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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Andalusia, craft, crochet, knitting, Spain, spring, travel, Uncategorized

Marbella Yarn Bonanza

After my latest visit to Marbella and another round of the haberdashery stores, I came away with some new ideas and some fantastic cottons.

First up is one of my new projects using more of the fabulous Marbella Cotton which I bought last time. ¬†I’ve decided to make a range of vintage-style cotton shoppers – in the UK as in many places, we’ve become more aware of the use of non-recyclable and plastic bags and so I thought these would be a welcome addition to my range.

These bags will be finished off with straps and lovely large buttons with some ribbon or cord threaded through the top.

As a true yarn freak,¬†I couldn’t help myself but buy, erm, a few more cottons in various colourways – oops!

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My next project is to make a few different versions of my favourite shawl – the original grey one is in a cashmere/cotton blend which makes it a bit on the pricey side, so I felt that a range of different yarns would suit all pockets.

These lovely cotton yarns in coral and soft pastel pinks and blues (again from Marbella) will certainly fit the bill.  I shall be delving into my stash to find some other possibles.

Finally the post-holiday blues meant a visit to my favourite local yarn shop –¬†Marmalade Yarns¬†– I must truly be a regular as this time I earned a discount – yay! ¬†I came away with the three gorgeous yarns above – without a definite plan for them other than I can see them all as lovely wraps or shawls.

First¬†is Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply, a 100% superwash merino in ‘Sunshine’ – a yellow which is just so bright and spring-like, it makes me smile just to look at it (the test of a true yarn-mad person). ¬†The next yarn¬†is¬†Skein Queen Entwist 4ply, another 100% superwash hand-dyed merino in Emerald Lies, a breathtaking¬†mix of gorgeous greens. ¬†And finally,¬†Rowan Fine Art¬†in Pheasant – a beautiful mix of autumnal colours – reds browns and chestnuts.

So, you would think I have enough to be going on with, but I also have some other plans that I have been working on (more of them later in the week!).

 

 

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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 Рas 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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travel, Uncategorized, yarn

Renewed and reinvigorated

Two colds and a hefty dose of Flu have reduced my capacity to be able to post for a while.  Thankfully all better now!

I have just had a lovely holiday in Marbella (again!) with Mum, where I managed to buy up most of the two haberdashery / wool shops… ¬†Methinks that deserves another whole post to itself…

For now you will have to content yourself with some beautiful pictures of Marbella, including an Andy Warhol piece entitled “Yarn Painting” which of course was my favourite piece in the Picasso Museum in Malaga.

It’s good to be back (oh, except for the weather… and the lifestyle… the culture… and the handsome Latino men…)

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.¬† Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.¬† I was amazed they went with it…

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I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).¬† It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir¬† Patrick’s monocle.¬† I met the real Sir Patrick¬†once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

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Two РOpening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop¬†for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

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Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.¬† Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.¬† For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

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Four РYarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

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Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.¬† Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there. ¬†Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

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Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.¬† The first time we’d all been away together for several years.¬† Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky¬†goats producing the softest mohair)

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Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.¬† I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.¬† Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

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Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom¬†has been bookended by Star Wars. ¬†In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars¬†soundtrack – I have never departed¬†a cafe in such a hasty fashion¬†before… ¬†In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit¬†to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family. ¬†There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

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Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves Рart and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

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And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting,¬†thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

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Uncategorized

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 РI 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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Uncategorized

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 РI 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¬†Algod√≥n 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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