It’s been ages since I popped by on my blog. When I’m busy it’s the first thing to get neglected, which is rather sad as I really enjoy writing it. Anyway, here I am, with a quick update about what I’ve been up to and some upcoming events too.
I’ve been doing a LOT of embroidery. All of this is in preparation for Sherwood Art Week which is taking place in June. I’m really excited as I am taking part in two events- my embroidery will be on display in the Art in Shops exhibition and also an exhibition at Sherwood Methodist Church where I will be exhibiting as a real Textile Artist. I’m doing a happy dance about that, even though I’m really nervous too! I’ll be sharing lots more info on this soon.
I made a new crochet cardi- the Sunday Funday Cardi by Claudine of Iron Lamb. It’s so warm and cozy! It’s a straightforward make with only the shoulder seams to sew. I used Stylecraft Special Aran in Empire, and it took a bit less than 6 balls. I did the first sleeve probably about five times in total, as I kept going wrong and pulling it out but this is not a reflection on the pattern, it’s just my inability to count and remember the number! I’m already planning another Sunday Funday Cardi.
Other stuff I got up to in April included a mini break in Glasgow during the Easter holidays. We went with the children and had a great time despite the rain and cold. I’d really recommend going to the Science Centre and the Riverside Museum, which were both great. We booked an apartment with AirBNB which had a good view over the river. It’s a really friendly city which makes it a lot more pleasant when you are dragging tired and grumpy children home on the subway! We had a lot of museum trips in April due to the generally rubbish weather. The Space Centre in Leicester was a great day out with friends, and also Tattersall Castle in Lincolnshire. I was thrilled that both of my children had a try on a spinning wheel (and a bit jealous!); they both got to keep the little piece of yarn they made, which was taken into school for show and tell. I’m such a happy mum when my children are enjoying my interests with me!
Science Centre fun!
Our river view.
My proud mum moment!
Over the last 6 weeks I’ve been taking part in a Crochet-A-Long (CAL) hosted by Rosina of Zeens and Roger. It was called the Granny CAL, as all the projects to be made were to use granny treble stitches.
I started off with the intention of using the granny squares I made last year to finish off the jacket I started to make last year… I’m in a right old muddle and have realised that maybe making up my own patterns is not always going to work. I’ve decided a jumper is probably something I’d wear more, so I’ve taken all the squares I no longer need and turned them into a scarf.
This was actually much trickier than I thought it would be. I tried joining the squares with double crochet but it looked so wonky I pulled it out. I blocked the squares again and sewed them together which seemed to give me more control. To make the border I crocheted trebles in every stitch and a double treble at the joins between the squares which gave the border a smoother finish. I’ve added tassels to finish the scarf off. Now I just need to finish tackling the granny square jumper, it’s still a (huge) work in progress. (Yarn is Drops Karisma, 100% superwash wool)
However I have actually made a different jumper! My parents gave me some balls of Stylecraft Batik in a soft khaki green for my birthday last year. I’ve used the Cleckheaton Colour Block Jumper pattern which is a free pattern, but I only did contrasting colours for the neck and waist bands, and the cuffs. I shortened the body a bit which is a length I prefer for wearing with skirts. It worked up really quickly, even when I had to redo my second sleeve. It’s really warm and cozy. The navy cuffs etc are Stylecraft Special DK.
I think the pattern for this jumper will be really helpful when I eventually get my granny square jumper brain in gear. Eventually! Meanwhile there’s a cardi waiting to be made, as well as about eleventy billion other ideas.
This isn’t CAL related, but I wanted to share it anyway- meet my crochet snail!
He is from 75 Birds, Butterflies and Beautiful Beasties, by Leslie Stansfield. I made him in chunky yarn to supersize him. Any suggestions for his name?!
My January selfish crochet project has been the Three Springs Shawl by Addydae Designs. I was inspired by Rosina over at Zeens and Roger, go and look at her BEAUTIFUL version! It’s been an absolute pleasure to make this shawl and I’m so pleased with how it has turned out, even though it has embarrassingly highlighted my inability to count to six.
I’ve used three different brands of yarn. I was a little concerned about it but decided that it would probably be fine, the yarns are all very similar.
The grey yarn is Fyberspates Coop Knits Socks Yeah! in Melanite, from Wool Warehouse.
The mixed colour yarn is the Platinum Sock Cold Lava colour way by Lovebug Yarns.
The orange border is Crocosmia Askham 4ply by Eden Cottage Yarns which I bought at Yarndale. This yarn is a blend of silk and alpaca which I think makes a nice contrast in the border.
Pattern wise, the instructions were nice and clear, and the stitch count table was very useful. The shawl is huge! Lots of counting of stitches. I used stitch markers to mark after 50 stitches which made it a lot easier when I lost count. Being huge makes it perfect for wrapping around and around my chilly neck. I’ve enough yarn left to make some mitts too, although those might have to wait until autumn. I’ve got too many other ideas that are bursting to get out before mitts need to be made!
Happy new year blog readers! I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the new year, all is well and I’ve enjoyed a bit of a break from online shenanigans.
I’ve made an attempt to get my house in order. Kitchen cupboards have been tackled but it’s slow progress and I felt very pleased when my first wholesale order of the year came in and I had to tidy my craft space. I’ve had a proper shuffle around, trying to make space for new craft supplies acquired recently and generally making the whole area work better. So as its tidy (ish) I thought I’d give you a little tour. Which sounds very grand but I can assure it isn’t!
I have my craft space in my bedroom, which is quite big, I take up two walls of space with my desk and storage unit. I have a very laid back husband who doesn’t mind that he sleeps in what must occasionally feel like a haberdashery. Or yarn shop. Or pure crazy craft mess! I do my embroidery and dressmaking up here as well as all the boring admin, and the exciting packing up of orders. Crochet is mostly done on the sofa downstairs (with the tellybox on).
On my desk is the vintage sewing box I bought from eBay. It came full of old sewing stuff and was a little bit bashed about. I repainted it pale blue with a tester pot and gave it a bit of varnish too. I covered the worst dents and scrapes with flowers cut from pieces of wallpaper, which I also used to line the inside. It now stores lots of sewing equipment. The big shelves have all my Shirley Rainbow stuff in, my dressmaking projects, patterns, yarn and many other bits and pieces.
I’m definitely not a minimalist! I like to be able to look around my space for inspiration. There’s lots of books and magazines to for reference. It might look messy to the untrained eye but I can assure you that every sewing pattern I’ve downloaded has its own plastic wallet and is carefully stored! I’m planning on making some more nice labels for my drawers so I can find stuff again after my reshuffle.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peep into my craft space!
Ps. Sorry the photos aren’t the best, it’s just so gloomy today!
If you pop over to the Handmade Fair website you will now be able to find a tutorial by Shirley Rainbow!
This is a piece of work I was asked to do over the summer by the lovely people at Folksy (who were sponsors of the Handmade Fair this year) and I’m so excited to say it’s available for people to see now! It’s a step by step guide to stitching and finishing an embroidery hoop for display.
The link is here if you would like to go and have a look.
The Handmade Fair is a craft fair created by Kirstie Allsopp. There are lots of lovely tutorials on the Handmade Fair blog featuring all kinds of crafts, it’s definitely worth a look for some inspiration.
Many thanks to Folksy and the Handmade Fair, and also to my friend Lucy for letting me take photos in her beautiful home!
I thought I’d share a mid September catch up on some crafty bits I’ve been working on recently. I had hoped to share an exciting project I’ve been working on but sadly I’m not able to yet- hopefully soon!
I finished the Floral Fields embroidery design by ThreadFolk. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this, it uses surprisingly simple stitches but the overall effect is beautiful and complex. I’m decorating my living room next week and it will be given pride of place in my newly decorated room. I’ve been eyeing up some of the amazing free embroidery patterns available at DMC for my next project. I’ve not really done many embroidery patterns designed by others before, as a qualified embroidery designer I should be able to do them myself I suppose! However for an easy project to pick up in the evening it’s ideal, as all the hard part of designing is done for me.
As the weather here in England has turned decidedly autumnal I’ve been thinking about gloves and scarves and hats. I’ve made a one colour version of the Autumn Vintage fingerless mitts by Rosina of Zeens and Roger, using some Hobbycraft Women’s Institute Soft and Smooth Tweed. This is a really lovely Aran weight yarn, it really is very soft, almost a silky texture. The slubs through the yarn give a tweedy texture without any roughness, and the mustard colour is spot on. Why does this yarn not come in more colours?! Even though I completely botched up the pattern (I worked in the round despite the instructions clearly telling me to TURN….) I’m very pleased with how they have turned out. I’m not sure what else I will make with the yarn, I’ve got about 350g of it left!
I’ve been working on a few new pieces for my shop, particularly to take to a charity craft fair I did last weekend. Sadly the weather was pretty horrific- beautiful sunshine all morning which lured us into thinking it would be nice all day but instead it turned very windy and we had several downpours of rain- I do hope the fundraising was successful.
Last but not least I can share this piece of embroidery my mother in law asked me to to do for a recently bereaved close friend. I was so pleased that both of them liked it, it was a pleasure to make it.
Til next time
Image from July’s entries to #craftingismytherapy
For the month of August I’m the guest host of the hashtag #craftingismytherapy. The hashtag was created by Nicola of Me You and Magoo and Jennifer of Jennifer’s Little World to promote a creative online community. To quote Nicola “the focus of our hashtag is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me time’ to unwind in our busy lives”.
Even though I crochet and embroider for my online shop I love to keep some craft time just for me, and this hashtag is perfect for sharing this. I’d love you to join me! Just use #craftingismytherapy_august on Instagram posts during the month of August, as easy as that! I’ll be sharing a round up of my favourite posts at the end of the month here on my blog and also on Instagram and Twitter.
Any craft is welcome, at any stage in the making process!
There is also a giveaway being run for August, a fab set of Posca pens will be sent to a lucky person! You will automatically be entered by sharing a relevant image tagged with the hashtag above. For more info on the giveaway please check here or here.