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167 posts categorized "Crafty"

04 December 2009

Abigail*Ryan Homewares

Our favourite jewellista Abigail Percy and her beau Ryan Bell of Chick Stud Earrings fame have been working day and night (at least according to their Facebook status updates) on their new range of home textiles, based on Abigail’s stunning botanical drawings.

Their beautiful and unusual teatowels and scatter cushions are made from 100% cotton or 100% Pure Irish Linen, hand printed in the UK and hand-sewn in the duo’s Belfast design studio.


I love the colours they’ve used and they’ve done a fantastic job with the styling the images as well. Definitely thinking about getting some of these in the shop after Christmas. In the meantime they’re available online from Abigail*Ryan.

26 November 2009

Giving Thanks


Just heading into the Thanksgiving weekend here – always a slightly strange for us as Thanksgiving still means diddley squat to us Brits (though the Minx is starting to get more enthusiastic about it); we don’t have family here to spend it with; and most of our friends are with their families.

I’ve been feeling strangely lacking in mojo over the last few days, so I’m going to spend to take a few days off, relax, exercise, sleep, knit and sort out some stuff.  I’ll be back on Monday, but in the meantime if anyone wants to stop by and tell me what your best methods are for the regaining of mojo, I’m all ears. 

In the meantime here’s a sneak peak of crochet project number three.  And for all my lovely peeps in the US, happy Thanksgiving!

(I’ve been knitting up a storm over the last month or so, just not photographed everything. And I was a bit worried that this was turning into a knitting blog behind my back. But I’ll have a knitting update soon, I promise I bet you can’t wait.)

25 November 2009

Knitting for the Home – Part I

Flicking through some recent magazines, it seems that texture is making its way back into interiors with a vengeance.

I love the way that knitted or crocheted items add softness, comfort and intricate detail to a space. I seem to spend far more time than is good for me on Ravelry nowadays and here are some of the patterns and projects I’ve been ogling recently. If only I had more knitting time. (If you spent less time pissing about on Ravelry, you’d have more time to knit.  Just saying. – Ed )

Extreme Home Knitting

From left to right starting at top left

- Crochet your own placemats.  Pattern here.

- Knit your own covers for paper lampshades. Info Interweave Knits.

- Knit a cute little teapot cosy (available as a free Ravelry download here).

- The pattern for the Jacquard cushion can be found in Glamour Knits At Home. Photo credit here.

- Blue and white Delft Pillow by Eunny Jang, also in Interweave Knits.

- The crocheted and starched lampshade is inspired by Marcel Wanders Crochet Chair.  The Ravelry project page is here, unfortunately there is no pattern.  I ADORE this project.

- Another paper lampshade cover from Interweave Knits.

A close-up of the crocheted lampshade above

- Cute and practical little coasters by the Purl Bee.

- The pattern for the Matryoschka cushion is available for download from elf518’s Etsy shop.

- The pattern for the Puff Daddy stool is available here. Also featured by Apartment Therapy.

- Pattern for this fabulously striking ‘Metafourmosis’ Afghan/wallhanging is here. Do it in colours to complement your decor.

- Another paper lampshade cover from Interweave Knits.

A really cute little ‘gingham’ dishcloth.  The Ravelry project page is here. Again there is no pattern available, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure it out.

- Striking retro potholders made based on this pattern. Photo credit and inspiration here.

- Lampshade from crocheted hexagons, which will apparently be published in a book called ‘Crochet Revolution’. I can’t find details on Amazon, though the Ravelry page is here.

- The pattern for this bathmat is from Knit 2 TogetherUK peeps, do you remember Tracey Ullman? She moved to the US and started writing knitting books.

- Minimalist crocheted lampshade from the same people who brought you the Puff Daddy footstool.

- If you’re feeling really bored, why not crochet your own lacy curtains? The pattern is here.

- The MOST amazing knitted bookcover.  Again there is no pattern, but go to the Ravelry project page here, marvel at the close-up pictures and see all the work involved.





06 November 2009

Wrist Worms

Aren’t these great?  I so need a pair as I get cold sitting at my glass desk (who on earth thought a glass desk would be a good idea?) in winter.  And yes, I should be able to crochet some myself but can’t find a pattern this cute anywhere.




Wrist Worms by Sandra Juto are available here

15 October 2009

Psst! Guess Who?

martha pics 

Yep, it’s our very favourite diabolical domestic goddess Martha Stewart – looking pretty good we have to admit - in her Mad Men era modelling days. From Tory Burch {via the Bubb Report}.


12 October 2009

Pearly Kings and Queens

One of the main things that really drew my eye to the Lulu Guinness spread was the magnificent Pearly Queen of Dalston  wallhanging above the banquette. I love everything about it – its wit, the fact that it’s made of buttons, its quintessential Englishness, the colours – and it seemed like just that sort of thing an expat Londoner would hang over her Seattle sofa.

I even vaguely thought about commissioning one, but it soon became clear from sculptor Ann Carrington’s website that it would be way out of my league – it’s apparently a fairly important piece, purchased by the Rothschild collection in honour of the Queen’s 80th birthday, and doesn’t belong to Lulu Guinness at all, it merely served as the inspiration for her limited edition ‘Stamp Jayne’ handbag (shown to the left of the banquette picture and seemingly no longer available through her shop).

Here it is in more detail



And here are some other works by the artist, both made using thousands of tiny pearl buttons.



I wonder, though, if American readers are getting the cultural reference?

Pearly Kings and Queens are the heads of certain families in London’s East End, descended I think from Victorian costermongers (street sellers?) who decorate their black clothes with thousands of tiny buttons and do tons of work for charity.



Pearlykingandqueen   postcard21

If you like the look then these cushions here are pretty special.


01 October 2009

Get Wood

For the longest time I avoided wooden accessories in the home – they always seemed a bit too rustic and  ‘knit your own yogurt’ and you know that I’m really not that sort of a girl.

But recently wood seems to have become a little more sleek, sophisticated and playful, while still retaining that delightful tactile smoothness and warmth.

Check out this gorgeous coffee table from Habitat in the UK


These cute owls (here we go again) from UK designer Matt PughPIC5a

This beautiful walnut cheese board/server from SavedFromAFire  (made from offcuts of wood saved from furniture making, which would otherwise be thrown away or burnt).



These stacking rings from Little Sapling Toys who make the most fantastic wooden kids accessories


These wooden iPhone cases from Vers (though I’m not sure how practical pulling your phone in and out would be).



and finally, the wooden accessory that revived wood for me, my Jean Pelle candleholder


24 September 2009

3-D Glasses Dress

So, if I were 20 years younger, 20cms taller and er, a heck of a lot thinner, I would SO be buying this dress (and not just for Halloween either)


Made to order by Nicole Lindner. Available here.

Blanket Coverage


Delicious eye candy via Decor8 yesterday of the home of photographer Danielle Thompson. More photos of the rest of her home are on her blog, but I was particularly drawn to the pictures of her sofa, which sort of have the vibe I’m aiming at – a smooth modern sofa accessorised with a vibrant granny blanket. And her warm contemporary pastel colour scheme is so wonderful.



I also really like the arrangement she’s created above the sofa. I’m a bit over very frilly frames like these, but love the idea of collecting frames and framing fabrics.

If you’re looking for a easier crochet blanket, check out this simple but beautiful one from Casapinka.  I love its clean modern vibe, crochet can so often look overwrought and fussy.



16 September 2009

Go Love Your Sofa - Babette

So here are more details of the present I’m planning to make for the new sofa.

This project has been percolating for a long time, ever since my friend Heidi from Peacock Modern showed me the pattern at the beginning of this year. It’s the reason I’ve been teaching myself to crochet and desperately trying to finish my existing big projects (I’m still ploughing through both the blanket and the lace wrap). And I’ve spent the whole summer collecting Koigu KPM sock yarn – picking skeins up cheaply on Ravelry and scouring and stalking online stores for sales and special offers.


Buying everything online has made for mistakes (which I’ve sold on) but also some happy accidents - ‘ugly’ colours such as mustard and burnt orange –which I would never probably have picked up, but which, in the spirit of Noro, I’ve kept on and which I’m hoping will give the whole thing more interest and depth.

Here’s what I’ve collected so far.



And here’s what they’re going to be.

Babette. How I love this funky modern take on the classic granny square blanket. How I’m looking forward to playing with my own colours to create a harmonious whole. How terrified I am of actually crocheting the thing and sewing it together.



 If you too are foolish enough to want to embark on this, the pattern is here, there is a helpful Babette group on Ravelry, and a Flickr gallery full of Babette inspiration.

15 September 2009

Go Love Your Room – KenzieKate’s Nursery

I’m always a bit jealous of fabulous nurseries.  For the first year or so of her life when we were in our London flat the Minx slept in with all the mirrormirror stock in our second bedroom – not exactly conducive to beautiful decorating schemes.  Not that she really noticed if the truth be told.

This baby nursery is truly stunning – not many people could pull off a zingy green, yellow, turquoise and red colour scheme but Kenzie Kate of wedding blog ‘Something Old, Something New’ does an incredible job.


I think it’s a great idea to do a bright scheme like this, as in my experience most little children are not very fond of pastels and will let you know that in no uncertain terms as soon as they can.  The Minx can be very vociferous on the subject of her dislike for baby pink (though hot pinks and fuchsias are another matter entirely). So this scheme should last for some time.


The thing that really pulls this together are all the little homemade touches – the gorgeous mobile, the soft toys, the homemade quilt and art work.  I would give my eye teeth to be that talented a craftsperson.


All details can be found here.  Found via the gorgeous Helen of Countryside Wedding – ex mirrormirror staffer and soon to be yummy mummy herself.

10 September 2009

Engraved Upon My Heart


Like everyone else in the world, I do like a good Moleskine notebook.  Portland-based company Engrave Your Book  produces beautiful reuseable leather Moleskine covers, laser engraved with artwork by up-and-coming artists and graphic designers, including Amy Ruppel.

Aren’t these just fabulous? I might try and get some of these in the shop. Currently available here.






Amy Ruppel for Engrave Your Book 

09 September 2009

Adventures in Knitting - Knitting the Ocean

The only thing I have really been able to achieve this summer is a ton of knitting.  I was inspired by all the fabulous patterns on Ravelry to embark on a cardigan for myself, the first time I’ve knitted an adult-sized cardigan or sweater since I was at college (more years ago than I care to remember).


This Featherweight Cardigan was a really quick, simple and pleasurable knit, particularly as it was the first thing I’ve made out of yarn dyed by a Seattle-based woman who goes by the name of Sundara.  The woman is a colour genius and I’ve recently been bankrupting the family buying up her limited edition yarns, but the colours, oh the colours are a-maz-ing.  I will blog about her separately as she really is an artist who deserves to be seen by knitters and non-knitters alike.

But I digress. This cardigan was made in Sundara’s soft and sumptuous Fingering Silky Merino in a limited edition colourway ‘Macedonia’ and, with its variegation from dark to light blue with little flecks of pale ‘foam’ on top, it was just knitting up the sea. The photos really don’t do justice to the depth of the blue and how it glows in the sunlight.  Full project details on Ravelry as usual.



These pics were taken by my friend Kassandra at Seattle’s Golden Gardens beach on the last beach day before school started. Our kids are rioting gently somewhere a few yards out of shot.  

While we’re on the subject of rebooting and reclaiming one’s life after the baby years, looking at these pictures I think I also really need to start reclaiming my body – it seems a bit much to be carrying ‘baby weight’ when the baby is nearly five.

I’ve been hampered in my efforts to exercise recently by lack of time and crippling plantar fasciitis -an excruciating pain at the bottom of my foot, which I think has been indirectly caused by twisting my ankle very badly a couple of years ago.  At the moment the best exercise for me appears to be yoga, so I’m committing to doing a bit of yoga (either a class or a video) every day for the rest of September.  I used to do quite a bit of yoga before the Minx was born, and it’s horrible to realise how inflexible I’ve become. 

13 August 2009

Little Bo Peep

Funnily enough one of the things I miss most about England is sheep.  There is something so very quintessentially English and homey and comforting about a windswept hillside dotted with fluffy white blobs – a sight I don’t think I’ve ever seen in America, the land of the cow.

Lamb here is an exotic meat - tucked into a corner of the supermarket at the end of the huge counters displaying every possible cut of beef, chicken and pork, and viewed with some suspicion.  It’s rarely on the menu in restaurants, I’ve never had it served by American friends in their homes, and a waiter once told me that I may not like a lamb dish because the lamb taste might be ‘too strong’.

Anyway, I like this story, because it is so very English, so very charming and so very sheepy.  Vegetarians may be aghast to note that not only did sheepbreeder Louise Fairburn make her wedding dress from the fleece of her Lincoln Longwool sheep, but she served lamb from her flock to her guests.




Full article here, {via Rose-Kim Knits}

07 August 2009

Wise Guys


We all loved the Mibo Beetle stickers I blogged about earlier this year (and no, I haven’t yet done anything to personalise the car) and today I found out about another cool idea from the Mibo website – downloadable, print-at-homeable OWLS.

The Minx and I will be making these on Monday after we return from camping.  That is if our fingers can move for the chilblains and frostbite – after last week’s record high temperatures, temps have plummeted this week and the weather forecast for the weekend is awful. I will be attempting to blog my camping experiences from my new iPhone (the silver lining to my car being broken into on Tuesday).

Speaking of iPhones, has anyone get any favourite apps they want to share?  Either for me or the Minx? If you have a pre-schooler about the house you could do much worse that to download Smacktalk. 

06 August 2009

River Mirrors

I’m sorry and I’m enjoying life in the US more than I ever thought I would, but from a design perspective I still wish I was living in the UK, there’s so much fabulous stuff coming out of there.

A case in point are these spectacular ‘River Mirrors’ by British artist and designer Caryn Moberly {via The Art of C}.




Each River Mirror is created from beautiful pieces of burred elm and resemble water flowing between the natural banks of a river.  Caryn uses the natural undulating shape of the tree to form the ‘river banks’, and so no two mirrors are the same.

I find the choice of wood particularly poignant – as a very young child I lived close to a stand of magnificent elm trees and remember feeling quite overwhelmed by their height and majesty.  It pains me somewhat that, due to Dutch Elm Disease, it is unlikely that my daughter will ever see a mature elm tree in all its glory.

Adventures in Knitting – Blocking and Stitching

I’ve just finished knitting a cardigan for me – the first garment I’ve knitted for myself in about twenty years – of which more anon when I’ve taken some pictures.

In the meantime, though. I decided that I really ought to focus more on finishing off my Interminable Blanket, as I’m getting so bored of having it hanging around.  I’ve been gently knitting up squares in the background – I’ve decided to make it 5x4 squares instead of the original 4x4 in order to make it a bit more practical – and recently decided to bite the bullet and start sewing them together.

The first order of business is blocking – washing the squares and pinning them out to stretch them. I wish I’d done this a bit sooner, as it is so inspiring when a screwed up bundle like this,


turns into lovely smooth even flat squares like these


I then took my courage in both hands and started sewing.  Sewing and me have developed a hate/hate relationship over the years, so I was by no means convinced that I’d be able to come up with a neat enough seam, given that the seams on this project are pretty visible.  But after several false starts and lots of undoing and redoing I’ve come up with some seams that look pretty good to me.

Here’s the first row of five blocks all sewn together


And here’s a close up of the stitching


I’m hoping that the edges will unfurl again as I sew the strips of blocks together and add the lace edging, though the whole thing will probably need another blocking when it’s done.

All the way through this I’ve not been sure that I’d be able to sew it together well which I realise now has been somewhat demotivating. The knowledge that I can actually do it AND make it look good AND that the process isn’t even painful has made me set to like a thing possessed.  I’m hoping to have this finished this month, only about five and a half years after I started it.  I do wish I liked the colour more though.

05 August 2009

August’s Yarn Soup

Somebody on Ravelry suggested putting all the yarn for your work-in progress projects for the month into a separate bowl or basket. This month I’m attempting to finish my Interminable Blanket (I’ve started sewing it up, yippee!) and my Lacy Wrap and for my quick and easy portable knitting I’m treating myself to a new pair of orange socks.


04 August 2009

Lampshade Couture – It’s Competition Time!


Dawn Bassett of Seattle-based LiT Shades makes bespoke lampshades for any room in the house, using designer fabrics such as Marimekko, or custom letterpress printing.

Lit lamps

Until 7th August Dawn is running a competition on her blog where you can win your very own custom couture lampshade. All you need to do is send in a picture of a lamp in need of a revamp and Dawn will pick one to crown with its own special bespoke shade.

I mention this by way of a public service announcement because I love my readers, though I don’t particularly want any of you to enter as I’ve just entered my own sadly neglected Ebay lucite lamp. Anyway, if you must, full details of how to enter are here


A lamp in need of a vamp

03 August 2009

Urban Craft Uprising – the Reckoning

We went, we saw, we bought.  AND there was air-conditioning.  What more could you ask for?

UCU has grown up.  It still has a pleasantly friendly and chaotic vibe, but there was so much more stuff that was actually worth buying.  Still a lot of felt though.


Here are a few images of the Uprising. I’ll talk about some of the individual stallholders over the course of the week.








01 August 2009

Urban Craft Uprising



Just a quick reminder for Seattle-based peeps that the first ever summer Urban Craft Uprising is taking place tomorrow and Sunday at the Seattle Center.

I got to a UCU a couple of years back when I first arrived in Seattle and found it to be a charming mishmash of the homespun, the bizarre and the fabulous. Included in the fabulous this time round will be Dave Sheely Designs and the Cakespy herself.


31 July 2009

Adventures in Knitting - Stripes

One thing I have been able to do a lot of recently is knit. 

Part of the reason for my recent knitting obsession is that it is the perfect hobby to combine with looking after a four year old.  The Minx has got to the stage where I can take her to the wading pool or playground without having to be too attentive, but I still need something to stop myself internally combusting through boredom.  Knitting is perfect as, unlike a book, I can keep one eye out for the Minx, chat with friends and pick it up and put it down when I need to.

Here are a couple of small finished projects, and I’m also just finishing up a cardigan, the first garment I’ve knitted for myself since I was at college, of which more anon.

My Gaia Shoulder Hug.

The lace wrap I began in Portland is still less than half way completed, mostly because it requires a lot of focused attention and is not the right sort of knitting for playground duty. But in the meantime I have finished my Noro wrap.  I realise that this might not be to everyone’s taste, but I like it a lot.  Not that I’ve had any chance to wear it in the recent Seattle heatwave.




Note to self:  Next time you pose pretentiously for photos it might be a good idea to wear a bit of makeup.

Secondly I knit a quick pair of yoga socks for my friend Laurie who is training to be a yoga teacher.  These were quick and fast and cute and I may need to make some for myself, if I ever manage to go to yoga regularly that is.



Project details as ever on my Ravelry page.  Do come and be my friend.

15 July 2009

Adventures in Knitting – Designing?

Just saving these pics of a metallic Alexander Wang cardigan (available here from Shopbop) as inspiration.

I love it, and its top down raglan construction is not dissimilar to a cardigan I’m currently working on.  I’m wondering if I could adapt my current pattern to become something like this, maybe knit with this silk and stainless steel yarn.  Of course I could knit it out of spun gold and it still wouldn’t reach the $495 price tag for the original.

longcardigan longcardigan2

25 June 2009

Adventures in Knitting - Noro

Just a bit of a knitting catch up. As you've probably noticed I'm not afraid of a bit of colour, so I've become endlessly fascinated by Noro self-striping yarns from Japan. The colour changes are beautiful as they're spun into the yarn, not just dyed into it and it's mesmerising to watch the individual plies within the yarn change colour as the next colour comes through. 

The colour combinations are also very unusual and generally contain a couple of 'ugly' colours, but somehow they seem to work incredibly well together - with the ugly colours somehow making the colour scheme seem more sophisticated.

Firstly, I finished my crochet project. I'm really pleased with it and it has had loads of compliments on the few occasions I've been able to wear it (Seattle has been ridiculously hot and sunny these last few weeks).  I think I can now officially say I can crochet, which is good as I have a ludicrously large crochet project in mind.

IMG_1137 IMG_1134


I obviously hadn't got the Noro completely out of my system when I finished the scarf because I immediately cast on a Gaia shawl in Noro Kureyon Sock.  I'm enjoying knitting my lace wrap but it's taking forever and is not very portable/social, so I was looking out for a quick and easy very casual wrap that I could wear up on the deck on chilly evenings. This wrap is a lot of fun as the colour changes in the yarn dictate the pattern.


 This colourway  (180) is incredibly garish, but I'm sort of loving it - I think it will work really well with jeans and a purple tee-shirt for a sort of 'punk grandma' look.

All details as before on my Ravelry page.

11 June 2009

Hey cute chick!


Remember Abigail? Well, this jewellery designer extraordinaire happens to have bagged herself a boyfriend who, not only designs handbags, but also, after some instruction from Abigail, is designing jewellery as well. Ladies, would that we all had such a man about the house.

Check out all Ryan's bags and jewellery here. It's all great but I have absolutely fallen in love with these tiny chick ear studs. Something about the expression on their faces I think.


21 May 2009

Adventures in Knitting - Spring Things

My knitting seems to be following a springtime theme at the moment.

I managed to persuade the Minx that she'd like a little shrug in, horror of horrors, SPRING GREEN (and not her favourite colours of red or hot pink) by promising to embellish it with little pink beads.  If I'd been left to my own devices I would probably have used lilac, aqua or white beads, or more probably still, saved myself a whole lot of trouble and not used any beads at all.


Most importantly though, the Minx herself seems delighted with the result and may actually deign to wear it. I'm not convinced a modelling career beckons though.

IMG_0982 IMG_0984


I'm also working on a crochet scarf for me. I like this as it looks fiendishly difficult but is actually pretty basic (it has to be as it's only the second thing I've ever crotcheted).


The beauty mostly comes from the Noro Silk Garden yarn.  I love watching the yarn unfold in all its different colours and textures. It sort of makes me want to take up spinning and dyeing in all my copious free time (ha ha!).


Apologies for the light posting recently.  Life has been a getting in the way a bit. For those readers who consider the approach of summer to be an excuse for excessive drinking rather than excessive crocheting, may I point you in the direction of my latest post on Shelterrific, where I attempt to educate the US in the ways of Pimms.

08 May 2009

Adventures in Knitting - the Blue Period

I'm still on my massive knitting jag, though I was amazed to find that for a couple of days after the accident my head was so all over the place that I found even that difficult.

Here's what I've been working on recently.


IMG_0905Firstly I managed to turn the yarn barf into this. You can't see very well, but I beaded the ends instead of adding a fringe. I'm absolutely delighted with it, and have been wearing it often












Secondly, I knitted these on the way to and from Portland. It was a revelation to me that I could knit in the car, as reading anything usually makes me very nauseous. I'm really pleased with these as well, though the Husband does start singing 'Gotta pick a pocket or two' every time I wear them. Ha ha. NOT.



Finally I'm working on a wrap/shawl thingy since I'm now very addicted to both Sea Silk and lace knitting after the Yarn Barf Scarf and Megan's Garter.  It's the first time I've knitted anything this lacy but I'm really enjoying it.  It's knitting up quite slowly as it's pretty dense, but my aim is to get it finished for wearing on the deck on a summer's evening while sipping margaritas.  Apparently lace looks awful until it's pressed out and 'blocked' at the end of the process. The little white threads you see running through are 'lifelines' made of dental floss.  If I make a horrible mistake I just have to rip back to the closest lifeline and not right back to the beginning of the work (and let me tell you, if you drop a stitch with Sea Silk all hell breaks lose pretty quickly.)



More details, including patterns etc., are, as usual on my Ravelry page.

22 April 2009

Secret Knitting- Part Deux

I'm sorry this week has all been about knitting and photo collages - still getting back in the groove after spring break.

I was a bit concerned that three knitted dishcloths was a somewhat mean present for Megan (though it seems from your comments that I needn't have worried) so I took up the tiny bit of blue Sea Silk I have left from the scarf I'm knitting and decided to knit her a lacy garter as well.


Actually this was a very selfish present as I've been dying to try out knitting lace and this seemed like the perfect size of project, and I could knit with Sea Silk all day, I love it so.  Here's what I came up with.  I found the pattern on Ravelry of course, and it seemed very appropriate since it's called 'Eloping'.


I also managed to knit a little Easter gift for the Minx, who is very fond of a soft-boiled egg for breakfast. I was going to make three - one for each member of the family - but the other two are going to have to wait until next year. All details on my Ravelry page. Come and be my friend.


Oh by the way, I've decided I LOVE lace knitting and have already embarked upon a lace project for ME.  





16 April 2009

Secret Knitting Part One - Doctor Who Dishcloths

I mentioned last week that I'd been knitting secrets and now I can finally reveal all.

As you may know, Megan of Not Martha fame is eloping to Vegas with her fiance' Scott (check out her wedding blog here) and last Friday we attended a little soiree in their honour.



I decided to knit them some Doctor Who dishcloths as I know Megan is a fan.  The colour scheme was chosen to coordinate with their spatulas. The patterns for the Dalek and Tardis dishcloths were found on Ravelry of course, though I had to chart up the Cyberman myself using this fabulous software and a basic chart I found.  All details on my Ravelry page.


A propos of not very much I do like close up photos of knitting.  Don't you?  (More secret knitting to be revealed after I've picked up the Minx and planted some sweet peas. I know you hardly contain yourselves. )

09 April 2009


One thing I did manage to finish last  weekend were the Minx's socks.  I love how cute they make her feet look.  There's something very charming about four-year old cankles (unlike my own).



Of course temperatures went up to 70 degrees over the weekend and the beginning of the week and I thought she wouldn't actually be able to wear them before she grew out of them, but we're back now to a business-as-usual, grey, overcast, dull, rainy Seattle spring, so she might get a couple of months wear out of them.

Apologies for the lack of bloggery in recent days. I've been doing STUFF - painting a fence, building a flower bed, wrestling with a gigantic inbox and knitting some secrets.  I have no idea how people not only do stuff round the house but also manage to document it.

We're also heading for an impromptu trip to Portland over the weekend, so I'll be back in the middle of next week. Don't miss me too much. And if you have any recommendations for fabulous shops, restaurants and things to do leave them in the comments  and I will love you forever.

31 March 2009

My New Toy

The vintage Dutch yarn swift I bought off Ebay arrived yesterday and it is so much more beautiful than I hoped - a beautifully carved and lovingly constructed work of art.  I love it to bits.

Here it is posing with some new yarn.  Ravelry is going to bankrupt us.

Why is all the equipment and stuff associated with knitting just so gorgeous?  It used to be so much easier to resist in the days of utilitarian metal needles and scratchy acrylic yarn.


30 March 2009

Making An Easter Tree

People have been wondering what an Easter tree actually is.  I think it's originally a Northern European tradition (Swedish? German?) but is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.  We never had one when I was a child but I've made one every year since the Minx was born.


They're very easy to do.  Just put some florists' oasis/foam in a bucket; stick in some branches, (either flowering tree branches or some twisted willow as I've used here); cover the top with sphagnum moss; decorate with little wooden pastel-painted eggs and ornaments, and finish off with peculiar pompoms.


I found our little decorations, by Gisela Graham, a few years ago on Ebay, but I see that for US peeps Williams Sonoma is getting in on the act with some pretty wooden eggs, which are even on sale if you want to snap some up. If you were one of the crazy people who doesn't like my pompoms, I sup-pose some pastel satin bows would do at a pinch.


25 March 2009

The Pompoms from the Black Lagoon - Another Adventure in Felt


507-1_mediumI don't know quite how I got to this page on Ravelry but when I saw this pattern for peculiar Easter tree decorations, I knew I had to give them a try.










I used a yarn called DROPS Eskimo which is a super bulky (super chunky) 100% wool yarn from Norway and simply wound the yarn round mine and the Minx's hands to create not very prepossessing bundles of yarn, tied in the middle with cotton thread. 


Six minutes each in the Wonderful Wonder Washer transformed them into furry alien pompom creatures.

Here they are drying out and basking in the sunshine.


The Husband thinks they look like these


I, on the other hand, am trying to decide whether they're really really cool, or really, really naff.

I'm tending towards the former, but can see that from a certain perspective they might look like very chewed and disgusting dog toys.

Are these cool or crap?

16 March 2009

More Adventures in Knitting

IMG_0028 Just another quick update before this turns into a knitting blog. Since I have no other projects which are remotely close to completion I promise no more knitting for some time.

The pain-in-the-ass socks are finished.  And I don't even like them very much.  They're very baggy and saggy - a combination of knitting a size too big (the pattern didn't have instructions for Small Adult); very soft cashmere/silk yarn and a pattern with no real ribbing to it.  But they're nice enough for wandering round the house and GORGEOUS in bed.



Apologies for the extremely crap pictures. These were the last pics taken with the point and shoot. I've got my old camera back now - it's unrepaired because the repair would have cost too much, we've decided to go for a camera upgrade instead! Though this will have to wait due to this month's surprise $2,000 car repair bill.



The yarn barf is turning into this - a scarf knitted from silk and seaweed. I'm enjoying this as the pattern is piss easy and it knits up quickly as it's mostly made of holes. The yarn itself is utterly gorgeous, has beautiful drape and sheen and the colour is amazing, imagine silk dipped in blue-black ink.  It does seem ridiculous to be knitting this though, when it was snowing at the weekend and the sky is leaden grey.

We did manage a brief afternoon of sunshine yesterday though so I rushed out to take photos.



12 March 2009

Yarn Barf

This is what I am working on today.


Why oh why do people insist on selling me yarn in skeins? I am hopeless with them. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous though.

In other news, I have finished a project.  Pics to follow when it has finished blocking.  And I have just purchased a vintage yarnwinder thingamajig on Ebay at vast expense.

09 March 2009

Adventures in Crochet

Holly at Decor8 has been writing a fabulous series about unleashing your creativity, which has made me decide that this is the year I learn to crochet.

I have a couple of super scary projects I'm contemplating (to be discussed when they've percolated a bit more) but have told myself that I can't buy the yarn for anything big until I've finished the incredibly tedious blanket of doom. In the meantime I'm attempting a few simple projects, so I can see what this crocheting lark is all about and whether it really is for me.


My first project was a cover for the orchid the Minx gave me for Valentines Day.  I adapted Erika Knight's bottle covers from Simple Crochet and used some string I found in our useful drawer and a length of fine chartreuse ribbon I found at the bottom of my knitting bag which I must have bought for some project I can no longer remember.


It wasn't difficult, though string and ribbon are not the most forgiving of media, and has encouraged me to persevere, though the Husband did take one look at the finished article and said, "Isn't that all a bit macrame'?" and I couldn't really disagree. 

Here's some crochet that actually looks good. Found via the Style Files and available here if you can read Dutch, these are all crocheted in polyester so are good for outdoors.  I'd love some for the deck.



More details in my Ravelry notebook.  Come and find me there.


02 March 2009

Yet Another Awesome Video

As someone who is in the process of knitting thousands of interminable small stitches for my blanket, I do hope this video was made by some sort of camera trickery, and not by someone knitting every frame.

25 February 2009

Fabulous Lampshades - Insatiable Studios

The wonderful lampshades in the house featured below are handmade by Seattle-based designer Jill Smith, owner of Insatiable Studios.

insatiable lamps

The shades are all meticulously crafted using a papier-mâché process and then decorated with found papers. Her lampshades are available to buy online and her work also adorns several commercial spaces, such as PCC and the Dahlia Lounge here in Seattle and Nordstroms in Chicago.

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Two of my favourite places to go - the Dahlia Lounge and PCC 

I really want one for the lucite lamp base I found on Ebay last year which is currently adorned by a VERY dull Ikea lampshade.  It's going to have to wait a bit though as I've just had a nasty bill for camera repairs.


This is NOT a fabulous lampshade

Adventures in Knitting

I've recently, and very belatedly, signed up to the very fabulous knitting site Ravelry, which is not only an incredibly useful resource, it is also very inspirational. As a result I've been knitting up a storm in recent weeks, though I'm sure this will soon pass, cursed as I am with butterfly-mindedness.

But in the spirit of making knitting while the sun shines here's what I've been working on recently.

Firstly, the socks from hell continue to drive me nuts, though I've managed to get as far as the heel on the second sock, so I should be finished soon. The pattern is not difficult but it is complicated, and so not compatible with watching telly, which is when I usually knit.  I blame Jon Stewart entirely.

I also accidentally started knitting some socks for the Minx. I took her to the playground last week, forgot to take my existing sock knitting and so had to pop into the local yarn shop so that I didn't explode with boredom. I've been promising to make the Minx a pair of socks for a long time and she has become sweetly fascinated by the process.  I wonder if you can guess who chose the (very fluffy and splitty) yarn? 


Finally I've been sorting through all the knitting stuff I brought over from the UK and am thinking about reviving the blanket I started knitting for the Minx before she was born.  I was astonished to find that I'd actually completed eleven out of sixteen interminable squares, knit entirely in tiny stocking stitch and I really feel like I ought to continue it. Unfortunately I'm not so sure I like the colour very much any more (why on earth did I choose BEIGE?) but I will persevere, despite it being desperately boring to knit. It's probably the project I should turn to when I'm ogling Jon Stewart.


I am determined to have only three 'Works In Progress' on the go at any one time.  So please yell if I show you something else before I've finished any of these. 

All details of yarn etc. are in my Ravelry notebook.  My user name is 'mirrormirror'. Please come and find me on there.

03 February 2009

Further Adventures in Felt - the wonderful Wonder Washer

My new toy arrived at the weekend and I got busy felting my little bowls.

And it's fab. I threw my knitted bowls in (sorry, forgot to take before pics) added some hot water from the tap and a tiny bit of Woolite and then turned on my electric bucket. About fifteen minutes later (twenty for the larger bowl) this is what came out.


The felt is thicker and hairier than the hand felted bowl and they're a more straight-sided in shape for some reason but I can't believe how quick and easy it all was.  The Wonder Washer gives you precise control over the amount of water you use, the temperature of the water (I topped up from the kettle for the larger bowl); and the amount of time (you can check as often as you want). When they're done all you need to do is rinse and leave to dry.  And all the fibres and lint stay in the bucket, and won't clog up your washing machine.

And for those of you who don't have a basement full of junk in which to store it, the base unit fits neatly inside the bucket, so it doesn't even take up much space.


{my new BFF} 

I am so enamoured that I even put it on the 'gentle' setting and did all the handwashing that has been languishing at the bottom of the laundry basket for months. My next adventure in felt will, I think,  be the Aran sweater.

02 February 2009

Jean Pelle

Speaking of Jean Pelle, I absolutely love her stunning wooden candle holders (also in the roomset below).  Made from hand-turned Douglas fir and 24 carat gold leaf, they're treated with a flame retardant and then finished to a smooth polish.

Available from her Etsy shop, at $115 a pop. (She also has smaller, darker, not gilded, cheaper versions, but obviously Mrs Expensive Tastes here doesn't like those ones so much).



Making a Chandelier?

One of my resolutions this year is to finally get the house sorted out.  The major remodeling of the basement and kitchens that we planned will have to wait because of George Bush and Gordon Brown, but we ought to at least be able to get the house PAINTED.  I mean, we've only been here two years.

Two things which really need to go are the two brass light fittings in the main downstairs living room.  I presume they're originals in the house and so must date from about 1912.  This doesn't stop them looking like strange brass jelly fish hanging from the ceiling.


As a Brit I've been taught to be respectful of original features, but I really can't cope with these and the Husband loathes them. I mean look.


I would obviously like to spend several thousand dollars on two groovy light fittings but George Bush put the kibosh on those as well (he's got SO much on his conscience). And then I saw this in Ready Made magazine.



Designed by Jean Pelle, they're made from three light fittings, round glass bulbs and these gorgeous handblown 'bubble' balls from CB2.  All tied together with bits of string. I even have an electrical engineer (turned online advertising guru) for a Husband, so we shouldn't even get electrocuted.

My questions for you are as follows:

- Should I ditch the original fixtures?

- Where's the best place to sell the original fixtures?

- Will someone really pay MONEY for them?

- Am I really going to have the patience to put these together?

- Should I even bother?

- Are they going to look like expensive fixtures?

- Or just like a hopelessly homemade bundle of balls tied together with string?

Answers on a postcard please.

We'll be talking paint colours next. FINALLY, we're going to ditch the icky egg-yolk yellow.  Am beside myself with excitement. Some colour samples arrived in the post today.  I just have to paint them onto boards and then we can have a chat. 

29 January 2009

Two Awesome Videos

Miniature Knitting


{via Abigail Percy}

Fun in Bed


Video for Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie {via Uncle Beefy}


Feeling a teensy bit bored? Then why not pull out the photocopier paper and make yourself a hat.  Which is exactly what Japanese hairstylist Katsaya Kamo did for Chanel's Spring 2009 collection. I think this should be a Project Runway challenge. (Speaking of which, WHEN is it coming back?)

{More here} 




Ginkgo Sock

I'm knitting some more socks. This time a rather fiendish Ginkgo pattern again from Violet Green. The pattern isn't beyond me per se, it just requires ferocious concentration, and since I usually only knit in front of the TV, I can't tell you how many times I've had to undo this. 


Still it's coming along slowly, and I thought it looked good with our new 'button' box from Habitat.

My camera is very sick (broken LED screen, focusing issues, erratic pop up flash) and has been sent to the camera hospital to get a quote for repair (which I have a horrible feeling is going to be astronomical).  In the meantime I'm taking photos on my little point and click, which is not the same at all, particularly as I can't remember how to work it.  Oh I miss my camera so...

26 January 2009

Tees Made

il_fullxfull_43116530 il_fullxfull_49115488

il_430xN_44586933If your daughter is as obsessed with bright colour as mine is then I suggest taking a look at Little Overcoat on Etsy.

Made by a woman living on an island in Puget Sound, just a short boat trip from Seattle, these tees and dresses are patched together from vintage and recycled materials, with some new European prints added to the mix.

There are also some boys' designs and some women's tees and skirts which I am VERY tempted by.




22 January 2009

Adventures in Felt


Look, look, look!  I'm so proud of my little self.

Remember I knitted this last year?


Well the original green bowl was swiped by the Minx as a hat (though I may swipe it back again as she never wears it) so I knitted up a white one instead. And yesterday I finally plucked up the courage to have a go at felting it by hand.

Following instructions in the Alterknits - Felt book I put about three inches of very hot water in the sink, pulled on my washgloves, added a teensy bit of Woolite and then rubbed and scrunched the bowl together with a very old clean facecloth for friction.  And it took me about an hour.  Never, NEVER, again. I literally have a blister on one of my fingers.

But it does look good.  I've got a couple more bowls lined up all ready to go and have decided to treat myself to one of these little babies, which is essentially a motorised washing bucket, which comes highly recommended by experienced felters.  They're currently doing a great deal on Amazon and there are also some good deals on Ebay.

I'll let you know how I get on with the next couple of bowls.

11 January 2009

Felted Knitting Basket


Pic and make from the wonderful Kathryn Ivy

Isn't this just awesome?  In the spirit of a New Year's organising frenzy I'm on the lookout for a knitting basket - my yarn is currently artfully arranged in a large plastic carrier bag tucked by the side of the sofa and looks a right mess.

I really, really love the above, made by Kathryn Ivy from an old felted Aran sweater, using Martha Stewart's recipe. Am I honestly going to be able to make this though, given that I still haven't plucked up the courage to felt my little bowls?

26 November 2008

Felt Better

Speaking of felt, I can't wait to get my hands on this book - Alterknits Felt. How gorgeous do these projects look?


5019-ottoman 5999-coin-purse-figure

6296-wrap-front 6951-simple-zipper-bag

7179-pleated-cloche 8297-18_shibori-bag

I am of course the woman who has three little bowls all knitted up and ready to felt, but is entirely lacking in courage to do so.  So the chances of me making a felt footstool are probably fairly remote.

Pomegranate Princess

I saw these crazy cool crocheted wire thingies on Shelterrific and had to share them with you (and also with anyone who fancies buying me the silver hoop earrings).

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il_fullxfull_40806305  il_fullxfull_46448859


Yael is an industrial designer based in Israel who makes beautiful wire-crafted jewellery and homewares in her spare time, which she sells through her Etsy ship Yoola.  (Her profile is inspiring. Go read.) The 27th is the last day of her buy two-get-one-free offer just in case anyone fancies buying me a little silver, pink or orange pomegranate to go with the earrings.