Hexy MF

This quilt is almost four years in the making. I first blogged about it in December 2012 when I started it and the next mentions weren’t for about 2 years when in April 2014 I finally finished all the flowers and started to sew them together. I think I’ve mentioned before my ‘things to get done before I go back to University’ list, and this was right up the top as I was fed up with it sitting around. I finished joining all the flowers together probably last year sometime and then it sat again, pinned to the backing fabric, just waiting for me to appliqué it down.

So, in all its glory, one completed Hexy MF.
Hexy MF QuiltHexy MF Quilt

That’s my new bed that I bought after the first few chemo courses as I was spending a lot of time lying down and my old bed had a habit of randomly throwing the slats out of the bottom which was rather too exciting. This one is much more comfortable and less prone to collapse!

I didn’t do the vines the pattern called for at the top and bottom as I wasn’t fond of them, I just (sort of) evenly placed the extra flowers along the top and bottom and called it done.

The background colour came from my local quilting shop, it was a totally random purchase and I guessed at the colour to match the backing fabric and totally nailed it somehow! The flowers are made from some of a stack of polka dot fqs I bought way back in my early quilting days and then a collection of flower and bird prints. I think there are three or four prints in there that don’t have birds on them, but all the rest do, so it’s another of my themed quilts!

I adore the backing fabric of this quilt and I really don’t think there is a better match in the world for the quilt, it makes me smile and wanting to finally get it on the back of the quilt (I bought it years back, most likely in a holiday sale when shipping was cheaper from the US and the exchange rate made it worth shopping overseas) was inspiration near the end to keep going.
Hexy MF

I bought some other hexy fabric for the binding (and the discovered when I put it away that I already owned a half yard of it…) but it was a darker cream than the backing and didn’t look right so I dove into the stash and pulled out a few things I thought would work then posted the selection on Instagram and used the one I was told to use!

Hexy MF

The actual machine quilting blocked my sewing for the entirety of August. I wouldn’t let myself work on anything else but I kept putting off working on this. Quilting is tiring at the best of times and it usually takes me 2-3 sessions to quilt a full-sized quilt. This one, right on the back of chemo, took about 5-6 goes but I got there in the end, although my tension was awful and there are some dodgy bits here and there. I decided to stipple as it hides a multitude of sins, like where the flowers don’t actually lay flat or things were a little wonky. The texture of the stipple has hidden all that and I am really pleased with the final look of it.
Hexy MF Quilt

This is a big quilt, I had to buy a full size piece of batting rather than a twin for it. It’s the 80/20 Hobbs stuff which tends to be the most reasonably priced about.

So, there you go, a quilt 3 years and 9 months in the making. Hopefully the other hand pieced quilt I’m working on won’t take so long, but I’m not going to bet on it being any faster!

Elegant? Pfffftttt

So, I bought some really nice linen from Fab Mills Workshop in a sale they had (ok, and then again when I was just buying fabric for no good reason…), and I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with it. I’ve also, still, been thinking about style and what I want to look like, how I want to dress, what I want in my wardrobe. My life has had some changes recently, obviously, and I’m on a crusade to loose weight and change my diet to aid in preventing the cancer returning, still not written the food post yet…  But it also changed again 2 weeks ago when the boys went back to school. They now both go on school buses, which means that after about 10 years of school runs, I don’t have to leave the house unless I want to, which further means that I could live in my pyjamas or yoga pants pretty much all the time if I wanted to. Thing is, I don’t want to….

Things to consider about what I wear include; 1. The house being cold in the winter (I’m not rich enough to run the heat all day, and I’m enough of a hippy not to want to anyway). 2. Comfort. I sit a lot reading and writing when I’m working on the PhD, or I’m cleaning the house or cooking so I need clothing that is comfortable and easy to wear but that isn’t so ‘nice’ that it will get ruined if I wipe my hands on it. 3. Style. Although I want to be comfortable, I don’t want to be a slob. I’m tired of jeans jeans jogging bottoms jeans yoga pants jeans. I want to feel like I’m dressed (says the woman who’s in her pyjamas and not intending to get dressed today!) but not bland and blah. 4. Able to transition to a working environment. I’m not intending to teach this academic year as I need to get my head back into my research (seriously, I’ve not looked at it at all for 9 months, I have no idea what I was doing anymore…) but I will teach again and it’s what I want to do when I finally get the Dr title. I want to have clothes that are me, I don’t want ‘work clothes’ and ‘home clothes’ (beyond a few things. some weekends just require yoga bottoms and a big fleece top whilst knitting on the sofa). Luckily most universities are pretty casual, especially for lecturers (or at least at my University they are!) and each one choses their own level of comfort and self-expression, some looking more traditionally professional than others. I want to have a cupboard and drawers full of clothes that I can just get dressed and it doesn’t matter where I’m going or what I’m doing, the clothes work.

So, I have been working on what I previously called my ‘stable’ of patterns. So far it’s pretty basic things like the Baseball Skirt, the Scout T-shirt, The Fen shirt and the Blueprints Cabin dress/top. I want a few more shapes than those though and I have patterns lined up to work with. All of those I’ve named are quite baggy and loose, which is comfortable, and it’s fun to use bright prints with those patterns, but I’m verging a little to close to toddler chic for my comfort (I adore people who can rock that look don’t get me wrong, it’s just not how I feel about my clothes now) and feeling bored of pulling jeans and a baggy shirt out day after day.

I’ve also been evaluating my knitwear and what I make. I showed you the huge pile of things I gave away and I’ve been reassigning stash yarn to new projects that fit more with what I want to see myself in than what I bought them to make 5 years ago! The linen obsession also hit the knitting yarn, but I’ll talk more about this part of my ideas when I have some knitwear to show you!

Anyway, back to the start, I was thinking about the linen, and I remembered Roo in particular talking about Merchant and Mills patterns. I had a look at the website and, although I liked a lot of the patterns, what I was looking for was a pretty plain dress that wasn’t too formal and that I could wear with leggings (are they going out of fashion now? I’ve been to 3 shops recently to try to get a navy pair and haven’t seen any leggings at all) or bright tights and one of my many hand knit cardigans or a jumper over.

20160917_125648Enter the Merchant and Mills workbook and the cover dress which is called Curlew. Th title of this post refers to the sub-title of the book, I’m not elegant and have no desire to be, I’m hoping I can give these patterns a more grungy look! You can also use the pattern to make a long-sleeved shirt (which I think would rock chambray) and a sleeveless top. I will have to do some work on the neckline as that thing is majorly wide, there is no way on earth the models are wearing bras, or if they are they’re strapless, neither of which are territory I’m comfortable with. I’m wondering if it would work with stable knits as well, hmmm. Anyway, that took care of the linen and gave me a direction to move in, but did I really need to buy an entire book for a dress pattern?

I like the Stride trousers, but I will have to wait for the huge belly to go on its merry way after the operation and when I can get back to doing real ab workouts. I like the Bantam sleeveless top/dress, although seeing Roo’s version it’s another not bra friendly make which will need a little work. Not really into the Saltmarsh drawstring waist skirt, although maybe shortened to just above the knee it’d be worth a look at some point. The Heron wrap top could either be incredibly cool looking in a solid over a bright t-shirt or it could just be uncomfortable and need adjusting all the time. It’s doing odd things in the photographs which I think might irritate the shit out of me if I were the one wearing it, another to ponder.

So, some things that need work and I have ideas about, but the main reason I bought the book, even above the Curlew dress, was for the Haremere jacket/coat.

20160917_125743See, along with the linen I also bought 6m of black/blue medium weight denim. I think a denim coat/jacket in this shape would be fabulous and work really well over the style I want to attempt and with all the huge shawls that I seem to be working on. I have some dark blue denim too which is a bit thicker and I’m going back and forth mentally between the two, but I think the darker new stuff will win.

I couldn’t figure out why the jacket hit me so hard, it has just really caught my imagination and I can see it in my head. I have been decluttering/purging/getting rid of shit I don’t need from my sewing room and upon moving a pile of things off the windowsill I came across a picture I’d cut out of a catalogue sometime last year.

20160917_125756

Seems that somewhere in my brain this picture was lodged even though I didn’t remember it! It’s not exactly the same, but there are enough similarities in shape and style that it will work.

The only other decision I need to make before I probably throw myself into this (abandoning many other well laid sewing plans) is which length to make. I thought the longer coat length but then I looked at the picture next to the shorter jacket length

20160917_125825

and now I’m not sure which one I want. Which would be more useful, more the style I want? Things I will ponder while I finish off the sewing project on my table at the moment!

Anyone made this jacket? I’ve not Googled yet but I will before I start on it.

The ‘style’ thing is going to be ongoing for a long time, but I am looking forward to trying these shapes and styles and seeing what I come up with and where they lead me.

Keeping On Keeping On

Didn’t realise it had been a month since that last post, opps. I am finally starting to feel better and the side effects of chemo are wearing off. My brain is coming back on-line too which is nice and I am down to having only a half hour nap each day (I was at 2-3 hrs at the worst points), I need the nap but I wake up after half an hour feeling much better. I have been having problems with the stoma, well not the stoma itself but keeping a stoma bag on without it leaking for any decent length of time has been hard for about two months now. I finally got a stoma nurse to come and see me and we figured out what was happening and now I just have to try different suggestions until something works at stopping that happening. It’s pretty depressing and annoying, but luckily to date it’s not happened away from the house (probably as I don’t go out much!!). If it stays like it is now where I get about 12 hrs (I used to get 3 days between changes) then I will just have to live with that until the reversal but I’m hopeful that I will be able to figure something out to make it a bit better.

I’ve also been working on what I eat, but that’s a whole post on its own which I will write at some point when I’ve figured out more clearly what I’m trying to do.

I think the most exciting thing is that I started running again this week! With the stoma issues I stopped the yoga for  bit but wanted to do some exercise so I decided to walk on the treadmill. I live in a really hilly area halfway up a very steep hill and using the treadmill means I can step off at any time I need to and I won’t get stuck half a mile from home too tired to get back (of course I bought the treadmill a few months before I was diagnosed and it’s sat there for 8 months unused, sigh)! My first time on I decided to walk a mile and see how I felt. Well, I felt well enough to run a few bits of it, not a lot, but it was running! I decided that it was a good sign that I was in better shape than I thought I yesterday I started the Zombies Run Couch to 5k programme and managed the 1st workout well. I covered 2 miles even in 33.20. It’s a walk/run programme and at my slowest running outside on the big hills I’ve sometimes run an entire 2 miles in that time so I was happy with what I did. In the final part of the session they leave you to decide if you walk or run or a combination for the final 10 minutes. I figured I’d run a few short bits but then a song came on from my first C25K programme. I always put this song on my running playlist because it reminds me of how far I’ve come from when I couldn’t run for 30 seconds and my rule is that when it’s on, no matter how tired I am or how bit the hill I’m on is, I run for the entire song, and so I did! I’m excited to get back and do some more next week and also to try to get back to some more yoga as I’m enjoying the programme I’ve been doing.

Anyway, you’re probably here for the makes, so here are a few more!

Sway DressSway Dress

This is the Sway Dress which too an age for me to get around to hemming as it was the most uneven thing I’ve ever made. I know it’s bias cut but it was ridiculously longer at the sides than front and back. I love this fabric, from The Textile Centre or maybe Abakhan, but should have lengthened it quite a bit as it’s not a great length on me even with leggings under it. I don’t know yet whether I’m going to chop it into a tunic or somehow add a band to the bottom of it in the same fabric to make it longer, we’ll see. The armholes are a little low on the sides as well so if I ever make this again I will adjust that. It’s a nice pattern, just probably not the best for someone quite as short and round as I am!

Next up is a massive cuddly shawl using Drops Paris Aran in Mustard and the Always Amsterdam pattern. This is a really easy addictive knit and I adore the colour of it, it’s going to get a lot of use I’m sure.

Always AmsterdamAlways AmsterdamAlways AmsterdamAlways Amsterdam I’ve just cast on for another shawl by the designer Isabell Kraemer and bought yarn for a third so you could say I’m a fan now!

Some socks! This colour caught my eye in my stash and I wanted to knit some easy socks to get back into the habit of making them so I cast on for the Primavera Socks using Yarntopia Treasures bamboo sock in Orange Marmalade. These were indeed easy and quick and took under a month start to finish which was nice after sock projects taking me literally years of late!

Primavera Socks

I’d like to say the momentum continued but my most recent pair of socks only have half a cuff in the month they’ve been on the needles…

We had quite a miserable dull summer weather wise (and in general as I wasn’t well enough to do much so it was the dullest one we’ve had in a long time…) and it seems to have made me want to make huge shawls. I had this bright pink Jaeger Aqua in my stash from basically when I picked up knitting again 13 years or so ago. I think I got it from Ebay thinking that it was a good amount to make something from, but turns out I could never match it to any patterns. So it is nice to see it knit up into Groovy and to finally be something I will wear.

Groovy ShawlGroovy ShawlGroovy Shawl

This is another stupidly easy shawl to knit and I did a lot of it whilst watching Orange is the New Black from start to finish.

I made a list of projects I wanted to finish (or make progress on as with this one) whilst I had the time to do these things and before I get back to studying and feeling guilty for making rather than working! A long while back I finished a sock yarn blanket and I cast on for another one just afterwards. This one has been in progress for 2 years now and basically all yarn (of shawl and sock weight) that I have leftovers from after completing a project gets added to the blanket in the order I complete the projects. I had quite a bit to get through this time:
Crochet Blanket Progress

All of that is now worked into the blanket and it is almost single bed size so, depending how many shawls and socks I finish, it shouldn’t be a WIP for long then I will need to find a new pattern that works for random amounts of yarn. The first one was stripes and this one is a huge granny rectangle! It was nice to crochet again for a bit and to know that I’m up to date with this project again.

Not a great photo, but I made a second Roberts Jumpsuit.
Roberts Jumpsuit

This one was a size smaller than the last which is much better and I used a lovely linen from stash, no idea where it came from but I’ve had it for years and it’s a really great mix of grey and blue. I’ve worn this a few times and it’s really comfortable. It’s a real bitch to iron though!

And that is everything I have pictures of! I finished a cardigan during the Olympics and finally blocked it today so there will be pictures soon. I have also finished a shawl that needs a block too. There’s the quilt too which needs pictures taking and I’m almost done with a dressing gown. The quilt really stole my sewing mojo as I didn’t work on anything until it was done once I reached the quilting stage and my enthusiasm wasn’t huge for it at that point. I love it now and will try to get some pictures if it dries up enough to take it outside as the backing fabric is light coloured!

I’ve also got the finishitis/startitis combination again, desperately trying to get things off the needles whilst casting on randomly for new things! It’s balancing out one off one on right now but that’s mainly because I needed the needles from one thing to use for the next. I have so many things I want to work on which is lovely but having too many things on the go means they take ages to finish. It’s always been like this for me with knitting though so maybe one day I will learn to not stress about it!

Back with more to show hopefully in less than a month (no promises though!).

Waiting It Out

So, I’m done with chemo. I made it through the seventh cycle right to the end but it took its toll on me and I only made it through 9 days of the final cycle before the side effects (in particular my hands which were in a lots of pain and basically unusable for a few days) got so bad that I had to stop. A week later and I’m still cycling through random side effects; upset stomach, sore eyes, extreme tiredness, insomnia, lack of appetite, skin falling off my hands, all joyful things.All I can do it wait for it to leave my body and then get through the stoma reversal operation. After that I can really start to try and put myself and my life back together again. I met with the surgeon and she is hoping that I will be recovered enough by October to have the operation and, as it has a shorter recovery period, that I should be able to go back to University in December. So it’ll be an entire year that I had to take out of my life for cancer, hopefully that will be the end of it but who knows, one day a time I guess with fingers crossed.

What is hard at this point is that basically now that treatment is over I’ve been left on my own. I don’t have any more appointments until I see the surgeon again next month. There’s no real advice at all beyond ‘do the usual things to stay healthy’ about how to avoid the cancer coming back. I wish there was more preventative research and knowledge about cancer, so many people are getting it now and so many of us outside the ‘normal’ range for the type we have. Basically I’m on my own trying to figure out what I can do to make myself as healthy as possible, I have made a start buying a juicer, thinking about how to finally get the weight off (the only risk factor for cancer I had, beyond having smoked, was being overweight) and how to get fit. I can’t see a nutritionalist on the NHS as there aren’t enough of them to get an appointment and they don’t generally understand a vegan diet anyway. So I’m basically trying to figure this out on my own, what I should eat what I shouldn’t eat, how to get fit again from being more unfit than I was last time around. I’m reading (sticking to sources like Kris Carr and real Drs rather than random Google junk), thinking, planning and trying, hopefully it will all be enough.

Anyway, less of the depressing, annoying stuff and more of the making! I haven’t sewn much recently as I haven’t had the energy and my knitting has slowed down, but I do have a good number of makes to share.

First up Messaline by Bristol Ivy. This is a nice boxy jumper with 3/4 sleeves and cables down the front. I’m trying to make garments that will be useful in my wardrobe rather than lots of bright colourful things that don’t go with anything else, thus I decided to make this is black cotton, using up some of my Rowan 4ply Cotton collection that I guard since it was discontinued. For some reason there is a stripe across the back of this jumper even though I used all the same dyelot. I don’t care enough to rip it out and do it again so I will trust that no one will really notice, especially after a few washes.

MessalineMessalineMessaline

These aren’t hard cables, but in black cotton with counting involved and a big chart it became too much for my brain to deal with during chemo and over the winter so I stalled halfway up the front. When I eventually got into it it was done quite fast and I’m really happy with it. It’s a great pattern, well thought out with lots of nice details, I may make another in the future if I can find a thicker yarn that gets gauge.

Demi Pants These are my second pair of Tessuti Demi Pants. I was sure the whole time I was making these that they were black, turns out that when you get them in good daylight they’re actually dark grey! It’s some sort of synthetic I have had in the stash for ages from Abakhan that sort of looks like linen. I made the largest size this time and did the crotch seam at quarter of an inch to give them a tiny bit more pulling up room. Once the stoma is gone and I can work on reduing the belly they will fit really well. I love these trousers. They’re so comfortable and sort of fun to wear if that doesn’t sound too odd. I do wish they weren’t so distinctive so I could make loads more pairs, I will make more of these in the future I’m sure but I think 2 pairs is enough for now!

Next up was a Plum blouse using the version with no shoulder seams and some fabric from Boyes which I thought was cotton lawn but now think has some synthetic in it. I cut the neck at a smaller size as I’m getting really tired of huge wide necklines (I won’t bore you with that rant again) but I think I’ll go down another size or two next time as it’s still a bit too wide.
Plum Blouse It’s got nice floaty sleeves which were a bit of a pain to hem, think fabric, hot iron, foggy brain, I had to rip the first one out and try again.PlumPlum So, another simple blouse pattern for floaty fabrics.

To go with it another baseball skirt using some thickish olive cotton from Abakhan.
Baseball Skirt

I have a final version of this skirt cut out from the remainder of the grey fabric I used for the Demi Pants which I must sew up soon. They’re really comfortable and go with all my bright shirts so having a range of colours will be nice, although the weather hasn’t been warm enough for skirts and I’ve been mainly living in pyjamas and sweatpants…

I finally make the Akita blouse from Seamwork magazine. I don’t know if it’s me or the larger sizes of their patterns but I’ve not had a lot of luck with Seamwork patterns. I actually have about 8 credits with them for patterns but they’ve not released anything that I’m interested in making.

Akita

Anyway, this didn’t fit well, the neckline was huge huge huge and I really didn’t like it so I gave it to my sister who says it’s comfortable.
Akita

I’ve got a few more Seamwork patterns yet to try so I can only hope that they’ll be better than the 2 I’ve not liked at all.

I finally finished my Heaven and Space shawl by Martina Behm.
Heaven and Space

Again, this wasn’t a hard knit, it just required counting which was hard at times and it become a little tedious and repetitive, but I pushed through and am very happy with it.Heaven and SpaceHeaven and Space

The yarn is bamboo from Yarntopia Treasures in the November colourway, so very soft, it’ll be great when the weather cools.

I’m tired and not providing very interesting commentary of my makes so I will carry on with the rest of them at a later time…

Starting and Finishing

The other week I got startitis and began madly swatching, buying patterns and re-assigning stash yarn to different patterns where I’d fallen out of love with what I’d originally planned. It all began with the casual thought 2 Sunday’s ago of ‘I’ll just clean up my Ravely queue while I’m having breakfast’. Now, that sounds like a smallish job, but I use my Ravely queue to dump every pattern I like in, that way when I am looking for something to go with a yarn I can search the queue rather than searching all of Ravelry which is a big dark hole that can take days to emerge from. When I began clearing it up I had 25 pages and when I was done I was down to 20. It appears that I am over round yoke cardigans, and I have so many free sock patterns in my queue that I don’t need to pay for any for a good long while.

This clearing up also uncovered several patterns that went with the Drops yarns that I have recently discovered via an Ebay seller called Knitted Home. Paris is a lovely soft aran weight cotton (hard to find) and there is a 4 ply cotton called Safran. I’d originally bought some Drops Belle from this seller which you’ll see knit up below and looked at what else she had when I went back to buy more of the Belle (a linen, cotton, viscose mix). The Paris and Safran are really good value for money and while I was sorting the queue I found 8 patterns I could use them for, so it was a rather expensive morning, although most of the things are shawls, hats or fingerless gloves so not as expensive as it could have been! You can tell what kind of summer we’re having so far by the fact that I want to knit those things and also bought yarn for a blanket…

Anyway, after casting on for a few new things I got that feeling that there were too many things on the needles. So along came the finishitis and I’ve been going back and forth between older projects and newer ones ever since trying to get things done whilst still enjoying the new knits. I put two projects on hiatus, one because I’m bored with it and don’t know if I actually like it or will wear it, and the other because it’s a cable/moss stitch pattern that isn’t charted and my brain can’t keep track of the instructions at the moment.

So, for the finishing up, this is my second Easy by Martina Behm using some naturally black bamboo with beads that I got from Etsy a while back (the yarn came beaded, I didn’t buy the components individually). It’s a bit darker than the photo and the beads are a nice turquoisy blue.

Easy EasyThis pattern really does live up to its name, it’s just back and forth garter stitch and even the second half where you change the direction of the knitting isn’t hard work and is easy to pick up and put down. Can always use a black shawl for the winter and it’ll be nice to have a smaller one that the pashmina I usually grab.

Next up is the jumper I made with the Drops Belle. The colourway is Diesel and the pattern is Church Mouse Yarns Simple Tee, and again it lives up to the name.
Churchmouse Yarns Simple Tee Churchmouse Yarns Simple Tee

Churchmouse Yarns Simple TeeYou basically just go back and forth with a few lifted increases for the sleeves and slipped stitched edging on the sleeves and bottom slits. This is pretty huge but it hangs really nicely and I’m pleased with how it came out. So much so that I’m about to cast on for the shorter version with sleeves using the same yarn but in Navy Blue. I’m going to go down a size for the shorter one as it doesn’t have the length to stop it being sacklike, it’s a nice well written pattern though and I made this whilst binge watching the tv show Fringe from start to finish. I did need an extra ball of yarn on top of what the pattern called for but luckily the seller still had the colourway so all was fine!

Next up were socks that have been on the needles since October, which is stupid as they’re plain round and round socks so not hard at all. I had been making these on the train to University and whilst working in the library there so they kind of got lost when I stopped going. Anyway, a few days work and the final (half) season of Haven and they’re all done.
Plain Striped Socks

On a telly note, has anyone watched The Americans? I have been trying with it and it was interesting to begin with but around episode 11 of the first series I got really bored with it. I think it was the fact that large portions of the plot appeared to just be people having sex, which would explain why the Cold War went on so long I guess. Does it get better? Should I carry on? Was anyone else confused by a Welshman as a Russian pretending to be an American? Is it odd to want the Russians to succeed as the FBI are horrid (although it’s fun to see John-Boy again, my family loved The Waltons way back when)? I’ve seen lots of people raving about it so I’m wondering if it’s just me, like with Orphan Black which I made it 2 and a half episodes into and then abandoned whilst everyone else seemed to love it. Anyway, I’m watching a lot of tv right now trying to stay off my feet, any suggestions that aren’t period dramas and don’t revolve around people being horrible to each other? I’m waiting for this series of Vikings to finish being broadcast so I can binge watch it start to finish and my sister and I are limping through Sons of Anarchy which began brilliantly but has gone downhill since they killed my favourite character in series 4 and everyone became backstabbing liars…

In the real world, Piggle turns 9 tomorrow and I’ve bought him a 7″ Kindle Fire as his present. I decided to make him a case as he’s not getting much else with the price of that. I got him to pick out fabric and for some reason he thought I was making him pyjamas from 2 fat quarters, I guess that’s what I usually ask him to pick fabric for! Anyway, he has a great eye for colour and print as I’d have not put these together at all but they look great. Plus I found a zig zag button in my button box for it. Piggle is a big fan of all things pink so it wasn’t any surprise that he went for that colour stack of fabrics.
Kindle Case Kindle CaseThe pattern is an e-reader sleeve one I got from Etsy a long time ago and luckily the 7″ Kindle is the same size as one of the older Kindles so I didn’t have to do any math and cut my own pattern. Jim will want his own Kindle too for Christmas now so I’ve already pulled out the fabric to do him a case while I’ve got the pattern out.

So, in my knitting basket now I have Messaline by Bristol Ivy, I have 29 rows left of this and I’ve blocked the sleeves and back so it should be done soon as long as I make myself sew it together and pick up the neck rather than abandoning it! I’m making 2 large shawls, both in cotton but in totally different colours, one is shocking pink and the other is mustard, Plus one is stocking stitch and the other lace and garter stitch so it’s good variety. I’m enjoying the knitting on both of those. I’m still working on the Heaven and Earth shawl here and there, some days counting to variations of 10 is too much for me but it’s getting on. I’ve got a linen cardigan on the go too, Brise by Hannah Fettig. It’s going to be really light weight and see through and it’s an incredibly bright neon yellow that I love. I’m also going to cast on for that Simple Tee I mentioned earlier soon, and try not to go too mad with casting on more and more, although the fact that I find swatching really dull does hold me back a bit luckily! All my projects are on Ravelry and my username there is Anna, not feeling into hunting down links for everything today, sorry!

In chemo news. I made it through the 60% dose to the end of the two weeks but the skin fell off the bottom of my feet and they wouldn’t let me start the next course until they had recovered as they worry about infection. I had 3 weeks off between courses (of course I was just starting to feel human again when I began with the 6th course!). I was all ready to go and pick up my pills when I got a call from the Oncology Nurse saying that they couldn’t give them to me as my platelets were too low and I’d have to go and see the Professor to see what to do. So that added another half week on the end of the break. The Professor looked at my platelet counts on a graph and surmised that the anomaly was the fact that they’ve been so high for a while, usually they hover right around what they are now, 77, rather than in the 90s and low 100s which is where they have been. He over rode the system to allow me the medicine and off I went again. I’m actually doing ok on this one so far and don’t feel as bad as I have on past courses, whether that will last I don’t know and as the skin is starting to go on my feet again I’m not sure how long it’ll be before I get to start course 7. It’s frustrating to have to wait and wait to start something you don’t really want to do. It kind of feels like I’m going to be doing chemo for the rest of my life, apparently it will end some day though I’m told. I have an appointment with my surgeon on Wednesday to talk about reversing the stoma, although that will have to wait until after my body recovers from the chemo so it won’t be for a few months at least.

Anyway, I’m plodding along, making and doing, listing things in the Etsy shop (although no one is buying yet, maybe soon) and trying to finish off things that have been sitting around for too long. I have 2 quilts, some cross stitch, some knitting and getting up to date on my crochet sock yarn blanket on my list so we’ll see what happens with those. I’m trying to make the most of the time I have to do these things as once the chemo does end and the operation is over I will have to get back to the PhD and build back up to fully living my life again (I miss yoga and running a lot) and digging my house out of the dirty dark hole it’s sunk into while I’ve been too tired to deal with more than making sure we have clean clothes, clean dishes, food to eat and hoovering occasionally… Seems silly to let this opportunity to make stuff all the time pass really.

I’ve got another recently made pair of Tessuti clown pants which are impossible to photograph unless you’re wearing them to show you and I’m working on a shirt plus there might be more done knitting soon so I’ll be back with that soonish!

Destashing (at last!)

A few years ago (no exaggeration!) I started thinning out my pattern collection. It’s fair to say that I had a rather severe pattern buying habit for a few years and I amassed a huge collection, a lot of which I knew at the time I’d probably not sew (lets face it I’m not the big skirted vintage dress wearer and never will be) but they were pretty, and cheap at the time due to great exchange rates and reasonable postage.

I’ve kept culling patterns, and then I started on magazines (I love to flip through them but can count on one hand the number of things I’ve ever made from them) until I had a precarious tower of things. I gave away most of the patterns that had been cut and then never found the time to do anything about the rest and hummed and hawed about how it was best to get rid of them.

Yesterday I finally decided to do something about it and so I got them all out, photographed them and price checked them. Well, all the patterns in envelopes minus a bag of vintage ones that need pieces counting and more research to find prices. I then opened an Etsy store and today I began listing.

I’ve got about 40 on there so far, I’ve got over 200 (told you it was a bad habit, but we’re also talking 13 years of collecting!) still to go from this initial lot and I will be adding them a few at a time.

So, if you’re into the Butterick Repro vintage patterns, the Vogue Repro patterns, Amy Butler patterns, Onion patterns, Jalie patterns, vintage patterns, and later on Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits and Ottobre Kids magazines pop on over and take a look. I am only posting to the UK as it’s not very environmentally friendly to send stuff back to the States or around the world, and Royal Mail rates are stupid anyway.

Here’s the link to my surprisingly  named Etsy shop finallywakingupUK! I hope you find something you like!

And in case you’re wondering whether I’m just going to invest the funds back into more sewing stuff, the answer is no. I’m intending to use whatever I make to pay down my credit card, which is how I paid for most of it in the first place…

Can’t Think of a Title At All

So, I’ve been doing sewing and knitting but not much to actually show for it. My main sewing for a few weeks has been on a quilt so there’s a lot of this

Quilt Bitsbut not much else to show you. I’m halfway through it now and have been taking a break to work on some of the things I had cut out that were making me feel guilty. Of course as soon as I started making summer clothes the weather went horrible again, sorry about that…

There was a sale on the Lou Box Top pattern and Baseball Skirt patterns together so I decided to see what the fuss was about and picked them up. I don’t really need any more shirt patterns like this, I have plenty in my collection, so I’ll be looking for different styles from now on. This one isn’t bad, quick and easy and a nice plain shirt. I did add length as I like tops to hit me at the hip bone, it could have done with a little more length but I was using up a piece of fabric I’ve had in my stash for years now (bought from Ditto if I recall) just to check the fit. If I make the shirt again I’ll make a larger size. I didn’t want it too baggy so I went down a size and it fits me fine but isn’t the style that is intended. Annoyingly I must have been confident that I was making the perfect size as I cut the pattern so I’ll have to print it and stick it together again…
Lou Box Top and Baseball SkirtLou Box Top and Baseball Skirt

Whereas I’m a bit blah about the top, I really like the skirt and it’s become this summer’s skirt obsession. If you’ve been reading my blog a while you’ll remember that I tend to get obsessed with a skirt pattern every few years and make a ton of them. I still have a good collection of printed cotton skirts from prior binges but what I need is some plain skirts to go with my printed shirts and I’ve found the pattern for that.
Baseball SkirtThis fabric is some kind of textured synthetic from Abakhan I’d assume, I wanted to try the pattern out for fit etc. so just grabbed something that I thought would work and I really really like it so that’s a bonus! I lengthened the front of the skirt so it’s the same as the back, I’ve lived through the high/low thing twice now and haven’t been a fan either time. You know a pattern is a keeper when you finish sewing it and it goes right back onto the cutting out pile with another piece of fabric! I have two of these cut out waiting to go, one in a sort of army green and the other in black, comfortable and useful, can’t beat that really. I left off the waist tie. My middle is my widest part, especially as I’ve not been able to exercise and with the stoma, so the last thing I need is anything adding to that.

As planned I whipped up another Fen shirt with the second piece of double gauze I had in my stash. I think with the shirts I have cut out (and one planned) I have enough for this summer now so I will stop with the simple shirts for a bit. I love this fabric and am happy I’ll get to wear it. I added about 2″ to the length and did the V neck version using bias binding turned inside rather than the technique called for in the pattern, it worked well for a bodge job!
Fen

I’ve been knitting quite a bit, I’ve swapped to simple stocking or garter stitch projects as I just can’t seem to count or concentrate on anything harder. This has left a mass of projects abandoned, but I’ll get to them one day! I’ve also ended up buying yarn, even though I tried to find patterns to use up stash yarn. I’ve been making a simple top using Drops Belle and it’s really nice, so nice that I ordered yarn for the other version that the pattern has. I’ve also bought some nice linen from Etsy, in fact I’ve become a little linen obsessed and have 3 orders on the go, opps! However, it’s cheap and a lot of it is organic and comes from Europe so I don’t feel too bad about it! I should have two projects to show you soon, I’m saving the last few episodes of Fringe, which I’ve been binge watching whilst making the Belle jumper, to finish it off so it should be done soon. I also have another Easy shawl almost done, I’m motivated to get that off the needles as I have yarn for a big aran cotton shawl arriving soon that I want to cast on for! It’s nice to be knitting again, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t picking it up and then realised that I was asking too much of my brain with the patterns I usually make and now I’ve figured it out I’m off again!

I managed to get through the whole round 6 of chemo, but then the skin fell off the bottom of my feet (for the second time) and I wasn’t allowed to continue until it cut it out. That took 2 weeks (the usual break between cycles is 1 week). I was ready to go on Friday to pick up the pills when they rang to say that my platelets were too low and I couldn’t start until I’d seen the Professor again. I went yesterday to see him and he showed me my platelets on a graph (they have a new computer system and he’s very proud when he figures things out on it!). I think I’ve mentioned before that I have ITP which means that I always have low platelets as my spleen thinks they’re evil and cleans them up for me, the Professor pointed out that the fact they had been so high was the anomaly, and they’ve now gone back down to my usual levels (you are supposed to have them above 100 to have treatment, mine were 77 last blood test). So, he over rode the computer system to say I could continue treatment and I had to drive to the other hospital to go to the Oncology unit and get the pills. I started round 6 (of 8) this morning and we’ll see how it goes. I’m fed up with it and with the extended breaks between cycles it feels like it’s going to go on forever and ever. I was just starting to feel a little bit better after 2.5 weeks off and now I’m going to go back into the fog. I noticed the other day that I could actually write a bit better, I knew I was finding it hard to remember words and my writing was worse than it’s normal terrible state so it was nice to be able to use a pen properly again. Saying that I had to fill out a form yesterday evening and Jim pointed out to me that I’d gotten our post code very wrong on it, lord knows where those numbers came from!

So, I intend to finish off a few more garments and then it’s back to the quilt. I was looking through what I had stashed away quilt wise and discovered that I have about 11 quilt tops planned with fabric bought for them (and half of those I have backing/binding for too) so I should probably get to work on them, especially as I have quite a few clothes now. The ones that are waiting either cut or uncut will be the end of my ‘summer’ sewing I think so I can concentrate on the quilts, at least the simpler ones, the paper piecing one will have to wait until after chemo as my brain finds that hard without the fog. Hopefully I’ll have knitting to show you while I’m quilting so I won’t disappear for as long again!