reuse projects

Good evening, dear readers!

Good evening, dear readers!

More reuse ideas were thought and some even undertaken. Thus, we shall report back to you on the current state of affairs and hope you will enjoy the reading.

We wish you a very pleasant weekend. Baaaa

Curtains: In the pursue of a draught-free home, this time I looked at the kitchen window. I had found a nice lined curtain, which could be reused with a bit of alterations – though, it turned out that the width was too small when mounted. Back to square one, I looked in my stash for some fabric: there was a white/blue cotton cut, which previously must have been something else – I think it was found in the flat. Although considerably lighter and un-lined, it could fit the bill if used double. First, I hand-sewn the fabric in a double fashion (in the end it was only partially double, in the upper section). Then I made the hanging bits out of some vintage labels and attached them; I wanted to use the proper curtain hangers but they wouldn’t fit with the wire, so I added metal rings. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do and keep out cold air during the night hours. 

kitchen curtain finished and hanging

Kitchen curtain finished and hanging!

detail of the hanging bits

detail of the hanging bits

the window as it was before

the window as it was before

sewing the labels as hanging part

sewing the labels as hanging part

another one down... many more to go!

another one down… many more to go!

label bunting

label bunting

hand sewn

hand sewn

finished!

finished!

Shirt: Reading this post by the Fringe Association gave me an idea for a reuse. There is this very good quality shirt that has been sitting around for a while. My partner had it tailor made while on a trip years ago, but has since gone up a size (or two) and thus it was stored in the closet.

the original shirt

the original shirt

I have been toying with the idea of making my own folk blouse (or something similar) after reading The Vintage Traveler’s post and seeing some great vintage items (out of my budget). I have a crash on bohemian/folk blouse style (also see this one). The shirt details are too male to lend themselves for a folk blouse, plus embroidery is not among my arts. I will see what to do – still working on ideas. To be continued.
Lavender sachets: with all the woolly items in the household, I thought it sensible to put in place some measures to (hopefully) prevent some pesky creatures joining in. I am going to make lavender sachets of various types:
  • Reusing some old swatches: after blocking and lining them, some closing device will be added and dried lavender seeds will be poured in; these won’t be particularly fancy, but will do the job just fine.
  • Making some lavender kits: in my previous post I mentioned a kit acquired at the Christmas fair, so this isn’t actually a reuse…
a collection of random swatches, awaiting to be reused

a collection of random swatches, awaiting to be reused

... and a vintage tea towel that could become the lining

… and a vintage tea towel that could become the lining

big bag of organic lavender

big bag (1kg) of organic lavender

Surely it would be much easier to buy ready-made sachets, but I would like to have a more natural product and save money (ready-made quality ones can be rather expensive). I’ve sourced some organic seeds in the past and they were really nice – they even offered some UK-produced lavender.

With the holidays soon here, there won’t be much time to focus on these projects. This is a recurring issue: too many ideas and too little time (or something)… Am I doing something wrong? I wonder if I should change my approach and focus on fewer things. I admire those who seem to have a steady output and not have many ideas “hanging” around.

Little Christmas markets

Image

some of today's purchases

some of today’s purchases…

[Edit: this is a post from last week that was held in my drafts for want of pictures]

With Christmas almost around the corner, there have been a few local markets taking place. Originally we only knew of one of them, but walking up to the venue, we discovered another one on the way – so we had to check it as well :)

The “mystery” market was inside St. Stephen’s Church, Rosslyn Hill, a beautiful 19th century old parish church located not far away from Hampstead, London. As I was in a hurry to check out the stalls, I forgot to take any pictures… doh! Anyway, you can see some lovely & happy shots showing this beautiful church in this photojournalist article on a Scottish wedding in London (I think the photographer made a great job! do have a look at the link).

St Stephen's Church, source: St Stephen's Trust

St Stephen’s Church, source: St Stephen’s Trust

This unplanned visit turned out to be the deal of the day: the Christmas Fair hosted yummy food stalls of many types, many crafts (including knitted items), some assorted and vintage products, and even had a stall dedicated to pensioners (they could get a product pack at a very advantaged price), which was fairly crowded. The fair was lively and well attended, well worth the visit!

They had many nice things on sale, so there was constant temptation… In the end I purchased quite a few items, mostly those that had a practical use. To make up for the lack of pictures from the fair, I will show the purchases I made :)

♥ baby bed set

♥ baby bed set

This is a baby bed set, probably home made (it had no labels) and unused (mint condition): there is a duvet cover, a sheet and two mini pillow cases. For £6 it was an absolute deal. I’m planning to reuse the fabric, as I have no kids. Look at the stunning fabric pattern…. ♥

cute motifs

...more details...

…more details…

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

Short after, I spotted a table with really nice home products… I took an organic bubble bath for a new-born baby, scents for the house and assorted soap bars:

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Sheep soap bar... how could I leave this?

Sheep soap bar… how could I leave this?

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

Apparently, there is a Christmas Vintage Fair coming up on 8th December, so if you’re nearby, you may want to pop in for a quick browse. More details on Pop Up Vintage Fairs webpage.

The other fair, which was the one we originally went out for, was taking place at the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Church. A brief history of the pretty building courtesy of Wikipedia:

The chapel, which stands on Rosslyn Hill, was at first a simple wooden structure. Said to have been built in 1692 by Isaac Honeywood who lived in the adjoining mansion, the Red Lion Hill meeting house was first replaced in 1736 and then, having become unsafe, rebuilt in brick on roughly the same site in 1828. The current building (using the old brick chapel as its hall) was built from 1862 to 1885 in the Neo Gothic style. Two of the building’s stained-glass windows are by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris and another is by Henry Holiday. [...] Its stone arches and pointed ceiling vault give it an excellent acoustic, making it a popular recording venue.

The Hampstead Christmas Market hosted many crafts products and largely locally or UK made. They were beautiful but (understandably so) the price tag was more substantial and many were of little practical use to me (i.e. I hardly wear any jewellery). I remember a stall that had woollen traditional fabric capes made in the UK – absolutely gorgeous items at a reasonable price, but I would have no use for them; though, the brand name was a bit unfortunate: Moth (WTH???!). For the life of me I couldn’t find any online reference to the brand. There were many other lovely items, from customised paper, cards, sewn stuff to knit and decorations. But by that point most of my budget was depleted – I did buy one thing though, and gathered quite a few business cards for later :)

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

Lavender bag kits by Little Hands Design

This is a kit by Little Hands Design to make three cute lavender bags. I was impressed by the decorated fabric, so although I could have easily made some myself without purchasing the kit, I wanted that particular one :) Plus, the kit includes all necessary bits and accessories in one neat pack for an affordable price and I can support a local business. Checking out their website, I noticed that they also offer sewing and crafts classes in London and may attend some when my budget is in a healthier state.

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

After the markets I still wanted to visit a last spot: there is a small bric-a-brac seller in Hampstead who usually has some interesting things at reasonable prices (that’s were the tartan blanket from my previous post comes from). I found some more bargains…

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

A very last info:

If you’re around London and love animals (sheep in particular), there is a festive event on the 15th December – Christmas Fayre at the Farm. At the last local fair they brought farm animals and I was able to pet a sheep or two for quite some time; this is the farm who provided the creatures. Kentish Town City Farm was founded over 40 years ago… obviously, I’ll be going! I can’t wait!!

Kentish Town City Farm - herdsman sheep

Herdsman and sheep, picture by Kentish Town City Farm

repairing

please mend me

please mend me

The title should have read “mending”, really, but as my work hasn’t followed any manual or good practices, I opted for a more humble word.

I am a supporter of repair & reuse: I like the idea that it’s not always necessary to produce new things; often it’s possible to give old items a new life. This is good on many fronts – the environment, the purse and one own creativity. So I have been buying old things with the aim of making something out of them. I’m sure there is some hoarding aspect in this behaviour of mine, but that’s another story…

Today I made a start on repairing a very nice blanket acquired recently for a couple of pounds (a tiny fraction of its new price). It’s a British made all wool throw, made by Burkraft. Beside a thorough wash, it needed a good mending.

Burkraft blanket

Burkraft blanket

Burkraft, dress Stewart, all wool, British made wool

Burkraft, Dress Stewart, all wool, British made wool

The colour scheme is very pretty – it contains most of my favourite colours, plus I love tartans. With regard to the tartan, this is the “Dress Stewart”. A bit of research brought to light that the Dress Stewart is one of the royal tartans (source: Scottish Tartans Authority, Royal Tartans):

STEWART DRESS - The Dress version of Royal Stewart with the predominant red squares replaced by white. Worn by the female members of the Royal family often for evening occasions but also worn for Dress occasions by HRH Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Prince Edward.

The yarn used for the mending is 100% pure wool and although I’m not certain, I believe that it is produced in the UK. It comes from a large cone bought from a UK yarn producer.

...and the pure wool mending yarn

…and the pure wool mending yarn

one of the holes

one of the holes, it’s huge

The repair took quite some time, in fact it’s not yet fully done, but you’ll get the idea from these pics:

As you can see from the photos, the results are not to a professional level [***].  Perhaps I should have consulted books from my reference library…. :)

Weldons Encyclopedia of Needlework (1940)

Weldons Encyclopedia of Needlework (1940)

With the same great yarn, I also mended some minor spots in a wool cardigan bought (not really cheap) from a local charity shop. I forgot to take a proper photo of the cardi, but here below you can see it while taking a bath :)

Cardigan taking a bath before mending and reuse

Cardigan taking a bath before mending and reuse

and while I’m at it, here is a gratuitous snap of the sheep skin hat (£1 second hand), also enjoying a bit of soaking in the bubbly bath…

IMG_4070

I sense that I have a crash on natural shades at the moment, it must be the sheep influence… baaaaa

farm tin, note the ♡ sheep ♡

farm tin, note the ♡ sheep ♡

It’s getting late, the update on the knitting WIPs will have to go in the next one.

Sweet dreams xx

 

[***]  surfing the net, I came across this UK based company who provides professional mending services: British Invisible Mending. If anyone is in the look for repairing a special item, they may be an option to consider. I think they also do mail orders for those who can’t visit their premises. (Small print: as usual, it’s not an ad and I take no commission out of this!)

 

knit on

Today’s update on current WIPs… I have so many ideas that this morning I had to get up around 6am because I couldn’t rest any longer!

Feline Draught Stopper

The draught sit in the flat has gotten into a bleak state, which required a prompt intervention. Swiftly I consulted patterns, jotted down ideas (I have quite a few more), and this morning I casted on. Looking at the assorted mix of random yarns in the stash, I was actually able to put together some lovely combination of shades. Apart from one, the other yarns have no label – though it feels like a slightly coarse wool.

The beauty of using aran weight yarn is that progress is so immediate, which helps motivation. In the picture of the WIP, you can notice the beautiful Canadian birch needles that Joahnna from FlorePoste kindly sent me recently – I love them!

The pattern is free and can be found on Simplicity’s website or on Ravelry. You can see the finished item in the background of the second picture:

Feline Draught Stopper, the beginning

Feline Draught Stopper, yarn selection

Elder Father knee caps

Last night I moved the stitches from DPNS to short circulars (30 cm) and it made a big difference in ease of knitting: no nasty dropped stitches anymore (yay!). A little progress, now faring at 20 rows, not much but getting along.. The yarn is a pleasure to work with – it has a compact softness and a springy hold.

Elder Father knee caps

Vintage

I received a delivery from the USA with a sweet floral dress (60s?) by E. D. Juniors of San Francisco and some Bernat wool kit for babies (40s-50s?). The E.D. brand was apparently fairly popular in the 60s-70s – I wonder if any of the US readers know more about it?

vintage peasant dress in floral pink, by E.D. Juniors of San Francisco vintage peasant dress in floral pink, by E.D. Juniors of San Francisco vintage peasant dress in floral pink, by E.D. Juniors of San Francisco

Bernat Baby Pak, ca. 1946Bernat Baby Pak, ca. 1946

draught it is (and other follow-up stories)

Wool processing

The Lincoln Longwool locks are dry! What do you think, are they clean enough?

Lincoln Longwool fleece after washing

Lincoln Longwool fleece after washing

I’ve looked at and asked advice about methods to wash raw fleece: there seem to be a wealth of variations, some quite drastic – ranging from “wash in cold water” to “drop in piping hot water”, which leaves a beginner like me quite puzzled. I personally went for the cold-to-luke-warm option, paying attention to avoid any sudden temperature change that could felt the locks.

For those who have an interest in wool processing, I’m listing some more of the information I’ve come across (some of these came originally from Wovember’s discussion board on Raverly) and advice I have been given. I’ll leave the conclusions to you :)

  • Washing & storage advice provided by the fleece seller:

I recommend a very gentle soak (2-3 times) – I add liquid detergent for delicates and a little bit of washing soda into my basin – and of course it is important not to agitate and not to give it sudden change of temperature. It is important to make sure it is rinsed well and hasn’t got any soap left in it – otherwise some fleeces can become brittle in a few weeks. I have tried different products to wash the wool – and I found that detergent for wool/delicate fabrics works best – you can also use usual washing-up liquid. Never use biological detergents – they damage wool, fiber and silk. If you want to preserve the shape of Lincoln locks, the best thing to do is tie them up at the tips with a rubber band and then put in the warm water with detergent – for a couple of hours, you can leave them there for the night, then change water a few times; without moving locks – this way they won’t felt. If you have a plastic basket with holes, you can put them in the basket and then in basin with water – then you just take basket out and let them drain, and put it in new water. I don’t use very hot water for washing wool as it may felt – happened to me before – just normal hand-washing temperature. To store: it needs to be wrapped in a newspaper or -best- in a fabric bag (e.g. pillowcase), and have some ventilation (no tightly closed box).

Draught stoppers

Autumn has set in with its windy rainy days and the flat started featuring unwelcome draught again. I remember mumbling about draught (draft) stopper patterns a while back – perhaps it’s time to put my plans into practice?

For easy care it will be done in a machine washable yarn. I think I gave up the fancy for a snake theme, it’ll be either one of the free patterns from my old post, a simple striped thing or a mono-colour with stitch decoration (got the inspiration today while reading about Ganseys).

Elder Father knee caps

Little progress on the knee caps, with stitch-dropping seriously hindering my work. I’m going to move it from DPNS (too short) to a mini-circular (30 or 40 cm?) and that should solve the issue. More pics later…

IMG_3806_2

Vintage spinning wheel

Thanks to the Antique Spinning Wheels group on Ravelry, I found out that the type of wheel I received from my Austrian friend is also seen sometimes sold here in the UK (probably imported from the continent), but – important – it comes in two sorts: the decorative and the functional. The former may be a working wheel but more usually it is not; the latter is a normal working wheel. Apparently mine is of the working type (phew!) and is vintage (40-99 years ), not antique (100+). The investigation continues…

more beginnings

With the first day of the week, I deemed it suitable to start a few new things: (another woolly post)

Fleeces

You may remember from this post that I talked about Bowmont and Lincoln Longwool. The washing of the raw fleeces has begun: being my first attempt and being new to the process, it will probably take ages to complete all; additionally I need to be careful to avoid felting.

The detergent used is a natural washing up liquid by Ecover. I started by rinsing the ends under running cold water, gently opening the locks up by pulling the fibres sideway – this way, most of the vegetable matter and natural dirt came off before soaking. I didn’t take many photos because my hands were too busy, but I snapped a few before sunset.

Lincoln Longwool fleece before washing

Lincoln Longwool fleece before washing

Lincoln Longwool fleece soaking

Lincoln Longwool fleece soaking

I will show more pictures once the fleece will be dry. The next, I will “only” need to figure out how to use my vintage spinning wheel!

New project: Elder Father knee caps

I started knitting some knee caps for my father, using a vintage pattern from KnitHeaven.com. The days are growing colder and something to keep joints warm can be really useful. As a tribute to Wovember (Raverly group here), I’m using a 95/5% merino-cashmere yarn.

Elder Father: knee caps from vintage pattern

Elder Father: knee caps from vintage pattern

Cashmere-merino yarn in beige-celeste

Cashmere-merino yarn in beige-celeste, used for the project

Other vintage free patterns for knee caps on Vintage Knitting Patterns and Vintage Knits, who very kindly also offers other free vintage patterns.

Fibre tutorials & TV programme

Recently, I came across some free tutorials on SpinningDaily.com:

KnitMyStash wrote a great post on knitting programmes finally making an appearance on the TV landscape:

  • Programme on the worl-record attempt (shear-to-product) by a Norwegian team, thanks to the “slow TV” format now being presented on Norwegian television. I watched the first part and found it very educational as I could see it all happen minute-by-minute. Another reason to love Norway! For the moment there is no English translation, but it’s not really needed as the images talk by themselves.

They’re a very interesting reading/watching if you want to start working with fibres, or are relatively new to it.

Boot toppers

I love wool

I love wool!

While the River Pebbles cowl is queuing for washing, another quick and fun project has been turned into a FO.

Furry Welly (Boot) Toppers

Furry Welly (Boot) Toppers

These Furry Welly Toppers will come handy in wintery times, and although I don’t own a pair of wellies myself, they will be used on my other boots. More info about the knitting kit is on the Ravelry project page linked above. The yarn is pure British wool, a tribute to Wovember.

Furry Welly Toppers kit by Erika Knight

Furry Welly Toppers kit by Erika Knight

To sew them up I will use the kitchener stitch, so I can practice it.

I am planning more small projects: it’s fun to see a result within days, gives variety of knitting and prevents WIPs going into hibernating state  :)

Recently I have practiced a healthy stash enhancement exercise, which lead to a wide variety of vintage yarn (mostly pure wool) to play with in my projects – a few gratuitous images, just because… The next, though, will have to be some stash tiding up!

Bernat Astrakhan vintage wool

Woollybear Yarns Wool Bouclé cool gray Woollybear Yarns Wool Bouclé yellow

Samsyco DK Wild Rice Samsyco DK moss green

Bellmans Chunky Crepe blue Twinfold DK purple