Monday, 31 December 2012

New year’s lobster dress (or possibly crayfish…)

I’ve been making this dress for about a year. It’s one of my epic wips. It’s not as if I’ve had the pattern pieces cut and stuffed in a bag somewhere either. Nope, this thing was all put together and was on my dressform looking lovely just waiting for buttons and hemming. For a whole year.

I think I’ll have to keep it there because Mrs dressform is looking very sad without it!

First, I need to show you the fabric!


Isn’t it amazing? It’s a weird combination of food, fishing and flowers. I got it from Ikea ages ago and immediately knew what I was going to do with it.


I used a combination of Bestway D3664 (for the skirt)


and Weldons 8342, view c, for the top.


…and joined them in the middle to make a vintage-style button-through dress. The top pattern is size 16 so it needs manipulation to get it smaller. I had to move the darts and take out some fabric but I left the shoulders wide to give it a 50’s style cap sleeve.


I drafted the bright red collar myself because the dress needed a little extra something. Aside from the lobsters, I particularly like that martini glass on the left front.


The buttons are from Ribbonmoon, a wonderful online haberdashery shop. I urge you to check them out, they have loads of vintage-style buttons and other lovely things at very reasonable prices.


I’m going to wear this to my friend’s New Year party tonight and I’m pretty excited - I’ve made lots of yummy vodka jellies to take too!

Happy New Year everybody!


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas collar…

I mentioned I had some last-minute sewing to do and here are the results!


Pinning on ricrac.


Sewing it on by hand.


Adding pretty things from my stash.


And the finished collar. I made it for my friend Elle for Christmas, I hope she likes it. It looks a bit dark in these photos but I used navy linen and pale blue satin for the lining. The daisies are vintage from my stash and the buttons are part of my extensive random collection.

The template for the collar is available as a free download from Mollie Makes here.

I might have to make one for me!


Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!


Ah lovely snow.

Sadly, it’s not going to snow here this Christmas, it’s going to rain. This is a photo from last Christmas when we were up to our eyebrows with the stuff and spoilt. Sigh. I love snow.

In a few minutes I’m going for Christmas Eve drinkies with my oldest friend – we might even do a bit of wassailing or carousing (whatever they are). Who needs snow, that’s what I say! Then tomorrow I’m going to my gran’s to try and eat a turkey the size of a house followed by trifle with no cake in (yuck, cake should never be allowed near a trifle. Everyone else has cakey trifle, I’m just fussy) She looks after me does my gran.

Anyway, I’m rambling, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful time and eat lots of cake-less trifle!



Saturday, 22 December 2012

Lovely hats…

So, I’ve been very busy lately and my knitting has fallen by the wayside. Unfortunately it’s Christmas in a minute and I need to have these presents finished. I’ve also got a bit of sewing to do but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow (probably).

I finished the hat for my uncle (or my aunt, I’m not sure)


I’m quite pleased with it! I’m even more please with the labels I got free with a Christmassy magazine.


Aren’t they lovely?

I’ve started another one for my aunt (or maybe uncle) in the same colourway but a different pattern – matchy, but not weirdly matchy. It’s the Pastasa pattern from Cascade yarns and it has a couple of motifs to choose from. Of course I went for the snowflake in true Forbrydelsen style!


I wish I had had more time to make things for people but somehow it just didn’t work out. Three hats and a scarf is a poor showing.

There’s still time though… I hope your Christmas making plans are working out!


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas alpaca earflaps

Heeheehee the pattern name makes me chuckle. I’m childish.

I’m knitting this hat for my uncle for Christmas, I’m also planning on knitting a hat with a different pattern but with the same colourway for my aunt. They’re dog owners, they need hats.


I should say now that I’m rubbish at colourwork, always have been, but so far I’ve managed to keep it loose so it’s stretchy-ish but without a mass of tangled loops on the back. I’m dead chuffed!


The pattern is ‘Alpaca earflaps’ by Ozyarn and is surprisingly easy (if like me you’re rubbish at colourwork). I’m using stylecraft special aran in aspen, parchment and dark brown because it washes well, comes in lovely colours and I’m poor.

I’ll have finished my cardi soon too, just waiting for the buttons to arrive. Hee! Exciting. My stripy blanket is a lot less finished with only about half of it done, mostly because I don’t have the time but partly because it’s boring counting to four over and over again. It’ll be nice to actually finish something for a change!


Sunday, 2 December 2012

A little knitting for me…

I was bought some wool for either my last birthday or Christmas and until last week I hadn’t a clue what to do with it. It’s stylecraft brushstrokes chunky – a self-striping synthetic/mohair mix. It’s not my usual colourful yarn but maybe autumn has made me more sympathetic to more muted colours.


For some reason I chose a pattern with a lovely stitch that really wouldn’t show up with all the colour and mohair goings-on so after about 20 rows I ripped it and knitted the same pattern in plain stocking stitch. Jacqueline is a free chunky cardigan pattern from Knitty and it’s beautiful, especially the rizotto stitch pattern, but nice enough knit plain.


It has raglan sleeves and it’s knit from the bottom-up so it’s pretty easy. Here’s my Ravelry page if you want to see how I’m getting on.

What I should really be getting on with is Christmas presents though. I’m suddenly working full-time and although it’s great money-wise, it’s not so great time-wise. Up until a few months ago I was only working two and a half days a week and I was spoiled for time (but poor). These days I guard my few free hours like my life depended on it but my personal arbitrary project deadlines have slipped out of sight and I have less and less to tell you guys.

It might only be temporary so after Christmas I could be back to part-time so who knows, I might actually get to finish that dress and my stripy blanket… and those 101 projects on my to-do list.


Friday, 23 November 2012

An autumnal walk…

…around Braxton Ash, a lovely tiny village that used to have an ash tree that was reputedly in the dead centre of Yorkshire. A fact we only knew half of when we went. We spent ages looking for that long-dead ash tree!


Still, it was a lovely day, all sunny and chilly with leaves to scrunch through. I wish I had more time to simply walk around the countryside trying to find non-existent ash trees.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Shroom for Trace…

I’m getting a head start on Christmas presents (not early enough really!) I’m planning to make this lovely hat from Knitty and then I’m going to make a scarf using the same pattern to match. I’m using Lion Brand thick and quick which is a super bulky yarn that knits up in no time. The colourway is claret – I know, not as bright a yarn as I usually use but Tracey is an accountant and usually wears muted officey colours during the week.

I’ve had to adapt the pattern to knit on straight needles rather than in the round due to a lack of the right sized needles!


Here are my alterations to the pattern rows:

row 1: yo k1 yo k2 to end
row 2: k2 p3 to end
row 3: k3 p2 to end
row 4: k2 p3tog to end

is what it should be but because I was a bit tired when I started, I’ve done row 2 as p2 k3 and row 3 as p3 k2. I got a bit sleepily muddled! It looks nice though, just probably not exactly like is should.


It only took a couple of hours last night to get up to the decreasing rows but it would probably have gone quicker if I didn’t have to purl three together – what a faff!


I had to adapt the crown decreases too:

row 1: k2tog p3 to end
row 2: k2 p2tog to end
row 3: k3tog p1 to end
row 4: k2tog p2tog to end
row 5: p2tog to end


Hope she likes it! Now onto the matching scarf…


Monday, 5 November 2012

Bonfire night!

We don’t usually do much for bonfire night (mostly because we usually forget) but this year we went to a local firework extravaganza complete with live music, carousels and freezing temperatures.

The theme was James Bond and the fireworks were all based on the theme songs:

From Russia With Love (see the hearts!)…


…Diamonds Are Forever…




…and some more. um. Let’s say Skyfall because I’m not much of a Bond fan and can’t remember any others.


That was yesterday. Tonight when we got home we celebrated Guy Fawkes night proper by making pretty patterns with sparklers.


If you squint and turn your head a little, the next one says ‘Bex’.


I swear I’m going to turn into a crazy cat lady one of these days.


Don’t you just love oohing and aahing at the pretty fire?


Thursday, 1 November 2012

I got me some new fabric…

Ok, so I don’t actually need more fabric – the space under my bed hides so many overflowing boxes it looks like my bed is levitating – but I saw it and it was only £5 for 3.5 metres. It’s not quite as bright as in the photo and it is lovely.


It also looks a bit Horrockses, like this:


…and this:


I’ve been a bit obsessed with Horrockses dresses ever since I was bought this V and A book ‘Horrockses Fashions, Off-the-peg Style in the 40’s and 50’s’


I heartily recommend it, just for the eye-candy value of the beautiful fabrics and normal women wearing beautiful dresses.

Because I’ll never own an original (and even if I do, let’s face it, I’m never going to wear it – too precious!) I’m going to make my own, sort of.


To that end I hopped onto Ebay and bought a repro 1957 pattern, Vogue V8789 (£9 including postage from America). I don’t quite have enough fabric for that huge skirt, but since it’s only a gathered rectangle I’ll be able to make-do.

The only thing is that my fabric is diagonally printed so I’m going to have the devil of a time matching the print!


Sunday, 21 October 2012

York Open Studios

I’ve been accepted for Open Studios again! Yay!


This time I’ll be sharing my workshop with my friend Ellie Crosby who’s a jeweller. It’ll be nice to have some company when it’s quiet, and an extra pair of hands for when it’s busy.


I think this is the last year I’ll apply because really I’m too busy and I’d like to sell more work through galleries. It’s nice to have a firm deadline though, because it makes me get busy making a new range of work to show alongside the regular ranges that people know me for.


If you’d like to see more of my work you can click here or you can follow me on Facebook. Elle doesn’t have a website up and running yet but when she does I’ll keep you all posted.


Monday, 8 October 2012

A chook update…


We got three new chooks last Saturday! They are sort of ex-bats. Sort of, because battery hens were banned in the UK in January (woo!), so these aren’t from battery cages but from a ‘higher welfare barn’ or some such thing. Better for the hens in the short term but after a couple of years they still get turned into pet food.


You can see the difference between Rigby (on the far right above and at the front of the top picture) and the three new girls – even in higher welfare environments they still come out looking shabby with patchy feathers, trimmed beaks and wiry little bodies.

We had only had one egg in a week though - not unusual, the shock of the move often gives them pause – but that egg was a few days ago. Why only one? Well a little walk around the run (AKA next-door’s neglected garden) this afternoon gave us the answer when we found a grass nest holding a clutch of five eggs! I’m convinced there must be more somewhere but a couple of big patches of nettles stopped me probing further.


After a flurry of pecking Rigby has taken well to the new chooks. Lucy is oblivious, but she’s now totally blind – you remember Lucy, who seemed on her last legs almost exactly a year ago when we had to leave her with a friend while we went to New York? Well, she’s fine-ish. She gets around ok but has trouble finding food (she might have no sense of smell either) so we hand feed her twice a day. Considering hen’s propensity for dropping dead with no notice, Lucy has done amazingly well!

So that’s that. We Just have to find a way to get the hens to lay in the nest-box. Any ideas?