Saturday, 20 January 2018

Works in progress - a feltie and New York

I had a little spare time at the weekend and, instead of painting or decorating as usual, I actually sat down and did a little crafting.  Not much, but a bit!

I was sent this book to review on my blog and I finally made a start.  I'm working on one of the projects.  I've only got as far as cutting out the pieces, but it's a start, and it's a nice in-front-of-the-tv project.  Can you guess what it is?

I can't remember if I've shown this before.  This is a Satsuma Street design.  Most of what you see was stitched by my mum.  We both loved New York and both bought a copy of this pattern.  I hadn't got round to starting mine, but mum did.  She fully kitted it too, so I have everything to hand.  I've probably added about an hour's worth of stitching to this piece so far, just filling in some blank spaces.  It came in the hoop but I think I'll have to swap it for Q-snaps as I keep losing the tension - my main bugbear with hoops (and yes, the inner ring is bound).

Watch out for some progress soon!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Tackling my WIPs - Toiletry tote

As I'm starting to get back in the swing of making (still not every day like I did for years, but at least once a week which is a good start), I thought it would be good to finish some of my WIPs.  We had a meeting of the East Midlands Modern Quilt Group last Saturday and I took along a project that will be celebrating it's first birthday soon if I don't get on with it!

I started this Toiletry Tote by Mrs H back in April at The Bag Retreat.  With another retreat looming in April, it was about time this was finished.  Plus I actually NEED it as my current washbag is falling apart.

This pattern is not for the feint-hearted!  Mrs H writes brilliant patterns and they are easy to follow, but maybe this one was just above my level.  Not that I've ever let that stop me!  Above you can see the pain panel of the bag, all sewn together into a tube with the lining outermost.  One of the side panel lining pieces is on top.  

I didn't get much further than this!  I did sew a zipped side pocked which I clearly neglected to photograph.  Inserting it into the bag is the next step.  A step which completely flummoxed me due to missing out a step earlier in the process!  Luckily Mrs H is a friend of mine and answered my stressed out message immediately telling me I'm a fool!  

I plan to update you on this very soon...

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

crochet shawl - a new start

Hello!  I've dropped by to show you the shawl I have started crocheting.  I took the photos last night and I'm now typing away on my work laptop... and I realise I have neither a link to the pattern nor the details of the yarn used!  I will let you know on the next post about this shawl!

Whilst I was struggling with my broken shoulder, a friend lent me a shawl to put around my shoulders when I was cold as putting on a jumper was difficult.  I loved that shawl.  I did, reluctantly, give it back to her when I could take my arm out of my sling, and I immediately started crocheting one of my own.

I did quite a bit before it stalled.  I'm not sure why it's stalled... decorating probably!  This is definitely going to need blocking when I've finished!

It's a really pretty 4-row repeat which is quite easy to learn.  The pattern starts at the top and so each row gets progressively longer.  I'm going to take this in the car with me tomorrow as I'm heading down to see my brother and nephew with my dad (he's driving, not me!).  It is the first anniversary of losing my wonderful mum, I still can't quite believe it.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Handmade buys

Happy New Year!  I seem to have become a bit stuck at blogging.  I started blogging 7 years ago and have done so regularly, right up until last year when my life fell apart and I broke my shoulder!  Things are on the up and it's about time I started blogging again as I have missed it.

I have been a bit rubbish about taking photos, so I'm going to ease myself back in by showing you the presents I bought for family and friends (and myself!) at various craft fairs in and around Nottingham last December.  I managed buy almost completely handmade last Christmas - exceptions being my brother (I couldn't find handmade whiskey!), my dad (so hard to buy for) and my nephew (who got some toys as well as his handmade goodies).

These cards are Stuff and Nonsense by Corrina Rothwell.  I saw her at a lot of the fairs and she's so talented.  I hope you can read them if you click on the photo?  These three cards sum me up perfectly so I bought them, then a frame and they're proudly displayed on my living room wall.

Jessica Wilde has some gorgeous botanical prints and jewellery pieces.  I picked this one up for my cat loving niece.

Hello Sunshine made these fab Gin bottle earrings, and the picture is by Sarah Turner Eco Art and Design.  The pictures are made from real cans.  My sister-in-law is quite fond of gin so these were destined for her.

Hannah Stevens is another talented local illustrator and these pictures suit my nephew down to the ground, so I bought them and then some frames to put them in.

This wasn't all the presents I bought, but I seem to have forgotten to take photos of the rest!

I've been so tempted to join in some of the 2018 challenges I've come across around the blogosphere, but I don't think I'd be able to keep up.  I'm still easing myself back into crafting and blogging and perhaps should keep the pressure off.  Maybe next year!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Calligraphy class

Oh dear, I'm not doing so well at getting back into blogging, am I?  Life is so busy this year, I work long hours, I like to spend time with family and friends and much of the rest of my free time is taken up with decorating.  I will have a completed room to show you soon though and I'm hoping to finish another 3 over the Christmas break!  Things are helped by the fact poor Colin is ill.  He's my last remaining bunny and he's now 9 and a half.  He's gone blind and has a problem with his eye which could be something serious, I take him back to the vet on Wednesday so should find out then.

Back in September, when I still had a broken shoulder with my arm strapped to my body, I went to a calligraphy class held by Jane Lappage at Created by Hand, a gorgeous hand-made shop which holds craft workshops.  I had signed up before the accident and I called the shop to check I'd still be able to take the class, Jane was confident I could manage it.  I scrounged a lift from my dad and off I went!

We were given the nib and nib holder to use during the workshop and then take home.  Jane had calligraphied all our names, isn't it beautiful!  This class was modern calligraphy, rather than the traditional italics.  Have a look at Jane's website for beautiful examples.  Also pictured is a pot of ink that I bought to practice at home and the pigment that everyone else in the class tried.  I wasn't able to as it required 2 hands!

Here are some examples of the work I produced in the workshop.  Blogger is being its usual annoying self and putting pictures where I don't want them to excuse the sideways photo.

The nib is split in the middle.  Ink doesn't flow through as it would in a pen, rather you dip the nib in ink.  Firm pressure causes the two sides of the nib to separate and creates a thicker line.  We were practicing thick lines going down and thin going up.  As you can see, I didn't quite get it!  The ink blots were a result of the paper we were practicing on.

I can see an improvement over the different pages of samples, but I definitely need more practice.  I struggled a little in the class as I had to have my paper taped down, so couldn't move it as I worked.  I also strugged with being in pain from a broken shoulder and being on hefty painkillers!  I really should give this another go and find out if my broken bones are just an excuse!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Spicier blanket... again

After proudly telling you about the blanket I'd started whilst broken-armed, I went home, prepared to work on it more and discovered something...

See that?  It's wavy.  Frilly even.  I have no idea how that happened, I'd been carefully checking it as I went along to make sure this didn't happen!

After ripping back a couple of rows, I realised that it starts a long way down, see the picture above...  I'm not ripping all that back, it's a blanket after all, not a work of art.  I'll try and crochet the next rows a bit tighter and use a DK yarn, maybe I can switch to my DK stash instead...

I blame old age.  I turned 40 just over a week ago.  I had the best weekend ever and I got the most fantastic present - a kiln!  Probably not the best timing as I'm also renovating the dining room where it will live, and I need to get some supplies, but hold tight for some kiln experiments coming soon!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Spicier Life blanket

Hello everyone, after a much longer break than anticipated, I'm back!  It turns out that breaking your shoulder (particularly if you do it in 3 places) is a really daft idea and takes forever to heal!  I'm not completely better, I have no strength whatsoever in my right arm (luckily I'm left-handed) and don't have a full range of movement, but I'm getting back into life again.  Going out and renovating my house have both resumed (OK, full disclosure, I went out partying several times with my arm in a sling!), and a small start has begun on crafting.

The first thing I felt up to doing was crochet.  I crochet right-handed as it was much easier to learn that way, but it does mean that unlike most crocheters, I pretty much hold the hook still in my right hand and use my left hand to wrap and pull.  Good when you've broken your right shoulder though!

On a whim, I decided to join in with the Spicier Life CAL at Cherry Heart.  I think I joined in on week 2, but all 6 parts and the border have now been released!  I don't care that I'm behind, and even with a fully-healthy arm I doubt I would have been able to keep up with schedule as there were a lot of rows each week.

This is where I am after week 1.  As you can see, I am making an effort to weave in the ends as I go otherwise it would be a daunting task - plus the ends get in the way.  I didn't buy one of the special yarn packs, I didn't buy any yarn at all.  I have tons of the stuff, full balls, partial balls, donated balls...  I had to decide which weight - DK or Aran and, thinking I had more Aran than I do, I chose that.  Unfortunately I don't have that much and so am using some DK too, it just means a bit of stitch adjustment.  I don't really care about the colour palette, my aim is to use some of this yarn up as I am drowning in it!

I'm not sure how regularly I'll be blogging just yet, I've got a horrible cold and cough, so I'm resting a lot, and renovating the house is taking priority as I lost 3 key months over summer... I should have 4 rooms finished by now!  I did attend a class (yes, with a broken shoulder!) and will blog about that soon.