Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Christmas Voice

 I have enjoyed making quite a few pieces of  felt during 2012, amongst them Project Dragonfly, The Dying of the Sun, and The Lost Sheep
In January another piece was made and given,
I have waited until now to tell the story of A Christmas Voice,
or C90 as it was named in my head whilst I worked on it.
A long time ago a friend and I began collaborating. I made a piece of felt for Karen to write about and Karen sent me some of her creative writing to inspire some felt making.
Her prose and poems were fabulous - prompting lots of memories and familiar situations or feelings. I had some ideas at first but nothing that leapt out as encapsulating a whole work or doing her words justice. 
Shortly after Christmas last year I re-read the items she had sent and a spark was ignited!

A Christmas Voice

The day before my birthday was quiet.
The turkey was gone, the chocolates sparse,
Only one cousin was still in our house, and
The tree lights blinked a Christmas reminder.

With nothing much to do now,
We talked of times gone by, a shared past.
I suddenly remembered, in the back of a draw,
As if it was nothing, an old tape.

Thought about after nearly twenty years,
Into the cassette player it went, fitting snugly,
Like Cinderella’s shoe, a little nugget
Of pure gold on a C90.

Pressing play, we all held our breath,
Time suspended, and then a voice, so familiar,
Spoke of a life we had never known.
My Gran spoke again, as she always used to.

Twelve children in a house with two bedrooms,
A murder in Aston,
A schoolteacher with a wicked temper,
And a Dad who never came home from the war.

We looked at each other amazed.
My Gran was in the room with us again,
As she always had been at Christmas,
Talking and talking, making another world come alive.

These days when we visit Gran, she is quieter.
Her voice sounds the same,
Cheery and hers,
But she asks when her mum is coming round,
And we always say, she’ll be round tomorrow…

It started with the green Christmas tree background and the blinking tree lights.  For those of you who are old enough to remember C90 cassettes - there is a homage to the case shape and winding, flimsy tape. The three distinct wool threads represent the colourful varied and exciting tales or yarns of Karen's Gran, which eventually become fused together into more repetitive and quieter phrases.

It was important that these threads began and continued beyond the edge of the felt.

I didn't realise that shortly before I had begun work on this piece Karen's Gran had sadly passed away, it made the making all the more poignant.
Karen's Gran's voice that had been preserved on the nugget of pure gold, has been transferred onto computer so that it  can still be heard -  also family and friends will have many happy memories of her,  hence the motif continuing beyond the edges.
Following suggestions by relatives Karen's poem was printed for people to read and keep after her Gran's funeral.

Hope this has prompted happy memories of exciting tales!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

Wishing everyone a 
Happy Christmas.

Fusion of Felt and Freeform Crochet Candle

 May you have many moments of merriment and plenty of peaceful pauses!


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Oh Christmas Tree...

Granny Squares are really therapeutic to hook when the chaos of Christmas preparations really takes a hold.

Remember the pile of squares here?

They became a small forest of these:

Each square is folded and sewn to form a triangle with ribbon inside to add extra colour. 
The larger ones are hanging decorations and some smaller ones branched out to be brooches!

Whilst playing with granny squares a while ago RW Jnr and I simultaneously came up with the idea of a 3D tree:

3 different sizes of squares separated with a bead ...

A super crafty friend of mine, Sue, sent me a bumper parcel of goodies recently including this fluffy yarn - having practised lots of granny squares I could hook these by feel when the stitches were not easy to see!

Topped off with a heart shaped bead...

some even had bells on!

The final type of tree in the Christmas forest is the wonderful Grandma Tree found on The Royal Sisters blog

This was hooked with white cotton and a multicoloured thread.

Our real Christmas tree is up and decorated with lots of familiar vintage finery and and family favourites.
The lights are reflected in the shiny gold wrappings bags and bows beneath.
Exciting times to come!

Friday, 21 December 2012

In The Bleak Midwinter...

...or should that be dreich midwinter as there's so much wet and grey weather about?

Thinking of crisp and brighter days:
there are so many wonderful snowflake patterns around...
to narrow them down I started by browsing Helen's snowy white posts from last Christmas... 
and tried this lacy 6 pointer

The pattern is here. 
I liked it.. but it involved a lot of counting and blocking...
Then I used some of the free patterns Deramores published
from 101 Snowflakes to Crochet by Caitlin Sainio.


Again the pattern worked well but I found the picots a bit tricky and a lot of pins and spray starch were involved to straighten out the pretty pointy parts.

However after a little tweaking this motif emerged from the hook

and this one...

....which is much chunkier having been hooked in dishcloth cotton!

The yarn and hook size make a big difference to the final appearance and the amount of finishing each requires.

Some of the photos were taken last week when the frosty wind really did make the earth as hard as iron...the others are on the naked Christmas tree!

Today we had some welcome winter sunshine on the shortest day..
Hope you are all finding some calm, still moments in the rushing about!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Blooming Beautiful!

I had a beautifully scented surprise through the post from my wonderful friend Tracey....

Lots of tiny perfect blooms

They are so bright and cheerful - a real reminder of spring!
(The packaging was pretty cool too - they arrived in tip top condition!)
Thank you Tracey x

Hoping you all have lots of bright moments in the Christmas season!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Presents of the Birthday variety!

We have a fair few family and friends birthdays in the run up to the festive season and just beyond.... 

when I first started to crochet I bookmarked lots of online patterns - one was the
which I have made for my niece

The granny was great to hook in sumptuously soft Rowan Handknit Cotton. I made up my own strap - which took considerably longer than the square 
(measured in Sherlocks - it took two (90minute) episodes!). 
An edging to match the strap was added to the flap and a perfectly coloured button from a random button tub. Its lined with a square from an old shirt.

I enjoyed the photo shoot in a borrowed autumnal garden!

A heart to hang has travelled North...

this is my own design and comes out a slightly different shape with each yarn used.
The one above is cotton yarn with sewing thread.

These were DK red and laceweight white wool.
Christmas crochet is happening at a cracking pace...there are lots of designs and projects in the pipeline - all at various stages of in progressness! 
There will also be some festive felt to share with you....
better get back to the making.

Wishing everyone a Happy Advent 
and many moments of calm in the seasonal preparations!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Skein of Green!

Earlier this year, when something clicked and I began to crochet, my wonderfully woolly and creative friend Tracey sent me a bulging box of goodies...
The blue at the back became a granny TARDIS, the red has been used successfully for my heart pattern which I am yet to reveal, the pinky colours were transformed into one of Tracey's gift bags and the blue on the top has found its way into a few Kaldred patterns. 
The green at the bottom was a wonderfully soft 150g skein of superwash merino.

I knew it would come into its own for Christmas..I had thoughts of Christmas trees, holly leaves, and mistletoe. I did use a little before I began on Christmas projects...
however these were tiny bits as I have great difficulty winding from a hank to a ball! Even the smallest skein gets a bit knotted and ravelled despite my best attempts to keep it smooth 
and its me that keeps getting wound up!
Whilst winding the green skein I ended up with an extremely distorted knotted green mess of 750m of yarn resembling a giant clump of  spongy moss!
My mum is hugely creative and thankfully patient...she likes methodical mathematical crafts, her lace is incredibly detailed - and takes hours of dedication. She took away the wodge of wool, patiently unravelled, untwisted and wound it into this huge ball of single stranded several hued green loveliness!

The tiny bit on the top was the only casualty of the long length -  and that was the cut I had made in anger to find an end to wind!

I have been hooking frantically but therapeutically with what I thought was a never-ending supply of Christmas coloured softness. I abandoned all the patterns I favourited on Ravelry in favour of the humble granny square and have made this portly pile.....

Not for a blanket, or a bag...but all will be revealed nearer Christmas!
The squares don't have to be neat for this project!


My supplies are satisfyingly dwindling..


and the ball has shrunk considerably....
 A couple of weekends ago Tracey and I met up in Brum for the second time in more than 20 years - it was so great to see her again, chat, reminisce and introduce her to Mr RW and RW Jnr! 
 She received one of the transformed granny squares.
This post is to say Thank you over the years to Tracey for her continued friendship, supplies and inspiration and to Mum for her oodles of patience...

Friday, 16 November 2012

Flame On!

This is the card we gave Mum for her birthday...

It started as the fourth piece of wet felt created for The dying of the Sun...seen here on the right on the line of fire!

There's a bit of everything incorporated into the needlefelting, two types of Teeswater curls and mainly shetland tops with some sari silk...

...and some crochet. 

I suppose the crochet flames could be considered my first free form crochet as I just hooked a few stitches until I got a flame shape.  They then took on a completely different form as they were needlefelted onto the piece..

I'm amazed how much my style has changed from this

to this in just a year. 

I'm always on the look out for frames and this is a great one from B and M bargains last year. The glass has been removed but the mount had padded foam on the back and a polystyrene sheet is included to pack out the box style. I might have to pop in and pick up some more, though I have quite a collection of shapes and sizes as I buy them when I see them. Also I'm never quite sure what size a finished item might be!

Part of mum's present was a crochet Poinsettia brooch from my daffodil pattern,
with a few more petals of different widths,'ve guessed it...
a needlefelted middle!

Happy Birthday Mum!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Sparkly Spider Hammocks!

One of the joys of autumn is seeing nature's colourful beauty and being surprised by intricate patterns. On a chilly, dull and dewy morning last month I snapped these beauties on our lavender bush!

Sparkly jewels!

Spider trampolines or hammocks?!

Can you spot the web on this picture?

I think we have had the maker of this giant web scurrying across the living room carpet once or twice!