Thursday, 6 December 2018


A while ago (summer time maybe?) I showed you this photo of a new project I had started.  It stayed like this for months and months and months until I picked it up and finished it in one sitting!

It is from the book Sew Sweet Creatures by Lark Craft.  I was asked to review this by GMC, however all opinions are my own.

There are 16 projects in this book, and I love that they are shown on the index, not just a written name, but a picture of the project.  It makes navigating the book so much easier.

How cute are they!  I want to make that little fat lion!

Lots of them have cute little accessories too.  It may surprise you to read that I didn't make the rabbit...  I'm not sure why, but I decided to make the pig.

All the templates are full size - I love that, I hate having to find somewhere to enlarge projects and I can't just "nip to the copy shop", I have no idea where there is one or if these things even exist in this day and age!

There are loads of photos for each project and the instructions are well-written and easy to follow.

Ta-dah!  No idea why these photos are so blurry... maybe Superpig was flying around so quickly I didn't notice, but my camera did.  Or maybe I'm just crap at taking photos!

The mask is removable, it's just tied on.

As is the cape.  Want to see what's underneath?

A little curly tail!

This pig was sewn by hand, though it would be possible to do some of it by machine, it would be far too fiddly for me.  I enjoyed making this little pig and I like some of the other projects in the book, I would recommend it for anyone who fancies having a go at making some whimsical little creatures.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Temari ball craft class

A couple of months ago I did a workshop at Threads in Derbyshire.  It's taken me this long to post about it as my life has been so hectic recently.  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to continue blogging, I haven't blogged in weeks and I'm 2 weeks behind on my blog reading... time will tell.

Anyway, back to the class.  We made Temari balls!

The photos above and below are my ball at the end of the class... I was so close to finishing!  And, first time ever, I finished it off when I got home - photos later.

Cathy always provides a kit, and scissors are available, so you don't need to bring anything except your lunch.  There's also plenty of homemade cake throughout the day...

We chose our colour schemes from packs that Cathy had made up, I deviated slightly from my usual blue/purple preference to blue/pink!  The ball is a small styrofoam ball that Cathy had wound with old tights before the class to save time. This gives you something to sew into.

First we wound the ball with yarn, just to cover the black from the tights.  We chose something close to our thread cover in case we missed any parts, or any peeked through.

And then we wound the ball with thread.  Just ordinary sewing thread.  Yes, it took quite a while!

Next came measuring to divide the ball up - I think we made 10 section balls?  This stage took AGES as it had to work from all different directions.

Perle 5 was used to mark out the divisions...

Then the embroidery began!  We started with a pretty basic ball.  It's fun and soothing.  During the class Cathy showed us various other examples and wow... you can make some amazing Temari balls.  If you haven't come across this before I would recommend Googling it.

More embroidery... We had 3 different colours of Perle cotton plus one sparkly thread in our packs.  It was up to us what combination we used and how many rounds of each before changing colours.

As my measuring wasn't completely accurate, I did have to fudge a bit on the number of outer rounds to make the edges meet.  Cathy did point out that it doesn't matter too much and showed us some examples of embroidering other designs over those marking threads you can see a tiny bit of above.

I'm not sure what the picture above was taken to illustrate!

And here's my ball with the internal silvery bits added!  They didn't take long at all and, I think, really finish it off.

This was massively enjoyable and a great way to spend a day.  If you are in the East Midlands area, I'd definitely recommend any of Cathy's classes, I've done a few in the past, including Schwalm and Crewel.  I bought another kit to make a second ball...  of course, I haven't got round to it yet!

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.