english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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The Smiths Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

This is my latest Linden Sweatshirt (number seven blogged). It’s View A, Size 0 – although in this fabric I should probably have sized up to a 2 as it has limited stretch.

The original inspiration for this jumper were the excellent British wool band jumpers which Hades released earlier in the year. The Hades jumpers were limited edition and I missed the chance to buy a The Smiths jumper, so I thought I’d make my own. I’d love to knit something closer to the Hades original, but am a bit wary about tackling knitted lettering without a pattern, unless anyone can recommend something similar??

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

For this version, I cut a stencil of the lettering in acetate (more stable than paper and also reusable) and screen-printed the text using black ink onto the pre-cut Linden sweatshirt front. For reference, I always use Permaset Supercover screen printing ink to print on fabric and find it really reliable, Fred Aldous stock it in the UK.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I found it difficult to gauge the best size and placement of lettering while the sweatshirt was in pieces. If I make another, I will increase the size of the lettering, and move it closer to the neckline.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The fabric is a loop-back jersey purchased at Guthrie & Ghani during SewBrum. This pale pink is great for letting the text stand out, but does also get grubby easy.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I also made my scarf. This is TOFT’s Block-Colour Filet Scarf crocheted in their (British) yarn, in a natural (stone) for the main colour, with yellow for the accents. I’m pretty sure this is the same pattern (knitted in a solid colour) available from TOFT’s free pattern section. I’m not great at crochet, but this is a nice easy pattern and a relatively quick project.

My jeans are not me-made, but were made in the UK by Community Clothing.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

These photos were taken in Hagia Irene, near Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, which was the first Byzantine cathedral built in Istanbul, and is now a museum. Like all Byzantine religious buildings in Istanbul, this has had a varied history, including earthquakes and acting as an armory. We had the building entirely to ourselves on our visit, and it makes for a pretty atmospheric backdrop.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

P.S. in a similar vein, I previously blogged a screen-printed Morrissey tee.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

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British & Icelandic Karusellen Hat

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

As you’ll know if you follow me on instagram (I may have gotten carried away posting photos!), I’ve just returned from a holiday in Reykjavik, New York and Boston.

I made four new items for the holiday (one of which I was hemming as we waited for the cab to the airport…) – Closet Case Files Clare Coat, Paprika Patterns Zircon Sweater, a Karusellen hat, and Cecelia Cowl.

I’m going to talk about the knitted items in this post, and follow up with a separate post about my Clare Coat, but it’s also pictured in the images below, all of which were taken in Reykjavik.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

My hat is the Karusellen pattern by Erica Knits from Pom Pom Quarterly Autumn 2015, which was a particularly awesome issue of the magazine. I used stash yarn – the white is a leftover skein of John Arbon Textiles’ organic Falklands Merino from my Lesley sweater, and the mustard is Ístex Álafoss Lopi in Golden Heather which I bought when I visited Sweden last year. That yarn combination means that I made a British and Icelandic yarn hat for my trip to Iceland – could not resist;)

The pom pom wasn’t from my stash; I treated myself to an alpaca fur pom pom when I visited TOFT recently to attend a crochet workshop.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

The hat pattern includes two sizes; I selected the larger size based on my head measurement but it’s actually a little bit big. I have the brim folded double here in order to fit, but it does mean that the horses hooves are slightly hidden.

I was worried about my knitting ending up too tight as a result of the colourwork so kept my colour floats quite loose, which may be the cause of it ending up slightly big.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

The cowl is the Cecelia Cowl by Rachel Atkinson for Loop London. The pattern is designed to use one ball of Freia Ombré Super Bulky. I chose to use the Amaranth colourway as I thought it would complement my coat, without being too close a colour match.

The yarn isn’t cheap, but given that only one ball is required for the project I decided it was justifiable. I’ve already managed to leave this cowl behind in a cafe in Boston, but was able to go back and retrieve it the next day, so I hope I don’t lose it too soon (never is probably too much to hope I think!).

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

The cowl is a really quick knit; I stated it on the flight from Birmingham to Reykjavik, and had completed and was wearing it when I got off the plane.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

As you can see in these photos, Reykjavik is beautiful. It’s very expensive, but happily yarn is cheap! I bought yarn to knit the Stopover sweater, from the Handknitting Association of Iceland store in the city centre. The store stocks a wide range of Istex lopi yarns, including colourways unique to the store, and the Love Story lace-weight yarn by Hélène Magnússon. I ran out of time to visit the Alafoss Mill store but it’s easily accessible via bus and has even cheaper prices.

Reykjavic, Iceland

Reykjavic, Iceland

We spent one day on a golden circle tour which we really enjoyed – particularly watching the geysers erupt at Geysir, something they’ve been doing 10,000 years. The tour ended at Laugarvatn Fontana spa, which was very nice on a particularly cold day.

Reykjavic, Iceland

Reykjavic, Iceland

In town we particularly enjoyed the National Museum (which includes historic embroidery, and spindles), the Tjornin Park which is a great place for swan stalking, and the Mikkeller bar as a perfect spot to spend the evening.

Reykjavic, Iceland

Info on my Clare Coat, and on our trip to New York and Boston next!

Reykjavic, Iceland

Reykjavic, Iceland


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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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TOFT Profile in September Seamwork Magazine

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

Woo hoo, my first article for Seamwork is included in the September issue, which is released today.

The article is a profile of TOFT, a British knitting company who produce alpaca and wool yarns, and knitting and crochet patterns.

TOFT yarns are produced in the UK using British fibres, and the business is based on an alpaca farm in Warwickshire, not too far from where I live. Taking part in #1year1outfit has made me really conscious about trying to use locally produced fibres, so it’s great to have such a fantastic business close to home. I also had the best possible day when I visited the farm to interview owner Kerry for the article. In order to photograph the alpaca I was allowed into the pens for some close-ups, so I spent a blissful afternoon climbing into pens and being surrounded by young, curious alpaca.

You can read the full article here, or download the magazine from the Seamwork website.

A few photos that weren’t included in the Seamwork article are below.

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm


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Knitted Socks for #1year1outfit

TOFT DK Oatmeal Bed Socks

Have you seen This is Moonlight’s One Year One Outfit challenge?

I’m in, and these socks are my first make; they are made using the TOFT Alpaca Bed Socks pattern, and TOFT’s DK wool in Oatmeal. I used approximately 80g of a 100g ball. The last 20g is probably going to be used for weaving as I can’t think of anything else small enough.

The #1year1outfit challenge is to make clothing out of locally produced and sourced fabrics or fibres. The challenge is inspired by Rebecca Burgess’ Fibershed project, which began when she decided to source the fibres and dyes for a year’s clothing within a 150 mile radius.

Nicki from This is Moonlight, has set herself the goal of creating an outfit using natural fibres sourced in southwest Western Australia, within a 500km radius of her home. She’s also planning to buy no new fabric that doesn’t meet this requirement.

TOFT DK Oatmeal Bed Socks

Personally, I want to make an outfit made from fibres/fabrics produced in the UK. That gives me a very generous radius, but given that the UK is relatively small I think that’s ok;) I’m starting close to home, as TOFT Alpaca who produced this wool are located only 43 miles from my home.

I’m thinking a jumper with Hole & Sons wool (if I can get hold of some of their next batch) would be a good #1year1outfit addition (they are based approx 179 miles from my home). Harris Tweed is the only fabric I’m aware of that is produced wholly in the UK, so that’s on my #1year1outfit list. Is anyone aware of any other fabric? I’ve also found a local branch of the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers who meet monthly, where I’m hoping to pick up some tips.

TOFT DK Oatmeal Bed Socks


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TOFT Alpaca Open Day

Yesterday I visited the open day at TOFT Alpaca. If you live locally (Rugby) I’d recommend a visit, and no need to wait for an open day (which was really busy – they ran out of cake!).

I treated myself to one ball of DK yarn. I went for a light oatmeal colour as I think I’m going to dye it, and then it will probably become a pair of simple socks.

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015

TOFT Alpaca Open Day April 2015