Curnworle

Say the above a few thousand times until you’ve picked up the west country accent.

Cadgwith flowers

I am having withdrawal symptoms. Cornwall is so beautiful, I’m always sad to leave. I disappeared down that way last Friday to visit a veterinary friend of mine for a couple of days. She lives near the Duchy College (ie, land owned by the Prince of Wales) and horses graze in the field behind her house. Its that kind of place. It makes me want to eat seafood, and walk along cliffs and swim in rock pools and listen to Seth Lakeman and eat cream teas. I always return refreshed, excited and feeling like I can conquer anything if I could just bottle up that little corner of the UK and smell it whenever I felt anxious.

You really should go, even if it is a 4-5 hour drive away. I’m not given to wishy-washy-luvvie-wuvvie descriptions of anything, but as you can tell, I’m a little self-indulgent when it comes to this particular subject. This time we drove down the A30 to the Lizard and ended up firstly in Cadgwith and ate freshly-caught crab sandwiches, and then in a place called Mullion Cove and ate freshly caught cream teas. It used to be part of the sardine fishing industry at the turn of the century, and although it remains a fishing port it is all done on a very small-scale these days.

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My finger is recovering quite quickly now, so normal crafting services will resume shortly.

I promise!

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sneaky

I took the plaster off my mangled finger today, but sadly I think it may be out of crafting action for a while yet. However, it would be out of character for me to sit still, so here is a picture of what I managed to squeeze in whilst using only 9 fingers:

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Yes, that’s right. PROFITEROLES. Oh yes.

I watched James-thank-god-he-lost-the-bandanna-because-now-he-looks-kinda-cute Martin on BBC2 yesterday and thought I’d give it a try. The recipe is actually from How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson, although I took James’s tip and put a shallow film of water in another tray at the bottom of the oven.

Now I really must do some work before I have to head out the door to this gig later. Be Off With You!

Retro Schmetro

Well, the finger is still painful. bum. No crafting, no cooking, no nothing. I can’t do anything that puts any pressure on it, and that includes lifting things with my left hand. the regular action of knitting and crochet seem to upset it too.

So, instead of kicking back with a DVD and a G&T, I got incredibly frustrated this evening with my untidiness. It always bothers me, but I can usually find something else to do. But this time in a rash moment of enthusiasm I started tidying things away! My sanity obviously disappeared with that bit of my finger.

Well, as I was tidying tops into hampers, I discovered this skirt (see below). I’d completely forgotten about it. I bought it in a great vintage store, although I guess you’d call it an Op Shop if you’re from NZ or a second-hand shop if you don’t read Vogue regularly. Its called Beyond Retro, and it sits slap bang in the middle of my favourite place in London right now, Soho. Well, it cost me less than £15 and is a gorgeous cotton so will be perfect for spring. I’m not a massive fan of polka dots, but it appeals to the retro side of me (and wow, do I have a soft spot for retro), especially as it so 50’s-inspired.

Its a wrap-around style but my waist isn’t small enough to accomodate the wrap without exposing my decency every time I put left foot in front of right. So I think I’ll sew down the side seams, leaving a gap at the bottom for ease of walking, and I’ll put some buttonholes in the top of the seam to fasten it. Either that or I’ll take the waist down slightly, but that will involve a little more tailoring, and I’m not sure I can be bothered. Despite my poorly finger I seem to be creating a lot of projects for myself…

I did manage to find another fantastic craft blog: Ruby Crowned Kinglette . Today she’s got a post on smocking, and some of it looks incredibly beautiful. Its always looked far too difficult to me, but her stuff looks wonderful.

I may be quiet for a few days however. I’m gigging until late tomorrow night in town and then I’m driving straight to Cornwall (alright, I’ll stop in a Travelodge in Southampton at about 3am) to spend the weekend with a friend down there. I love Cornwall, I can’t wait. And I’m pleased about seeing my friend of course

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hand finished

It would seem that knitting and crochet exacerbate my poor wounded finger so I have to find some other one-handed crafting activity.

SO I’ve started the lining/interlining for that glitzy tie I posted a few days ago. This tie has turned out to be a little more labour-intensive than i thought. Hmm. Maybe next time I’ll knock one up in a heavier yarn with a textured stitch. Anyway, I’ve used some more of that satin-back crepe from my knitting needle cases and just to stiffen it, I’ve also added a bit of iron-on hair canvas. It’ll have to be stitched by hand to the knitted piece. Just to make sure it all stays in place I’m putting a bit of visible hand-stitching on it (again, I’m sorry about the photo, I’m perplexed about its size):

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I’ve got the time, and Miss Marple is on telly. Now that was a woman who knew how to knit!

On the cooking front, I’m mid-way through a 3-day sourdough rye loaf. I mixed a cup of rye flour with a cup of water last night and then added exactly the same thing again this morning. The idea is the dough mix picks up natural yeasts in the air (or something like that) and ferments itself. You then use this as a starter for the bread dough which I will knock up tomorrow, except its going to take ages! It has to be left for 3 hours to rise… If I’m lucky I might be finished in time for the repeats of Cagney & Lacey, I’ve found it perfect watching-whilst-crafting material, along with Diagnosis Murder and Midsomer Murders…not that I watch these things regularly… *blush*

Surely other people watch Detectives on telly whilst knitting?

Goof Friday

I say that because today, whilst being family-spirited (I volunteered to cook the fish for good friday this year) I ended up slicing the top of my finger off. Because I was close to fainting Dad ended up cooking dinner whilst I barked orders from inbetween my knees and all the while Mum the former surgical nurse bandaged me up. Mum remarked in her subtle way that we’ll always remember the first time she ate Monkfish. I’m now walking around like I stuck my finger into a tub of dairylea…

I apologise now for any spelling mistakes. I’m a touchtyper and am VERY frustrated that I am reduced to 9 digits.

Anyhoo, I went for a lovely walk along the Thames to Ham House in the spring sunshine this morning and was happy to see so many blossoming trees even if hayfever is early this year as a result. AND I managed to turn this :

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into this:

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Knitting Needle Cases! (let me know if you want instructions but they’re fairly straightforward) The one on the left is from an old curtain that hung in my Gran’s house in the 50’s. The fabric on the right is an Amy Butler print, the name escapes me. They’re both lined with some low-fi satin-back crepe I bought from E-bay a while back, and the ribbon I found whilst tidying my wool stash. I didn’t realise there is an entirely separate stash in one of the other bedrooms… I thought I could make this pom pom rug from ‘Craftivity’ with it. Its written by a woman called Tsia Carson, who runs the wonderful applied design website www. supernaturale.com. Go check it out.

Now to get hold of that book

Projects In Progress

Well, I promised pictures.

here’s that tie I was chatting about:

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doh! its actually on 3.5mm needles… I’ll probably line it with some hair canvas and then some suit lining. Incidentally that fabric is left over from a high-waisted skirt I made up for a Cornish wedding last October. I’d forgotten I still had it. I ran out of time to make the matching capelet so made do with something I already had. You can see the skirt in this photo, along with a jacket made from a vintage vogue pattern (can you see a retro theme emerging here?).

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I also bought a ball of Debbie Bliss’s silk something-or-other just because I loved it. I sat looking at it for quite a while though, utterly stumped as to what to do with it. In the end I resurrected my crochet skills and swatched up a square of Venetian Lace. It’s supposed to be one quarter of a choker using a pattern from Vintage Stitch-O-Rama but something odd has happened with my tension (ie. I need more practice). Its doubtful it’ll get sorted out anytime soon, but never mind.

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I was also tidying out my wool stash – how did it get so big? – and found a whole pile of these sitting at the bottom:

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Bonkers. I did these at least 10 years ago from some kind of Harmony Guide for crochet stitches. I was definitely still in school – it brought back a whole load of crafting memories from a completely different decade. Century even. Anyway, they’d make a great blanket or bedspread, or even a tablecloth (or a curtain perhaps) once sewn together although there’ll need to be a few more. But now the venetian lace has jogged my memory it shouldn’t be too hard to recreate without a pattern. Maybe I’ll post it if I get around to doing it.

So now I’m all caught up on myself. Considering my rabid knitting, its been helpful to stop and take stock of my unfinished works. They all seem to feed off each other, but sadly I don’t have enough hands to work on them all at the same time. Man, you should see me knitting away on the train to work! The other commuters don’t seem to mind but then again it takes a lot to make a London commuter flinch…

Until next time folks

ps, anyone got any tips for how to store circular needles neatly? I used to use straight-pins but have recently switched and I’m not sure what to do with them all. Hooks in the door? ribbons to tie them together?

passivity

Anyone else felt waylaid by their knitting and then suddenly caught by the bug?

I’ve been resolutely ignoring my knitting and all things crafty for weeks, then discovered a few websites and bam! I guess I’d gotten a bit bored following patterns. All my projects involve a little freestyling right now. A drummer friend of mine recently bought himself a shiny new kit so I’m knitting him a glittery silver tie to go with it for his birthday. I’m just making it up as I go along with some crochet thread, stocking stitch and some 3.25mm needles. I promise pictures as soon as its done.

And having seen Kim Hargreaves’s new website I’m making up my own summer jacket. I’d been a bit stumped with the 13 skeins 13 skeins! – of Rowan Summer Tweed that I’d bought myself 2 or 3 years ago and was a bit inspired by what she’d managed to do with it. I’m going to try knitting up a little sixties box jacket, but as I’m short-waisted its going to have to sit a little higher than a commercially-bought one would. Its got a kick pleat in the back and a little shaping at the waist, but its relatively boxy. I might have to consider some shaping in the front panels to avoid it hanging from my bust and making me look pregnant. I’m a bit confused as to how I can do that, but in the spirit of adventure I’m going to give it a go anyway.

Things are so much more exciting when you throw away the instructions! I’ve been very excited by the top-down raglan ideas on Ysolda’s website, that will have to be my next pattern. I wonder if you can knit a set-in sleeve from the top down?