Friday, 29 January 2016

The ethel and edna Annual 2016

Well blog posts seem to be a yearly thing with me so the title seemed quite fitting.  I'm nothing if not consistent!

Seriously, I do hope to get a bit more 'on it' now as I shall have a lot more time to spend on the 'interwebs'.  We have sadly said goodbye to The Sewing Shop and closed the doors one last time.  Trade had really dropped off considerably, our rates were set to increase by £200 per month and as we were due to renew our lease we decided that ultimately we weren't making any money and it was not worth risking another 2 year stint.  The world wide web has finally beaten us. 

We could have set up our own website and run a mail order business, but that would have meant a total pricing restructure, and probably made the 'bricks and mortar' shop pointless.  As so many other traders know, you can run a mail order business from your own home, so why go to the vast expense of a business premises?

We had built up a fabulous community spirit within the shop - something which we always wanted.  Many of our customers liked to come in just because it was so bright and lovely  They became friends as well as customers.  This is fine until we reached the point where most people that crossed the threshold were coming in for a chat and not to actually spend any money.  Victims of our own success in that respect.

We will miss them all but at the end of the day we were a business and there to make money.  We didn't want a fortune, but after 4 years of paying ourselves less than minimum wage for very long hours and lots of sleepless nights...It couldn't go on.

But looking forward...

ethel and edna will be resurrected in the coming weeks and months.  I shall be moving out of the spare room and into a fantastic glorified shed/workshop in the garden.  It will be fully insulated, have loads of light and moving into it will give me a great opportunity to sort out my ridiculous hoard of fabrics, yarns, threads, notions and haberdashery and get organised.  I predict a destash sale in the not too distant future.

I also have many bolts of fabulous fabrics left over from the shop which will be sold online.  And I hope to sell some heavenly haberdashery too - both the basics and some more special bits.  No longer will I need to be ordering bra extenders and shoulder pads for customers. Instead I can search our suppliers' websites and catalogues, and at the trade shows for the frivolous and the fabulous rather than the utilitarian. 

Finally, I am so desperate to get my making mojo back in gear.  After 4 years of not being able to properly flex my creative fingers, I am itching to get stitching (aaargh!!).  I cannot wait for the arrival of the shed.  :)

I still have much to plan and prepare but I WILL keep blogging and I shall dust off the e & e Facebook page too, so everyone will know what is happening.

In the meantime I have a new obsession to contend with. 

Dewhurst Sylko name colours! 

They are amazing!  I know I'm not the first and I won't be the last to be hooked on these little bits of perfection.  I have a Mr Simms sweet jar full of wooden reels and I got to wondering whether somewhere on the 'net there might be a complete list of all the colours and their names and numbers, so that I could collect them all and have a check list to work from.  After not too much trawling, I found several others who have already made huge progress with this quest.  Over on Instagram Mandy and Kim have compiled a list and are going great guns at tracking the missing names down. 

Now I am scouring charity shops and car boot sales, trying to find those missing names.  If you have a stash of Sylko reels at home, have a look and see if you have any of the following numbers.  If you do pretty please let me know what the names are. We don't need to own them to add them to the list.  It's just the names we are begin with at least.

30, 38, 75, 80, 83, 89, 99, 100, 102, 105, 106, 114, 138, 143, 147 - 155 inc, 157 - 159 inc, 172, 173, 180, 187, 200, 201, 207, 210, 226, 228, 230, 241, 248, 262, 271, 275, 281, 293, 307, 313, 329, 334, 336, 350, 353, 354, 355, 361, 363, 364, 365, 368, 371, 373, 378 - 384 inc, 388, 397, 398, 400, 404, 405, 412, 419, 430, 431, 432, 452, 462, 465, 469, 472, 473, 475, 477, 482, 484, 485, 487, 489, 492 - 501 inc.

That's 100 names left to track down.  Not bad going out of over 500 shades of thread.  Then the serious job of gathering and collecting begins.

Right.  I'm of to peruse some haberdashery and start to make some lists.  Any requests then let me know.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Nobody noticed.

Shhh. Don't mention it. Ignore the 12 month plus gap. It's fine I'm back now. 

Do I do a recap of the last year?  Nah. If you're that bothered find me on Facebook. Forwards is the way to go. 

Oh ok. Just a little bit of backstory for context. 

I'm a sketchbook addict. Always have been. Always will be probably. There are loads of blank ones and half filled ones kicking around the "tearoom". Earlier this year I discovered Jennie Maizels. She inspired me to write/draw my holiday journal in Cornwall.

Then, when I got home I bought her 4 online sketchbook club modules. I love it so much!!  No rules like at uni. You can draw what you like!  For fun!  For pure pleasure. You can trace. You are 'allowed' to copy.  You can collage. You can use watercolours.  Literally anything goes. Yay! 

Of course I'm still stitching. Quilting and a bit of dress making are usually in evidence, as well as the odd bit of hooking. Just because the blogging stopped doesn't mean the creativity has. 

So...finally, we are getting to the point...  When my latest issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting mag fell on the mat with this....

...quilt in it - I had to add it to my 'to do' list. 
I have to say at this point that I have been warned....  
It's fiddly. 
It's a pain.  (As if I needed further encouragement...). 
I commented on the photo when it appeared on Facebook and the lovely Lynne Goldsworthy, who designed it, said then it was a pig (well not in those exact words but I got the gist).  I then had the pleasure of meeting her last weekend and again she said I was mad for tackling it.  Such encouragement. 😉
She has asked for a blow-by-blow account of how I get on. (Aah. The penny drops.). So I thought I would blog about my progress. 

I started yesterday as Farmers Market  = quiet day in the shop. I chose 11 colours for my main pencil colours. One more needed to make the set of 12. Then I picked a light and dark to go with each. In a shop full of fabric you'd think that would be a doddle but nope. Hence only having 11.  Time to raid my stash. 

The photo above shows the first four colours. They're the easy ones. Now it get more difficult as we have so many shades of blue and peachy-coral galore (yuck)!  I wanted to use gorgeous, glowing colours; not browns and greys and dull stuff. However, a real box of pencils would have them so maybe I should relent. 

Here they are all laid out ready for action. I'll have to ponder in proper daylight which colour to add. Work calls. 

It's good to be back. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Hex-A-Go-Go on Petite Street

When we received our delivery if Dashwood Studios' "Petite Street" fabric at the shop I knew we had to make something with it for display purposes. Yeah OK I just needed the most thinly veiled excuse to play with it. 
I've done so many mini hexies. Literally hundreds but never BIIIIG ones. Perfect. I'd spotted a wall hanging made using Nordika in a magazine at that was all the inspiration I needed. 
I used our Darlene Zimmerman hexagon template at full size which is 51/2" across the width. This was the size of my papers. My fabric I cut 1/4" bigger (which was not really enough seam allowance). A 1/2" would have been better. Then it was standard EPP. Pin and tack and stitch. And that's where I am now. 
Oversewing those hexies together. And because they're bigger my stitches can afford to be at smidge bigger too. So it's all quite quick. I've used 19 hexies in total to make a diamond pattern. Once they're all pieced together I'm going to appliqué them to a peppered cotton ground fabric then quilt. Whether by hand or machine I've not yet decided. 

OK. Back to the needle and thread. 
ttfn x

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Handmade 365 + 10

So, as promised, an actual garment. 

Many readers of 'ethel and edna' in the olden days will know all about this skirt.  Yes it's been kicking around a while but, in the true spirit of patchwork, I have added several new bits to repair it. 
I made this little baby having seen a similar one online. That one was 9 tiers if 4" squares. The bottom tier had over 1000 patches in it!!  No way Jose. 
Being a slightly shorter person I could get away with 7 tiers of 5" squares and that gave the perfect length. So that's what I did. 

It didn't actually take too long to piece. The hardest thing was gathering and joining the tiers. The bottom one was about 15 metres so quite a sizeable piece of patchwork to handle. I did it though. Hooray!  
The intention was to wear it for belly dancing but to be honest I love it so much I wear it more. Much more. It's my festival skirt. It's my happy skirt. If I'm having a crap day I wear it. If I'm having a good day I wear it. I really need to make another one 'cause the day will come when this one is beyond repair. But for now I'll keep patching and twirling. 
And now I must go and decide what handmade delight I will be sorting tomorrow. I have 3 new cardis and new socks but they were all bought. I feel a brooch coming on. 


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Handmade 365 + 9

OMG. I forgot to blog yesterday. 'Twas a bit of a strange one though. It was seven years ago yesterday that my lovely dad was taken from me. Cancer is a nasty bastard and can even take the fittest, healthiest ones no matter how hard they fight. 
Anyhoo...on a more cheery note I did wear a little broochette made by the loveliest of friends Maria. 

She is a truly creative soul who bakes amazing cakes, makes scrummy jams and a mean sloe gin, crafts like a demon and teaches belly dancing making mini-goddesses of all of us.  <3 

So that was day 9.  I will post day 10 a bit later on. I know what I'll be wearing/sharing but, coincidentally, it will be for my belly dance class rather than day wear.  Need to go and chose some cosy layers now. Today has really heralded the arrival of autumn. There's a definite nip in the air and boots were actually brought out of hibernation last night. 

Have a fabby day. 


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Handmade 365 + 8

A real cop-out today. We've been very busy at the shop today. A big delivery to unpack and put away, a workshop this afternoon and another this evening.  So I'm posting my promised picture of my pinny from yesterday plus the 'ethel and edna' badge that now lives on it. 

As you can see it's a tad roomy. I've now pinned the side seams to take it in a bit and I think it may need a couple of darts as well. 

This is the little L badge on the pocket. L is for lovely and lime as well as Lindsey.  Love a bit of green. 

Right. It has been a mad day. I'm now waiting for iPlayer to finish cooking Bake Off so I can catch up on tonight's episode, with a bit of hooking on the side.  I've sustained more hooking injuries - frozen shoulder and sore elbow - but I so desperately want to finish my Granny cardi.  Yay!!  It's ready. Aaaannnddd baake!  

ttfn xx

Monday, 7 October 2013

Handmade 365 + 7

Oops. Forgot/ran out of time to take a photo today. And it was an actual item of clothing.  I will be able to show it you tomorrow though. It's a fab new apron/pinny to wear in the shop, made by the lovely Kim. We have some gorgeous shot cotton chambray in our shop and she has made mine out of the turquoise one and Sandra's from the ruby red. They are great. 
I am taking it easy tonight with a smallish glass of loveliness also handmade by another lovely friend. 

Maria's sloe gin from last Christmas. Yummy. Cheers!
It is well deserved after the stress of the last couple of days. A member of our family has been missing since Saturday afternoon and we've been distraught. Finger tip searches have been carried out. Sleepless nights all round. However, we're ecstatic tonight as he's back. 

Welcome home Pebble. 
Bless him. He got wedged behind some paving slabs...somehow. We'd looked there several times but managed to miss him. All's well that ends well. 
I'm also cracking on with my Granny squares. 

I'm loving these vintage shades. Not me at all but it's great for a change and will fit in with so much of my wardrobe. 
So tomorrow I will post and tag two pictures.