Saturday, 21 March 2015

More Catching up (including on the laundry)

It was when I came to get out of the car on our first day in the true south of France and it was raining that I realised I had forgotten to pack any sort of coat. I suppose this six items only thing had made me think packing would be too easy.  Just throw the six things in the case plus a sponge bag and done... NOT.  The other mistake I discovered en route.  I had packed a smaller case just for the over night stops. On day one I began to dress in our hotel room in Riems and realised all my socks were in the big bag in the car.  All except the pair I had on the needles, my travelling knitting.  There was nothing else for it but to sit on the bed, knit up the ribbing and cast off before I could get dressed.

casting off

But back to my need for a coat.  It was clear as we looked out of the window the first morning we woke up in our Gite in Viens (in the hills a little north and west of Arles) that borrowing a coat from JTH was not going to work, a coat each was required.

from the sitting room window

So we drove to Avignon for some shopping, where of course the sun shone

THE Bridge
But the Trench coat I bought has been very handy and I feel just a tiny bit French Chic in it

Beside the Med in March

But back to the other point in my title.  It occurred to me that if you have been following the six item challenge you may be wondering about the laundry side of things.  There is the guilt inducing issue of  putting on the washing machine too often with too small a load, the bother of it all and the possibility that so much washing is going to wear out the clothes before the challenge is up.  Well the skirt has not been washed yet, I don't wear it a much for one thing but before I made it I did wash the fabric in Soak so I know it would wash if need be.  The jeans are sturdy enough to go through many washes but the rest, the silk shirt, the jersey dress from Episode and the grey tee from Jigsaw?  Well this is where Soak is absolutely fabulous.  

Not a publicity shot - my bottle after FOUR washes

All is needed is to add a tiny amount to a bowl of warm water, immerse the clothes for 10 mins and spin and hang out to dry - done!  And it is far kinder to the clothes than a washing machine and conventional detergent (even so called special stuff for delicates) I use it at home for all my hand knits (including socks) and for soaking before blocking.  I sound like an advert but I am a real fan of this stuff and it smells lovely too.

I am off now, back to my books and knitting as we have nearly two more weeks of lazy holiday days to enjoy. But in case you are checking the blog for pics of my daily clothing 'choices' the catch up photgraphs are below my signature here (and every day on Instagram, just press the button in the right hand column)

My latest project Lumpy Space pattern design by Stephen West knitted in vintage style Excelana



Day #26

Day #27

Day #28 (standing on our windowsill)

Day #29 (in the valley immediately below the gite, special pose for Blipfoto solidarity)

Day #30

Day #31 (on the promenade)

Day #32 (today is a stay at home day, blogging and reading)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Catching 23, 24 25

Setting off for a long trip on Thursday I only had time to post one photo on instagram on day 23.  A night in Reims and another quick instagram of my day 24 outfit (the same as day 23) from the car as we headed for Dijon of lunch.   We were very glad we had time for a quick whizz around the old town and visit to the spectacular early gothic church of Notre Dame and made mental notes to spend more time here next visit

 After a lovely overnight stay with friends in Ferny-Voltaire just outside Geneva we had time to shop at the wonderful Sunday market before setting off again

Voltaire oversees the goings on in the market

Saucisson of every sort

I decided against the ugly fish

Wonderful salad, the pale yellow flecked with pink, my favourite

this cheese chosen from so many.

And so after a long drive down the Autoroute du soleil almost as far as Marseilles and then up into the mountains we arrive at the gite in Viens where we are staying for two weeks, to be spent, reading walking, painting,  knitting and sleeping (pictures tomorrow of the spectacular views from our window)

day 25, magenta skirt with some of my grey things

I do, however, have one little problem with my clothes - Somehow I forgot to pack a coat of any sort!!  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be warm and dry, otherwise I might have to go to Avignon, the nearest big town and buy something.  I don't really want to do this it doesn't feel in the spirit of things to me but I just may have to!  I feel so silly to have forgotten something so essential when going away in March (even to the south of France).



Day 23 in grey tee, black jeans and headlight cardigan

Day 24 in the car (same clothes)

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Busy busy day #22

Last day before our holiday (watch this space for pictures from foreign parts). Practical clothes are called for

Grey tee and black jeans.  I'm keeping my neck warm with citron, a scarf knitted in a silk and mohair mix.  I'm not packed yet but I have sorted out my holiday knitting

Three skeins of Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in the fuchsia colour way and a vintage pattern for a summer cardigan.

Tomorrow's post will be from 'somewhere in France'



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Halfway through and it's Day #21

Isn't it always the way when trying to choose the perfect capsule wardrobe?  Nothing quite matches up. In my case the capsule was of six items and each time I decided on a theme, around a pair of blue jeans, tailored grey trousers or a favourite cardigan, there was always something missing.  Even when I eventually decided on the set of six items the sixth item was a piece of fabric that had been waiting in my stash for nearly two years.  But put together with other stash items it became a skirt in  a day

Approximately 1.5m of boiled wool fabric and  an old waist slip. Zip and sewing thread left overs from a previous project

(Although the zip was the wrong colour it is the invisible type and the tape not destined to show in the finished article, the thread did match, the brighter colour is just a trick of the light)

First I washed the fabric.  It is unlikely that boiled wool would shrink but I wanted to make sure, I used a product called Soak Wash a fabulous no rince hand washing liquid that I not only use for all my hand knits but other hand wash items too.  Soak has been invaluable during the Six Items Challenge for quickly washing out clothes I need for the next day without putting on a full load in the washing machine.

Next I cut out two rectangles measuring my hip measurement plus 5 cm by my required skirt length plus 6 cm and laying it on my cutting table I cut both pieces into 5 using big curving lines

the waistband is at the bottom, the hem at the top of the picture
I then stitched the pieces back together using a twin needle,

I did consider using a contrast colour thread

but decided on keeping to one colour (I found matching silk thread in my leftovers collection)

I joined the pieces by overlapping and stitching with the twin needle, creating waist darts by increasing the overlap at the top of the skirt to 4 cm and tapering to 1 cm over 10 cm at the back and 6 cm at the front.  The measurements are approximate as I made the adjustment on my manequin. 

Once I had completed the overlapped sections I checked the measurements again, trimming the sides to  fit my measurements  and allow for a 1 cm seam.  There is no need to allow for neatening seams as boiled wool is felted sufficiently that it will not fray.  At this stage I cut a shaped waist facing (no waist band) about 15 cm deep freehand to match the shape of the top of the skirt,  before inserting the zip.  I finished by attaching the lining to the waist facing, the facing to the top of the skirt and hand sewing the hem and around the zip.

Ready to wear in a day!  And wearing it today with my grey tee



Monday, 9 March 2015

18, 19... Twenty!

The grey dress is getting another outing (both tops and jeans are in the wash today)

Worn with green necklace and green tights (not seen)



Saturday, 7 March 2015

Day #18 and effecting a little transformation

Serious work to do today so I chose a simple outfit with no hanging bits that will get in the way or need constant retying.

Black jeans and multi silk top.

I have spent the day at the National Needlework Archive where they had a wedding fair with a difference.  It was all about making things for your wedding yourself.  People were demonstrating digital photography, buttonholes and making waistcoats for the groom's men, the dresses on show were all from Oxfam's special collection.

I was on up-cycling, working on this dress

The train looked a little like a net curtain tied around the back.

The bodice was made of the same silk chiffon in a basket weave pattern and there were fine spaghetti straps with crystal beads.

I changed it into this

I left the skirt alone, the fabric was rather lovely slipper satin, then covered the bodice with more satin and cut off the chiffon train.

I had just enough chiffon to make the jacket, using the spaghetti straps for button loops and more satin and beads for covering buttons.  I let the sleeves be as long as possible ending in points.




Friday, 6 March 2015

#17 Lots To Do

Lots to do today so keeping it simple in black jeans and grey tee, embellished a bit with my gob-stopper jewellery. Red at the neck and multi coloured for the wrist.

Then joy, look what arrived in the post, from a dear friend?          

So I'm having what my grandmother (the one who taught me to knit) would call 'A bit sit' with a cup of coffee and some poems. This is my favourite

Homemade sweaters contain a code
To be read by initiates, This bobbling here's
A marriage proposal, the Fair-Isle cuff
Says: 'The dog is a spy. Meet me in town
On Tuesday'. Even more arcane
Are garments made by knitting machine.
I once had a sweater that must have declared:
'I only like men with facial hair.' They came
The way you knit is how you make love,
How you are with your God.
It's a question of soul, of daily repair.
If space is made of superstrings,
Then God's a knitter, everything
Is craft, and perhaps we could darn
Tears in the space-time continuum.

Gwyneth Lewis 


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Day #16 I can't talk now

I have a book or two to read

Burgundy skirt (made by me), grey tee shirt from Jigsaw, silk scarf Accessorize, bottle green tights (no idea)


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Muddy Boots on day fifteen

This is Georgie Newbery, she is The Flower Farmer

 button hole made by Georgie only seconds before

Georgie is a florist who grows most of the flowers she uses on her farm near Wincanton, writes books about her work and shares her skills and love of all things floral at workshops.  And this is where I was today, sitting around a  large scrubbed pine table in a barn behind the farm house with eight other people learning from Georgie how to 'grow your daughters wedding flowers' (and make all the bouquets and arrangements).  Some of us had family weddings very soon, some promised a celebration sometime in the future and some just hoped!

Before I share more photographs of our lovely day I should just mention, for the record of my clothes fast, what I was wearing.  Black jeans, grey tee-shirt and hand knit socks at the ready for tucking the jeans out of the way of the mud.  Actually it was a wonderful  sunny day, the workshop was in a wood-burner warmed barn and the yard not at all muddy so I'm wearing the socks here with my jeans tucked in and muddy boots just for show!

Hand knit socks in Icelandic Lopi yarn, more photographs here

Lovely welcome with home-made biscuits and coffee

course notes, seeds and pots to plant them in provided

The Flower farmers lovely collection of containers, many sourced from charity shops

Widow Iris amazing british grown flowers blooming right now

Ivy leaves are very handy, we learned, for winter foliage and covering up the underpinnings of an arrangement

Such a lovely day