Disaster struck last week when the zip in my favourite pair (read: I live in them) of jeans split. To be fair, these jeans are about 8 years old and they’re doing pretty well. They’re distressing brilliantly and have an awesome skull-patterned patch on the knee cut from a favourite old tote. I’ve worn these jeans everywhere and I was probably wearing them when I met my husband. I don’t remember. In any case, I was so not ready to let them go.

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Zzzzzzzzzzip

So I thought I’d share the process of changing the zip with you, so you can save your own favourite pair of jeans when the day comes. It can be a bit tricky to get your head around, so I’ve included a LOT of pictures. And a lot of words too.

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my first handspun yarn

Ok. So it’s lumpy and twisty and probably not good for anything, but it is my first yarn.

What’s interesting is how it has become a record of the time I spent on it, not just a finished product in itself. Follow the yarn along its length and you can see how it got gradually more even, then you can see where I started to get tired and it becomes very erratic (that’s what I get for late-night spinning waiting for DH to return from his bar job).

I’m learning a new craft. Like many others, spinning yarn is easy to do – but hard to do well.

It is a skill I’ve been wanting to learn for years now. I have always had this urge to go back to the source of things, to be able to make stuff for myself. Needless to say one day I would love to own a few sheep. I learned to knit and crochet when I was about 18, and  and interest in spinning began to creep in soon after.

Or back in, I should say. One of my favourite fairy tales as a child was Rumpelstiltskin; the imp who can spin straw into gold. I’ve never quite shaken off that idea.

This beautiful book has fuelled my imagination for a few years now (it’s a shame that it doesn’t appear to be readily available in hardback – or even hard copy – anymore). But despite my intention to make myself a drop spindle and have a go, I never did. I asked my husband to make me one, and I think he started but never finished it. It’s not that these are complex things to make, really, it’s just that Life Got In The Way, as it does. Then quite recently he asked a clever man we know with a lathe to make me a darning mushroom, which is gorgeous and tactile and USEFUL and mine forever, and now he’s made me a drop spindle too. It. Is. Beautiful.

Handmade wooden drop spindle with woolen yarn

And it works.

I can see as I spin it, my first yarn is uneven and lumpy and likely not the strongest. But the process is soothing and quicker than I’d imagined, and makes me think of clever spiders spinning their webs.

I’ve been processing my first yarn today. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

upcycled skull pincushion

I feel there are some changes to be made. A little voice whispering at the back of my mind says out with the old. A desire to refine, to simplify, to live for pleasure instead of that illusive success. To upcycle the mouldiest, mustiest parts of my life into Useful and Pleasing parts. Like Renfield here.

(If you’re wondering, he was cured of being a novelty ashtray with black spray paint, two old buttons, some hand dyed scrap velvet, wool for stuffing and a little hot glue. He’s much happier now)

I love a beret. Casual, pretty and they keep your head toasty. And they’re super-easy and quick to make.

B complete

I made this one from an old sweatshirt, but you can use new fleece-jersey if you like. Ribbing can be a little tricky to find in shops, but you could thread elastic through some of your jersey instead – just cut the elastic an inch or so shorter than the band circumference.

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Silk thread embroidery, swarovski crystals on a peace silk fashion fabric. Interlined with organic hemp-muslin. Fully boned, constructed with organic cotton thread. This is my wedding dress so far.

 

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And I was kind enough to buy a new sewing machine (my 30-year-old Frister & Rossman has become just a little too unreliable), so Dinah could have a lovely box fort.

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With more snow forecast for us this coming week, winter shows no signs of giving in just yet. Keep your hard working hands toasty in these super-simple fingerless gloves – find out how to make them below!

This is a simple one-piece pattern that you can draw up yourself with ease – I’ll show you how. These gloves are so quick to make, and they’re a great project for accessorizing a costume or repurposing old clothes.

You will need:

  • Paper (preferably gridded) and pen or pencil
  • Paper & fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine – or needle & thread!
  • Stretch fabric – preferably a fleece backed or heavyweight jersey knit (like hoodie material), or double layer an old t-shirt
  • Beads, stencil, or whatever you want to embellish with

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