Friday, 10 January 2014

Happy Journey

I've tried so hard not to get sucked not to the whole New Year reflections and resolutions thing. I prefer minimal planning, going where ever my journey takes me. If I don't like what I find, it's easy, I don't stay. I just pack up and move on. Right now, good things are happening here in the Wool Bothy. Less than a week in to January, I got the feeling that 2014 is going to be a good year.

Mr Picture Bothy and I have been thinking for a while now that we'd like to go travelling around the UK. Last year we sold all of our hens and most of our sheep which enabled us to dip our toes in, using an old caravan which was falling to pieces. We loved it and went off in search of something more modern. We finally found it. On the first weekend in January we traipsed down south for five hours and bought a new (to us) caravan.

A while back, I'd posted a photo on Wovember, of one of my woolly makes. A couple of days ago I received an email from the lovely Felicity. Apparently it's won 1st prize, for the best photograph, meeting the brief. I had truly not thought about trying to win. I only put up the photo in a burst of enthusiasm, in support of their woolly message. (Did I mention that I have an obsessive love of wool, especially British, and more specifically locally produced, in either raw, yarn or fabric form?) In fact, it was Mr Picture Bothy who shot the photo. I was wearing the woolly thing, so I couldn't have taken it, which leaves me feeling a wee bit of a fraud. Mr Picture Bothy, on the other hand, is delighted to have a prize-winning photo to his credit, that he hadn't realised had even been submitted for any competition!

I call this wrap jacket "Spinner's Journey". The wool is very rustic, the fabric has almost zero drape and there is no colour. Many of these skeins date back years, to my very early attempts at spinning and most of the spinning is appalling. Some are over-twisted, like gnarled old rope, while others have almost no twist at all. They’re all different thickness and they’re very lumpy-bumpy. The resultant garment does not hang well at the back, but it has a reassuring feel to it, like a faithful old blanket.

Just look at my wonderful prize, from Blacker Yarns at the Natural Fibre Company. It's absolutely soft, gorgeous, beautiful, squishy and sheepy. What more can I say?

On the back of this publicity, I've now been asked if I'd take a commission to write a pattern. It's flattering to be asked but I haven't yet decided whether to accept or not. Creating the shapes, numbers, colours and textures comes naturally to me, but I so hate writing concise instructions. Someone would have to edit it.

The icing on my January cake is that we've recently been treated to lots of activity from the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

Meanwhile, my creative journey has firmly brought me to specialise in wool and I suspect that it will keep me wrapped in softness and warmth for some time to come. I sense that my sewing and knitting roads are about to meet and merge together, in to one exciting, onward journey. Will I knit lengths of fabric to chop up and sew with? Or, will I be inspired to knit the shapes of tailored clothes? I'll let you know, as I continue with my travels through woolly places.

Wishing you all a happy and rewarding journey, over the coming weeks and months, which ever direction you travel.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Presidio Purse

Here I am, up-cycling again, which feels far more exiting than another year of my life passing. I'm always at it. There are few things in life that make me happier than taking something that's no longer used and making it in to something that will be used like crazy. I grew up with this trait and I believe I picked it up from my Grandmother. She had to be resourceful and frugal during WWII and never stopped.

This is it, Seamstress Erin's Presidio Purse, made from old jeans. Her pattern is released for sale today and it's fabulous! The bag its self will never fail you. You really will fit everything in it, including your kitchen sink. You can customise it to suit your own look, and her instructions make it really easy. Oooo! Erin's hosting a sew-along in January. That'll be fun and helpful too, especially for anyone who's not made something like this before. 

Being my usual, impatient self, I couldn't wait for the official release and convinced Erin to let me in as one of her test sewers.

 You can see how massive it is. I'm not kidding when I say you can fit everything in it. 

The released version now has more gathers in the inserts, or there's also a flat insert option.

There's a choice of two handle styles. Both are strong enough to take all of the weight you can throw at them.

I found some old Union Jack lining that seemed to fit in quite well and reminds me of Carnaby Street, during the London Swings era.

Erin's really thought about the details too. The pockets are perfect for holding all the important things in your life, with special places for pens and phone, as well as a larger pouch for money, kindle, keys...

You've probably spotted that I haven't quite got the hang of this blogging thing yet.  Despite sizing my photos all the same width before uploading them, they still insist on all coming out different widths when uploaded and published.