Face Mask

Tags

, , , ,

I decided to have a go at machine sewing. I have a Janome heavy duty machine which is from 1984, yes its an old one, but it has never let me down. I need to do a bit of maintenance on it i.e. oiling and service cleaning, but apart from that it works like a dream.

I am a hand sewer, so using a machine is quite the different experience, especially since I have not used the machine in over 20 years, in fact about 1997. I made draped blinds back in 95, and even though I had the machine I like the process of hand sewing. The draped blinds were for a huge bay window, and I was rather proud of them, but it would have been faster to machine sew.

The machine was my Aunts, and she taught me how to use it, and I did very plain straight sewing from the age of 14. However, I am not all the proficient with it, I am happy to keep practicing. One of the problems I had was the cotton broke quite a few times, and the feed dog tangled with the top threat a few times when beginning the the lines. But I did manage to sort it out in the end, just frustrating when things go wrong.

This is my first go, and I don’t think it looks all that bad. It is lined with blue non-woven material, but in all honesty it is a little to thin, but I have left it with a pocket so a filter lining can go in there.

If there are any experienced sewers out there who want to pass on any tips and help, especially with the above snags I had to deal with then please drop me a message.

Wet Spaniel = Happy Spaniel

Tags

, , , , , ,

Mazikeen is never happier than when she is getting dirty or soaking wet. Whenever we are at the beach she is straight in the sea, even if it’s freezing cold, there is no holding her back.

Harper too lives the water, but only the sea or natural pools and ponds. She isn’t so keen on the paddling pool and will only venture to remove the balls from it or to drink the contents.

Blocking

Tags

, , , ,

I am in two camps at the moment as to whether to block my work. As posted I am making the Great American Aran Afghan, and although the squares are not too far from each other, they do need a bit of work to get them matching. However, the other part of me thinks that it will be okay as once I have made all the squares and fixed them together and added the outer ridge it will all fall into shape.

I have been looking at blocking mats, and the price difference from one to another is madness, and if I get the “play mats” they are a third of the price, but are they thick enough.

So todays question is: do you block and if so what do you use. Do you use blocking mats, or do you have a cheat that does not cost the earth.

Let me know.

Double Knitting

Tags

, , , , ,

This is one thing I have never tried in the past as I have never needed to use that style, however, I saw a Star Wars Double Knit Scarf by Jessica Goddard on Ravelry that M really liked and I said that I would make one for him. For those who do not know, double knitting is where you knit with two strands at a time, one knit and one purl, so the knit is the front and the purl is the back

The one think I am not too sure of is what colours should I use. It has to contrast, but M will not go for garish colours, so do I just to black and white? The pictures by Yadis shows black and white yarn and I think it looks stunning and you can see the pattern with no problem. However, with Star Wars the colours are red and black (so I believe as I have never seen the films), but if black and red I feel it may not be as striking.

One of the other things that has been in my head is if using DK yarn do I still use 4mm, or drop down to 3.25 to keep it tight, or increase to say 5mm or 6mm as it needs room for the pattern to work. With all this in my mind I have decided that I will do a test run with one of the many yarns I have in my stash boxes (which are that big you could keep bodies in them and I have 6). I will post what I do on here and see what it looks like before doing the scarf for M. On saying that I want to use WI yarn as it is really nice to work with, so will have to wait until the planet resumes normal service in order to go and purchase it. I was looking at LoveCraft as there is so much yarn to pick from, but I like to feel the yarn if I have never used it, as we all know, as DK in one yarn can be different to a yarn made by another manufacturer. I love marino yarn, but working it out it would cost a small fortune to make. But the hunt will go on, well, as soon as possible that is.

Let me know if you have done any double knitting and any tips and advice would, as always, be gratefully received.

Great American Aran Afghan

Tags

, , , ,

I bought the pattern for the Great American Aran Afghan a couple of years ago and decided since we are in lockdown I would make it. Not that I was able to do a great deal as I had to go back to work as the company decided to ignore the fact that they are no essential services. I could go on, but will not here.

So far I have managed to make two of the twenty squares, and I am quite happy with the result. Lots of cable work, which I love. However, and there always is, some of the patterns do not read right and need correction. The square I am doing at the moment states in the instructions start with row 17 on pattern B, then row 1 on the far side, but when you look at the chart layout it reads the other way round, so row 1 then 17 on that row. I decided to follow the first instructions, but got partway though and thought it looked odd, so started again. Hopefully this time it will work. I had a slight problem with the second square as it seemed too large, and I thought it was my tension, but when I did it again it was the same size, and when finished it worked in the end.

So far these are the two squares I have managed to do.

Prague

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Back in February M and I went to Prague for a few nights. I have meant to post about it, but every time I went to I got distracted. Anyway, it was a present from a friend for my 50th Birthday. Part of me didn’t want to go as I just didn’t want to leave the dogs in the kennels. Not that there is any problem with the kennels as Barbara and Peter are really nice and good with the dogs, but Mazikeen can be a funny bugger when it comes to eating, and we tend to have to coax her into eating. Harper, on the other hand, will hoover any food about without a thought, as most dogs do.

Our flight out was at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and flights were starting to be grounded. As we watched the departure boards more and more flights were grounded, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Hamburg, Brussels, Malaga, Lisbon, and on and on it went. More and more people looked disappointed and one by one left the terminal bar. In the end, our flight along with Amsterdam and a couple of other places were the only 4 left. Not that that was easy, as we were delayed for an hour and a half. As we had transport booked from the airport to our hotel I had to call them in Prague to explain what was going on. Once we boarded the captain said that he would try his best to make up for the lost time in the flight which he did, and we arrived only 45 minutes after the original landing time. However, once we retrieved our bags the taxi company called me to berate me for being late. WTF! I shouted back at him telling that I had called to say that the flights were delayed and his company said that they knew about it and would track the flights and it was not a problem. What an arse hole he was. We were introduced to our driver and whisked to the hotel which was another 40 minutes, and at no point did he talk apart from asking if we minded if he put music on. We didn’t mind and was completely amused at his choice. It was like a mixture of Klesma, rap and folk, quite a different sound. It must be what the youngsters there are listening to. But I am glad it was not all the factory-made crap that the western music industry spews out day in day out.

We stayed at the Grandior which was fabulous. Our room was enormous and I could have fit all three of our double bedrooms into it. There was a beer spar and a casino, but as I do not gamble the casino was of no interest, however, the beer spa was, but as we were only there for a few days I wanted to explore the sights and go out for nice meals than sit in a bath and drink beer, although Czech beer is really nice, then again so it Czech red wine.

We visited many places including the castle, Jewish quarter which included a lot of synagogues, and wandered about taking it all in. The hotel was a short walk from the old town square which depending which way we went took us through some really nice streets with old trams running through them.

We went to a lovely restaurant, Beefhouse Grill & Bar for my “birthday meal”. It was fantastic. I had for starter beefhouse tartare and my main was a 400g Veal T-bone steak with fries, grilled vegetables and champignons. Needless to say, it was quite a lot to eat and I was busting at the seams. We did not have dessert as I could not fit it in, especially after two huge beers.

Prague is a beautiful place, and I will definitely go back there. The weather was mostly nice. However on our first day it went from sunny to cold and rain, driving rain, violent winds and rain, then the sun was out and it was tee shirt weather again. The evenings were cool but not cold which was not their usual weather at the beginning of February, usually down to minus 6 and snow. We did have a little snow the night we left and the aircraft had to be defrosted as the wings were all frozen up, and at this point it was minus 2.

All in all, it was a lovely place to visit, the people were really nice, and the food and drink was excellent. The culture was all around and in all honesty I could have been there for a few weeks exploring the city, and I would have definitely done the beer spa.

Here are a few photos from the trip.

Planet Earth… Closed!

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

So, how are we all doing out there? I hope that you are all well, and keeping safe in this Stephen King novel we all seem to be part of. Or are we part of a Black Mirror episode?

On Monday night, we were told that we could not go out unless, for essential shopping, medicine and exercise once a day. The company I work for was part of the companies that are able to stay open (construction), but, the owner decided that we would finish on that Tuesday. We came in and finished off what we needed to do and got out products that were needed, I did the month-end accounts and then did out lockdown procedures. However, the next day there was talk about opening up again as construction was still continuing and the government had no intention to stop it. I was chatting to the owner who’s son wanted to open and carry on, but after me telling her of a girl who had just died due to the virus at the age of 21, she decided that it was not going to happen and we would remain closed until the government lifts restrictions. We have all kept in touch via WhatsApp and are checking up on each other. One of the lads who is a driver for us told me yesterday that he thinks his wife has the virus, but from what he said she does not have the symptoms. She is a hypochondriac which does not help, and he seems to believe everything he reads on Facebook. On the last day of work, he told me that over 500 people had died in the UK the night before and argued that it was right. I did point him to the official website tracking the infection and deaths and the conversation was quickly changed. Therefore I am not concerned for them just yet.

I have noticed that the streets are a lot quieter, but from what another workmate tells me when he had to go out that the local town was busting with people going about as though it is a national holiday. Some really do not get it.

I had to go to the shop to get some supplies and although the place had very few people in it, some were not observing the social distancing that is in place, which they are reminded of when entering as there are signs quite literally everywhere. I was rude to a woman who had as much etiquette as a truffle pig, as she was sidling up to people as she was shopping, touching everything including people. She gave me a look that said fuck off, to which I responded with “wanker”. It was all I could do rather than punch her in the face, which I could have done as I was wearing latex gloves. I also noted that the main culprits were old men, I say old, ones in their 60’s. I think if you do not follow the rules and become infected then you do not deserve to be treated in hospital in a live by the sword die by the sword attitude.

We have been out to walk the dogs and get our once a day exercise, but we have been doing this at dawn, no one about and social distancing achieved, but the dogs are not too happy as they are walked a few times a day when I am at home, but I am sure they will get used to it soon enough.

As well as finishing M’s scarf I have frogged 2 projects and am well on my way with another Stephen West blanket “Bit of Iceland”. I have made this before for us and one for M’s mum, but I decided to do another on in colours that would compliment the bedroom. I am enjoying it as it is a large project, and those who know me, know I love big projects.

Yesterday I decided to bake cinnamon swirls as I have 1kg of fresh yeast, although I have frozen most of it.

One final thing I got was the Vogue Knitting book. I kept seeing it, but thought the £35 price tag was a little excessive, however, I found it in my rewards catalogue, therefore cost me nothing. Not expecting it for a few weeks and it arrived on Friday so bonus lockdown reading.

Let me know how you are all doing…

Panic on the street of London…

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now, I will preface this post that I understand that many people have died due to the coronavirus outbreak about the planet.  That aside, I have never seen so many bloody idiots about reacting to the news.  I have witnessed people stealing from other people’s trollies, people running about supermarkets like they are on supermarket sweep.  I went into the supermarket this morning to get bananas at 7 am, and the place was rammed full of people panic buying.  Most of the shelves were empty and one woman had a trolly full of toilet roll.  As she went past me I shook my head and muttered “idiot”, she saw me shaking my head and shouted at me, I am a mother, which my reply was “no, you’re an idiot stockpiling”.  I understand people want to have things in, but they forget there are other people about, and what about the elderly who have not been able to get supplies?  I also wanted just one bag of sugar and a carton of orange juice too.  Due to the stripping of the shelves, I was faced with a 5kg bag of sugar which I did not want and a four-pack of orange.  The orange was not a problem, but I was forced into getting this huge bag of sugar, all because of the dickheads acting like it’s the end of the world.

We have not gone mad, and we have enough food in the house for a few weeks, but that is usual, so no stockpiling.  One of the things I noticed was the lack of pet food as people have stripped the shelves of that too.  The big supermarket close to work has no meat, poultry, tinned food, rice, pasta, pet food, frozen chips/fries, cleaning products of any kind, long-life milk, sugar, tea coffee, water, and the list goes on.  My friend who works there said she has never seen so much greed in her life and that people are fighting over things.  However, the supermarket has a big responsibility to stop people doing this by limiting purchases to stop hoarding and madness, but so far nothing has been done and they are letting the raids carry on.

Our government seems to reflect that of the USA, and are doing very little about it all, and their so-called measures are just laughable.  I think our PM watches the great Cheeto and follows his lead, and we all know the Cheeto buries his head in the sand and patronises his nation with instruction to calm down as it’s all fine.

Our latest instructions are that those over the age of 70 and people that are in “risk” groups have to stay in for 12 weeks, and others should not go out, “even for food and essentials”, but, can leave the house “for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others”.  So, they can keep fit, but cannot buy food, in essence, could be the healthiest corpses about.  The blind leading the blind in the UK.

One of the things which are becoming annoying is the lack of information.  We are not getting told any demographics about those that have died, those that are ill, and those that have it and are fine.  The news from the USA is that the average age is 80 and all had underlying health conditions, but we are in the dark here.  Although we live in the country, we have a city 24 miles north, 17 miles south and 40 miles east, the Irish sea to our immediate west (safe zone lol) and all cities have reports of people with the virus, so the circle is slowly closing in.

Where I work we are suppliers of building materials, so are in contact with people all the time.  It is a family business, so we are all involved with every aspect of the company and as such are all in contact with customers, who are in contact with their customers, who are in contact with many others, therefore, we cannot hide from it. The owner is off ill, and now her son seems to be coming down with the same thing, which she said is norovirus as she if vomiting and can’t get off the toilet.

Today more and more people were calling to see if we were open or we had closed due to this virus. A lot of customers visiting were asking the same thing, so I think it will be a short time from now till we have to close for isolation.

Now, on the positive side, I have just taken delivery of 20 balls (4000 meters) of aran yarn to start making The Great American Aran Afghan which will be quite exciting to do. Remember all you who do knit and crochet, this is the time we have been training for all our lives. Isolation and a massive stash of yarn. It’s going to be like the perfect holiday. Needles going, Netflix playing, feet up and tea to keep us going.

Stay safe.

These things take time…

Tags

, , , , ,

M asked me to make him a scarf in the same yarn that I used for my last project Paris Toujours. The yarn is nice to work with, so I agreed. He didn’t want anything fancy, and wanted something quite plain, like a moss stitch, but I decided that I would do a ribbed type, but without the aid of purl stitch. Let’s face it, purling gets to be a bit of a drag after a while. This pattern is simple but has interesting results. The pattern is just knit stitch and S1wyif. I used a twisted cast-on as it is good for scarfs, and it is a tougher edge. This is it so far.