Sunday, 27 July 2014

"Razzle Dazzle Em"

I promise this is going to be the last version of this dress.  I just thought I would make one more to get my value from the pattern, and this being my third version it really was a bit of a breeze. I didn't stress too much about tacking this time, but did finally work out how to insert the invisible zip properly. I remembered my techniques file from my City and Guild Fashion course, and there in it were the instructions and even a sample for an invisible zip. I must remember to use this file a bit more often.

This fabric was from the lovely Fabricland, and although my daughter doesn't really go for pink, this was a really subtle shade that we both liked. It was also quite a heavy cotton, which was very easy to sew.

So I had already planned to make this outfit, when she suddenly said that she would like to wear it in her end of year show: "Dazzle". So a bit of frantic sewing one weekend, and this time I let her win over the length, as she did have to dance in it. The show was fantastic, though quite emotional, as this is the end of primary school. 

So with the fabric I had cut off when hemming I made one of my "Land Girl Hairbands". I had forgotten how simple these are to make. The pattern is available in my Craftsy Shop, and has three versions of tie. I have temporarily reduced the price to just $1. It is really fun to make bands to go with different outfits, but they are also a fairly quick make for anyone selling hairbands at fairs.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Stanley Spider

Meet Stanley the Spider. Each year I try to make a toy mascot for the class that I have been working in at school. First there was Caterpillar Class, and they got a caterpillar and a butterfly. Next year was the rather daunting job of making a cricket for Cricket Class. And finally this year the delightful Spider Class. 

I was going to try to knit a really realistic tarantula, but I couldn't find the right wool. That may come later. So Stanley is just your average sort of spider. He is quite easy to make. The body is knitted on two needles and in one piece. I thought that buttons would make cute little feet, although you could use beads. He is hung on a long piece of elastic thread, which has a big black bead on the end. 

I was delighted that my one little ball of Rowan Fine Tweed wool (25g) was perfect to make two Stanleys, I haven't managed to take photographs of Stanley II yet, though he looks almost exactly the same.  Although I am sure other makes of wool would work well, I really liked the texture and bumpiness from using this brand.

Stanley is looking a little glum I know, and that is because he has found out that from next year the classes are going to all change and be named after biblical trees. Perhaps it is just as well, as the prospect of knitting a Firefly was worrying me. Spider Class will become Palm Class, and I will be in Olive Class. I'm not quite sure how that is going to work as far as knitting class mascots is concerned.

So farewell to my lovely Spiders, and if you want to make a similar toy you will be able to find the pattern in my shop later tonight.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Vintage Caravan Magazine

I was delighted to get an email from Anne in Australia, who had seen my caravan keyrings in Vintage Caravan Magazine. (Facebook Page is Here) One of them now holds the keys to her lovely vintage caravan, which was exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for. She sent me some photos too. Isn't it cute. I love the coordinated inside, as well as the silver and wood on the outside.

And here is my own retro girl reading the magazine! You might also notice her new dress, which I am going to write about on a separate post. I have also been scanning the pages of Vintage Caravan Magazine and daydreaming of having my own little home on wheels one day.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Italian Job

I have finished my knitting pattern for a the iconic Mini Cooper. The pattern is available in my ravelry and Craftsy shops. These sample cars are for sale in my Etsy shop I have tried really hard to be as accurate as I can to the mini cooper cars that I see around today. It has caused me a few headaches, but I do think the final result is very cute. Can a car be cute?

"The Italian Job" - I haven't quite reproduced the film poster, but you get the idea I hope.

I would be lying if I said this is an easy knit. There is shaping, icord knitting, colourcharts, and quite fiddly sewing up. But I think the final results are worth it. If you don't want to knit the Union Jack roof, then you can do a plain roof version. I keep spotting other colourways that I like out on the road, so am going to knit a few more of these. 

Racing Green

The car is made up of just three panels. The wheels, grill, bumpers and headlights are knitted separately, and then sewn on.


If you want to read a bit more about the history and evolution of the Mini Click Here.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

A Meadow of Flowers

"In a meadow full of flowers, you cannot walk through and breathe those smells and see all those colors and remain angry. We have to support the beauty, the poetry, of life." Jonas Mekas

My local council have seeded several small areas with wild flowers. They are to encourage local insect and plant diversity. Aren't they beautiful? There are meant to be seven places, though so far I have only found three, but am on the look out for the others.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sneaky Peek - Work In Progress

I've been hinting for a bit that I am working on a pattern for a new vehicle. So although it is not yet quite complete, I thought I would give you a sneaky peek. It is the iconic mini. It is the car that I seem to see most frequently where I live. I don't think it is the most popular car, it is just that it is so very distinctive that you cannot help but notice it.

My very first attempt at a mini was hysterically funny. It turned out so long that it looked like a stretch limo. 

So I am nearly there with the pattern, and there is just a bit of tweaky to go, and then a huge amount of test knitting. So if you want to make or buy a very British mini keep an eye on my Etsy and ravelry shops, as they will be appearing there soon. The craft fair yesterday did not go well. I took exactly what the table fee was, so it has only confirmed in my head what I had already thought, Etsy is the way to go for me.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lavender's Blue Dilly Dilly

The lavender in my back garden

 Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly, lavender's green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so.

Call up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to work
Some to the plough, dilly, dilly, some to the fork,
Some to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to cut corn,
While you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warm.
Lavender's green, dilly, dilly, Lavender's blue, 
If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you. 
Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play; 
We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm's way.
I love to dance, dilly, dilly, I love to sing; 
When I am queen, dilly, dilly, You'll be my king. 
Who told me so, dilly, dilly, Who told me so? 
I told myself, dilly, dilly, I told me so.

I am very fond of this nursery rhyme. It always seems so romantic. Also the only thing I remember of my very first day at school, was standing in a circle with other children singing this song.

But did you know that the earliest surviving version of the song was printed in England between 1672 and 1685, under the name Diddle Diddle, Or The Kind Country Lovers?  The lyrics printed in this version are not so romantic but quite bawdy.  

I have been making lavender bags, mainly because my mum supplied me with an enormous bag of lavender. She lives in sheltered housing with a communal garden, so having checked that no one else wanted the lavender she went out and picked it, dried it, and stripped it from the stems. So my work room has the delicious smell of lavender at the moment.

The first bags I made were not my own design, but from this book. I used silk for the main fabric, as I didn't have the linen that was suggested. Very handy to keep your undies smelling nice! 

I thought about the song, and how all the lavender I see is not blue, but lilac or deep purple. But a bit of research and I have found white, pink and blue lavender. To my surprise there is even a yellow variety of lavender!

I then had still more lavender, so decided to make some from my own design. First I appliqued felt on to hessian for the plant pots. (I still haven't mastered the free motion sewing, so these are edged neatly with my feed dogs up.) Then I embroidered the lavender plants using wool. I made little bags of muslin for the lavender, as I thought it might work its way out through the hessian. 

My first idea was to sew little bags and turn them out, but the hessian was just too stiff for this. So instead I simple pinned the front and back of the bags together, and sewed round the edge. I had to use my zipper foot for this, so I could get nice and close in to the muslin bag. I think the rustic look is rather nice. They have a ribbon in case you want to hang them in your wardrobe. Despite saying I wasn't going to do any more craft fairs, I have one coming up next weekend, and am hoping these might sell well. After that they may end up in my Etsy shop, and I guess the postage will be very low.