The Big Tidy Up | WIP {Sewing and Knitting}

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

This is my second go at making myself a boxy pouch - a few years after my first go.. And there is a very good reason for that wait, the first attempt was really bad, did not look boxy whatsoever, everything that could go wrong probably did go wrong with that project, except that I never found out where exactly. But I still think that boxy pouches are the best way to organise knitting WIPs, especially small ones like a certain shawl.  


Sooooo I decided to have another go - and this time it would be made properly. I would read the instructions, I know essential but I am not that good at that, maybe do some basting to make sure I am happy before sewing with the machine - and basically turning a quick project into a really long one.

I found a tutorial by Kelly who blogs at KelbySews that I really liked - there are so many out there - but this one seemed to make sense (and have enough pictures for my photographic brain). I had the fabric and the zipper in my stash - result! 

I love this sashiko-effect fabric (bought here on Etsy ages ago), and the lining is some leftover fabric from the Highbury and Islington baby quilt. I cannot believe how well the two fabrics go together.


So far so good - I have oversized the pouch a bit, so it may not look like what you expect when it is finished - but hopefully still look like a boxy pouch. 

As you will have seen, I am still knitting Settler (the test knit for Libby), and I have also got a new magazine about natural living - Taproot - which has also knitting patterns (by no other than Carrie Bostick Hoge), recipes and experience of natural living. Each issue has also a theme, if you don't want to subscribe. 

Check out other WIP projets over a
t WIP Wednesday and Small Things today. 

FINALLY I wanted to let you know that I will host my second sale of yarn and quilting books tomorrow on the blog (you can see a sneak peek on IG). This time I will sell a few balls of the same yarn, so you can get a bigger project out of a purchase. Be sure to check it out!

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Maternity Wear # 2 - The EcoFabrics Top and a Discount Code | A Finish {Dressmaking}

Friday, 15 August 2014


These pictures were nearly never taken - this is our last shoot before we had to fly out of Brittany (ie a couple of hours before the flight was actually due to take off), but I am so happy we took the time to take the pictures. Of course on the blog, it is about the top and the fabric I chose, but I do love that picture with Baby MiH, showing his addiction to the sand, and me thinking, please please don't eat it.



Going back to this new pregnancy top... I have actually already made a top out this pattern (from a Japanese book, in French but honestly it is all about the pictures) - and in fact I took pictures of it back in Brittany whilst pregnant with Baby MiH - can you see why I was so keen to take pictures out there. 

I knew it was a great fit for pregnancy wear, but this time I wanted to have a much lighter fabric than Essex linen (this year's summer has been much hotter). 



Let's start by the minor modification for pregnancy wear. Although the pattern (cut in my normal size M) fitted me until I was 5/6 months pregnant without any changes the first time round (and I am a little bit smaller this time), I decided to add some fabric at the gathering stage at the front, in a similar way as with the Tova. I added 2 inches to the pattern (4 inches in total). I reckon I probably added another 2 months for pregnancy wear and it can still be worn as an oversized blouse when I am no longer pregnant. 

I also cut a size bigger for the sleeves, because the pattern seems to fit skinny arms only. I cut the sleeves in L, and added another 1 cm when cutting the fabric. 



The fabric, well let me tell you, I am very excited about this. My readers will know that I am trying to find fabrics/craft supplies that are ethical and environmental-friendly - and this is my first find. I had been looking for a while on the net, and then thought of Etsy - and this is where you will end up on the Eco Fabric Store run by Vishruti, which stores organic, naturally dyed fabrics.



And it is quite hard to find fabric prints that I like, and fit with my sustainability aspirations, that I wanted to know about more about Vishruti and her shop, and share it on the blog so that if you buy her fabric, you too will feel part of the Eco Fabric Store story. 

Hi Vishruti, how long have you been interested in environmental friendly processes in the dyeing of fabric?

Since my teens, I have always been interested in Eco, Organic, Recycled, Earth-Friendly ways of living. It is something that was a part of my lifestyle even before I knew it. My businesses too always reflect the same sentiment and values.

Tell me more about the Eco Fabric Store and its values. 

The Eco Fabric Store was born recently on March 21, 2014, and is based in Mumbai in India. However I have another 3 other shops on Etsy , so technically I am an Etsy shop seller since February 2009. You can only find me on Etsy at the moment, but I am planning to build my independant website as well. 

All my fabrics are Eco Friendly and Earth friendly. The yarns are natural and are hundred percent biodegradable. We also offer a variety of fabrics made from Eco and Earth friendly fibers such as Organic Cotton, Bamboo, Hemp, Soyabean Protein, Banana and Ahimsa Silk. 

I used to have my own organic cotton garmenting and manufacturing unit which was certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) . However I closed my unit because of my marriage and moving to another city, but kept very good contacts and friendships with the certified mills I used to work with and all the fabrics that I am selling on Etsy are from those certified mills only. I work with local communities, and all her products are a representation of local communities, paying fair wages and generating local employment. These are stringent tests that they have to pass to gain the certification.



What dyeing process do you use?

The naturally dyeing process is a GOTS Approved Natural Dyeing (also referred as Vegetable dyeing, Herbal Dyeing). We have developed the expertise to dye/print with flowers, roots, fruits, etc.  like turmeric, onion, myraballams, madder, kesu flowers, dhavadi flowers, natural indigo etc. This not only prevents water pollution due to replacement of petrochemical dyes with vegetable dyes/natural dyes,but also imparts medicinal value to cloth as many herbs used for dyeing are having high medicinal value. Also, this is not a newfound process, it was a common practice in ancient India. Historically done by hand and on small scale.

Do you design the pattern? 

Yes, being a designer, I also design fabric patterns. I also take personal or custom orders from clients who like to create a range or produce a custom line for themselves only. I also have a little block printing space where I create fabrics prints using unique OOAK wooden blocks for myself and my family. 

What can we expect to find in your shop? 

Hopefully there will be more designs available each season, and very soon trimmings. However working with nature needs me to work according to its moods ! For instance the rainy season doesn't allow the natural dyes to dry soon. There is also high humidity issues which causes certain pigments to coagulate which is why certain colours cannot be prepared in certain seasons. For updates, you should like her Facebook page


And because Vishruti is such a nice person, you can use the discount code: MADEINHOME10 to get 10% off any purchase in her shop.

As for me, I cannot wait to get started on other projects using the other fabrics I bought in her shop. I am also really tempted by her new tribal print, and I have noticed that she has posted an amazing dark red version of it. 


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Settler | Testing { Knitting}

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

It feels like I have not been knitting for a while - I was not feeling it for some reason. I have started Nord again whilst on holiday and suddenly I wondered how I could have lost my knitting mojo (the heat maybe?). And now I cannot stop knitting, hopefully that means that some projects will get finished (finally) and also that I will be able to start on baby projects (a little more than 3 months to go, and nothing is ready!)



And of course this is not an old project that needs finishing, nor a baby project. I am again testing for Libby (I tested Skeppe last year) and in the process made a decision regarding this beautiful yarn originally meant to be the Follow your Arrow KAL. I decided to frog and keep the yarn for the right project. And this is it - a shawl that will be worn more like a scarf, more my style. 




Although the patterns calls for a fingering yarn, which this is, my gauge is actually totally off - and there is not a lot I can do about it. I am still carrying on with this yarn, hoping to have a good go at blocking the shawl and make it grow, and end up with the right length. Fingers crossed. 


This project is a destash one, no new yarn bought, although I was tempted.

But I was reading about self-sufficiency in Extracurricular magazine, following Melody's WIP post, and I have now read mine cover to cover - I even made my husband read an article. It is a great start to understand how people interpret sustainability and how they include it in their lives. Totally inspiring. 

I will be linking up to Small Things today. 

Also check out le challenge today for a discount code at Mary Emmens vintage shop and a chance to enter her giveaway - this month's theme is ERA! 

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La Bretagne 2014 - MiH on holiday

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Another summer holiday finished, and with the amount of rain we may get today it already seems a long time ago. I have to admit that I am glad to be reunited with my bed and pillows. But I will be missing our daily trips to random town, and seeing Baby MiH's face near the water and sand.  









Cascade Yarns Eco Alpaca Review | Ethical Craft Supplies {Knitting}

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

You may remember that back in May I was totally set on finishing Nord until I ran out of yarn. Actually I had not ran out of yarn, but the last skein I had came in bits of thread rather than one continuous thread. At the time I had tried to contact the shop I bought the yarn from and I never got anything back (still haven't if you are wondering). However Cascade Yarns had read my blog post and contacted me - and sent me more skeins of Eco alpaca and more! 

Picture found on Ravelry
I had not written the post to get free yarn, and never thought I would ever get anything for free thanks to the blog. However it is very clever of Cascade Yarns to have contacted me, because I am definitely willing to buy more of their yarn - just not through that specific shop. And also I realised that the yarn I am using for Nord actually fits with my new ethical craft supplies endeavour as I am using the undyed Eco Alpaca yarn.  

The lovely skeins  I received from Cascade Yarns
I contacted Cascade yarns to get a bit more information about the Eco Alpaca yarn, and here is what I found out. The ecological yarns are undyed, which makes them eco friendly. As a distributor Cascade Yarns primarily visit the mills, and use the ones they find to have acceptable working conditions, but do not visit the farms themselves. The farms are located up in the mountains in Peru, where the sheep and alpaca are cared for by families.  

With respect to dyes (if you are not using undyed yarn), all of them meet European safety standards for dye safety, which sounds like they are more strict than American standards.Their Eco+ wool is the same wool base as the Ecological Wool, but it is dyed with Oeko-Tex certified dyes, which have an even higher safety standard. 

Pictures from Ravelry 
I asked about natural dyes as I am quite interested in finding major distributors that may consider using natural dyes. Unfortunately - but not unexpectedly - they do not foresee using natural dyes as the process is difficult to control for consistency at their scale of production. However, all of the wools are available in an undyed natural colour that can be purchased to hand dye

Here you are a few good options to stash on ethical supplies at a reasonable price. I am currently using Eco Alpaca for Nord, and it is so unbelievable soft, and knowing that Cascade Yarns have been looking at ethical issues makes the yarn I use (and the jumper) that much more special. Maybe it may even mean that I will actually finish it.  

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Project Destash #3 | Entrance Cushion {quilting}

Monday, 4 August 2014

It took me forever to find inspiration for an entrance bench cushion. I have been thinking about it for a year. I made the current cushion ages ago, and it is so bland in our entrance which does not get a lot of light that I knew I wanted something to add a splash of colour. 

And then I was tidying up my Pinterest boards and found the picture of a blanket that could wok as a cushion with a simple colour scheme - classic but still interesting.


Also it is an opportunity to seriously destash with pretty colours.  This colour scheme is of course close to the blanket, and it reflects what I have in my stash and want to use up. I was not going to go with red - but it is one tone I don't use often but have a bit of, so I decided to stick with it. 

This project is going to take much longer than my other destash projects but one that will probably make the most impact in terms of interiors so I am happy to take my time over it. Any tips the experienced quilters have for me before I embark in this? 

Doll House Bear Skin | A Finish {Knitting}

Friday, 1 August 2014

You may have already seen the picture of this little bear on IG or Facebook. I was asked which pattern I used, so I thought it might deserve its own short post. 

As you can imagine with one little boy at home, and another one on the way, making accessories for doll houses is not something I do  (or will do) often. One of my friends asked me if I could help with knitting the body of the bear as she cannot knit for a little girl's birthday, but she can crochet. And here we are, this is how one Friday night you end up knitting a bear rug. 


The pattern is available on Etsy - the crochet part does not look hard, the knitting was certainly quite quick (probably an hour). It never occurred to me to make doll houses accessories - but it is actually a pretty cool idea. Would you make one?