Upcycling Granny’s dress

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When I spotted this dress (left) in Reign Wear, probably my favourite vintage clothing shop in Oxford, I just knew I had to buy it.

But once at home, I eventually realized it was way too long, with an ugly plastic belt and  an uptight schoolgirl look, complete with long sleeves and rond collar.

Still, I liked the fabric, the lovely pleats that became fashionable again like two years ago –  and it was a polka-dot dress! So I just thought a little upcycling could save it from rubbish or from an indefinite, unattended stay in my wardrobe.

 

Problem: it is not like I do not like sewing, rather sewing does not quite like me:

 

 

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To cut a long story short, and being without Cinderella mice, I took my efficient though rather unemployed  sewing machine (Janome Green) and started to work on the dress.

 

I eventually shortened the dress to knee-length, trimmed the sleeves adding red bias binding and above all, I got rid of the ugly belt and made a red cotton one.

 

To be 100% honest it is not yet perfect BUT I can wear it with a smile AND it actually matches my Almodovarish Chie Mihara pumps.

 

And now, a photo of me in the dress – a huge dose of old-fashioned sexism might be hinted here.

 

 

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Knitting takes balls / Knitting celebs

As a tribute to the awareness campaign for male cancers during April, I wanted to write a proper post on male knitters in popular culture.

Are you ready for this?

The hairiest

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Gromit

 The malest

Russell Crowe

The hottest (obviously)

Paul Rudd

 The most awkward

Chris Parnell (right), in the amazing Five-Year Engagement

The most eccentric

Gene Simmons (Kiss) ? Actually no, it is just a fun ad for hi-fi!

The most genuine knitter


David Arquette

The knitting Dodger

Ryan Gosling is a gorgeous man who no longer needs introduction and who repeatedly claimed that knitting was one of his hobbies (probably a token of his Mormon education). Problem: no visual evidence of Ryan Gosling’s knitting can be found on the Net. This did not prevent Internet users from creating a solid Internet meme on the subject:

Drop a comment if you think of other male knitters I could add to this list!

Gaspard, a French needle-felted bear

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*Caption: in French “feutrés” means both felted and muffled… A pas feutrés means to approach without a sound…

 

After the workshop with Gretel Parker, I decided to try needlefelting at home, with French supplies sourced in the gorgeous Parisian shop Pain d’Epices (“Gingerbread”).

I made a 3D sculpture from wool instead of merino: wool felts more quickly but has a dry, fuzzy aspect – which I guess becomes a bit tricky when it comes to small details. I suppose one has to decide depending of one’s project.

 

The bear’s name is Gaspard simply because Mr Republic and I love giving human names to animals. It is obviously a Gaspard.

And you even get a bonus picture of the work-in-progress I had posted on FB:

 

I think I am okay with needle-felting, not so sure about igloo-making!

 

Have a lovely Sunday!

Sweet Easter Bunny and needle-felting

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Last week, before taking a few weeks of holidays in my  homeland, I went to a workshop in my favourite knitting supplies shop in Oxford, Fibreworks, to learn about a very puzzling technique, ie needle felting and 3D sculptures.

The idea is to shape wool straight from the carder to create 3D items with specific felting needles.

Roughly, we want to go from this:

 

To this:

 

So it sounds and looks a little bit like black magic, but with some patience and imagination it actually works and it becomes a very addictive activity.

 

To get into needle-felting, our group had possibly  the best UK teacher, the lovely and very talented Gretel Parker. You can check her website and her amazing works at the end of the article. Her style is very graphic, colourful and cartoonesque, but if you browse Etsy, you will find strikingly realistic pieces. We made Easter candy bunnies, with very different interpretations – I tried to make a lop-eared bunny.

 

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If you are in Oxford and if you feel curious about needle-felting, Tash will provide you with all supplies in the Fibreworks on Cowley Rd.

 

References

 Gretel Parker‘s website (who published a pattern book about needle felting and does sweet illustrations)

Fibreworks, Oxford (with next needle-felting classes).

Knitting for Male Cancer Awareness

Today, I feel like talking of penises, wees, cocks etc. April is the month of Male Cancer Awareness. One of Oxford’s most active knitting groups, the Drunken Knit Wits  has decided to take part in a vast awareness campaign for research against Male Cancer:

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A few key facts

Around 2,300 men in the UK were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2010.

Testicular cancer is rare before puberty but is the most common cancer of men aged 15-49 in the UK.

Incidence of testicular cancer has more than doubled in Britain since the mid-1970s.

Testicular cancer incidence is rising, particularly in white men.

 

Activities organized for the Knitting Takes Balls challenge include  (amazing pun) to teach willing men to knit and to make items to win during a big fundraising quiz event in a pub. Cherry  on the cake, we are also making a blanket made of amazing penis squares.

 

 

How can you be part of it:

  • You can donate at the following link to support the ODK campaign (no minimum amount – size does not matter in such questions)
  • You can share the info (I am sure you are very thrilled about having knitted penises on your social media and/or blog)
  • You can knit, of course! Here is our penis square chart (made by Janey) to be knitted with 4mm needles. Then we can arrange something for shipping or collecting if you live in the UK.

Further reading

Knitting Takes Balls FB page

Male Cancer Awareness Campaign Website

 

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The campaign is on during all April 😉 Many thanks to those who will help the project in one way or another !