craft

Fruitless or Fruitful?

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Readers of my most recent post may have wondered if my last few weeks have been fruitless, craftwise. I am happy to say not completely. There has been a large smattering of thinking about doing stuff. There have been some unsuccessful moments. There hasn’t been much completion but however, there has been some tinkering.

I first mentioned this quilting project in summer 2018. Since then it has hardly been touched, till last week. So a little accurate cutting out, a little dismay at previous patches, some stitching together, a day or so with a dining room floor covered with design plans. I am a little further along. It has grown. It has far to go. However, there IS progress. When it ‘grows up’ it will be a quilt for a single sized bed.

There has also been a little knitting, a Christmas gift, a shawl for MIL. I actually enjoyed making this, and it is finished, the threads have been tidied up. An aran weight cotton mix yarn with sequins. Sadly, the photo doesn’t show it off as well as in reality.

There is also WIPs on other knitting pins to be shown another time. I hope others are out their crafting too.

Walking and crafting in blue

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Out walking in a local country park last week was a very pretty experience. I was surrounded by swathes of chicory. I’ve never seen it before and it was a different vista to the one other time I’d been to the park only two weeks before when there were only pretty green fields and trees.

Then back at home I finished knitting another baby knit, coincidentally in blue. Although this was very sweet to knit, I’d procrastinated over the sewing up (not my favourite part of making garments). Luckily I persevered though as the family baby arrived on Saturday, a month early! This little boy could be in blue for a while. I’d already made a preemie size waistcoat for him (in case he came before time) and then this was a 0-3 month size knit. For once, gambling on making a preemie garment worked out. In the past I’ve made preemie size items and then babies have been born already too big for them, but the right size for newborns.

I have been taking advantage of some great summer yarn sales and now have a new pile of projects to add to the pile I had in progress! I keep telling myself crafting is therapeutic . I’ll be in ‘therapy’ a long time then. Back again soon …

Whilst waiting for the world to end, another yarn

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At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic it helped to be actually doing something rather than just waiting for the world to expire. The immediate shut down of the country and the curtailment of life as we knew it was a shock and amidst feeling scared and nervous creating things became urgent and necessary. I churned out one craft project after another. I finished knits, made new ones, crocheted, cut and stitched fabrics, made presents and created things to use myself right then. I indulged in my love of making things but it was also a lot about tidying up in the home, validating items, it even crossed my mind about what loved ones might have to sort out if I didn’t make it through Covid 19. I wanted to enjoy what I had whilst I was able to. I wanted others not to have to sort through half done projects and wonder what on earth I had ever planned with the bags and boxes of (in their eyes) ‘stuff’. I am not sure I even voiced this, except to myself. Days merged into one another.

As the weeks have gone by my craft progress has declined. Not gone away totally, just slowed. Making things seems less pressing. I was talking (online) to some crafting friends and most of us agreed we are all in less of a crafting frenzy. For some, trying to get back to anything resembling ‘normality’ is now more urgent. We have mostly settled into some kind of rhythm. We are all still creating – even if something is in a planning stage rather than physical. In my own house I look around the areas where I usually craft and there again are the carefree signs, half used balls of yarn, snippets of fabric, piles of things not being used and not put back in any order (yet).

One little project just finished. A baby blanket for perhaps a crib or travel seat. This became my knit to hand when I watched tv. I am still working on last week’s crochet top which is being redesigned as it progresses. More next time about that.

Please know, I am not undermining the care we all have to continue with in our daily lives, be it in the home or outside, be it no change at all for now. Stay safe.

Yarn and Fabric Stash Shrinking

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I am still using goodies I have at home to make useful (and not so useful but fun) things whilst in lockdown.

I was making a knitted mermaid for a little girl in my extended family but it beat me! The original tail and the reknit of the tail were a disaster. I now have something resembling the beginnings of a 1960’s toilet roll cover (think of a dolly with a skirt, this could be the ‘dolly’ as you don’t need to see legs or tail!).

With the little girl’s birthday now looming, emergency hooking took place. I knocked up a retro crochet cushion in 2 days. Then I made a round fabric cushion pad, crocheted some flowers, appliqued the first letter of her name on a bag and ‘hey presto’ – a pretty gift without leaving the house. Though now I do have to leave the house to go and post it!

The front in more detail
And here’s the back

This week I’ve also made several face masks. Mine are the pretty ones, the men in my house requested ‘plain’. Should we all be called to wear them whilst out in public we are prepared.

My last blog post mentioned a baby hoodie on the knitting needles. I am three quarters the way along. I shall return to that tonight once I’ve had a break.

So I’ll be off for now. Things to do. More stash to attack after a P O trip and a sit in the sunshine. Byee!

Today should have been a different day

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I should have been having surgery today. It was postponed in this current crisis. I totally understand why it’s not going ahead. I am glad not to have to risk being in a hospital perhaps rife with coronavirus and staff over stretched. I am glad not to have to face recovery without visitors coming in to cheer me up. I am glad I don’t have some life threatening condition that has to be ignored.

However, I am also a little sad. I am sad that this week isn’t happening the way I’d planned. I am sad that the recuperation at home with my husband to hand isn’t going to happen, although my husband is actually at home and working. I am sad that the mid term future might mean a holiday cancelled, surgery rebooked, help at hand different than expected. I am sad that my life will not change for several months, my condition won’t be fixed for a while.

I needed to say all this but I am fine. As the day progresses I shall craft a little, spend time with family, thank my lucky stars we are all safe. These few weeks have made me value some things a lot more.

It is perfectly acceptable to admit if you aren’t happy about everything. I am a woman, with many female friends, locked down in a house with a husband and grown up son. I know I, and friends too, use each other for sounding boards, to as I like to say ‘put the world to rights’. We are all in acceptance of what is going on right now and look forward to life after Corona and what it brings us, even if life is a little different from before.

So hopefully over the next few days they’ll be more posts with photos of knits and sewing projects, just maybe not today. Today there’s just a selection of needles ready to be donated to a second hand shop. One tiny part of my sorting out my craft stash!

Are you more proactive whilst we wait this out? Is being creative part of that?

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None of us could have imagined being told, as a nation, to stay home, to stay put, to remain at a social distance, to not see our friends and families. If you think back to January, the promises of a new year, can you remember what you hoped 2020 would bring? For me it certainly wasn’t curtailment. I live with family so I have company. Some of my friends and relatives live alone and they are already feeling low without company, despite social media, despite the telephone calls, despite interaction from a distance.

Today some members of my weekly craft group took part in an online video meeting. It perked many of us up and the opportunity to say hello and to do ‘show and tell’ of latest makes made it feel a little like a ‘normal’ Thursday morning get-together over coffee.

I recently read an article from someone who’d been in lockdown elsewhere for a few weeks. He explained how for the first 2 weeks the situation was choppy to deal with, he couldn’t really settle at much, watched way too many news reports, worried an awful lot. Then he said week 3 kicked in and he began to enjoy being slowed down, became more proactive and productive, albeit inside his home, he even thought positively about days and weeks ahead.

I think in a way, I am entering my ‘week 3 zone’, if I include the week before lockdown in the UK when I was at home supporting my husband getting over an operation. I really thought I’d relax more, sit around sewing or knitting whilst he slept or rested. However, I couldn’t settle to much and crafting took a bit of a back bench, just a few knit rows here and there.

So my ‘week 3’ – there’s progress on the mermaid and the blanket. I am jumping between projects because I need good daylight for the mermaid and have to count more, whereas the blanket needs less concentration and has become my go-to for tv time.

133 rows so far and still not looking like a mermaid yet!
On the home stretch, soon to be cast off and bordered.

I have even sewn a very little – part of an ongoing hexi patchwork project – a very little, mind you! Sometimes I wish the sofa throw I am working on had remained just a cushion project…

So there’s my show and tell. Where’s yours?

Growing stripes and Creative Loops

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January 13th and here’s the back of the new project

I’ve been catching up on tv missed over the Christmas season and getting on with the newest knitting project at the same time. I’ve done more than the back but when I decided to snap a photo this was the best I got in the mid afternoon light. I love there won’t be any sleeve seams to sew up (imagine a tshirt shape) but it’s a cardi so there are two fronts, they’ve each a cable, and then there’s the front edge to pick up and rib so it’s not all so simple.

January seems to be a time to catch up with things and to start anew. I belong to a lovely weekly craft group called In the Loop. Towards the end of last year we talked about a joint project, calling it ‘2020 Vision’. We thought about what that actually meant to each of us and the plan was to each create something for a communal display – few rules, mostly about colours and size but no media rules so your entry could be anything you like with anything that meant something to you – be it perfect vision, plans for the new year, seeing what others see and so on. Many of us knit, crochet or sew, others paint, draw, bead and/or enjoy a combination of all and try new crafts. Hopefully you can see quilting, rug making, painting, felting, dorset buttons, a crochet mandala and glass fusion here. My own part didn’t come to fruition and the communal display is already up in our local Southborough Library. I just wanted to share what friends had made and say how proud I am of them (and not of me!).

It was so difficult to get good photos, the display is in a window glass box, just about big enough for someone to get in and pin things up and from outside it was impossible to take photos without getting my own reflection or that of the buildings opposite!

I hope you like my groups talents.

I look forward whilst I glance back

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The start of a new project, with an unimpressed helper! Using DROPS yarn.

Returning from a New Year break in rural France I feel fired up to get on with new projects, tidy up old ones and reflect back on the successes and failures, craftwise, of 2019. A few days in the countryside with added trips to the coast has fed my imagination!

I am still on a journey to use up my stash of wool. I cast on my latest project 24th December, just after I’d finished my final Christmas gifts. Using Nepal and Alaska by DROPS Design and who doesn’t love a stripe or two?!

I was quite prolific last year, although there were gaps in creativity and not everything was a triumph. Luckily I blogged quite bit so there are truths to be told here and I realise some things didn’t even make it the page. I also learned a few things, one of which was a new crochet stitch. I have now made four things with hooks rather than knitting sticks, adding a different dimension to my crafting bow.

A mini summary of 2019 makes is:

Helping a friend with a baby knit project, knitting hats for the homeless, four baby/toddler cardigans, one set of booties, one scarf, one dreadful lacy top, handsewing a big handful of patchwork hexagons, machine sewing other patchwork (part of a throw and three elephants), bunting and Christmas decorations, two hats for a 3 year old, a baby tunic dress in clashing colours, and two crochet blankets (one a gift for MIL, brownie points here!) , and adding a big applique ‘M’ to a little girls’ book bag.

So onwards into 2020 what plans are afoot for all? Crafting – I intend to learn at least one new thing, not sure what it is yet!

A patchwork pig made for a table sale in 2019

The end of the rainbow and a quilt or two too

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I’d like to think there’s always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My ‘gold’ or my ‘reward’ is that I now have more time to work on other WIPs. Fellow crafters with mountains (or hillocks at least) of projects on the go may understand just that.

It took a few weeks but at last my mega kingsize crochet blanket is finished. The first photo was taken one morning, sun streaming in, the second one is not the best I admit, but this was taken in the twilight of the same evening and my cats had already dived onto the bed and ruffled it up. Now here’s a question – how do you stop cats padding and pulling on a woollen blanket??? This is not to be a precious blanket, after all it was a project to use up lots of my stash and is to be used, but it might be nice if it wasn’t snagged too much too quickly.

Due to other commitments and a winter cold too, I’ve not been here for a little while. I have had a few trips out enjoying others’ crafts, amongst which was one lovely little Quilting Show in Detling, Kent. There were a smattering of stalls and fabric jumped into my basket (more about that another day, one of my own quilt projects is already nine years in the making ..) but the exhibition showed some amazing skill. If I could have bottled a lot of it I would have, but here is just a little to share.

The Scandi Star was just amazing, enhanced by the simplicity of fabric colour, and the quilting was spectacular,

The more colourful quilts or panels hung as quilts were amazing. The creator made them as memories of places she’d been. You might recognise somewhere yourself, just like I did! My favourite over all was ‘Portugal’ – the tins of sardines! And I hate myself for not taking more details of the person who made these – I cannot scan in nearer and read her name, I obviously was just blinded by her style, I stood admiring for ages before the friend I was with dragged me off to see more. One day, I could be as talented as this (she says, maybe never).

Off to sew now for a little bit. I hope somewhere out there there are other crafters stitching or playing with knitting sticks or crochet hooks or felting needles or glueing with guns or pegging with nails (and so on and so forth) and they share their creations with us.

One Christmas gift looped, charity sewn up and I’m still crafting a rainbow

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The rainbow crochet blanket in my last post has been on temporary hold but it still takes pride of place in my cosy crafting nook and has a ‘turn’ once a day, albeit only a row (all 250 loops). I am determined it won’t be long before it’s finished.

Instead of my usual admission (or despair) that a new project ‘accidently’ jumped into my hands (it’s the lure of new yarn or the rediscovery of yarn or fabric in my stash that tempts me…), I am surprisingly pleased more than one did and I have finished these new projects quickly. So quickly I am having a little show and tell here.

With the festive season on it’s way I crocheted a Christmas lap blanket for the MIL. I haven’t crocheted much before but after a couple of wobbles I had the pace of shell stitch in the bag. Using James C Brett Marble Chunky yarn made it fast hooking and it self patterns no changes of colour nor ends to sew in (unlike the rainbow blanket, there are lots!).

Then onto a little playing with fabric.

Ready for part of a charity Christmas tree decoration project I sewed some mini bunting and pumpkin pincushions.

In the run up to Christmas our local churches will have decorated trees donated by local businesses and groups and anyone can go along and admire them (hopefully they will anyway). My Thursday morning crafting group (we all take various ‘talents’ to the table) will be decorating a non traditional tree in an alternative crafting style – not necessarily with a Christmas theme as you might be able to tell. I loved making these and an added bonus was that the fabric came from my stash and one of my promises to myself for 2018 was to reduce the stash it helped a little (a very little but still a little!)

So, that’s been my mischief for a couple of weeks. What’s been yours?