We are Back

So finally after much wailing and gnashing of teeth our website is back up and running!

Then we thought that this would be the perfect time to have a wee re-jig and an update. And then as the tea flowed we thought about linking our Facebook page to our website.

And then after another cup of tea we thought about linking our online ordering to our Facebook. So after doing all of that we needed another cup of tea! But we are getting there. 

All of our classes can be found on our website as well as all of our products. The best feature I think we could have added is that you can click and collect any product you wish. So that means if you are doing any of our special classes then you can grab all the fabric you need and collect it on the day.

I hope you enjoy looking over our new website and if there is anything you would like to see then let us know

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All Go!!!

So it is ON!

Lots of things have fallen into place in a very short space of time and we are moving into top gear with the classes and our sale.sale-sign

Let the sale commence. We have decided to split the sale up slightly and do the shop in sections. So first up for the shop is the fabric section of Elizabeth Rose NI with 20% off all lines. This part of the sale will last until Saturday 21st January and will get us ready for all the knitters to follow from Tuesday 24th January to Saturday 4th February – just in time for all the classes to start back. Last but by no means least is our haberdashery section for the finishing touches and those essentials needed to even begin a project.

Now I will tell you about our new range of classes.

First up is our Introduction to Dressmaking which starts on Monday 6th February. This is a 6 week course to introduce those who want to make their own clothes but have no clue where to begin bar the sewing machine. It will be taken by local woman Lynn Roper who has been sewing her own clothes since she was a teenager. Sewing her own clothes came naturally and she carried on when she had children making them their wardrobe and I should know as I was one of those children!

The course will cover all the basics of how to cut patterns, the terms used, the best fabrics to use for what project and you will make something every week. The course will be held every Monday  from 10am to 12 noon.

Our second course is being taken by returning tutor Heather Girvan. Heather has previously taken our crochet classes and she will continue to do that but in a slight change she will also be taking an advanced crochet class. In this class she will take us step by step through how to make a Scandinavian shawl that really is a piece of art. This shawl will take on two skills – crocheting and cross stitch to make a stunning piece of wearable art.

This course is 14 weeks in total but has been spilt into two 7 week blocks for ease.

Our other new class is a drop in for sewing and is called Pins and Needles. Simply put, this class is for those people who don’t like to sew alone or need help to finish off a tough project. Really like a knit a natter but for sewers.

As I said we have our crochet class returning, but our new addition is that you book your place on any of these courses in the shop section of our website. Places are limited for all the classes so get in early! Don’t worry though if you are not all that technically minded, all our courses can be bought in the shop with Charlene.

Special Monthly classes are also on the horizon here at Elizabeth Rose so keep a eye out for updates on those and also all about our range of children’s sewing classes that will be starting.

See what I mean – Lots!

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New Year New Us

We love Handmade

Hi all and here at Elizabeth Rose NI we hope that you have all had a fabulously festive Christmas and New Year, with your batteries recharged and are now ready for a new crafty year. I was looking forward to getting snowed in over the holidays with all my PDP (Part-done Projects) but Jack Frost did not comply.

We had hinted before Christmas that here at Elizabeth Rose we were planning a few little surprises for 2017 and beyond and now we can tell you all about them.

Firstly we are planning to expand our range of classes to include dressmaking. The popularity that our Sew Saturday event generated really made the decision easy but it has been putting everything into place. Our other classes will still be there so don’t panic.

We are also working on classes for the smaller sewer. A range of sewing classes for childen and teenagers. It means more seeing fun but on a smaller scale and we love promoting the sewing bug all around the ages.

Secondly, Charlene has agreed to do a vlog once a month. A Vlog is a short video allowing you the viewer to see what we have been talking about. These short videos means that she will be showing us all how to do everything from simple stitches in sewing, knitting or crocheting and even a tour of the shop.

Don’t be afraid of a vlog though. They are a very useful tool in learning new skills and stitches and it means that you can press pause and rewind and Charlene will not lose her voice. Win win!

Oh that is the other exciting piece of news – the shop is expanding.  We will be re-jigging the layout of the shop so that we have room for all you lovely people and more stock! There will still be all your favourites and ours but with a few new additions.

We will be changing the website in line with all these alterations and also all the classes will be able to be booked through both the website or the shop.

To get you all excited for the new things coming in, we have to make some room and that can only mean one thing – A SALE!!!! We all love a wee bargain so over the next few weeks we will be reducing stock starting with the fabric.

Keep an eye out for more news on the classes, sale items and the shop revamp and we will see you soon

Sx

Last Minute

This time of year everything seems to be last minute. No matter how prepared we think we are, most of us are running around on Christmas Eve and crafters are no different. We all know someone who starts a project last minute for someone they just thought of. We all know someone else who is still sewing or knitting well into the early hours of Christmas morning.  And we are no exception here at Elizabeth Rose NI.

We have both decided that we know who is getting what and how much we have left to do, but with our Christmas fabrics all down to £2.50 per metre it is actually perfect timing to maybe start something new!

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Ribbon and bead trees

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Easy Coasters

Scary to think that in two weeks time we will all be sitting “relaxing” on Boxing Day. Where did our year go?

I know that 2 weeks seems a relatively short time, and in the grand scheme of things it probably is, but if you are keen to make a set of cushions like we suggested in a previous post, then all you need is a couple of hours. Quick crafts at this time of year I find are the most satisfying.

A handful of beads and a few lengths of ribbon and you can have a set of Christmas decorations for the tree. Tie it into your colour scheme and you will have a set of decorations that will last until well until whenever. I have done these and the first one takes the longest but after that they are so easy and look fantastic. Mine are on a plain wooden branch painted white at the top of the stairs.

Or how about a handful of fat quarters in Christmas material and transform them into a set of coasters. A useful present, but a beautiful present, for whoever or even keep them for yourself!

So if you think of anything that needs made at the last minute, we are here.

Don’t forget we are open as normal in the week coming up to Christmas but closing early Christmas Eve. We will be closing at 2pm.

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Opening Times

xmas-opening-hoursSo most of the Christmas lights around the district are up twinkling and brightening up the cold, dark nights and here we are thinking of the Christmas holidays and beyond.

Coming up to the Christmas period and into the New Year, our hours here at Elizabeth Rose NI will be changing ever so slightly. But just the hours! The same welcome will always be here.

During the week before Christmas, Monday 19th – Friday 23rd, we will be open as usual from 9am to 5pm but on Christmas Eve Saturday 24th we are closing at 2pm. The turkey needs to be prepped in our houses too.

For Christmas week we will be taking a well earned break and reopening after the Bank Holiday on Wednesday 4th January as usual at 9am.

But that is when things change just a little bit. For the month of January we will be closed every Monday, but don’t worry we will be back to normal in February. As always for more details on our opening hours and the classes we hold, do keep an eye on our calendar.

Don’t forget to call in for all those last minute present for the crafters in you life and we will see you soon.

Sx

 

What’s On

So for this feature we will be looking at what is on. But not just the calendar, which seems to fill up of it’s own accord in the run up to Christmas. We are looking at what we have on the sewing table, the hooks and the needles.

The classes here at Woodview are ending shortly for the Christmas break, but so much has been accomplished in both our Monday and Thursday evenings  and from what has been said there are still little bits to finish up before the holidays begin. But if you are a crafter then there are always little things that you can find to do! Or even start a new project. Do keep an eye on our website calendar as we will be updating it with different events and letting you know when the classes will be restarting in the new year.

So what are Charlene and I  doing? Finishing off projects and starting new ones and that is what we would like to tell you about. Not to boast but to let you all know that we are all the same: trying to cram that last little project in.

Although, Charlene seems to have found more hours in the day than I thought possible because as well as running the shop, her home and family, she is crocheting soap squares for the girls at Knitted Knockers and making her daughter a cape for Christmas.

She says the soap squares are an easy wee thing to knock up and like everything from Knitted Knockers they will help and benefit women going through Breast Cancer and more directly after the surgery of a mastectomy. Crocheted in cotton with a bar of soap inside they help patients to massage the area after surgery and they are also safe in the knowledge that by massaging at the same time as washing they are getting clean and helping with circulation.

We recommend that you follow our link to Joanne’s Facebook page and get the patterns directly from her. There are many more patterns beside the one that Charlene is doing, so if crocheting is not your thing then you can ask her for either of the knitting patterns or even the sewing pattern for the heart cushion. https://www.facebook.com/knittedknockersofni/?fref=ts will take you directly to her page and then you can message her from there. I know she will be happy to help and the more the merrier.

Charlene’s other project is a cape for Miss Rosie. Now every girl has to have that special outfit for Christmas and beyond and she has been bought  a beautiful dress and now all it needs is that finishing touch.  The cape is a simple pattern from the book that accompanied the third series of the Great British Sewing Bee, but as we all know the devil is in the detail. As the main fabric, Charlene has picked one of the new wool blend fabrics from the dressmaking range here in Elizabeth Rose, but for something a little different has opted for a peach cotton as the lining. That little flash of something different

Now I find myself  knitting a dress for my daughter! and hoping to have my first  advent calendar finished. I usually knit jumpers at this time of year: a real Molly Weasley if you will, but the dress looked like a simple pattern so I thought I would give it a go. Now as I sat down to read the pattern, everything looked to be great until I realised that it did something that I have never done before – knitted from the collar down.

Like all knitters I have read about yoke down clothes but until now I had avoided them. And I don’t know why I did. The dress has come to life before my eyes and as the bottom of it is knitted in the round there are no seams! Yay! I hate darning in all those threads from sewing up. I have chosen a winter white wool with a few flecks of colour in it but it also has a hint of glitter so hopefully she will shimmer when she wears it. Then again she is only 2 so I will have to take a picture quickly!

My other project is an advent calendar for part of our family Christmas decorations. Again this year seems to be my year of firsts and I am attempting my first bit of quilting. I got the advent calendar panel here at Elizabeth Rose at the Sew Saturday event and it has been looking at me ever since. But as with any project the first hurdle is finding the time to sit down and tackle it.

Armed with scissors, enough pins to rival a cactus and my thread, I have all the pieces cut out and pinned together and some tacking done too. Now my biggest decision is whether my hand sewing is what it used to be or do I grab the machine out of it’s bag and get going.

Charlene and I promise that we will add photos of all these projects as we get them finished, but for now we will get back to our needles, pins and hooks. If you need any help with projects or inspiration for a new one then call in. The welcome will be warmer than it is outside anyway.

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What’s In

Now this blog is a little bit of a departure from what we have been talking about before, but we wanted to let you know what is “in” in Elizabeth Rose and beyond. You see the “in” could be what is fashionable in the crafting world, what new products are out or even what we have in the shop that is new and exciting.

So firstly, who has ever heard of Arm Knitting? No? Neither had I until I couldn’t sleep one night and was watching a certain video website and up it popped! Now I was as surprised as you and when I showed the video to Charlene she announced “We have that wool in the shop in 2 colours!”

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Now the claim from the lovely lady on the video is that with just one ball of wool, half an hour and two arms you can have yourself an infinity scarf! Ideal for this cold weather. Seems too good to be true but I tried it and it worked. Nobody was more shocked than I.

So let me talk you through it: One afternoon and I was at a loose end – rare but it does happen! So laptop out, video up, cup of tea at the ready and away I went! Now I never got to drink the cup of tea because I hadn’t got any arms free but I did it! I knitted an Infinity Scarf with just my arms and a ball of spare aran wool. Although, I would recommend that you do get the proper super chunky wool as it is heavier,  but hey ho this was my test piece. No darning! No finishing! 4 stitches and voila!

Other projects that I have seen for arm knitting include a throw for the sofa or even a rug to cover a whole double bed! Strong arms needed for those. They all claim though that whatever you knit on your arms can be done in an hour or just over it. Maybe that challenge would be for when the snow sets in. But till then I think I will just practise making scarves.

Dior's New Look from 1947

Dior’s New Look from 1947

Dress making is still seeing a resurgence among home crafters and the trend this year is for vintage. With new sewing machines and new fabric blends, vintage patterns are easier to make up than ever before.

Raiding my mother’s pattern stash never seemed accessible before as the fabrics they told me I needed to make a dress were always of the higher price bracket. But today modern fabric blends can lend themselves very easily to the vintage patterns. Or go a bit more modern with a plain shift dress form the sixties or right up to date in terms of vintage with a seventies inspired trouser and long waistcoat combo.

The “New Look” from Dior that appeared in the 1940’s and 50’s, is my personal favourite. The flow of the lines and the attention to the woman’s form, make it a classic style and it can be updated with funky new fabrics. The wiggle dress, worn famously by the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, can now be made in a day with the help of modern technology and worn for years to come.

Another trend that we are seeing in the latter half of 2016, is in the home craft area- cushions and lampshade to match! It could not be easier to update a plain cream room with a few subtle changes. Imagine making 4 sets of cushion covers with their matching lampshades and you could have four different seasons for one room for not alot of effort. Or even take it a step further and embellish a plain fabric with a little flower fairy for a little girls bedroom. As with other home crafts the limit is just your own imagination and in such frugal times it is nice to know that you can update the feel of an entire room without reaching for the paint brush or wallpaper paste.fairy-set

But it is what’s in in-store though that has got Charlene and I excited – Debbie Bliss, the Queen of knitters,  has brought out a homeware range for every stage of knitter and just in time for Christmas. The range includes mugs for that warming cup of tea, tea towels with lots of knitting terms on them, and a very unique apron were some of the info is upside down! Very useful as it means  you don’t have to get up to see what you need!

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But the biggest and best bit for me would have to be her Knitters Knowledge book. Wow! A hardback book with more info than you ever would think of including how to begin to knit if you are left handed!

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Call in and see it for yourself. As with her yarn, Debbie Bliss has created a timeless well thought out range to suit every knitter and as stocking fillers they are perfect. Imagine the mug with a ball of wool and a pair of needles inside to inspire a new knitter. Perfect little gift!

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What does that mean?

Following on from last week’s post about the new range of fabrics, I naturally thought of making something. So I picked up a pattern and realised that I hadn’t a clue. So I decided to grab a coffee and I would then rack Charlene’s brains on your behalf to  talk about patterns and what all those abbreviations actually mean. You can thank me later!

During our chat it transpired that both of us know of these abbreviations but we had both learnt different terms for the same things. For sewing Charlene calls it basting and I call it tacking – same thing different ways of looking at it. So in this post we thought it would be beneficial to all of us to go through these abbreviations and terms and hopefully straighten a few things out.

So lets talk shorthand and the confusion it can throw up. And it is the same for all types of pattern – knitting, crocheting, sewing and then you can throw the Americans way of doing things into the mix and it can quickly become complete nonsense. Very daunting if you are a newbie. Now I learnt to home craft the way most people do – at their mother’s knee. Some of you out there could be self taught either. It really doesn’t matter, at one stage or another we will all pick up a pattern and that is when it becomes a little confusing. Since I learnt to knit, I have started to collect knitting patterns and some of those can read like double dutch. K1 P1 K1b yrn ss1 m1 etc just makes no sense to start off with but as you get going it does become clear. Honestly.

Knitting Abbreviations

Knitting Abbreviations

Most knitting magazines and books are great though and do give you a brief stitch abbreviation at the back so you can find out what you need to do before you start. Some of the books available also give you a step by step photo guide so you can knit a few stitches step by step and practice before you get out the expensive wool out and make up your project. There are even Knitting for dummies and beginners books out there that do take you right back to the basics and I have found it is nice to refresh your knowledge from time to time. They have certainly taught me 2 new ways of casting on. Who knew there was more than one?

It sounds like I am preaching to the choir out there telling you what most of you already know, but doing a practice square for any of your projects can save a lot of ripping out, unnecessary tension (in both you and your wool/fabric) and some wasted time and material.crochet-cheat-sheet

With crocheting you also have to be careful as to the origin of the pattern you decide to follow – in the UK a DC is not the same as a US DC.  Projects can look very different if you are doing UK crochet and the pattern is from the US! Charlene prefers the American abbreviations but I prefer the good ole fashioned UK way – horses for courses I suppose and it depends which way you learnt to crochet in the beginning. In the chart it gives an insight into the differences in terminology along with their diagrams and you can imagine how one pattern read by 2 different people could have very different results!

Now sewing patterns don’t really have a load of different abbreviations in the same way that knitting and crocheting do, but as I said before, from just one short chat over coffee, Charlene and I came to the realisation that we have been calling the same action by 2 different terms for a long time.

Knowing your basics and doing them well will see most sewers through their projects, however, from time to time like knitting and crocheting you may want to expand your horizons and that is when an understanding of the stitches, their functions and when to use them becomes needed.

Some of the terms that you may find in sewing patterns are listed below. I have included their descriptions to help you along, but please note that these terms are how modern patterns may have them but you can change them as you need to the term that you remember or are more comfortable with.

Right side – The side of the fabric that will be seen when the garment is finished. Wrong side – The side of the fabric that will not be seen when the garment is finished. Clip – To help a curved seam sit flat, snip into the seam allowance with small scissors at regular intervals, ensuring you don’t cut into the stitching. Edge-stitch – Edge-stitching is when you stitch very close to an edge, usually with a straight stitch. Notch – Notches are small triangular marks on the seamlines of the pattern, there to help you line fabric edges together before you pin. Slip stitch – A slip stitch is a continuous hand stitch, using a single thread and is invisible from the outside. Alternate between running the needle inside the fold and then picking
up a thread or two from the main fabric. Stay-stitch – Stay-stitching is a single line of straight stitching through one layer of fabric to stabilise the fabric and prevent any stretching. It needs to be within the seam allowance so it doesn’t show. Top-stitch – Top-stitching is a visible line of stitching on the right side of a garment, usually along an edge. It adds stability but can also be used for decorative purposes. Under-stitch – Under-stitching helps a facing or lining stay inside the garment. To under-stitch a facing, after joining the facing to the outer garment, press the seam allowance
towards the facing, then stitch 2mm from the seam on the facing side, anchoring the facing to the seam allowance.

Now you are safer in the knowledge of what is what, and more importantly some of the mystique has been taken away from those funny terms and pictures, the time has come to choose your weapons – needles, hooks or pins. But that is a post for another day.

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New instore

So the colder nights are definitely upon us and our projects become bigger somehow at this time of year – a nice big jumper to knit or a patchwork quilt for the bed.

Well, we want to tempt you out from the comfort of your sofa and warmth of the fire to view the new range of fabric that has landed in Elizabeth Rose NI – dress making fabric. Inspired by both a new found love of sewing and our Sew Saturday event, Charlene has ordered a small but beautiful collection of dressmaking fabrics.012

They range from a classic tweed in grey, a deep purple satin for that injection of colour as a lining to a gorgeous teal crepe. Or what about a cream spotted jersey for something a bit funkier? Maybe you could choose to go very classic with a Burberry check to make a timeless ladies jacket.028

As with our fabric of the month felt, certain dressmaking fabrics lend themselves very easily to certain projects. Tweed and heavy wools are ideal to make a smart man’s blazer, whereas crepe is perfect for an easy to make easy to wear shift dress. But as with felt too , dressmaking fabrics can be turned into anything you wish. Why not use a heavy grey wool for an asymmetrical work skirt? Lined in purple for a flash of colour as you walk? Or the crepe as maybe a waterfall waistcoat? Sew two different colours together and make it reversible! See endless possibilities already and that is just three of the fabrics that are instore.

We also have jersey. Jersey fabric would have tended to be classically used as maternity wear due to it’s stretchy property. But what about a dress with a bit of ruching at the side? It can be pulled on for work or and impromptu dinner date. And Jersey washes so well too, it is so versatile and yet if made from the right pattern will never go out of fashion.

Coming up to the Christmas period we may also have a few wee parties to go to and Charlene has fabric for that too – a gold and black brocade that could be transformed into a small bolero jacket to go over a simple black dress. Or you could even turn it into a full length formal dress with a high neck and beading if the occasion called for it.

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Classic Grey Tweed

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Reversible taupe/black heavey weight Jersey

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Cream spot Jersey

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Coffee Flat Brocade

There is also a coffee coloured flat brocade that would lend itself very easily to a sixties style A-line coat. Imagine that for a Mother of the Bride coat for a winter wedding. Simple but timeless.

Charlene also has a range of dressmaking patterns to compliment the current crop of fabrics. A simple a-line skirt or a top with buttons down the back are two that we have so far, but keep your eyes peeled for more on that front.

As always, all the fabrics are also available in the online shop, (we will be adding more over the next few days) but I would suggest that if you can you should come in and see them for yourselves as the photos don’t do them justice. This also means that you can feel the fabric and really get inspired as to what to make next.

So put on a warm coat, venture out and come over and see us. You won’t be disappointed.

Sx

Fabric of the Month – Felt

Now we have calmed down from our Sew Saturday event it is time to focus on a new feature for the website – Fabric of the Month.

This feature will hopefully give you all an insight into a new fabric or even one that you are used to but used in new and different ways. So our first fabric for October will be an oldie but a goodie – felt.

I remember fuzzy felt from my school days and the box with all those various shapes and colours that could be made into a myriad of different pictures from your imagination. A Board and shapes. That was it. Say that to a child now and they would look at you but it was something so simple that could release hours of entertainment when the weather was cold or wet.

Well now we are grown up felt still has the potential to be that fabric of our imagination.

Like all fabrics, felt comes in a wide wide range of colours and indeed thicknesses depending on the project you have in mind.  So it doesn’t just have to be used for the backing on a table mat, felt can be your main fabric.

We all know that felt has been used for many years to great effect as decorations for Christmas trees or for other holidays and rightly so. It doesn’t frey like other fabrics. It is easy to sew by hand or on a machine. It can be glued together. Stuffed and shaped into anything you want. It can be embellished with beads, buttons or crystals to make it shine and sparkle. It is durable and lasts for years and years and if treated properly it will hardly ever fade.

Have I convinced you about felt  yet? No? Well what about these simple projects to try.

One piece, one hour, no sewing!

One piece, one hour, no sewing!

What about making simple baskets for the stairs to keep the junk off them? Or somewhere to put all your balls of wool in between projects? A simple pattern cut out of one piece of felt and slotted together and then if you want you can stiffen it with a simple mix of pva glue and water and then leave them to dry. And the great thing is they then become wipeable!

Or small toys for a little girls and boys? Nice and soft and easy to transport in a pocket. But unlike hard toys they won’t damage your washing machine if they get left in pockets.

Why not cut out little heart shapes, fill them with rice or wheat and make your own hand warmers?

Or again cut out hearts shapes stick on some jute, stuff them and add a ribbon and you have yourself and a simple all year round ornament. Or you make then larger for bunting for a spare room.

Or what about a handbag? Strong and sturdy but still soft to the touch and when not in use it can be rolled up for storage. Either leather or wooden handles to keep the natural feel. You could make a simple tote bag or a square multi pocketed bag for all you bits and pieces. And with the choice of colours out there you could make one for every outfit!

A garland for a focal point?

A cushion for the sofa?

Pin Cushions?

Ties backs for a set of curtains?

Cup Coasters? Pot Lifters?

A little Christmas felt for the sewers!

A little Christmas felt for the sewers!

Ok I’ll stop now. I think I made my point. Felt is not just something for school days or days of yore. It is cool and the projects that can be made from it are limitless. So why not give felt a try this month and see what you can create.

We currently stock 6 different colours if felt.  Check out our Fabric of the month on our online shop

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