Dressmaking so far......

Earlier in the year I mentioned that one of my ambitions was to start dressmaking. Well I am now three weeks in to my dressmaking course and thoroughly enjoying it. Not only is my teacher absolutely amazing (she is a retired Paris fashion house pattern cutter), with lots of fantastic advice and stories that completely inspire me. But I am now one third of the way to a dress!

I have measured myself up, cut out my pieces and at last I am starting to sew everything together (now the excitement is setting in as I am starting to see what the finished dress will look like). I have to say the first two weeks felt like I was taking so much in, but today I feel that it has clicked and I am away. Watch this space for the unveiling of the finished dress (good or bad)..............

Sewing Machine Excitement

Today I am probably more excited than I have been for a very long time. Not only have I been disciplined and sorted through my clothes and got rid of the ones that don't fit or can't be customised, but I got a new sewing machine.

It's not exactly a new sewing machine, it originally belonged to my Nan but due to her horrendous arthritis she has made a difficult decision to pass the sewing machine over to me as she can no longer craft. It makes me feel really sad as she is an extremely talented lady and taught me everything I know about craft (she is a complete inspiration and the reason I am a crafter).


So now I need to become familiar with my new machine, as I have never used a computerised machine, and more excitingly I need to learn how to use the computerised embroidery function (I may start to embroider everything in sight). I'm so excited about my new machine and I'm off to have  play. But if anyone has any tips and hints for using computerised machine do pass them this way.

Knitted Honeycomb Cushion

The snow has arrived! Yes it's cold, but it gives me an excuse to stay in and sit on the sofa to craft (this always feels so self indulgent and I love it). So like a granny sat in my onesie (just to clarify my granny has never worn a onesie) and blanket I decided to knit the weekend away, and have finally finished my knitted honeycomb pillow (looks slightly bonky in the picture as it needs to settle).

The cushion was from a kit that I received as a gift, and came with needles, full instructions and 2 balls of Rowan Big Wool in Linen (I'm a big fan of Rowan wool as it always knits so well), if you are a loose knitter though you would definitely need an extra ball as I did use the full two balls. It took about 6-8 hours to complete and was very simple to make, it would be good for a beginner who is ready to take the next steps and is a good introduction to cable knitting. I brought the recommended pad to put inside but at present it feels a little snug, hopefully it will settle and look a more natural fit over the next few days.

I really enjoyed making the cushion and I shall enjoy making maximum use of it tonight of the sofa.....

Book Review: Learn to Knit Love to Knit


For Christmas I got this lovely book from my darling sister (after giving some very strong hints). So I thought I would share my thoughts on it so my lovely readers.

Title: Learn to Knit Love to Knit

Author: Anna Wilkinson

A knitting book aimed at beginners taking them from the basic stitches to fairisle projects. The book has fantastic illustrations to teach readers both stitches and techniques (which I feel is a really nice reference for all knitters). It then eases in the readers to some simple patterns from hat, scarves and gloves to sweaters and cardigans (which all sit within the 'learn' section of the book), as the reader becomes more competent there are textured knit project and a fabulous fairisle tank top (these sit within the 'love' section).

As a competent knitter I feel that this book is suitable for all levels of knitter and there are some excellent projects to become completely engrossed in. There however is one downside to the projects within the book for me and that is that the majority use 3-3.5mm needles which means lots of time involved to complete a project (I definitely like projects with bigger needles as projects actually get finished).

I would definitely recommend this book as it is my new 'craft book crush', and watch this space for the fairisle tank top.....

Thinking about new skills........

Today I've been thinking about new crafts that I would like to learn, apart from taking up most of my day thinking about this, I've decided in the next few months that I should try to actually learn some new skills instead of thinking about them.

Screen printing is a skill that I've been wanting to do for some time (part of the reason I haven't done it is that the courses are very expensive), I would really like to get this under my belt so that I can incorporate some designs on material and make these part of my projects for a personal touch, and also nothing makes me happier than a messy craft especially with paint. On the printing theme I would also like to lino print, I like the rustic feel that these prints give and this is something that I can learn at home - so once pay day comes I shall be investing in some lino printing kit (watch this space for some tales of my lino learning).

I'd also like to do some upholstery however I feel like I'd be the kind of person to make a million chairs and nothing else, plus at this point in time I have no room in the house for more furniture so I dont know what I'd do with my projects, however this may be something to consider later in the year.

What crafts do you want to learn, or more so which would you recommend that I consider trying.....

Tea Tasting Fun!

Last night was the first Cam City WI meeting of 2013, and what could be more exciting that a tea tasting session. I absolutely love tea so couldn't have been more excited about this meeting.

The tea tasting was led by 'The Kandula Tea Company' that was founded by Jane and Gail two local ladies from Cambridge. The start of the evening was a presentation of how the ladies founded the company (which was extremely inspirational) followed by a history of tea and Sri Lanka. It was great to hear the company support numerous initiatives in Sri Lanka for women including a group who are widows due to the Tsunami. Then we got on to the lovely elephants (this is the point at which my heart melted), which they support through the sales of their tea. Anyway I could go on but now to the tea.......

We started the evening by looking at the contents of teabags - which was quiet shocking to realise what I am actually drinking dust, when we opened a generic tea bag it looked exactly like a fine brown powder. We then opened a cheap earl grey teabag (which was horrifying) when we looked at the contents it contained white specs which we found out were flavour enhancers. Then we came on to the Kandula earl grey teabag which contained actual leaves - this really made me appreciate the difference in quality of what I am drinking and will definitely give more consideration to this in the future.
We then went on to tasting the teas which was lots of fun, there was 12 teas in total, greens, whites, herbal, fruit infusions and black. I really enjoyed tasting with a group as it was interesting to see what other people saw to be important when tasting teas. They had a pink tea which was even more surprising when we added water to realise that it actually was pink in colour......
My favourite teas of the evening had to be Chai (long time favourite and will never be beaten), strawberry hibiscus and Moroccan mint.
I have to say I am now going to give more serious consideration to the tea I drink and will definitely be a long term Kandula Tea drinker.

My New Year Resolutions

Last year I decided that my new year's resolution was going to be about me - it sounds rather strange now but at the time I felt like I was putting a lot of energy and time into my life but I wasn't getting any personal satisfaction.

On reflection I feel that last year's resolution is the only one I've ever managed to keep and one that really has changed my focus on life, I now feel I know more about who I am than I ever have before. I put a lot of time into crafting which is now slightly starting to take over my life (if I didn't have a full time job I'd definitely be spending more time crafting), I taught myself to crochet - I need to refresh this but it felt like a big achievement, and I signed up for a tailoring course which starts on 17th January (I'm very excited about this and no doubt this will feature heavily over the next few months). I joined the fantastic Cam City WI of which I am the events organiser and have met some fantastic women. But more importantly for me I have started to lose weight.

I know this all sounds like I had a successful year but I seriously neglected my allotment due to the worse rain ever (the rain sent the slugs out who ate all of my seedlings which was very disheartening) - so this year I need to focus and spend more time growing my vegetables. I also have several craft projects that need finishing (this is a very bad habit of mine).

Enough of last year now for 2013, I have decided that this year I am going to have a blog, so here we are.......... a year of new beginnings and ambitions.