The end of my beloved yarn stash.. (and some considerations)

Last night a huge fire broke out in a storage complex in North London. Here a BBC article about it. The pictures show the level of devastation.

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Source: BBC

Most of my yarn collection, lovingly selected, was in there.

When I was first told the news, I couldn’t believe it was true. My partner said, there’s a fire in the area where we keep our things… “What?!”

Disheartening as it may be, for now I’m taking it with a philosophical approach.

Firstly, there were no casualties, no one perished.

Then, was it meaningful to have a collection well beyond a knitting-life expectancy? I don’t even have much time to knit!

And although I dearly love(d) my yarn, it’s (was) still a thing. In fact, it was a rucksack, somehow a burden: “Will I ever get to use it?”, “Where do I keep it?”, “How do I protect it?”.

Perhaps, I had spent too much of my life preoccupied with it – acquiring, caring, storing it and so on.

A lot of my belongings from various periods of my life were lost there too, but perhaps it was DESTINY?

Perhaps, it’s another of the eras in life that are destined to pass – all passes away and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Perhaps it will make it easier if one day I were to move elsewhere or change my life?

There have been signs of change in the last years, some days I feel it’s time for a bigger change, but I’m not sure about it yet.

Meanwhile, should I “travel light”? Should I detach myself?

Anyway, as there’s nothing I can do about it, life moves on!

PS some yarn kept at the flat has survived…

PS2 my collection before

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Synthetic fibres (a pledge and a WIP)

Today I was reading a post by Fadanista, who was making a more environmentally-friendly alternative to a fleece jacket from a vintage pattern.

In it she mentions the issue of man-made (i.e. synthetic materials like fleece, nylon, acrylic, etc.) and the negative impact these can have on the environment (as well as on the people wearing them). Apart from the production of such materials, which come from oil basically, one of the key issues is the tiny particles and lints that such garments release in the waterways while being washed and treated. In her post, she mentions some interesting articles and sources (like this one from the Guardian – please visit her blog for more links).

These particles ending up in our waters and oceans, are ultimately contaminating water, as well as are being swallowed by fish and so ending up in the food chain (= on our tables).

I now feel really bad because I know that I have some synthetic yarn and fabric in my stash (not much, but still). There is no good way of dealing with it:

  • if I pass it on, it will still end up in the water
  • if I consign it to the bin, it will end up in landfills where it won’t break down (unlike natural fibres)
  • if I burn it, it will still release polluting fumes (like all oil products)

As she suggested, the only good option may be to “leave it alone” at the bottom of the stash.

Still, I think it’s a good time to have a conversation in the crafting communities about man-made fibres and their ill effects on health and environment. I think of the inexpensive craft packs that are being used in large quantities – the end product may look pretty, but it has a hidden nasty side effect: it pollutes our environment.

So, today I pledge to try and avoid using synthetic fibres as much as possible. I hope others will join in!

~ ~ ~

On the bright side, I had just decided to bring some order to my UFOs queue. There aren’t too many items in there (about five, I think)… still it’s worth dealing with them – do something with them or reuse the yarn.

The first I picked up, is this summer top: Sea top (Ravelry project). It’s made of aran silk and based on Simple Irresistible, a free pattern that I slightly tweaked.

I looked at it again: after measuring the part I had so far (about 1/3) it looks that I casted on too many stitches and is now too large for my size M (even allowing some positive ease for a more flowing line). Despite that, I decided to carry on, because:

  • so I can actually have a better idea of how to alter it the next time around
  • it’s a quick knit, so it’s ok to do extra rows, even if I frog it in the end
  • I’m curious to see how it is in its current version

I’m still expecting to most probably ending up at the frog pond!

A few shots of the top short before it was put on hold… I’ve now added more rows to it and started a new skein. The yarn is an aran silk in Seaweed (one-off stock), it’s soft, drapey and shiny.

There are many other things I wanted to share, but I will leave them for the next posts… one will be about some vintage lace gloves and how they went to some period dances in grand halls.

Until then, take good care x

 

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Fairs, restoration and vintage jewellery

Flowers are blooming… here’s a beautiful bush from the neighbourhood

spring flowers

Spring is coming!

A catch up post with a bit of all….

The ABBS market I attended recently wasn’t bad – all in all it was an interesting experience and helped me getting a feeling for what items may sell and in what price range. Sadly, I managed to delete the photos I took at the event, thinking I had already downloaded them… doh! So I will offer some flower pictures instead, which are always nice to see.

The restoration of the ceiling rose is in progress: it takes ages to clean it up properly. Here’s a shot of a recent state – you may not see much progress, but I assure you there is. You may notice that in some areas the stucco details are much clearer – those come out after hours of careful brush work. Here are some pictures of the WIP (the work has now proceeded further, but I haven’t taken a photo yet):

After most of the extra material had been removed

Material has been removed from the outer circle

The stucco details in the left quadrant are starting to come out after careful brush removal work

I also booked tickets for The Ideal Home Show currently held from 24 Mar to 9 Apr 2017 at the Kensington Olympia Grand in London. Yesterday when I passed by on my way to work (the venue is just next to my office train station) it was pretty crowded already! As we’ll visit at a weekend, it’ll be necessary to get there early to avoid exhausting queues. If anyone is interested, you can get a reduced price (from £15pp to £10.50pp booking for two, using code OLYMPIA).

I have been continuing my quest to acquire more vintage jewellery boxes. I already have quite a few, but I love these old boxes, so more are on their way. They will be used for some of the vintage costume jewellery that is to be sold on my Etsy shop VforVintageLondon and at the upcoming fairs. Speaking of which, the actual listing of such jewellery on Etsy is high up on my to-do list! I seem to never get around to it, although I have many photos already and “just” need to write the listing… I hope to do some this weekend, because they’re really beautiful! Just a few pictures to show you some… (if you’re interested, please get in touch, we ship worldwide).

Recently I was shipping one of the Etsy orders (an elegant vintage red leather purse) and came up with the idea of decorating a beautiful blue box with some delicate flowery vintage paper, in a blue-white-red theme. What do you think?

Finally, I booked at another fair: the Pop Up Vintage Fair is a regular vintage fair taking place in the beautiful old St Stephen’s Church in London. As well as plenty of vintage shopping, you will find “retro” live music and a vintage tea room with yummy cakes. If you would like to attend, I have some free tickets 🙂

Details: Sunday 9th April, 11:00-16:00, at St Stephen’s Church, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, London, NW3 2PP. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these 🙂

Have a lovely weekend!

The Fiver Curtain

(Vintage Way No. 2)

Finally this weekend I was able to dedicate some time to repurpose a lucky find from some time ago: a curtain in a beautiful shade of blue.

The material: curtain and matching haberdashery (all for a fiver). It feels like a linen-cotton fabric, so not bad at all.

The bathroom needed a small one to avoid or reduce see-through when the lights are on at night.

Luckily the width of the repurposed material perfectly fitted in our window, so the work needed wasn’t a lot.. but bear in mind that currently I have no sewing machine, so it’s hand stitching all the way.

Before being shortened

Out it came (part of) my sewing thread stash (lots of vintage threads and some less old – ebay, charity and market finds). For a quick refresh on some more of my stash, see this old post: Wooden Reels (no, this isn’t it all, and yes, they’re still stored in boxes). If I ever need a colour, I’m pretty confident it’s going to be in there, or at least something closely matching..

In my usual freestyle way, I didn’t do much of complicate measurements (i.e. none). After putting it up on the curtain rail I just marked the desired length in a couple of points, then proceeded to bast and cut the extra length.

The extra length has just been cut off

The bottom has been basted, ready for trying it up

Then the edge was fixed – the result is not particularly pretty, but works. There was a little fiddling with the basting as in the middle section the length was slightly longer. Then the two layers were fixed together with a small, mostly hidden stitch. And that was it: new curtain’s up!

“New” vintage curtain is up!

It still needs a curtain hook to hold it on a side when open, then the haberdashery blue rope can be put to use too.

I was very happy to repurpose the lucky find: “new” nice curtain for a fiver.

Environmentally friendly: check; economic: check. Win-win.

~ ~ ~

As some may have noticed I don’t blog very often. I thought about it, and I believe it’s due to my instinct of presenting things only when they’re complete. This way I miss out on the spontaneous update and just putting it out to the world really.  So I end up having quite a few photos of things I’ve done, seen or am making, but actually posting very little of them. Also, life often gets in the way and throws many things at you – sometimes there isn’t just enough energy left to sit, edit photos and write it all down. I wonder if that’s a common problem with bloggers?

Anyway, next time (this week!), I will discuss:

“New” Curtains. The vintage way.

In the bedroom there were some really unappealing wooden blinds, which were inherited from the previous owner.

I really dislike blinds (understatement).

Recently I was lucky to find a set of vintage Jonelle curtains, in cotton fabric and made in England. They look like new, clean and crisp. The price tag was very friendly, which was a nice extra. *Happy*

The only things needed were a pole and some hooks to hang it.

And finally yesterday we scored a very nice wooden pole (it has acorn shaped finials!). Acorns and oaks are one of my favourite plants, so the acorn motif was just perfect. *Happy*

Today we took the old ones down and put the ‘new’ curtains up… I just love them!

What makes me even happier is that the whole thing is very environmentally friendly – only the pole is a new product. I even had vintage brass hooks to use, so didn’t need to buy the crappy plastic ones. *Very Happy*

Another day in vintage life style.

Do you like and buy vintage?

The curtains are made of Jonelle pure cotton, in green/cream with a leafy motif.

The curtains are made of Jonelle pure cotton, in green/cream with a leafy motif.

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The curtains finally hung, only need shortening

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The pretty wooden pole with acorn finial

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Vintage brass curtain hooks

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The old wooden blinds.. now gone on Freecycle

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VforVintageLondon and the Flat Cat (the Perfect Pet)

I’ve been an avid buyer (hoarder) of vintage, inspired by the beauty of certain objects and the story they may tell us. This you may already perhaps know if you’ve been reading my blog for some time.

London, where I’m based, has a very bad value for money when it come to accommodations. But what has this got to do with the former statement? Well, being space at a premium, it was necessary to resize my vintage beloved collections.

So VforVintageLondon was born.

You can now find us on Etsy!

Meanwhile, the first order has been placed for this cute and rare cut out of the Perfect Pet. Let me introduce you to the FLAT CAT, a low-maintenance sweet companion:

FLAT CAT the Perfect Cat, a rare cut-out by Blue Q

FLAT CAT the Perfect Cat (Blue Q, 1988)

I’ve been super busy uploading some of my vintage troves to the shop.

Many others will soon be available: vintage costume jewellery, patterns, old tins, accessories, dresses, homewares, folk linens… and more will be regularly added, so perhaps follow me? (cheeky, I know!)

If you find anything you fancy, you can use one of these discount codes:

VFORVINTAGEWELCOME (£5 off on items from £10)

VFORVINTAGELONDONWSB (£2 off on items from £5)

Both voucher codes expire on the 11th December 2016.

Your questions, comments and feedback are welcome!

Vintage postcard, circa WWI

Vintage postcard, circa WWI, probably French

 

Autumn Colours Walk in Epping Forest

Epping Forest is a lovely long stretch of woodland just outside of London in Essex.  There are miles of meandering footpaths in a surprisingly remote mature woodland.

I have been on a beautiful walk together with a meet-up hiking and outdoor group. It was a guided linear tour from Epping to Chingford (outer London).

We walked for over ten miles; the landscape and colours were pretty and peaceful and we were very lucky with the autumn weather – a fresh day but not wet at all.

We started off from Epping station, were we gathered and had a small breakfast, then set off at a good pace walking along some road, to finally enter the forest.

We stopped to have a packed lunch at a pond where some birds hungrily approached us to share our sandwiches. They did get some (most of mine).

It was a great walk, easy but not boring, and having a guide meant that I didn’t have to worry about consulting maps or compass or navigator… Thank you for the guide!

I’ll leave you with some impressions from the forest…

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