Monday, 30 March 2015

Trying Tie Dyeing with Dylon

National Craft Month is nearly over!  I wanted to squeeze in this last creation before it ended though, and Dylon were kind enough to help me out with my long time wish to try out tie dyeing.  Now, I must have missed a trend back in the 90s, because everyone I told about this craft told me they'd done it when they were kids.  So yeah, I'm a bit behind the times over here.  After trying it, I can't believe I've never dyed anything before.  (Well, minus that time I got a dye-in-the-machine packet and attempted to turn some cream shirts black.  They came out dirty cream.  Sigh.)  Here's what I did...

I got a white tshirt from the charity shop and a pack of Dylon's China Blue fabric dye.  They challenged me to create a new look for spring and this colour is the perfect Easter shade.  I also picked up a plain tote bag from Tiger to have a go at dip dyeing while the tshirt was soaking.

Making sure the shirt was clean and damp, I secured some sections with elastic bands.  I covered my work table with a plastic bag, although (for a change) I managed not to get the dye everywhere.  I did wear old pjs just in case though, my track record for keeping clean is not great.  Next, I mixed up the dye as the packet instructs, adding salt and stirring it up.  I used chopsticks for this task since I didn't fancy risking my spoons!

The dye gets added to a basin of warm water and stirred up again.  I followed the guide to the letter and it was such an easy process.  I'd just recommend you carve out a reasonable amount of time for the task, as you're about to see...

The t-shirt goes into the basin and is stirred continuously for fifteen minutes.  I had gloves on anyway so I just used my hands to swirl it around in the dye.  Don't worry about how dark the water looks, the end result is much more pastel!  After the initial stirring, I gave it another mix every few minutes for the next forty five.  I also draped the bag part way into the water at this point and just let it sit over the side.

An hours worth of stirring later, the shirt is ready to emerge.  I removed the elastic bands and did an initial rinse under the tap in cold water, then I switched to the hot tap and added some detergent to give it a quick wash through.

The water got squeezed out and the finished items were hung on the radiator to dry off.  Aren't they pretty?  I want to refashion the tote into a drawstring bag, but I haven't had a chance to get near my sewing machine yet, so that's a project for another day.

Now, the tie dye was awesome, but I had to tamper with the design just a bit more to make it really festive.  I don't tend to suit high necks so, using a side plate as a template, I cut around the neckline to make it more flattering, and also removed the sleeves.  Some tiny pompoms and fabric glue got in the way too...

...and voila!  One totally refashioned tshirt, fit for spring time.  It's amazing how much of a difference a few small changes can make to an old white top, and I'll definitely be trying something else with the dye.  Tam very kindly took the dyeing pictures for me so I think I'll have to dye something for him next...

*I was gifted a couple of packets of the dye from Dylon to try out some crafts but all opinions (and effort!) are my own*


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Stripes and a biker jacket

I wore this on Saturday for a wander around Glasgow with Tam.  It turned out to be the first properly warm day of the year, so the scarf was quickly ditched on the walk in!  I found this shirt in a charity shop last week and I totally love it.  Obviously it's menswear, since it's perfectly long enough.  My jacket was gifted from Long Tall Sally from my #dearsally post in November, and I'm just getting to wear it now, since a non hooded jacket in winter was never gonna work.  It was almost too warm for Saturday, but I was glad for it on Sunday when the sun disappeared as we went out for lunch.

This might be one of my favourite outfits lately, even if my good old boots tried to kill my feet.  How can that be when I've been wearing them for two winters with no problems?!  I have a few blisters now, and they're definitely relegated to the shelf for a while.  Pah.

shirt - M&S (mens) via charity shop
jeans - Long Tall Sally
boots - DSW
scarf - Jigsaw via charity shop


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Knitting and Reading

I haven't participated in the Yarn Along for ages!  I finally have knitting to share that I don't have to keep a secret though, so here I am.  As I mentioned once or twice already this week (ahem), I'm knitting the new Shetland Wool Week hat, despite the season. I only need a tiny bit of black wool but my black Aran is in giant ball form, so along it comes anyway!  Long time readers may recognise it from Tam's Christmas jumper...

All my library books have been returned (although I'm waiting for one that's been 'in transit' for over a month, so who knows when that's going to appear).  This means I can start on that big pile that's been building up on my shelf - leftover Christmas pressies and a few I've bought myself.  First up is Pawnee by Leslie Knope, a guide to the wonderful city that graces our screens in Parks and Recreation.  I'm about half way through and I must admit, I thought it would be funnier.  I'm liking it though, plus I still have the last season to watch, so it's getting me in the mood for that.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Photo an Hour Day - Sat 21 March

07:56 - I awoke quite early for a Saturday, but I wanted to finish reading my library book so I could take it back on my way into town.  My beach hut lights kept me company in bed.

08.58 - Still reading.  I'm a relatively quick reader but I had over 100 pages to get through!

10.09 - I decided it was time for tea and a bagel.  The only problem is my tea cools down way quicker than I can drink it, so I only made that small dent in the cup...

10.57 - Wrote a post for Monday and checked my blog home page.  LinkWithin revealed my unimaginative slant for post titles...

12.09 - Finishing off some knitting.  This is my bits-and-pieces bag for my tools - I use the darning needles and scissors all the time but there's some random bits in here too, including a purse made by Janet, a drawing of Parsnip by Tam and some props from the minion window...

12.57 - It was high time I was getting ready for the day, so clothing had to happen.  I also found time to shoot a quick outfit post so look out for that later in the week!

14.06 - It was gorgeous outside so I decided to walk into town to meet Tam, who was getting the train down to Glasgow.  I went to a couple of charity shops on the way and picked up a couple of bits for my summer wardrobe, then walked up by Kelvingrove.  It was pretty warm by this point so my scarf came off.  First non scarf day of the year, yay!

15.16 - Tam arrived!  He kindly waited while I did my yearly restock of tshirts at H&M, then we had a quick drink and walked along to the cathedral.

15.56 - We went up to the Necropolis afterwards.  There were a few people around enjoying the nice weather, but it wasn't unpleasantly busy.  My camera lens was annoyingly dirty though so all my pictures from there have marks on them,  I usually have a cloth on hand to clean it but I didn't even notice it was that bad, I'm a bit annoyed with myself.

16.58 - We were loving the sun so much that we popped into the first pub we saw with a beer garden - Drygate, by the Tennents Factory.  They had chalk out so you could draw on the tables!  Here's my version of me and Tam.

18.57 - We had problems getting a train, then when we got home we were desperate to order dinner, so I totally forgot about a picture.  Tam waiting patiently for food to arrive.

21.17 - I didn't even realise I hadn't taken an 8pm photo!  That's not good...  We were just stuffed with sushi and lolling on the couch anyway, neither of us could move from overload of rice and curry.  It was awesome though, and we've decided avocado sushi is our new fave.  I started knitting the Shetland hat, accompanied by Nadia's pretzel stitch markers.  Thanks to all the food and walking, we were knackered and went to bed about 11pm, not a bad day at all!

Thanks to Louisa and Jane for organising Photo and Hour again, check out their blogs to find out the date for the next one!


Monday, 23 March 2015


My next knitting project is the rather unseasonal Shetland Wool Week hat.  I just couldn't wait to knit it after seeing the pattern.  At least I'll be prepared for next year!  It's still not available online but there's more pictures on the designers blog.  I've never done colour work on the round before, in fact colour work is not something I'm confident about knitting anyway, so I'm hoping this will provide some good skill developing.

Admiring my button jar, a recycled Burt's Bees gift pot.  I have so many, I think I need to find a button related craft to use some up.

Wondering if it's time to put the chunkiest of the knitwear into summer storage yet...  I sense I'll be the weather jinx if I do though.

My colleague made an Eclipse Cake on Friday, for obvious reasons.  It was lemony and chocolatey, not a combination I usually care for, but this was delicious.  My cake loving friend was off work and not happy when I broke the news to her.

Speaking of the eclipse, here's the tiny part we saw of it down in Glasgow.  This picture was taken through a very dirty window (then edited darker, so I could actually see the moon part) after we'd all stood outside for ages staring at the clouds, wondering if it was the eclipse or an imminent downpour that had turned the sky only slightly darker than usual.  It obviously turned sunny and cloudless mere hours later.

As if the cake wasn't enough, my awesome friends went to Germany again and brought me back my favourite sweets.  I always seem to make favourites of food not available in this country, but luckily they were prepared and delivered me three packets!  This was on Wednesday night though, so three packets have inevitably turned to one...

I found a perfect striped shirt in a charity shop last week.  It's been hanging on my knitting shelf, waiting for inspiration to strike.  I have a slightly silly habit in that when I get new (to me) clothes, I don't like to put them in the wardrobe until I've worn them.  I tend to think that if I put them away I'll forget they're in there and then what would be the point in owning them at all?

Photo an hour pictures are coming up soon, stay tuned for more rambling!


Friday, 20 March 2015

The 'Is it spring yet?' shirt dress

I need winter to be over now.  I need to not be wearing multiple layers every time I leave the house.  Or even when I don't leave the house. (My flat is old and draughty, the joys of living within your means in a city...)  I need to have bare legs and rolled up sleeves and the sun on my face.  Clearly, we're not at that point yet, but I couldn't resist using my imagination a bit when this lovely shirt dress came through the post from Long Tall Sally.  Part of the new TTYA x LTS collection, it's already a serious contender for the role of Perfect Summer Dress in my wardrobe.  I've styled it up two ways - the look above was my first instinct, to pop a slip underneath and get my wedges on.  Simple.  It feels deliciously like a nightshirt, so that gets a big thumbs up from me!

For the second look I thought I was having an exciting brainwave in styling the dress open with jeans and a vest.  Alas, I realised much later that the LTS stylists had beaten me to it and styled it like this further down the product page.  Although they went for white jeans, something that wouldn't be safe around me and my clumsy eating habits...

I can't decide which look I like best, but I do know I'll be trying them both again soon.  To see more of the range, check out my other post!

wedges - Topshop

vest - Topshop
jeans - Long Tall Sally
Converse - outlet in America
necklace - swapped with E

*I received the dress for review from Long Tall Sally but, as always, all opinions are my own*


Thursday, 19 March 2015

A walk in the Rumbling woods

Sunday was Mother's Day in the UK, and since I was at Tam's house that weekend, we took his mum to our favourite lunch place, Cafe Des Fleurs in Dollar.  (Don't worry, my florist cousin sorted my mum out with an amazing bouquet and she was thrilled.  She thinks it's very posh to get flowers delivered.)  It was clearly not my weekend, because my usual avoidance of all places busy was challenged again.   We had an excellent lunch though - bread piled with goats cheese and chutney, almond cakes and chocolate ginger slices.  We left stuffed and in need of a walk!

Walk we did, along a path at Rumbling Bridge.  I've been thinking about getting another lens for my camera and my friend very generously loaned me hers to try out.  The first half of the photos were taken with her 70-300mm lens (this one).  It was fantastic!  Tam was a huge distance away from me in that first picture, and the one of the woodpecker hole was in a tree that towered above us.  It's a little slow to focus but I'd been warned about that, so I was prepared to play about a bit to find some good angles.  The water drops turned out particularly well at the falls.  The water was crashing so loudly here that we had to shout to make ourselves heard.  The day was freezing and dry, just right for walking but it was a relief to get back to the warm car!  Parsnip enjoyed himself as usual, although he had to be wrangled into posing nicely at the end there...

It was time for tea and knitting when we got home, and the day ended quietly with a bit of Poldark and more cake.  Who's been watching it?  I'm loving it so far, although I have a feeling it's not going to turn out how I hope...


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A trip to Edinburgh Yarn Festival

I found out about Edinburgh Yarn Festival a few weeks after last year's event and kicked myself ever since over my classically bad timing.  Not this time though!  I had it in my calendar for months and months beforehand.  I briefed Tam's mum and aunt on the plans multiple times.  (I tried to recruit my mum but she decided it was too far for her to travel.)  I even agreed to drive there, and that NEVER happens.  I hate driving with a fiery passion.  But drive I did!  And it was....kinda worth it.

Here's the thing.  Scotland does festivals really well.  Maybe a bit too well, since word inevitably gets out and draws back crazy crowds with it.  We went on Saturday, arriving about noon, and the Corn Exchange was packed.  It wasn't too hard to walk about the rows but browsing the vast wool selections was pretty much impossible.  The others picked up a couple of woolly bargains but I stuck to the outsides - my claustrophobia doesn't like to be stirred up!  I did get my hands on a copy of Pompom Quarterly though - I've been wanting to check it out for ages but I like to see these things in person first.  I went for the Winter 2014 issue since I knew there were a couple of patterns I liked in there.  My favourite find of the day was at the Shetland Wool Week stall though.  Check out that amazing knitted hat pattern!  Sheep!  I might have just bought wool to make it... (cause I totally need another sheep hat)

After getting lost on the way out - and getting side tracked by a certain photo booth - we made our way to the marketplace, which was slightly less busy.  The Teapot Trust had a few boxes of old knitting magazines for sale so I had to have a rake through.  I came out with four, although there were too many to flick through, which was probably for the best!  All in all it was a good wee afternoon out, although we agreed we'd try to time it later in the day if we go back next year.  I'm pleased with my purchases, even though I missed a couple of stalls I wanted to see.  There's always online shopping...

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