Goodbye My Friend

It is with a heavy heart I am writing this post. This weekend a dear colleague and friend was killed by a hit and run driver. He cycled for two hours every day to and from work and was always positive for other people. Often, we asked him to go for coffee or a drink with us after work but sadly it never happened. Nick was a character and when he wasn’t in he was missed. He was a true English eccentric, always had a small cuddly toy and a hat on his desk, He loved his music and told lots of jokes, a lot of DAD jokes.  He was a true sportsman, loved his golf and could have given Steve Davis a run for his money on the pool table. Nick had his own style and  a very distinctive walk and manner. When conversations would take a more serious tone he would say “well it is what it is, hey”. He was always the first to ask anyone how they were and had an interesting full life. Nick had off days too but we would have long chats and both feel better for them. Nick was a mine of information and was regularly telling us random bits of information, usually followed by a joke or two. He excelled at his job and no one had a bad word to say about him. On the night he was killed he left work on a real high as he wiped the floor with everyone at pool and that is how I will remember him with a mug of tea,  holding a pool cue grinning.  God bless you Nick, Be at peace.

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Weird

Today I am in the strange position of not having anything on the needles. The cove cardigan pictured below is finally finished,its more of a coat than a cardigan and I have 3 or 4 blankets to finish, but there are no squares on the needles so it is just weird. I really want to start a new project, but, as usual there aren’t any patterns in my vast library that jump out and say knit me. Well that’s not strictly true. I have grabbed a few balls from the stash I want to use these and it is for these yarns I can’t find the “knit me” pattern. I don’t want to knit a pattern I have knitted previously, I want to knit a new one. I keep going back to a new one I would need to buy, but why, why, why does this always happen when you have shelves full of patterns ?

It’s going well

This week has been very productive. I have decreased my WIPs/UFOs. Now there are only blankets still needed to be finished. All are Debbie Abrahams, 2 are from her books and 3 are Mystery blankets. I finished the gorgeous cove tonight and picked up MB2015 to finish a square and have really got the knitting bug back.

Still destashing and am being more ruthless wth what I am getting rid of. Next year I need to work on destashing the fabric  more

Christmas Knitting

As usual life has got in the way of  an update, and crafting. Why do I always leave it to the last minute to knit gifts for christmas and winter birthdays? I do it every year, in January I may knit a hat or a set of mittens with the intention of knitting one item every month to prep for the festive season. Of course it doesn’t happen.

These last few months I have crammed knitting into every spare minute and have managed to knit 2 scarves, 1 shawl, 1 pair of mittens and  3 hats. I am still in the knit zone so want to continue until I lose my knitting mojo.

One of the hats I knitted was Stephen Wests Mudmilk design. I used Rowan Felted Tweed Chunky from stash, this was to be for my appreciative son in law , this was until I tried it on and liked it. This is now mine and I need to knit another one the same for him.

This has been the season for continuing to knit from stash and it has been a successful quarter. I continue to donate oddments and those yarns and fabrics I will not be using to a local school. For projects since October I have used from stash:

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 

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