Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wasp Bag – my new BFF

I just had to dedicate a whole post to this fabulous pattern.

My long-serviced Accessorise handbag had finally begun to give up the ghost. I LOVE my golden yellow Breagha handbag, but sadly Harris Tweed is not ideal for hot summer days… I began searching the internet for inspiration and ideas for a summer version, thinking I could raid my stash, maybe, for the right pattern…

P1090624-001And what a pattern! The use of the thrifted leather belt for shoulder strap reminded me of a scrap length of gold leather I ‘liberated’ from a wardrobe department I once worked in, and I FINALLY found a use for my favourite ever piece of printed canvas (it’s either linen, silk or cotton twill – it’s a dense weave, but is very light in weight and doesn’t crease like linen, so I’m veering towards silk…) that I found in a bin at a charity shop for about 50p.





I took it out this morning for the first time, with Tilly in tow… This is a rundown of the contents this morning:

  • wallet
  • keys
  • phone
  • sunglasses (in case)
  • three lipbalms
  • large Factor 50 suncream
  • Tshirt, leggings and pants in case of ‘accident’
  • Tilly’s sunglasses
  • water bottle
  • business card holder
  • 2 x hankies
  • cereal bar
  • mini raisins box
  • travel card wallet
  • nail file
  • mints
  • hand sanitiser
  • cheque book
  • pen
  • hair bobble

Suffice to say, this is no pansy-ass bag. This feels substantial, carries your cr*p like the Tardis and still looks stylish.

And yet, it still manages to squeeze itself out of less than 70cm of fabric and only take an evening to knock together.


I *fear* every person I know is going to get one of these for Christmas… Colour/ print requests accommodated on a first come, first served basis…

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stitching and Sunshine

During my bloggish downtime, I managed to make use of a pretty label on the reverse of a friend’s wedding cushion. Can’t show it yet, but delighted with it in any case! Will be off to France next week to celebrate with her so will post on our return.


Cath Kidston scraps patched together into a small lap quilt for a friend’s birthday, backed and bound in one with pale green cotton…P1090599  P1090598

Another wedding commission, this time for a friend, featuring hand embroidered detail to the reverse and appliqued vintage fabrics to spell out their new titles! The ‘r’ of Mr is a man’s shirting fabric, and the ‘M’ of Mrs is a vintage embroidered handkerchief…


Let’s not forget the knitting either…

Autumnal Mitts and Holiday shrug – not exactly hot weather work but hey ho!P1090623 P1090604

And then gratuituos picture of sunshine happiness to ensure we’re all aware of the GLORIOUS weather we’re having.


Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, May 14, 2012

St Albans Workshops Announcement!

Make and Do at the Courtyard Café with


Always wanted to have a go at some wooly pursuits? Now’s the time!

Introduction to Knitting

clip_image004Over two Tuesday mornings: 10-12pm

June 12 and June 19 2012

Quality Merino wool and knitting needles included, along with patterns to take away and tutorials to inspire. No previous knitting experience required.

Week One: Get stuck in knitting from the get-go. Learn how to hold the needles and yarn and make a slip knot. Learn cast-on, knit stitch and cast off and start on your first project – wrist warmers! Week Two: Consolidate knit stitch and introduce purl. Work on garter stitch, stocking stitch, learn about yarn, gauge and tension and reading a pattern

NOTE: Be prepared do to a bit of homework between the two sessions to help the new techniques become second nature to you.

Introduction to Crochet

clip_image006Over two Tuesday mornings: 10-12pm

June 26 and July 3 2012

Quality Merino wool and crochet hook included, along with patterns to take away and tutorials to inspire. No previous crochet experience required!

Week One: Learn how to hold the hook and yarn. Create double crochet, half treble, treble, double treble and slip stitches…Week Two: Consolidate learning to create flowers, circles and granny squares, with ideas for practical application and inspirational projects in the future.

NOTE: Be prepared do to a bit of homework between the two sessions to help the new techniques become second nature to you.

£50 for two classes, wool and needles provided.

Contact helen_burridge AT hotmail DOT com or leave a comment below to book your place! All classes will take place at the Courtyard Café, Hatfield Road, by the St Albans Museum and Yoga Hall.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Instant Gratification

Small projects, thick (ish) yarn = high turnover and great happiness. Hoorah…Only drawback being that every single one, without exception, will be given away as a present. Sad times.

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Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater and Baby Sophisticate

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Scrappy Patchy Granny Square (traditional pattern) and Cafe au Lait Mitts

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Wovenflame Handspun Cushion and mini Attic24 gauntlets for my jealous goddaughter!

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Slouchy Copy Cat Hat – thorougly enjoyed knitting this with some GORGEOUS Rowan sparkly Luxe (sadly now discontinued)… and fear this won’t be the only incarnation of this pattern.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Fresh Modern and Fabulously Made!

Having been brought up on a rounded diet of dressmaking and quilts, I have a healthy respect for the traditions and stories behind patterns and structures of patchwork. Living around the corner from Bird in Hand, and having a quilting teacher for a mum, ensured I am well versed in the Bear’s Paws, Ohio Stars and Double Weddings Rings abundant in textiles history.

The only resulting glitch is anxiety about stepping far from that well trod path and playing with the artform…

This lovely little number has FINALLY been finished after languishing for three years on the pile of UFOs… Not exactly rocket science, but I’m a sucker for the clashing of prints and patterns next to each other…

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gotta love a bit o’Liberty…

And a quick gander on the blogs shows I’m not as boring as I feared (though i can of course see that my colours aren’t nearly as bright and breezy as these lovely examples…)

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Projektownia Jednoiglec , Red Pepper Quilts and Picnic Quilt (detail) 

Others, however, seldom feel so restrained, either by time, by skills, or by design:

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 Owl by Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle

White and Stripes by Patchwork Notes

Square Lawn by Sew Much To Do

Grey with Rick Rack by TwistedSister#5

And then a few ‘in progress’ ideas too…

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Circles on Linen Baby quilt by Blooming Poppies

Trying out layouts by Stefanie Dean

On reflection, maybe these designs aren’t all that modern and unusual after all… Maybe it’s just a brightness to the prints… But then, if my textiles history knowledge is anything to go by, the Victorian quilts were just as vibrant (or garish, depending on your point of view) with the influx of new dyes. It’s just that those very same dyes are wont to fade. Quickly. And leave things looking old and dull.

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Dutch Quilt Cat’s fabulous double-sided family quilt from 1610 – nearly 400 years old… Extraordinary.

And who said traditional would necessarily be dull anyway…?


s.o.t.a.k. handmade

Just a fabulous children’s room… Such great colours – bright and fun without being garish and over-stimulating. How gorgeous.