Complementary colours

I haven’t been taking outfit photos much lately, and the last few times I have done I’ve then found that I couldn’t be bothered to actually blog about them. I find summer dressing pretty uninspiring at the best of times, and my interest in clothes and my appearance pretty much vanished during the bout of depression I was struggling with earlier this year. To be honest, it still hasn’t really returned, even though I’d say that generally not only do I feel happier than I did a few months ago, I feel happier than I have done for about three years; clothes just don’t seem that exciting right now.

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On the other hand, I did like the way my orange jacket worked with the blue skirt and green top I’d put on today. I was going to wear a cobalt blue jacket, given that it has now got cool enough to want a jacket outdoors, but it was too close in colour to the skirt and yet not close enough and just looked sloppy, and my beige jacket is in the wash, so I tried the orange and was pleasantly surprised.

I still feel very uninspired, though. And I miss the outfit blogs I used to get inspiration from; seeing how other women put interesting outfits together often seemed to spark me into thinking up new ways to use my clothes, but there don’t seem to be any everyday outfit blogs around any more, only fashion blogs. I do wonder if my interest in clothes will come back at all, or if it’s gone the way of my interest in food which pretty much disappeared in the last major bout of depression a few years back…

A bit of sewing

I got a new phone several months ago. It’s taller and narrower than my old phone was so alas, the penguin case I made for my old phone didn’t quite fit, and I’ve been meaning to make a new case for it for months. I finally got round to it this afternoon.

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I used the same fabrics as I did for the pencil case I made earlier this year. That seemed like a good idea, given that I do like the combination of fabrics, but now I think maybe it’s a bit too matchy.

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The case is a very snug fit anyway, because I based it on the listed dimensions of my phone and failed to allow for the fact that I have a clip-on case on mine. So I might see if I can find some different fabric and make a second one. I think I’d also prefer a fabric tab with a bit of Velcro or maybe a popper or even a magnetic snap (or would a magnetic snap cause my phone to go loopy?) to the elastic and button.

Actually, I’m finding that I quite enjoy making cases and project bags. They’re much quicker and less fiddly than clothes, so less daunting if I just want to spend an hour or so sewing at the weekend. The only trouble is, I already have so many project bags, and there are only so many things in my house that I can make cases for without turning into Crazy Cozy Woman. I have been idly toying with the idea of setting up an Etsy shop but then again, I’m not convinced that I’m good enough to make things to sell yet…

Slow socks

It seems to have been quite a while since I last posted here, though I have been knitting away. (I haven’t touched my spinning wheel since the end of the Tour de Fleece, though – must rectify that tomorrow – and I seem to have lost interest in sewing again. Apparently sewing is something I get into every spring and fall out of love with again come July. And I haven’t been taking outfit photos because I’m bored of my summer clothes and can’t wear handknits when it’s this warm and am longing for boot weather again.)

I finished my latest pair of socks this week: Rachel Coopey’s Pavilion socks.

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This pattern was released in June as a mystery knitalong, but but the time I cast on in mid-June all the clues had already been released (I was going to start earlier, but wanted to finish the socks I was working on first). The yarn is Twistle, a now-discontinued high-twist wool/nylon sock yarn from The Yarn Yard. I love the rich colour and the way the cables pop in it.

I wish I could say that I really enjoyed knitting these socks, but I didn’t. It’s nothing to do with the pattern, which is complicated enough to be an interesting knit but never too complicated to knit on the bus, and is awfully pretty to boot. Nor is it anything to do with the yarn. No, the problem was that I decided to knit these socks on a KnitPro Karbonz circular needle I’d bought to try out, and I hated knitting with it. The carbon-fibre needles have metal tips at the points, and I found that the contrast between the slippery metal and the grabbier carbon fibre made every. single. stitch feel as though it was catching as it slid between the two, which was somewhat maddening and stopped me getting into the flow of the knitting. And then, one morning when I was knitting on the bus, this happened:

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One of the metal tips popped right off! On that occasion I managed to retrieve the tip from the floor of the bus and pop it back onto the needle; I carried on using them as I was worried about my gauge changing if I switched to different needles, but I wasn’t so lucky the second time it happened, just after I’d started the toe decreases on the second sock, when I couldn’t find the tip at all and ended up spending the rest of the working day without access to knitting before coming home and switching to different needles (and it felt to nice to be knitting without that little “catch” every stitch). So the broken Karbonz needle has gone in the bin and I don’t think I’ll be buying any more. I’ll stick to my wooden KnitPro sock needles in future!

Spinning and sewing

Given that the fabulous photos posted during last year’s Tour de Fleece were one of the things that convinced me to start spinning, I was looking forward to joining in this year’s myself. I haven’t managed to spin every day, due to being away last weekend and sometimes too tired or late home on a worknight to fit any spinning in, but I have definitely spun more than I normally would and have spun half of a braid of rainbow gradient BFL from The Yarn Yard:

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I started the second half today:

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I’m not going to finish by next Sunday, but that’s OK. And I think it will be lovely when it’s done and plied up.

I’ve also been doing some Tour related sewing; I’m spinning along with the Archers Listeners group on Ravelry and there are prizes awarded each week to people who’ve posted their progress pictures (I won a big bag of raw alpaca fleece last week – I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it, but I think I’ll have fun finding out!). I offered a handmade project bag as a prize, and actually got round to making it today so it can go off to its new home tomorrow.

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I used this tutorial, which I’ve used before, though I made the outside all one fabric and cut a paper template 30cm tall by 27cm wide for all the pieces. I thought the bicycle print fabric was appropriate!

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It’s lined in pale blue, though you can’t really see that in the pictures, and rather than sewing fabric ties I used blue and white spotted grosgrain ribbon. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out and I hope its new owner likes it!

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Today was definitely the kind of day when the only sensible clothing strategy was to wear loose lightweight woven garments, and as few of those as possible.

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Linen dress, sandals, done. Even if the dress did already look wrinkled at a quarter to seven in the morning when I took this picture (that’ll be because you never iron things – Ed.).

Tucked in

I’ve never tended to wear tops tucked in (well, I probably tucked in my school blouses when I wore school uniform, but I think that was about it). I’m not sure why. Was it just so much the fashion when I was growing up that I never even thought about it? Did tucked-in tops remind me too much of school? Did I hope that wearing a longer top would hide my stomach? I really don’t know, but whatever the reason, I have spent most of the last 40 years wearing my tops untucked. So I’m not quite sure why I suddenly seem to have started tucking things in.

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I don’t think it looks bad, and it’s probably better with these rather shapeless blouses I bought from White Stuff in the hope that they would look smarter than t-shirts (which I think they do, though possibly not when untucked as they’re linen and wrinkle up). It’s just rather a departure from my normal look.

Green and purple, and a new necklace

I love my Lyttelton shrug. It’s a really nice shape, perfect to throw on when I want a bit more than just a dress but it’s too warm for a cardigan.

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I think that what I like about the shape is that unlike a lot of shrugs, it isn’t just a pair of sleeves without a jumper attached – you knit a few inches of the back before casting on more stitches for the sleeves, and cast off the sleeve stitches and then knit the same length again on the fronts. I’d like to knit more shrugs, because it is very wearable, but there seem to be very few patterns that have that; most are basically a rectangle with the long side seamed at the outer edges to create sleeves, and they tend to have a rather stretched look at the armpits which I don’t particularly like. Maybe I should just substitute another stitch pattern, and maybe rework the stitch counts and shaping for a different gauge, and make another Lyttelton…

I also wore my new necklace, which I bought on Saturday from Yellow Bear Wares.

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Because really, how could I resist a green and purple knitting needle necklace?