Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


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Up and away wall chart

imageI have regularly browsed Pinterest for inspiration for our home, sewing, knitting and crochet. But since Finlay has become more engaged in the world (and I’ve managed to acquire more freedom alongside) I have used Pinterest for homemade baby play and development ideas.

First up, a wall chart to measure Finlay against now that he’s steady on his feet.

I asked my dad to buy the timber for us; his estate car is a better size for a length of timber than our car. He had to get it in two pieces in the end and decided to round the top – I think he quite fancied a project, though that’s where his project ended.

We took a little while to work out a design that used the round, then plumped for a balloon rising into the sky – much like Finlay will one day when he undoubtedly grows taller than the two of us and leaves us looking up to him.

I’ll leave it there and let the pictures show the creative process.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Finlay measured 81.5cm last Monday when he was measured at a check up. But his first mark on the chart is at 80cm from last Tuesday (we’re all taller when we’re lying down).

 

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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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Baby knits – pom pom beanie

If there’s one thing babies need (there isn’t by the way – babies need shed loads of stuff), it’s lots of hats.

Finlay received a lovely 6 month sized hat and cardi combo from the mum of one of the kids at the hubby’s school when he was born. But other than that, he’d grown out of his newborn hats well before the cooler weather struck. With autumn really setting in, a warm hat is a must for Finlay’s walks in the buggy and swings in the park.

I bought Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe pattern ebook from Tin Can Knits, which included the lovely cardi pattern I shared last time. I was planning on making the Bumble beanie. However, after realising I would need to go and buy myself 3.75mm and 6.5mm 40cm circular needles and 6.5mm double pointed needles (plus extras a little larger in case my gauge came out small as they often do) I decided against it. I couldn’t be doing with the expense. But more importantly, with no decent knitting shop in Walthamstow and the desire to get going with the knit as soon as possible setting in, I didn’t want to wait for an online delivery or make my way to John Lewis in Stratford City hoping they had the right sizes in stock.

Instead, I reclaimed a lovely little baby knitting book from my sister – Sarah Hatton’s 10 Simple Projects for Cosy Babies – so I could knit the Moss Stitch Hat. I love this pattern. It’s quick and easy and leaves you with a great little hat. I have made this hat a few times now for various babies, including Adam and Oliver, two lovely little boys up north in my hometown of Hull. And I think it’s always a hit.

I bought yarn from Drops again. I think Drops merino yarns are great value, great quality yarns. And with no synthetic fibres, they’re warm and cosy and lovely to knit with (Just an FYI – I hate synthetic yarns. I just don’t get the appeal. They’re scratchy and shiny, look cheap and are just not as warm. I don’t wear synthetic fibres, so why would I use them for my baby? They’re also not enjoyable to knit with.)

This hat required a double knit yarn, rather than the 4 ply Finlay’s cardigan required, so I bought Merino Extra Fine in mustard and north sea.

I knitted the main body of the hat in mustard and added an oversized pom pom in the contrasting teal, made using a cardboard ring like this one, to avoid the annoying, time consuming stuffing yarn through a hole over and over again method of days of yore. Boy, did that use a lot of yarn?!

I think it works. And Finlay loves it too!

Next up – switching the colours.

 


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Knitted dress – Rowan Tammie

Back in late summer 2013 I treated myself to some Rowan Lima yarn. And it was a treat by the price it cost! I wanted to knit the Tammie “ribbed sweater” from Rowan Studio Issue 28, but knew there was no way I could knit it in the required Kid Classic as I can’t tolerate wearing lambswool or mohair – I find them far too itchy. So I chose the Lima, a soft and lightweight baby alpaca and merino wool yarn, instead. The gauge is pretty similar and I just made sure I did a gauge swatch to get the right tension.

I also knew I wanted to make some changes to the Tammie. For a start, the version on the model – being a “sweater” – was too short as a dress, even thought they styled it as one. Secondly, I didn’t like the sleeves. So I bought enough of the main colour to lengthen it by several centimetres and decided to end with the second colour as cap sleeves.

But I took too long to get the Tammie dress going, and by spring was no where near half way through the second side. So I put it away and waited for autumn to come round again. By this September I was 10 weeks pregnant and worried that I wouldn’t fit into the dress anymore, but I decided to continue to make it anyway and see how it went. It was, after all ribbed which would stretch over a growing bump. But then I picked up my crochet hook and started crocheting a baby blanket – more on that later – and the Tammie dress got sidelined again.

However, come November I was back onto the dress (which, being dark purple and a plaited yarn was quite tricky to work with on a cosy evening in Walthamstow with the nights drawing in) and finally completed it just after Christmas. Here it is. Complete with 26 week bump.

Knitted dress 2 Knitted dress

knitted dress 3


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African print autumn accessories

Last weekend I decided to experiment with sewing autumn accessories. I’d been admiring “infinity scarves” or “cowls” for a while now and decided to try making five up from my lovely African print fabric stash. Two use a lovely mustard, royal blue and grass green kente print fabric and have contrast yellow or green lining and one uses a lovely brown, green and black wax print fabric. Two others are made with a beautiful leaf print fabric – one pink and blue, the other orange, green and blue.

And the best thing? They’re not just for the ladies. As wonderfully demonstrated by my husband and me on a rainy London day, they are unisex. So men and women alike can bring a bit of bright Ghanaian colour to these miserable British autumn days. Oh, and they’re reversible. Bonus!

I’m thinking of making up many more to sell in my Folksy store, so do let me know your thoughts. And keep an eye out for another take on these I have in mind.

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl

Kente print cowl with green contrast lining

Kente print cowl with green contrast lining

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl


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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?!