Category Archives: Handmade

Happy Birthday Mum!

It was Mum’s birthday this week and I recently succeeded in getting her back into knitting (I think sending her my first published pattern in the Knitter may have played a part – there was also a tempting sweater pattern in the same issue!)

As it were her who taught me to knit in the first place, aged about 5, I thought an apt present might be to sew a knitting needle roll in which to keep that fast growing collection of Knit Pro interchangable needles.

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I found this sweet sewing tutorial over at Today We Made and adapted it to include an extra pocket for cables, stitch holders and the little purse I made to hold knitting notions.

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This was also my first attempt at making a hand sewn button loop (I saw they were a challenge on the Great British Sewing Bee and thought I’d have a go.) It was hard! But I’m quite pleased with this for a first attempt.

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Now I just need to sew a second one for myself!

Kaffe Fassett at the American Museum in Britain, Bath

Thursday was an exciting day for us at work last week.  We were heading to the preview day at the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at The American Museum in Bath, and we were all a little excited! We took the free shuttle bus from Bog Island in town and made our way up to Claverton Manor, which houses the main museum. It was a lovely day which was brightened still by the sight of 350 lanterns and pom-poms decorating the huge yew tree outside the building where Kaffe’s exhibition was taking place.

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As we entered the main space, we were dazzled with wall to wall colour and flower garlands over the door to the exhibition, where you can see Kaffe himself stood in the photo below.

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Kaffe’s collection is stunning, and spans his 50 year career.  Displaying paintings, tapestries, quilting and knitting, this show is on until the 2nd November and is a must see for any textile or knitting fans.

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Kaffe was animated and excited by the exhibition, where the space has been transformed into what he described as something a lot like his studio at home.

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“This is the grandest show of my career – every item is part of an intricate opera of colour. I have always wanted this approach to my work, but other museum designers and curators have steered me to a rather mixed approach in my exhibitions. This show is so unique to me because it explains in a visceral way my growing obsession with the power of colour. This show is closer to my desires than ever before in my many, many presentations around the world.”

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Kaffe has been associated with The American Museum in Britain for many years, and the main museum is showing some line drawings he created of the period rooms there during his visit in 1964, which have never been publicly displayed before, as well as quilts and tapestries from their permanent displays.

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Entrance to the exhibition is free with a ticket to the main museum, which costs around £9 for adults.  Full details can be found at theamericanmuseum.org.

Love a good blanket!

Oops, I’ve fallen out of blogland again.  I think I might just have to accept that just happens sometimes! I’ve been so busy on the old making front recently I’ve forgotten to make any posts about any of it.

Some of you may have seen these pics on instagram, but for the rest of you, I thought I’d share!

Recently I’ve been working on some designs for The Knitter and Simply Knitting, which I can’t post about, but in my spare time, and to change the motion my wrists are doing, I’ve been doing a lot of crochet.  3 blankets have been started.

  Blanket #1:

I actually began this blanket over a year ago I think, the yarn is from a crazy stash of tiny single skeins I was given (you can see it in all it’s entirety here, scroll down to the bottom.) I dipped back into it a couple of months ago, and just seeing all the squares sitting together is enough inspiration to carry on.

However, I then got distracted by this,

Blanket #2

I’d had the urge to do a ripple stitch blanket for ages, and I love the monotony of it, and the fact I don’t need to think about colours, just keep going blindly whilst watching a good show. Like House of Cards, which I’m a bit stuck on at the moment!

The yarn is something I brought back from Zakopane in Poland, I found an old lady selling a lot of huge skeins (you can see in the top photo) of this scratchy handspun stuff for next to nothing – I think it cost me the equivalent of £18 for 3 kilos.  I made my friend Matt carry it back in his suitcase, as it wouldn’t fit in mine, and I’ve had it sitting around for the best part of 6 years.

Blanket #3

We had a small problem with moths recently and it led me to having a proper look through my stash.  I had so much Erika Knight Vintage Wool, but not enough to make anything big for me in a colourway I wanted to use.  I like the purple, but I don’t need any more purple clothing right now.

It feels so soft and luxurious I decided to cast on (is it called casting on in crochet?) a third blanket.  First I made this square, which worked up quickly and provided instant gratification.

Then obviously I just had to make more! One square can be made in just a couple of hours, so this blanket won’t take too long at all.  It’s going to go on our bed, I can visualise it there already, which spurs me to keep going at it.  I love all these colours together and can’t wait until it’s finished.

And lastly, I upcycled this ring on Sunday! I had the button lying around for ages, it’s from a bracelet made up of a few of them, but my skinny wrists meant I had to take one off.  I had one of those “ta da!” moments and decided to sew it onto a ring.  Love it!

Headphone cosies!

After losing my second pair of earphones this year, I decided it was about time I did something to make me look after them a bit better. I’d seen a couple of peeps working on crocheting and knitting around the cord, but i felt like it would take an age, and I wanted to go for more of a retro feel.

I went with macramé in the end, working square knots for the long cord that attaches to the jack, and then spiral knots for each side going up to the ears.  I also decided to make an extra cord joining the two earphones up, as I have a habit of hanging them around my neck if I go into a shop, or need to speak to someone, and before I know it they’ve fallen down and are dragging along the floor.  As I said, I’m not very good at looking after headphones, which is why I don’t allow myself to use any that cost too much money!

This took about 5-6 hours to complete, it’s a bit of fun, and it gave me nostalgia to making friendship bracelets back at school! I love how they’ve turned out, plus, the thin cables are now quite protected in their snug cosies.  I should add this yarn is super posh – Wollmeise 80% merino, 20% nylon blend, and feels like it’s worthy of it’s £22 price tag.   I was gifted a small leftover ball by Ellen Gill, and it proved the best thing in my stash for showing up stitch definition and looking awesome macraméd over the earphones.  I have yet to knit anything with it, I think I have enough left for a swatch!

 

Happy New Year!

Apologies for my lack of blog posts of late, I have been super busy over the festive period; planning new patterns, making socks and a hat, and I seem to have neglected them a bit!

Sadly the socks didn’t get finished in time for Christmas but I thought I would put up a couple of photos of my progress.  I’ll point out that these are a gift for my other half, hence the reason they look a bit on the large side on my little feet!

The pattern is Strings Colourwork Socks by Tanja Fleischer. They are knit from the toe up – using the Fair Isle technique to knit the guitar pattern on the top of the foot and the fretboard (so cool!) underneath. Then after the heel the pattern is set so they guitars flow neatly around the whole sock to the cuff. All in all it was a really fun pattern to knit!

Here is the silly beard hat I made for my brother (he’s going to kill me for posting this!) I had some fun fur yarn leftover from years ago and after looking at beards for half a day, had a go at crocheting something that fitted nicely around the neck. It’s actually really practical, but the beard unclips as I imagine he’ll probably wear the hat more without it.

And here’s something I wanted to share with you before Christmas, but just didn’t get the time! When I was out doing my gift shopping, I popped into the “Knitted Supermarket” for a nose around.

The supermarket was in Bristol for a few days around Christmas, and everything inside was for sale. The proceeds went to Knitiffi – the Bristol based folk responsible for the project. Their aim is to make the world a “brighter, happier place” through exhibitions, projects and installations created with yarn.

It was so cute I couldn’t resist these snaps!

And finally…

Throughout 2012 I took part in the 366 photography project – one photo per day for a year. To start with it was hard, remembering everyday to take a picture of something, but after a few months it became a habit. I missed a few (8 to be exact) but I’m really pleased now to have a collection of photos looking back over the whole year. So much so, that I’ve started the project again for 2013!

You can view the photo collection here, or click the play button below to watch a slideshow of the year in pictures.

Art on the Hill 2012

This last couple of weeks have been pretty manic for me, sorting out bits and bobs for Art on the Hill which took place this weekend.  This was the first arts trail I’ve done and wasn’t sure what to expect.

So me, being me, left a majority of it until the last minute and worked largely on updating pattern formats so they were all nice and consistent, and creating a nice template so all future ones will follow suit.

I also wasn’t sure how many knitters exactly live in South Bristol so was taking a bit of a gamble selling patterns!

To bulk it all out a bit I got sewing again, something I’ve been a little slack on recently. A couple of years ago I made these aprons, which went down really well at arts fairs and in the local pub/cafe where I was selling them in Sussex.

It was nice to get back into the sewing vibe again and make a selection of baby clothes too. Again these are things that I was selling when living in Brighton that were popular with the local Mums and Dads. All the left over pieces are now in my Etsy shop, so if you have your eye on something here then take a look!

All in all the weekend was a success, meeting with other knitters and artists, and just sitting and chatting with people about my patterns was really lovely. Its great when you know a product so well you are confident answering questions about it – I’ve done so much retail work in the past for people and nothing beats selling things you have created yourself.


I even managed to come away with a yarn bowl from my good friends Lucy and Pete!

Dusting off the Sewing Machine

Just a quick post today – to say I finally got out my sewing machine and made these cute little trousers!

Baby Bear Trousers

They aren’t for anyone in particular – they will be part of the collection I’m making for the Art on The Hill trail in October. They were so much fun to make though, I’m looking forward to making a few more pairs!

Baby Bear Trousers

The fabric was from the lovely Saints and Pinners in Devon, and some of you may remember seeing it when I made a post back in June when I received my exciting fabric package. I still haven’t decided what to make with the other material I bought, but I’m thinking about doing some girls tops and dresses.

If you have a sewing blog let me know! Most of the blogs I follow are knitting blogs, however I need the inspiration to keep stitching 🙂

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like death warmed up.  A combination of a full working week, followed by my first shift in the pub and a sleepless night left me in urgent need of some coffee and some good food.  So after my friend Lucy asked me to meet her at the Old Bookshop I was more than happy to find this in front of me!

Breakfast at The Old Bookshop, Bedminster

Nom!

We were about to embark on the Southbank Arts Trail, and I had no idea what was in store.  As it turned out, this breakfast was to set us up for the day, as we hit the streets on our bikes for the next six hours to cover only half of what we wanted to see.

One of the first places we entered was The Bed Workshop, which was decorated wall to wall with illustrations and would be hosting a ukelele rock opera later in the day.  Sadly we didn’t get to see that, however I did pick up these lovely cards by Melanie Wickham.

Bristol Hand Printed Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail

Handprinted by Melanie Wickham


Handprinted Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail

True!

I also bought this print by Lou Archell, who I have just discovered also has a lovely blog!  I fell in love with this print – I seem to be rather attracted to tree type imagery at the moment.  Now to find a frame!

Lou Archell Tree Print - Southbank Arts Trail

My lovely new print by Lou Archell

We entered an array of houses and public spaces exhibiting everything from illustrations and photography, to pottery, glassware and textiles.  It was a real inspiration how motivated these artists are, and I found myself feeling a little bit overwhelmed!

Divaweaver's beautiful patterns - Southbank Arts Trail

Divaweaver’s beautiful patterns – click for facebook page

The artist that stood out the most to me was Angie Parker – aka Divaweaver – who took the time to show me how she makes her beautiful rugs and upholstered chairs.  I’ve never seen any weaving done before and was mesmerised by the loom and how the fabric came together.  Angie also had a great tub full of coloured yarn that I clocked as soon as I walked in, from which she had chosen some wonderful colour combinations for her rugs.

Heading homeward I decided I need to be more proactive when it comes to making things. I’ve been having trouble sitting down and getting things done recetly – I’m hoping this will all change when I finish working full time.

My knitting machine set up

All set up and ready to go!

So after knitting a few rows of my bolero and feeling sorry for myself this morning, I thought I’d give my knitting machine another go.  I want to make some fair isle purses for Art on the Hill, and that means knowing how this thing works!  I persisted and learned how to programme in my own pattern, taken from an image I’d found online, which I converted to a bitmap in Photoshop.

 

This is where I need some advice.  To programme in your own pattern on the Brother KH965, as far as I can tell, you have to sit for ages pressing one of two buttons, which makes the same shrill noise every time you press it with no option to turn the sound off.  I know this is an ancient piece of kit, but after an hour and a half this drove me nuts!

Finally I finished programming and rechecking, I’d done some practice rows of knitting, so it was time to knit the owl 🙂  I hadn’t anticipated what to do when the stitches come of the needles when you are knitting with two colours.  When hand knitting, I always fix mistakes from the right side of the work, but with the machine you have to work from the back, which is hard because you can’t see what’s going on in the pattern.

A poor attempt at machine knitting

Sad owl that looks like a cat

So here he is.. a sad, fat, pale owl because in my haste I forgot that I should have charted him in rectangles rather than squares, to allow for the fact that stitches are wider than they are high.  I felted him slightly, largely because I wondered how the yarn would react but also so it would like flat for a picture.   Not bad for a first attempt I suppose, though I am put off by the frustration I went through trying to programme this guy in.

I think what I really need is someone like this lady to come and rewire my knitting machine so my MacBook can talk to it:

Any volunteers?

 

 

Mini Etsy Treasury – Trees!

Mini Etsy Treasury – Trees!

I’d like to try and make Etsy Treasuries and favourites a regular thing on here, it felt good last time giving a thumbs up to the sellers I’d featured! Today there is a bit of a tree theme going on.  Please click on the photo’s to be sent through to the sellers Etsy page.

sageANDindie tree pendant - etsy favourite  lazydoll heart tree purse - etsy favouriteJewelleryByZM tree pendant - etsy favouriteminimonos screen printed tree pillow - etsy favouriteLeafyDesign tree brance scarf - etsy favouriteWoodlandGifts tree print heart shaped buttons - etsy favourite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Tree of Life Wire Sculpture Encased Picture Jasper Stone Necklace from sageANDindie

2. Heart Tree Embroidery Purse from lazydoll

3. Tree of Life Sterling Silver Necklace from JewelleryByZM

4. Tree Branches Silk Screened Pillow from minimonos

5.  Tree Branch Scarf from LeafyDesign

6.  Set of 10 Mixed Tree Patterned Heart Buttons (ON SALE!)  WoodlandGifts

 

Spring Etsy Finds..

I wanted to share these lovely things I found on Etsy today. I’m still a bit hooked on yellow this week and I needed a fix! Please click each picture to be taken to the sellers Etsy page.

Yellow_Rose_Necklace TrickyWoo_Creature Do_What_You_Loveyellow_bag Crchet_Hook _Organiser      Handamde_Ballerina_Pumps Orange_Fish_Print Fingerless_Gloves Yellow Octopus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Mustard Yellow Rose And Turquoise Bead Necklace by Luscious Lockets
2) Cute trickywoo creature with heart by trickywoogifts
3) Do What You Love by letterhappy
4) Party Bag by alexbender
5) Cozy Crochet Hook Organiser by MessyJesse
6) Sunflower Yellow Handmade Ballerinas by elehandmade
7) Ocean Fish Print by OrangeOptimist
8 ) Lambswool Wristwarmers by vKnit
9) Yellow Octopus by RubySubmarine

I hope these brightened up your day!