Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To lounge

The Collins Concise Dictionary includes the following definition for lounge,
lounge vb lounges, lounging, lounged. 1) to sit, lie, walk, or stand in a relaxed manner. 2) to pass (time) lazily or idly. 3) a communal room in a hotel, ship, etc., used for waiting or relaxing in. 4) Chiefly Brit. a living room in a private house. 5) Also called: lounge bar, saloon. Brit. a more expensive bar in a pub or hotel. 6) a sofa or couch. 7) the act or an instance of lounging.

I rather like the word "lounge" and all that it conjures up and now I have the perfect thing to wear. My Amy Butler lounge pants are ideal for walking, sitting, leaning. They are very at home sitting on the sofa but I think in a beautiful silk they might pass muster on board a ship, I read recently in Vogue that pyjama style suits are to quite the thing next season. I like to imagine myself lounging against an elegant pillar, sipping my martini, making small talk with the captain (yes, in my head I am living in the 1940s at this point and looking like a sort of Greta Garbo perhaps).

But back in the real world, where I reside at least some of the time, these lounge pants are perfect. Just the thing to pull on in the evening and I have been wearing them in the mornings when I practise my yoga. I am less embarrassed when I have to greet the postman (who invariably has something to be signed for when I am stuck in downward dog) and some days it is something of a wrench to change out of them at all!

I bought the fabric for these some months ago and only wish I had got around to making them sooner. The pattern is a breeze to follow and I cannot believe I have made only one pair, because......making lounge pants is addictive.

Incidentally, does anyone else out there still use a real dictionary or are the rest of you all on-line? I love my dictionary, I pick it up to check one word and and 15 minutes later find myself completely and delightfully side-tracked. I am pleased to report that I no longer look up the naughty words though!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

There's some weather coming

One of the great pleasures of my location is the weather. We really "do" weather around here. Nestled in a valley, surrounded by rolling hills,
not far from sea and mountain means that the weather can be ever changing and unpredictable. It is exhilarating to watch the weather coming towards us over the hills, I love to see it raining "over there" while my garden remains bathed in sunshine. We stayed snow free one day during winter and I was surprised to encounter several inches 1/4 of a mile away in the village. I spend a surprising amount of time watching the skies and although I have grown better at reading the skies above me, my washing still gets soaked on a regular basis.

The weather has been especially mixed of late. Long, dry and warm days are punctuated by days when the skies grow dark and heavy, blackened by rain clouds. The colours on these days can be astounding. Once in a while those dark and threatening skies are pierced by bright sunlight, the crisp, sharp shafts of which cast brilliant highlights, colours seem forced and surreal.

There has been wind too, strong gales yesterday and wonderful drying breezes today.

The wind scatters the petals of my precious roses and litters the garden with tiny windfall apples.

Tilly gathers up the debris and deposits her treasures on the nature table, the garden equivalent of beach combing perhaps. I was struck by the glorious contrast of the red and green, against the grey of the day the colours seem heightened, as if they have been digitally manipulated, but there is no computer cleverness here, just the weather.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Liberty for meI have been gazing at this print for weeks, considering, planning, day-dreaming. Eventually it was time to commit. Time to draw out my pattern, make my alterations, consider my plan of action. Time to cut.

The cutting does not seem to get any easier. I agonise over cutting, so final, no going back. So decisive, so unlike me!

But cut I must, I cannot hang onto these fabrics for ever. This is a tiny cottage, no space for stash, I must cut and sew, wind and knit.

This one is for me. One metre of Liberty Tana Lawn. One pattern, based on this one.
The book is Stylish Dress Book, ISBN 978-4-579-11185-5.

I cut out the pattern pieces but made a couple of changes. The pattern calls for the dress to be made in two pieces and simply slipped on and off over the head. As I had just one metre of fabric I needed to be a little creative. I made the back in two pieces with a simple button and loop closure, the sort I often use on Tilly's clothes. This suited me fine as I love an opportunity to rummage in my button bowl.

The pattern uses gathers at the neck which I changed to more deliberate but random folds/pleats. Again I have used this method on Tilly's clothes in the past.

Unusually for me, I took my time over this dress and actually made a muslin. This is my first Japanese adult pattern and I wanted to get the fit right, the muslin allowed me to make any necessary alterations to the pattern and I used the finished muslin to line the dress, although something silkier would have made a better lining, we live and learn...

Nonetheless, I am rather pleased with my little dress, a very satisfying use of one metre of fabric. I will do a more detailed post on the book soon, it is full of very simple, basic dress patterns which are easy to adapt and there is the usual feeling of release and lack of intimidation caused by not understanding the instructions in the slightest, marvellous!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Call yourself a knitter...

Yes indeed! It occurred to me that you might be forgiven for thinking that there is no knitting going on around here but my needles remain my near companions at all times and there are several projects on the go at the moment (I know, I know, I claim to be project monogamous with the exception of socks
but I have slipped a little). I will share my current projects soon, two of them are Habu which goes some way towards explaining why monogamy has failed me.

Before I update you on my current projects I want to show you what became of the Koigu Kersti.

The child's placket neck sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (although some of the projects in this book require a laid back view of the term "last minute"). I loved making this sweater, it was a gift for my gorgeous godson and I had it in mind for a long time.

The Koigu came all the way from Purl Soho and was just heavenly to use, such lovely sheen and depth of colour, very pleasing to work with. This is the yarn recommended in the pattern but I had to work a little to get gauge which is unusual for me.

The sizing was tricky too. My godson is very much of the fast growing variety so I made it larger than I thought necessary however it is a perfect fit, with no growing room at all! A little annoying as I am one of those people who normally insists on insuring everything I make or buy for children includes plenty of growing room, my long sleeved knits are becoming a family joke. This is in spite of, or related, to the fact that I have vivid and painful memories of my school gaberdine coat which was too large for 5 years and suddenly not large enough for the last two years of school, when wet that coat quite literally almost drowned me.

I think I may knit this pattern again. I love that it is knit in the round, I love the raglan sleeves and I love the slightly old-fashioned feel to the neck styling.

I had a leftover skein of this yarn and was delighted to be able to send it to Kirsten of Assemblage who had admired the colour on Flickr, I think you will agree that she put it to excellent use, such a lovely partnership of stitch pattern and yarn, the pattern seems perfectly suited to the subtle variegations in the yarn.

I finally upgraded my template and from now on it should be much easier to edit my blogroll. I plan to keep it short and frequently changing so do keep an eye out for some new reads. Actually, what I mean to say is, I finally got around to asking The Technical Advisor to upgrade me!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The scent of happiness

Sometimes being in the kitchen can be the equivalent of a mental sticking plaster, a healing time. The actions of grating, buttering, weighing, chopping, smelling are soothing, enjoyable, absorbing. Certain foods and in particular, scents, are guaranteed to lift my mood. Nutmeg cannot fail to sooth my senses, the zest of a lemon is sunshine itself, stimulating happy thoughts.

Soft brown sugar to nurse and sweeten.

The act of rubbing butter, sugar, flour together, there is simply no fast way to do this, one has to slow down, relax, enjoy, be soothed.

Rockbuns, the Yarnstorm way (without doubt the best rockbun recipe I have come across). We will all eat these but they have been baked most especially for The Technical Advisor. He is a bear at present, there is car trouble, he needs to be soothed and nursed, he needs to eat something happy. Rock buns are his favourite. Rock buns are my sticking plaster offering, they won't cure his troubles but they will remind him that is loved and those scents of nutmeg, lemon and soft brown sugar will work some medicinal magic and maybe help a little.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Liberty and linen
A combination that gives me huge pleasure. A little floral top perfect for garden adventures.

The pattern came from one of my favourite Japanese craft books, Girly Wardrobe, ISBN 9784579111329, (previously blogged here and here. I used a Liberty Print Tana Lawn, this piece was an off-cut from the bargain bin, so it was very satisfying to get a whole top out of it.

The linen trousers were from an awkward left over piece too, that is why they are cropped.

The trousers are very simple with an elasticated waist and I think started out based on Japanese pattern once upon a time, I have modified and resized them along the way but they remain super-simple, easy to pull on and off, easy to wash and iron.

The top has this little pleated detail that I am rather in love with and after much discussion and consideration, Tilly chose this yellow button from the button treasure chest.