Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A Stitch in Time saves...

I am a big fan of vintage knitting and have several books on the subject which I lovingly drool over when looking for projects. Making these items does take a lot of time and dedication with the yarn and needles being so fine, but this gives lovely wearable results if you can face the knitting involved.

My past vintage knitting efforts have included an Evening Top, which I tweaked a little in the sizing and then a Evening Bolero which I wished I’d tweaked as it was still too big for me even when I was pregnant!

One of my favourite books is Jane Waller’s Knitting Fashions of the 1940s: Styles, Patterns, and History which the Bolero pattern was taken from. I love the bits of history and old photos that go with each pattern, but I think the translation of the patterns might have required a bit more attention, hence my giant bolero!

Thankfully lots of careful pattern attention was bought to another of my favourite books A Stitch In Time, Knitting and Crochet Patterns, 1920-1949 Vol. 1 in which Jane Waller teamed up with vintage knitter extraordinaire Susan Crawford. Each pattern is meticulously rewritten and tested before publication and errata for any pattern mistakes that have gone under the radar have been subsequently published. The photography is exquisite and really shows the knits off to their full potential, which is another reason why I use this as a beautiful coffee table book.

When I heard that there was to be A Stitch in Time Vol.2 I got totally over excited and pre ordered my copy the moment it was possible to do so. You can still pre order the book which is due out on the 30th June and with your pre order you get a couple of goodies, including a project bag and discounts on the yarns used, so it’s well worth it.

Whilst waiting in anticipation for A Stitch in Time Vol.2 to come out I am also getting excited about Knit Nation which is happening from the 15th to the 17th July. I loved it last year and hope that it will be just as good again this year. I’ve booked tickets for Mum and I on the Saturday and have also booked us in for the Knit-Tea Salon which is basically a yummy afternoon tea to refresh us mid yarn shopping spree.

Knit update: My knitting has finally progressed beyond the mindless lace I was working on and I have now thankfully moved on to the bust increasing of my lacy blue top. This morning on the train I discovered that I had lost four stitches in the process, but managed to find them on my next row round. Note to self; don’t knit in bed moments before you’re going to sleep.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Fish Tickle

I’ve been hearing a lot about fish pedicures lately. They’re the latest craze in spa treatments where little flesh eating fish nibble at your toes to give you smooth tootsies. Whilst walking about in The Only Way Is Essex land (Loughton) this week I saw that a shop dedicated to the swimming nibblers had opened called Sole Sensation []. My friend Nina and I decided that it would be worth a go, if only for the novelty factor and paid £10 for 10 minutes of the ‘treatment’.

After washing your feet you flip flop over to a sort of bench where you sit down and then lower your feet into your own private tank of Garra Rufa Fish. Now, the lowering down part took me a minute or two as each time your feet get anywhere near the surface of the water the little swimmers all come to the surface, mouths wide open, gagging for a taste of your flesh!

Fear not the ‘doctor fish’ are toothless and only nibble at the dead skin on your feet, not the healthy stuff, so you won’t be eaten alive. However it still took a while for me to pick up the courage to put my feet actually under the surface.

As soon as my feet were in I can only describe the sensation as tickle torture. I am a very ticklish person and so could barely contain the urge to squeal and screech as the fish went to town on my feet which must have been some kind of banquet of dead skin the way they were going for it.

Ten minutes felt like a very long time and once it was over we were given a towel and some lotion while we inspected our feet. I have to admit that I did not notice a lot of difference on first inspection but once I got home I realised that my skin was a lot smoother and not as hard in places. Perhaps a longer treatment would yield more noticeable results.

These were our faces during the last few minutes... says it all really.

I then suddenly started to worry how ethical the treatment was. Why were the little swimmers so hungry for feet? Do they get fed in between foot snacks or is that their only food source?

Having looked around on the internet I can’t find much on the subject. Some people suggest that the fish would have to be really hungry i.e. not fed to eat away at your feet the way that they do. But that their tanks and water filtration was pretty good. I have emailed the shop about it and will post again if they get back to me.

Most of the articles I found were about the treatment being banned in several states in America due to fear of a spread of infection. I thought that this was a little over-kill as everyone had to wash their feet and answer a questionnaire about their health and if they have any open wounds or infections before using the tanks, so I didn’t feel that infection would be an issue.

The craze is gathering pace with full body versions being made available where you lie in a floatation tank filled with the fish. Personally, I don’t think I’d last a second with an all over fish tickle session!

Happy Birthday to me!

It was my birthday on Monday and I was made to feel very special by all of my friends and family.

Brett took me out for a MASSIVE treat on Sunday to Atul Kochhar’s Michelin starred restaurant Benares. We had the five course Grazing menu with the pairing wines, which was a decadent as it sounds.

I have never been to a Michelin starred restaurant before so it was a bit daunting at first, but once the food and wine started flowing we relaxed into it. Although I think I might have scared the sommelier a little by getting over excited by wines that actually went with food for a change rather than just being chosen on price alone.

I got lots of lovely presents including the new Peyton & Byrne British Baking book and some cute measuring cups and spoons which I am itching to start using!

To top it all off I took some of my lovely friends out to Luck Voice in Soho on my birthday night and sang the night away (badly) while they plied me with glittered cocktails. Cheers guys!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bank Holiday Fun

Another lovely weekend with the family. We celebrated the Royal wedding with a cream tea in the garden, a lot of flag waving and independent walking from Florence. Won’t be long until she’s running away from us I suspect.

I crudely made her a paper crown encrusted with wrapping paper jewels. She didn’t’ seem too impressed but did manage to keep it on for a few photos.

Films were like busses this weekend. I haven’t been to the cinema in ages and then went twice! I saw a preview of Water For Elephants with my film reviewing friend Coconutboots. I really enjoyed it and there was even a scene where Reese Witherspoon was working on some embroidery. Shame it wasn’t knitting. My favourite elements of the film were the animals, in particular the amazing elephant Rosie, and the fabulous sets and clothing which were beautiful. Witherspoon wears some lovely 30’s frocks and as always Pattinson looks pretty hot, especially when he’s a bit beaten up and bloody towards the end of the film wearing a brown leather jacket... yum.

I also went to see Thor which also has some Phwoar to it. The movie over all was a great bank holiday blockbuster with lots of action, lots of fun and a good few laughs too. Chris Hemsworth ticked all the boxes as the Nordic god of thunder although the romance between him and Natalie Portman was paper thin. Not that I really cared once he’d whipped his tee-shirt off a few times and stared into the camera with those baby blues.

I’ve been plodding on with the lacy blue top I’m making for the summer. It feels like it’s not growing much despite knitting row after row of the same lace. I now long for the end of this body section so I can get into the more interested parts of the pattern, but know that I have at least 10cm left to do. I just hope it will still be summer by the time I finish it.