Tag Archives: swaps

In the bag

I haven’t done much sewing lately. The Birgitte Basic Tee pattern is languishing untraced and unadjusted, and all my great plans for making more skirts and tunics and dresses are still just plans. Maybe when the weather gets warmer and there’s more daylight and I have more energy at the weekends…

Still, I did get my sewing machine out a few weeks ago to make a gift for the swap at last weekend’s York gathering. I hadn’t left myself the time to knit anything after finishing my dad’s socks, so I decided to make a project bag. I found this tutorial online and used leftover fabric from my very first skirt and the Market Blouse I made a couple of years ago. I was a little bit concerned that the lining was such a bright pink, because I knew that at least some of the people who were coming to York are not fans of pink, but I needn’t have worrued because the parcel went to Yvette who loves pink (and whose encouragement on Twitter had been what convinced me that I was capable of making a project bag someone else would like).

I wrapped the bag up as soon as I’d made it, scared that if I looked at it for longer I’d decide it wasn’t fit to be given away after all, so I didn’t have any pictures, but happily Yvette has taken some herself.


I’m very pleased that it’s gone to someone who loves it. And I might actually try making myself one, too, though goodness knows I don’t exactly need more project bags!


Today’s outfit was all about comfort; my red dress for comfort in the muggy weather we’ve been having, and my green shoes for comfort because the toe I squashed under a chair last autumn has been giving a few twinges. I added a necklace as a concession to aesthetics, but the primary focus of this outfit was definitely not how it looked.


Necklace – East
Dress – Debenhams
Shoes – Greenshoes

And it was lovely to get home after another busy day to find a parcel full of gorgeous things waiting for me from the shawl swap I’ve been doing.

Swap parcel

The notebook is particularly perfect, but the shawl is also beautiful and definitely something I’ll enjoy wearing with more casual outfits. Thank you so much, swap partner!

Year end blues

Yesterday was the last day of our financial year, which meant that today was the first day of Year End – the weeks following the end of the year when we have to finalise all the figures and make sure the accounts are correct before the auditors come in. My team aren’t directly involved in producing the accounts, but things are still a little bit stressful, so maybe I subconsciously chose a more muted outfit than normal. (I didn’t particularly think of it as muted, but a colleague complained in a meeting this morning that she always looked forward to seeing the bright colours I wear, and it was disappointing to find me in blue. Apparently, I have a standard to uphold.)


Cardigan – Hey Teach!
Blouse – charity shop
Skirt – made by me
Shoes – Greenshoes

It was also a very ethical outfit – nothing at all that was bought new from a mass-market retailer!

Meanwhile, the shawl I knitted over the Jubilee weekend has arrived with its intended recipient, so I can finally post pictures!


It’s the p/hop pattern Trinity Shawlette by Anniken Allis. The yarn is also one of Anni’s – Glorious Sock, 60% merino, 15% bamboo, 10% silk and 10% nylon – which I bought at the UK Ravelry Day in Coventry in 2009. Sadly, it now seems to be discontinued which is a real shame as it was absolutely wonderful to knit with – beautifully soft and smooth and with such a lovely drape.

Trinity closeup

The pattern is quite straightforward and easy to remember, the kind of lace knitting that isn’t really any harder than stocking stitch but more interesting to knit, which probably explains why I found it so absorbing I managed to finish the shawl in a weekend!

Anyway, I hope my partner gets plenty of wear out of it. Meanwhile, I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of my own shawl some day soon!

Nothing to see here, move right along

We’ve just had a four-day weekend here, courtesy of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (I incline towards republicanism, but was very happy to get an extra day off work!). So how can I not have any crafting activity to share with you?

Well, I was planning on spending some time with my sewing machine – maybe even making a muslin of the Serendipity Bebe dress (which I think is much more my kind of thing than the Pastille, really) – but when it came to it I was feeling a bit low and lacking in energy, and I just didn’t feel up to working on my dressmaking skills. So instead I spent most the weekend knitting (well, the bits when I wasn’t asleep, anyway – there were quite a lot of those too). And I got lots of knitting done. In fact, I managed to finish my shawl for the shawl swap we’re having in the Yarn Yard group on Ravelry, which I only cast on the Sunday before last. Unfortunately, because it’s for a swap I can’t post any pictures of it or give any details until it’s safely with my swap partner, and that won’t be until the beginning of August. So all I can say is that the pattern was great and really motored along, and the yarn was absolutely gorgeous, and I just hope my partner enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed knitting it!

A shawl a day keeps the blues away

Anyone who has been reading this blog for more than about two minutes will have realised that I’m a big fan of shawls. They’re fun to knit – a chance to use beautifully coloured yarns and knit interesting, challenging lacy designs that might be too much in a cardigan or jumper, plus there’s no need to worry about fit issues – and I love the way they brighten up an outfit and add a little bit of extra warmth. Before I knitted shawls I used to have a collection of brightly coloured viscose ‘pashminas’, but handknitted shawls are so much better.


Shawl – Godiva
Dress – M&S via eBay
Vest and tights – M&S
Shoes – Shuropody

So you’d think, when someone decided to set up a shawl swap in the Yarn Yard group on Ravelry, that I’d have leapt at it, instead of deciding to sit it out. But the thing is, while I would love to knit a shawl for someone else, and would treasure a shawl someone had knitted for me because of the time and trouble they’d taken over it, when it comes down to it I can’t imagine wearing a shawl someone else had made me to work. One of the nicest things, for me, about wearing my shawls to work is that they feel like a little bit of the real me that I’ve managed to sneak into my work persona. They cheer me up when things are tough, and remind me that I have a life outside the office where I can make beautiful things rather than just crunchihng numbers. I don’t think I’d get that with a shawl someone else had made me; however beautiful it was, it would just be a piece of clothing.

On the other hand, I’d have no problem wearing a shawl someone else had made me out of work; I don’t think I need the same kind of validation in my casual outfits. So maybe I should join the swap after all…