15 September 2012

Handmade is made better

Today I met up with my former work colleague/now real life friend (don't you just love it when that happens) Anna in East London for what she called Craftaday.

Yep, definitely in East London!
First up we headed to Spitalfields market for the designers makers market.

Anna is starting up her own business designing fabric and making it into fab things like cushions (check out her blog to see some of her ace designs), so she was scoping out the market to see if it was something she might like to sell at in future.

I was in full on magpie mode - everything caught my eye! There were quite a few stalls selling vintage cups and saucers, so I know where to go in future when I finally get round to making teacup candles. I did buy some lace trim from Bits & Bobs though - two lots of normal lace trim which I think will be good for embellishing pockets, and two bits of elasticated lace, for when I learn how to make knickers!

Excuse the yellowness - complete lack of natural light
when I remembered to take this pic!
My favourite though were these wooden necklaces from Anna Wiscombe. I'll definitely be buying one of these soon.

Then we made our way towards Brick Lane for the Renegade craft fair. 

It was massive! Loads of stalls with a good mixture of things on sale. I bought a few things, but since some of them were christmas presents (organised, I know - I shocked myself!), all I'll share so far are these prints from the lovely Sean Mort.

I've wanted an illustrated/screenprinted band print for a while, but while prevalent in America there seems to be less of them around in the UK. It's been a long hard search I can tell you.

I also bought this print (which he designed especially for Renegade). It seemed rude not to!

Sean's prints are just stunning and simple, and really reasonably priced. I fear this may be the start of an expensive habit!

Some of my other favourite stalls: 
  • Ham - I was *this* close to buying a rabbit on a trampoline tea towel
  • Lovely pigeon - for jewellry and paper products (and free lolly whistles)
  • Joy Nevada - for cute animal tee shirts for little one
  • The always brilliant miso funky - I was incredibly tempted by the 'What would delia do' kit
  • Birds in hats - name says it all really!
  • Oh, hello friend - for all that lovely stationery, like a sewing machine shaped tape dispenser or washi tape, that you really really want but really really don't need. 
This poster (from Bob Motown, I think) really summed up the day for me. What I saw today might not be cheaper than the high street, but then again you probably wouldn't get these things on the high street. The creativity and enthusiasm shown by the designer/makers is infective, and frankly, knowing how much time I spend on things I make, I was more than prepared to pay the extra for their time and effort.

Like it says, ...

12 September 2012

You may go to the ball

Bit late, I know, but I spent a lovely couple of hours in the company of complete strangers on Friday night.

Yes, it was the V&A Ballgowns meetup organised by Karen of Did you make that? fame. Given the chance to visit the exhibition on my own, or with a bunch of like minded sewing people I've never met before, the answer was obvious. (I was so immersed in the exhibition that I forgot to take any pictures at all, but Karen's got a full round up.)

One of my favourite moments of the night was when we turned the corner to the gallery and a wave of silence descended - we knew immediately that serious business was about to occur.

The exhibition shows a range of ballgowns made since 1950, but I have to admit it's the most recent ones in the mezzanine gallery that appealed to me the most.

My favourites?

Well there's this Erdem dress

It's got pockets people! What's not to love about a ballgown with pockets!

This Gareth Pugh dress had a fair few of us staring at intensely, unable to take our eyes off it. In this pic it looks almost like chain-mail, but it's made of loops of metallic leather and is just beautiful up close.

But the ultimate for me is this McQueen dress.

Remember the Alexander McQueen exhibition held at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art a couple of years ago? Will it ever be held in the UK? Seriously, it needs to be. The man was a genius and I for one can't wait to see more of his creations in person.

If you have a chance to visit - do! I had a lovely time, and I'm only sorry I couldn't spend longer in the company of those lovely ladies (I managed to double book myself - not sure how, I'm never usually that busy!) and I can't wait for the next meet up.

5 September 2012

WIPs, UFOs and OMG

Whilst it might seem that it's been a bit quiet in Josie and May towers this year, I have been busy beavering away on some quick, and some not so quick, projects.

I promise I'll post soon on some of the quicker makes soon, but thought I would share some of the half finished things I'm currently working on...

I've been toying with the idea of making a granny stripe blanket for my living room - this one, to be precise -
Source: flickr.com via Amy on Pinterest

 and then I stumbled across this on Pinterest.

After figuring out which seven shades of yarn looked best together I got cracking on the granny squares.

Still some way off the amount I need!
Crikey this crocheting malarkey is addictive! I've done a fair amount whilst watching the Olympics, and it's brilliant for on the train (much easier than knitting, where I fear I'm annoying train neighbours with my knitting needles and elbows).

But one WIP isn't enough - oh no! I'm also making a quilt for a christening present. I was going to finish this UFO quilt from my mid-year resolutions post. Really, I was!

But then I saw the Aneela Hoey 'a walk in the woods' charm pack in Raystitch, and couldn't not buy it.

Seriously, how cute are these fabrics?!

Source: etsy.com via Miranda on Pinterest

It's the first quilt I've made since, well, the first (albeit still unfinished!) quilt I made and it's my first time at hand quilting.

I've just got a little bit of hand sewing left before attaching the binding, so it should be ready in plenty of time before the christening!

I've also been acquiring and stockpiling grey and yellow fabrics for a quilt for our bed. Just a few more yellows to get (probably Cloud 9 simpatico) and then I can make a start.

But OMG I am paralysed by indecision on this one! I've no idea what kind of arrangement I want (although I have plenty of inspiration on my Pinterest board) or where to start once I've figured that out. Any suggestions?