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!

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!

Last Few Things (for now!)

So these are the last unblogged items as of today (I’m scheduling a few posts while I am together enough to type them up!). I’m sure I’ll soon have more to show you but I won’t feel bad about being so far behind in my blogging which will be nice!

I have been wanting to alter the bust dart on the Cabin dress since I made my denim version (which I finally mended a few days ago so I can wear it again, only took a few weeks which is a miracle for me!). I read up on how to do it in a few online tutorials and measured where I wanted to move it to and then never got around to it. In the meantime I got fed up with my non-supportive cheap bras and splurged on 3 new bras from Bravissimo (all the same as it’s my favourite style, just different colours). Luckily I measured again before cutting the pattern as it appears that with proper support my bust is an inch higher than with the crappy bras, as you can see from my markings, the dot was the first marking and the x is the new bra mark! Cabin Dress Pattern AdjustmentIt’s an incredibly simple alteration, just draw around the dart and cut it out then move it up or down however far you need it (3 inches for this pattern) and re-draw the lines above or below where you’ve moved it to, job done. It worked absolutely perfectly and I finally cut out the fabric that I have wanted to use for this pattern, and actually bought the pattern to go with, now that I know the alterations I need to make (like adding 4 inches to the length as it’s incredibly short). I did another test version first using some very subtle viscose from The Textile Centre (another cheap offcut for about £2.99) Cabin ShirtThe dressform doesn’t have my cup size, trust me, the darts point right at the nips like they’re supposed to!
Cabin ShirtThis is so fun and comfortable to wear, nice and swishy with the soft flowy fabric. I think I explained before that the reason I wanted to move the dart rather than doing a FBA was that I was happy with the general fit of the dress. I actually make a smaller size than my measurements call for as I want it less sack like (look, I’m learning finally!) and with a FBA (which the pattern explains in detail how to do and has markings on it to aid with) you add width to the entire garment which wasn’t at all what I wanted to do. The alteration I went with sorted just what I wanted it to and I’ll be using it on other things in the future I’m sure.

Someone on Instagram posted a picture of themselves in Tessuti’s Demi Pant(s) and I really liked them so I bought a copy of the pattern and cut some out from the cheap thin denim I’ve been using for everything lately. I added two sizes in width because, although the waist measurement of the largest size was right for me, and despite the fact that I’m half a stone lighter (7lbs) than before I had the operation, I’m sporting a massive gut that I can’t do anything about right now as I can’t run or diet and I’m going to have another operation that messes with it in a few months anyway. Along with that, I need to be able to pull the pants up over my stoma without dislodging it so I needed the extra width. After that long-winded explanation I will now say that I can get away with adding one size as these came up a tad too large, but live and learn! The details of these pants are great, this is the bottom of the legs, there’s a pleat front and back. Tessuti Demi PantsAnd the pockets have a facing on them, they’re set into the side seams rather than having the inside pocket bag showing like many patterns do at the moment. Tessuti Demi PantsAnd here’s a totally crap picture of them hanging up, I will try to put a picture on Instagram when I wear them for the first time (username is finallywakingup). Tessuti Demi PantsThese are not the most flattering trousers in the world on me, probably due to their hugeness that is required for gut/stoma coverage, they’re very MC Hammer / CoCo the Clown, but they are so comfortable and cool looking that I’m going to wear them anyway and make another pair from some black linen I remembered I have. They will be cool and comfortable and give me something other than jogging bottoms or pyjamas after the operation, never thought it was possible to get fed up with wearing pjs… I didn’t put the row of stitching around the middle of the elastic as I want to be able to tighten it in the future if they wear well enough. This is a great pattern and worth the extra 16p I paid for spending Australian Dollars on my credit card!

Finally, for both this post and the fabric that has been in my stash for ages waiting to be used, I made another Fen shirt. This uses the shirt tail variation with the round neck. The fabric is double gauze and I stupidly didn’t buy enough to have a choice of patterns with it, I’ve pulled it and the other piece I bought out over and over and it’s never worked before. I managed to add 1.5″ in length which I did’t think would be enough but turns out it is. Fen ShirtThe neck came out a bit wide so I will narrow it for better bra strap coverage. Just as I’m not 6 ft tall just because I’m heavy, I also don’t have a huge head or a fat neck so I don’t need necklines to be wider than the smaller sizes, in fact I often need them narrower as my bra straps are wider. I am going to use the other piece of double gauze for another one like this so I can stop being annoyed by them hanging out in the stash taking up space.

So far this year I’ve sewn 29 things (I didn’t count the sock sack from the last post as it wasn’t my fabric) and used up 55 yards/metres of fabric. However, so far this year I’ve purchased 61 1/2 yards/metres, which doesn’t count what should arrive sometime today (think there’s 12 metres of that…). I have a stack of fabric that I’m going to give to the charity shop so I will add that to my used up total as it’s moving out of the stash. I’m happy with what I’ve been making, I seem to have found some sort of style that I want to follow along with and I’m making more things that actually can be worn together which is nice. I got tired of jogging bottoms and slobbing about even though I don’t really go out very much right now so I’m trying to wear nicer clothes. I sometimes feel that it’s a waste to wear nice things when I’m just sitting inside all the time, but it does actually make me feel better about myself if I am wearing things that are ‘me’ so I will carry on making things to fit into my current idea of who I am and what I want to look like. At some point I will begin leaving the house more again!

Catching Up

Trying to get everything blogged and back up to date! I’ve been doing quite a lot of quick things and working my way through the pile of projects that had been cut out for a while. There are only 2 shirts left from that lot, 1 t-shirt was a wadder that I didn’t bother to finish and the rest are done and in rotation being worn. Last week my piles of things to make expanded to 3. I got rid of one of them, the waiting to be cut right now pile, when I did my cutting spree on Saturday, but it’s back again with 2 more things waiting to be cut out. On top of the cut out and to be cut out piles there’s the waiting for me to get around to them pile. On it is a Lady Skater dress, 2 Almada dressing gowns (I taped the pattern and bought the notions for those last week), a Victoria Blazer, a patchwork bag, a project case, a Bethioua for my sister and a Roberts Jumpsuit. The last few projects I’ve made weren’t actually on my long written list, which is just like me really, make a plan and then do something else entirely!

So, first up, two more Montlake Tee’s, both using fabric from The Textile Centre.
Montlake TeeMontlake Tee

The pink stripe was a £2.99 remnant so cheap and cheerful, I need to do a few short-sleeved ones, although I have plenty of shirts that I should wear instead of t-shirts I guess.

Speaking of shirts, I have made a few lately, first up was the Sutton Blouse that I’d cut out ages ago from a lovely dark blue viscose from Fabric Land in Brighton. I french seamed the whole thing, although that made the side vents a pain but I fudged them.
Sutton BlouseSuttonSutton

I really don’t need to buy any more baggy shirt with yoke patterns, I have a ton of them and there isn’t really that many differences to fit or shape. I have cut out a plain red Sutton in viscose again as I love the feel of it. In fact viscose is my current obsession, it’s such a nice fabric to work with and to wear.

Next up was another french seaming project, this time a Roberts Collection shirt using a thin chambray from The Textile Centre. I bought two lengths each of this fabric in blue and grey (this is the grey) as I like it a lot and it will be cool in hot weather. I don’t think the garments will last long or wear too well due to how thin it is, but it was cheap and I’ll make simple things from it so I don’t waste too much time.
Roberts Collection ShirtRoberts Collection ShitRoberts Collection ShirtI’d forgotten how hard it was to get the back to match up when I made the jumpsuit and had to throw away one half of the back and re-cut as it was totally off and I’d done the entire french seam before I realised. I must remember when I do the second jumpsuit so I don’t have to keep unpicking or chucking out! The neck isn’t great on this, the v is too low for my comfort levels and the interfacing makes it a little stiff even though it was lightweight. It’ll do for under things though.

Finally did a little blocking on my Trace of Silver cardigan, it came out really big for some reason so it’s more a winter wrap around cardigan even though it’s made from cotton.Trace of SilverTrace of Silver

I like the detail on the front band (which is knit on so no going back and picking up) and there are three lots of yarn overs making holes. I had to rip back 13 rows at one point as Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy were to distracting in Peaky Blinders whilst I was trying to knit this!
Trace of SilverThis is the second project in a row that I’ve discovered a stripe in despite using all yarn from the same dyelot, the other one is the black jumper I’ve not finished yet. It’s really annoying when it happens and there was no way with this that I was going to rip back as it’s top down and I’d have to have taken out most of the cardigan by the time I noticed it.

I don’t seem to be knitting much at the moment, I don’t know why besides I’m kind of bored with all my projects but don’t want to cast on for anything new and my brain can’t cope with anything complicated at all right now so pattern reading is hard work. It’ll get done eventually, it always does.

Finally for this post, my Mother has decided that after having a stroke 2 years ago which has effected her motor skills that she won’t be sewing any more, so she’s been unloading her sewing things on me a bit at a time. I don’t mind as I now have a second sewing machine (same as mine, I love mine so much she bought the same) and spare notions etc but it’s a little sad as she taught me a lot about sewing. I made my prom dress and she didn’t bat an eye when I chose slippy fabric and a pattern that required boning and a fitted bodice in about 6 lined pieces even though neither of us had tried anything like that before. Anyway, the last lot of bits she gave me had a fat quarter in it and she said that she loved the fabric but wouldn’t use it. It wasn’t my taste at all and would have ended up in the bag to go to the primary school which felt like a bit of a waste so I pulled out some Kona scraps that matched well and a zip from my big basket of them and made her a sock sack from it. She probably won’t use it for knitting as she’s not doing much of that either but it’s a useful sized bag.
Sock SackSock Sack

I lined it as I usually do, it’s so simple to do I don’t know why it’s not part of the pattern instructions really. I put the zip on the wrong way which actually turned out to be a fortuitous result as she has more mobility in her left hand so the zip on that side works better for her.

That’ll do for this time, still more to show so back soon with the final things I’ve not blogged about!

Pyjama Time Again

So, the boys grew and the previous summer pjs I made them were either too small or worn out. Jim has a terrible habit of cutting holes in things which is a little frustrating when you’ve made said garment, partly my fault for not keeping track of my scissors too as I know he does it. Anyway, what all that meant was that it was time to pull out Kwik Sew 1557, measure the boys and get going on another round of summer pjs. Luckily I managed to fill the pyjama fabric hole in my stash at Fabric Land in Brighton last summer. They always seem to have a good selection of kids prints in stock, I must remember to check their eye searing website to see if I can buy a few more prints for Jim next summer, I have enough leftovers for trousers for Piggle and will just make him t-shirts to go with them.

So, this years offerings. Piggle’s first:

Kwik Sew 1557Kwik Sew 1557 I found the perfect buttons for this pair in my button box, they’re a little small but I couldn’t not use them!Pyjama Buttons

And the final pair are from the last piece of one of my favourite PRR prints. I had to add a cuff to the trousers as I didn’t have enough fabric, it’s not even a double cuff as there wasn’t enough for that but it works. I couldn’t resist the applique, so quick but effective and cute! The t-shirt is Kwik Sew Sewing for Children which I had already traced in the right size which was handy.KSSFC and KS1557

And Jim’s pyajamas, it’s hard to find prints for older boys but these were approved by him and he loves them all so phew!Kwik Sew 1557 After this first pair I added an inch to all lengths to give him a bit more growing room.Kwik Sew 1557 As I’ve said, Jim has Aspergers Syndrome so he often isn’t great at making jokes that are actually funny. The first morning he was wearing these I walked in the kitchen and was blinded. When I told him they were incredibly bright pyjamas he replied ‘yeah, I’m on fire this morning’!!
KS 1557

I adore this fox print and almost didn’t give it to Jim, I wanted to make something for myself from it. But, in the end I decided that he needed pjs more than I do and sewed these up.

So, that’s that job out of the way for this summer at least, they will need new winter pjs too so I’ll be having a dig through the stash to use up what I have. Anyone seen any neon piping on sale anywhere? I have some plain flannel that would look cool with really bright piping, if I can figure out how to use it as I never have before.

An update on the chemo. I had to stop the fourth round after 10 days. I woke up on day 11 (Jim’s 13th Birthday so not a great day for it) to find that I could hardly walk as my feet hurt so much. The Professor (my Oncologist) is baffled as to why I can’t deal with chemo, it’s both amusing and worrying to see him literally scratch his head as he tries to figure out what to do with me. Out of 4 rounds I have only completely finished one of them, the other 3 the side effects became too much and I had to stop early, between day 11 and 13. He has further reduced the dose, I’m now down to 60% of what I should have for my square meterage, and he won’t be able to reduce it any further as at 50% they are just causing side effects with no actual treatment being offered. If I can’t manage this level I will have to stop. He wonders if I’m missing part of an enzyme that helps the body process the chemicals in the treatment. I’m not totally missing it or I would have died 2-3 day into treatment, but my body just doesn’t seem to be able to deal with what I’m trying to do with it. Chemo is never wonderful and always has side effects but I seem to have drawn a large amount of them, the newest of which is hay fever which I’ve never had before… He said there is no point changing me to the IV protocol as it wouldn’t get rid of the tiredness and upset stomach which are my main issues. They gave me codeine to help with the upset stomach (it can cause constipation). There was no warning about side effects etc and, in my dopey state, I just took one each morning and then spent 4 days wondering why all of a sudden I was spending most of the day in bed and couldn’t put together a sentence, I’d forgotten about my low tolerance to pain killers! I took it later each day until I got to the point I’m at now where I take it at 10pm and sleep through the worst of the side effects. Fun and games but not particularly safe considering I was doing the school run (a 4 mile drive each way on B roads) totally spaced out!

So, it’s a bit up in the air really, he pointed out that only 8-10% of people who have chemo actually get any benefit from it, which seems rather flawed as they rely on it so much for ‘treatment’, as my cancer was found early and not very advanced hopefully what I’ve had will have done enough to mop up any remaining cancer cells. But really, it’s a waiting game, we just carry on and see if it comes back. I’ve read, and can understand, that the most stressful period of cancer is when the treatment is over. You’re no longer actively fighting it, there’s not the frequent appointments where people are looking at you and keeping track of things, you just wait and wonder. I’m not looking forward to that part at all…

Anyway, I’m on day 3 of the 5th cycle (supposed to do 8) and the skin is falling off my feet and hands again, my eyes are goopy, my stomach isn’t happy, I’m having to nap every afternoon and the hay fever is very annoying. I shall keep plodding onwards, there’s really nothing else I can do.

Plenty more makes to show you, I’ve been quite busy. This weekend whilst I was feeling together mentally and not too tired I cut out a load of things so that I can just sew when I’m foggy and tired. Making decisions about fabric and where to add length, size or alter things is hard when your brain isn’t working so I did it whilst it was!

I’m the Tortoise, Life is the Hare

Tired, that’s the single word that defines how I feel. It’s not a well earned tiredness either, it’s just an endless worn out, worn down, impossible to push through weariness that just won’t seem to stop. I’m currently on my fourth round of chemo, but I’ve only managed to actually complete taking all the pills in one round so far, my body just will not cope with it and throws up all kinds of wonderful side effects which reach a level where the Oncology team aren’t happy for me to carry on so I stop, try to recover, and then start again and wait to see what happens this time. I have gone from having only over the counter painkillers in my medicine cabinet to having a range of different things I take to combat the side effects, it’s wearing and annoying and my inner 3 year old is tantruming more than she should, it’s hard to keep the lid on her sometimes but I do try.

So I plod along, picking out the things that absolutely have to be done and trying to do them on time and letting the rest go. Unfortunately that brings it’s stresses as I’m having to let things go that I want to do and live with a house that is never as tidy or clean as I want it to be (and trust me, my levels of expectation and comfort aren’t majorly high in those areas). My sister is still staying with me, helping me out, and it is reassuring to have someone else around, something I’ve never felt I needed the whole time I have been a single parent pre-cancer. I resent that I need help, I don’t want to need it or want it, I want to go back to being the independent do it all myself get out of my way woman I was before all this. I aim to get back to being her, but at the moment it’s hard to imagine staying awake all day let alone kicking any asses…

So, I have been sewing and knitting when I can, I manage a few hours a couple of times a week and I’m getting through my list, but of course for everything I sew I add three more wants to the list. I also almost caught up to having sewn as much fabric as I’ve bought this year, my goal is always to try and sew a bit more than I’ve bought but I can live with breaking even in a year. As soon as I got within 5 metres of evening out I went and bought more, The Textile Centre on Ebay is my weakness, I have things in my basket there at the moment and only the fact that it’s Jim’s 13th Birthday next week is stopping me from pressing the buy button!

Speaking of Jim, two weeks before the Easter holiday he got appendicitis, it took 3 days to get a proper diagnosis and we spent 12 hours in the A&E waiting for test results etc before being admitted. He was operated on during the Jr Drs strike so it was interesting to watch two Consultants with very different approaches discuss how to deal with a young patient with Aspergers Syndrome. They did a great job and he’s fine and back at school finally after going right from 2 weeks off post-op to 2 weeks Easter holidays! Sitting in uncomfortable chairs and sleeping on a horrible chair bed thing for 5 days and nights did me no good at all really but there you go, that’s parenthood for you, it doesn’t stop for your stuff, you just have to work that around it!

Right, so, I finished a cardigan but I need to block it a bit before taking pictures of it. Still have plenty of projects on the needles, I seem to cast on 2 for every one I cast off…

Sewing wise I’ve been sticking to easy things, I made a Blueprints for Sewing Cabin Dress with some £2.40 a metre thin denim from The Textile Centre to try out the pattern before using the fabric I really want to.Cabin DressCabin DressCabin DressI added 3″ to the length of this dress and I think I’ll add another inch next time as it’s still a bit shorter than I like. There are some great details on this that I love; the pockets are great, I messed up the first one but figured out the directions when I did the second one, it looks fine from the outside but the inside is a total mess! The seams are finished with bias binding which I made from self fabric, turns out that wasn’t such a good idea….

Cabin Dress FrayingFirst wash and they have frayed on every single edge, I’m going to have to flip them up again and stitch it down with some liberal fray check being applied along the way. To be honest, although I think it’s a nice design element, I can’t see myself doing the bias binding thing on anything but the neckline in the future, I’ll just flip a small double hem and call it done.

I’m still not ready to use the chosen fabric for this as I want to lower the bust dart. It looks fine even though it’s about 4″ too high, but I want to see if I can get it to hit just right. I really like this pattern and want to keep it as part of my pattern ‘stable’ so a little bit of work on it will be worth it. I have fabric chosen for the next try and instructions on dropping a dart down, I just need the energy to put it all together. I’m not doing a FBA because the dress fits how I want it to fit me, I don’t like the way a FBA adds more fabric and width to the rest of the garment, I don’t need it there and I am trying to stop making baggy sacks, I only need the dart to point in the right place. Hopefully I can get it right and make a few summer dresses from this pattern before we actually get to summer…

I loved the denim so much (it was sold so cheaply as they had found flaws in some of it, but I managed to buy 8m in total with no flaws…) that I made another Roberts Collection dress from it. I went with a size 6 and shortened it a few inches and it’s just right, plus a nice weight for summer too.
Roberts Collection Dress

I used the last two denim buttons on it too, I love the ease of hammering these on, I can see more of them in my future!

Roberts Dress Button

Whilst in the hospital with Jim I finished off my Meringue Cowl. The yarn is Yarntopia Tresures Bamboo in Moonlight, I used 3mm needles to get a gauge I was happy with and did as many repeats as I could to use up the yarn so it’s between a shoulder covering thing and a cowl, but so soft and pretty.

Meringue CowlMeringue Cowl

A perfect soothing easy project for a tired body and brain.

I have lots more to show you but I want to get something done today before lunch and then falling back into bed for a few hours. I will endeavour not to leave it so long between posts, but I’m finallywakingup on Twitter and Instagram should you want to keep tabs on me between posts and the brevity of those places is much easier on my brain than writing long posts!