Friday, 2 November 2018

an unexpected finish

I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd got my crafty motivation back.  I had a few days off work sick (just a really bad cold, but I was falling asleep as I drove to work so I turned round and headed home again) and I managed to accidentally finish a project.

I inherited this from Wonderful Mum.  The pattern is by Satsuma Street and it's Pretty Little New York.  New York is special to our family.  Mum and dad visited back in the 90s and loved it, so for mum's 50th (1999) he took her to New York again.  On her birthday, he took her for a walk to Strawberry Fields in Central Park where she found me and my brother sitting on a bench!  We all loved the city so much and have been back a few times since.

I got it just like that, she had been working on it before we lost her.  It was all kitted up with the threads cut to length and threaded on cards.  I knew I wanted to finish it, but it took me ages to get on with it.  I'd put a few stitches in here and there, but the first day I was off sick, I picked it up again.

And this happened!  I haven't ironed it yet, and I hope the hoop mark comes out ok.  I should really have taken it off the hoop but I have difficulties with mum's stuff sometimes.  I get over emotional and can't look any more.

I loved working this and I love the finished pattern.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.  I should probably add mine and mum's names before I frame it.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Silver and gold necklace

I managed to start and finish a piece of silver jewellery in just a couple of weeks rather than a few months or a year or more!  OK, so I started it back in July before the summer break, but technically it was only a few weeks!  

I thought I had some process photos of this necklace, but I can't find them so maybe I don't.  I used argentium, which I used before making my brother's ring, and again I used pieces of my mum's wedding ring.

I pierced out the five pieces of argentium in varying sizes and cleaned them up.  I punched the circles from mum's wedding ring using the hydrolic press and my circle punch kit.  The original idea was to completely inlay them into the silver batons, as I did with my brother's ring.  After fusing the gold to the argentium, I loved the way they protruded, so decided not to roll them in.

I bought some thin tube and the omega chain, then cut the tube to fit the backs of the batons.  I soldered them in place before cleaning everything up.  I then cut more pieces of tube to act as spacers.

You can see them on the photo above.  Then it was just a case of threading everything on to the chain and resoldering the clasp.  Job done!  This is a necklace I will treasure.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Back on it! The shawl...

You have probably noticed that I've been lacking in crafting motivation this past year or so.  Aside from my regular silversmithing class and the various workshops I've taken, I've hardly crafted at all.  Suddenly, that all changed!  In the past 8 days I've completed 6 projects, mostly old ones.  I was feeling ill and took a few days off work and just felt like sewing and crocheting and making.  So, I have a load of blog posts to write!  I'll space them out though, just in case I lose my mojo again (please, please, please don't let that happen).  

So, the second finish was a project I started in December last year, you can see the post here if you like.

This is the Sunny Day Shawl (free pattern) which I hooked up in Stylecraft DK yarn.  I used grey, turquoise and green though I don't know how I came to this conclusion as the pattern actually calls for 6 colours!

In these photos it hasn't been blocked, and, to be honest, I'm not sure I'll bother!  I'm sure it would look amazing - especially the picots on the last 2 rows, but I'm lazy.  By the way, I took the photos on my craft room floor, what a fab background!

Due to the way it's designed, the rows get longer and longer and loooooooonger as you progress.  It was taking me a couple of hours per row by the end.  I did enjoy it though.

I love the pattern and the way it changes part way down the grey.

and look at those curly ends!  It's been wrapped around my shoulders already thanks to the chilly weather that's descended on the UK.  I may need to make a shawl pin to hold it in place as it did dip in the washing up at one point!

I have really missed making stuff.  So happy to be back at it.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Green wood working class

Near my house is a lovely area.  It used to be a wholesale market and has recently been regenerated.  It is made up of a series of units occupied by artists/crafters, along with a Handmade shop (where I took the lampworking class), cafe, brewery and tap room; and a Vietnamese cooking school.  New units are constantly opening up.  One that opened a while ago, and that I've been eyeing up, is By Our Hands.  Martin owns the business and runs workshops making things from green wood using traditional tools.  There is no electricity in this workshop, no machines, nothing modern!  

I went along with Zach, who was also interested in learning a bit of woodwork, to make a "something".  Martin runs stool making and spoon carving workshops, but this one was an Introduction to Greenwork and we were to make a spatula, or something simple.  We started off with logs and an axe.  I managed to damage Zach at this stage, I hit him with the axe!  Luckily it was the handle that hit him, and no, I didn't aim for him!  

After chopping off a chunk of wood to work with, we carried on with the axes, stripping the bark.  Zach moved over to the other side of the room...  He actually carried on using the axe to shape his spatula/spoon, but I found my comfort zone with a draw knife.

I worked sitting astride this bench.  The wood was clamped in the top and held in place by pressure from my feet on the pedals.  Much like driving a sewing machine! 

I used the draw knife to skim and slice bits off the wood to get the shape I wanted for my spatula.  I really enjoyed this!

When I had a good shape, I was handed the knife shown above and a leather apron and the close-up work began.  Whittling, I suppose you could call it.  I then attacked it with sandpaper and a bit of oil and...

Ta-dah!  It's a spatula.  Yes, really, it is!  I carved that from a log.  I'm very proud!

Here's the other side.  Not the best shape in the world, but hey, it was my first time and we only had 3 hours!  I didn't take a photo of Zach's spoon - although we weren't supposed to be carving spoons, he was so good with the tools and wood that he was allowed to give it a go.

Detail of the base of the handle.

Martin carved this crochet hook for me - to show me the possibilities.  I guess I need to get myself a knife!  And a tree...

We both LOVED this workshop and will be going back to the make a stool workshop at some point.  I also want to try wood turning.  So far I've made a clock on a scroll saw; made a picture frame from scratch; made a bent hazelwood chair and laid a floor.  These are some of my favourite workshops, maybe I should give up the day job and become a carpenter!!

Monday, 1 October 2018

Continuing the shawl

I've been making the Sunny Day Shawl for aaaaaaaaaaages.  I bought some grey Stylecraft Special DK for the main body, and a ball of turquoise and green for the accents.  I misread the pattern and should have had more colours than that!  Ah well.

I'm on the last but one row, then there's some blocking to do before it's FINALLY finished.  Just in time for autumn though.  I went camping at the end of August (don't ask, and no, I'm not convinced I'd do it again) and wanted a small project to take with me.  I also, as usual, thought I'd get LOADS done.  Of course I didn't.

It's going to be this amazing Persian Tiles blanket.  It will be identical to the one in the link as I bought the kiut.

As the kit comes with lots of balls, I thought I'd better do some winding, so I got my winder out.  It's pretty good, except the metal guide falls down so you have to hold it up, that's a bit annoying.  

These are 100g balls.  I think the winder makes cakes for 50g balls.  The cream one at the back was a whole ball wound!  I learnt my lesson after that and the others are half a ball, or approximately half a ball as you can see they vary!

After I've finished the shawl, I'll get going on this one.  So expect to see the finished blanket approximately 2029.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Paint by Number Quilts blog tour

Good morning and welcome to the Blog Tour!  My good friend and co-founding member of the East Midlands Quilt Group, Kerry Foster, has written a book!  It's actually a bookette, and is well worth a read.

Paint-By-Number Quilts: 4 Animal Appliqu├ęs with Vintage Style

Kerry's technique is certainly unique, I haven't seen it anywhere else, and it's great fun.  The bookette takes you through making 4 animal appliques for which full sized patterns are included, but you can use this technique to make other animal appliques (as I show you further down).  

The bookette takes you through materials needed, there is a very informative section on selecting fabric, this is followed by instructions on the technique.  

The four patterns are:
Raccoon mug rug
Grizzly bear wall hanging
Fabulous Mr Fox wall hanging
Whitetail Stag wall hanging

Each one includes tips on quilting and selecting backgrounds.

I stole this photo of Kerry from her blog.  You can see the Fantastic Mr Fox wall hanging in the background and also one of her other patterns - Hank the English Pointer.  A few years ago Kerry ran a workshop at one of our Quilt Group meetings.  She took me through making an animal applique from one of my own photos.

You may remember this cushion I made of Colin which is still one of my favourite makes.  This is also poignant timing as I lost my lovely Colin last week. He was 10 and a half, I rescued him as a young kit so we'd been together 10 years.  He's left a massive hole in my heart and now I am rabbit-less.  This cushion feels like a good memory of him.  It was really easy to do following Kerry's instructions.

Kerry wasn't able to get all the patterns she's created into the bookette, so she's made 5 of them (including the lovely Hank, above) available in herpattern shop HERE. In the next day or so they will also appear in her Etsy and Craftsy pattern shops, however you will need to own Paint By Number Quilts in order to know how to put the pattern together

Interested?  You can buy the bookette here

Follow the book tour for more views of the book and some chances to win a copy!

Monday Sept 17 – Kerry @ PennyDog
Tuesday Sept 18 – Deirdre @ C&T Publishing
Wednesday Sept 19 – Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts
Thursday Sept 20 – Sarah @ Coopcrafts *
Friday Sept 21 – Krista @ Poppyprint *
Monday Sept 24 – Elizabeth @ OP Quilt
Tuesday Sept 25 – Wendy @ The Crafter’s Apprentice
Wednesday Sept 26 – Angela @ Heart of Charnwood *
Thursday Sept 27 – Leanne @ She Can Quilt *
Friday Sept 28 – Katy @ The Littlest Thistle
* Instagram link

Friday, 14 September 2018

Paint by Numbers Quilts

My lovely friend and fellow guild member (despite the fact she moved to Canada 2 years ago!) Kerry has written a book!  It's out now and we're having a blog tour.  Paint by Numbers quilts are really something innovative, and not only for quilters, but for anyone that likes playing with fabric.  The tour starts on Monday, go and check it out!

Monday Sept 17 - Kerry @ PennyDog
Tuesday Sept 18 - Deirdre @ C&T Publishing
Wednesday Sept 19 – Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts
Thursday Sept 20 – Sarah @ Coopcrafts 
Friday Sept 21 – Krista @ Poppyprint 
Monday Sept 24 – Elizabeth @ OP Quilt
Tuesday Sept 25 – Wendy @ The Crafter’s Apprentice
Wednesday Sept 26 – Angela @ Heart of Charnwood 
Thursday Sept 27 – Leanne @ She Can Quilt 
Friday Sept 28 – Katy @ The Littlest Thistle