It is very quiet round here

It has been a very busy few days

Indi, my youngest granddaughter came to stay for 4 nights

Every moment with that delightful child is such a joy

On Thursday we went to the Christmas Lights ceremony at Somersham where Barry was playing in the band, supporting the junior members

Indi enjoyed herself, happily munching on a mince pie and then a large homemade shortbread biscuit! These tasty treats were handed out from large baskets by the local Brownies

After the ceremony Santa arrived and the children all piled in to see him…I had to lift Indi up so that she could see him as there were so many in front of us!
Then we went into the Church to see the many Christmas trees on display there. Indi did enjoy seeing them and needed to touch one or two of the dangling decorations. She was very careful🙂

Then it was time for Barry to go to his band rehearsal. We were concerned that Indi might need to go home as it was nearing 8pm by then
but she found a stage on which to perform and when she wasn’t pretending to play a trumpet she was doing some impro dancing

https://youtu.be/L9CHjIVTvqg

We went to buy our Christmas tree on Friday…we were all feeling a bit jaded that day for some reason but it was a precious time none the less and Indi had a great time in the play area whilst Barry and I enjoyed a coffee

Saturday was spent indoors, I was asked if I could make a Snowflake jumper for Indi and she busied herself with the toy box as I knitted

She is so adorable. Barry has taken some wonderful photos of this little darling but hasn’t had a chance to edit them yet….

Did I tell you how quiet it was round here today?

Barry left for Scotland this morning, he won’t be back until Wednesday…I’m going to listen to a story on my Ipad as I sew up an order….

Hope you all had a good weekend

x

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Studio Donegal goes funky

After stitching 3 of those rather gorgeous multi pocketed tweed or quilted handbags I really wanted to sew a different handbag and so I went back to the designer , Napkitten on Craftsy or Etsy, and found this very interesting design. Those handles intrigued me, I just had to give them a go. They didn’t disappoint, truly, I wouldn’t have thought that they needed to be twisted in the way that the designer told me to, but they do, I did as I was told and it worked! I love learning new techniques🙂

This gorgeous design worked amazingly well in the handwoven tweed from Donegal Studio

If you remember from a previous post, I watched some of this tweed being woven, it is a very precious cloth❤

Adding to the funky nature of this handbag, I removed the zipper pull from the green zip and added two complimentary zipper pulls in it’s place. It now opens so easily, with either both pulls or just one🙂

The fabric that I chose for the handles and lining, is from a collection by Cotton + Steel, I am happy with how they tone in with the tweed beautifully

There’s a zipped pocket inside, perfect for your important bits and bobs😉

I love how a patch of the purple fabric encloses and strengthens the ends of the zips

This not to big handbag is slouchy, but not at all floppy. All fabrics have been fully interfaced

I’m just off now to put this in my shop, I have a funny feeling this one might sell quickly….

Marianne
x

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A Different Handbag

I felt at a loose end, don’t get me wrong, I still had a couple of orders to deal with but it was the day before my sewing group meeting and I needed a small project to work on. What on earth was I going to take with me??
I’d had this pattern for ages and kept coming across it when looking through my PDFs but knew it might be a fiddle to put together, so I just glanced at it and moved on. However, on this occasion I felt that it was time to tackle the beast. It’s not a beast at all haha

The design is by Napkitten and you can find the pattern here or here

The photo above is the work that I completed during my sewing group, I drew lines to follow for the quilting, my Singer Featherweight doesn’t have a quilting bar but this task would have been easier on one of my Janome machines. I wanted the girls at the group to meet my new baby though so drawing the lines wasn’t too much of an ordeal😉

.

This clever design is not little inside though, it is like one of those Doctor Who bags, you can get quite a lot of stuff in those roomy pockets

It is so easy to keep your contents organised and safe

each of the side pockets have a magnetic snap closure and the wide mouth of the middle pocket closes with a zip

This gorgeous bag was snapped up moments after I showed it on my Facebook Page even before I had thought about whether I wanted to keep it for myself or not

So I did what any compulsive bag sewer might do, I set about making another one just for me!

I don’t make things easy for myself, Harris Tweed, interfacing, quilting weight cotton in multi layers and a bulky firm stabiliser used on the base of the bag really made my little machine have a panic attack. I removed that from the machine and turned the work over and all was well again. I have to say here that one feature on my modern machines that I use a lot, is the extra lift you can do with the presser foot. I had to almost force these bulky layers under the foot of my vintage machine. She sewed it though!!

I love finding fabrics to coordinate with the main fabrics of a bag

I chose a funky teal coloured lining to match the tiny bit of teal in the Kaffe Fassett print

You can see the gorgeous colours of the herringbone tweed in this photo, I love pink and orange together

I’m going to love using my new handbag!

I’ll leave you with some thoughts on the pattern, This is not a beginners design, the instructions had me thinking at times. But if you do as you are told it all comes right in the end. You aren’t told to cut out all the pieces before you start sewing but to cut them out as you need them. I like this logical approach, you don’t end up querying whether you have the right piece. There is some hand sewing involved, just a little bit, it’s quite doable and I love the relaxation of a bit of hand sewing. It is like you have to take a breather from the machine sewing so just go with it and enjoy the moment.  Take your time, follow the instructions and you’ll be fine🙂

Napkitten has blogged about my bags here

Wonder what I’ll be sewing next?

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Donegal Tweed Bag

I just love the Calla Convertible Backpack, I know, I only just posted another blog post about the last one I made🙂

I’ve added an extra layer of heavyweight sew in interfacing to this one, I just felt the other one lacked a bit of body

It is just the right size for me, not too big in size but big enough to hold a small project and all my other paraphernalia

 

Do you remember earlier in the year when I went to see my lovely Mum on her 84th birthday? You can read about it here

It has taken me until now to cut into that wonderful fabric

I used some gorgeous Batik fabric for the contrast on the outside, I am really drawn to the colours and more often that not I want to make something in that shade of aqua

These funky oversized swivel clasps that I bought from the lovely Lisa at U-Handbag, are adorable!

I was a bit worried that they might have been too big to do the conversion from a shoulder bag to a backpack as they have to feed through the D ring at the top, but they performed beautifully, I might have to get some more of those😉

I deliberately placed the pocket on the back of the bag, rather than the front, as the pattern suggests, I feel safer using it as a backpack with the pocket hidden against my back

The lining has been in my stash for ages and I could never quite find the right project for it. The mauve area travelled down the selvedge of the fabric but turned the other way, the print seems to turn into some high rise buildings, well it does in my mind. The lining makes me happy🙂 The colours worked perfectly with the Tweed and the batik

I can’t tell you how long it took me to find the labels that I was given when I purchased the fabric, but eventually I found them and feel they add the finishing touch

PS This bag was totally sewn with my delightful vintage Singer Featherweight, she’s a marvel at sewing through a gazillion layers!!

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Calla Convertible Backpack

I’m off out to Kirsty Allsopp’s Handmade Fair soon and needed a new bag…well, a girl can’t have too many bags eh?

I have a new pair of lightweight trainers so that hopefully my legs won’t be aching before I’ve even got to the place! The venue is Hampton Court Palace and it quite a fiddle to get to. I get the train at Peterborough, travel to King’s Cross, then a tube and then another train. These train prices are so expensive, especially if you don’t want to be restricted by a set train. Took me ages to decide on which ticket to by but after hearing that my friend, Andrea, who is travelling to London from Southampton, was using a rail card, I thought I better look into it. So eventually, I bought myself a railcard, not any old railcard but a flippin’ Senior Railcard! I’m not taking to this being 60 very easily! Using that railcard, I managed to save a third off the price of my ticket price, which means that the railcard has paid for itself already🙂

Back to the bag…I decided a backpack bag might be useful,so that the weight of everything is more balanced out and will save my knees…grrr at the 6o thing again!

I’d looked at the pattern for the Calla Convertible a few times and I loved the shape of it. I watched the little video about how it gets converted from a bag to a backpack and so I bought the pattern

Choosing fabrics was a bit more tricky, but I had in my stash some cute fabric covered in old fashioned women’s corsetry. I found some contrasting fabrics, the cream fabrics on the outside are from the Walkabout Range by Beth Studley

I cut out all the pieces at home and then started constructing the bag at the sewing group that another friend and I host together. It’s called the Sew & Sews and is a Wisbech U3A group. We had almost a full house yesterday which was lovely and the room was buzzing with chatter🙂

I love that pleat behind the zip which stops the whole bag from falling wide open and the contents from spilling out

I think I’ll be buying more hardware to make another one or two of these bags for my shop

Now I just need to get a small knitting project sorted so that I can knit on the train journeys

Hope you’re all enjoying the late sunshine…I’m loving it! Long may it last🙂

PS Hello Dorothy!

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Multi Tasking

I rather think it is about time I wrote another blog post…!

I have been spurred into action by the positively happy workshop that I ran today in Button Up & Stitch in Wisbech

I was meant to be running The Beth Studley Pod workshop today and next Wednesday, I was meant to be running The Outta Time Tote workshop. However, neither of the workshops were very well subscribed so I was asked whether I would be able to run both workshops at the same time! I know….I was worried that it might blow my mind!! I was assured that all the sewers had a suitable standard of sewing. I needed this reassurance as I had my doubts as to whether I was capable of such a task!

I needn’t have worried, all three sewers were brilliant, we all worked at a good pace, 2 students for the Pod workshop and 1 for the Outta Time Tote

Here are my lovely students with their Pods

They were so happy with the results, look at their faces, the smiles say it all!

This next photo is of my student with her Outta Time Tote

Doesn’t it look great?!?

I love how I feel after teaching others to sew. I do get in a bit of a state before the event for some silly reason but once I’m chatting and explaining the steps, there’s no stopping me🙂

I have been asked if I will put together a workshop for Beth Studley’s newest bag, The Gondola Bag. I am looking forward to teaching that one as I totally enjoyed working on a test sew of the pattern

Before I do that though, I am going to put together a workshop for beginner sewers, a workshop that will introduce them to their sewing machines, discussing machine feet, different stitches, basic sewing, understanding seam allowances, maintenance etc…a simple project will also be worked on. A sort of learn as you sew experience. After attending this workshop, the student will feel more confident in progressing to something more taxing, such as the workshops mentioned above

All in all, I had a lovely day today, so thank you to Julie and Kim for giving me the opportunity to spread a bit more of the bag sewing love❤

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A new dress

This week was meant to be a week of tidying up ready for my three eldest grandchildren coming to stay for just over week. They arrive tomorrow and I have procrastinated about all things tidying up! I blamed it on the heat but I wanted to sew this dress

I managed to get a copy in the UK at one of my favourite fabric shops, Backstitch at Burwash Manor

It’s quite an expensive pattern as patterns go, but I’d been hankering after making it for a few weeks, I knew it wouldn’t be too long before I bought it

On Wednesday, Lesley and I took a trip out to Trumpington Village Hall and found some treasure within. Stitch Fabrics have a pop up shop there once a month…

This is some lovely fabric, not sure of the content but it does have some stretch to it

I’m going to make another one of these dresses that I’m wearing in the photo

I have made that pattern 3 times already, so I know I love it!

I love that photo of Barry and me taken in 2010!!

This lovely fabric was in the remnant pile, it has a few flaws in the printing and a defect across the width which of course I didn’t notice until I’d cut the dress out

I traced off my size

Only 3 pattern pieces…I dislike patterns that don’t have the seam allowances added to the pattern pieces, but this was quite easy and I winged the 3/8″ and just cut around the shapes…I thought that the stretchy fabric could absorb any errors I made int he cutting out

I did get very hot cutting it out on wednesday evening

but on Thursday it was a joy to sew this with the fan wafting at me…it went together like a dream…I’ll make at least one more of these dresses

I love it very much even though the fabric isn’t perfect! Was a lovely trial piece

Scuse my gurning expression…and my no makeup hot head hair do!

Right…I better stop playing on here and go and make a bed or two….I could do with a housemaid!!

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A Sale of my Beautiful Handmade Clothes for Babies and Children

Last year, I spent many hours sewing some delightfully exquisite clothes for children and babies. I made them mostly to sell at a summer fair along with my bags

I totally enjoyed making these unique little outfits but they took me longer to make than some of the adults clothing that I sell

I really don’t mind the work, in fact I like nothing better than getting my teeth into an intricate design. The gorgeous results please me no end

I think that the little romper above it my most favourite design of all that I have made, and yet, it is probably the most time consuming

So, I thought these unique and beautifully constructed garments would fly off the rail….they may be small but the hours of work involved in making them, is as much as the hours I spend on sewing complicated dresses for myself , sometimes even more!🙂

Sadly, I was wrong….

Is it because I have sewn the garments in sizes that don’t fit the children of whoever views them?

Are my prices too high? At these prices I am hardly giving myself any profit at all😦

Who knows why they don’t sell…it is probably a combination of a lot of things…

I have decided to only sew clothes for children when I am asked. Sewing for my Grandchildren will keep my ‘need to sew cute little things’ urge at bay

In the meantime, I have taken 30% off all the prices of the clothing left in stock, do go and check them out

These clothes have been made with the utmost care using top quality fabrics, if your little darling needs an exclusive outfit to wear to a special occasion then maybe there will be something in my shop that will fit the occasion…

Thank you for reaching this far in my post

Let me know if you can think of a reason why these delightful little garments are still in my possession, I truly wish they were in yours!😉

You can view the clothes here

Have a lovely weekend xx

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A Honeycomb Basket

A few weeks ago, I was asked by the clever fabric and project designer Beth Studley, if I would be interested in testing her new design, The Honeycomb Basket…don’t think I hesitated in saying yes!

I’d seen the photo of the one that Beth had made, on her Facebook page…it was love at first sight

Beth very generously sent me the fabric from her new range Radiance, and the stabiliser along with the pattern, I simply couldn’t wait to get started

Having made quite a few of Beth’s Storage Pods, I knew that I would enjoy putting this basket together

Now, this basket…there’s a lot of work in her, not a project that you can whizz through in a couple of hours, but something to take your time over. When I set to making this, I was in fast forward mode as is so often the case with my craftiness. But as I progressed through the steps I found myself really enjoying the rhythmic repetition of the quilting, the sewing, the hand stitching of the binding. It was almost meditative, I really loved doing the quilting, easy wiggly lines, I do love a good wiggle!…I simply had to slow down and do each of the steps with a smile….

There were some interesting moments, lots of squidging and pushing and a bit of tension in my shoulders

You can do the above step by hand but me being me decided I might do it on the machine….might have broken a needle or two and uttered the odd swear word:/

However, all of a sudden I had completed the project, what an achievement!

I truly love this basket and it was well worth the three days that I spent on her, I woke up with a happy heart when I realised that I was going to spend some more time sewing this beauty. I’m hoping that I will get quicker when I make more of them.

I have 2 orders from 2 very patient and lovely customers. I will get on and sew them soon but I have been in Grandma mode and felt the need to sew some little clothes. Mostly stretch knits which are quick and fun to sew. I’ll probably do a blog post on that subject next

The last photo is of the honeycomb basket in situ, it lives beside me and contains everything I need to keep me entertained in the evenings which are usually spent knitting

I do hope that I have encouraged you to go and buy the pattern and have a go yourself, I found the instructions to be clear and concise…let me know if you make one, I’d love to see!

Happy weekend everyone…crafting keeps me sane in these crazy times, how about you?

PS I am teaching a workshop to sew one of Beth’s cute Storage baskets, in Ely at Sew Much To Do on Thursday 30th June.  Great fun was had when I did my first ever proper workshop in Button Up and Stitch in Wisbech, I’m sure the day in Ely will be equally fun🙂 If you’re interested in going then click the link above for more details xx

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Dyeing up A Gradient

Yesterday, I decided it was time to dye up the yarn I had bought for the Carol Feller KAL which is starting on the 18th June

I knew that I wanted pink…

With that in mind, I soaked my 5 x 100g skeins of sport weight yarn, I also added a small squirt of washing up liquid to the tepid water. The yarn was contained in a lingerie laundry bag. My yarn is merino/cashmere/nylon, if there had been silk in the blend then I would have soaked it overnight to get a good saturation…when I was ready I gave the yarns a very short spin in my spin dryer. You really want it to be wet but not dripping wet

Then I brought a really big pan of water to the boil and turned it down to a low simmer setting on my hob. I thought I’d dye up the boldest colour first and put a slightly rounded teaspoon of Landscape dye into the water and swirled it around. Slowly added the yarn making making sure it was all under the water and no air pockets, give it a very gentle move about. Set my timer for 20 mins, came back and lifted it out of the water with a pair of tongs and carefully placed the very hot yarn in a bowl. I left it to cool before I touched it again

I noticed that the water still had a pink tinge to it and I felt it might make a good shade of pale pink, so my next skein was placed in the water and again left for 20 minutes, the water was still slightly pink so I put about a tablespoon of vinegar into the water, stirred it very gently, and very quickly all the colour left the water and I had my perfect pale pink

For the colours in between, I repeated the process but used less dye, I opted for paler than I wanted with the thought that I could add more colour if I needed to

When all the yarns were cool, I rinsed them carefully, inside the lingerie bag, gave them a short spin and put them on the line to dry…it really was the best fun and something that I’ll be repeating again one of these days!

I am totally in love with these colours and can’t wait to start the cardigan…I might just knit a tension swatch!

I’d love to see what you do with this info….come back and tell me won’t you?

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