Archive for October, 2010


I’ve not had my sewing machine out in ages due misunderstanding we had on its last appearance, but when one of my many J-‘s asked me to make her a hat, I got rather excited. Amongst my ever-increasing stash of vintage patterns, I had exactly what she was looking for, and as she gave me completely free rein with colour and fabric choice, I thought I’d go all out and buy some tweed.

Happily, J- wanted something most akin to picture 1. I'm not sure how I'd feel about sewing view 3.


Luckily, John Lewis had a perfect remnant of herring-bone tweed on sale. And better still, this scrap of fabric was hiding the ideal lining – a shiny red satin-effect material which I snapped up quickly.

As usual when I’m working from old-school patterns, I ignore everything about interfacing because it seems like unnecessary faff, and I don’t know what interfacing is anyway. Also, once I’ve cut out all the pattern pieces, I discard the instructions because I find them impossible to follow – partially because they go on about interfacing, but also partially because I haven’t a clue what any of the things I do whilst I’m sewing are called. I’ve never had any lessons in needlework so for the most part, I just put things together as best I can in a way that I think makes sense.

This time, my haphazard approach seems to have turned out pretty well. Except that the tweed wasn’t stiff enough to form the cap’s brim, and I am the world’s messiest machine sewer. So, never one to be deterred, and having decided that my new role model in life is Tony Stark, I got creative. With duct tape.

It’s not the world’s neatest solution, but it surely works! Who needs interfacing when you have industrial sticking tools? The cap now happily stands on its own. And to prove it, here are some pictures…

It doesn't look so great when it's not on a head...


... so here is the hat on a head. My head.

I always think it's a shame people don't see the lining when it compliments the outer fabric this nicely.

This is where you can see my lack of ability to sew straight lines... don't look too closely.





What I hate most about early shifts isn’t getting up at 5.30. It’s the fact that I have to make lunch at 5.30, and cope with the smell of marmite and cheddar whilst eating my first breakfast. I quite like marmite and mature cheddar sandwiches, though there’s something about the combination in the hours before noon which make it feel like something which should rank highly on Dave Lister’s top ten of sandwich fillings.

And another thing – I don’t have a toaster. In order to get breakfast at all I need to petrify the foul bready leftovers from the previous week beneath the world’s least powerful grill. And all the while my precious tea, the only thing worth getting up for at this godforsaken time of night, is getting increasingly cold because our twattish landlords haven’t fixed our malfunctioning gas boiler yet. And why, why I ask, would you install a brand new gas boiler in an area where you know there is no mains gas and no means of getting anything other than Calor cylinders? Why not think, “I know, I’ll put an electric boiler and a fireplace in so that there’s still the possibility of heat during a powercut.”

Mornings are not my friends. Last time I went out this early I was nearly killed by a horse box. The time before it was a truck who insisted on driving too close and overestimated the ability of his breaks. I wonder what it’ll be today…



Last night I went on the biggest junk food binge I have been on in years and as a result, feel slightly hung over today. Though I realise what a profound effect food can have on the way we function, I wasn’t quite aware how acutely I would be able to feel the connection between my body and its fuel.

Last night started with an exhausted trip to the supermarket. This is something I only ever really do when I need toilet paper or fructose sugar as my farm shop doesn’t sell these, and yesterday I needed both. Under normal circumstances, I’m very good at just grabbing the items on my list and running away, but considering how tired I was after my 5.30am start – to give you an idea, I lost my car on two separate occasions – I seemed to lose the ability to think and before long I’d purchased the items which caused last night’s downfall.

One or two food additives never hurt anyone – please don’t think I’m one of these hysterical people who won’t eat anything that begins with E and is followed by a number. Afterall, a large proportion of these particular additives have more common names that we trust anyway, and are abbreviated for space on labels – turmeric being written up as E100 for example. But when your body is used to the quantities of salt and sugar present in homemade food, the sudden volume of both of these in a single meal can send you a little peculiar. Jarred curry, with jarred lime relish and raita, followed by Kinder chocolate – mit or mitout vitamins – hot Ribeana, Minstrels and finally the delicious but deady Kitkat, has meant that I spent my entire night in some weird, paranoid-delusional state where I was convinced I had to get up in five minutes time.

It’s now 6am and I am beginning to feel a little more level, however I have a 13 hour shift ahead of me and I have leftovers to eat for lunch…

You know what? You’re probably best ignoring this post. The way I feel, I’m not even sure I wrote it. Maybe I just dreamed I did.


I don’t knit often. Knitting patterns look like gibberish to me, and by the time I’ve figured out what they’re saying, it’s the height of summer and I can’t be bothered to sit around twitching short metal poles together anyway.

Still, I am a sucker for small clothes and this free pattern looked oh-so easy. S- has a brother and two friends who are either expecting or have just had a baby, so I thought this could be used as a Christmas present, or a ‘happy-you-survived-labour’ gift.

The little knitted coat and hat. See links above for the patterns.

The hat was so easy I could have made it in my sleep. The jacket, despite being simple garter stitch, made me want to hurt things. The actual pieces were really easy to make, however assembling it was a real horror. The pattern doesn’t tell you that you’ll need three needles for the shoulder seams, or how you can end up with the yarn on the other side of the row when you’ve just cast off 20 stitches. I had to ad-lib an awful lot, and though you can’t see it, there is a major error on the seam to the left hand cuff which was only resolved by a big darning needle and sheer bloody-mindedness.

Overall, I’m happy with the result, though for a gender-neutral coloured cardigan, I think it looks very feminine. I guess the ribbon could be exchanged for a tartan one, or one with tractors on it for a boy…

Either way, I’m glad it’s finished. I hope that whoever gets it thinks it’s pretty.

Why the internet is hilarious

So I log out of hotmail – an old account I keep mostly for signing up to things I think will spam me – and am met with MSN’s usual list of random articles. Top of the list today: Supermarket to sell red sprouts.

“Awesome,” thinks I, “these might be like those heritage breed purple carrots,” and click the link. After reading the somewhat sparse article, I scroll down to look through the comments and stumble upon this little gem.

17 October 2010 00:00:40

It does not matter if a supermarket sells red brussels or not. I will not be a customer of theirs if they behave as Morrison’s in St Albans. Only one white member of staff today and she was Polish. Racist Bstards, don’t tell me that no English want to work in a supermarket, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury have no problem. I am serious, take a look for yourselves. I am reporting Morrison’s.

Wouldn’t be surprised if they were importing illegal’s.

Let’s just look at this for a moment, shall we? I feel it might be ever so slightly off-topic.

Someone is wrong on the internet




Last year…

… I challenged myself to buy as few Christmas presents as possible, and make as many as I could.

This year, I will be slightly more realistic – considering I only managed to hand make my dad’s gift – and see if I can get by without purchasing any which aren’t handmade by someone. And Primark sweat-shops don’t count…

Watch this space, people.  If I find anything interesting, I’ll let you know…


In 1992* my great granddad died, leaving behind him a lifetime of paintings. Some went to his daughter, his granddaughter, his grandson and finally, some seem to have filtered through the generations into my grubby hands.

I’ve always loved his work – particularly his pen and ink drawings and anything with boats in – and could never really understand why Mum never hung more of it. It’s only now that I have my own house and an abundance of these revered family masterpieces that I realise too much of a good thing can turn it into the mundane.

So I’m doing something rather irreparably bold – I am splitting up my little collection and offering the paintings to friends. I still think of the pictures as precious, but I would rather they be hung and enjoyed than hidden away in my drawer, out of the way.  Part of me is sad, but I know that had I painted such lovely things, I’d rather they been seen.


*Or thereabouts – anything that happened pre-Animals-of-Farthing-Wood is a little hazy at best.


So due to extended periods watching Blackadder I-IV and listening obsessively to Goodbye Earl by the Dixie Chicks, I don’t seem to have posted anything recently.

Not much has changed in the field during my absence from the internet. My Dad has bought a Defender – which is bad because now I want one too – S- has spent the last weekend with friends in Denmark and I have developed an addiction to Tiger Balm as the only thing which will dispel my current headaches. Actually, whilst writing this, I have smeared said Tiger Balm on my temples and somehow managed to get some in my eye. Admittedly this is not as bad as the paper cut I once had on my iris, however it is still a very odd feeling.

Anyways, I will be off to pick husband up at the airport in an hour. I am charging my ipod in preparation for the drive to Stansted and adding all kinds of glorious trash to it so that next time we go in the car, S- will inexplicably have to listen to the likes of the Gin Blossoms, Roger Clyne, Goodbye Earl and all those other things I love which he hates. Mwa ha ha ha! That’ll learn him to throw out my cassettes and fill my MP3 player with Muse *spit*. Don’t get me wrong, generally my other half has exceptional music taste, however to my ears, the lead singer of Muse sounds something like a cross between my howling cat and a crow.

So, pointless babble over – time for tea before I go.