Thursday, April 24, 2014

My baby is 16!

Happy Birthday Emily x 

Emily is 16 today! Where's the time gone? Above are Vanessa and Emily when Em was about 6 months old and Vanessa was 3 1/2 years old. And below they are a few weeks ago!

Em is such a lovely young woman. She is strong willed and stubborn but we've never had too much of the 'teenage tantrums'. She loves outdoor stuff and this weekend she'll be at a D of E practice camp and in August she'll be doing a 10 day 'Explorer Belt' expedition to the Czech Republic with the Scouts.

Above is Em on her first day at secondary school when she was 11. She is very good at playing the piano and is doing her Grade 4 exam later this year. At the moment she's getting ready for her GCSE exams, she's got 31 exams starting in a couple of weeks.

Emily modelling my Aurora design which is 50% off today to celebrate Em's birthday. No code needed!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Its WonderWool Time!

Its WonderWool Wales this weekend. The run up to any show is a busy time and this one is no exception. Normally I have wet yarn drying all over the house but as I've given up yarn dyeing there's no wet yarn this year. Instead boxes of yarn has been arriving.

More Lotus Yarns has arrived! I've got cashmere, cashmere/silk, yak and merino/silk in many pretty colours.

Today a big box of Zauberball arrived. I love Zauberball! I've got the regular Zauberball sock yarn, Zauberball Crazy, Zauberball 100 which is pure wool, Lace Ball and Lace Ball 100.

I enjoyed going through this box. So many pretty colours I haven't tried yet. I'm tempted to keep a few balls for myself.

Today I brought all the yarn downstairs so I could do a proper inventory check. Not sure the dog approved. She struggled to squeeze on to the sofa.

I've got lots of beads too and have spent ages labelljng them. There's seed beads and miracle beads as well as crochet hooks for adding beads.

Today I picked up my new supply of biz cards, post cards and stickers for my new paper carrier bags.

This week has been non stop parcel deliveries. Couriers have been arriving at regular intervals and this afternoon my last two deliveries arrived: a big box of patterns and a new dress form.

I'm very excited about WonderWool this year. Are you coming?

Tonight is the last chance to sign up for the Pro Finishing online class at the discounted rate. It'll increase by $10 tomorrow. My online shop will close tomorrow at 9am and re-open next Tuesday/Wednesday.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Sewing Weekend

Its been lovely having a long weekend off. We decided to spend Friday and Saturday working which meant Simon was working on bleaching/painting the outside walls of the house and I did a little bit of computer work and lots of sewing. The sewing was mainly work related but before I started on the work sewing I made a second bag out of my metre of Laura Ashley yellow spot oilcloth which I bought for £9 a metre (reduced from £20 a metre). Here's the first bag I made.

I love the first bag but its a bit small so I decided I needed a deeper bag. I used the same template as last time but made it quite a bit deeper and a little bit wider, but forgot to actually measure my pieces. I didn't have enough for handles so used a set of purchased handles.

I put a zipped pocket on the outside. The zips I had were a bit short. Wish I'd bought some longer ones.

For the lining I used a 1/2 metre of cotton I bought from Social Fabric last autumn. The inside has a row of slip pockets for my phone, my business cards, knitters tool tin and 2 pens plus a zipped pocket.

I tend to carry my Nexus 7 tablet around with me and for a while I've wanted to make a slip pocket between the lining and outer fabric for my tablet. It was a bit fiddly and I struggled to work out how to attach the inner and outer bag but worked it out eventually.

I love this bag. Its big enough for my day to day stuff plus a knitting project and its light.

After I finished the bag on Friday I started on the work sewing: making two aprons with pockets for Simon and I to wear at shows this year. With the first show, WonderWool,  next weekend this task was urgent. I used this Purl Bee pattern as my template.

The aprons themselves are easy to make but I wanted zipped and slip pockets for money, pens, phone, notebook and stuff. I managed to make a zipped pocket covered by a slip pocket on the green apron but it was fiddly.

I'm not 100% happy with it but I thought zipped pockets would be useful for keeping money secure.

Zipped pocket covered by slip pockets. There are two of each pockets. Not 100% happy with the neatness of my sewing!

When I started the purple apron I decided that I couldn't go through the hazzle of making the zipped pockets again so I went for a much simpler double layer of slip pockets. 

I sewed three lines down across the pockets to divide each pocket into three. This pocket looks much neater. I'm thinking about taking off the pockets on the green apron and doing the same as I did for the purple apron. I don't have ties yet so till the ties are sewn on and we can try them on I'm not making a final decision.

I love the two colours together. I had planned to put green pockets on the purple apron and vice verse but decided it might just highlight our tummies, neither of us are skinny!

Last night I decided to start quilting Vanessa's quilt, which is a double bed size and I want to machine quilt it. I'm doing straight(ish) lines about 1/2 inch inside the squares. My lines aren't completely straight.

After a couple of You Tube videos I managed to fit my walking foot. I had to refit it twice and I broke three needles before I got into the swing of it. Managed to quilt six lines last night. I want to finish this quilt before Vanessa goes back to uni next weekend.

Don't forget the 25% off pattern offer (use code: easter for 25% off my patterns) finishes at midnight tonight and the $10 off the Pro Finishing Online class finishes tomorrow. If you prefer an 'in-person' class I'm teaching it in Cornwall in May.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Making Me Happy!

He Is Risen! Hallelujah! Matthew 28:6.

This week having both my girls at home is making me happy! Vanessa goes back to uni next weekend but its been lovely having her home. She'll be back by end of May for the summer.

I've also done a lot of sewing this weekend. More on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, I've got an Easter offer for you.

Get 25% off any of my patterns on Easter Sunday & Easter Monday! Code: easter. Valid till Monday 21 midnight.

Whatever you're doing today, I hope you enjoy it and spend some time thinking about why we celebrate Easter while you enjoy your Easter eggs.

Happy Easter x  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Finishing School

Do you hate sewing up garments? You spend weeks or even months knitting a beautiful sweater then you spoil it during the finishing stage. 

Sound familiar? I can help. My next online Professional Finishing Techniques starts on 1 May. Sign up by 22 April for only $30 (approx £18). 

Many knitters find sewing up their garments intimidating. This class will teach you the easy way to seam your garment in addition to several other finishing techniques.

If you're only going to take one class, then this should be the one! 

This class will teach you:
  • shaping tricks which make sewing up quicker and easier
  • how to work short row shoulders and three needle cast/find off
  • how to sew up your garment using mattress stitch
  • how to set in sleeve caps
  • how to block and press your garment and weave in ends
  • how to pick up for neck and front bands
  • one row button hole
The lessons will consist of videos and photo tutorials.

You will be able to access the course material indefinitely, which means you can work at your own pace and view/repeat the videos as many times as you want.

I will be available to answer questions for the duration of the course. 

Leslie attended my Professional Finishing Techniques at Social Fabric in 2013 and said: "A 'eureka' day with Anniken. So simple and so obvious when you know how!!! My finishing will now be an exact science, rather than 'hit and miss'."

The advantage of an online class is that you can go back and view the class info as often as you wish and in your own time, rather than being confined to a one day workshop.

This course will start on 1 May 2014 and last for 2 weeks. 

This course is suitable for knitters of all abilities. 

Sign up by Tuesday 22 April and pay only US $30 (which is approx £18 depending on exchange rate at time of enrolment). From 23 April fee increases to $40 (approx £24 depending on exchange rate at time of enrolment).

Prefer to take an 'in-person' class? Live in the South West?

I'm teaching Professional Finishing Techniques as a half day class at Blacker Yarns in Launceston, Cornwall on Saturday 10 May. We'll cover most of the same topics as the online class but we can't cover all of it in one day class. The class listing have full details. 

You can book this class now. 

I'm teaching three other classes during Blacker Yarns De-Stash Sales this year. All the classes are listed here.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Spring Bag!

I spent another hour sewing last night and finished my yellow bags. The colour is a bit off in these photos. I love the finished bag but wish I'd made it a bit deeper. I can just about fit in my daily essentials including my Nexus 7 and knitting.

I made a zipped pocket for the outside. Love the green zip.

On the inside I did a zipped pocket and slip pockets for 2 pens, phone and my notions tin. I used a magnetic snap as the main fastening. 

I used a fairly thick lining fabric and laminated cotton bought in the Laura Ashley sale. As both fabrics are fairly thick I didn't use an interfacing.

This is the pattern I used but I made the bag slightly wider, straps longer and added pockets. Wish I'd made it deeper too. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Making Me Happy!

The weather has been pretty miserable here this weekend. Emily has been on a scout training weekend and camped on the edge of Bodmin Moor. She's just got home and I think her whole kit was wet.

Yesterday Simon and I went on a church training event near Truro. Afterwards we popped in to Truro to look around the shops. I decided to take a look at the fabric section of Laura Ashley. I haven't been in a LA shop in years. I loved the fabric and they had a sale on. So I got a meter of yellow spotty laminated cotton for £9.

I looked through my stash and found some fabric I bought on Etsy in January. They were perfect together.

A while ago I found a tutorial for a reversible bag I fancied making. Lately all my sewing has been about Vanessa's quilt. I had planned to finish that today but the only backing fabric I had was planned for my sofa quilt. While reading some blogs this morning I found some sales fabric at The Village Haberdashery and the code 'SALE40' got me another 40% off. So while I wait for that to arrive I'll make some other stuff.

I spent most of the afternoon sewing the bag. I added inside and outside zipped pockets and inside slip pockets. Although the bag is reversible I think I'll use it with the laminated side out. 

All that's left is to top stitch around the top of the bag and handles. I love the green zip.

My desk and the shelf above it needs a major clear out again. As a start I put some of my sewing gadgets in the tins I got last week.

I'm hoping I may manage to make an apron for myself (to wear while sewing, its such a messy activity) and a make up bag. After I've finished Vanessa's quilt I need to start a quilt for Emily.