11 March 2012

FO: Wiksten Tova 2

I spent the weekend in Cambridge, and spring was definitely in the air. Hooray!!! Today was the first day this year I ventured out without a coat! Exciting stuff.

daffodils and sunshine - yipeeeeee!

This time of year is so exciting to me. I love watching nature wake up again after winter. And although the full bloom of spring is still a month away, there is some very pretty early blossom in the hedgerows.

Most fitting for my newest make: another Wiksten Tova.

I used a delicious off-white Nani Iro twill-weave brushed cotton (in Fuwari Fuwari). I love the Nani Iro fabric collections: beautiful watercolour florals designed by Naomi Ito. I snapped up 1.5m of this print on sale after Christmas, because it brought to mind the explosion of spring blossom. And it's so pretty, non? It's a wonderful mid-weight cotton, and was a real pleasure to work with. And is incredibly comfortable to wear.
with both sleeves rolled down!
This time around, I made it to dress length (which is more tunic length for me). I made a small, merging to medium at the hips, and added 1" length to the sleeves, which perhaps wasn't necessary. This top comes together very quickly, and is a really enjoyable make. I struggled a little over the inset, which is a bit fiddly. I hand-basted it before sewing, because I did struggle with this bit when made my first one, and I'd recommend that. The gathers aren't quite perfect, and I think I should have re-done this bit:

I'm especially irritated that I didn't notice the weird corner gather (above left) before serging
Well, that's something to improve on when I make it again. Because I will make it again (and again and again, most likely).

If you'd like to make this too, you can now buy digital copies to download! (Also of the Wiksten Tank.) You will not regret it.

In other news, I made this little guy for a friend who's expecting her first born any day now:
I made him using Purl Soho's Purl Frog pattern, and used toy stuffing instead of the recommended lentils. I used a scrap of Liberty lawn (in My Little Star). The pattern calls for a 1/2 yard, but the scrap I used was about 8"x11", and was plenty. I also embroidered some weird little eyes, instead of using beads/buttons, to make it baby-friendly.

speak soon!

2 March 2012

Not-so-magic potions

On Wednesday, I headed over to the makelounge (a craft workshop in Islington, London) and spent the evening making skincare products.
I wish I could share just how delicious these smell!
I've been to quite a few workshops, at the makelounge and elsewhere, but this is by far the best one I've ever been to. Ever. The tutor, Karen Gilbert, really knows her stuff and is clearly passionate about natural skincare. And she's an excellent teacher.

I was surprised by how amazingly simple it is to make your own skincare products. I had imagined a complex process, involving lab equipment and weird chemical compounds (have you seen the ingredients list on your moisturiser?!). But actually all the ingredients required are completely natural (apart from the preservative, but you only need a few drops), easy to get hold of, and best of all, you get to pick the fragrances (essential oils) you like best.

All of the products we made were prepared in a basic kitchen pan (so no fancy equipment is needed), and each has approximately six ingredients. Six ingredients that don't require a chemistry degree to understand. Oh, and each took about ten minutes to make. It takes me so much longer to go to the shops and buy my skincare!

I've used all of them already, and so far, they work really well (and smell so delicious!!). Honestly, I don't think I'll go back to using shop-bought skincare products. Karen has a book with more recipes, which I can't wait to get my hands on!

I should add that I'm not benefiting in any way from this gush of enthusiasm.

Have a lovely weekend and speak soon!