LIP: Life In Progress

This little blog is going to be pootling along in a low gear for a bit, because offline my life is taking some twists and turns that are both exciting and alarming at the same time.

Basically, I’ve been offered a new job, one which I start in eight days time! I’m going to be moving back to full-time – although when I say ‘moving back’, I only ever worked full-time for five months at the start of my very first job back in 2011 before my health and circumstances kicked in*. I’ll be moving up a band too, still within the University where I currently work, but most importantly I will be moving into the Finance division.

And hence starts my life as a woman with a career rather than a job.

This does mean, of course, that the accountancy study has to start again in earnest. I am hopeful that the new circumstances will make it easier than it has been over the past year, although it will still be hard, I am under no illusion about that. This will probably also mean that the time which I feel I can allocate to crafting (and blogging about crafting) goes down.

But that’s OK. This too will pass. I don’t know where it will take me, but right at the minute it feels really positive and really hopeful and that’s a really good place to be in.

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And for a quick knitted WIP photo, I’ve finished the first repeat of Chart 3 on my Orchid Thief shawlette as part of the STCLKAL:

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*which are best not extrapolated upon right here. All I can comment upon that front is that what goes around comes around.

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UK Summer Stash

I blogged about my holiday haul from Holland at the end of July. Today it’s the turn of all the crafty bits and bobs that I have acquired during my various UK travels this summer.

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My in-laws moved to Richmond, North Yorkshire in July, and we visited them on their first weekend in their new house. It was a busy weekend, but we did poke our noses into Richmond market where I was delighted to discover Woolmouse*. The pictures on the website really don’t do it justice – it was a large and cheerful stall packed with nice-quality-but-not-extortionate yarns.

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I was tempted by the huge range of local Yorkshire yarns that they had for sale, but they were all in worsted weight which is not something that I’m really knitting with at the minute. It would have been rude to buy nothing, though, so I got some undyed Araucania Ranco and a pack of lovely little mother-of-pearl-esque buttons:

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Then there was Suffolk. We arrived in Southwold on the Saturday. On Sunday I was wandering down the high street and saw a sign pointing to a quilting display and fabric pop-up shop in a room at the Swan Hotel. Who was I to refuse?

In the downstairs, DaisyMay Quilting were showing off an assortment of their long-arm quilting work. They had some fantastic quilts on displays, but there was no contest when it came to picking a favourite:

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Upstairs, Glenroy Designs had a fabric sale. Even though I’m not normally one for quilting fabric, I spent about an hour in there, oohing and aahing over the fantastic range of cottons, chatting to the ladies in charge and trying to decide what to spend my pennies on (because there was no way that I was leaving empty handed). Eventually I settled on three fabrics. Two fat quarters – autumnal leaves for myself and a Japanese-inspired design as a present for K – and 1.5m of a rich berries design, which I intend to turn into a top of some sort.

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I came across some yarn which I didn’t buy, but totally would have done if they’d had it in the 4-ply weight. Dunwich Heath is one of my very favourite places to be and we were there at the very best time of year for it – when the heather is in full bloom and the bright purple sets off the yellow gorse, just-turning bracken and the blue of the sea behind. I think the notice displayed by the yarn speaks for itself really:

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And last but not least, I finally bought Simplicity 1882 because I found it on sale in John Lewis in Norwich!

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It’s been a great summer 🙂

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*geddit?

Casting On for the KAL

Chrissy’s Crafting Library KAL launched yesterday, and I was totally prepared. Pattern: check. Yarn: check. Needles: check*. I had packed everything together in a new project bag in order that I could cast on in the car on the way back from a week’s holiday in Suffolk.

 

In the event, I cast on this morning instead. This will be my first time using a charted pattern, first time using 3-ply yarn, and first time knitting all-over lace, and I decided that I wanted to afford it proper concentration instead of getting distracted by trying to keep everything in my lap every time the car went round a bend.

But the upshot to all of this is that I am in! I have knitted the first tentative rows of Ysolda Teague’s Orchid Thief Shawlette pattern from Brave New Knits, and I’m really quite excited. The fact that I am under no pressure to finish quickly will definitely help too.

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D’you want to join in? Click on the button below to find out what it’s all about!

STCLKAL Button

*There is a story here involving my complete and utter lack of ability in taking care of my belongings, but it’s neither important nor that interesting – suffice to say that I don’t normally knit on wooden tips.

Video-Logging Meme: Blog Voices

Completely unrelated to sewing or knitting, except by virtue of the fact that this is a meme that is going around the sewing blogworld for the second time and I want to play!

The idea is that you read out the list of words and answer the questions on video so that your readers can hear what your speaking voice and accent sounds like. I should warn you that the lighting on this video isn’t great, but it’s do-able.

I always hate hearing my own voice played back at me. It’s always lower-pitched and a good notch posher than the voice I hear coming out of my mouth in real-time. I am from Birmingham (UK) and have lived the vast majority of my life here, barring the four years that I was at University in the North-East of England. Neither of my parents are from here, though, and I was always bullied at school for sounding posh – to the extent that in my early teens, I made a conscious attempt to shorten my vowel sounds from the southern “baaarth” to the northern “bath”, something that has stuck.

So whilst I daresay that there’s the odd twinge of Brummie on occasion, I really don’t sound like I come from where I do!

Jonathan has lived all over the country and also has a relatively generic British accent, although his vocabulary and occasional pronunciation do have a healthy dose of West Yorkshire mixed in with them from his dad’s side of the family (Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred, etc.). Inevitably that’s had a bit of an influence on me, and it probably will on any future kids too.

So, here we go!

The words are:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

And these are the questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?

Tee

I was considering calling this post “FO: Refashioned Tee”, but then decided that “FO” and “refashioned” were both slightly grand terms for what I have just done, which is essentially taking in the side seams on a bought t-shirt.*

Anyhow. Here is the original t-shirt which I bought from a stall at Camden Lock in June:

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I loved the print too much not to buy one, but the shirts were ‘one size fits all’ with a couple of different cuts to choose from. This particular cut had more fabric to play with – the problem is that its profile was shaped like 1), whereas my figure is more shaped like 2):

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So what I did is that I placed my kimono tee pattern over the front and used that to mark out a new seamline on front and back. In order to give myself a bit more ease at the hips, I used this tutorial from BurdaStyle to create neat slits at the side seams, using scraps of interfacing as my ‘facing fabric’.

And the result? Well, I now have a t-shirt which I can wear! The fit at the back isn’t great but it’s eminently wearable and I’m afraid I couldn’t be bothered to do anything about that – I couldn’t even be bothered to change my sewing machine thread from beige to ivory!

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Sorry for the lack of ‘good’ photos, by the way. That sort of thing just isn’t where it’s at at the minute either.

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*We decided at a knitting evening last night that I am an ISTJ. Can you tell?!

Fibre Flurry 2013!

I’ll be going to my first yarn/fibre festival this October, and I’m so excited!
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Fibre Flurry is run by a friend of mine, and it’s been a real education seeing how much work goes in behind the scenes and how many different things have to be thought about.

After months of preparation already, the tickets have now been released along with the comprehensive list of workshops available. I’ve signed up for Beginner’s Spindle Spinning, but if I had unlimited finances I would totally be doing Stranded Knitting, Steeking, and Chart Magic too.

A girl needs to save up for pretty yarns, though, right?

As the festival is spread over two days, there is Saturday night entertainment in the form of the Fibre Flurry Frolick – a meal, competitions, live music, fundraising for p/hop and QEHB Charities, and a talk from none other than Amy Singer, the founder of knitty.com .

Are you excited? I’m excited! A knitting, crochet and fibre festival, right on my doorstep! Will I see any of you there?

For those wondering – yes, Fibre Flurry is run by a friend. No, I am not getting paid for this post (or indeed any kickback other than possibly a bit of pizza when I go round tonight). Yes, of course I want to see her do well. But Fibre Flurry stands up for itself – this is K’s third time at running the event and it would not be where it is today without people attending, enjoying it, and crucially, coming back for more fibre-y goodness 🙂

Lesson Learned

I can be a bit of a glutton, especially when it comes to fabric.

Even after everything that happened with Minerva’s a fortnight ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about my tan jersey and its luscious handle. I kept thinking what a perfect match it would be for Vogue 1329, perhaps paired with a beige contrast. I kept salivating over the thought of a navy shift dress in the same soft, smooth, weighty jersey…

Well you know what happened, don’t you. I decided to risk it, ordering through the eBay shop this time so at least I’d have Buyer Protection. I opened the package and… it was the really crappy stuff. Bummer.

Then I got confused. Maybe it’s the tan fabric that they got wrong (to my benefit) in the first order. So I went back to the website again, and zoomed in on the pictures in detail. And look what I found. Click on the images below and it’ll hopefully bring up the full size versions.

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Look closely at the weaves. I know that computer monitors can play tricks and stuff but those are two different fabrics, right? Yet the website descriptions are exactly the same: “The most fabulous quality Morgan Crepe Jersey. A blend of Polyester, Viscose and Lycra, this medium-heavy weight jersey is perfect for skirts, dresses, jackets and more!”

After discovering this morning that eBay Buyer Protection isn’t worth the storage bytes that the title occupies, I’m just sucking up the wasted postage costs and sending the whole lot back (along with the polyester print that was cut so far off grain that there was only 88cm usable fabric in the metre:

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I’m sorry guys but there’s no excuse for that, especially in a fabric that is eminently snip-and-rip-able.)

That’s a part of me which is tempted to call Trade Descriptions on their asses, but at this stage I really can’t be bothered. I can say this with authority, though: I will never, ever be ordering from Minerva’s ever again.