Handmade jewellery pouches! And yarn. And a Victorian ceiling rose.

I’ve been making wee bags to coordinate with the costume jewellery in my collection.

The collection started out because I saw things “I just liked” (uh oh, sounds familiar). I love it all, but I seldom use jewellery these days.. The vintage pieces are in time going to be posted on Etsy (whenever I get around to take beautiful photos and prepare the listings). I also plan to attend some small markets or events, like the ABBS that take place this Sunday in London (near Kentish Town, details here).

All of the bags are hand sewn. I used different materials:

  • Harris Tweed wool
  • velveteen (the purple and the orange)
  • corduroy (the black with red roses)

The Harris Tweed was a one-of lucky purchase – they were remnants, probably small offcuts from clothing and accessory production. The tweed came in various colours: beige, greys, dark green/dark red, brown/green/orange and so on. It’s very beautiful but until now I didn’t have an idea of what to make with it. I’m very happy that I finally thought of using the fabrics for these small pouches, because they’re beautiful materials and I love the results! I plan to make many more, as spare time allows..

Here’s an overview of those made so far (they still need ironing). What do you think?

My handmade jewellery bags

Corduroy in black and red, with a lovely rose motif

Purple velveteen

Orange velveteen

Harris Tweed wool in assorted colours

Harris Tweed bags and vintage jewellery

This one was made by an old friend of mine with a sewing machine. It’s much larger and can be used to wrap presents.

 

The bags laid out for photo shooting and planning the next ones to be made

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I also want to show you my last stash enhancement! Tangled Yarn is having a sale and soon it’s my birthday, so I treated myself to some gorgeous yarn by Shilasdair (a Scottish company based on the Isle of Skye). I already had some DK in Winter Loch and Summer Loch shades, to which I now added more of the Winter Loch (a dusty shade of blue), as well as some 4 Ply in Rowan Berry. These are the beauties (sorry for the bad evening light):

Shilasdair stash enhancement

Shilasdair DK in Winter Loch

Shilasdair 4 Ply in Rowan Berry

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Finally I also would like to share one of the DIY activities happening in the flat. The ceiling rose is being restored to its original Victorian beauty. It’s a WIP and may take quite a while to complete.

Firstly a vintage fancy (and heavy!) chandelier has been bought from Belgium. Now the stucco of the rose is being restored: in time it had been covered by layer upon layer of paint and its beautiful details were mostly lost.

There is an absolutely ecological and healthy way to remove the crap engulfing the stucco: PORRIDGE! Hard to believe but it works!

Here is evidence of the proceeding – unfortunately we forgot to take a picture of it before starting works, but you can still see how it was in the outer circle of the rose (which has yet to be handled).

The ceiling rose stucco (central section) covered in porridge and cling film (it does look weird)

The porridge has been removed and the layers have come off with it

Gentle mechanical work with a small plastic spatula is required to remove the extra material from the corner areas

After most of the extra material had been removed. Notice the difference between the inner and outer sections.

I plan to be back soon with a small update about the preparations for the ABBS and my Etsy shop.

Good night!

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.

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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

 

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…

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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…

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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…