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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!

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.

15 Feb

Hi folks – hoping to post properly later, but just chiming in to say that I'm going to have to moderate comments, as a spammy 'dissertation' service keeps leaving bogus comments and Typepad aren't inclined to do much about it. Bah. So if you would like to say something, I will get it approved as soon as I can!

Making space

9 Dec

Are you excited about Tristmas (as we used to call it) this year? I am. I really am. At the moment I am trying to strike the balance between making Flib Towers look like it's been covered in glue and then shat on by the glitter pigeons; and leaving it so late that I'll be waddling from all the mince pies and too lethargic to string a single streamer.

Firstly, if you are going to be in London for Christmas and you're at a loose end, then check out what the lovely Simon from the Making Space is up to.  He's running a Christmas Day craft workshop. It's at Sunbury Workshops which are near Columbia Road.  You can donate to charity if you like, but the tickets are free.  'Cos, you know, it's Christmas.

I've been to another workshop there since the Mask Making, details will follow soon.  All I am going to say is that it reminded me of Claire, the Purl Pirate…

There's soooo much baking going on around here at the moment. Despite my reservations about the amount of butter involvoed in most of recipes and the thoughts of handing loved ones a slice of heart disease on a plate, I have been cracking on with quite a few of the recipes from the Hummingbird bakery book.  I heart it, I think. Because of that I am quite tempted to try the Primrose Bakery cupcakes although when I've tried them, I haven't been so impressed – perhaps because you've no way of knowing how long they've been around?

Something that's around at this time of the year but they rarely linger is mince pies.  I've made a tray or two lately.  When this was blogged elsewhere, I used their new name:

4152262687_d0b104bdf1_bSplody Mini Mince Pies

Makes 24 mini pies (doubling up the quantities will make you even more popular) in mini mince pies trays…

You will need:
160g plain flour
40g vegetable shortening
40g cold unsalted butter
Juice and finely-chopped zest of 1 small orange
Pinch of salt
400g mincemeat (you could make your own but shop-bought is fine)
Optional – 1 beaten egg to glaze, and cinnamon sugar to dust


Mini tart trays
Small round cookie cutter, approx 4-5cm
Small cookie cutter for decoration


  • Put
    the flour in a shallow dish and add the shortening and butter, chopped.
    Spoon the flour over to coat the fats, then put into the freezer for 20
    minutes. While you're waiting for it, add the salt to the orange juice
    and zest, and place in the fridge.
  • Blitz the fat and flour into
    crumbs in the food processor, then slowly add the orange juice til it
    gets to that stage just before it whirls into a huge ball of dough.
    Remove and combine it by hand, and divide into 2-3 discs to chill in
    the fridge (so you're always working with cold dough later).
  • Wrap the discs in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 20 minutes, and preheat the oven to 220c/gas mark 7.
  • Roll
    out the dough very thinly and cut out 24 circles. Place in the tin and
    fill each with less than a teaspoon of mincemeat (not too splody,
    please). Reroll the remaining dough and cut out your top shapes. You
    can brush with egg wash and sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar now if you
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven, and do keep an eye on them!