Hair

18 months ago I had my hair cut off from this:

My long hair(This is from my sister’s hen party a couple of years ago, but my hair was the same when I had it cut)

To this:

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And since I had it cut, I have had it shorter and then longer on the top but shaved at the back, and I’ve had some really good haircuts, but I’ve had more that have been terrible. I don’t earn a lot of money so I can’t afford to have it cut somewhere expensive and therefore, presumably, good. I had it cut today by the same girl who cut it last time – last time it was amazing, and I really liked the shape of it:

Not Christening HairThis me holding my adorable nephew at his non-Christening (we had a party but there was no religion) a couple of weeks ago.

And then today I ask for it a tiny bit shorter at the back and on the sides because I had to have it cut about 3 weeks after the last time and I end up with a short back and sides and I hate it.

I find it so annoying that we put our looks into the hands of people who act like they’ve listened to what you’ve asked for, but then do something completely different – and maybe it’s a British thing, or maybe by the time you don’t like what they’re doing, it’s too late – but I thank them, pay my money and say ‘it looks great’. Maybe I need to change my attitude, but does anyone else have the same problem? I love having short hair, but pretty much every time I have it trimmed, it’s awful for 2 weeks, then I like it for a week or so, then it gets too long and needs cutting again. I think I’m just going to grow it out, it’ll be much easier to explain ‘I want a bob’ than to explain what kind of crop I want.

Michelle Williams has long been my hair idol:

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And she is currently growing out her hair – it’s now more of a bob – so maybe I should continue having her as my idol (if only I looked more like her!):

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I know I should be philosophical about the whole bad hair cut thing, but I find it does matter, it’s not enough to say ‘oh, it’ll grow out’ because I feel unattractive and it’s not like I think I’m the most beautiful person in the world, but I don’t like looking like a less attractive version of myself than I know I can be (if that makes sense). Maybe that just makes me vain – I wouldn’t deny that I’m vain (e.g. I don’t like wearing my glasses if I know I’m meeting new people). I don’t want to go back to having my hair as long as in the first photo – those curls are the result of lots and lots of product and hours of curling it with tongs and it still dropped out – and I don’t think it suits me, but I don’t know what the solution is if I’m unhappy with my short hair when it’s cut but I don’t want it long again.

Sorry to rant, but I feel like my hair is a big part of my body image and how I feel I am putting myself out in the world. People always say that ‘normal people’ have body image issues because of models and actresses being so thin, and I think I feel almost permanently inadequate about my hair because it doesn’t look like some actress’s – an actress who probably has a hairdresser on staff, and certainly has hairdressers styling them for the red carpet. I used to want hair like Zooey Deschanel’s, but then I realised she has hairdressers and probably some hair pieces in there to make it look so thick. I can’t achieve what they can achieve, so I guess I need to stop trying. And find a better hairdresser who listens to what I want!

Miette Cardigan

I finally finished my Miette Cardigan, which according to Ravely, I cast on on March 12th! I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but still, that’s basically 6 months! I actually knitted the vast majority of it in the first month or so, but somewhere I just got stuck, or bored, or something and stopped knitting it. I have a theory that it was the sleeves that did for me, because I knitted them with DPNs instead of a circular needle and it brought back painful memories of knitting socks...no more socks please! And apparently no more knitting in the round with DPNs. My next cardigan which I’ve already cast on has raglan sleeves which are seamed underneath, so I’ll see if I finish that one quicker!

But back to my Miette. I used Sirdar Supersoft Aran wool which is 100% acrylic, which was fine to knit with but it’s very hot! I’ve tried wearing it a couple of times this Summer, but I’ve spent the whole time taking it on and off. After my next knit, which is also acrylic, I think I’m going to invest in better yarn because what’s the point of spending all that time knitting something which is no better quality than some cheapo thing  I could buy in Primark? The yarn is red, but it looks really pink in the photos!

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I’m wearing it with my first dress. I added 10 rows onto the length in the middle, where the pattern says to add rows if you want to. I felt like in the pattern photos it was just a bit too short for me, but actually it probably would have been fine at the original length and not too cropped, because I’m such a short-arse!

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As you can see, I also made the sleeves longer. They’re 3/4 length in the pattern, but I have a cardi that has short sleeves and in the Autumn/Winter it just makes my wrists cold and since I live in Britain, it’s cold more than it’s hot! I added in 30 rows before the decrease rows. I think the sleeves are a bit wide for my ideal fit, but since it was my first try, I’m pretty pleased.

The thing I didn’t really twig with the pattern, was that having added rows to the length, I had to fiddle with the button bands to get them to be ribbed. I initially just knitted them as the pattern said and they looked like this:

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This was another point where I stalled – I was just going to say f**k it, and leave them looking like this, but I just couldn’t do it so eventually frogged both button bands and worked out the rib rows with the extra 10 stitches added in (6 at the bottom and 4 at the top). I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out in the end:

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(Excuse the weird, unflattering angle, this is the best shot to show the ribbing on the button bands)

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The fit is quite loose across the back, which isn’t a surprise – as I’ve mentioned before I’m really narrow across the back. I don’t have the skill as a knitter to make fit adjustments to make it smaller across the back, so I’m just accepting it as it is!

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I didn’t realise until looking at these pictures that the bottom doesn’t quite line up, what a shame! This photo also shows that it’s a bit big across the bust/ under my arms. I think this is because I have small boobs and Andi Satterlund who wrote the pattern, has a much more impressive rack! This was my first time actually blocking anything, so if anyone has any tips how I can use blocking to try to fix some of the fit issues, they would be gratefully received 🙂

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I really like the lacy details on the pattern, and I would definitely recommend it as a first clothes-knitting project. I’m not the best knitter, but I managed it….even if it did take me bloody ages!

I bought a new camera!

…and loads of fabric!

Since my old camera’s demise a couple of weeks ago (it was old when it was given to me and I’ve had it a number of years, so it had a good life) I was starting to obsess with buying a new swanky camera, which would make me an excellent photographer over night….I’m pretty sure that’s how it works! My friend who I made the Polaroid Camera case for is a photographer and when I gave her the case, we agreed she would give me a photography lesson in return. We did that a couple of weeks ago  so I learnt about exposure and shutter speed and ISOs and things and then we went into John Lewis to play with their cameras. And the guy in there ‘helping’ us made me, if anything, more confused. Then I looked online and became even more confused so eventually on Friday I went into Jessops (for those not in the UK, Jessops is a camera specialist chain) and I wandered around and found 3 cameras in my budget by different brands (NIKON, Sony and Panasonic) so I asked which one I should get and the staff were super helpful and listened to what I wanted the camera for and then said ‘The Panasonic is probably the best one for what you want it for’. Which was pretty much what I needed – when buying something expensive, technological and which I don’t understand, I find I very quickly get paralysed by choice so I needed a nudge in the right direction.

So I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 and it’s very pretty!

CameraI’m still figuring out how it works and all the things it does, but I did manage to take some photos of the fabric I bought in Goldhawk Road after I bought the camera….because, you know, I hadn’t spent enough money already!

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I had bought some of this before, but not washed it so I had a mammoth laundry session and then photographed it all. The new things are the denim-ish blue cotton drill at the bottom (which will become either a dress or skirt, I haven’t decided yet), the navy blue poly-cotton 3 from the bottom (which will be to make a muslin of a shirt for The Boyfriend) and the brown spotty cotton (which will become a tea dress.

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Again only some of this is new – the pink stripey cotton, which is really soft and lovely (and will become a Grainline T Shirt) and the cotton fourth down (which is a present for someone). The others I already had and some of the fabric from both photos was given to me by a friend at work, so this doesn’t represent as much money as it might at first appear! I think it’s safe to say, though, that I won’t have to buy any more fabric in a long time. I probably still will though…….You gotta have a stash!

Elisalex Number 1

So, I’ve conversely posted about the second By Hand London Elisalex Dress I made first because the first one was always meant as a wearable muslin, so I did all the steps, including the lining and fitting a zip to check the fit and also to finish both dresses, to have…..2 dresses! I finally finished the first one the other night, when I sewed the lining down on the inside. I (obvs) made all the same changes to this one as I made in the second dress. The only difference is that the fabric for this dress was super cheap, very synthetic stuff from one of the cheapo shops in Walthamstow so I underlined the skirt as well as the bodice, because it was pretty much see-through. I don’t know what this stuff is, but it melted when I put the iron on it, on not a very high heat! I bought it thinking I would make a floaty top, like Tilly and the Buttons’s Mathilde Blouse or something, but even by the time I got home I had fallen out of love with it. Having said that, I do actually quite like it as a dress (even if I am falling back into my old ways of wearing mainly blue!).

But enough rambling, here are some photos:

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It looks really long in this photo (it must be the angle), but it actually hits me on the knee, like the other one.

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Again, not perfect from the back (plus you can see the top of the zip sticking out because I took the photos before it was totally finished). I sewed in this zip about 5 times and actually put more ease back into it as it was so tight, in order to get it looking nice at the back, that I couldn’t take a deep breath!

Here’s a close up of the fabric – it’s got some grey in it, so I used this grey zip from my stash. Handy!

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Here’s the inside – I used some white cotton I had lying around, which my mum added to the last time I visited. I love how neat a lined garment looks from the inside! So pleasing, even if no-one really gets to see it when you’re wearing it!

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I learned to crochet!

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable day hanging out with my 2 best friends. And I got to learn to crochet at the same time! My sister tried to teach me to crochet a couple of years ago – she is amazing at it, having made us this blanket:

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The squares look like this close up:

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I still have the granny square she taught me to make but this was the sum total of my crocheting career:

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I think this might be the same as the squares she made, but I’m not 100% sure – any crochet experts tell me for sure?

Anyway, back to yesterday. We did a course run by Crafty Baba, a group of people based in Suffolk who teach knitting, sewing and crochet. Our teacher was the lovely Cybèle De Jong, who knows one of my friends so it felt really relaxed and friendly, just sitting in her living room eating cake, drinking tea and chatting. Oh, and learning to crochet.

We started off with the basics – a chain, double stitches, triple stitches, then a fancy box thing stitch, and then my personal favourite, the shell stitch. It took me a while to get the hang of how to hold the work and the wool and the hook and stuff (so I kept laughing at myself for being so rubbish!), but I made this:

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I think you’ll agree, this is pretty amazing…….or not. But it was just to practise all the stitches and things, so it doesn’t have to look pretty.

My friend Fran, who organised for us to do this course, already knows how to crochet so when we went back to her house for lunch and more tea, she taught us how to do a granny square and I made this:

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You can’t really tell here, but I changed wools and everything! (The middle bit is a multicoloured crafting cotton with white in and the outside bit is a plain white cotton).

Then when I got home, I found that my sister had written down the instructions to make the square she taught me, so I made one of those (to make sure I could still remember all the stitches after a whole day!):

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I haven’t done the last step, so I think this looks a bit different from the yellow one at the top. My sister gave me the spare wool from the blanket and since all of my cushion covers I made 10 years ago are totally falling apart, I fancy crocheting some granny squares to make cushion covers to match the blanket, which lives on our sofa. I might try to find other simple granny squares so it’s not all too matchy-matchy. I can safely say I’m hooked (I had to – sorry, not sorry) on crochet!