wild roses

The tropical weather we've been having lately has meant I'm pretty much up straight with the mountains of washing accumulated during the 'rainy season'. I know it's doubtless a sign of getting older but it feels so good, do you know where I'm coming from?

Another thing about this summer temperature is the longing to be by the sea, to feel its cooling breeze and to get some ozone. Here in London there isn't a whole heap of that to take in so I've changed my banner as a reminder every time I tune in to this little space of mine. On the flip side, however, the heat has kept me inside much of the time which can only mean one thing ..

I haven't made a single purse in oh such a long time, tut tut, but I've been asked to take a stall at a street market next month and thought I'd give it a whirl. I've not done one before. I've thought about it though, been invited to do it .. but somehow never jumped in. I blame the Husband's travels, then there are child care issues or going away for the holidays but really and truly, I think it's a lack of self confidence that's kept me away. Any advice on holding craft stalls would be so much appreciated by the way, the more guidance the merrier please?

Nevertheless, purses need making and I have the fabrics and zips. My mum gave me some of her Liberty lawn a while back, she'd been holding onto it for years and then, it goes without saying, so did I and now it's vintage! I finally decided to cut into it once I'd realised there wasn't quite enough to make the top I had in mind. For the purses I chose a couple of gloriously old French cottons, one a barkcloth and both featuring wild roses. They are both so lovely in their own right but barkcloth will always hold a special place in my heart, I just love that texture.

Needless to say they have gone into the shop, which I have neglected for far too long now .. too much dressmaking I imagine. And now I must get back to my endeavours, the garage have just warned us of a hefty repair bill for the engine light that keeps coming on and I'm already thinking it's going to take more than a few purses to sort that one out!

 See you all soon.



I've worked out the reason for the sudden heatwave here in the UK and I'm telling you it's me you have to thank for it. Has it been worn? Nope and right now I'm thanking my lucky stars the thing turned out too big!

Of course the onset of Summer is as good a reason as any to make some new clothes and this week I set to work on a shift dress for my growing girl. She chose Liberty's Tatum from the cupboard, bought from the wonderful Fabrics Galore, and then she decided on a little adornment in the form of a black lace collar. The dress, which is as straightforward as they come, is from Girls' Everyday Dress and there are some very sweet ones in this book. I lined it with cotton voile because I thought the collar might weigh the fine tana lawn down otherwise.

We have a lot of fun together, eyeing up my fabric selection and I've got to hand it to her, she's far more decisive than I'll ever be. She manages to chose a pattern, the fabric, any embellishment, etc in the blink of an eye and what's more remains consistent. Letting her loose on the button tin is always a bit high risk though, like mother like daughter I suppose, but this time she settled on a plain 'mop' purple one.

Do you like my new chair? It's not really new, just new to me and in fact it's very old. It belonged to the Husband's paternal grandmother, who did all the tapestry herself and then had it upholstered. I have to confess I've had my beady eyes on this beauty for many years and then just the other day the Husband brought it back in the boot of the car after visiting his mother. A wonderful surprise as you can imagine and I love the idea that this heirloom chair will be passed down to one of our two in years to come .. hopefully the Model's feet will touch the floor by then!

Happy weekend, bloggy buddies. I'm off to buy coconuts for my boy's scout fete this weekend. We're in charge of the shy! What are you up to?


wiksten tank

Have you looked out of the window yet? I suddenly spied the sunshine we've been promised today and got the self timer going on my latest quick fix. Loving these quick sewing projects!

After the success of the Tova (which I have worn a lot), I bought the other Wiksten pattern available, the Tank. To be honest, I nearly didn't buy this one because it's such a simple piece. However, there are so many rave reviews out there, and I'm never one to miss out ...

It was a really lovely project to do. Truly simple, indeed, so I took time to get it perfectly perfect, even matching up the pocket to the rest of the fabric front. Can you see it? This top has French seams, which I'd never done before. They are wonderful to do and look so neat too, not to mention a brilliant solution if you don't own an overlocker/serger.

The fabric was one of two lots brought back from Maiwa in Vancouver last month. It has been naturally dyed and hand printed in India on organic cotton and I absolutely loved sewing with it. It's lovely and soft but because of the lack of chemicals in the dyeing process, apparently the colours won't be as durable as other 'normal' fabrics. We shall see.

It's all set to be 25 degrees in London this afternoon. Could it be Summer, perhaps? Fingers crossed it is!

Hoping you have a sunny view today too.



Noticing that the Model is outgrowing her clothing at speed (wrings hands in glee) and in need of another quick sewing fix myself, I gave her access to the fabric stash. Despite the fact I've been very restrained since buying an overload of Irish linens at the beginning of the year, there is much weeding out to be done in the fabric cupboard so she chose this sweet Tilda fabric with a mustard background and cartouches of pink roses. Unfortunately I only had a metre so I pushed any ideas of making a dress to one side and sewed up a simple elasticated skirt. A couple of rectangles sewn together with a turned down waistband and a turned up hem, it was a nice, super quick project. And, with a fine cotton lawn lining, it's amazing how it can be so easily suped up.

You see that cute black and white beast in the photos? She's peskier than she looks, you know, because since coming back from our holiday she has developed some really bad habits. Jumping up onto the top of the wall cupboards in our kitchen springs to mind, and she has that look about her that says she's choosing her moment before leaping on to the top of the oven extractor hood. I have visions of the whole thing crashing down onto the floor and am thinking, groan, is it time for the water pistol again?

See you soon, everyone.



Thank you all so much for the comments on my Luka. The Boy was delighted to be told he is 'cool' with 'great taste', not to mention he has a fab jumper! The onset of puberty is making its mark so thank you so much for the self esteem boost! I bought a couple of pattern books at the weekend and hope to get stuck into the next project as soon as I can choose some yarn (and thank you for your advice there, too). I know if I don't get going straight away it'll be a long time before anything happens.

I'm having a house blitz at the moment, one that's been long overdue but now I've got stuck in, it's beginning to feel rather cathartic. I can see floor space, areas where the light hasn't got to in a very long time, even. And there is so much 'stuff' to be gone that I've talked the kiddos into staging a car boot. Admittedly not so keen on the outset, fair enough given it's mostly their stuff (oops!), the promise of splitting the booty 25% each way soon brought them round and all we await now is a warm, fine day!

Which brings me to the weather I suppose and I wouldn't be British if I didn't mention it at least once in a while. The last few weeks have been a concoction of torrential downpours that the chimney stack has reacted allergically too and found us flicking the boiler switch once again. Bright and beautiful sunshine with 20 degrees C one moment, then gales that perhaps forced the practically featherless robin out of his nest too early. The poor thing was doomed anyway but was sadly snatched up by our black and white feline before we knew what was happening. And suddenly, from nowhere, there was this urge to make myself a new dress.

Despite the commitment to doing other domesticated things, the feeling wasn't going anywhere in a hurry so I sewed up another Merchant and Mills dress shirt. This is number three (see one and two), which I think pretty much justifies the price I shelled out for this wonderful pattern last year. I know it pretty well now so it was a quick and easy fix, truth be told. The body of the dress shirt is taken straight from the pattern but I shortened the sleeves and rounded the hemline so it is now less shirt and more dress. A summer dress version, made with navy Irish linen and my new Saltwaters in mind. Actually, now that's it done I wish I'd shortened those sleeves a fair bit more but rather than changing things, I'm going to start wearing it straight away with a cardi over the top and thick tights (they won't come off for months yet!) and come the summer I'll be on that sandy beach, testing out those sandals in and out of the water. Do you remember when James Bond drove his Lotus out of the sea onto a crowded beach in The Spy Who Loved Me? Clearly there is no real comparison but all the same, I'm mindful of the fact that these leather babies are so very, very cool, don't you think?!

I took these photos using the self timer. No mean feat, deep blue not being the kindest of colours to snap, and focusing ain't the simplest of things when you're the wrong side of the lens as I've said before. But I'm guessing you'll be getting the general idea. Before I go there are a couple of ladies I really must mention here. Firstly, lovely Maider of Masustak Eguzkitan kindly awarded me a Versatile Blogger award a couple of weeks ago. I thank you Maider, for being so kind and thinking me worthy, but I hope you will forgive me for not playing the game properly. I'm so sorry but I'm just too busy at the moment to do it justice, I hope you understand.

Then there's Vanessa from do you mind if I knit. Vanessa kindly commissioned me to make an Iona dress not so long ago. I made it with some marled greeny/turquoise Irish linen, very similar to the blue fabric used in the Clare top, although obviously a different colour! You can see her blog post here, where she models the dress so well and says some absolutely lovely words. Thank you for such a fantastic PR job, Vanessa! x

And finally, the giveaway. Thank you to those who took part, it's been fun to meet some new bloggers and now I've got a lot of visiting to do. But as we all know, there can only be one winner so congrats go to you, Maider (again!), because your name was picked out of the hat by the Boy this morning! If you could let me know your address, a nice little package will be on it's way to you shortly. Enjoy, I hope you have a lot of fun with it!

I think that's about it for today! Have a great week, everybody.



Although I am beyond excited about my latest knit, there is also much shame and embarrassment that goes with. You see, the conception of my Rowan's Luka actually began back in April 2011. A lengthy project by any standards but one that has finally, and at times against the odds, been completed. And hallelujah, it fits.

Various excuses are attached to the resumé -

* Those bloomin' cats being the main one. Not fully trained in leaving mama alone when she has knitting on the go, they still delight in pouncing, clawing, dragging a 'wip' across floors, even. This makes me stand up in panic mode, hurrying to finish the row, tension growing tighter and tighter with every stitch. It has been an exercise of the start/stop variety and lately, in a final and desperate bid to get the thing finished, the only option was to lock the kitties in their bedroom (yes, they do have one!) extra early so knitting could recommence. I was also mindful of the fact that the boy was growing, you must understand, making time of the essence.

* The weather. Last April, you will remember, suddenly became incredibly hot. Days after I started the jumper as luck would have it, and so the needles were put down due to sweaty fingers and better things to do in the sunshine quite frankly. Point 1 then came into play and the rest is history.

* Forgetfulness and laziness. Say no more.

It has been lovely to make something for my boy. I'm glad he was first off the grid when I announced I was going to knit something and asked who fancied being the recipient. After all, the Model has had her fair share of makes but all the same, it was a happy occasion to think he wanted his ol' mum to knit for him. He keenly chose his colour combi and the style he wanted from the two or three options I gave him out of this book, unfortunately discontinued now but available still on the internet.

Well, I needn't have worried about it being too small, in fact it is generous to say the least. The body of the garment fits beautifully with bags of room for growth, however the arms would be more fitting for a child of the simian variety. I suppose the right thing would be to take a couple of inches out of the sleeves but to be honest I'm not sure I'm up to the job, emotionally anyway. Given he's just as happy to turn up the cuffs I shall put it down to experience. I seem to remember adding length way back in the day to both the front and back but I don't think I did the same for the sleeves, perhaps my gauge was a bit off. My test swatch revealed tension was too tight so I knitted the jumper with needles one size up and now I'm thinking my tension reverted. Oh well, at least it has been consistent and that's got to be what counts.

Despite the turned up sleeves, the boy is over the moon and that makes it all worthwhile. So now that I've finished, I am keen to get stuck in to the next project .. one for the Model I feel this time. In fact I've had this and also this one in my Ravelry favourites for some time. Any thoughts from you knitters on which would be the easier to do? Whether I'd be able to achieve it, even? One small problem though. She says knitted cardis are itchy so can anyone recommend any non-itchy yarns? Or perhaps I should put my efforts into making something for myself, this one for example. Or maybe this. At least that way, if it isn't finished for a year or two, there won't be a sizing issue to deal with. Fingers crossed anyway!

By the way, there's still enough time to enter my souvenir giveaway which closes tomorrow night.

Have a wonderful weekend.