Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt

After a bit of soul searching I have come to realise the reason I don't post very often on this blog is that I tend to only post when I have finished something, be it a book, a jumper or even a cake, and as these things take time to achieve and even more time to write up, it can be months before I have anything ready to publish. So today I am starting a new feature which I am calling Wendy's Week (you know I love alliteration and lame titles, haha). Its my effort to make this blog a little more personal and give you more of an insight into who I really am and what I actually get up to!

I can't promise that it will always be wildly interesting, I mean I am an ordinary lass so my life is a little dull most of the time, but it will at least give me the chance to talk about some of the things that happen each week (the good and the bad) which are worth documenting, but are not quite important enough to have a whole post dedicated to them!

A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt
- 1st - 7th Feb 2016 - 
butterflybalcony on Instagram:  Self Draft Skirt // Stegosaurus // Zumba // Old Family Photos // Current Read // Best Nine 2015
butterflybalcony on Instagram: 
Self Draft Skirt // Stegosaurus // Zumba // Old Family Photos // Current Read // Best Nine 2015

After a bad start to 2016, I decided to write January off as a false start and have determined to make February and the rest of the year as good as I can make it!

 - I connected with a long lost school friend. Thanks to the power of Facebook my best friend from senior school found me and got in contact! Despite the 12 years that have passed since we last spoke and the completely different paths in life we have taken, we were able to laugh and joke exactly the way we had back at school, it was wonderful and we have made plans to meet up soon!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt  Zumba

I attended a Zumba class, on my own, and didn't hate it! I am not going to lie, taking this class pushed me right out of my comfort zone and triggered all of my anxiety buttons; going somewhere on my own, talking to people I don't know and dancing around in public. But I did it, and actually despite my utter lack of coordination I really enjoyed it, it was actually rather liberating and the ladies (that I had the courage to speak to) were all lovely and put my mind totally at rest. One small step to finding some more confidence!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt 'A woman in Berlin'

- I started reading a new book. A Woman in Berlin is a diary account of a young woman's life in Berlin in the days during the fall and occupation by the Russians in 1945. It truly is a gripping account which is eloquently written by its anonymous author. I have only read a few chapters but its already proving to be a very moving, shocking and if I am honest eye opening book, which is certainly worth a read, if that's your thing!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt Natural History Museum

- I squared up to a Stegosaurus. On Saturday I went on a day trip into central London with my friend Christine and her beautiful little daughter Kiera (you will have seen Kiera on the blog before here). We headed to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaur exhibition as both me and Keira love Dinosaurs! Unfortunately once we got there we realised it was closed for refurbishment, or as one of the lovely staff told Keira because the T-rex was tired needed a little holiday, adorable!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt  - Natural History Museum

Despite the lack of Dinosaurs we sill had a truly lovely day and spent it tracking down any other Dinos we could find amongst the rest of the museums exhibits. It was a day full of fun and lots of laughter, Kiera was so well behaved and genuinely relished in the experience, which it made it all the more enjoyable, though I must confess to feeling utterly worn out when I got home!

- I finished my first project of 2016! And blogged about it, finally finishing my Stained Glass Granny Square Blanket, was a wonderful start to February, I have lots of  projects which just need a little attention to finish them off so fingers crossed I should have more to show off very soon!

Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt  - Sew Over it Box Pleat Skirt 1950's

- I started work on a new sewing project. I bought myself Lisa Comfort's Sew Over It Vintage, book back in November and I've been eyeing up her self drafted 1950's Box Pleat skirt pattern ever since. After a bit of a sort out of my sewing stuff I found I had enough red crepe left over from my disastrous 1950's Jubilee suit to make up the skirt, which is even more of a result as it matches the original in the book perfectly!  So far I have managed to draft the pattern and cut out all my pattern pieces. I now just need to add my pattern markings to the fabric and then I will be ready to start overlocking, hopefully I will be able to do that one evening this week so that I can get stitching at the weekend!

What have you been up to this week?
Wendy x

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Crochet It - Stained Glass Blanket

Hello, I hope 2016 is being kind to you!
Today I want to introduce you to my first finished project of 2016, its been a long time in the making so I am very, very glad that I can finally call it finished!

~ Stained Glass Granny Square Blanket ~
Stash Buster & UFO

I first blogged about this project back in 2013, as part of my UFO Hall of Shame, but that's not when I started this project it was actually way back in 2011 that this project first came to life!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

 Pattern: None I winged it! 
Essentially 24 Granny squares joined and then bordered with rows of granny square shells 
(two double crochet stitches then a single chain - tipple chain on corners) 
until desired sizes is reached then a scalloped edging is added.
3mm Crochet Hook
Lots of yarn in various thicknesses
Stitches Used:
Puff Stitch // Granny Square // Scalloped edge
Joining Granny Square

It began as a way for me to relax whilst living amongst the boxes shortly after moving home. There was no TV or internet access for about a month and so in the few minutes each day, after reorganising boxes, cooking dinner and falling asleep on the uncomfortable (all we had) dining chairs, I did a little crochet!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

Now you might not notice it from the finished object, as it is a little different, but my inspiration actually came from, one of my favourite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory. Amy Farrah Fowler has a lovely Granny Square afghan on her couch which is all edged in black and it seemed like the most suitable project for using all the granny squares I had made!

Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
( Image Source and Pattern from the Geek Mom blog )

Its worth noting (probably because I didn't have the internet to hand) that rather than doing a double/treble crochet stitch shell typical of the granny square, I mistakenly did a puff stitch square instead. I can only think to blame muscle memory, as the last thing I had turned out with a crochet hook was my puff stitch beret so my hands just naturally resorted back to this stitch! My mistake was realised only once I began joining the squares together, and though its not a massive problem the reason a  puff stitch suits beret making is the fact it creates a slightly domed rather than a flat fabric and so my little granny squares have created more of a lumpy (or as I have been referring to it nippily) fabric than I had desired, but heck its just as cozy!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

After crocheting 24 squares I got a bit bored and so decided to just get cracking and start joining them together (which I did 2 New Years Eves ago). I then to make the blanket a more useful size I decided to encompass the squares with rows of double crochet, mostly using black but occasionally adding a couple of rows of one of the colourful yarns from the centre, I think its worked out quite well its certainly striking and the border thankfully has certainly helped to flatten down the puffy squares a little.

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

And that was how it was left for 2 more years (I don't like to rush anything!). It was only on New Years day, this year that I finally added my last few rows of black to the border and then added the pink scalloped edging, which is something my mum showed me how to do and I must say finally makes me feel like I might have a hope at getting better at this crochet malarkey!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

Now its finally finished I am rather in love with it, I just adore how striking it is it and its certainly helped brighten up rather dull beige sofa! In hindsight I wish I had made it just a little bigger, so that I could swathe myself in it on chilly evenings, but it fits the sofa nicely and keeps my knees warm while watching TV and plotting my next project, and lets face it seeing as its taken me five years to get this far I think I should count my blessings that it even covers my knees!

Wendy x

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Knit It - The Perfect Christmas Jumper

I hope you all are having a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, and if you don't I hope you have at least had a lovely rest!!!

I have been at my parents home in Liverpool for the last few days and I've come to realise, that my favourite part of Christmas are actually the days in between Christmas day and New Years Eve. If your lucky enough not to have to work, they are the least pressure filled and most relaxing of any time of the year, perfect for self indulgent crafting whilst watching films you have loved since childhood, feasting on leftovers turned in to ingenious meals, and spending time with the ones you love, its bliss!

The Butterfly Balcony - Christmas Tree Decorations

This year I decided against making myself a Christmas outfit for the big day, as to be honest I already have lots of dresses which seldom get an outing, it seemed extravagant to add another one to the collection. Plus after the trouble I had with last years dress (I'll actually be blogging about that soon, better late than never I guess!) I didn't much feel like another battle, so instead of showing off something wonderful and new I am going to give you a better look at a stalwart of many Christmases now, my 'Perfect Christmas Jumper'.

~ Perfect Christmas Jumper ~
Pattern By
5 100g Balls Robin 4ply Red
1 100g Ball James C. Brett Supersoft Baby Shimmer White

The pattern is another of Susan Crawford's wonderful takes on an original vintage pattern, she takes such care over resizing them you can always be sure that the fit and finish will be as true to the original pattern as possible and this is no exception, the lovely puff sleeves and colour work really make this pattern a 1940's classic.

The Perfect Christmas Jumper Knitting Pattern Susan Crawford

I first blogged about this jumper back in January 2011, I had endeavoured to finish knitting it by Christmas a few weeks earlier but managed to miss that by just one month! It was the first time that I had knitted anything with Fair Isle and Intarsia so I found it a bit of a struggle, but once it was done it was certainly worth all of the tangled messes I got myself into as its been worn every Christmas since!

It was also the fist time I had knitted long full length sleeves, which I remember at the time being never ending, I am so glad that I persevered as they are lovely and long and just the perfect length, something which I have struggled to achieve since, I think my eagerness to get wearing my latest project can make me a little optimistic on how much I have actually knitted and so the sleeves tend to come up a little on the short side (by this I mean my Date Maker).

The Perfect Christmas Jumper Knitting Pattern Susan Crawford - Back View
The one drawback with this jumper, is my choice of yarn, I didn't much care for it at the time but it was a cheap acrylic option when there were very few cheap options available (its amazing how much more choice we have in 4py yarns a mere five years later!) so it was a practical choice but I do wish I had invested a little more money into it as the squeaky feel of the fabric has not improved with multiple washes and fabric conditioning and the colour in real life is a little more brassy than I would have chosen in hindsight, but I still love it and its certainly striking!

The Perfect Christmas Jumper Knitting Pattern Susan Crawford

There is one other side effect of this cheap yarn and perhaps my loose style of knitting, which is that the jumper seems to grow a little with each wash. Potentially this could be a problem, however as I only wear it a few times a year it only needs a little washing and as I have put on a little more weight over the years since I first made it, it has actually grown with me and so has been more of a benefit rather than a problem.

The Butterfly Balcony - The Perfect Christmas Jumper 1940's

I am actually tempted to knit this up again, in perhaps a just as festive green and white colourway but considering how slowly I knit (though I am getting a little better) I should heed my advice from my last post about this jumper and probably start knitting soon!

 Wendy x

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Butterfly Balcony Botique - Christmas Edition

Its been awhile since I posted about my little Etsy shop, mostly this is because I have let it fall by the wayside a little due to all the things I've had going on this year, but now its time to give you a little look at some of the lovely things (mostly handcrafted by my mum) that I have been listing lately!

Click on the links to see more pictures
£13.00 + Free UK Shipping

First up are these adorable little Scandinavian dtylefelt birds perfect for adorning your tree this Christmas!

£59.00 + Free UK Shipping
My mum loves making quilts she spends many hours coming up with new designs and stitching away to see her ideas come to life and this and this gorgeous calendar quilt is no exception!

This quilt has twelve a unique appliquéd teddy bears one for every month of the year! From snowy January, through the heat of August, to the crisp fireworks of November all the way up to the festive cheer of December. Each bear is tucked up nice and cozy in there little beds with blankets which reflect the passing months.

£5.00 each + Free UK Shipping

My mum has an enviable fabric stash with fabrics from many, many years of sewing and these cute little Scottie Dog brooches are handmade from many of the vintage fabrics found lurking there!

Each pup is handmade from vintage fabric, gently stuffed with polyester fiber filling to give them shape, adorned with a dashing collar secured with a button. They love long walks and are the perfect size for attaching to your coat or jacket so why not take one out for a stroll!
£4.00 per pair / 3 pairs for £10.00 + Fee UK Shipping

And now for something I made myself! 

These pretty little rose cabochon earrings availiable in six pretty shades and are certain to add a touch of spring to any grey day!

There is also a small selection of vintage clothing, all of which I would be keeping if I could just squeeze myself in to it!

Free Shipping on all UK orders
For international orders I have charged what I think the cost will be, I will however once a delivery price has been obtained to your country, always refund any over payments!

Wendy x

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Free Patterns - 1943 Needlework Illustrated

Today is my birthday and so I thought seeing as I am getting lots of treats today I though it might be nice to treat you lovely readers as well!! So I am sharing one of my Needlework Illustrated booklets which contains lots of sewing ideas for making yourself and your home look fabulous during rationing, also most importantly four super knitting patterns!

The Butterfly Balcony 1943 Needlework Illustrated Zebra Striped Shirt Free Knitting Pattern

Zebra Striped Shirt
To fit a 32-36" bust
The striped Shirt on the cover of this Magazine is a clever knitted version of one of the most popular and charming fashions of the day. These blouses always look fresh and tailored, are attractive under a suit and important enough to wear with an odd skirt for every-day occasions.

The Butterfly Balcony 1943 Needlework Illustrated September Beauty Free Knitting Pattern
September Beauty - Lace Knit Jumper
To fit 32-36" Bust
These days every garment has to do the work of two. Here is a versatile little knitted that makes the prettiest lace-stitch jumper you could wish for, or buttoning all way down the front, can be worn as a cardigan when so needed. The full sleeves are a new and charming feature finishing in deep ribbed cuffs to match the ribbed welt that fits so snugly at the waist. A tiny ribbed border edges the neck and fronts.

The Butterfly Balcony 1943 Needlework Illustrated Classic Cardigan Free Knitting Pattern

Classic Cardigan - Selected for Style
To fit 33-35" Bust
How's this for a bonny baby! The foal, full of fun and frisk, is only three days old! Proud owner is wearing the classic hand-knit Cardigan. Four coupons were never invested better than in this warm woolly cardigan. It takes 8 onces of 3 ply wool and is worked in stocking stitch!

The Butterfly Balcony 1943 Needlework Illustrated Arab Stripe Free Knitting Pattern
Arab Stripes Jumper
To fit 32-34" Bust
Raid your 'muddle-box' for bright bits of mercerised thread or wool left over from your knitting, and work them into the bands of colour that distinguish the sleeves of this novel jumper. Here you have a "Knitted" of great individuality... smart, new and striking... yet so easily achieved.

I hope you enjoy!
Wendy x