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New job/old job! Sew impossible today!

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I have a new job.  I start tomorrow.  Well, it is a new job, but it’s kind of an old job too.  I am returning to a Company I left more than five years ago, with a little more responsibility this time and perhaps a slightly different mindset. I am somewhat reassured I know what I’ve let myself in for, however I am also full of trepidation and cannot settle to anything today.

If a friend asked me whether they should return to a job they left I would probably say ‘don’t go back/move forwards’ for a whole host of reasons, especially if they left through choice, as I did.  I have mulled over this very thing. Circumstances have changed slightly, location of job for one.  The Company is moving forwards itself too.   I am hoping there is a mixture of knowing what I am doing, plus a few new challenges and new faces.

I am so lucky to be given this opportunity. However, I had kind of gotten used to not working! I’ve been crafting more and loving it. The job is only part time so I shall still sew and I shall still knit, perhaps not quite as manically, but hopefully as productively.  Today, however, it just isn’t happening –  I have picked up my sewing and held it for ages without stitching a stitch.  I have rummaged in the knitting bag next to my seat yet not been tempted to pick up sticks and actually knit. This feeling of being unsettled is just a temporary blip – I hope!

So, a few of pics of a recent trip to Devon, instead of the usual crafty updates in bulk! This part of the UK truly is a wonderful place.  Unfortunately for us, the drive there took 8 hours rather than 5, less said about that traumatic part of the trip the better !  Goodbye for now, back another day!

 

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Two weekends ago,  hubby and I posing in the sunshine at Salcombe.  Lovely place to visit !
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The view from where we stayed in Bigbury on Sea, across to Bantham Beach. Glorius!
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We walked across the sand to Burgh Island, took refreshments in the Pilchard Inn, thinking of the smugglers who frequented many moons ago!  You have to time your return if you want to walk back – if you miss the tide then there’s a sea tractor as otherwise you’d have to swim or wade !

Heirlooms? No Family Crafted Items survived, but memories do. A little current patchwork therapy too !

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I just read a lovely post, Blankets and Blessings, by thechickengrandma.wordpress.com and it has made me feel thoughtful about life, past and present (reblogged here on my site for interest and musings).

We all come from somewhere and someone.  When we are gone what do we pass on?

What kind of material history do we leave?  Some people say it’s not the material stuff that matters, and true, memories might matter more.  However, I am sure I am not the only one who would love to have more physical reminders occasionally.

I lost both parents (a mother and a stepfather I considered as my father for 30 years) but I often still feel a little lost myself, like a ship without a compass. I am in my 40’s, with a family of my own, and siblings too.  My parents were great influences, and of course I took them for granted, as all children do. I have many wonderful memories, and can pull those up in times of sadness.  I also have a couple of pieces of jewellery, of no value at all apart from sentimental.

There wasn’t a big collection of family hand me downs, not a heirloom christening gown, wedding dresses, memory quilts.  My mother and grandmother crafted all the time, however, nothing much was really kept.  Once it outgrew it’s purpose or fashion changed,  it was usually gifted to charity (that in itself is a kind and brilliant thing).   Perhaps some would say this was also a blessing, my siblings probably would, clearing the house there was lots of ‘stuff’. I kind of miss my grandmother’s handmade hexi quilt for one thing. I remember her making it, showing me how to cut hexigan shapes with card and cover them in fabric and I remember the quilt on her spare bed. Indeed, I have used this method myself to quilt and it reminds me of her (see below!). I miss my mother’s wedding dress. She had made it herself in 1961, though that’s a whole story in itself (my mother and true father divorced and my sister and I as children were allowed to play dressing up with her wedding dress!)   My mother sewed and knitted, she dabbled with macrame, tatting, crochet, many other things.  I remember she made floral displays from coloured stockings and wire (one even for her best friend’s wedding tiara!).  She made cards too sometimes.  She was pretty much an all-rounder craftwise (oh the hundreds of tea cosies she made for a local charity shop too.. flew off their shelves like hot cakes!) Nan was slightly less so, but she still knitted and sewed, and as a keen WI member she baked cakes and made jam, even writing this I can smell her kitchen.  The one thing I have of my Nan’s is a mixing bowl and I love using it occasionally, though also terrified of accidently breaking it as well. My Dad’s material legacy to me is very little, it’s more things he said and things he did that make me smile.

So, what will my own craft legacy be – if anything?  I knit, I sew, I dabble.  I have a son who has never wanted to craft and has no interest in anything I make.  I have a husband who tolerates the crafting chaos, and fakes an interest in completed items! I have gifted various knitted and sewn things to friends over the years and currently am doing so for new babies in the family and for friends.  Perhaps they will become their family heirlooms, or perhaps not.  Who knows?  I would like to think in years ahead someone might find something I made in a long lost storage box and be delighted to rediscover it!

Many current WIPS. One is this …..

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I started with a few hexagons about six years ago, a project that was going to be a large cushion, but having rediscovered it I am going to make a lot more and turn it all into a throw for a sofa.  Not an urgent project, more like an ergonomic past time that will be dipped into over months and years!  Don’t expect to see the finished item here too soon! 

Signing out for now. Feeling nostalgic having had a couple of recent big family celebrations.
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A week of stitching

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Over the Easter weekend I was poorly, but I did get a little stitching in before the weekend and a lot (a lot!) since then. I’ve been having a sewfest (if there is a word – or if there isn’t one, there should be).  It’s been like an obsession.  Whenever I could I sat and stitched, pieced fabrics together, played with design,  patchworked, quilted, sorted fabrics, etc.  I’ve made mistakes, undone the mistakes, restitched, rejigged old patterns, browsed sewing books and so on and so on.  It’s been total indulgence in my crafting world.

I started with the beginnings of a bright green and orange quilted playmat, the cutest nursery prints, mostly fabrics donated to me by a very good friend.  She heard I was sorting out my stash and thought she would add to it. It was so much fun chopping up fabric and piecing it back together.  The top went well and I was on a roll!  In fact, we sat and quilted together. The backing was not quite as successful… more later.

Next I undid a peg bag I had started two weeks ago – I wasn’t pleased with it, slightly skew on the measurings.

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Second time lucky – ta dah!

 

Then I was sorting through some more of the fabric from the same friend. I found the beginnings of a baby patchwork quilt – I asked what she might have been making and for whom – she couldn’t remember! There were random sized strips stitched together – the prettiest designs in pinks and yellows.  I turned it into a bag, lining it with dotty pink fabric from my stash (so I did get to use some of my fabric after all).  I tried to follow a pattern in a book – which presumed you knew a lot about making bags – well, that was fun (sarcastically said, there was more than one attempt with the lining and a lot of frustration!)  Still, you learn a lot as you go sometimes, and I learnt a lot this time!.

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Then I still had some of the same fabric left.  I pieced it, backed it, quilted it, chopped it, added a zip – and voila – a fabric pouch. I based this on a previous project, which I still use as a make up pouch.  However, my own one had nasty raw seams inside.  This one, has posh french seaming. Having only done french seams once before I was quite proud of myself. Now who wouldn’t be happy to have this for girly bits and bobs such as hair accessories?

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And then that pouch got a brother – in blues and greens – maybe not for hair accessories this time –  for a picnic bag/day out bag to store tissues and wet wipes 

You can see a few things went well.  Back to the first project, that baby quilt.  I attempted the backing, totally off kilter – I was still feeling under the weather.  I should never craft when I am poorly. Whether it’s sewing or knitting, it just does not go well! So, off came No 1 backing.  A trip to a fabric shop later (why is it sometimes your stash does just not have the right fabric for the job?)  and No 2 backing was perfect.  Just to add the quilt padding, stitching the opening and then maybe hand tying, or maybe not – when finished it will be on show here.

As for what’s going on around me the rest of the week? We are currently having a new roof on our house.  There is noise and chaos surrounding me! I am squirrelled away indoors.  Occasionally I step out of the front door, look up for falling debris, before offering the roofers more tea and biscuits.  A happy builder is one full of tea and biscuits I find! So far, so good. Two skips full of 80+year clay tiles, one wasps nest discovered.

Bye for now.  Back to creating.

Quilted beginning of something .. a few weeks of creation and a show of textile artistry.

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Quilted beginning of something

I haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet!

 

I just discovered this draft blog post from a while ago – I was ‘cleaning’ up things on my laptop – I can’t believe I missed posting this.  I guess at the time my blogging practice was poor or the internet signal failed and I just didn’t remember to press ‘send’ .  What a fail!

Well, this lovely piece of patchwork turned into a sewing machine cover.  I have been sewing quite a lot over the last two weeks and every time I reveal my machine it brings me a little delight.

I have a Juki HZL-e80 machine purchased a few years ago from World of Sewing in Bromley, Kent.  https://www.worldofsewing.com

Yesterday, whilst sewing with a friend – a lovely day spent together quilting – more to follow on my next post about that – we were chatting about what we like about our machines and why we bought them.  For me, it was several things – the automatic needle threader,  thread cutter attachment, the use of a stop/start button as an alternative to a foot pedal, the fact you can slow the sewing speed down (from hare to a tortoise!), the selection of embroidery stitches, the weight of the machine – at the time it was a huge leap up from my second hand old Singer which had been struggling on for eons!  I guess, you can make more with the correct tools.  I was so fed up with my old machine grabbing the thread around the bobbin spool and it was clunky and so heavy to move from the cupboard to the table.

I am so inspired by what I see friends make and from the online world, either through blogs or Pinterest (there’s how to lose a few hours!).  I have been loving my latest creative weeks – there are not enough hours in the day to sew and to knit!  I am between ‘real’ jobs and it’s been marvellous to just enjoy creating and trying to use some of my fabric and yarn stash.

I love to see what others make – even considered eventually opening my own Etsy shop, but that’s a long way off.

At a recent trip to a local craft fair – a recce to see what sells (!) – there was a fantastic textile exhibition.  I loved one person’s work in particular, which included a mini hexagan patchwork quilt (no photo here), embroidery of the most colourful kind, and other embroideries on reclaimed antimassacars !  Adding just a few photos – on this occasion real snapshots only.

I hope you like what you see here.

 

A little sewing progress

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I’ve been under the weather so not written for a few days and have a little catching up to do in many ways.

I was able to get a couple of crafty things done, in between resting and being a mum for a few days now Number 1 son (and only son) is home for the Easter holidays.

Two mini embroidery hoops, stitched, embroideryhoopssewn, already popped to the local cafe to add to their collection of pretty things for sale.  I am so lucky to showcase my items for sale, love The Teashop at Downe, for this opportunity. (And I have sold a couple of tiny items so that’s a good start!) I am still keeping to the ‘teashop’ ‘cakeshop’ theme deliberately.  These are about 10cm in diameter, they looked fabulous hanging from little hooks on the dresser in the shop!

Over two days I finished knitting another top down baby cardigan – a replica of one I made a couple of weeks ago. That worked out fine, using a finer yarn so the top came out smaller, which was perfect.  I tried to sew the buttons on the day after the knitting was done, in the fug of being under the weather.  Ha ha, crafting was not a good idea that day!  Even three buttons was a challenge.  You know those days when you can’t sew on buttons to match the buttonholes?   It was one of those. So, a job for today and to show here when finished.   Great pattern on Ravelry.com All-In-One Sleeveless Baby Top (6 months) & (9 – 12 months) by marianna mel

I also have plans to make a small quilted playmat for another friend’s baby due in the summer.  We’ve just been told to expect a boy so I have a great selection of ‘boys’ fabric in my stash and a lovely friend has donated more so watch this space.  I am a basic patchworker so look at the fabric rather than the technique when you see it!

Ta ta for now. Have a great day.

 

 

NaKniCromo done !

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The Ravelry challenge is over today.  To finish what I started –

 

Day 30 – 30th March 2017 – what crafts would I like to learn? There must be a whole host of undiscovered crafts out there, ones I have never had a whiff of!   I can think of a few I am not interested in but there must be so many more and I look forward to finding them.

Day 31 – today – end results – two completed baby jackets, both photographed recently, three quarters of a cardigan for me, also photographed in progress – that’s one thing I had really hoped to complete!  I have sewn as well as knitted – I made felted doughnuts – 10 large, 10 small, 4 embroidery hoops with freehand machine embroidery and hand stitching, a french stick bag – oh I haven’t photographed that yet – that’s for me to take to our house in France.  It’s taken 10 years of saying ‘I really could do with some kind of long bag to keep our bread in!  I have semi-sorted my yarn stash, been shocked at how much I had and why I purchased a lot of it.  I’ve sold 11 lots of yarn in online auctions and gifted two bags of crafting things to charity. All in all my crafting world at home has been attacked and it felt good.

Spring has sprung here in the UK.  Perhaps a lot of this sorting out has been a little bit of a Spring Clean!  I made an awful mess along the way!

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Books, sewing, family, France, knitting, cooking – in no particular order – what’s important to me

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I knit, I sew, I am a wife, mother, lover of France and French things, I like to cook, I also love to read and belong to a book club.  My book club is not high brow.  Is my book club unusual?  I don’t think so.  I meet friends once a month, we talk about a book or two, we talk about life as well. We take it in turns to choose the book.  We usually avoid biographies and we definitely avoid science fiction.

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Over the years we’ve delved into a large handful of titles, sometimes with a similar theme, sometimes not.  We have loved some, hated some, been on the fence about some, wished we hadn’t read some, been embarrassed about some (!)  We all agree sometimes the title/blurb isn’t one we would personally opt for but we all read each others choices.  Well, we all try to read them, very occasionally someone is beaten, either because they are struggling with content or running out of reading time.  (We are all human, no one gets beaten up for not finishing or enjoying a book!)  I took offence at some of the words in Virginia Ironside’s article about book clubs.  Thank goodness the world and it’s inhabitants aren’t all the same!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4261782/Why-hate-book-clubs-author-VIRGINIA-IRONSIDE.html?ito=email_share_article-top

I go to two craft clubs.  One is knit-only.  One is for whatever craft you are enjoying at the moment.  Nobody criticise’s each others work or enjoyment of it.  Are crafters more complimentary to each other?  As Ms Ironside says ‘you get something at the end of a knitting bee’.  I get something at the end of a book club meeting – a good feeling inside that I spent some time with friends

Don’t criticise something somebody else does just because you don’t like it yourself. Respect other people.

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