Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beautiful buttonholes - hooray!

Ta da! Buttonholes!

Nine of them, to be exact, though I'm not counting the mistake at the bottom which was meant to be number ten. Clearly, I was getting cocky. Clearly, I was thinking I had this buttonhole caper whipped. But no! I managed to bugger up the last one completely. We'll say no more about that.

So this is my new shirt, made out of fabric I bought from Rathdowne Remnants a year ago for $5 a metre, and which looks like Liberty at $50 a metre instead. I'm pretty happy with the deception. Mock Liberty shirt for one-tenth the price? Count me in!

I used Simplicity pattern number 4077 - it seems it may have gone out of print recently, as I cannot find it on their website for the life of me, so you'll have to make do with this badly lit and out of focus photo. Apologies. The pattern is a good one though, if you can pick it up second-hand or from Simplicity's out-of-print pages, you're bound to enjoy it. Again, I didn't need to do major alterations for it to fit well, and that's fantastic. I'm definitely going to use this for shirts in the future.

I've worn the shirt three times already this week ... is that too much? Once to work with a camel-coloured skirt; once to a friend's place for dinner, and last night to go and see Daniel Kitson doing 66a Church Road at the Melbourne Arts Centre (I highly recommend it).

I totally love it - and isn't it great when you finish a piece, and it fits, and you love it, and other people say nice things about it? That's the sewing trifecta, for sure!

(PS - these are the first pair of shorts I made, the ones that were meant to be throwaways and which instead turned out really well!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Turning Japanese

I'm joining in with Finki's January design challenge, which is all about turning Japanese.

I've created some little kimono dolls, out of kimono fabrics my younger sister (Scalpel Bettie) gave me for Christmas; plus some oddments donated by my mother. Japanese fabric is beautiful, so I was really happy to receive these bits and pieces as a present. And because they came as a giant bundle of offcuts, I don't have The Fear about cutting into them the way I do with really BIG bits of lovely fabric. It's almost as if the smaller genre enables me to be freer with what I make!

Then, to top it off, My One True Love returned from his cycling weekend and brought me a present .... of these lovely Japanese fabrics! There's a wonderful shop in Bright that stocks Japanese materials, buttons and beads.

I love the way he does this. How many husbands would go away on a blokey cycling weekend and still manage to find the fantastic fabric shop and go in and pick out a whole range of incredibly wonderful stuff, for their wife? My One True Love is certainly a king among men.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

B is for .....

.... buttonhole. Scary, scary buttonhole.

There are some sewing techniques I'm just not crash hot at.

Okay - there are MANY sewing techniques I'm not crash hot at. Some of them are really complicated, like ... I don't know, boning and corsetry. Can't do that yet, though I'd like toone day. Others, like working in stretch or slinky, silky fabrics, require materials I don't work in very often, so I forgive myself for those.

Then there are the very ordinary simple things I'm completely rubbish at, and this is where buttonholes fit in.

Buttonholes are meant to be easy, especially when you have a whiz-bang sewing machine like I do (never mind the fact that I only ever seem to use the straight stitch and zig-zag ... sigh, 147 other stitches going to waste). But I just don't do buttonholes that often - I'm more of a dress-and-zip girl - and when I do, they always seem to go wrong.

I think it's because I usually like to have more buttons than the pattern calls for. I'm paranoid about the "gaping blouse" effect; the one where there is no button in the middle of your chest, in exactly the place where you need it the most, that bit kind of across the peak of your bosom, and your shirt pulls open a little bit and everyone can see inside it to your bra. Do you know the one I mean? I hate that look, especially at work, where it seems to be very popular with some women (she said prudishly).

So I like to use lots of buttons to avoid it. Like in this shirt here, which I made about a year ago. I even used contrasting buttons because the mis-matched colours played so well against the neutrals of the fabric. And I get a lot of compliments on it, and every time I wear it, unfortunately all I can think about are the crap buttonholes I made.

Because when you use more than the pattern calls for, I never get them evenly spaced. And then I can never match where you have to sew the button on so that it is in the middle of the buttonhole. And then everything ends up looking a little "home-sewn", to use Heidi Klum's uber-insult from Project Runway. Gah!

I'm writing this post today because I'm working on another shirt, you see. And I have buttonholes to make. Nine of them. In a row. Spaced evenly, I hope.

And yes, maybe I'm using this post to procrastinate instead of actually sitting down and doing the bloody buttonholes.

Fine. Fine. I'm going. Wish me luck

Thursday, January 21, 2010

She wears short shorts

Well no, not really she doesn't, especially if you read yesterday's post. But it was a compelling title nevertheless .... and I'm still hoping one of the CEOs of a sportswear company will read yesterday's post and reply to me, like the MD of Lincraft did about the cushion inserts all those months ago.

Ahem. This post is actually about shorts of the longer variety - dress shorts this time, not running ones - I thought it was appropriate to continue the theme. And it's all part of the January sewing frenzy, in which I spend the entire month sewing for me me me me me me me.

I now have not one, but THREE pairs of new shorts in my wardrobe. And two of them I made myself.

I think I need to put this in perspective for you. I haven't worn shorts in over a decade, they just don't work on me. Plus, if you read yesterday's post, you know how averse I am to anything that falls above the knee. It's not just my thighs, ladies, it's also because I am short, and I prefer clothing that elongates my form rather than chops it up.

But a month ago, on a whim I purchased some lined black linen shorts from Laura Ashley (on special at 70% off) and they were an absolute revelation. The comfort! The ease! The complete lack of worry about ahem, delicate chafing issues in the hot weather! (I always wanted to be one of those women with boy hips and gaps between their legs, but no amount of starvation ever managed to achieve this, so I long ago gave up and accepted my inevitable carrot shape.)

So I set out to exponentially increase the proportion of shorts in my wardrobe - ie, I wanted more.

I found this Simplicity pattern number 2656 months ago and had determined I'd use it for the skirt. Which I still intend to do, but after buying the Laura Ashley shorts I suddenly remembered that it had a short pattern as well.

I was dubious to begin with, especially because of the pockets on the side - I really don't need any extra bulk around my hips - but I decided to give it a shot. And lo and behold it worked beautifully! The pattern fit like a dream with hardly any alterations needed, and that is saying something.

I used one of those fabrics we all have lying around in the stash which is too smart for trying out any old thing, but not smart enough to use on one of our special projects - you can see it a little bit under the first photo, it's a dark polished cotton with a subtle yellow and blue check running through it.

So flushed with enthusiasm, this time I made the pattern up in this cute birdie fabric remnant I got from IKEA ... and it was almost exactly the perfect amount. See the sweet lining in those pockets, too?

And I had a lovely little metal-toothed vintage zip that I used for the back seam (the pattern didn't have a zip, or any other method of entry, which confused me somewhat, because otherwise how are you meant to get into the things?).

Overall I am very pleased with them, and they're the perfect casual separate for weekends. I intend to wear them for as long as the hot weather allows.

Australia Day barbeque, anyone? I'll be there in my shorts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Message For All Sportswear Designers

I like to think of myself as bit of a shopping expert.

I have many years of experience behind me. I read sales guides, subscribe to email newsletters, get to know the quirky hideaway boutiques. I mentally file catalogues in my head of where to find limited editions, sales items, colourways and styles. I know what I'm doing.

Plus, I did 20 months of hard-core training with the experts - Arabs and expats in Dubai, where shopping is a national hobby, shops are open until 10pm six days a week, and the entire four-week period between January 15 to February 15 is devoted to a much publicised, international event: The Shopping Festival (I'm serious), full of jawdropping bargains. So I reckon I know what I'm talking about.
And today, what I'm talking about is the fact that I HATE shopping for sportswear. HATE it.
Sportswear was the term originally used at the turn of the 1900's to describe clothes that were easy to care for, in washable fabrics, with accessible practical fastenings, that enabled the increasingly emancipated modern woman to dress herself without a maid's assistance. So important, that - especially these days of course, where we have no maids.
Now, I'm not referring to this kind of Michael Kors/Josh Goot/Zac Posen/Donna Karan type of sportswear designer. Those designers do not make the kind of gear I'm referring to.
I am referring to the kind of sportswear that you go to the gym and sweat copiously in. This is a message for the everyday Nike, Fila, Everlast, Russell Athletics, Rebel, Lorna Jane, Champion, Puma, Asic and Lonsdale kind of sportswear designer.
So, designers (please say that in a Tim Gunn-ish accent), designers, I have a revelation for you. Some of us normal people buy sportswear not because we are IN shape, amazing or otherwise, but because we in fact AREN'T in what you consider to be shape, judging by the state of your clothing options.  
Dear god! Amazing! Who knew! This must come as a complete surprise to you.
Because otherwise, why would the shops be filled with your horrifically tiny pieces of clothing that we have no desire to even try fitting into? Dear designers, some of us (and when I say some of us, I mean me) are Not At All Interested in running shorts that barely cover our butts. Some of us have chunky thighs that run in our family, and we wish to cover them up so that we are not too busy cringeing with humiliation to go to the gym at all.
Some of us are not pert 16-year-olds, and some of us are getting a bit prudish in our increasing old age. Some of us may have rounded tummies, and knee dimples, and saddlebags. We may not wish to wear your incredibly small scraps of fabric.  We may not wish to show off the crease between the back of our thigh and our arse. We may not wish to wear your awful skin-tight legging things that other women may love.

Some of us need a bit of extra help when it comes to workout gear so that we actually feel we CAN go to the gym and burn calories instead of just burning with shame.
Please, PLEASE start making things that might appeal to the getting-in-shape of us out there, rather than the I-go-to-bodycombat-everyday-and-have-buns-of-steel crowd. For goodness sake, you might even increase your customers that way, and heaven knows, maybe if we go to the gym in the gear you make that we feel comfortable in, perhaps as we begin to shape up we might even then graduate to something a little more .... streamlined!
I just don't understand why I can't buy knee-length shorts. I'd make them myself except I have no talent with stretchy fabrics like the stuff exercise shorts are made out of. What is wrong with doing a line of knee-length shorts that aren't skin tight??

So designers, here endeth the lesson. Things are in your hands now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bloggoversary giveaway winner - at last!!

Phew, finally - some time in front of the computer! I don't know about your house, but lately at mine it's been computer central .... between me and blog posting, My One True Love and email, the Amateur Actress studying, and Fatpuss surfing I Can Has Cheezburger, sometimes it's really difficult to get a spot in the laptop's busy schedule.

But here I am at last, and I have GIVEAWAY news.

Random generator, aka My One True Love, randomly picked a number between one and 19 and it's lucky number 15! Megan at somewhere along a winding path, that's you. Please send me your postal address, you can get me at ....

.....and you will receive the lovely goodies in this photo. There's a tote bag made out of vintage curtain fabric, two Amy Butler fat quarters from her Midwest Modern range, and a fantastic pattern for Florence the Flamingo, from the wonderful Melly and Me.

Congratulations and please, keep reading!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Elegy for a little yellow shoe

Today I did something that makes me a little concerned about my sanity. It's only ever happened once before, in my entire life. But worryingly, the time before that it happened was only four weeks ago. I'm deeply anxious about what this might mean for me.

It's so horrible I can barely even bear to confess it. I ... I ....(deep breath) .... I returned a pair of shoes.

I know! Me! Returned shoes! Me, who is mentally ripping out the fireplace in her bedroom and designing a special shoe cupboard to go in there instead! This is surely some kind of sickness.

The first time it happened, in early December, I had bought a pair of pretty plain black ballet flats from David Jones. I tried on ten thousand pairs and ended up buying one, but even as the assistant was lovingly wrapping them in tissue paper, I had a sense of foreboding. I knew they weren't quite right. I knew they pinched a little at the heel.  But I bought them, because my old flats had fallen to bits and I desperately needed a new pair. Such folly.

And so it was that the very next morning, I took myself and the shoes straight back there, and returned them. And at the time, I thought that was the end of it. I was allowed a single lapse, wasn't it?

Apparently I wasn't, because it's happened again.

I blame the interweb. I bought these little beauties from French Sole in the UK, because I adore yellow shoes and there is a serious dearth of nice yellow shoes in Melbourne at the moment. I was on tenterhooks waiting for them to arrive - they took forever, because they got caught up in the Christmas mail backlog -  but they FINALLY arrived a few days ago.

I took them out of the box, exclaimed over the gorgeous deep colour and the lovely rounded toe. Like Cinderella, I carefully slid my dainty pointed foot into their shape, stood up .... and realised there was no way I could walk in them because they Just Didn't Fit.

Oh woe is me! Oh tragedy! The agony of a shoe that does not fit!

I'd have cut off a toe, or a heel, if I'd thought it would help; just like Cinderella's ugly stepsisters.  I can certainly empathise with them. But I put the mental knife away, because part of the reason for migrating to ballet flats is because I seem to have reached some kind of shoe denouement, where I am no longer prepared to suffer for beauty. Consequently, I'm wearing heels less and less, and flats more and more.

It was with great sorrow that I boxed them back up and sent them home to England. On the front of the box, below the address, I drew a little picture of a woman weeping tenderly, with a friend patting her on the back and a thought bubble from the friend's head that says "the sadness of a shoe that does not fit". So hopefully the woman who opens the box to put the return through will get a little laugh out of that at least.

Goodbye, little yellow shoe. I loved you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Indian Summer Dress

Our trip to India was not at all planned.

In April 2008, My One True Love was invited to present at a conference at the very last minute. He accepted the all-business-class-flights-and-accommodation-at-lavish-hotels-and-meals-and-sightseeing-expenses paid invitation as he rightly should have. How could he not? However, he then made what turned out to be the fatal error, and told me about it.

India! I screeched at him when he disclosed it. Six days in India! Where I have always wanted to go but have never been, I screeched at him. You're! Not! Going! To! India! Without me!

So there I was on a last-minute trip to India, without any time to see the big sights, and without any real time to visit far-flung places (we were only there for six days, three in Delhi and three in Bangalore). And that meant only one thing, naturally.

Fabric. Of course.

I love Indian fabric. Silks, cottons, batiks, damasks, saris, you name it, I love it. Loooooooooove it. And that's how I found myself in a fabric shop in Connaught Place in New Delhi, buying (among other things) ten metres of this astonishing mustard-coloured cotton with a red and ochre flowered print. (Yes I know ten metres might seem a bit much. That's just how I roll.)

It's sat in my stash up until now. When I buy a fabric I really like, it takes me ages to use it, because I'm worried about making the wrong decision/using a pattern that doesn't fit/ using a pattern that looks awful, etc etc. It's so precious to me that I become completely paralysed with adoration, and it takes months for the freeze to wear off.

This Christmas I finally cut into it, after about three months of toying with ideas in my head while I ran on the treadmill at the gym during lunchtimes. Hey, it gave me something to do while I worked out, I got to play with lots of different design elements, and it meant I went back to work feeling all warm and happy and crafty. Which is something I greatly needed in my job at the time.

I wanted to do a  long dress, pleated at the empire line - but not pregnancy silhouette - with sleeves. I had this old OOP Vogue pattern in the cupboard (a size too small) and after the months of thinking about the best way to make it, I decided to increase the pattern by one size and just wing the skirt.

It took me aaaaaaages to do the pleating at the waist in order to make the pieces fit together, but overall I am VERY happy with the look. I had to applique the feature band around the sleeves and the neckline, as it only ran down one edge of the fabric and I couldn't cut the pieces to use it. That was a long process, but worth it for the result I think.

So now I'm very proud - I've got a great dress, made out of an amazing fabric bought in situ in a foreign country, I've got the story to tell about the place I bought it from, where the Indian man behind the counter nearly fainted when he saw how much material I'd piled up, and the customs officers on the way back into Australia kind of interrogated me about the apparently "commercial" quantity of the fabric I had with me, and I wriggled out of it because it was seriously all for Personal Use, AND I even managed to find the perfect belt to accessorise the dress in the Boxing Day sales. Half price!

Cool, huh? Gosh I love fabric. And India.It's a fine, fine romance.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The January Effect ~ or, Recreational Sewing Only, Please

Ah, January .... sweet, sweet January. Month of extremely hot weather.Month of icy poles in the late afternoon. And most importantly, month of Recreational Sewing Only, Please.

Crafters, you know what I mean. We spend all year slogging our guts out for markets and events, promising ourselves we'll eventually get to that other teetering pile of fabrics and patterns and half-formed ideas in our head. We wear our fingers to the bone - those of us without thimbles, that is - embroidering linens and cushions and cute curios.

Come September, we shift things up a gear for the coming Christmas onslaught, forget about sleeping and downtime, and then we spend all of November and December eating and breathing marquees, tables, stock piles and stress. Yikes, the Christmas onslaught! It's like an avalanche made out of crochet, quilts and market bookings all rushing down the mountain to smother us. Can you imagine - smothered by craft?

Then suddenly, there's calm. The sweet breath of January blows in, and with it comes the month of rest. I have declared it the month of Recreational Sewing Only Please. No markets in January. No stock construction. Just sewing for me, pure and simple.

It is an absolute tonic to the wounded marketing soul, that is true. The frenzy of December totally slips away, and the dam bursts on my creative juices (eeeuw, not a great metaphor, but sorry) and a great big torrent of "otherwise" creativity comes pouring out.

I think The January Effect has something to do with the momentum that builds up in the Christmas onslaught, combined with the vacuum of any actual scheduled activity. As if we get our engines revving and then the road comes to an end and we shoot out into a wide, green field, airborne and free for what seems like an endless forever before we hit the ground again.

To wit: in the four days I had access to a sewing machine between Christmas and New Year, I made a shorts pattern I'd been meaning to try for months, I did a top to go with it, I created a dress using an out of print Vogue style supplemented by a  number of convoluted design features out of my head, and then made another pair of shorts.

Yesterday, I made a Hoot, a geisha doll and a big, fat babushka, just for something different. And - get this -  I still had enough time to watch three episodes of Big Love (Season 2) and two of Project Runway (Season 4).

Go me!

Friday, January 8, 2010

In 2010 I resolve to .....

..... finally write a post about my New Year Resolutions.

Maybe I'm a masochist, but I actually enjoy making New Year Resolutions. That is to say, I never make the usual ones - eat less, exercise more, be tidier etc - because those are year-round goals for me and nothing about the first of January makes them a special objective. No, those are the ever-present aspirations that I labour to reach every single day.

I've tried the "restrictive" new year resolution too, and that never works. For example, last year I resolved to spend less money on clothes. And failed miserably. If I didn't already know that already, I think the personalised, handwritten Christmas card I received from the Anna Thomas boutique in Little Collins St, would have tipped me off. 

In my opinion, come New Year we should be resolving to do fun things, good things, the things we wish we did more of. Why not try to increase our happiness quotients instead of focusing on the negative things in our lives? One year I resolved to "use my instincts more" and it really worked for me. I think that was the year I ended up moving to Dubai on a whim, which changed my life in many ways.

This year I have some definite resolutions. They include:
  • doing lots of recreational sewing, just for my pleasure, and not letting markets take over my life in quite the same way they did in 2009 
  • doing more experimental sewing with lots of failures that teach me good lessons
  • to make an entire 50s style dress out of Liberty lawn (but I am not allowed to use this one as a failure lesson as I cannot afford to make mistakes on it because oh my god the expense of the stuff) 
  • finally create a sewing room instead of continuing to make the dining table completely unaccessible to anyone else in the house
  • to redo the front garden which is full of horrible azalea bushes with white flowers that I hate passionately - does anyone in Melbourne want to come around and relieve me of six quite well-grown azalea bushes that I'm sure would look lovely in another yard that isn't mine?
  • to try new recipes rather than just thinking about how nice they sound
  • to remember that I am not defined by my day job
I also have a list of craft-specific resolutions which is long enough to require its own separate post, so that will be forthcoming in the next couple of days. But for now, the list above seems pretty good to me - and reasonably achievable, too.

And isn't that the objective, after all? Achieving what we set out to do? The Buddhists say that happiness is the achievement of small goals, and I can certainly put my faith in that. Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wreathed in happiness

You know one of the things I love about Christmas? The sales that come after them. Sales of Christmas wreaths, particularly.

Let me digress here for a minute. Many of you are familiar with my anti-Lincraft raves (check here and here if you're interested) - and today I have another annoyance to add to the list. For most of the Christmas period I was searching for a plain foam wreath, so that I could decorate it in the method of my choosing.

Perhaps something like these?

At any rate, do you think I could find a plain foam wreath anywhere in the greater Melbourne surrounds? No, I could not. Lincraft had ten thousand decorations, but no bits and pieces you could put together to make your own. And no wreaths at all of any kind - pre-decorated, plain, wicker, foam, or otherwise. What kind of fabric-and-crafty shop doesn't stock ready-to-decorate wreaths at Christmas time?!! Good heavens.

So I gave up on the idea of a new Christmas wreath, and My One True Love and the Amateur Actress made do with this one from last year, which I made out of old fabric scraps and a wire coathanger.

(If I was honest, I would tell you here that I am not only honest but also lazy, as the "Christmas" wreath has been on the door throughout the entire 2009 year because we did not get around to taking it down. The entire year. Hey, maybe that was the reason for all the rubbish luck in 2009 - because isn't it bad luck to leave your decorations up past the 12 days of Christmas? Sheesh, why didn't I think of that!)

At any rate, I posted here about the great lack of wreaths in my life, and wouldn't you know it, it was my FATHER who commented to tell me that Spotlight had them in stock. Sigh. If only I'd asked him on the bloody phone months beforehand! However, the moment for wreaths had clearly passed by then, so I didn't rush out to Spotlight to buy one and decorate it in time to hang it for five minutes. No, I had Too Many Markets to do instead. So I forgot about it.

Then of course My One True Love and I spent Christmas in the country with my parents, and a trip with  my mother to whichever local fabric shop is on sale on Boxing Day is part of the Christmas tradition. In Melbourne, that means Clegs. In the country, that means Spotlight.

So mum and I rocked up to Spotlight about a minute after the doors opened, and I veritably swooped on the foam wreaths. Swooped, I tell you! Foam wreaths on special at 75% off! I bought eleven at $2.50 each instead of $10 apiece. Eleven - a new one for our house, and ten for the market stalls I'll have near Christmas this year.

I am very smug and proud. Spotlight, I love you. I never thought I'd say that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lots of sandwich today and not much meat

(This photo has nothing to do with today's post, I just thought it was cute. Grimth is always very cranky when he wakes up.)

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments so far! - I am reading them and making little neurotic notes in my head about what you like on my blog, so that I can be sure to do more of it this year in 2010. (Have no idea what I'm talking about? Enter the giveaway here ....)

As an aside, I think one of the comments that makes me happiest - and they're all lovely - is about the length of my posts, which I agree are usually waaaaaaaaay longer than your average blog post.

The fact that this doesn't make you all want to tear your hair out is a great comfort to me, because when I was starting out last year I read one of those How-To-Write-A-Blog thingies online, and as one of its Absolutely Essential Rules it declaimed "make your posts short, because people don't want to wade through endless reams of your boring crap" .. or something along those lines. I may be paraphrasing.

This shot terror into my heart. Right away, I thought: well that's it for me then, I'm a goner even before I've started.

I've always been a verbose writer you see - to put it diplomatically- and I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep my posts short. Hell, I didn't even want to. I never had any trouble with word counts in essays and exams, my issue was always taking out the extra dross and just leaving the gold. Too much sandwich and not enough meat, as one of my music teachers, the excellent Mr Genner once said. Though of course I didn't appreciate it at the time. [An excellent way of ensuring you have more meat, by the way, if you're writing something and it's too long, is to go through every single sentence and take out an adjective. Or more, if you can. For example, when edited, that sentence just there could read "A good method of editing is to eliminate superfluous words." But see how much less interesting it is? I rest my case.]

I find it really challenging to be succinct and pithy. I'd much rather give you the unedited stream of consciousness that babbles away in my head. After all, this is my blog! I'm totally allowed to do that! There are no rules on the interweb!

(PS and this is for Jennie: today's post included the words "declaimed", "dross", "superfluous" and "paraphrasing", just for you!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Bloggoversary To Me! (and a giveaway, of course)

(Sing this to the tune of Happy Birthday:)

Happy bloggoversary to me,
Happy bloggoversary to meee,
Happy bloggo-VER-sary dear meeee-eeeeeee,
Happy bloggoversary to me!

Hip hip hooray! It's exactly one year since I started this blog. One whole year, who'd have thunk it? And it seems very appropriate that I should return to the blogosphere after such a long Christmas break, for this very auspicious occasion. Happy bloggoversary to me!

This might ordinarily be a perfect time to muse over the past 12 months, sifting for jewels, searching for patterns, examining the dry dusty remains of the last 365 days. Theorising. Postulating. Resolving. A lot of blogs are doing just that at this time of year.

However, I have absolutely NO desire to do that here today. None at all. Not one iota of desire. Desire, I don't even know who you are - get away from me before I call the cops.

It's because 2009 was truly a rubbish year, for all sorts of reasons. Oh, there were definitely highlights, and I will sift, search and examine those in due course. But I have no wish to recap the rubbish reasons here, so you will just have to take my word for it. 2010 will be better, I'm sure, simply by virtue of not being 2009. Let us hope it's so.

I have lots of things to talk about over the next few days ... far too many to fit into this single post. Plus, then they would get in the way of the GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY which I must include in honour of my bloggoversary. Christmas might be over but the gifts are still coming!

Once again, it's a super surprise (could this be because I haven't quite figured out what the prize will be? Again?  Hm .... methinks it could). It could be many things:
  • it could be fabric, or a pattern, or both
  • it could be a Hoot
  • it could be a Catticus
  • it could be a tote bag
  • or pencilroll
  • or cushion
  • or unexpected knitted item
So you'll just have to enter to find out!

The rules are simple - if you're already a follower, I love you. You just need to leave a comment here letting me know what you like best about my blog and you're in the draw. If you're not a follower, join up and leave a comment letting me know what you like best about my blog, and I will love you and put you in the draw. Blog about my giveaway on your own blog, and you get two entries (just make sure to put a link in your comment so I can see it).

I'll draw this randomly in 10 days time - the 15th of January - and I will post ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! So come on, let me know what you really think!