oops, and then suddenly it was june…

oops, and then suddenly it was june…

I’ve been super busy and then when I did think to breathe and blog again my WordPress app wouldn’t let me. I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on, it’s all way too technical for me, so I’m meeting with my friend Lisa next week who’s a techie whizz and who looks after my site for me. In the meantime I can compile blog posts on my phone but not add pictures, boo. So I’ll write it on here and add pictures later before sending it off into the ether. Boring but better than not being able to blog at all. Not that I’m that avid a blogger or feel the need to tell you constantly what I’m up to (I’m sure you don’t care much) but as soon as I can’t do something I want to be able to do it.

I taught my first class (hopefully of many more!) at a gorgeous space in Dalston. Turns out I first the owner about 20 years ago when she played in a band with my friend Sam! Small world.

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I’ve taken a huge break all year from sewing for me. Not because I wanted to mind, but due to lack of time. I was up to my eyeballs in making quilts for other people until about 3 weeks ago and since then I’ve been painting my front door, cooking, gardening, knitting and going back to the gym. It’s been super relaxing but now I’m itching to make things for me again. I did get into dyeing yarn with Koolaid a little, it was such fun and smelt heavenly. I ran out of light coloured yarn hence stopped but I want to do LOADS more.

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my hitchhiker shawl, knitted with @the wool kitchen #ziggy yarn

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Me-designed shawl for the lovely Tanja, again with lots of @the wool kitchen yarn!

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@ countess ablaze socks, two on one needle!

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Lovely stripey socks. Unfortunately I had to frog them as they stretched SO BAD!

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I mastered brioche knitting on my most recent Scotland break. Hard fought!

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My lovely capuccino dress made out if IKEA fabric died a few week back. The fabric just ripped under the armpits and despite reinforcing it in a rather cute way it promptly ripped again.

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Definetely time to go back to the gym. Or maybe the fabric was too cheap and cheerful. Either way I need another one in my life as it was just such a good wear. Massive pockets and a flattering fit. So that’s on my list.

As are more jeans, my Ginger jeans are just the best jeans ever so I need more. Maybe some flared ones too?! I also need some summery shorty dungarees, some funky culottes and more bras. All but one of my me-made bras have broken in some way or other, mostly to do with the pattern being altered and me ending up with underwires too long for the channelling I had made and them not poking out through the stop I had made for them. Hey ho.

I also have many ideas for drafting patterns for dresses and tunics a la cheekyhandmades’ style. Watch this space!

One thing I probably won’t make again is knickers. I made a few pairs in the last few months, one cotton woven pair and two jerseys pairs. The woven pair needs some adjusting to cover more of my bootie but it was surprisingly almost a good fit out of the bag. I just prefer the feel of stretchy fabric under my jeans. The two pairs of jersey knickers I made were from a pattern I bought online. They were high waisted ones and were a pig to cut out. I hate cutting jersey, it just won’t behave well when cutting. Grrr. It was super easy to sew them and they fit beautifully, however I’m just not a high waisted pants kinda girl. Even in funky fabrics they still scream granny pants at me and I feel decidedly frumpy in them even if no one can see them. So that was an interesting experiment but I think I’ll leave the knicker making to the experts.

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Some gorgeous blossoms

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Here’s some of the quilts I have finished these last few months

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Max, Sean and I hve been going on some great trips. We have been to Ramsgate, St Leonards, Glasgow, Flakirk and Paisley and last week we had a whole sunny week in Scotland. We visited Sean’s mum’s caravan on Cumbrae. It was so hot the lads swam in the sea!

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Liberty in fashion – fashion and textiles museums London

Liberty in fashion – fashion and textiles museums London

Today I went on a little trip to the fabulous fashion and textiles museum (Zandra Rhodes’ baby) in Bermondsey, London. 

I love this museum. It’s pink and orange on the outside for starters!

  

 It’s small but perfectly formed and always has interesting exhibitions as well as a gorgeous little shop. They also have a great eductional programme, I’ve done excellent photoshop and marketing courses here and would love to also do the 3 day Illustrator course they offer. One day. 

Today I went to see the Liberty in fashion exhibition. Fascinating and colourful and well worth a visit. 

                          
    
After I went to Islington and did some serious salivating and shopping in Loop yarns and Ray Stitch

                        
    
    
    
    
 

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My Scottish holiday

I’ve always been drawn to Scotland and have had some lovely holidays there in the past. My partner is from Paisley, near Glasgow, and I’ve visited both quite a few times since we’ve been together. This summer it was a right Scottish bonanza with two holidays there! First I went to a cottage next to Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire with max, my friend Salima, her son Haroun and their dog Otis. It was a relaxed time of walks and food, knitting, forests and beaches. And the castle was bonkers, all pink and turrety… Then Max went on holiday with his dad and Sean and I got on a sleeper train to Fort William, then changing to a fab little train to the west coast, going through some of the most gorgeous countryside, no roads, no towns, just moors, valleys and lochs. We arrived in Arisaig, a gorgeous village on the East Coast where we stayed for three days, in a gypsy caravan in the back garden of the lovely Carol and Rory. We walked and saw amazing musicians jam in the local pub, and just completely relaxed. Then it was on to Millport, a tiny island just off the coast near Glasgow for another caravan stay, much less romantic but no less remote and peaceful. No internet or phone reception meant lots of card games and reading and talking, rain keeping us indoors a lot. The caravan was spacious so we didn’t mind. Four days in Paisley, lots more walking and talking, knitting and reading meant the whole of August pretty much was extremely peaceful and quiet. London and getting ready for school is kinda assaulting me this week but I’m sure I will get used to it all again. It certainly set me up with renewed energy and creativity!

Here’s some photos

Max, Haroun and Otis awake at 3:30am when we set off

Craigievar Castle

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Making a quilt – or two – foundation paper piecing

Making a quilt – or two – foundation paper piecing

About 6 weeks ago I was comissioned to make two quilts for Rosie’s little boys, Caspar and Leonardo. Rosie had used a beautiful fabric from Moda, “Simply Color” as bunting for her wedding and had kept it all and now wanted it used in quilts her children could use and keep. Great idea!

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Rosie diligently washed and ironed all the bunting strips which must have taken her forever, and certainly made my life a lot easier. The colours were gorgeous, blue, orange, plum, ochre, pink, grassy green and greys.

I spent some time tinkering with ideas and came up with an alternative to a plain log cabin blog with one coloured and one white side for the corner blocks, and decided to strip piece the other blocks (going round a central panel with the boys’ names on it).

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It looks lovely. It is just taking a VERY long time! Each block is constructed by foundation paper piecing it to paper so they are all the same size, using a very short stitch so I can tear the backing paper off easily when done. I need 56 blocks and still have about 20 to go! Its easy meditative work and I’m really enjoying it, I just resent having to stop all the time for food, the school run, teaching, etc 😉

I’m quietly beavering away and I hope Rosie is patient.

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This is the lovely old Bernina I’m using to stitch the blocks

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This is what the blocks look like sewn together. Well worth it!

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More on the new studio

IMG_6946_2 IMG_6955 IMG_6956 IMG_6961 IMG_6970 IMG_7028 P1030254 P1030255 IMG_7081 IMG_7157 IMG_7083So I’m in my new studio, I taught my first class in there and it’s absolutely perfect.

It will no doubt take a while yet before I’m completely done and before my living room looks normal again but I’m on my way. Nice as the studio looks now, the living room (where I taught before) looks like a bomb site. I’ve been packing and pulling stuff off shelves and sorting things out but right now there is just tons of stuff waiting to go into the studio.

In the studio then my floor is hot pink, it needs a coat of varnish still but it looks gorgeous. I’ve bought a super massive solid dark wooden table off a friend. It nearly broke Sean and myself getting it up the stairs and then out down the external stairs as this baby is heavy but it looks amazing and can sit 8 people! The first curtain is up and the first storage unit is up.

Today I’ve been getting intimate with my bags of scraps, seriously there is about 7 big bags! I did a lot of ironing them to patch some onto a quilt I didn’t like (but love now it has patchy circles on it!) but there’s still a lot of sorting to do. Maybe by colour (-) yes I may have to succumb to a *system*…

My studio is warm and cosy and colourful and spacious, it’s a cat free zone so all is staying clean and cat hair free, I’m surrounded by gorgeous plants, the pond, trees, birds, foxes and of course many cats. The neighbours’ chickens are right next to me. It’s pretty idyllic! It so bright and peaceful in there, I kinda want to move in!

I’m running lots of classes in the studio so come and sample one: http://bookwhen.com/cheekyhandmades

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Day two of the studio build

Day two of the studio build

Today was a frustrating one for the lads. The hired concrete mixer is STILL “on it’s way”, it’s now 6.30pm, and they had to drink tea and eat biccies for a bit as they had run out of things to do. Strangely they didn’t like that as they like being busy!
They are going make concrete posts for the studio to sit on so they have built the moulds for these and some of the materials arrived making the garden a very full place. The kids are still able to use the trampoline but maybe not when the wood turns up tomorrow!

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IMG_6485.JPGBuilder’s necessities: cake, fags, radio 6, tea and biscuits. I just found out that Joe lives in what used to be my office when I worked for Rough Trade Distribution. Weird huh?!IMG_6481.JPG

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cheeky handmades