Monday 30 June 2014

Where has all the crochet gone?

I have been a little bit in love with the speediness of sewing recently and with our allotment and evening commitments I can't always get so much crochet done as I would like. I feel a bit guilty crocheting when it is so nice outside. Anyway...

My third Elise shawl is finished. I have really enjoyed the pace of this shawl this time round as it has been my portable project. My dressmakers form, Clara, is on loan at RAF Cosford this week wearing a first world war nurse outfit so you will have to do with me this time.

I have been taking it to ballet on Saturday mornings, to hospital while I wait for my dad to have his treatment, lounging at the cabin, with my friends at knit and natter in the pub, on the train to Minerva and in car parks to relax me when I get to job interviews and I get there 10 minutes too soon. I have been doing it in the evening when I sit in the bedroom chair watching the girls drift off to sleep - you name the place; it has been scrunched up in my handbag.

The yarn? It is really weird isn't it? I've no idea what it is. It is pretty old I would say, no smell but gifted to me in an odds and ends bag. It is actually rolled onto toilet rolls. The yarn is at least lace weight but between every slub it goes to nearly the thickness of sewing thread.

If you have never come across a beading needle: get some. I used to use all sorts of swear words trying to get beads onto my crochet thread but these flexible eye needles are the best.

Other crochet news. My beginner group made these fingerless gloves last week. They managed one in the lesson so the challenge was to make another one, the same, at home! This week we are going to embellish them. I have added a double crochet finger edge and a wrist ruffle. (I did make two obviously but it is hard to photograph your own hands!)

My summer throw over is moving along but could turn into an Autumn cover up. I have ran out of yarn...again. The yardage on the balls is pretty scant. The photograph shows it all snuggled up in my basket with my long awaited purchase, a 'bex' knitting needle box which I have been after for so long. What a treat!

So happy crochet is what I say, whatever the weather. 
Jo xxxxxxx

Thursday 26 June 2014

Crafting together

Finally after a crazy few weeks, here is a roundup of what we got up to on The Minerva meet up on 14th June.

Elise shawl hooky on the train with my suitcase.

Browsing this enormous craft warehouse. One wall had yarn in pigeon holes for about 50ft and the opposite wall had fabric sorted by colour. Mind blowing! People could wear a garment they had made and play 'vote' me'. On entry to the shop you received two stickers to stick onto the garments you admired. By the end of the day I ended up with about six all over me. I chose to vote for a brilliant crocheted long coat/cardigan and a vintage dress on another shopper. Such a great way to interact with people.

I took part in a button necklace workshop...

and a felt bauble workshop. All good fun.

Then it was time for some light shopping.

I spotted this amazing fabric with the rose border.(comes in two colour ways) Luckily I had the foresight to take along a few patterns so that I could buy for a particular purpose and not just add to a useless stash pile. Clever, I know!

I am getting to grips now with vintage patterns and all of their foibles. I am going to have a go at the short sleeved dress with a zip down the front. Shall I make a muslin? nah... probably not.

Finally, after watching some demonstrations from Simple Sew I purchased this pattern. Who hasn't got enough fabric at home already for a peter pan collar sleeveless blouse?

Happy Making. Thanks for stopping by. Jo x

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Round the world blog hop.

I have been invited to join in with The Round the World Blog Hop by Gilly from Gilly Makes. Go and look at the stunning array of WIP's she has on the go at the moment, amazing. I have a few questions to answer and then I will pass the baton on to three more inspirational blogs from around the world whilst simultanelously showing you what we got up to on Tuesday...

What am I working on?

I have been trying to really hone my dressmaking skills this year so I have churned out quite a few clothes for all of the family just lately. I have really got to grips with vintage patterns and quite a few key techniques. Collars, zips, facings, plackets and generally doing things properly because I am a bit of a bodger!

I always have a knit and crochet project on the go so my needles and hook are never empty - if they were I would do a WOW blog post about it because it would be very unusual. Currently I have an Elise Shawl and summer throw over top for crochet and the Miette cardigan for knitting but that is hibernating at the moment.

How does my work differ from others in this genre?

My work differs in that it is always a complete surprise what I make, sometimes even to myself. So when you come here, you have no idea what you might see. I don't have a style or colour range - I simply love to make things. A large strand of what I do that I think is different to many other bloggers is that I tend to make things out of given, donated, thrifted, deconstructed materials. I rarely buy or choose materials, which is why I don't have a style. I don't like to lead a consumer lifestyle so I really enjoy making things we need from things others don't.

Why do I create what I do?

If we need something, I ask myself Can I make it? and What materials have I already got? If I can't then we have to succumb to buying things but sometimes that means buying the materials to still make it. I was so excited to be asked to blog for Minerva because it channels a whole new side of my crafting when I can choose new materials.

How does my creating process work?

I used to think everyone had a pile of old wool under the sofa and fabric in a drawer under the bed, then I realised that only some people do and that is when I started blogging so that I could get ideas from like minded people and share mine with others. I really do just love to make something, it makes me feel alive. It also satisfies my craving for learning something new, I love learning new things. (That's teachers for you!)

So there we are I really do make something everyday - it might be three rows of knitting, a granny square towards a blanket, jam, an elasticated skirt for my girls, a cake, a birthday card, scrapbook page, veg gardening work but it is a wasted day for me when I can't point to what I have made!

Point everyone!!!

Why not Blog Hop now?

Please pop over to the southern Hemisphere to see one of my favourite blogs Handmade by Carolyn from Perth Australia. She has been the inspiration to my increased interest in making my own clothes. Such wisdom and style. A real 'maker' using bought, thrifted and sometimes hand printed fabric.

Now back across the other side of the world to the US for my favourite blog read - Cozy Things I enjoy every word of Kristen's blog, laughing at the stories, the writing style, the thrifted makes, the failures and the triumphs in her crafting. I love it.

Back to the UK now, do stop by at Lazy Daisy Jones I like this blog because a bit like mine, I never know what is going to be posted so it always feels like a surprise - could be recycling, sewing, crochet or collectable finds. 

Bon Voyage. Jo xxxxxx

Monday 23 June 2014

All Done #4 June

I had some fabric given to me in a craft clear out here. I think it was a past duvet cover and some other poly cotton but I am happy to say I am 'all done' (number 4 I think) here with this versatile fabric.


Two amounts of quilt squares and one full backing, three seat covers: that's patches and backing, PE bag, Oven gloves, two Spagetti bolognese bibs for my girls and two pillow cases. 

I'm ALL DONE #4 with this cotton heart and spot fabric, 
the girls have loved it. 
Jo xxxx

PS: don't get a panic attack, I didn't make these this week, it is a mosaic of completed items! I did the pillows and bibs over the weekend.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Of course I can...

"Mum can you make me a nightie,?" she asked breezily. "Of course I can," I said confidently. I bought some jersey when I was at Minerva last week after she had asked me, I was looking out for a child-friendly fabric pattern and this seemed to fit the summer nightie bill.

I used the peasant dress/top pattern I used here and made it longer. It was a really quick make because I made the whole thing on my overlocker. Then turned over the casing and hems using a stretch stitch on my Toyota.

Can you see it? I even popped a little lingerie bow on the front. It is light, comfy and nice and long...dare I say it... perfect?

Will making things to order create more demand do you think?

Jo xxxxxx

Three word Thursday

Grown by us!


Monday 16 June 2014

Ta dah!

Here is a photo of my dress from Saturday night. I met lots of inspiring bloggers so do pop over and check out the blogger network at Minerva.

This is Maria from How good is that? she was in the UK from Australia, that is a long way to meet up with blog friends!

More vintage inspired dresses as well as that beautiful chinoise shift dress from Winnie at Scruffy Badger.

There was food and chat and dancing....

Happy Times. Jo xxxx

Friday 13 June 2014

The diary of Butterick Retro1956

This is my Minerva Kit for June. All of the blogger network were challenged to pick a pattern and fabric to wear to the Minerva meet up on the 14th June, post a little preview but keep the finale a secret...I think I am the last of the bunch to blog but I have loved looking at the other dresses, so many vintage choices take a look here.

28th April
HELP! I am cutting out this dress and it is going to be hard to construct if the cutting out is anything to go by. Honestly, this is the centre back piece!

I have been very good and cut out all the notches, marked all the dots with tailor tacks and pressed each piece - Like my mum showed me years ago.

There has been one alteration, the fabric was 58" wide and the pattern called for 60" wide and because the skirt is full it would not fit the width so I had to take a bit of fullness out of the skirt.

2nd May 
Mum came round to help me with a fitting today. I tacked the bodice outer together. Slightly unfortunate nipple placements but I shall just keep moving and chatting!!

9th May
Today I prepared the skirt pieces. I added the pockets and back box pleats to the skirt. The pockets are huge, you could smuggle a whole buffet in them.

10th May
Today I tacked and sewed up the lining, it took a long time because there is a crucial feature on the back that means both outer and inner have to be exactly the same size. I joined the front to the back (accurately, phew!) and have given it a press. It is really substantial because the lining is the rose fabric too.

12th May
Time to join the top to the bottom and have a long hard think about the zip.

19th May
Louise from There she sews calls round to discuss armpits! I can't work out how to sew the inner lining and the outer fabric together and still turn it the right way. Yep...I have read it properly now, got it, thanks Louise. I put in the zip today but the top is too big so it falls away from my back...Grrr!

31st May
A week off to clear my head and back to it. Mum came round for a post holiday catch up and a dress fitting. Put in zip, again. Hand sewed lining to dress. Nearly there...

1st June 
Today I cut the hem to match the length of my 1950's petticoat and finally I finished all the hand hemming. 

All Done! I am wearing it tomorrow at the Minerva Meet up so I will get a photo of me in it then. I will also post details of the pattern and fabric if you want to have a go at making one yourself. My bag is packed, I have a train ticket, hotel room booked and some craft action to do on the train all on 'Knit in public day' on Saturday 14th June. 

Thanks for stopping by. Jo xx

Wednesday 11 June 2014

mid week stuff

Who would have thought that so many of you would love a bit of oven glove action! That was a really popular make, thanks for all of your comments. Other makes on the go this week include:

A small collection of homegrown Strawberries and the promise of lots more(I put down organic slug pellets today)

Few fiddly bits of fun crochet to use up left overs. I have a craft stall coming up so it is good to use up stash and not spend money on materials.

Making cards for the craft fair too.

Enjoying the monotony of this throw over top. Easy to relax with.

Messing about crocheting with embroidery threads and a 2.5 hook.

Got another Elise shawl started. I take it to the girls ballet lessons on Saturdays, it is my current portable project. 

What are you 'messing' about doing today?

Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx