Monday, 27 June 2016

The Great British Sewing Bee - Week 3, 4, 5 & 6

This is difficult. I thought that writing about four episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee would be simple. It's not. I work better reviewing this on a week to week basis. I have been putting it off as a result and I it is becoming a real possibility that I will have five episodes to review together.

The biggest problem was actually finding images of all the garments that won each round. I have given up on that and so here is a quick review of the four episodes I missed here on the blog.

We started off with lingerie week. I thought this would be quite a dull one. How exciting can it be? Actually it was pretty good and we got to see the contestants making bras. They seemed so footery and they all managed to make one (even if a few weren't wearable) but still they managed. I was impressed. I can't even remember what they did for the reconstruction challenge. However, they made dressing gowns for the final. The winner was this beautiful kimono by Charlotte. However, my favourite was a rather dramatic 5o's inspired gown by Angeline. 

We had 60's week which I new I was going to love. This art inspired panel dress was the first piece. While my favourite was by Rumana (I liked her colour choices). Joyce was actually the winner here. They also got to reconstruct outfits from PVC which was a 60's favourite. They ended with a 60's inspired coat. Sadly I couldn't find an image of the beautiful jacket made by Jade. It was a simple design but she went to town on making sure it was perfect in every detail.

Before 60's week there was actually international week. Sadly this image from the reconstruction round was the only one I could find. The contestants got to work with sari's. That would have been fun working with such beautiful fabrics (although footery). For the first they had to make beautiful silk Japanese inspired tops. I loved this round because of the vibrant colours. The final round involved making those famous African dresses. Again sadly, no image. Just about all of them were wonderfully bright. I was impressed.

Last week we had active wear. Again this was the only image that I could find. This was from the reconstruction round. The sewers had to make children's jackets from the most hideous 70's ski suits. Although this jacket was not the winner for this round it was by far my favourite. I thought it was quite inventive and I would have probably wanted on when I was little. The first round involved making a mans cycle top. I actually thought just about everyone did well there. They had to work with a very stretchy fabric and had to retain that stretch as well as create shape. I also loved the bright colour choices that most made. The final involved making a full yoga outfit. Again I was impressed as the sewers had to make leggings as well as a top. My favourite was actually Charlotte who was the only one who didn't go with the skin tight.

So we have the winners. As already mentioned, Charlotte won the lingerie with her kimono. I actually like Charlotte. She is quite a methodical sewer and she likes blues as I do.

Joyce won International week with her African dress. It was impressive but I wasn't a fan of the colours. I think Joyce is quite a fun person but I don't think it shows in her sewing much. She tends to go for traditional colours and her choices almost feel a little dated.

Jade is one of my favourite sewers. I like most of her choices and her style. She didn't seem to have much confidence in herself at the beginning of the show but that seems to have grown over time. I suppose winning garment of the week twice in a row would do that to you. She won for her 60's inspired jacket which I already mentioned was a favourite of mine. She also won last week for her yoga outfit which was pretty impressive.

Of course four contestants also left the show. The first was actually a big surprise. Jamie had won garment of the week twice in a row and then left after a disastrous week during the lingerie challenges. He just didn't manage his time well through out and his dressing gown didn't quite work out the way he wanted. I actually had him pegged as winning the entire competition.

During international week we said goodbye to the last male sewer, Josh. I liked him too but he was actually struggling to stay in for a few weeks. I actually liked his go for it attitude and I think we will be hearing from him in the future.

During 60's week we said goodbye to Angeline. Someone else who had previously won garment of the week. I was a little sad that Angeline didn't make it. I thought she was quite skilled but then her 60's coat did not turn out well and so I think the judges had no choice.

Last week it was Rumana's turn. Like Josh she had been struggling for a few weeks and like Jade she started out with little confidence in herself. Sadly she didn't really gain much although I quite liked some of her makes. She lost with her yoga outfit which sadly was out of shape.

Well, that's me all caught up. Friday I will provide some links for you after watching it this weeks. We are approaching the end and there are very competent sewers in there. For now I have no idea who might be a possible contender for winning.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Father's Day Socks 2016

Father's Day was on Sunday just past. I was working early on the Monday and so my sister and I spent the Saturday with dad. We got him a coffee machine that he's been wanting, some pods for it and two bottles of wine. So I don't think he will mind that these socks are a few days late. Although, I am taking him out for his Father's Day dinner tonight so maybe it's not too late.

My dad has become increasingly picky over the socks I knit for him. He basically wants just plain black. Anything else is too girly which I find ironical considering some of his choices for other things. I don't do plain black. I did it once and that was enough. So I compromised and added colour in at the toe and the heel.

The yarn I used for the bulk of the sock was a sock yarn by Heritage Cascade yarns. I got this from Wool Warehouse.  It's a Merino/Nylon blend and it was quite nice to work with. It felt quite sturdy and I think it won't wear thin any time soon. Perfect for hard during socks. The heel and toe is actually red! I know the images scream pink but it's red. It was from the mini skein set I got from Lisa of For The Love Of Yarn. I love all of Lisa's yarns so I don't think I need to say too much about it. It's slightly thinner than the Cascade yarn but it's not noticeably so and I think the two worked well together.

The problem with knitting socks for big feet is worrying about having enough yarn to knit with. I had ordered two skeins of the black because I know from past experience that 100g isn't enough for one pair. I didn't think I would need both though because I was using a contrasting colour for the heel and toe. I was right too. Which is good since I will be able to knit a second pair should my dad approve of these.

However, I worried about the mini skein. After I did the first heel (which is a short row heel since I was changing colour) I thought there was no way I was going to have enough. I knitted up to where I would change colour for the toes and stopped. I think started on the second sock. I thought if I could at least get two heels out of it then I could finish off in the black but I didn't want to have to unpick it all. This is why it's always handy to have two sets of DPNs the same size (and has nothing at all to do with me constantly losing them).

Thankfully I did have enough and I actually have a tiny amount left over. I'm actually quite pleased with the way they turned out. I love the contrast heel and toe. I think I'll do more of these. Although not in black. I quite fancy the idea of mixing and matching colours.

Oh and in case you are wondering the sock is just the basic pattern. I suppose you could do a pattern for the bulk of the sock but I wanted the contrasts of the yarn to stand out.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Mum's Garden - June 2016

Sorry for the silence the last few weeks. All those months of saying 'when I get my new flat' and now I am finally in there. I am pretty much settled. Just waiting on a carpet and a sofa for my living room to arrive and then I can truly get comfy. In the meantime I am kinda living out of my kitchen and bedroom. Both of which I love. I will do a post on that later (once the living room is sorted).

In the meantime you might have noticed that my red theme post appeared and has now disappeared. It posted before I was finished with it. This is why you should always hit save rather than schedule when you still have editing to do. I will post it later this week. Complete this time.

I may be on the other side of the city but I am still keeping an eye on my mum's garden. My dad has been sending photo's when plants have started flowering and he has been watering the garden during hot days. I was over yesterday to visit my dad and to have a look. I apologies for any weeds. My dad has let them go rampant for fear that they are flowers. I sorted that yesterday.

Believe it or not the first two photo's are of plants which are supposed to be poppies. The cover of the seed pack is an image of a field of red poppies. They don't look much like poppies to me. They are pretty though. I love the pinks and purples.  Fingers crossed the bees and butterflies like them too.

These little pink flowers from a bush near the back door are back on display again. I think they took longer to bloom this year. Although, maybe everything bloomed faster last year. I need to trim the grass around the plant or I would have zoomed out on that one. The bees always love this one.

The pink roses have started to bloom. Sadly I missed the prime of this one although my dad caught it as he sent a photo of it last week. There are more there about to come out and the roses at the front have a few buds too. I can't remember if the ones at the front are white or yellow so I look forward to finding out.

I have a pot at the back which I had been undecided for a long time as to what I was going to plant in it. In the end I decided to leave it for now and use it in the autumn. I haven't been watering it and it was full of what I thought was just weeds. I was then surprised when I saw this little flower which I remember planting for last summer. It's not in the best condition nor is it's neighbours but it was a nice surprise all the same.

PS Happy Father's day folks. That was the real reason for my visit yesterday. My dad got a coffee machine with capsules, sweets and a couple of bottles of nice red wine from both my sister and I. I'm also taking him out to dinner on Wednesday.