The Big Adventure

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My feet are, if I’m honest, a touch on the itchy side.

At the top of every list I make for self improvement and fulfilment is a new place to travel to. I’ve not always been so confident about seeing the world, and I’m not the most widely travelled person in the world, but I am working on it.

Chris and I have been planning our Big Trip for years now. Neither of us ever took gap years, but now that we’re married, and looking to move out of London (finally!) and generally thinking about all that big life stuff, we finally made the decision to take some time to scratch our prickling tootsies.

Which is why from January to March next year we will be off roaming this big, wide, wonderful planet. Let the planning commence! We’re both really fortunate to have been granted sabbaticals for that time, and although three months doesn’t seem like a lot, we plan to cram in as much as possible.

The adventure begins just after Christmas in Borneo (a place I have been before and loved), before moving on to Northern Australia via Singapore. Australia has been top of my list to visit forever, not least because I have family there, and while Chris has been on a number of trips for work he’s never had time to properly explore and get to know the place. So Australia will be the main focus of our trip, taking in Darwin, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and everything in between. Then it’s on to New Zealand, where neither of us have ever been, and then to California. The trip ends with a few days in New York, another place I have never been to, before returning to London at the end of March. I told you we wanted to cram a lot in!

With only 9 weeks to go until our departure, there is a lot to plan. And for me, a lot to make! I plan on taking as many me made garments as I can. I’m currently drawing up a list of everything I want to make, so keep your eyes peeled for that, and if you have any suggestions for simple patterns that would be good for hot climes then please let me know!

Bumper jumper update

Gettin’ knitty with it, na na na nah n-na nah. I totally believe that was the rap that Will Smith meant to write. None of this jiggy nonsense.

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I’ll be honest, I’ve gone a bit hyper on the whole making my own clothes thing lately. It is not uncommon for me to run up at least two garments every weekend. But in my defence I get so excited!! Partly because  know at the end of it I’ll have something new to wear (always a plus) but also because with each new project I try to add a new skill to my repertoire – last time out it was an exposed zipper, and before that it was lining a skirt. When it comes to my sewing I am astonishingly bad at documenting the making process. The red mist descends and I get completely focussed on the rise and fall of the needle, and nothing will tear me away until the garment is finished.

In that context it’s not really surprising that I currently have two jumpers on the go. But perhaps it is surprising that I found a moment to put down my knitting needles and take some snaps during the knitting process! Jumper number one is a sexy little off white baby alpaca number, while number two is a pale pink cotton affair. Both are worked all over in moss stitch and the construction is beautifully simple: two squares from front and back and a rectangle for each sleeve. In spite of this I expect the warmer weather will have come around again before I have both of them finished, but hey, a girl can dream happy woolly dreams.

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I just had to take some moss stitch close ups – isn’t it beautiful?? The pink jumper in particular is going to need a lot of blocking to even out some of my tension boo boos, but thankfully the creamy alpaca yarn is more forgiving of my uneven handling. For moss you cast on an odd number of stitches and then work knit one purl one from the beginning to end of every row. I recently heard about a stitch called moss stitch rib, which as its name suggests is a hybrid of the two. All I can say is that it looks amazing, and once these two beauties are off the needles and into my wardrobe I’ll be having a play.

The patterns and the yarn are, once again, both from Wool And The Gang; one is the Superbowl Sweater, and the other is the Julia Sweater. You would be forgiven for thinking that I’m  the teensiest bit obsessed or something.

DSC_1356_editSo as the evenings get darker and Christmas creeps ever closer, this is where you will find me: under a (homemade) blanket on the sofa, hiding behind my knitting needles. And maybe some mulled wine. Because awesome.

Love to all, I hope you’re finding something to keep the dark winter evening blues away! xx

Autumnal favourites

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There’s a chill in the air all of a sudden (and about time too, amiright?), Game of Thrones references are circulating throughout the internet, and I wore a really chunky jumper dress yesterday. I’m seeing winter wardrobe planning popping up all over my favourite sewing and fashion blogs, and I even had my first pumpkin spiced latte the other day. In a word, underwhelming. Autumn is officially a go!

Stripy Coco top

Yes, that is another Coco top (see Cocos one and two here), and yes, it is awesome. Probably my favourite to date; worked in a cheeky sale purchase medium weight stripy double knit from Minerva, smart enough for work but casual enough to slip seamlessly into the rest of my closet. I love the weight of this fabric, it is more substantial than my previous Cocos and has a lovely texture. I tried my best with the stripe matching as well… sort of… While I firmly believe that one woman’s ‘wardrobe staples’ are another woman’s snooze-a-rama, the striped top beloved by many a fashion fascist is also one of my key pieces. Along with a neoprene sweatshirt.

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And to add to my stripy wardrobe I have some new fabric, which I have been looking for since at least forever. Or since I started making Cocos, because quite frankly a classic jersey dress pattern is just screaming out for a classic Breton stripe. I’ve been hunting high and low for the right one for ages, and at last the Fabric Godmother came to my rescue with this pile of loveliness. I am so excited to wear the dress that this fabric will become!

DSC_1351_editI also splashed out on this month’s edition of Burda Style, because there was one pattern in there that really caught my eye: a really simple top with raglan sleeves. The pattern suggests silk, which I’m sure I’ll work my way up to eventually, but for the time being there are some lovely light cottons in my stash that would fit the bill.

Also a sure-fire  way to get my interest in a pattern is to model it in pale pink for some reason. Or a lovely marl grey. Gotta love that Grace Kelly headscarf styling as well.

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And finally, a little love for some Autumn staples. As I got older something quite odd happened to me, the mass consumer of all things fashion: I became the pared down wardrobe woman. One coat, one scarf, one pair of boots. One nice thing as opposed to fifty average ones. My last pair of perfect boots died earlier this year, and I have newly replaced them with these beauties from high-end H&M spin off & Other Stories, who I think are nailing it with their footwear this season. Perfect for someone like me who wants a good quality basic with a fash-un edge. I bought some plain black court shoes for work there recently that I love (not something I ever thought I would feel about work shoes).

And who needs more than one scarf when you have one this frickin’ cosy? I bought it on a Christmassy trip to Edinburgh last year from a shop on the Royal Mile called “Thistle Do Nicely” (win). It doubles as an excellent blanket when fights break out over the temperature in the office (which happens a lot).

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That’s all folks, I wish you all the pumpkin-flavoured crispy-leaved joys of the changing season. If anyone needs me I will be masochistically purchasing a pumpkin spiced latte. Again.