Monday, 18 August 2014

Off the cuff...

For holiday trips, one of the things that is always packed is my crochet bag...usually stuffed with more than one project, all my hooks and paraphernalia. 
So far though, it returns unopened...or has the occasional minor disturbance whilst hunting for a pair of scissors.
On a recent trip to visit family, the last decision I made was to leave the bag at home...

One of our nieces is fund raising for a charity she has been working with during the summer.
As I was there, I offered to crochet her some brooches...
Their market town is well stocked with everything a crafter could I could source everything* I needed quickly and relatively reasonably.
With two hooks, a ball of Stylecraft Harlequin, Yarnfair stripes Stylecraft Senses Lace, and some multicoloured thread (*the one thing that eluded me was sparkly thread!) 
I began...

There are 20 items in total, 
brooches with safety pin backs, 
and some hanging decorations...
no written patterns, 

 some remembered, 

some made up and some freeform!

In town there were some fab charity shop finds in the form of sequins and a bagful of sewing supplies - lots of coloured cottons and needles to sew the safety pin backs on!
My mother-in-law also donated a bag of  vintage buttons...
I made this for her as she had admired the crocheted colours and the stylish gold button, from her collection, really sets it off ....

.... as did the velvet button centre for this flower...that had started as a star!
We wondered whether the button had originally been part of some furniture...

There were a few happy accidents...

this also started as a star...I got the counting a little awry...and the silky acrylic curled beautifully, 
as it did for the inner petals (an attempt at a different flat flower),
the combination of the two 'mistakes' made one of my favourite items!

I learned a lot....
that twenty items can be made from less than two balls of wool -(I still have more than half of the thinner yarns left),
that I can finish things in a couple of days,
that relaxing, experimenting and going with the flow works wonders
..and that I should always pack my crochet bag!

Hoping they sell well!

More on happy accidents soon - I seem to be making a habit of them!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Daisy Daisy...

Earlier this week my friends celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary...
I have enjoyed looking back at the photos of their special day and remembering all the happy details!

My friend wore a beautiful lacy dress, 
in our delicate bouquets and hair we had small yellow roses, gypsophila, gentian and ivy.
My Laura Ashley bridesmaids dress had coiled white roses at the back.
The Orders of Service were bound in deep blue sugar paper and inscribed with the groom's beautiful handwriting.

I still cherish the framed coloured pencil drawing of an Ox-Eye Daisy drawn by my friend....
I have sent them my interpretation...

A wet felted background, loomed daisies with needlefelted middles and tiny crocheted gypsophila

Happy Anniversary R and A
Hope you have many more to come!

Monday, 4 August 2014


Pockets  - I love them!
There are bulging pockets in all my coats and often used phrase is 'There's something sticking out of your back pocket'
 I can leave the house without a bag sometimes - just filling my pockets with copious amounts of essential items! 
Then there are the precarious piles of tiny pieces of paper, change and tissues that are unceremoniously plonked on surfaces when the said stretched pockets are evacuated!
I am a huge admirer of Hesta's style over at Bodkin - and loved the way she gently pulled fluff to spin on her drop spindle from her pretty floral pocket!
When crafting I spread out - oozing over every possible surface - and often have several items on my knee (or in the case of tapestry needles disappearing between my thighs...and crochet hooks down the side of the settee!) when there is  a distraction requiring me to stand, everything has to be  laboriously decanted to another area - often at a distance as the near spots are already occupied. 

In summer there are  several seasonal issues -
 the excitement of al fresco crafting: the need to remember to take with you everything you possible could require, to eliminate the 'putting down of project matter, striding  back inside just as you had got started' manoeuvre.
Juggling to try to keep everything off the sometimes damp lawn.
Also the occupied sofa factor - its great having RW Jnr home in the holidays - but it cuts the crafting surfaces down by more than half - long legs straying over into my half....(which has to be the left hand side so I can crochet!)
To solve some of these niggles I have tried trays and biscuit tin lids in the past but had pictures of Hesta's flexible soft fabric pockets in my head.
A flash of inspiration one day led me to ask my mum, who has an eclectic collection of all sorts of practical gadgets, if she had a tie round the waist apron.
She did have a spare - one she beautifully handmade for a Brownie Pack Holiday

with gloriously 70s fabric,  brown (very apt for its destination) trim, practical pocket, and compulsory name tape!
 I imagine the kit list had specified an apron with a pocket...and everything had to be named!
I remembered this apron well - and was keen to give it a go in another role - 
it nearly reached comfortably round my waist!

Then the other day mum gave me a specially commissioned apron - made by a friend of hers! 

 It has a HUGE voluminous pocket - with two openings...

beautiful fabric: inscribed appropriately with
 'Oh what tangled threads we leave when first we practice to stitch and weave'
As its adult size it covers my knees with ease - and is very comfortable round the waist!

I set about making sure I would always have essential necessities to hand  - adding scissors and needles,

attaching them with a crochet cord 

fastened to the apron with a pin brooch.

Well, You've got to pimp a pocket or two boys!!

The plan is to gently cram the current project in the pocket whilst on the move, 
to spread out on my lap whilst creating,
 and to gather the corners up and transfer the contents safely from my knee when I need to stand up!
Now I am looking forward  to trying  it out!!

Thanks to Hesta for the inspiration
to mums friend for the amazing apron
and to mum - for the original apron,
all her encouragement and for gathering and wrapping me in pocketfuls of her creativity!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Hearty Congratulations!

1989 was a great year for weddings on my calendar!
I was bridesmaid three times that year and attended a few other ceremonies too!
This year all those couples celebrate their Silver Anniversary, I can't believe how quickly time has flown!
 I have a wonderful collection of photo albums that take me back instantly to those celebratory, sunny, summery (or in one case autumnal) days.
At the end of each special day, after celebrating happily with friends and families, I assembled all the memorable paraphernalia, (bouquet, dress, order of service, headdress, jewellery etc) and took a photo.
In those days you had to send away your precious film and wait (im)patiently to see how each picture turned out, hoping that amongst the blurry images and fractions of main subjects there was a representation you were pleased with!
The late night collection photos have been very useful in planning my gifts for the anniversary couples.

 In late July when L and T were married I wore a turquoisey dress,
 the bouquet had pretty pink carnations, 
ivory freesia and gypsophila, 
the bride carried a spray of  lilies
and we wore pearl necklaces.

My multi-threaded heart pattern has been embellished with some pearly beads.
Stash yarn used: 21g

Congratulations to the happy couple!
I had so many merry memories of their special day during this project....
...hope it brings them lots too!

The next celebration will be in August.....that gift is ready to post....
meanwhile I am off to dive into my wonderful stash to select yarns for a birthday project....plenty of squishing and colour therapy!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Multiple threads!

When I have plenty of time, one of my favourite parts of a project is the selection of materials...
I love searching through my eclectic stash, 
reminding myself of purchases, donors, 
past projects, new possibilities; 
going off at a tangent, 
feeling the 'precious' yarns (and thinking 'I will use that one day!')....

Being fairly new to crochet the learning curve of how patterns vary according to yarn selection is quite steep, and although I am prepared to experiment, sometimes things just miss the 'giddy excitement upon finishing' stage!
However this heart surpassed all expectations!

As it is my own pattern, I know there is a discrepancy, some yarns make this glaringly obvious, however this combination seems to hide it well!

I found some beautiful mohair in a charity shop, jewel like colours but very fine...put with other yarns it has added extra texture and a dash of colour!

The shiny sparkles are part of some shimmery ribbon yarn, a present, a while ago, from my fabulous friend Tracey...

The whole heart has a sturdiness to it thanks to the combination of threads, and to remind me of the ones I used I have saved this tiny bundle!

 20gs of sumptuousness given to friends!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Round the World Blog Hop!

The wonderfully creative and talented Jacqui over at Living with Ethel has invited me to take part in the Round the World Blog Hop...
Part of the process is to let you know about how I work, and to signpost you to three other talented creators.

What am I working on?
I make presents or cards for most of my family and there is always something to be working on...
In my blogger profile I describe myself as a bit of a flitter...similar to Jacqui's thought of herself as a butterfly! the moment there's..

...some felty notebook activity..
my thumb has met the hammer a couple of times!

..some tiny flowers to embellish this felty piece...

..the net below is ready and waiting for the ideas in my head to flow..

and there's some familiar therapeutic hooking in the form of winter goodies on the go too!
At times when the concentration is not the sharpest its good to have a safe option!

How does my work differ from others in this genre?
As the internet is such a vast resource I can find others with like minds.
Most of what I make is small, no large blankets or garments...yet!
I am particularly enjoying designing my own bits and pieces...
 and being more freefrom in nature...
I have difficulty disciplining myself to count, so geometric designs are taking a break!

How does my writing/creative process work?
Well, the writing part of this question is easy - I write mostly about what I make! I first started blogging to have a record of my creations!
I think my creative process starts with either a person, event or thing...(that safely covers most possibilities)
People and events are self explanatory, although random gifts do appear from time to time!
At quieter times (eg after the Christmas rush) a joint project has given me a focus - like the Crazy Randomness with Ali.
After Linda's stashbusting inspiration I began to look at my materials in a different way,
 I have been trying to use what I have,
 whatever I buy, is for a particular project and at the moment is from charity shops or in the sale!
 I enjoy the challenge of finding a use for beautiful colours and texture.
For particular projects I have an idea, then love the process of taking the time to sort, feel and select the colours and textures, putting them into a project bag and musing over them before getting started.
I think I have always been a muller-overer of ideas!

Some random stashbusted bracelets!

 Why do I write or create what I do?
The creating is mostly to pass on to others,
it keeps my fingers and mind occupied,
soothing rhythm makes me calm,
wet felting works off some energy and encourages my messy side,
everything gives me a colour boost...
and the writing: to record and hang out with like minded inspirational people!

I have already mentioned a few of the many inspirational people I enjoy...

The following three people I pop in and visit too, if they would like to pick up the baton and take part in the blog hop, that would be great, however as busy makers I'll understand if its tricky!

Una at Great Balls of Wool is a member of Loving Hands and makes lots of woolly items for charity
As its an international hop here are two stateside bloggers:
Kate of  Stitches Scraps and Sparkles in the Sun  is a prolific crocheter and has just had a baby girl...I'm so  impressed at her ability to multi-task!
Jacqui, Una and Kate I have found through Linda's blog, however Melody I met quite early in my blogging life, I love her illustrations and her visual images are stunning.

Hope you enjoy the hopping...
I love the way the internet can bring the world closer!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Candy Floss!

A while ago an idea began to stew, 
for a friend, who had given me one of her beautiful stained glass owls...
she has a liking for Day of the Dead skulls aka sugar skulls.
Whilst having fun with my cotton stash and with spirals on my mind the idea began to take shape and crystallise!

This was the prototype, one strand of variegated cotton and a cream cotton with variegated sewing thread....sweet!

After poking, pulling and prodding,
 musing and meditating, 
cogitating and consulting,
 Mr RW commented on the stitches...
and I thought about spaces!

 Second holey spiral!
...and the backside view with some stitching to form the skull shape - a little asymmetric but I'm sure that's not unusual!

The final piece with crochet flowers, and a needle felted  middle (nose!)

My friend was thrilled with a freeform flavour of an iconic image...
and is hoping to frame it in a box frame!
Its great to see things from another artists view...reminded me to search out some frames....

Its  a tiny spoonful of a  stash bust at 8g!