art, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, yarn

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 28

Nearly there!

Day 28: Do you do any other crafts besides knitting? What are they, and did learning to knit come before or after learning these other crafts?

I have always been a crafter, it’s in my blood!  My Mum is very inspirational and we have always made things together.  Here she is with some of her hand stitched and pieced quilts for Project Linus, made for children and teenagers who are sick or traumatised.

Mum and I have done craft activities together for many years, from simple childhood crafts, to things that we have created together and sold at craft fairs.

We started off with dried flowers (this was the 1980s!) and I also at the same time learnt cross stitch – I had many commissions and made some lovely pieces for Mum and Dad, but never made anything for myself…

We moved on to decoupage (what is now known as Victorian Decoupage) and my very talented elderly uncle made some wonderful wooden objects which we painted, covered with paper and varnished, often cracking them and rubbing in raw umber or occasionally using gold or silver leaf.

Unfortunately, no photographic evidence of this exists, but we enjoyed making things together and it was only my moving to London that stopped us doing so much crafting together.

I then had a quiet few years (well, not in my social life!) where I did little crafting.  When I moved down to Wiltshire I took up firstly knitting and then crochet, and I haven’t looked back since…

I would like to feel a bit more confident with my knitting and would like more experience in using a sewing machine, but Mum always says that my hand stitching is probably the neatest she has ever seen.

If I had the time (and resources!) I would love to devote more time to craft as it gives a sense of wellbeing and mindfulness that I rarely get elsewhere in life…

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art, cats, craft, knitting, travel, Uncategorized

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Days 11-16

Unfortunately I had to go away with work unexpectedly for a few days and therefore have to catch up now on my 30 Day Knitting Challenge.

Day 11: Do you have a “Knitter Hero” or someone that is just way too awesome for their own good? Do share!

My knitty heroine is Lauren O’Farrell AKA Deadly Knitshade – a graffiti knitting artist with a fabulous sense of humour, she also loves cats, so what’s not to like!?

This is one of my many favourite pieces…  A Phone Box cosy from her book Knit the City.

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Day 12: Where do you keep your stash?

My stash is finding itself strewn across the house – it started off in my purpose-built Tardis cabinet but has now stretched across to the bottom of my dresser and to many different nooks and crannies downstairs.  It hasn’t yet trickled upstairs yet but I think it’s only a matter of time…

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Day 13: Do you have yarn that you love but can’t find a project for?

I love Noro yarn and bought this bargain-tastic lot recently – but not yet found a project for them all…

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Day 14: What’s the worst yarn/fiber that you’ve worked with and why?

When I started knitting and crocheting, i started with a lot of cheap acrylic double knitting yarn to practice – such as the one for this mobile phone cover which I made for my friend…  I rarely work with acrylic now.

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Day 15: What was your least favorite pattern and why?

I tried this Eyelet Scarf in Jarol Heritage 4ply, which I was never very happy with, but looking back it is not as bad as I thought…

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Day 16: Have you ever had a knitting related injury?

When I first started knitting, I found it very hard to wrap the yarn with my right hand, as I am naturally left-handed, however after a few teething pains it became bearable over time.

My worst injury was a series of small, odd-shaped bruises on my legs and shoulders, which I could not work out where I had got them from.

Eventually I worked out that I was using needles that were too long and was pushing them into my legs or shoulders to help move the yarn along sufficiently!  I soon moved onto better yarn and needles which resolved the issues.

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art, craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, photography, sewing, summer, travel, yarn

End of a Lovely Crafty Week

This week I’ve been off work – holidaying at home – with some lovely days down on the South Coast with Mum and Dad and then back home via a day-trip to London.

It’s been super-busy but then again the time has flown by – can’t quite believe I’m back to work on Monday…

The start of my week was with Mum – I wasn’t feeling great so we did a bit less shopping / visiting and a bit more crafting which was fine by me.  I started on a crochet shopping bag and Mum showed me these clever little pouches which hang on a door handle and can be filled with anything you don’t want to lose – i.e. keys, crochet hooks, cat biscuits, or whatever!

I then travelled back to Wiltshire and had a day trip to London (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours on the train) to see my cousin Cathy and visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  As a keen amateur astronomer, I was desperate to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition – having meant to go every year for the last few years.  This view is from the steep climb up Greenwich Park to the Observatory.  In the distance is Canary Wharf and the edge of the City of London.

The rather unimportant-looking line below is the Greenwich Meridian – from which all time zones are measured here on planet Earth!  This is the home of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), although technically we are now on BST (British Summer Time) which is +1 hour and will revert to GMT in October for the winter months.

Greenwich is a lovely part of South London – very near where I used to live, but as often happens, I only visited it once in the 9 years I lived there!  There are lots of cafes and meeting places and the park was spectacular.  Nearby is also the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (the only surviving 19th century tea clipper) but we didn’t have the time or energy to visit this (it was a really warm day!)

Finally I was back to Wiltshire with some crafting and catching up with friends.  I went to Frome with my friend Anna and bought this cute bunny pencil sharpener (I won’t reveal where the hole for the pencil is!)  We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe and these gorgeous ferns appeared to be creeping up the wall as if to make their getaway…

I bought these glow-in-the-dark Toadstool lights for the garden in Worthing and can’t wait to try them out (the garden needs a bit of work first!)

I couldn’t get away without doing some yarn shopping – in Frome I happened to ‘pop in’ to Marmalade Yarns and buy these gorgeous fibres…  Firstly some Autumnal shades – Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply silk/merino mix in a shade called Burnt Orange but that I would describe as more of a conker / nutmeg mix – and secondly Skein Queen 4ply merino in Squash which is a slightly more red / orange – both delicious and perfect for a delicate shawl / wrap or scarf.

Finally, some Debbie Bliss Angel Prints laceweight in a blue/green/red/grey-brown mix – this is for Mum to make another gorgeous knitted scarf – we saw a technique at John Lewis in London last December – using a large and a small needle to produce a really beautiful finish – delicate but effective.

I bought myself some Angel Prints in December, but never got started on it.  Perhaps this weekend will be my time to get another knitting project on the go!

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art, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

Selling Vintage and Craft Goods

I like to joke that I have enough patterns and ideas (not to mention stash) to retire now and be able to do at least 5 years worth of full-time crafting!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working out how best to tinker with all of the crafts that I enjoy, sort out my stash and have come up with a few options…

I’m going to streamline my Etsy shop and focus on accessories – bags, scarves, wraps, gloves and maybe the occasional hat.

Surprisingly, I have missed doing Craft Fairs, I enjoy talking to people, once I get over my initial shyness!  However, I find that the number of people attending, and the current financial situation, for most of us, can mean that there isn’t much profit in it.

I have been looking into some local fairs, where you can sell your goods and clear your stash by selling trimmings, notions, wool and fabric.  Sounds like the perfect fit for me…

This morning I was at my beloved Car Boot Sale (surprise…) and found another stash of vintage magazines.  My friend Anna and I had great fun making up names and stories for each of the slightly cheesy models.  My particular favourite is the ‘hello sailor’ one!

The interesting thing about the 1960s patterns in the below are that the majority of the women’s designs are still very wearable – there are some gorgeous knitted dresses and coats.  Most of the male patterns are not quite so classic and wearable though…

I also found a few 1970s/1980s Vogue and Good Housekeeping materials and a great book on knitting design, which I may have to keep to refer to…

There is also a Vintage Market where I may sell some of my vintage finds and I will just have to shut my eyes and avoid looking at the other stalls (like that is going to happen!)

 

 

 

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Andalusia, architecture, art, photography, Spain, spring, travel

Andalusian Art and Culture

Having been to Andalusia a few times now, I have a real appreciation of the lifestyle and culture, the laid-back attitude and, of course, the need for a siesta in the middle of the day…

Marbella is a lovely resort which has been revived and refreshed to something more like its 1960s heyday (although, thankfully you don’t need to be a millionaire to go there now!

Apart from the miles of golden beaches, the main draw of Marbella, for me, has to be the Old Town.

The Old Town is a winding maze of cobbled streets, cafes, restaurants and shops, selling everything from linen and cotton clothes and home furnishings, to local artisan shops and designer handbags, with wisteria, bougainvillea and hibiscus spilling over you from the balconies above.

Only 45 minutes away by a very reasonably priced direct bus, is Malaga, birthplace to the artist Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.  A beautiful city with architecture old and ancient a-plenty to feast your eyes upon, including this beautiful former Hospital and the Roman Amphitheatre ruins.

As Picasso’s home town, there are a number of Museums / Art Galleries – we decided to go to the Museo Picasso Malaga – which appeared to be the largest, but also had an additional exhibition on which we wanted to visit.

I must admit to never having been a big fan of Picasso, from the few pieces that I have seen, but my view has definitely shifted now, having seen the range of oeuvres including sculpture, ceramics, print-making and his early, more naturalistic paintings.

The additional exhibition was a touring exhibition called Energy Made Visible, focusing mainly on Jackson Pollock’s Mural which was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for her New York abode.

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Although I love Pollock’s drip painting, it was one of the rare occasions when the other exhibits – including those who both inspired and were inspired by Pollock – were more interesting than the main feature.

There were works from artists and photographers that I did not recognise, such as Barbara Morgan, Herbert Matter and this painting by Antonio Saura – La Grande Foule (the Great Crowd) which made more of an impression on me than Pollock’s work.

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Initially this looks a bit bleak, but in reality the faces vary from comical to the downright scary.  Being a complete geek, I couldn’t help but see a misshapen Darth Vader in the figure on the bottom row, just before the half-way mark.  Can you spot him?

My final surprise was to see a work by Andy Warhol, another artist who I have always thought was over-rated.  This work, entitled Yarn Painting was so eye-catching and bold.  Regular readers will know why I laughed when I found out the name of the work – as a mad-keen crafter, I spend half of my time looking at or working with fibres and yarns!

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This exhibition is on in Malaga until 11 September so, if you get a chance, take some time out and enjoy Andalucia!

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