Tuesday, 26 February 2013

...charming Chorley...

Whilst in town we had an opportunity to drop into Jessie Chorley's delightful and greatly loved little shop, J&B, on Columbia Road (famous for it's Sunday flower market).  Whilst somewhat off the beaten track, it is certainly worth the effort of a special visit if only to check out the ever-changing, exquisitely hand-finished stock, but check beforehand to make sure it's open www.jessiechorley.com , and especially if you want to meet the lady herself.

Jessie's creativity is infectious and we are so looking forward to having her here to lead her first workshop for us in September.  It's looking pretty full already, but if you would like to join us, there are sometimes cancellations and you never know, you could be at the top of the waiting list!

The shop is literally bursting with beautifully put together creations to wear, to put on the wall, to store things in or give as gifts to special people.  

Friday, 22 February 2013

retro perfect......

 What a day we had last Sunday!  First the Hammersmith Vintage Clothes, Textiles and Accessories Fair and then, in the afternoon, another vintage fair near Sadlers Wells.  Apparently there is also a regular vintage textiles fair at Borough Market so that is top of places to visit next time we hit the Big Smoke.  I'll post any information regarding the above so if you happen to be in London you might pencil events in your diary.

A 1920s sheer black chiffon silk dress

A cotton mix 50s frock

A to-die-for 1920s fringed shawl

Hand embroidered vintage table cloth

Buttons on original card

Sublime lace and silk lingerie

Dorothy would be proud to wear these flawless red 1940s shoes

Gorgeous hand-quilted throw in perfect condition

Child's hand-smocked silk dress

Probably my favourite - a 1950's bikini. Doesn't get any better....

Unused 1950s fabric length

Beuatiful detail from the back of a 1930's tennis dress

Silver card case with hand-embroidered leather inside pocket

Red gloves and emeralds - every girl should have them

1970s gold sling-backs - I would have crawled over hot coals for these when I was a teen.

Yes, this is indeed a hat.  My mother wore one just like this to a family wedding in the 60s

Beautiful 1950s cotton sleeved work overall - way too pretty for housework

More fabulous 1920s underwear.  May not do much but boy, these looked gorgeous.

Pretty checked full-length house coat with raglan sleeves.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

....cool winter light.....

When you can stop shivering for a moment, this cold weather definitely has it's charms.  Here are some photographs to lift your spirits and few suggestions on how to fill your time indoors.

Spend time tucked away sewing beautiful paper clothes.  These were made by 
Micheline of Betty and Bing.  And here is what she says.....

"I grew up loving paper, antiques and pretty things. I love paper because it carries ideas. Ideas about anything and everything shared through pictures or words or, in the best case scenario, both. Antiques because they hold stories. Without uttering a single word they talk of different times and different ways of thinking. And pretty things because I believe life is lived in the details. Surrounding yourself with things that appeal to your senses seems to be the easiest way to bring joy into your everyday life."
Paper and textiles, combined with stitched calligraphy, are also an integral part of our Rosalind Wyatt's, magic.    "My recent work is exploring ‘writing with a needle’ copying the handwriting of a letter into stitch onto a garment; handwritten letters reveal the personality of the letter writer in a most immediate manner, and often that document reveals part of a more complex ‘story’ of that person. By combining the lettering, stitch and garment, that story can be brought to life."  
We have a few places left on Rosalind's September Workshop with us which offers an opportunity to work intensively alongside this award-winning artist, sharing her unique creativity and learning how to combine the written and printed word using a playful approach whilst you progress from ideas towards stitch.  You'' be encouraged to think outside the box, developing a greater depth of individuality that will open up new creative opportunities.


Of course, it's never too cold to read a good book......   Our favourite writer at the moment is Ron Carlson.  Well, he would be wouldn't he as we've read everything he has in print and invited him to lead a workshop, The Inside Story, here at the end of July.  Carlson was born in Logan, Utah, and grew up in Salt Lake City. He received a masters degree in English from the University of Utah  and became professor of English at Arizona State University, and then director of its Creative Writing Programme. Carlson currently teaches at the University of California, Irvine. His last two novels, Five Skies and TheSignal have won international praise and we greatly look forward to hosting the first European workshop of this gentle artist of the written word.  

 You could go for a bicycle ride (not for the faint-hearted)....

Or simply have forty winks somewhere warm.

And talking of warmth, I personally like to snuggle up in front of a roaring fire and knit. I've just finished one of these shawls in a beautiful grey cashmere - I cannot for the life of me remember where I found the pattern, but it's incredibly simple to knit, had oodles of compliments since completion and if anyone is interested I would be happy to send them a pdf of the instructions (or maybe you know where the pattern is from??).


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

.... knitting our socks off.......

Makes a nice change to have some quiet time down here in South West France.  I recently finished knitting a wrap in cashmere and am now busily completing another one using up some old cotton tweed I had.  With the end in sight, I have suddenly been inspired to knit socks and/or slippers with other remnant yarns.  I taught myself to knit simple socks a few years ago and feel it's time to try something a little more complicated as they don't take very long to make and are incredibly satisfying. Here are five patterns that you might find inspiring - some more difficult than others and most free to download (though you may need to register on-site).

We still have a couple of places left on both Patricia Roberts knitting workshop in May, and Marion Foale's in October if you'd like to learn a few techniques and design tricks by the experts.


And on a different subject you might be interested in something a tad more upmarket, but you never know, coming up in April :

The Decorative Antiques & Textile Fair. Three times a year in Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park
SPRING: 23 - 28 April 2013