Monday, 27 December 2010

A stitch in time: Reversible tote bag

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Back in September, I decided that my job was giving me no satisfaction whatsoever and that I needed to do a little learning to enrich my life more. And what better time to go 'back to school' than September?! A friend of mine, AM, had just finished a sewing class in one of my all time favourite shops in New York, Purl Soho. I didn't realise that they did sewing classes, I thought it was more of a 'stitch n' bitch' knitters helping hub, but it turns out they do much more than that. Anyways, she created this gorgeous reversible tote bag in just 3 Saturday classes, and I just had to take the class!

The class was called 'Beginning Machine Sewing I' and my class took place every Thursday night for 4 weeks, at the back of the shop. The hardest part of the course was deciding on the material I was going to use for the bag, Purl have so many fabrics to choose from, I was like a child in a sweet (candy) shop! Eventually the fabrics I choose were a brown heavyweight fabric (for the outer) and a lightweight material for the lining which was called Wild Thyme, Ecru Dots 249E by Carolyn Gavin for P&B Textiles. Unfortunately our laptop died so I lost all the photos of my bag's progress, but that just gave me the excuse to buy a small sewing machine (a Brother 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, CS-6000i) and make more bags! I've since made a mixture of one strap and two strap totes.

The fabrics for the other bags are a mixture from Purl Soho and Mood Fabrics. Mood is where the Project Runway contestants always go. I have to say that I was completely overwhelmed in there, there is just so much crammed in the 2 floors that I just had to get out as quick as I could. But you can find some great fabrics, especially for linings, at the City Quilter and for good heavyweight fabrics, Ikea, has a great selection and very reasonably priced.

I got this wonderful sewing bible from my husband for Christmas called The Sewing Book by Alison Smith (a fellow Brit as it turns out) I just couldn't wait to get stuck into a new project that I dragged my husband out of our cozy apartment, into the snow to go to Ikea to get some fabric! Well if we're going to be stuck in a blizzard, might as well be doing something productive, no? So watch this space to see some of the projects I'm trying to tackle.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Seasons Greetings!

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Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays or whatever you celebrate this season, and what better way to do it than with some talented designers.

In order of appearance (left - right):-
1st row: Adrian Johnson’s ‘Six Geese A-laying’; Darling Clementine's 'Candy Cane';
Tom Gauld's '4 calling birds' & Rob Ryan's G2 Christmas card.

2nd row: Jotto Seibold's 'Olive the other Reindeer'; Craig Ward's 'Season's Greetings'; Alison Carmichael's 'Baubles' & Christoph Neimann 'Let it Dough'.

3rd row: Yulia Brodskaya's bookcover for the 2009 Neiman Marcus 'The Christmas Book'; Kate Sutton's 'Robin'; Jessica Hische's '6 Geese are Laying' from her personal project & Frode Skaren's 'Opposites' Christmas card.

Have a great one everyone!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

My So Called Scarf

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Wow has it really been nearly 4 months since I've blogged? That is shameful...I hope now that work has calmed a bit and with the break coming up, that I will be able to rectify this. I have a ton of things I want to blog about so please bear with!

So I will begin with telling you about my new scarf. Recently I've just got back into knitting, and there has been one pattern that attempted several times but to no success. So after 5 years, I decided that now was the time to try it again, especially as last winter someone stole my gorgeously long and cosy scarf one bitter December evening.

I found the My So Called Scarf pattern on this blog while searching for a fun scarf to knit, and it turns out that the pattern originally came from a San Fransisco knitting shop called Imagiknit. They were giving the pattern away free with any purchase of the Manos del Uruguay wool. I was drawn by the interesting pattern and the gorgeous colours but I just couldn't knit it! It actually turned out to be a very simple pattern, and one that I very much enjoyed knitting.

The best thing about this scarf is that with each purchased skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn you will be helping a woman support her family. The hand-crafted and hand-dyed Fair Trade yarns are each signed by the woman who made your yarn and the village she comes from, so not only is it beautiful, but you are helping someone as well.

The original pattern was knitted in Wildflowers (113), however I decided to go for Bramble (114) as it was more autumnal and I bought mine from Purl Soho. Get the pattern here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.