Saturday, 7 April 2018

A Wealth of Weldon's

I didn't expect to literally come home with an armful of Weldon's magazines dating from the 1920s on Thursday. Talk about surprise and impulse purchase!

One of Stroud's oldest independent secondhand bookshops is closing its doors for the final time after 40 years of serving the town's bookworms and ephemera aficionados. They're having a big closing down sale and amongst the plastic boxes of books lined up outside the shop were two big bags full of the magazines. I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity to add to my stitchery archive!

I brought about 35 magazines, with the earliest dating from February 1924 and the oldest, December 1929.

Covering the years 1924 through to 1929, they're proving to be fascinating to look through and many still have their original patterns - both used and untouched; some even factory folded.

Inside the magazines are black and white illustrations of the patterns featured...

...along with the usual adverts for female health and beauty, needlecraft supplies, food and household sundries.


There's even beauty tips. I particularly like this one on how to achieve Hollywood starlet hair; although the brand name featured doesn't sound very glamorous!

The thing I love about old magazines such as these is that you don't know what to expect hiding between the pages; handwritten notes, a postcard or perhaps a colourful scrap for an album. One of these magazines offered up an otherwise forgotten 'treasure', a printed paper bag from a long-gone gentleman's outfitters in Swindon. I looked up its former premises on Google Maps, only to find that its now a very nondescript building housing The Body Shop.

However, I did find online a photo showing S.B. Cole & Son in their heyday and they even had their own enamel advertising signs too...

Picture Source

Picture Source

One of the best things about these magazines are their gorgeous covers, so evocative of the 1920s and their fashions. 

Aren't they fab?

Its quite rare to discover a clutch of these inter-war magazines as many were recycled as part of the armaments drive in the Second World War. These were definitely a lucky find.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Getting Crafty: DIY Lampshade

Making a lampshade has long been on my 'To Do' list and after being inspired by the fabric and lampshades in a local shop, I decided to give it a whirl. So I brought a metre of gorgeous fabric with a mermaid and fish design from said shop and a wire lampshade frame from from eBay and off I went!

The first step was to bind the frame so that I could sew the individual fabric panels onto the binding. I used some blue bias binding and wrapped the frame top to bottom excluding the internal light-bulb fitting.

Using thick brown paper and a pencil, I then traced around the inside of one of the lampshade panels and cut it out, creating a template to work from. Because I wanted a mermaid in each of the  panels, I had to work out the pattern placement on the fabric to create this, including the extra 2" border that I had to add to the outside of the template to enable handling and stitching direct onto the bound frame.

After I had cut out the 8 individual panels including plain pink lining panels, the next stage was to hand stitch each of these onto the frame, whilst pulling the fabric to create a drum-like tautness. I'm glad that I brought a good quality cotton sewing thread for this (Gutermann 100% cotton) as it stood up to all the tugging! I think it would have driven me loopy if the thread kept breaking!

I did find the sewing very therapeutic and spent a enjoyable number of hours stitching, drinking tea and listening to ghost stories on Audible.


After glueing up the stitched seams to ensure that they didn't fray, the next stage was one I was really looking forwards to...adding the trimmings!

I first glued the blue gimp* down the vertical frame ribs...

...then worked my along the curved lower frame sections using the gimp and some narrower gooseberry green gimp as additional contrast trimming. 

I found it easier to use washing line pegs to hold the fringing in place when glueing as I found it a bit tricky manipulating the fringing around the curved frame sections without it peeling off.

Ta-Dah! - Here's the finished lampshade...

...all I need now is a wooden lampstand.

* This word always reminds me of Pulp Fiction; in fact I was going to name this post "Bring Out the Gimp!"

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Colour Bomb Knitting

I've been on a yarn diet over the past year, trying to dutifully knit from the stash, but when I saw this colour-bomb yarn over on Etsy I knew it had to be mine! Its hand-dyed 4ply sock yarn in the colourway 'Sherbert Rainbow' dyed by Kate Selene. Luckily you can request for the skein to be wound into a ready-to-knit from ball, which saves time winding it up yourself - bonus!

I decided that a colourful pair of long, fingerless mitts are what I need for Spring 2018, cast on the required number of stitches onto my bamboo dpns and off I went...

The yarn is a joy to knit with and I've finished one mitt and have cast on for the other. Its been fun seeing how the colour striping works out when knitted in the round and I'm happy to report that there's been no obvious pooling of colour, unlike other yarns I've knitted with.

Before starting on the mitts, I wanted a lazy knit to do over Christmas, where I could knit in front of the telly without having to count rows, patterns, stitches etc. Delving into the stash I found a bag of yarn that I brought from a car boot sale years ago. I can remember being surprised at finding it, as its quality yarn and I think cost me under a fiver. I decided to knit a simple cowl with this DK yarn, knitting with two strands simultaneously on 6.5mm needles as I wanted a heavier knit than the usual DK texture. 

Like the previous yarn, this is also from an indie yarnie and one that's local to me too: May Hill Gotlands. I've cribbed the below quote from their website, because they describe it far better than me:

"We produce wool, sheep skins and woolly creations from our flock of Gotland and Gotland cross Blue Faced Leicester sheep that graze within sight of May Hill, the famous landmark near Newent, Gloucestershire. This Viking breed originated about 1000 years ago on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, off the Swedish coast. It is becoming increasingly popular because of the high quality, beautiful wool it produces. The lambs are born black but turn grey/silver as they mature. The young coats are silky, curly and, to quote Tolkien "like dusk silver as water under stars".  Gotland wool was even chosen to make the Magic Elvin coat in the film The Lord of the Rings".

Now doesn't that make you want to knit with it?

I'm glad that I had this project on the go as I fell ill with a lurgy over Christmas and ended up recovering whilst bingeing on Amazon's Outlander series and mindlessly knitting. I soon noticed that my cowl with its undyed yarn looked similar to the knits used by Outlander's costume department, so I've nicked named it the 'Fraser Clan Cowl'!

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