english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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TOFT Cable Wristwarmers

In my last post about my Linden Sweatshirt dress, you may have spotted some knitted wrist warmers.

TOFT Cable Wristwarmers in Silver DK Wool

These are another knitting project which I finished during the summer, and that have been sat in a drawer waiting for winter. It’s pretty mild in the UK (at the moment) but I made good use of these during my recent holiday in Belgium. They are photographed in Brussels Park, where I previously photographed my first Linden last year.

TOFT Cable Wristwarmers in Silver DK Wool

The pattern is TOFT’s free Cable Wristwarmers pattern. This was my first attempt at cables and it’s a nice easy pattern to practice cables on if you haven’t attempted them before (spoiler for newbie knitters: cables are really easy). The pattern is knitted flat and seamed along one side, with a gap left for the thumb. They are a quick make if you’re still looking for fast Christmas gift knits.

TOFT Cable Wristwarmers in Silver DK Wool

I used the recommended yarn, TOFT’s DK yarn in Silver. I used approximately half to three quarters of a ball for these wristwarmers, so I have a little left over for a future project. I actually bought the yarn from TOFT’s farm shop when I was there interviewing owner Kerry for an article for Seamwork Magazine.

Having worn these a fair bit over the last few weeks (and also lugged them around in my handbag) they now have a slight fuzzy halo, which you can just make out in the photos. As a result they are likely to pill over time, due to being a very soft wool.

TOFT Cable Wristwarmers in Silver DK Wool

This is my second time using TOFT’s DK yarn (I previously made socks and later dyed them) and I’d strongly recommend it. It’s lovely to work with and is 100% British, being made with British wool, processed by the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall, and ending up with the TOFT team in Rugby. As a result, these wrist warmers count as one of my one year one outfit makes.

TOFT Cable Wristwarmers in Silver DK Wool


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Liberty Linden Sweater Dress in Bruges

Linden Sweatshirt Dress in Liberty Fleece

Now that winter has returned, I’ve gone back to making Linden Sweatshirts! (Last year’s Lindens are here: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4).

Linden Sweatshirt Dress in Liberty Fleece

My mom bought me this Liberty fleece from SewBox at the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show in Birmingham during November, as a birthday gift. I didn’t have a particular plan for the fabric but thought I’d make a Linden rather than risk a new pattern with Liberty fabric. I only had one metre of fabric but this fleece is very wide and once I’d laid out the pattern pieces it was clear I had more than was needed for a sweatshirt.

Linden Sweatshirt Dress in Liberty Fleece

To make the dress I used View A of the Linden Sweatshirt (size 0), and simply extended down the full length of the fabric, shaping in slightly near the hem. I used the Linden View B length sleeves. As with my previous Lindens, I cut the neckline band approximately one size larger to ensure it would lie nice and flat.

Linden Sweatshirt Dress in Liberty Fleece

Due to the thickness of the fabric, I folded over once at the hem and bottom of the sleeves and sewed two rows of stitching to secure.

Linden Sweatshirt Dress in Liberty Fleece

These photos were taken during a recent long weekend in Bruges, down a quiet street. In fact the whole of Bruges was quiet like this (making it the perfect blog photo location!) – until Saturday when many more tourists descended. Ignore the creases in these photos, I’d been walking around in the dress all day, and had it screwed up under a coat and scarf – temporarily removed for blog photos.

Linden Sweatshirt Dress in Liberty Fleece

I’ve got another Linden to blog soon, but am planning to try out Paprika Pattern’s Zircon as an alternative sweater / sweater dress next.


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A Week in Paris

I spent a week in Paris back in September but it’s taken me until now to get around to going through the photos. I recently wrote a blog post for The Foldline about shopping in Paris so won’t talk too much about shops, but I did want to share a couple of favourite purchases and some photos of the trip.

On this holiday I visited Malhia Kent for the first time. It’s located on the Viaduc des Arts near embroidery specialist Bonheur des Dames. Malhia Kent weave fabric for pret-a-porter and couture, but also sell their unique fabrics direct. Cut from the bolt fabrics are approximately €30 per metre, but coupons are a much more reasonable €10 per metre and they have a lot of coupons in the shop (if I hadn’t been on my way to catch a train I would have been in the shop for ages).

Malhia Kent, Paris

Malhia Kent, Paris

I came away with the two larger coupons (I think about half a metre each) below, as well as two smaller pieces I am hoping to piece into garments.

Malhia Kent Fabric from Paris

Malhia Kent Fabric from Paris

I had good company for fabric shopping on the Saturday, when I met up with Lisa, Carmen, Sabine and Olivier. We shopped in the Saint-Pierre area, and had particular luck in Sacrés Coupons.

Sewing Meet-Up, Paris

By chance, I was in Paris for Journées du Patrimoine, an annual event where historical monuments (including some that are normally inaccessible)  are open to the public and museums organise special events. I wouldn’t even have realised it was taking place if Carmen and Sabine hadn’t given me the heads up. Based on their recommendations me and Phil took the opportunity to visit La Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent for free.

The foundation can be visited on a guided tour which takes in a reception room, meeting room, Pierre Bergé’s office and one studio room. The studio space was unsurprisingly my favourite since it contains a rail of toiles and some examples of YSL originals. We attended a tour in French, I started off ok when Yves Saint Laurent’s life and career were being described since I’m already familiar with the details, but then totally failed to understand some of the later sections of the tour. If your French is as poor as mine, they run the tour in English once per month.

La Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent

We also saw Wool War One by artist Delit Maille, which Sabine had participated in the knitting of. The exhibition contains 780 soldiers knitted by hand by over 500 participants internationally, to commemorate soldiers killed in northern France during WWI.

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Me and Phil spent quite a bit of the week in various museums and galleries, many of which contained textiles for me to admire. A few photos of these are below.

Palais de la Porte Dorée, which contains Paris’ History of Immigration Museum and a beautiful old aquarium, was exhibiting amazing hats inspired by Paris landmarks (the red one at the front below is inspired by Notre-Dame) and inventors, with hats inspired by their inventions (see below traffic light, saxophone, football boot).

Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris

Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris

Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris

We took a train to visit Château de Fontainebleau, which contains a selection of historical textiles linked to royalty and to Napoleon and his family.

Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

Centre Pompidou had an exhibition of Palestinian embroidery on display. The pieces, which showcase traditional techniques, are created by Inaash, an NGO.

Centre Pompidou, Paris

Centre Pompidou, Paris

Centre Pompidou, Paris

Also on display at Pompidou, a Mona Hatoum piece woven with hair.

Centre Pompidou, Paris

The permanent collection of the Musée du Quai Branly, one of my favorite galleries in Paris, contains a huge range of textiles from around the world.

Musée du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly

And finally, Les Invalides has a huge permanent collection of uniforms and other textiles related to WWI and WWII. I have to admit to being a total sucker for an epaulet, they make me think of toy soldiers and those little plastic epaulets that came with every Lego soldier.

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris


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Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf at Centre Pompidou

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

After a lovely week’s holiday in Paris without wifi, I thought it was about time for a blog post! I’ve been waiting to write this post for a while, as I finished this knitting project back in June but it was too warm to pose for scarf photos. I was really excited about the weather turning a little colder and being able to pull this out the drawer!

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

The pattern is Stephen West’s Unicorn Parallelograms, which was released for this year’s WestKnits Spring Scarf KAL. I love the original version of the pattern which is knit using 20 different coloured Madelinetosh Tosh Unicorn Tails, but I wanted to stick to British yarn so instead selected five colours of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply, and limited my stripes to those five colours. I had quite a bit of yarn left over so probably could have gotten away with four colours (but clearly that’s not as fun!).

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

The pattern is a simple garter stitch with a crochet border, and was a good train knitting project. I still managed to make the occasional error but not too many! Despite the simplicity of the pattern it still took me a few weeks to knit due to the length and use of fingering weight wool.

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

It’s a perfect scarf for this time of year as it’s thick enough to keep the chill out but not super wintery. I’m thinking I need to knit up a second scarf for myself this year, so that I have a heavier weight scarf for after Christmas when it tends to get really cold.

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

These photos were taken in Paris at Centre Pompidou. I think the Centre makes a great match for the colour scheme of my scarf:) The scarf is an especially perfect match for Horizontal by Alexander Calder outside the Centre (above).

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

This scarf is one of my #1year1outfit projects as it is knit in British wool. Other participants have completed some major pieces (Sue and Carolyn in particular), I’ve started small with lots of accessories but I still have lots planned before the end of the year. I’m pretty confident I’ll have an outfit made with British fibres by the end of the year!

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West


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Knitting all of the Time & Elsewhere

Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf in progress

When I started knitting over Christmas 2013, It was to have a more portable hobby to take away with me when travelling, and I did only knit on planes and trains. Lately, however, partly due to subscribing to multiple knitting podcasts, I’ve really become passionate about knitting and am now knitting every day. As a result, I’ve completed nearly as many knitting projects in the last couple as months (yet to be blogged), as I had in the previous year and a bit since I first learned to knit.

I get my knitting fix while commuting to and from work everyday (plus a little in the evening while watching tv). I catch four trains a day (two to work, two home), all of which are busy. I’ve found that the secret to successful knitting while commuting is circulars. They’re super portable, they’re nice and short so you’re less likely to elbow the person sat next to you, and they’re highly unlikely to be confiscated at customs when flying (in my experience straights don’t get confiscated either, but are more likely to trigger a bag check). I’m knitting everything on circulars lately – socks (DPNs were recommended by the pattern), a hat, gloves, and currently a scarf (all of these patterns recommended straights). Next up in my knitting queue is a cardigan, and I expect to be knitting that on circulars too.

Elsewhere

♥ I adore Home and Away, the new pattern book from Knitbot, Hannah Fettig. I’ve added Hancock, Lesley & the Rosemont Cardigan to my Ravelry queue.

♥ Have you seen BritYarn? It’s a new online wool shop selling British wool, patterns and knitting accessories. I’m largely sticking to British wool currently, as a result of taking part in Nicki’s #1year1outfit project, so it’s ideal for me.

♥ Thanks to Marcy, Bloglovin’ now has a sewing category!

♥ As part of Shetland Wool Week, Donna Smith has designed an amazing Baa-ble Hat knitting pattern. It’s free to download on the Wool Week website.

♥ I can’t wait to try the new Lyonesse Linen Blend yarn from Blacker Yarns, perfect for summer knitting (assuming we ever get some warm weather).

The True Cost movie has now been released and is available for online download. The scenes of contaminated water pouring out of factories made the biggest impact on me.


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Copenhagen – Shopping & Sightseeing

Before our holiday to Copenhagen becomes a distant memory, I wanted to tell you about some great shops we found, and share a few favourite photos of the trip.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Phil thought that he’d been conned, as our hotel happened to be located directly opposite a haberdashery (not planned in advance – honest)! Stof 2000 is a chain store, which you’ll find across Scandinavia. They stock a decent range of sewing and knitting supplies, including fabric, patterns, wool and haberdashery items (e.g. knitting needles, sewing supplies).

Copenhagen, Denmark

The road our hotel was located on (Vesterbrogade, just past Tivoli) also included a STOFF & STIL store (a chain store haberdashery with A LOT of fabric and sewing patterns), and a small yarn shop, Therese Garn.

I won’t even try to list all of the homeware stores in Copenhagen, there are tons, but I’d recommend a trip to Retro Villa, which has an amazing selection of vintage wallpapers (sold by the metre), as well as some nice accessories for the home. I treated myself to a couple of wallpaper off-cuts which I’m planning to get framed (although I’m not entirely sure where I’ll hang then, as wall space is in pretty short supply).

Copenhagen, Denmark

I’ve posted previously about the Fashion & Textile exhibit at the Danish Museum of Art & Design, which I’d recommend to all sewists / fashion lovers. The National Museum of Denmark also has tons to see, including a very cool toy section – with a street of dolls houses.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Of course, you have to visit Tivoli when in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen, Denmark

And I’d highly recommend the Natural History Museum of Denmark, which houses a Diplodocus skeleton, amongst lots of other fascinating things.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

While staying in Copenhagen, me and Phil caught the train into Sweden, and briefly visited Malmo and Lund.

I loved the Form/Design Center in Malmo. The centre has an exhibition space, cafe, and stunning shop. The high street also houses numerous homeware stores.

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

We also visited Malmöhus Castle, which houses a number of museums, of these don’t miss Malmö Art Museum, and I also liked the toy exhibit.

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Lund has a gorgeous little yarn shop, Slandan, which sells some great quality yarns, including their own, unlabelled, skeins. I picked up some Icelandic Alafosslopi yarn from chain craft store Panduro Hobby, which is located a few doors down from Slandan.

Lund, Sweden

Lund, Sweden

Now I’m wondering when we can go back:) A trip to Berlin is next for us though, as we’ve booked to go for a week in July. Any yarn/fabric shop recommendations in advance?

Copenhagen, Denmark