Making a Book #9 Organising the launch party


The book is ready to be launched?

Er, No.

I have still to complete about 25 photographs, the cover is not ready yet, the layout is not finished, and it still needs a final edit and proof reading. And printing of course. But. Planning.

I met my dear friend and Instagrammer Lois for lunch the other day. Here she is showing me how to do a Flat Lay!

Lois at Grangers Kings Cross
Flat Laying with Lois

Lois @the_lois_edits (do follow her if you like beautiful photographs of particularly nice and unusual images of London), is an experienced photographer, marketeer, hairdresser and all round creative. She made me think about how I am going to market and promote the book and it was a salutary experience. I had not given it much thought until now as the baby is not yet cooked (perhaps not the best metaphor). But the launch needs planning and if I don’t commit to a date I won’t actually finish and publish the book.

So I am going to tell you what my first thoughts are, and maybe you would be kind enough to make some additional suggestions?


  • Book the large room in our Kings Cross offices as this will be fairly cheap, is very accessible, has a garden, toilets, crockery etc. I am thinking of asking everyone I know (!) and all my blog and Instagram followers (obviously many don’t live anywhere near London) via Eventbrite. I will especially encourage my collaborators, models and family to attend.
  • June would be ideal if I can achieve it, but later is probably more likely and achievable. Certainly an evening.
  • Free entrance to anyone who has already bought a book or who buys one on the night. The cover price is £15, but I was thinking of a special offer of two for the price of one. This would enable buyers to keep one and give one away. Another thought is to just offer a discount on the night. And probably a bulk discount for anyone who will take 10 or more.
  • Special homemade food (this is where Nick comes in), tea and coffee, wine, soft drinks and water. Not sure what food to offer, but probably something cold, that can be eaten with the fingers. Ploughman’s? Bagels with smoked salmon, or nut butter. And cake. Any suggestions that appeal to all tastes and preferences?
    Man cooking, with lemons
    Nick cooks aubergines
  • I will sign the book for anyone who wants it.
  • Provide an activity such as sewing/painting/creating something on the night, providing materials. Setting up tables of six to ten where attendees can sit, work with others and network. It is possible that some of my more expert friends may be willing to sit and the tables and “teach” specific things. How to make a granny square. How to choose a harmonious colour palette. How to take a good photograph. Using watercolours. Basics of knitting. How to build your blog or instagram following. Embroidery. Make up advice for all skin tones. Paper pieced patchwork.  How to make slime??? (I know a very good 8 year old expert).
  • An outside speaker – a star blogger, or maybe something completely different – a clothes or textile designer, a museum curator, a photographer. Someone very interesting, perhaps with slides of exhibits.
  • Doing something myself, such as a mini colour consultation. I could ask people as they came in if they want to “win” this, and then choose a name out of the hat. Or a talk, with slides, on wardrobe personality?
  • What about a selfie bay (Lois’s great suggestion)?

I know I enjoyed having my picture taken in the Botticelli shell. I was thinking of creating some areas with the key colour directions eg Bright, Muted etc, using fabric, wall paper, paintings etc, The attendees could try pictures of themselves in their assumed colour direction, or I could give them a provisional guess.

Fabrickated Botticelli
Fabrickated Yellow
Me with a bright yellow background by Lois
  • Show some of my home made clothes and fabrics, possibly to try on. Include a few mirrors in the room. I noticed at the V&A and other museums that people love to try things on.
  • What about a present for the “best dressed” or “most stylish” on the night?
  • At some point I would want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me. And that includes all of you. So maybe I can also blog about it to share more widely, or even arrange something like a short video via Facebook or Instagram? I would hope someone might take photos on the night to share with attendees.

All this on a fairly low budget as the book is not a commercial proposition, more a celebration of natural beauty, nice things, happy times and community. If you are willing and able to participate of course I would be absolutely thrilled – please comment below or email me kate (at) fabrickate (dot) com.

I would welcome your suggestions, and certainly any help you might offer. Thank you.

SWAP #12 Appraising my progress and starting the jacket

I am planning to have my SWAP completed by the deadline this year, which is the end of the month. Which is possible, or deliverable as we say at work.

Let’s have a look at progress so far.

I have constructed

  • Grey pencil skirt
  • Grey silk evening skirt
  • Grey silk patterned blouse
  • Navy trousers
  • Navy circle skirt
  • Navy sweater
  • Navy patterned shorts
  • Patterned silk scarf

Two other items

  • Previously made red coat (with patterned silk scarf), [and red unfinished sweater in a bag in the background]
    Burda Coat 08/2012

    I have made this coat before, in brown, for Esme. She loves it and still wears it. Recently I did a major operation on this version of the coat as it was coming apart and was a bit worse for wear. Sometimes mending and altering is the only sewing I do.

    Mending a coat
    Mending Esme’s Burda coat with painted silk lining

    My own version needed an alteration too. I used big press studs, as proposed in the pattern, to fasten it. They are silver and while Burda suggest covering them in lining, I didn’t bother. Then regretted it. I have removed the press studs, secured the coat with a big pin, and intend to paint them with red nail varnish. Hope it works!

  • RTW white shirt

And still to complete (TNT pattern, adapted)

  • Grey linen jacket, which I MUST CUT OUT TODAY!

And still to choose from (one more knitted item only)

  • Yellow sweater
  • Grey striped sweater
  • Blue and grey ski sweater (in progress)
    Zimmermann ski sweater swatch
    EZ ski sweater in greys and blues
  • Red Perry Ellis sweater (in progress), but I don’t think it will work.
    Perry Ellis cable dart cardigan (from Vogue Designer knits 1998)
    Perry Ellis cable dart cardigan (from Vogue Designer knits 1998)

As well as complying with the rules, which I believe any of these combinations would do, we have to be able to put together nice outfits that will get worn day to day. I cannot yet decide on which second knitted item to include. The four listed have been started, or completed during the SWAP period, so they would all comply with the rules, but I don’t know which one is best for making outfits up. I guess this will be finally decided when we come to do the photographs. When I chose the colours I knew they would all work together well, and I believe that nearly everything will work well with everything else in terms of

  • colour
  • pattern
  • silhouette and style
  • good fit and suitable for my personal look
  • work well with existing wardrobe

So let’s see if I can out outfits together. For the purpose of this exercise I am going to use the grey striped sweater. Things would be different if I used any of the other three, but I imagine any would have a place.

  1. Grey pencil skirt, grey silk blouse, grey jacket red shoes
  2. Grey pencil skirt, white shirt, grey sweater, white sandals
  3. Grey pencil skirt, navy sweater, navy tights and navy shoes
  4. Grey silk evening skirt, white blouse, red shoes
  5. Grey silk evening skirt and grey silk blouse, grey jacket, red shoes
  6. Grey evening skirt, grey sweater, navy tights and navy shoes
  7. Navy trousers, white shirt, red coat, navy shoes
  8. Navy trousers, white shirt, grey jacket, white sandals
  9. Navy trousers, grey sweater, white sandals
  10. Navy trousers, navy sweater, navy shoes, silk scarf
  11. Navy circle skirt, grey blouse, scarf, navy tights, navy shoes
  12. Navy circle skirt, white blouse, navy tights and shoes, red coat
  13. Navy shorts, white blouse, navy tights and shoes, red coat
  14. Navy shorts, grey blouse, grey jacket, navy tights and navy shoes
  15. Navy shorts, navy jumper, navy tights and red shoes

The rules on photos have just gone up:

  • Provide 6-12 photos.
  • Include one photo that includes the full group of garments (plus optional accessory if it applies)
  • Include one photo of you wearing an outfit
  • Additional 4-10 photos of various outfit combinations
  • Every garment must be shown in at least two outfits
  • Composite photos are allowed (but not required); however they are limited to a main photo and two smaller insers
  • Photos should be sized to fit the page without scrolling.
  • Photos should be posted by Monday 7 May

I shall have to work this out precisely. If early May is hot some of these items will be uncomfortable to model. But the woolies and coat are suitable for about nine months of the year. The silk and linen items will be perfect for our short summer season.



Finding models

posted in: Book writing, Photography | 13

As you may know I am at the stage of illustrating my book, Making Life more Beautiful, with photographs I have taken myself. It is turning out to be a great adventure, but not one without its challenges.

When asked in my “major project” proposal to list the possible difficulties I might encounter in completing my project I wrote;

  • Not yet competent in taking good quality printable photographs
  • Not got friends and family to agree to model for me.

Put together these two problems, or challenges as we call them in modern management speak, could scupper the project. Can’t take pictures, and no one to take pictures of. In addition while I define beauty very widely I wanted women with natural hair, minimal make up and enough confidence in their appearance.


Initially when designing the book I imagined I could lean heavily on close family. After all I have a daughter, a step daughter, and a daughter in law. (Just for clarification this book is mainly aimed at women so I will be using female models). I want to show them off as I think they are all naturally beautiful

But when I asked them if they would be willing to model they were just not that enthusiastic. This is a mixture of not not being comfortable being photographed (I have found this is a very common issue and one I feel myself), not wanting to be featured in the book, not wanting to draw attention to themselves. not keen on spending time dressing up and standing around, being busy etc. I was a bit disappointed but decided not to push it. They help me in lots of other ways and I love them very much.


So I decided to advertise for a model!

I put out a call on our work intranet “Hive” saying I was doing a photography course and was looking for lunch hour modelling, lunch included. Two members of staff responded and we are going out locally to take their photos really soon.

I also made a little poster and went along to my local Art College (University of the Arts, Kings Cross). When I got there they offered to advertise on Creative Opportunities their website for students and graduates seeking employment or intern opportunities. I offered £10 for one hour of their time. This proved to be very successful! I had about 30 responses from a wide range of of people – men and women, young students and semi-professional models. Many did not have the natural look I had specified so choosing didn’t take too long.

With both groups I have already “cased the joint” for suitable backgrounds.

The third thing I did was opportunist photography. I have been taking my camera to work every day and if I meet people who are willing to be photographed I just do it there and then. To some extent this is riskier but so far I have found two lovely women to photograph in the course of my day to day work – Genie and Zohar. I have also photographed some men, including Jeremy, which has proved to be good practise for improving my skills (the first problem!).


I was very lucky to have found a perfect pink wall for Genie. Zohar, an architect, is standing by stone carving at the House of Commons. Jeremy is in the office.

I have still got so much to learn and about 40 book images to procure!


SWAP #11 – Silk Evening Skirt

posted in: Finished projects, SWAP | 25

For Sewing with a Plan this year I only have two items left to make – the light grey skirt and jacket. As I am putting off the jacket as the most time-consuming item, I had to tackle the skirt. I want to make a dressy evening skirt.

Normally I would go for colour with an evening skirt rather than a neutral, but I like to think this grey is shimmery and reminiscent of silver or mercury and therefore with a very luxurious appearance. This was a good project for using up my  exceptionally beautiful, heavy weight ribbed but soft, slightly bluish, light grey silk.

On Camilla I put my two grey silk pieces. The lighter weight piece became the painted silk blouse; but I couldn’t decide what to do about the skirt. I pondered on the length, the style, the purpose. I considered draping it, or using a pattern. I have been procrastinating for weeks.

Draped grey silk Evening skirt
Fabric for evening skirt draped on Camilla

In the end I decided on a “no waste” approach, which is what I had used with Bella just before Christmas.

This simple approach to creating a unique skirt that fits well takes a length of fabric, makes it into a tube with a zip, folds or gathers it into a waist band and “voila” as they say in France. Or “simples!” as they say on the advert.

Although I am making this skirt for SWAP I have in mind to wear it to a wedding. Oh for summer and wedding invitations! What could be nicer? This August my friend Amo is getting married to Symon in Poland, and Nick and I are going over to celebrate with them. I am really excited about it – meeting their relatives and friends from Cameroon and from Poland. I wonder what the food will be like? I like Polish food but the rest will be an adventure.

Amo is a very dramatic dresser and she will look amazing. I was wondering about wearing my new silk skirt, but if it is too subdued I do have lots of party dresses I have made over the years which get very little wear. Here is Amo wearing a dress she made herself.

Amo in the sewing room

To make my skirt I used a double width to get a very full and luxurious look. I also decided on a fairly long skirt that will be more suitable for evening wear. Also I like below the knee for summer as it means I don’t have to wear tights. For winter, with opaques, I feel very comfortable in short skirts or short. But I don’t like bare knees!

While the skirt is symmetrical I played around with the types and styles of pleats to get fullness in more flattering places. I then created a very deep waist band (7cms), again to add drama to a very simple and plain skirt.

Pleated silk skirt with deep waist band
Deep waist band


I used six or seven tiny hooks and eyes to secure the waist band, which I basted and attached with stitch in the ditch.


And here is the skirt with my painted top. It feels very yummy and swishy.

Painted silk blouse and pleated skirt
Pleated silk skirt and sleeveless blouse



Another Man Jumper

I mentioned I was trying to knit a jumper for my husband Nick, having practised on my son Gus.

Here are the issues with knitting for men

  • Much bigger bodies
  • Need more yarn and time to complete
  • Men’s bodies are a different shape to women
  • Most men (or people who do not make clothes in general) do not know how to specify what they want
  • I always find making for other people is fraught as there is so much emotional content associated with it.

In this particular case I had added issues

  • I was reusing yarn – Rowan Cocoon – from another project – a Kate Davies owl sweater for me. This was a learner project I started years ago and found it too hard and it was never completed. I unravelled the yarn, Nick said he liked it. I started knitting a jumper for him, soon ran out of yarn, reordered it and found it was a completely different colour.
  • I unravelled that jumper too, and started again knitting one row of each and this worked surprisingly well.
Mixing two shades of yarn
Mixing two different shades
  • I didn’t know what pattern to use. I had tried the Elizabeth Zimmermann New Zealand jersey, but the yarn was too stiff for the job. Or maybe I wasn’t using large enough needles. But it was not pretty.
  • I offered Nick some of my vintage patterns but he expressed dislike of anything fussy.
  • I thought I would stick to what I knew and produce an Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless sweater. I had already made five or six of these for myself and found the raglan sleeve look was simple and effective.
  • On EZs advice I cast on fearlessly and started going round and round in huge circle until the torso tube was complete. I then used the percentage system to determine the sleeve width, and kept decreasing until I got to this stage.
  • I didn’t find much instruction on turning this sweater into a polo/turtle neck in Knitting without Tears, but taking advice from Instagram I built up the back neck and side neck by doing about eight short rows to the front raglan seams, and then just knitting a tube for the collar. As you can see in the finished picture there is a fold at the CF below the collar which shows I didn’t get this quite right.
  • At this point I put the jumper into a cold wool wash. I have done this before, but on this occasion the jumper shrunk a little bit, and became slightly felted. More positively the yarns blended at this point and the brownness seemed to wash out! At this point I nearly cried. I should have carefully hand washed it as advised by EZ.
  • In order to save it I dried it carefully and added length with a knitted ribbed band to the hem and sleeves. In the photo below the ribbing is not soaked; it is just as it came of the needles.
  • The shaping is not that great. Nick is fairly wide in the shoulders and chest, with a narrow waist and hips – the classic inverted triangle. As the jumper is just a tupe plus sleeves we have a little tightness across the chest and shoulders, too much fullness at the waist, and loads of fabric at the back that was unwanted and uncalled for.
  • Nick said he would prefer a deeper but narrower collar. I was a bit cautious on the width as I wanted to be sure it would go over his head.
    Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless raglan


I was pleased with the photograph though. The copper background worked beautifully. The second photograph shows the problem at the back. It is shorter and too full.

Handknitted sweater showing fullness at the back



My first reaction to these obvious fit problems is

  • Never make another one
  • Actually make another one and learn from the mistakes

So if I do another EZ seamless here is what I will do.

  • Using a similar Aran weight yarn use the stitch count to make adjustments.
  • Do half a dozen short rows at the start to make the back longer than the front
  • Start narrower and gradually increase by around 20% as you come to the joining of the sleeves to the body piece.
  • Repeat the method already outlined for the collar, but I will use less stitches to create a narrow, longer tube.
  • Don’t machine wash the jumper!

It was a labour of love and it was not entirely successful. But it was a good learning experience and I am going to do another one at some point.

Man in hand knit poloneck


SWAP #10 Painted silk sleeveless blouse

In terms of SWAP I think I am now on item 7! After this blouse I still have to make (by

  • the grey silk skirt,
  • grey jacket and
  • westwood skirt.
  • I will be adding a RTW or a previously made item.


I had a nice piece of light weight, but not flimsy, pure silk crepe in very light grey. For fabric painting I much prefer using white fabric to any kind of colour, but pastels do work relatively well. It is nice to line or face the garment, or even trim it, in the plain fabric. However with grey fabric all the colours have a slightly muted cast so I had to work quite hard with the colours, especially the red.

While I had my paints out, and the kitchen table protected with some black plastic, I cut out a scarf and a handkerchief, thinking one or both could serve as my accessory (desirable but not essential for SWAP 2018).

Having taken a big chunk of fabric for the accessories, I decided,  late in the day to line the top rather than create facings, and I didn’t have enough left, so I pieced it. All in all a bodge, when it should have been a lovely straightforward project.

Oh well.

For the fabric painting I used navy and grey, with yellow and red as my accent colours.

Silk painting Fabrickated
Painting the fabric for the blouse
Handpainted fabric
Checking the colours and spacing

I took these photos using the timer, by the way! It is a wonderful invention.


I have been thinking about what pattern to use for a while. You may remember I tried out the free Marfy pattern , but I didn’t feel it suited me. So I reached for I a tried and tested pattern. If you have a good memory you may recall I have used this pattern several times before. I particularly like the skirt pattern.

The wonderful thing about TNT patterns is that you know they will fit, so there is no worries on that account. For my SWAP this year i am using simple self drafted or TNT patterns. I have reduced all fitting problems to the absolute minimum.

Vintage vogue 7379
Vogue 7379


On the other hand I sometimes find with a TNT pattern I go onto automatic pilot, with a false sense of security. Not only did I not plan the silk painting properly (half making up the garment first so the painted pattern is continuous), I didn’t plan the finishing at the start, and I ended up redoing the zip three times. What should have been quite a quick and simple project ended up taking more time and it’s not as nice as I would have liked. More haste less speed is a very true saying, isn’t it?

If I make this pattern ever again here are my tips for myself

  • Cut out, make up flat, use batik wax on the seams and darts
  • Paint the silk
  • Cut out a lining in the same fabric, but unadorned
  • Sew together at neckline and armholes and then pull through
  • Then put in an invisible zip at CB
Hand Painted silk blouse, Vogue
Hand Painted silk blouse, Vogue 7379

I like it. The colours are quite subtle and nice, and I think this blouse will co-ordinate well with my plain grey and navy items. I suit light colours best, and have made the blouse with the deeper colours towards the hem and the lighter colours towards the face. The silk feels really lovely.  It is loose, comfortable and slightly warm, but while spring is just starting, if you look closely you may see goosebumps.

Finally, because I was doing silk painting I also made a scarf that includes the same colours, but not in a matchy-matchy way. When I am doing silk painting I rarely plan, or look for inspiration or something to copy in advance. But this scarf looks like a 1950s pattern I think. I think, because my SWAP is so navy and grey this splash of colour will be important in making some outfits up.

The scarf has four separate quadrants so you can wear it lots of different ways.

Hand painted silk scarf
Hand painted silk scarf (still wet)

Photography project – backgrounds

posted in: Photography | 23

The first term of photography is over. Next term, we move to our “major project”.

My major project is to produce 50 images for Making Life more Beautiful (my book). Last week we had to produce our proposal. The tutor had one word to describe my plans – “ambitious”.

We talked through how to approach the pictures I want to illustrate the book.

I want to take full length and facial portraits. Many of the students are doing pictures of people and some of them are using a studio with professional lighting.  I have seen lots of versions of this type of photo (this one from Tilly and the Buttons) – brand coloured background and clothes, lighting, flash, perfect hair, makeup and subtle tattoo. I was thinking I would need a backdrop, lights and a flash gun, reflectors and various other expensive extras.

However this is not the look I want, even though it is pretty and appropriate for the market (young beginners).

Amber in Tilly top

I don’t want to be too pretentious but my inspiration is @DamianFoxe who is a truly amazing  stylist and photographer. Here is my inspiration wall at the moment, packed full of work by Damien. The clothes are great but I am currently focused on the backgrounds.

For my own project I want real backgrounds, backgrounds that reflect my environment: London, the Cotswolds, building sites. I want backgrounds which complement my models and their natural beauty and colouring, rather than my “brand” colours.

Photography Inspiration board
Inspiration board

My tutor suggested I research the backgrounds first, photographing them and being prepared for the model. This turned out to be brilliant advice.

Over the weekend, I went round the Cotswold estate where we live, which is still being built, and I took several backgrounds. I tried natural ones, fences, brickwork, stone work. These all had a nice neutral look and I thought if I could get mastery of the depth of field I might be able to get a muzzy background.

I also tried painted, distressed surfaces which I found more appealing, a bit more edgy, and of course more colourful.

This was a fascinating experiment and really meant I was well prepared when Bella, my teenage model and next door neighbour, arrived. I knew where to go and what setting to use. I was confident I could get a good picture and I was able to “direct” her.

Bella with blue backgound
Bella with white background

I have five more models to find and photograph, and I have a deadline of early June. I am hoping to rope in a few friends from work, and possibly a couple of family members. Bella enjoys being photographed and it shows, I think. Most people I know hate it. That’s a problem I have yet to overcome.

Bella with wood


posted in: Book writing, SWAP | 6

As one of my favourite podcasters says “Where are we now?”

Here are the Sewing with a Plan rules:

  • Choose two neutral colors
  • Add one accent color and two prints OR two accent colors and one print
  • Make at least three garments from each neutral color
  • Make at least one garment from each accent color
  • Make at least one garment from each print
  • Remaining two garments may be made from any one or combination of your neutrals, accent(s) and/or print(s)

My own rules for my “Low Key SWAP” are

  • No purchases necessary (no fabrics or patterns can be purchased)
  • TNT or freestyle patterns
  • Low stress

The two neutrals (three garments from each)

  • Light grey linen jacket (have pattern and fabric but haven’t started yet)
    Light grey linen jacketing
    Light grey linen for jacket
  • Grey skirt (complete)
  • Grey evening skirt. I have some amazing grey silk – a lovely weight and texture. I think it is silk Marocain. Here is some that is similar, but obviously a completely different price. Nick and I are going to a wedding in Poland in August and I thought a long silk skirt might be a nice.  I thought of a draped skirt with an evening vibe, but also I am wondering about a second circle skirt. Or even a full, pleated, calf length skirt. So all relatively easy to execute, but which will have the most versatility? The upper piece of grey silk is what I am planning to use for the silk blouse, now painted.
    Draped grey silk Evening skirt
    Fabric for evening skirt draped on Camilla
  • Navy jumper (done)
  • Navy circular skirt (done)
  • Navy trousers (done)

Colour and pattern

  • Yellow sweater (done) (one accent colour), (but may substitute my grey sweater in above picture with the trousers)
  • Patterned top – I have made some fabric for this but I am not yet sure what pattern to use. Probably the sleeveless blouse from one of my old favourites
    Handpainted silk fabric
    Painted fabric

    Vogue 7379, a pattern I used for my first SWAP. 

  • Paper bag shorts (done)
  • Westwood skirt (still thinking about the right fabric)
  • previously made or RTW garment – maybe a white shirt?


I think I am compliant with the rules. What about timing?

I had better get my skates on: the work must be complete by the end of April. When I first committed to this project I deliberately chose the easiest, simplest TNT patterns, as suggested by Artisans Square. Despite that, and perhaps feeling it was a little unchallenging, I have let my time slip by.

We have 6 more weekends left.  It should take one week each  for the evening and westwood skirts, one week to make the top, leaving me with two weeks for the jacket. And this is if I use one RTW (or previously made). If desperate I can use both my jokers….

  • In other news we are due to complete our Notting Hill Genesis merger, shortly after Easter. Then the real work starts, but it will be a huge relief to have reached legal close.
  • I said I would have my book, Making Life more Beautiful, finished by Easter, but actually, while I have finished the text I have not started taking the photographs, although I am getting close to it!

I need five still life pictures, 16 portraits, 18 shots of my models, 10 shots of the models in clothes I have made, and a few oddments. Nearly 50 photographs in all, and I am still getting to grips with the camera.

My life is full, but very sweet. Here is granddaughter Maia who has just lost a tooth. And Ted, one year older who has lost four but gained three.




Making Log Cabin Mittens (Karen Templer pattern)

posted in: Uncategorized | 1

One of my favourite blogs, as I mentioned on Saturday, is Fringe Association, and I liked the look of these mittens.

Karen Templer Log Cabin Mitts

They are based on a log cabin patchwork design. I discovered this method when I did my quilting class. Nick and I loved this pattern. Ideally the centre square is red (the fire), and the logs around the edge.

Log cabin quilting method
Log cabin quilting

I have not yet conquered knitted gloves.  When I was training I made leather hand sewn gloves – in orange! There is an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern that I really want to have a go at.

Elizabeth Zimmermann glove
Elizabeth Zimmermann glove


Anyway here is Karen’s Log Cabin Mitts  pattern. It’s free to download from Ravelry.

I decided to use up some of my small pieces of cashmere yarn. I have quite a few colours, but decided on deeper neutrals for this, my first pair (there will be more).

Although Karen has provided very specific and excellent instruction I made a few changes. The most important of which was that I used four colours rather than three. This was because I didn’t want any colour to join itself. Four is the minimum number to achieve this effect. Some of Karen’s versions use only one colour, as in the toffee coloured ones at the top of the post. I think these are nice, with the interest coming from the changed directions.

The other thing I did was gather up the top of the thumb piece just a little to make them more shapely. I really like the way the bands actually work on the hands, with the brown bands across the wrist and base of the fingers.

Log cabin mitts
Log cabin: Finished glove

They are nice to knit – in double knit with 4mm needles I think (I bought cheap Chinese circulars which are not exactly a specific size). You make the left and right differently so they mirror and match.  I photographed the yarns against a nice William Morris print. I intend to have a pair of the go over the next few weeks, despite the fact that the weather is brightening up.

I thought they might be good to use for photography projects as I have free fingers.

Having finished my first mittens,  I have started on a second set.

Second set of mittens

As we develop our photography skills I am thinking about “styling”. I have used two pretty backgrounds here – designs by CFA Voysey (1857-1941). I have a calendar so there are ten more to share at some point! Not as well known as William Morris, he is from the same Arts and Crafts stable.


SWAP #8 – Bermuda shorts

I watched the Versace American True Crime documentary last night, by the same people who did the People v OJ (which I l also oved). True Crime is my guilty secret!

Versace American Crime Story

According to the film both Gianni and Donatella were dressed to the nines at all times of day and night. She in her head to toe, tight black outfits, or gorgeous satin dresses, high heels, lots of make up and false eyelashes. Even in his night or beach wear Gianni likes wonderful colours and fabrics. I loved his coral dressing gown and sandy coloured shorts. Set mainly in Florida I started yearning for sunshine, the beach and a chance to run around without a hat or gloves.

So my next SWAP item is a pair of shorts.

I wear shorts quite a lot – although rarely in photographs. In our beautifully warm new eco-home I wear shorts around the house.  I normally reach for sports shorts. Mine or someone else’s. Both my sons left their swimming shorts here, and I like wearing them: they are lightweight, comfortable and Gus’s have lobsters on them.

Mens swimming shorts
My son’s swimming shorts

I know both shorts as housewear and watching American True Crime is bit down at heel and ultra-relaxed; maybe you didn’t see me a slob who likes watching TV in a pair of men’s lobster shorts?  I like to be comfortable, the right temperature and suitably dressed if I fancy doing a few press ups or downward dogs. I had a piece of navy floral fabric containing red and grey. It is polyester and turned out bouncy during construction.

Navy polyester crepe floral
Navy printed polyester crepe

As I had previously had a disaster with a Style Arc elasticated trouser pattern I decided to freelance. I made a very simple pattern for elasticated shorts with a paper-bag waist.

it is simple enough to be cut straight into the cloth.

How to make elasticated waste trousers, or shorts, with a paper bag waist (UK 8-12)

  1. Use a piece of cloth that is 150cms wide.
  2. You are going to cut just two pieces. You need a fabric length of 60cms for short shorts, 80cms for Bermudas, or around 110 cms for trousers
  3. Fold into four lengthwise.
  4. At the top of your fabric measure 27cms from the folded edge to point A, and cut down to 34cms which is point B.
  5. Now cut a nice, crotch curve to the very edge of your fabric (which is 37 cms from the fold) which is point C. The depth of this cut is about 10cms.
  6. For trousers measure 22 cms from the folded edge to point D and connect C to D with a straight line.
  7. For Bermudas the width from the folded edge will be about 27 cms
  8. For Shorts the width from the folded edge with be about 34 cms.
  9. Mark you waist line which is 12cms down from the top of the fabric, on your fabric.

Here is a diagram that is not exactly to scale, but it is approximately correct.

Elasticated paper bag waist trouser pattern
Elasticated paper bag waist trouser pattern

The construction is very simple.

  1. Using French seams (throughout) attach the left and right leg at the CB seam
  2. Create the facing and elastic casing by folding over the top twice,  to match the waist line with a clean, folded under edge.
  3. Stitch close to the edge.
  4. Create a second layer of stitches above it in the facing, wide enough for your elastic (mine is 1cm wide).
  5. Sew the legs together at the CB seam.
  6. Sew the trousers together on the inside leg seam, creating a nice round curve
  7. Create a narrow hem on both trouser legs
  8. At the CB create a little slit either side of the CB seam so you can insert a large safety pin attached to your elastic. Thread it through to the other side of the CB seam and pin together so you can try them on.
  9. Adjust elastic to fit, then sew both ends of the elastic together on the machine.

Now they are done I don’t know how I feel about the length. I always like trying something new and I think these are quite fun, and look like a divided skirt from the distance. True Bermudas are more fitted, and actually above the knee, as these gentlemen below will demonstrate.

Bermuda shorts
Bermuda Wedding

I think i will wear them for work to see how I feel about the length. Maybe slightly above the knee, or short shorts is better? Let me know your views.