Sunday, 4 August 2013

Pop Up Shop

Well, I've been busy preparing for the Show Of Hands pop up shop in Whitstable. 
Hiroko, Karen, Zoe and myself have been playing shop this week. A welcome change from my solitary potting.

The weather has been sweltering and the Oyster Festival's been on too, so our little town has been packed with visitors. 

Here are some of the new rings I've been working on. High fired unglazed porcelain, a little wonky but quite charming. They've been selling well.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

sicily trip

We've just got back from a fantastic trip to Sicily. What a great place! We fluked an amazing apartment in the Old Town Kalsa district of Palermo. Apparently it's where Horatio Nelson used to come to meet Lady Hamilton when in Palermo. You can see a picture of it from the outside below. That's our front door at the bottom left, then up to the 2nd floor for views from the enormous windows of the city and the sea and Mount Pellegrino. 

Having been conquered by just about everyone from the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Normans, and the Spanish, Palermo is an amazing mix of culture and religion that feeds into the architectural styles, the food and the art. Modern day Sicilians are very proud of their heritage and have a great sense of community, yet are incredibly hospitable to visitors and outsiders. We were taken out for drinks and a tour of the historical quarter by the Palermo family we rented our apartment from. 

This was our apartment. The Noble Old Suite. Decrepit grandeur I think it was described as! Marble, chandeliers and gilt mirrors everywhere. Frescoes peeling off revealing even older frescoes. Multiple jesuses in the bathroom. It was a job to drag ourselves away every day!

But we did, and wandered the winding streets, piazzas and markets. We negotiated the bus for a day trip to Mondello. Should have packed a bikini! We felt like overdressed tourists! But what a beautiful beach! Another day we took the train to Cefalu and explored the steep narrow streets and the Duomo.

Many gelati later and we are back in freezing old England and I've come down with a horrible cold. Ho hum!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

a fairisle baby cardi

This is the third version of this Steps To Stranded fairisle pattern I've made, (another  here). This one is for my friend Julie's baby, due very soon. And if he or she is anything like big sister, there'll be very blond fluffy duckling hair and beautifully delicate features. I thought these bright colours would look perfect.

I used Millamia soft merino yarn for the main colour, and some teal sock yarn and cream Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for the fairisle yoke. I realised too late that I missed two rows from the fairisle pattern but I don't think it matters.

The pattern uses 2.75mm needles and lace weight yarn, but I used 3.25mm and 4 ply instead. The 3 - 6 month size has come out slightly larger; more like 6 - 9 months.

I'm liking this version so much that I'm itching to make another for Betty in the same colours.

Monday, 6 May 2013

hands free baby love

Betty is rarely seen without a baby about her, so she was most pleased with her new baby carrier. Hands free baby enjoyment! 

 The pattern is a made up one but is very much like the Oliver and S baby carrier pattern from the Little Things to Sew book. I saw a version of this on the lovely Albert and the Lion blog and figured out my version from the photos.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

egg cups

Some nice yolky egg cups heading down to Frank.

Monday, 11 March 2013

burda 9503 #3

Version number 3 of this pattern completed. (The other two here and here). Rather than buttoned cuffs this one has the simpler sleeves. So much quicker to do. I added some elastic in the cuffs. I still have no idea what I'm doing on the button placket... I can't understand the pattern or the diagram. It's not right but it'll do!

The fabric I got from a discount stall at the knitting and stitching show. All it says on the selvedge is Great Flower Designs 40's by 40's superfine cotton lawn.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

stylish dress book 'B' in Nani Iro

After coming across this pattern again and again on flickr and sewing sites I finally got hold of the pattern book it features in and made myself one. It's pattern B from Stylish Dress Book. A loose blouse with gathering around the neck. The sleeves are in two pieces with gathering at the middle and an elasticated cuff. I assumed the book would be in Japanese like other ones I have, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was in English.  That saved a lot of head scratching and poring over a translation sheet. Still, with these Japanese sewing books you have to remember to add seam allowances and when tracing out the pattern for the lower sleeve, remember to add an extra 10cm to the width for the gathering. 

I bought this fabric last year and was waiting for the right project. It's Peaceful Cooing by Nani Iro and it's a double gauze (two pieces of gauze like fabric invisibly stitched together). It's very soft and warm... would make a beautiful quilt. 

I'm sure I'll be making this pattern again and again (and many others from the book). Next time though, I'll make the next size up (size 12) as it's a little tight round the shoulders, and I'll extend the sleeves two or three inches. 

The first bit of sun we've seen in weeks today. Still freezing on the beach, so a very brief photo shoot! I surreptitiously snapped off some beautiful greengage blossom on our walk and brought it back to the house. Spring is here!

Friday, 1 February 2013

a jacket for Nancy Boy

In a previous post I wrote about the cardigan I was knitting for the birth of my friend's imminent baby girl. I was swapping it for some timber he had going spare. They had picked out the name Nancy for her and had gathered a pile of lovely clothes and nursery things. Well, a healthy bouncing baby was born, but shock of shocks it was a boy! I wonder how often that happens?! The green and pink cardi was just not quite right, so I made this lovely kimono-style jacket instead.

The pattern is called Temari and is from the Scrumptious Baby Collection book by Fyberspates. Lots of other lovely patterns in there to knit too. The yarn is Austermann Merino 60.

It took them a couple of weeks to come up with the name Eben. He's ever so sweet and incredibly good natured.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

a cathartic start to 2013

A workshop clear out involving a hammer is a good way to start the year. I had some disastrous firings  just before Christmas and it was depressing to see the evidence sat there in front of me. Nothing like the satisfying tinkle of porcelain shards to clear the head!

Why my glazes came out so terribly I'm still not sure.

Any ceramic people reading this please help... I was expecting the following glaze to be white/transparent. Why did it come out brown?

1260 degrees centigrade, 30 min soak, oxidation

Potash Feldspar   34
Talc   22
Whiting   12
China Clay   15
Quartz   16

another burda liberty dress

Such a good pattern this one (Burda 9503). I just finished this second version. The first can be found here. The fabric is some Liberty stretch cotton that I bought from the amazing Fabrics Galore shop. It's a little thicker than the Tana Lawn and stretches across the grain. If you ignore the fact that I sewed the sleeves on to the wrong sides it's a pretty good job.