Tag Archives: sewing

Happy New Year!

1 Jan

Well, goodbye 2012. It was nice knowing you!
It’s been an exciting year for me. In the spring I set myself a goal of having 20 patterns available on Ravelry, which I achieved as the year drew to a close. I’ll have 10 more coming out in February, which were finished some months ago – more on that soon.
Over the summer we published issue 50 of The Knitter, with a frankly bonkers 50 patterns, and redesigned the magazine.
My only regret was all that work meant I could only take a one week holiday while
Storm had 7 weeks at home before starting school.
I made some new friends, and got to know some others better.
My journey as a minimalist is now in its third year. At Christmas this meant having an emptied car driving home after the festivities, and actually being able to see out of the back window for a change! Being a minimalist doesn’t mean all white interiors and a penchant for Philippe Starck (at least, not to me). It means fewer possessions, and more real life. Zen Habits and Becoming Minimalist are both great places to start if you’re curious.

While letting go of possessions has felt relatively easy, one of my biggest challenges as a minimalist is reducing my commitments. For about four months over the summer my workload meant I barely had a moment to just ‘be’, and also resulted in much reduced blogging here.

So my goal for 2013 is to look at balance, say no a little, and have some more fun and get some more adventure in my life!
I’ll have 2 pattern collections coming out this year, but first up is a very exciting trip to New York for Vogue Knitting Live.
In the meantime, here are my key moments of 2012. I hope you had a good one, and wish you all the best for 2013,

Rosee
Xxxxx

1) Storm starting school. And starting to read and write. Just wow.
First school packed lunch. Awww.
2) Making new friends and renewing old bonds
image

3) The death of one of my oldest friends – in itself a terrible loss, but with some surprising silver linings.

4) Starting and finishing (!) quilts for my dad and Storm

5) Being able to call myself a designer – after 20 plus years of dreaming about it

IMG_0321
TKN50.pansy.1858
SKM97.proj_cover.cardi_back
SKM97.proj_child.main

6) Watching my husband launch his fledgling breadmaking business
image

7) Helping Storm learn to swim and being able to share my passion for swimming with her

8) Handmade birthdays and a minimalist Christmas
Christmas chutney!
TKN50.xmas.tree

9) Being constantly reminded that happiness in work, family and friends is more important than anything money can buy
IMG_7694
IMG_7880
1310671557788
p20120528-105735
10) And this picture… (thanks Steven)
bristol_weekend_03

Tallulah Pattern Review – the Jubilee Dress

24 May

When I was a stroppy teenager the thought of the Royal Family made me MAD. It’s wonderful to be a lot older and able to embrace my inner hypocrite!

While most of the time I’m still not that keen on our rather odd ‘rulers’ I am enjoying the national spirit that seems to have taken over this summer.

This week I saw the Olympic torch and finished Storm’s Jubilee dress. How terribly patriotic!

IMG_7588

This sweet halterneck was meant to be one of two dresses for her birthday, but it is sweltering at the moment so I just had to give it to her straight away.

Tallulah is dress number 2 in Jenifer Paganelli’s lovely Girls World pattern book  and is a simple breezy sundress. Perfect for a hot summer’s day (although you could always put a little shirt underneath it.

IMG_7586

The fabric is Sweetwater for Moda – Reunion Vanilla Baby’s Bunting and had sold out at Country Threads, when I went back to buy more for the lining.

It’s an American design, but it really is like it was made for this super-British summer – shame they didn’t do a red colourway too.

Anyway, of course, I didn’t need the extra bit after all. What IS it with pattern allowances? The pattern said 1.1m of fabric and 35cm of lining. I had just 1m of fabric total and was left with plenty over. Eyeroll.

This is a very simple dress, and I really like the shape of it. Like the Mary’s Sash Dress from the same book, the pieces all seemed to fit well, although the front piece was longer than the back so I had to trim that at the end. My only mod was a double seam around the bottom hem and side vents to make it super neat.

After taking her lunch in her paddling pool, Storm retired upstairs to get out of the sun for a little jam session and some pictures.

She recently broke one of my guitar strings from playing too hard. She really gets into it…

THWANG!

IMG_7605

Is it just me, or is this pure Elvis?!

IMG_7594

OK, self indulgence over.

Oh yeah, while I’m here, remember the Ma’am Mat?

IMG_7627

I couldn’t resist. I swear it tastes better. Happy almost Jubilee!

Quilting the easy way, part 3: Super neat quilt binding

16 May

I’m not going to talk about mitred corners. Partly because I can’t get the hang of them, but also because there are heaps of posts out there already about that.

But! It is a bit frustrating to machine piece and bind a quilt only to have to hand stitch the ‘wrong’ side of the binding. I just couldn’t get it to look neat on the first quilt I made.

Then I stumbled across a great YouTube vid, which of course I now can’t find, which showed me Another Way. This is what you get at the end of it…

IMG_7490

All you do is make sure that when you sew on the binding to the top of the quilt you leave a raw inner edge which you can fold the binding over and meet the stitching on the other side – so make your seam just under half as wide as the binding.

Like this…
IMG_7475

Once you’ve machined on your binding (and done your fancy mitred corners, natch) fold over the binding to the underneath of the quilt and then simply lace the the edge of the binding through the seam. Like this…

IMG_7495
IMG_7504

Clever huh!?

Back to school sampler

14 May

IMG_7534

I can’t believe Storm will be starting school in September. It wasn’t so long ago she looked like this…

CIMG4391

Storm was a pretty teeny baby, born 10 days early and weighing 6lbs 7oz. Al had to go out to buy premie clothes for her as everything was just too big.

Unknown to us until a few days before she was born, Storm had been breach, sitting cross legged like a little Buddha for probably 2 months. It was a long time before she ‘unfolded’. Her legs would always ping up inside her sleep suits so we took to tying the legs (the romper’s  not hers, haha) out of the way.

But she grew mighty fast and now everyone thinks she’s older than she really is.

It’s her 4th birthday over Jubilee weekend, so, as she’ll be one of the young ones in her school year, I thought I’d give her a helping hand.

I’ve already started one alphabet sampler, but I’m also making her a cross stitch one, which I’m enjoying more, basically because it’s easier!

It’s Alicia Paulson’s Winterwoods design and I am a little in love with it.

My favourite bits are the teapot…

IMG_7525

and the wellies…

IMG_7526

and the deer…

IMG_7527

but it really is all lovely…

IMG_7530

I slightly worry the letters might be too stylised and therefore not as helpful to Storm as they could be, but I hope she likes it anyway.

Man they grow up fast, don’t they?!

TKN45.lb_120412_ng.storm18

The eye burn half log cabin quilt

9 May

Oh hai.

IMG_7509

Yeah, I know. The last month was my first long absence since starting this blog. It all started when I trod on my camera card reader. Whoops…

IMG_7524

But then a bunch of stuff happened and I lost my mojo to be honest. Work was crazy, I got ill, Storm kept getting ill, a relative turned out to have cancer, and then an old friend died. I haven’t smiled quite as much as normal lately.

But! No more! Time to get the mojo back. Today is my friend’s wake, and I’ve been feeling, well, sad and weird, as you would.

So I decided today was also time for a new quilt.

IMG_7514

You know how there are things you want to do, but are scared to do them? This quilt was one of them. It’s BRIGHT. But, my now departed friend taught me some good lessons in the 13 years I knew her, and one of them was to go for what you want in life and not be afraid. She was pretty amazing that way.

A quilt might not seem like something you should be afraid of, but I’ve not done much more than sew squares together so far, so tackling a more complex method, with a heritage going back probably centuries, feels like a big step.

IMG_7519

And then there are those colours. I’ve been stockpiling fabrics and scraps for ages, to make a bright quilt, but didn’t have enough until someone very generously gave me a jelly roll a couple of weeks ago (and that’s on top of the one the girls at work gave me for my birthday – I mean, are they like buses or something?).

IMG_7517

It’s made up of fabric from Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms range, which I was a bit over, to be honest, but cut into two and a half inch strips I like it much better, as it’s all about the impact of the colours and less about those very iconic patterns.

IMG_7516

This morning was also the first I had any time to myself in weeks so I just went for it, and got three and a bit blocks done. I am so excited about how they look.

IMG_7515

As I type, Storm is leaning on my right hand side, warming me to through to my very heart and I’ve just dashed out to grab some chocolate cakes out of the oven I’ve made for her to decorate later.

Slowly, the mojo is returning. I can tell life is going to feel strange and sad for a while yet. But that’s OK.

I may be gone sometime…

11 Apr

IMG_7461

Now I’ve written this title, I’m wondering whether alluding to the last known words of a fearless explorer facing certain death is entirely in good taste. Ah well.

Anyway, I have taken possession of The Sewing Machine (hurrah!) so forgive me if I hibernate a little.

I combined the trip with a 2 hour visit to Bath’s amazing Victoria Park playground to keep the wee girl happy, so I didn’t feel too guilty when I then carted her along to Husqvarna Studio to pick up my Janome XL601, complete with add-on quilting package (swoon).

The first thing I did (OK, the first thing, after wrestling with the bobbin winder and wrangling with the automatic needle threader), was to sew some ‘proper’ one-step buttonholes onto Storm’s Puppet Show dress.

I practised a lot first, which was just as well. Ahem. The best bit was when I tried to start a buttonhole with the feeddogs down, thus zig-zagging on the spot for several seconds before realisation hit, which led to me having to practically cut out the bobbin. Duh.

IMG_7462

I got the hang of it in the end. They aren’t perfect, but a damn sight quicker, and neater than any I’ve sewn by hand.

IMG_7467

The Machine is not top of the range by any stretch, but it has a few cute embroidery stitches, and I particularly like the one you can use to create a scalloped hem. Sweet!

IMG_7458

I feel nervous about getting rid of my old heavy-duty machine, which mum taught me to sew on, and I’ve had about 20 years. But I suspect a minimalist is not allowed two sewing machines by any stretch. Uh oh.

Lovely Easter things

8 Apr

Ooooo, it’s my birthday today. Hurrah! I must confess though, I’m not brilliant at celebrating my ‘big day’. It often falls around Easter, when people are on  holiday or with their families so in recent years I’ve gotten a bit half-hearted when it comes to rallying the troops for a big shin-dig.

Still, I can always enjoy the little things that make a birthday special. This year, its combination with Easter Sunday has meant lots of warnings in advance not to eat ‘too much chocolate’. When did we ever start worrying about that?!

My own indulgences are pretty simple. Some lovely flowers from the fantastico ladies at The Knitter and Simply Knitting (I am very lucky to work with such delightful, generous people)…

IMG_7453

A smidge of Tilda fabric remnant for another pass at Simplicity 2211, which I treated myself to yesterday at  Get Knitted (where we also had lots of delish cakes courtesy of Kat, whose birthday is tomorrow. Happy birthday Kat!).

IMG_7446

Buttons which came with the new issue of Mollie Makes that arrived yesterday. Mollie has great taste, and perfect timing…

IMG_7443

(And they match the fabric uncannily – although my camera seems to be implying otherwise – weird).

IMG_7447

‘Proper’ chocolate from the husband, who knows me too well by now (today is also our sixth wedding anniversary). This has candied orange peel in it. Yum.

IMG_7449

And a gorgeous vintage tin, which I plan to line to use for sewing kit.

IMG_7450

I’ve also had some lovely cards, and a beautiful fig candle from my dear friend Jo. Top work!

You may notice that this doesn’t seem like a lot of ‘stuff’ and that’s how I like it. My big present is, quite amazingly, a new sewing machine, which my lovely family have clubbed together to buy me, and should arrive on Tuesday.

I will be sorry to say goodbye to my old machine, which is pretty much the same age as me, and is starting to look a bit tired (no jokes please). I feel very disloyal getting rid of it, but, while it is perfectly functional as a basic machine, it has a lot of things that don’t work any more, and it also weighs about 50lb.

As well as sharing my birthday with our wedding anniversary, I’m sharing it with a celebration of all things chocolate, which makes it a little easier to keep the small person cheery when I’m being spoilt. I do hope you’re having a lovely time too! Happy Easter!

IMG_7436