Monday, December 31, 2012

Things I've been up to: fly fringe, Christmas, England, Titanic, knitting...

It's early morning here in London and I'm sitting in the lounge of my hotel with toast and a cup of tea. No one wakes up this early on vacation except the businessy types and the jet lagged. 

It's very nice and quiet. 

Actually, I'm the only one. Cricket, cricket.

Since my husband's still asleep and I'm sitting in this nice, quiet room, finally with a moment all to myself, I thought I would catch up on the last few weeks of fun things I have been doing.

And first things first, a belated Merry Christmas to all, and an early Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season.

Test go of creating passementerie.

So, leaps and bounds in creating fly fringe. This is just a snippet. I really want to devote a whole post to what I have learned about making this, but that will have to be for another day. Suffice to say, for now, that I experimented with using a bobbin lace method. Next up will be a loom -- once I sort out how to use it... 
I'm still using cotton for the test run, but my silk did arrive in the mail before I left home. Yay!

I tried quite a few patterns for the fringe, interpreted from close ups of extant gowns. The top example is still a little busy for me. The lower one was a better attempt, but I'm not satisfied with the scallops on the side. I'm working out the kinks, but hey, that's why I'm using the cotton...

I used my bobbins and lace pillow. Next
up, on a loom!

My biggest project for the month was learning to knit. I don't know why I have never tried it before. I think the whole counting thing really intimidates me.

I found some beautiful alpaca yarn at this great knitting store in town, Gail Knits, and I made my husband a scarf for our winter trip to London, as a Christmas gift. I did eight sets of four knit, four pearl, as ribbing. It's about 60+ inches long. It was kind of hard to finish, since I couldn't exactly work on it in front of him. I was super proud of it when it was done. Not one oopsie! Yay! And double yay, he totally loved it!

It's so nice to make things for people :)

Black alpaca yarn from Gail Knits in Las Vegas.

And I don't have a pic of him modeling haha, but I hunted and found it in this pic below. Bottom right, peaking out of the bag. 

Next up I plan on knitting something historical, like maybe something 1860's out of a Godey's. A whole new world of costuming has been opened up!

Now on to fun things so far in London town.

It's been so festive here!
A view down Picadilly Arcade.

I have never had a bad time with jet lag - until this trip. Oh my gosh, it was horrible! I finally got a good night of sleep last night. Like eleven hours! Ah, so refreshed. Anyways, point of sharing was that we have like done nothing for the past five days, except sleep most of the day, up all night (grrr), loll around some shops and, to be festive, drink our weight in mulled wine. 

Actually it's been quite fun, despite the tired laziness.

Mmmm mulled wine. Tis the season!
At the Duke of Wellington on Portobello.

Some fun, historically inspired things I have done so far. 

Last time I was in town I had some riding boots made for me by Schnieder Boots on Clifford Street. I got to pick them up this time. So exciting! Why historical? It was part of the fun for me to have my foot and leg measured, just like people would have done for footwear before off the rack over took bespoke. An interesting experience. Also, the Schnieder boots company owns W.H. Gidden, a saddler since 1806. The Duke of Wellington rode into battle against Napoleon on a Gidden saddle. Both companies have appointments to Her Majesty, the Queen. I love it! Even Heinz ketchup here has an appointment to the Queen!

Schnieder Boots & W.H. Gidden
16 Clifford Street, Mayfair
Next, the obligatory stop at Fortnum and Mason (on picadilly since 1707) for my favorite tea in the whole wide world: Fortmason. It's a black tea scented with Orange Blossom. It is to die for!

Also at Fortnums, tucked away on a holiday sale table, overlooked my all passers by... Royal Crown Derby Titanic!


I have been looking for this for well over a year. It hasn't been available anywhere I have found in the states, and I have decided against ordering it from Royal Crown Derby, first because of the price, and second because shipping it makes me nervous. How disappointing would it be to receive it broken!

I have done a post on it before, so check out all about what makes it special here.

Well, it was half off so I snapped up the last four cup and saucer sets, thrilled and guilt free. I would have loved to get the tea service as well, but at home I have a lovely silver service (goes with everything!), so I have vowed no more tea sets until we have more room. 

Oh well, I hope it goes to a happy home :)

Royal Crown Derby "Titanic"

Tea cups with the OSNC monogram (Ocean Steam
Navigation Company, or better known as the
White Star Line)

And just because it's pretty... Fortnum's silver service
used in their tea room.
Coming soon will be pictures of my antique finds from our rainy Saturday at Portobello Market. I found some interesting and gadgety Georgian and Edwardian silver pieces I will have to share. Today, as soon as I wake my husband up, we will be off the Covent Garden for some me shopping (antiques) and then to Bond or Brook Street for some manly shopping. 

And maybe I can weedle my way into a afternoon tea somewhere fab... 

Now that I got a good night's sleep I'll be much more apt to take photos. Can't wait to share! Cheers all and Happy New Year!

---- Oh! And I just learned about The Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly sew along. I absolutely plan on particpating when I get back. Sounds so fun!


  1. Caroline. What a lovely way to spend Christmas. One year I will go to London and/or Paris and do Christmas. The Derby pattern is lovely. Good luck with the knitting. I keep trying to do it and I finally let the project become a UFO and turn back to needle and thread projects. I guess I am just an embroidery, handsewing person. Anyway, the fly fringe - Whoa. Isn't there a way to do it just by knotting? Anyway, best wishes in the new year and thank you for your sharing and support. Cheers.

    1. I'm much more needle and thread, too. The knitting is much easier to carry around, though. And yes, you knot and then cut it up and integrate the knotted bits into the woven gimp. I'm going to do up a post devoted to it soon.

  2. Oh my, you have an extremely complicated way of doing the fly fringe...but I am so impressed by you having taught yourself and it looks great!
    What fun to be able to travel like that! Happy New Year!

    1. It's not so complex. It's the same outcome as a loom, I just am not as familiar with the loom as my lacemaking tools. The pins look messy and complicated, but basically all you do is weave the weft back and forth through the warp and secure it with pins so you have a nice tension. This also allows one to make the loops that stick out. You just pin them further out.

    2. It's far more complicated than the way I learned! LOL But your result does look nice. =)

  3. What a lovely post! And that lounge is lovely - where are you staying in London? I'll put it on my list of places to stay!
    The Titanic pattern is nice but the shape of the teapot is just ok so I think your silver service is a much better idea - it's also why I like silver teasets too.
    Congrats on the fringeing and the knitting.
    Can't wait to see the fleamarket haul!
    Living through you vicariously!
    Bonne Année

    1. I'm staying at the 41 hotel, in Victoria. It is so lovely here. I'm sitting in the lounge now again.

      I agree about the tea set. It's not the most delicate shape. But, oh my gosh, walking around all the antique shops here, there are sooooo many beautiful silver sets! I wish I could buy them all!

      And yes, I can't wait to share the fun stuff I've bought. Yesterday I found the most beautiful fan! Ah sigh.

      Happy New Year!

  4. Amen to the vicarious living! Your blog frequently feels like a vacation, and this post was no exception. I love the fringe! That is most certainly NOT on my list of "things to learn." I'll stick with my crooked hem stitch, thank you.

    Happy New Years!

    1. Oooh goody! That's why I'm sharing! And then when I get home, I can always look back at my posts and revisit, too!

      The fringe is a bit of an endeavor. I don't know how I'll ever have the patience to make enough to trim a gown, but at the very least, I think it's pretty cool to know how to do it at all. Maybe I'll trim a little bag...

      Happy New Year!