Sunday, 23 December 2012

This little chap was sewn my Anna at school.I  had no idea that a nice lady came every Friday afternoon to help them do some stitching. How nice that Anna didn't even think this worth commenting on, they do so many varied and interesting things at school! I am seriously considering scanning Robert the Robin in and printing him up with a kitsch border for next years crimbo cards. I hope you are all feeling warm and mellow and not harried and stressed. I am still the later but hope that as all the pressures are self imposed I may slowly be able to let them drift away as the seasons cheers thaws my chilly perfectionist soul....either that or I need to get me some Baileys?
Have a good one my friends, whatever you do and here's to relaxing and having a silent night or two.
Hugs and Kisses. xxxx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Another feather in my cap

The progress on my course work is slower than ever as festive fever notches up. As always I have things to make before I can finish my wrapping and to be frank the fun has rather gone out of make and do with the anxiety. I'm not moaning though, honest, I don't think I'm alone in feeling totally swamped as the doors on the calender open, seemingly with fewer and fewer hours between each one. 

I have managed to get this sample finished and signed off, which is really good news. This is feather stitch. I put off these samples as I wasn't really sure how   'good' I'd be at them- I don't care how 'good' I am a them now; I'm just really enjoying doing them. Fly stitch is next. Let's hope I can loose myself in it and get me a little escapism. 
I hope y'all are managing to keep calm as the Christmas pressure mounts. Repeat after me;
This is meant to be fun
This is meant to be fun

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

In good shape

My final design module for my City and Guilds was 'shape'. I loved it. I like the cutting and sticking, the weaving, the printing. I like the boldness of it all.  

I liked making the collages, it was all good. I must make sure that I look back through these modules in the future. There are so many ideas in these books.

So that's enough of all the high-brow arty stuff. That all has it's place but for crying out loud people it's DECEMBER. Surely the kitchest month of the year? I bought this knitting book for 75p from the charity shop today. I was drawn to the poodle bottle cover- surely one of these beauties would turn a plain ol' bottle of Advocat into a retro Christmas gift fit for a queen?

Then how about a cute little cottage egg cosy? I am thinking that this should be stuffed with a base added to make a little hanging Xmas dec- the clown should just be knitted to scare naughty children.

Finally I am yearning for a bed jacket. Our rented temporary house is mighty warm but I still get frosty little shoulders reading before lights out so surely a Miss Marple style bed shawl would be the perfect answer- and a chemical free form of contraception! 

I do hope to have some definitive house news for you soon- we are soooo close! xxxxxx

Sunday, 25 November 2012


We are boycotting Tesco. I know that this company is a 'popular' target for anti-capitalist campaigners. We just think the way they dealt with not providing us with an phone service...for weeks....and then not giving a stuff about our complaints....was a bit crap and frankly it wasn't the first time we had felt let down by them. Anyway, I won't rattle on, it's a bit dull and makes us cross. SO I'll vent my spleen about something else shall I?
I have been made cross AGAIN this year by Christmas adverts. Last year I was depressed by all the ads which made me feel like I was the only one NOT in a size 10 party frock sipping champers with my beautiful friends and my cashmere sweater wearing hubby. I felt lonely and left out- even though I suspected it was all a trick and that everyone else was nursing a Baileys in their joggers too.
This year every advert I have seen seems to show a harassed Mummy doing it ALL. Hoovering, shopping, making up extra beds, slaving away but ultimately satisfied to see their happy family tuck into their roast and then wash up all afternoon whilst the family all eat chocolates and forget she exists. This isn't a bloody advert, this is real life- no? Surely ads should be aspirational (forget what I said about last year!) or is this what I should be aspiring too?
Anyway tonight I saw an advert which was different. This advert showed a family Christmas where Daddy was involved, Daddy was in the kitchen, Daddy was shouting at the kids- at last I called to Simon- at last! I quote myself 'whoever this company is we need to buy stuff from them!.......Unless it's ......Oh's Tesco'

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Couch(ed) work so-fa

and in the midst of all the excitement; another stitch signed off! As I said I really do like couching so found it a bit tricky to come up with new ideas but I do like how my chip forks came out

These flowers could do with More I think, I can always revisit them later if the mood takes me.

Finally my more general playing about, with paper, leather, a wrapped twig, anything lurking at the bottom of my box of 'brown' really. 

Feather stitch next, which we did at primary school as Dorset Feather Stitch, so no excuses for not getting that one right!
I wanted to ask you guys about your stash. A lot of mine got packed up and brought down here months ago to go into storage. Over the last couple of weeks Mum and I have been going through it, sorting out bits to go to a car boot sale. I have found the quantity of  wool, paper, fabric and equipment which I have accumulated quite intimidating. Don't get me wrong it's not like boxes floor to ceiling or anything, but I really don't need to buy any supplies for decades probably. It's not an addiction exactly I just like fibre in the same way other women like shoes- although I like shoes in that way too! It's just got so that it's hard to see what I actually have and until I can get into a space where I can get organised I will probably end up buying things because I can't find the things I have already which would do the job just as well. Perhaps that's it- an extension of the whole moving frustration, I need to find a home for my stash? 
So please, tell me do, how is your stash looking? A well organised library of materials, or a heaving monster of tangled threads and crumpled fabric? xxxx

Friday, 26 October 2012

Where did you get that hat where DID you get that smile?

20 to make Knitted Beanies by Susie Johns; this book has been such a hit between Mum and I that we have now knitted three of the twenty hats! There is a really good mix of patterns.  Everything from a pretty silly alien hat to the really sophisticated blossom beanie which Mum has been wearing with her usual panache I have, as yet, completed my two hats on two needles but there is a little lacy cap which would be a perfect project on which to try out a circular needle or even….some double end-eds!! The instructions are very clear and the amount of yarn needed is modest so these would make lovely presents, or the book a good gift for someone who is needing to build their knitting confidence. I am happy with my slouchy beret but tried to knit the other hat in fairisle, my tension was all shot which has distorted the shape. I have to stress this is my up-tight fault and in no way the fault of the pattern! I also like that these patterns can simply be knitted in a different wool weight to make the adult patterns suitable for children and vice versa. All in all another book shelf gem in this affordable range, as long as I can keep track of whose bookshelf it is currently upon; mothers or my own! 
I have no idea why Anna looks possessed in this photo- it might have had something to do with me asking for a nice toothy smile! 

In other news, we have accepted an offer on our house in Sandwich. If the survey is problem free (are they ever?) we should be able to start looking for our permanent Dorset pad in the new year. It is so exciting to be dreaming of all the things we'd like to do in a new place and luckily Simon and I have a similar outlook on decorating. We have the job of packing everything up when we go back at half term, which will be hard I'm sure and goodness only knows what treasure might be uncovered in the loft but this is he final physical tie to Kent and it will be a relief to be able to pop back with the sole purpose of hanging out with lovely friends. 

Look after yourselves! xx

Monday, 22 October 2012

Moustachioed lunacy

Of course, when there is plenty of housework and cooking and coursework to do, when the children are bored or need help with their homework. Then there is only one course of action open to a sane mother.

One must knit a moustache. 

Actually lovely Toby wants to support Movember by selling a few moustache themed items at the coffee house and I found this pattern and got clicking.

I can highly recommend making yourself one- they bring out ones wild side! 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Do you want to join our gang?

Fancy it then? Number 35 is the bestest cafe. Really good vibe,  great cake, stuffed sarnies, leaf tea and coffee for the discerning. Do you know the best thing though? Toby. Yep, the guy who runs this gem is a diamond. I popped in once on the way back from work for a take away cup of tea, when he made me an Earl Grey from leaves and chatted to me whilst it brewed I was impressed. When I wandered past a few days later he waved at me in a friendly smiley I went in and slapped my heart on my sleeve. I told him about being new to the town, about needing some new crafty friends, about wanting to start a club. He said; have it here, give me your details, I'll make you some friends. Toby was good to his word, and more. We have two meetings of the chain gang and the people who have come along, or just stopped to chat as they passed through have all been lovely. Totally. So if you are anywhere near Dorchester on a Wednesday lunchtime I would love to see you. 
I must introduce you to the fantastic lass who has held my hand,designed the poster, wowed me with her crochet finesse. Sarah is Home to Roost. Considerably classier than me but somehow we have hit it off. Sarah; Thanks so much for being so supportive, open and brilliant, I loves you. x

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Life is a helter skelter

Just got to ride it! We have been having some serious tele-communication issues here-abouts and I am delighted to be back on line. DE-lighted. Yep-happy, and now it's time to get back in touch here in blogsville. 

I cannot claim that moving has been hitch free, we have had our wobbles. Certainly my dark and brooding gorgeous boy has been...well...dark and brooding. My lovely lass has retained her Polyanna positivity 99% of the time. Boy are those 1% slips a shocker. I am struggling with not having an identity here. I want to work a bit more really, but I am not in control of this particular part of my destiny. Simon is doing fine= my sure and steady guy- what a Gem. 

Do you want to know when the corner was turned? When Will was glad to be here? When I felt that sigh inside that you only get from coming home? When Anna winged- so we knew she was fine- not pretending for our benefit? We went for a walk. We walked by a river, we didn't see another living soul, we saw a deer, we saw butterflies, we played pooh sticks, we ended our trip with a visit to a spooky old pub for refreshments, we saw the giant with the HUGE willy. 

I think it's all going to be all right. 

Back soon for book reviews, crafty makes, details of our new makey-do club and all the usual. But for now I just wanted to pop in and say 'Hi'. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

One year on.

What a year! As Simon helped me out of my wedding dress just over a year ago he said; 'So,now we're married, what's the next big thing?' I replied 'Moving back to Dorset?'. I expected him to laugh in my little over made-up face...but our first anniversary the house was on the market we had new jobs and have found a house to rent in Dorchester. (I am also two stone lighter which is nice!).
Unfortunately all the upheaval has made blogging super difficult- half our techno gear is three hundred miles away and the decent camera in Dorset downloads to the rubbish computer in Kent. This is fairly representational of our life in general; half here, half there, but generally moving box by box, commitment by commitment to Dorset.
I have been to making my first foray into the Dorset crafting 'scene'. Last Thursday I  met with some really lovely ladies in cafe Neros for a Knit and Natter. I am working on a jumper for myself- pictures to follow! Yesterday Dorchester library held a beading class where I had my first attempt at spiral stitch and managed to make a little bracelet. People are super nice and relaxed- not competitive or show offy at all- brilliant! There does seem to be a demand for more clubs and classes so the master plan is to totally nail my city and guilds and then try to get a little stitching club together at a mutually convenient time. It does seem that any clubs that do run self select for the retired, meeting on week day afternoons, running over school pick up times. This is such a shame as I think everyone benefits from seeing how lots of different people make things and sharing ideas and techniques. Do you craft in private or have you managed to find a group of like mindeds? If you run a club can you give me any tips? I am thinking of approaching the library and local pubs or cafes to see if I can find a free venue? Thoughts please friends! xxxxx

Monday, 23 July 2012

Working on the chain....gang

Thanks so much for all your words of comfort and encouragement on the last post, another last today- my last morning 'working' at the charity shop-but I got a rather nice denim jacket for £3.71 so every cloud... These two stitch samples have also been signed off . The blue one is chevron stitch. I love the dynamism of the central strip of stitches, this stitch would be great for electricity pylons  or anything with a 1950's vibe. I also really liked working the stitch over gingham and as a couching stitch. 

This yellow sample is chain stitch. I thought I 'knew' chain stitch, but it's amazing what new ideas came to me whilst just playing about. 
Both of these samples were worked in my table-stand hoop. I would really like to buy some cheap hoops the same size and mount all my samples up on a wall. This way I could just grab one down when I needed a little inspiration and if I was ever lucky enough to run a workshop or little lessons I could take my samples along. Next is couching which is one of all my all time favourite techniques. I wonder if this will make it harder or easier to come up with some really unusual techniques? 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

blanket coverage

Hey you! How are you? I'm hanging on in here- just. We have two weeks left in Kent now and our house remains available! That's a link back there, if you fancy a look at it, or more importantly if you fancy buying it- honestly we are on the edge of a world class golf club so this would be the perfect retreat for a golfer type- if you know one please forward the link! (excuse me- is my desperation showing? ;0) )

Sewing is much thinner on the ground now everything must be kept neat and tidy. I have completed my stitch samples for blanket stitch- I went a bit over the top and produced this little lot. I have about another 20-30 samples to complete for the course so it's a handy distraction.

I have also got some knitting on the needles for....wait for it.......for ME. I have never managed to make a garment for an adult before- well nothing which could be worn in anger- so fingers crossed this ends up O.K. I say fingers crossed but actually knitting seems to play havoc with my hands, making them numb the morning after an evening of knitting. I use wooden needles and makes starfish hands at the end of my rows, but I have noticed that Mum knits differently to me- I completely drop my needle but Mum uses a kind of crochet wrap to allow her to loop her wool without the drop. Does this make sense? I wonder if this might help my hands but don't want to fiddle with a new technique half way through a garment in case it buggers my tension. As if I didn't have enough to fret about without worrying I'm knitting 'wrong', oh well I guess a little bit of displacement worry never hurt anyone. 

We are moving in with Mum and Dad when we head to Dorset, this is just until we can sort out a rental property in the town in which we want to live. I'm sure it will feel just like a big holiday until September. I will try to keep in touch here a bit more but....well perhaps you understand that writing things down sometimes makes them seem more Real, most of the time I manage not to think about the kids not having school places, about walking into a playground with no familiar faces, about saying goodbye to our friends here who I love like family......yep mostly I just clean things and worry about for me!! 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Cherry reds

I have so enjoyed knitting these diddy jumpers, they are all ready to be posted off in project 'keep the house clear and tidy'.  If you fancy making some for a very good cause here is the linky link again.

Whilst you're here do you want to see what my two pet nutters have been up to lately? Here they are dressed up ready for their school jubilee parties. Will's had a 1950's theme whilst Anna's was a more straight forward red, white and blue. They both had great fun.

Here they are modelling their fruity jewellery, you got to love cherries! 
Things are moving along here, house on the market, stomach in knots. Still time for a few giggles though, always time for giggles! xxx

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Magic crossed fingers

Wow, thanks for crossing your digits! So our big news is that we are on the move. Leaving sunny Kent and heading home to Dorset. I haven't really got my head around it all to be honest- glimpses of heady delight nestled amongst sleepless night type terror. There is much to do and lord knows if any City and Guilds progress will be made over the next couple of months....but it is a bit of a dream come true. I am a Dorset girl, it's where I belong.

Pictured is my sample of contemporary insertion stitch. I think I have been influenced by the fabulous burlesque show which we recently saw! x

Saturday, 19 May 2012

She's got form

ticked off too. Yep this week has been a humdinger for the ol' City and Guilds. My 'form' design unit has been signed off, as has colour, machine quilting, machine drawn/pulled work and insertion stitches; Go Me! 

Form was a really interesting module, the top picture shows my resolved piece which was a kind of paper/straw/elastic sculpture affair. There were plenty of exercises about taking a shape from 2D to 3D and back again. These patterns and designs come from one of these.

I do like a nice collage, I think it's the excuse to browse all Simon's old National Geographic's.

All in all this has been my most successful design unit yet. I just have 'Shape' to complete and that will be the whole design section done. The drive to get this finished comes ever stronger as exciting changes are afoot and with any luck we are headed for a busy few months, please cross your fingers, thank you. x

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Look what I got!

So it's official- my new title. I am loving it, though I wonder if they'll be able to fit it on all my documents. The humble peasant here is Trash. The whole idea of the kitsch swap was to go nuts with the silly. I knew I could rely on Trash.

This fabulous Dorset jigsaw has a hidden message on the back- I'm not showing you- it's secret! 

There was loads of treasure- all wrapped and captioned/illustrated (seriously!). Those puppies are ready to protect me from splashes and spills in the kitchen- a puppy pinny- to protect my puppies- how cool? I also have a new notebook, with guards, some shiny cocktail umbrellas, a pretty wooden heart, a frog shower cap, some Dorset soap and fairy scissors- for trimming fairies.

Look at these hand made lovelies. You know when you see something hand made and it makes you almost weep? 'Live well, craft often'- yep that's a motto I can live by.

This fabric is FanTabulous. I'd like a nightie in this, that should repel unwelcome advances and allow me more crafting time.
Thanks Trash, really thanks a million- minion! 

Monday, 30 April 2012

Prairie prairie quite contrary

Well actually not contrary at all, very obliging in fact. These have been signed off now, there are three different prairie point techniques used here. Two fairly fiddly and one total genius! There are probably a million tutorials on line but here is a link to one. Basically this method uses a constant strip of fabric, cunningly cut and folded rather than several little squares. It is even possible to sew two strips of fabric along their length and make a strip of alternating coloured triangles- seen here in the top row of the top picture. I have made all of these samples big enough to be useful post c&g, I would like to make Anna a layered skirt each layer with a prairie edge- how cool? 
 I follow quite a number of fabulous blogs- the list seems to swell daily. I have watched as Wipso has made an astonishing quantity of pillowcase dresses for African children. I had assumed when she referred to knitting 'Fish and Chip' jumpers she was talking about the unusual shape of the garment. Today I followed a link and found out more. Here is where I found myself. So I think some more knitting is in order- I have put Mum on the case and plan to ask the girls at work if they'd like to make it a bit of a canteen project. If you can manage a spot of knit one purl one and have some bright DK in your stash perhaps you'd like to rattle off a Fish and Chip outfit too?