Thursday, 20 April 2017

Minerva Spring Greens

Ooh! refreshing. This month my Minerva make looks forward to warmer climes. I have chosen a batik fabric to try this awesome vintage pattern: Style 3172. A wrap dress with buttons and a midriff band  which comes with sleeve options. I am making Sleeveless View C

The pattern is unscathed and had never been cut out so it felt a real treat, like a paper time capsule, although I do like the used ones with little notes from ladies gone by. 

This pattern had the potential to be well fitting. I have used patterns with this midriff feature before and I can adjust the body length easily without losing shape. I made a muslin from curtain lining for this one because I wanted to check that the front would not gape. 

It is not pretty obviously but I found out something crucial. The Centre Front line stayed beautifully central on my chest then gradually pulled to the (photo) right to accommodate my backside. To remedy this I added some width to the skirt pieces at the hip. I also took a slither off the outer shoulder/armhole and added a second dart to get better bust shaping rather than two flappy wings by my upper arms. 

This fabric has the amazing ability to make a curve due to the crinkled nature of it. I added a second dart and then ironed the bust out which gave a perfect breast shape as the fabric eased out of its wrinkles.

I cut out the pattern from the fabric which does have irregularities in it due to the hand printed nature of the design so I didn't worry too much about pattern matching. Bloke said, 'What are you making with that sprout fabric?' amusing...helped me with my post title...anyway...


Ta Dah! My friend bought me the necklace for Christmas and the the bracelet for my birthday in January because I liked it so much. A perfect combo I think.

There are some nice vintage features inside. Wide facings with a binding finish and large arm facings which help the sleeve edges stay neat.

A very on trend colour to be making a dress out of, I believe. 

Thank you for popping in. Jo xxx

Monday, 17 April 2017

Bit More of This and That

I thought I would show you what I have on the go at the moment, nothing has priority, all WIP's there for me to pick up and put down as I please purely for my own pleasure over the Easter break.

More blocks for Meg's Quilt

Another 56 rows done on my stranded knitting - with a green line mistake but I can live with that. 

A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new 
- Albert Einstein.

Fast paced evening knitting with my cosmic sweater, growing so quickly.

I could have a proper rant here but I spent a lot of money and time looking for this bag in October and the lining is completely shot. Yes, yes, I could take it back and complain but it took me 20 minutes to just sew it up with a needle and thread. Done. Grrr!

The girls are working on their WIPs too. They always have a little go with their scrapbooks in the holidays along with half made dolls clothes and bits of crochet.

What have you got on the go this week?
 Jo xxx

Friday, 14 April 2017 in April

Making - A Cosmic sweater in soft cotton

Reading - At Knits End. A meditation for people who knit too much

Cooking - Cous cous with lamb and roasted peppers 

Drinking - Fruit tea and laying off so much coffee

Wanting - People to put things back where they belong

Deciding - Which bit of the garden I am happy for the dog to trash

Enjoying - Blossom at the farm

Wondering - Why my stash is not going down even though I have not spent a penny!

Considering - What we need or what we want

Buying - New White school socks for the girls

Loving - Dancing with the Severn Sisters

Disliking - The gap between rich and poor

Watching - How many biscuits I am eating!

Wearing - Summer trousers

Getting - A bad back a lot

Thinking - About Easter

Eating - Poached egg on toast every Monday

Feeling - Happy

If you do - Happy Easter.
Jo xx

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Strawberry Girls

I have taken the opportunity to remeasure my girls this week and use up some smaller pieces of fabric which have been hanging around my cupboard for long. I have had my fingers burnt before making them clothes when they are at school only to find they don't fit when I have the Ta dah! moment with them when they get home.

At the trade show I attended in February I met the lovely people from Ottobre on their tiny little stand and I was really waxing lyrical about their pattern magazines because I absolutely love them, a bit too much probably, I may have looked a bit of a loopy super fan. Anyway, she gave me a badge each for the girls and a couple of copies.

The girls swooned over the childrens copy choosing items to wear. I traced off the long sleeved sweatshirt called 'raw edge detail'. I had some strawberry sweatshirt fabric to use. Originally I had bought it for myself but the strawbs were much bigger than I thought and it just wasn't right for a grown up. It is however perfect for a 9 year old.

...and a 7 year old.

This is the sort of useful sewing that I like to make for us to wear everyday, with mixed weather options of course! 

Jo xxx

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Cosmic Sweater

We are on our two week Easter holiday from school so there will be creative childcare and dog sitting, juggling work with a spot of knitting mixed in from me. Thank you for your kind words about our new dog - all is well so far...

I have been well and truly treated. The lovely people at Wool and the Gang have sent me a kit to try out. You may well know them as a knitting kit company for chunky sweaters but I am embarking on a summer knit in the smoothest cotton called the cosmic sweater.

The kits are the height of luxury. When the box arrived, I said, 'Well, Hello!' right back to it, I was that excited to be personally addressed.

Out came the parcel for the Cosmic sweater, an intermediate knit in 100% peruvian cotton. The kit contained 5 balls of cotton, a pair of rosewood needles, a sewing up needle, a little label and of course the pattern. 

It is a large shape and size with a drapey loose texture. The picture below is the back piece. It knits up really quickly on the beautifully smooth needles which are so light with really pointy ends for an easy pick up.

I am knitting it to wear this summer on our holiday in the south of France. I reckon I am going to throw it over my red stripy handmade swimsuit - she says nonchalantly.

We go at the end of May so a couple of months of knitting 
should do it comfortably without straining my still vulnerable knitting shoulder which I am trying to save for gardening at this time of year.

Tricot Heureux! Happy Knitting. Jo xxxx

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Shambolic Jumper Blanket + Puppy

This post has it all: stash busting, recycling, repurposing, sewing, a little narrative and a really darn cute puppy at the end! Read on...

Lets's not pretend I didn't know they were there...all of the jumpers both bloke and I have shrunk in the washing machine over the last nine years hiding behind the sofa. I still get a pang in my heart when I see that red one I knit for Big Sis from Sublime yarn. I also get a sense of the passing of time when I see the brown cardigan Bloke bought for me from Boden after I had given birth to our first child nine years ago and the others...well, just washing mishaps that happen from time to time.

I pulled the sofas out on Monday and hoovered underneath them both and faced this shambolic pile. I started to imagine overlooking some pieces together to make a blanket. 

First job was to cut some equal sized squares out of the whole lot and then be ruthless and throw the bits away - I know I could have made little embroidered brooches and things but meh, I am just trying to empty some spaces.

When joined together, it looked more handsome than I expected. I nearly saved it for myself but then...

He really liked it. This is Bruce our new dog. I can't tell you how excited our girls are. Me, I am feeling a little more pragmatic about it. I loved having a spaniel when I was a girl but then my mum did all the work. I have to face the reality that I am now that woman in our household! Anyway I am sure I will get into the groove of having another being to look after amongst the chaos. So I will leave you with a gallery of puppy photos to schmooze over.

Chat Monday, I have the feeling we will be having a pretty busy 
weekend ahead of us.

Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sampler Quilt Block 2 - Star

Onto Block number two of Meg's quilt which was really easy to put together. I went to my patchwork box and found all sorts of left over shapes from previous quilts. I had six diamonds left over with the papers in so I made up two more and got hand stitching to make an eight pointed star for block 2.

After making a 13 x 13" block as my first square I have had a rethink and decided to scale down to 12 x 12 " because I can use some block tutorials online which come out at that size. I can still use the tiny squares one but I will need to press it, cut it down and straighten it up evenly. 

I'm enjoying exploring old techniques and searching for new ones both on the machine and for hand sewing.

Jo xxx

Sunday, 2 April 2017


This blog is about what I make but I think you may have come to realise we are a pretty resourceful family all round. Today I want to share with you my bloke's project over the winter which has started to come alive now that it is Spring.

This is actually the end product. A tidy stack of wood to burn on the log burner at the cabin. 

There was a little investment present wise for this project when I bought him this helmet for his birthday last August and he purchased some new tools. 

He went on a hedge laying course to learn how to cut the base of the wood but leave enough for the sap to rise in the Spring to form new growth. Three places were booked: one for him, his brother and his dad. He was very excited about it in the run up to the weekend course - he even washed his boiler suit!

This is the hedge before laying. It had grown into a full row of Hazel, Holly and Field Maple trees over the years but really needed to be a hedge to stop it restricting traffic on the road. 
Plenty to practise his new skill on.

You can only lay a hedge between October and February because of nesting birds and of course encouraging the wood to regrow. Here it is after many weekends of work, taking a photo in the same spot as the one above.

So I am no longer a weekend hedge widow. Work has stopped and he is pleased to see the Hazel is throwing out new shoots. Hooray!

We can all talk knitting here but my bloke has talked hedge for a long time now. I don't mind, I like someone with a passion for 'their' thing, what ever it might be.

The light can now get through to the base so look at these lovely cowslips - a childhood favourite of mine.

and whats more but a few more of these little lambs, this one is still damp.

Thanks for a hedge! Jo xxx