Monday, September 29, 2008

In the very pink of it
I am newish to Sugar City Journal,but quite addicted. They do make the very loveliest of things. I was delighted to see their foray into the world of patterns and immediately placed my order for a village frock. It arrived promptly and beautifully presented.

The directions were excellent and it certainly made a change from the carefree winging it approach that I normally adopt when working with the Japanese patterns that form the basis of so much of my sewing.

I made size 6 and made it a little longer as my daughter is on the tall side and I really like to get plenty of wear out of home sewn clothes.

The attention to detail in this dress really lifts it beyond the ordinary and a quick Google will lead you to some wonderful interpretations springing up: Made,Three Pink Trees and Pink Picket Fence ,to name but a few.

I happened to have acres of this pink baby cord which really needed to be used or given up but I would love to make a brown version or maybe soft red velvet for Christmas.

**Oops, I didn't get the links quite right, apologies Dana, hopefully I have fixed it now.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Slowly September

Somehow September seems to drifting slowly, like the fading leaves which are drifting from the trees all around, a sort of autumnal version of the most gentle of snowstorms.

A month that started off so horribly grey, dark and wet has also thrown us some of the most beautiful September days I can remember. Last weekend we were outdoors for every precious moment, lunch eaten in warm sunshine and by 4pm that slight underlying chill giving us the perfect excuse to light the chiminea and toast marshmallows for desert.

September has been a busy month for us, the new school year, already that first day seems so long ago. The Technical Advisor had a birthday and we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this week too. These events have taken place alongside many other things, those stresses and obstacles that land in our way every so often have been plentiful this month. It has been a very mixed month, so trying in places, but yet I will be sorry to see it go. As I write now I my eye is drawn to the window, the golds and reds, that weakening sunlight still bathing the landscape, every so often a flutter of leaves from the oaks, ash, beech and sycamore which grace my little woodland, then there is that rustle in the air, whispering of season ahead. The rustles are regularly punctuated by a loud crack of acorns landing on the corrugated tin roofs of some old kennels. Those cracks take me by surprise each year, they sound like gunshot, too early in the season and too darned close for comfort, I laugh with relief each time I realise it's only the acorns. I think they take the Springer Spaniel by surprise too, her ears prick, made eager by the thought of work, not the Setter, she knows it's not gunshot, it doesn't make her shake to the bone and send her hiding under the table, no working life for her, but rather to sit on the sofa and help with the knitting.

Ah yes, the knitting, September really is a happy month for knitters, my Habu kit is drawing to a close and I am eager to be done with it now, my fingers are itching for the feel of wool, I have been swatching, I am dreaming of vibrant, soft but ever so slightly tickleish Shetland wools. I am very taken with the new Rowan Purelife wool and have been swatching with this Sirdar Eco wool, wonderfully woolly, there is even a delightful lingering smell of sheep (in a good way I assure you) and rather good value.

The kettle is whistling, I am off to drink tea in the garden, inhaling distant woodsmoke, listening to the rustles (and the cracks), flicking through a knitting book or two, waiting for the chutney which is simmering on top of the stove to reach its conclusion. You're all very welcome to join me on this perfect September day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The blue ones please

Tilly was uncertain about this dress and the blue trim idea but when I offered her up the button bowl she pounced on these ones and embraced the trim idea.

I realise that our so called summer has long since left the building but I am still unable to resist the lure of linen and I think with a long sleeved T and some tights or leggings this dress will still manage a little autumnal life.

Tilly wants me to add some embroidery to this dress, she suggested a blue flower, but I rather like it as it stands; simple and clean looking. Of course I am not five years old and at five years old less is very definitely not more! The dress pattern came from this Japanese book, ISBN978457911194-7

I have been a poor blogger of late my computer and indeed crafting time has been seriously curtailed. I am housebound with a sickly child, the boy is still sick but on the upward turn I think. In a strange way it has been nice to be forced to spend time doing nothing. In between his bouts of dozing we have snuggled under quilts on the sofa, watched films, read books, played Suduko, chatted and enjoyed each other's company. Taking care of him actually been rather fun. Of course I do not wish my children to be ill and poor Dylan has missed out on a school trip and a Cub camp so the timing could not have been worse, however as my children grow older and more independent it is quite a nice feeling to be so needed again. I took a decision to stop fretting about what I wasn't getting done and just sit down and enjoy the opportunity to be together.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Picking up threads

Knitting never happens quickly. By necessity it is a slow and thoughtful process. There are quicker knits and we all occasionally need the sort of gratification that comes from perhaps a hat, knitted on largish needles, finished while watching an exciting film, requiring little attention from the knitter.

When I first returned to knitting I was impatient, I worked on baby projects, rarely 4ply and I was a fan of big wool knitted on chunky needles. Goodness, how my knitting preferences have changed. Somewhere along the way my priorities have changed, it is no longer just about the finished item but nowadays it is very much about the actual process of knitting. Of course I still need quick to gratify projects, baby knits remain close to my heart, the perfection of a tiny, completed object or a pair of socks is never far from my needles but I also need something long and slow. Something requiring concentration and patience. Something to lose myself in, something which cannot be multi-tasked. This sort of knitting is essential for my sanity. It soothes my worries, it works magic on my troubles, it's like yoga on the sofa.

Some types of knitting are more therapeutic than others, lace can be especially soothing once you become involved in the pattern, the constant counting and checking for lost stitches is in some way reminiscent of worry beads. You have to put your external worries out of your mind when knitting lace otherwise your tensions come out in your stitches.

My experience of Habu yarns seems to place them very much in the realms of therapy knitting. Holding two strands of thread which unwind slowly from beautiful cones, working long swathes of stockinette on 3mm needles is absorbing, addictive, soothing.

Habu Kit-24. Not a quick knit, thank goodness.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The sound of a pin dropping

Can you hear it? Yes, the house is so silent I can hear a pin drop. I will take a week or two to settle back into the rhythm of my days. My cherubs went back to school today, I should have sat down, taken tea, read, blogged, knitted but in fact the day was over in a blur and none of those things completed. They went off excited, full of plans and resolutions, returned home tired and happy. We had a lazy afternoon with Milly Molly Mandy and Somerset Apple Cake.

I have long "to-do lists", there are quilts to be fi
nished (one of which is unbelievably overdue), quilts to be started, Tilly's autumn wardrobe to be sewn, knitting magazines to be thumbed through but this week's priority is preservation.

Of sanity yes, but mainly of blackberries, onions, apples and plums, some of them mixed up together and some not. I only began unravelling the mysteries of preserving a couple of years ago and along the way there has been both success and failure. Thankfully the successes are good enough to help me forget the failures, even those spectacular failures which prove rather hard to clean off saucepans, muslins, jars and so forth.

My particular favourites are a Spiced Apple Chutney with an Onion Jam hot on its heels. At this time of year there is nothing to beat blackberrying in the hedgerows and turning the bounty into jam, without doubt a recipe for domestic smugness.

I would love to hear of any favourites amongst you or any special, secret ingredients and most especially, can anyone recommend a recipe for a really fabulous tomato and ginger chutney?