Favourite colours

Although I love purple I am also really fond of turquoise and pink, my craft room is in these colours and I love how they look together.I realised when I was sorting out photos for this post that both my recent makes are in the same colours.

I have been very productive on the doctorate front with about 10,000 words written this week and I am aiming for a few more before I leave for Poland on Monday. I will then have three weeks not thinking about it at all which will be brilliant. Much as I am enjoying doing it I am spending a lot of time staring at the screen and am really looking forward to reading books and going for walks when in Spain, and of course seeing Krakow which looks stunning!

I finished this little basket as a birthday present for a friend’s not so little girl last weekend, she is 11 this year and I was really pleased to be able to get some matching nail polish and toe separators as I know that she loves painting her nails.This is the smallest version of the Friends of the One Hour basket pattern and is available via a link from this blog for just £4. I have made this pattern so many times now it is so versatile and I love it.

I have also finished another outfit for Barbie, well nearly, the dress is still pinned together and needs the Velcro adding but that will be done before I take it to Spain as a gift for one of my cousin’s daughters.

Barbie coat and dress 4

I used the leftover shirt fabric as before with some other scraps and the coat pattern comes from my old pattern book that I mentioned in my original Barbie clothes post.

Barbie coat and dress 1

Barbie coat and dress 2

The coat is a little big but I think it looks very snug and the yarn is lovely and soft. I have a turquoise shrug to go with the outfit as well and another few dresses in progress to go with a pink version of the coat as well.

Barbie coat and dress 3

Although I haven’t started on the WW2 make do and mend outfit I have had a charity shop bargain haul and came home with a jacket, two shirts, some trousers and a hat all for £5 which I was very pleased with. I also bought a bag and a pair of sandals for Spain for £1 each. This is an RSPCA clearance shop where everything is £1 but I don’t often go there as it is out of town but was in the area and was really pleased to get all of that.

I will take some before pictures of the items and then I need to get cracking on that when I return, I am fast running out of days to do everything so if anyone finds a knitting pattern for an extra day a week please send me a link 🙂

I am off to Sarah’s now as she is having a wool de-stash, I am going to be good and not try and buy anything but am just going for a bit of a catch up, there may be wine involved!

I will be back in three weeks, take care, have fun and thanks for visiting.

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The miracles of blocking

I have been very productive with my knitting, this pile below looks slightly less impressive when you know that it is all Barbie sized but I am still pleased as I have not knitted for a few years.

Barbie blocking 6

I love knitting but especially love knitting little things, some years ago I knitted thirteen of Julie’s wonderful animals and various dresses for them and would love to make some more of those again.

knitted bonnie-elephant-spain1

knitted sophie-and-daisy-bunnies1

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday blocking all the little pieces ready for sewing them all together, I am always amazed that a little bit of steam turns things from a curly mess to a lovely flat piece and had a happy time in my sewing room sorting all of these out.

Barbie blocking 1

Barbie blocking 2

I have so far knitted two jumpers and a coat, all from the old Barbie knitting patterns book that I have had since Ellie was little, and a shrug from this site. I am halfway through another coat in pink. The wool is a lot brighter turquoise than it looks in this picture.

Barbie blocking 3

Barbie blocking 4

Barbie blocking 5

I have only made one dress so far, this was very quick and easy from a tutorial at this site here.

Barbie shrug and dress 3

Barbie shrug and dress 2

Barbie shrug and dress 1

This is scrap material from a shirt I bought some years ago just for the fabric and I have used it in various things.One of the first was for this little appliqued bunny on the back of one of my very first quilts in 2010 that I donated to the children’s hospice.

hospice-quilt-1

 

hospice-quilt-2

I do love making use of my scrap bin, fits in so well with my passions for recycling and making things out of little scraps! The great thing about having a blog as well is that I can track my uses of all of the fabric over the years.I have only just finished using bits of the offcuts from the quilt fabric and am down to the tiniest scraps now which are still appearing in pincushions like the one below.

pink-and-multi-cushion-1

The shirt material I used is slightly stretchy which was great for the top part of the dress. I just have to get some Velcro now and some cute pink ribbon for a belt. I am trying as far as possible to use stash but will allow myself a bit of haberdashery 😉

I am loving making these clothes, I have various little girls who have birthdays from May until August and there are always Christmas presents to consider so I might just make nothing else this year!

However I do have another longish term project coming up which I will tell you more about in another post. This is something inspired by this woman, Nella Last, played here by Victoria Wood in the film Housewife 49, and is going to form quite a big part of my summer in one way or another.

ITV ARCHIVE

 

More of that later, for now I shall be carrying on with using up all those lovely balls of wool that have been languishing neglected for years. I particularly love the variegated lilac one, some of my favourite colours.

Hope that you are all enjoying what you are doing this week, we have a nice week ahead at work with a couple of trips out with the students and then I have most of the weekend off which is very exciting as I have been teaching a lot of Saturdays just recently.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I’m a Barbie girl ….

Do you remember that very irritating song some years ago that started with this? I recall the lines about it being fantastic and plastic and it did remind me at the time of my own fun playing with Barbies as a child.

I loved making clothes and houses for Barbie when Ellie was little. I made an entire apartment out of cardboard boxes, including all of the furniture and we loved doing that together, visiting the DIY shop for large samples of wallpaper and using old carpet and fabric scraps.

I have decided to make some Barbie clothes as presents for the younger cousins this year as all of them have the dolls and enjoy playing with them but don’t have an extensive wardrobe. I am hoping I might be able to do a little bit of knitting for them as well, I have not knitted for ages but think my wrist would stand some small items.

I have bought myself a model for fitting purposes, she came from the local charity shop.I thought I might be able to make a pattern from the jeans she is wearing.

barbie model 1barbie model 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do have a knitting pattern book from ages ago and have been looking up some new resources which I thought I would share with you. You can see that the owner of my doll also had the same knitting book, the ski jumper is identical and look at those fab 1990s disco outfits. I am sure I had some jumpers that were very similar at the time!

barbie knitting pattern book 1

barbie knitting pattern book 2

barbie knitting pattern book 3

barbie knitting pattern book 4barbie knitting pattern book 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was also looking at Barbie sets on Ebay and was so tempted.They had the original Country Camper on Ebay which I remember getting for Christmas one year and was thrilled, that obviously sewed the seeds for my love of camping and camper vans.

barbie country camper

There is a newer version as well which is fantastic, look at all the options you have here, and a pool!

barbie new camper 1

barbie new camper 2

This Sprucecrafts site has got links to ten other sites with patterns or tutorials for clothes.My favourite link out of all of them is this one Craftiness is not optional, not just for the wonderful blog name but also for all of the beautiful and very simple and adaptable ideas there are here.Pictures below are from the blog.

barbie dressbarbie skirt 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also found a pattern for a little knitted shrug from this site.

barbie shrug

I am really looking forward to making some cute skirts and dresses with some of my Liberty fabric and my collection of lace, crochet and vintage embroidery. I was lucky enough to get these three new tray cloths on my charity shop trip as well and Barbie clothes will be great for using up the tiny scraps.

vintage traycloths jan all

 

I am planning to make more of the Liberty edged vintage log cabin blocks as below with these as well as eventually I would like enough to make a quilt.

vintage-log-cabin-block-11

I think it would look really cute to try and make some skirts for the dolls with the embroidery on the bottom using the tray cloth designs. If I can make it work for a whole jacket I should be able to do it for some Barbie skirts!

vintage traycloths jan 4

 

Progress on the Steampunk Vampire hunter outfit is going well, I finished embellishing the hat and umbrella some weeks ago and have bought some new lace gloves and the black skirt in the same design as the red and purple ones.

I am really looking forward to Whitby next weekend, not only is it a chance to spend time with Ellie. Kerry and James but I can’t wait to see all the lovely outfits that everyone is wearing there.

I was very pleased, after fruitless hours of searching on Ebay for bottles and printable labels, to find this gorgeous perfume bottle that I am going to use as a holy water bottle. It was in a local shop for the bargain sum of £2 🙂 Isn’t it beautiful? I am going to hang it from my belt.

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 1

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 2

I will take lots of photos for you and be back soon with those. Meanwhile have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Ladies from Lichtenstein and other delights

As we expected the Steampunk event at Lincoln was amazing, we were again in awe of all of the costumes and I have so many pictures to show you. I have come back with lots of ideas for new costumes for both Steampunk and festival wear.

There were a group from Lichtenstein who won the fashion show last year and they were there again this year, with new costumes. We loved these dresses as it just shows how varied things can be made from the same fabric.

These were their new outfits, how beautiful!

Steampunk Lichenstein new 1

Steampunk Lichenstein new 2

Steampunk Lichenstein new 3

The loveliest thing is chatting to people about their outfits and the pride that people take in having made things themselves. I talked the lady in purple about her fab, and very comfy, shoes and to the lady in the pink hat who told us how she made it. She did a fantastic job and it looked amazing.

There are lots of people dressed in things they have bought and they look wonderful but I really love meeting the people with the more quirky outfits and will develop that for my future outfits.

This lady I met last year with a gorgeous cross stitched butterfly dress and this year she had based her outfit on the nursery rhyme, ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow’.The work that had gone into this was incredible and I loved the grass background fabric, inspired!

Another lovely one was this outfit based on crazy patchwork, I talked to the woman who had made it all herself and she said that the ribbon embroidery square was her favourite one.

Steampunk patchwork 5

Another wonderful quirky one was this patchwork of knitting and buttons, with peacock feathers and a wig and a fab top hat, just love it!

Then there were the absolutely stunning ones like these dragon and dragon egg costumes.

Steampunk costumes 4

This lady was there last year in a peacock dress and her new dress with wings was amazing. Her bodyguard also looked stunning.

I will return with another post with our outfits once I get a ,’before’, picture from Ellie as she transformed a dress of Kerry’s into her outfit. I was pleased with mine, not as fantastic as some of the others but I felt good and had my picture taken quite a few times which was a nice complement.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

More light entertainment

I have been doing lots of lovely hand stitching over the last few weeks accompanied by some very interesting TV series that I thought I would share with you in case you. Both have been on UK channels recently but I have watched them on Netflix and DVD.

The first is inspired by a book I read some time ago called Jambusters by Julie Summers  which is about the work of the Women’s Institute. It was about the contribution made by women to the war effort though their preserving and other activities, particularly in rural areas.

The TV series is called Home Fires and was an excellent piece of drama with a great cast.Sadly the series was cancelled after two seasons but you can get it on Netflix and there are to be a series of books continuing the story which I shall definitely read.

Being interested in all things historical I loved looking at the 40s fashions, there were some great Fair Isle jumpers and beautiful tailored clothes as well as some fab floral pinnies!

HOME_FIRES_Fashions

Julie Summers has written a blog post about the fashions and also a book, Fashion on a Ration linked to an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.

This vintage clothing blog has also got some more great pictures of the cast in costume. I also found a lovely Vintage Pattern blog that has links to free patterns for jumpers like these gorgeous ones below.

HomeFires Patterns

The other TV series was one my lovely daughter mentioned to me and then very kindly bought for me, I loved it and watched the whole thing in a day and a half. It is called Brief Encounters and is the story of women who work for Ann Summers selling, ‘exotic lingerie,’ and ,’marital aids’, in Sheffield in the early 1980s. Again a fabulous cast and the soundtrack was brilliant, a real blast from the past as 1982 was the year I left home and started college so I danced to all of those tunes many times!

Not quite such fabulous fashions in the 1980s, there was some very big hair in the series and a few really loud outfits but a great comedy with some very important storylines about love and family.

A CPL production for ITV.

Pictured: 

This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to Brief Encounters.

What I loved about both series are the storylines of women fighting to overcome their barriers, many things that we take for granted now, to be able to go out to work, earn their own money, contribute to the family and generally have a say in how their lives were led. Even though 40 years separate the two series some of the things that happen in the later one are sadly no different.

I have also been reading an excellent series of books. I was told about them by a friend many years ago who knew I liked history and recommended them. The series is called the Moorland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.

They trace the story of one family from the 1400s to the present day. I bought the first 3 books some years ago and rediscovered them in my bookcase and got hooked, only to find that there are now 36 in the series! I am currently enjoying book 16 which is set in the Regency in the 1800s.

They are again full of descriptions of the fashions as well as filling in all my history knowledge gaps. I am loving the details of ladies fashions such as this one below.

Regency Fashion

The family have a lot of strong female characters, most of which who defy convention by doing such scandalous things as running away to sea, nursing soldiers after the battle of Waterloo and refusing to marry the, ‘right man’.

I do love a good book and a great TV series. There is nothing nicer than spending the evening with a bit of stitching and some great stuff to watch, it makes me very happy. What have you been watching or reading lately, anything good?

I am off to the lovely Simply Solids this weekend for a class,my first visit to their new shop so I am very excited! I am going to be making some Scrappy Trip Along blocks for a quilt like this one.

Scrappy Trip Along quilt

We then have a Wool and Wine craft evening at a friend’s house so that will be a lovely day. Hope you have a good weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Knit one, purl one

Hello from damp and windy, (as usual), Yorkshire. I have had a busy time just lately with some very exciting things to do, namely helping Ellie move into the house she has just bought! I went down to Worksop last weekend and with Kerry and another friend James helped her move some of her things then the removal men came on Monday.

All very good, she is very pleased to have bought a lovely house in a little village not far from work and has been busy buying furniture and things for it this week. I am going down again next weekend to help her do some painting.

Meanwhile on the crafting front I have cast on some knitting. It has been about a year since I last did any, I put together the mouse for Ava which involved some finishing but have not knitted for a long time as I have had tendonitis in my left wrist which has been painful. I was inspired however by the fact that we have a new baby in the family so got some of my stash out and have cast on this cute cardigan from an old magazine so excuse the creases!

baby cardigan pic March 1

Am knitting the 6 month size so will have to finish it by August which should be fine, I have two weeks in Spain at Easter so will be sitting on the terrace in the sun with it.

baby cardigan knitting March 1

I have also made another little pouch, this one has some hair bobbles in and is for a friend’s daughter’s birthday. Same design and tutorial as before, Jedi Craft Girl

Blue linen pouch 1

The bow fabric is from the mini charm packs I bought at Quilt Festival last summer and it is lined with red linen which works well with the blue.

Blue linen pouch 2

The linen is all scrap from making kit for the boys.The deal is that I make things for them in return for a bottle of wine and the fabric left overs which seems like a very good deal to me 🙂

Blue linen pouch 3

I love the ric rac braid and thought that the motif on the charm squares was very appropriate for hair bobbles.

We are coming to the end of term now and teaching is slowing down and the evenings are getting brighter so I am feeling very springlike, apart from the rain the last few days, and am looking forward to the summer starting. Roll on warm days and camping!

Hope that you have a good week ahead, see you all in a couple of weeks for an update on a newly tried design, I made my first Dresden this afternoon and it went very well! Just needs the centre finishing and some backing and I can share it with you.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Change of plans

Hello everyone, hope you are all ok. I am here and not in Worcester visiting my sister and we did not go to Budapest either as sadly my Uncle John died the week before last so I have been to Spain instead to be with the family for his funeral.

It was all very last minute and slightly chaotic but I made the right decision to change my plans. We knew on the Weds night that Mum was not going to be able to come here to go to Budapest as he has been very ill for some time and she could not leave her sister Maureen so I was all ready to fly out on my own on the Sunday as she still wanted me to go and enjoy the holiday.

He died on Friday morning and I made the decision Friday night to cancel the holiday and booked a flight to Spain for the next day and arrived Saturday night.All the family came from England so though it was a very sad time we were all together which is the most important thing to be able support each other and my Aunt Maureen who has been so wonderful and brave during his long illness. Thank God for the internet so we could all get flights with little time to plan.

The reason I was going to see my sister in Worcester with Mum was that we have just welcomed a new member to the family, my nephew Sam and his partner Paige have had a beautiful baby girl called Ava Grace and we were going to meet her. We will postpone that until later on in the Summer when Mum comes over next.

So it has been a very emotional few weeks, very happy and very sad and just brought home to all of us the value of family and the love and support that they give us at the start and the end of life.

I have made Ava Grace a mouse as a gift, you may remember I was knitting various mouse parts some time ago and here she is, designed by the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits once again.You can buy the pattern for this and all the other animals here.

ava-mouse-1

This is my first mouse and I am very pleased with her, I am calling her Ava after her recipient and although I had some trouble with the nose the rest of the knit was fine and I am very pleased with the lacy dress and the very cute little tail!

ava-mouse-2

ava-mouse-3

ava-mouse-4

I also made some pincushions a while ago to add to my ever growing pile, these may go to Yarndale to be sold or they may be given as gifts but I love making them, so quick and easy.Patterns for the strippy one is here and the other came as inspiration from my Pinterest board here. There were no instructions for this one so just made it up as I went along!

linen-pincushions-1

Am not going to be very productive over the next few weeks as I have a huge amount of marking to do which may take up weekends as well and some other sewing that needs to be completed but will keep revisiting my Pinterest pages to remind me of all the pretty things that I really want to be doing.

Take care and keep happy and thanks for visiting.