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Monday, 6 July 2020

Shabby Chic embroidery

Just a quick one to show a bit more embroidery I've been practising, which I've made up into a little cushion/pillow, adding a piece of lovely vintage pink stripe fabric and a few Mother of Pearl buttons.



It's a little bit Shabby Chic in style and colouring, which I love. This is it still in the hoop:


...... and the back - I found a nice piece of pink silk fabric


That's it for today.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Finished beanie

Well, my fair isle challenge was a success! This lovely retirement + lockdown thingy means I have finished my beanie hat already …… bring on the winter so that I can try it out!! only kidding 😁although I have been absolutely melting in this heat.🌞 I am NOT a sun worshipper! I’m fair skinned, so burn easily. Still, at least I don’t need to go out in it (i.e. go to work), so I have mostly stayed indoors or just sat in the shade in the garden. Indoors is definitely cooler than outdoors! I’m rather proud of how neat the inside is – that's the ‘wraps’ as they call them in fair isle as you bring the different colour yarns across each time you change colour.


And one of it on my head!!

As well as knitting, I’ve also been trying out a bit of hand embroidery – haven’t done any in a while – this is just a little fun piece using a wooden cute cow button and embroidered roses and leaves.

Talking about outdoors, I need to replace my garden fence panels, but do you think I can find anywhere that has what I need in stock? - I’ve spent ages looking! I’ve been told to try again next month. It’s not a surprise really with lockdown and the very hot weather ……….. clearly everyone’s been putting in new fence posts.

Do you know the thing I really, really miss because of lockdown? Theatre! I sooooo miss a trip to a musical or a play ….. but as it must be for now!

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Shetland Fairisle Knitting

Well, here’s a new challenge for me! Knitting 🧢 ‘in the round’. I was taught to knit as a child by my mom, but I’ve only ever dipped into it here and there over the years - matinee coats for babies; and even sweaters for myself, plus one for an ex-husband (not ‘ex’ at the time LOL).

Over the last 6 or 7 years I though, I’ve become more and more interested in knitting again – and lately I love to knit for my Waldorf dolls. 

So, 'knitting in the round' - something I’ve never tried! For me, it’s only ever been two straight needles, knitting and purling; and generally able to follow a pattern. However, with the new surge in knitting (and other crafts too) it seems increasingly that when I look at a pattern, it calls for knitting in the round. Initially I simply avoided those patterns, but then realised I was missing out on some lovely things to knit. So, in the end I caved in, bought some circular needles and decided that learning this strange (to me) method of knitting was the answer! So on to YouTube I went. There’s hardly any kind of teaching resource you can’t find on YouTube - and mostly free – it’s fab! Just lots of lovely crafting communities willing to share their knowledge. 

Alongside this over recent years (like many) I’ve become ever aware of the damage we’re all doing to our planet with the global warming issues and the over use of plastic, so wherever possible I’m doing my best to swap to sustainable, natural products. And with that in mind, I’ve vowed to never again buy acrylic knitting yarn - for acrylic read plastic! The same applies to any fabrics I buy, although I’ve vastly cut back on fabric. 

So in my search for some pure/natural yarn, I came across the beautiful yarns produced in the Shetland Islands, which is great as I’m also attempting to ‘buy British’ and do away with those ‘air miles’. Buying from Shetland also sparked an interest in fairisle knitting. There are some extremely talented ladies on Shetland who are just amazing ....... and so fast at it too! 

Anyway, this is a very long-winded introduction to my current project - and little of it to show at the moment, but having sent off for some lovely 100% Shetland wool yarn, I’m breaking myself in gently (I hope 😟) by knitting a beanie hat. Wrong time of year I know, but it might take until next winter to finish it 😁. 

So yesterday I made a slow start and managed to get as far as the ribbed edge. I was very pleased with myself though when bearing in mind:-

·      This is my first attempt at ‘knitting in the round’ (apart from one little practice piece);

·       It’s 4-ply yarn, so takes longer to knit up; and 

·       It’s fairisle. 

So, this is what I’ve achieved so far:


And this is how I hope it’ll look when finished, but in a different colourway.




I’ve also discovered the Shetland Islands hold a knitting festival each year 😁. This would have been its 11th year. At the beginning of the year I was pondering the notion of a trip to Shetland (Britain’s most northerly region) to visit the island and of course go to the knitting festival ……….... yes I know, there are closer knitting festivals – to be honest France is closer to me than Shetland!! But it would be a mini holiday too wouldn’t it - and now being a (retired) lady of leisure, I can do that. Of course, due to Coronavirus, this year’s festival has now been cancelled, but I’m planning for next year instead. Have you seen how close it is to Norway and Iceland? Yes, it’ll be cold πŸ₯Ά but with a good wind, I’ll have my beanie hat to wear.  

Alongside the festival, they produce an annual magazine full of lovely patterns, plus interesting information about the Islands, so while ordering the yarn, I also ordered one of the back magazines (2018). The fairisle fingerless gloves are in very pretty colours; and I love the sweater on the front, and although I love that mustardy kind of colour, I can see it in a nice winter red - maybe with a matching beanie ......




...... too adventurous maybe?? 

Oh, I nearly forgot! I’ve also made these two tabard aprons for my nephew’s partner who needs them ready when she returns to work as a Steiner teacher. Crafting with little ones can get messy!

So, that's it for now!

Monday, 1 June 2020

Lucy - Waldorf Doll

I will get faster eventually at making Waldorf Dolls, but for now, they take me an age – there is so much involved!!!! And I still have plenty to learn, but I think this one is better than the last, so I must be getting there. 

Her dungarees are made from cotton velvet, lined with a Tilda cotton fabric ………. note to self: DO NOT sew with velvet again – it moves!!!! 😊

 
You’ll see in the first photo that she’s being very sensible and wearing her mask ….. sorry, just had to do it 😊

 




She loves her boots!!

I hope you're all happy and keeping well.

Retired!! ...... and relax 😊

Just to mark the day .... from today, I am officially retired after working 41 years and 4 months for the Court Service (I started on 29 January 1979) …… YAY!!!!






Thursday, 21 May 2020

Getting there ................



Well, my next Waldorf style doll is finished, BUT she's a little bit bare at the moment!! and so needs something nice to wear. She's thinking she would like some velvet dungarees (see beautiful cotton velvet draped to protect her modesty πŸ˜‰) - mind you, sewing velvet ……….. ?? enough said! She I may yet have a change of mind πŸ˜„
We have the time though ………….. did I mention I'm now retired??!!
She needs a name too!

I've recently celebrated turning 60 (hence retirement) and thought you might enjoy seeing some of the balloons my darling!! eldest nephew organised for me ……… he does love a laugh (at my expense). I think they're brilliant! The 'Hip Hip Replacement' is referring to the knee replacement I had about 18 months ago. You can't get knee, knee replacement, because clearly that wouldn't be funny, so 'Hip' was the next best thing. I keep on trying to explain to this 33-year old nephew that he too will, one day, become old and decrepit πŸ˜„


So, I hope everyone is managing to keep well and safe and enjoying plenty of crafty time.



Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Allsorts!

Well, I've not been as regular as I planned with my (Corona) blogging! But I have been busy crafting.

A year or more ago, I bought the pattern to make this rather quirky earflap knitted hat …….. it just appealed to me!πŸ˜• Then I bought the yarn to knit it; and as I do not want to waste what I've bought, I was determined I would knit it. So, in the midst of sunny Spring weather, I finally got around to it. It involves a bit of fairisle knitting, but it's a nice chunky yarn and wasn't too onerous. And I'm sure I'll appreciate it in the depths of chilling winter walks!


The photo is only of the finished hat and the pattern - there's no way you're going to see me modelling it!! πŸ˜‰ The girl in the pattern photo is young and pretty ….. I am not 😏

Last Friday, I made this birthday card for a friend. I had nothing suitable in to send and I really do hate going out to the shops at the moment ….. I, like many others, find it all very scary. And as I have a small supply of card making 'stuff' and a Gemini die cutting machine, I thought I'd take the time to make a card. This is a die called (not surprisingly) 'Afternoon Tea'


I know why I never really got into card making though, because one card took me probably half a day!! It's pretty, but so much time for something that will probably eventually be thrown away?!

Next, is a knitted dishcloth. Some years ago when I noticed that many ladies were knitting/crocheting dishcloths, I didn't really get it - what's the point in going to so much trouble for a dishcloth I thought??!! I even, much to my embarrassment, said as much to another crafter, who promptly told me that her mother made them …….. that was a rather red face moment!! 😳 This looks grey on my laptop screen, but is in fact a nice dusty pale blue.


I know it's only a dishcloth, but it's part of an increasing interest in homemade, recycling, minimalizing etc. I have developed over the last 4 - 5 years. Like many others, I have developed a deeper sense of the damage we humans are doing to our planet, so I won't start on how much I now hate plastic - and yes, I also have plenty of the stuff in my home - who does not; however, I plan to buy no more wherever possible. Grocery shopping often makes it very difficult, particularly when you have to run a very tight ship (financially) as I do. And I know also that it has its place, such as in hospitals. But, we have to start somewhere and I shall do whatever I can from now on. By the way, the dishcloth is knitted with a 100% cotton yarn. I will never buy acrylic yarn again!! Rant over!

Lastly, just to show I have not forgotten about my Waldorf dolls, I have also spent considerable time on my next one. I actually started on two at the same time, but the other one isn't working for me at the moment, so I'll need to back peddle a bit and try to put right what's wrong. But this one is working for me. The doll is finished, but now she needs some hair - that may get started today. And then the task of making clothes …… always my favourite part 😊


For now, I need to psych myself up for tomorrow when I shall be 60 years old ….. eeeek!! I don't complain though about getting older …. it really is just a number. And as a favourite saying has it " aging is a privilege denied to many". This always makes me think about my wonderful brother who died tragically 10 years ago at the age of 53 - he ought to still be here and aged 63, but he's not!

It won't of course, be terribly exciting - the fun has to be postponed for now, but I hope to be having video calls with friends and family. I may even receive some cards in the post if I'm lucky (a few have already arrived actually). And I've decided I shall bake myself a cake and put a candle on it. Then those at the other end of the video call can sing 'Happy Birthday' to me and I'll blow out the candle. That's the best we can do for now. There are tons of others having to put their celebrations on hold too. I feel really sorry for those who have had to postpone their weddings!! 😞

Anyway, that's it for now. Stay safe everybody πŸ’“


Saturday, 18 April 2020

Oat Cookies



Are we all going to end up the size of houses after this ??? I’ve just made these Oat Cookies following a recipe found on the Attic 24 blog ....... very tasty. I must not, must not eat them all in one go πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Thursday, 16 April 2020

“Ooh, ooh, ooh, she's a rag doll, such a rag doll ……… la la la la”

A good title for a song that!! Yes, I know, I’ve nicked it :0)

You wouldn’t want to hear me singing! So, here’s the latest of my, as I’m now calling it, ‘Corona Crafting’!


A week or so ago, I was sitting in bed with my cup of coffee (at silly o’clock in the morning as usual) looking at my new (ish) bespoke chest of drawers with Ikea mirror on top and decided it needed a little something by way of dΓ©cor …. and that dΓ©cor needed to be ‘me’. It’s only a small space, but it didn’t take long before the idea of a very long skinny rag doll popped into my head to hang on the mirror. My next Waldorf doll can wait a while longer I decided ……. 



A slight digression here, but with reason …….

For want of much decent to watch on TV the evening before (I’m really not into all of the reality shows), I’m going through my favourite DVDs, of which I have quite a few! And I’d decided to watch Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ starring Kenneth Branagh (of course), Emma Thompson, Richard Briers, Denzel Washington (scrummy!) and many other big names. I just love this 1993 film. It’s fun, and with gorgeous costumes – flowing full skirts and corset bodices and filmed entirely at the Villa Vignamaggio in Tuscany …… just call me a romantic! Anyway, those beautiful costumes I’ve referred to above became my immediate inspiration for dressing the doll – the part I always love best about making a rag doll. 




The doll itself is based on the Tone Finanger ‘Tilda’ doll, but with some modifications. I used to have a couple of the ‘Tilda’ books but sold them during a clear-out a few years ago. So, I had to freehand a pattern based on pictures I found on Pinterest. I used some lovely pure white lightweight 100% cotton/linen mix fabric for the dress and added some pretty lace at the cuffs. The bodice is made from a very delicate antique rose stripe fabric (had it in my stash for years), which I carefully inserted some antique style brass metal eyelets (love them). The hair is some felting yarn I had in and then I tied a piece of cheesecloth fabric in a lovely plum colour around her hair. She’s then finished off with painted shoes (to match the hair tie) silk ribbons and a little bit of gold glitter.






All in all, I’m rather pleased with her:0)


AND A SECOND PROJECT
Yesterday, I completed a ‘Reticule’. A good friend bought me a kit at Christmas, which I hadn’t yet got round to making. As you can see from the label, it came from an Alpaca Farm in the Cotswolds. Everything, therefore, is 100% alpaca wool, with added buttons and beads for decoration and is all stitched by hand and was relatively quick to make. I’ve decided for now to keep my dpns knitting needles in it. I wonder what’s next on my ‘Corona Crafting’ list …………….


Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Easter crafting!

The last two days (or part thereof at least) I've spent crafting for Easter, seeing that it's that time of year. I don't have a great deal of Easter/Spring stuff, so this is a great opportunity to add a bit more.

So first of all, I grabbed some of my card making supplies and my 'Gemini' die-cutting machine and using some stencils, distress inks, black liner pen, glitter glue and a lovely antique gold gilding wax, created this Easter/Spring banner, and which is now decorating my old Singer sewing machine







And then yesterday, I finished off an Easter banner. 
I've used the free-motion applique method, which I love, but rarely get the chance to have a go at. So, if you're scrutinising those photos :0) please forgive some of the imperfections!


Just look at those cute little bunnies - aren't they sweet?


Have a nice day everyone! 

Friday, 3 April 2020

And a finish! Day 12 of ‘Lockdown’

I’ve finished my ‘Ye Old Crow Sampler’ cross-stich AND made it up into a small pillow, which will become part of my Autumn/Halloween decorations. So, it'll be put away for now ………. that's if I can discover where exactly I decided to store them last year! Possibly in the loft.







I even managed to find a backing fabric and tiny pompom trim to match perfectly.



Did anyone watch the National Theatre Live production of One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden on YouTube? It was being broadcast free of charge. Boy, it was very funny ....... and who's not in need of a good old belly laugh at the moment!