Baby Shower & Baby Projects

We are all excitedly awaiting news of a new member of ‘Team Will Work For Cake’, Jenny (aka J Lo) is due at any moment and she spent her last few weeks of pregnancy finishing some of her baby projects. Last week she completed her crochet blanket using Rooster DK yarn, it looks beautiful. It had been noted that she originally planned to make a large blanket, but it greatly reduced in size when she realised she could make it baby sized. A shrewd move!

Jenny also called in the troops to help her with a baby supplies door hanger storage thingy. None of us really know what else to call it! We had been shopping to find one, but couldn’t find anything other than a hanging shoe rack. So, Jenny chose ‘Life In The Jungle’ fabric (she doesn’t know the sex of the baby so she went for a neutral pattern and colour). Ably assisted by Judi and Sam, they constructed their own. I popped by with the fabric and vilene and a few hours later the finished hanger was ready for use!

With the baby’s room a little tight on space, the brief was very precise and it was made to measure. Jenny did the sewing herself… with bump providing a little shelf for her pins!

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The week before the Open Day in July, we held a Baby Shower for Jenny, or J Lo as we call her. We transformed the small barn at Tithe Barn into a scene from the Nativity. We had resident Doctor Martin there too, just in case the excitement got too much! Click on the gallery below if you’d like to see how we put on a rustic, barn inspired baby shower! Thank you to Robyn at Stillbrook Designs for putting the beautiful graphic together for me.

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Tara Tuesdays – Part 43

KNITTED FACIAL TOPIARY

I received the KNIT YOUR OWN MOUSTACHE book for Christmas last year from my dear friend Cat and was beside myself with excitement when I actually looked through it and couldn’t wait for an opportunity to make some of the delights contained within!

The perfect opportunity arose before a recent visit to our best friends and God Children. There has been a bit of a “tache” theme going on in my family for a while now as my hubby often dons interesting facial hair! He has received several “tache” related gifts from our best friends and this visit was no exception when we exchanged Christmas gifts (yes, I know it is August!) A tache ice cube tray and a giant monster tache magnet for the Landy were included this year! Once we had opened all of our presents I was able to finally share my piece de resistance……

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Here, we have the WALRUS, DALI, SVEN, CLASSIC, HANDLEBAR & PSYCHIATRIST’S beard all hand knitted by me using patterns from the KYOM book. I can honestly say I have never smiled so much whilst crafting even when I went wrong with my first attempt on the HANDLEBAR. The beard was thrown across the room in a fit of rage and then unpicked as I couldn’t work out how to do it! Several deep breaths and glasses of red wine later, I managed it just in the nick of time….the night before our visit!

I had written down all of the names onto pieces of paper which we all picked out, I then handed out the taches/beard to everyone…… HOW WE ROARED when we all tried them on!

My plan for the weekend was to get pictures of us in the taches/beard and we had several opportunities to do this! Here we all are on the Chasewater Railway at Cannock Chase….

SVEN

 

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CLASSIC

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WALRUS

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BEARD (my God-daughter bears a slight resemblance to Conchita Wurst…this years Eurovision Song Contest winner in this picture!)

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HANDLEBAR (emergency elastic repairs were required for this tache as it got broken due to overuse!)

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DALI

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I am still undecided as to what was my favourite and had to try the beard on as well!

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After several attempts we managed to get a super star jump pose and also this shot of us all! Hubby looks exhausted in this picture after all that jumping and his tache is in action mode too!

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2014 Christmas card me thinks!

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The author of this book Vicky Eames aka ‘Wife of Brian’ has her own website where you can find out more about her and her facial wares. I was so impressed with this book and can highly recommend it, hubby has since requested I crochet him a pipe from the book as I won’t let him have a real one, oh joy! Another project to add to my ever growing list!

Tara Tuesdays – Part 42

Emma’s Fabric Studio Open Day

I cannot believe that nine months have passed since Emma’s Fabric Studio’s first Open Day back in October 2013! Where has that time gone?!?!

As expected, the second Open Day at Tithe Barn in Lenham, Kent did not disappoint as my photos will confirm! Emma and her fabulous Team “WILL WORK FOR CAKE” did a fantastic job of getting everything just so and making the barn look as beautiful as it did.

I went along with my friends Mary and Mags and after posing for photos with the yarn bombed vehicle that stood in pride of place in the barn, we had delicious refreshments of cake and tea and a good look around at all of the gorgeous fabrics/yarn and haberdashery goodies for sale.  I took lots of pictures of the car from all angles as it looked amazing!

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I haven’t seen Emma since our Christmas get together and ashamedly haven’t been keeping myself up to date with her latest fabric ranges (I do follow Emma’s Fabric Studio on Facebook mind!) There were masses of loveliness to choose from and trust me if she had credit card facilities available, I would have spent a small fortune! I was rather restrained this time around and purchased some Essex Linen and some new Christmas fabrics that I just simply could not resist! I do have a thing for Nordic red & white at Christmas so these particular lovelies really appealed to me. I have no idea what I will use them for but just simply had to have them!

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Along with the beautiful Harris sewing machine that you may recall from the last Open Day, there was beautiful vintage Singer sewing machine on display that I was drooling over. I would SO love to fill my house with vintage machines! Where I would put them all I have no idea but I would still like to have them!037 (640x480)

There was some beautiful Hoop Embroidery on display and my particular favourite was this one!026 (640x480)

I was also rather taken with the yarn/wool area  display and thought this looked fabulous, so bright and cheery!042 (640x480)

Tithe Barn itself is stunning and the grounds it is located in are just perfectly English. It was a glorious day and although we had one huge downpour, it didn’t affect us.

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After a rather lovely afternoon, we headed back home laden with fabric, yarn and of course more cake!

If you missed the chance to go to this Open Day, please do try and get along to the next one, trust me, you will most definitely NOT be disappointed……023 (640x480)045 (480x640)049 (640x480)

The Creation of Hilly Billy The Vintage Citroen – Yarn Bombing at Emma’s Fabric Studio Open Day July 2014

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I have received some lovely feedback about our transformation of the vintage car at the July Open Day at Tithe Barn in Lenham.  Hilly Billy is an old Citroen who is still road worthy and can often be seen driving round the village with her owners Valerie and John Arthur.  They kindly let us give Hilly Billy a summer spruce up at the Open Day. Given how much interest there has been, we thought you might want to see how we went about the makeover and gave her a super cute/super star new look!

Judi, Chief of Yarn Bombing, has explained how we did the eyes, a particular challenge!

When we measured Hilly Billy for her new decorative overcoat I thought we would cover the lights from the back, a bit like a tea cosy, or light cosy.  It wasn’t until later when I  was looking at the pictures it occurred to me that they weren’t lights, of course they were her eyes!

So how do you go about making eyes for a vintage Citroen?

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I googled crochet eyes, not much help and certainly no pattern to fit a vintage car.  Well eyes are just circles right? So I found a pattern for a crochet circle, in this case it was a cushion cover, but the basics of how many increases in each round were fine – I was happily crocheting along until I had a circle big enough to cover the front of the light, then stopped increasing and carried on for 4 or 5 rows and that’s it – a plain white cover for the light but it doesn’t look much like an eye though.

A big debate came next in our household – what colour should Hilly Billy’s eyes be? – brown, green, mixed – no of course they should be bright blue.  So the right shade of bright blue was located in my ‘tiny’ wool selection and another circle began – using the same pattern but a lot smaller this time.

After that her eyes needed irises (not the floral type!) – I started making a tiny black circle, It looked ok to me – Stu had different ideas though. A long debate about how the iris should look and lots of cartoon drawings followed – this resulted in a ¾ circle.  I have to grudgingly admit that it does look better than my original circle did.

The final challenge – how to make eye lashes?  Should they be long and curly, thick and bushy – what should they be made from?  I contemplated pipe cleaners, fringing and various other options then it came to me, I could adapt the crochet rose pattern to make eye lashes – a few tries later and I got something about the right size.

So one eye complete – on to number 2!

For the remainder of the car, we pooled our collective crochet blankets, unfinished projects, etc.  We gave Judi anything wool related for her Hilly Billy vision.  Jan, our amazing Senior Yarn Bombing Engineer made a spare wheel cover, Sam (Chief of Pom Poms) prettied up the general look, using various other yarny creations.  Lorna (Chief Analyst, Director of Detail) ensured Hilly Billy was groomed to perfection.  Jo’s collection of crochet blankets were put to very good use.  My unfinished projects were put to great use too (thank goodness)…  Judi clearly had a look in mind and it turned out wonderfully! Have a look through the gallery for more detail.

 

Emma’s Fabric Studio Open Day – July 2014

The Summer 2014 Open Day has been and gone, and if you missed it, you missed some yarn bombing fun! Again, the Open Day was held at the beautiful Tithe Barn in Lenham, owned by the lovely Valerie and John Arthur and ably assisted by the fabulous Martin, our retired village GP.

Tithe Barn sits in the grounds of Court Lodge and was built in 1342. Originally there were 2 barns but only one remains, overlooking the church.

Greeting you at the entrance would be Valerie’s ‘Hilly Billy’ the beautiful, old (and still road worthy) Citroen. We dolled her up a bit. When I say ‘we’ I mean Judi, Jan, Sam and Lorna. They love to knit and crochet and using their own creations and a number of Jo’s blankets and my unfinished projects (LOTS) they were able to put together an awesome sight for our guests.

More info on the creation of Hilly Billy’s new look will follow in a future blog post. Hilly Billy wasn’t the only one to get a spruce up, Trevor and Terrence (the tractors), also got a little cosmetic surgery!

Food and drink was provided at the ‘Barn Cafe’, with a garden theme designed by Enid and Lucy. They provided a delicious selection of tray bakes and cakes. I can’t vouch for how delicious they were, because by the time I got to eat, there was barely anything left (I think that says it all)! The ploughman’s lunches were designed in keeping with the Barn.

We split the Barn into two sections and spent 4 days beforehand decorating. Putting on such a labour intensive event takes:

24 helpers, 4 dogs, 1 toddler, 2 fabric trollies, 1 photographer, 1 doctor, 1 farmer, 1 vintage car, 2 vintage tractors, 1 giant hot air balloon, 3 twinkly trees, 100 of Emma’s unfinished crochet projects, 3 home made jams, 2 tills, 1 Queen, 1 John Wayne.

So, I must say a big thank you to Enid, Lucy, Jan, Judi, Jo, Jenny, Lorna, Sam, Becky, Mary, Sue, Kim, Jeanette, Alice, Fiona, Ellen, Hannah, Charlotte, Alex, Graham, Dave, Stu, John and Ash. I also want to say a big thank you to Indi and Trevor for coming along, I will write all about our support of SANDS and the reasons for it in a future blog post.  I’m also grateful to Valerie, John Arthur and Martin for allowing us to invade!

Now, normal service resumes, we are preparing for October!

To view the photos, click on the first one and you will be able to scroll through them.

 



 

 

A Week In The Life – Childrenswear Design Manager – Tu Clothing at Sainsbury’s

I am very aware that lots of you have your own small businesses, I speak to some of you regularly about the projects you’re working on and new items you’ll be adding to your Facebook pages and websites. I thought it might be interesting for you to see what it’s like for someone who works for a large company, who is essentially going through the same processes, just on a larger scale. I asked Aimi Williams-Smith, Childrenswear Design Manager for Tu Clothing at Sainsbury’s, if she would share a ‘week in her life’. I’m really grateful that she agreed to share this with me, I think it’s a real learning point for understanding the design process at a different level to which many of us are currently working – but where we may aspire to be in the future.

Supermarket clothes shopping is no longer just for convenience, many of the leading supermarkets are emerging forces in fashion. Tu Clothing can be found in 395 stores nation wide and last year Sainsbury’s re-launched the Tu brand, with a focus on higher quality, trend-led collections created by a 30 strong in-house design team. As part of those changes, Aimi joined the team and was happy to share her experiences for this ‘week in the life’ feature.

Image 1From Aimi:

I love my job! I am one of the fortunate people in life that is following a career that they always dreamed of. It is not a chore to get up on a Monday morning. I live and breathe fashion and I get paid to do something that I love. I get to travel the world, visiting suppliers, factories in the Far East and Europe, shopping in LA, New York, Miami and Europe and play a part in creating the great clothing ranges that you see in store.

I juggle my fast paced career with being a mum to Alfie (10) and Lili (8). I have a great support network at home with my husband Gary and Granny Jean (my mum).

I have been a design manager working in retail for over 6 years now. I worked my way up to management from being a designer. I have always been interested in fashion and drawing from a very early age. I have been with Sainsbury’s since October 2013. I head up the Tu Childrenswear Design Team. I have great team of 14 designers. We design all areas of childrenswear aged 0-12 years including babywear, girlswear, boyswear, schoolwear and essentials. Here are some examples of our recent work:

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This is an example of a week in my life…

Monday

I get to work after dropping the kids at school and a quick shoot up the motorway. First things first, I get my daily cappuccino. It’s a daily ritual and we have a great coffee shop in the office. I can’t start the day without it!

Mondays are the one day I know is routine! If I am in the office, it’s sales day. We all get together first thing where my manager cascades the weekly sales results from head office. We then have childrenswear trading meetings all day. We look at each department in turn and analyse the sales from the previous week. The buyers show us the best and worst sellers of that week. What is working and what the customer doesn’t like. It’s really important for design to know this so we can learn from it going forward to improve future ranges. The customer is at the forefront of our minds with every decision we make so the better we understand them, the better we can service their needs. We all work really hard to ensure that we create great value products, good quality at the right prices.

In the afternoon I have a weekly design meeting with my team. We chat about our weekend and look at diaries for the week. We make sure we know our priorities for the week. We review which suppliers are coming in to visit and who is out and about that week. It’s also our opportunity to talk trend and discuss our latest finds, share our shopping from trips and discuss our future travel plans.

Tuesday

Whilst the design team are working on designing ranges a year in advance, we then have to juggle this with range building and attending selection meetings where we are signing off ranges for the season before. We design ranges by trend stories, which we research in great detail and create moodboards. We go on shopping trips around the world to buy inspirational samples which bring us new ideas. We get lots of inspiration now from web based trend sites, Pinterest, fashion blogs and internet research as well as trade fairs and trend books.

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We deliver design presentations to the business by phases in each season. We present moodboards of trend stories for each department, which we illustrate with some bought inspirational samples. We highlight to the trading teams the key trends, colours and fabrics for the season. We provide the trading teams with enough information to plan out their ranges and footage in store. Once they have agreed together the range look and feel, the design team design the ranges by computer aided design software on their computers. They have to create detailed design packs for each garment that we can send out to suppliers to make up right first time samples. Once the samples are made and sent to us the teams can then range build and negotiate costs with our suppliers and factories. Following this, we then have a selection meeting where the range is signed off and agreed by senior managers and myself.

Wednesday

I have my weekly meeting with the other design managers in the business. We have a good catch up over a coffee! We discuss any current issues and share ideas and hot topics! We are a great support for each other.

Our Bangladesh colleagues and suppliers are over for the week. I spend the morning greeting them and seeing the samples and fabrics that they have brought in to show us. I leave the designers to work with them on the detail.

I have a meeting with our marketing team next. We present to them the signed off ranges and we select which products we want on our point of sale in store. We need to order the samples from our suppliers for the photoshoot.

Thursday

I drop the children off at breakfast club before catching a train to London. I am meeting my designers for a day of inspirational shopping. Its good to get out to the shops to see what everyone is doing! It can be a day at Westfield, Spitalfields Market or Oxford Street. Wherever we go, London is always a great source of inspiration and new ideas.

Friday

I visit a local supplier in the morning with the girlswear designers. We discuss new ideas and see their latest developments. We get very inspired working with other designers!

Back to the office in time for lunch.

A quick bite to eat and then I pop my head into the fit session. Our technologists are fitting the latest samples that have been signed off in selection. We have a look to see how the garments fit and we make amendments to make each garment perfect.

I spend the afternoon catching up on emails and costing our next trips. I have my team off to India and the Far East to work with our factories on product development. Briefing their design packs and putting them into work. We also need to plan our summer inspirational trips to LA and Europe.

I now need to plan in the critical path for our next design presentation. My desk is piled high with paperwork. I need to file and tidy before I go home. I am meeting the kids at the coffee shop on the way home. Our weekly ritual; buying a curry and getting settled around the TV for treat night DVD! When I’m away travelling with work I really miss this!

Tara Tuesdays – Part 41

Quick note from Emma.  I did have a chuckle reading Tara’s blog post, mainly because of how far she’s come from when she was struggling into our sewing classes with her really heavy old machine. Now she’s hand stitching, making curtains, has worked as a Seamstress for an outdoor clothing company (with an industrial machine) and is now spending a little time to finish her old projects. I particularly love her work in progress photos below, she has a fabulous concentration face and manages to block all noise out when she’s trying to do something. Wish I could do the same!  Here’s Tara’s curtain post…

I know it’s only a curtain…….BUT

Making a curtain for my HUGE front door has been a job that has been on my “to do” list for years…..and I mean years. I live in a big old Victorian house which is hard to keep warm at the best of times when it gets particularly cold. The heat just blows out of the letterbox and the door has been crying out for a curtain to keep us toasty and warm for a good while.

It wasn’t the actual making of the curtain that worried me, more the “how to do it” as I really didn’t have a clue. Fortunately, I have a very clever friend that makes curtains for a living and she kindly offered to assist me with this project. We met up after Christmas last year and measured up and she told me how much fabric, lining and interlining I would need. We arranged to go fabric shopping in the New Year, I was all up for buying William Morris fabric as I adore everything this chap has ever designed but did a sharp intake of breath when I realised this would set me back some £50 plus a metre! My friend Tracy suggested a local discounted fabric shop that we could go to, so we set off to have a look and see what we could find. I was delighted with the fabric that I purchased because it was SUCH A BARGAIN! Normally it would be £35 a metre which was way over my budget. I actually got the fabric for just £2.99 a metre and couldn’t quite believe it when they rung it up on the till! As you can see from the picture it has a two flower pattern repeat and is made from quite a heavy duty linen.

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Tracy helped me with cutting out the amount of fabric needed for the curtain (2 widths) and I machine stitched the 2 pieces together. She cut out and stitched the interlining for me as this can be a bit tricky as it is very stretchy fabric and showed me how to interlock stitch the interlining onto the main fabric. All of this was done by hand and I really enjoyed this as it was such a therapeutic process. Tracy gave me step by step instructions and we would meet up every week once I completed each stage. During this time the curtain was slowly starting to take shape and was kept on the back of my sofa bed where I would go in and drool over the fabric on most days! What was also nice about making this curtain was that I wasn’t in a rush to get it finished so I could actually enjoy making it.

The next stage was the hem where I learnt how to pyramid stitch and do mitred corners which I am very proud of. I inserted weights in the corners and after machine stitching the two pieces of lining fabric together and sewing the hem we then added the lining starting at the side hems. These were sewn by hand using slip stitch then added using interlocking stitches. We then slip stitched the other side and then added the lining to the bottom hem. When I was sewing the lining on and had only the remaining side and bottom hem to do, I was a bit sad as I had enjoyed making this curtain so much I didn’t want it to end! Normally when I make something I am all excited at the start, and can’t wait to finish it as I am keen to start something new! I think this is typical of most crafters unless it is just me!

The last part of the making process was to tidy up the top and add the heading tape and I found this to be the hardest thing to do. Once we had done this, we added the hooks and had the grand hanging ceremony! I was SO excited about this and so pleased with myself to finally see my curtain hanging at the door in all it’s glory.

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All in all, with the main fabric, interlining, lining, heading tape and hooks, this curtain cost me £58 to make! You couldn’t buy one that cheaply especially if it was made by hand!

I am now desperate to make more curtains for my house and keep looking at the ones I already have thinking that I could make them so much better! My next project is a roman blind which Tracy is also helping me with! I already have the fabric for this and this time I AM using William Morris! Watch this space to hear about my progress….

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Tara Tuesdays – Part 40

Pastures New

I am about to start a new chapter in my life where I will be working in my local village Primary School which I am very much looking forward to. I will of course miss all of my lovely friends that I made during my time sewing, but I think of them all every day when I look at this beautiful leaving gift they made for me. If I’m honest, I was a bit overwhelmed when I opened it as each square has it’s own special meaning to me… let me explain further.

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One side has a square covered in Paramo badges, a denim heart and an appliqued horse, and a square with a beautiful sewing machine on it. The badges are a replica of ones that I have sewn onto garments whilst repairing during my Seamstress career and will be a constant reminder to me of this! The denim heart and appliqued horse was made by Clairey. As you may already know, I ADORE horses and Clairey and I regularly ride together on Ashdown Forest. I was with Claire when she bought the fabric she has used for the horse; it was for a dress she is making and I asked her if I could have a scrap to keep that I would use to remind me of her. I also made a horse square for her on a cushion my work lovelies and I made for her for her 40th birthday, so she was reciprocating my horse love with her part of the cushion.

The sewing machine square was made by Sue. Sue made me my beautiful sewing machine pin cushion which I have blogged about previously and you will notice that there are some familiar fabrics on this square that I think she purchased from one Emma’s Fabric Studio… I particularly LOVE the cotton reel fabric on this square.

On the other side of the cushion there are lots more squares. If I start from the top left this time.

Lou made me the first square, she started to call me BUTTERNUT when we were looking for some fabric in this colour to use for a repair. We adopted a Cornish accent (hers was MUCH better than mine!) and from then on in every morning when she arrived at work I was greeted with a “Morning Butternut” I think you might have had to be there to appreciate this..!Image 12

Next to the Butternut square is a crocheted square with my name on made by Julie. Julie is a dab hand at crochet and no doubt would have whipped this up in about 5 minutes! I love the pretty effect the crochet has on this square.

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We then have another square with my name on with each letter and it’s meaning phonetically. This was hand sewn by Debbie and is referring to our previous Civil Service career!

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Sage and Onion and Denim Walls need a more detailed explanation however. You will have all seen or know of Peter Kay’s sketches with his misheard lyrics? Well, let me tell you, I could certainly give him a run for his money with this! Sage and Onion is my interpretation of the Toni Braxton song “Say That You Love Me”, which if you listen closely is definitely what she sings… Sage and Onion I mean, and Denim Walls is what I have ALWAYS sung to the Pet Shop Boys song West End Girls where they sing “In a West End Town and Dead End World”… you will need to listen to both songs to see if you can hear my version or the correct ones! Singing my version out loud in the sewing workshop after only being in the job for a few months made all the girls Laugh Out Loud and then became a regular joke when more of my misheard lyrics came to light… on a daily basis!

The pretty apple square was made by Alison and she made me this as I ate an apple a day to keep the Doctor away most lunchtimes!

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Beccy made me the stripy square with the appliqued heart and if you look closely the Seasalt label. I am a lover of Seasalt AND stripes and Beccy loves the colour purple! She has beautifully blanket stitched this on and you need to see it up close to see how neat her sewing is!

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The letter T square is another Paramo reminder, I have spent many a time removing and replacing old poppers!

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Catkin made me the next square with my name on in pretty pastel colours, a cute kitty cat and some knitting! As a HUGE lover of cats and knitting this square is particularly apt!

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The next square was made by Hayley and is a really clever use of Cub badges that are relevant to me. I had to look them up to get the exact meanings and this is what I found. There are Collector, Hobbies, Home Help and Local Knowledge Activities badges all of which are very appropriate. Local Knowledge relates to my Re-enactment, hobbies could be horse riding, sewing, knitting or crochet, home help is because I am OBSESSED with cleaning and Collector… I am not sure about that one actually! The 1 in the middle symbolises how long Hayley and I have been friends for and worked together.

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And last but not least is a wee pair of jeans with an orange crotch patch. When I started working with my sewing buddies I brought a pair of hubby’s old Levi’s in for some crotch repairs. 17 months on, I did start to fix them but yes, you’ve guessed it, I never finished them! I also didn’t think I had enough fabric so was advised to “just use orange”, as it wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb much would it!

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Every other day I rotate my cushion so that I see both sides all of the time and have put it in my library where it sits in pride of place on my sofa bed. I go into that room every day and always have a huge smile on my face when I see it. I will fondly remember my time working with my sewing lovelies and am thrilled to have received this beautiful and thoughtful handmade gift that I will treasure forever. Thank you ladies, you really don’t know how much this means to me…. xxxxxxxxxx

Tara Tuesdays – Part 39

Sock Goblets!

I mentioned Sock Goblets in my last blog and as promised, feel their creation is worthy of it’s own entry!

Apparently I “NEVER” make “ANYTHING” for my husband, so was determined to prove him wrong last Christmas! He is getting to that stage in his life where he struggles with cold feet no matter how many pairs of socks he wears! His Mum is EXACTLY the same so I guess it must be a hereditary thing! Anyway, like the kind, caring, loving wife I am, I thought it would be great to knit him some warm toasty socks for Christmas.

I planned on using Jacob Sheep yarn that I had already purchased from the Wealden Summer Fair back in June last year and was looking forward to getting started with the socks. I had already made a pair for my Mum-in-law a few years ago and really liked the “2 needle sock pattern” that I used from an Erika Knight knitting book. However, there were several “lessons” that I learned during making these socks namely actually READING the pattern in full rather than missing important vital bits out.

For example when it says that the “finished size of socks once made up is to fit women’s average shoe size 4-6 (see note)”. Note states “you can adjust the length of the sock to make it suitable for either a smaller or larger shoe size by working more or fewer rows straight after the heel shaping”. This is also repeated at the point where the sock length can be adjusted. Little old me decided I knew better and chose to ignore this part of the pattern BOTH TIMES as I followed it EXACTLY (apart from reading that bit) and made the socks for size 4-6 women’s rather than size 8-9 men’s!!!!

That minor error (ahem) aside, the pattern is really straightforward and nice to knit. I haven’t braved making socks using 4 needles as yet but think I should try and learn as the making up of the 2 needle socks drove me to distraction!

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You will see from the picture of the unmade up sock that it is one piece and all you need to do is sew up the long seam at the back starting from the toe. Sounds easy, right? Let me tell you that I just COULD NOT get my head around mattress stitch! I looked on You Tube, went through ALL of my knitting books, Googled until I was blue in the face, you can imagine! I even resorted to calling my Mum-in-law and asked her to describe how the seam was on the sock I had made her to help me work it out. Time was running out as Christmas was fast approaching and I was getting myself into such a pickle I decided that it just wasn’t worth killing myself trying to make the socks for Christmas as I just couldn’t sew them up. Why did I put myself under this pressure?!?!

When I saw my Mum-in-law over Christmas I stole a look at her socks to work out the seam and managed to make a start on making them up. I continued with this and then had the delight of sewing up the toe seam. The pattern advises you to just “oversew” this seam. Well, I did that but am not entirely happy with the result, it looks like they have squared toes! I now think I need to make another pair just to get that seam right!

When I was knitting the socks during my lunch breaks at work, one of my friends Claire (after asking me what I was making), misheard me and thought I said “Sock Goblets” hence the name! My other friend Lou thought that the heel shaping was for hubby’s bunions to fit snugly into! He hasn’t got bunions, in fact he has really nice feet for a bloke (damn him) but Lou thought that he could grow some bunions to fit into the socks! Both of these comments set me off into fits of snorting giggles and just had to be shared here!

I FINALLY gave hubby the socks as part of his Valentine’s Day presents and he was delighted with them and said they were worth the wait, just as well really! I hope you will agree that apart from the toes, they look ok. He has also said they are pretty toasty and keep him warm which means it was all worth it in the end!

Tara Tuesdays – Part 38 – HANDMADE GORGEOUSNESS

I consider myself a very lucky lady to be surrounded by talented friends and family that are all into crafting. There is ALWAYS someone I can ask if I am stuck with my latest knitting project or for sewing advice and more recently for help with my crochet that I am a wee bit obsessed with it!

A while back I spotted a gorgeous pin cushion on Facebook and as my friend Sue from work was making some pin cushions for her family as Christmas gifts, I cheekily tagged her in the picture and asked her to make me one! I was of course jesting, but imagine my surprise when I actually got this beautiful handmade pin cushion when we were giving out our Secret Santa gifts at work! This was in addition to my Secret Santa gift I hasten to add! Sue is such a clever lady and one of the BEST Seamstresses I know! She can put her hand to anything and is a real inspiration! She should so enter the next Sewing Bee competition…… in fact I must ask her to apply when I next see her!

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For my birthday I received this beautiful handmade box that was from my Auntie Jeanie. Jeanie rekindled my long forgotten love for knitting and sewing a few years ago which helped me when I started my sewing night classes where the Fabric Fruitloops of Crowborough (and Harrietsham) were formed! I have no idea how she made this box but it is just perfect and currently has some of my haberdashery goodies inside. It sits in pride of place on one of the shelves in my library/soon to be (in my dreams) craft room! It isn’t really a library, I just call it that as it is full of books, my fabric stash, favourite yarns, craft books, armour, the Dalek and, and, and!

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I was also given this divine potholder as a Christmas gift from my Auntie Jeanie. I adore the fabrics she has picked for this and it sits in my kitchen on the work surface looking beautiful, however at the moment it is in the ironing pile as I had to wash it….ahem!

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Emma kindly gave me this adorable handmade Christmas decoration as a gift which I hung with pride on my Christmas tree! I made sure it was in my eye shot so that I could sneakily peek at it whilst watching TV over the festive period!

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Since completing my reindeer herd for Christmas Fairs last year, I was able to squeeze in making a few handmade items of my own as Christmas gifts for my family. Whilst they may not be described as gorgeous, I was still delighted with how they turned out! The cowl was for my Cousin Hayley and was finished without the buttons. Ever critical of my own work, I wasn’t happy with the final result so rummaged through my stash and found these buttons (purchased on my Grand Tour in Cornwall) that were just perfect! Don’t you just love it when that happens! You need the finishing embellishment for a project and find it amongst your goodies that you buy for that project that you haven’t even thought of, let alone started yet!

In addition to the cowl, I made a tablecloth for my Mum using some beautiful fabric she had purchased AGES ago. It frayed like mad but sewed beautifully and she was delighted with it, which was a relief! I crocheted some scarves for my Auntie Jeanie and Mum-in-law Sandra and I knitted some socks for my husband who I NEVER make anything for apparently! These however, were not finished in time for Christmas and deserve their own blog entry as a lot of blood, sweat and tears were shed during their creation! I think perhaps I put myself under slightly too much pressure to try and make EVERYTHING for Christmas, this year I am determined to start early!

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