Monday, 16 January 2017

New Knits & Free Finds

Fingerless gloves have to be one of my favourite knits. They're quick, practical and ideal tv-knitting during episodes of Sherlock - what's not to like? I've completed two pairs already this year and am planning more. 

For the first pair I returned to one of my favourite patterns by Twisted Stitches, which uses 4ply sock yarn and 2.5mm dpns. Instead of my usual choice of Colinette 'Jitterbug' yarn, I used some stash yarn in the form of Cascade  'Heritage Paints' that a friend gave to me years ago. 

In contrast for the second pair with their cable pattern, I used some chunky Rowan 'Felted Tweed' in the 'Aubergine' colourway, which knitted up far quicker than the thinner 4ply! 

The pattern is 'Beech' from Rowan Knitting Magazine No. 50; again knitted on dpns but 8mm this time. 

Photo source
Now, I love the colour and texture of the Rowan yarn, but I found it so splitty to work with and it broke at inconvenient times when I was doing the cable pattern, which resulted in me having to rip back a few rows to re-join the yarn. I wasn't happy about that! However, these are the ideal mitts to wear when driving Archie the Morris.

I'm having a bit of a creative rush this month, as I'm also doing some embroidery (I'll save that for another post perhaps) and I've got back into life-drawing at long last. 

I've always enjoyed life-drawing and went to various classes over the years, but it was after talking to a friend who also goes to the same class, that gave me the impetus to sign up for the spring term. My first lesson was last week and I really enjoyed it, getting back into the flow, working with charcoal and pastels.

Finally, I'll end this on a 'kindness of strangers' note. Walking back home on Saturday I noticed a sign outside an open garage reading: "Free - please take otherwise its going to the tip". Well, you can't resist an invitation like that, can you?

There wasn't much there, but I did leave with a hoe (practical eh?) and these lovely 1950s/60s glass Christmas baubles and artificial berries:

Luckily I had a pen on me, so scribbled a few words of thanks under the original message. 

Wasn't that a lucky find?

Saturday, 31 December 2016

That Was The Year: 2016

Well, its that time of year for me to have my annual blog review of 2016's makes, finds and general doings, and I don't know about you, but for me this year has flown past at a ridiculously fast rate.

2016 saw me hardly doing much knitting as I was pooling all my efforts into getting the business up-and-running, working on the house and spending a lot of time outdoors in the orchard trying to tame its overgrown and long-forlorn corners, and rejuvenate the neglected fruit trees.

I started a few knitting projects, but they fell by the wayside (as usual). Those that I did complete were my teacosies, Fair Isle beret and a last minute Christmas present for Monkeychild: a mermaid blanket. She'd seen these on the 'net and suggested that one would make a welcome present. There was no way I was going to buy one when I could knit something far better (and we all know that homemade presents are the best!), so I found a free pattern on the Black Sheep Wools website (Link), brought the yarn and on the 24th November cast on for the blanket. I didn't finish it until the 23rd December which was very close to the wire and was the most concentrated amount of knitting that I've done in a long time; but it was so worthwhile to see the look of happiness on Monkeychild's face when she unwrapped it on Christmas morning!

Sewing fared similarly, with my 1970s maxi dress that turned out to be 'meh', Monkeychild's Alice in Wonderland dress also based on a '70s pattern (these were my #VintagePledge2016 projects) and her summer romper suit. 

To be honest, I haven't been visiting the charity shops as often as in previous years so my finds have been rather sparse in comparision. Though I have had some great buys in those that I visited and other places; here's some of my favourites...

From Top left: 1970s Jeff Banks blouse, 1940s evening dress, 1970s Indian print dress, Pied a Terre boots & 1930s enamel sign

However, being outside in the orchard either working, playing or relaxing has been one of the year's greatest satisfactions that we've all enjoyed as a family. 

From digging up the brambles at the start of the year, evolving the greenhouse border from an overgrown rubblepile to a colourful flowerpatch, watching the wildlife appear and just sitting outside with a tea first thing in the morning (or a beer in the evening) - simple pleasures that are truly the best and what I'm looking forward to the most in 2017.

So on this final note, the VK household wish you and yours all health and happiness for 2017...

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Hey Babe - Scents of Yesteryear

I was browsing online t'other day looking for presents, when I did a double-take...Babe perfume is back! Cue online order being immediately placed.

Apparently it was reissued last year, so I'm late on the catch-up.

Babe has to be one of the scents that brings childhood memories and those of my teens back to me; along with my Mum's Jontue perfume and my first bottle of patchouli oil brought by Dad for my 13th birthday (I was into heavy metal by then, so a canvas school bag adorned with biro'd band logos of Iron Maiden and the like, had to be liberally doused in patchouli).

My Auntie used to wear Babe and I can remember seeing a whole range of it in her bathroom; from those round cardboard tubs of talc to deodorant. Having a hug from her invariably meant me breathing in the heady scent of Babe and connecting it to be loved.

The ads for it used to pop up in Mum's magazines too, with the face of Babe being the stunningly beautiful Margaux Hemingway with her razor-sharp cheekbones.

Image Source: Link

At the time my pocket money didn't stretch to a bottle of Babe, but it was a scent that I coveted. But thirty-odd years later, I now have my own bottle! And yes, Babe does smell how I vaguely remember it and ever since it arrived, I've been daily spritzing myself with it!

Now Babe's back, I'm hoping that Limara bodyspray will also make a welcome return. 

Image Source: Link
This used to be a staple in school/college/work bags and getting ready to go out involved spraying myself in a cloud of 'American Dream' (the pale yellow can), which was my favourite.

It also had one of the best ever animated tv ads, with a Blondie-esque woman spraying gusts of Limara over herself before kissing awake a sleeping man in a gothic castle - a female take on Sleeping Beauty.

The ad's soundtrack was exceptional though, as it used an earlier 1981 recording of Remember My Name by singer Stevie Lange. If I could have chosen a singing voice, it would have been Stevie's without a doubt -she really belts it out.

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