Busy times

Most of last weekend was dedicated to picking items from my vintage collection to pass on to the next vintage enthusiasts (that is, listing them for sale on my Etsy shop VforVintageLondon).

VfVL-on-Etsy_1VfVL-on-Etsy_2VfVL-on-Etsy_3VfVL-on-Etsy_4

It’s always hard to part with things you picked and liked, but it’s not possible to keep it all… so let’s spread the love.

And there are more little treasures (at least to me) that have been photographed, waiting to be added…

But there’s no rest ahead!

This Saturday I’m hand delivering a thing of beauty: an old mannequin head that I sadly have to let go (sigh, my heart is aching, now I’m having second thoughts, third even, “I might change my mind”).

$_86

And Sunday I’m again at the Alternative Sale with vintage jewellery, handmade upcycled wooden boxes and quirky items (which there is no shortage of).

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As a reward for my work, I ordered these old beauties…

s-l500-2

s-l500-3

s-l500-4

s-l500

(Can I still change my mind?)

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The kindness of strangers

That’s a lofty title for a simple blogpost, I admit.

There isn’t a philosophical commentary on kindness and people to come, sorry…. I don’t think my boring style of writing would be up for the task.

Anyway, what I’m meaning to talk about today is natural dyes. And incidentally mention Freecycle.

The natural dyes have been kindly donated by a sweet elder lady through Freecycle (a site where one can offer or ask for free things). Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. […] Membership is free”. Isn’t Freecycle a wonderful thing? And there are local groups across the world, I believe. I’ve used it to give and get items countless times – it’s fabulous. Go check it out, maybe there’s a local group near you?

The lady was offering quite a few of colours, dyes and art supplies. I hope she didn’t have to relocate or downsize, but she was just tidying up her home. I didn’t want to be nosey and ask…

Back to the main topic, I’ve long been curious about natural dyes. The only experience with them was in my teens when I used some walnut powder to dye the dark squares of a chess board I was making.

I’d love to try them again. Two things hold me back though: lack of space and the desire to avoid any harsh chemicals. So I’ll need to do a bit of reading on the best way for me to fast the colours. And then I may need to wait to have space somewhere at some point to do the process.

This is what I was kindly given:

  • madder
  • quebracho red
  • pomegranate
  • logwood purple
  • teal
  • indigo? (unlabelled blue powder)
  • woad
  • Brazil wood chips
  • cutch
  • sorghum
  • old fustic
  • cochineal
  • some unused packets of tannic acid and cream of tartar

If you have advice on easy and gentle dyeing, please do let me know 🙂

PS I’ve just learnt that off Freecycle (wikipedia link), a new non-profit organisation was born in the UK: Freegle (wikipedia link). I think I’ll join them too!

Yarn shopping

Recently I had a bit of a hard and tiring weekend dealing with teenaged relatives…and it left me with a bit of a weird mood.

On Sunday I was in a state that made me feel like doing a stint at yarn shopping (totally unneeded! Obviously).

So off I went, without the other half, to the LYS Loop in London.

They have a nice range of beautiful yarns, albeit rather expensive 😉

So this therapy session wasted a good deal of money. Luckily it doesn’t happen often!!!

Here”s a pic of the haul:

After filling up my basket with pretty yarns, I browsed through books and single patterns.

Loop’s Zabadoo shawl looks very nice – who knows what I will do with so many shawls…. if I knit it it will be with yarn from my collection as I dint fancy the colour combinations and really don’t need to spend £££ on a shawl!

At the shop they had a sample of the Oak Knot beanie knit in the very same shade as the one I was buying (like the one also pictured in the pattern) and the comfortable fit was perfect for my liking (I dislike tight beanies) and large head! So I grabbed that one too, because I yet don’t have enough patterns (lol)

And the skeins in details…

Eden Cottage Yarns Bowland DK in Yassop (British yarn):

La Bien Aimee Merino Singles in Sosu:

The Uncommon Thread BFL Light DK in Citrus Peel (orange) and Fern (green) – another British yarn:

Madeline Tosh Tosh DK in Deep (blue) and Patagonia (light blue):

Well, was adding yarn to my collection sensible? I don’t think so.

Did I feel better after the shopping “therapy”? Somewhat.

So maybe, while not rational, it was a good thing to do (one-off). My wallet tells me that it disagrees…

Next, some natural dyes and maybe new projects (or at least preparations for them)

Little Bird is growing

The Nurmilintu shawl (a little bird, alas a wee child, lullaby in Finnish) hit a standstill some time ago because there was a mistake in the stitches quite a while below.

After long pondering I decided to incorporate that as a “feature”. I didn’t fancy unraveling because the yarn is really slippery and thin, which most probably would result in me having to frog it all!

The shawl is for myself and I don’t mind this feature too much, I hope. This is how it looks after the first lace repeat:

I was happy to see progress after the standstill… when I realised that I may be short of yarn… eek!

I tried to couple the current yarn with others in my “collection” but the only one that seems to match the shades, albeit rather lighter in tones, is The Little Grey Sheep Hampshire, of which I had three mini skeins. This is a swatch next to the main knit (the most accurate colours are shown in the second photo):

It looks ok, but I’m not 100% convinced. What do you think?

Alternatively, I’ll be playing the yarn-chicken game, which I wouldn’t mind, being it not for the prospect of unravelling back some section to then include the new yarn – which I really wouldn’t want to do (it would be difficult to unravel this yarn safely).

So what do I do??

Next time, of yarn shopping therapy (terrible, I know) and natural dyes

Antiques

I’ve always had a passion for vintage and quirky items and recently it steered towards antiques.

Of the many items I acquire, a part is then let go and sold on my Etsy shop.

Apart from yarn and silver, there have been a few antique finds recently. Some of them will soon be listed on the shop, because, you know, space….

The latest trove is a vintage (possibly antique) tray with beatific cutout paper decorations and brass corner elements. I love those old papers and faces.

Then there was this beautiful antique large teapot , with its orientale feel, delicate flowers and details that are slightly in relief.

Just last night an exquisite copper and brass miniature set made in England by Peerage sold and is now ready to be shipped to Arizona.

There are still many pieces that need to be listed but as the shop is a hobby, I can’t spend long hours listing, so from time to time I get around to add some item 🙂

A few more finds that I still have to decide whether to keep…

An end, a begin… and a mistake

The Old Shale Shawl is finished and awaiting to be blocked. I promise it will happen some day!

The pattern by Amanda Clark is free and really easy to follow. I’m very happy with the finished object and it took me only 4 years… yep.

Short after the Nurmilintu Shawl was cast on, because I just couldn’t wait to try that pretty yarn. It’s Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle, a British wool, 100% Bluefaced Leicester, in delicate shades of blues, greens and purples – very soft.

The first section before the lace is done

but obviously not everything could go well…

Sigh

See what happened?

That’s about 3/5 from the start. Mep

Whatever. It’ll get a lifeline (because this yarn is very slippery and would unravel to the next rows before I could blink) and hopefully I can recover from there. Not tonight though.

By the way, yes, I love blue and green, if you were wondering.

The weekend was overall quite productive and some tidy up was done, which leaves one with such a good feeling!

Some vintage yarn purchase also happened, because really, I need to build back some of my “collection”. And some antique silver – my new interest since I read some blog posts on silver items! Contagious. But expensive, so only done in wee bits. The best buy was a spoon with my initial engraved (well not mine originally but we share that letter), so now I feel very decadent to enjoy yoghurt with an antique silver spoon (1853) – that is when it arrives!

How was your weekend?

Vintage sock… gorgeous yarn and much more (a long update)

A finished vintage sock!

Fear not, it’s not an old sock!

This is going to be a lengthy update, since I haven’t been around in a while. Grab a tea or coffee and read on..

SOCKS

In one of my usual charity shop stops I found some lovely vintage wool yarn, just a tiny quantity. The colours were lovely – you know, the kind of 50/60s shades – so I got it anyway.

Now, I’ve been wanting to make socks for a long while, but actually never gave it a go. Until, while reading my usual blog posts, a fabulous tutorial on sock making came up – just what I needed to motivate me to attempt the task!

Winwick Mum’s Sockalong is truly well done, illustrative and clear, with step-by-step instructions and tons of pictures. Just what a new maker needs! She has done a great job with this tutorial – if you plan to try sock knitting out, that’s an outstanding resource and I can warmly recommend it. Did I mention it’s free (including the pattern)?

After long – my spare moments are pretty limited – last night (wee hours) the first sock was ready… and fitted perfectly! I’m so happy with the results (thanks to WM’s tutorial). They’re not perfect but I think they’re pretty good – anyway, judge for yourself!

A finished vintage sock!

A finished vintage sock! (Ok, it’s not fully finished here… I forgot to take a pic after grafting the toe and the rib)

Sock-in-progress.. just the toe left

Sock-in-progress.. just the toe left. See the pretty vintage yarn?

Sock-in-progress, the heel is turned

Sock-in-progress, the heel is turned

Sock-in-progress, the heel

Sock-in-progress, the heel

Sock-in-progress

Sock-in-progress, with notions and notes!

Sock-in-progress, the heel flap

Sock-in-progress, the heel flap

My first sock, the beginnings

My first sock, the beginnings

YARN PORN

After the recent fire, I allowed myself to do some yarn shopping.. naughty of me, as I have neither space to store it nor budget, but sometimes, you know, one just needs to treats oneself to lift spirits… I think I deserved it.

So let me show you some gorgeous yarn…

Wensleydale and Shetland 4 ply by The Knitting Goddess, one skein each of Slate and Green (picture from TKG’s shop as I still haven’t the wool with me):

Wensleydale & Shetland 4 ply yarn by the Knitting Goddess in Slate

Wensleydale & Shetland 4 ply yarn by the Knitting Goddess in Green

The yarn, a blend of 85% Wensleydale and 15% Shetland, is grown, processed, spun and dyed in the UK, and has a high twist for extra strength. If I could, I would buy all of it (ok, maybe not literally ALL – there’s not enough room in the flat). Here you can see all of the available colourways.

One Farm Yarn, also by The Knitting Goddess, in Flower Power (of course, with such a name I couldn’t pass it):

One Farm Yarn 4 ply by The Knitting Goddess in Flower Power

One Farm is a genuinely Yorkshire yarn!

Here you can see the many pretty shades (variegated, solid or semi-solid) and the interesting story of the yarn and its (local) production: a journey of 72 miles in Yorkshire from sheep to dye pot. What’s not to love?

As you can see, I’m a sucker for blues and greens, although lately I’ve been lovingly looking at natural shades and tones of browns too. But budget is limited, so that was it for now.

NEW FIREPLACE

In other news, this week a new fireplace was delivered and now we need to get workers to remove the old and put the new one in. It’s limestone in Deco style. It was quite a (costly) adventure to get it from the curb side into the flat: we had to get helpers to lift and carry the dead heavy but very fragile limestone pieces. They were amazing, but it came to over £100 for less than half an hour work. There was no way we could do it ourselves, at about 100 kilos each side piece… at least, we got it cheaper because it was ex-showroom. Here you can see a showroom image of The Faulkner fireplace.

The Faulkner fireplace by Chesney’s

LAMP SHADE

Another charity shop find was a Laura Ashley lamp shade at a steal price tag, in just the perfect shade to match the curtains in the living room. The colour is actually more green than it appears in the photos.. it’s a sort of grey/dusty silver green (faded teal? a pale Jade? Persian Green? I’m sure there’s a more accurate name). Such a stroke of luck… What do you think of it?

Laura Ashley lampshade

Laura Ashley lampshade

Laura Ashley lampshade in the sofa corner

Laura Ashley lampshade in the sofa corner

Laura Ashley lampshade by night

Laura Ashley lampshade by night

BAKING

While ago there were over-ripe bananas laying around. Normally, I would eat them as my other half doesn’t like them ripe, but I’m on a low-sugar, GF diet. In order not to waste them, I thought to make some gluten-free loaves replacing sugar with some ripe fruit (there were bananas, self-picked blackberries, ginger and pears involved). The texture was not too bad for GF, but a hint more sugar would have been in order 😉 Hence the spoon of jam.

Enjoying a slice of GF, low-sugar loaf

Enjoying a slice of GF, low-sugar loaf

Gluten-free, low-sugar loaves

Gluten-free, low-sugar loaves

Well, that was it. Well done if you reached the end of this post! Thanks for joining.

How was your weekend?

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