Archive for November, 2014

Another urban fox to add to the collection.  This one is in Hartland Road, NW6.  Previous urban fox art can be found here and here.

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We can thank my friend Kat of Adventures in a Campervan for this one.  She spotted it Griffin Park, Blackburn, way back in August (sorry, I’ve had quite a backlog of street art to catch up with!) and sent me this photo together with a message.

Here’s one for you.  As a maths teacher I love it.  They’ve chosen the data they want to collect and chosen methods of collection and recording, they’ve made a key, maybe they made a prediction before they did it of how many waves they would get.  Practical maths in action!

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Work in progress today…


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Bit of a bold title, but I’m over the moon at how well this experiment turned out so I thought I might as well brag a bit!  Those who read my blog regularly will know that I’m not much of a seamstress.  I have a bash every so often, but the things I make are rarely complicated and are generally quite small.

The idea of making a dress was, therefore, a bit ambitious to say the least.  However I was quite determined as I wanted a new dress and hadn’t seen anything I particularly liked in the shops.  I took a wander down to the fabric stall on Portobello Market and managed to find a lovely wool fabric that I thought would work with the design I had in mind.

Sadly I don’t have any work in progress photos as I was too busy concentrating, but it basically went like this:

  • Step 1.  Have a look at photos online of things that were vaguely what I had in mind.
  • Step 2.  Doodle on a bit of paper and come up with a pattern.
  • Step 3.  Bit of a new experience for me as I’m usually very vague and tend to guesstimate sizes, but I measured myself and then spent some time working out what sizes my pattern pieces needed to be.
  • Step 4.  I cut the pattern pieces out of felt and then pinned the lot together so I could see if the idea worked.  It did!
  • Step 5.  I cut the pattern out of my lovely new fabric and then spent an awful lot of time bent over my sewing machine.  I’m not a great seamstress so it took me a while.  The sewing together of the dress was actually quite straightforward, but what was really fiddly was putting in the zip and tidying up the seams inside the dress.

I know, without progress photos it’s probably pretty pointless describing what I did.  The point I’m trying to make is that this was very much a trial and error process (not too many errors thankfully, but I do think that was more due to luck than judgement!), and that I think most people could do this if they put their mind to it.




Not bad eh?  Here are some close ups of the dress, you can see that I covered the inner seams with bias binding to stop them fraying, as I don’t have an overlocker for my sewing machine.  I also hemmed it by hand to give an invisible hem.  I chose pink bias binding for the inside of the hem so that it would at least look fetching if the wind caught it and flipped the dress up!  The zip was quite tricky to put in as I didn’t have a zipper foot (I’ve now ordered one to use on my next dress, lesson learned!) but I think it’s come out ok.  The only thing I keep forgetting to do is sew on a hook and eye at the top of the zip just to finish it off.








Thus ends my first foray into dressmaking.  I’ve worn the dress a few times already and it really is perfect for me.  Nice and comfy (well you’d hope so, given it was made to fit!), quite warm due to the choice of fabric, and nice roomy pockets for all the dog treats and poop bags I’m inevitably carrying around.  I went to the market on Saturday and bought some more fabric (a lovely black wool with pinstripes – photo below, although the black looks grey there) and intend to make another dress with the same pattern very soon.



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Not really street art but these beautiful and poignant poppies are the only appropriate art for today.

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One of my favourite local places is Acklam Village Market, which is a great place to grab food, listen to live music, and also take in some art.  Recently they hosted Orphans, a photographic installation designed to narrate the changes that the local area has undergone in the past (particularly between 1964 and 1970, when the Westway motorway was built, cutting the area in two).  The installation was led by Steve Mepsted in partnership with the Westway Trust.

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When I visited Edinburgh in September a friend very kindly gave me her late mother’s collection of knitting needles.  I was hugely touched, and also very excited as my own knitting needle collection is pretty small.  When I got back to London I sifted through them and quickly realised that I needed to sort out some kind of storage for the double pointed needles, as those are the type I use most often.

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The regular needles will, for now, continue to be stored in the whiskey jars.

I had a look around online to get an idea of what I ought to be doing and liked the look of this tutorial.  Now, accurate measurements are something that I don’t seem to do when it comes to projects involving fabric so I just went at this a bit like a bull in a china shop.  I kept it simple and used the fabric I had left over from the bag I made in September.  Given I didn’t measure properly it came out very well, I did have to undo it and make the seams smaller though as it was about half a centimetre too short for the tallest needles, but that wasn’t too much of a drama.




I love the clean lines of it, the utilitarian style is very me!

A couple of weeks later I decided to make another needle roll, this time for my Knitpro Nova needles which include both DPNs and circular needles.  I was feeling a bit braver so I decided to try out a more colourful combination of fabrics (I had bought the fox one that weekend, and was desperate to make something with it).

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Here are the two rolls side by side, you can see that the one for my Knitpro Nova is a lot smaller (which was another factor in using the fox and polka dot fabric – I didn’t need very much of either).


This has been a wonderful project for helping to build my confidence with the sewing machine, and I’ve ended up with two useful (and attractive) items.  A happy ending 🙂

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