New Year’s Resolutions

Yeah I know, they’re a bit tragic but I’m doing it anyway.

  1. Read at least 34 books this year.  Easy peasy, I’m on Goodreads so I’ve set myself a reading challenge.  Click here to see how I’m doing.  Right now I’m doing fantastically well, I have read no books yet this year and I’m apparently bang on target.
  2. Lose 20kgs.  Thought I’d chuck in the traditional fat bum challenge.  Though my bum isn’t actually that fat I have spotted a bit of thigh bulge today that has to be got rid of immediately if not sooner.  Then once I’ve lost 20kgs I’ll still want to lose another 10.  Then perhaps another 5.  We’ll see. I work for a law firm and the cakeage is immense and I loathe exercising so this one is a bit challenging. I also hate exercise clothes and seriously object to any heel lower than a kitten heel.  Keep thinking about taking up running but I also very much dislike outdoorsiness. And running.
  3. Do more embroidery.  I very rarely sew. Its the one thing I absolutely love doing and yet I hardly ever do it because I used to hand sew for a living and now I don’t and it may sound pathetic but its quite emotional for me and I’m a bit frightened I’ve lost all my skills. So much as I’ve amassed a huge quantity of yarn and patterns and stuff I’m going to scale back the knitting and crochet (except for snoods and Gin Poodles of course) and get back into embroidery.  I had a small test piece framed a few years ago and the framers asked me if I’d like to make more for them to sell.  So I might not be a complete ham-fisted duffer.
  4. Stop buying mass-produced junk.  You know that ‘make it, don’t buy it’ idea floating around at Christmas? Well I’m going to stop buying things from major chains and only buy handmade wherever possible.  I’ve had my last clothes shopping spree in 2016 so from now on I’m going to make my own clothes, at least they’ll fit properly and I won’t bump into anyone else wearing the same thing. I can try out embroidery on my own cuffs and that too can’t I? I’ve got a sewing machine up in the loft and I expect that is where it will stay because I don’t really like sewing machines.  Hand made clothes last longer because they’re better and every stitch is beautiful. I’m not expecting anyone else to agree or even see the simple beauty of a white cotton tacking stitch or go into ecstasy over a button hole, but your loss and all that.
  5. New Etsy shop. Once I’ve got my fingers back to being able to pick up with a needle a single thread in any fabric without looking I’ll be able to produce work worth selling. These are not going to sit well with super kitsch knitted poodle bottle cosies or even lovely vintage style hair accessories so they’ll need their own space.

Five resolutions are enough.

6. Oh but hang on. Food. Must stop eating things that make me ill, like fried things, fatty things, dairy, and eggs.  A doctor told me years ago that the odd sensation of my throat going all thick and gagging for hours after eating isn’t really normal and should be avoided. Spose he might have a point.

7. Bugger it I’ve thought of another.  I have a half brother somewhere.  Not even sure what his name is but I should find him in case he’s the head of membership of a major ballet company or something and can get me a hefty discount.

 

I Knit Fandango – May 2015

Piddling about on the internet one Friday lunchtime at work last month I stumbled across the I Knit Fandango. Well, I nearly cried, I’d had no idea it even existed let alone was on and I was missing it.  Annoyingly I’ve promised myself I won’t go to any more craft fairs this year because I have such a huge amount of stuff I’ve already bought at other fairs and not even unpacked. But it’s the I Knit Fandango, its only on for one more day and its run by Gerard of I Knit London, the finest knitting shop I know set conveniently right by Waterloo Station in Lower Marsh.  There was no way I wasn’t going to go.

So off I trotted in the morning on the train from Hampshire to dearest most darling London dreaming of the lovely stroll I was going to have over the bridge and along to the RHS halls. Good grief how could I have forgotten the tourist hell that is Westminster on a Saturday morning? At one point I was trapped in a vast european school party, lovely well behaved children but quite alarming to find yourself swept along like Gulliver.  Then I got caught up in what seemed to be a procession of cathedral admiring zombies.  Finally, after a restorative mocha in Pret I’m headed towards the delightful venue (and not being one to miss a saucy opportunity, I flagged down a couple of mounted police to ask directions when I was quite near the entrance) and I was IN!

SAM_2438Its not a huge venue and it wasn’t too packed out with people so you could have a really good look at everything and there was a lot to look at, I took this picture pretty near the end of the day so it was nice and quiet but not too quiet. Every single stall was great quality, none of that nonsense filler you get at the bigger shows like people selling wellies. Everything here is interesting and yarn related.  The price range was good so you can come out of there with hand dyed yarn, a cup of tea and change out of a tenner or you can go to town like me and set your budget at ‘sod it, I’ve got a credit card’. I bought a shopping bag and filled it. SAM_2459 

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Talking of tea, you know who did the catering? Only the Finchley WI! As you can imagine the cakeage was very good. I had two of these fellers and a lovely chat with another knitter and one of the WI women.

There was also generous seating where you could eat and knit and gossip. I muscled in on a Ravelry group, they didn’t seem to mind. All in all I had the most fantastic day and didn’t really want to leave. I was hideously jealous of the woman working on the I Knit London stand, what a great job that must be.  I bought a copy of Cast On, Cast Off and have already used it to update my Gin Poodle pattern with good results. I’m going to pop in later this week to the shop to buy some of their own dyed yarn (called Knit or Dye) because I keep daydreaming about it.

Now brace yourself for a ton of showing off the treasures I bought.

SAM_2472SAM_2465 The Knitting and Crochet Guild had a yarn winding service, they were charging 25p for 100g I think. Peanuts.  This was a genius idea because it meant I bought yarn and had it wound on the same day and that means I am actually going to knit with it rather than consider attempting to wind it myself at some point in the dim and distant.  The Guild also had made load of shawl pins out of old metal knitting needles and large glass beads.  My one is fantastic and one day soon I am going to open the packet and use it. I may even join the Guild.

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I bought this (new) hat pattern and yarn from The Island Wool Company, I had such a nice long chat with the owner, she could not have been more helpful and patient. She has an online shop and was more than happy for people to squeeze and sigh over her excellent yarns.  Took me about 20 minutes to choose a colour.

I had a little splurge at Max’s World on a card and some jewellery, decided against a ‘hooker’ necklace.

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I bought two patterns from Medecins Sans Frontieres. They had tons of patterns and the deal was you donated what you thought they were worth. Got chatting to one of the women working on the stall and she told me about an Italian knitting holiday she went on and that is pretty much all I can think about now. Italy might be a bit expensive but I have found a knitting B&B in Blackpool.

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I fell in love recently with a pattern on Ravelry called Knit Night, its a shawl pattern designed to show off hand dyed yarns so I bought two skeins from Fibres Exotica to make that.  Again the spinner/dyer was super helpful, she opened out skeins for me to have a really good look and her daughter was really chatty too. I learned how she paints the skeins side by side so that they come out a close to each other as poss. She went to a lot of trouble with me and the yarns I bought were only £6.50 each.  I thought that was a huge bargain. This was the point where I went for a second visit to the Finchley WI while the Guild wound my yarn.

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I know I say this about every show I go to but this is the best one. For a specialist knitting show I prefer it to Unravel in Farnham because this one is friendlier and the range is better.  I really hope he does another one next year.  I’d really like him to do another one this year so long as it doesn’t clash with the Festival of Quilts or the Knitting and Stitching Show.

Charity shop vintage bargains

I bought four lovely things in the charity shop today.  First I found these lovely coral toggle buttons, I find old buttons very hard to resist.

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Then I found this giant single button that reminded me of the original bakelite light switches in the house I grew up in.

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No idea what I’m going to use these buttons for but at least they have a home now. 

I always have room for a new brooch.  I wouldn’t like to say this is actually jade but I like the carved jade look of it.

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Not a bad little trip to the local shops. I bought a new iron too but its too much to expect anyone else to care about that. 

I nearly forgot to add the knitting pattern!
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I’ve seen lots of fine fair isle and there were some gorgeous Icelandic chunky kits at Unravel the other weekend but I haven’t seen much in DK so I was chuffed to find a good vintage example. DK is so easy to get hold of and economical.

Tomato red gloves

Look at these beauties I picked up for three pounds in a charity shop this weekend. 
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Its never rich pickings for vintage around here so I was delighted to find these in a local charity shop and I love tomato red.
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These also have lovely white mini saddle stitching around the cuff and along the central dart.
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They’re a nice snug fit so they elongate my fingers and oh my they are just divine.

The girl in the shop said they had been given lots of different pairs that morning but after a desperate rummage we couldn’t find any more.  I’m going back on Saturday and no, I’m not saying where it is!

HMV – taking themselves to the skidpan

Yesterday morning I popped in the huge HMV store in Guildford, just on a whim, on my way to work.

I was looking for that new Jools Holland CD which they never have in stock but I did pick up six impulse buys. Yes, that’s right six, and one of those was a double album.  There were two staff in the shop and I think there was only me and one other customer. When I went the tills both staff members came over too. So far so good, eh? But. I waited right in the middle of the bank of tills, one assistant stood at one end with his back to me, writing on a clipboard, the other one logged in to a pc at the other end and started typing away.  At first I thought he was logging into a till to serve me so I walked towards him a few steps but then i was obvious he was using the pc instead so I just sort of hung around feeling a bit out of place.  Both assistants ignored me.

I had so much stuff in my hands I actually dropped the double CD on the floor, the case smashed to smithereens but I picked it all up and was still going to buy it, the case doesn’t matter. Still the staff ignored me, despite me making a massive noise smashing the stock right in front of them. So I gave them a countdown, 10 down to 1. When I got to one I said, quite loudly “OK then, keep them” and dumped my stack of CDS on a shelf and left the shop.

And you know what, that isn’t the first time its happened to me in there. Its no wonder they’ve hit the skids.