Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Menemsha Pullover, another Wiksten Tank, yummy cake and giant insects!!!

I started another knitting project! The Menemsha Pullover from the Summer edition of Interweave Knits is a gorgeous garment.  It is just the sort of knit that I enjoy - some interesting cables and some stocking stitch for a speedy finish. What is more, I am using some yarn from my stash.  Rowan Luxury Cotton dk is a really nice yarn to knit with and seems ideal for this design.
Following the success of my first Wiksten Tank, I have made another in a beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn sunflower design. I have a few other pieces of Liberty fabric that I am looking forward to sewing up soon.  It is really quick to sew with just 2 main pieces and some bias binding around the neck and armholes.  Couldn't be easier really! I reckon you can make one of these in a couple of hours from start to finish.
  I love this fabric and it is a dream to work with. The tank is very comfortable to wear and looks great.  I am particularly proud of the way the pocket matches up.
 There is now a pile of patterns and fabric waiting to be made into wonderful things.  Next project will probably be a Summer Dress in some more of my favourite Tana Lawn fabric.
We had a belated Jubilee Party in our street last week, which was a great excuse to bake a fabulous cake. This was the plumpest, creamiest Victoria Sandwich that  have ever made...

...and it was delicious. Sometimes the simple recipes are the best. I also found a great recipe for Orzo and Tomato Salad in a recent foodie magazine which I took along. The salad was colourful and quite easy to throw together. Lots of fresh herbs. It was really tasty and will definitely get made again.

Alfie loves to sit and watch us cook. Ever hopeful of some scraps.

Last Friday, Watford town centre was taken over by giant insects as part of the" Imagine" arts festival which is happening this week. Giant ants, an immense praying mantis and a supersized spider were so impressive that you barely noticed the puppeteers working incredibly hard to bring them to life.   These amazing puppets towered over the crowds and breathed steam over us as they moved around drawing gasps of amazement from everyone. They were absolutely awesome!!!

I have never seen anything quite like these.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Wiksten Tank in Tana Lawn and some cute baby hats

My new sewing machine arrived in full working order and within the week!  It seems that the terrible internet reviews of the store I purchased it from had stressed me out unnecessarily as I really can't complain about any aspect of the experience. Of course, I could just be lucky. Anyways - the machine is just what I wanted and really was great value. Once I had given it a trial run on some scrap fabric I made a start on the Wiksten Tank that I cut out last week. It took very little time to run up this beautifully simple garment and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the pattern.  The Liberty Tana Lawn was a perfect choice of fabric being light but firm to handle. It is also a totally gorgeous print which I will enjoy wearing. With French seams and bias binding on the neck and sleeves, this top is very well finished, looks excellent and is very comfortable to wear. I will probably make a few more of these.
 Having rediscovered my enthusiasm for sewing I am keen to make a few more garments and have several patterns lined up already...
Baby hats are very quick and fun to knit. I have thoroughly enjoyed making each of these little beauties.  Firstly, another Baby Deer Hat.

Secondly, the unbearably cute striped stocking cap.

Last but not least, the ever wonderful Little Pumpkin Beanie.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Liberty print roses, vintage style sweater and honey cake

After becoming completely bored with the ZigZag crochet skirt that I was working on last week I decided to dig out a project that I abandoned a while ago.  Yes, the Jan Sweater is back! I don't know why I got tired of making this as I am now finding it quite enjoyable.  There are just a couple of inches of the back to finish and then the tiny cap sleeves to knit so it could be completed fairly soon.  I am hoping that this will be a really wearable jumper. The Drops Baby Alpaca Silk yarn is lovely to work with and I think the colour is perfect for this cute vintage style. I am undecided about whether or not to frog the crochet skirt - I feel it is turning out too short and a little too small. It may be best not to waste any more time on it. I can think of other projects that the yarn could be used for.
I did finally get around to blocking my cotton crochet shawl. The lace has opened out a bit and it lies a little flatter.  I hope to get a chance to wear this at some point - at the moment is is just too cold outside.
I have recently decided to start sewing again after a long break. I found this beautiful piece of Liberty Tana Lawn in my long neglected sewing box and downloaded the perfect pattern for it.  After carefully sticking together the pattern pieces and then cutting the fabric, I was keen to get sewing. Unfortunately I hadn't considered that my sewing machine might not want to cooperate!  After "resting" for about 7 years it was unwilling to get back into active service. Also, a couple of small parts such as the bobbin cover seem to have got lost. After consideration, I decided that it would be cheaper to buy a new basic machine than to get my old Brother Super Ace II serviced and repaired. However, I think I may have just made a mistake in ordering a machine from a company with the worst customer service reviews that I have ever read. It would have been better to research the company as well as the machine. After I had paid, I started reading about terrible customer experiences, dodgy practices and even verbal abuse from the shop manager all over the internet. Now I have very little confidence in receiving my new sewing machine in satisfactory condition or in the 2 working days as promised on the website. I really hope they prove the reviews to be wrong.  Meanwhile, my gorgeous Liberty print top is waiting for some stitching up...
Later today I am off to a local Jubilee Celebration Party and have spent this morning baking cakes. This is my first attempt at a lemon and honey cake in a fancy new cake pan. It looks ok but we'll have to see how it tastes.