Sunday, July 29, 2012

A New Friend arrives!!

Yesterday at the shop,a large and intriguing box arrived. Now, boxes arrive all day and I have a memory like a thing with holes in it, so I hardly took any notice and it sat in my office for several hours before I thought, "Hang on, that box has things drawn all over it! That's not usual!"

Mostly, our suppliers don't try and charm the courier with winsome fronds, to handle their parcels with care!

Nor wind swept grasses. And when it arrived, there was some kind of protuberance sticking out of the top too. Like a beautifully decorated, cardboard butter churn...
The Mannequin Box

On the last side, finally a clue to what lay within. Ah yes, now I remember, I bought a dress form...

And here she is!

Isn't she pretty! She is a non-adjustable size 10, but is pinnable, and the floral cover comes off to reveal a plain cream cover underneath *cough*boring*cough*. So, useful for showing off class samples and knitting samples, and also for draping and fitting and teaching...well, for size 10 people anyway!
She makes me happy. And I have put it to our Facebook followers that she needs a name. If you have any ideas, do go to Facebook and pitch in!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kentucky Lucky Dip!

Natalie from Kentucky is another wonderful friend met via the interweb. Her blog is A Frolic Through Time where she shares her love of 18th Century clothing, including an incredible patience with embroidery techniques of the time. And she is a Mom with twin boys who keep her busy.
Anyway I won a giveaway on her blog in early June, and it was so exciting to receive a parcel of things from Natalie in Kentucky. The things are wonderful, but what I find the most wonderful is touching them and knowing that Natalie had chosen them, used them, lived with them, then sent them. It's a bit like that frisson of excitement one gets seeing a dress from a Janet Arnold book - that association of the bigger picture with what is in front of one. :)
Included was an embroidery transfer and instructions - little cornflower bunches, so sweet! The threads provided are in lovely buttery blues and greens. However, I may just have to revert to type and render them in reds! Also, sweet buttons, perfect for little people. Coming as I do from a country with 5 million people and 40 million sheep, these buttons are perfect! The wee flowers are so pretty.
Awesome patterns! These tell a story - pregnancy followed by patterns for little boys hehehe. The Vogue pattern up the top has caused some serious envy among our sewing circle too. Funnel neck, shaped, it's all good!
Thank you Natalie - all these things will go into my stash, and will come out, inevitably, given the number of friends I have who are pregnant, bound to get pregnant, and subsequently have babies who will grow into children! :)
But they're not getting the flower buttons, those are my precioussss!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kestrel's Summer Sewing Swap!

Kestrel of Kestrel finds and Makes came up with the idea of a Summer Sewing Swap. As it is Winter here with knobs on, the name to me doesn't relate so much to the season as the sunny joy of giving and receiving lovely crafty things. A ray of sunshine in a cold winter. :)
I had never seen the blog of my swap partner, Sian Lile, so I promptly tracked down her blog and got reading. Sian lives in Cardiff, Wales, and has an amazing life! So different from mine and yet I spot a kindred spirit on many ways :) I love her quilts, her view of life, her values and her creations. It is always SUCH a delight to discover a new friend. :)
ANYWAY Sian was WAY more onto it than me and I got her parcel before she got mine. I left it so late (agonising over what to send) I was lucky she got it within the deadline, which I think is this Sunday.
So, without further ado, here are the treasures that just kept tumbling out of the tantalisingly plain envelope (brown paper packages tied up with string)!
 Fabric, little haberdashery treasures and a vintage crafting mag. Squee!!!
A beautiful cotton tablecloth in olive green with cream flowers, and a length of cotton in a purples art deco fan print. Sian noticed my love of purple, isn't she clever! I love how the more you look at it, the more patterns show up.
Issue 1 of Craft Weekly, 1976. I actually REMEMBER this magazine, and I even remember this issue. I was 11 when this came out and was very into craft activities, so I fell on these mags every week. These mags and Golden Hands remind me of when my passion for making things began, back then in the golden haze of the 70's. My photos even managed to capture a bit of that haze due to the bad light in my living room! ;-)
All sorts of little treasures - fish eye buttons, a Welsh sew on badge, Indian decals, a cable needle, a stitch counter and a sweet little wooden button. I suspect the lovely sunflower buttons came from the other giveaway I received a couple of weeks earlier (to be blogged about) Talk about your first world problems, trying to keep track of what came with what international parcel!!
I am blown away by the lovely, special things. My favourite thing, if I have one, is the Indian decals. I love these kinds of details and I am pondering whether to add them to my favourite jeans or to save them for a future project. OR maybe both - jeans first then move them. Decisions!
Thank you Sian for this package of possibilities all the way from Wales. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Winter preoccupations

Hello all! Right now, I suspect my readership is 50% roasting in mid summer (or not roasting in the UK from what I've read!) and 50% freezing its collective buns off in mid winter. I'm among the latter. I just realised how much of my headspace is going into the cold. Thinking about how to protect myself from it, being sick of it, sick from it, the woiks.
How to survive it now I no longer work in corporate heat controlled offices - a layer of silk, a layer of merino and then as many other layers as I can pile on! Silk is 5 times warmer than wool by weight, apparently, and I always feel warmer with a home made silk cami next to the skin. Merino is so toasty also, and dense enough to resist draughts too.
Also I have a blow heater in my office all day, so when I am immobilised by desk work I don't start to feel the cold so much. I'm fine when I am on the move out in the shop.
At home, when we get in around 6.30-7, we rush to close the curtains and put on the heat pump. It turns our mezzanine into a dry sauna, but hardly heats the downstairs where we mostly live at all! But our huge, lined curtains do help to keep the warmth in.
But I reckon they could do better. So I have invested in enough 'bumpf' to interline my bedroom curtains.
Bumpf is a batting like fabric for sandwiching between curtain and lining for extra insulation. An awesome idea. Previously I didn't realise there was a special fabric just for this - in Christchurch where cold is a whole art form in itself, I interlined all our curtains with cheap, heavy knit fabrics, because they were thick, warm and required no hemming. Plus it gives curtains lots of body.
So, in my office is a 15m roll of bumpf. Call it product testing. I've chosen to try the bedroom curtains as they require a mere 6m of fabric, unlike the 30m required for the living room!
I'm really not sure when I'll get time to do it however. Got a couple of projects to fit in first and not much time to sew these days. :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Rare Yarn Adventure

Oh me oh my! I spent the beginning of last week in Nelson (that's across the sea!) in Cruellas, the best yarn shop on the planet!
Cruellas sells its own range of yarn, made from blends of merino and alpaca, under the brand Rare Yarn. In the shop, you can buy a hand knitted garment made from their range of exclusive patterns, order one to be knitted in your choice of size and colour, or buy the yarn and DIY. Or KIY. How cool is that!
We'll be selling the yarn and will have a stock of samples on rotation.
Two of the garments from their pattern range. I love the filigree mannequins so much I had to track some down for us!
A few of the most adorable knitted toys ever. They are so soft and delicious. Mr Turtle's shell is a coat the comes off!
I do confess that the highlight of my trip was this tiny scrap of puppyness. Brillo is a wire haired terrier (Kiwis know these as "Wilson" dogs on account of this ad) who was only 9 days old. He is the runt of the litter and is being hand fed to see if he can catch up with his 2 enormous siblings. I don't know if he has made it through another week yet. He spent a fair bit of his time in my arms, or in Ruth's cowl/snood (Ruth's hands in the photo, she is SO good with animals, and people too!)
So all in all, it feels like a pretty big honour to be brought into "the fold," and I am looking forward to having a cosy yarn filled corner of our shop, that alas will be puppy free!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Finally a photo of the quilt!

Remember this quilt in progress?

 I am currently snuggled under it as I am most evenings - it has been exhibited and I have taught it under the name Serenity Quilt. So it was about time I posted a photo or two of the finished quilt!
And here it is, on display in the shop for a few weeks before the course (luckily I got it back before the really cold weather started) I sashed it with 3/4 inch sashes of a fabulous fabric that reads as a black but has tiny, dark sprigs in it. It was the hardest part of the quilt, finding a sashing fabric that wasn't a solid black that was warm enough to work in this quilt. Most of them go to charcoal which is cool. This one is actually from a Christmas range and the colours are deep green, red and brown. Delicious! I had a couple of fat quarters only and had to scour teh interwebs for more of it, which I eventually found, and cleaned out the shop! It's like that when you find a fabric that just goes with everything. It is also in this quilt which I have also yet to photograph in its completed state!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

At last, she remembers the giveaway!

I got sidetracked, sorry! Tomorrow I fly off to Nelson to learn about the new range of yarn we are stocking so I thought I'd better get this draw done.
The winner is...Johanna of Making it Well! Noone actually got the whole answer so I included all attempts :)
The answer was: size 60 (the tinest size hook you can get) and the use is indeed to make and maintain dreadlocks! I DO like the idea of using them to handle icky clothes though hehehe
So Johanna, you're easy being a local so you can come choose your own, but better get in fast as we are running low on stock! ( a couple of wool stashers have walked away with bagloads).
Have a great week all - I am taking the netbook away with me but not sure how much online time I will get. And this weekend MrC and I are off for the weekend to relax. I'm so excited about my week of doing different things I just want to jump and down and squeal!! I love my shop and working in it, but I know I will love it all the more for having a bit of time away from it! hehehe.

Unrelated photo of me. It looks adventurous so I thought it appropriate!