Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mum’s birthday making

I couldn’t show you this until now because I had to give it to mum for her birthday first – she might be reading this…

I realised ages ago that mum doesn’t have a workshop apron that is truly hers. It probably sounds weird, but I’m positive everyone likes to have their own apron!

I decided on a regency style, all empire line and utilitarian. Since mum’s a bit of an Austenite it needed to be fairly accurate (but I draw the line at hand-sewing unless I absolutely have to!)


I loosely followed this tutorial from Across the Ages which I found through Diary of a Seamstress. Bethany Lynn at Diary of a Seamstress is awesome. Hers is all sewn by hand as is everything she makes. Truly inspirational sewing whether you’re into Regency or not.

I used buttons to attach the straps so that I could make it convertible from cross to straight straps (In case mum got sick of the faff getting it on and off with the cross straps!) by just adding extra buttonholes to the straps. I also made it tie-back rather than button because it’s a lot easier to fasten yourself. Photographed on my mannequin but mum has a broader ribcage so it fits her better.


I used a heavy-ish linen and embroidered a little monogram for extra mine-ness.



Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas making…

Merry Christmas!

I’ve been doing lots of last-minute making. Well not last-minute as such because I budgeted the last few days for those smaller things. Honest.


A lovely chunky cabled hat for Tracey. She wears muted colours so I had to fight my urge to make it rainbow coloured! I used Lion Brand Thick and Quick in black. It doesn’t photograph particularly well but it looks lovely and warm! The pattern is Speedy Cabled Beret by Paula Chin, available on Ravelry. You need a Ravelry account to see it, but it’s a free pattern. If you don’t have a Ravelry account by now, you should!


A cute little kitten for David’s baby’s sister. It occurred to me that I was only making for the baby – how awful is that? I totally forgot he had a sibling. Ok, so I’ve only met her once, but that’s no excuse. The pattern is Crazy Kitten from Super Cute: 25 amigurumi animals by Annie Obaachen and I used half a ball of Sublime merino. It’s not the best book in the world since there are no making-up instructions and the materials list is more of a hint. Ravelry was a godsend.


An ear-warming headband for Elle. It’s hard to knit things for Elle because A) she knits herself and B) so does her grandad (he knitted the socks I’m wearing right now, they are amazing!) So I chose something that she could wear under the hat he will inevitably make her and that had a bit of lace she could appreciate. The pattern is Blue Leaf Headband by Adrienne Krey and is free from Ravelry and the yarn is Wendy Fusion.

That’s enough my stash-busting Christmas making for now!


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas cake!

I’ve never made a Christmas cake in my life, but I thought I’d give it a go…


What do you think? The cake frill is a vintage one I found in a charity shop. It’s almost a shame to use it because it’s so pretty. The snowmen are old wooden tree ornaments. I’ll let you know how it tastes!

It’s not as good as my gran’s cake though. She always uses decorations she bought in the 50’s – a church (she even flattens a path in the icing), a fir tree and a plastic ‘Merry Christmas’. If I didn’t know better I’d say it’s always the same cake every year! She doesn’t make hers anymore, it’s a Marks’ special, but she always adds her own royal icing and decorations.

If I remember before she cuts it, I’ll get a photo this year.


Monday, 5 December 2011

A box of treasures…

My great aunt sent us an interesting box recently.


It turned out it was full to brimming with old family photos.


I have no idea why my great aunt didn’t want them but she had heard from my gran we’d been researching the family tree and thought we would like them, which was really lovely of her.

I love old photos and here are a few of my favourites.

Gran wedding 4

My gran and grandad getting married in 1959. I think I’ve mentioned her wedding dress before. A few years ago we found it in a box in their garage. It’s beautiful, and she still has the head-dress and veil. My great-gran made the whole thing for her and it’s tiny. Needless to say we made her move it to a safe place in the house.

gran wedding 2

That’s my great-gran on the far right in the above photo, she was tiny, we called her our little gran. This is the only photo we have of her.

May 2

My big great-gran in the 20’s, May. I only ever had two great-grans, and they are both my mum’s grandmas. May was my grandad’s mum and she was a formidable woman who lived to 96. A lot of the photos centre around her so the bulk of them must have been her collection.

Grandma and grandad Wragg

May’s mother and father Norah and Joseph, my great, great grandparents. He died in 1912 aged 38.

May (middle) Daisy on bike

Great aunt Daisy, May’s sister, looking awesome on a motorbike. That’s May standing behind her.

Herbert, Betty, May 2

May with her husband Herbert (this is the only photo where he doesn’t look grumpy, my gran assures me he looked pretty mean in real life too) and their daughter my aunty Betty. I love that my great gran is in a full swimming costume but he’s just rolled up his trouser bottoms and hasn’t even taken off his suit jacket. He’ll be wearing braces under that jacket too, he is in all the other photos.

Isn’t family history fascinating? We’ve managed to get the tree back to about 1600 in several directions and although my mum knew most of these people I’ve never seen some of them before, and we’ve certainly never seen them young. They used to just be a list of names and dates in genes reunited but this makes them real.

There are about 100 photos in all, and it took ages to scan and identify everyone in them – some are still unidentified like this one:


Look at those amazing dresses, especially the one the little girl in the front is wearing. I wish I knew who they were.