Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Where I join the in-crowd

Debbie Bliss matinee coat, size 9-12 months, from Baby Cashmerino 2. Grey grosgrain ribbon.

A mere inch or so of yarn left at the end. Started months and months ago, but still big enough to fit a titchy 20-month-old - so she does design for giant babies - except said 20-month-old refuses wear it. Also, it's quite wide in the back, and/or Moot is quite narrow, so the neck opening is a bit floppy, so I might seam it shut by a few centimetres on each side.

I had a long-overdue haircut over the weekend. I thought I would bite the bullet and get a fringe/bangs. As I sat in the chair at the hairdressers, I remembered quite suddenly why I had avoided fringes for close to two decades - I had a fringe for most of my childhood, and it was too short and I looked terrible and I had glasses and I was a geek and none of the boys liked me.

Oh well. I really like it now. Except on leaving the salon, I seem to have walked into a parallel world where almost everyone has a fringe. The teenage girls on the street, half-a-dozen other mothers at playgroup today, the woman who shares my childminder. It's the other side of the haircut looking glass.

The poster on the wall in the background is a composite of drawings from Penguin Dreams, a book illustrated by J Otto Walsh. He's pretty unheard of in the UK, I think, but when we first looked at our house when it came up for sale, the then-owners had the same poster in that spot. So when we moved in, the first thing we did was hang our copy there.

Finally, I leave you with a nice window in a house a couple of streets over. I know lace curtains have had their day in the trend sun, but I like the idea of using a whole tablecloth.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fever pitch

Fever pitch of excitement that is, over the Clothkits revival. Pathetic, but true.

A few pictures are on the website. They also say they are using old designs, and even asking for people to submit pictures of any old designs they might have.

And not only that, but they've got Mister Rob aka Rob Ryan doing designs for the adult clothing.

I can't wait. It's gonna be a Clothkits summer.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fabric hunt

For the past few months, I've been searching for a nice upholstery fabric with which to recover a small armchair for Moot. I was given this task by my mother-in-law, who plans on doing the recovering in her upholstery class.

My main problem has been not wanting to travel into central London to look at fabric samples - I'm usually too tired after work, and I don't feel the need to attempt an hour's browsing with Moot in tow and that after an hour on public transport.

At first, I had in my mind a deep raspberry red linen, then I decided that it was too girly, and bid on some short lengths on ebay, but got outbid every time.

Then I remembered a nice fabric company I'd seen, Elanbach, based in Wales. Some of the prints are drab, some are lovely. I was particularly keen on this one.

But after paying for a fist-full of samples, I found out that it wasn't heavy enough.

Then I decided to try finding some funky fabric from GP & J Baker. I had a chair an old chair of my mother's covered in some of their fabric, bought on eBay.

Bid on some, lost.

Then I thought, why not try Marimekko? They have nice, modern prints that will contrast nicely with the dark wood and classic shape of the chair. My heart skipped a beat when I saw this fabric on their website, sold online here.

It's fresh and graphic, with a hand-drawn quality that I love. But not upholstery weight.

Then I read an article about Celia Birtwell in a paper, and remembered that I'd looked up her fabrics when hunting for fabric for the armchair. There are some lovely fabrics on her website, but the only ones that are suitable are from her Jacobean collection, and even they are not particularly hard-wearing, according to the woman who answered the phone in the shop. And they are not my favourites.

Last time I was in Liberty, oh, about a year ago it feels, they were still stocking some fantastic and fantastically expensive Svenskt Tenn fabric - about 70 quid a metre and up, and we need two metres. And the scale is wrong on some of them, the designs are too big.

These are great, among many others.

And do you recognise this? I bought some Japanese fabric just like it from kitty craft last year.

I think this is my favourite. A steal at about 55 quid a metre. Ha.

So, besides sharing my so-called fabric woes, the point of this is to ask if any of you have some top upholstery fabric ideas up your sleeves!

Monday, February 04, 2008


Some crafted items made a couple of months ago finally got to meet their new owner. Much wanted, and much admired for her cuteness, baby Dora was born last week, and has a nifty baby hat, a booties and mittens set, and a nappy changing mat which will eventually replace the travel nappy changing mat her parents have which will, eventually, inevitably, crack and tear.

Here I have to say that her parents thought the mittens were booties (if you are confused, too, the mittens are on the left in the picture). Once, I knit my sister some fingerless mittens/cuffs and she thought they were legwarmers but was too polite to say that she couldn't get them over her feet.

The change mat pattern is this one from Amy Butler. I've made the change bag, but there's nothing that will ever, ever convince me to make a separate drawstring bag for a changing mat.

The mits and booties are from Claire Montgomery's Easy Baby Knits. I like how the booties have tight ribbing. They don't look as dainty as booties with straps, but at least they will stay on baby feet. There's a pattern for a knitted mobile in that book, how cool is that?

Also knitted a few months ago, a chic beret for Moot.

It's the pompom beret from Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby. I've read people complaining about Debbie Bliss's "giant baby sizing", but I found this hat came out rather small. Or Moot has a giant head. Possible, considering what a genius she is. (That's a joke.) Maybe I should consider swatching.

With my knitting spark firmly relighted, thanks to Ravelry, I'm making good progress towards finishing a sweater for Moot which has been on the needles for months and months. Can I say again how much I love Ravelry? I love seeing what other people have knitted from pattern books I have. And I'm thinking about thinking about knitting socks.

I have have two more projects waiting to cast on. The first will be a wedding present for my cousin's wife-to-be, Rowan's Birch, from fall/winter 2003, using some Blue Sky alpaca. I tried knitting it a few years ago, but didn't get on with the prescribed Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

The second project is another Debbie Bliss cardigan for Moot. I'll spare you which one for now, I think you should be Debbie Bliss-ed out by now.

Finally, a thank-you to Fanja from Le Train Fantome for making my week the other day, by mentioning that Clothkits is relaunching this month.

I've blogged about some Clothkit overalls my mother-in-law passed down to us. She's got a girl's hat and a dress, too, from the 1970s, but she's holding onto those for her daughter. It spurred me on to eBay, where the Clothkit pickings are slim, but a few months ago I won this, a fantastic changing bag.

I particularly like the missed register. Moot likes the cat.

I used it as a change bag for about, oh, an hour before deciding it was too precious, and it's now waiting for me to get my act together to hang on the wall in Moot's room (away from direct light, away from direct light!).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Well, maybe not quite catharsis, but I have finished off a couple of long-term WIPs.

First off was a baby hat I started for one of twins who are now three. Ahem. It will now go to a baby due in a couple of weeks. It looks complicated, but it's very easy to knit and the pattern is free. I've uploaded the photo to my Ravelry account - yes, Raverly... it's bliss... and has been a huge knitting inspiration for me recently.

And if you are hesistating about putting your name on the list for an invitation, you should know that mine came in just a couple of weeks.

The other project was one of Moot's Christmas present, a doll adapted from a Ragedy Ann pattern.

I tried to make the apron and dress less fussy, but I need to try again. I would like to make something like this outfit of Lyra's from the film of The Golden Compass. Loved the book, loathed the film, by the way, except for the knitwear and costumes. I have not wanted to walk out of a film before the end so badly since... Con Air? Yeah, it was bad.

It's the first doll I've ever made, and I made up the hair as I went along, with some old Rowan Magpie.

She's called Nancy, apparently, or so my mother-in-law says.

Why not.

Please excuse me, I have to make join Moot's dad and mock a Steven Segal movie on TV.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

From my family to yours

Friday, November 30, 2007

Reluctantly acknowledging Christmas

I was looking for some easy crafting satisfaction a couple of nights ago, at which point I remembered something I had told myself I would definitely, absolutely do this year.

A giant hankie for everyone in my family! Ha! No, not really.

It's a furoshiki. I don't want to sound Japan-obsessed, but it's a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. I first read about them on a blog a couple of years ago, so apologies if you've seen them before.

I think they're a lovely way of avoiding using wrapping paper while simultaneously ridding yourself of quantities of fabric you don't know what to do with and don't like so much anymore. That said, I do like the fabric I used for this one, from Rowan, bought at a Liberty sale.

I made it 27"x27", sort of. It's a bit wonky because I wasn't too precise in my measuring or sewing, but that doesn't make much difference to the wrapping. They traditionally come in two sizes, but I think you could make them any size you wanted.

You can see some of the different ways of folding them here, which would also make a lovely poster, I think.