Sunday, 28 February 2010

Making content

It seems like the pinny got the vote in my last post, so I just wanted to tell you that you can have one just like that, too.

There is a wonderful tutorial by Jona G, called 'Apron in an Hour', which you can find here. This shows you how to make an apron just like this one, using a fat quarter for the front, and half a yard of fabric for the ties, and the instructions are so clear - step by step with photographs of every stage, so that you just can't go wrong. Even a complete beginner could make one of these pinnies as it is all straight stitching, no curves or gathers, and no pattern pieces to fiddle about with.

The latest one above was made for a special friend whose kitchen is a dream, all red and spotty (in the nicest possible way, of course). She cuts Princess Bunchy's hair for me, as the Princess will not let her mother near her hair with a pair of scissors, ever since the fateful day when said mother decided to give her Princess ringlets and in the process got the styling brush irretrievably stuck in the Princess's hair, just below her left ear. In most households it is small children who give themselves lopsided haircuts when their mothers aren't looking - unfortunately it seems that in Pomona's cottage the parent was the guilty party, and the daughter was the one who had the grace to accept an impromptu haircut, or perhaps surgical operation would be a more appropriate term, in order to remove a hairbrush. She accepted the situation with a brave and stoic mien, but ever since has exhibited a certain wariness on glimpsing a pair of scissors in my hands.

I normally cut my own hair (I can tell, I hear you say, sniggering) but on professional inspection yesterday it seems that I had actually managed to get the front snipping quite symmetrical. I will pass over the fact that the Head Chef's attempts with the scissors on the back were perhaps not quite so level, which accounts for the fact that I am always left with one section shorter than the rest when I plait it. But it could be the fact that we use wrapping paper scissors for hair - dressmaking ones being far too precious. But now you will be pleased to know any little amateurish inconsistencies have been evened out by a more expert pair of hands.

But enough of such vanities, and on to the important things like fabric and yarn, and crafting for twenty minutes a day. I have much to thank Marmalade Rose for - I have only missed out on my crafting on two rather wobbly days, and it is the making and creating that has kept me on the smiley side of sanity this winter.

Meet Me at Mike's has had a granny square initiative, and I did spend a whole evening trying to teach myself to crochet - I did think I had mastered the hook at eleven at night, but by the next morning I seemed to have forgotten it all again. So I think I will have to revisit the art of crochet at a later, lighter, and calmer date.

But back to the nitty gritty of fabric - for the red spotty apron I used some Tanya Whelan fabric - Rosie Dot and Ticking in red, from Gone to Earth. The first pinny I made (the one at the top) was in Heather Bailey's Pop Garden Rose Bouquet in yellow from Saints and Pinners, together with her Bijoux Tiled Primrose in turquoise, also from Gone to Earth.

But you don't have to buy fabric specially - I made one of these aprons for the Seaside Landlady (I think all seaside landladies must be in possession of a pinny, and possibly a headscarf and curlers to match), with a fat quarter from my stash - Kaffe Fassett, I think - and I used an old pillowcase from a charity shop for the ties and trim. Just open out all the seams and you will have plenty of fabric for nice long ties, but remember to avoid any worn parts in your quest for serviceability.

But it hasn't all been aprons round here - I have also finished what my dear mamma termed 'odd socks', although she did afterwards tell me that she was referring to the randomness of colour, rather than any inherent peculiarity of the knitting. These were knitted using one skein of Colinette Jitterbug in Popsicle, and in order to demonstrate to you the stress I was under whilst completing the second of the pair, here is all the yarn I had left.

It was touch and go, I can tell you, much anxious weighing of the ball and much pessimism on my part as to whether I would get to the toe without having recourse to a makeweight in another shade and brand of yarn entirely. The Head Chef was most amused.

But all's well that ends well, and they really aren't odd socks, and I do have enough left for darning. I used 2.5mm DPNS and the 8 stitches per inch pattern from Ann Budd's sock book in the adult small size which comfortably fits my size 5/38 feet. So if you want to knit anything bigger, I suggest buying more than one skein of Jitterbug - it will be much gentler on your blood pressure. This yarn does make lovely soft and cosy socks, so I would really recommend it.

However, do be warned, once you start wearing hand-knitted socks, it completely ruins you for anything else;  it is a sort of cashmere cardigan effect - once experienced, nothing else quite lives up to it.

Now just one last word to say thank you for all of those kind comments after my last sad little post, I do appreciate them. It was a bit of a wobbly time, but we are steadying ourselves day by day.

And although I do miss my little Black Dog, I have also had quite a few blessings to count this week. My computer is back from the hospital, and absence has indeed made my heart grow fonder, and did you know that you can get portable hard drives in CK red?

Mr Dyson was able to repair the vacuum cleaner, in spite of the fact that it seemed to me that more bits were broken than working. It is obviously all a matter of perception.

And it is raining so hard here that the Head Chef has been impelled to tidy the shed, not to mention his current love affair with Danish oil means that our worktops are positively beaming.

Also, even better, dearest Nina of Tabiboo has sent me the loveliest little dog from Scotland - it is the present that I would have chosen for myself, and has brightened up my week so much. Perhaps it might assuage my desire for a square-faced puppy. 

In the face of such a wonderful present, I also feel quite fortified in advance of my birthday, well able to cope with whatever the Head Chef and Princess Bunchy have decided that I need in my life, and the fact that the Ploughboy will probably still forget, in spite of electronic reminders from his fearsomely-organized brother. I found two hot water bottles in my Amazon basket last week - and I am not sure if they are a red herring, or the consequence of constantly complaining about the cold.

I have also been reading Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, on the recommendation of Karen at Sew and Sow Life, a book which is also most wonderfully fortifying, and should be part of the National Curriculum. But thereby hangs a world more tales, and I think that better be it for today - I am being beckoned by some pyjamas which need darning and the biggest ball of candy-pink yarn that I have ever seen. The rain it raineth, but I am for the fireside. Have a good day!


Karen L R said...

so, so glad to see you are back, pomona! missed you lots. and my, you have been wonderfully productive! hang in there, spring is coming along soon, friend.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I like that pinny design, I'll have to try to make one myself!

I cut my own hair too...

Sal said...

You certainly have been very productive with your making/crafting!
I love the pinny...those fabrics are fab!

Annalisa said...

Thank you Pomona for the lovely comment on my blog!
I love your apron,I'll try to make it!
Have a lovely sunday.
Kisses :)

Pink Feather Paradise said...

Sad news indeed but I am glad you are carrying on and keeping busy... those pinny's are fab... I think I might have to add it to my list of projects... ;D

x Alex

MILLY said...

Do you feel like a Domestic Goddess when you wear a pretty apron? I baked wearing my CK apron, present from my daughter, it really works.
Your aprons are gorgeous, I am already mentally going through my stash.

TheMadHouse said...

Pinny's are now on my list. I want to make one for my MIL for mothers day.

Sew Scrumptious said...

I LOVE those pinny's. Gorgeous fabric choices too. Might have to make one of those. x

Sophie - Chez Sophie said...

Lovely pinnys pomona, just up my street. I think I mihgt have to make one of those.
Luv Sophie xxx

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Love the pinny and the socks...
You have been a busy girl. That chartruce colour in the socks just sends me over the moon.
Enjoy the week ahead. We are still buried in snow.
Susan x

Menopausal musing said...

That pinny and those socks are just gorgeous, and am loving the sound of the pink yarn.... would go great with yellow tights and pink Mary Janes, ha! ha! Don't get me on the subject of broken Dysons (wrote the cleaning lady with vast experience of the beasts).

Cally's Cottage said...

Your aprons are wonderful- I too have a red(ish) themed kitchen so I LOVE the one you made for your friend!!
Sending you many blessings,
Cally X

Lucille said...

Thank you so much for that link. I have always wanted to buy a fat quarter. I had to cut a spiral hairbrush out of my own hair once, right on the top of my head with about a centimetre to spare. The tuft took a very long time to grow out.

Floss said...

Great to hear from you in your busy life, Pomona! I love your happy socks. Maybe even I could do that pinny...

Thanks for staying in touch.

KC'sCourt! said...

Love the pinny - it is great

Michela said...

Hi Pomona!
I love the way you wear your beautiful aprons!

Sarah said...

Oh they are tempting to make! Love the fabric choices you have made a lot. Very stylish and great pressies.

Your socks are just amazingly beautiful and so warm looking. Good for you.

As for the hair stories, goodness me! That poor little girl will be scared for life, trust me I know!! Too funny.

Stay tuned for a pinny at some time in the near future. Oh I love the pillow case idea for the ties, just perfect.

P.S. Glad you popped in for a while. I was just thinking about you yesterday, again!

twiggypeasticks said...

Your makes are lovely. I've just had a nosey at the 20 minuters flickr group, some lovely stuff going on.
Twiggy x

poppyseed said...

I totally enjoy your blog. I am checking out those apron instructions--I love aprons myself as well as hand-knit socks. Thanks.

Lululiz said...

Pinny in an hour? I could tear myself away from blog reading for that long, lol. Here comes the big BUT though - I am sure it would take me much much longer going through my fabrics and deciding on which ones to use.
Love your socks, just what one needs on a dull and grey horrid day.

wonderwoman said...

i love your pinny and will definitely be giving that a try! I also use the Gone to Earth website - such lovely fabrics, i have to be very careful not to get carried away!!!


French Knots said...

Keep at the crochet, I learnt last month from the meet me at mike videos, much esier than sock knitting! Grannies grown quickly and the colour combinations are most pleasing.
I need a quick present for a friend this week so I'm off to check out how to make the pinny.....

pebbledash said...

Hi Pomona,
I missed your last post. So very sorry to read about your lovely scottie dog. I hope you have many happy memories of your times together.

On a happier note, what pinny loveliness, and socks too. I've been tempted by jitterbug...but as I have large feet, that would mean 2 skeins (an expensive pair of socks!).

Wishing you a happy new month!

Isobel said...

Hi Pomona!
Love your pinny. The fabrics are really cheerful and thank you for the source for the pattern. I will check it out and maybe have a go myself. :)

willow said...

You have been busy, really lovely socks. I haven't done much sewing for years but perhaps the pinny would be a good project to rekindle my interest.

Kate said...

Goodness it seems like the whole of Blogland will soon be sporting one of Pomona's pinnys. Love your socks, too, but I think there's more chance of me achieving the former, which I will definitely be putting on my list.

Kate x


I'm so sorry to hear your news, terribly sad

I like the pinny and will probably make one some time (?). Thanks for a wonderful post and always your lovely comments on my blog

Have a good week

Louise said...

I must say you model those pinnies very well. x

Yvonne said...

What a fantastic apron... and those fabrics are to die for! Also loving those socks... the colours are brilliant. I can't believe how productive you've been... you are amazing!
Love Yvonne xxxx

Farmgirl Cyn said...

The apron is just about the cutest thing ever! And the socks? YIKES! LOVE those colors. I have never had a pair of hand knit socks, so I guess I don't know what I am missing. And, if any of the patterns I have seen are par for the course, I won't be making any of my own! I have a hard enough time just knitting hats and scarves, let alone a pair of socks!

Jill said...

How I enjoyed reading your blog, although I cannot knit (very well) and decline to get out the sewing machine I love your turn of phrase and will be back.
Found via Cathy a Menopausal musings

Jennifer said...

What a great apron tutorial, thanks for posting it.

Gina said...

Those aprons are just gorgeous... it's the fabric choices that really make them! Love the colours in those socks too.

beck said...

Looks like you have been missed by many! Including me. I loved this colourful post and thanks so much for the pinny link, what a great idea for a handmade pressie. Love the socks too, what great colours. Welcome back sweetie, big hugs to you xo

Tabiboo said...

I love the apron and thank you for the link - another one to add to my 'definite' (one day) list.

The sun is shining still and I've even hung some washing out!!

Have a lovely, lovely week,

Nina xxx

Mousy Brown said...

I too am struggling with crochet at the moment - everyone says it is so much easier - I keep hoping it might just make sense one day! So sorry to hear your sad news - I hope you have sunshine there too today and that it might lift your soul a bit! :D

Florence and Mary said...

That is one gorgeous apron

Victoria x

jennyflower said...

Lovely to know you are still there, tucked away, knitting and stitching against the wind and rain. I do love the colour of your socks! xx

periwinkle said...

love the ticking on the red pinny , your hair cutting story made me laugh , well sort of ... hub cut Gabes hair yesterday and ended up giving him a short back and sides due to the bald patches that were " accidently" cut in !!

Cottage Garden said...

Love your pinny designs Pomona.

I cut my own fringe but draw the line at going any further!

The sun is shining today and its a new month - some respite is in the offing!

Have a good week.

Jeanne x

Jak said...

Thanks for posting details of the pinny, I think I will have to have a go at that. The socks look divine.
Jak x

melanie said...

I love your pinny and socks! So pretty and practical. xx

Shirleyanne said...

Really love the pinny. My mother still favours them. Brilliant.
I know you're a Cath Kidston fan, I have been tempted!! Saw the range at Selfridges on Saturday & keep looking online at a certain bag! Hmm so tempted lol
PS. when my fringe gets too long, I get too impatient, so I end up attacking it! You're not the only one.

Lola Nova said...

As usual there is so much in this post that I love and don't know quite where to start. Oh the pinny love! The sock love! and I had been terribly uninformed on this 20 minute a day business which I am off to investigate soon. Thank you for brightening my day once again!

elizabethm said...

You are so right about the lure of handknitted socks! I am about to go out and buy some more wool for my second pair. I blame you entirely.
I love that pinny too!

Barbara said...

You have certainly been busy with your socks and aprons, etc.
So sorry to read about your dog. A sad time. Blessings

andamento said...

Lovely pinny, almost tempts me into wearing one but not quite!
Gorgeous socks too, very colourful. They'd cheer me up every time I saw them poking out beneath my jeans if they were mine!
Nice badge too. Sorry to hear of your loss, I missed the significance of your previous post when I read it at the time.
Nice to see you back!

all kinds of everything said...

Thank you for the lovely comment on Vasco.I'm going to make the apron.Love to read your beautiful post.I have cut my daughters hair once and everyone tought she played with the scissors! and oooh need more time... I always wanted to make a granny blanket!
Thanks for all those great links!

jus said...

Do you think that Pinny envy is a bonafide condition...I'm sure that if I lived in California there'd be a clinic I could attend. However, whilst Auckland is still my happy home I'll content myself with licking the computer screen and groaning! x

Rubyred said...

Love the aprons, VERY pretty!
I'm with you on the crochet I succeed for a little while but then I lose it again!
I need to have someone next to me correcting me as I go wrong!
I'll stick with the stitching for now!
Rachel x

val said...

Oh! I just L O V E your pinny! I don't usually use one in the kitchen but I am going to from now on! Thanks for the inspiration and the link and for making me into a "happy to be in the kitchen" woman!!
20 Minuters is such a good thing to be in isn't it? :0)

janie said...

Miss hearing from you. Some day I hope to knock on your door when I'm in Faversham visiting my friend there. Hope you are well...


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