Poison Grrls: Jailbird Blouse

April was a little crappy to say the least. My Dad passed away of 18 months of fighting terminal brain cancer (glioblastoma), and as usual, when things go tits up for me I find solace in picking up a new project.

I’ve had the needles, yarn and pattern for this kitted top in my to do pile for around 2 years, with the hope of a new year, new start that then went into home schooling again when we entered lockdown part II.

Armed with the pattern, and youtube I set to work and the distraction was welcome. I learnt so much, and having knitted only a one pair of legwarmers (badly) previously I was so pleased and felt so accomplished when I finally finished this gorgeous top.

I learnt so much doing this (blocking? Who knew?) and it’s given me a lovely new hobby to spend more time on, and something I can take with me when I’m away. I already have plans to take the next project with me when we’re up in Scotland on holiday over summer. I don’t know about anyone else, but finding/buying vintage style knits, or repro knits is something I struggle with so this has solved that problem and then some.

More than anything, typing this now, I am thinking about Dad and how much he enjoyed reading my blogs. He subscribed so he’d get an alter whenever I put a new post up, and he was always so proud of everything I made.

A family moto Me, Tim and A adopted many years ago (before A was even a glint in our eyes) was up from the ashes grow the roses of success. I think it somewhat applies here, without trivialising things too much.  

To see my updates as they happen why not follow me on Instagram.

2014: A New Year, A New Sewing Area

Happy New Year folks!

Hanging up my burlesque dancing heels has meant that I can finally pack up all of my costumes, props and memorabilia and get rid of the extra wardrobe in the bedroom. So, after a trip to Ikea before Christmas (if anyone doesn’t know already this is the best time to go as it’s always empty that time of year) I got a few bits and bobs to make everything a little more organised. So I dismantled the wardrobe and spent an evening re-sorting my little sewing area.

So now it looks like this:

New Sewing Room 2014

New Sewing Room 2014

It’s like having a new bedroom and it feel so much more spacious in there, I was constantly struggling with spaces to put my dress form when I was in the middle of sewing project and I would be picking it up and down and moving it about, but now I have the room to work around it. It also gives me room to set up the knitting machine too, which is on my to do list for this year.

I am a woman who likes organisation, to me there is nothing better than neat and tidy. Tidy house, tidy mind as far as I’m concerned! Things I am most happy about are the sets of drawers with ribbons, zips and embroidery treads in, along with other trimmings.

New Sewing Room 2014

and I have finally managed to re-sort my book shelves and now all of my sewing and crafty books are all on one shelf.

New Sewing Room 2014

This includes a new book from my Dad and Step-Ma (and avid seamstress herself) called Sew It Up, to help me on my way with technical bits and bobs this year.

My folks also bought me this lovely cup and saucer, which I have instructed Timothy must be filled with tea and saucer with biscuits when I’m sewing away.

New Sewing Room 2014


In addition you might notice that my blog has a fancy new header that the lovely Lucy Blue made for me. She a fantastic artist and I can’t recommend her highly enough if you’d like anything doing for you.

So what else for the new year?

I have a list of things I’d like to achieve this year, some sewing, some not:

  • I plan to keep sewing at least one garment a month.
  • I would like to to master set in sleeves this year (i will do this even if it kills me!)
  • I’m going to try and use the materials in my stash before going out to buy more.
  • I’m going to sew and knit a lot of peoples presents this year.
  • I plan to finally get the kitting machine out and get to work on figuring out what I can make.
  • I’m aiming to write a chapter of a book or a short story at least once every two months.
  • I plan to learn more ukulele and spend at least half an hour each day practicing.
  • I plan on blogging more on here and on my other blogs.
  • I am aiming to go camping this year after a non camping year in 2013.
  • I plan on selling some of the vintage homewares I’ve been buying.
  • I would like to be able to run 10k by the end of 2014.

I hope everyone has a fantastic 2014, I have a feeling this year’s going to be a good one.

My Machine Knitting Pattern Collection

My Nana gave me her Knitmaster and all accessories, patterns and cards at the beginning of the year. I have put them to one side knowing I’d pick them up at some point but not knowing when. It was only last night when I started leafing through them that I discovered their full retro potential.

As with my sewing patterns I’ve added them to my flickr, created a set and I’ve also put a link in the sidebar; if you click you”ll be directed to them.


They are mainly from the early 70s through to the 80s, at a time when my Nana furnished me, my sisters and pretty much the whole of my family with knitted goods.

Unfortunately I had to ask Nana to stop knitting for me after a disastrous fashion blunder of a rainbow coloured jumper which I felt I had to wear and promptly was laughed at by pretty much everyone (I should point out that I am extremely grateful to my Nana. It was definitely a jumper I would love to own right now and I feel horrible that I probably broke her heart a little).

At 89 she can’t see all that well and has arthritis in her fingers so she asked me if I’d like her Knitmaster and I happily agreed to take it off her hands and show it some love after all these years.

There are a lot of amazing patterns in there, I plan on knitting several matching outfits for me and Tim. I will make him wear them when we go out in winter by hiding every other jumper option.

So without further ado, some of the pattern books I have:

Modern Knitting Vol 22 No7 1972Modern Knitting 6 1974Modern Knitting 1 1975

Modern Knitting 3 1974Modern Knitting 7 1975Modern Knitting 10 1975

And that’s just the front of them. You should see some of the treasures inside! I am very much looking forward to getting stuck in, and hopefully I can find some patterns that correspond with some Mad Men knits too. I have a lust for Megan’s green jumper that cannot be fulfilled by just any green jumper.

Again though no running before I can walk, I have not used a knitting machine for about five years now and I feel like the old cast on issue will raise it’s ugly head yet again.

It’ll be scarves and bobble hats for a while until I know what I’m doing and can master the pattern cards (my previous knitting machine didn’t have that function!)