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

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

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!

woollens

Until now I have done very little season shopping: I don’t think there is much that I really need and in general I love buying presents that will have some practical use.

On Sunday I visited the Old Spitalfields market with the idea of finding some presents… Sadly, I failed to find anything suitable. The market itself was nice to visit, but I was a bit disappointed that many stalls didn’t sell items of own production.

There were a few stalls with woollens and I didn’t resist the sheepy temptation for long! I went home with a woolly booty:

as well as some soap bars by All Natural Soap Co (handcrafted soaps, 100% palm oil free, made with olive oil and wild shea butter).

And this is a hand-knitted present (a self-aid charity put my commission through to a skilled knitter who made it). My friend will have a beautiful neck warmer and a knitter will have had work. The (free) pattern is Braidheart by Rose Anne.

After the failed attempt at the market, I resorted to the net, where I found some useful presents:

Fire Log Carrier Bag

A fire log carrier bag

gooseberry-large

Kneeler cushion for gardening

GYO-PLAB-Seed-Labels-LARGE

Seedling labels

GSC_TWINE50_lg

Striped twine assortment

GYO_TWGREEN-large

Twine in a tin

GHV_BOUQ-large

reusable muslin bags

(all but the first one were purchased from Burgon and Ball, an old British company based in Sheffield, England)

[disclaimer: as usual, I have no agreement and receive no compensation for mentioning items or brands]

On holiday without yarn

With cabin luggage only, there was no space to bring yarny stuff. 

But then I wanted to knit, so the easy solution was to get some yarn locally: I chose Avantgarde from Adriafil, because it’s locally made pure wool and can be machine-washed. I liked the pale blue shade with bits of colour.

I made up a simple pattern for a vest – nothing very special, just a simple project. 

After coming back from the holiday, things became quite hectic: I graduated and started interviewing.

Today I finally resumed work on the back part of the vest and, despite the 4ply yarn, the progress is visible – better, it would have been visible if I had taken recent pictures!

The project is ravelled as Holiday Vest. Some old pictures – apologies for the rather poor quality:

Holiday Vest - front

Holiday Vest, the front

Holiday Vest - waist

Holiday Vest, waist part

I fully appreciate that photos from the holiday sightseeings would have constituted a far more interesting post content!

 

British Shetland fibre

A quick post in between exams, just to show some awesome sweetness I recently purchased from Hilltop Cloud:

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British Shetland Top Roving Hand Dyed by Hilltop Cloud

It’s Superfine British Shetland Top Roving hand-dyed. Hilltop Cloud offers some amazing fibre and also various accessories and kits (no, I’m not getting paid to advertise it!).

It’s a lovely squishy hearty blue-green dream, in two different colourways: 2044, which is a blue/green/gray/light blue mix, and 2048, in similar shades except with gray shades replaces by purplish tones. Hard to describe, I better let the pictures speak for themselves (all pictures are taken from Hilltop Cloud’s product pages).

ImageImageImageImage

ImageImageImageImage

Aren’t they beautiful?

…the only issue with them, is that I still haven’t learn to spin! I was hoping to attend a small workshop but my budget at the moment is under strain… student life. Not that this is so bad: with a bit of time and complimentary assistance of the world-wide-web I will try some LIY (learn-it-yourself).

Oh, and I still have a few batches of divine fleece to wash – and source some inexpensive combers (any advice or hints on combers are welcome).

Have a nice woolly week!

 

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!)

 

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.