the Liberty receipts I found tucked at the bottom of the bag. It was a common crafting theme around then – do you remember all the ripple blankets? This pattern echoed a carpet remembered from childhood, which actually moved houses with my parents so it’s still around.¬† The blanket is another story.

Why didn’t I get on with this project? Apart from the bout of RSI, and some crazy colour choices a bit further along after this photo was taken, I had issues with the edges (that makes it sound like someone else was responsible, which sadly isn’t true) because they meandered so badly as I hadn’t mastered turning very well. It looked like the coastline of South America, tapering wildly and I was kidding myself that I could somehow fix it with edging.

I fixed it with frogging.

Ironically, as our American friends would probably call this an Afghan, it also weighed about the same as a Labrador. And probably would have smelled the same when it was wet. In better new, there’s another alternative on the go now. Good old granny squares.

Why pick it up again now? Partly because it’s a good, portable project. Also as an avoidance tactic because Christmas is weighing on my mind – no, really. I’m hoping to do handmade presents this year – even though the last time I did that successfully, I started in April. Meep. I think I’m avoiding selecting yarn for eight pairs of socks/beanies/clapotis and fabric for snap-frame purses/quilts/bags. I’ll just keep crocheting!

It’s not perfect either as the tension with a 4mm hook and DK wool is still quite loose, in hindsight.¬† It might not make for the warmest blanket, but so far I’m liking the pattern, and the concept.

I’m not thinking about the sewing together. Shhhh now.

Knit Nation 2010 – Wollmeise, Yarnissima, Knitwitches and more

1 Aug

A quick trip to Knit Nation on Thursday and Friday this week make me realise that it’s time to get back to pointy sticks and tying holes with string, as a friend puts it. I also need to learn to read knitting. That’s another story.

Alice ‘Socktopus‘ and Cookie A are the brains behind Knit Nation, where the motto was Learn Shop Knit Spin. Also ‘Unus Multorum’ but I don’t know what that means. Perhaps “Spend lots of money, have a giggle with your knitterly pals, fondle yarn, raid the housekeeping”.

With some snafus (Paypal related) trying to book classes early on, and due to some changes in teachers it turned out that the classes I was going to take ended up being cancelled anyway. Boo. Seems it wasn’t meant to be. On a whim, I checked what was available on Tuesday and signed up for Yarnissima‘s ‘Baby Spice Socks’ class on Friday afternoon and Helen’s friend had a Marketplace preview ticket that she couldn’t use for Thursday night. ¬†Win!

I refute the allegation that there was a ‘stampede’ to get to the Wollmeise Stall on the first night…especially I was rather near the front of that queue with lovely Helen, as we formed the advance party for our group. We behaved ourselves! Ok, we kind of trotted down the marketplace hall and we did bypass all of the other stalls en route to Wollmeise (we went back afterwards, and the next day). Claudia had brought a metric ton of yarn so really, there was more than enough to go around, and even with hardcore addicts seeking out particular colours it was all remarkably amicable, cooperative and gleeful, frankly. We pawed, we picked, we replaced, we handed over and made others happy. ¬†There was an intense air of concentration as knitters carefully laid out skeins of yarn on the red shopping bags, assessed colour choices, did considerable mental maths to see how the budget could be stretched. ¬†Considered putting skeins back. Rationalised that they were saving the airfare they’d have to spend to get to Germany to buy more, bought those skeins (it’s a bit like carbon-offsetting. ¬†Yarn offsetting).

As ever Claudia had planned stock carefully and there was even enough of the elusive lace to replenish baskets more than once each day. I was reasonably restrained (or so I thought) and came away with three sock and one lace from Wollmeise and then some Knitwitches silk for me and for my mum. I bought some undyed yarn for experimentation from Artisan  Yarns, I think it was an angora/cashmere/silk blend. (not the easiest websites to negotiate, unfortunately Рwhy is this so often the way with knitterly sites?) and some virgin Knitwitches cashmere.  Soooooooft.

Yarnissima’s class on Friday was relaxed and lovely – unlike the baby sock I knitted, which had tension like steel wool and would have only been suitable for an infant with a club foot – and it helped me to get my head around techniques for more interesting sock construction. I usually do top-down, as I love a good heel flap, frankly, but there’s always that elusive ability to maximise your yarn as you can with toe-up. Before class I was able to have lunch with GingerLucy and Klozknitz, two very favourite people, and the post-marketplace preview on Thursday turned into crepes with Lotusen, GingerLucy and Rooboost. It was lovely to bump into¬†Bittersweetie too and to meet Hoxton Handmade. ¬†Work and related night-time events mean it’s been a very long time since I got to see my knitter girls and I miss them so this was all the more valuable.

When I came home I dug out Ysolda’s Ariel wrap I’ve been knitting since the Wollmeise market trip last year and did a few more rows. (I was too in awe of her to talk to her – knitting royalty). I unearthed the Sindelfingen Rainbow Opal socks, yarn procured on the same trip. Much to my chagrin, I also decided to frog and start over on the Lucky Clover because, true to form, I stopped concentrating at one point and then did all sorts of crazy things (doubled up on rows, omitted to finish the row in the correct pattern repeat, frogged and then did it wrong all over again) and it wasn’t getting any prettier. The plan is to cast on some more projects, including the Lucky Clover again. Yes, this might seem like folly but it might also keep me engaged, having projects to choose from. ¬†I’m also working on an idiot-proofing my knitting, as well as learning how to read it in the first place. Imagine not being dependent on written instructions? Chart-reading 101 is in order.

Who fancies a Lucky Clover knitalong?

23 Jul

It’s not my idea, but the brainchild of the very lovely Helen over at Craft Actually. She has designed a gorgeous pattern for a shawl, which is available on Ravelry at the moment or via the link on her blog. Helen is raising money for Cancer Research UK, and $5 from every pattern sold in July and August will be doing towards this great cause. Apparently she’s going to do a knitalong for the pattern in August, so get ahead and get the pattern now!

Book Review: Obsessive Consumption by Kate Bingaman-Burt

4 Jun

I was sent a review copy of Obsessive Consumption by Kate Bingaman-Burt. Partly for the intrinsic contraction involved in acquiring a tome about compulsive buying, I was interested before even flipping the cover. ¬†She’s been drawing a daily purchase since February 2006, along with illustrating her monthly credit card statements.

What an intriguing yet scary proposition. Have you ever tried to keep any kind of purposeful diary – whether it’s on calories, your weekly budget or steps pounded on the pavements? I think it’s inherently altering, in that being ultra aware of what you’re doing, and also being obliged to document it, you behave as you should. Not as you normally would. That could be just me, of course, and I suppose the key is continuing on with the experiment. Lose your self-consciousness and it becomes possibly more mundane for the author but more revelatory to the reader.

She says that her art is a way of documenting her experiences in a consumer-driven world, that also gives her the opportunity to converse with a Teen Vogue reader or an anti-capitalist.¬†The style looked familiar to me and I realised where I’d seen it before: in the accompanying book to Faythe Levine’s¬†Handmade Nation.

You can buy a copy of the book direct from her website – and it also includes an original daily drawing! ¬†The fact that I’m tempted to buy one means that I’m probably already too far down the path of obsessive consumption to be saved.