Thursday, 27 October 2011

Maths headache

Do all those technology companies not realise how much pain and anguish they put me through when they release a new product? Well do they? No, I think not. So, Kindle has released its new eReader, which is smaller (but not thinner) than the last, and so I need to give myself maths brain ache to come up with a new pattern. Because my attempts to persuade everyone I know to buy one so I can use it to make a new sleeve prototype have failed thus far - so I'm relying on the dimensions given on the site, my old pattern for the larger size version and my trusty calculator.

Might pop into John Lewis tomorrow and see if I can subtley have a go at popping a Kindle into a prototype...

A bit of a Kindle maths headache

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Has time speeded up or something?

Or maybe I just got a bit side tracked. I have 2 stalls coming up at Old Spitalfields Market. It's all very exciting; one of my favourite markets in London as it's full of vintage stuff, chi-chi bits and pieces, oddities and curiosities and has such a great vibe. And I've only just really clocked how much I need to do. There has been waaay too much "sitting on the sofa watching rubbish" action recently, so time to rev up the old Bernina.

I got a place through Designers Makers, a lovely organisation that helps freelance craft folk peddle their wares, meet the public and get ahead. The Designers Makers market runs every third Saturday of the month, and I have 19 November and 17 December booked.

Best get a wiggle on then. And then you can come and visit my stall and fill me in on what I've been missing on telly ;-)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Knitting and Stitching Show

See how behind I am? It feels like I went to this most awesome of shows about a million years ago, and yet I'm only just getting round to writing about it.

Of course, it wasn't that long ago at all; I went on a girl date to Alexandra Palace with Mrs Becci Augur, stitchin' queen and goddess of all things groovy. She gently eased me through the day as I was suffering a little from an overhang due to green cocktails the night before (see my previous post).

First up, I have to say it was massively inspiring. I discovered new textile artists that have such an architectural quality to their work I am constantly googling them to discover more - I want to be just like them when I grow up. And I made one of my all-time favourite purchases ever.

Where to start? OK ok, I'm starting with the purchase :-) LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY:

Chinese Miao Pleated Apron Skirt

This, my friends, is a Chinese Miao pleated apron skirt. And I'm totally in love with it. I saw it at the beginning of our way around the show and had a great chat with Sally Chang, the stall holder, about all her wares. She sells indigio based fabrics and items from Southern China and Thailand and is just the most lovely woman.

Becci and I wandered off and starting looking at all the other stalls but after about 20 mins I had a sudden rush to the head and knew I had to go back to Sally and make that skirt my own. I am going to get it framed because there is no way I can wear it and retain its pleated glory. (However, I suspect it is going to cost a small fortume to frame, so shall start saving up pronto.)

Chinese Miao Pleated Apron Skirt

How gorgeous? It is hand-dyed, includes lovely batiq elements and small squares of bright red and maroon that have been hand-sewn on to create those lovely flashes of colour.

Chinese Miao Pleated Apron Skirt

And the thing about Sally, not only did she sell me the skirt, she followed up with a lovely letter and print out about my skirt, the traditions behind it, where it was made and so on, which in my book, is the most fabulous customer service. Brilliant.

Then I discovered Chunghie Lee. Wowzers. Becci and I had a difference of opinion on this one as I just totally fell in love with all her work. Photos weren't allowed but I sneaked a few because I was beside myself with desire, and typically, karma (and my slightly DT hands due to overhang) delivered completely blurry photos. Not a single one in focus. So here are some examples from around the internets:

Images from:

I love the architectural quality and delicate nature of the structures. The use of a single colour is so powerful and allows the construction of the piece to be as important as anything else. Totally jaw dropping. I shall be having a think about how I can bring some small element of this into my work.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Double denim

Recently, and for some inexplicable reason, we have been indulging in a spot of fancy dress at the office. Every so often someone will declare, "This week is Happy Cowboys versus Fame!" and thus it comes to pass. (Evidence of my cowboy outfit below. I know. Sorry.)

Today is *Fame* vs *happy cowboy* at friday towers ...

One such call was for 'Double Denim' to celebrate/despair when our dear and esteemed colleague Eliot decided to leave us for a sabbatical. "Double denim. Hmmm." I thought to myself. And naturellement, I came upon the idea to make a denim tie.

I found a simple and most excellent pattern over at The Purl Bee and set to it. Of course, their ties are shown in lovely Liberty print and are all sensible and fabulous, whereas I needed to patchwork together a whole heap of denim first so that I could cut the pattern pieces on the cross.

And after all that patchworking, hand sewing this puppy together required fingers of steel and well-girded loins. But I got there in the end; and with a nice bit of jaunty red and white stripey cotton shirting for the lining I think it has worked out rather well.

Denim tie

Denim tie

Denim tie

Denim tie

And we attempted a photo to prove double denimness, but alas, the glory of the green cocktail was so all consuming that we completely forgot to show my bottom half, which was thoroughly clad in blue denim. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Double Denim in action (although you can't see the second bit of denim because showing the cocktail was more important)

A bit of a before and after

Wowzers, it has been a long time since I've been at the old blog. Sorry for that - life got a bit busy all of a sudden and I got a bit down about the old sewing. Not for any particular reason, but just needed a bit of time away to rest and recuperate I think.

In the meantime, I have been trying to sort out our little flat and have given it the mother of all spring cleans. I'd like to think I'm early rather than late! One job that has been glaring at me for months was to finally get round to transforming an old chair we found on the street. Essentially it's in good nick, but was covered in paint and clearly ready for the bin men to take away.

Chair transformation - Before

The HusWife kindly brought it back home as we needed a chair for the communal desk in the lounge and it seemed to fit the bill. There it has languished unloved for many months. Now it's not really my sort of chair - a bit fussy and oh, that awful orangey varnished wood. But free is free, right? Finally got round to sanding, painting and sanding and painting and now we have a lovely new chair.

Chair transformation - After

We think it looks like it's wearing knee socks. The HusWife now thinks of it as a dead pervy chair. He really should get out more.

Chair transformation - After

We also had an old cushion hanging around that was disgusting, so I recovered it using some lovely linen effect material Mum gave me ages ago. A little Japanese cotton for the envelope binding on the back and voila. The whole project cost nothing as we already had the paint and material. Aces.

Chair transformation - After

Cushion detail

I used to do quite a lot of Frankenstein chair experiments in another life, but got all swayed with the sewing machine. Finishing this project made me want to dig out some of the bits and pieces I made before. For what it's worth, here they are. Please forgive the highly dubious styling and bad focus:

Found chair No.4 reborn poncy photo

Found chair No.2 reborn