Sunday, 20 February 2011

Dancing queen

For the last three or four weeks, my time has been very much dedicated to making some costumes for the youth ballerinos of sussex (both of them!)

Today is probably going to be be my final day working on these and i am going along to do a spot of sewing whilst getting a sneak peek at dress rehearsals!

le bleu pour le pas de deux

For one dance which is called a pas de deux, i have made white shirts and dupion silk waistcoats. This is a picture of the blue one and the other is cream. I haven't taken a photo of that one though as i am trying to forget about it. it caused me a lot of trouble.

My final job today is to add all the embellishments to really make them stage ready. They will look lovely with their partners who are in blue and cream tutus.

The other dance is a rather grand big group ballet piece. the ballerinas are wearing some black and some maroon tutus so for the boys i have made maroon shirts and black velvet waistcoats. I didn't realise how the girls would be dressed for the dance when i started making the boy's outfits, but once i saw how well they fit in i was so delighted.

I am nearly there now with these, but some of the gold needs a straighten up and proper sew down. it is hard to work on velvet - everything slides!

This has been a big project for me, but a very lovely one to be involved with (despite my hook and eye hand stitching induced bleeding thumb) however i feel that i am all the more experienced a dressmaker for it and developed my skills in fitting sleeves and linings and collars and buttonholes especially.

The show is next sunday at Roedean school theatre! I think it will be a goodun.

Yours theatrically,
Emilia. x

Tea and cosy

At the moment i am thinking a lot about things i can make for the home. that is mostly because i am moving to a new flat next week and am thinking about how lovely it will be. we have been having quite a lot of fun making some grand purchases of the essentials (bed, sofa, retro coffee table, expensive tea towels) but i always find a lot of joy in making and very much joy is being thrifty. Kirstie would be proud (i have been watching an unhealthy amount of this recently)

Here is a bright red tea cosy i made with the left overs from a jumper i knitted a boy for the Lewes bonfire procession a couple of years ago (he is in Southover society - red and black)


I am so pleased with it! i have started knitting tea cosies before but never finished one so it is a personal triumph as well.

For tea cosying purposes, I decided to use a blanket rib stitch which is so fat and warm - i think it will be good insulation. I found out how to do it in this GREAT book that i got for christmas:

over 900 great stitches

a peek inside

There are so many stitches all arranged in categories with good pictures and instructions and a guide for how difficult they are. (Daisy stitch is for the experienced knitter apparently - it doesn't mention how much patience is needed though)

I made up my tea-cosy pattern as i went along, but it worked out okay. Here are my steps retraced for future reference! i could probably have got away with fewer stitches as mine came out quite wide. maybe about 32, but I think a little room won't hurt.

Using chunky red wool and 5.5mm needles, Cast on 36 stitches.

row 1: kfb every stitch across the row
row 2 k2tog, p2tog, k2tog, p2tog all the way across the row.

Complete these 2 rows until 36 rows have been worked (or to desired length)

row 37: knit
row 38: knit 1, knit 2 and pass the first over to cast it off. knit another two and again pass the first over the second to cast off. Cast off every other stitch in this way until the last stitch which you just knit.
row 39: knit
row 40: pfb of every stitch 
row 41 as row 2

repeat rows 40 and 41 twice or three times more (this makes a little ruffle on the top, so it is up to you how much ruffle you think is right) and then cast off.

Repeat to create the second piece and sew the two sides together at the top and bottom, leaving gaps in the side for you handle and spout.

For the finishing touch thread a ribbon through the gaps left by casting off every other stitch and gather up.

And voila! it is a joy.

Yours, no more tepid seconds,

Emilia. xxx

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Pattern Junkie

I am very pleased with myself after this weekend as have finally sorted through the bags of knitting patterns my Nanny handed down to me at christmas. There were so many gems, but a lot of nonsense too and it definitely wasn't reasonable to keep the whole lot. So instead i decided to make a knitting pattern file of all the best, and let the rest be gone.

Along the way I did run into a few little amusements i wanted to share (you might be able to enlarge them if you click there)

 I like how these patterns are adressed to the woman: "for yourself, choose this smart jacket in two tone tweed wool; for a boy friend, brother or husband, a sturdy pullover"

 I like the idea of matching aran patterns for good companions. just the thing for hiking scootering or watching sports.

there are a lot of funny expressions on the faces of the child models

This is a comfy sock! Splendid.

eighties does vintage

i like this man posing with a cigarette. i came across a lot of men with pipes too.

for the youth of 1958

this one came from a booklet called 'family knits in royal style' this is the prince andrew style jumper - described as: "double breasted jacket; smart for all young Britons under five" 
I like the rabbit.

is it a jumper? is it a scarf? no, it's called a vestee (and i want one!)

the belted sweater look - this is a man by the way

a white crochet bikini + bathing = bad news

There were too many to put here but if you like them, you should see the Pattern Junkie blog - it is full of vintage pattern gems and rather entertaining to boot.

And here is my bulging knitting pattern file! More knitting than i can ever hope to do in a lifetime i expect. a few great projects in there though.


I will have to share the beauties with you soon too.
Yours a fan of knitwear past,
Emilia. xx

Sunday, 6 February 2011

cross stitch progress report - at 1 month

I have found some great delight in settling down to a bit of cross stitch this weekend after so much sewing of costumes (more on those soon - they are looking rather great) and so here is a little progress report on my sampler, 1 month in.

how the garden doth grow

It is pleasing to be adding new colours and when i get to move on to a new part of the design. I managed to do quite a bit whilst watching Inception last night, although meant that I didn't really keep up with the film all that well. Never mind. 

Yours criss cross
Emilia.x xxx x x

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Midwinter Mixtape

With all the costume making, patchwork quilting, knitting, cross stitch and other little projects, January slipped past me almost without a mixtape. Luckily my partner for the month was very understanding and this week i pulled my socks up and managed to put together a little collection fit for january (and hopefully appropriate for february too).

I really liked the africa inspired mix tape i received from Joe in January as it was very good at blowing off the cold weather blues. I have decided that Chris from Stockton-on-Tees is not going to be uplifted though and for him I have made a collection of wintery songs to help him really wallow in the last few cold and dark weeks of the season.

I don't really know what it means: Winter is all over you, but I like the way it sounds. 

I asked Joe the mixtape organiser if i can have february off from mixtapes. this month is going to be quite a busy one. maybe i will have time to make a valentines mixtape for my boyfriend though.

yours better late than never,
Emilia. x