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Friday, 14 October 2016

London Underground Victoria Line Moquette

On a recent buying trip I managed to secure a very small amount of original London Underground moquette, this is like gold dust, I've only ever seen used seats before but this one is absolutely pristine.  I was very excited when I spotted it.  Like my Welsh Tapestry, they just don't make it of quite the same quality any more and the patterns are timeless.

I may have spoken about my recent trip to Shetland before!  I needed a decent sized hand bag that could double as a useful tote and this is what I came up with for myself.   Being made of moquette it's robust but will stay looking good, just think of all those bums on tube seats over the years. it's basically a very intricate and well made carpet.  A roomy zip pocket to keep my purse, phone and keys safe, a couple of pockets for a small notebook and pen, tissues etc. leaving the main void of the bag free for knitting, shopping, stuff I picked up along the way. I had so many enquiries about this bag that I decided to make one more, the remaining fabric I have a few little jobs for.

I was up at 4am this morning delivering my first born to his coach for a college trip to Paris, so I've got a lot including putting this little gem on my Etsy shop

I improved on my prototype with a very slightly different shape and I tweaked the handles - I think was a bit over the top with double fixings, brass going through a layer of leather and two of moquette isn't going anywhere.

It will stand up on its own, loaded or not.

 I love the simplicity of the pattern...

and the red, white and blue is a timeless colour combination.

Adventures in Dressmaking

I saw this made by Oonaballoona and fancied one,
Simplicity 8014,  the waisted longer one in denim.

Lots of women looked good in this dress.

I've no idea why I thought this would look good in this fabric, I look like an elephant in very good Japanese fabric.  It's essentially done, just needs the buttonholes and hemming but I'm going to let it sit for a while and eventually inspiration is sure to strike.

On a positive note, Merchant & Mills never fail me.
I bought the Top 64 pattern from Ray Stitch - a fab shop - ages ago and had a test run in some orange check brushed flannel which I've worn to death.  I made this one up in some coated linen that I bought a few weeks ago hoping that if I washed it the coating would fade and it did just what I expected/wanted.  I made this up the week before my Shetland trip and It's been constantly worn.  I feel very industrious in it, not sure if that's down to the fabric or the pockets or the shape.  I've also made the Merchant & Mills  Trapeze Dress  and their Dress Shirt a few times

On the same fabric buying trip I bought this really thick teal coloured Indian cotton with the intention of making a table cloth, I bought plenty so I thought I'd try another Top 64 although I haven't got around to the tablecloth yet.  This again was whipped up for Shetland and has been worn lots.  I see many more in my future, they are so comfy to wear because not only is it a raglan sleeve but the sleeve is made of two shoulder shaped pieces, a really clever piece of engineering. 

I also made a double faced wool coat for my trip but I think I'm going to take it apart and tweak it, more of that later.  My last super-fast make for Wool Week was the 2 Hour Top a free pattern from Laura at Sew Different - I've also got my eye on this one that she made up from Sewing Bee. 
The 2 Hour Top  is a free pattern but there is a donation button set at £2 which I clicked because it's a very useful site, but you don't have to.  I made this raglan for the first time a couple of months ago from a yellow checked tablecloth and it's proved to be very useful so I made another from some lightweight pure linen bought on that same very successful buying trip.  I think I originally made it a smidge longer than the printed pattern but I forgot so I wore it over a plain long sleeve top which just happened to have the same curved hem, my original also had a straight hem, it's really easy to tweak.

My fastest no-sew make of all.  Queenie was shivering in the cold so I cut the sleeve off a charity shop Harrods cashmere sweater - this is real quality, it's 1960's - and just guessed at a couple of arm holes, she's worn it a bit and since this photo I've rounded off the arms and chopped a couple of inches off the length.   The hilarious thing is it's got a roll neck and she takes no notice of it at all, it's like she's always had a wardrobe of cashmere sweater for lounging around the house in.  I see many more of these in her future.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Shetland Wool Week - Day 9

Sunday, the day before we left, we decided to get ahead on our packing and weight just so we'd sleep that night.  After much brainstorming, the vets close to us was closed, we went to the gym for a weigh in, both under by 5kg so we could breathe again.

Off to Shetland Museum, although we'd been in here most days we'd either been in the hub or in the cafe.  We saved Sunday for a good look at the textiles archive, what a treat.

Some fantastic Fair Isle, photos for colour ideas.

This childs sweater was from 1913.

The hat/kep from 1900's - 1910's, don't they both look fab, timeless.

Of course the lace was amazing.

Onto a proper Shetland Sunday Tea, wow.
It was packed with locals and visitors and no-one in the room ever lifted their head without being offered another drink, the ladies worked very hard, 
a swan on top and paddling hell for leather underneath.

We met lots of friends old and new and made a few while we were there.
I wish I could go there every week, it would really lift the spirits.

A brilliant display of the Guilds work and some very interesting mittens for which I will have to spin the opposite way to the norm, watch this space.

 Monday - day 10 - was going home day we had a walk around Lerwick
 just to find Jimmy Perez' house.

I think I need one of these to remind me of such joyous times.
I had the most wonderful trip, thank you Shetland, I'll be back.

Shetland Wool Week - Day 8

Saturday 1st October was the Makers' Market in Lerwick.
It was jam packed with lovely people and work.  

Outi Kater had a stand and I bought one of her mitten patterns that I'd been eyeing up, 
I have visions of wearing them on a string.

In the afternoon we went over to Burra to see Mike at Red Houss, some fabulous silver and pretty impressive and tidy tools.

Then over to Weisdale to Bonhoga Gallery to see their current exhibition, Black and White.
This is a brilliant paper cut by Gillian Bridle, Shetland Seagull, 
unfortunately it was already sold, I'd have loved it.

Wake 1881 by Helen Robertson, tiny men are caught in the lace.

Finally, almost, we went to see Anne Cleeves launch her new book, Cold Earth.
It was a very entertaining evening and we ended up in the bar with a bottle of Kahlua and some many of our new knitting buddies.

Shetland Wool Week - Day 6 & Day 7

What no photos?
Wool week Thursday was a little slower in pace, we went again to the fab restaurant in the museum and met up with a Shetland friend the multi talented Helen - she taught three different workshops for Wool Week, Wire Knitting, Felting and Enamelling.  A lovely talk on Shetland Tweed in the afternoon followed by a very long evening lecture entitled Baltic knitting Night.  Finnish native
Outi Kater was a treat to listen to, hers was one of the classes I wish I'd taken after seeing what came from it, maybe next year.

On day 7, Friday, we spent some time in the hub and then went on to Hoswick to take a wood whittling class - the only class we did - with the very patient  Cecil Tait.

Draw out your design and then cut out on the scroll saw.

Then whittle away.

I my block of wood just to see the difference, this was Horse Chestnut.

I volunteered my Holland for photos, I could have cried when I realised that people were going to ram their fat pins through it,  they were so big I though they'd just lie them on, but I held it together.

The finished article, I've worn mine loads.  My pin was mahogany and I was aiming for something as slim as the Knitpro one that I wear all the time.  This is something that I had never tried before but will certainly be returning to.

After the class we popped in to see the colourful Nielanell and may have made a few purchases and possibly something for my christmas stocking, I like to cut out the middle man and it makes him so much happier when he doesn't have to think of anything!

Shetland Wool Week - Day 5

On Wool Week Wednesday we took the ferry to Yell to see the weaving at Global Yell and had a nose at Shona's studio in the Shetland Gallery.  I feel I'm an accomplished RORO driver now but it did feel like the tea cups at Disney coming in to dock and swinging around without being able to see the horizon.

From Yell we took another ferry to Unst, which was the reason for our trip, we wanted to see the famous Unst lace knitting, we were not disappointed.  How these ladies could spin so fine and knit such intricate designs without the aid of our modern day equipment/facilities I'll never know.

Two more ferries to get home and we went to the Bod to hear the famous Anne Sinclair talk on,
  Fair Isle Makes its Mark, wow, I just want to live in Fair Isle the knitwear and the place.
A quick pitstop back at the hub and then in for a very long lecture, 
'In search of Lace, Tweed and Haps.
It was a very long day, fuelled by ginger biscuits and cake.

Shetland Wool Week - Day 4

 On Wool Week Tuesday we took a trip to Sandness to the Jamieson's factory,  I'd love a summer job  tiding up here and I could just be paid in wool.  We had a look around the factory and chatted to the workers and other visitors, amazing what you can find out standing by the used cone pigeon holes.

Shetland is like no other place on earth, you think that you are indeed driving to the end of the earth, the road is getting narrower, the only signs of life are the sheep and then out of nowhere pops a factory and a village.

I managed a little bit of shopping, 
oiled 2.1 Shetland to knit Miss Belle a yoked cardi of her own design.

The big cone is lambswool 3/?, (it means something to weavers).

Needles to say I wound this all in to balls to fit in my bag.

Some sample/waste pieces, I might make them into snoods for my children or sweaters for my dogs, depends who's nicest to me!

We also paid a visit to Laurence Odie Knitwear in Hoswick and then back to Lerwick for a talk, 
 ''Did Shetlanders Knit Their Own Furniture?'  I haven't had so much fun since 'In The Loop' 2015 in Glasgow when a male crocheter  - he pronounced it like the musical crotchet - told the mostly female audience that men needed a safe space to craft all the male makers I know seem to be okay.  I think the gist of the talk was, why is there only knitwear heritage/makers/publications in Shetland when people must have used tools and made things from wood, leather, iron.  I would conclude that in this very rare instance women's work has outdone men's work and I didn't need a lecture to work this out.

We went on to the very enjoyable, 'An Evening with Islesburgh Spinning and Knitting Group'.  I've never seen such a diverse display of wheels and obviously fabulous work.

These ladies are queuing for cake, what none of them realised was that there was a near identical table of cake behind them.  I have never queued for cake!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Shetland Wool Weeeeeeek! - Day 3 Fair Isle

The view from my seat in the eight seater plane. 
I'm not the best flyer and so was a bit dubious but this was brilliant, we flew at 1000ft and it was like being in the Harry Potter flying car, it's the only way I want to fly from now on.

Up up and away.

Fair Isle is a little rock surrounded by miles and miles of water, 
as we approached I couldn't believe that this was it, 
I just couldn't comprehend its size and position in the world both geographically and knitterly.

Coming in to land.

View from top of the lighthouse.


We were taken by Matti up to the lighthouse for a tour with Stewart - the stories he can tell, then fabulous tea and cake in the lighthouse B&B, welcomed in to the museum by Anne, the low down on being a Fair Isle knitter/designer today by Matti in her studio, the joys of machine knitting from Hollie in her studio, the most fabulous lunch with the famous Tommy and then off to the bird observatory to meet the Fair Isle knitters and Fisherman's Kep ladies.

The weather was perfect.

View from Matti's studio.

Pretty as a picture.

Everywhere we turned it was just stunning.

I was very impressed by the drying speed.

Coming back in to Tingwall, an airport like no other, until we went to Fair Isle of course.

Even the clouds were pretty.

Best seat in the house.

In the evening we had a talk by Ella Gordon and did a great deal of sweater watching/covetting/photographing.  I loved this colour combo and discussed its full provenance with its maker,  later I looked up the pattern on Ravelry and this one is top of the project page
I knew I had good taste. 

This was one of those very rare days that really don't come along very often, everything went right for us, the weather was perfect - bad weather would have meant the trip was off, the plane ride was a completely new experience, there were some hilarious moments, we were honoured to be welcomed to a place that not many people - compared to the rest of the world - get to visit, we met such lovely, kind, creative, industrious, witty people and learned so much.  We came away enthused to knit, cook, explore, create, I was just blown away by the whole experience.
I will never forget this day as long as I live.