Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Scrunchable scarf

This has been my TV/film watching knitting for the past two weeks. The only thing I don't knit during is Doctor Who as I don't want to miss anything :) Well, I came so close to finishing it last night while watching Life on Mars (UK version, don't bother with the US version. Dom told me that they completely messed up the ending) that I carried on today. 
The pattern is the Scrunchable scarf (link will take you the Ravelry page) and I used two balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in the colour 300502 in case you like the colour as much as I do :) 
It's such a simple pattern that gives gorgeous results. It's squishy and cozy and definitely scrunchable! And I love the yarn!! The yarn itself is really squishy and soft. It was lovely to work with. 
I think the bias has finished setting on my circle skirt, but we've been given the option of having our dishwasher replaced with a freezer. As we only have a little ice box in the top of fridge, we've gone for the freezer. They took the dishwasher away today, so I didn't want to do any sewing in case they brought the new freezer today too. I'd be very much in the way if they did bring it, but they didn't. Ah well, it should be here in the morning, and I got lots of knitting done today so it wasn't completely wasted :)
Ashley x

Monday, 29 August 2011

Circle skirt

I finally finished slip stitching the waistband down! :) I don't mind most hand sewing, but I hate slip stitching! Anyway its done now, it just needs to hand for a day or two to set the bias. Then there's the monster job of hemming it. And it needs a hook and eye on the tab above the zipper. The zipper went in really well! I'm so pleased with it, I'm starting to lose my fear of machine stitched zippers :)
I'm not sure what my next project will be. As I mentioned in my last post, all of my fabric fits into my new wardrobe, so I just need to decide which is my favourite fabric! I'm thinking of making a Pendrell dress with a self drafted peter pan collar. I'm just not sure I have a long enough length of fabric. We'll see :)
Those of you in the UK, enjoy the bank holiday! And those of you who aren't, have a happy Monday! 
Ashley x

Friday, 26 August 2011

Hmm, 7 things. . .

I've been passed the Versatile blogger award by Reana Louise at Curves, Patterns, and Pins! Thank you so much! :D So, I have to think of 7 things about myself that you don't know. Hmm. . .

1. I like flowers. A lot. We don't have them in the house/flat/whatever because Dom gets hayfever from flowers. I love orchids, carnations, lily's and of course roses :)
2. Talking of hay fever, I get hayfever from trees. I can always tell when we're getting close to trees in the summer because my eyes start to water. Lovely!
3. I played Alice in my primary school production of Alice in Wonderland. Yep, I was a brown haired Alice. Before we found out our parts, everyone was excited about who was going to play Alice. Everyone assumed it would be one of the two blonde girls in our class. Nope, it was brown haired me. Unfortunately I can't share a short video with you as its set to private on my mum's facebook page. I also don't have any photos. I'll share them if I remember to ask mum for a couple :)
4. I've had the same mobile phone for ages! Seriously, I think it's been at least 4 years. I've never been bothered about the latest high-tech phone. Its calls, it textes, I'm happy! :)
5.  Some of my favourite films include: Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, A Clockwork Orange, Watchmen, Sin City, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, Inception, Shutter Island, Kill Bill 1&2. I also watched The Godfather for the first time last night, I loved it! :) Oh, and Fight Club. I could watch that film over and over! Looking back at the list, they're all quite violent and a bit bloody (or in the case of Kill Bill, a lot bloody!). I blame Dom for this. Since living with him, my choice of films has been influenced by him a lot. Though I still refuse to watch the end of I Am Legend. I don't like zombie films, and only just managed to make it to the end of 28 days later. Oh, I also liked The Road, but it was very sad. I liked the book too.
6. I love big scary rollercoasters! I scream the whole time, but will always go on again. I went on the Mumbo Jumbo (the steepest rollercoaster in the world) at Flamingo Land 7 times in a row. However, this was not entirely my choice. When my 8 year old sister discovered she was tall enough to ride, she wanted a go. So I took her on and held her hand the whole time. We got off, and she decided she wanted to go on again. And again. And again. . .until we had been on 7 times and it was time for the park to close! By the 3rd or 4th time, she laughed the whole time while I still screamed.
7. Cold food gives me shivers. If a meal goes cold before I finish, I can't eat the rest. It seriously freaks me out. But if it's meant to be cold like pasta salad then its ok. But it's meant to be hot, then I just can't eat it. I know, I have issues. lol

Ok, now to pass it along! :)
Marie from A Sewing Odyssey
Jean-Mary from Meanyjar

So there you go! :)

Thank you for your advice and comments on my last post. I did go into town on Monday and I now have enough nice clothes to last me the week! Woo! I also now have a colour scheme so everything goes with something to make an outfit. I also took a look at the fabric I have, and it will all fit very nicely into my new wardrobe :) I learnt a lot about what suits me, as I tried on *everything*!! I realised I can wear a higher neckline than I thought I could, and I can wear blousier tops than I thought I could. (So I'd be willing to try a Sorbetto!). I was surprised at how well things fit too. The waist was actually in the right place! And I didn't have as much trouble from my boobs as I thought I would. 
I've been enjoying getting dressed in the morning and choosing an outfit and accessories to go with it. Yes, I have accessories! :) I got much more for my money than I expected, so I got some lovely jewellery too. I didn't get any new bags, as I have enough bags. I now have two pairs of shoes that are ridiculously comfortable because they're in the right size. And I even upgraded my foundation and face powder (I've been using the cheapest I could find for ages). And the best thing is, I even have a good chunk of my budget left over! But I'm super happy with my wardrobe for now, so I probably won't spend it unless I see something I like while out and about. 
And I'll try and post about some actual sewing soon! :)
Ashley x

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ditching the jeans and finding my style.

I've been unhappy with my wardrobe for a while. But I didn't really know where I wanted to go with it. And I couldn't afford a whole new wardrobe, and even if I could I didn't know what I wanted. 
Currently my wardrobe consists of jeans, strappy vest tops and two thin cardigan things. My jeans are in ok condition, but I don't want to be in jeans everyday which currently I am. I wear vest tops because I can get them for £1.99 from New Look. And the cardigan things I bought last summer, and I have practically lived in them every day since because they cover my shoulders when I wear my vest tops which is everyday. 
I feel scruffy and crap in my clothes because my clothes are scruffy. Take what I'm wearing now for instance. My jeans, which as I said are in ok condition, but I wear them because they're comfortable and 'safe'. My belt is wrecked, the backing is coming off and I had to super glue it back on. My vest top was black but is now faded and has holes in at the bottom. My bra is the only thing that I'll be happy to keep, as I treated myself to some (basic) bras that fit a couple of weeks ago because the situation was desperate. 
So I'm pretty desperate for new clothes. I went looking for a new jacket yesterday with Dom. We wandered through the shops and I looked at what other women were wearing, what was on the mannequins and what I liked. And it hit me! I liked the shortish above the knee cute and quirky dresses with thick tights or lacy tights and nice cardigans or jackets. I also liked the high waisted skirts paired with a belted cardy. I think this is a style I could pull off and feel comfortable in. I can wear dresses in the winter with thick tights and a cardy, and also in summer without tights or a cardy. It's simple, but much more smart and put together than what I wear now, but still casual enough for everyday. 
So now I've figured out what I want, I'm going to be irresponsible. I'm going to let my student overdraft pick it up for now, until my student loan comes in. I know, but I really am desperate. I feel unhappy in my clothes and its effected my confidence enormously. I can't wait until the end of September for my loan, because by then I won't have enough clothes to last the week! 
So as an example, I like these kind of things (sorry I've had to link to them as I can't get the picture to display):
Dress, with these tights (I can see myself becoming a crazy tights lady with all kinds of novelty tights!). Paired with this cardy worn open but belted with this belt. Perhaps not these particular things, but as a general idea I like it a lot. I think I'll get two or three cardys and try and choose dresses that go with them so I can mix and match. My brogue style shoes would look great with this, though I think I need more than one pair of shoes! Also, and a nice bag and some jewellery would be nice :) 
I hate having to resort to RTW, but I can't sew that fast! My sewing plans will be easier to make once I've got more of a cohesive wardrobe. And honestly, the RTW dresses that I do have actually fit surprisingly well, and still look like new!
I also have a couple of lipsticks that I never wear because I never feel I'm dressed nice enough to wear it. But if I'm dressed nice, I'll definitely feel confident enough to wear my nice red lipstick :)
So now that I've come clean about the state of my wardrobe, what do you think? Am I crazy for using my overdraft for clothes, even if I do need them? Do you think the look I've described will suit me? Or am I just a lost cause? ;)
I plan on scouring the shops tomorrow morning with Dom, trying my best to put together a wardrobe. Wish me luck!
Ashley x

Friday, 19 August 2011

Hong Kong Finish

Those are the two side seams on my circle skirt, they need a good press though. I was about to finish them using the over lock stitch on my machine, when I decided I was going to try something new! I've never tried the Hong Kong finish before, so I made the bias binding using Colette's continuous bias tape tutorial. I made my square 12 inches instead of 10, and I'm glad I did as I only had about 6 inches left at the end! The bias tape took me a while to make, especially as my first attempt was just awful! I'm really pleased with it, though I don't think I'll do it on everything as it took me about an hour just for those two seams!! But for simple skirts, I think it's a nice touch :)
Ashley x

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Snapdragon tam - Finished!

Yay, my first blocked project! I soaked it Tuesday morning, put it on a dinner plate and left it all day and overnight just to be sure that it was dry. It has much more drape and slouch, and it also sits nice and flat when it's not being worn. (You can see the pre-blocking photos here if you want to compare!) It's fits beautifully, not too loose but not to tight :) I can definitely see myself making another! But for now, I'm working on the matching gloves :) I've got the thumb and flip top to do on the first one and then the first glove is finished! I had to get a longer cable so I could magic loop the mitten, hence why the top photo is taken in the yarn shop! I had to take it to show it off :) I may also have bought more yarn while I was there. . . 
Oh and the details! The pattern is the Snapdragon tam by Ysolda Teague, in the book Whimsical Little Knits 2. The yarn is Rico Essentials merino DK, I used a ball and a half. Oh, and I knitted it 4mm circular needles.
The plan for today is to have a quick tidy and a clean, then to do some sewing! Dom called me last night and it really cheered me up, so I actually feel like doing something other than sitting around moping and knitting all day :) Plus he'll be home soon!! Wooo! :D
So I should have a sewing update for you soon. Yay!
Ashley x

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Snapdragon tam - pre-blocking

I finished it! It's so pretty, and I can't wait for it to finish drying. I took some pre-blocking photo's so we could see a before and after.
As you can see it fits like a beanie hat. I like beanie's but thats not how I want this hat. So, on the dinner plate after soaking for 20 minutes:
I rested the plate on a small glass so the bottom could dry properly. I'm really nervous about this. What if it ruins it?! Do you knitters out there think it looks ok on the plate? If it all goes wrong and ends up a funny shape, can I re-block it flat or something? It's 100% merino so can shrink back up right? Oh dear, is blocking going to make a nervous wreck every time? I hope not! 
Right, I'm off to cast on the first matching glove! :)
Ashley x
ps. As a side note, I haven't washed or wet my hair since Sunday night. Not using shop bought shampoo and conditioner is really helping! I no longer have to wash it every day to keep it clean and non-greasy. I've found every other day is good for now, but eventually I should be able to go longer :) I've also found that washing it in the evening, giving it a gentle cool blow dry and sleeping on it gets rid of frizz really well. I'm so happy with how silky soft my hair is right now :)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

I missed it!

I realised today that I had missed my first blogoversary! Oops! It was last Monday, I started my blog on the 8th of August last year. I've enjoyed every post, and I love getting your lovely comments and new followers. But mostly it's nice to share with people who share my interests. I don't know anyone who sews or knits a lot so it's nice to be able to ramble at you guys ;)
Talking of sewing, the hour a day went out the window when Dom went away, but I plan on doing an hour today. The pattern needs cutting and ironing so I'll do that today :)
Also, I'm making good progress with the Snapdragon tam! I'm really enjoying and it never gets boring as practically every round is different! Here it is:
The flash made it look pinker than it is!
The pattern is easy to follow, just time consuming. I had trouble with the 'increase 4' until I realised you make the stitches just like you do when making a bobble - by knitting into the front and back of the stitch until you have the required number of extra stitches! It's easier than it sounds. The pattern says to k,p,k,p,k into the stitch but I decided to k,yo,k,yo,k instead after reading peoples comments on Ravelry. It's so pretty! :)
Ashley x

Friday, 12 August 2011

Snapdragon tam and gloves

So Dom went back to Derby this morning. We were up at 4.30 again, though I'd been awake since 3.30 dreading him leaving. I know, I know, I'm a wuss! lol Today hasn't been so bad so far though. I held it together when I got back from seeing him off, and had cleaned and tidied everything by 7am. Not bad. Then there was food shopping to do. Thankfully it wasn't too heavy to carry as there's only me to shop for. Then I went to Spins and Needles to treat myself to a new project to work on while Dom's away. I'm glad that he came back on Tuesday, as it was kind of a trial run for me. So I wasn't as anxious and upset this time, I know I'll be fine :)
Anyway onto the loot!

I've wanted the Whimsical Little Knits books by Ysolda for a while. So after looking through both, I went for the second book in the series as I loved the Snapdragon patterns :) There's a hat and matching gloves, which will be so cute! The yarn is Essentials merino DK by Rico Designs. Three balls is enough for both projects, and if not there was plenty left at the shop. I also finally picked up some proper stitch markers. Aren't they pretty? I love that they're locally made too :)
I also treated myself to a Starbucks caramel latte on the way home. I regretted it, I should have bought a bag of my favourite beans and made my own instead! It would've only cost 60p more for enough beans to last me the week! I blame Dom for turning me into a coffee snob! ;)
Have a lovely weekend!
Ashley x
ps. Thank you all for the lovely comments on my last post! I really appreciate it, I wasn't to sure about the finished dress. But you lovely lot made me feel so much better, and now I love it more than ever!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

V8648 - Finished!!

Yay, finally took some photos! Sorry about the back shot though, not sure what made it blow out like that. I can only assume the sun came out all of a sudden. And of course because it's a circle skirt, it had be shown off! Twirling is so much fun, especially as I had to do it so many times to get good shots! There were lots of out takes :) Including a few that were ok apart from you could see too much leg! lol
I'm pleased with it and will wear it if it ever stops being windy! I can wear my slip under it though, so that should help.
Also new shoes! :) I've liked the brogue style shoes for a while, but Dom always said they were to manly. I finally persuaded him otherwise the other day. Also, my feet have grown!! Which means that all of my shoes but one pair were all too small! So I needed new ones. So the shoes I got for birthday? Too small. The Keds I bought for myself? Too small. My new shoes feel strange because I'm having to get used to shoes that aren't too small! My old shoes were a 4. The new shoes are a 6 with insoles to take em down to a 5.5. Trust me to be a half size! Also, my right foot is smaller than my left, so I had to get some of those stick in insole things for the heel part of the shoe. They're really comfy and don't pinch my toes! :)
I'm feeling much more cheerful today, I think I was just over tired like a child yesterday! lol And thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday, they really cheered me up! Of course, it also helps that Dom is coming home TODAY!! :D The store messed up, so there aren't any stock deliveries to be put away until Friday! So he's going back on Friday and staying until the next Friday. And the store left it till yesterday afternoon to try and book them a hotel, so all the cheap ones were fully booked. So he get's to stay in a reeeally fancy hotel instead! The lucky bugger! So yes, a good sleep helps :)
More later! :)
Ashley x

Monday, 8 August 2011

Cabled Wristwarmers

Finally got round to taking photos :) They took about a day and a half to dry after their soaking. I'm really happy with them, I'm actually looking forward to the cold weather so I can wear them. The pattern is the cable stitch wristwarmers from the Textured knits book in this collection. The yarn is Andes by Debbie Bliss. It's super soft and silky, though a bit fuzzy. I think the cables stand out nicely too.
I was going to take photos of me wearing the dress I finished last week, but I really don't feel like posing for a camera today. I was up at 4.30am to see Dom off this morning. He's gone to Derby for work, as they're opening a new store and he's helping sort the stock room. He's doing 12 hour shifts, so they've paid for a hotel. He's coming home Friday night or Saturday, and then it's the same thing next Monday. So I'm on my own, which is very strange and lonely. I may or may not have cried like a baby for half an hour when I got back to an empty flat at 6am this morning. So yeah, I can't be bothered with spending an hour trying to get a good photo. I'm sure I'll have got a grip on myself tomorrow :)
Happy Monday!
Ashley x

Saturday, 6 August 2011

An hour a day - Day 4-6

Day 4
No real sewing today, just sewing related activity. I chose my next project! I like the circle skirt so much on V8648 that I decided I had to have another one. So I chose my circle skirt pattern. As for fabric I chose the pale green floral fabric that I originally planned to use for the Ceylon dress from Colette. But I've come to the conclusion that this fabric is too stiff for the Ceylon, so it'll be a circle skirt instead! :)
Day 5
One of those days where time runs away from me. There was food shopping to do and Dom needed a hair cut. So while Dom had his hair cut, I wandered round town and bought thread and a zipper for the skirt. Now, the thread and zipper don't look like they match at all, but when the thread is laid over the fabric, it's perfect! Bizarre! 
Day 6
Today I spent a couple of hours patching a couple of holes in Dom's favourite jeans. The denim I used as patches is from another pair of Dom's jeans that he cut into shorts when it was scorching about a week ago. So the patches are part of the cut off leg. Here's the biggest rip, in the knee:
The darker denim isn't as noticeable in real life :) I think I did a pretty good job, I can't even see my stitches in the photo! I used tiny little stab stitches. I also sewed a button back onto one of his shirts too. [I mistyped 'shirt' as 'skirt'!! haha!]
Also, a sneak peak of my Rosebud socks! Well, quarter of a sock so far :)
Circular needles are great for being able to try it on! :)
Ashley x

Thursday, 4 August 2011


I finished my cabled wrist warmers/fingerless gloves today! That's them in the jug, having a good soak. They kept floating to the top, so I put the sieve in there with a glass in it to weight it down. It worked perfectly :) The yarn (Andes by Debbie Bliss) bled quite a bit, but I think most dark colours do. I used a skien and bit, I only needed 7 grams of the second skien! Not to worry, I've got a project lined up for the leftover yarn already! The pattern is the cable stitch wrist warmers from the Textured Knits book in this collection. Though if not for Knitty Gritty I'd never have managed it! It's not that the pattern is badly written, it's just that I'm inexperienced. But I'm getting there! Now that I've done these, I think I could follow any glove/mitten pattern, as now I understand how they are constructed :) They're now laid out to dry, so I should have photos soon. As well as photos of me in my finished dress!
So now I only have three knitting projects on the go! The rosebud socks, lacy scarf, and the Lauriel cardigan! :)
Ashley x

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

An hour a day - Day 1-3

After all of your lovely encouraging comments on Monday's post, I've have decided to go head and share what I do with my hour of sewing a day. By sewing for an hour a day, I will make constant progress on whatever sewing project I'm working on. The hour can include any sewing activity, from cutting out a pattern to making adjustments. Hopefully my productivity will be much better this month! :)

Day 1
I spent 15 minutes measuring and marking the length on the circle skirt of V8648. Then I spent 10 minutes cutting along the line I marked. I was really surprised at how much the bias parts had stretched out! Then I spent the rest of my hour pressing the hem up by 3/4 of an inch and pinning it as I went along. Yep, that part took ages!

Day 2
It took me 15 minutes to sew the hem, taking pins out as I went. Then it took me an extra 5 minutes to redo the last part, as the bobbin thread ran out! I hate it when that happens! I trimmed off the excess close to the stitching, which took me 15 minutes. Then I spent 10 mintues pressing the hem, then pressing it up so it would be a nice neat narrow hem :) It then took me 10 minutes to sew around the hem one final time :) I spent the last 5 minutes tidying up. 

Day 3
Then today, I sewed the top of the zipper tape down inside the dress, and gave it a final press. Finished!! I plan on wearing it to go home for the afternoon as it's really hot! :)
I'll try and get some photo's of me in it tomorrow :) I'm really pleased with it, and even Dom said it fits really nicely.
Also, today it is 2 weeks since I have used shampoo or conditioner! Before this I washed and conditioned my hair everyday and it was becoming a little worse for wear. Dom had already given up shampoo and conditioner and he had gotten past the gross stage, and he now has lovely soft smooth clean hair :) His hair now cares for itself! I left mine about 4 days, only using water. It was really greasy and gross, and I was itching to wash it. But instead of using shampoo, I mixed about 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda with about 500ml of water. This was the shampoo. I poured it over wet hair and scrubbed my head and hair. I made my hair feel really smooth. After rinsing thoroughly, it was time for conditioner. I mixed about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and two tablespoons of honey with 500ml of water and poured it over my hair. I rinsed thoroughly after working the lemon and honey mixture through really well. So far I'm really pleased with the results! My hair is clean and soft :) I've been using the baking soda mixture with the lemon and honey mixture about every third day. And the lemon and honey mixture is great for in between. For now, this is working really well. Some people prefer to use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice, but lemon juice is working fine for me so far so I'm sticking to it. If you want to know more google "no 'poo method" and there's lots of info available :)
What about you? Would you try the no 'poo method? Or do you think it sounds gross?
Ashley x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Giveaway winner!!!

For the last giveaway I used a random number generator to pick the winner. But Dom moaned about it, telling me computers can never be random blah blah blah and that I should have written all of the names down and put them in a bowl, then picked one from that. So this time, that's what I did. I let Dom do the picking, he closed his eyes, put his hand in the bowl, shuffled around  for a while (to mix them up, he said) and finally pulled a folded piece of paper out.

And the winner is. . . .


Law chose the Rooibos dress from Colette, so she can perhaps join the sewalong over at the Colette blog :) So as it's for the sewalong, instead of getting it delivered to me, wrapping it in pretty paper and then sending it to Law, I've decided to send it straight to Law instead so it's there in time for when she needs it. Plus, Backstitch wraps their packages up real pretty anyway :)
So Law, if you could drop me an email with your address via the 'Contact me' bit on my blogger profile, I'll get that sent to you sharpish :)
Thank you to everyone who entered, I really appreciate it! I wish I could send you all a pattern, but I don't think my bank balance would be too happy about it! lol I enjoyed reading all of your choices too, and of course Dom had to have a nosey as well! :)
Thanks again, and congrats to Law :)
Ashley x

Monday, 1 August 2011

July - Finished Projects

Well, this month was a rubbish month for sewing! I didn't finish anything sewing related! Hmm, not being at uni makes me lazy I think. Having no structure to my day really doesn't so me any good. 
This month I'm going to try to do an hour of sewing related activity a day, bank balance permitting of course ;) And then if you're interested, I'll share what I did in my hour or so. I think this will be a good challenge to get my productivity going again :) Would you be interested in regular updates on what I did with my hour? 
Ashley x


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