Professional Finishing fun at Liberty

Professional finishing techniques is the workshop that I teach the most often and although it is always good fun there are rarely any photo opportunities unless you want to see a lovely example of mattress-stitched squares. But yesterday at Liberty, with a select group of only 4, the opportunity finally came. Here is Carol who was worried about the light levels.
One of the other ladies was visiting from Japan and while she did not speak very much English, the common language of knitting prevailed and I think she really enjoyed herself. We agreed that she is super brave as none of us would ever dare to go on a knitting workshops we were in Japan!
Rather than a picture of the knitting, I took a pic of the 4 of them as we had had such a lovely day. Here is Jill, Claire, Fumiko and Carol. Thanks for a fantastic Saturday at the most special place to knit in the world!
Happy knitting.

Cushions, Skirts and Steeking!

At this time of year my workshop schedule is really busy so I have been hoarding pictures of the beautiful finished things for a few weeks. I have visited Black Sheep Wools for the first time; it won’t be the last! It is Fantastic. A wonderful workshop room with top notch sewing machines, tons of space and endless tea, coffee and cake. We were making cushions and here they are:



Sadly, I left having spent a brilliant day with the 5 ladies, sure that I would remember whose cushion was whose and have now forgotten :(



























Having been so rubbish on that occasion, I actually made notes on my phone for my skirt workshop at Guthrie and Ghani on Friday. Fabric envy is rife on any workshop I do here because Lauren has such a yummy range. I inevitably end up wanting the fabric someone has chosen. This time it was Nicky’s. While I didn’t buy the same fabric, I did succumb to some mustard jersey to make another Coco dress.


And everyone had fabric envy of Lucy’s wool and cotton tweed. A great choice for autumn.








Then there was Rachel who was channelling Orla Kielyesque stems and Sarah who had set her heart on the Tula Pink fabric before she even arrived!








Knitting wise we had fun at The Knitting Parlour doing magic loop fairisle and some steeking. Here is Karynne chopping into her knitting and Penny with a before and after shot.
After all that I am going to do some sewing today, maybe make the mustard dress, maybe not…
Happy sewing!

The last-minute week

As a person who works to the last minute of every deadline, I’m quite good at not addressing things which are coming up. So last week when the kids went back to school there were ‘suddenly’ lots of things I had to get done very quickly. It’s like there was a blackout on any calendar events after 2nd September.

So I turned the calendar over from August to September late on 1st and realised that it was my friend’s son’s first birthday on the third. That was about how the week went then. I was winding wool for my fairisle workshop late the night before, ordering school lunches about an hour before the deadline and so on.


A few lovely bits of fairisle from the workshop in Solihull. We used Rowan Fine Tweed which I love.

Another last minute job was to make something to wear for Lauren’s book launch party at Guthrie and Ghani last night. I don’t go to parties much these days so I never know what to wear and tend to make something that I think will be just right for the occasion. I bought a great book of Japanese dress patterns  from here and have made the dress on the front cover twice. You do have to trace off the patterns which is a bit of a bind but worth it as the patterns are so unusual.

I bought the fabric for this version from Guthrie and Ghani and it’s a really light handkerchief cotton in a grey/green shade. The pattern has 5 large pleats on the front yoke which I turned into 15 smaller pin tucks which show on the right side and turned out really well. This is a bit of a rubbish photo from when we got home but I thought it best to capture it while I remembered rather than waiting for daylight!


The party was really good. Stuart from the Sewing Bee was there which made it extra fun and I met Tilly and had chance to tell her how much I love her Coco dress pattern.

Lauren’s book is a brilliant mix of projects from wearable garments to homewares and is choc full of beautiful images, fabrics and ideas.

We also managed to sneak a mojito in at Selfridges on the way!

Skirts and dresses

Last weekend I taught 2 days of A-line skirt workshops, one at Guthrie and Ghani and one at Liberty. As ever I loved how everyone’s skirts turned out differently just due to their fabric choice and whether they planned their skirt to sit on their hips or waist which affects the amount of A-lining that happens. Here are some of the finishers at Guthrie and Ghani:



The last time I was at Lauren’s shop I purchased some aubergine jersey to make the Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I had made a stripey one already from some stash fabric but I am beyond pleased with this version.

It seems a bit boring to make the same thing again and again but I am thinking of making a striped one for my summer holiday.

On the knitting front the finishing streak is still going strong, surprisingly. I have resisted starting anything new for quite a few weeks now but I did buy some yarn from Oxford Yarn Store on Saturday because a customer came in to show off their finished socks and the yarn was just beautiful and there were only 2 balls left so I had to get it. Besides I only have one pair of unfinished socks at the moment which is very good for me.

House of Fraser in Worcester have started a Knit and Chat every fortnight on Monday morning 11am-1pm. I went this morning and met lots of lovely ladies knitting a real mixture of projects. Even though I started going as a Rowan support person I think I will carry on going anyway as it’s ages since I went to a knitting club and I really enjoyed it! The next one is on Monday 14th.

Happy knitting and sewing!

Yarndale Prep

My knitting buddy, Catrin and I are off to Yarndale again in September. We decided, and made a pact, that we would finish up all the projects and yarn that we bought there last year before this year’s trip. It doesn’t include patterns that were purchased without yarn but it does include everything else, even Dorset button kits. Catrin.
My prep is going pretty well, I am on my last 2 projects. One is a cable Aran wrap and the other, after a couple of frogs, is Romney Kerchief by Jared Flood.


I have finished my orange cardigan, another Brooklyn Tweed pattern, but I can’t find the buttons I bought the first time I knitted it so it’s just hanging around waiting.

Oh, and the other Yarndale prep is making a crochet mandala for display purposes. It gets sent off to Lucy at Attic 24 and gets made into some spectacular display for Yarndale. I’ve just pva’d the back to make it stiff, hopefully, and it’ll go in the post tomorrow ahead of the deadline for once in my life.


And for the rest of the evening I will be filing pages that I ripped out of magazines before I recycled them a few weeks ago to try and make a bit of shelf space. Great.


Finishing Frenzy!

My sewing room is incredibly untidy and I’ve been gradually tidying it up and organising things into boxes and getting rid of things to make a bit of space. Anyway, I keep coming across projects that are just a tiny bit not finished. Look what happened last night



So from the top, Mirasol handwarmers, just needed the thumb sewing together. Regia baby socks, needed grafting and the same for the Koigu socks. That gives you an indication of my desperation to start the next project; I can’t even spend 10 minutes on a bit of sewing. I wonder what I’ll find tonight to finish…

Liberty and Tension Traumas

What a brilliant workshop I had at Liberty on Saturday. A very lively bunch who, I think, had a great time and learned a thing or two!

From left to right we have Theresa, Sue, Liz, Victoria, Ellen and Livvy. We did have Diane as well but she had to shop before I realised and could get her in the photo too. Never mind, see you for the sewing Diane!
It was a knitting in the round workshop and we were making little drawstring bags from Rowan Softknit Cotton. It turned out that Victoria, Livvy and Ellen were novice knitters so they were starting from scratch but amazingly Victoria managed to knit the bottom of the bag using dpn’s, what an achievement. She was thus nominated ‘man of the match’ by Ellen.

I have been busy re-knitting Levenwick, a Gurun Johnson pattern. I have already knitted the whole thing but had a major tension issue despite having knitted a tension square and agonising about it for ages. I decided I would knit a bigger size, to be on the safe side, and the safe side was too big. What a twit. At least it is fun to knit and I was able to salvage the button band which will save time later. The yarn is Rowan Tweed. Lovely.


It’s Quilts UK in Malvern over the weekend and I am working with Lady Sew and Sew which will be fantastic fun, hard work but a great laugh. I’m aiming not to buy anything but if I do I’ll show you.

Happy knitting and sewing!

Spring at last!

I ventured into the garden for the first time today (I am strictly a fair weather gardener) and ripped up a lot of weeds ready to grass the bottom part of the garden. I had had a very lazy morning watching the London Marathon trying to spot my friend Kate in the crowds so I did need to get off my arse and do something as it is such a nice day. Although it was a good excuse to knit all morning, I didn’t manage to see Kate.

One of my current knitting projects is Sailor from Rowan Magazine 55, with Softknit Cotton. It’s knitted in the round and is looking great so far. I have just got to the striped yoke so it won’t be long before it’s finished. It is so exciting waiting to start the stripes, I highly recommend it.


As it’s the Easter holidays now I have done my last workshops for a couple of weeks. I had a great time teaching Learn to Crochet at John Lewis in Milton Keynes. It was a very successful day!


This week I was at Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley teaching another great bunch of ladies how to make an A-line skirt from their own measurements. It has proved so popular that we have added yet another date so if you are thinking about learning to dressmake it would be lovely to see you there in June.

I think I deserve a huge glass of wine after my gardening efforts.

Happy knitting and sewing!

Pockets and puddings

Friday was my first visit of 2014 to Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham. I think it is the third time I have taught a workshop there for making the Rowan Secret Pocket Bag.
There were four ladies all of whom were great at sewing already and were there to learn a couple of new techniques and have a lovely day out, of course.


So left to right is Sinitta, Sharon, Lindsay and Lisa. All the bags turned out great and we had a brilliant day.

I have just got back from my annual visit to The Pudding Club. I only managed 5 puds this year which is a bit poor. The best on our table was 7 from Claire and Zoe -7 is the target. Maybe the portions were bigger than last year…

Love My Cowl

I have just finished a cosy cowl, a pattern called knitted London Cowling with beautiful alpaca from Town End Alpacas. I bought it at Yarndale in Skipton and as usual started it straight away and then left it for ages. But it turned out to be my least complex knitting so it got a good look in when I needed easy knitting for coffee or the car.
It is so cosy, I am sat by the fire with it snugly round my neck.
I just bought Kim Hargreaves’ Shadows pattern book and am going to cast on Tod, a slouchy ribbed hat, before I go to bed. I have a feeling it is going to start being hat and scarf weather in earnest…

Happy knitting!