Friday, 27 May 2016

The Great British Sewing Bee - Week 2

Please do  not be fooled by this image. This episode was not brought to you by clothing for super heroes. It will all make sense in the end though. This weeks episode was all about children's clothes. Not an episode I ever look forward to and yet somehow I always enjoy it. As always these images are not mine but in fact belong to the makers of the show, The Great British Sewing Bee.

First up we had the babygrow. Who knew that something so tiny could be so difficult. The sewers had a lot to contend with. The stretchy material for one and the binding for another. Not many people got the snaps or the closing in the right place. Only Josh had much experience with the material but sadly he didn't do too well and no one had ever made a babygrow. As Charlotte says they are just going to poop in it. Funnily enough Charlotte was the winner with this little red star number (which also happened to be my favourite fabric choice). She was the only one who made no mistakes.

My favourite as always is the second round. This time the stitchers were given bridesmaid dresses to convert into children's clothes. Huge transformations this time but to me still lacking in imagination. Changing a bridesmaid dress into a little girls party dress seems the obvious choice for me. Again my favourite is the winner. This little boxers costume which was stitched by Ghislaine. Although it has just occurred to me that one of the men did something similar last year but he made a pair of boxing gloves to match rather than a top. Either way it still stood out for me and I love the little hood.

For the show stopper we had the cape. Much like Bake Off the contestants can practise this at home. They get to choose their own pattern and materials. Only one went for a boys cape which I felt was actually pretty good (by Jamie) but sadly wasn't entirely finished. My favourite was by Jade who seemed to come second in every round this week. I think if she had managed to get those last few buttons on she might have won garment of the week.

For the second week running Angeline has won garment of the week. This time with her little red cape and her bow (for which the judges were initially dubious). It was pretty and very well done but I still prefer the style of Jade's. This brought Angeline up from the bottom three as she also didn't fair well in the first two rounds.

Sadly Ghislaine was the second stitcher to leave. It's a pity as I think nerves let her down in the end. She took risks with the cape which didn't work at all and her babygrow just didn't work at all. As I said I think that was purely nerves. I think we would have seen some bold colour choices had we gotten the chance to see her progress.

It's terrible, I watched this last night and already I can't remember next weeks theme. This time I will get to watch it live so I will be live tweeting again. Wait a's lingerie week. That should be fun.

Speaking of twitter, some of the contestants are on there so get following;


Monday, 23 May 2016

Mum's Garden May 2016

Sadly the tulips have been and gone. We had a week of sunshine where they really came out on display. Followed by a week of rain which has resulted in petals all over the garden. When I get the chance I will move the pot to the back of the garden and then save the bulbs as I did last year.

The solitary red tulip was actually the first to bloom and the last to go. I think this would have pleased my mum.

 The tulips aren't the only blooms which have been and gone. The magnolia has also sprayed it's petals all over the garden. It was lovely while it lasted and I am sure it will be back next year.

One plant I thought was a goner was the heather. Which would have been a shame as the bees love it. It was dry looking and if I pruned it I felt that it would have taken the whole plant away. Thankfully I left it alone and then a week or so ago I noticed that it was displaying some colour. The bees will get their favourite plant after all.

A plant that I did prune right down was this fern tree. It was just too large last year and it was blocking all of the sun. My dad commented that he thought I had killed it until I pointed out the little buds that were already starting to sprout. Just days later wee have this and it's looking better now that it isn't so overpowering.

I did get another surprise. This time in the rock garden. These little white flowers appeared next to the yellow. I didn't plant them and they weren't there last year. I think my mum must have planted it and it only came round this year.

We also have some purple flowers coming back. I love these little flowers even though I have no clue what they are. So there is colour slowly coming to the garden. Bulbs I planted are starting to grow and the hanging baskets are quickly coming to life too.

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Great British Sewing Bee - Week 1

At last! The Great British Sewing Bee is back and thus my Friday posts are once again dedicated to viewing other peoples creations. It was a little over due me thinks but they say good things come to those who wait and so the first episode was a good one. Before I go on I would like to point out that all of these images do not belong to me but belong to The Great British Sewing Bee itself. I highly recommend you follow their twitter account, particularly when viewing the show.

I was sad to hear that the show would be losing May Martin as a judge. I thought she complimented Patrick Grant very well and often played good cop to his bad cop. Not that she couldn't be a strict judge but I think I would have withered under Patrick's scrutiny more than May's (or maybe that has something to do with the fact that Patrick is the hottie of the sewing world).

May is replaced as a judge by Esme Young who is famous for costume design and has her own label. I think I am going to like her and she seems to be more of a perfectionist than Patrick (if that was at all possible). Maybe presumption based on her costume design background but I think she will appreciate the imaginative and adventurous design.

The show started with a simple top. Well, simple looking. They had to create a chevron top using striped fabric and this of course meant the judges were watching for pattern matching. Angeline's top was by far my favourite due to the fabric choice. However, Jamie's red top won it which I actually quite liked too. I think this would have been my mum's favourite.

For the alteration challenge the contestants were given the most hideous maternity dress I have ever seen. It basically looked like an oversized t-shirt. There was no limit to the things that could be done with it since it had no shape to it to begin with. Yet, the results were rather lacking in imagination. In fact the judges commented straight away on how disappointed they were. I would have made some kind of top I think but there were a whole array of skirts. The winner was Jamie's dress right at the end there. Not my favourite but I can see why it won. It had so many different skills within including the use of a lovely contrasting fabric. I just hope that my favourite challenge is stepped up a little as of next week.

For the final challenge the contestants had to create a shirt. My favourite skirt was a dark 50's inspired skirt by Jade. The winner though was a peplum pencil skirt by Angeline. I can see why she won. It was very well constructed. The fabric was lovely and as you can see above, the judges loved the fit (swearing on sewing bee - who would have thought it). Having said all that I HATE peplum skirts with a passion. I always have. I just do not find them attractive in the slightest. I remember watching old films and admiring the costumes when I was little and I would switch off at the slightest hint of a peplum.

While there is always a winner there is always a loser too. Poor Duncan was the first to leave. The only Scottish accent in the bunch. He did make the rookie error of cutting the hem of his skirt while the model was wearing it. Funnily enough it didn't work.

Normally I would end with some links of some kind like I did with Bake Off last year. At the end of this weeks show the above image was put on the screen. Sadly, Lorna Monje, one of the three finalists from last year has since passed away after losing her battle to Aplastic Anaemia. She was one of my favourite contestants last year and I very much remember those vibrant red poppies. I think my mum loved the skirt she made from it. There is a Just Giving page in her name raising money for Aplastic Anaemia which I have linked for you.

Next week the contestants will be making children's clothes. Never my favourite theme but I still look forward to it. I won't be live tweeting though as I will be away and will catch up on iPlayer later in the week.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A Donation and Yarn

My lovely friend Lisa of For the Love of Yarn is taking part in Race for Life this year (as she did last year) along with her equally lovely mum. She is raising money for Cancer Research UK. A charity which has a lot of meaning to most of us. I don't think I need to say why it is a charity close to my own heart. To try and raise awareness and of course raise more donations to this worthy cause Lisa has decided to include a giveaway. Every £2 you donate will mean that you have a chance of winning the yarn above. So head over to Lisa's Just Giving page and make a donation. Even the smallest of donation goes towards research into finding cures. Just remember to leave your name so that Lisa can enter you into the prize draw which ends at 8pm tonight.

Monday, 16 May 2016

May Stash

Last month I was very good. I did not add to my stash at all. This month I have been very very bad. I am just going to enjoy it though as I get the keys to my flat at the end of the month and so there will be no more bad months. My bank balance won't allow it.

The truth is I wanted to buy some nice sock yarn to knit up for my dad for Father's Day. So I thought that Forest Moon by Mothy and the Squid would be perfeect. It's a dark colour but has that hint of yellow to make it a little bit special. The Summer Skies Rainbow I picked out for my sister as I decided that they would be perfect for a pair of summer socks. She loves the yarn and says it reminds her of care bears and rainbow brite. I have to be honest that I can't wait to knit with both of them.

The lovely Jillian also sent me a little mini skein of sock yarn in red. I thought that was lovely. Oh, and she also sent me more stitch markers which you saw the first time I purchased her yarn. I love this and I think they will become the heel and toes of a pair of socks for myself.

My good friend Lisa of For the Love of Yarn had a yarn sale on her facebook page. I picked up two of those yarns (I couldn't resist).  The yellow and white I picked up because the colours were so completely different to anything else in my stash. I generally find myself navigating towards the same colours all the time so this will make a nice change. The second I picked up because it's crazy enough for my sister to love. I have these earmarked for her Christmas. Although, she has asked me to knit her a pair of leg warmers so maybe I will use it for those.

Alas my sister has told me that the Forest Moon socks are too girly still for my dad (they have a sparkle to them) and so I have had no choice but to go with what my dad really wants which is plain old and boring - black. I picked up some heritage sock yarn from Wool Warehouse. I even have them on the pins already and I can confirm that it is lovely to knit with. I hope he appreciates it though.

He is not getting off entirely scott free. The black yarn gave me all the excusee I needed to pick up a pack of Lisa's mini skeins. One of these will form the heel and toes of the socks. He will have coloured socks whether he likes it or not.

I also indulged in picking up some stitch markers from Lisa. I really do have an obsession with collecting them. I couldn't resist sets involving my favourite things - mushrooms, ladybirds and owls. One day I will need to show off my collection.

Friday, 13 May 2016

May Socks - The Basic Sock

I said that this month was going to be another basic sock and this is why. I wanted to see the yarn and not the pattern. I always try to match a pattern to the yarn I am using so that they compliment each other. This was one of those times that I didn't care about the pattern I just wanted to see the yarn.

The yarn is by Mothy and the Squid (my fibreshare partner). As part of my research into picking out yarns for her I obviously looked at her own yarns. The fact that I waited until after she received my parcel before ordering says something about my will power. She is famous for her rainbow yarns and my favourites are the ones like this. A solid colour with a spectrum of rainbow. It looks a little like a prism. This colourway is called Stormy Seas Rainbow and it's a Merino/Nyon blend. Obviously I picked this one because the main colour just happens to be my favourite, teal.

It is beautiful to knit with. So soft and knits smoothly. When you get a yarn like that you don't mind that you are knitting up a pattern that you could probably do in your sleep (and sometimes those patterns are the most relaxing). Look at those little stripes of rainbow though. I loved the way that it was spread out. This is why I love this type. It's subtle and yet the fact that it's subtle draws attention to the little thread of rainbow. I love it!

I'll say one thing for a basic sock. They are comfy too. It's the one I always go back to. The one I use when I want to knit socks but don't have much time to spend on them. The one I use when (like now) I want to focus on the yarn.

Having said that I have a pattern planned for next month. This time I am going to use yarn I was set from my fibreshare partner Sarah. For more you will just have to wait and see.

Do you have a go to pattern? One that you turn to much like me? Would love to see it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

It's far too easy to forget just how lovely Glasgow is. I think all of us can be guilty of taking our surroundings for granted. We have had a few lovely days this Spring and I took advantage of that last week when my sister and I took a walk round the Botanic Gardens. The last time I took my camera for a walk it was February and most of the trees were still bare. My mum's garden has only started to come to life but the same can't be said of the Botanic Gardens.

Both my sister and I took quite a large number of photo's but I'm only going to show you some of my favourites. I wonder if you can tell which were taken by my camera and which were taken with my phone.

I have a lot of photo's of these pink blossoms. Against the blue sky it makes me think that this is a taste of what Japan must be like during Cherry Blossom season. Something I would love to see in person.

This leaf is bigger than me and I'm standing underneath it. No crouching involved.

This is one of my favourites. Simply because the little fronds when curled up like this remind me of little balls of yarn.

The wild rose garden is still bare. I imagine that in the height of summer this will be completely covered in flowers.

Like our last walk we got to meet some new friends. I loved the fish tanks which were also covered in snails.

I have a fair few of these photos as you can imagine. It's amazing the images you can get by zooming right in. There were stick insect too but sadly we didn't get to see those.

There were a lot of tulips in vibrant colours. However, this image of these little blossoms is my favourite. I think it's just because you can see the tiny pink spots on the petals.

Hopefully we will go back later in year when the rose garden is out on display. Fingers crossed we get the weather for it.

Monday, 9 May 2016

What's New In May

I don't have any events to direct you to this month. If there are any out there then I have missed it and I'm sorry. Here are a few things that I am looking at just now. First of all I am trying my hand at Sashiko for the first time. Well, for the first time on my own. Previously I had taken part in a class with my old knitting group. I have already said all this before on last weeks WIP post. I am constantly adding to my 'Stitch It' pinterest board but over the last few weeks it has been filling up with Sashiko images. I actually now wish I had created a board for it all on it's own, which may still happen.  Sashiko (pronounced sashko) is a traditional form of Japanese embroidery usually involving blue fabric and white thread. There is a reason behind all that but I am saving the big explanation for a post I have planned related to this one subject. The image above you will have seen last week. This was me stitching and as you can tell I decided not to stick with tradition. Again I don't want to say too much about it just yet but what I can say is that there is something a little but therapeutic about this form of embroidery.

I also treated myself recently to a new craft book. I picked up a copy of  The Knitters Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes. I reccently reviewed Parkes travel writing book and I mentioned how much I enjoyed reading a craft book that was about someone enjoying the craft rather than just being filled with patterns. I expect this to be a little of the same in that it's about an aspect of knitting. Like the last one I hope to learn something too. I am bad for not paying attention the the blends of yarn that I use. I just go ahead and start knitting with it. My sole concern is colur and will the colourway work for the pattern I have chosen. I'm looking forward to it and I will review it as soon as I have finished reading it. This book has been out for a few years and I had to order my copy. I got mine from Waterstones (I don't do a certain online book/just about everything retailer).

  I love Bloglovin just now. If I was to add to me advice to bloggers post it would be to get yourself on there and claim your blog. It can gain you more followers and it can show you some of the fantastic blogs out there. This is how I came across Homey Oh My. Homey Oh My is a design blog. Obviously given my circumstances just now I am inclined to have a look at design blogs. What makes this one so good is that it looks so fresh. I love it for it's clean look. The blogger also posts tutorials and she recently blogged about learning to knit and crochet. A fellow crafter so of course I love her blog. If you scroll down to the bottom of my craft blogs list you will find a new heading and this blog listed beneath it. If you are bloglovin yourself give me a shout. You will see a bloglovin badge to the right here.

 I also would like to give a shout out to my friend Phyllis. She started her own craft selling page called Rosebuds & Rainbows (how fab is that name). If you can't knit or crochet but love the end result you can comission her to produce something for you. Head over to her facebook page and you will see some of her lovely work. She has also taken to designing her own patterns and as some of these patterns are socks I have to share them with you. The image above is of her Rib n Roll socks and the pattern is available of ravelry along with all her other patterns. Her socks are fantastic and I think that someone wanting to move away from the basic sock would find these patterns ideal. I have also added her facebook page to my craft shop list so please go along and check her out even just to say hi.

Lastly I promised to tell you a few things that I plan for my blog. I actually have a few plans but I realise that I can't do all of them at once and so I have decided to stick with one or two at a time. First off, as well as adding the bloglovin badge to the right I have plans for some themed posts. If you follow me on pinterest (and if you do say hello so I can give you a follow back) then you will have seen that as well as Sashiko I am quickly filling up a board just on colour inspiration. Actually I have lots of boards for specific colours but the colour inspiration board hosts everything else. The above collage is an example of some of the things I have posted there. I think that you can't be a crafter without enjoying colour. There may be some that you detest but you will still love colour and you will have favourite combinations. Am I right? Well each month for the rest of the year I plan to have a themed post around one colour. I will post different ideas and inspiration around that colour. I have chosen the colour this month round about three or four times but I have finally settled on the first. Since it's the anniversary of my mum's passing this month it feels apt that I should pick her favourite colour, red. So I hope you look out for that and I hope that you enjoy these new themed posts.

I am sure that I will have more ideas in the future but I will keep you updated as they come. One last thing before I go. I have also added a new list to the right of the screen. It's a list of top 10 most popular posts in the last 30 days. I can never tell which posts are going to be the most popular so it will be interesting to look at this evolving.

If any of you are trying something new this month then let me know. I would love to hear about it. Or if you would like to host a What's New post then drop me a message.