Saturday, 3 November 2012

Origami Bag

So, the christmas crafting continues. I am making the Origami Bag for some of my female 'giftees'. I will add  some small toiletries to these wee bags and I think it will make a welcome gift.

I think that the houndstooth/pink combination is an elegant one. I also hope that  even those who are not big pink fans (unlike myself) will  nonetheless like the little flashes of pink.

For future reference for myself: I made the pattern 50cm x 50cm, whereas the original  suggestion is 41cm x 41cm which I personally feel is too small.
Also: the  label should be sewn on   parallel to the first vertical seam which holds down the triangle points through their long sides as soon as that seam has been done..this makes for much easier sewing and much less wibbly seaming.

A big thank you to Jill: 

Sunday, 21 October 2012


I have been busy today.  I have never previously been overly interested in 'home decor' and I don't think that I am ever going to be 'overly interested', but I have a few things which I have been working on lately and have  posted here, such as  curtain panels.

Having put up the three Amy Butler curtain panels in  our bedroom I wanted to  jazz up the bed linens a bit.  Today saw the first of (many) pillow cases.  This was relatively simple but....there's always a but...when I was sewing one of the long hems  I managed to get a hole in the main body of the  case.  A bunching up of the fabric occurred and the knives on the overlocker just went straight through. Lucking  I realised this while  there was 'only' a  hole of a few inches length.     This meant a repair before it was even finished. If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of the blue fabric you  will be able to spot it. I ironed interfacing onto the back for the piece with  the hole and  I put a new piece of fabric on the front and then did three rows of concentric stitching to hold that baby down.

Next came the trimmings. The two  were also sewn down securely. I don't know  if the pink 'bobbles' will be too bobbly and therefore uncomfortable,  but it is going to be severely tested with much sleeping tonight :0) The original pattern had the contrasting fabric  at the end folded over and sewn down. This does make for a nice luxurious feel, but it is useless in terms of keeping the pillow in the case. Therefore I did a minor adjustment which means that the folded over part now forms an envelope in which to stick that end of the pillow. I hope it is deep is deeper than the front red section.

I am going to keep my eyes open for more fabric which appeals and also for trimmings- a relatively low-cost way of adding some  luxury to   sewing projects

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Fast'n'dirty Pinny Porn

Yah, boo! Suckers! Go find the  kinda blog you hoped you were getting!

Edit: Le Sigh...should of course be 'waist band' but I can't be bothered looking for all of the typos tonight...
Edit: and I just found the wrong 'so/sew'...and a grocer's apostrophe.....ACK!
In the meantime:

There has been some sewing. This apron idea was not mine...if you Google 'Fat Quarter Apron' you will get lots of results. Unfortunately I can't find the link which I used.

But.. basically...get a fat quarter and cut enough from one of the slightly longer sides which can be folded in haf with a seam allowance sewed under. This forms the waist band.

 Use a plate or  whatever circular  object  is of the correct proportions and  mark a curve at two bottom corners. Cut following this line. You can see the desired effect above.

Next I formed a pleat in the middle and hand basted it in place- takes a few seconds and just makes life a bit easier

I then  used Bias Tape to cover the raw edge of the fat quarter, along three of its sides. The great thing about Bias Tape is that it goes around corners like there is no tomorrow :0)

When I attached the waste band, which covered the ends of the  Bias Tape, I slipped more of the  Bias Tape around the front of the waste band, since I liked the effect. I also  remembered to tuck in the tape which I was using for apron ties into the  open ends of the waistband.

Sewed it all in place ..oh, forgot to mention, I also made a hanging loop which you can just see peeking out of the top left corner of the picture. This was my one 'design' feature ;0) This was pinned in place and sewn with the waistband

This was real fast and dirty sewing. I didn't have any orange thread. Not  one. So I went with the blue which I had in the machine because I was being lazy. I could've taken time to  lovingly find  the perfect contrast.. but this apron is a one-night stand, not the love of my life...even sew, some of my sewing was appalling...looks like a drunk has taken my sewing fo a walk.

But....there's alway's a but...this took an hour to make from getting the fabric out (pre-washed!) to cutting the last threads. Can't say better than that.

See what I mean about that sewing???

Monday, 1 October 2012

There's always a 'but'

I really have the crochet bug at the moment. I have stalled in the middle of a crocheted jumper, simply because it will not fit properly until I have lost a few more pounds....which shouldn't take that long, really, but it has been enough to halt me with simply one sleeve left to finish.

In the meantime I am crocheting a blanket...or should I say, another blanket. I think that makes four in various stages of creation. The top and this blanket are both by Doris Chan.  I think Doris designs some beautiful things. But...and there is a  but... her 'crochet mind' works differently from mine. That means that  when I am following her instructions for garments I do a fair bit of frogging (that's ripping out completed work to the uninitiated ;0). As you can imagine, this is very, very frustrating  But...because there is a but....when my crochet mind aligns with Doris' crochet mind, I can really appreciate the elegance of the design. And here I mean not the finished garment, but by the actual design of the garment. She has some sophisticated solutions for design problems  The kind that appear to be simple solutions but in reality have a lot of thought behind them.

But...back to the blanket. I had in my mind jewel colours separated by a pale grey. A somewhat mottled grey, not solid, but icy-white with the edge taken off with wisps of cool grey. I did not want white. I did not want cream. The yarn also had to be acrylic. Again for the uninitiated, it is generally a bad idea to mix different yarn bases together since it affects the laundering process. As the blanket was mainly acrylic, for    hard-wearing indestructibility,   the yarn for which I was seeking also needed to be acrylic. But ...because there is a but...I simply could not find a grey acrylic yarn which even came close to what I had imagined. There wasn't even a wool yarn which came close to what I had imagine. know where this is going, right?...because ....I am impatient I thought I would grab some superwash yarn  which would 'just do.' Well, it just won't. The 'superwash' label means that it can in theory be machine washed. Not that I  planned to, but this at least meant that when I hand washed it I shouldn't have too much of a problem with it. It wouldn't behave wildly differently from the acrylic. But sucked, big time. Sucked all that beautiful jewel-toned vibrancy right outta that blanket. And that just wouldn't do.

I hand craft because I love both the process and the end result. There is no point in continuing with something if you don't love it. What I am asking myself is: Why the hell didn't I listen to that voice in my head telling me that the grey yarn 'wouldn't do'? Voices in the head are worrying. But when they  are giving crafty advice they are generally best listened to. I've been here before. I'll probably end up back in this place again. Hopefully not for a while.

I went back to the shop. Took a long, long time looking for a cream yarn. Again, somewhat surprised (nay, amazed) that  I could not even find cream 'baby yarn.' (How cool is that, eh? Knitting a baby.) Right next to it was some grey yarn which came fairly close to what I had imagined. But I decided not to take the risk. I didn't want to spend any more money on even one ball of yarn which might not be right. So cream it is. Again it is superwash wool. This time, though, it is very soft superwash wool, much closer in 'hand' to that of the acrylic, so I am also much happier with that.  I bought one ball of the yarn and rushed home and completed a few motifs to see how it would look. Here it is:

I think you would agree, the cream is much, much better. It looks very white here, but trust me, it is cream.

The blanket pattern, should you be interested, is the All Star Blanket, Doris Chan. Again, the design of the star motif is elegant. Just what I expect from Doris.

And the grey yarn? I have a short-sleeve jumper pattern all lined up. I plan to wear it with a  scarf  at the neck, to deal with the colour-sucking properties of the yarn.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Chicken Cobbler(s)

I have another in the freezer, a portion of chicken stew without the cobbler topping also in the freezer plus two lots of...hmm....can't think of the words...mirepoix... ready to form the base of some soup. When my energy is limited I like to make the most of it.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Old Shale

Also known as 'feather and fan,' Old Shale is an old, well-known  stitch pattern  common in Shetland shawls.
it is  to be found in Hap Shawls and was where Brooklyn Tweed's Baby Blanket found its inspiration. For quite some time I have wanted to knit this simple, effective shawl cum blanket for snuggly winter days, so  when we were on our recent holiday to Reykjavik I had this pattern in mind when I was doing some of my fabulous yarn shopping. (Well, Number Guy, when you said 'Buy more Icelandic yarn, for us it is really cheap.' I took you at your word, hence the 76 balls which found their way into our baggage....)

  There is lots of lovely yarn around but I wanted something which was  soft, but not merino-soft. I wanted a bit of texture in there as well. As soon as I got my little mitts on
 Kambgarn I knew  that this fit the bill perfectly. And yet it is apparently merino! Well, that's totally fine. The only rule I had when we were in Iceland was that I buy yarn produced there. So several balls of this were added to the basket.

The yarn was beautiful to knit with and I cast on while we were still on holiday. The simple garter stitch square which forms the centre of the blanket was very soothing. I wasn't up to anything at all complicated because I was in the middle of a medication trial which  was terrible.Let's just say that it had absolutely no effect on my trigeminal neuralgia and I was suffering greatly. In addition, I was still  doing my best to get out and about and sight see and that plus the pain left me exhausted, so evenings of simple knitting  and an audiobook were just what I needed. I finished it a  couple of weeks ago, save for the ends, and here is the blocked result:

I love the creamy yellow colour which reminds me of ripened fields of grain and the yellowy-green  of the border is a satisfying contrast.

I have enough of the Kambgarn to make another Sweet Tea, a crocheted camisole.

 I have made this pattern recently and really enjoyed the process and the finished product. The Kambgarn has knitted up into a lovely swatch so I think it'll be great in the camisole.

The remainder of the yarn haul is the well-known Lett-Lopi and  lots of a laceweight yarn called Einband. This yarn actually feels appallingly rough in the skein but I have been assured that upon washing it softens considerably. I sure hope so as I have a lot of it....

And would I recommend a trip to Iceland? Well....when we first got there, the day after a fabulous sunny week in Stockholm it was cloudy, raining, cold. The bus to take us from the airport to reykjavik was broken down and we had been travelling since 4.00am.As my husband said,'If anyone wants to come to Reykjavik, I'm going to recommend Stockholm' ;0) But...the weather turned the next day and we had a  great time.  Neither of us wanted to be driving on this holiday: I was too ill and Number Guy needed some serious relaxation. Therefore we booked three tours with   Reykjavik Excursions . I thoroughly recommend this company- they collect you at your hotel, the buses are clean and safe and the guides friendly and knowledgeable.

So, all in all, a great time was had by the both of us and I came home with lots of knitterly loot. Perfect:0)

Saturday, 1 September 2012

For those viewing in black and white..

...the blue curtain is between the pink ones.

Here they are, with and without flash. Or....without and with flash...

We have lived here for nearly 5 years and I have never bothered with curtains and 'indoor decor' 'stuff'. We have shutters on our windows so there was no need to rush around  putting curtains up for privacy reasons. So why this sudden obsession with curtains et al ?  No idea.

But.....if I had wanted to put 'standard' curtains at  this window it would have cost CHF600 for the fabric, then I would have had to make them. I wasn't going to do that. A rummage in my fabric stash (I know, I know, fabric and yarn stash) revealed some gorgeous Amy Butler fabric. Naturally, I didn't have enough to make the 'proper' curtains, nor did I have enough of one fabric to make three identical panels, and so my 'patchwork panels' evolved. These will drive Number Guy dotty. Being a, well, a number guy, he likes there to be a sense of order. Oh well.....I love them. The middle panel is meant to have a bottom border which is between the other two in length. This cunning plan was so that there would be no minute discrepancy in length which would grate on me. They would all  have a big discrepancy. Ah well, all I can say is never, ever measure fabric in the tail end of a migraine, that's when ou get things in the exact properties ;0)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Headline: Yarn Snob Uses Acrylic- Is the World Ending?

I know, I can hardly believe it myself. I am going to blame it all on crochet. Yep, crochet. When my interest was rekindled in this woolly craft I found myself turning to the dark side. But don't worry, I am only using acrylic in some very specific circumstances (see how I am justifying/reassuring myself here?).

Blankets. Yes, acrylic blankets. But isn't wool warmer? I hear you cry. And...nicer? Yes, a resounding YES! on both counts. But I find that I don't want my woolly warmers to be  dragged over the grass, or be wrapped around someone sneaking  that last serving of beetroot salad, washed down by cranberry juice. So for hard wearing blankets that I can launder with ease, I am  making the following in Stylecraft DK.

Bright and cheerful and not to be worried about.

But my heart still lies with wool:

Noro, Kambgarn ( from the 76 balls of yarn that I recently purchased in Reykjavik) and various DK weights of pure wool from Lang

Friday, 20 July 2012

J'adore Dior :0)

I am not a make-up person. Takes too much trouble and with my  skin it just slides off. But I do like to wear polish. On my toe nails. Finger polish is just too much aggravation to  keep nice. Lazy, that's me. But I am particular about the colours that I like and for years have kept an eye out for a shade of pink that I bought from the Boots Botanicals range years ago. Just my luck though, to have found it on the Dior stand. CHF38 is a ridiculous amount to spend on nail varnish. Then I thought, 'Sod it!' and  used the excuse to myself that it would distract me from the pain in  my head. Well, that clearly wasn't going to work  but imagining the look on Number Guy's face when I told him the price did make me laugh  quite a bit ;0)  He isn't at all mean, but I do think still that is an eye-watering amount. Sadly, I am now ruined for cheap nail polish. This went on so easily, and is proving very resilient. So I guess it's Dior for me now!  This is a beautiful shade, nothing in fact like it appears on my monitor. Next time NG is on his travels, guess what I'll be asking for from the duty-free shop?

Re that other love of mine, the dehydrator, I am delighted with it. I will definitely be ordering more trays when we get back from our holiday in a few weeks. I could order them now, but they would probably arrive in the  middle of our vacation- we have a friend coming to keep an eye on the house but I don't want to  give them any added hassle.  We are going to Sweden, Iceland and Norway in that order. I am really excited about it.

 For those of you who are not knitters Iceland has a very rich knitting heritage and I will be bringing back some of the yarn for sure :0) Remember the Lopi jumpers that were  popular in the 80s? I am going to bring back some yarn to make one or two cardigans, but in  some of the more modern, brighter shades.

I have a new camera, which is charging as we speak, so I hope that I can get a few good pictures to share on this blog. Didn't occur to me that the camera wouldn't have a memory card in it, so must  get  one. I could swap from my old camera but I would rather have just one card in each. The old one is a Nikon of about 11 years  and is starting to become quite temperamental- sometimes I cannot change the flash settings or the screen remins dark when  the camera is switched on.

I have been doing some crochet as well  over the last few weeks- this very simple blanket  is something that I can work on when my head/face  are painful. It doesn't require much concentration and I enjoy listening to an audiobook as I work. When I get back from our break I hope that the ramifications of my last medication switch (which was hellish and didn't work) are over and that I can get back to some serious knitting and sewing. I have some beautiful floral prints from which I intend to make pillowcases for our bed. When I have done that I want to make some clothes. We'll see, I'm just plodding on right now.

If you look at this picture you will see that it does require a minute amount of concentration which was lacking at one point. The pattern sequence is 1-2-1 but that didn't quite happen. This is simply a pretty blanket for me to snuggle under when I am lying on the sofa, so I will not be ripping it out to fix.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

my latest love afair

I'm fickle. I can't help it. I've tried to be faithful yet time and time again, my heart wanders. It used to be my freezer. Then it was my Kitchenaid. I've tried so, so hard to avoid the siren call of this latest love. For two years I clung on to my sanity, reminding myself time after time that the heart-stopping surges of joy would eventually fade. Then  a couple of days ago I though,'Sod it. That food dehydrator's mine.'

Summer has been a washout for most of Europe this year. Switzerland is no exception. What could brighten   a heart more than the thought of strawberries all winter long. Strawberries in cereal. Strawberries in muffins. Strawberries straight out of the pack.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


I have always been able to crochet....well, as far back as I can remember. But I was never really that keen. Then, like  knitting, it had a bit of a resurgence. Inspirational blogs started appearing. Like
Attic 24 . I discovered that there is actually a use for acrylic yarn! And even though my husband insists that this door decoration is in fact a one-armed man wearing a poncho, we can all see that it is the sweetest little bird...Can't we....?

Visit Lucy's blog  and be inspired :0)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Warning---All Crafts Media

Copied with permission from:

a company called ACM (All Craft Media). They were publishers of various craft magazines, and since the time of my original post have now gone in to administration.
They didn't pay their designers, or their staff, or their printers. They didn't deliver goods paid for, and have now left subscribers out of pocket for magazines that will no longer be published.
ACM is what is know as a Phoenix company. It was set up after KAL Media went in to liquidation 12 months ago. KAL went under for the exact same reasons, not paying bills and invoices. The owner of KAL is Kerrie Allman, she set up a new company (with her husband as Director), bought the rights to continue using the magazine titles (Knit, Inside Crochet, Handmade Living and Sew Hip as well as a few others. She then continued to run the business, with much the same end result.
Less than 12 months after ACM took over from KAL the business has been forced to cease trading. An administrator has been appointed to try to pay some of the creditors, collect any money owed, and to wind up the business.
Kerrie Allman meanwhile has gone on to set up a new business, this time with her Dad (Richard Rycroft) as the director. She has apparently bought the rights to some of the magazine titles. The knitting community, thanks to Ravelry, has got wise to her behaviour so  Knit (which was to be renamed as Yarnwise), and Inside Crochet have been abandoned. It would seem that she has however bought the rights to continue using the Handmade Living (despite the fact that the Editor who made it a success was made redundant), Sew Me/Sew Hip, and Modern Quilting titles.

This is where you guys come in. Please tell a friend about this. If you know someone who sews, who isn't very internet savvy, who might buy one of these magazines, please tell them. If you know that your local fabric, or crafting shop had an advertisement in one of these titles, please tell them about what has happened. If you know someone who might be approached to write something for one of these magazines in the future, get them to go and read here

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Screwed-over in the craft world

Further to the post below, ACM has been wound up...there's a now all need to watch out for this phoenix company:
HANDMADE LIVING MAGAZINE LIMITED: Kerries father is now the director, Richard Rycroft
The above was added to this original post below:

if you want to avoid a lot of heartache, avoid All Craft Media like the plague.That is what Kerrie Allman calls her empire today. Tomorrow it may well be something else. This is a litany of appalling and deliberate screwing-over of the craft community. It started in the knitting and crochet community. Now we think she is moving onto the sewing and quilting world. You can read about it : here or for those of you who are members of, you can find details in this group:'Freinds of the group once known as...'

Spread the word. This has to stop

Friday, 30 March 2012

Orange Meringue Pie

We have guests coming fr dinner and I decided I would do a 'make ahead' menu.
We are having nibbles to start with, including lupin seeds...yep, there is a variety that one can munch on. Then we are having boeuf bourguignon. I added a can of tomatoes which I put through my food mill first (this was an expensive piece of equipment but I use it a lot) because the sauce was basically a bottle of wine, which didn't seem right. OK, there are pancetta bits and onions and mushrooms, but only wine as the liquid may be authentic but I didn't like it. Also added some Worcester Sauce.
Orange Meringue Pie for dessert..... This may well be a 'deconstructed' pie because I am not sure that it has set...

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Spring has arrived

Although as a Scot it feel like summer to me...very hot in the sun, warm enough to sit in comfort in the shade.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Nice individually...

....but not a marriage made in heaven...
Home made tomato soup and pumpkin scone. But it's what was available, so that's what is for tea

Sunday, 26 February 2012


Spring has sprung, right in the middle of my knitting.
Well, OK, it still isn't Spring, but the flowers were cheering me up. The knitting is the two sleeves plus yoke from Summer Solstice . I imagine that you have to be logged into to see that link. It's a fun knit....interesting construction means that there is no seaming to be done at the end of it. The yarn is Artesano Superwash Merino . I don't know how it will wear, but it is knitting up beautifully.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Lunch today

Roasted Cauliflower Soup . With a grilled cheese sandwich. Hopefully a photo is to follow.
Yep, here is a pic :

Monday, 20 February 2012

Do not adjust your eyes...

....This is in fact a blurry photo ;0) In the UK I would be lagging way behind, but in Switzerland I think I am waaaaay ahead in the Hula Hoop Craze. So much so that when I had been listening to a few online friends talking about how great hooping was for the figure, how much fun it was, all I could find was the gold hoop below. But it was far too slippy...and in fact too small (who knew???)but I still managed , sort of, kind of....but it wasn't much fun and was a bit demoralising when the damn thing keeps slipping to the ground.

Enter Hoops Whirled....might purveyor of glorious hoops.

If you go to the Hoops Whirled website (and I recommend that you do) then you will see that they tell you very clearly how to measure yourself so that you get the right hoop. And it is nothing to do with waist size...before you say it ;0)

They were very easy to deal with, a few emails flew back and forth in order to find the best way to get my hoop to me. It would have cost rather a lot to get it to Zürich, needless to say. In the end the hoop got sent to someone in London and we picked it up when we were in the big smoke for a visit last week. Simples.

PS....I bought a travel hoop, which collapses to half the size and fits in a suitcase. Sweet.
PPS....this is also a custom hoop...they have lots of options and will make one up as you like it.
PPPS...that pink hoop goes like a bat out of Hell!

Friday, 20 January 2012

You have to laugh!

I was just on the phone to Swiss about a flight we have booked with them. You should have heard the carry on- the man I was talking to was German and we both were getting really mixed up with German/English pronunciation of letters. it was really funny :0)