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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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

Rejection: degrading? grounding? just life?

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I read a blog post today that made me think about how being rejected helps to shape you as an individual. Unfortunately that post did not allow comment, thus my musings here.  It spoke not of romantic rejection but of the rejection of a personal creation.  In that instance it was something turned down by a publisher.

Luckily I have not suffered the same rejection, I have only dabbled when writing. I have had the odd letter published in newspapers and when I was in my 20’s I wrote to a magazine with my views on infertility wishing to remain anonymous.  When asked by that magazine to be named I turned it down and thus rejected them.  At the time remaining nameless was absolutely necessary for me.

I have encountered job rejection, though not too recently. When younger, I moved on quickly and easily.  As I got older it took longer to get over it but eventually one does and often it can lead to something better.

I had my fair share of romantic rejection in the long and distant past (who didn’t?).  At times I thought my love life would be over forever (woe oh woe!). I kissed a few frogs before finding my prince unexpectedly, and we are still together many, many moons later.

I had never particularly thought of having something I’d made (or created) being rejected. Yes, I have knitted, sewn, painted things for Table Sales or for gifts.  Some things haven’t sold and I understand others weren’t as appreciated as I hoped they would be.  I guess you could of call those as being ‘rejected’. In fact sometimes the things I loved most were the things others didn’t like at all!

Rejection is part of life.  It happens to us all.  It’s how we deal with it that makes and shapes us.  Family, friends and a strong word to oneself helps.  There is no time limit to picking yourself up and feeling better.  It’s understanding why it happened and how you get past it.  It’s embracing the new opportunity you have been given.  It is a lesson to be learned at any stage, at any age.  We can all flourish after rejection.

 

 

 

 

 

Crafting Q & A

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It’s Bank Holiday Monday and I have the blues.  Having returned from holiday I can’t get on with anything – even crafting!

I am joining in a Crafting Q&A by Nothing But Knit!  to try and inspire me.

1.Do you have a favorite crafting tool?

Currently slightly in love with my new tape measure – it’s pistachio green, lives in a clear circular pot with a lid, purchased in a French market.

2. Which do you prefer when you craft: listening to a podcast or music, watching something on tv or silence?

When knitting something simple, I like the tv on.  When sewing with my machine, I love to go through my cd collection and often find myself having a sing song along.

3. Do you have a favorite designer that you’d like to recommend?

Not really.  Sorry!  I would love to have one but choose designs by pattern rather than designer.

4. Most people have a favorite color, do you find you use it more than other colors? Is there a color you avoid? Why?

I use a lot of green when knitting and sewing – usually bold and vibrant, though not neon and definitely not sludge green.

I usually avoid black as it is harder to work with if the light isn’t good.  I recently tried knitting with black with silver glitter running through it and I still struggled to find dropped stitches and count rows!  It became an abandonned project!

5. Have you experienced a crafting injury? If yes, what.

As most knitters, RSI wrist injury from ‘just doing one more row’.  We all know how to sit properly and to take breaks but sometimes you’ve just gotta keep knitting!

Can I add a different craft style ‘injury’ ?  My poor car had a hole in it’s upholstery from a knitting needle – my craft bag got squashed into the back of a seat and punctured the leather.

Nothing much going on otherwise.  Next to me sits two craft bags of knitting projects.  One pattern has stumped me and I can’t face tackling it again today.  The other I am just fed up with and I am not sure I will like it when it’s finished.  I feel at least one of these will be frogged .. and the quilting project started before my holiday sits idling in another room – none of these are urgent, luckily!  Perhaps I need to choose more projects with a time frame planned.  I know I need to finish more rather than start new ones.  Mind you last week a niece confirmed she was having her second baby early in the new year, a little girl, so I can feel a pink or lilac project looming …

Bye for now.  Happy crafting!

 

Hastings, knitting WIPs and a little blue quilting

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I have said before that it has been a little too hot to knit in this heatwave. Luckily I have no deadlines for my plethora of WIPs or else I’d be in trouble. I have been able to progress a little on my sewing project – mid afternoon the workspace in my dining room is cool – so I have been taking up residence there and working on my quilt top. It’s been a pleasure to play fabric piecing. I won’t lie that it is working perfectly, there will be a few wiggles in the finished quilt and a lot of adjustments along the way.  I know the theory that cutting accurately is the essential part of quilt making  – read this again – IN THEORY (!)

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For me, the coast is always an attraction come rain or shine, however in this constant heat it is more so.  I fitted in a little seaside trip.  A little bit of Hastings consoles my soul, for the vista and also the memories of living here as a child. I often wonder why I ‘landed’ inland and how long I can remain here.

Right this minute I am wondering if I chose blue quilt pieces as they remind me of the sea and the sky. Here are the cliffs and the beach at Rock a Nore and looking around the headland towards Fairlight (there used to be a nudist beach around the headland, not sure if there still is!)

 

What makes us choose the colours we work with? Anyone have stories about just that?

Sewist? Sewer? Stitcher? What do you call yourself when you are sewing?

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I can’t get enough crafting this week.  If I sit and do nothing my mind whirrs and I can’t settle. I have knitted, sewn, painted, mended, scanned books for new projects, even tidied my craft room a little (hubby thinks the last bit is the best bit!)

I think it’s because I was stressed recently about an impending surgery (which has been done and was successful and now I feel fine, thank you very much). Most of my WIPS had stalled over the last few weeks due to mistakes and mishaps (possibly also partly due to the stress of the impending surgery) and also that I hand a slight hand issue which meant I started things and had to give up due to discomfort.  All in all, not a good time as a crafter. The hand issue may or may not have gone away, however, so I am just enjoying the opportunities now.

So, my latest new project, started and finished in a few hours.  This is a great FEAT for me.  I do not yet have a good photo of this – I am on my own and can’t take a photo of myself wearing these – so they look large and slightly weird, just scattered on a surface.  I can do better with photos, I will do better, don’t judge me.  I just NEEDED to share NOW!

Summer cotton shorts, cute lifebelt fabric, these are going to be so easy to wear!  Am I a sewist or a sewer?  I reckon sewist sounds slightly better, don’t you?

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I should have ripped it back, a lesson learned

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Today, a gorgeous sunny Sunday here in Kent, I am wearing a cotton summer top I knitted last year.  I loved the cotton I knitted with (Paintbox DK from Loveknitting.com). When the back and front were finished I sewed it together and finished the armholes and neck.  The neck looked awful, lumpy and bumpy, not a good finish! It is often more difficult to get a neat finish with a cotton or cotton mix, based on past experience. I added some extra rows and attempted to make the neck edge roll back on itself to neaten it up.  I had an idea that if I added a lace trim it would enhance the neck and be a ‘feature’.  I should have ripped it back there and then but I didn’t.

So I tried the top on ….

I have no idea why I waited until the final furlong.  It fits badly.  It is too snug in places, but too wide across the shoulders and chest (think of me as a lumpy triangle, narrow on the top, getting wider across the bottom (!).  This is not a flattering photo, deliberately to show off a bad knit, ha ha! It’s the top’s first foray into the limelight. I am wearing it with some fabric shorts I sewed in February this year (love the shorts and they fit well). I have just been in my garden enjoying the sunshine. I could have gifted this top straight away to someone else or to a charity shop, however I decided to wear it and work out exactly what I shall change when I made Version 2.  Such an easy knit.  Such a dumb mistake.  I have plenty more yarn to make a different size or a striped one, minus the lace, with a different neck finish.  Wish me luck!

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