Monday, 15 October 2012

The Knitting & Stitching Show 2012 - I was there!

I have just about recovered from this weekend's Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace and wanted to share it all with you before I get even busier putting to use everything that I bought!
I went along with my mum on Friday as a regular punter, and as neither of us had ever been before we were exited to see what all the fuss was about. The first thing I should say is that it is big. Actually it's huge! There are hundreds of retail stands, as well as artists galleries, workshops and classes. I had booked mum and I into a 'Give it Back' class where we would have been taught how to make a pillowcase dress. These simple dresses are made for charities like Dress a Girl Around the World. Unfortunately public transport was against us that day and we didn't make it to Alexandra Palace in time. Such a shame.

You could buy pretty much anything you wanted to do with sewing, knitting and other crafts, plus there were some amazing artistic creations. Unfortunately, most of the 'art' was not able to be photographed so you'll have to imagine the intricate quilted wall hangings and the knitted wedding dress and matching grooms suit! But the Knitted Village was brilliant...
At times the day felt like an endurance test: there was so much to take in, look at, touch and so many people to navigate around but regular R&R breaks helped! At the end of day 1 I had actually been quite restrained in my purchases...(Things didn't remain this way though!)

I was back on Saturday and Sunday in a professional capacity, helping to man the Ray Stitch stand. I'll come clean, Rachel is a good friend of mine but even if she wasn't I would still love her shop! She has a great eye for design and style which shows in the products and fabrics she stocks as well as the way it is all presented. This year Ray Stitch was representing Merchant & Mills  - make sure you check out all of their gorgeous stuff too. I want it all!
I had a lot of fun working on the stand - it was lovely to meet so many people and really inspiring to talk to them about what they were planning on making with their purchases. Even though we were rushed off our feet both days I still managed to look round again, and again! and made a *few* (ahem) more purchases. Here is my full haul from the show...
Bella by Lotta Jansdotter - to make a cushion as a housewarming present
Cloud 9 Geocentric - canvas weight organic cotton to make cushions for our hallway bench
Cloud 9 Nursery Flannel - to make snuggly toys for friends' new arrivals
Jersey remnants - only £3 each, perfect for my t-shirt making stash
Gorgeous Robert Kaufman Jelly Roll - for a future quilt, one day!
Hideous Thomas the Tank panel that Wiss will adore! Maybe I'll make an art roll up?
Non-scratchy 100% wool to make Wiss's scarf (and  for Raoul to play with!)
And then there is just one more thing to show soon to be, brand new shiny, fancy pants sewing machine!!! I have been thinking about a new machine for a while and hoped that there would be some good deals at the show. All the major brands were represented and had knowledgeable staff to answer all your questions. It was a great way to compare different makes and models all under one roof. I had demos by Brother, Pfaff and Janome and all had their pros and cons, but I decided on the Janome XL601. They sell their machines through stockists all over the country who are there to help should problems arise and who will take care of the servicing. (Which I will do annually, I promise!) I am SO excited to get my hands on it later this week!
So, there you have my weekend in a nutshell! I bought lots, met loads of lovely people (including some twitter friends @mrsramskill and @missmagpiemakes) and have a ton of new projects to start on a new machine!

Same time, same place next year then?!
If you visited Ally Pally this year, how was it for you? Please leave me a comment or a link to your blog below as I'd love to hear all about it.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

This is Wiss: KCWC Autumn 2012

Hello! I am right in the middle of KCWC so really should be busy sewing but I thought I'd take a moment to blog about what I've finished already, what I still want to make, and link to the AMAZING flikr group. Just look at what's been achieved already!

Now I thought that I was prepared for this KCWC - I'd been thinking of what to make for over a week, and I gathered together fabrics and ordered some wool but compared to most of the blogs I've been reading I was way behind! No matter, I reminded myself that this isn't a competition and that all the 500 plus sewers taking part are doing it for fun and to support and inspire each other along the way.

I had so many things that I wanted to make and I've managed to gather quite a stash of fabric over the last year or so, but when I looked into what clothes Wiss actually needed there wasn't much. He's been lucky and had quite a lot of new clothes bought for him recently (Primark have some fab boys clothes in store at the moment). But there are lots of upcoming births and birthdays so I thought I would make some clothes for them instead.

First up are two 2 year old girls' birthdays and a google search led me to this great website, Craftiness is not Optional It was a new one for me but I know I'll be visiting again and again. The tutorial I followed was for the gorgeous Lovebird Tunic, and even with drawing up my own pattern it was an easy project to tackle. Look!

I used some special fabric I'd been saving for just such a project: top tunic is made from bright blue baby cord with a cloud 9 organic cotton print, bottom tunic is made from organic cotton grey chambray with Aneely Hoey's fox print from the Walk in the Woods range. I can't wait to see how these look on - hopefully pictures to follow...

I also have 4 friends all due to give birth in the next month (one set of twins!) so I will be making each new baby a gorgeous and very practical nightdress - just like the one I made at the start of the year here. I've got some vintage t-shirts already and I'll mix them with bright coloured jersey to make each one as individual as the little person inside!

The last item I was planning on making is for Wiss - a scarf, knitted not sewn, which does stretch the rules of KCWC a little but I've got a lot of travelling to do in the next few days so will use that time wisely. At least it would have done. I bought the yellow marino wool from eBay a month ago but it still hasn't arrived!

I'll not be able to do much sewing over the weekend (sad face) because I'm going to be at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (happy face!) I've never been but I have heard such great things I am really excited. My mum and I are going along tomorrow as regular punters and as well as some serious purse action, I have booked us into a class to learn how to make pillowcase dresses for charity.

Then on Saturday and Sunday I will be helping out on the Ray Stitch stand. I hope to meet loads of new people so if you're going too then let me know and come and say hi! If any of you have been before and have some great tales/tips then I'd love to know.

Good luck for the rest of the week to all of you taking part in KCWC and I'll be checking the Flikr pool. Happy sewing!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Super Super Heroes!

Last weekend saw the 5th birthday of one of my favourite little people, my friend's son Albert. I'm not even going to go into how he can possibly be turning five already when I remember him being just a bump so clearly, because that will just make me feel even older!

His mum is super talented (remember her from here?) but when it comes to themed kids parties she is the best, and she makes everything herself. In the past there has been a Cardboard Box party, Brave Knights, an Ice Cream Sunday party and this year it was Super Heroes! There were brilliant games such as 'Pass the Kryptonite' (a glow stick!), tie up a villain (with loo roll) and jumping over 'skyscrapers'...
We were really unlucky with the weather but the kids didn't seem to mind the wind and rain. The garden shed was transformed into a Super Heroes dining room, complete with bunting made from comics, balloons, the Batmobile and 'kapow!' and 'thwap!' signs...
Wiss said he wanted to go as Batman so I duly whipped up an old-school Batman costume (mainly so I could get him to wear leggings with pants over the top!). He must have known any photos of him wearing said leggings/pants would only come back to haunt him because on the day he refused point blank to wear them. Or the cape. So in fact, my little Batman wore just the t-shirt with brown cords and his anorak instead. Damn him!!!
I wanted to make Albert something for his birthday following the Super Hero theme and I came up with...Secret Albertman! Ssssssshhhhhh, it's a secret! All super heroes have an everyday alias, so I thought Albert should be able to become Albertman easily, you know, when the time is right.

I cut two 'A's' from orange and black jersey, layered them with the black on top and sewed them both onto a black t-shirt 10mm from the edge. I love the way jersey rolls itself up in time, and thought that gradually the 'A' would become a little more prominent, but still not too obvious. I made a cape from the same black and orange jersey fabric and sewed my first ever button holes at each top corner. The cape attaches to the t-shirt using fab orange striped buttons (from Ray-Stitch) so it can be worn or removed as the situation dictates!
Every Super Hero needs a way of communicating so I made a double-sided watch from felt - grey and cream felt for the normal everyday watch which turns over to reveal a flash 'telecommunicator'. Secret Albertman laughs in the face of an iPhone! I wrapped these up along with a secret notebook and a card, 'Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept it...'

Luckily for me Albert chose to accept his mission so maybe one day, if you have a problem, and no one else can help, maybe you could hire 'Secret Albertman'. But keep it under your hat! ;)