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.
Just showing and telling today. I am so happy to have finished this latest project. I’d almost forgotten how much extra knitting there is when you are making a hood, it felt like it went on forever! Then, there’s the button band. I have to say I love the result (complete with 5 perfect buttons sent down to me by a good friend, Tintin, love to mention you here if you are reading this!) but I was glad to be done with this one. It’s a gift for a new baby to be in the family in August – for once I am ahead of the game and am finished on time, even early! I can’t believe there’ll be two new babies this year.
I’m not certain I ‘showed and told’ about what I did with the rest of the fabric I rediscovered and made a peg bag with either. This was two weeks ago. I recovered 5 dining chair seat pads (two in this pic) and then with another complimentary fabric made another pad to complete the dining room set of chairs. I had been putting up with horrible old and stained seat cushions for years! It’s only in lockdown I actually got on with this job!
I am not sure if my mind is just going into overdrive during lockdown or it’s just I can’t settle to one thing days. I seem to be more prolific, churning out things I’ve made, but sporadically – if that makes sense. I work hard on one or two things for a few days then sit and vegetate and watch rubbish tv for a few days. Bizarre times! I am discovering half finished projects, some make it to the ‘to be finished’ pile, others are resigned to the ‘not sure’ pile and some even make it to the ‘ripped back or thrown out’ pile. I am talking knitting, sewing and crochet here. On Thursday I found another bag with two half knitted girls’ cardigans. These were only from last autumn. They’ve been ripped back and will turn into something different. When I looked at them I know why I’d stopped – just didn’t like the colour combo nor the drape of the yarn. Why do I give up so often?
Anyway, hopefully more newly created items over the next few weeks. Please come back and take a peek.
An untidy photo… A project I started when I worked in a haberdashery/ fabric shop about ten years ago. I helped customers choose fabrics for their own projects and it was so tempting to spend much of my salary on fabrics for me too. I didn’t get very far in the making at that actual time, a big pile of hexies, a vague plan that I may end up with a patchwork cushion. Then I left the job, I looked at what I’d got and the wonkiness of my attempts went into the pile of UFOs. Enthusiasm took a super nose dive.
Over the next few years I occasionally revisited the pile. It always reminded me of my late Nan who’d taught me English Paper Piecing. She had a penchant for wonkiness! Sometimes purchasing a little fabric if I came across autumn shades with a flora and fauna theme turned the cushion plan into a sofa throw plan. It grew very slowly and only very occasionally. I even blogged about it once. (I am a knitter and a Mum, life just takes over!) .
Lately I dived back into the box of hexies. I realised a reason this project wasn’t one I was desperate to finish – I had all these groups of hexagons and there was one round of hexies that didn’t sit well with the others – so I took it off the pile and new enthusiasm just leapt out at me. With the help of a friend with a good eye for colour I even went and found the perfect shade to (hopefully) meld them all together.
A little progress, reusing greetings cards as templates. I re-enjoy messages sent to our house. Somewhat fitting right now as there are Christmas cards amongst the pile.
Here’s a bit more, with the olive-y shade marrying the larger hexies. I DO know there may be another few years (hopefully not ten!) before I finish this project. Handsewing is very time-consuming, sewing in good light is an issue, finding my glasses sometimes is too (!), wonkiness is definitely a big part (I am learning to ‘wiggle’ the joins where necessary). It is not perfect but it’s perfect for me in many ways. Not only do I get ‘Nan’ memories, I see messages of kindness within the cards and I think perhaps this hasn’t been a total waste of time and money. I may ask for advice here for borders and finishing when the time comes.
There’s an imminent need for a pause to this project again. I have knitted Christmas presents to complete and as that date is immovable (and the children may grow so their gifts can’t be gifted to them next year) I must dash back to those and return to my quilting indulgence right after.
Bye for now.
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.
My last blog post was about progress and deciding to tackle another WIP. I put aside a pale green scarf and picked up a half-done cotton summer top.
So, I ripped back, knit, undid a few rows, found a fault, knitted again, found a dropped stitch, couldn’t pick it up, ripped back, continued (you get the idea!). Then yesterday I finally started sewing up and I am now on the home stretch. I am feeling rather proud this WIP has finally progressed but am frustrated this fairly easy knit nearly beat me, probably as I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, changed stitch count and sizing along the way.
Over the last couple of weeks I also thought about my fabric WIPs, none of which are top of the pile to revisit. Mine will be nothing as gorgeous of these, but wanted to share here to help inspire others. This first one is hanging in our local library. It is a work by Orpington Quilters Group. Beautiful, isn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t hung well, I couldn’t get a better photo of the whole quilt.
This fantastic one was made by a friend at my knitting group. It is her very first foray into quilting, techniques learnt at a Beginner’s quilting group. Despite (again) my photography skills I hope you think it’s fantastic too. Anne, beginner quilter extraordinaire you have definitely inspired me to do better and in particular try the quilt as you go method. I was wondering how I was ever going to tackle the length and breadth of one of my half done quilts!
I have taken a little break this week from lacy knitting and ‘rediscovered’ an ongoing patchwork project which I have been dipping in and out of for about eight or nine years! This started off in my head as a cushion but I actually love making these these carded hexagons (reminds me of my grandmother teaching me how), so it’s progressed to a sofa throw and is now to become a bed throw, though it will be a while before it is finished and that’s totally ok for me. I like organic crafts and a change is as good as a rest. It uses mostly fabric from my stash with a little added here and there. I am sure I will be back to knitting soon.
I visited a friend’s mother yesterday. She has been stitching for most of her 75 years. I envy her houseful of patchwork throws and cushions. She even has one that was her own mother’s. Maybe one day someone might envy my own houseful of handicrafts. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?
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!
I am having a play this week with my fabric stash. I have a beautiful selection of blues and I would love to make a new bedcover for a guest room. I have been hanging onto some of this for years, waiting for an idea to come to fruition. This is a start, it will be ongoing amongst all my other WIPS. I am not a proficient quilter but I am gaining knowledge and momentum (and also gaining the odd headache as I cut incorrectly or realise I prefer some fabrics to others!). I would love to see others current quilt projects this week. Anyone?
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
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.