Thursday, 15 August 2013


Remember to add my new blog, Craft and Thrift, on your blog reader to make sure you're getting the most up to date posts!

2 new posts up this week, read all about my plans for the new blog and a finished knitted hat for autumn!

See you over there!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Hello and goodbye

Hello dedicated Second Fiddle readers!

I feel I should explain my prolonged absence.  After much deliberation, I've decided to close Second Fiddle's doors for good.  It's taken me through the last 5 years of my life, through graduating from Zoology, vet school, moving in with Andrew, graduation again, getting engaged, moving away for my first many major events in my life.  I feel the time has come for a fresh start, a clean slate, for me to take the lessons I've learned from Second Fiddle and start again for this new, exciting period in my life.

I've never been entirely happy with the name 'Second Fiddle'.  I chose it because my Mum came up with it and she seemed so delighted to have helped me with my new hobby-business-venture that I just went with it.  To be fair, it's done me well, I've had a busy little Etsy shop that kept me in pocket money as a student under this name, and my wee corner of the blogosphere has thrived (over 23,000 page views!  I know that's not much by bigger blogs' standards but I'm pleased with it!).  I just feel that the time has come to move on.

But fear not!  The blogging will still be continuing, under a new name.  I've finally settled on the name Craft and Thrift and have registered a new blogspot account with that title.  I've started the process of setting up the new blog, it'll be pretty much the same layout as this one, right down to the same banner, but with new content and posting schedule.  I'm going to do the next one right, more regular posting, no long gaps in between posts, better photos, more links.  Basically amalgamating all the lessons I've picked up along the way to do it properly this time.

I very much hope you can all join me over at Craft and Thrift.  It'll be starting afresh very soon and I would love to see you all over there!  Things to look forward to in the coming year include wedding related crafts, new house DIYs, knitted jumpers, thrifted clothes refashions, learning many awesome things to share with you!

In the meantime however, goodnight Second Fiddle.  You've served me well.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Thrifted sheets to cushion covers

I made these for a colleague for her birthday.  She is constantly helping me at work and she's just moved house so it seemed like the perfect moment to repay the favour!  I've had the fabric for years, the continual stash busting continues, its really satisfying to see something that's been languishing in the cupboard for years turned into something pretty for a friend.


The cushion inners were from Ikea, I know I shouldn't but I do love that place, the market place is especially brilliant for projects like this.


Got to love the little Second Fiddle labels, they make them look so much more professional.


The fabric scraps were useful to turn this White Company box into a hamper for another friend's birthday present.  You could see the White Company logo through the fabric but I didn't have any plain cotton or interfacing to back the fabric, so I ended up backing it with kitchen roll!  It worked a treat and made it stick really well onto the box.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Train crafting

I've just come back from a lovely weekend in Devon with my two favourite lady friends.  It was great to just relax, craft, eat, drink and chat about anything and everything.  I came back feeling refreshed and keen to craft.  In fact, on the train on the way back I whipped up this little number for Isaac's first birthday. 



It's hard to model a kid's hat with ear flaps flat on the floor so here's a snapshot of a ball of wool modelling a small child's hat.  This is what I do in my lunch hour. 


The grey band along the bottom involves picking up stitches and knitting 3 rows.  It was probably my best attempt at picking up stitches to date but still not ideal, you can see that the band is tighter than the rest of the hat.  I really hope this won't be a problem for Isaac!  I didn't have a handy child to try it on so I had to send it off into the maw of Royal Mail and keep fingers crossed...

Monday, 18 March 2013

Slowly regaining my craftiness

I know I've been moaning a lot recently about my lack of crafty vibes.  I've had a few mishaps on recent projects, coupled with my sewing machine being in Edinburgh and me being in York.  The whole York-Edinburgh situation is getting me down and I've been losing my motivation to create.  Plus between not finishing work until 7pm and fitting in running and job applications, I've not got a huge amount of time left to do fun stuff.


But!  No more moaning!  I've decided to be proactive and bring my sewing machine down to York.  I've got 2 sorbetto tops planned and since I entered Karen's (of Did you make that? ) 2013 Sewlutions, I really need to get a move on.  I pledged to make myself 6 items of clothing this year, with the thought that one item every other month would be manageable.  Well, we're now halfway through March and I have items.  But!  In a positive light, I only need to make one item of clothing and I'll be back on track.  Sorbetto top, here we come!


These little guys had to be made for a guy at work who changed my flat tyre a few weeks back.  I was going to bake him some pasties as a thank you, but then developed a stonking cold so didn't want to bake germ-riddled food items.  In the spirit of rekindling creativity (and saving money and using up stash!) I went with the old Christmas favourite, the monsters.  He's off on paternity leave after having his second baby so there's a bigger monster for his 2 year old and a smaller monster for the wee one.  I can feel my crafting mojo slowing returning...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Thoughts on wedding dresses

I haven't really started wedding planning yet, I occasionally browse pinterest, then get annoyed after 10 minutes when I can't find exactly what I'm looking for.  We've (almost) settled on a date, looked at 1 venue (which wasn't quite right) and I've (kind of) picked a photographer.  The one thing I do want to start shopping for though is my dress!

Love the dress, hate the expression

I think at the moment that I want something green and vintage.  I love the idea of making my own dress like Suzannah from Adventures in Dressmaking or Zoe from So Zo but if I'm honest, I don't have the skillz.  I don't want to look at photos of myself in the future and see how the zipper isn't lined up properly or the pleats are wonky. 

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

Love the colour

I've been browsing pinterest for inspiration, with the thought that when I do start vintage shopping, I'll have a vague idea in mind.  I guess that could make it both easier and harder at the same time, since if you've already set your heart on something, invariably nothing lives up to it, but then equally when faced with a large volume of vintage to rifle through, it's definitely easier to be able to automatically filter on the basis of style or colour. 

This is a beautiful but quite revealing dress.  I'd rather not pop out a nipple in front of my Grandad to be honest

I've tried a few actual wedding dress sites and holy cow wedding dresses are expensive.  I want to look pretty but equally I want to buy a house and it would seem that you have to hand over a signficant chunk of a house deposit to buy some wisps of lace and silk you'll wear for approximately 12 hours.  Fuck. That. Shit.  I want to wear my wedding dress again so green vintage it shall be!  I'll keep you guys posted...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Crafting funk and failures

I've been in a bit of a crafting funk recently, I haven't really had the motivation to sew or knit.  You know it's bad when I lose the will to knit, I think of knitting as like rumination in cows, once they stop ruminating its a serious situation that all too often leads to an intra-cranial lead injection.  Or something like that.  There's a reason I didn't go into farm medicine.

Here are a few recent failures that have brought my knitting to a standstill.  Sewing, on the other hand, has halted almost entirely since moving to York and only having access to my sewing machine and stash 2 weekends a month.  I had a grand plan to do loads of sewing this weekend past but ended up in the pub for lunch both days and going for a late afternoon/early evening nap so most of the day was wasted in a drunken, sleepy stupor.  I'm not going to lie, it was most pleasant, curled up in bed with the dog in my nook and Outnumbered on catch up.  Not terribly productive though.

This is a lovely pattern, Oaked by Alicia Plummer.  The plan was to use up a gorgeous ball of alpaca silk DK by Debbie Bliss that has been languishing in my stash for years (the only posh ball of yarn in my stash right now).  Unfortunately I ran out halfway through, as you can see in the photo.  The maths was just too hard for me, having to look up the yardage requirement in the pattern and then compare it to the yardage of the skein.  No wonder I got confused.


That blue yarn is another one from my stash, not as nice but not bad and should be soft enough for a hat without being itchy.  I'm going to frog the first one and try again with the second.  I'm just worried the alpaca silk will fall to pieces as it unravels.  I'm also at a bit of a loss to know what to do with it if there's not enough for a hat.  It'll probably end up as a baby cardigan to be honest.


This next one is the Still Light Tunic that I started...lets see now...before finals so probably this time last year or thereabouts.  I've got as far as splitting for the front pleats and realised that this pattern is going to look ridiculous on my short-and-slightly-dumpy frame, it's going to drown what little figure I have and make me look like I'm wearing a sack.  Since the yarn is 4ply and so the thought of pulling it out is enough to make me want to give up knitting altogether and go back to World of Warcraft, I've decided instead to turn the nicely fitted bust I've knitted into a basic pullover.  I need more of these in my wardrobe anyway, since all my jumpers seem to have comedy animals or wacky fairisle patterns.  It'll involve a certain amount of winging it when it comes to increases/decreases around the hips and waist but I'm sure I'll muddle through somehow.  The great thing about top-down knitting is I can try on as I go, then get too excited to put my clothes back on and end up knitting topless, standing up in my lounge.  Which is what happened on Valentine's night.


This isn't knitting (obviously) but a rather frustrating lesson in WASHING TROUSERS BEFORE TURNING THEM UP.  Turned them up, washed them, they shrank, turned them down, turned them back up again.  Or at least I've done that with one pair, the second has been languishing on my coffee table for 2 weeks now.

So, between these 3 failures, I've not been feeling much like crafting recently.  I've even hit a roadbump on my new running regime, sore legs.  I'm taking this week off to ease back into it and I'm going to start interspersing swimming with running.  I feel like I'm failing at life at the moment, I can't even put one foot in front of the other successfully!