Why I LOVE My Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

Ok so she’s not a beauty but my ‘Phyllis’ is beautiful on the inside.

Yes it would be nice to have a shiny black and gold stunner, but Phyllis does the job better than any other machine I have owned.


I’m all for a nice shiny Janome (My more modern favourite) but if your after a love affair of a machine that will very rarely misbehave then it’s vintage all the way.

When I first acquired Phyllis (named after my Grandma who was her original owner) she was a tired old girl who had been stored in my Mums loft for a good few years.

My Sewing Machine man Martin came to give her a house call and proclaimed that she was indeed a stunner, sturdy and built to last. After a good service and a replacement cog or two which had gone brittle over time,


she was as good as new. Maybe not to look at but certainly on the inside.

Martin is a wealth of knowledge on machines and is a huge fan of vintage. His words were “These machines were built to last Claire, no melted down car parts and old bits of cold pressed steel in these babies”

Give him a bank of old Berninas any day!  His next job is to service Iris who is another singer I have acquired complete with sewing table.  She was just £10 and works very well but her feed dogs are a bit poorly.


It’s true though. As much as I like my shiny white janome, it jams up a lot more than Phyllis. It cant cope with any kind of thickness without the help of different needles or special feet and there are far too many knobs and dials to fiddle with.

I can honestly say that a good vintage machine and a proper service is well worth the spend. I just wish I could make new customers who walk into my studio understand this, but alas, they are on the look out for the shiny white machines of the modern age.

Therefore Phyllis remains at home and allows me to enjoy some selfish sewing every now and again.

p.s. She is awfully good at inserting an invisible zip perfectly without a silly invisible zipper foot. Another perk of having a fully adjustable needle and a skinny zip foot. If your lucky I might film you a tutorial shortly.

Pom Pom Crazy!!!!

Pom Pom Makers – what’s the fuss about?

Crafternoon Pom Pom Making

Cast your mind back to Christmas 2013, Kirsty Allsop was on your telly box twittering away about all the fabulous crafts she had tried for Christmas.

We were thrilled to learn how to tie die our own knickers………….or not and then came the BIG SHOW AND TELL!!

Kirsty showed us the Clover Pom Pom maker and the world went mad. Friends of mine with online shops sold out in minutes, the wholesalers could not keep up with orders and the world went pom pom mad.


We took a stock of pom pom makers to the Creative Craft show in February and within 3 hours had to put in an emergency order to our suppliers to have more delivered the next day!


Just take a look at what you can make with them. Pom Pom pets, angry birds, bobble hats, garlands, wreaths and lots lots more.

Pom Pom Pets craft course_Brentwood Essex
So what’s all the fuss about? The easiest way to explain is to show you our new little tutorial on You Tube. Take a look and see if we can excite you with pom poms.

Beautiful Things stocks all sizes of Pom Pom Makers in our shop so pop along if you’re after one.  Alternatively pop into the studio and try them out, we would be happy to let you play. We even have a pom pom pet class planned for the Easter Holidays.


If you are visiting the Five Lakes Creative Craft Show 12th – 14th Feb 2015 then pop by our stand where you can have a little play and purchase any of the 3 sizes we have in stock.


Simply Crochet – Cowl Neck Poncho

Welcome to my shiny new blog, thanks for popping by to say hi. I thought I’d start things off with a review of the Cowl Neck Poncho pattern from issue 25 of Simply Crochet.

I fell in love with this pattern the minute I saw it and was extremely keen to hook it up, however I’m always wary of trying new yarns, spending lots of money and then being disappointed so when I saw that Daisy Jones had created one in Stylecraft Chunky I was straight off out to buy some yarn.


I was very grateful to Daisy for saying exactly how much yarn she had used and using her calculations and the fact that I wanted to use my corporate colours I knew I needed 5 balls of Parchment, 2 Pomegranate, 2 meadow and 2 dark brown.

A couple of days later my yarn arrived and I rushed home to make a start. At first I panicked a bit as the pattern calls for a 7mm hook to do the cowl neck and I did not have one of those at home. So with the need to start playing strongly on my mind I took a chance and worked with my trusty Clover Amour 6mm hook instead. My theory was that I have quite a loose tension anyway and working with a chunky yarn would mean that it should hopefully work out ok!


Sitting down with the pattern I read about the front and back post trebles needed to create the rib effect and my mind went blank. The magazine tells you to look at the back of the issue for descriptions but even those were not particularly clear. I know I thought the trusty Lucy from Attic24 has recently made this poncho too, she must talk about how to do these, so off I popped to her post.

Sure enough on her blog post about the same pattern she mentions a wonderful little YouTube tutorial which got her out of the same sticky situation and I have to say it is wonderful:

After a couple of rounds I was off, happily hooking away and by the end of the evening I had finished the cowl and completed my first round of granny stripe in parchment. Two more evenings and one more crochet club at work followed and I had finished all my stripe. I had worked out how many repeats to do based on the number of rows in the pattern and added another 3 to give it slightly more length before finishing with one final row of parchment.


Then it was onto another couple of rows of the rib before adding the tassels. Now that’s a whole other job! 2 entire evenings spent wrapping yarn, cutting lengths and hooking it through it certainly is a task. I can see why Daisy blogged about her poncho before finishing them, they are a chore but I think totally worth it. Of course you don’t have to add tassels if they are not your thing, Lucy didn’t and she has added a nice little scalloped edge to her poncho.

The lovely folk at Simply Crochet have just announced that this pattern is now available to buy from Ravelry for only £2.75 if you missed the November issue.  You can download it HERE.


Whatever you decide to do I’d love to hear about your attempts, you can be sure you will get a lot of comments if you choose to try this pattern. I have just got back from the Waltham Abbey Wool show where I chose to wear mine and I really should have had a sign on my back!


Photography credits to Rebecca Burton Photography ©2015

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit www.deramores.com for more details.