I’m so pleased that so many of you enjoyed my first Share All The Things Friday last week. A few people thought they might do something similar on their blogs. That’d be fun! Let me know if you do so I can come and be inspired. 

It’s been a long week here at Truly Myrtle and I’m glad it’s Friday. Here’s my five things to share this week:

  • I must confess that I haven’t yet used this fabulous book by Natalie Chanin but I have made plans to use it soon. Natalie Chanin founded the fashion line Alabama Chanin (in Alabama, USA) where she and her “skilled artisans” produce stunning clothes from American, organic, custom-dyed cotton jersey, cut, painted, sewn and embellished by hand. Needless to say, the garments are extremely expensive, a fact for which Natalie has been criticised. In fact, her line has been called “elitist”. There’s a whole other conversation there about the true value of handmade items but for today I want to point you in the direction of her beautiful books. Natalie’s whole business is founded on entirely “un-elitist” ideals and, it is for this reason she has embraced the notion of sharing her “trade secrets” with the world so that you and I can learn new skills to create beautiful, hand-crafted garments. Alabama Sewing Studio & Design, her third book, is stunning. There are lift-out patterns for a range of garments such as skirts, tops and dresses and it also includes step-by-step instructions illustrating how to sew stitches, embellish with beads, dye fabric and put together your own clothes. She even includes templates so you can recreate a number of her own patterned fabrics. I’m thrilled that all the garments are simple cotton knit shapes, I’m incredibly inspired by the many, many examples of how to embellish the pieces and I love that all they are all to be sewn by hand. I’m pretty keen on hand-sewing and I’m looking forward to really savouring the experience of sewing myself some bits and pieces really slowly!

Phew! I really like this book, no?!

  • My skin has never been great and needless to say, over the years I’ve tried all sorts of potions and lotions for cleansing, moisturising and so on. Cutting out gluten and dairy has certainly helped but it led me down another path – trying to find beauty products that are free from gluten, oats and nasty chemicals. I first stumbled across the idea of using oils to clean my face on Amanda’s Kitschy Coo blog last year and through her heard about Crunchy Betty and finally, many moons later, gave it a go myself. Now I’m hooked. I use a combination of jojoba, avocado and castor oil which do a good job of washing off makeup, sorting out spots, dealing with wrinkly bits and cleaning my face. My method is simple; each evening I drop three splodges into my palm (an even amount of each), massage my face for a few minutes then wipe it all off with a steaming hot face cloth. Voila and I’m done. Nothing fancy. My face is left soft and clean. I buy my oils from Lotus oils here in New Zealand and they’re delivered right to my door. 

  • My favourite podcast of the moment is Curious Handmade produced by the very lovely Helen Stewart. Helen is an Australian, living in London and is the designer of numerous beautiful shawls including the very popular Radiance Shawl which I made earlier in the year. I love listening to Helen for lots of reasons; she’s got a very calming voice, her podcasts are just the right length (usually about half an hour I think), she podcasts every Friday which is perfect for a some weekend knitting entertainment, she’s interviewed some really cool people, she’s always got something on the go but still manages to sound relaxed and I’m totally fascinated at the way she’s slowly but surely building her business with such integrity. Do check her out :)

  • I’ve been spinning for year now but am still to knit up any of my handspun into something that I’d wear. Luckily I may have found just the pattern for my recent green skein: Numilintu by Heidi Alander. Part of my problem is knowing exactly what weight my handspun really is as it’s not going to be even all the way through. Numilintu is a very pretty scarf/shawl written for a fingering weight yarn that grows as big as you want. I figure that means a wonky gauge probably isn’t the end of the world. It’s knitted side to side to form a triangular shawl that can be as lop-sided as you like, depending on how large you make it, so I can keep knitting with my handspun until it’s all used up. Perfect.

  • And a quickie to finish: Skein. Scroll down on their homepage and you’ll see their gloriously dyed yarn and fibre. (I see they’re shipping from their home in Australia all the way to Loop in London – it must be good). One of my lovely readers recommended Skein to me. I’m yet to try it – but I’d love to. Have you?

Have a happy weekend X

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