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Crafting ‘expertise’ taking a rain check. Help!

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Having a pile of knitting WIPs that won’t finish themselves I still offered to help a friend with finishing her latest knitting project. She has been unwell and her granddaughter is growing fast. The dress seven eighths completed needs to be finished so she doesn’t grow past fitting into it. My crafting mojo has been flagging, even for my own projects. I wasted a lot of time yesterday thinking I should get on with it then when I finally started picking up stitches at the neckline it bamboozled me and I am not happy with the result. Bah!! I think my expertise (I use the term very loosely!) is on holiday. Currently working on picking up stitches at the armhole and hoping that will be easier/look better. Cute self patterning yarn so at least it’ll be pretty – and there may be a few added ‘extras’ in the end, such as tiny daisies along the neckline to enhance it (to cover the wonky finishing!), approved by my friend of course, not just randomly added by me. Anyone else having the odd few fails with their crafting this year yet?

I have also been passed on two knitting projects to complete from my mother in law – one done, the other pending. Both baby jackets, both kind of time dependent. A new baby in the family due soon, but these were started for her cousin two years ago. The first baby grew past the size knitted. My mother in law is unable to knit now due to ill health. Sadly, I think this will involve much ripping and even reknitting and I am querying the use of the yarn itself, as it has what looks like a ‘tea stain’ on part of the half knitted jacket. Oh, what do I get involved in sometimes? Hints on how to remove old tea stains required. Anyone?

One day I shall have no WIPs – said most knitters, never. I say this because I am dying to start something new. January yarn sales are crying out to be taken advantage of and I am trying to resist.

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Sewing and One thing I couldn’t reveal when I made it in December

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I made a few seasonal decorations just before Christmas. There was paper folding/origami stars and pom pom making together with a few Christmas cards. I made a fabric basket to give to a friend for her birthday which is on Christmas Day. I couldn’t show and tell on here as she may have seen it before she unwrapped it!

The fabric I had saved in my stash for a long time – it had been waiting to be turned into something special. I am hoping she may use it to store some of her own craft things. The yarn you see was part of her Christmas present so perhaps a bit of a hint there!

Intentions new and old, including some crafting

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I realised when revisiting the list of things I intended to do last year that I’ve achieved many parts of that list. What I called my ‘Enthusiasms’, aka as ‘Resolutions’ did not fail for once.

I reached my diet goal and along the way my focus changed to become healthier and happier rather than just a little slimmer.

I intended to sort out my craft stuff.  This year I used up my stash when I could. Just a few samples – I knitted a bunch of hats for charity.

Quilt pieces and bunting evolved from my fabric pile, some of which I’d saved since 1994, I even made a sample dress from a duvet cover found in a charity shop (a challenge from friends, see below!).

I have many knitting and sewing WIPs. One HUGE intention was to finish many of them in 2018 – or rip them back to reknit something else. I did some of this! I hated two cardigans I eventually finished – both wrong shapes for me so I gifted them and they were gratefully received. I ripped back three unfinished knits. One turned into hats. The others await 2019. For Christmas I received a book about how to knit to flatter – I think this may get good use this year!!! I don’t usually make toys but have a bunny fabric pattern – that’s one intention for 2019. Another is to finish at least one quilt (there are two part done!).

I didn’t exactly sort out my job/career.  I haven’t leapt into anything in a blind panic.  I have put my family and my health first this year.  I didn’t juggle all the balls of life and succeed with none. No regrets.

I was supposed to make a bucket list of things to do compelled by a particular date was slightly superceded by two friends giving me a list of things to do over the next year to celebrate my birthday. Most were fun, some were treats, some slightly scary. Challenged to wear something from a charity shop (I do that all the time, my ‘take’ on it was to buy a second hand duvet cover then make it into a dress!)

The last on last year’s list was to become more involved in day to day household accounting/finance.  This was a serious plan for 2018 and is ongoing. I muddle along yet our household finances are still primarily organised by my husband. I wanted to take some pressure off him but we agree he is just better at it. As long as there is ‘change’ after the bills are paid and I can add to my craft supplies I’m happy. I am hoping if he reads this he agrees – happy wife/happy life!

Making Handmade Christmas Decorations

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I said I would update my blog with a photo of last week’s wiggly pompoms.  I made a few and made them into a garland – you can kind of get the idea from the photo above (it’s about twice as long as what you see) – and it’s so difficult to take a decent one with a window as a background, best I could do.  (The lovely wicker star was a Christmas purchase a few years ago, I would have loved to have made a claim to have made that if I could!)

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I’ve also been having a play with Christmas Origami papers.  Initially a good friend gave a mini demo to our weekly craft group on how to make an origami star.  This inspired me to make a whole bunch of stars and here are three hanging amongst a few of my cooking and craft books.

I’d love to see anyone else’s little handmade Christmas decorations!

 

A wiggly pompom, making a Christmas garland

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Just a little snippet of my woollen week – I am making a Christmas snowball garland. I can’t resist sharing a recent wool hiccup – I had no idea if you tried to make pompoms from yarn previously knitted you ended up with balls that look rather like this!  Did anyone else?  pompom mess

Will post a pic of the finished garland later!

A Horse on A Course (aka Still Water by sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green), a little bit of culture

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Looking through some electronically stored photos from earlier this year I was thinking how pleasant it was previously to have more physical photos to hand.  I have been quite prudent in recent years as we live in a world where we take photos everyday with our smartphones, tablets, etc.  If we printed and displayed them all we would be buried shoulder deep in pictures and the planet would be suffering. I am the first to admit I am not a perfect photographer by a long shot.  I envy those who take great photos but continue in my own haphazard ways.

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Take this beautiful sculpture admired at a racecourse in Deauville, Normandy, France this August. I took a couple of snaps (one of which in fact only showed half the artist’s details).horse2

I do not do it justice but thanks to the internet I have now admired more of Nic Fiddian-Green’s work from afar.  I hope by showing my poor photos here someone else may enjoy it too.

 

 

 

 

 

I have also been digging out old wedding photos and family snaps.  It is truly precious to have at least many of those to reminisce over, to see family resemblances and to talk about those we love who aren’t with us anymore.  I shall endeavour to print out a few more photos as the years proceed.  I would hate them all to be lost on electronic systems that become out of date and inaccessible. Happy snapping to all!

 

 

One week’s craftiness, stamp, fold, knit

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Whilst sitting for the last two days, full of a cold, plied with warm drinks and watching a plethora of catch up tv I have been thinking how lucky I am to craft so often and meet with lovely like minded friends, new and old, whilst doing so.

Last week I helped a friend run a Christmas card making class.  We used a dye cutting machine, stamping, glitter dots, ribbons and other embellishments.  I managed to snap just a couple of photos before the ladies headed home.  Most of them loved the cards so much they said they’d find it hard to give them away!

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Then Monday night this week I met with other crafty friends for our final pre Christmas get-together to do a joint project.  This time was an introduction to origami, making these super stars.  There was a bit of wonky folding along the way but we had a good selection of finished ones by the time we were full of wine/cake/the evening was over!

I had my sewing machine out at the weekend but can’t show off what I made yet.  I will reveal all on a later blog post.

Finally, some knitting, quite a bit of knitting since Sunday.  I knit at home in the quiet, when listening to music, when watching tv, in the car, whenever I can really.  I knit a lot for myself and for charity and I love gifting to friends if I think they’ll appreciate it though sometimes you are never sure if people really appreciate hand made presents.

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However, a few weeks ago a good friend  (of nearly 40 years, we met when we used to pull each others pigtails!) and I were out walking and I noticed she was wearing a hat I made for her several years ago.  She loves the hat but it’s losing it’s oomph and she gently hinted it might be time for a replacement. I’ve made the one she wore several times and was determined not to go down the same route.  I chose a new pattern, dived into my stash and .. a lovely new hat is done. I enjoyed making it so much I made myself one too!  I shall just have to make sure we don’t wear them at the same time .

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I also attacked a few more rows with my chunky grey shrug and started a prem baby cardigan as I heard a family member’s latest arrival may be making an appearance sooner rather than later.  Now back to the sofa and onto the next Box Set and if my fuggy head lets me a little more knitting too.