Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Small Print

I've actually achieved something today.  I got up early (before 7am - on a SUNDAY!) and had a go at making some jam jar pincushions.  Two very mini ones, and one not quite so mini. They are a bit of a complete copy of Gina's here although not NEARLY as neat as Gina's, but I guess practice makes perfect.
And then I went down to my studio and got on with some of my Spectrum homework, printing with blocks taken from my sketchbook.  First I used the print block that I'd made in class, using coreboard, double sided carpet tape and funky foam
And then a different image from my sketchbook, using a Pressprint (polystyrene) block
That represents about an hour's printing - and two hour's cleaning up. I still have to print them onto fabric and make a stitched piece.  
All in all, it's been a fairly productive week - on Thursday I went to the Stitch and Craft show at Olympia and did a two hour workshop to make a zipped and lined purse - a technique I really wanted to learn and I was pleased with how it turned out - I think I'll be making more of these
I've also had a big kitchen clearout, after it was painted on Wednesday.  Lots of stuff went to the charity shop, and these little chicken egg cups only escaped by the skin of their teeth
Oh, and on the theme of birds - how about this visitor to my shed yesterday -
I'm glad I wasn't in there - it sounds bad enough when pigeons are stomping about.  Anyway, that's it, I'm about to start stitching a skirt I cut out ages ago. If it turns out ok I'll show you next time.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

All Our Yesterdays

Apologies for the start of this post - it's mostly of interest to my Mum, and it's a bit like an episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" but if you're only interested in 'stitchy' stuff, stick with it - there's something for you at the end!
Yesterday myself and some of my cousins (I have quite a lot) met up in London to have a look at where our parents grew up, and their Granny's house.  Thanks to a bit of detective work by a friend, who managed to track down my Grandad's WW1 service records (no mean feat as there are only about 20% still in existence), we were also able to visit the house where he lived with his parents, certainly from the time of 1911 census until he joined up in 1914.
This is Charrington Street near St Pancras (my great grandfather was a farrier at Euston Station)
It looks surprisingly grand - and there's a private square at the back of the houses -
Then we went to Grosvenor Avenue in Canonbury, where my Mum remembers visiting her paternal grandparents and an Aunt - it's the second one along from the corner, the first red door from the left. 
Mum recalls that they had a Russian lady lodging on the top floor, who spent all her time in the building opposite ..
but I bet it wasn't called the Snooty Fox in those days.
Next we went to Dalston, to find the Samuel Lewis Trust buildings where my Mum and her sisters and brother grew up, but it seems that they have been pulled down and new flats built 
Above the entrance, there are two dates - 1924 and 1998 so I'm assuming these were rebuilt in 1998

But it was definitely the right location as it was just around the corner to their old school - Sigdon Road
which looks huge ..

and also very close to the church where they went to Sunday School
which has the claim to fame of being the largest parish church in London, and was consequently referred to as the "Cathedral of the East End" apparently

It does look quite imposing -
Now for the stitchers among us....
While we were on our walkabout, we had a wander down Ridley Road market.  I've often heard my parents talk about it, but I've never been before.  It was really busy and vibrant, and this particular shop caught my eye, so after my cousins and I went our separate ways, I wandered back to have a closer look.  I assumed it was just a little shop with a few rolls of fabric at the front.
Until I went in a bit further .....
It is a huge amazing treasure trove, stuffed full of every conceivable kind of fabric, buttons, haberdashery and trimmings.  It was really busy, with lots of lovely helpful staff, and there was so much to look at, it was too much to take in at one visit. 
I didn't even get to go upstairs, which is where the lace, silk and brocade fabrics are stashed.  I am definitely going to sort through my patterns and go back there - it's years since I've seen this much fabric to choose from.  I urge you - it you sew - take a trip here,

And finally, my most recently completed project.  My knitting friends thought it was a hat - and it would make an ideal hat, just so long as you had one large ear and one smaller ear, placed at different levels on the sides of your head
But in fact it's a tea cosy. Looks a bit big, but I'm going to line it with old felted blanket to make it more efficient.
I would have done it already but I appear to have temporarily misplaced the blanket.

All Our Yesterdays - The Small Faces