Sunday, March 29, 2015

A bit of a gauge issue

I have one finished item to show off. A cardigan for my [future] Godson, made with two balls of Sirdar Donegal Tweed. The pattern is Baby Vertebrae by Kelly Brooker - I really love her patterns, they are clearly written and fun to knit. It's intended for his birthday in July.

This is my latest victim knitwear model wearing the Beyond Puerperium (another Kelly Brooker pattern) I made for his baby shower.

The reason why I'm knitting things in March for a July birthday? He has a twin... Hopefully she'll like one in this yarn:

I've finished the body on my Harvest Moon cardigan. I love the i-cord cast off (OK, I didn't love the time it took, but I love the look it gives) on the body. Now I'm onto the sleeves. To get gauge I knitted the body on 4mm needles, but the sleeves are on DPNs and I seem to be knitting tighter on those, which isn't something I've particularly noticed before, although I've read it can happen. This is what the first sleeve looks like on 4mm DPNs, and there is a noticeable difference and it felt tighter when I tried it on, so I had to pull that bit out and try on 4.5mm instead. That seems to be a lot better!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Days out: Clandon Park & a trip north

Last week we both had a day off and went to visit Clandon Park, near Guildford, where we were hoping to see daffodils. We've been thwarted a couple of times, as four years ago we were too late for daffodils, and last year we visited on a Saturday (without checking opening times) and discovered that the property is closed on Saturdays so we couldn't see the daffodils at all then.

So, of course, this year we were too early.

 Most of the daffodils weren't as far along as they are at home, although I wasn't aware that I'd planted particularly early-flowering varieties.

There was hardly anyone around so we had the gardens to ourselves as we wandered around. This is the Dutch Garden, which is sponsored by the Air Cabin Crew Fund as a memorial to British Airways cabin crew who have lost their lives in service.

 And some woodland looking across towards the daffodils

It will look amazing in a few weeks' time...

I also went up to my Mum's for a few days over the Mothering Sunday weekend. We had a couple of days out too, mainly to Nottingham to go to John Lewis, and then to various Lincolnshire garden centres. ;-) I went on the train so managed to avoid the temptation to buy lots of plants to bring back with me.

Sweep was obviously delighted to see me.

This is the fabric I bought at John Lewis. It seems appropriately Daisy-ish. It's to make a Megan dress, from the Tilly and the Buttons book.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Big birdie skirt

At least three years ago (quite possibly more!) Hobbycraft opened a branch in Staines, and I purchased a Clothkits skirt kit with a discount voucher from the local paper. I got as far as cutting out the skirt pieces, then no further, and it was one of the things I intended to get on with when I moved to a part-time job (and that was only 2 years and 4 months ago!). And now I've finally finished it.

I love the attention to detail in the kit. The facings have little patterns on them too, even though they're inside the skirt. There is a cotton lining to attach (you can apparently choose a Liberty print lining if you order from the Clothkits website), so it was good practice in attaching all of that, as well as the zip. I made it a bit shorter than the suggestion in the kit, as I don't really wear skirts that are past knee length (bit impractical at work, which is mainly where I wear skirts).

And it's really cheerful!
I am so pleased with it. The kits are £39 on the Clothkits website (I think mine was about £22 with my voucher, as far as I can remember), which seems like a lot for a skirt, especially one you have to make yourself. But I think the skirts are comparable with Boden, where they tend to be £50+ or Laura Ashley, where they're £55+ (I get most of my work clothes from them, but in the sales...) so it's actually more like a bargain... Plus you get the fun of making it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

London cushion

I finished off the London cushion quite quickly, then had trouble finding a 50cm cushion pad to go in it! I scoured the town, where I found 45 and 55cm ones, plus Hobbycraft, which only had ones measured in inches (why?! How long has this country been metric?!), and when I worked it out didn't have 50cm ones anyway. Then looked online, John Lewis was out of stock of that particular size, but had plenty of the 45 and 55cm ones (aarrgghhhh), Argos, Dunelm Mill etc only sold them in multi-packs. In the end I bought a 55cm one from the local haberdashery (the cheapest option, and with polyester filling as I wanted one that was machine washable) and decided to make sure it was a very plump cushion. Good thing I didn't do that top stitching after all.

It's nice and comfy to lean against on the sofa...

I bought the fabric from Fashion Fabrics Bath whilst on holiday there 18 months ago. I only bought 0.5 metre so only just managed to squeeze this cushion from that amount. If I'd had more I could probably have got the envelope opening on the back to match, but I'm not too bothered about that (it's the back, so it's not obvious!).

I love the London fabric, but it does have some amusing typos...

What amusing fabric have you bought?

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Busy days

I had intended to do more sewing at the end of last week, but the weather forecast was really good, so I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and 10°C+ heat and get on with some work in the garden.

First of all I had this lot delivered from the garden centre - 8 x 80 litre bags of composted stable manure.

I weeded all the borders, and then mulched them. I did the front garden one day, and the back the next, making the most of the sunshine. I used 3 bags for the front and another 3 at the back. I'm saving the rest to pot up containers with, although anything left after that will be added to the mulch around the soft fruit. The weeding wasn't too bad as there hasn't been enough warm weather yet for very much to have germinated already.

The cage thing behind me? It covers the birds' ground feeder to protect it from pigeons (of which we have far too many) and squirrels (of which we also have far too many). The bars are far enough apart to allow the smaller birds in to get the food.

After mulching all along this side I realised that the fence really looked untidy and could do with painting with Cuprinal fence stuff. The OH did it when we first moved in, but since then it hasn't been dry enough to do at a time of year when the plants are low enough to actually reach the fence...
As you can see, parts of it had gone rather green.

So I popped to the DIY store and picked up a bucket of Cuprinol and got painting.

It's a definite improvement and should mean that the fence lasts for a lot longer (this isn't our boundary to maintain, as the fence itself belongs to the neighbour's, but I'd rather make sure we're doing our best to maintain it from our side anyway).

I also edged both the lawns with the lawn-edging tool. This is one of those jobs that is much easier with the right tool. The first year I tried to do it with a normal spade and it was horrendous. Much like the year I tried mulching without a wheelbarrow and soon got fed up of heaving buckets of compost around.

And, finally, the OH gave the lawns their first cut of the year. They're looking a bit patchy, but at least they're now the same length!

These crocuses opened up in all the sunshine. Aren't they beautiful?

Anyone else been making the most of the sunshine?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Garden at the beginning of March 2015

So, the first day of March was mostly bright and sunny (although ended up raining later on), and it definitely feels like spring is almost here. And, as it fell on a Sunday I was at home in daylight to take the pictures.
This shot doesn't look much different to the earlier months...

But the detail has moved on! The snowdrops are still in bloom, but they've been joined by cowslips.

The rhubarb has started to appear.

If you look really closely, you can see the first shoots of the dicentra appearing at the base of last year's stems.

Lots of crocuses opened up in the sunshine.

This is the Sarcococca Confusa (or Christmas Box), which has little spindly white flowers, and the most amazing scent. I've planted it in the front garden so people can smell it as they walk past!

Beginnings of a hyacinth poking through

And these are the first shoots of one of the sedums breaking through. I've just cut back last year's stems, which I leave in place over the winter so that insects can shelter.

What signs of spring are there in your garden?