Fantasm shawl. Something wot I have made.

23 February 2013

Fantasm shawl. In mohair. Totally lush.
Ah. How satisfying. A finished project and a happy recipient. I'm ever so taken with this Fantasm pattern. This is number 2 of 3, with a smaller, cornflower blue Alpaca DK version now hanging on my coat rack and a hot pink, BC Garn Baby Alpaca number awaiting construction. 

For today's interpretation I went with Prick Your Finger's 4-ply mohair from Yorkshire in a sort of dove-esque hue. There's soooo much meterage wrapped up in a 100g skein, enough indeed to produce this one large shawl with a bit left over.

Not only is it British wool but this mohair comes in a jolly range of colours. Huzzah! I couldn't resist. I've also got some of the bubble gum pink and am currently knitting up another shawl on 15mm circular needles. That one looks like (to quote my sibling) "an elfin net for catching clouds". Indeed, that's a charmingly evocative summation of what is a wonderfully soft, fluffy, warm and oh-so-desirable yarn once whipped up in to some sort of wearable item.

A word of warning though; mohair is for the brave and patient. The one mega pain in the bum problem with it - which is arguably why it is so delicious to wear -  is the fluff. I love crochet because if you make a mistake it's easy to pull a project apart and then quickly crochet it back. If you drop the hook, hey ho! No worries at all. Stick it in again and you're off.

This is all in stark contrast to knitting. I dread making a mistake. I seem to spend aeons doing battle with dropped stitches, dropped needles, twisted stitches, twisted fingers, magically appearing increases and decreases etc etc etc etc. 

Not so with crochet...unless you're working with mohair. An evening of hubris and pig-headedness meant that instead of pulling apart a single row to undo an earlier mistake, I believed I was cleverer than a mere crochet pattern and could simply fudge it. 

After 4 rows I realised that I had totally b*llsed it up. 


6 days later I had finally unravelled the mohair without having to cut any of the yarn (my eyes are completely shot as a result though) and was back to the site of the original mistake.

Pfff! What a faff! But what a lesson in patience and humility too.

And well worth it in the end. How much do we like the versatility of this shawl ("Is it a shawl?! Is it a scarf?! Is it a blanket?! Who cares?! It's so soft and dreamy in mohair!")? Lots and lots. 

(Images: Zoë F. Willis) 

Anthropologie and Selvedge Magazine: Pop-up Shop!

17 February 2013

Let there be darning!

Picture the scene; a veritable rainbow of Laine St-Pierre, Liberty print bias binding, Merchant and Mills sewing notions, a moth with wings of carpet AND A GLASS OF SPARKLING WINE.

What a civilised setting for a Thursday evening. 

Anthropologie, American emporium of vibrant textiley, fashiony, homewaresey temptations is enjoying an affaire de cœur with Selvedge magazine, British publication full of textiley, fashiony and occasional homewaresey reportage.

The result of this fleeting match made in heaven? Selvedge's pop-up shop in Anthropologie's King's Road store, February 14-March 29.

Fear not, your eyes do not deceive you. These are indeed fabric birdhouses with fabric birds. I want one, please.

And Thursday night was the launch. Just in time for London Fashion Week. Huzzah! 

Mister Finch, creator of the aforesaid carpet moth and other sylvan objets d'art in the pop-up, was also present as host of a "how to make your own rosette" workshop.

And what a star! The attendees were in thrall not just to the rosettes but the self-taught textile artist himself. Captivating and witty Mister Finch put on a marvellous show for the punters... Some of whom had travelled from as far afield as South Wales and Japan for the evening.

The fantastic Mister Finch

Yes, South Wales and Japan! I bet you weren't expecting those locations juxtaposed in a sentence.

So if you're wandering about Sloane Square and its environs soonish, do duck in and have a look. Should you seek luxe haberdashery and a chance to admire Mister Finch's elaborate, fabric oddment'd creations, well, you'll find both at Anthropologie, 131-141 King's Road, SW3 4PW. 

And can someone please give that carpet moth a home. Before I do.

It's a moth with carpet wings. Enjoying a glass of something. 
(Images: Zoë F. Willis)

Luscious Business Cards

5 February 2013

Well, I thought I would take the plunge and try to get a bit professional with this writing malarkey.

Thus I've ordered some business cards to at least attempt to look the part at all those elegant soirées and champagne luncheons that litter my life at the moment (Ahem!).
I'm not quite at a stage where bespoke Smythson or Il Papiro cards are an option but I've found a surprisingly charming, off-the-rack alternative. Courtesy of Moo Cards.
I've decided upon an "old skool" feel. Actually, a decidedly 19th-century feel with an utterly desirable paper marbling effect on one side and a faux letterpress image on the other.

Here's a teaser of what's coming...

Back cover of Plutarch, Moralische Schriften (Moralia), Vol. 1, trans by Johann Christian Felix Bähr, Stuttgart 1828/1829 

Endpapers from Giacomo Leopardi, Œuvres, vol. 2, France c. 1880
Oooh, the lusciousness of it all.
Yes, these card will be the perfect shorthand for "lapsed art historian meets world of freelance writing in and amongst mothering duties and crafty pursuits". Naturally.

If nothing else they will provide little pops of nostalgia, flinging me back to world of PhD research in Venice surrounded by piles, nay MOUNTAINS, of marble-paper'd tomes.

I'm giving Moo Cards a go as Vista Print do an excellent line in "underwhelming"... which is not what we're looking for at all.

When the cards arrived I'll report back on quality, look and so forth.

For now, if you need some chic business cards that won't cost a limb, kidney or national budget of a small African nation, here's a link for a 10% discount.

Happiness all round.

Images: Aristeas courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons