Friday, 25 July 2008


I love reading other peoples blogs and one of my favourites is Ysolda, I love her designs as well as all of the interesting things she blogs about; delicious food and beautiful landscapes. I have been making the Liesl cardigan in Blue Skies Alpaca worsted, bought in the Loop sale - pale blue and beautifully soft, I will take some pictures soon but only after I have finished it - nearly done but I am still in search of the perfect buttons.

Yesterday her blog post was about the arrival of a Clothkits parcel. I remember Clothkits when I was very young and my mother used to make them - 70's England didn't really believe in natural fibers so Mum used to make my clothes or buy them in Denmark when we went home. Mum and I were discussing the relaunch last night over dinner and saying how much we used to love their needle cord and the quality of the material in general, so this morning I had to have a look at the website.

Be warned - the site does not work well on Internet Explorer 6, Firefox seems to be fine though. At the moment the collection is small but what they have is absolutely perfect - I want every single thing in the womens wear collection and the children's gear is seriously cute. Even though it blows my craft budget for the month I had to buy a kit.

I had such difficulty choosing which one but I eventually settled on the Rob Ryan skirt in cerise needle cord with purple print - I am sure I will be buying other items in due course! You can just see the colour at the back of this photo.

I really like his designs anyway - check out his website and etsy shop

I could have paid through the site but decided to call them directly as I had some questions. I'm glad I did as I got fantastic service, they were super friendly and chatty and I also got to choose which lining material I wanted - from a choice of gorgeous Liberty prints.

Yes, the kit seems on the expensive side but the design and quality is excellent and you get everything you need to finish the item, including lining, thread and zip. If I considered what it would cost to buy the pattern, material, lining, zip and thread in John Lewis it works out about the same.

Having bought the skirt kit I will have to wait until next month to buy this - I have been lusting over it for ages:

And when I saw this material in the new modern midwest collection, I was sold on making it:

Gorgeous brown with the cherry blossom - it makes me think about Memoirs of a Geisha - much better in book form than on film, if you enjoyed the book you might also enjoy Geisha by Liza Dalby an American anthropologist who became a geisha in the 70's to enable a deeper study of their world - fascinating.

This is my current choice for the accent material on the dress, I am undecided about this, it's pretty, but I am not sure about the combination - what do you think?:

The lovely ladies in Liberty haberdashery told me that Amy will be in the store on the 12th August having a chat with people - I must put it in my diary! This hasn't been announced yet so don't tell anyone I told you!

just as I was typing this I got an email to say the
Knitty surprise is up - I'll be having a look in a little while - tell me what you think too.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Handspun and homemade

I am completely in love with handspun yarn, the texture is just beautiful. I am longing to spin my own and have bought a drop spindle kit from the flying ewe, I can't wait to have a go! I am really really lusting over a spinning wheel (Ladybug realistically or Matchless if our bonus it huge this year!) but worried over when I'd be able to fit it into my life and house. I am planning to go and have a look at some next week - shhhh don't tell anyone - I am in denial about how dangerous that would be!

I am trying to content myself with buying some lovely handspun on etsy. I had to go to the post office to pay the customs charge on this beauty yesterday (£13.80 - most of which is the post office handling fee for me to drive 20 mile round trip to the sorting office, hand them cash and pick up my parcel!) It was worth it though!

634 yards of laceweight Merino Tencel from Squoosh, I have no idea what I am going to make with it yet - investigation on Ravelry will commence!

The colours are really vibrant and bright - and elusive on camera! I tried every setting and light and these were the best I could get. There is pink, orange and mauve in the yarn and the colour is called hotty - that made me smile.

If you love handspun too I also received two lovely skeins from Stony Creek, I can't show them as they are destined to be made into a gift.

My Swallowtail was finished ages ago but I am only blocking it today, I am home alone for the weekend so I dared to pin it out on the floor.

It is so light weight and ethereal - when wet it was a tiny blob hardly bigger than a tennis ball! Made from Posh yarn Cecilia, it took forever to wind the yarn into a cake (all 1300 yards) and this shawlette made hardly any dent in it - I shall weigh it to find out how much was used when the blocking is done. The yarn is 50% silk 50% cashmere mix and warm despite it's lightness.

It is almost dry with the warm weather today - I really wish the weather here was more reliable! I should go and pick raspberries and strawberries RIGHT NOW as I won't get soaked - in 10 minutes that may have changed!

I have some friends coming for dinner tomorrow and since I will be working tomorrow, I did a bit of prep work today - I don't think I will ever stop being a chef at heart.

This brown sludge looks deeply unappetising but is in fact an unbaked pain d'epice, if you have tried the supermarket version in France you will be think 'meh - why make that, it's dry, fairly tasteless and a bit dull!' but homemade it is really lovely, soft and delicate with a deep fragrance from the spice mix and the local honey. It is baking now and filling the whole house with Christmas scent. I have been making this since I lived in France but have made one change to my version since reading the chocolate and zucchini book - adding crystallised ginger and crystallised orange peel - yum!

You may be wondering why I am making a Yule scented cake in midsummer, well my plan for dessert tomorrow is to grill some peaches with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and to serve them on toasted pain d'epice to echo the cinnamon and suck up all the peachy buttery juices, I'll also plop some creme fraiche on top for contrast.

Hope it tastes good!