Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


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Finlay’s makes – Christmas cards

It’s New Year’s Eve. A week ago today it was Christmas Eve. 9 months ago I was still pregnant. Just. How did that happen?

Since Finlay was born we’ve done a surprising amount.

We’ve decorated the hallway and landing and had decking and fencing installed in the garden. We’ve (as in, my Dad has) fitted folding doors to our under stairs cupboard. And we’ve fitted baby gates to the stairs and living room.

We’ve been on walks in Epping Forest, long family visits to Yorkshire and day trips around London. We’ve been to visit friends and family in Yorkshire, South London and Surrey. We’ve been to Christenings and 1st birthday parties. We’ve had friends visit us for weekends from Hull and Cannes. We’ve been to the beach and out for meals. We’ve had a Yorkshire garden party.

We’ve been to baby rhyme time, baby swimming, baby massage, baby signing, baby sensory.

Finlay has learnt to roll, babble, eat, sit, crawl (well, his is more a crawl-cum-shuffle-cum-bunny hop), stand… the list goes on.

Finlay has even learnt to paint.

So for Christmas we decided to let Finlay make the Christmas cards. I say we let Finlay make them. What I mean is, we let Finlay paint some bits of paper which I (Mummy) used to make Christmas cards. But I’m sure if Finlay could have seen the whole process through these cards are exactly how he’d have imagined them.

Here’s to a creative and eventful 2016.

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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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Christmas Presents 2011

Well, this year I again decided to make Christmas presents. But, unlike last Christmas when I made snoods, headbands, teddies, hats and dresses, I was a little lighter on the workload this year. Partly because I’ve been researching my family history and partly because I don’t know why. So I only made seven presents this year – two crocheted flower hair slides (one for L1, one for PBM’s cousin’s daughter Akua), one cardigan (for L2), and four hats (one each for OKBK, L3, L4 and DK Hannah). Here are all but the hat for Hannah – I’m especially proud of L2’s cardigan.


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2010 – the year of craft

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking of what I’ve made in the past year. No wonder I at times thought I was developing RSI in my right hand. I was knitting like crazy. Here’s what I’ve knitted/crocheted/sewn/beaded between December 2009 and January 2011 (a total of 13 months), complete with links to the relevant posts:

And, that’s about as much as I can recall right now. But I think that may do for 13 months of knitting, sewing, crocheting and beading – at the very least 100 individual items. If I remember anything else, or if you think I’ve missed something off, let me know. But I’m rather proud of that!

Here are a few pictures:


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Ghanaian Chic

Projectbrownman has been an avid follower of The Sartorialist for some time now and can often be found swooning over some of the outfits featured. In more recent months PBM stumbled upon Street Etiquette, my favourite of the two.

The owners of Street Etiquette “provide the vision [of menswear] from an urban perspective and look to connect with individuals worldwide.” The guys, Joshua and Travis, are apparently influenced by a variety of boundaries and eras. So it’s probably inevitable that PBM should enjoy poring over what the (rather handsome) boys of Street Etiquette offer us on the style front. As, to me, a similar style is evident in PBM’s wardrobe. He is a recently self-confessed slight dandy.  He has always enjoyed a good hat or two and has in the past year added a variety of silk handkerchiefs to his wardrobe which consists of beauties such as Uniqlo moleskin skinny trousers, TM Lewin skinny shirts, a plethora of ties from the heady heights of Tom Ford and Kenzo down to Pierre Cardin, second-hand Greenwich Market waistcoats, Topman tweed jackets, Zara blazers, Muji trench coats, Sophie Kingo scarves and Fred Perry shoes. In the summer PBM had also commented that he needed more accessories and elements of his background in his wardrobe and asked me to make a bracelet from him from leather thong and wooden beads. I did.

In November PBM started reminding me how much he’d like a quilted jacket. No wonder. He’d seen the boys of Street Etiquette looking fly in Ralph Lauren. So I made it my mission to buy him a quilted jacket for Christmas. But Barbour just couldn’t deliver, and my budget wouldn’t stretch to £400 for RL Polo. However, on the same blog post I came across a wicked idea for one of PBM’s Christmas presents, which also happened to fit with his desire to have more accessories and links to his Ghanaian heritage. And this is the photo that spurred it:

The present idea – watch with a Ghanaian cloth strap and beads. Not fallen leaves.

For the bracelets I already had the wooden beads from my jewellery making stash, and just had to order some elastic. However, for the watch I had absolutely zilch of what was required. This required some thought. eBay was the most obvious choice for a watch face as I couldn’t be doing with a December trip down Portobello Road. Buying a watch off eBay wasn’t too easy – many of the watches were either seriously nice and pricey vintage watches, brand new H Samuel types, or metal bracelet watches. I came across a few suitable specimens but kept either missing the boat or being massively outbid. Nice looking gold plated watches which wouldn’t break the bank were apparently not so easy to come by. I had managed to beg some proper woven kente cloth for the strap from Ma Mary, PBM’s Mum, but was massively failing on the watch face front. Eventually, a week or so before Christmas I got lucky and won a gold USSR Sekonda from an eBay seller in Hessle, East Yorkshire. I received just in time to cut off the new black leather strap and replace with the kente strip. And here’s the outcome, below. PBM likes it.


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Gifts for Denmark

On 9 January 2010 I published the blog post D’oh where I listed all that I made for Christmas presents and mention that I forgot to take photos of them. Well, I’ve only gone and done it again this year. The problem is that I make Christmas presents and, as I don’t wear them, I forget to take photos, wrap them up, et voila it’s left to those who receive the presents to kindly take photos and send me them. Also, what with the days being short and the nights long, I complete many of the presents when it’s dark out and, as you’ll see from some of the following pictures, it’s not easy to photograph them in the dark.

This blog post lists what I made for my cousin Mie, her husband Dennis and their two daughters Ida-Maria (4) and Hannah (2) in Denmark.

  • Beige/golden bracelet for Mie, made with a selection of glass foil beads from Spoilt Rotten Beads and a variety of  stone beads
  • Striped beret for Ida-Maria, made from purple and wine merino wool yarn
  • Purple dress for Hannah made from Ghanaian wax print (here’s the grown up version)
  • Bird mobile from a mixture of Liberty and Ghanaian cotton for Mie and Dennis

I remembered to take photos of these items, though the beret is incomplete – the crocheted flower is missing – and Mie’s  bracelet was shot in the dark. But hopefully you can make them out.

And apologies to Mie and Co. if this is the first time you’ve seen these items. I posted the parcel 8 days before Christmas so I’m hoping they got to Åsum in time for Julaften.

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Sophie’s Homemade Christmas

Well, on this cold December afternoon I’ve stumbled across Kirsty’s Homemade Christmas on More4. I can easily trump Kirsty Allsop and her homemade paraphernalia. Not only am I making Christmas presents (of course, that blog post can’t come up till Boxing Day) but I’ve also made Christmas decorations for my and PBM’s first ever real Christmas tree. We gave in last Saturday when we took a walk to Highbury Barn. At £29 for a perfectly formed, albeit short, 4ft Nordman Firtree, we couldn’t resist and proudly brought it home to decorate.

So, here’s a few little, not so great, pictures of some of the decorations I’ve made.

I’ve grown up with Danish flags being draped on the Christmas tree every year and couldn’t let this go with our own tree. Of course, Jeff decided in that case it would be good to have Ghanaian flags on the tree too. However, while red, green and gold are Christmassy colours, as far as I’m aware, flags on Christmas trees isn’t a Ghanaian tradition, and I’m sure a string of small Ghanaian flags isn’t something we could easily get hold of. So, instead I created a string of bunting using West African fabric remnants to drape on the tree, which I think looks lovely.

Another traditional Danish decoration is the julehjerter (Christmas hearts). Normally these are made from paper, however I made some a couple of years ago from salt dough and decorated them with paint and varnish. Not completely perfect but isn’t that the point of homemade?! This year I also made hessian Christmas pouches with a julehjerte cross stitch design and filled them them with some wadding and a cotton pouch with ground cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.

Also featuring on the tree are pompoms made from red yarn, 3D Danish stars made by folding strips of paper, and baubles made by stringing together a few red Ugandan Mzuri beads.

Check out the photos above to see our Afro-Scandinavian inspired tree, and the links above so that you can make similar.