Wonky Wolf Boy

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I did finish this years birthday hoodie in time, I just never got around to blogging it. Here it is in action, worn over last years hoodie, by a boy who is helping his sister “fly” an impromptu tent kite around a very windy campsite above Plymouth Sound on his birthday weekend.

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I used the same pattern as before,  sizing up two sizes, one for growth, one for the thickness of the fleece backed fabric. I wished I sized up more as it still looked a bit snug to me, then he went and wore it over last years jumper, so it can’t be too bad.

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I used last years pattern hack to make thumbole cuffs again a la Kelly’s method. And like before I still managed to fluff up sewing them and had to unpick, at least it was only one this time. Note to self, pin/tack and turn the right way to check before sewing for real in future.

I used another one of Kelly’s tutorials to make some puffy elbow patches in taffeta (which really don’t photograph well) and learnt how to fell stitch them on as suggested, via the wonders of internet search engines. I was really pleased with how they came out, however, due to the rush job on this hoodie, I didn’t spend enough time thinking about placement. I cajoled his sister into trying on last years hoodie so I could get the right distance down the arm, but I just put them slap bang in the middle of the sleeve piece without thinking that the elbows are nearer to the seam allowance on one side than the other, so they’ve ended up in a really weird place. He doesn’t seem to mind though.

Spurred on by how my patches looked (at this point not realising they were in the wrong place), I made a larger wolf head patch, which ended up on the front (my orignal thought was the back, not sure what change my mind). I preferred it before it was sewn on, I think rounding off the shaggy fur for ease of application looses some of the wolfness. Also, I manage to painstakingly hand sew it on skewiff. Still, he seems to appreciate it.

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This weird looking pocket is a phone pocket, made out of some scrap ribbing. You don’t see it on the finished garment as it’s inside the pouch pocket, an idea I got from a shop bought hoodie of his, but I added a top flap for extra security when climbing trees, flying tents etc.

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This garment has been very hard to photograph indoors and he wasn’t co-operating with outside photo’s. Here it is half made, pretending to be a poncho and showing off the fleecey lining a little, the patch pocket I drafted (I didn’t even contemplate doing the hidden pockets from the pattern in this fabric), the hood in all it’s naked unlined snuggly fleecy glory, with knotted pajama cord drawstring and its “I don’t think grommets will stay in this fabric” button hole access.

Oh and I omitted the side zips. I’m such a rebel.

So no, it’s not as pretty as last years, but I had fun experimenting with new things, learnt a lot, and he is just as happy to wear it. Next year I need to start earlier though!

 

 

 

The walking continues.

So now that I can pretend I still do sewing from time to time, back to the walking….

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Actually, this wasn’t walking, this was the view for our Friday night fish and chips on the beach in Combe Martin, just metres from the Coast Path and not much further from our camp site.

 

 

And a pretty impressive view it was too!

 

 

A nice relaxing start to our weekend.

 

 

Saturday was a tad more taxing. We all drove round to Hunters Inn, then the Support Crew (including dog) walked the fairly flat path to Heddons Mouth (I’m jealous not to have made it there myself, only having seen it from on high, its a pretty looking walk through the valley bottom to a small beach with dramatic scenery all around) whilst the Boy and I started the days walk by ascending the steep side of the cleave, luckily there was shade on the way up and the view at the top from Peter Rock was worth it.  Oh, and we had fresh legs too, which helped, having broken up the suggested Lynton to Combe Martin walk.

 

 

Next came a flattish section (by coast path standards) along the side of the cliff with nice views (although Wales was just a haze) and we finally spotted one of the crickets we keep hearing, or maybe it was a grasshopper.

 

 

After following the still flattish path inland a bit we then had a steep descent into Sherrycoombe (which had a disappointing lack of sherry), we had a pit stop in the shade of a tree and I cooled my feet in the stream and then it was up the other side (further up but less steep than our way down) and we kept on going until we reached Great Hangman, the highest point on the whole of the South West Coast Path, where The Boy posed on the cairn on top and a previous walker had left a declaration of love nearby.

 

 

Another flattish section, with evidence of sheep (the wool they’d left hanging on a scratching tree reminded me of prayer flags) to Little Hangman, where we took a small steep diversion to the top, which indeed had better views than Great Hangman as we’d been told, letting us see down into Coombe Martin Bay.

 

 

Then we just had to make our way down into Coombe Martin itself, where we met up with the Support Crew and had another meal on the beach, this time cooked by Long Suffering Husband. At this point the signpost said* that we had come 35 miles from Minehead and The Boy worked out this meant we were over 1/20 of the way.

 

 

Sunday was a first for us, two days walking in a row. We left the support crew and set off up the hill out of Coombe Martin with a view across the bay back towards Little Hangman, passing some impressive eagle gateposts on our way. There was a short section on the main road, before getting on to what some locals told us used to be the main road, before some of it was eroded, which apparently included a section of cobbles from the 1800’s. The bus shelter turned Tourist Information Point that the guidebook mentioned was no longer there, apparently it was falling off the cliff, and instead the base is now a viewing platform. Then the path passed through a campsite and we were walking between tents, which was a little odd.

 

Soon we were at Watermouth, the tide was too far in for us to cut across the foreshore, but we had a quick look at the boats and overheard some fisherman discussing where the shoals were (or rather weren’t) and saw a nice cafe, although it was too soon in the day for us to stop. The path technically is alongside the road here, but with such a lovely hedge shielding it from view we didn’t really mind.

 

The next headland, Widmouth Head, provided a lovely view back across Watermouth to Combe Martin Bay, Little and Great Hangman and beyond and The Boy decided to make a sketch.

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Proud Parent Moment.

 

 

Meanwhile I watched the boats in Samson’s Bay and beyond, then it was onto and around Rillage Point with it’s cave and more impressive views of Hele Bay and beyond. I think that might be a Giant Hogweed we went past, I was careful we didn’t touch it.

 

There was a small stretch along the road again as we descended into Hele, where we speculated on why some of the barrier had cable reinforcing it and not others, decided that the Viewpoint With Car Park was no where near as good as the views from the path, and were heartened when the Support Crew happened to drive past waving and cheering, you can just make them out in the distance if know what you’re looking for.

 

 

We took advantage of the facilities in Hele to buy cold drinks to help us up the last hill between us and Ilfracombe, Beacon Point, once again shade on the steep way up helped and we were rewarded with views from the top down towards Ilfracombe.

 

Then it was a pleasant descent down into the town, where we reunited with the rest of the family, had lunch, wondered on how an statue of a pregnant woman rendered in anatomical text book detail can represent truth, walked round Capstone point (sans red petticoats) and had a rest on the beach / clamber on the rocks before heading back home.

So, Minehead to Ilfracombe. Starting to feel like we’re getting somewhere!  And at 3 1/2 days worth of suggested walks we’re half way through Week 1.

 

*The signposts have proven somewhat erratic at times, occasionally the distance you have walked decreases from one signpost to the next, and they doesn’t exactly match up with either the website or guide book distances either.

The Conneticut Beach Party Dress

Its been a while since I posted about any sewing, so I thought I should tell you a story about the dress I made recently. Is everyone sitting comfortably?  Good, then I’ll begin…

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Once upon a time, a few years ago, everyone in the sewing world seemed to be blogging about making double gauze dresses, like this one and Prolific Project Starter got swept along in the tide and bought some of that same Nana Iro Double Gauze and when it arrived all the way from Japan it was beautiful and she loved it and petted it and put it safely in the cupboard. Every now and again she would take it out and pet it again and consider what the Perfect Pattern was to make with it, but one pattern would have too many seam lines that would cut into the large pebbles and the next would be too tent like, so she would put the fabric back in the cupboard whilst she thought some more and she never actually got around to actually doing anything with it.

 

Then one day she saw that Kelly Hogaboom was running a sew a long for the Bootstrap fit and flare dress in double gauze including this lovely version in a similar sort of colour for someone with a similar sort of body shape and she thought “maybe this is the dress for me” and so she bought some test fabric (normal cotton fabric, not double gauze) and in a fit of enthusiasm she bought lots of turquoise bias binding for seam finishes and she bought the pattern and she started printing it out and some of it came out the wrong scale and the printer played up and she got distracted and the next thing you new it had been sitting in a pile in the sewing room for nearly two years a little while.

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Then in April there was a UFO sew a long on the Sew Along group and as part of that she was sorting through her fabric and UFO’s and found the “dress” (aka a pile of fabric) and the seeds of inspiration started to grow.

 

And in May she finally started it, starting out with reprinting the pattern, cutting the fabric, discovering some irritating white lines after she cut the fabric (which she had enough fabric to avoid if she’d seen them earlier) , sewing it up (which came together pretty easily as it’s actually fairly simple and the sew a long is great), binding the seams as she went, inserting her 3rd(?) ever invisible zipper (which went pretty well) and working out how to Hong Kong finish that too, frustrating herself by not quite lining things up and by the fabric puckering when she pressed it and then making herself get over it because it was a freaking test garment for pity’s sake.

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Soon she was excitingly trying it on and dreaming about how good the double gauze version was going to be (even if she wasn’t sure quite what she was going to do with two such similar dresses in her wardrobe).

 

 

Then she sewed up the side seams and tried it on again only to find out that it DID NOT FIT. See, that horizontal panel is suppose to fit close to your body around your midrift and the gathers on the bodice are suppose to fit under your boobs, rather than framing your nipples and then the panel hanging down below empire line stylee.

Suffice to say that much pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth followed. This was not an easy fix, the entire front bodice needed to be longer, which meant it needed recutting, and even if she could work out what adjustments to make that would mean upicking all those beautifully finished seams and starting again. She really wasn’t sure that she could face it.

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But then again she really didn’t want to throw away all her hard work either. So after a bit of sulking and pouting she asked her friend, of a fairly similar but slightly smaller build, if she wanted a dress and lo and behold she did, and with a bit of adjusting (a pair of darts got added to the bodice/waist panel seam to take it in some more, and the side seams got taken in) it was finished and it fit.

And her friend declared it to be the perfect dress to pack when visiting her in laws in Connecticut and hanging out on posh beaches with them. Hurrah!

And so the dress wasn’t wasted. But then she thought on in and realised that it wasn’t wasted anyway because not only had she learnt new skills (Hong Kong seam finish), and practiced other skills (invisible zips) also the toile had done its job description of stopping her ruining her precious fabric, so rather than a failure it was a resounding success. Furthermore, seeing the dress  on her friend, she realised it was more her sort of thing than her own, whereupon she realised that the reason she couldn’t find the perfect dress pattern is that she didn’t actually wear dresses, so what she actually needed to do was make something else with her precious fabric that she might actually wear.

But that, dear reader, is a tale for another day (or quite possibly, at the speed she works, year, it’s currently draped over the banister waiting to be put away).

Also she did manage to make the leftovers into some City Gym Shorts part 4 for The Girl.

So, win win win win then.

All that remains is the mystery of how a dress that was drafted to fit her measurements (as all Bootstrap patterns are) came out so wrong.

 

 

Camping, Dancing and Walking

Sewing, eh, what’s that.  Been a bit too busy for that round these parts.  Not to mention too hot (those of us with pale “Celtish” skin and redish hair don’t do well in the unusal prolonged heat wave we’ve been having).

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One of the things that’s been keeping me busy is Morris, last weekend we were at a festival, this weekend at Borderline’s 10th Anniversary celebrations and as a side we were so short numbered that yours truly had to dance a lot (not in itself a bad thing, just unusual).   Here are some Otters joining in with a Bloodstone Dance.

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Now, the weekend involved camping back at Caffyn’s Farm, near Lynton, where we stayed after our Porlock to Lynmouth walk, which was more than a little convenient for our South West Coast Path purposes. The Otters made full use of the permission to have fires on this site and we used the new Dutch Oven to make chilli and the lid to make morning pancakes, all on an open fire.

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The Boy and I declined the coach back to the campsite from Lynmouth , instead electing to walk, as taking the Funicular Railway up the hill was declared cheating, so we took the path that zig zagged around the rails instead (plus we had had a ride downhill earlier in the day).

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Once at the top in Lynton we had completed the suggested walk from last time and had a view over to Countisbury head and the terrifying path along the exposed headland.

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Then we walked around the headland to the Valley of the Rocks this bit of the path was really quite impressive.  The Boy was taken with this natural rocky “throne” and also some rather noisy crickets that we could hear but not see. The Valley of the Rocks in a Honey Spot for Tourists and has plenty of parking and this section of the path was tarmacked, although I wonder how many of them make it very far from the carpark, the view inside the valley itself (which is unusual in that it runs parallel to the coast) is less spectacular.

Then we walked along the coast path as far as Lee Abbey, before leaving it for a path heading inland that took us back to our campsite.

The next day we retraced our steps back to the path and walked on as far as Heddons Mouth, about a third of the way to Coombe Martin, which is the end of the next suggested days walk and the one I was feeling most apprehensive about as it’s clearly the most arduous walk we plan to do this year, so I was really glad to get a headstart on this section. Although I suspect we have done the flatter third of that stretch and the real strenuous stuff  for next time.

No photo’s, as my camera battery was dead, but it really was a lovely stretch of coast. A fair section lot of the walk is along the single track road but we weren’t bothered much by traffic and there was a fair bit of woodland to walk through too around Woody Bay and we found a four ways signpost pointing to Iceland, Russia, New Zealand and America! Then the last stretch pretty much followed a contour around the next bit of headland to the cliff above Heddons Mouth and descend down inland to the valley floor. We left the path again at this point and walked along the wide path alongside the river to the Hunters Inn Pub where we met up with the Morris sides who had conveniently convened there for lunch and a last little dance of the weekend. We were a bit damp as we turned up, having had our first rain on a walk, a gentle drizzle on the cliff top that turned into a torrential downpour on the last stretch through the trees to the pub, but luckily LSH had driven around in the van and spare clothes were on hand.

After lunch, I drove a sleepy Girl and Hound back home whilst LSH and the Boy cadged a lift on to some more Morris Dancing with the rest of the Otters who hadn’t been able to make it to the north coast.

Returning to Devon

Part two of our South West Coast Path Walk started with a drive up the Exe Valley to Exmoor and this time we drove over the top and looked at the views, over to the Quantocks, the Minehead headland where we started last time and the flat plain of Porlock where we ended our previous walk across the saltmarsh.

We camped right in the centre of Porlock at a nice little sight with sea views and went for a little explore that evening and tried out the local park.

The support crew gave us a lift to Porlock Weir in the morning and it looked quite different with the tide in, but we were soon on our way.

Our approach scared some lambs from the path, back under the fence to their mothers and we saw the first of many foxgloves on our way to the Toll House, where vehicles can pay for the privilege of getting to Lynmouth without having to negotiate the infamous Porlock Hill. We however, took the right hand option and the path to Culborne Church and beyond.

Whilst the path was steep in places, on the whole this stretch of the path felt flatter than last time and was mainly through woodland, with the occasional glimpse at the sea.

The path passes so close to Culborne Church that it would be rude not to poke your head inside. Especially when you know it’s going to be your last look at civilisation for a while.

We took the more coastal route and it was reasonably flat, with the odd little steep detour round a landslide. The coombes on this stretch were less dramatic, and therefore easier to navigate, we could generally hear the little streams and waterfalls before we could see them. There were still the occasional glimpses of the coast and at one The Boy even spotted a rainbow down below us.

We crossed the county line back into Devon from Somerset just before the little shrine at Sisters Fountain (where a stream emerges from the hillside), and found the boars head gateposts the guidebook mentions with ease. Soon after we hoped to have lunch with a view of the sea as the map showed we would be out of the woods, however, the rhodedendrums that have spread along this part of the coast continued to hamper our view, rendering several old benches built into the wall less tempting than they presumably were when built.

We eventually got our view and a lunch spot, and the boy celebrated by sending his Dad a text from my phone (what a great spot for a technology lesson, he’s still getting used to predictive text as he doesn’t have his own phone yet) and then it started raining! Never mind, we were soon back in amongst the trees and yet more rhodedendrums.

The rain had cleared when we finally emerged from the trees just before Foreland Point, and we decided to take a slight detour round the headland to see the lighthouse. The views there were spectacular, but the path from the lighthouse round the far side of the headland was little more than a goat track on a steep hillside and had a couple of warning signs to boot. It felt far too risky to me, so we retraced our steps back and went over the top of the headland instead.

Finally we could see Lynmouth and it was only two miles away, nearly there and all downhill, this is the easy bit I thought.

But it was pretty windy on that headland and we were basically walking along a narrow path along a steep cliff with nothing to break our fall if we slipped. I was pretty terrified most of the way down until we reached the wooded lower slopes.

The support crew were patiently waiting for us we came out onto the beach, having already scoped out the toilets and a likely looking fish and chip shop, and we all had tea there before heading back to the van, which was parked near a slightly depressing sign informing us that we had come 20 miles from Minehead and still had 609 to go to Poole. We didn’t even actually complete the suggested days walk, which was due to end up the hill in Lynton.

It was a slightly frazzled trip to the next campsite, in trying to avoid some of the steepest hills but still find a cashpoint in the middle of nowhere, we somehow ended up going round in circles for a while, and backseat navigators with Asperger’s are not the most calming people to have around in such situations, but we got there in the end and the kids even got to toast marshmallows. The real treat though, was the breakfast fritatta that LSH made the next morning in his new Dutch Oven, which was The Best Camping Breakfast Ever.

We love trains

Behold, the Trains Pride T shirt…

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..the subtler, ironic and more colourful version of the Stonewall “Some people are trans get over it” t shirt.

Confused?  Take 2 minutes to read this article explaining it all, cos I’m not really qualified to explain, don’t worry, I’ll wait…

… all aboard now?

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Anyway, this one off was brought to you via the Thread Theory Strathcona T shirt Pattern, some lovely, quality knit fabric the staff at my Local Fabric Shop have finally persuaded their buyer it’s worth getting, and a lot of hard work from yours truly.

There isn’t a pocket with that t shirt design, so I self drafted one, and used a freezer paper stencil to apply the iconic British Rail logo.  (If you’re wondering why that freezer paper has writing all over it, I tried out a company that prints sewing patterns onto A0 and sends them through the post (because my local print shop is prohibitively expensive).  With my order they sent a piece of freezer paper with it advertising a new “Thermo (Iron on) Adhesive Pattern” service, which I cannibalised to make this stencil.)

I’m pretty pleased with how this came out (apart from the one glaring error that no-one who doesn’t sew will ever spot) and I’m glad I took the time to trace 2 pattern pieces for the sleeves too so that the stripes run across. (Yup, this t shirt had 10 pattern pieces, 3 each for the front and back, 2 for the sleeves, plus the neckband and the pocket. I drew the seam lines at the 1/3 points on the front and back pattern pieces and added seam allowances when I traced them. I measured how far below the armpit the seamline between the pale and dark green was and used that to figure out where to draw the matching seamline on my sleeve piece).

Now to post it off to my friend along with this bonus double sided circular scarf.