crafting.

I’m feeling a little rested, a little smaller and right now life’s good, if a little stripey

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It’s wonderful to grab some winter sunshine when the UK is starting to turn grey. I have recently returned from the lovely island of Antigua.  It was a week of R&R, quality time spent with hubby and memories to keep me going as the days turn shorter, the temperature declines and Christmas tunes start playing in each and every corner.

Here’s the view from one of the beaches on Green Island – we had a little boat trip there one morning.  The sea was clear.  The sands were white.  Wish I was there now …  (I thought so much of this yesterday when we had torrential rain, thunder then hailstones here in Kent!)

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Browsing through recent snaps I also looked at photos of a holiday in September last year.  It was a wonderful trip to Mauritius.  Again, a week of R&R. (Very indulgent, very lucky I know.) Being particularly self critical (who isn’t when faced with themselves in swimwear?!), I hate every photo of myself as I had never been as big as I was then.  It inspired me to lose weight, which has been a steady journey and occasionally I can remind myself on days like today, that it has been worth it.  I am lighter, a dress size smaller and I feel fitter than I have for a long time. Yes I fall off the sensible eating wagon sometimes but overall it’s going the right way.

As regards crafting progress: Over the last few months I had been slacking and I wasn’t particularly proud of myself.  I couldn’t settle into anything.  I got distracted easily, switching between a little knitting, going wrong, ripping it back, reknitting, summer projects didn’t get finished, last winter’s projects still lay half done.  I tried to sew, I cut fabric out. cut wrong, changed projects, didn’t do it well. I embroidered a bit, not a lot, I even tried to tackle a sweet little embroidery that’s been in a hoop for several years.  Nothing was working.

Now it’s November and a good friend needs hats for a charity sale.  It’s got me back into knitting and I have to say SUCCESSFULLY FINISHING too.  I am using up some yarn scraps. The styles and sizes are flexible.  I love stripes and pompoms so I guess there will be a few more like these.

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All in all it’s a perfect start to hopefully a good winter and a good winter knitting season.  I knit more in the winter.  I expect many of us do.  Do you?

Here’s wishing you all a happy November.

 

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Knitting WIPS or WNIPS and other acronyms

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It’s rather hot to knit so I have just renamed the two knitting projects beside me WNIPS – adding a ‘NOT’ to the WORKS IN PROGRESS acronym.  You see, I stalled with one a while ago when I got to a tricky part.  I then started a simple new project in cotton, hoping simple and quick would mean I could wear it this summer – oh no chance – it grew and it grew and it grew until I realised the raglan shaping meant it would only fit a chimpanzee with very long arms so it’s been RIPPED right back to a pile of balls.  For me, this is actually pretty good, being as it is not a UFO for the next few months or years – to unravel and add it to the STABLE is actually better than rediscovering it in a bag or a drawer later.*

I have managed to do a little more machine sewing, so the mini pile of blue piecing for a quilt top has grown.  I shall pop photos up another day.  I hadn’t realised just how many squares I needed to make a cover for a single sized bed so it is a longer project than anticipated but I haven’t ‘redesigned’ it yet and I haven’t decided to make a cushion instead (ie. cheating!).

I hope others are crafting more efficiently than me !

 

As a key for those who don’t know:

WIP – Works in progress

RIPPING or FROGGING – undoing a yarn project making ripping or frogging sounds as you do it !

UFO – Unfinished Object

STABLE – Stash beyond life expectancy

Bazaar – India brought to Kent

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Last Friday I went to a wonderful sale of items from India.  There were amazing goodies to admire and purchase, from fabrics, clothes, beads, handmade papers, purses, bags, ribbons, sari silks, mirrors for shisha, in fact think of many things to adorn yourself or your surroundings and they probably had it there. The sale was housed in a beautiful barn at a country pub in Kent, itself a fantastic building, let alone draped with Indian finery with the scents of incense burning. * ‘Bazaar’ is the creation of Joanna Hall, a Textile and Fashion Designer from Hildenborough in Kent who has been working alongside crafts people in India for more than 19 years.

She works mainly in Rajasthan with weavers, block printers, tailors, jewellers and women who do embroidery, beading and fringing. She manufactures her designs of clothing, jewellery and gifts through a web of trusted craftspeople she has befriended during this time. She also buys and collects from the items they have already designed and are making themselves. *

Lucky for us there was also an area in the garden where workshops were run and we could try out printing with wooden blocks.  This ‘marquee’ was tented in wonderful fabrics and here’s a few pics to share.  Sadly I was unable to get any pics of the barn itself but you can see more if you click onto the website. http://www.bazaarshop.co.uk/events

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Some of us deciding where to start with our block printing

And then some of our results, by no means professional but what a fun crafting session.  Of course, I popped back into the sale room and purchased a wooden printing block !

*Source: the Bazaar website, as shown above.

 

More bunting and beach huts, a little bit of early summer

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Lovely readers know I adore bunting and beach huts.  Recently I blogged about both.

I had made some bunting to donate to a friend for a charity event. I used cotton fabric from my fabric stash which I’d been holding onto for something special. I loved it so much it was almost difficult to gift it! Therefore I made another length for myself.

 

We’ve just been away to France for a few days.  We had glorious sunshine, mostly.

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Here’s my bunting, in situ, decorating the outside of our house in France! 

A little visit to a nearby town, Houlgate, reminded me of the inspiration for the beach hut in another recent blog post (on the right!)

https://handmadehomemadeknitstitchdesign.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/crafting-sharing-beach-huts-and-bunting/

Houlgate has this great line of beach huts, each year reconstructed on the promenade.  I often wonder where they go for the winter. This year we were there when workmen were putting together the last few and lining them all up ready for their summer use. They are numbered, some are named and even though I have been visiting for more than ten years I have never counted how many there are.  In this photo the last one is number 154 !   Some numbers are missing, some are in better condition than others, but they are all orange and white stripes.

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As for crafting over the last few days… here’s a snippet of me one afternoon …

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Knitting and sewing is high on the agenda at the moment but so is getting a little bronzed !

Where do you like to knit if you get the chance?

 

Christmas Reveal – 2 for 1

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I promised to reveal what was made with this

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I gifted a finished item it to a friend and couldn’t show off here before Christmas (or her birthday!)

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Ta da!  Just a hat, but a great knit. I loved making it so much and I had enough yarn left – so I made another one exactly the same for myself.  We live about 180 miles away from each other so there is little chance we will bump into each other wearing it – though maybe that would be fun!

I hope you all had a good Christmas.  I know I overindulged with foodie treats, chilled out a bit and knitted little.  Who was able to knit or craft a lot? I hope some of you.  Between chopping veg, peeling sprouts, dashing in and out of the kitchen, topping up glasses and plates that there was little time to think about picking up pins and yarn, though I did fix a little error on one WIP Boxing Day evening, more of that to be shown off here later in the week hopefully.  Loving working with DROPS Nepal wool (there’s a hint of more to come.)

I am already thinking about the changes I shall make for the better in 2018. There will be more organised crafting time for one thing.  There will be a little entrepreneurial thinking, some work will be sorted and I shall spend more time with loved ones far and near.  I shall be glad to see 2017 gone.

If you are on a mid Christmas/New Year break then I hope you are having fun.

 

Time to reflect, after a series of crises

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I often feel my life swings from one crisis to another.  When did it all start? (Crises that is, not life!)

Childhood was happy and simple.  I would love to be able to thank my parents properly but sadly they both passed a few years ago. I was kind of able to say thanks when I spent some time with my mother in her final days but it was not enough and time was short.  I hope she had the same happiness with parenting that I had with childhood.

Perhaps for most people childhood is rosy!  I hope I have been able to give mainly happy memories to my own son.  At the moment I believe my husband and I are deemed as slightly demented, crazy people who were ‘never young’, dare I say the usual thoughts of a young adult these days about anyone over 35!

Perhaps the appreciation of your own parents only comes into it’s own as you age yourself. I think the first time I truly reflected on parenting was on my wedding day.  I had already left home and was living with my fiance but it still felt like leaving the fold of my first family to join my second.

Recently there has been another very sad passing of a dear family member. The final illness was quite lengthy which was dreadful for the sufferer.  However, the weeks gave each of us time to say our goodbyes and remember good times.  I am still deciding in my own head whether this long drawn out end of life was cruel or kind.  It should not be a shock, but it still feels like it.

This passing came a little time after a career crisis for me, followed by a new job offer, accepted under pressure.  During the same period a family member’s plans to return home gave way and a move for that person to go abroad for a year came to the fore.  A new baby in the family was born safely and on time, after several weeks of anticipation of an early and problematic birth.  Husband has a very pressurised job, which recently meant more time away from home, more long working hours, distractions from the business when at home too.  We had a major job done on the house, with builders here for a few weeks and a major job done at our holiday home so lots of decision making done remotely, which is stressful in itself. Our usual holidays at Easter and May Day were deferred due to the happenings about us.  Finally we had three nights and four days away last weekend and that’s when this latest sad crisis occurred.

Of course, now is the time to be there for each other, look after each other, a funeral to get through and the weeks after.

We will survive, but feeling a little battered and bruised.

Still crafting occasionally,  a little ‘therapy’ and me time.  Projects on the table: a patchwork and applique runner for a craft fair (see post a couple of weeks ago for Countryside ideas), ongoing English paper piecing hexagons patchwork throw (see post a few weeks ago!), newly cast on cotton summer top (knitting), almost finished knitted summer vest (just fixing errors on the neck pick up which originally was a disaster), more felt doughnuts to sell …. loads more projects but they are in hiding right now.  No photos to share at the mo but there will be.

Signing out for now.

 

 

 

2017 Plans to knit and to sew and to create not just think about it !

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I just read Jenny Stilwell’s blog and it made me think how I didn’t keep up with my own 2016 plans. https://jensewsandknits.com/author/flickchickknits/

I quote ‘Sewing has really fallen by the wayside in 2016 and in the coming year I will be sewing a minimum of 4 hours every week. This will be put in my calender as a normal appointment and I plan on treating it as a work date so cannot be cancelled unless I am away.’

What a great idea.  I have often felt guilty to put my creative time above other things and although I have crafted a lot over the years, I have never formally made time for it unless it has been at a club outside the home.  I have for 2 years given myself ‘me time’ at a lovely craft and coffee club on a Thursday morning – it’s a great meet up of like-minded crafters and we have crafted together and sunk many a cappucino whilst putting the world to rights.  However, it isn’t intense crafting time, distractions are indeed welcome and indeed meeting the others during that time in part is for companionship and inspiration is plentiful.  I do not give up my Thursday mornings unless there is an emergency! However, I just don’t seem to get enough actual crafting done some weeks.  I shall seriously think about popping formal crafting time into my diary just like a work appointment.  Thank you Jen, I feel almost like I have had permission to do so!  Thursdays may become the day for myself and my needles, be it knitting or sewing ones.

Saying that… I haven’t been idle since 2017 began.  Last weekend I made the most gorgeous baby blanket.  I loved it! I loved the yarn! I loved the pattern! I love the finished item!  I feel I have found delight again in knitting.  I have knitted for years, have many WIPs, have had successes and disasters, but this one project was such a pure pleasure to make. It was quick, it worked, it is a gift ready well before the gift date. It is the first of many new projects for 2017.