Category Archives: sewing

Sew and Sew

I was getting fed up of, I mean inspired by looking at the excessive amount of dressmaking production going on over at Roobeedoo.  So last Monday in a vain attempt to not feel sew (get it sew instead of so) inadequate I finished off a dress that I’d cut out last August!  

When I found the fabric, finally, it turned out that I had actually done more than I thought which was good and subsequently a tad problematic.  When I originally cut out the paper pattern I cut out a size 12 – which is what I was at the time.  In the four years since (to last August) I’d gone up to a size 14 so added extra room to the middle (without thinking ‘This will make the neck wider’) and sides.

I’d sewn up the top part of the bodice, which is lined with the main fabric, so all I needed to do was attached the bottom part of the bodice, make up the skirt, add the zip and do the hem.

I remembered that I’d made it bigger as I came to do the back seam and add the zip.  As there was no way I was going to start undoing the bodice to take it in at the sides I decided that the easiest thing to do was just to reduce the excess at the centre back which resulted in this…

The back straps being much closer together than at the front but since this is what the front looks like…

yes, a pretty wide neck opening which shows off to perfection my dialysis line, I don’t think I’ll be wearing it without a cardy…

so that solves the problem of anyone noticing that the back is much narrower than the front.

The dress didn’t even cost me anything – I had the zip and thread in and Auntie Eleanor gave me the fabric last year.

Pensive look in the second photo resulting from B taking the pictures.  I’ve said before about his point, wait a while, click, can you tell what it is, if so job done approach to photography.  So since I’ve now got him to take maybe three of each I don’t have much to choose from.

We also had a camera malfunction.  I thought it was bust as I couldn’t get it to come back on next time I tried to use it and couldn’t even blame B as I was the last one to touch it when I looked at the photos B had taken.  Turned out this was the problem and when I looked at them again and then exited this option it worked fine – I had the idea to try this while walking Bud this morning.  The first proper walk we’ve been on (just the two of us) since ohhhh, last October/November and we even went a bit further than his regular walk – which may be why I had to take an extra painkiller – but it was worth it.

Ho Ho Ho

Who are you calling a ho? {Groan – I thought I’d save you a job.}

As we all know it’s nearly Christmas.  What?  Next week is November and at that point Christmas is next month.

Now I’m not a big fan of hand embroidery but one of the quilting blogs I read ‘SewHappy.Me‘  (as you know I don’t really quilt but it’s one of those crafts that I like to look at and think about doing) started a Christmas Banner sewalong.  So far I’ve managed to remember – in some cases just – to download the instructions weekly eg, block 1…

and today I finally got round to embroidering one…

On another creative note here’s how you give your husband a fright – you go upstairs (yesterday afternoon) at 3.oopm (see I’m remembering to use ‘old money’ on the times) to make sure he’s still awake after his alarm went off half an hour before and chat to him, then you go back downstairs and do some knitting. As you sit there knitting your head starts drooping and you decide to take a little snooze, so you snuggle down on the settee under a blanket and promptly fall asleep. When your husband finally makes it downstairs he opens the lounge door and you raise your dozing head off the cushion to find him looking at you with a horrified look on his face as he says ‘Are you not well?’ to which you answer ‘I was just taking a nap’.  He was reassured when I was able to get tea!

Other creative spaces can be found here.

Scrappy Squarey Doh!

In answer to Fiona‘s question from yesterday as to ‘WHAT HAPPENED’ with the m-i-l and B at the doctors.  I didn’t know at the time I popped it on my blog as their appointment was only 16:00 so I was on tenterhooks as to the outcome. Well the GP ‘lol’ed at the note, and then B asked for it – so I was confronted with B extracting the note from his pocket and reading out ‘Bernard has the retention quality of a distracted three year old unless it involves pretty women.’  To which I said ‘Hey it could have been worse I was going to say Page 3.’  Needless to say it was the running theme of numerous comments between then and him going to work.

With regard to the m-i-l, my behind is safe from being exposed to shoppers, as the ‘fungal infection’ was a just a big fat nail that needed filing.  {smug expression}

So to my creative space this week – it’s a bit of a tip, but better a creative mess than neat un-productivity (or something like that).

On the ironing board is a backing for a quilt whilst on the window ledge is 83 Share a Square squares…

Which brings me up to 149 with the total requested from any participant being 150.  I had a bit of trouble with my 150th.

Its one and one quarter rounds short of a full square – I must have been over generous with the tails on the last batch.

Fortunately I found this novelty yarn and with some creative usage (and a tail of about two inches left of it – phew) I managed to finish square 150.

The quilt backing is for some scrap quilts I must have started at least three years ago.  I did finish the top for one…

but since I had all these left from dresses I’d made years before (my Great Auntie Bet always told me to save excess material just in case the garment needed a repair in the future – what I don’t know – but she was alive during WWII rationing and so on numerous occasions was able to show me that a pattern positioning was wasteful and if I did, this, that and that I’d have plenty left over) and since they are in the main lovely crepes I’d hung onto them, even past the expiry of some of the dresses.

All I managed to do yesterday was fill the 3′ x 4′ backing with pieces…

Yes I know they need a serious pressing but they have been screwed up in a box for a long time.  I thought if I could get them finished this weekend they could go to South Africa with the other stuff I’ve given to our GP’s receptionist.  We’ll see.

I have an appointment at the Royal this afternoon regarding the numbness in my forearm, that’s still there, and I also have a numb bit on the right side of my chin and an intermittent numbness to the pad of my left thumb!  I’m going with a friend and I forgot to ask if there’d be eating out involved.  Doh – I must get my priorities right!

Other Creative Spaces can be found here.

Undressing Dolls

Whilst at the show on Saturday I asked when the booklet was published giving details of the categories – turns out its April.  That provides a whole five months preparation time as opposed to the two days I had – my own fault I know.  So the only thing I made specifically for the show was this little bunny.

Everything else was just stuff I’d made that I still had hold of at the time.  Apparently the categories are mostly the same but last year’s Needlepoint Item became this year’s Handmade Toy.

The only item I started last year with the view of finishing in time for this year’s show was a lace shawl and that got as far as 26 rows so not much of a finished item there.  So with that in mind I decided that whatever the categories for next year I won’t purposely make something purely for the show I’ll just make stuff I like and hopefully there will be enough suitable categories for me to win, er I mean enter.

With that in mind my biggest weakness is Handmade Toy – I don’t really do sewn toys of the detailed calibre of Auntie Eleanor…

Does this count as rag doll pornography?

 A full head of hair despite the bonnet and even an additional line of wool to cover the parting

This is the INSIDE of the underskirt – which has a lined bodice and super neat finish where it meets the skirt

A couple of pin tuck pleats on the bottom of the skirt and a lace trim

I finally persuaded her to put on her dress and bonnet but she insisted on showing off her little felt shoes

And here’s her little embroidered face with felt cheeks and eyes which are surrounded by tiny, tiny blanket stitches

Heck whenever I do dresses for me it tends to be in a rush so even they don’t reach the fine finishing standard of Auntie En’s doll’s underskirt. So I’ll have to give this category some serious thought as I know full well I haven’t got the patience to produce a sewn doll anything close to this.

I would also point out that when I was little and relatives started going abroad on holiday (which was a rarity at the time) they would bring back national costume dressed dolls for me.  I was given a Greek one, a flamenco dancer, a Scottish piper, a Welsh lady (okay those two are not technically abroad) and one in a pink sparkly dress.  I have no idea where that one was from possibly because by this point in time dolls were confiscated before I could get me little paws on them.  As we know I have a curious nature and which extended to wanting to know what was under the dresses and of course these dolls weren’t to the calibre of Auntie En’s with buttons and ribbons – they were glued so as you can imagine when I’d finished with them they didn’t look quite the same as when they started out.

Creative chromosomes


Today, and I do literally mean today, my creative space has included an eclectic mix of stuff.

Some things in preparation of my hospital appointment tomorrow such as this coconut bread.  One for B, one for the staff on the day unit.  

A good few hours were spent browsing high risk myeloma on the internet. After further research, in the loosest sense of the word, it turns out that cytogenetics only show the chromosone 13 deletion, but alterations to other chromosomes needs FISH, an analysis method I ignored before my last but one pre-appointment last minute cramming and not but not as in the kind in a tank or the cod in batter that B suggested we have for tea earlier in the week and which, on further investigation before cooking fortunately, turned out to have passed its expiry date in November 2010.

Now if you come here for my craftiness you might want to pay close attention to the following because depending how it goes tomorrow there may be a test in the future! (Yes I know you thought I was going to say just skip along and pick up at the next photo but no I can be such a meany.)

So FISH (flourescence insitu hybridisation) shows t(14;4), t(14;16), and 17p13 (del[17p].  Got it so far?  Good.  There are also t(11;14) and t(6:14).

Now you don’t really want t(4;14), t(14;16) or del(17p) however if you do get them if you can also manage to have a low ß2-microglobulin this can mean a similar or only marginally worse outlook than usual.

‘Kay?  Right, what the heck are these t’s and numbers then, well –

Most of us have two copies of 22 chromosomes which themselves have a long and a short ‘arm’.

There are various positions on these arms which conveniently enough are numbered.  So del(17p) as it is commonly known is really 17p13.  17 is the chromosome number, p means the short arm and 13 is the position of the deleted bit.  The long arm is called q, in case you were wondering and not just for 17, every short arm is p and every long arm is q.

Chromosomes can also gain bits but I can’t seem to find any myeloma relevant additions so we will just skip that bit.

However stuff can also ‘t’ for translocate – t(4;14) meaning that parts of chromosones 4 and 14 had a little party or something and 4 went home with one of 14’s socks and 14 had 4’s purse.

Hello?  Still there?  Good, because now we have some good news in all this intermingling and deleting.  t(11;14) can mean nothing or even mean a little bit of a favourable outcome.

Right I think that’s enough for now since I haven’t fully understood hypodiploidy or how the plasma cell labelling index indexes itself in a way that’s different to plasma cell content in a bone marrow sample so let’s get crafty again.  Here’s a dress I started sewing together this evening…

Here’s the yarn I went out to purchase this afternoon (along with plain flour for my coconut bread as I missed it off the shopping list) because Shelly over at This Eclectic Life is doing the whole 150 afghans for kids with cancer again this year.  She is seriously crazy I mean all she gets from it is the satisfaction of knowing that she’s responsible for putting a smile of the face of a small child.  Geez some people!

Bud was very excited at the sight of the blue yarn when I got home however the little present I got him was this red Kong.  It wobbles like a weebble and you put treats inside and with enough encouragement they fly out.  Although he ignored it at first I am pleased to report that he played with it so much while I was sewing that he ended up panting. Although there were a few brief breaks when he came over to me to let me know that it was stuck behind something – the dress form, the laundry basket.

And just to thank you for making it through all the myeloma stuff to get to this point here’s a picture of Bud when I came out of the bathroom yesterday morning and walked back into the bedroom…

Other creative spaces are here.

Final Countdown

Wow – I’m done and ended up just two pressies short of a Christmas – I did start them last night but it was after 23:00 – and I didn’t think I had the relevant concentration to do them justice.  I had a few things to finish today but knew they wouldn’t take that long…

Some more paper baubles (I should probably have taken a pic of the card before I cut it up – that might have been an idea – it was very nice)

A buddy from my ready made ones

A crochet cube lined and stuffed

A fleece (yes all I had to do was hem it)

For the mother in law, who tends to never use/wear presents I thought food!  So I made double my Christmas baking…

Chocolate fruit Christmas cake made into individual cakes after seeking advice from Lorna.

Coconut bread – B’s favourite

And some Apricot Crumbles which I’d never made before and mine are blackcurrant.

The best bit – all are edible – which is always a plus with my baking – it’s either really good or really, really, really bad.

And my next to last present – a Christmas table runner…

So other than one more present, which shouldn’t take long, I only have a date with our little furry family member and a set of reindeer antlers – don’t worry I’m not going to use the staple gun.  I couldn’t find the staple extractor and since Buddy sleeps on the bed I didn’t fancy waking up with an antler up my nose! 

Made – 25/29 with 5 hours 15 mins to go – so that means two get bought (e vouchers) and the other missed the Christmas post date so with the snow as well there was no urgency there)

Panic level – 0/10

Flakey Jingle Bells

And yet more Christmas presents are coming out of my elf workshop, or should that be elfing sweat shop?

And yes those are different reindeer and Santas and not just because they are on different backgrounds and I gave the bottom one out today and realised later that I’d forgotten to add the bells to the reindeer – Doh!

Jingle Bells

The Flakes

There were two lots of snowmen but I forget to take a picture of the first ones and they now have a new home.  I made the second ones for a back up present while I was on a roll.

I got the pattern from a shop that has now closed but the pattern designer is Sweet Dreams.

It didn’t take too long as I happened to have a box of decapitated heads in the back of the wardrobe.

Some people have snowy worlds with talking lions I have snowmen and reindeer heads – it looks like a crafting massacre!

Made – 9/29* with 10 days to go (*  Yes I realised I needed another one!)

Panic level – 3/10

Creative Space Thursday – Wool ‘en Shirts

Today my creative space is filled with this…

I treated myself to some Araucania Ranco Multy in colour 324!  Let’s face it when a yarn contains so many colours a number is the only thing that’s appropriate.  It’s 75% wool and 25% polyamide.  It seems really soft (because I am one of the ‘Don’t do wool it itches’ brigade – I think resulting for an incident with tartan pants that my mum made me and made me wear as a child).  I think it’s going to become a cardigan for me.  I also think it may take a while since it’s 4 ply.

And these…

a pile of my father in law’s old shirts that I was sure I could use in some way shape or form.  I think he could have worn a different shirt every day for a month and not got through them which could explain why they are in such good condition – that and the fact that I think he only wore certain ones anyway.

I think they are going to become a Christmas Gift in some way shape or form. Something that I need to get a move on with since we are nearly in December and I have finished, let’s see that would be, ohhh, do I need to take my socks off to count, no because I’ve finished none!

In fact I have been slacking so much that my bunny from last week still hasn’t got a tail!


Creative Space Thursday – It’s curtains but not as you know them

Now I thought that by this time this week I would have combined what is currently in my creative space ie, this…

with these from last week

and they would be hanging here…

Obviously not!

Buddy’s Bedding

Okay hands up who really thought I was going to buy a bed sheet so that Buddy’s duvet matched ours!  I will admit that the thought briefly crossed my mind and there is probably a market out there for that but his main duvet ended up being covered in some material I’d bought for a dress but realised it was way too sheer!  It would have made a nice blouse but I don’t do blouses.

So the finished basket duvet measured 104cm x 133.  Since he likes giving his bedding the occasional rumpage and does that twirly thing until I go dizzy (apparently this comes from when dogs needed to flatten grass to lie on – or so I am led to believe) I decided to not fold the duvet over and make a smaller cover.

We are having some new double glazed units installed today so Buddy is more like my shadow that usual, and he is dog tired after our long walk this morning which had the aim of making him sleep through the installation.  This hasn’t proved to work and although he is very friendly with the installers, one of whom he met on his first night here, he won’t settle as there is just too much going on and allsorts of interesting noises that keep disturbing him.

So when I put his freshly laundered duvet cover on the floor to photograph it – he rightly pointed out that it was his and he was having a kip.

The remnant of the ‘spare’ duvet was used to make a cushion for the lounge floor.  I used a piece of fleece that I’d had hanging about for a while and which I had used when I got back from my SCT holiday when I needed to snuggle and nod off on the settee – it’s had a fair bit of washing and has gone a bit bobbly but I thought it would do for a temporary measure.

This measures 80cm x 62cm and is a double thickness

and get a load of the designer buttons

which obviously came off a pair of Calvin Klein Jeans.  Ohhhhhhhhh!  Well to be honest I got them from TK Maxx and they weren’t technically jeans in the denim sense but made from linen and although I loved the fit and worn them a lot (which may have been the problem) the fabric didn’t last long at all – I would have been disappointed if I had paid full price for them.  I also got a pair of simple drawstring top linen trousers at the same time from a CK outlet shop and again loved these (even though I had to take about a foot off the length as they were 27″ waist and about 53″ leg!).  However the same thing happened the linen fabric just wasn’t durable which may explain why the ended up in discount shops!