Saturday, 7 November 2015

Personal Updatey One

I feel a little guilty that the shop's been all sell sell sell since I restarted actually posting things. I know we're a shop and we need money but we're also a community right? So I thought I'd so a personal updatey one. There's kind of been a lot and a little going on around here. I've been really busy trying to catch myself up ready for the Christmas rush and I've been working on a very secret thing which I should be able to talk about next week (crossed fingers...):

I'm really very excited about this! It's something a little different than we did last year for the Christmas bags.

Chris is also working on a little something but I very much doubt that that will be ready to talk about next week. Which brings me back to what Toni and I were up to last weekend....

There's a little break away group from our knitting group called, excitingly, sewing group. More or less, everybody regular is invited, but because it's in people's houses we make sure people aren't murderers first. It doesn't happen very often but it's usually on a Sunday and happens maybe two or three times a year. Because I'm most often teaching on a Sunday I don't often get to go, so a few months ago, probably in August when Toni moved in, we arranged for this one day - November the 1st - to be sewing club at Chris's house! Now, I don't live at Chris's house, so I did feel a bit guilty but bugger it. It's a nice house and I spend enough time there and Toni's paying rent. Haha.

So, for some reason I planned to make fudge and toffee for the party, both of which needed butter in my recipe. So I told Chris that he needed to pick it up in time for me to make it all on Friday night ready for the party on Sunday. On Sunday, the plan was to clean/tidy the house in a nice relaxed manner and maybe get a quick bike ride in.

Things went wrong mainly when Chris forgot to get the butter. Which meant that I had to make the toffee and fudge on Sunday morning.... not a great idea. But whatevs. Then Toni ended up planning to go home to see her ma and the boyf so she wouldn't be there to help on Sunday. Then I had a lovely lesson on the Saturday evening:

That's Alexis, Jean, Gill (of the bags fame) and Steph fairiseling away and yes, they are sipping wine. Well Alexis an Jean aren't but the rest of us made up for it. Going off on a tangent, this was my first evening class, really enjoyed it, may need to tweek the lessons to fit them into two hours, may need to make the classes two and a half hours, deffo need to wait until we have a bigger shop because trying to get/keep the shop in a reasonable state that people could actually sit and knit in the evenings whilst having a busy Saturday was not what I needed.... Keep an eye out for more of these though, they will happen.

But, it's Knit Nottingham, the night ended slightly drunkenly and a little (and I mean only a little) messily.


Which meant that on the Sunday I ended up sleeping too late. Woke up at ten, everybody was coming at one. Ugh. So, I got going with the toffee and the fudge whilst simultaneously cleaning the kitchen and sorting out little bits and bobs relating to the kitchen within the house. Because Chris's kitchen is too small we often end up letting things cool on racks in the dining room so there are dining room racks and kitchen racks and they needed moving. That sort of thing. Whilst I was doing this, Chris was supposed to be sorting the downstairs of the house and then we were both going to hit up the rooms upstairs that people might be in i.e. bathroom. But instead of tidying or cleaning. Chris spent an hour - AN HOUR - sorting out balls of wool that had got into a tangle. These are not balls of wool I need in my life - they're left overs of acrylic that I can't bring myself to throw out so they're just hanging around waiting to be used in something ridiculous like a toy or or sausage or.... a Jeremy Corbyn Christ tree topper. That kind of thing. He spent an hour carefully unknotting every single ball and reballing it. ONLY TO CHUCK IT BACK IN THE SAME PILE! Jeeeeeeeeeeez.

At that point, when I'd just realised how terribly Chris had done, happily, Toni came home. I was like 'yesssss! Shit's gonna get done now' only she needed to buy ingredients to make the pie that she planned to make that evening for us all for dinner, and I'm not one to stand in the way of pie for dinner. And she also needed to tidy her room lest people wanted to come and see it. So, we made a plan, she sorted her room whilst Chris had a shower. Then she sent Chris off with a shopping list whilst she tidied the downstairs. She did this in about ten minutes. Chris came home and she did the bathroom. Chris hoovered whilst she helped sort out the food. I cleaned the fridge (because people were going to look in the fridge!?!?!?!?! But it deffo needed doing) and got to the bottom of the big recycling pile (we have a system but stuff's been falling out of it for a while and onto the pile of bags and.... ugh.... that needs sorting too). Anyway, we got shit done. And then it was like seven minutes to when people were arriving and I had just enough time to wash and get my onesie on.

And! After all that stress it was just lovely. Really relaxed and no need for quite as much tidying. Only there were like 14 of us so if I hadn't have tidied we may not have fitted in. Ha.

The food was amazing! Steph from Nettynot made these BEAUTIFUL biscuits. They were a bit gingery:

 By the time they got to our house, they were very very impressive - fairisley type affairs. But I didn't get a photo of that I'm afraid. Silly me.

Toni was working on her Christmas jumper which needed a steek. She used the machine stitching method:

And then used the 'safety in numbers' technique for the cutting (I'm a big fan of the 'shot of whisky' technique...):


We were all sat around watching and filming. Ha. Fascinating. I'm sure I'll have an update of the final thing when she gets it done.

Everybody was making amazing cushions, I should have got photos but I didn't, it did inspire me to start cushions though. I had in my head that I'd crochet the front, get a plain cotton to back that and then the other side of the cushion would be in a thick patterned cotton or a lovely thick woolly tartan (because everybody else was making tartan cushions apparently), so I started the crochet fronts. On Monday when I woke up, I had breakfast and then had to make the decision whether to stay in bed and knit or get out of the house and, surprisingly, I chose to leave the house. I do try and go into Beeston and shop in the indies even though I hate it. This week I loved it because I saw not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but SIX of my customers! Haha. I nipped to get five cushion pads and then went into the little sewing shop there and picked up half a metre each of five different colours of corduroy. Not cotton, or printed cotton or indeed thick lovely tartan. But cord. It's what took my fancy anyway and the colours seemed to work with the purple. I also picked up some buttons.

When I got home, Toni's machine was still up in the dining room and I had whisky, which is most important for sewing, so I got going!

I cut out one square, 19" by 19". Roughly square anyway.... I'll never be a proper sewer. I bought 18" square pads and was planning on a 1" seam allowance which I thought would would do nicely once the stuffing starts to compact. The other side was a square plus a bit... Happily, the edges were already sorted for me. I've no idea what to call it but you can see it on this photo:

Which also shows my beautiful buttonhole. I can hear all sewers taking a sharp intake of breath right about now. Haha. And do I care?!?! Nah. I hate hemming things, hate it. So the selvedge malarkey here stayed. It's never going to fray and I don't have to do hems. I call that winning!

The buttonholes need explaining though I think. I wasn't planning to do buttonholes. I was planning to sew the crochet squares to the larger square by hand once the covers were all together. And then I was going to crochet some buttons loops and attach those to the crochet and then the buttons to the actual covers. But once I'd made all five of the cushions I realised that I didn't want the crochet at all! Which meant I didn't have anywhere to attach the crochet button loops to. So I tried making button loops out of the cord material but it was just too stiff. I thought I might be able to 'kill' it with steam but apparently that wasn't going to work so I sucked it up and did a buttonhole. I practiced first, I promise I did. I don't think I've ever done a buttonhole before, just had my grandma explain it to me many many years ago. So I tried it. And it wasn't pretty but it was functional and the buttons did go through it and stayed there. I ummed and ahhed a bit, but the whisky helped, I was going to do buttonholes. All of my sewing so far had been in this orange-y red which I bought to put the zip in my onesie because it's the only one I could find in the top layer of my sewing stash. But at the end of the third buttonhole on the purple-y coloured cushion it had run out. So the rest of the buttonholes are done in a teal colour which I borrowed (stole, haha) off Toni. That colour works much better. I thought it would drive me mad that the buttonholes were this horrendous and that they were in different colours, but it doesn't. I don't even think about it. Am I a slattern? Do I care?

So, where I am I? I've slept since I wrote that last lot. Trying to work out what threads I need to tie up....

Ahhhhhh, the finished products:
They look pretty cool don't they? Even if I say so myself. I was very pleased. And so is Gucci who's taken to sitting on one like it's a throne but only when half of the cushion is supported by my head:

Cats ey? Who'd have em?

Good cushions.

Now, pie. Toni made said pie on Monday. On Sunday after the party we were too full of cheese and biscuits: 


The pie was equally delicious:

It was a vegetable pie because Chris is now a vegetable eater so meat pie is out. It feels weird to have a vegetable pie with a meat side, not a meaty pie with a vegetable side. We'll get used to it. Delicious. Well done Toni!

Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday were both worky work work days - where you get shit done. Blogs, vlogs, internet updating, customers, tidying, orders, payments. Boom. Dead good. And then it was allllllll relax on Thursday evening when me and Marsh Marsh went to see the fireworks:

My phone was too crap to get a photo of the fireworks (or I'm too crap a photographer more like) but I like this photo. Just before this we'd been discussing how awful this all is. There was mud and noise and lights and people. Things going upside down and round and round, rides where people didn't even have seatbelts! And then we looked behind us and there was a massive bonfire and we both agreed that it we were medieval this would be like the end of time - fire and brimstone - it's all over. That's when we knew we had to head up the hill to get into our spot to see the fireworks. We were deffo in the best place.

And I think that's all my threads brought together but there's a photo that I haven't managed to get in so I'm just shoving it in here:

This is my beloved spice rack. Toni bought it for us when she moved in to say thank you for something or other and I'm glad that she did because I knew what I wanted and the size of it but I wasn't about to pay the prices that you find anyway (like £50!!!!) so I was waiting for one to appear in the charity shops or for Chris to magically become a carpenter. I did upload this to facebook and everybody laughed that it was in colour order. It's totes not! It's just herbs together and then my spices are separated in a way that made sense to me at the time but I can't work out why now. I keep buying a pot or two every time I go to the supermarket and eventually it'll be like my parents house. But I mainly go to places like Medina in Hyson Green to get refills because you get massive bags for £1.50 instead of a little pot and I'm pretty sure they're more delicious anyway. It's a lovely scene though isn't it, very proud of that photo.

And that's it! I've got a tiny bit of internetting to do and then I'm crocheting for the rest of the day, going to try and get an advent calender finished and then I'll have something else to blog about! Boom!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxx

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