Crafty Doings in July

After spending a lovely hour or so catching up with my favourite blogs this morning I’m inspired to write a catch up post of a few bits I’m making and have finished recently. My living room cushion makeover is on going. We have a four seater sofa and an armchair, so I am fairly limited in the amount of cushions we can practically fit and use in the living room! I think I can squeeze a couple more in at the most. My latest cushion is my corner to corner crochet cushion. It’s made with Stylecraft Special DK and some sparkly acrylic stuff. I really enjoyed making it, it’s so quick even when you are in a right tangle of yarn. I put a zip in one of the sides so it can be washed. 

I’ve started a new piece of embroidery, just for me! It’s from the Thread Folk Artist series, I think it was a limited edition design, you can find the Thread Folk shop here. I’m really enjoying it so far, it suits my style of embroidery of small areas of stitch to make the whole. 


I’ve made these cute little thank you cards for the teachers at school. I got a bit obsessed with taking photos of these, I love the flower pattern (which is by Emma Lamb, in her book Crochet Home) and I can see more of these flowers being made in the future. 

I wanted to add all the pieces of work I made for Sherwood Art Week to my Folksy shop, but so far have only added my Satsuma Bird Hoop Art. Lots more to come soon. I’ve also added free 1st Class postage to all UK orders from my Folksy shop.


Last weekend I had a lovely time meeting some other Folksy shop owners. We met at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and enjoyed ambling around, admiring the Tony Cragg exhibition and talking about all sorts of stuff. Thank you to Trudi, Jane, Anna, and Holly for a great time, and Camilla and Sian for organising it! 


And that’s it for the mo! Nothing else that I can reveal yet- I have some Christmas bits and bobs in production, yikes! 
Teresa

Sherwood Art Week Round Up

I’m sharing photos of Sherwood Art Week today. It was a fun week and the area looked great. There was yarn bombing – I really liked this installation outside the library under a silver birch tree.
My kids loved the hungry caterpillar bunting, and this tree decorated by lots of local knitters and crocheters. 


The shops of Sherwood were fantastic as a street long art gallery. This is a selection of some of my favourite displays. 

Top left: Sophie Robins Mosaics
Top right: Natalie Randall

Bottom left: Katie Pinkney, Molly’s Mum Textiles

Bottom right: Dawn Feeney

I love the Grayson Perry bunting by Dolly Loves Dallas. The whole display was fantastic!

I really enjoyed seeing such a wide range of art and crafts on display, it’s amazing to think that all the artists are local to Sherwood and there is so much diverse talent. 
We took a short trip to the Secret Garden Craft Fair, we were there pretty early but it looked set to be a great day. 

I went to the Courtyard Craft Fair the following week and had a good giggle at Faye Finney’s  stall, this is the card I bought for a friend, there was a lot of other cards which I found very funny (Justin Beaver is one I remember!) I also bought a little cactus from Laura at Little Egg Design (who recognised me from Instagram, I felt famous!) 


We had a pit stop at the Remarkable Recycling Gala, I didn’t get much chance to look at stalls due to a worn out 4yr old, however the entrance to the church where the gala was held was decorated by the Sherwood Young Artists group. I was very impressed by this screen- it’s all tissue paper and plastic but looks like stained glass. 


Outside were lots of garlands of recycled paper origami shapes, very pretty and such a simple idea. 


The whole event was great, and I’m looking forward to next year, the 10th anniversary, already! 
Teresa 

Crafting Gold (and silver and bronze!)

I’ve been really into metallics this year, I bought a gold spotted sweatshirt in the January sales and some gorgeous gold brogues from Clarks too, so when I saw on Instagram that one of my favourite online haberdashers, Cloud Craft was selling iron-on metallic vinyl I knew I had to have a go! 


As with all my orders from Cloud Craft it arrived very quickly and I couldn’t wait to have a little go. I bought one sheet of gold, silver, bronze, copper and pewter. The instructions provided were very clear, and I tested my fabric to see if it could withstand the hot iron. I had a go on 100% wool felt, which did scorch slightly but the colour returned to normal after a few minutes so I wasn’t too worried. I used scissors to cut the vinyl which was a little tricky, but only, I think, because I decided to cut out something so small. And voila! Here is my first little mini make!


I also had a go at cutting the vinyl using a paper punch. This was not very successful, the punch was just not sharp enough to get through the protective plastic sheet that covers the metallic surface. However a hole punch was fine, and I managed, inspired by my sweatshirt, to create beautiful metallic spotted linen. Here is the finished result with my embroidery design. 


I also tried it with the copper sheet.


The only no-no with this vinyl is not to use a biro to draw the shapes you want to cut. The biro seeps into the fabric during ironing and creates a rather obvious line round the shape, I’d recommend using a pencil! 

I found it trickier with larger pieces to get the heat evenly distributed so this is something to practice, as they have buckled slightly. I’d like to play around with different textured fabrics for appliqué. Applying the vinyl to felt gives a wonderful, almost leathery texture. I’m really impressed with this stuff, the effects are great. I’m looking forward to playing around with some Christmas ideas too, expect to see a lot more metallics from me! 

Teresa

Disclaimer- I am not affiliated with Cloud Craft in any way, just a very happy customer of their products and service! 

New inspiration for Sherwood Art Week

Over the last few months I’ve been preparing some new pieces of work to display in a small exhibition during Sherwood Art Week. Sherwood Art Week is an annual event in an area of Nottingham near to where I live, and hosts three craft fairs, lots of workshops, artist events, displays in shop windows and also lots of fabulous yarn bombing. I’m taking part in the Art in Shops event, where many of the shop window displays feature the work of local artists and makers. I feel very lucky to have a prime spot in a charity shop called the Spaghetti Tree, right in the middle of Sherwood. The whole event is a fabulous showcase of the talent in just one neighbourhood of Nottingham!
I wanted to take a bit of a new direction with my work for Sherwood Art Week, and draw on a few sources of inspiration that had been twiddling around in the back of my mind.


We joined the National Trust last year and have since enjoyed visiting lots of beautiful houses- I like to look at the interiors and furnishings and my kids love the adventure trails and playgrounds. The houses themselves are brilliant sources of inspiration; one of my favourite National Trust houses is Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, which was built for a remarkable woman, Elizabeth Shrewsbury, known as Bess of Hardwick. Bess was a renowned needle woman and Hardwick Hall, for which building started in 1590 is full of examples of her own work, and tapestries which she collected. Popular motifs were fruit, leaves and plants, birds and wildlife, and also geometric patterns. 


The geometric patterns in brickwork on the many Victorian houses in my area are also a source of inspiration, I’m often surprised by how beautiful and detailed some of the houses are, even my house has a teeny bit of fancy brickwork! These floral designs, I think, are crying out for an embroidered interpretation…

As I’ve been getting back into embroidery I’ve been researching different styles and methods, and also materials to use. I still want my embroidery to have a contemporary feel, even using traditional methods such as black work, crewel work and gold work also has a strong appeal too. I’ve been hoarding fabrics with simple but contemporary prints and colours to use as backgrounds, and incorporating more modern methods (such as iron-on metallic vinyl!) with the traditional stitches and modern motifs. 

The brickwork patterns have inspired my geometric sampler style pieces. 



Bess of Hardwick’s fabulous tapestries inspired my modern crewel work birds, flowers and cactus designs.


Chicken scratch (also called gingham lace, much prettier!) was the inspiration behind this little cloud. I can definitely see me doing more of this. 


You may have noticed I’ve sneaked a bit of crochet in too, I think the little frames set the embroidery off nicely. 

I’d love some feedback, so if anyone has any I’d love to hear it! 

Teresa 

Skirt and scarf

I’ve been a busy bee over the last few days and seem to have finished a few pieces of handmade clothing, gone through my mending pile and done some crochet! It’s funny, at times it seems like nothing is getting done and then all of a sudden you have loads of finished pieces. I’ve also been finishing off pieces for Sherwood Art Week, more on that next week! 
I finished this crochet cowl last week. It’s made from King Cole Panache, an acrylic wool blend single ply yarn. It’s DK weight but has some variations throughout which gives a lovely texture. The pattern is the Triangle Infinity Scarf, which I found via Rosina’s blog, Zeens and Roger . I did 26 starter triangles and 18 rows of triangles. I didn’t expect to wear it for months but it was freezing last week and so it got worn straight away! I expect it will get worn loads in autumn and winter. It’s a very satisfying pattern to work with.


I made this skirt- I’m saying its a statement skirt although I’m not sure what statement I’ll be making! I really like it, and the fabric only cost £3… I know, sooo cheap! It’s from the local market and is a silky polyester type, that was surprisingly well behaved. The pattern is adapted from a Butterick pattern (B6051). It’s the skirt part of a maxi dress, which is designed for stretch fabrics. I cut the largest size out, and fitted it to a curved waistband. I like the shape of the skirt. The pockets are not great, they are a bit droopy and I’ve attached them a little low down but I like the bit of interest that they give. To stop the crazy static cling I’ve got a very posh petticoat on underneath! My grandma gave it to me ages ago; I’ve recently shortened it so I can wear it under more skirts. I think it’s from the early 80s. 


It’s very fancy! 

In my crochet basket is a corner to corner cushion cover. I’ve been admiring all the lovely C2C crochet creations on Instagram recently and thought it was time I jumped on the bandwagon! I’ve used Stylecraft Special DK and some metallic yarn from B&M Bargains. The colours are the same as my other crochet cushion projects (as part of my living room cushion makeover). I’ve really enjoyed the C2C method, even though I’ve got myself into a right tangle, it seems very quick and the colour changes are quite easy too. I’m nearly finished with the second side now, I’d like it finished by next week! Better get a move on…

Teresa xx

Sale time at Shirley Rainbow! 


I’m not very good at the hard sell, but I wanted to let everyone know that I currently have a sale in my online shop, Shirley Rainbow, at Folksy. I decided to have a sale to celebrate my birthday (which was yesterday), so if you fancy having a look in my shop, the discount code to use is 21AGAIN which will get you a lovely 25% off! Along with many other makers and small shop owners any sale in my shop makes me do a very happy dance! 

You can visit my shop by clicking here.


The code will be valid until midnight 31st May and can be applied to any item in my shop. Happy Shopping! 

Teresa xx

The grumpy crafter

I’ve been in a right grump recently, for no particular reason and I can’t seem to shake it off. I could probably blame my husband, kids, the weather, the general election and many other things that sometimes irritate me, but I think it really is just me in a grump. In an attempt to cheer my self up I have tried to make a few bits in between making stuff for Sherwood Art Week, and I sort of think it’s working. 
I made a pair of Carrie Trousers from Sew Over It, I really like the style of these trousers, and thought they would be perfect for summer. I used some very cheap viscose polyester linen look stuff from the local market, which I’m glad only cost £1.50/m as these trousers nearly ended up in the bin! They are huge through the leg! I managed to adjust the waistband so they sit a bit lower on my waist which I think looks better, but then I chopped too much off the length of the leg- argh! They are okay though, and I think I can make some adjustments to the pattern for a future pair through the leg. 


I’m really very pleased and cheered up by a bag I’ve made using Rico Fashion Jersey. It’s lined with some quilting cotton from my stash, and I bought some handles, also by Rico, to stitch on. I’m so happy with it! The pattern is the Everyday Bag from Modern Crochet by Molla Mills. I’ve not used the type of yarn suggested in the pattern, but I didn’t think it would matter too much if the bag was a little bigger. I like the stitch definition this yarn gives, and it holds its shape well.


I lined it using some quilting cotton from my stash which I must say is a rather good match. Finding a zip was a bit tricky but I’m glad I persevered… I did threaten to have a zip related strop if I didn’t find the right one after I’d been in four shops with no success! Sewing the handles on was tricky but I’m pleased I used them as the finish is much nicer.

 I bought all the yarn and the bag handles at Knit Nottingham, which is a lovely independent yarn shop in town and I got some great advice from Eleanor about the yarn. She had made a bag with it and also used the same handles which really looked good. I used four and a half balls of the yarn, and one fat quarter of fabric to line the bag. I’m going to have crochet bags every where, they are rather addictive to make. 
I’ve decided to take part in the #sewingforsummer challenge on Instagram. This summer the challenge is to make a shirt dress, and I’m going to attempt the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges shirt dress. I’ve made a toile for the bodice, and so far it’s not going that well. I think the shoulders of the pattern sleeve just do not fit me. I’m going to compare the pattern pieces of another pattern that does fit and maybe combine the two patterns in some kind of Frankenstein’s monster dress pattern. The shirt dress needs to be made by 21st June, so I have a while yet, and already have my fabric, this beautiful viscose from Stof and Stil. 

I’m not ready yet to share too much of the embroidery and crochet work I’ve been doing for Sherwood Art Week. I’ve put a few sneaky peeks on Instagram, all will be revealed soon! I like what I’ve done. I think I do anyway…. Which takes me right back to my grump! 
Teresa xx