Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A spot of homework

it has been lovely to have the easter holidays and all these bank holidays, but does mean missing rather a lot of monday night evening classes. However, i am determined that i will have finished my fendi inspired shirt dress ready for our first class back after the break (9th May)

this monday i made some good progress. after making up my miniature toile, i had started to draw out the real full size pattern pieces. although i had done the little ones, i think i forgot quite a lot of what i did so it still took me a while to get my head around drawing them but have done quite well so far...

all my pieces, ready for cutting out

I still need to draw out the sleeves, but i was getting bored of drawing and drafting and paper and decided that i had enough pieces to be able to do a bit of cutting and sewing with fabric. Julia our teacher told us that if we wanted, we could make our toiles from some cheap dress fabric so that if it all went well, we would have something we could wear, but if it didn't, it wouldn't be a disaster. I found this blue fabric for just £1.59 per metre. I am really pleased with it, as is really similar in colour and texture to the fendi original and is a nice weight.

The pieces all sewed together really well, and as i had taken out all of the darts, it has so far been a breeze (darts are my least favourite)

a work in progress

There are still quite a few things to do, but i am pleased with how things are shaping up so far.

yours fraudulently,
Emilia. xx

Monday, 25 April 2011

Spring green

And now it is finally time for a brand new knit! I am really pleased about it as I have had a project in mind for a while now: A mint green reverse stocking stitch cable shouldered DK cardigan.

I used to have a mint green cardigan, but unfortunatley it got shrunk in a careless washing machine incident. But for a while now i have been thinking i must replace it, but it's not been as easy as it might seem. i might sound like it's a bit of a limited colour, but actually looks good with all the other colours (probably there is an exception but i'm not sure at the moment) so i will be happy to have one in my wardrobe once more.
inspiration came from Topshop

i saw this lovely apricot cardigan which i thought would be a gem to replicate. Originally i thought it would be nice to have an apricot coloured cardigan, but i am never sure of the nude tones - i don't really think they suit me so am sticking to my guns with green.

some workings out - nearly there.

I have been making good use of my Design your own knits book. I think that because of my pattern cutting experience, i am more receptive to the process than i have been before and have spent some proper time in the planning stages. It is satisfying to do some drawings. 

I found the wool last week in Liberty. It was a real treat to see all the wool and choose the colour. I think if i had been buying online i would have ended up with more of a baby shade so am really pleased with this. Rowan pure wool dk in shade 006 - Pier (perhaps it is more of a sea green?)

Although I am copying a design i saw, i am trying to make some changes to make this my own. Rosie told us that to pass something as a new design, it needs to be different from the original in seven ways (she was telling us how Primark get away with their copying) I will try.

Yours in mint condition,

Emilia Knit. xx

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Raspberry parade

(i used to think those were the lyrics)

remember this can you?

you would be forgiven if the answer was no as it was a long time ago i started this project. I do feel though that maybe it is a sign of a good knit:life ratio?

And really a nice feeling now i have finished:

What a wonder
crochet detail - there were a lot of stages to production. I am pleased with these buttons too - what a grand match

I am not sure if my crocheting is exactly accurate as I got into a bit of a muddle with double and trebles and british and american abbreviations. Now i look again i think perhaps the pattern was written with american stitches in mind, but i am pleased with the way mine looks, even if not quite right. 

I decided to leave off the little crochet hoop detail long before i reached that stage, and not just because i was feeling lazy at the end. I preferred the look of it without them i think. a little less fuss. perhaps i will change my mind though.

Also today my new coat arrived (on the hottest day i have known for a long time) i have wanted this coat for a long time. good for summer beach evenings i hope.

my face is crazy from the sun

Even my legs are looking a shade of berry at the moment due to that bright sunshine. must be careful. 

Yours berrily, berrily berrily berrily,
Emily. xx

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Yesterday I had a lovely first proper holiday day, and also a productive one. After finally sending off my mixtape, and reaching the finishing stages of my raspberry red cardigan (about time!), I had an inspiring trip to town...

... whilst browsing the rails in topshop, i happened upon this beaut...

topshop online describe it as a 'printed paperbag waist skirt'

Unfortunately for me, it was a little too much for my purse to part with, but a lovely design. And so for a fraction of the price, i found some fabric and armed with my skirt blocks and some dot and cross paper, set about a little afternoon pattern cutting!

the fabric was not so similar after all, but a sweet one all the same 

It turned into a much harder task than i had originally thought and ended up with a little bit of a headache. I can feel my brain working out when I am thinking about pleats.

my paper patterns

I made a couple of changes to the original, just to make it a bit easier for me to construct (put in an extra little pleat instead of the pockets, and put a concealed zip in the back seam rather than a fly opening in the front) but am pleased to have recreated the features i was attracted to - the paperbag waist, box pleats and deep coloured floral print.

Et voila...

 Good with a belt

box pleats in close up

I felt rather triumphant after all my headaching. It is nice when these things work out. 

Yours bagged and belted,

Emilia. xxx

Monday, 18 April 2011

Take me with you

I have been so lazy with my mixtape for the mixtape project, and have just managed to get a little something cobbled together for my partner for March (ops!)

I decided to dedicate this collection to coming out of hibernation and the freedom and adventures summer days promise.

Yours hitting the road jack,
Emilia. xxxx

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sun-day Bun-day

Last night i decided to bake some hot cross buns for my sunday breakfast (and some holiday breakfasts. and snacks.) I found my recipe here at the good food site. I really recommend it!

 buns in the oven

This recipe is a real gem, but there were a few things i did differently. These were threefold, detailed as follows:

Firstly, the recipe instructs you to split the dough into buns to rise just once before baking. Instead, I let my dough rise once in the bowl and then beat it down before splitting it into buns and letting them rise again. This beating down breaks up the bubbles in the mixture and they come back smaller the second time round. I think this has really helped as they are definitely a very nice, soft, bready texture, and not full of big holes (like a ciabatta) as my bread normally is.

Secondly, I got into a terrible mess with the crosses using the Good Food method (making a flour/water paste and squeezing it through a hole in a food bag)  Instead i resorted to making a flour and water dough and cutting it into strips. much better. 

Thirdly, as i didn't have honey or syrup, i made my drizzle with 2 tbsps sugar and 2 tbsps water, heated together and drizzled over the buns as soon as they appeared from the oven. 

They are lovely and sticky!

toasted buns

Best enjoyed toasted with tea.

Yours, bun tummied,

Emilia. xxxx

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Holiday, celebrate

Now i have arrived at the start of my easter holiday! this is good news for me. I am looking forward to a week of finishing my knitting (nearly there!); working on my dressmaking project; finally sewing together my quilt triangles; as well as some walks and some sleeping and eating some chocolate (soon).

Many reasons for joy!

I have been trying to catch up a little on my sampler recently, as it seems to have been cast aside for a while. Last week i started stitching some trees.

I am still hoping for christmas completion, although it is beginning to look a little unrealistic. Perhaps when I have some other projects out of the way. I think more focus is needed!

Yours free as a bird,
Emilia. xxx

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Simnel Sunday

Today it is mothering sunday! This year i decided to work out it's connection with easter and i have found out some interesting things especially that it is the middle Sunday of lent and also known as Simnel Sunday. And that it has its own cake. As I am very keen on traditions which involve cakes I decided that there would be no finer treat for mother.

I found the recipe for my simnel cake on this blog called Apple and Spice. I got myself a little confused whilst making it though as i had it in my head that it was an apple and spice simnel cake and thought 'there's not much apple' (in fact nil apple). But it has all become clear again now.

pre-toasting. what a pretty cake

The best feature is the layer of marzipan baked within the cake! and the glacé cherries.

I also learnt something from this recipe - that you can stop the cake from browning on the top, but keep it baking by covering it with kitchen foil. i think this is going to save me from many burnt edges in the future.

The recipe does however suggest putting the cake under the grill (or use a blowtorch on it) to toast the marzipan for the finishing touch. I thought this would be a good idea, and think it will add something to the eating experience, however has made the cake look like cheese on toast.

cheese on toast

Hopefully my experience will help you make an informed decision over the toasting part. Although a google image search has helped convince me.

I made a small sample for Rich and my tea. it's good to try before presenting to mother. we were both very happy to eat it.

a nice mid-lent treat and a good reward for keeping my mits off the chocolates for a whole 4 weeks. i will remember this for lents ahead.

Happy Mothers Day

yours regretting the grilling,
Emilia. xx