Late October.

  Last week the trees changed quite dramatically, they went from vibrant reds, golds and rusts to losing half of there leaves in less than a week.
And then the clocks changed this weekend. 
Which today meant it was noticeably dark by 3.30 p.m.
So to me, the end of October means two things. 
Green leaves changing to vibrant hues of reds and golds, 
and toffee apples with the new seasons apples. 
Acidy and sweet, crunchy, crackly and chewy all mixed up as one.

The boy at Uni

Yesterday we went to see beloved son no.2, 
Took him out for lunch or was this brunch for him or was it brinner (breakfast, dinner), I am not sure. 
We then bought him a camera for his computer, we have been chatting away using facebook’s internet feature when he can see me, but as he lacked a camera I couldn’t see him. 
We chatted, had ice-cream and then he set it up. 

A nice family snapshot as he is playing around with it.


This week we got to play with fabric on Tuesday and Friday.  There was hand embroidery, machine embroidery and then examining in greater detail all manner of frills, pleats and other playthings such as shearing elastic all in order to produce our own fabric for our bodice. 
I loved this fabric, its beautiful, I can imagine it being used as a hot water bottle cover in something warm and soft. Or as the fabric for a huge cuddly Shar pie to hug whilst watching scary films.
It is simplicity itself to produce. 
 Just sew squares with sheering elastic on your bobbin.  The tighter you hand wind your bobbin the more defined the wrinkles you can produce. 
 I very much like the use of pleats on this manly waistcoat.
 I thought the back was very attractive.  I couldn’t make up my mind whether it reminded me of armour or a space age suit.
 This effect was used on the cuff of another male jacket.
Feathers were made with fraying the fabric, very effective
And what looks like fur in real life was simply made by fraying the fabric.
I am off to buy shearing elastic, just as soon as I’ve had another nap. 
(tired isn’t the word, the hot flushes woke me up at three)

Ally Pally 2012

Hubby decided to treat me after all my hard work and organised a trip out to Ally Pally, Knitting and Stitching show. I was totally spoilt going first class, a girl could get used to that life style with free croissant, coffee, water and nibbles.

 You’ll be pleased to know that we weren’t spending the boys inheritance, that hubby has his feet firmly on the ground, he’d noticed that first class was considerably cheaper than second class. so booked it for us, we were at Euston in an hour.  
The show was amazing, I think it was the best show I’d been too, it seems to improve every year.  The free shuttle bus came promptly and took me up the hill, whilst hubby wandered around London seeing the sights he wanted to see.  The students work was amazing, it was certainly very inspirational.  There were more new companies selling wool, which was great and all in all I had a wonderful time. 
I even saw my work being exhibited at Toft Alpaca’s stand.  
That gave me quite a buzz. 

Today, I am tired and so just for this afternoon I am going to emerse my self in something terribly indulgent.  
I am going to knit for me. Just me. 
And I am going to knit with my lovely Darn Pretty Hazelnut DyakCraft needles (which have a ten months waiting list now) 

 and some gorgeous Araucania Aysen (merino, alpaca and silk) 
And I am going to knit myself a cute jumper to throw on for college (on days we are not painting), those studios with vast ceiling space and huge skylights can be a bit nippy in the mornings. 

Skirt – Finished.

Today was intense.  Unsurprisingly it took until 12.30 to get the skirt sewn up, 10 minutes for lunch and then there was the zip to put in, (always a longer job than you expect) the interfacing to draft out and then cut out from calico and interfacing, the stuff you put in clothes to make the fabric a little stiffer. Then came the under sewing, (great technique, loved that one, made the skirt look really professional) and a little hand sewing and then the hem, oh and a little spider embroidery.  Those jobs don’t sound like they would take long do they, but nevertheless I ended up sprinting for the finish and still went over time by a few minutes.
Anyway, I am very pleased to say I finished, sketch books all up to date and a finished skirt on the hanger, plus I had a quick try on and it fitted well. The crowd who witnessed the try on including two teachers and a group of students said all the right things.  Actually one tutor was quite amusing during the day as she was desperate to see the finished garment.
I have to say there was some amazing work, I can’t photograph other peoples work without their permission, but you must come to the fashion show later in the year, its going to be amazing.
 Some quick piccies from my phone,

and last but not least 
I added my little spider. 
It must be the size of a 50p, which is nothing considering all the fabric on the skirt, I asked two tutors if they could spot it and they did, very quickly, the human eye is obviously geared up to spot tiny insects, pests, and diseases etc. 
And the best bit, no homework this weekend. 

Nearly a skirt, (picture heavy)

Just a quick post before I hit the sack, I’ve just finished writing up how I have gone about things in making this skirt, but rather than bore you with all the details not least because I really must get some sleep as I have to make this up tomorrow, get a zip into it and hope it fits, I thought you would love to see the photographs. 
When reading through the photographs, there are three different godets, two panels and one big panel which is meant to be a large dandelion seed head against a thundery day where it has just rained.  Light and dark is achieved in the fabric with tie dying and another sneaky technique and then light and dark is achieved with the aid of printing and generally starting with the dark colours and bring the white in as I went along whilst screen printing. 
Then I just added beads and sequins to complete my picture in my head, but you always new I was a glittery kind of girl, didn’t you?
Just to give you an idea of the time it takes to do things, picture 3,4 and 5 are two panels.  They took five solid hours of sewing zig zag at a machine today to get that effect. 
(and I am very sorry that they are not exactly in order but I must go to bed)
Hope you enjoy them. 


Home work day 3 of 3.

Day 3 of 3, who am I kidding, I’ll probably be working way into the night for the next week.  
So, I’ve done about twelve hours today, the work is very hands on, which as most of you who read this know, is very time heavy. 
This is ready for tomorrow’s hand in. 
My pattern cutting folder, with one skirt block, two skirt patterns, two toile skirts, one close fitting bodice block, two fitted bodice patterns, two fitted bodice toile.  I have one cardboard skirt block made and one cardboard fitted bodice to make tomorrow (I’ve allowed the whole day). It also has in it, instructions, reviews, charts of measurements and other sundry items that are deemed necessary. 
Today I have been mainly working on Thursday and Fridays work, which already takes up two A3 sketch books (which is the main reason you haven’t heard a peep from me for weeks)  I tried a new technique to me, sewing with wool in the bobbin.  I followed a photocopy of my dandelion seed and 
 Wound my bobbin with cream wool and placed black thread on the machine for the top thread. And then slowly followed the design.  Thank goodness for modern sewing machines that will stop with the needle in the down position. 
 And soon had this. 
 I think it looks quite interesting.  And so to finish the night because I have Wednesday’s hand in’s to work on and think about. 
 I decided to colour in the drawing I had made.  I’d been told to develop it, so I coloured it in.  Note the new buying opportunities that leapt into my shopping bag from the college shop. (It really is the greatest of fun – I’m having a ball)  
 And when it is dry tomorrow.  I’m going to cut it up and…
 use it to make a collage for my hand drawn chilli’s.  Do you like my chilli’s? I really like them, and so do my tutors, for some reason they think I am quite good at drawing, I have a bold technique or something, becoming a fabric designer was mentioned.  I don’t really believe it myself, not having drawn so much a stick figure since I was twelve, (or thereabouts) but they seem quite keen. 
And they like this, 
And they really like this. 
I haven’t pointed out the ram yet, but my knitterly readers will spot him.  (what can I say, I was bored) 
And while I was painting, hubby had a little dabble with the paint brushes, I really like his dog and that boat is absolutely right, its almost the image of hubby rowing and I think I would quite like to live in that windmill at the top of a gently slopping hill.  He can’t see it, but I think he is quite good. 

Home work, day two of three.

Day two was a long day.  I’ve put in 11.5 hours today.  It is starting to take shape.  Surprisingly beading and adding sequins, along with machine sewing takes longer than you think it might.  And five hours have been spent annotating and reviewing my work.  It is going to mean a full day tomorrow, but I think I am going to get to where I want to be, just. 
 And it is starting to look so pretty. 
 Hubby bought me tomatoes back from the plot. 
 I am very grateful for them, we lost one set of tomatoes to blight, but thankfully greenhouse number two was okay, these were the expensive tomato plants which had been grafted onto a vigorous root stock and in my mind, (if you don’t love them to blight) they are worth every penny. 
And he also bought me this gorgeous globe artichoke in full flower. 

Home work day 1 of 3.

Next week I am going to be handing in three projects for marking.  I am starting to feel quite jittery and because of the workload all of us in the class will be working hard this weekend.  Some will be working harder than others, I will be working hard because I want the best possible grade. 
Just shoot me now. 
I know its going to end in hysteria, and tears. It feels like knitting Christmas socks for seven people, and then deciding that wouldn’t it be nice to have matching hats and gloves as well,,, on Christmas Eve. 
Its an illness that as I have found out, is totally transferable to any craft I put my hand to. 
 This is part of a skirt I have designed, dyed and printed.  I have decided that it would be ‘fun’, to sew around all of my print, yep even that spikey star thing is getting the mandycharlie sewn around it for fun, extra detailing.  Its big and its taking hours.  And that is only the start of my expedition into textiles, I have other fantasies for this skirt which involve beading, sequins, free motions sewing including using wool in the bobbin and the careful placement of a spider!  (more about that another time) there may also be applique. (yes I am determined to get a high grade)   And there are two other projects…
So you can see why I am starting to feel just a little stressed.  Its good though, really good.
Just a little bit more detail for you.  
Must get back to it.