Monday, 18 November 2013

Alive and Well, Busy!

Cousin Sandra got in touch via Facebook to ask if we were OK, it having been a couple of weeks since my last post. Given that I did the Halloween post in advance, it has been even longer since I actually wrote a post. It's easy to lose your confidence once the habit of posting is dropped. What have I been doing instead?

Trying to get the running habit again. I try to get out four days a week:  a long run, a track session and a couple of short runs. I'm taking baby steps with this as it is easy do too much and get discouraged. So far, so good.

Crafting - The Thursday night craft group does a wide variety of things, but often the projects can't be completed in a couple of hours. Even when several sessions are devoted to a project, there is sometimes preparation or finishing off work in between. Two of my favourite things from recent sessions are a pumpkin pin cushion and a jewellery holder. More about that last item later.

The large one at the front is mine!

Knitting - I've moved on from knitting little hats for bottles. I know it sounds mental, but it's part of an advertising campaign and the company that sells smoothies gives 25p to Age UK for every hatted bottle sold. I made forty of the things when we were in France this summer. 

I'm now knitting sweaters for children at a hospital in Nigeria, with a knitting group that meets at Age UK. I think it worries Bill that I associate with so many older ladies; but they teach me cool things and they make me laugh. The local Rotary club collects donated yarn and we knit or crochet the stuff into sweaters, hats, blankets, socks and sometimes toys. This has been a great way to improve my skills. I'm now doing the much easier Continental style of knitting and getting better at correcting mistakes. 

A dead simple pattern, kindly shared by Vivien.

I'm not very fast, but it doesn't really matter;  and knitting a sweater that will be matched to a child that it fits is so much easier than knitting one for a certain person.

Dressmaking - Lucy and I have taken on a dressmaking course that meets once a week. I've been making a shirt with princess seams from a Butterick pattern (5526). 

Pattern selection inspired by Goodbye Valentino.

I've started with  a trial garment first, which is probably just as well, as I've made tons of stupid mistakes. Can't say I've learned a great deal I didn't already mostly know, but I desperately need to practice!  The class forces me to make time for sewing as well as provides some protected time within the class. It is a long time dream to develop my sewing skills, something I can imagine regretting on my death bed if I didn't ever give it a go. Sounds a bit weird perhaps but given the excellent sewing my Mom and my Aunt Rita did, I feel that I'm supposed to try to do this. I'm not sure if I'm going to like the shirt when it's done, but I'll show it to you all the same.

Thanksgiving - We are having 20 people so far (might be as many as 32, RSVPs not due for a few days) for our Thanksgiving party on the 30th. We've been doing some extra cleaning in preparation for this. I've got to get my sewing room sorted back into a guest room in case one of Bill's kids wants to stay over. Sarah and/or Simon generally do this when they come.

More Sewing and Crafting - As usual I've managed to leave my gift-making til late and am frantically working on two main projects to give as gifts. Can't say more about those just now of course but one of them involved working out my own pattern and did my head in, but I found a solution that I can live with. Luckily I have plenty of practice fabric - old sheets and curtain linings - and lots of ideas for using discarded scraps. My gifts for folks in the US are actually ready to go to the post office. It's so early for me to have them ready I can almost worry there is something wrong!

Our WI craft group is going well and though it only meets once a month, the few of us who run the thing still have to make sure there is a presenter ready to lead a project each time. We made felted ornaments last time and will be tackling origami Christmas cards next time.  

Champagne Sub-Group - This is just a small group of friends who all happen to be in the WI. When Vivien kept winning the raffles that included bottles of champagne she insisted that we get together and enjoy them together. Jules dubbed us the Champagne Sub-group. We get together a few times a year for days out, evenings in, visiting other WI groups and just generally having a laugh (with or without champagne). It's lovely to finally have re-built my social life.  We're going to Blyth this Friday to check out a couple of sewing and consignment shops as well as charity shops and probably have lunch somewhere.

I do plan to keep blogging, I just need to figure out where to fit that in...


Beryl said...

It all sounds like such fun! That is a great shirt pattern, but so difficult for a first project. Good luck. Suggestion - make it in a small print - the mistakes won't show.
What an adorable sweater, but I have no idea what "continental style" knitting is. Your social life sounds quite nice. I know that my favorite thing about Oklahoma is my group of friends.

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

I can relate, this fall/winter has been so busy - ever since we got home from our US trip, we have been trying to finish up our renos before winter (flooring & painting) .... haven't had time for blogging either! Love those bottle hats.

Glad to hear you are doing well!

Shelley said...

Beryl - Check out Continental or Russian or German knitting on Youtube - for example, this very slow one...

It's great fun!

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YONKS said...

I admire that you put the time into crafting. You teach me that I must spend less time on my iPad and more time on other worthwhile activities. At the moment Candy Crush is ruining my life, Damn you Candy Crush :-)

Vivien Hollyoak said...

Blyth turned out to be another great day out despite one of the intended destination shops being closed - we have another excuse (as if we needed one!) to pay a return visit.