Posts in Category: Crafting

On Fabric Row

In spite of the fact that I’m counting down the days until the end of term (19 left!) and starting my summer job of staring blankly at flowers until my brain stops whirling madly, I’m already starting to plan a list of things I want to do this summer. I am headed off for a few days in Yorkshire with the lovely Miranda and her equally lovely mum, Penny; I’m joining friends for a few days at Loncon and exploring the docks and East End of London; and will hopefully manage to sort out a few days at the beach, staring at waves and squishing my toes in moss. I have an epic book list ready to order from Amazon, several new recipes to try, and a few schemes of work to write for next year’s classes. But more than that, I’m so looking forward to making things again. My Mitford sweater is about halfway done, and while I haven’t whipped it off the needles to try it on, it looks like it will fit (lazy knitter these days). I have all the prints I need for my quilt, a stack of patterns I brought home from the states, and some lovely fabric to turn into Things and Stuff. The only thing I’m missing is the sewing machine. 19 days…

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So it was doubly serendipitous to see my friend Rachel, who is over from Canada, not once but twice this past week, and to spend a good part of yesterday afternoon wandering around London with her. Rachel is probably the most advanced sewer I know, and she knew where to find the lovely fabrics. We ended up wandering in and out of fabric stores, all stuffed full with the most beautiful dress fabrics. I had to work very hard to resist a yellow lace that looked exactly like a kicking Jackie-O dress my mother had in the 60s, and several cottons from the outrageously beautiful Cloth House.

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In the end, I did buy a small piece of fabric, a very light and delicate piece of navy blue and black poplin with a beautiful sheen to it. It knew immediately what it wanted to be, and I have just enough meterage to make a fitted tank with a deep dip and a formal soft ruffled edging to soften the severe pinstripes. Now, just need to get through the next 19 days…


Renegade Craft Fair

After a rather hectic week back at school, I went into London to meet a couple of friends for the Renegade Craft Fair. It wasn’t the most welcoming morning; all I could tell when I popped my head out was that it was cold and bloody dark, and by the time I got into Waterloo, it looked like the scene in Harry Potter where the weather changes as the dementors board the train. I considered hiding indoors and having a quick coffee at Starbucks before I realised how feeble that was, and I headed out into the downpour. I looked at market stalls, popped into bookstores warm from the steam of generators, had a warm and delicious caff breakfast where the beans slopped into the fried egg and mushrooms with a delicious kind of rightness, and where my tea cup was constantly refilled with the kind of tea you can stand a spoon up in. I even poked my nose into iKnit London, which I haven’t been to for a few years now.

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Eventually I hopped back into the station and made my way to the East End to meet Jane and Kat at the Old Truman Brewery where the fair was being held. It’s an amazing space, even if they were not still selling beer (or, in fact, any beverages in the hall…would have been perfect if they’d had some tea or coffee, and they would have made a killing).

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Even without the coffee, though, the craft fair was splendid. There was such a huge variety of artists, and all of them with such lovingly presented tables and goods. I had gone with the good intention of buying unique Christmas presents for family and friends. What I went home with was all for me me me. But my spot of selfish shopping is fine, because I also took home a selection of business cards and can order quite a few of these things through Etsy or Folksy. And I can also have shipped some of the more delicate things that would have been a complete faff to try to get home on the Tube and train, like the amazingly beautiful lamp shade I covet like mad for my little flat.

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When we’d exhausted the hall, we stepped across to Brick Lane for some much needed caffeine and a sit-down. The tea shop was held in a kind of antique/junk shop full of curious things. There was much trying on of hats, and I resisted the urge to pose with the silly mannequins who were shaped like Beyonce. We also popped into Spitalfields’ Market for a quick lunch and a browse of the market stalls. It’s a fantastic space, full of both vintage treasures and homemade goodies, and I think we all ended up getting something we had not planned on, and in Jane’s case, a tiny Lego version of herself, complete with purple hair.

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This was my first trip to Brick Lane, and I’m going to have to go back soon. The street was full of men trying to entice customers into their curry houses, the street venders were selling various foods and mulled wine, and there was at least one shop crowded with amazing-looking bolts of fabric. I’d also like a closer look at Christ Church Spitalfields, which was striking in both size and severity. Definitely time to get out of central London and explore the East End.


Ribbon necklace

When I was wandering through John Lewis haberdashery the other day, as you do, I stumbled on a sale section. The sale wool was a bit sad looking, but there were some lovely beads and jewellery making kits. This is not the way my craftiness lies, but I couldn’t stop circling back to a rather sparkly and art-deco looking strand of beads. In the end, I decided it would make a simple ribbon necklace with some rather lovely silk ribbon I’d picked up at Loop months earlier.

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I decided not to knot the ribbon, so that I could adjust the length as I wanted and move the beads about to suit my whim. I can wear it long and keep the beads free-flowing, or I can wear it short with the beads in a neat line.

I keep having to remind myself that I don’t need another hobby, but I already kind of want to go back and see what else they have.