Saturday, 31 December 2011


My grandma recently moved into "assisted living", and in clearing out her flat sent a lot of stuff, via her son, my dad, to me.

Alongside the flowery towels and ace 50s clothes dryer, I was given a couple of unassuming plastic bags full of the leftovers of my grandmother's creative life. Knitting needles, zips, bundles of raffia and broderie anglais, ribbons, pins, half-used wooden spools of cotton and odd balls of yarn. Among these treasures I also found a tiny leather needle case, soft from handling, with embossed daffodils and the legend "A stitch in time saves nine".

There's something about this little collection that brings tears to my eyes. It's so humble, and yet so thrifty and resourceful and full of craft and care. Who knows what she made from those ends of yarn and thread? I find it so touching to think of generations of women, not just mine, handing down skills and tools to make things, for yourself to use or to give to other people.

I hope I can make something beautiful with them - or something useful. I think either would please her.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Having not lived anywhere I was actually happy for the best part of a year, I've spent a lot of time walking around and eyeing up other people's much cosier-looking houses. I'm a particular fan of doors, because of the promise and intrigue they suggest.

These are some treats I spotted around Dalston recently:

I love that chalky blue - and, geekishly, the font of the number.

I think a clown lives here.

This is my particular favourite. Imagine waking up every day and thinking: yes I live in a slightly leany dark blue house with a pink door! A pink door! It calls out for geraniums in pots and a frilly apron.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Crafty kitties

Not that I'm completely obsessed with cats - but the jacket of this lovely Japanese craft book instantly caught my attention in Foyles (I like the strapline, which promises "cute handicrafts to make with your cat"- it conjures up the pleasing scenario of sitting down with some dexterous kitties for a crafternoon. Knit and Kit?).

Anyway - actually making things with pet hair has always felt a bit icky to me (when I worked on Knitting magazine we ran a piece about jumpers made from cat hair, which makes my eyes itch just thinking about it) - but there are some super cute ideas in here. Everything seems to be felted so less, well hairy. I like the little stuffed finger puppets in partic.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Orange orange

I've never been a big fan of orange (I'm more of a pink kind of girl) but there's something brilliant and uplifting and strangely nostalgic about it on a smoky December day.

And also I finished these beauties! Quite proud of their triumphant ugliness.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Three or four things

Three things to get excited about today.

Firstly: this dream of a bag:

Some fool had abandoned it in the street. Had they no taste? What could be better than yellow and blue kittens with freaky orange eyes? I'm thinking of turning it into particularly grotesque cushions.


My friend has sent me these for the riot grrl mixtape I'm planning  - Babes in Toyland's Dystopia and The Peel Sessions, Bratmobile's The Real Janelle, and Veruca Salt's American Thighs. Just Heavens to Betsy to track down now...

And also - tonight! -

PS Despite having shut down my feminist website (there's still loads of good stuff up there, have a look!) I still get press releases. Most of them make sense but I received one today that was clearly sent out with no thought as to the recipients. It read:

"Please see the below release from XXXX which has seen a rise in demand for its product as women aim for shapley arms like the Duchess of Cambridge."

Not only do I love the misspelling of "shapely" but also the mixture of body fascism with royalist grovelling:

"2011 has been the year of the Royals, as the Middleton family joined the ranks of the Monarchy and the world’s spotlight shone upon not only Kate but also her younger sister Pippa, whose derriere became the most desirable in the nation.

However it is the Duchess of Cambridge who continues to inspire women to seek the figure worthy of a princess."

She inspires me every day...