Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Passion for Fashion - Part Two

Once again not much to report on the crochet scene. I am still plodding on with the blue cardigan, that I dug out of stash, but I find the pattern very slow going and know why it got stashed in the first place! I am trying hard not to start something else that would be finished faster. Patience is a virtue so they say so maybe I can discover my inner virtue and finish it one day soon.

These blurry photos are the second half of the photos from one of my Christmas books - Passion for Fashion. The bolero is something that I might make but the crochet skirt is a big no no with my rotund figure! The corset belt isn't doing much to shape the slim model so I have no chance with that one either. The jacket I am not too keen on either nor the shoulder shawl. What the photo doesn't show is that it more a long shaped stole gathered at the neck so there must be a lot of bulk hidden around the back of that photo!

Today it is freezing cold again and misty. I am going to get a hot shower to warm up and then play chicken with the central heating. One reason I am not getting as much crochet done is that I try not to turn it back on again until at least the middle of the afternoon. I wrap up warmly but my fingers get so cold and I can't crochet in gloves. I do have a calor gas fire but as that tends to make me cough I only have it on low. I rue the day my ex husband removed all of the chimney breasts in the house as now it would be too expensive to install a gas fire again. I did make enquiries a while ago and my only option was not the one I wanted. The only outside wall that I have is in the dining room as my front room has a huge bay window.

Perhaps I should just start a bonfire in the back garden and dance around that to keep warm? I could go down into the woods with my trolley and gather all the fallen branches (the ones that the log stove burner people have missed). Nice thought but the clean air brigade would be banging on my doorstep as soon as the smoke started rising. My ex regularly used to set fire to garden rubbish and totally upset the neighbours when he lived here.

I spent all of last night uploading photos to Flickr and to Ravelry. I try to avoid Ravelry as much as possible otherwise I spend more hours looking and reading things than I do making anything.One New Year resolution is to set the timer when I go onto Ravelry!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Passion for Fashion

As I have nothing much to report on the crocheting front ( I fell asleep watching TV last night after barely starting a front) I thought that I would show you some badly photographed items from one of the books that I got from Santa. One day I will get the hang of taking photos of shiny pages.

This book is called Passion for Fashion by Dora Ohrenstein. There are not many things in it that I would make as they are but I like the scarf. The jacket is a never in a million years in those colours but maybe in one colour it would be passable. I would make the hats and the little bag but in different colours. The lap top bag is very colourful but looking at the ribbon strap threaded through then I would have to improvise as I would want to use it as a knit/crochet bag as I don't have a lap top and can't see how the strap would stay taut unless a lap top was inside supporting it.

I will post the rest of the garment photos on the blog tomorrow as I doubt I will have much in the way of crochet to reveal then either. I think I overdid it at Christmas and my hands are having a rest!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Names and nicknames

I was chatting today with Sylvia about our names and our families names and how we came by them. I then went on to read my blogs and funnily enough there was a blog with a meme asking were we named after anyone? Talk about a small world.

I was named after my two grandmothers as was the custom in my generation. Well I say I was named after them but I was not exactly. My name was to be Jennet Elizabeth but my mother decided that Janet was a more acceptable form of the name. Nice name you may think unless you came from the Oldham region as I did. I spent most of my childhood saying my name is JanEt and not JanIt. Added to the fact that my maiden name was Buckley I couldn't win when I shortened my name to Jan as I was then known as Jam Buttie through junior school. My mother had thought of Elizabeth Janet but rejected it as I would either get called Eliza Jane or Lizzie. I later read Little Women and dearly wanted to be called Beth but the die was cast JanIt it was to be for many years to come until I moved away from Royton and the Oldham accent to an area where they pronounced my name as Janette.

My family, of course, had pet or nicknames for me. My father used to call me Joey. You might think it was because I sang so beautifully like our caged bird with the same name? No - he said like the budgie I would stay quiet as a mouse until he was listening to something on the radio and then both the bird and I would start twittering and he couldn't hear it! I still twitter when I am nervous so I guess that Joey still fits me.

My older brother had another name for me. Jezebel. Frankie Lane had a record in the charts in the 50's called Jezebel and the lyrics went "If ever the devil was born without a pair of horns it was you - Jezebel it was you" I used to ask my mum to tell him to stop singing that to me all the time but I suppose it can't have been easy for him having a much younger sister foisted on him when he would rather play out with his mates. I was a bit of a hellion when I was small and didn't get my own way. Not exactly what you need tagging along with you when you are 12.

My nieces now call me Netty as we decided years ago that I wasn't going to be an Aunt anything and at work I was always J.C from my (married name) initials.

The crochet is something that I dragged out of a carrier bag. I started it many years ago when I tried to revive my love of crochet and failed. I didn't recover my crochet and knitting mojo until I retired. Yesterday I finished the other half of the back but unfortunately I now seem to be crocheting looser than I did when I first started it. Fortunately it is worked shoulder down so the bottom half being wider is not a problem as my bottom half is wider than it was when I first started the cardigan. Hopefully I will now finish it and it will be one less bag in my stash. I will start the fronts on a smaller hook to start with and then change hooks to match the back.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Memories of Fame Academy and Bucks Fizz

I spent a happy afternoon reminiscing about when leg warmers were all the rage. My niece K came to pick up the leg warmers after walking in Heaton Park with her soon to be husband. He installed a new anti virus for me as I refused to pay £60 to renew Norton when I only paid £60 for the whole package in the first place - what a total rip off but that's another story.

We went back down memory lane to try to decide what my niece should wear for the rest of her outfit for her 80's themed New Year party and so started looking up Fame and Bucks Fizz on the net for clothing ideas. I think it has to be leotard,Lycra leggings, a short Ra Ra skirt and sweat band for my niece but quite what her other half is going to wear is as yet undecided. We had thought of Adam Ant or the new romantics look but as he sports a very short crew cut neither of those captured the imagination. I hope that they take photos of themselves when they decide.

If anyone is feeling nostalgic and wants a pair of legwarmers I just cast on 64 sts on 4mm set of 5 needles and used oddments of double knit using a K2 P2 rib. I made the stripes the same either end so it doesn't matter which way she puts them on they will still be a pair.

I haven't decided what to make next and so looked through my carrier bags and discovered I had crocheted half of a back of a cardigan years ago and for some reason had left it. I think it was when I half heartedly started to crochet again whilst I was still working and lost interest. Luckily the hook and the pattern were still in the bag as was the rest of the wool so I am working on that until I decide what to make next. It may possibly get abandoned once again if I decide to make something else.

It was Knit Out day at the Knitty Noras today but I could not make it as I was expecting family and anyway I didn't think there would be such a good turnout as it was so near to Christmas. I shall look forward to going back in the New Year.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Santa came

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day. I did. I went to my brother and sister in law's house for a lovely cooked Christmas dinner and of course ate far too much. I used to wonder what my mother meant when she said I always enjoy a meal cooked by someone else. Now as I have to cook for myself every day I know exactly what she meant. Somehow it tastes all the better for not having to cook it. The company was good and we all had a good time. My two nieces were there and my niece's soon to be husband was also there and I also got to meet his mother so we had a full house.

My presents this year have been wonderful. It might seem strange to have a tin opener and jar opener as a present but it was exactly what I had asked for. I am a practical kind of girl. I got 3 new crochet books and a new Crochet Calendar with a pattern for every day. I also got some face day and night creams (again another request from me) and some Anais Anais perfume which I absolutely love.

One present that brought tears to my eyes was the photo frame complete with photos of my grandchildren and great grand daughters. My son married into a ready made family and so I don't see as much of them as I would like and this is the first time I have had photos of them all together.I shall be finding the right spot to display them with pride.

I still found time to knit even on Christmas Day as there is a bit of a rush on for these 80's style leg warmers that my niece wants to take back to London with her for a themed new year party. I managed to find a suitably stripey pattern and have made half of one so far.

I hope that Santa left you great presents as he did for me. Enjoy the rest of your Christmas holidays and if you are going to the Sales - Hang on to your purse in more ways than one!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to you. I hope that you have a wonderful day and Santa brings you presents that you love. I am one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to cook on Christmas Day. I get invited to my brother and sister in law's house and spend the day with them and my two nieces and partners.

These crochet hats were my last added on presents. I had wool left over from my niece's aran jacket so decided to crochet hats for her and her husband to be. The first pattern is a free one and can be found by clicking on my blog title. I have made a few of these hats and they are so easy to make but look effective with the spiral pattern. The bottom pattern is my adaptation of the Driftwood cap from the Fall Interweave crochet 08. The pattern in the magazine calls for it go round in a spiral effect but as I like my rounds to match up I joined it at the end of every round. It has left a bit of a slight ladder effect but I preferred that to the lob sided spiral in the magazine. Again it is a very easy pattern to make as it is all fdc (front round the post trebles if you are in the UK or front round the post double crochet if you prefer the US terms)

I will be taking my knitting with me to my brother's as I have still to make the legwarmers wanted for New Years Eve.

Happy Christmas and thanks for reading my blog this year.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Tis Christmas Eve and I am still crocheting!

Here I am, nose to the grindstone, still running around on my wheel. The badly photographed items are last minute presents for my daughter in law. I wrapped all the presents up and decided that she was decidedly scant in her pile of presents so hence the big rush. As per usual trying to photograph black in this dim dark miserable Christmas Eve light has meant fuzzy unclear photos but I hope that you can get the general idea,

The bolero Is a concoction of my own based loosely on a couple of Doris Chan patterns. It started off as a Tall Latte evolved into a bit of a Mei Mei with adaptions and finished off as a bit of my own interpretation around the sleeves. Ah well Doris does say to improvise - so I did. The wool has silver lurex in it but I doubt if you can see that in the photos.

The wrist warmers are my own pattern based loosely on a knitted pair that I saw. I knew that I didn't have time to knit them so I used the general idea and crocheted a pair. I hope that you can see the ribbon lacing on them. They are reminiscent of opera gloves and I am hoping that my once Goth daughter in law likes them.

Today I need to find the pattern and wool for the 80's style leg warmers that I shall be knitting over Christmas for my niece to wear to a themed New Year party but firstly I shall be trying to see if I have time for a hat and scarf today - crocheted of course.

Thank you to everyone for their Christmas wishes. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday with your families. Lay off the mince pies and choccies or you too will have a figure like mine for Christmas!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Fetching Fingerless Mitts

This is my favourite pattern for fingerless mitts. It is a free pattern from and they are called Fetching (click the blog title for a direct link) They are really quick to make. These are made from Patons Diploma DK on 4mm needles. I adapt the pattern slightly and make one extra set of cables and 2 rows of K1 P1 rib at the top as when I made them exactly to the pattern I found that the palm curled downwards and they were a bit too short. I also added a couple of rows of rib to the thumb to lengthen that.

I am still battling Internet problems. I get disconnected every couple of minutes so I hope that I can post this blog today without any problems. My cordless phone upstairs has stopped working and when I plugged a normal phone in the phone socket came away from the wall. It just doesn't seem to be my week! Too bad I didn't ask for a new set from Father Christmas. I guess I will be buying myself a new set of cordless phones after Christmas. Let's hope that there are some great bargains in the Sales.

I am still knitting bits and bats for Christmas but if they don't get finished then I am not worried.

Happy Christmas to everyone. I will try to post again tomorrow but just in case I can't then I hope that everyone has a wonderful time.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Mother Christmas is knackered and needs a lie down

I am in the process of wrapping the last of the completed presents up. Last night I had a minor hiccup when I discovered that I had not knitted the belt to the aran cardigan for my niece. I managed to make that and complete a second pair of Moroccan Slippers from the Fabulous Flirty Crochet book by Katherine Lee. I think the ladies of the US must have wider feet than my family. I adapted the orange pair to be a little narrower on the soles but they have still turned out a bit wide despite my changing the pattern stitch sightly and altering the lacing up to make them resemble ballet slippers.

Today I am totally wiped out. I woke up tired and am desperately trying to do some cleaning and tidying as well as wrapping the last of the presents. I still have some more bits and bats to finish off and possibly start but I have got to the stage where I am not going to beat myself up about what I cannot finish in time. Everyone will have got something - it's just that some have got more than others when I come to count up.

The pile is just some of the things that I have made for presents this year and does not show the things that I have bought. Every year I say I will cut down and this year I have. I have cut 3 presents this year as I have not seen them since before I had my operation nor have they contacted me since to see if I am OK so I don't feel guilty about axing them from my list.

I am off to half heartedly finish off my cleaning and hopefully do a bit of knitting later tonight. I am just not on form today. Maybe I should have an early night instead of burning the midnight oil.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Where are those Elves when you need them?

I wish those parcel wrapping elves would make an appearance at my house soon. Today I have a table full of gifts to wrap which will turn out to have all the appeal of a brown paper package tied up with string. I finish up with a carpet full of paper strips, bits of sellotape stuck all over me and lumpy awful parcels. we all have our talents and mine obviously isn't making pretty packages.

That reminds me of a compliment I had once (well I took it as a compliment) A long term boyfriend who had previously had a younger gorgeous trophy wife dated me for 9 yrs despite my being overweight and 13yrs older. One day I asked him what did I have that she didn't apart from the obvious. He said well she was like that present under the Christmas tree that is decorated so beautifully that you can't wait to see the present inside only to open it and find there is nothing that you want inside. You on the other hand are like that present that tends to get overlooked because it isn't wrapped as nicely but when opened contains the best gift of all - a warm generous loving heart. OK so he was a charmer but it was still a lovely thing to say. When I met him I had no self esteem and was at my lowest ebb after my marriage ended and he made me feel like a princess no matter what I looked like. Everyone should have a Charlie in their life. I wish I could still have him on tap for those down days.

As you can see the red Cinnabar crochet cardigan is finished with the added touch of a clasp that Vicky kindly got for me from Hobbycraft to finish it off. I still have half of a fingerless mitt to finish tonight. Last night I made a pair of crochet slippers and photos will follow tomorrow.

I am off now to wrap presents. If you don't see me on here for a few days please check that I am not stuck up with my own sellotape.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Curly borders - but it's finished

Baby Charlie's jacket has been blocked out and looks marginally better but I am still unhappy with the borders. I haven't got the time to unravel and re knit them so I just hope that the mum (a non knitter) will be happy with it.

The Cinnabar is on the last stretch now. Two sleeves completed and just another inch or so to crochet on the body and the edgings to do and then another one is finished.

I photographed the earrings this morning but as the weather is very dull and dreary I am afraid that I haven't done them any justice at all with my photography. I can assure you that they look far nicer in real life than they do on this blog. Thanks once again Jen.

I plan to start some more fingerless mitts and after looking through all my new books I think I will go with my favourite Fetching mitts from

My niece has informed me that she is going to an 80's party for New Year and if possible would like a pair of leg warmers. I have just e mailed her and said if she is up in Manchester for a few days over Christmas I will try to rattle a pair off. I can't see me starting those before Christmas Day. I am turning into my mum - knitting away on Christmas Day whilst watching TV!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Another one finished

I have just finished the baby jacket for baby Charlie but by the time I had sewn it all together and picked up the stitches for the front and hood border it was too dark to take a photo. I had finished all the pieces last night and thought that it would take just an hour or so stitch it together and do the borders. Wrong, It took me ages to get it just right.

The pattern instructions for the knitting have been less than perfect and a novice would have given up a long time ago. The stitching up instructions are practically non existent and a less experienced knitter would never have worked out which way around was the back seam of the hood and which side to sew it to the body. I am not impressed with the bands either I think that they are a bit loose and wavy. I am attempting to correct this with blocking but if I had time I would re-do the bands and pick up at least 10 sts less per front and work them on a finer needle. I guess I am a picky knitter. I won't be rushing to make any more from this book (Chic knits for Stylish Babies by Patricia Wagner)in the future unless the instructions are a lot clearer. Plus patterns in the book only go up to 12 months which means the book has a limited use for babies already here.

I received a surprise in the post today. A pair of Swarovski crystal earrings as a belated birthday present from Jen. I tried to take a photo but they don;t show the purple colour in artificial light (the postman didn't come until the late afternoon) so I will try to take a photo of those tomorrow.

I feel that I am running behind now with my projects as I hadn't expected the jacket to take me so long. On with the crochet Cinnabar tonight I think. I have finished one sleeve but still got the other sleeve, the rest of the body and all the edgings to do. Another late night for me I think!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Not much progress to report today

I seem to be knitting away merrily but not really making a lot of headway. I have finished the body and 2 sleeves of the jacket for baby Charlie (sorry about the dark photo) and a few more rows on the red Cinnabar. It now has 5 rows on one sleeve done (not seen on the photo. I haven't finished the body yet so quite why I decided to start a sleeve I am not sure. I guess it's the wacky in me that likes to do things out of sequence.

Today I decided to do a bit of pre Christmas food shopping so I went into Iceland for a few bits and came staggering out with a trolley full. Why do we always think that masses of people are going to descend on us demanding food? I am going to my brother's house for Christmas dinner so I can't even use the excuse of catering for the family. When I came to unpack I seem to have lots of biscuits, a bottle of wine and some brandy and some pseudo Irish cream and not a lot in the way of actual food unless I can count the bags of chips, onion rings and Yorkshire puddings as food. The daft thing is that I will be there in Tesco filling my trolley again before the weekend with fresh food as heaven forbid that I forget to buy some sprouts!

When I weigh 2 stones heavier after Christmas will you remind me that I bought those biscuits in case people called and not as an excuse to eat them all myself. Hmm I must remember to buy a box of crackers and some cheese just in case. Oh boy I can foresee some serious dieting in the New Year and I didn't have to look in a crystal ball to deduce that!

I am going to try to put a spurt on tonight and finish off the hood and pockets for Charlie's jacket and then I can say another gift it finished.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

One gift finished - another one started

Not much blogging but I am still knitting and crocheting. I have finished the gauntlet mittens for my daughter in law. They are from Sirdar Country Style 4ply with a little fair isle made from a ball of Opal Sock yarn. The pattern is from Boutique Knits by Laura Irwin. I changed the pattern slightly by adding some double crochet to make a thumb. The pattern just has a slit left in the side seam but I thought that would not be warm enough so added a thumb.

Last night I went to the Kings Arms knitting club with Charlie. Hopefully she is feeling a bit better now and just in time for Christmas It was lovely to be back there. We had such a laugh with Rachael and Sarah making pretend beards with some white tinsel. It doesn't sound funny but I promise you that you had to be there and it was really funny.

I have started a hooded jacket for baby Charlie for his Christmas present and have done a few more rows on the red Cinnabar jacket.

Yesterday I went up to Bury to see the BEATS exercise guy and so should be starting back at water aerobics in the New Year. I did a bit more Christmas shopping and I think I only have 2 presents left to buy now. Still got plenty more knitting and crochet to do but thankfully I have left all the hats, mitts, gloves and possibly scarves until the last.

My old car has finally gone from my driveway. My son came with a couple of friends and took it away tonight. It has been parked up since the end of April but it started first time with a set of jump leads. It looked very battered but it was a really reliable car. I hope that the new owner has many more years from it. It will feel funny having an unrestricted view out of my front room window. One of my neighbours who has been here longer than me moved away today. Another of the older ones gone. This street has changed greatly over the last couple of years. The residents are all getting younger and we are having a new generation of babies in the street.