Google Analytics

Monday, 29 June 2009

Cafe cultural

Last Friday, G and I visited the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery on Charlotte St. This was for two reasons: 1, it is basically on the doorstep of both our offices, and 2, it was showing the knitting (and crochet) genius of Kate Jenkins.

The little gallery had been temporarily transformed into Kate's Cafe, which actually worked quite well:

We entered, we gawped, we felt the 'want' factor. This was seriously impressive stuff. Here are some examples, but for the full effect have a look here.

Scales and everything!

Just as tasty-looking and only a fraction of the calories.


As if this wasn't enough excitement for one lunch time, I also introduced G to the lovely charity shops on Goodge Street. After raiding the button box, we browsed the rails for that elusive vintage find. G picked up a very sweet red dress with white polka dots which will look even cuter with the hem hitched up a little and the addition of some cute shoes and waist belt.

I tried on a long pink dress as *ahem* a bit of a joke, but after ascertaining that it would indeed not be out of place at the next White Mischief, I snapped it up for a fiver.

Am now toying with raising the hem a little and taming the out-of-control pouffy sleeves. Perhaps I could wear it outside of dress-up situations also? It will be an experiment for my as yet undeveloped alteration skills..

Amazing lace

The most amazing thing is that they are *finally* finished! These have to be the weirdest socks I have knitted in terms of construction. The whole thing is knitted flat, and then joined together with a seam around the edge of the foot and up the outside of the ankle. This means that it is fiendishly tricky to match up the lace pattern below the buttons - arg! Anyway, I had a good go and G's buttons look lovely :)

Here they are on their own:

And in the company of shoes:

These can be found in the book 'Love to Knit' which has the usual quota of "who the %^*& is ever going to knit that?!" but the occasional nice design..

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Going beyond?

Hm, while in Sweden last time I kind of got myself into trouble. I happened to mention that I had sewed myself a dress in front of my niece Josphine. Obviously this resulted in her wanting one too. Being a good auntie I said I would have a go.

Last Sunday this came slightly closer to becoming a reality. After picking up a simple Burda pattern, G and I headed to Beyond Fabrics. After having read G's great write up of the place here, I didn't really need much of an excuse..

After much deliberation, this combo was chosen:

Hm, would rather like the cherries on the black background for me. Maybe later..

Anyway, I think I now have all the bits including the bias binding, ribbon and zip so watch this space!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Inadvertant bargain hunting

Like most people, I'm partial to a bit of a bargain. Last week I seemed to be tripping over opportunities to bag goodies at an almost negligible cost. Definitely not something to complain about.
The first opportunity arose whilst poking around a local charity shop on Goodge St. Nothing really caught my fancy until a lady asked the shop assistant to see the 'buttons and beads box' from under the counter. I was so there. After a little rummaging, I came away with the following haul:

All for a bargainous £1.80, although I did make it an even £2 seeing as it was for charidee.. Might stop by for a couple more of the big gold buttons at some point.

The next thriftful opportunity to be thrust upon me was the Accessorize and Monsoon sample sale which took place in a little Church next to Goodge St Station. My expectations were minimal, and probably with good reason. The place was utter carnage. I think it's fair to say that there was the same amount of stuff on the floor as on the tables and racks, but despite this I soldiered on.
After finally making it within grabbing distance one of the accessory tables, things improved considerably. In the end I came away with this lot:

Not bad for a total of £7. I think the diamante peacock brooch could look rather good on a hairband or fascinator. Long may the bargains continue.

Friday, 19 June 2009

No time for losers

Ok, it's about time I mentioned the iKnit Treasure Hunt. If you don't already know about it, there's a very sweet knitting shop just near Waterloo, on the attractively named Lower Marsh, called iKnit. It is run by two lovely gentlemen who go to applaudable lengths to develop and cater for the ever growing knitting community.

This year is the second time they have put together and hosted the iKnit Treasure Hunt for Worldwide Knit in Public Day, (13th June) and my gosh I can only imagine that it must have taken them rather a long time to plan..

Team WNKers assembled at the scene on Lower Marsh at 11:30am and sized up the opposition. There were about 30 teams in the end. Hm, this might not be as easy as we thought.
Armed with a map, a balloon (more on that later), cryptic questions and tasks to carry out, we had until 5pm to return triumphant. No pressure or anything.

So we spent a jolly afternoon chasing sheep around London and answering questions about their location (think statues and pictures rather than live woolly ones), trying to conjure up a celeb to knit with (a poster would have to do in the end), knitting with pigeons, knitting in a (smelly) phone box, knitting with a bobby etc.

We were especially chuffed with finding a Route Master to knit on and were in the middle of being smug and wondering where we could find a naked person to knit with (another challenge, rather than a whim of ours, by the way), when this happened:

I'll spare you the zoomed in ones.

Well, we couldn't has asked for better timing!

Oh and about the balloon.. Imagine that you had to keep a balloon safe for an entire day while traipsing around London. Imagine that the balloon was worth 5 bonus points which you would otherwise have to work *very* hard for to earn. Imagine a very annoying child in plaid with a pin.

We had no choice. Instinct took over. If he had not made an attempt on the life of our floating friend, we would have not acted as we did. As he forced our hand we will therefore take no responsibility for grabbing him around the neck and spraying half a bottle of water in his face. Effective, is all I can say.

Anyway, it was all worth it in the end as we took home the victory and the lovely prize of tickets to the National Theatre. Believe me, we deserved it - didn't we ladies? It was an honour to work with you.

If you would like to know in a little more detail what went on, please check out the lovely iKnit Blog

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Simply Gorgeous

Ah L's gorgeous handywork has now been received safely, and what a beauty it is! Made with the softest merino silk imaginable, in purply indigo which contrasts nicely with the gold beading.

I feel slightly undecided as I'd like to wear it lots, but at the same time don't want to damage it. I guess it would be a shame not to take it out for an excursion or two though.
Tack sa mycket Linda, du ar bast!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Mission swapsie almost complete

The lacy scarf for L is now complete and ready for send-off:

Ok so there is one teensy little mistake in there which annoys me *a lot*, but on the whole I'm pretty happy with the result.
My first brush with bamboo too, which I found a little splitty but also amazingly soft so could imagine using it again for Spring items.
Anyway, it's being packed off to Sweden today together with some packs of Hula Hoops which I happen to know that L likes and which are weirdly unavailable in the Scandinavian territories..
Can't wait to receive the shawl from her!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Sew inspirational

Recently I had read about costumier Prangsta's dress-making course. It beckoned suggestively with promises of garment creation and re-fashioning all within their creative studio, under the tuition of their renowned tailors. Being a bit of a costume aficionado, as well as a wannabe clothing creator, I was so there. At least to have an inital look.
Having okayed a peek at the course via email, E and I were Deptford. After some initial confusion over the actual location of the class (mine) and saintly patience (E's) we made our way in the right direction down New Cross Road from the actual costume hire shop towards the studio.
Impressively, we found the studio fairly easily thanks to some friendly policemen and E's map, but it happened to be housed in a particularly scary warehouse on an every scarier trading estate.
Anyway, once we had plucked up the courage to open the huge metal door to 'B5', a pretty awesome sight awaited us: Stuff. Everywhere.
This picture gives a bit of an overview of the organised chaos:

We gaped and walked around for bit, realising that we were being totally ignored by the students who seemed engrossed in their various projects. Eventually it got a bit awkward, so we introduced ourselves to the lady doing the pinning below:

Pinning lady was awfully nice and told us of how all the Prangsta costumes are made in the studio before being transported to the shop for hire and sale. She also mentioned her passion for re-fashioning vintage items as it gave a better opportunity to work with great fabrics and more interesting garments. How amazing would it be to have that ability? I guess she must have been doing it for quite a while though.
I'm not sure if my photos quite manage to capture the sheer volume and randomness of the stuff in there, but perhaps it gives a bit of an idea at least.
Firstly, check out that fabric stash:

This dress was pretty amazing. I can only imagine that it will become more so as it grows:

Even the windowcills were crammed with inspiring stuff:

We managed to tear ourselves away eventually, after one last glace at the jumbled wonderfulness. Our final decision was however, that it wasn't quite for us. Most of the 'students' appeared to be more along the lines of fashion graduates who were quite happy to get on with it and perhaps ask for assistance and tips every now and then. I think we would need some more support.
Also, the location is not great. Whilst an inspiring studio, busting with creative stimulus scores them 10 out of 10 for fun, walking to Deptford station past dilapidated council estates and scruffy parks pretty much cancels that out.
I think we will carry on our search for places of sewing intruction, and pester G for help with our projects for the time being ;)

Play time!

Never mind the tea dress, I've now got my eye on making something more along the lines of this cute 'Perky Playsuit' (awful term, but sweet nonetheless):

Details are as follows:
"Simplicity Pattern 1609 Vintage Plus Size Perky Playsuit and Skirt, dated 1956. This includes; Women's One-Piece Playsuit and Skirt: The perky, sleeveless playsuit is styled with a round neckline in front that dips to a V in back. Shorts feature an inverted pleat on either side of front and have pockets in the side seams. The skirt has soft pleats in front and is gracefully flared. View 1 bodice has bias fold tape on collar edge and bow trim in back. View 2 shows playsuit with tie belt and a contrasting skirt."
Found on but where to find it in real life?

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

In the pink

I remember my first experience at a haberdashers. I must have been about 10 and needed to get some fabric for a school sewing project. The store was located in the magical-sounding Haslemere, and I clearly recall the smell of the place and the fat rolls of materials piled up on shelves way out of my reach and oozing potential.
Unfortunately, my taste being that of a normal 10 year old, I chose some sky blue fabric with pink polar bears on. The shorts (complete with elasticated waist) which I later constructed out of it are best forgotten.

As I happened to be back in Haslemere last weekend, I decided to try and track down that
haberdashers where I got my first taste of the joys of fabric, but alas it seems that it is no more. I did however, find a satisfactory replacement in Baker & Sons.
In addition to some other 'essentials', this trio of strawberries and cream were crying out to become part of my burgeoning stash:

Yes, yes I know it's pink again. But look at it's floral loveliness? Also, it's *several* shades lighter than the magenta fabrics I have. Honest.
I'm thinking a pretty tea dress perhaps?

Monday, 1 June 2009

Skirting the issue

I actually finished the pleated skirt in the gorgeous 'Lucy's Farm' material last weekend, while M was out getting burned on the golf course. Unfortunately I suffered a slight patience failure and ended up making a pig's ear of the waist band...
In the end I decided that I really should do it properly, and therefore spent a little time unpicking, swearing and finally finishing the skirt properly. Here it is, modeled on my parent's lawn:

I'm quite pleased with the result, seeing as it is my first go at a skirt. Some improvements could be made in the zip area, but on the whole I can imagine wearing it in public which is a good start.

Oo I was in store for a treat on Friday when I discovered a mysterious little wrapped package along with some items returned to me by the ever-creative and ever-lovely Flibbertygibbet. What could it be??

Yay, some very cute buttons for the lacy white socks I'm working on part-time at the moment. As soon as my swapsie bamboo scarf is done, I'll be on the case with them!