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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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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Autumn, charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing

Seasonal Plans

We are now coming into my favourite time of year – Autumn.

I love Autumnal colours, smells and the darker evenings where you feel happy snuggled up with a project or a book and some music on the stereo.  I would say also the lovely crisp sunny mornings but, well, the UK is going through a bit of an Indian Summer and the heat is rising rather than abating, even Patrick can’t take it…

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It’s a hard life, isn’t it!

Last year I didn’t do many Craft Fairs and I really missed it.  I’ve been thinking about some ideas and have a few days off now to take them forward (as well as relax…)

Firstly some Wreaths – firstly I was just thinking about Christmas, but once I got started I couldn’t stop!  I’m trying to decide the decoration for these (apart from ribbon to hang them with) – I’m thinking something simple and not too fussy.

Over the last few years I have made some Halloween baskets, and even shared a pattern here last year.  This year I decided to focus on four of the designs and have been asking for votes on which people like the most… Comment below by 5pm Sunday (GMT – UK time) with your four faves and I will enter you in the draw to win a set of four!

Finally, I am still struggling on with my brother’s scarf – reversible half-moon stitch in this gorgeous wool – Katia Basic Merino Flash – going from bright crimson to a dark rich red.  Hopefully it’ll be finished soon-ish…

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With more to do I’ve started looking at a couple of local Christmas Craft Fairs so I will soon have to start making my very popular Christmas Puds and stockings, and maybe a few more ideas to come.

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized

Feeling Festive and Feline Fun!

Since my last post, so much has happened.  Having had nearly a month off from posting due to a mad few weeks at work which has consumed all of my time and energy, I’m finally having some time to myself and am able to get back to my crafting (and blogging!)

I completed two Craft Fairs, the one in Devon went really well and I enjoyed the mini-break, meeting some lovely folks.  I then did a small Christmas Fair locally which was not so successful, but great fun nonetheless.

Adding to all the madness is the preparations for a certain festive period – I have done most of my Christmas shopping, and am now moving on to last-minute gift-making…

First off is a crocheted scarf for my Dad which I am making in Katia Kathmandu – a gorgeous colourway in blue/green/grey which hopefully keep him toasty warm through this winter.

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Next up is a scarf for my brother – I am trying to decide whether I have enough time to knit this or if I should crochet it a bit more quickly.  Again I have decided on a Katia yarn – Basic Merino Flash, a soft wool/acrylic mix with a soft variegation in colour from bright crimson to a more mellow maroon.  My brother looks fantastic in red and as both he and Dad loved the scarves I made previously, I hope they do also with these.

 

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My Mum is also getting something, but as she reads my blog I am not putting anything on here about it – she will just have to wait and see!

Another present in the making is an upcycled project that I made and then was never happy with.  It is a lovely pattern and the first major item I made when I learnt to knit.  It is from the book Knitty Gritty by Aneeta Patel, whom I wholeheartedly recommend as a knitting teacher.  I wish I could have made it to one of her classes, but the two Knitty Gritty books gave me a firm foundation to start from.

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I am going to remove the pink flower (which I only put on as a tester) and am going to crochet some pretty embellishments around the shoulders of the hot water bottle.  This has been sadly sitting in a box since I made it, and Anna has remarked on it a few times, so I hope she likes the final result.

I will then turn my hand to a secret project for my little friend Mikey, who turns 5 on Boxing Day.  I may not complete it in time, so will save it as a January present…

And finally, a project for myself – Mum and I had our annual pilgrimage to Peter Jones in Sloane Square (part of the John Lewis brand) and we saw some beautiful yarns.  I bought some for myself which I am going to knit up on different sized needles.  This stunning yarn is Debbie Bliss Angel Prints, Kid Mohair and Silk, as soft and strong as you would expect with that gorgeous mix.

I have never made anything for myself so this is going to be fun.  I am going to try it with 3 1/4 mm and 5 mm needles and adjust it if I am not happy with the result.

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Finally, a little update on Sir Patrick, who is now 7 months old and a real purr-sonality.  He doesn’t ever stay still enough to take any pictures, but I managed to snap these today.  He is fascinated by all the knitting and crochet activity and has a penchant for lace (he has excellent taste!).

The final picture is just typical Sir Patrick.  He was checking out the camera lens and managed to fog it up with his breath, in true soft focus style…  Ella is just beginning to cope better with him, and he is calming down a little, which is a relief for us all!

 

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craft, crochet, knitting, yarn

What a week! Thank heaven for Devon…

 

I am so looking forward to next weekend after what has been a rather stressful week…

Sir Patrick the kitten has been ill and undergoing various tests – thankfully it all seems to have resolved and he is now his usual – completely mental – self.

I have have some big changes afoot at work – these will involve periods of anxiety and increased workload for my team.  Luckily, I have a positive outlook, so with the support of others, I am sure we will overcome!

There is one piece of news, though, which has perked me up no end…  I have a small Craft Fair to attend in Chagford, a beautiful village in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor National Park.

 

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My crafting buddy Anna and I last attended this Craft Fair back in April – hark back to this post, where we met the tiny ponies, lambs and where I bought these lovely felting bits from Jean at Kaeravel Krafts (and had a free drop spinning lesson into the bargain)…

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Last time we enjoyed our trip so much that we gladly accepted the invitation to come back for their Christmas Fair.  I have been busy making some festive items (along with a baby blanket I have been crocheting for a friend – more of that later…) – here is a sneak peek of some of the goodies I will be taking with me!

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Christmas stockings – mini sized but big enough for some festive treats.  Just need to be sewn up and a sweet Christmas star crocheted on to the front.

 

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Christmas puddings – they are festive treats for place settings – hiding a chocolate underneath. I always sell out of these, so am attempting a factory production line of them (total staff: me – with ‘help’ from Sir Patrick).  I will only have time to make about two dozen of them for next weekend.

Finally two new ideas – this appears to be white but it’s actually a lovely soft cream colour – thought I might try to make a festive wreath…  Not sure how it’s going to look but experimentation is half the fun!

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Lastly a bit of a strange idea I had, based on an idea from Craftseller Magazine (sadly no more…) of making gift tags in the shape of Christmas presents.  The original idea was of birds with lovely embroidery, but it was too labour-intensive – this is a bit quicker, but I still find myself spending ages sorting through my stash to find all of the sparkly bits I am after!  The back has a pouch for a piece of card to be slipped in with the name of the recipient…  These are a bit of a work in progress but I like the concept.

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More news when I return from Devon!

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

Etsy Works in Progress

What a busy week, I’ve had a day off this week and spent the whole day preparing my Etsy plans and policies.   I still feel like I’ve got a lot to do but have enjoyed all of the preparations.

Now I’m enjoying myself completing some works in progress ready for the grand opening which I am planning for July!

Here is just a little sneaky peek…  Unfortunately my camera is playing up so I can only use my smartphone camera, which is clearly not up to the job…  The first pairing is the most lovely acrylic – I’m really not a fan of acrylic (except as a mix occasionally with wool) but this yarn is so amazing.  The picture definitely does not do it justice.

The colour scheme is King Cole Magestic and it is rather aptly named.  This scarf is made in pebble stitch which gives a soft, nobbly texture and the colour scheme is what I would term Electric Teal (eel!?) with tinges of blue and turquoise and shots of bright fuchsia and a muted, but bright lime green.  It reminds me of a stormy sea with a bold sunset.

The next project is a range of girls’ headbands in Rowan’s wonderful Wool Cotton 4ply.  This is the loveliest yarn to crochet with and gives a sturdy but soft finished project.  I will be making these in sizes from newborn to adult.  Every time I have made these at craft fairs I have sold out, particularly for the under 5s!  My colour choices for these are Old Rose, White and Lilac.

 

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These fingerless gloves were made in Debbie Bliss Cotton DK – it holds its shape very well and the buttons are some of my most favourite ones – art deco style, found in a street market in Dieppe in Normandy.  They look rather fabulous and tone in beautifully into the gloves.  I have enough of this yarn left in a bright lemon yellow, I think that would make another fetching pair!  This pattern is not one of my own – it is a free pattern on Ravelry from Adriana Veleda.

 

 

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Finally I have been working on a granny square bag in Explorer Coast DK – this gorgeous yarn – 55% soft merino yarn mixed with a sturdy but soft 45% cotton.  Although not a fan of granny squares, this one I find particularly attractive.

 

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So, not long to go until my Etsy shop opens – and more finished projects to be shared soon…

I have really enjoyed having several projects (all very different) on the go at one time – I would love to hear any feedback on how many WIPs other crafters have at one time!

Happy crafting!

 

Lou x

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Uncategorized

Devon, Crafting Genii and Tiny Ponies

Well, what a lovely weekend it was!

Spring had definitely sprung and I had a wonderful time in Devon.

My friend Anna and I packed up the car and left at 6am – getting in there for 8.30 ready to set up our stall at the Craft Fair.  It was reasonably busy in the morning and I did pretty well.  Then, a mini disaster…

The drains in the hotel blocked up and they in turn blocked off the front door (where we were) so we had much less passing custom in the afternoon.  So we had to make our own amusement!

I had an impromptu drop spinning class from the brilliant Jean and Martin from Kaeravel Krafts and made just a few purchases of their gorgeous products, and one day I will understand the terminology – carrier rods, silk noil, burrs and nepps!

 

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I also met Richard Albon, a phenomenally talented artist, and bought a few things (which I can’t share here as certain people may see them!) but I really do recommend his site, particularly for those amongst us who are animal lovers.

So, a lovely, but not quite so productive, day was had by all.  And I did learning something interesting, again I have managed to sell all of my girls’ headbands – this was one line I was going to give up making when I sell online, but now I’m not so sure!

 

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I crawled into bed at 9pm, absolutely shattered!  What a comfortable night I spent at the gorgeous Farleigh Cottage B&B in Chagford, run by the lovely Lyn, who looked after us so well and furnished us with the most wonderful cooked breakfast on Sunday morning.

Just enough time then to pop to the Miniature Pony Centre Dartmoor on the way back, what a well organised and fun place to visit.  We arrived at the perfect time, bottle feeding time for the lambs.  Let me introduce you to the delectable Snowy, (my disembodied arm giving him his much-needed grub) – he was such a character, he made a bolt for us the second he was let out.  His wool was so thick, fluffy and soft – I was tempted to offer to borrow it and knit him up a waistcoat, but for once I had to put my woolly tendencies on hold!

 

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We then met the donkeys and ponies, many of them rescued.  As well as horses, donkey, ponies and lambs, they have a wide variety of other animals and have activities throughout the day.  Just follow the chap ringing the bell…

 

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I do rather like the fact that this final picture includes a tiny pony or two seeming to stand on top of another rather small pony.  That makes my random little brain very amused!

Happy crafting…

 

Lou x

 

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