GBSB Live part one

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Great British Sewing Bee Live at Excel. I had awonderful day and it was a much needed break from the madness of the last few months. This was my first time visiting the Excel Centre and I am impressed at how easy it was to get to. There were a lot of firsts on the day,,as well as my first time at Excel, I decided to try the Emirates Cable car, what n experience. The views over London were inspiring and I enjoyed it.. I did get a little startled now and then when I looked around and saw a FAB member decal on the window
I bought a show guide which is something I don’t normally do for these things, it was at first glance expensive at £8 , but it came with a free bag and lots of articles, so was more like a magazine. I flicked through and found out where all the freebies were. More of them in the next post. My first stop was the Liberty clothing display from the Fashion and Textile museum. I had seen this previously at the museum but it was good to see all those beautiful prints up close again..

I decided to go up and down each row of stands so that I didn’t miss anything. At the show was a fashion show sponsored by Vogue patterns that showcased some of the dressmaking patterns available, both from their brands and the independents. I saw the 11:30 showing and was so pleased I did. There were some lovely clothes shown and it was here that I first saw my PERFECT pattern for me. It was love at first sight. The pattern is form independent pattern designer The Avid Seamstress. The pattern is an Aline/swing dress with pockets and best of all a raglan sleeve. the pattern is called the Raglan Dress and this will be another great stash buster. She also had a childs version of the pattern which I also purchased. Evalyn will be getting lots of these. For Evalyns I have traced off her size ready to use the pink stretch denim i bought years ago. a nice applique dinosaur should complete it. Despite destashing I did succumb to buying some fabric. more on that in the next post.

The show wasn’t as big as I expected but it did mean I could see everything at a leisurely pace. another plus point was all the independent stands. one of the stands I visited was Sew n Beads the website does not do it justice. There were lots ofnlovely items there , one thing I particularly liked was that she had lots of items made up you could buy but there was also the option to buy the same items in kit form. I bought two lovely kits there. Of course I plan on making more of the same with my stash and the pattern!

I bought some nice cards and an interesting pattern from the Leicestershire Craft Collective . The cards are for me to look at , not necessarily send but the pattern I am a little disappointed in. I specifically asked if this could be adapted for a younger child and they said full instructions to adjust for all sizes were in there. They weren’t. It does say how to adapt it but not the way she made it sound. It will still be a great stash buster but for adults  and downsizing I will need to do some more work.

More to follow at a later date 

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A Tale of Two Projects

I am currently knitting two projects (not including those in the UFO pile), my Cove Cardigan, which has been on the needles far too long and a Slip stitch scarf. They are very different project with yarns of completely different weights  and fibres. I knitted both this evening and whilst I enjoyed both, a realisation came to me. A light bulb moment if you like.  I knit them in a different way. The cove Cardigan, I enjoy the first few rows and then whilst I still enjoy knitting it , it is more about getting finished and becomes a bit of a chore.  The slip stitch scarf is a a soothing pattern to knit, I’m not sure if it’s the simpleness of the pattern or the yarn- Manos De Uruguay  Nanu- or the thin needles. The slip stitch scarf is so relaxing and enjoyable to knit, I am definitely knitting this one for pleasure . My only concern is how long the yarn will last.

It’s funny how different projects give you different experiences, both have wonderful yarns. For the Cove cardigan I am using the sadly discontinued Rowan British Sheep Breeds Chunky in a gorgeous undyed Shetland colour. The slip stitch scarf is knitted in  a silk, merino bamboo blend. It is deliciously soft and smooth. I am using a mid grey and deep blue. This pattern could be the one to use up all those skeins of sock yarn.

Jen Sews Knits & Diets

I took up the offer at my doctors surgery for an NHS health check. I had the bloods taken and went back fully expecting to find out I had bad blood pressure or diabetes.
I was lucky, it turns out my heart rate and blood pressure is good and they have no concerns about my cholesterol. I was shocked and relieved. The only concern was my BMI which I knew. I am too heavy. I am fat.
The nurse offered me a 12 week session with Slimming World or Weight Watchers. I chose Slimming World.
I don’t do diets and have never been on a diet in my life but I do want to get fitter,and be there for my grandchildren when they get older. I am telling everyone I work with and all those I know so that I am more likely to stick to it. It has been three weeks now and it has been an eyeopener. It turns out for the most part I was eating the right food just not enough and of course there were times when I did eat rubbish . It’s been a mixed start but I made the right choice in choosing Slimming World.

I am impressed with how easy slimming world is. It took me a few days to get round the speed foods that are the best free foods to have but I am sticking to it. Slimming world is basically going back to basics and cooking from scratch using no oil and the foods they class as free foods. You also get to treat yourself each day with syns. It is still a bit of a learning curve to check the book or website to find out if some foods are free or syns but I am enjoying it and  making slow but steady progress

Lent

Once again this year I am not giving up a single thing for Lent, however I am donating at least one item a day to charity. So far I have donated 2 pieces of furniture , loads of craft magazines and books as well as a few handbags. It feels good to destash and to give to charity. I can wholeheartedly  recommend it . My chosen charity I am donating to is Cherry Lodge Hospice .

The Year so Far

It has been a busy year. I have started two course and signed up for another.  I don’t do things by halves do I?

I have been keeping up to date with my projects………..well sort of!

My aim was and still is to make one item a week, knitted or sewn, big or small, it doesn’t matter. I just need to make something from one of my stashes.

The crafting has got off to a good start and so far I have made :

3 x baby doll dresses

 

3 x baby doll skirts

4 skirts for the lovely Evalyn , who chose the fabric and ribbons and helped measure them.

1 tote bag

1 felted pouch from an unfinished sweater

1 shawl

A hat for Harry

A baby hat

 

Aims for 2017

Well 2016 has rollercoaster of a year. I am looking forward to 2017 and will be doing the jar filled with sticky notes of good things as well as aiming for more creativity. Sewing has really fallen by the wayside in 2016 and in the coming year I will be sewing a minimum of 4 hours every week. This will be put in my calender as a normal appointment and I plan on treating it as a work date so cannot be cancelled unless I am away.

I only managed a couple of handmade christmas presents. A knitted hat for my son in law and a project bag for my best friend. I had lots of items cut out and prepped but I just ran out of time. I haven’t been updating much but a friend encouraged me to use Instagram and I have been doing at least one most a week. This I have found quite inspiring. I am flickchickknits on Instagram if you wish to follow me

This year I am determined to get the fabric stash down and to make at least an item a week. I will doing more upcycling and making lots for my wonderful granddaughter Evalyn. The blog has been a bit neglected this year so I want to update this more and again have added a calendar reminder to ensure I do it.

I would like to wish all of my followers a fabulous, happy, healthy and crafty 2017.

Doing things in reverse Part 1

After abstaining for a few years, I finally succumbed to my friends request to go to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, more commonly known as Ally Pally. Regular readers will know I have been trying to down size my craft stash for a few years. The yarn stash has halved but the fabric stash doesn’t seem to be moving at all.

Anyways,back to Ally Pally. We started the day with a lovely breakfast before the show opened so we were raring to go when the doors opened. We had a plan, to start at the far end and walk up and down each aisle. I was prepared, I had a short shopping list, I fell at the first aisle. The Lovliest Yarn Company had a lovely shawl in the, most, gorgeous, soft yarn, Juniper Moon Farm Herriot. It was love at first touch, 100% baby alpaca, so soft, so scrumptious, my will power went and I purchased the yarn to knit the shawl. The shawl on display was in green and I almost bought that colour but decided against it and went with……. red.

I was okay for a while and concentrated on hunting for the items on my list, I found the bobbins for my sewing machine , then it was the hunt for boys patterns, Harry’s red yarn and magazine subscriptions. If I am going to subscribe to a magazine, I prefer to do it at one of the shows. The price is generally a bit better and normally the free gift is much better than getting it through an offer in the magazine. Unfortunately most of them were doing three issues for a pound or six pound and then a rolling quarterly subscription which I don’t want. I prefer to pay for an annual subscription with a one off payment , so if I don’t require it after the year , there’s nothing to do, it just ends. Knitting magazine however were doing a fabulous deal. They gave you the current issue, a ten ball yarn pack, out of a choice of two and a years subscription of 13 issues for £50. My yarn choice was the mixed colour Stylecraft Super Chunky Special XL. This is destined to be hats and scarves for various family members.It also came with six pattern books, which I gave to a friend.


Harry yarn was next on the list. When I told Harry I was going to the knitting and stitching show, he asked me to get him some red yarn to knit him a sweater. As I have loads in the stash, I didn’t want to pay too much and I pounced on a bag of King Cole Galaxy chunky at Black Sheep yarns, it was only when photographing the yarn tonight, I realised I have made a boo boo. The yarn has sequins in it. Doh, I guess this is now Evalyns.


I have already started the Touch Me shawl pattern which is a free pattern on Ravelry, if  you want an easy shawl, relaxing to knit and looks good, knit this, I cannot praise this pattern enough. This is where I am doing things in reverse. I am planning on making and using the yarn and fabrics I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show instead of adding it to the stash and using the stash first.  There are still some bits from stash on the needles but I need to use these new bits first.