made in england

What a coup! A pair of tweed Austin Reed plus fours found in a vintage shop recently had my eyes practically on stalks, let me tell you. Such quality, as you would expect, and it must have taken me, ooh let me think, all of two whole minutes to snap them up.

You know how crazy I am about wool, Liberty and linens, right? Well, because I'm feeling the respect towards the memory of Mr Reed (who started his quintessentially English company back in 1900, boasting Winston Churchill as a client during the 1940s), I cut into one of my favourite prints of all, poppy and honesty, which I used for this top.

Now I'm not suggesting for one minute that the great Winston C once wore my star buy. More like a dashing huntin' shootin' fishin' chappie reminiscent of those gents over at Downton Abbey, I'm guessing. I wish! Actually I've just been reading about the Downton producers and their massive fashion faux pas for the Christmas episode. Set in 1919/20, they put Lord Grantham and his mates in leather gaiters, when plus fours would have been far more accurate for the time. Tut tut ..

I love these gentleman's breeches, not just for the beautiful fabric and lovely buttons, nor for the couple of exquisite darns that a wonderful housekeeper (or wife) blended in so well. But rather than forcing the main man into them, I made purses and then something a wee bit different. And despite it being impossible to choose a favourite child or preferred pet, I have to confess I am chuffed to bits with this couple of extra large pouches which have just been put into the shop.

Large enough to house a few supplies for a small sewing or knitting project, I incorporated one of the deep back pockets onto the outside of each one. These pockets are going to be perfect for keeping a few handy small tools, such as sewing needles, stitch markers, row counter and the like. The type of accessories that so easily get mislaid. And of course, I shouldn't assume that everyone sews or knits, so there is ample room for a slim journal or two with some pencils and the outer pocket could be used for coins, or an erasure and a sharpener, perhaps.

Finally, the pouches have been prettied up with vintage lace, a different piece for each one, and then lined with strong floral linen, which you may remember from this recent dress project. Waste not, want not!

Oh by the way, I think I should explain my sporadic blog hopping of late. My computer won't allow me to comment on blogs with the embedded comments format and I think there may be a bug somewhere in the system. When the main man is around I nick his iPad, which works fine (apart from the irritating predictive text which drives me crazy) but when he goes away, I'm stumped! Does anyone else have this problem? Mind you, I guess you won't be able to tell me, given I have the embedded format too!!

What are you up to this weekend? I've arranged a play date for the children, although my son snorts at the term and insists it's 'hanging out'! A spot of baking, some good warming food and a brisk walk or two should do it. Ah, and there's the biggest swear word of them all to contend with .. Homework!!

Happy weekend, everyone.


all the fun of the fair

There was the 1.45pm Ham National with the likes of Desert PorkidFrankie DeporkyRed Ham, Francis Bacon and le Jambon racing to save their bacon (metaphorically speaking). We Brits really are a crazy lot!

We were blown away by the falconry, particularly when two rows of us linked hands whilst the magnificent Harris Hawk flew down through the tunnel. Quite amazing.

Knights in armour on spritely steeds treated everyone to a fun Jousting display, with a backdrop of St Paul's Cathedral and the city beyond.

Of course there were the usual fairground attractions for the children; hamster balls, bungee jumping, candy floss, bouncy castles, balloons and more.

And then we feasted on Jamaican jerk chicken, BBQ sweet corn, and drank from fresh, young jelly coconuts to the sound of reggae music. All that, whilst the UK and Jamaican flags flew happily alongside one another.

You see, this wasn't any old English fair. It was a London-English fair!


mustard and lace

Hurrah, finally a pair of finished cushions and something to show for the last week since the children went back to their classrooms. They took me three days to complete, you know.  Clearly we're not talking literally but after such a long summer break it has been hard to settle in to my little sewing space and what with all the tea breaks and impromptu trips to the yarn shop in search of a quick fix. Well, you know what I mean!

Anyway, feeling a little bit autumnal (is that a word across the pond, given their third season is fall?) there can only really be one colour. I can see it already on the lawn, where Mother Nature has cast her bounty and it won't be long before we shall don wellies and set about kicking those crunchy piles as far and wide as we can. I still take great pleasure in that little ritual of ours.

The fabric is vintage, of course. 1960s decor weight cotton with a satisfyingly large blousy rose pattern. Down one side is a length of vintage crocheted lace, nice and wide but sadly fiddly as anything to reckon with and determined to give me a run for my money. The backing is made with panels from one of my old and unused French metis sheets, the outer piece retaining its drawn thread decoration. And that top panel has been treated to a little embellishment, too, in the form of a strip of the mustardy cotton along the width and yet more vintage lace atop. Incidentally, for those of you not in the know, Metis is a traditional French sheeting fabric, woven with a cotton warp and a linen weft

I have to admit, mustard had never really been my colour before, being a red and grey girl by choice, but you know, I may just have changed my mind. Although having said that, these have gone into the shop!

Happy Monday.


the subject of knitting

Thank you for coming over to my new Facebook page and 'liking' me. Sounds funny that, don't you think? However the reality of setting up a page is anything but funny, it is time consuming and frustrating. It has also been the root of many a late night disagreement over the summer, which is why it's taken so long to get up and running and even now could be considered a work in progress. Anyone who has done so will surely testify to this? I'm starting to realise why the main man travels so much!

Anyway, I'm leaving it all behind for a few days soon and have booked a little trip to see my folks by the sea. I so rarely get to see them on my own and am looking forward to it immensely. What I'm also excited about is the journey as I'm planning several hours of unadulterated, uninterrupted knitting on the train. In fact, so keyed up am I on the prospect of finishing kaari that I am also researching the next project just in case there's a chance I can get it started on the way back home again.

I've got a hunch the Model could be about ready to submit to the idea of a cardigan, having shunned one before on account of all her itch inducing theories. Time and again I look at the likes of this and this, weighing up difficulty versus yarn because if I get it wrong, I have an inkling my future small girl knitting projects are going to be toast!

This weekend I'm partying with friends. And getting my Model back from her school survival camping trip .. how I have missed her. Before they went, the children were told they would be catching their own fish for supper. Then there was the possibility of spit roast lamb for another meal. "Do we have to catch our own lamb?" she asked the teacher!

Happy weekend. What are you up to?


old habits

Oh dear, I'd rather got out of the habit of blogging, finding just about enough time to tinker with my new facebook page, posting a photo and a word or two. Please come and visit by the way, you'd be ever so welcome 'cos it's a bit of a lonely place over there at the moment!

We've had a cracking Summer, packed in loads of stuff .. bit of this, a bit of that. We visited Italy and Cornwall. Saw some of the Olympics. Stayed with friends. A spot of camping. Days out. The children did kayaking and cycling courses. We marvelled at the Paralymics. Those long weeks went by in a heartbeat really.

But now the children are back to school proper and I feel it's time to get back into the saddle, so to speak. My little sewing room is still there, albeit in urgent need of an occupying presence to breathe some life and vitality into it once more. I'm now replenishing the shop, refilling the virtual shelves where they've emptied during the summer months. I want to dream up some new vintage goodness, cut into more fabric and sift through the lace, I'm getting braver and less possessive of it now. I'm thinking of making a bit of jewellery, something I've not done in way too long, tut tut.. But I also need to run up a few dresses and a top or two for the Model because she and big bro have shot up during the school break. Shot up like glorious sunflowers .. and those wretched weeds in our garden that lapped up the never ending rain and then stuck out their tongues in defiance.

And I desperately want to finish the project I started up in the Italian hills all those weeks ago. Do you know my gauge tightened the moment I came back to London? I can see a line across the knitting where it happened. I can tell the precise row that the holiday ended and for that reason I decided not to unravel, take stock of it and start again. It'll be my little reminder of what a great vacation that was. Besides it's on the back of the jumper and I can't be bothered ;)

Hmm, that's quite a To Do list isn't it? So now you tell me, what are you planning to achieve this new season. Do you have any goals? I'd love to know if you do.