Monday, 30 May 2016

The Irish connection

On this fine bank holiday weekend my sister and I took a little jaunt over to Dublin to see our brother and his missus. We headed out on Friday night and had two whole days of fun and games ahead of us!
We arrived pretty late so our first night was spent just relaxing and having a laugh. Phil appreciated my brickless shawl, but I'm not sure he was wearing it right.

Then the next morning I was receruited to repair a beloved Spot the Dog whose front paw was heading in the direction of falling off... I'm surprised I wasn't presented with some missing buttons and a hem or two while I was there. It was ok though, in return I got an awesome fry up breakfast with all the trimmings. So on day 1 we headed into Dublin to do the tourist thing, it's only a short DART ride away from where they live. We wandered around the shops for a bit, found the creepiest street performers ever! Too scary to take a photo... Trust me. Then took a bus tour up to the Guiness factory, on the way we passed the handiwork of students? Drunken revellers? Who cares, it's awesome!!

Ha ha.... Fairy liquid + fountain = amusement.

We then spent the rest of the day in the Guiness factory (tip... It's worth getting a deal on the tour busses to be able to skip the massive que), I don't even like Guiness but this was awesome.

This place is huge, and even the bricks and mortar of the building are amazing to see (see right hand pic), there was the history of, the making of, the advertising of (tick followed tock followed tick), and a free pint at the end in the sky bar. Now I mentioned I didn't like the stuff... But my brother really does, and it's worth getting there just for the view... Of the WHOLE of Dublin!

Cue the messing about photos...
Just some messing around on the advertising floor (there was a photo booth where you could put your face into the old adverts).

It was my Belcarra blouse that day for me-made May... Just sayin

There may have also been some messing around outside while waiting for the bus to take us back into town.

Well we were quite worn out after all of those shenanigans so headed out to an awesome restaurant that evening and just sat drinking wine... Good times.

On day 2 the sister in law had the idea to head up into the countryside... It was an awesome sunny day for it. They took us to a country house called Powerforce house in Co. Wicklow... Let me tell you, this place took my breath away..

Non-filtered or edited picture... It really looked like that!

And the gardens were just huge

With beautiful details and rhododendrons all over the place, I loved everything! We stopped in the cafe for a cheeky glass of prosecco just to bask in the sunshine, it was blissful. That night Maeve had decided it was just perfect weather for a barbecue... Trouble was they didn't have a barbecue... So we went out to a cheapish shop nearby and bought one. Cue me and the boy trying to put together a million piece barbecue before the other guests arrived... It was stressful... But guess what...

We are awesome! (Also Plantain t-shirt for me-made that day)
So next morning it was time for our flight home... A very short trip... But stuffed full of awesome... Thank you Maeve and Phil for having us xx

And I know what you're all thinking... But what knitting went with you?! Well as I had just recently finished my Brickless shawl (more on that soon), I jumped straight in and began another shawl...

This one is the Heaven and Space pattern (found on Ravelry) in baby Merino, a beautiful cloud grey. It's a good knit as it's just difficult enough to keep it interesting, but you can easily memorise it and don't need to check the pattern every two minutes. And I already love it.

So anyway, long post, but I hope it was interesting (there were at least some pretty pictures)

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Me-Made May week 3

And past the halfway mark for me made May I am just storming on ahead with the me-mades that I have in my daily wardrobe. I have only had two repeats since the month started... TWO!! And I thought I was only going to be able to wear three things a week!!

Allow me to give you a run down of week three...

And n Sunday I cosied up in my fleece backed Fraser sweatshirt (I'm totally making more this winter coming), on Monday I wore an as yet unblogged New Look 6217 kimono sleeve top. It was a muslin that I made over the weekend, but a totally wearable one... Keep your eyes peeled for yet more of these, and the blog post to match.

On Tuesday I had a meeting at work so I repeated an outfit and wore my Coco top again to make sure I was smart enough (or because I just really love this top!!). On Wednesday I wore a very thin and Wiley Renfrew t shirt. I'm not sure about this top, the neckline gapes badly and the hem looks a bit unfinished. I may have to go back and adjust this one to make it really wearable.

Thursday was another repeat, this time of my copycat top, which I really do wear quite a lot.. It's definitely a favourite.

Friday was frock day (honestly, it's a thing I think I've started at work... Well, just for me anyway, no one else does it) so I had on my fantastically fitting lady skater dress! On Saturday I was going out with my girls for a cheeky drink or two, so I tarted myself up and wore my rayon pleated skirt that I made for the  Christmas party (yes the copycat top is from the leftovers of this skirt).

So once again it was all me mades... But it felt like a little bit of a cheat because I repeated two of them... But I'm not going to feel bad about that because I'm still kicking my targets ass!! 

More updates in week 4! Final week people... Final week!!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Work in progress

Well, me-made May is well into its third week, and it feels as though it has taken over just a bit here. So today I thought I'd give you a work in progress report, which is almost a reminder to myself that there's more going on at the moment.

The major WIP that is going on, and which will go on for the next few months is actually a very exciting project for me. You may have heard that my sister is getting married in August (please see recent hen-do outfit post), and I am going to be bridesmaid. So as a gift to her I am making the two adult bridesmaid dresses (we have a flower girl too, but she lives in Germany so it would be too difficult for me) and all she has to do is buy the fabric and notions. Sister is very excited about this as it has meant that she gets exactly what she wants (colour, style, textures, you name it). We already have the pattern, and all the stuff, and I'm currently about 1/3 into dress number 1.

Oh you don't get to see it... Not yet anyway... But I'll keep you updated with progress reports.

As far as knitting goes, I currently have the most WIPs that I have ever had currently on the go... 3! Ok that might not seem many to some people, but I'm a stickler for finishing something before starting something else. But right now I've got two cardigans and a shawl on the needles... And I'm having to restrain myself from starting a pair of socks!

My Bailey cardigan is tantalisingly close to being finished, I've got a mere sleeve cap, pockets, I cord and some stitching to go people!!! I might even have it finished before the end of the month. Thing is, when I get this close I suddenly stop working on it and do other things instead. I've thought on this and can only assume it's because of the fear of it not fitting! Or not really liking the finished result! Or of never wearing it! (Nightmares people... The stuff of nightmares). But I have resolved to get cracking on this, finish it over the weekend... And start on something new and juicy!!

I also have my campside Cardigan making slow progress on another set of needles. This poor thing was thwarted by my knitting in an extra eyelet and not noticing for two rows!! I was forced to rip back quite a chunk which was very disheartening... But there was no way I could have left that extra eyelet... Looking at me every time I wore it. Plus this is a work project, which gets an extra row every few lunch breaks, or between meetings. So I'm not pressuring myself too much here.

My final project is the travel knitting I started when I went to see my parents in April. Old faithful Brickless. Which (because I knitted it in 4ply rather than DK) is taking aaaaaaaages. But it's a pleasant knit with some lovely soft alpaca so I don't mind too much. After using some leftover alpaca for an airport security backup thread I decided to pop in a stripe of the turquoise just before the end. I just need to get through that last ball first. I have convinced myself that I need more shawl/scarves though so I may have already bought some merino for my next one... Oops.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Me-Made-May week 2

And so we end another week of me-mades... And guess what?! I've worn my own creations everyday... AGAIN! Needless to say I'm feeling rather proud.

I've spent this week really thinking about that section of the Wardrobe Architect series (from Coletterie... Seriously, check it out) which encourages us to think about how we feel in the clothes we wear. But before I get into that... A series of collages please...

Sunday, a hand knitted alpaca shrug (my first successful cardigan), with a bonus me-make of my house shoes that I made at the beginning of last summer.

Monday: a Liberty Lawn Aster blouse (with cigarette trousers). Tuesday my copycat rayon blouse (traced from a rtw top).

Wednesday was my satin crepe New Look 6483... Thursday my grey checked other New Look 6483 (I didn't plan that... Just happened)

Friday my black houndstooth textured Monetta... Aaaand Saturday I had a bit of a change of heart I put on my squirrel print pleated skirt but when I realised how cold it was outside I changed into my clockwork skirt (which is lined so tights could go on too).

So as I was saying about feeling comfortable in the clothes I wear, I made a bit of a discovery this week. My satin crepe blouse (Wednesday) was made to wear as fancy clothes to dress up in, but I never felt very smart in it when I was dressed to go out. I decided to give it a try for office clothes this week and I felt absolutely fantastic in it! This surprised me as I'd almost donated it to charity in my last clean out (that's how much I was unfussed about it), but wearing it to work I felt so smart and just a bit glamorous. So I have rekindled my love for that particular blouse... And this has made me very happy.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Me-Made-May week 1

Well this is quite exciting for me. It's the first year I've felt able to participate in me-made-may, mostly because it's the first year of making stuff to wear that I actually want to wear on a day to day basis. So how easy has it been so far?

Well I'm quite a lazy dresser as far as things go, especially first thing in the morning before starting work. I tend to just reach for the tried and tested trousers and a top. And because I've never made trousers, this week has been all about the tops. I've also been given a bit of a bonus day this week with not being at work on Monday (yay for bank holidays!) I had an extra day where I could wear my casual comfy stuff.... So roundup time...

Day #1 I wore my wearable muslin which has become a favourite summer top, my Aster in linen look cotton which came with navy skinny jeans.... And bonus welly socks which I had actually made for my mum, but borrowed as I was also borrowing her green floral wellies (I know... Awesome).

Day #2 The glorious bank holiday Monday. I stayed in the house all day in my very first Plantain top made with a gorgeous red speckled sweatshirt fabric and some super comfy stretchy jeans.

Day #3 I wore another early sew for me, my first Lady Skater dress, not the best fit but it still gets worn every now and again.

Day #4 (selfie time!) One of my lovely Renfrew t-shirts. Very comfy. Worn with boring work trousers and a cardigan.

Day #5 I cheated a bit here. I wore my Maluka shawl as a scarf all day. It was lovely and warm outside, but the room I was working in was Baltic! So it was really needed.

Day #6 My new Coco top with some work (cigarette style) trousers, very chic I thought... Very stripy my work colleagues thought.

Day #7 A day spent sewing, so I opted for comfy jeans again but with my second Plantain top which is covered in butterflies!

I found this week challenging only in feeling the need to actually plan what I was going to wear and not just resort to the same old thing over and over. But I did wear things I might not normally have, I pushed myself a bit to wear the Coco top as it's very bright for work-me (it's also quite interesting that I have a work-me). 

I am pleased that I managed a me-make every day when I only pledged three days... The cheat day still counts right?!

So let's just see how the rest of the month pans out.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Adventures in the Deep South

I would like to make one thing very clear... When I say Deep South.... I do mean Berkshire. I'm allowed to say it this as I'm from the bleak north.

Anyway, I digress. So I spent my bank holiday this time round visiting family in Hungerford, I love it down there, not in the least because it's just that little bit warmer. It was a very quick visit but I managed to cram it with as much stuff as I could.

Saw some lovely architecture in Reading and Newbury (bottom right)

On Friday I headed into Reading for the day to do a bit of shopping. While I have a great shopping city on my very own doorstep, what I don't have, and the main reason for going into Reading in particular... Is fabric shopping. See they have a Fabric Land! And I love me some Fabric Land.

I pretty much behaved myself when I was there, I could have come home with suiting, denim, cottons and all sorts... But I limited myself to what I could carry back on the plane home and bought some lovely ribbed jersey, a printed cotton, and some Rayon both in plain black and with cute little swans on it.

Yes they're all dark colours, but I have surprisingly few me-makes in black or deep navy. And they are all so lovely and soft.

On Saturday I spent the day shopping with Mum (Dad being out of action following foot surgery) in Newbury. We had an awesome French lunch in Pauls cafe there and just mooched around for the day.

On Sunday we went searching for bluebells. The woods in the area are carpeted with them at this time of year, and it's quite a sight to see. I loved that wandering around the woods I kept finding chunks of flint, what the early pre-history humans used to survive (spears, arrows, juggling practice - though that last one has never been proven).

Speaking of pre-history, which they have so much of you keep tripping over it all of the time, we also decided to take a trip up to the Long Barrow at West Kennet.

Built 5500 years ago (or thereabouts) it's one of the biggest surviving burial grounds in the country... As far as barrows go. It's open so people can investigate it and go right to the back, but I've always been too freaked out to do it. I think it's all of the people who were buried in there, gives me the jips. But this time I made it to the back chamber, and feel rather smug with myself if I do say so.

But it's worth the trip up the hill to the barrow just for the views!!

So while I was down there I obviously needed a travel project (both of my cardigans are getting a bit bulky to carry around), so I also made a start, and excellent progress, on a Brickless shawl. Pattern can be found on Ravelry, which so many of mine are found on. I am using Drops Alpaca again and as the gauge will be miles out (Brickless is designed for DK rather that 4ply) I have decided to just keep going in the pattern until I run out of wool.

It's a great knit though, easy pattern sections building up a nice gentle curl... I've a feeling this is going to be huge! So now I'm home and have one last day before being back at work I am currently curled up making even more progress on my Brickless.

Hope you all enjoyed your bank holidays as much as I have.