Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


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Baby Elspeth and new fabrics

I’ve been making and selling girls’ dresses for a little while now. It doesn’t really supplement my salary from my full-time ‘proper’ job a great deal, but it’s a nice way of keeping up my dressmaking hobby without just expensively giving away dress after dress to family and friends or ending up with hundreds of dresses for me. Basically, I like to sew so I thought I might as well try to sell some of what I make.

Anyway, I’ve had a website- sophiekingo.co.uk – up and running since last year and have seen a few orders from people I don’t know – notably from Fuerth and Hamburg in Germany and Taunton in Somerset – via my Folksy shop. The mother in Somerset recently shared this picture of her lovely daughter Elspeth sporting a Sophie Kingo special with plenty of room to grow. Doesn’t she look gorgeous?

Elspeth in Pia

Elspeth in Pia with Malene trim

It’s so nice receiving images of girls in the dresses I make. I don’t have children of my own, so I often don’t get to see my creations being worn. But luckily, a few parents have shared pictures with me, and you can see the lovely Georgie, Matilda, Hannah and Romey enjoying their dresses on my website.

I have a couple of other orders to get on with this weekend – another for Hamburg and one for a friend’s niece in London – but had run seriously low on stock. So the hubby and I took a trip to Brixton yesterday to pick up some new fabrics. There wasn’t a great selection available and sadly one of the shops I regularly used – Freeman Textiles – has closed down. It’s the sad result of the gentrification of Brixton Village from a West Indian/African hodgepodge market into an arcade of trendy eateries and boutiques. But I managed to find some printed kente and a couple of other wax prints from African Queen that will look lovely when made up into dresses – either for me or for girls…

So, anyone wanting to buy their own Sophie Kingo creation for their little girl – or even just one they know – can now take their pick from 12 lovely colourful West African print fabrics. Summer is just around the corner – I promise – so why not get your order in while you can enjoy it?!

 


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Some knitted Christmas presents for 2012

Hats

As you may know, I often make Christmas presents for people. Especially for the many nieces and nephews. Here’s what I made in 2011.

I have knitted several hats for L1 and L2 in the past, but in the run up to Christmas 2011 L1, who was five at the time, said to me, “Aunty Sophie, I don’t want clothes anymore”. So when it came to her sixth birthday it was slightly entertaining to see L1 quite unimpressed with some of her presents.

But one day this autumn, when the family popped round to ours, L1 asked me to knit her another hat, this time “a plain dark blue one with no flowers or anything”. L2 then piped up saying she would like a yellow one. So, I used some of the remaining navy yarn from my Acer cardigan for L1’s hat, and bought some amber Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn For L2’s.

I used the trusty Sirdar Tiny Tots Essentials beret pattern and knitted two large berets that could accommodate L1 and L2’s Afro hair. L1’s beret ended up somewhat neater than L2’s, as I much prefer knitting with the rougher merino wool yarn than the silkier bamboo and wool yarn. Especially when using plastic circular needles. But I understand L2 was more than happy with her hat. So much so, that when P, the girls’ mother, put L2’s hat on L1 the other day, L2 wasted no time in moaning that L1 “is wearing my hat. Yellow is my favourite colour. Aunty Sophie knitted the yellow hat for me”.

L2 and L1 in their berets

L2 and L1 in their berets

L1 in her navy blue beret

L1 in her navy blue beret

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, of course, there’s the new addition to the family. The third nephew – baby A – entered the world on 19th December 2012. The obligatory Aunty Sophie new born hat was called for and I knitted up a lovely little white and silver moss stitch hat made from Sirdar Baby Bamboo. I amalgamated a couple of patterns from the Sirdar Tiny Tots Essentials pattern book to make this white moss stitch hat with silver brim.

Starting the hat for baby A

Starting the hat for baby A

Hat for baby A

Hat for baby A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bazz Man Doll

What with 20 month old OKBK getting a baby brother for Christmas, I thought it’d be nice to knit him up a little toy. For my last birthday my sister bought me Jujus Loops knitting book from the lovely knitting shop Loop in Angel. I’ve struggled with and given up on a lovely hat pattern in the book, but noticed a great pattern for knitted dolls – Bertie – which I thought I could easily rustle up out of scraps of yarn knocking about the flat.

So, I chose a variety of double knit yarns in navy, grey, white and maroon marl to create this lovely fella while watching Forbrydelsen on telly one Saturday evening. By the time I’d finished the him, Jeffrey and I saw a close affinity between him and O’s dad, with his hands in his pocket, baggy jeans, and Paul Smith-esque jumpers. So, we had to call him Bazz Man. He lived about our flat for a few weeks and when it came time to pass him on it was quite a shame. But I’m hoping OKBK appreciates him.

Here he is prior to stuffing and hanging out in the rosemary:

Bazz Man in progress

Bazz Man in progress

Bazz Man in the rosemary

Bazz Man in the rosemary


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Child’s bird mobiles (for sale)

As if I haven’t made enough fabric birds lately (my Mum and I made approximately 60 for my marriage to Jeffrey last month) I’ve gone and made more.

I first stumbled across a lovely pattern for fabric birds last year and made a grown up bird mobile out of scraps of West African cloth for my and Jeffrey’s first owned home together. For Christmas last year I made a couple of simple triple bird mobiles (one for my Mum and Dad and one for my cousin) which went down a treat.

And since then I’ve had many people admire the birds – with one neighbour asking if I can make her one for her daughter’s bedroom.

So, this weekend, having found I have twitchy hands after everything that I’ve been making for my and Jeffrey’s wedding (more on that here) I decided to buy some fabric in primary colours from a great local fabric shop on Seven Sister’s Road in Holloway, and got to making. The result? Four triple bird mobiles in red, blue and yellow with embroidered wings. Each is different with different embroidered wings and with different colour placement. Unfortunately the light was too bright and the wind too strong for me to get images sideways on, but you hopefully get the idea from the images below.

I’m hoping to sell these and will take them along to a craft fair my sister, her colleague and I will be selling at in November at Lauderdale House in Highgate. Alternatively, if you fancy one please get in touch with me and we’ll sort something out.


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Gifts for the nieces/nephew-in-law

Today it’s time for another blog post on gifts that I made for Christmas.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, I forgot to take photos of some of the gifts I made for Christmas 2010 before I packed them off to whoever the (may I say lucky) recipient. However, I did have some photos of the gifts I sent to Denmark (albeit some incomplete) and have since taken photos of the presents I made PBM. But that’s about as far as I’d got. Until New Years Day when, at PBM’s Mum’s house after a five meat roast (yes you read that right), I at last got some more photos for you to feast your eyes over. The gifts I made the nieces and nephew-in-law.

For those of you who don’t know, the nieces and nephew-in-law are PBM’s eldest sister’s family. All six of them now since the twins, L3 and L4, were born in November (see here for them at 2 days old). Last year I made L1 and L2 personalised bunting for their room, and for L2’s birthday in October I knitted her a beret with crocheted flowers.

However, the question was what to make them all for Christmas. And here’s what I came up with:

  • pink beret with large pink and purple crocheted flower, in Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo, for 4-year-old L1;
  • pink dress using Ghanaian ntoma for 2-year-old L2;
  • bunny teddy made from pink baby corduroy for 6-week-old L3; and
  • bunny teddy made from one of PBM’s old blue and white striped work shirts for 6-week-old L4 (much like this I made for baby Z when he was born back in February 2010).

And who better to model these items than the cutest of cute kids ever and the recipients of the gifts:

Note how L1 is also modelling L2’s dress as it is as yet slightly too big for her. This made L2 cry and proclaim “it’s mine”. I think she wants her own, original wardrobe like any reasonable 2-year-old would.


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On and on I knit

Last time I blogged, over 2 weeks ago, I reported my growing desire to knit due to the impending autumn and the increasingly autumnal weather. Today that feeling of autumn is a little more realised, and with it came the time to put away the summer clothes and replace them with the winter clothes. This was depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the change from summer to autumn. I couldn’t live without the seasons we are so lucky to experience in the UK. I got very excited yesterday at the sight of conkers, the chance to wear my new home-knit beret, and the busting out of the opaques. But today, in the swapping of the wardrobes, I realised how little decent AW clothes I have. A trip shopping is on the cards for next weekend I reckon. And then maybe I’ll find myself a decent jumper/cardi pattern in John Lewis, buy some lovely yarn, find confidence in my ability to take on such a task and get going. I cannot, after all, get enough of knitting at the moment it seems. Just need to get past the cramp.

In the meantime, while it’s been windy and rainy outside, and post jewellery making, I thought I’d share some more of my knits. Since knitting the baby booties I’ve knitted two baby beanies for the as yet sexless expected twins being induced in the first week of November. And I finished the beret for the second born SA clan, L2’s 2nd birthday WITH crocheted flowers! We didn’t get to try it on said cutie yesterday, but hopefully I’ll have a photo to share soon. And, just as a teaser, here’s also the third-of-the-way-there beret for L1 for Christmas.

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Soft Toys

I haven’t made many soft toys before. I think it’s three. My first was a white fluffy bear when I was seven and at fritidscentret (after school club) at school in Denmark. I think that’s lurking somewhere at the parental home. Probably in a box in the garage.

But, last summer I had some urge to make an owl. I’d probably seen one on Etsy or something and thought I could do that. So I made the following for L1’s third birthday. That’s Projectbrownman’s niece, and my niece by default. I made it from scratch, including drawing the pattern.

The third teddy is that one below. When in the Tate Britain for some work events just before Christmas I flicked through a cool Aranzi Aronzo book and thought I’d treat myself to it in the new year. My sister beat me to it and bought me it for Christmas. I made my first one a couple of weeks ago for a new born Zephaniah Kojo. Made out of one of PBM’s old shirts (and some other remnants) I think it was a hit. But my next attempt will be better.