sewing

Painted yarn bowl makes knitting pretty ! (Nearing the end of NaKniCromo on Ravelry too)

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I decorated a pottery yarn bowl at a Pottery Painting shop early this month – oh what fun !  I was slightly worried my attempt at painting anything might look like a child’s artistry (my ‘skills’ tend to be woolly or in fabric) but luckily with a little help of a ‘magic’ paint I think the finished product was a success. I was reluctant to post pics until it was fired in case it was a disaster.yarn bowls

https://www.emmaspotteryparlour.com/

Mine’s on the left.  I painted a pattern you can’t see too well(!),  covered it with a white glaze that went black and ‘cracked’ on firing.  My friend Susan (her bowl on the right) was painted in green/blue, then a grey glaze was painted on and the ‘bit’s in the glaze exploded on firing changing the colour and giving a lovely marbled effect.

 

Finished and in use !

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So, Love this Cardigan is growing.  DSC02277

Now I have the two fronts and almost the front.  Meribel yarn by Schoeller and Stahl is lovely to work with but will be a nightmare to sew up with so I am scrabbling around in my stash to find a good sewing up yarn, one that won’t break when I pull together mattress stitch.

 

 

 

NaKniCromo, the yarn challenge for March on Ravelry.com is almost over.

Day 26 Projectless yarn? Yes – lots of it – here is just some ….DSC02209 and currently sorting my stash so much more is projectless.

Day 27 – For those who know me, I am never working on one thing at the same time.  I have ‘easy’ knitting which is portable (eg in the car or with me for knit club when I can chat, drink coffee and not go home with mistakes that need ripping out later), then slightly more difficult knitting for when I want a challenge.  I have WIPs where I have got bored or stuck or gone wrong – they go into storage and often take a little while to finish or I never finish them!

Day 28 Share my Progress – see above, Love this Cardigan in Meribel teal and navy blue – love love love this cardigan is what I shall call it!

Day 29 Any Other Crafts? Yes, as blogged here, I sew a bit too. Doughnuts and Embroidery Hoops on recent posts.  I have also tried others, hand felting, cross stitch, mosaics are amongst them.  Oh, and I did silk painting and card making as well. I guess I have a brain that loves to create and try new things.

Day 30 – tomorrow – Crafts I would like to learn – thinking ….

Have a great day, whatever you are doing.  And if anyone wants to suggest a project for that projectless yarn please feel free to do so – I have 150g/150m chunky yarn, variegated.  It’s Adriafil Mistero, acrylic and wool.

 

 

 

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When do I craft? Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Knitting challenge, etc. NaKnitCroMo

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Day 9 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge on Ravelry.com – though in reality it’s actually Day 11 and I am catching up.

When? Mainly the evenings if it’s knitting.  I cosy myself up on the sofa, cat to the left of me,  after dinner, if I am knitting something easy then the tv is on too.

If it’s sewing, by machine, then that’s a daytime thing.  I usually want to be on my own in the house, no husband to pop in and interrupt me – risking me sewing through my own fingers or going askew on the piece I am sewing.  I often think he feels my sewing efforts are a waste of time – he doesn’t ‘get’ the pleasure made from handcrafting.

 

Day 10 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge – What’s my crafting fuel?

Coffee, decaff and when trying to be good – water. If I have the odd evening tipple, I end up putting the knitting down as I can’t concentrate – or I think I can but looking at anything I’ve knitting the next morning can be slightly shameful, and I might not have the right number of stitches on each row still!  Never say never though – I was invited to a Craft and Cocktails event yesterday – didn’t go as I had other plans – looking forward to hearing how friends got on – and if anything crafty was achieved. I suspect there was more giggles and drinking than crafting – but that’s not a bad thing occasionally.  Shame to miss it. (Memories of being a teenager, moons ago, hemming a skirt one evening, whilst fuelled with cider – argh, the finished hem was soooo bad!)

Day 11 – today – What do I listen to when crafting?  As I said, when knitting, it’s usually the tv.  When sewing, I love catching up on BBC London Radio (JoAnne Good in the afternoon, particularly The Barking Hour on Thursday afternoons or I love a bit of Robert Elms and his listed Londoner slot), or my cds –  a bit of retro 1980’s/1990s’s – my era, when I knew all the words and sang along – maybe that’s why I sew alone at home – then there’s no shame in singing along out loud and out of tune, ha ha!  Depending on the mood of the day – Fleetwood Mac, for a singsong, Enjya for thoughfulness, Cher for a jig about when ironing fabric, bit of newer stuff, eg. Mumford and Sons – husband would definitely head out of the house for Mumford – he hates them.  Loving this challenge – it really makes me think how and why I craft.

drops merino extra fineWool ….

Latest knitting news – I guess part of the March challenge but this might slip into April.  I have finished both fronts of my ML181 Love this Cardigan.  I have sold some of my stash which has been quite carthartic – you know those yarns you have had for ages and just aren’t going to be turned into something as you have either gone off them, or just don’t have enough in quantity?  – they’ve gone to good homes.  I have (accidently) purchased some yarn for a couple of baby projects.  A friend in Belgium is due in May – I haven’t started anything yet – got to get my sticks clicking – not sure if it’s a boy or a girl, hoping this lovely shade of yellow will be a good choice.  DROPS Merino Extra Fine in light yellow. (Great local yarn store –  http://www.littlewoollie.co.uk/ – always a warm welcome from the owner Trudy.)  ‘Accidently’ purchased as I have plenty of yarn still in my stash – but this was irresistable and DROPS is reasonable prices and good quality.

 

drops merino extra fine light yellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showing off a little sewing….. remember I say ‘a little’ ….

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I’ve returned from my second awe-inspiring new craft group.  I can hardly believe it’s been a week since the last one! Since I have been home I have moved my sewing machine table and sewing things into an area with better light to get on with my unfinished sewing project. I have read a few wordpress crafty blogs which made me smile.  I have contacted the ladies within my sewing group about our next session. Plus I’ve even imagined what my next knitting project will be when I finish my current WIP and ordered more yarn on line  Last week I said these ladies were encouraging – this week they did not disappoint.  I so admire a lovely lady who is doing a textile course and who was showing us a little piece she is working on to reflect her interpretation of reptiles …. photo, if allowed, will be here one day.  Three of us were knitting this morning, all different styles, all different tastes.  One was cross-stitching.  A few ladies did not come along today but there were enough of us to chitchat and make plans for future projects.  Wow!

A little pic of the last mini project my sewing friends and I made together.  Mines the pink one with roses.  I thought if I show off a sewing project on here every time I see it I WILL get into sewing more. sewing bags

A little pic of a lovely little hat pattern by garnstudio (aka DROPS) number 150-40. I have just finished one of these in DROPs Nepal, in bright pink – no photo to hand as I left my hat at work – but you can see the pattern at least! Fab little yarn shop in Bromley, Kent (littlewooliebromley.co,uk) 

I fancied a bit of sewing time

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Imageng, I have a stash of fabric as well as a stash of yarn. I’ve always dabbled with making things. Watching the Great British Sewing Bee recently has really spurred me on to get the sewing machine out again. The programme’s participants skill and knowledge astound me but I also love that they get it ‘wrong’ sometimes too.  It is so real!  I wouldn’t say sewing comes to me as easily as knitting does but I learn more techniques as I make different things. Perhaps other people make things quicker but I am enjoying what I am doing and that’s important to me.  If I look back at some of my ‘disasters’ I can still laugh at myself !  I remember a cotton summer top I made about 4 years ago. It was always too long and didn’t fit properly as the facing was too stiff.  It lived in a drawer for a whole year, then the next summer I jiggled with it and loved wearing it so much that the colour faded and it look quite jaded by the end of just one season.

My mother was a dressmaker when I was a very little girl.  When us children went to bed mum would sew for her customers. I guess we just got in the way and we lived in a little house so there wasn’t much space for cutting out when we were up and about. She was very skilled and passed on a little knowledge to me, though I don’t think I was really interested at the time.  Oh, what I would give to have her here now. It now seems a shame to have lived my teens through the 1980’s when it was more ‘fashionable’ to buy cheap foreign imports and not make my own garments.  I have memories of my mum fingering ready made clothes, saying ‘look at that price, you could make it for a lot less!’, whilst I grimaced and dreamed of owning something not homemade!  I hated my homemade school uniform in particular, but I think I got off lightly compared to my sister who definitely had more than me.

So, here’s just a little pic showing things I made this week. I am on a bit of a pincushion frenzy! 

Craft Ideas In My Head Only

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It has been a busy stressful week so far, and it’s only Thursday!  There is still not much crafting going on in this house – well, I am not crafting in reality, but I am in my head, which still ‘counts’ and keeps me sane. 

I have a new knitting WIP, a chunky hat which will be a gift for a friend’s birthday on the 25th December – she always seems to miss out on her birthday treats what with it being Christmas Day too.  I shall endeavor to finish this, pop it in the post, extravagantly wrapping it in Birthday Wrapping Paper!  Unfortunately I have steered off the pattern and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the next couple of inches look ok and that I don’t have to frog it.  I tend to do this, and have had successes and failures galore!

Yesterday I read something which made me smile – a fellow knitter said she didn’t count her UFOs as WIPs.  She was acknowledging the she had various woolly projects on pins that she wasn’t actually going to finish.  I do not stress about my own projects not finished, but I admit I have started more things than I have completed.  I might just have to admit that some of them won’t make it to fruition now – so WIPs become UFOs and that makes me feel a lot more comfortable!   One in particular I know has a fault in the first few inches and I had thought it would not bother me when it was finished – but I know it will really – so I haven’t touched it in months.  It is one thing I shall RIP out and turn into something else now.  It cannot be finished and gifted as the error screams out at me!

I am also sewing, but only ‘in my head’ ! The first meeting of my new sewing group will take place at the end of January and before then I shall have to have a craft project planned.  Something very small, something manageable and fun, and of course in the right venue.  Watch this space!

As for family life – what a week that has been. My son has had a better couple of days, without actual taunting from the guys who picked on him the other day, but I know he has been worried, as have I.  He has good friends who are looking out for him, all of them are passive rather than aggressive.  He is avoiding getting in the same physical situation and being very strong and brave.  I am proud of how he is dealing with it but inside I am still incensed that there are people out there who dare to fight their corner physically and in a crowd!  I have reassured my son that his intelligence is a much stronger tool than those bullies who use their fists. 

 

Christmas was almost cancelled!

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Last week – what a ‘mare’ !  It seemed every time I spoke to someone, turned on my social media pages or checked emails that there was some different disaster happening to a friend or family member!  I could only foresee 25th December looming without any kind of celebration and to tell the truth began shouldering everyone else’s issues as well as my own.

I joined a sewing group this year.  We were a bunch of ladies who met once a month for a coffee, show and tell, sometimes learning a new sewing skill.  It was all quite casual for members, although I imagine more difficult for the leader to co-ordinate everyone.  I helped post things on the social media page, keeping the ‘chat’ going when we weren’t together.  Then, suddenly last week, the group shut down – no warning, no conversation – and the members I know started contacting me and asking me why, bemoaning the lack of notice,  telling me of their disappointment – including the cancellation of a delicious afternoon tea we were to partake in next weekend in lieu of a Christmas night out.  I too was disappointed. I could not contact the leader easily.  In the end I had a rather blunt message, from which I sense it had all just become too much and the sewing group was something that ‘had to go’.  After just a day I decided that perhaps I should resurrect the group, in perhaps a different format – so (for my sins) I have started to sound out members about still meeting up. I am hoping it is not too much hard work for me!  It was something I was really enjoying, away from family ‘life’ and I met likeminded people there.

Secondly, work…… well, there was a Christmas Fayre planned in the street where I work.  I had been unable to work out what the boss wanted out of me towards this exactly.  It was planned in a matter of just a few weeks.  It was planned by my boss and a new member of staff who was given the task after one day of being employed. I am not sure the new colleague was able to present what she promised.  I do not think my boss realized how much work could be involved.  I felt usurped as a member of staff at times.  Still, it went ahead, it seemed a success, although I am happy it is over.  I went, I worked, the boss seemed happy.

Thirdly, work …… well, it should be the busiest time of the year.  It does not seem as busy as last year, sadly.  I attempt to increase sales with different marketing ideas.  Many of my ideas are not accepted.  I feel frustrated often.

Fourthly, if you are still reading this …… my husband had a complete meltdown in his job.  Early in the week a colleague upset him which resulted in a couple of tense emails between them – they sit practically side by side!  Later in the week, the same colleague and two of his staff hid a work problem and when hubby found out he went crazy – saying words not usually uttered in the workplace and leaving a meeting room in a rage.  My husband is a really honest and hardworking man.  He does not suffer fools, and has so much loyalty to his employers and his customers that sometimes work takes priority over us at home.  He has been there for 32 years.  After a little cooling down, all was well, but I have never heard him so disappointed with anything at work.

Last (well second to last) – Workman and DIY at home.  Having stuff done at home is always a little testy!  We are not natural do-it-yourself-ers.  New door in by workman, unfortunately not fitted quite right.  Fixing has been delayed (well, almost having to fight with them to come back actually!).  Door painted by husband – cold climate, paint not drying very fast at all – can you imagine another day with the cold from the outside coming inside and the knowledge that when the door eventually closes we shall have it stuck into the doorframe? …….

Finally, lovely husband remembered he used to enjoy making Saturday night dinner. He decided to make sushi for the very first time.  We waited with baited breath.  We heard cross words, some slamming about from the kitchen, stomping along the hallway …. and a sad face around the lounge door telling us it was a bit of a disaster and we might be having cheese on toast instead!  Luckily with a bit of help (mine!) it could be rescued.  Sushi tasted lovely, just maybe not quite as tightly rolled as shop- bought.  It hasn’t put him off luckily – just needs a lot more practice! I love the fact Saturday night dinners made by hubby may be resurrected!

With all this going on I did manage to do a few nice things, knitwise.  The picture is showing off a cowl made as a gift.  I did not finish the wrap I had promised myself but I know as it’s for me that I can wait.  I also started a new baby cardigan.  I have plans to sell some of my wares.  This is a trial piece, and one I started in a café where I sat and knitted in a corner quietly  It was at a pretty place in a little town called Chislehurst in Kent, UK.  It appears quite ‘chic’ with a few tables with white linen and china cups and things around the whole shop to look at and buy. It is quite ‘chic’, I guess! I am not sure what they thought of me knitting for half an hour but two members of staff came and asked me what I was making and either feigned interest or were genuine!

Back to the grindstone. 

Do you ever feel you are having some kind of (mid) life crisis? Or am I the only one?

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I have been browsing through a few blogs and see many people here that are well settled in their choice of current activity (or inactivity). I think I must be having a (mid) life crisis! I put the (brackets) in as I can’t imagine I am ‘mid’ way through my life – there is much more to do and see – and anyway, what is the age for ‘mid’ life these days? I am hoping, as long as I have my faculties (or at least think I still have) that by the time I reach what should be my autumn years science will have invented something to give me another few hefty, healthy ones on top, possibly making me live to 120 or similar! I have so many knitting projects I would like to do that I need a few more years on top of what nature offers! I don’t know if it’s just this week of not working that has given me too much time to muse about life in general, or if one thing has triggered something that has been underlying for a while.
Being at home a lot has definitely made me notice the scruffiness of things around me, but it has not spurred me to actually get down to work and physically sort them out. I notice chipped woodwork, peeling wallpaper, dust around the ornaments (might have to start living a bit more minimalistic!), my slight slovenly style has obviously become a little out of control. I have been ignoring my husband’s hints, in fact, I have become quite vocal on the way he should let me just ‘live my life’, and ‘I have a job too’! He, love him, can be quite tolerant at times, then he is away a lot, and when I do tidy up it’s a big one that we all notice. That’s one problem of being a crafty person but living with more of a neat freak. Knitting, well, that usually soothes me, but this week I have thinking more about it than actually doing it. Having not done any sewing for a long time, I did actually do some of that this week, but I realized how much fabric and notions I have and they need a good sort out! Exercise, mmmm, went to the gym once when I could have gone many times (tut tut I just have no get up and go this week!).
I am not sure where I want to be in a year’s time. Should I have a life plan? Six years or so ago we had a bit of a crisis and we made a huge decision to purchase a holiday home as somewhere familiar to visit and unwind in. We should be there this week but we were unable to go. Maybe that’s the ‘trigger’ for the mood swing this week, so maybe I have just answered my own question.
However, I have been a bit of a grumpy mare on and off for a while. I am of a ‘certain’ age, as some readers might have guessed, so maybe this is a ‘phase’ I have to go through. Unfortunately it is one thing males in our species do not suffer, although some would say they suffer at the hands of females at this time of their life! I shall be looking into alternative ways to gee myself up as soon as I have posted this! What’s the therapy? The written word and a creative mind!