Monthly Archives: June 2012

Weaving for Amateurs

This weekend I went back to Brighton to catch up with some old friends. It was the annual Islingword Street Party – and this is the street where I used to live, so I knew there would be a lot of old faces to see!

During a break in the pub I spotted this book on the shelf:

Weaving for Amateurs - 1941

It was only £3 and looks to contain everything I need to get started on my new loom (aside from a new reed, which I am yet to get hold of).

Weaving for Amateurs

The book was first published in 1941, yet it looks like it’s been sat on a shelf ever since. Aside from explaining what all of the parts of the loom are called and what they do, it talks about all the basics, how to set up, get going, and different types of looms that you might come across.

There are also pages of patterns and explanations how to use them. And a big section at the back about dyeing yarn, vegetable dyes, the ratios to use and the colours you will get.

Then it goes on to talk about spinning – using a spindle, or a spinning wheel, teasing and carding.

All this in 78 pages! I’m quite impressed. Maybe I’ll get around to dyeing my own yarn one day!

WIP Wednesday – Autumn Gold Lace Hat

Apologies for my lack of blog posts recently.  I really cannot think where all my time is going, given that I am no longer in the routine of a full time job.  I seem to be spending a lot of time designing and feel a bit out of the loop in blogland.  I haven’t even read any blogs in the last week or so!

Fyberspates 'Rural Charm' Autumn Gold Pattern Swatch

Fyberspates 'Rural Charm' Autumn Gold Pattern Swatch

As some of you will have read a few weeks ago, I went out to Fyberspates to pick up an old loom, and came home with a lovely soft skein of yarn to play with too 🙂

The yarn is ‘Rural Charm’ 4 ply sock yarn, 70% Bluefaced Leicester, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere. Yes, it is gorgeous! I love how tidy the stitches come out, and it blocks wonderfully.

It took me a while to decide what to make with this lovely yarn – I have not yet ventured into the world of socks (I know it will happen someday) but it seems I am still stuck on hats, you can never have enough! Plus I love the fact that they don’t use up too much yarn, and can be finished pretty quickly.

Fyberspates Autumn Gold Hat - WIP


This one is taking a little longer as I am knitting on 3mm needles, but I’m really looking forward to it being finished. The pattern is a really fun knit!

For more WIP’s please looky here!

The Fabric Fairy Has Been!

I got home from a lovely craft day with my friend Steph today (she made a pirate flag, I was knitting a new hat) to find this exciting package waiting for me!

Exciting package

I knew exactly what was inside and had been hoping it would turn up today.  Brilliant considering I only ordered it on Sunday!

This is the new fabric I ordered from the lovely Saints and Pinners just outside of Exeter.

Exciting new fabric from Saints and Pinners

Originally I was thinking about making children’s clothing out of it for Art on the Hill, but it’s so lovely, now I’m not so sure!

Cute Rabbit fabric from Saints and PinnersRabbit Fabric Courtesy of Saints and Pinners
Saints and Pinners is a small business in Devon run by Jo and Fran, a mother and daughter team.  I was introduced to them by my friend Steph (the one with the pirate flag) this time last year, but this was my first order from them.  They have a large range of lovely fabrics on their website, sold in fat quarters, by the metre or in a handy fabric pack for those of you into quilting (or just hoarding lovely fabrics).  They also sell a range of gorgeous patterns and other nic-nacs to get your creative juices flowing, and will ship worldwide 🙂

Owl fabric from Saints and PinnersOwl fabric from Saints and Pinners
Only after I got to checkout did I realise that I’d only ordered fabric with animals on it.  This wasn’t intentional!  I really love the owl fabric, and was thinking it might make a nice shirt (for me) but the whole purpose of buying new material was to inspire myself to get up and make things for the trail… maybe some purses?



Recipe: Nutella Cupcakes

After my post at the weekend, a few of you asked me for the recipe for Nutella cupcakes.  I based this on a chocolate bun recipe that has been handed down in our family – so you are lucky!

Nutella Cupcake Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 325F/162C/ Gas Mark 3


85g/3oz butter
85g/3oz unbleached sugar
1 egg
142g/5oz flour
28g/1oz cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
0.5 cups/4.2 fl.oz warm water
3 tbsp nutella

For the icing

1 x 200g/7 oz tub of cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Nutella
450g/1lb icing sugar (about 3 3/4 cups), sifted

Cream together butter and sugar.  Mix the nutella with the water until it is smooth and milky.  Make a well in the middle of the butter mixture, and beat in the egg.   Sift in flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda and mix together, adding nutella mixture gradually.  You may wish to add a little more water if the mixture is too thick.

Cook in the middle of a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes.

While the cupcakes are cooking, mix together the icing sugar, nutella, butter and cream cheese with an electric whisk (or some elbow grease).

Allow cupcakes to cool and then ice and decorate as you wish, voila!

© buttonsandbeeswax 2012


Wednesday WIP – Giving an Old Loom New Life

On Monday I was super lucky to be given this loom from the lovely Jeni at Fyberspates.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

After meeting Divaweaver at the Southbank Arts Trail back in May, I’d been inspired to give weaving a go.  So when I saw Jeni’s tweet that she had a loom requiring a new home I knew I had to go and rescue it.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

Now I know nothing about weaving, nor which parts of the loom I need to fix up.  I’m going to start with a bit of dusting and go from there.  I’m not even sure what any of the parts are called, so I joined this Ravelry group in the hope that some of the experts there might be able to give me a nudge in the right direction.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

I think these wires are called the heddles.  They appear to be ok, maybe a little rusty, but I’m hoping they’ll clean up ok.  I also know I need to get a new reed as the one for this machine is missing.  Any advice would be gratefully accepted!

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

As luck would have it, this morning I met with another lovely lady called Claire, from Bristol Sewing School, which opened in March about 10 minutes from my house.   I learned that not only will they be running weaving workshops, but knitting machine courses too, hurrah!  So there is hope yet to get even more creative hobbies than I already have.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

I’m not sure if it’s possible to take a trip out to the Fyberspates workshop and not come back with yarn – I know I didn’t manage it.  There are so many pretty colours! I had to restrain myself and just buy the one skein, which I think was pretty good going considering I haven’t bought anything new in at least 6 months.  Unless you include yarn for gifts.

I don’t.

Fyberspates Yarn

I’m not sure what to make with it yet – a lovely pair of yellow socks or a nice lacy fingering weight hat.. I’m not letting myself play until I’ve finished my bolero though!

After the drive back I found there was a street party in full swing near our road, so went down to take some snaps.  I love living somewhere with such a lovely community feel to it!

fraser street street party bristol

Fraser Street Street Party Bristol

Street Party Bristol Balloons


Upfest – A Bristol Festival of Street Art

This weekend saw our first ‘Upfest‘ – an urban street art festival based just around the corner from us in Southville, Bristol.  I got a little bit snap happy with all the colour surrounding us, and thought I’d share some of the pictures here.

Upfest is an annual festival, which has taken place every year on the first weekend of June since 2008.  Boards are erected especially for the paint jam, which also takes place on shop shutters and the sides of buildings, and attracts hundreds of graffiti artists from all over.

Upfest Bristol 2012

Upfest Bristol 2012

Upfest Bristol 2012

Upfest Bristol 2012

Upfest Bristol 2012

Upfest Bristol 2012

Upfest Bristol 2012

Upfest Bristol 2012
After working our way down North Street we ended up at the Tobacco Factory, which hosted DJ’s, beatboxers, bands and market stalls.

However as much as we all appreciated the paintings, the party atmosphere was a tad on the loud side for us and we retreated to The Hare, where we could sit and chat quietly, and relax!

Onwards and Upwards

On Friday I officially finished my contract at work, and will be embarking on an exciting journey doing creative things to make a living.  This is going to require a lot of motivation! As a farewell to my colleagues, I made them Nutella cupcakes which we munched on with our coffee’s throughout the day.

Nutella Cupcakes

Nutella Cupcakes

I received this orchid and card (plus a bottle of rum which is now less than half full) as a leaving gift.  It was sad saying goodbye, they are a lovely team, however I am more than excited about what happens next! I will still be writing the blog for Cosy Tea (which I admit has not been updated for a few weeks) however this will be fortnightly now, and it won’t depend on how busy we are in the office as to whether I manage to post or not.

Leaving Card and Orchid

As a celebration of changes, my boyfriend bought me this lovely book from Magma Books in London.

Magma Sketchbook -Fashion

Upon first glance it just looks like another sketchbook, but when you look closely, there are faint guides inside of people, for me to sketch my designs on to.

Magma Fashion Sketchbook

This is particularly useful to me, as I am useless at drawing the human form, thus disabling myself slightly when it comes to designing garments.  I can see in my head what I’m aiming for, but it often gets lost and merges with other ideas.

It was only the second time I opened the book that I realised what was hidden in the back:

Magma Fashion SketchbookA handy guide for taking measuments for men and women, several pages of spec sheets to dedicate to specific customers, care labelling in European, American and Japanese, body measurements (I am always referring to bookmarks online for this) and then some info about fabrics and colours and how to tie various ties, knots and sarongs.

Magma Fashion Sketchbook

Needless to say this book is going to be travelling around with me a fair deal, and I think I owe someone some brownie points! 🙂