Sophie Kingo Blogs

Insight into Sophie Kingo's African-Scandinavian inspired clothing and accessories


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Stockpiling

I’ve been hoping for a while to have a market stall to try out some of my items at. So, I’ve been busy stockpiling items to sell rather than plugging them online.

I’ve just put in an application for Brixton Makers’ Market on 8th June, so fingers crossed there’s space for me. I’ll keep making items to sell in the meantime and may even venture into the world of making ladies’ tops and skirts, so watch this space…

Here’s a taster of some of the things that’ll be appearing on the stall. More to come:

Lavender pouches

Lavender pouches

African print girls' dresses

African print girls’ dresses

African print shorts

African print shorts

African print dribblers

African print dribblers

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AKBK and his duffel coat

In December, my third nephew was born. Welcome to the work AKBK.

I had knitted the obligatory newborn hat, but come the new year I wanted to knit him something else. Some time ago, my sister gave me Essential Baby from Debbie Bliss and I had, of course, fallen in love with so many items. One piece I particularly loved was the duffel coat. So, I bought some very fitting green (AKBK is half Irish, half Ghanaian) double top cotton from Texere Yarns and got to knitting.

I found the tension difficult to get right and ended up having to knit tightly using 3.25mm needles to get the right gauge. So, after enduring a few weeks of knitting away, the tendons in my hands were pretty sore and achy. I didn’t end up adding pockets – what 3-month-old has anything to put in their pockets? – and I added lovely purple and green west African print fabric covered buttons to finish it off.

This was my second small-person knitted proper item of clothing (the first being a cardigan for my niece L2) and I’m not sure I’ll make another in a hurry. I love Debbie Bliss designs, but I often find them hard work to complete, much prefering Sirdar or Rowan patterns generally.

But, this duffel coat’s gorgeous and AKBK looks adorable in it, so I’m happy enough. I just hope he doesn’t grow out of it too quickly and my sister-in-law keeps hold of it for future BK/ Hostick-Boakye kids 😉

AKBK and his duffel coat


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Liberty print Peter Pan collar top

I’ve been busy trying to build up stock for the first Sophie Kingo market stall this spring/summer (more on that later) but a couple of weeks ago managed to find time to make myself a new item of clothing out of an old remnant of Liberty lawn cotton I had knocking around.

My second ever dress was a maxi dress made with fabric my (then) boyfriend (now husband) bought me for Christmas 2008. I’ve used little bits and pieces that were left over for birds, bunting and oyster card holders. But the other day, when I’d decided I wanted to make myself a top, I wished for enough of this Liberty fabric to make it happen.

I had bought a pattern some time ago but had not liked it enough to use it; I just wasn’t a fan of the frill down the front of the neckline. But I thought I’d make a start with it and see what took my fancy. Half way through I knew that without anything around the neckline the top would be too plain and not worth the fabric or time.

So, I drew up a Peter Pan collar, cut out some Broderie Anglais from my fabric stash and incorporated that into the design. And I love it. Planning to head down to Liberty sometime soon for some new fabric to get some more on the go.

Peter Pan collar Liberty top Changing the collar


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13 dresses and 4 skirts

Homemade dress and cardigan

My latest shift dress and home knitted cardigan

For Christmas 2008 my husband (then boyfriend) gave me two lengths of Liberty fabric and told me I was going to make myself a couple of dresses. Since then, I’ve made 13 dresses and four skirts, for myself alone:

  • 2 wrap dresses
  • 6 shift dresses
  • 1 maxi dress
  • 3 empire line dresses
  • 1 waisted dress with pockets
  • 2 high waisted skirts
  • 2 a-line skirts

My skills have definitely improved since my first wrap dress. And the latest shift dress (left) is my best yet.

Here’s each dress and skirt in order, starting with my first ever (with one skirt missing along the way).


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A new shift dress

A couple of weeks ago I bought an overlocker – just the cheapest Janome that John Lewis stocked – and went on an Overlocking for beginners workshop at The Make Lounge. I had been wanting an overlocker for some time, but horror stories kept putting me off. I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Yes, they’re scary with their four threads, but the overlocker has transformed my sewing life.

Ok, I’ve only used it once so far, but along with my first sewing machine sewn blind hem, it means I won’t be looking back.  This new dress is definitely my best yet.

I can’t wait to start using the overlocker on my African print girls’ dresses.

Homemade dress

Homemade dress

Blind hemming for the first time

Blind hemming for the first time

Overlocked edges along the zip

Overlocked edges along the zip

My new sewing setup

My new sewing setup

Two new fabrics

Two new fabrics


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Cardigan number two

photo (13)

I got the cardigan knitting bug after finishing a beautiful Acer cardigan in November and straight away started on a Lady Marple cardigan. And I finished it in Hull, just before Christmas.

Unlike the Acer, which had a cable pattern back and was made using a double knit (light worsted/8 ply) merino wool yarn, Lady Marple had a plain back and was made using heavier aran (worsted/10 ply) merino wool yarn, so was much quicker to complete.

I had to learn a new knitting technique for this one. It’s completely seamless, meaning I had to pick up and knit short rows for the upper arm then knit the arms in the round using the magic loop method. In the image accompanying the pattern the top of the sleeves have a rippled effect due to an uneven tension in the knit/purl rows. I tend to find keeping an even tension hard in some yarn when knitting in stocking stitch – my purl is always looser than my knit – but am very pleased to see no ripple effect, despite the fiddliness of short rows into the arm hole bind off stitches.

Apart from that, the button band is a little tight, and I should have probably picked up a few more stitches, but I’m very happy with this cardigan too. But with the weather so mild at the moment, such a  thick wool cardigan is feeling a little bit too warm.

Come on January. Throw the elements at us. I want to wear my new cardigan.

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New cardigan for me

It’s been over three months since I last blogged. So I’ve been either too busy to blog or lazy on the making front. But it’s pretty much a mixture of both – I have been making things and forgetting to take photos when finished and I’ve been working on one large item rather than the usual rolling dresses off the Sophie Kingo production line.

I find that when the long nights start closing in my desire to sew wanes and desire to knit grows. There’s something so cosy about knitting, which makes me really love autumn and winter as I get to knit hats, scarves, and now cardigans. and wrap myself up in them.

The bad thing about knitting in the winter is the bad lighting on an evening. And when you’re knitting a navy blue cardigan with a cable pattern you need to follow this can be quite a feat.

But, last Monday night I completed what I started back in September – a beautiful Acer cardigan designed by Amy Christoffers. I used King Cole 100% wool Merino Blend DK yarn which gave the perfect gauge and is so snug I need never be cold this winter.

This in undoubtedly my best completed project to date – I absolutely LOVE it! It’s the first full cardigan I’ve ever knitted (apart from a summer cardi for my niece L2) and I have the cardigan bug. So much so that I have ordered a new batch of King Cole 100% Merino Blend (though this time in Aran weight and damson colour) and downloaded a new pattern – Lady Marple. This one should be finished much quicker as the back is plain, but I’ll share when it’s done.

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