Sunday, 26 February 2012

Lucciola - step 1

I have been very busy sewing recently, but today it is time for a rest, and instead a little sowing! (i couldn't resist this little wordplay)

i bought myself some seeds for some tomatoes as was so inspired by my friend's plants from last year. And have noticed that my houseplants are starting to wake up from their winter slumber so decided it was a good time for sowing (and also because the guidelines says to plant them february - april)

The seeds i have are for Lucciola F1 (i'm not sure what the F1 stands for?) they are small plum tomatoes. lovely for salads.

I used these instructions from Gardener's World to know what to do. A nice little video.

Now i just have to be a little bit patient i suppose. And hope for no more cold snaps.

Yours gardenerly,
Emilia. xx

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

my (nearly) new knit

One of my new year's resolutions was to do some wool recycling, and to reknit one of my old jumpers.

I wasn't really planning to do this so soon, but something about this grasped me and i started unpicking this cardigan you can see me wearing in this picture (and holding a baby - little lyra that is. she will be much more grown up now i expect)

It was originally knitted in pre blog days, and i really loved it for a while and wore it quite a lot. However, it was an early attempt at working out my own knitting pattern (and before i got this book) and more recently i have been not so keen on it's shape.

But i still love the wool (it's collinette art in colourway mist), and so what better action than to reknit to a better design.

However, due to the age of the original cardigan (i think perhaps three years) it was well set in it's ways and very crinkly when unravelled. The first attempt to knit with it produced some very lumpy bumpy results.

I wasn't really sure how to straighten it out, but wrapped it around the back of a chair and sat it near a radiator for about a week and although not completely flat, it is much much better now.

here you can see the wool - round the chair - near the radiator!

I went about choosing my pattern in a bit of a backwards way. I made a tension square and worked out that i needed about 80 stitches for the back. and then i found this pattern which uses 84... 

from woolworths!

The children's versions are knitted in DK, but as my wool is aran weight (or was when it was new - perhaps slightly finer for having been knitted already) so scales up to my size when knitted on the slightly bigger needles (at least i hope this is the plan) I am quite confident as remember my experience when scaling up the baby cardigan.

And i've made a good start i think. I will have to be careful as think i have lost some wool in the unpicking. Perhaps the short sleeve jumper version will be the best option, but i think that this is quite an economical pattern to knit - i hope there will be enough for the little collar though.

I am looking forward to wearing these colours again.

Yours thriftily,


Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Enchanted Mirror (a dressmaking marathon)

I said I had been quite busy recently, so wanted to give a little peek at what i've been up to the last couple of weeks...

My friend Robyn runs the Sussex Youth Ballet Company (you might remember this from last year) and so I have been lending my sewing hands again for some costume making!

This year's show is called the enchanted mirror and my costume assignments were 4 small dresses, 1 big dress and 3 blouses. It sounds like quite a few things, but dresses are my favourite thing to make, and Robyn chose such sweet fabrics that this has been a really lovely project for me.

Last week I sewed all the dresses in one (long) day! A very productive day indeed - and very much worth it as it meant they were ready for the rehearsal the next day, and I was so pleased to see the children dancing in them.

This week I had a couple of days off and spent some good productive hours making the blouses and some adjustments and decorations to the dresses. It didn't sound like much to do, but it is amazing how many small tasks present themselves when you think you're almost finished.

I wish that i had taken more work in progress photos - but it was quite a busy time for me. But here are the items piling up as i finished them... I am really proud of them all.

(To help you understand a little bit - they are all the character costumes for the first scene, when the characters are still in their real world identities ...)

 first here is the lilac blouse - i think it's for the aunt. i am really pleased with my pin tucks and frills on this one. they're such a simple detail but really effective i think. You can also see the puff on the sleeve which was a new pattern cutting technique i learnt along the way - i am so pleased with the shape of them.

 this is one of the small dresses - this was my favourite fabric

 this dress is for the princess - i was a little bit worried about making it pretty enough because the colour was quite hard to match ribbons with, but also because this is for one of the older girls, i didn't want to make it too frilly. i was pleased when i found some lace and velvet ribbon that was just right.

 This blouse is for the sorceress character so it couldn't be too pretty, but i felt a little bit of detail was necessary and pleased that it turned out well. 

 another small dress - this is for one of the Molly girls (there are two of them - one for the evening and one for the matinee) she is one of the main characters and it just happened to work out that there was enough fabric to give her a fuller skirt - perfect as she has much more dancing to do than the other little ones.

 this one is the littlest dress! i just love holding it up and seeing how small it is - such a delight

 and this is the biggest of the small dresses. I added a little bit of broderie anglaise for length and it really looked delightful when it was all done.

 the cream blouse for the mother in the story. I made a mistake thinking this was a white blouse and buying white lace for it! but i don't think it was too disasterous a mishap.

I am really feeling triumphant and took them to the final rehearsal this afternoon and everything fitted a treat and looked lovely. I think the dancers were pleased too which is really what matters.

I really enjoyed myself with these this year. It was great pattern cutting practice for me as gave me the chance to draw some patterns for different sizes and styles - i have learnt how to add a puff to a sleeve, and draw a stand up collar. And of course, there was a lot of dressmaking practise too! I felt much more confident this year and think i have much more got the hang of remembering that these are stage costumes, and not clothes. It makes quite a difference to the way of putting things together - not having to worry about finishings quite so much as normal. I even glued on some buttons - (it felt so wrong) and everything does up with velcro - i don't know why i don't use this more often!!

The show is next Sunday, 26th February. You should come!

Yours all dressed up,
Emilia. xx

Friday, 17 February 2012

So soft

Hello and look at this real triumph. I am so pleased to be able to show you my finished angora vintage style cardigan. and even more pleased to be able to wear it now!

i took this picture myself
so soft! (i think in this picture i am surprised by the softness)

 Here it is - so splendid. i love wearing it so much - it feels like such a luxury.

I am not sure if i fully rectified my initial tension problems as had to buy an extra ball of wool to finish off,  and one arm does seem to have come out a bit bigger than the other. but i'm sure it'll sort itself out after some wearing (the same with my wonky bands!)

It is so nice to have finished a project in just a few weeks. I think it was good for me to be using some DK as it seems really fast after a lot of 4ply knitting. And i really liked the pattern because I enjoyed not having to sew up at the end (just a couple of very short seams under the arms and sewing on the bands) and another nice thing about knitting it in once piece was that it was very pleasing to watch the progress. The rows were very long at times though - the longest i've ever seen i think - but it was all in all a very enjoyable knit indeed. I think one i will definitely do again.

what a fluffy delight!

Yours softly,
Emilia. xxx

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

wrapped and ready

It is nice to finally have a little breather to be able to catch up with my blogging. I have a few days off work now so hope i can bring you right up to date.

Today i bring news of another linton fabric project - the lightweight bottle green wool crepe. I said in my previous post that I wasn't sure how i was going to use this fabric - it was a just a piece i bought because it was on offer (and a bargain), and it's good to buy in bulk from Linton Direct to feel like you make the most of the postage costs. I knew i would find a good project, but i was still waiting for inspiration...

And then it hit - during a binge of Jane Austen film adaptations! To be exact the Keria Knightly Pride and Prejudice and the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma. Both films have such gorgeous costumes and Keira in particular had a couple of wrap around dresses that i thought would be a lovely to make.

the inspiration dresses -although not such good shots of keira

It was a bit of pot luck drawing my pattern as i really wasn't sure about where the line should be or at what angle. Many considerations. I thought i would just go for it though and then make up a toile to help clarify these issues. it is much easier to see where adaptations need to be made once you have a fabric version rather than trying to tell from the piece of paper.

i made the pattern with some newspaper - you can see a few crossings out from my moments of uncertainty.

But i must have been doing something right - or just good luck - the toile was just about perfect! (except i sewed one of the darts inside out)

And here is my finished product. I am sometimes a little nervous that my fastenings will fail me (a bit like with my wrap around skirts) but am really very pleased with it. I think i will be using this pattern again for sure. A lovely one for summer too. and perhaps a version with little sleeves will be a treat.

oops- a bit of a blur!

I hope you can make out the crossover. I finished with a bit of black binding to tie a bow at the side, and a button. i like embellishments. It's a shame those things are blurred out in my photography... op.

Yours in bottle green dream,

Emilia. xxx

Monday, 13 February 2012


Hello and here i am. nothing from me since january - but i have been busy, not just lazy. all will be revealed!

For now though, here is just a little peek of a small project.

It has been soooo cold recently that i was really spurred on to make myself a new hat. My old bobble hat was looking a little sorry for itself so I used some of the leftover mohair from my blanket (bit of a forehead itch, but it is worth it for the warmth!) and set about creating a warming headpiece.

I based the pattern on one i found in my vintage knitting book - so it is sort of a beret. but not quite. but i like it because it's like a nice fuzzy bowl.
Here i am - warm head.

It is a nice feeling to put some of my wool stash to good use. i used the last of this one on the bobble!


It seems today is a little more mild - perhaps it will be spring soon?

Yours insulated head,
Emilia. xxx