Saturday, 19 May 2012

Purl Bee

Many of you will probably be familiar with the amazing wool and fabric shop Purl in New York's Soho. Purl Bee, their craft blog has a huge selection of patterns for really cool and contemporary things (I hesitate to use the word 'projects'), from stripy blankets to string bags. I have made quite a few of them for presents. Here are two. The owl never made it out of the house because we got a bit attached to him.

My husband recently went to NY to work and I casually mentioned that if he happened to pass Purl, could he get me a couple of things. Imagine my surprise when he phoned to say he was standing in the shop. I was grateful and jealous all at the same time. Being a photographer, he also took a few snaps for me and here they are.

LOOK at all that wool! Seeing the owl and the baby cardigan in the shop is weird. Like seeing a celebrity. I felt like I knew them. I'll stop. They have a great machine to wind the hanks of wool into balls and that's mine on the machine.

Monday, 19 December 2011


Kinfolk have been making simple, seasonal mobiles with twigs, thyme and bits of string.  Or is it with bits of time, evergreen and berries?  They're lovely.

Here are Kinfolk's mobiles and an invitation to share their natural, celebratory way of spending time with family and friends.  What could be more important at this time of the year?

Lou x

Friday, 25 November 2011

A bit bonkers.

I think they thought we were a bit bonkers.  We took blankets and brownies to knit hats for Innocent smoothie bottles in the stands.

The highlights were women appearing with handfuls of knitted hats and men buying our knitting, biscuits and taking their shirts off.

Lou x

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Come on you Rooks!

Make Believe Café are setting up shop at the Dripping Pan in Lewes on Saturday 12th November! For those of you who aren't Lewesians, the Dripping Pan is not a greasy spoon, it is the home of Lewes' football team, the Rooks. A while ago Kelly had the brilliant idea of a knit-off at the football grounds (think of folk knitting in the stands, guillotine style), encouraging more women to go to the game and allowing us to spread our love further. Then we had the idea of knitting tiny football hats for Innocent (of smoothie fame) who donate 25p to Age UK for every hat they receive. Come on down. For more information visit our website. Hopefully it will be a win win for all.

Putting on Big Girl Pants

Autumn makes me want to wear slippers, cashmere and big knickers.  Sadly, I can't afford the cashmere but I have found knitted slippers.  Look.

A red bucket full, by our front door for cold feet and comfort.  They were made by the hairdresser's (Needlemakers, Lewes) mum.  I'm sure she has no idea how much we value them.

My gorgeous, crafty aunt Hanne taught us (repeatedly) to make some that are very similar. Here they are.

We've worn them since childhood. They eventually wear thin.  First we beg her for more to wear out then we put on two pairs in the hope of covering the holes we don't have time to mend.  Then, we felt them. All very worthy but I do want to knit them myself.  Or crochet my own 'virgin' as our four year old would say. Now, there's a thought.

L x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Renegade Craft Fair

Last weekend Renegade Handmade held their first fair outside America and they chose London! I have read a lot about Renegade Handmade and was keen to see what they were like in person. I wanted to see who they would choose from the British DIY craft scene to take part in their fair.

My friend Diana and I arrived quite soon after it opened and we were pleased to find that it wasn't too crowded (good for us, less so for them). We had a great day but at the end of it, if truth be told I was a little bit disappointed.

Whilst there were some exciting exhibitors there and a groovy DJ, I felt the show over all lacked originality. I could really see the effect of the internet. When it first arrived the world seemed suddenly full of amazing, original and diverse folk sharing their passions, hobbies and ideas. A decade later it is saturated with DIY crafters and ideas get passed around very quickly. We all love a custard cream and I wish I'd been the first to 'craft' one, but isn't it time we moved on, at least to the bourbon. I wanted to see new ways to make old craft skills relevant today. I didn't want to buy things that would just add to the clutter of everyday life.

For me the highlights of the show were the workshops that you could take part in. The most popular was a needle felting one, run by the Make Lounge. Diana and I had a go at this. I made an owl magnet (spot him on my fridge) and Diana made a fox. Look at everyone concentrating. No chatting on that table, you don't want to prick your finger with one of those needles, I can tell you.

We also made postcards to send to absent friends.

Some of my favourite crafts people there were The Drawing Machine. Here are my pictures of their work, naturally the ones on their site are much better. It was good to see Illustration represented.

I bought a couple of these nicely printed letters and found out that artist Patrick Edgely will be at the Artists and Makers show in Lewes on November 12th. Robin and Mould and Hazel Stark had lovely fresh prints. Yuka Maeda from Minus Sun had beautiful clothing and accessories. Look at this smocking.

I hope that Renegade come to London again and I hope that next time we Brits can show what an original and quirky lot we are.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Christmas Coat hangers

I have so much to write here but I also want to watch telly so here is a quick update on things that I am making for Christmas. I am very proud of these coat hangers. They are easy to make and a great way to use up all those odds and ends (a stash project, I think you call it). I really enjoyed mixing all the colours together, Missoni stylie. I've just checked the Missoni website and my hangers look nothing like it, but you know what I mean. I used some great fluorescent pink wool which was really cheap but always adds a bit of zest and stops things getting too tasteful.

I have to say that I got the idea from the Plumo catalogue. They have crocheted covers for wire hangers which look very pretty. I used wooden ones which, believe it or not, I had to send away for. I bought them from a very useful site called Sew Essential. This is how you make them:

Collect together lots of odds and ends of wool, it doesn't matter too much if they're different thicknesses, I used double and 4 ply.

Chain 70 stitches and then work approx. sixteen rows of double crochet (you need enough to stretch around the hanger), changing colour on each row. The cover needs to be quite snug so that it doesn't droop of the ends.

When you've finished, poke the hook through the centre of the cover and stitch the cover in place from one end, along the bottom, to the other end.

To cover the hook, take two strands of wool and wind it from the bottom of the hook up to the top and back again, fastening off the ends at the bottom of the hook. You could also add a couple of pom-poms around the neck of the hook. I made some lovely little ones using a fork. There are instructions on this site with the great name Bored Blog Almighty!

You could knock one of these up in a night or two and I know I'd be pleased if you gave me one.