The Grand Reveal: Christmas 2013

This year I only bought one Christmas present – and it was a bit of an afterthought anyway. The one bought present was a pack of 6 Le Corbusier notecards, for my dad to send me letters with, purchased from an awesome little shop in Abergavenny called FortySix. Incidentally, they also had a big book of treehouses from Phaidon, but I resisted the temptation and turned my energies towards my own gingerbread treehouse instead.

Here’s what I made for people:

  • A dress
  • Several ties
  • Two bobble hats (the pompom was added later to one…)
  • Change purses
  • A reversible bow-tie
  • A pair of socks
  • A shawl/collar thing
  • A skirt
  • A long scarf
  • Coffee cup sleeves

And here are some photos of the above:

I’m looking forward to being able to make some stuff for myself, finally! And get a move on turning some of the stacks of Liberty fabric I’ve accumulated this year into clothes, especially now that the Spring/Summer 2014 collection of prints has now launched. Luckily, I don’t truly covet any of the ones I’ve seen – so far!

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Gingerbread treehouse: part 2 – in which, liquorice

Now that I’ve sufficiently calmed down (actually, I’m still way too over-excited, but no matter) about my lovely little gingerbread treehouse, I can introduce it properly to you – liquorice ladders and all.

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The ladders are made from liquorice glued together with icing. They’re a bit bendy, but I hope that the air will harden them eventually (but not too much – I want them to be edible after Christmas!).

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Stained glass windows are a bit of a family gingerbread tradition. The treehouse has them on every side except the floor. I’m especially pleased with how well some of the larger windows turned out. Next year I might try for something a bit more modern, with big glazed sections. Or maybe just another treehouse!

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Minus 16

I think my dad could do with a hat for Christmas. My aunt emailed last night to tell me it was -16C in Toronto the other day, so I’ll be sure to bring lots of jumpers when I fly over next week. And this hat for my dad.

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On the weekend I was in Abergavenny, and bought two balls of Adriafil Stella Jacq yarn at the fabulous Wool Croft. Last night I started knitting one of them into a hat.

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The pattern is just k2, p2 ribbing, knitted in the round (80 sts to a round). After about 8 inches I started to decrease; when I was down to around 10 sts I looped my crochet hook through and pulled it taught. Done!

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Isn’t the jumper awesome?! I wore it in to work today as it was Christmas Jumper Day. But actually, I’d prefer to wear it always. It was my uncle’s when he was little in the 1950s.

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The bizarre thing is that when I got on the Tube this evening to come home, a woman got on at the same stop and sat next to me. She pulled out her knitting; I pulled out mine. She was making a striped dress for her baby daughter; I was making a striped hat for my dad. Half an hour later, she got off at the same stop as me; then caught the same bus… and then got off at the same bus stop! I managed to shake her off in the labyrinthine aisles of the supermarket, where she had also headed: at any rate, she didn’t make it all the way home with me.IMG_8819

More pillow talk

It seems like all I’m making at the moment is cushion covers. This isn’t actually true – I’m mostly making Christmas presents; but I’m not planning on inadvertently giving out spoilers with only 23 days left to go. As much as I am REALLY REALLY desperate ┬áto let the various cats out of their respective bags right now.

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Cushion covers using Ikea Tastrup fabric and 45cm zippers

On Saturday evening, after a productive day spent making secret things, I settled down to making some cushion covers. I’ve previously used a slip-in design, but this time went for one with a zipper. I watched this amusing tutorial (the accent reminds me a little bit of a terrible film I watched the last ten minutes of the other day – I think it was called ‘Alligator Alley’. At any rate, it was a bunch of Louisiana-ian people using broom handles and molotov cocktails to fend off uncles and aunts who’d turned into large alligators with attractive glowing purple mouths) and then set to, using the simply delightful fabric my mum picked up from Ikea a few months ago.

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There are different coloured buttons on each side – one pillow is green/pink; the other is orange/blue.

I didn’t want to waste too much fabric on seam allowances, so one side is a fold instead of a seam. Nothing is quite square, but it doesn’t seem to matter too much. Mostly I’m just pleased to have found the fabric, which I lost almost immediately when it first came into my clutches. In fact it was exactly where it should have been. Months of peering under beds and getting up close and personal with the house’s resident dust bunnies to find it were in vain!

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The cushions match the rug in my garret too, so everything is all rather jaunty now. And Rune is happy to have yet more things to rub his cat-grubbiness and utter adorableness off onto.

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The Purse-uit of Happiness

I can’t stop myself from squealing with joy at these little beauties I’ve been making this weekend for Christmas presents. It’s going to be hard to part with them, I love them so!

Four purses

First stop was a vague recollection of having seen a tutorial somewhere for how to draft your own pattern for a clip frame purse. I wasn’t able to find this again, so ad-libbed. In the end I tried three different methods, each better than the one before.

First up was a scrap of my beloved ‘Elevenses’ Liberty tana lawn, with some organic cotton from Ray Stitch and an 8.5cm copper-effect Prym clip frame from John Lewis.

The incredibly unhelpful instructions that came with the clip frame instructed one to ‘cut out pattern’ without actually giving any hints as to how best to draft one, other than an outline of the frame drawn on the paper. I did mine using the top edge of the frame (plus seam allowance) as a guide, then widened out for the underneath; so essentially a wonky circle-like shape. Only problem with this is that the final thing lies very flat – it would have been better to have made the top arc wider than the frame.

Purse Number 1:

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I learned my lesson; and for the next purse (using some fabulous little square frames from Ray Stitch), I made the top wider. I also resolved to use thread the colour of the lining to sew on the frame!

Here’s a photo of the negative of my pattern piece:

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And here’s Purse Number 2:

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The fabric is hard-to-come-by Lizzy House ‘Constellation’ in dark blue; the lining is a Liberty tana lawn called ‘Kerry’s Flock’. It’s all rather scrumptious.

My final improvement to the pattern was to give less width at the hinge and a cute little tote-bag style flat bottom.

Here’s the pattern piece:

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And here’s Purse Number 3:

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I actually feel like I might expire through too much cuteness. I bought the fabric (Heather Ross’s ‘Clothes Lines’ for Kokka – see the owl making off with someone’s pants?!) today at Ray Stitch, and feel like it should be used for at least everything in my life. Unfortunately, I only got 25cm of it, so will have to ration it! The lining is from a tiny scrap of ‘Farhad’ Liberty tana lawn from the Spring/Summer 2013 range. So far I’ve used the two 50cm pieces of this fabric I bought in June to make a knitting needle case, a Wiksten tank top, and this.

Following the same pattern, I’ve also made this purse, with Lizzy House Constellations range ‘Supernova’ and lined with the other colour of Liberty’s ‘Farhad’:

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The dachshund who came to tea

I came home early today from the office because I have my annual bout of snivelling dribbling ghastly flu.

Thankfully, I had found this pattern on Pinterest the other night – dachshund sewing pattern by hersheyismybaby on Etsy – so there was plenty to keep me occupied between cups of camomile tea, naps and nose-blowing.

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Fabric is Liberty tana lawn ‘Elevenses’ bought from http://www.fabricsgalore.co.uk

Only problem with the pattern is it doesn’t tell you how big to do the seam allowances. I went for around 5mm, judging against the photo-tutoral instructions that come with the pattern.

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I haven’t bothered with the embroidered nose because the (gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous) fabric is busy enough already. I bought about 4 metres of this fabric a few months back; and this is at least the third project it’s featured in. Next I want to make a Datura blouse by Deer and Doe using it.

Anyway photos of my dachsie, whose name I think should be Frognal:

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And finally, Frognal wouldn’t be a real dog unless he’d done battle with Rune:

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