A pair of sparkly snoods

Things have gone a little quiet over the Easter weekend for me on Etsy orders so it gives me a chance to let you see the progression of an order I have just posted off to America.

I’ll take this picture by picture and explain what is going on. The first picture is the yarn I use to make the sparkly snoods, the cone on the right is super fine metallic blue lurex which I crochet in with the usual blue yarn.  The lurex is a funny thing, it is really quite strong but feels very delicate as if it would snap at any moment.  In the background of this pic you can see some of my snood making yarn, that wicker unit is crammed to bursting with the rest of my snood yarn and a small amount of Gin Poodle yarn also on the coffee table are a couple of books I’ve read and haven’t decided what to do with yet, a train timetable and a book and map that I intend to make paper flowers from.

Next pic is the snoods nearly finished, the silver one is pretty much done apart from adding the elastic, the ribbon bow and sewing in a label, the sparkly blue one  isn’t quite finished, I’m putting a neat edge along the hair band here.

Next up is the book I am struggling to get anywhere with (The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen) which I’m reading in between making things.  I just can’t get into it, I don’t like any of the characters and don’t really care what happens to them. I’m a quarter of the way through it so surely by now I should care a bit? I’ve set myself a modest target of reading 26 books this year and I’m already three books behind schedule. Ms Bowen is not not helping. Sometimes I just give up on a book I’m this apathetic about but this is a book I picked up through Bookcrossing so I feel like I owe it to its previous owner to let them know what happens to it so I’ll slog on.

The last two pictures are the snoods pretty much ready to go sitting on my bony knees – all I’ve got to do now is wrap them up in tissue paper and add some complimentary sparkly hair grips to the vintage postcard and send them off.  The postcard is just over 100 years old, I bought a job lot of them and while they last I’ll use them as my notepaper or hairgrip holders in all my orders.  This one shows Gertie Gitana who was a music hall actress also known as The Staffordshire Cinderella.  This one was written on and posted, nothing exciting though, just some bloke Dave asking after his mate Jim and saying he’ll be home soon because they expect to be sent off to France soon.  I wonder if he was a soldier in the First World War but he doesn’t say so expressly. If they are blank I usually write a message on the back but if they’ve been used I like to keep them as they are and just pop one in the package as a nice surprise. Not that it will be much of a surprise if the customer reads this post before the package arrives.

 

 

Today I’m Making… Embroidered roses with beads

You might remember the lovely workshop I did a while back where I made the scissor dangle thing? Well, I really liked making the bullion knot roses so when I finished that my head was full of ideas of images I could embroider filling in with hundreds of bullion knot roses and french knots.

Finally I have made something. I had to come up with a birthday present for someone I don’t know brilliantly well but I didn’t want to just buy a scented candle like I usually would, I wanted to make something. Fingers crossed she’ll appreciate it took up most of my weekend making it and I’m not just being cheap.  I found the picture frame in TK Maxx, they always have gorgeous frames in there and the prices are very good.  This one I think is supposed to look like a vintage plate that has been made into a frame.

I had intended to use the gorgeous De Havilland silks I bought at Ally Pally but in the first place I could only find one hank in the wrong colour and then it didn’t work for making the roses, it all just tangled up hideously and I had to cut it out.

In the end I went for ordinary DMC in three colours – red, maroon and hot pink. I think another time I’d go for a variegated thread because it gives a better result than a block colour for flowers, but I did use a variegated coral for the french knots and that worked out really well.

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I started off by couching a double row of metallic blue thread, then I sewed the line of beads on individually, I did think about stringing them on to a thread and couching those on too but I prefer to sew them on one by one. After that I couched on another double row of metallic blue.  If I were to make another one of these I think I’d do this outside edge last because I was worried I’d catch the blue thread and ruin it as I made the roses.

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The fabric I was sewing on to is white with a white floral print which was handy to use as a random template to fill with the roses, rose buds and leaves. Making something look random is really hard, I think I have a roughly even colour distribution of roses and buds but I hope it doesn’t look too much like it is.

Here it is, the finished thing all mounted up. The mounting is the part that causes me the most stress but it seems to have worked out OK and I haven’t smashed any of the glass beads under the glass.

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I wanted this to have a vintage look, as if it had been upcycled from a 50’s boudoir set. I think that has worked out quite well personally. Though now that I’ve made this I realise my ideas about embroidering shapes filled in with bullion knot roses was a bit ambitious, I don’t think I could bear it, but it has reminded me how much I like doing french knots so I’ll be doing a lot more of those.

 

Tesco Own Brand Maximum Hold Hairspray

To keep it short and sweet this hairspray is simply the best I’ve found.  At only 74p a can, and its a pretty big can, you wouldn’t expect much from it but if you’re a vintage loving girl this is the stuff for you. I have fine mid-length hair and this will hold a beehive constructed out of nothing much all day long, even if its a damp windy day. Great for taming fly-aways too.

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Today I’m Making – Scissor Keeper dangle thing

I know I must have said it half a dozen times already but I do love a workshop.  They’re the main reason I go to craft shows.  Last October at the Knitting and Stitching Show, Ally Pally I signed up for Kathleen Laurel Sage’s workshop to learn to embroider bullion knot roses. What attracted me was their lovely vintage look, they make me think of boudoir sets, they also look fiercely difficult and I think there was even something in the blurb about them being intimidating so that was me in. Here is the front page of the kit so you know what we were aiming for. wpid-20140526_115342.jpg

 

I am getting back into hand sewing rather than just knitting and crocheting, its the think I love most and I’ve been avoiding it because it makes me too upset to think I’m not doing it for a living any more, but then again not doing it is probably making me miserable so this is one of my attempts to recover my old skills.  So there we all were, a nice mixed bunch as usual at these things. Really good kits all ready and waiting, the strong colours were all snapped up pretty fast which left me with the creamy peachy tone that I wanted anyway. Result.  The kit was really good, plenty of everything so you can do more practice or start something else off when you’ve finished this one or even unpick and start again if you make a horrible pig’s ear of it.

Kathleen Laurel Sage is easily one of the best workshop tutors I’ve come across, she got us all whipping them out with barely any fuss at all. I fell in love with what looks like a tricky technique straight away, she also was full of ideas for other uses and brought fantastic examples of things she’d made that were embellished with bullion knot roses.  She had this gorgeous little box that I’m sure all of us wanted to ask her to sell to us.

Turns out they’re not too hard to do. So here’s mine. I love it. Really do love it and my head is full of things I want to embroider using bullion knots and French knots now.

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Its a bit wonkily off centre but its my first go.

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I’ve already attached it to my scissors but I think it will get on my wick so if anyone can suggest another use for it I’d be glad to hear it.

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I think I chose the wrong shade of green for the leaves, mine are a bit on the dark side but then rose leaves are glossily dark aren’t they? I’m not an outdoorsy person so I could be wrong…

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The kit suggests a beaded loop or ribbon, I prefer ribbon I think the beaded loops look a bit scruffy.

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I sewed a button on the back to hid the ends of the ribbon and to give it a bit of weight on the back so it hangs nicely.

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The kit version has beads on the front too but I love French knots so I just went a bit mad with those instead.

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Kathleen has a website but she doesn’t seem to be selling these kits but maybe if you emailed her she could rustle one up for you. http://www.kathleenlaurelsage.com/misc.html

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1940s style snood – Customer photos

Whenever I sell a snood in my Etsy shop I send out a message to the buyer where I ask them to send me a pic or two of them wearing it to include in my blog.  Well, Claire kindly responded with quite a few really good ones and I’m sorry to say its taken me months and months to get around to blogging them because I am utterly rubbish at updating my blog.

Its a double faux pas because she looks so good in them!

This is Claire with her beautiful hair, that I envy so much, before adorning her snood.

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Now here she is wearing a medium cotton snood, I think this before and after really helps if you want to gauge the fit.

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We’re not leaving it there though, because she does something I’ve frankly not seen enough of.  The snood/hat combination is such a winner and she does it very well indeed.

Here is a gorgeous pillbox with a cream acrylic snood. The acrylic snoods are quite a bit thicker than the cotton ones but they still only weigh about 30g so they shouldn’t drag off the back of your head. I like the way the hat brings out her blue eyes. Is the hat navy or black?  Note to self – buy more navy.

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Next up a black veiled pillbox with the grey cotton snood.

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Then this absolutely dreamy brown velvet hairpiece with a brown acrylic snood, the yarn thicknesses vary a bit from colour to colour but if you’re au fait with yarn weights the acrylics are all in the 4ply range.

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These hats are all original vintage pieces of Claire’s collection.  I love this one so much I have to put in three more pics…

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Then last up we have this little furry feller worn again with that versatile brown snood.  Image

Look at the fantastic ribbon detail at the back!

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Jealous!

Vintage Hair Styling tip – Ribbon Snood

In this picture, artfully photographed by Dawn Elliott photography (www.dawnelliottphotography.co.uk) and modelled charmingly by Vintage Vi (www.vintagevi.co.uk)you can see one of my ribbon fastening 1940s style snoods. I make and sell these based on an original 1940s design, (www.etsy.com/shops/ginpoodle) I make an elasticated version too but the ribbon one is what I want to talk to you about.

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When you buy a new snood the silkiness of the ribbon means it can be a swine to keep in place, the bow can work loose and can even come undone completely.

So my top tip is before you put it on, with the ribbon untied give it quick spritz with hairspray.  Don’t go mad or you’ll get manky looking dark patches, all you need is a little bit to stop the ribbon being so slippy.  Over time the ribbon will behave better and it will get a coating of hairspray every time you wear it but its the first outing that needs help or you might end up flinging it across the room never to be worn again.

If you do go a bit mad with the hairspray or if the ribbon loses its lustre after a few wears give it a handwash with some shampoo and it will perk up no end.

Finally, I also want to say, and this is a bit of a sore point with me, is that this is a snood. The knitted tube you wear around your neck is a cowl.  I blame Nic Kershaw.

Gin Poodles

ImageI love a bit of kitsch, I’m really not into minimalism at all and I definitely do not want a show home, I like a home to be filled with things you fall in love with and make you smile.

I’ve always liked the things you’re not supposed to like, I’d love a crinoline lady on my loo roll, none of my crockery matches and my living room is full of knitted poodles.  Actually the poodle take-over isn’t too bad at the moment because there are only four in here so here are some photos of Gin Poodles that have since been rehomed via my Etsy shop – http://www.etsy.com/shops/Ginpoodle.

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A Gin Poodle is a bottle cosy, or rather something you use to hide your bottles of gin from prying eyes.

Image   Lots of people have told me their grannie had one of these as a loo roll cover back in the 60s or 70s, I think the ones they mean are crocheted and had long floppy ears, I developed this style based on those but I’ve fluffed mine out to make it a bit more cuddly and fun.

The body goes over the bottle, and the head sits on the top, the head comes off to reveal the bottle top.

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This one is actually sitting on a bottle of rice wine vinegar, I’m not much of a drinker so I quickly ran out of bottles of booze for my poodles to sit on.  I say they are for gin but they fit a bottle of wine perfectly. The neck on a bottle of champagne is a bit on the long side and who hides champagne anyway?

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