Tag Archives: charity

Vintage tartan for a steal

30 Nov

I do love a charity shop bargain, but this may just be my find of the year – a length of proper tartan which dates from about 1969 I think, found in pristine condition at St Peter’s Hospice (our local shop are celebrating their 30th anniversary today. Happy birthday lovelies!)


I’ve seen skirt lengths like this before, but this is the first one I felt compelled to buy, as it was a mere £1.25. Which is an absolute steal for about 1.4m of good quality wool cloth.


As stated on the nifty hanger label, it includes a leaflet about a making up service for ‘ladies who do not make their own skirts’ (shock horror). You can have a fully lined skirt tailored to your specific measurements, for £2.25. Something tells me that leaflet’s not going to work any more…


There is also a form to join a sewing club inside. These are making a resurgence these days, which is a marvellous thing.


I suspect this bit of Old Mcdonald tartan will become a cushion cover rather than a skirt, as it’s not quite enough to make a kilt (as I’d originally hoped) – I wouldn’t be able to get enough pleats out of it. But given that it’s immaculate after 40 years it should last a good while.


I’ve been a bit obsessed with tartan recently, and have been experimenting with weaving on a small loom – my scarf (below left) is the result, but I’m going to try for something a bit more authentic next time. Och aye, indeed.


While I was shooting this, Storm managed to crawl under the bed and get herself stuck, so I had to break off to extricate her…


Stand by tomorrow for the first of lots of lovely festive posts! Yes, it’s nearly time to say the C word!

A few of my favourite things… pt 2

3 Jul

I’m finding being a minimalist a bit challenging at the moment, thanks to being surrounded by oodles of lovely yarn all day long in my fantabulosa job at The Knitter.

It’s amazing how strong the urge to hoard is. It’s all just part of the human survival instinct, but it’s not very helpful when you already have plenty of what you need or want.

Still, despite my (mostly) minimalist outlook, there are a few things I’d find it hard to get rid of. Like…

(1) Rose hair comb. I wore this on my wedding day. I made it myself by sewing the flowers to ribbon and winding the ribbon around the teeth of a big hair comb. I’ll probably never wear it again, but it’s in a fairly prominent place, so I see it every day. I made a lot of our wedding stuff, but this was my favourite.



(2) Nursery pictures. My parents gave me the teddy bear’s picnic pic when I was a little girl. My mum’s parents gave her the donkey painting when she was about 3, and now it’s in Storm’s room. The little girl in the picture looks just like Storm. That rocks my world.


(3) Tiny picture of nana. This blog is dedicated to my nana. She taught me how to knit, and was still making charity blankets into her 80s. We’ve all got one relative who we have a special connection with. She was mine. She hated having her picture taken, but somehow, someone got a good one here. This was also the picture on the order of service at her funeral. She had a wicker coffin that was covered with flowers and we sang Jerusalem as loud as we could. I still miss her a lot.


(4) Storm’s first drawing. Storm and I paint a lot, but her first drawing was done sat on the lap of my mother-in-law, who was big-hearted enough to give it to me. Of course, I framed it. Every now and then someone asks me who it’s by, which always makes me smile.

I’ll have one more blog in this little series next week. But apart from this I’ve got photos, and, like most mums, a little collection of baby treasures. What are your favourite things?

Innocent Big Knit – tiny hat joy!

9 Jun

Worldwide Knit in Public Day, Sat 11th June, marks the official woolly launch of this year’s innocent Big Knit.


The company wants to raise £160k this year for Age UK by knitting 650,000 little hats which will go on their smoothie bottles and be sold in stores.

For every little hat knitted, innocent give 25p to Age UK to help them make winter a little warmer for older people across the UK.

innocent have got three different patterns to start you off with lots more going on their website very soon,

You can find the patterns by searching innocent’s Big Knit on Ravelry and the pdfs will also be going up on their website next week

Remember, every hat counts!

Charity shops, the smart way…

21 Apr

Sometimes people say nice things about my clothes. Often the item they’re admiring has been bought from a charity shop.
Charity shops offer sweatshop prices, without the actual sweatshops. Instead of your £3 for a t-shirt funding the continuing exploitation of some poor malnourished kid in the developing world, your £3 can fund any number of good causes, and even help lift that same kid out of poverty. Which is brilliant.

About half of the clothes in my wardrobe (including everything in the shot above) are from charity shops. In the last year I’ve bought two cashmere cardigans, a chocolate cord mini, a Zara flared black skirt, a lambswool handknit, a tailored dress, and some great stuff for my toddler, all from my favourite local charity shop.

But charity shop hunting without any clues can be like looking for a needle in a hay stack.

So how to strike gold? Here are my tips: Continue reading