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

Adventures in Sewing and Crochet

So this week has been a real learning curve for me, following my sewing course recently… Mum came up to visit and we finished off a crochet clutch bag which I was making with a lovely taffeta fabric lining and finished off with a vintage brooch.

So I decided to make another one in a soft rose pink and to learn from my mistakes and difficulties.  Without Mum there is was even more of a challenge, as she is very experienced at sewing.

I messed up the measurements (twice!) and had a complete mental block at one point, so had to ring Mum to ensure I had remembered it all correctly…

Once I had sorted it out I forged ahead and was thrilled with the result.  Mum provided me with the beautiful oriental-style fabric which I used for the lining.  The brooch may be a temporary option, I may look out for one which goes more towards silver.  I love scouting antique shops and car boot sales for vintage brooches.

I’ve managed to find a company who produced labels to sew / iron in at very reasonable costs – Wunderlabel – so will see how they come out and then add the clutch bags to my Etsy shop.

These have really given me the bug to start in a slightly new direction and focus more on specific ranges, more work to come on this but I feel very excited about the future of my Etsy shop.  I also have some plans to do a few craft fairs here and there.

Now I’m on to more bags with some lovely yarns… Some Drops Cotton Merino DK from Wool Warehouse in cream, silvery-grey and forest green (although this colour did not come out well in this poor light!) and also some Lanas Stop Merino DK in this amazing rust/ginger shade, which I bought in Marbella.

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Works in Progress

I’ve been rather lax in writing my blog recently, work has been so manic and I’ve had little time or energy to do much crafting, let alone write about it!

Crafting has always been a stress reliever for me and I have really missed it…  Thankfully things are starting to get back on track and I’ve been getting out some projects to enjoy…

One thing I did make time for was some squares for the fabulous craft community project Jenny’s Blanket of Hugs.  Organised by the brilliant Just Pootling this was a wonderfully supportive idea.

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Jenny is the daughter of Amanda from Little Box of Crochet and has been battling multiple tumours with grace, style and strength.  I’m so pleased to have been a small part of the crafty effort to make something beautiful, but also useful, for Jenny.

Hundreds of crafters across the world made enough squares to make seven large blankets, some of which will now be raffled for various good causes!

Apart from my squares, I have actually managed to finish a couple of things – firstly this Flower Shawl which is now for sale on my Etsy shop.

I’ve also started making some eco-friendly cotton shoppers – since we have to pay 5p a bag now in any shop we may as well shop in style!

Next up is a new ripple scarf I am designing in a gorgeous variegated Artesano superfine DK Alpaca – lovely to work with, but a bit hard on the eyes sometimes!

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Apart from these I have several other little bits that I am working on – but they have to remain secret for now…  I will leave you with a gorgeous basket of Noro yarn which I picked up for a bargain during my recent visit to Worthing to visit Mum and Dad.

I haven’t got any plans for these yet…  But that may soon change…

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Top 10 Stash Loveliness

I was inspired by the recent post from Cassy of knit the hell out about her Blogiversary and reminiscing about her stash, especially those special yarns you almost don’t want to use because they are so gorgeous.

I thought I would have a look through mine…  I love a Top 10!

One. Rowan Creative Focus Worsted – I bought this for a particular project and have not yet started it – a series of knitted bags with bamboo handles.  I also have three in a fabulous fuschia pink which I bought for a scarf but ended up using something else instead so it is also sitting in my (ever increasing) stash..

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Two. Araucania Ranco  – this yarn I bought on a whim from my local yarn store and then, on a whim, again on the next visit (oops!).  I love the soft, subtle colours but have no idea what to make with it!  I’m not a big fan of socks, but there must be something lovely and delicate which I can put this pretty 4 ply yarn to use on…

 

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Three.  Aubergine Silk – hand dyed and 1 ply but knits / crochets up as 4 ply.  This was bought for me as a present from Mum when we attended a Craft Fair in Sussex.  But what to do with it?

 

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Four.  Some beautiful hand-painted Alpaca Silk, Cashmere Silk and Merino Fine Lace from the excellent shop Watercolours and Lace – these are definitely ear-marked for a series of shawls, but I decided to learn more first about designing my own patterns before I use these lovelies.

 

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Five and Six. Another set of wonderful yarns, delightful colours and beautifully dyed and spun by the very talented Jean at Kaeravel Crafts – I did start making up the citrus one into a scarf but ran out of time and ended up using something else instead.

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Seven. Some Sari silks – I have three in total – they will be lovely as a little embellishment, but to what?  I haven’t made my mind up yet!

 

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Eight.  Some Noro Silk Garden – what a lovely yarn.  I bought this at the yarn exhibition at Olympia, back in March. Since then I’ve been made aware of the delicious ribbed striped scarf design by Jared Flood – I just need to buy another set to contrast with it!

 

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Nine. This amazing chunky handspun and dyed yarn was one of my first purchases, at the Craft Fair where I got the Aubergine Silk.  It was the most I have ever spent on a yarn but so worth it!  It came with two shawl patterns and I haven’t been able to decide yet which to do…

 

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Ten. Well, this is a bit of a cheat really… I did actually get round to using most of this (although have 3/4 of a skein left to do something with!)  this is Amorini, a 4 ply Cotton / Cashmere blend from the Little Knitting Company.  Perhaps a scarf or small shawl with the leftover yarn is in order.

 

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I’m sure I’m not the only one with an ever-increasing stash… But any ideas on what to do with my favourite yarns would be most gratefully received!

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Holiday Crafting Plans

So, we’re having a lovely time in Bayeux, and will be very sorry to be leaving!

I have plenty of photos and information to post on my return, but as promised I thought I’d send through the projects I took with me…  Mum is a first-rate quilter, sewer and has now taken up knitting as well (I’m sure it has nothing to do with me though!)

She made me this fabulous project bag which I use lots and lots – and have packed to capacity with bits and bobs from my stash that I thought I would like to use up…

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Firstly some lovely Rowan Pure Wool Aran that I have been saving up – I have had many ideas of what I would like to use this for – a hat or scarf, I’m not sure I’ve made my mind up yet!

Next some Crofter DK – I wanted to try this out so only bought a skein of each…  My plan when going on holiday was to make some prototypes, let’s see what I have done with them when I get back home…

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This Artesano Alpaca yarn I bought in Marbella, I have four skeins so that is plenty to make something yummy with – I so love to work with Alpaca, but this is much finer than I am used to!

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Another Marbella purchase, some Filosofia Palma in the most beautiful colour schemes – perhaps some crochet jewellery or a set of rather stylish coasters…  What will these become?

Finally some Sirdar Americana – I made a lovely shawl with this cotton, but they only had one skein left in this colourway so I bought it on impulse.  What will the plans for this be?

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What fabulous creations can you make with one skein?

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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Marbella Crafting Fun!

Well, I’m pretty much unpacked and back to normal (ish) after my trip to Marbella with Mum.  The dull British weather has certainly brought me back down to earth with a bump!

I managed to find the haberdashery/wool shop again in Marbella, but was a bit disappointed with their lack of range.  I did manage to find one yarn that I really liked – Retinella by Oso Blanco.  It’s a mix of Merino and Acrylic with a bit of Polyester to add a bit of sparkly shimmer.  It feels like an Aran / Worsted weight but knits up as Bulky.  I’m making a stretchy V Stitch crocheted scarf with this.

I also bought some more of the Marbella Cotton which made up lovely coasters which I left at the Marbella apartment last time and was glad to see that they are still there being used!

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On our last couple of days we wandered around trying to find a shop that we had seen earlier in trip.  The Old Town in Marbella is full of windy cobbled streets which all look the same, but I have a pretty good sense of direction (usually!)  We found the shop but on our way discovered another Wool Shop which had a fabulous range of Lanas Stop yarn.  This is really good quality stuff – I bought some in Bath and it cost me a fortune, but made up this lovely simple ribbed Alpaca mix scarf for my Dad when I first learnt how to knit.

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So I went a teensy bit mad, bought some gorgeous Extra Merino double knit in burnt orange, to make a scarf for Mum, and Algodón Soft which is 3-4 ply and I’m not sure what to do with it but I’m sure it’ll make something very pretty.

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More news to follow about my Etsy plans and also naughty cat behaviours!

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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Knitting and Stitching Show Madness!

Well, it’s a week since I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia in London.

My Mum was kind enough to come up with me and left me with a little present in the form of a nasty cold!

So I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself, what better way to cheer myself up other than having a gander at the lovely stash that I brought home with me!

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Olympia before, for the uninitiated, it’s an exhibition centre in Kensington, West London.  I love this old photo – much has changed in the area, but Olympia remains pretty much as it is here.

 

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I was a bit remiss in taking photos on the day – blame my yarn obsession for that!  As we arrived we only just had time to book into a needle-felting class which began immediately…  We were making a bee – mine wasn’t quite finished and a bit, erm, shall we call it ‘rustic’ so I haven’t taken a picture of it to post here!

As well as the expected suppliers and manufacturers, there were a few fun surprises.  The lovely people at Toft had brought their crochet jungle with them (sadly I didn’t get a picture!) full of monkeys crocheted by newcomers and experts alike – with funds and awareness-raising of Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital and Noah’s Ark Hospice.

Another fun thing was the Knitted Farm – some of the work was quite remarkable.

 

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This was a competition organised by the Show and the winners can be found here.

I was thrilled to see a stall there by Cats Protection – I worked for them for several years before I moved down to Wiltshire.  I also met up with an old friend who was manning the stall – she arrived just at the same time as I found the stall – what a happy coincidence!

So, onto the really fun bit – all of the wool / yarn…  I did go a bit mad, I had a budget and only slightly blew it!  But what I did get was such lovely and unique pieces and yarns which I have never seen before as well as some bargains…

Firstly my bargain yarns – I got four balls of Sirdar Escape DK as well as three balls each of King Cole Galaxy Chunky – all for £20 – bargaintastic!

 

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Next up is some beautiful yarn by the Japanese firm Noro – a gorgeous mixture of 45% Silk, 45% Kid Mohair and 10% Lambswool.  The overcast weather here in Wiltshire has dampened the colours of this – it is absolutely glorious.  The colourway is a mixture of blues, green, purple and yellows.  I’ve wanted to try Noro yarns for ages – I have a great respect for the craft skills of the Japanese people.  One day I hope to go to Nippori in Tokyo – my dream craft destination!

 

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This Debbie Bliss Winter Garden is a tweedy mix chunky yarn made from 30% Llama, 30% Merino Wool, 20% Silk and 20% Linen.  The colours are gorgeous – rich purple and a russety conker colour.  Makes me think more of Autumn than Winter!

 

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These next yarns are made from recycled Sari silk and are such beautiful, vibrant shades, unfortunately again my overcast weather doesn’t really show them at their best!  I’m looking forward to working out what I can do with these…

 

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Further rummaging was needed to find the next ones – by this point Mum had given up and gone home.  I couldn’t resist these from the Little Knitting Company – 80% Cotton and 20% Cashmere, they have the most lovely feel to them.

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Finally I went a little mad at the last knockings, buying (left) Debonnaire Silk/Lurex mix in jewel colours (regular readers will notice a pattern here!) from Ehdknits and last, but certainly not least, my most favourite stall was Watercolours & Lace – (right) – such wonderful hand-painted and dyed natural fibres.  I bought two and then went back for another one – I couldn’t resist!  I bought Cashmere Silk lace in the softest purples and blue-greens, a Baby Alpaca/Silk mix in soft rose pinks and at the back a Merino Fine Lace in gorgeous blue-purple, reminding me very much of Delphiniums.

This is such a beautiful shop, I heartily encourage you to seek them out at a Fair or even buy online.  I can’t think of a more gorgeous range of quality yarns.

 

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So that was the sum total of my first Knitting and Stitching show – lots of beautiful wools and yarns to be going on with.

When is the next one!?!

Happy crafting

 

Lou x

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Busy Weekend Ahead!

Some weekends are just made for crafting – especially at the moment in the UK with our rainy days and cold weather.  I can quite happily pass the time snuggled under the small hand-pieced and sewn quilt my Mum made for me ten years ago when I moved into my first (proper) home.

However, this weekend I will be venturing out, in the name of crafting!

On Saturday I will be scouring the Vintage Bazaar in Devizes Corn Exchange, hoping to find some lovely vintage fabric and trimmings!  Particularly looking forward to meeting Sue from Vintage to Victorian whose lovely textiles I have been coveting for some time…

Sunday is going to be a pilgrimage of epic proportions – bright and early in the morning I will be travelling to Bath to catch a coach to Olympia in London (one of the biggest exhibition centres in the UK) for the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show – I cannot wait!

This cornucopia of textile loveliness includes workshops – I am hoping to book a space on one or two of these – I have my eyes on Arm Knitting and Needle Felting…

Other highlights include installations from a crocheted jungle to some of the exhibits from the Fashion and Textiles Museum.  I think I’m going to have to make a wishlist of what I would like to see in order to make sure I make the best of it.

Above all, there will be lost of delicious stalls selling fabric, trimmings, notions and above all – wool and yarn!  I am particularly looking forward to this part of the weekend (no surprise there then – I think my stash may grow just a little…)

I’ll update early next week with hopefully some photographic evidence of this wonderful weekend!

Happy crafting…

Lou x

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