Linden sweatshirt by Grainline Studios

Some time ago whilst scrolling through social media I came across the Linden sweatshirt by Grainline Studios.

I thought it was going to be difficult sewing with jersey and stretch fabrics so avoided it. Then last year after speaking with other sewers that had made it, I bit the bullet and purchased the pattern. I got it as part of a kit from Guthrie and Ghani at the knitting and Stitching show in London. They tend to only do the kits at shows so I thought why not?

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The fabric in the kit was too nice to cut straight into, so I used some jersey fabric I purchased from the Birmingham Rag market.

This was a baptism of fire in my sewing journey and being dyslexic. I didn’t read the pattern properly and only cut out one piece for the hemband. I couldn’t workout why the whole sweatshirt wouldn’t fit until I re-read the pattern. So I unpicked this toile quite a few times. Unpicking was horrible as I had been using a zigzag stitch, which is recommended when sewing with stretch fabric.

I finally made the sweatshirt look like a wearable garment, but I still wasn’t ready to cut the fabric from the kit.

Instead, I used more fabric purchased from the Birmingham Rag market.

I used my overlocker on my second Linden attempt. This gave the opportunity to tidy the inside of the garment. I struggled with the neckband on both attempts, so started researching what others had done. The majority had made the neckband longer, either sizing up by one or adding 1.5cm.

Another visit to Guthrie and Ghani brought some purchases of their cosy colours bolt ends. I thought there would be enough to make a two tone version but not quite. I got creative and asked some dear friends for help. This was all I needed to start sewing my ‘sunshine’ sweatshirt.

I am so pleased with this sweatshirt and have received lots of positive feedback online and in person.

Full of confidence I was ready to cut the fabric from the kit. Then disaster strikes! I broke my thumb shielding my face from a ball whilst officiating a basketball game. Gutted was an understatement, as I couldn’t sew for just over six weeks.

I have been lucky and my thumb healed really well. So I thought I’d just go for it and cut into the kit fabric.

I didn’t feel this fabric needed the insides overlocking or a zigzag stitch, so I didn’t bother. All of a sudden I now have 4 Linden sweatshirts.

I find this pattern doesn’t use up much fabric so I cut the body from the scraps of another project to start Linden sweatshirt number five.

This latest sweatshirt has been made from scraps in my fabric stash. I am really happy with how it has turned out.

If any novice or nervous sewers are thinking about making this pattern, just do it. It’s a great pattern to introduce you stretch and jersey fabric.

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My week in photos – April 2018

It’s been a very busy week in my life. But I got to incorporate photography into it.

I really need to learn how to be more efficient and effective with editing. But here are 9 photos from my week.

Last Saturday I went and captured the blossom in Oozells Square, It’s a beautiful scene and I will probably go back next year.

Monday was the anniversary of a friend’s death, red wine was one of his favourite tipples.

Here is my equipment, I am still looking to sell my Canon DSLR but not just yet.  They both got a lot of use this week.

Tuesday, I got the opportunity to see a different view of Birmingham.

I love taking photos of flowers & this was taken with my mobile phone, with no editing.

I never get tired of this skeleton at the Lapworth Museum.

I hope to capture more sunsets this year.

Tulips are one of my favourite flowers, I might plant some for next year.

Sunshine on a stick!  Daffodils always cheer me up and now give me lots to photograph. Enjoy what’s left of the weekend.

The Story of Two Yards of Fabric

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After being introduced to the African fabric stall at the indoor market in Birmingham. I went back to get some fabric to use as headscarves.

They charged £3 for 1 yard pieces and had lots to choose from. So I chose two different pieces.

Poppybead Creative blog

When I got home I fell in love with the patterns on the fabric wished that I had bigger amounts.

Anyway I looked at the direction of the pattern on the fabric squeezed out a Sorbetto top.

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I love this top.

Poppybead Creative blog

Then I kept seeing videos on YouTube talking satin sheets or pillowcases to protect your afro hair. Then I looked at videos on how to make a satin bonnet.

This is what happened.

Poppybead Creative blog

Poppybead Creative blog

I didn’t follow one particular pattern. The satin was purchased from a stall in the rag market. Two nights in and it hasn’t fallen off my head and my hair isn’t so dry.

So there was my story of two yards of fabric.

Best Nine and Make Nine

In 2015 I came across the best nine app.  I entered my Instagram account name and it picked the most liked nine photos from my feed.  When I look back at my Instagram feed, it has really developed.  Here are those first nine photos. 

These nine shots all relate to knitting and food.  I have set up a separate Instagram feed for my food called poppybeadfood.  The sock yarn blanket hasn’t grown much in two years and I love knitting colourwork. 

 Fast forward to 2016 and I had really embraced photography.   

Five of the nine photos above were taken when I attended a long exposure workshop with Ross Jukes.  I had no clue about long exposure and learnt so much.  All of the photos were taken with my Canon 1300D camera, it was a real year of learning and discovery. 

2017 has absolutely flown by.  This year’s nine show a different development.  I am still taking lots of photos but you get to see a little more of me, I had stopped hiding as much behind the camera as much.  I have been sewing a fair bit more this year, catching up with old friends and returned to officiating top level able bodied basketball. 

I have continued to look into puddles for a beautiful photo and get outside for night time photos.  One big difference this year was the camera I used to take the long exposure photos.  I bought an Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark II, it’s a lot smaller and lighter than my Canon.  It also has image stabilisation built into the camera body.  I am struggling with it but every once in a while I capture some stunning photos.

Now on to my makes.  On Christmas eve I came across the hashtag #2018makenine, a gentle challenge on making nine things throughout the year hosted by Home Row Fiber Co and a blog gives you more information.  I noticed some people had posted sewing or knitting specific grids of nine, I did both.  I attached three aspects to them, make some new things, finish projects that have been hanging around for a while and re-make some things I enjoyed making before. 

From left to right, top to bottom. 

  1. The lonely tree shawl by Sylvia McFadden.  I made it for a dear friend and enjoyed it, so will make another at some point. 
  2. Santa’s Laundry Line by Eleonore von Castelmur.  I started this decoration a few years ago and picked all of the easy items to complete first.  I have nearly finished the socks, just leaving the mittens and longjohns.
  3. The Secret Garden Shawl by Sarah Rose is not far from being finished and I am due to start the lace section. 
  4. Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart.  This pattern is one of the easiest patterns to follow, it gave lots of interest and tracked how far you had got through the pattern.
  5. Stories From Snoqualmie Valley by Annie Rowden will be a lovely cosy shawl when I finish this project.
  6. Baa ble Hat by Donna Smith has been a popular pattern amongst knitters and I knitted mine in two shades of grey.
  7. Andes Cardigan by Jenny Watson was one of the first patterns I started knitting seven years ago.  Yes I know seven years is a long time but I got bored.  Again, there isn’t much more to do.
  8. Bluebird of Happiness by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, is a small make that I intend to make again.
  9. Hopscotch by Wieke van Keulen is a crochet project that needs to be finished. 

As for sewing with I don’t think I am particularly good but I keep trying and some of the things I make are wearable. 

      Pictures 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 9 are from simplicity NewLook.  Picture 8 was a prize in an Instagram competition with The Crafty Pinup.  Picture 3 is the Molly dress is My Capsule Wardrobe from Sew over It. Pictures 5 and 7 are dresses from Tilly and the Buttons, I have heard good things about her patterns and so I have treated myself to Love at First Stitch and the Bettine pattern.

      I will also be learning how to use an overlocker and hope that will help with my sewing.  As for my photography I am still hopeful. 

      Enjoy your creativity.