Monday, 16 February 2015

Give it to me straight

Here we go, my straight stitch sample now signed off and only one more to go! This one was quite a challenge for me. Just a straight stitch, I did manage to come up with some textures with which I was happy and I like the radiating directional stitches. I made most of my samples on the same hoop so am thinking about buying a number of these hoops, mounting up the samples and trying to get them on display somewhere. I have done all this work and there are ideas I know I will loose if they simply get packed away. 

It is weird to be thinking about my final projects for the City and Guilds. I have bought an A3 sketchbook to start thinking about my first resolved piece. I usually work in smaller books which somehow results in smaller work so this is a bit of a challenge to myself.

Apart from the coursework I am helping out with a Victorian Fayre at the museum where I volunteer. I will be on a table showing Dorset buttons and inviting people to pay to make a 'singleton' button. These handmade thread buttons were an important cottage industry in this area and were unfortunately seen off during the Victorian period by the button making machines which were unveiled at the great exhibition. I am so enjoying learning a little, drip by drip, whilst at the museum. My school history rather bleakly covered only wars, very important but it didn't peak my interest to continue my studies. I am wondering if my resolved course pieces might incorporate studies of items in the museum,we offer tours based on 'take one piece' where students choose an item on display which they find interesting and then research around it to make it come alive for them. I think I'd like to work on a textile response to some of our exhibits...which range from dinosaur skeletons to ecclesiastical metal work. It could go anywhere couldn't it?

I hope you are well and happy and ploughing through bleak winter? Look after yourself won't you? x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Stem stitch research

So, what's been happening in your world? Are you enjoying the New Year, fresh start, world of possibilities? I can't say last year was my bestest ever. Nothing really disastrous you understand, in fact some shining bright nice things amongst the rest if you look hard enough. Looking back on the year though, as a whole, it wasn't all that. I am not all about self fulfilment, I don't feel that each year I must strive to grow as a person, develop as a human being. I sort of think that these things happen almost by accident whilst one is pottering along with just half an eye out for a new experience or an opportunity to say yes to something. I think last year I pushed too hard for happiness. I have no idea if this even makes sense but it seems that the harder I try to be 'progressing' the more the stress of the progression saps any joy from it. 
This year,2015, is about sitting still and letting the happy things come to me. I am going to be stitching away at my City and Guilds work. I am going to continue to volunteer at the local museum, I am going to be winding up the business venture I've been involved in with a friend, I'm going to be doing my physio to make my ankle stronger. I will be drinking Earl Grey, going to the flicks sometimes, watching some gentle T.V, reading the odd book and getting back in touch with the simple pleasures. I believe these things, more than Work or Travel or Excitement, make me content. I hope this year is a year of contentment for you too. 
The samples above are of Stem stitch and Portuguese knotted stem stitch. I have two more stitch samples to complete- straight stitch and woven and whipped wheels. They should be up here by the end of the month, I will be working on them whilst listening to the radio. Happy Days. xx

Friday, 20 June 2014

Lofty ambitions

I have a loft room. I used to get really jealous of people who have a dedicated place to work, now that's me! I have to be honest- I haven't spent masses of time up top because I like company but I'm sure I will creep up more and more often when I get used to not being part of the melee! 

I have really crammed my materials in- there is always more than you think isn't there? So much wool, thread, fabric, beads, paints and BOOKS. Oh my gosh the quantity of it all is obscene......and wonderful! It's a tip already. Perfect, I can't get my juices flowing in a sterile environment can you? 

I have also had a nudging mail from my City and Guilds tutor, no I haven't been making much progress lately, what with the moves and the building work and and and..enough excuses. I have sought advice and cracked on with my 'seeding' sample. I haven't sent images for approval yet but hopefully I won't have to do too much more to add this to my file. 

In truth I should be able to finish the course this year if I pull my finger out. Of course there are always distractions;

 Anna will be 8 next week and as such she has invited 8 friends round for her party. We will be screening the first Harry Potter film interspersed with little activities. One of the tasks is to rescue an owl from Fluffy so I have made ten owl familiars for them to save. The pattern is free and available here.
Plenty more distractions are calling but I shall try to be strong and stick to the City and Guilds like Bondaweb until it is signed, sealed and delivered. 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Spring time stirings

I am loving putting tiny characters in small containers.

Is this weird?

This little poppet is a worry doll, made for the Chain Gang valentine swap. 

She will bring happiness and love- guaranteed.

I will be making more of these, I won't be able to resist. 
This was what I pulled form the valentines goodie bag- I'm so chuffed- this heart has a lovely texture and solidity, Sarah made it- she is one clever gal.

Emily and I have also been busy working on Magical Stitchery Tour projects, the business is doing so well- it's so exciting. Pop over to the blog if you'd like to see what we've been up to. xx

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Gardener's World

Last time I stopped by I was telling you about the rug which Simon had been bequeathed which had inspired a blanket. I am adding flowers to the blanket and am about a third of the way through, it is looking really cool if I do say so myself. I have also been to help my Dad do some clearing at my Grandparents old house. He is executing their estate with my Aunt and there is a lot of sorting out to do. The house is a three story Georgian house which had been divided up into flats to allow my Grandparents to take in lodgers. There aren't lots of original features and the house has been declining over the last few years as my Grandpa lost interest and lost a lot of his sight. It was pretty sad going round there and seeing it all unloved and empty. But of course within that the little memories peep through and I found myself visualising things I remembered from childhood.
When we used to go to play there was always plenty going on. Dad is one of five and there were five local cousins who were often around. We used to love colouring and playing with the 'junk jewellery'. There was a big bag of cars, dolly's, a tea set and a push along terrier. My most favourite of all though had to be the garden. This was a 'Brittens' toy and was made up of felt boards, cardboard printed with paths and lots of plastic flower beds into which a variety of plastic foliage could be 'planted'.
This was all sat in a carrier bag on the sofa when we went to do some sorting so I bought it home to see if it was as cool as I was. Will made this garden and went on to dismantle it and make two more.
What do you remember playing with at your grandparents? I had a cool time at my other Granfer's house too but here I mucked in, gardening with him, looking at a book, watching snooker or cricket or making daisy chains with him on the lawn. Did your Grandparents play with you or give you stuff to play with? I'm interested to know.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Primrose Throw

Oh Arne and Carlos, how I love you, how I long to live in your cute world, sit in your garden, drink tea whilst we crochet together. We could be sat for some time though- because I am making your 'Primrose Throw'.
 As you may have gathered from the lack of regular blogging 'shit' has happened over the last few months. Nothing desperate just quite a lot of life, happening all at once. Between us Simon and I lost three Grandparents in the last ten months, they were all three of them at the end of their journey, so although it was sad it wasn't tragic, if you know what I mean.

We were touched to have been left a rather lovely large rug as a specific bequest from Simon's Danish grandmother 'Bestermor'. It was made by her husband, his Welsh grandfather 'Taid', he made the rug from a kit after he retired from his work as a G.P. Unfortunately his retirement was short so this is one of the last memories Simon has of his Taid.

I have been wanting to make a blanket or quilt for our bedroom. Simon and I just couldn't agree on a scheme or design but having the rug in our new bedroom inspired a scheme and when Simon flicked through my new Arne and Carlos book and pointed out a throw it seemed to be the perfect answer.
Now, a couple of hundred flowers later, I am wondering just what I was thinking! It has only taken a week to get this far so watch this space to see if my stamina holds out. As always though the instructions are very well written and it is like having friends chatting to you whilst you work with books by these guys. 
It's all good practise though, 'Magical Stitchery Tour' has it's first workshop open for bookings and it is ........Crochet for Beginners.....perhaps the students would like to help me crochet this little lot together! xxxxx

Sunday, 1 December 2013

On the first day of advent

my true love sent to me...a penguin in an Acer tree. Hello! Are you getting the festive glittering feeling down in you toes? I have my own advent calender this year and as a way of getting you feeling all childlike and excitable I can thoroughly recommend it. Mine has beauty treats in which is ironic as the boiler has decided to make hot water in only two minute bursts so ablutions at the moment are both stressful and a little too 'invigorating'.
So the big news around here is that the 'Magical Stitchery Tour' has delivered it's first home party. We taught five people to crochet granny squares and helped a sixth make a cute crochet Robin. Nice work! It was really good fun and we are in the process of looking at venues and designing some six week 'learn to' courses for the new year. I have also completed a secret project, begun a crochet shawl/scarf combo for a gift and have avoided doing my City and Guilds. I am being a bit rubbish about doing my course work actually. The shiny sparkly newness of it has all worn off now and I don't really know how to get my ass in gear again. Maybe having a work room will help and apart from the lack of stairs up to it the actual attic room is coming on really well. I think builder fatigue is also a problem, they are so nice but a month of not having the house to ourselves is wearing pretty thin. I think if the builders had been any less than lovely I might have knocked them out with a roof joist actually, and I'm usually such a hospitable soul.
The felt decorations pictured above were designed and made by myself to tout at a craft fair, they didn't sell but will be the samples of 'festive felt' for courses next winter. It's all good! xxxxx