Category Archives: Sewing

An Evening Sewing with Mrs Higgins

Mrs Higgins, my 1950s sewing machine, was busy last night. After a day grading and revising, I thought I needed a change of pace. Plus, RoseRed had made a suggestion that I couldn’t resist turning into a reality.

"Look at the eyebrows! These are attack eyebrows!"

“Look at the eyebrows! These are attack eyebrows!”

Seriously, The Scot has found his Doctor! Look at their eyebrows. I actually would have gotten a proper grumpy shot of the Scot in his new coat, but I was holding a yoghurt dud to convince him to pose! When he looks grumpy, he has such a 12th Doctor look about him! I suppose it’s natural. They are both Scottish!

I also did some sewing for myself. Something to hide behind in case this week’s “The Caretaker” is scary.

Meet me behind the cushion.

Meet me behind the cushion.

I really am loving this series. I love every line where the Doctor comments on Clara’s appearance. I love the dynamic between Clara and Danny Pink (I love Coupling, so that’s not really surprising). I love the Doctor’s glee and his witticisms.

Although, I’ve also been catching up on Fortysomething, and seriously, you have to listen to Peter Capaldi do the Beatles! And the hand gesturing had me in stitches since it’s such a part of his Doctor! Plus Benedict Cumberbatch is in it – so there is a sort of pre-Sherlock/Doctor Who cross over.


An Agent and a Raincoat

Sometimes, when it all feels a bit much, I start sewing.

Just in case I need some SHIELD intervention

Just in case I need some SHIELD intervention

I’d finished my little cross stitch project of Agent Coulson. What to do with him? There are only so many walls for cross stitch art. So I found a little left over fabric and turned him into a cuddly pillow!

Yes, I’ll admit it, despite so many giving up on Agents of SHIELD, I still enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s light. I love May and Coulson. Like many, I wouldn’t mind if Skye disappeared from the show, but I did catch myself actually liking her character before the show vanished from our screens. Seriously, commercial television is the worst.

Oh well, in the meantime, I have my own little Agent Coulson! And I’m sure there’ll be a DVD set.

I finished the pillow and still felt a little squiffy, so I decided to finish the Scot’s raincoat. I did originally line the hood, too, but it wasn’t quite working, so I had to dispense with it.

The Scot: "Seriously... I don't see any rain."

The Scot: “Seriously… I don’t see any rain.”

It’s made from a laminated cotton, so it’s super light weight and not too plastic-y. I ad-libbed the pattern, so I am still working on that hood shape.

The Scot: "The sky is blue. The sun is out. Why am I in this raincoat, again?"

The Scot: “The sky is blue. The sun is out. Why am I in this raincoat, again?”

I took him to the dog park the other day and he was a big hit.

The Scot: "And why am I just sitting here in the backyard? You said 'walkies'"

The Scot: “And why am I just sitting here in the backyard? You said ‘walkies'”

Well, I may have a secondary career in dog fashion yet!

Socks and cookies and jelly, oh my!

Mod Poppy Socks (and Veronica side-eye)

Mod Poppy Socks (and Veronica side-eye)

I’ve been making things. Introducing the Mod Poppy Socks! I’m planning to write up the pattern when I get a minute, so this is sort of the sneak peak (I posted an Instagram picture to enter the Holland Road Yarn Company competition). They’re in Knitsch “Caboose,” which is a fiery orange-red and really suited the wrapped stitch, mod look of the socks.

I finished the second sock while watching the Veronica Mars movie. Seems like just yesterday we were all cheering on the Kickstarter! So worth it. Although, I think Dick Casablancas is now my favourite character. Should I be worried??

What's for supper? Cloned, peanut butter flavoured 10th Doctors.

What’s for supper? Cloned, peanut butter flavoured 10th Doctors.

The Scot wasn’t worried. He came padding through last night looking for supper. I’d baked him a fresh batch of cloned Doctor cookies! I may have too much fun baking dog biscuits.

Best of the British Empire jelly in cherry-coke flavour!

Best of the British Empire jelly in cherry-coke flavour!

I’m also finishing off the triumphant jelly I made. I found the retro-recipe here for a coca-cola salad jelly. Don’t panic – it’s fruit salad-y. You don’t really taste the cola. I used my amazing 19th century mould that features the best of the British Isles. There are Union Jacks, roses, crowns, thistles, four-leaf clover, pineapples, leeks… you name the British symbol, this mould has it! Tremendously difficult to get all the symbols to come out properly, though. I came much closer this time and it tastes amazing.

Retro inspired camera bag

Retro inspired camera bag

I also finished sewing up my new camera bag. I won’t tell you how many sewing machine needles were broken (4) or curse words uttered when turning this in the right way after sewing (still counting). It’s a basic box bag, but with four layers. The lining (retro scooter fabric) is quilted. The exterior fabric (a laminated print of retro cameras) has a very stiff interfacing. That’s a lot of layers to work with for a small bag! Still, all done. There’s a couple of loops to attach a strap for carrying.

And there’s another project almost finished, but I’ll save that for a later post!

The Animals We Love

The other day, a Twitter friend lost her dog. I’d never met her. I’d never met her dog. But, geez, I loved that dog! He was a character and I was so sad when she tweeted the news. I’ll genuinely miss him.

Losing animals is rough. I still think about my hens at least a few times a day, I still expect to find Cosette trying to boss her way inside or Lola waiting for me to do her bidding or Fifi giving me that look as if to say, ‘They’re a bunch of nutty chickens, aren’t they? How do we put up with them?’ Fifi was always the one with the sense to get in out of the rain.

I’ve seen some extraordinary and wonderful tributes in the wake of loss, like Sue Perkins’ letter to Pickle or Jimmy Stewart’s poem about his dog, Beau. There are many others out there, letters and poems that not only celebrate the lives of some fantastic animals, but also relate that shared experience of loss. Those faces we see every day are so very loved. Recently I did a quiz to find out which Hogwarts House I’d be in (Hufflepuff, of course). One of the questions involved a choice of magical gifts. I chose the ability to talk to animals. I think it’d be a hoot to talk to the Scot and I wish I’d been able to chat to Lola. She was always full of things to say. Mind, I expect if I could have talked to her, she’d have spent most of her time ordering me about…

I am queen of the castle, everyone else is a dirty rascal!

I am queen of the castle, everyone else is a dirty rascal!

Yes, I have a special soft spot for Lola. If you’d met her, you’d have understood. Mind, I have a special soft spot for them all, but today I was thinking particularly about Lola and I know she wouldn’t mind the tribute.

Anyway, enough sadness! I posted about being okay with my quirky style. The poor Scot! He was quite the hit at the dog park, though, when he wore the new harness I sewed for him.

You said we were going on a walk. Why are you standing there with that black box?

You said we were going on a walk. Why are you standing there with that black box?

Actually, I think the Scot is more of an Iron Man fan. They share a certain desire for attention. Anyone seen Iron Man fabric??

I was really pleased with how the harness turned out! If you look closely, you’ll see that it almost looks like Spiderman is holding his lead in his hand… or, at least the bunch of sausages that now passes for his lead!

It's so embarrassing what you do to me.

It’s so embarrassing what you do to me.

Yes, he has much to put up with! Particularly since I have plots for my own dressmaking that may be inspired by this creation of cats at the cinema, some knitting. Yes… I may have ordered some of the fabric… it is simply too awesome to ignore.


“Screw your courage to the knitting place”

Okay, the title of this post is not as rude as it might look! It’s Shakespeare! Apart from the reference to knitting. Which is a reference to Ravelry. Because I finally did it. I posted a pattern!

Oodles of Ood

Oodles of Ood

It’s here. I’m kind of nervous now that it’s out there in the wilds. I’ve read some scary things about what happens in designing. It’s become a funny thing, hasn’t it? People used to share patterns and ideas all the time, but now it’s all bound up in copyrights and permissions etc. I do really respect the rights of designers to earn a living for their work. Absolutely. It’s vital. And designers should be acknowledged. But much of our work is based on centuries of women copying, tweaking, revising, inventing, passing on and handing down. So, this is a freebie. Because I’m not a ‘designer.’ It’s just a little not-for-profit fun. But I designed something!!!

I’ve been working on a bigger work project, which has been kind of mentally exhausting, so I’ve also returned to the safety of following other people’s instructions!

For the Elizabethan bed chamber

For the Elizabethan bed chamber

After a lapse of years, the needlework is complete!

The Evenstar... why rush?

The Evenstar… why rush?

This is no where near complete yet… but I did pick up the Evenstar Shawl again and motored through a few rows last night.

I also did my first gym training session without the personal trainer. That was kind of scary. But she was right – I’m more advanced than I thought! And afterward the gym manager confirmed that I totally looked like I’d worked out!

So, one design out there and I’m back to writing words on my big research project. I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed and daunted in the last fortnight, but I’ve decided to take it a day at a time… that’ll work!


I Turned The Almighty Answer to the Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything

Me and Granny Mac

Me and Granny Mac

Okay, cue obligatory baby photo. This is sort of a birthday post. By the way, that’s me and Granny Mac, the first of many adopted grannies I collected in life. Granny Mac makes me think of Pratchett’s Grannies. She was wise. She made excellent ham and pea soup. She bossed Mum about. And she was Scottish, which made her very cool! And I do still miss her, but I think we suited each other best as Granny and wee bairn. She always said I was an old soul and looking at that photo, I think we got along just great.

It’s actually a significant birthday, though! Oh no, I don’t really hyper-celebrate birthdays that end in ‘0.’ There’s always a whiff of disappointment about them. I mean really significant birthdays, like when I turned 33 at the Bird and Baby, because hobbits come of age at 33 (which is a much more sensible time to come of age).

But now I am The Almighty Answer to the Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything and that’s kind of exciting. It needed to be celebrated.

Celebrating The Almighty Answer to the Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything with strawberry cakes

Celebrating The Almighty Answer to the Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything with strawberry cakes

Mum came to visit, so we could celebrate together. And sew together. We had a great deal of fun.

A Spotted Macaron

A Spotted Macaron

This is the finished Colette Macaron – although it hasn’t been ironed and don’t ask what that one sleeve is doing. If I didn’t feel the weight of the meaning of life, the universe and everything, I wouldn’t be lazy and would take a better picture. I’ve been wanting to sew one forever, though. The pockets are brilliant and, much like turning the heel of a knitted sock, make me feel ridiculously clever when I accomplish them. The pattern actually fits me, too. We did do some more sewing, but it’s not finished yet. There may have been swears involved. And an incident with pins.

We came up with future schemes, too. We ransacked the Laura Ashley sale and bought some bed linen.

Fabric plans I

Fabric plans I

Only, this isn’t going to be for the bed. Oh no. We’re cutting up this gorgeous cotton sateen for a dress! Best of both worlds. Fabulous fabric and I also get to go to work in my duvet.

We visited Tessuti, too. Let’s be honest, it’s not ‘my’ kind of store, although it does, undoubtedly, have beautiful fabrics. I’m just a bit quirkier. But I spied a beautifully dressed elderly lady with a bolt of tartan and fell in love with it.

Fabric plans II

Fabric plans II

So we waited for her to be served, then we ran away with the remainder of the bolt, which should be just enough for a tartan dress! It’s the most glorious, light, wool/cashmere blend.

I’m knitting too. I had a taste for stripes and pink, so for a little fun, I pestered Tash at Knitsch and she suggested this colour combination which is satiating the craving.

Stripes are cool

Stripes are cool

More happened… but I can’t tell you everything.




Doctor Who inspired crafting… again.

The Scot's Doctor is, of course, Ten

The Scot’s Doctor is, of course, Ten

I whipped up another little harness for the Scot. He doesn’t know it, but he’s totally in cosplay mode. In fact, I think he does a pretty reasonable impression of the Tenth Doctor.

10th doctor

Now, watch the eyebrow…

The Scot's eyebrow acting

The Scot’s eyebrow acting

Yes? Just ignore the weed… he would insist on doing his best impression right where it’s most noticeable that most of the grass has died off from the heat, but the weeds apparently don’t care.

Shortly afterward, the Scot went off in pursuit of a local cat nun.

In search of cats.

You never know what might be hiding in the bushes. Daleks, cat nuns, flying sharks…

While the Scot was playing, I tried on my new socks, “Beatrice and the Little Blue Box”, knit from Knitsch’s “Beatrice” colourway. There’s a lot of happy memories in these socks. As you know, for the last couple of years, I’ve headed off to Italy to teach in the summer (not this year as I’m on research leave), and I’ve made little side trips. The first side trip coincided with Catherine Tate and David Tennant starring in Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favourite plays. It was the perfect serendipity! And a whole lot of fun. So when I see “Beatrice,” I think of Catherine Tate’s Beatrice. She was a brilliant Beatrice – down to earth, heart breaking and funny.

Much Ado

Much Ado

The following year, I had “Beatrice” in yarn form, so I took her to The Globe with me, because that seemed particularly apt. We saw Henry V. She thought Henry was hot.

Beatrice at the Globe

Beatrice at the Globe

She enjoyed herself terribly. I’ve reknitted her a bit since then, because I hit upon a way to get TARDIS’s involved, and you know what I’m like once I figure out a way to knit a TARDIS into anything.

Putting my feet up with "Beatrice and the Little Blue Box"

Putting my feet up with “Beatrice and the Little Blue Box”

They’re kind of colourful, nutty and ‘outspoken’ and I rather love them (they won’t be to everyone’s taste, but that’s okay). They remind me of Donna/Beatrice. I love the line in “Partners in Crime” where Donna tells her grandfather: “No. I mean it. If you ever see a little blue box fly up there in the sky, you shout for me Gramps. Oh you just shout.” There’s such hope, joy and determination in that line! Can you tell Donna is my favourite companion/Time Lord?

Can’t see the TARDISes, though? Here you go.

TARDIS close-up

TARDIS close-up

There’s whole columns of them! And they have little lights on top. I also used my current favourite heel.

The heel shot

The heel shot

I loved the way the fabric at the heel mottled.

So, there you go, another weekend of Doctor Who inspired crafting.