blue stitches

I bought these vintage beauties not so long ago but haven't quite decided on how to use them yet. Or perhaps they'll just sit looking wonderful but adding to the general clutter that is my sewing room these days. Beautiful clutter though!

I've also been having fun playing around with stitch patterns these last couple of days. Finding myself in between knitting projects and with an old ball of Rowan and a pair of 4mm bamboos in the cupboard, I decided to try some out and get a little practice in at the same time. Photographing today was not quite so pleasurable with the darkest of Spring days to contend with!

{simple eyelet, diamonds, lace star rib}

It's quite amazing that with a pair of needles and a piece yarn, such a variety of patterns can be created, don't you think? Do you have a favourite stitch pattern to recommend?



I made a couple of doorstops over the weekend. Not the most exciting of projects I suppose but they were needed all the same. One for a door that kept shutting the kittens into a room and we only noticed when their calls got louder; the other to stop a wall from being banged into, each time the bedroom door was flung open. Again. And again!

The pattern came from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing. There are some fun things to make in this book, including picnic placemats which I made for my parents but that was long before my blogging days and no photos were taken. They went down a treat though! The doorstops were very easy and quick to do, only the quantity of beans specified was way off since I needed almost a kilo more than she said. I bought a six-kilo bag of dried kidney beans from a market which filled my two, but not entirely.

There is evidence of other crafting projects in the offing, only the sun has decided not to come out today and in any case, my model's at school!

Have a great week x


a wrap dress

This particular project took a little longer than the norm because, you see, it all began with a toile. Urgh, I loathe doing them, it always seems a waste of time but obviously it isn't in the long run if there's a chance of ruining a perfectly good piece of cloth. And this is good cloth; denim-like linen from Fabrics Galore - yay, Mecca!

Up till now the Japanese dress patterns I've sewn for myself have been of the pull-over-the-head variety but this one has a defined waist, which is why I decided to err on the side of caution. I wasn't convinced the waistband would fall in the right place for me plus, given the absence of hubby at the crucial moment, measuring from nape to waist was proving a little tricky on my own and I didn't think it fair to rely on the children to help out! There are also darts on both the front and back of the bodice and I needed to make sure they would all pass the test too.

I used an old ripped sheet for my toile, one that I'd saved up for just such a purpose. The one that Carrot boy had been sleeping on once upon a time, clearly having great fun in the night, making what would have started off as a tiny hole into a massive tear stretching most of the length. As you do! And latterly the one that was taken apart and used to line the 'joyful dress'.

The pattern is from Sewing Talk (Machiko Kayaki), one of my favourites and already used for this and this and, my goodness, this one too. Haven't I just got my money's worth?! I've been eyeing up the wrap ever since I bought the book so it was only a matter of time.

Despite having bought four metres of the fabric, I was still miserly with the placing and cutting out because I know this linen will come in useful for a million and one projects yet to come. I had it all cut out before Half Term so what a treat is was to get back and have it waiting, in complete readiness, for me to get out the pins, plug in the sewing machine and draw up the swivel chair.

After all that, the waist fell in just the right place so no alterations were needed, but I'm still glad I did the toile. In any case, having made it up once already it was a much quicker job with the real thing.

As for the doilies, I wanted to take the dress up a level and took inspiration from Stylish Dress 1. There is a picture inside were the model sits crocheting doilies only it looks like they are actually a part of her dress. I love that image. I bet I get some comments though, for having a couple of 'coasters' attached to me. It will be interesting to see how many will understand the lure of the doily - not like you all do!

So although this has been made for quite some time, it's been too cold to even think about putting it on for the camera. But the weather is fantastic at the moment, isn't it and yes, I can see I'm going to enjoy this dress. Of course it's still a little cool to be thinking about wearing it now but that's ok. I'll just have to make something else instead!

Happy Thursday x



Some friends of ours have been trying to adopt a little girl from Asia for well over three years now and finally the months of highs and lows have come to a close, for their new daughter has just arrived. There were many times when we all thought this moment was never going to come and I am so happy for them because their family is at last complete.

I'm also happy that I had an excuse to take the cover off the sewing machine once more! I've not made a toddler tiny outfit before and I thought this ditsy rosebud pink cotton would be ideal for making a little pinafore dress fit for a 16 month old. The pattern is from Everyday Girls' Clothes, the same Japanese book I used for this and this one too. I made the facing for the bodice with the same fabric but used a piece of twice recycled white cotton sheeting to line the skirt. Three pretty pink vintage buttons finish it off and how I love this little dress and everything it stands for. It's also the first piece of clothing I've made for someone other than family so I really hope it goes down well.

It is certainly going to be very confusing for this little tot for some time to come. Her life really is just about to begin, after all she will have a new country to come to terms with, new faces to become accustomed to, a new language to learn. But on the other hand she now has a ready made family, in time a sense of belonging, hopes and aspirations ahead and, not least, the knowledge one day that her life in an orphanage is well and truly behind her.

And because I didn't want her new big sister to feel left out, I made a simple lined elasticated skirt for her from the same fabric, with matching large lacy pockets.

Have a lovely week - it's going to be a good one I hear!


a day of silence

For the people of Japan. Remembering those who have lost their lives, those who have lost their families, and those who are dealing with the most awful events that have happened and are continuing to happen.

I'm joining in a day of silence and pledging a donation which will hopefully go some way to making a difference to those who are really in need. You can make donations here and if you, too, feel like joining in, go here for more information.



Well, this is the first piece of clothing I've knitted and that alone makes me happy. But despite the fact Rowan claim the pattern is suitable for beginners, it had me confused an awful lot. The instructions are fairly economical, shall we say, and I lost count of the number of times I turned to my local yarn shop for help. Now that it's finished, however, and with the benefit of hindsight, it was all completely easy peasy. Oh, and I know the ladies in the yarn shop really very well now! This is from Rowans 'Newshapes' book, now out of print but worth hunting down for a good selection of goodies using Big Wool.

Tension trouble had me discarding the recommended 10mm and reaching for a 12mm pair of needles instead. My goodness, it was almost like knitting on fingers until I got used to them but to see the thing progress so quickly pleased me no end. Oh the reward. On the homeward strait I panicked and bought an extra skein, thinking I might run out, but I just scraped by, with a teeny tiny amount left over once the sewing up was complete.

Once blocked, sewn up and tried on my first thought was 'oh no, I'm not so sure, it's rather sack-like' but having looked at it a couple of times and played about with the collar somewhat, I'm actually rather pleased. The collar was hanging down at the back in an odd way so I put in a couple of stitches to secure it to the back of the garment and I feel much better about it now.

Just finished with enough time to get some wear in it before the warmer weather appears. Or perhaps it may come into its own as a cover up once the heavy duty coat comes off, who knows.

A note to self. Next time walk past the grey, you CAN do it you know !

Last but by absolutely no means least: My heart aches for the people of Japan, they say there are well over 10,000 who have lost their lives, among them probably some Brits who are as yet unaccounted for. Watching the footage on the news is unbearable, I can only imagine what they are going through and I truly hope that those of you who read this blog are not affected. x


lovely days

{MLF rescuing flattened crocuses at the weekend}

Despite an unwelcome early morning frost, the last couple of days have been beautiful here, I hope they have been for you too.

I'm a busy bee at the moment, with many things to do and several projects on the go but when the sun came out again yesterday, I decided I needed a quick outing. I had just the place in mind too. This place. I Knit is a mere stone's throw from Waterloo Station, dead easy to get to and, as I found out, well worth the trip. What a great place, it is stuffed to the gills with beautiful yarn, knitting and crochet supplies and the largest selection of books and magazines I have ever seen. It runs a variety of courses, including the odd weekender, holds knitting groups in the evenings and over a Sunday roast and unusually it is run by men. Yes, men. Who knit. So knowledgeable. Fab!

Of course I had to come away with a few little somethings, it would be rude not to, after all ..

It's an interesting area to browse as well, with its own market, numerous restaurants and many small shops. I did kick myself though, when I spied some of Boris's bikes gleaming in the sunshine and realised I'd left the camera at home!

Have a lovely day x


lacy bracelets

You'd think that any pattern with just 31 rows would be a mighty quick project wouldn't you? Not in my house it ain't. Notwithstanding the fact that I'm not exactly speedy on those bamboos, it certainly doesn't help having a couple of frisky kitties watching your every move and pouncing when you're mid count on the most complicated of rows! Adorable as they are, kittens and knitting are certainly no match made in heaven.

The yarn is Artesano 4-ply Alpaca which could well have been made in heaven though, it really is something special, ultra soft and luxurious. So many tempting colours make for a difficult choice but in the end I plumped for violet. And the pattern? Yep, it's Jenny and her Purls of Wisdom again!

These of the fruits of my own crafting over Half Term and I have a couple of girlies in mind for them so into some tissue paper and off they will go. Meanwhile, another project beckons.

Ooh and look what I won from Elsy's recent giveaway. It was waiting on the door mat when I came home at the weekend - isn't it lovely? Thank you Elsy, I wish I could crochet.

Wishing you all a happy day and if you're waiting for new school results, I really hope you get your first choice.