Thursday, 12 December 2013

Making things for little people

There's a couple of babies on the way amongst my group of friends here. The first one is due just after Christmas, so a baby shower was organised a couple of weeks ago. This of course gave me an excuse to do some knitting...

As it's a winter baby, I figured a cozy blanket and matching little hat would be an appropriate gift. I used this free pattern for the blanket, which is a pretty pattern, but knits up quickly. It's knitted in non-wool yarn (so it's machine washable, and to avoid allergies), and I chose colours that were feminine, without being girly (they know it will be a girl, but I hate gender stereotyping - fortunately these parents aren't really into lots of pink stuff either!). The red is actually a richer more red wine colour than it appears in the photos.

I also made a quick hat to match, using this free pattern. Because it's so small, it can be knitted up in an evening. I added a mini pom-pom (using this fork-based method!) - I couldn't get the thread that holds it together as tight as I would have liked, so I don't know how long the bobble will hold up, but she'll probably grow out of the hat in a few weeks, so it shouldn't be a problem.

And because I'm a masochist, I offered to make a cake for the baby shower too. And decided on a really complicated design. Using fondant icing. Which I've never used before. Fortunately I did some practicing, and ended up being very pleased with how it turned out (oh, and I made some cupcakes decorated with mini baby blocks too...):

Well, I think that's enough baby madness for now - the next one is due at the beginning of February, so there will probably be a little more little knitting in my future...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Back in the UK

So my husband and I made our pre-Christmas trip back to the mothership motherland at the end of November, and I have to say the highlight of the trip wasn't seeing my parents and their cat, nor visiting my sister and playing with my nephew, nor shopping in London, nor eating many curries and drinking many pints of bitter, nor meeting up with friends I haven't seen for ages, nor an early Christmas dinner with the in-laws on the Wirral, complete with flaming pudding and crackers. Nope, it was meeting up with the awesome Melissa. On her boat!

I can confirm that she is just as lovely in person as she comes across on her blog, and her clothes are just as beautiful. (For completeness, she was wearing her chic sweatshirt and her contrast pocket classic jeans, and I was wearing a sweaterknit batwing top that I'll post about soon, and my jeans skirt). Her suspicion was right, after seeing her boat, I do want to live on one! (although I think in reality my dodgy ears would mean I'd end up being constantly dizzy). Hearing about the history of their boat and learning about the realities of living on one was super interesting, and it was brilliant how much of a community there is in the moorings; you don't really get that in many places in London.

I think what amazed me most was how tiny Melissa's current sewing room is (literally the size of a desk, plus space for a chair), yet she still makes such beautiful garments. I also met her very cute kittycat Nishi (so adorable!) and got a sneak peek at her latest project (to be launched in January, I believe...). I brought a gift of some silk twill (the same that I made my peplum top from), and can't wait to see what she makes with it.

Apart from that, the trip didn't involve much sewing-related activity (apart from buying some interfacing...), so I will leave you with a few pretty photos from around London and Liverpool.

The amazing view from the shore above Melissa's boat:

Kensington Palace across the Round Pond:

Queen Victoria by her daughter, Princess Louise:

Trying to fit in with the in-laws:

That pudding on fire:

And finally, the fabric that was waiting in the post box when I got home: