Sunday, 19 February 2017

Weekend in Cardiff

Geoff and I had a great time in Cardiff last weekend – we ate our bodyweight in welshcakes (before we found out how much lard was in them) and really enjoyed walking around Cardiff, a beautiful, small town, about 2 hours from London by train.

We had unwittingly booked our weekend in Cardiff to coincide with the England v Wales rugby match.  Luckily, Welsh rugby fans are remarkably relaxed even when they lose, and there wasn’t much noise following this loss.  Timing our visit this way meant that on Saturday the city centre was packed with fans, people offering daffodils (the Welsh flower), selling scarves and doing face painting – quite a carnival like atmosphere. 

As well as the delicious welshcakes, we ate a huge ice cream sundae in honour of Geoff’s 34th birthday, some delicious cupcakes and fabulous pasties with welsh rarebit inside. 

We explored the castle and park, wandered through the pretty city centre and down to the marina area where we went insidethe Senedd (the Welsh parliament).  

The Senedd is beautiful - all made of glass and curved wood - and hosts 60 parliamentarians, as well as the staffers.  

Cardiff was a really interesting mix of old and modern, with most things still far below London prices!

Friday, 10 February 2017

The top with the magic neckband

The Sew Over It Molly Top (a pattern in the City Break e-book) is a pretty basic jersey top with a slightly scooped neckline and cut on sleeves. It comes as both a top and a dress pattern, and I’ve made 3 of the tops for myself. 

The first was from a very drapey maroon viscose jersey that I wear with navy/maroon checked PJ bottoms.  I made this version exactly as per the pattern, and while it is very comfortable I made just one tweak to the pattern after making it.  Firstly, I raised the cut on sleeve back up the arm by 8cm.  I found the very low attached sleeve too sloppy looking, and slightly irritating almost in the crook of my elbow.  I lengthened the sleeve by the same amount and think this is a much neater look.

The best part about the pattern is the neckline.  It’s a great gentle scoop and each time I have made it the band has been the right length to stitch on without fussing around with it.  It is quite wide, which gives it a casual look, and in very drapey fabric I would recommend a slightly narrower band as I think it looks too loose.

I’ve not made any curved hem versions yet, but assuming that I am going to make another I will tackle that then – I am thinking about a striped body and plain sleeves (same colour as the background colour on the striped fabric).  Now to find the right pair of fabrics…

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Just 1 length of thread per day

Back in August last year I spotted some vintage silk panels on sale at Fabric Godmother, and while there were some pattern suggestions, I thought that it would be best as a square scarf to really show off the distinctive print. 

When the panel arrived I was happy to see that it was a beautifully textured silk, almost a basket weave texture, but as it’s quite loose I knew that this would be a hand-sewing job.  And of course, I put it off.  And off.  Finally, I committed this year to the theme of ‘Active’ and I decided that included no more procrastination (so I mended a pair of Geoff’s trousers), and set to work sewing a hand rolled hem around the edge of the silk panel.

I committed to 1 length of thread per day, though could do more if I felt like it.  Sometimes it seemed to fly by.  Other days I struggled to do just the 1.

The Colette tutorial suggested sewing around the edges, ¼ of an inch in, as a guide, but given the age and weave of the fabric I was reluctant to do that.  Instead, I followed a hand sewing only tutorial.  My stitches were not perfect, and certainly were not simply just 1 thread of the fabric, but I am very pleased with the end results and love wearing my garlic scarf.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Bus smudges

The photography challenge over the weekend was to experiment with shutter speeds.  

This isn’t something I’ve really tried before – and before I read the AYWMC email, I didn’t have a clear understanding of the effects that could be achieved. 

My old camera had a setting that allowed the shutter to remain open while my finger was on the button, but I didn’t really use it. 

This camera has shutter speeds as slow as 15 seconds (by the way, is anyone else confused as to why the symbol for seconds is the same as the symbol for inches), and super, super fast – too fast for the amount of light I had available to me on Friday night, standing at the base of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. 

I experimented with buses and traffic, going towards Big Ben, under the Admiralty Arch, and then side on, to get some bus smudges. 

There was a trick – the bus had to be moving quickly enough for this to work – that is, enter and exit the shot area while the shutter was open, which meant only shooting while the bus was coming at a green light.

Then I had to think about framing, and trying to exclude some of the traffic signage from the shots. I really want to try this again with sparklers – a long shutter speed is how to capture messages ‘written’ in sparklers.