Sunday, 21 May 2017

A Brief Trip to Liverpool

David went to Liverpool with his Photography Club a few weekends ago (okay - I admit it - back in April!) and I was invited.

We had a relatively casual trip there. We find we can’t do trips in a rush and need a couple of breaks to stretch and have a comfort break. We’re getting rather stiff. We went in my car and shared the driving. I don’t like driving David’s car.

We arrived on Friday afternoon. The hotel was pretty basic but okay. A number of the others had gone on trips within Liverpool during the day but while we had a couple of things planned if we had arrived in time, that didn’t work out.

Friday evening, we had a Turkish meal in a restaurant just a 15 minute walk from the hotel. That was a great meal! Originally, I hadn’t been going to drink as David wanted to take a night photo of the Liverpool skyline but we put that off to the following night as the meal was rather late in the evening so I was able to have some of their lovely Turkish wine. I really want to try to get some of that for home use.

On Saturday, we started the day by going to Crosby beach to see Anthony Gormley's ‘Another Place’ AKA The Iron Men. We wanted to get there as the tide was starting to go out. We spent a couple of hours there (it was very cold and windy! Sand got into all of our equipment - not good). I hadn't realised the statues were so spread out - a hundred over about 5 km I think. I think I got some of his message but probably not all of it.

Then we went in to Liverpool to explore a bit. Because it was so cold and windy, we decided against our Mersey Ferry trip. Years ago, over 40 years ago,  we had a trip across the Mersey and I was photographed wearing a yellow jacket. One of the photography themes for this field trip to Liverpool was ‘a touch of yellow’ and David wanted to try to recreate the photo. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find it before we left so that recreation will have to wait! I'm not sure the comparison will be flattering to my current self!

It had been a while since I last visited Liverpool and it has changed a lot. David was busy taking photos and we met up in passing with some of the others in the group. I decided I wanted to go to Abakhan Fabrics so walked through Liverpool sightseeing on the way - it was quite a distance and took me past quite a few landmarks. I’m not going into detail as that’s not really the purpose of today’s post.

I first visited another little fabric store on the same street and picked up a couple of metres of fabric suitable for making Joanne some new shorts. Black and floral georgette and plain lining (the shorts have two layers). Very good value.

Abakhan is big. I didn’t really have enough time to fully explore it but I wasn’t intending to buy much of anything for me anyway. I did buy a jacket pattern. The shop has a lot of crafts - I think it must cover anything you can think of! In the downstairs section, fabric is sold by weight and I saw (yes, and bought!) a piece of beautiful lime green microfleece which will be great when I come to make Ben a bigger gilet. Orange would have been nice but there was none of that. The fleece feels lovely.

I had arranged to meet David at 3.30pm so left and chose a different route to get back to our meeting place.

I walked a lot and my step count really increased that day! Over 25k. In the evening, again quite late, we had a Moroccan meal. This was a kind of banquet with lots of different dishes and bring your own wine. This time we really weren’t drinking as I took David through one of the tunnels to the eerily empty Ferry terminal at the other side of the river to allow him to photograph the skyline of Liverpool across the Mersey. The ferries stop running at about 6pm. His photographs came out quite well though were less colourful than he had anticipated - he had seen some photos of the skyline when there was special lighting.

By this time, we were both shattered and didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight.

The next day was home time but we decided to go via Cheshire Oaks outlet village, yes a few miles out of our way but I had heard it was good. David got a jacket (have I mentioned he absolutely loves jackets and has quite a collection?) and shoes. Long time ago, he had a Jaeger jacket which he loved. It was expensive, even though bought in a sale, and was worn to death. This jacket reminded him of that, though it was a cheaper version. He has asked me to recreate his original jacket as close as I can. Unfortunately, the jacket was long before my sewing days and we don’t have it any more. I’ll see what I can do one day! Oh, and I didn’t buy anything other than a card for Dan for her wedding which was a couple of weeks later - now in the past, it was the bank holiday weekend at the start of May.

The photography club stops from now until September. I was invited again to the end of season presentation of prizes and an interesting talk and presentation of the Lifeboat Project. The photographs we took in Liverpool, because, yes, I took some too, aren’t presented until next year around this time. I did take some but thought I'd lost my camera or had it pinched so was without it for a while - it had been in the car in full view all the time! So most of my photos are snaps on my phone. I’m considering joining the photography club with David as it is nice to have a shared interest and my attempts to interest him in golf or bridge have failed! He’s more involved with my sewing, which is nice, though he still hasn’t used his machine. He's suggesting I buy a better camera but I'm not keen. I'd rather buy an embroidery module for my machine! I'll wait and see if I enjoy the club.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Hair advice - please give me your opinion!!

My hair is too long and unruly at present. It’s rather flyaway. I’ve tried new shampoos but they haven’t helped. Grey hair is rather more porous and brittle than hair with natural colour. I'm not happy at all with it.
Today - photo 1

Last week - you can see how flyaway it is - photo 2

Also last week - photo 2

The main thing, though, is that it hasn’t been trimmed for 9 weeks and it grows quite quickly. I’d had it a bit longer than in some of the photos. My hairdresser has been unable to see me and I need to go to a new one. The question is, though - how short do I get it cut?

I’ll include photos of various options on me in real life and I would greatly appreciate your opinion. They're from various dates and not in order

Profile photo - photo3
Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 7

Photo 8

Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 11a

photo 11b

Photo 12 - recent

Photo 13
Options are, I think

  • To trim but make no shorter - effectively this is continuing to grow my hair. Advantages are that I can currently tie my hair back for golf. It can look very nice when just washed but quickly looks rather windswept.
  • To make a bit shorter but keep the bob
  • To make a lot shorter
  • Other
I'd be very grateful for your opinion
Thank you

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Weekend - including Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh

I was feeling this way last week and technology still has me a bit this way still!
A poor photo of a wonderful recreation of The Scream
I decided pretty much at the last minute to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh last weekend.  I hadn't intended to - we had been due to go to Cambridge but Joanne was working; there was a craft show at home; David and I are still tired after a bug; one of my sewing friends went to the first Edinburgh show last year and said it was poor with not enough sewing related; and I don't need more fabric. Then it's a bit of a drive. However, we decided to go and planned also to visit my Mum so booked overnight hotel accommodation for Sunday night after the show, intending to visit Mum on Monday and then travel home on Monday evening.

David dropped me off at the show and went on into Edinburgh to go on a photographing and reminiscing journey. We lived in Edinburgh for a few years; we left almost exactly 30 years ago.

As we left home at 7.30 am and hadn't stopped,  I was ready for a comfort  break and a coffee as soon as I got to the show and wanted to see if there were any spaces left on any of the workshops that interested me. There were.

I gently wandered around. The first thing that interested me was the display from Materialistics, a group of knitters and stitchers, which began in 2009 in South Shields where I worked for over 20 years. It's 10 miles from where I live.  They agreed to me taking photos and putting on my blog. The photos sadly haven't come out that well and you can't see the marvellous colours and textures. They have an exhibition on at present and I'll make sure to catch it. I'm less likely to go to their twice weekly meetings. I had a lovely chat about the background to Materialistics with one of the ladies - she created The Eiffel Tower by Robert Delauney
and Sylvette by Picasso.
I confess my favourite two were the Cezanne

A close up detail of the wonderful texture

and the Rennie McIntosh.
Have a look at their website for more information and some more photos.

The exhibition was much smaller than Harrogate or London. It was also much less crowded (good and bad of course!). Yes, I'd go back if only because of the convenience. I'm not going to go to Harrogate or London this autumn but quite fancy the Great British Sewing Bee Live in London in September. I'm not sure about the timing yet. It sounds much ore specifically dressmaking related.

I looked around some of the stalls, bought a Harris Tweed jacket and had lunch before going to my first 1h workshop on bias binding on a neckline with Claire Tyler. I've  been to one of her workshops before and like her style. I completed a sample. My neighbour in the class was on her 4th straight day of the show and on her 7th workshop! My sample wasn't perfect but a decent press would probably sort it. In the real thing, I would tack (baste) first to make sure everything was lying where it should. I do quite a lot of tacking and enjoy it for some reason when other people avoid at all costs..

A short break and then my 2nd 1h class on the lapped zipper. I liked the method taught here and am likely to use it. Again, a nice sample to take home. When I said to Rory that I had taken this class, she said but you know how to do a lapped zipper’ (sha and Dan had taught me). I said that  hadn’t been happy with my technique

There were a couple of things I couldn't attend as they clashed eg Lauren Guthrie demonstrating sewing with knits and the timing of another workshop appeared to have been changed at the last minute and I missed it.  I  enjoyed looking around the other displays.

I finished looking around the other stands. I couldn't get a couple of things on my potential shopping list (wool jersey). I attended a short demo of the Lutterloh system, which I have but have never used. I bought the Cashmerette Turner pattern (at Guthrie and Ghani), a couple  of greatly reduced Simplicity New Look patterns - no doubt there had been a greater selection in the earlier days. I subscribed to Selvedge magazine,  decided against buying Ottobre, bought some woolly nylon for Helen's dress.   Wait for it - I bought yarn and pattern! I also bought a kit which had sold out and is going to be sent to me so you can't see it until it's done. I wasn't  tempted just to buy to add to my yarn stash (yes, I have one of those too despite all the yarn I gave away. Most recently I've been a machine knitter). I'm hoping my hands won't get too sore trying hand knitting again.

By this time David had given up and decided that our plans for nighttime walking and photography from Calton Hill (Edinburgh Castle at night) were off. So he picked me up and we went to the hotel and ate there instead. Nice meal. I phoned my Mum and arranged  to visit - we hadn’t done that earlier incase our plans changed. Had she not been free, we would have spent an extra day in Edinburgh.

I found that I was the lucky recipient of Sigrid’s Knipmode magazine in her giveaway. I've never seen the magazine so look forward to getting it. I enjoy Marianne’s reviews of it. I do have an unsewn Knipmode pattern that I got from their website, with Marianne’s help to negotiate the language barrier.

On Monday we took my Mum out for lunch at a new to us restaurant - Artisan, which serves ‘modern Scottish fare’. A lovely meal and very reasonably priced.  They had a fabulous selection of whisky which David unfortunately couldn't sample as he was driving. We'll go back.

My Mum had worn the top I made for her specially as I was going. Remember I said she told me it fitted well? It doesn't. My mother is becoming very frail and has lost quite a bit of body bulk and the top basically drowns her. My 'dowager's hump' alteration appears to have been insufficient and'/or this style just doesn't work for her. Pity as she s likes a cowl neckline, though this one wasn't quite cowly enough for her she told me.
Mum in the top I made for her

There won't be much sewing this coming week as I have a number of golf-related activities which are quite time consuming. For those of you who don't know, I am the secretary of our County association for senior ladies and while I also play in the competitions where I'm eligible, I have a few committee duties too. The golfing season has started. I still haven't made the golf attire I'd like to. I don't think it will be this year either! I'd prefer  to lose a bit more weight.

I intended to post this earlier, but it’s now Wednesday evening. I was at sewing bee today and took the torso block on to the next stage. It’s very nearly ready for Madame!
Torso block front
Torso block back

Rory had made me up a toile of another pair of trousers and tbh I thought these were the worst yet. She said that she could see why I’ve had wide legged trousers a lot in the past and maybe went as far as to suggest I stuck to those. I don’t want ‘skinnies’ but I would really like a pair of slim legged trousers. Don’t care if they’re stretch or woven. I was at a fitting group a few weeks ago (not blogged) and one of the others has said that she read that some wrinkles are impossible to get rid of for her type of figure (not mine) and that perhaps wide legs are the answer. Oh dear! So how long do I stick at it? I didn’t get around to finishing the little pink rain jacket. Never mind, it’s a sample piece only.

This was my last Wednesday afternoon sewing bee for a while as our Wednesday evening stretch/ knits/ swimwear class starts next week. I’m still not sure whether I’m looking forward to it.

Update and Continuing with Machine Embroidery Course

I haven’t been sewing anything recently. I’ve managed a few alterations and repairs and a little bit of machine embroidery - though I’ve f...