Saturday, 28 February 2015

Day Eleven

I'm getting very comfortable in my jeans and tee shirt

Today with burgundy and gold Kashmiri wool shawl with shisha embroidery



Friday, 27 February 2015

(Don't we all) Love Fridays

Friday begins for me at the Gym

Quick selfie after my workout
Then a dash home and the lovely bit - a long hot shower and dressing in comfortable clothes, rewarding myself in the afternoon with a book or my knitting

Day #10's outfit, burgundy skirt, grey tee and Leadlight cardigan


Thursday, 26 February 2015


no calls, texts or visits, today I'm working

In silk blouse, black jeans and a big warm pashmina (it can be draughty in my study)

I have a writing assignment for Yarn in the City.  Meanwhile you can hear their latest podcast, including my contribution on the #sixitemschallenge in aid of Labour Behind the Label by clicking HERE



PS It's the ninth day of my clothes fast, if you haven't donated and would like to please follow this link

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Eight (one week under my belt)

Plain and simple today.  After pilates (in permitted sports kit) I am wearing my black jeans with grey tee shirt

But the scarf in another thing.  It is silk velvet lined with heavy silk habotai, hand painted by my cousin Sharon Verry and available in The Guild of Ten shop in Truro



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

New experience on Day Seven

Great excitement today as I was asked if I would like to talk about the #sixitemschallenge on the Yarn in the City Podcast.  I went to meet Alli and Rachel the clever women behind Yarn in the City dressed in my grey knit dress (Phase Eight winter 2013/2014) and wrapped in my biggest shawl.  The pattern is Samen by Steven West and it's knitted in hand-spun Using up various fibres from my stash (including some Porpoise Fur in the Pollinator colour way) and, if I'm honest, slightly variable weights from a pretty thin DK to a lumpy Aran.  The shawl is somewhat oversized and I feel it looks best draped around my shoulders and tied around my waist as a big wrap

After a longish chatty lunch (I had not seen the ladies for a while) we got down to recording the pod-cast around Alli's kitchen table, the microphone in the middle and Alli at her laptop in her hot pink headphones.  I was quite nervous of speaking, I've never done something like this before so I fear my appearance was a mix of saying nothing to saying too much with my voice fading as I checked my knitting (Alli and I knitted the whole time and Rachel wound up a skein of yarn for her next project).  I might have given Alli a bit of an editing headache. I'll post a link to the podcast once it's ready and up on the Yarn in the City website.

So if you are visiting my blog via the podcast -  hello and welcome! Thank you for taking an interest in my quest - to wear only six items of clothing from my overful wardrobe for six weeks (one week down, five to go) and to raise money for the charity Labour Behind the Label.  I hope you also visit my fundraising page and make a donation too.  And finally I hope you will come back and visit again, see how I manage to ring the changes with accessories to keep my blog readers interested and brighten up the grey



Monday, 23 February 2015

Day Six of Six weeks

It's chilly today and the grey dress needs some warm and woolly accessories

The hot pink and lime green striped scarf is from TK Max.  My DD2 is ace at finding bargains there.  It was one of my favourite Christmas presents a couple of years ago

The mittens are something I have blogged about before and are hand knitted from my friend Kathleen's book SSK2

I think that will be cosy enough.  Please don't forget to DONATE, if you haven't already.  There were over 1,000 hits on here last week, the most I have had EVER.  Just think if every visitor gave £2...



PS  Google is being silly today.  If you post a comment then try and close the comments window you get a message saying 'are you sure... you have unsaved comments'  Well you don't your comments have been saved so don't worry and please comment all you like - I love it!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Clothes Fast Day Five

Hooray!  Despite only being only partially IT literate I have managed to create button for Labour behind the Label, the charity that will benefit from your donations.  At the top of the column on the right her you should see the campaign's logo, simply clicking on the logo will take you straight to my supporters' page.

Today's outfit, magenta skirt and silk blouse fitted nicely under my winter coat for a day's shopping with the girls.  Dear Daughter no 2 is expecting a baby in April so we did a little grand-baby shopping today, accompanied by DD1 and TLM.  The latter considers herself expert in all things baby related.  

more details on the skirt's construction in a later post

To give credit where credit is due TLM was the first to find the brake on the Bugaboo and suggest that the buttons on the handle were something to do with folding it up. After she had given it a full inspection, including approving how low the adjustable handle went (for ease of pushing by a five year old!) It seemed only sensible to leave the mother to be alone to check it out herself

Yellow was not the final colour choice!
We then had some time for a little cooing over the cute baby clothes

but I really think I should knit this myself
All done in John Lewis!



love the seagull mural made of wire wrapped around the shop's escalator 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Four days and still comfortable in my clothes

I'm wearing black jeans, grey long sleeved tee and the Leadlight cardigan, all as before.  Accessories, my mothers black pearls...


A large black apron.  Actually I think an apron will be my go-to accessory most days. I have discovered how essential an apron is when doing all sorts of messy things when you have only a limited number of clothes. I cannot simply change several times a day.  And today I was going to do something particularly messy.  A workshop on dyeing with indigo and woad at the Hampshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers.

These are my raw materials

fleece, ricrac braid, lace, a scrap of embroidery on linen, a skein of hand spun wool , cord and twine
The workshop was led by the very talented Debbie from DT Craft and Design.  This is how it went

mixing up the dye pot

Heating till the water turns green and the 'flower' appears (this is woad)

Immersing the articles, while in the bath they remain a greeny yellow, as they are exposed to air they turn blue (indigo in this pot)

Once out of the pot the colour really develops
Finally, I was given a little spot at the end of the meeting to explain my lent clothes fast for Labour Behind the Label.  A number of ladies generously made donations on the spot, some others promised to check out this blog and donate later.  So for anyone who would like to donate HERE is the link

Thank you everyone who has given so far, bringing the total to £281



Friday, 20 February 2015

Day #3 and a little yarn gathering

I'm off to meet friends at Unravel this afternoon.  This is a little local yarn festival that never-the-less attracts a wonderful selection of people from all over the country, including independent sellers of everything yarn related and knitters who find their wallets empty faster than water out of the plughole.  But the benefit of a warm fuzzy feeling (and that's not only the yarn) makes the expenditure worthwhile.  It's a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones too.

So It is hardly surprising that I have chosen my clothes today carefully to show off my latest piece of knitting

My Leadlight cardigan

With my cardigan I am wearing my wool dresss, bought two winters ago from Phase Eight and green tights (should be teal but I don't have any)



Thursday, 19 February 2015

Day two (still working the black jeans)

Yesterday's blog was written on my old iPhone (thank you Blogger app) as I waited in the paediatric day unit for my grandson to be assessed.  Doesn't this sort of thing always happen when you are looking after someone else's precious child?  I was just supposed to take him for a check-up with his GP after a nasty infection that had him in hospital over Sunday night. There should have been no problems, and his parents did not feel they needed to cancel a very short break away that they had booked ages ago.

But as we sat in the surgery waiting to be seen he became all floppy and fell so deeply asleep he did not wake even when I carried him from the waiting room to the consulting room. "Better be safe than sorry" said the doctor and rapidly contacted the paediatricians and off we went. Thus I found myself blogging on the tiny iPhone4 screen without glasses (sorry for typos/spelling mistakes) while the genial atmosphere of the day unit's play room worked it's magic so that C (sometimes known on here as The Little Senator) was distinctly perky by the time a doctor appeared, so after a very thorough examination we took him home.

This morning TLS was determined to get in on the act as I took the selfie of my Day #2 outfit

Black jeans from Marks & Spencer as before, silk shirt from an independent shop in Cirencester and the permitted accessory, a black pashmina in case it gets cold

Today the total donations on my sponsorship page have reached £242.31  I just can't thank my generous friends and blog readers enough.



Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fire in a New York Garment Factory

It was 1911 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory situated in the upper floors of a Manhattan industrial building went up in flames.  The doors were locked, some people so desperate jumped out of the windows. In all 145 people perished, many of them poor immigrants.

Sound familiar?

Until 1819 children as young as 6 worked in the cotton mills of Manchester, England. After 1819 it was illegal to employ children under 9 or make children aged 9-16 work more than 12 hours a day.  It was a long time before the minimum age in the UK for employing a young person full time rose to 16


I think we all know about the conditions in factories in the UK and USA a hundred years or so ago from our history books and from novels.  The shocking fact is that these conditions persist today in countries like Cambodia and Bangladesh and we are shopping for the clothes they make on our high streets.

my brightest top

For these reasons this Lent (18 February to 4 April) I am giving up most of my clothes, they are staying in the wardrobe, all except six items and I am asking friends and family and readers of my blog to sponsor me by donating money to Labour Behind the Label.  You can read more about the charity's work HERE and DONATE HERE (please)

I am not doing this alone, Scrapiana an amazing blogger and crafter who teaches the art (yes I mean art) of mending is doing it with me.  In fact it was she who introduced me to the challenge (via instagram).  We intend to support each other by using all the usual social network wiles

Hoping this jumble of greys with black red and blue will see me through

I have been talking about my decision for a few days now and posting on Facebook and the question every one asks is 'how on earth are you going to manage?'  Well I don't know yet but I have tried to choose my six items very carefully, I am also allowed  accessories, underwear, sports wear and one coat.  To be honest given how the weather can be warm in March my greatest worry is I shall be too hot. 

From the left, grey jersey dress, silk blouse, black jeans, grey tee and red boiled wool skirt

That leaves one more item, it had to be my Leadlight cardigan because I have just finished knitting it and because I love it!

Leadlight knitted in Fyberspates scrumptious, a wool and silk mix

I intend to post a photograph of how I get on and how I alleviate the boredom of grey every day on here and on Instagram

A little note about Labour Behind the Label- it doesn't advocate boycotts but part of its work supports garment workers in countries such as Cambodia and part campaigns to raise awareness.  After all if it were not for campaigners in the UK parliament like Robert Peel nothing would have changed in this country (would readers from the USA please educate me and tell me who were the campaigners in their country in the comments below)

I actually need to raise £50 before I am officially on the team, I need another £3.00 so please donate.  In return I pledge to donate £10 in advance of every £100 raised (i.e. when the total reaches £101 I will donate another £10 and so on)

I should say the donations so far have come from knitters - YAY FOR KNITTERS!!



Monday, 16 February 2015

Seven, Eight (at the gate)

Cake baking, house-working and knitting today.  A good day with lots to be thankful for

Fruit cake to Knitsonik's recipe (from her book on stranded colour work)

we looked every where for this book when TLM stayed last week - found while dusting a high shelf

One fruit cake, one chocolate in time for tea

swatching colour while eating cake

lastly so thankful this little chap has been given a clean bill of health after a night in the hospital

Sunday, 15 February 2015

A week of good things

A day sewing in my studio makes me very happy.  Being part of the Six Items Challenge  was a good excuse to get some done.  It's amazing how difficult I found it, even with a bulging wardrobe,  to find six items of clothing that all coordinate and allow as much variety as possible when it comes to mixing and matching.  My solution was 5 items from my wardrobe and a new skirt made entirely out of stash materials.  There will be more details about the challenge on here on Tuesday, including how you may be involved and the full reveal of my new skirt, meanwhile here are some shots of the process.

On the cutting table

Double needle stitching is perfect for stretch fabrics

I wondered if I might go bright with the top stitching

Lapped seams (more about this later)

And hand finishing

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Sixth on Saturday

Not five different things but 4/5 from a fabulous workshop on colour work From Knitsonik that I attended today. I hope the pictures give a little idea of the day but you had to be there really.  And indeed you can if you sign up for one of Felix's workshops, I think the next one is being run by Yarn in the City. She is also teaching every day at Shetland Wool Week.  You can get an idea of her highly original approach to colour work from her book Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook

Knitting a few rounds to begin with

colour palette chosen

our work in progress

first attempt at interpretation (on top of inspiration photo) rubbish, second more like it

and home, prosecco, supper, sofa...

Friday, 13 February 2015

Five on Five

My apologies for the rather unflattering pictures today. My granddaughter  The Little Model is staying and the photos were actually taken to text to her mother so she knew what we were up to. But they do also illustrate reasons to be grateful even if they are a little bit of a stretch but bear with me (or if you prefer pas swiftly on)

Early morning shower and hair wash (I love our new shower, so did TLM, till the hot water ran out)

Making porridge together (I like porridge so much I'm almost glad it's winter)

We made a mobile for a new baby, expected in our family soon.   I'm so grateful to DH who worked hard to convert our garage so that I could have my own creative space

Tea party with the little people. TLM asks whether they prefer milk in first or last  

All quiet and time for some knitting and catching up with e mails