Friday 27 September 2013

Blissful Knitting

I loved this jacket when I first saw it on the front of the most recent Debbie Biss magazine. I wasn't too sure if I liked the yarn or the colour but the jacket was perfect.
So when Gill and I attended a "Debbie Bliss" event at the Creative Sanctuary, not only were we entertained by Debbie talking about how she sources and selects her yarns and develops her pattern designs but we also got to try on several of her latest designs... including that jacket. And I discovered not only did the jacket look amazing on, the yarn and the colour were perfect too... as were almost all the colours available.

But much as I would have loved to have bought the yarn and come home to start knitting the jacket straight away I really couldn't justify spending over £70. And Gill reminded me that I had plenty of unfinished projects at home... like this one.

Nearly four years ago we went to an exhibition where I fell in love with this jacket by Marion Foale... The Gina jacket (and very similar in shape to the Debbie Bliss one now that I see the photos again).
Gill found me a pattern, I did tension squares, I knitted, I blocked, I stiched it together...

and it ended up looking like something I had made for a mishapen gorilla. It was too tight in some places, too big in others and the sleeves seemed to stretch about 6" when I blocked it. You'll understand why I never shared the results on here! In time I unravelled it all but couldn't face winding it into hanks so that I could wash out  all the kinks in the yarn. What a waste!

However, inspired by our day out I came home, and in the true spirit of make do and mend, I wound the yarn, washed it and started a brand new cardigan... which so far I'm rather liking!

Maybe if I finish this and all the other half knitted stuff that's lurking by the side of my sofa I'll get around to making that Debbie Bliss jacket one day!

Saturday 21 September 2013

A Murder...

...of crows!
The first ever workshop I organised as Young Embroiderers leader was making "Crazy Crows" so it seemed fitting that I should do this for my last workshop as YE leader too. This is a very photo heavy post but I couldn't possibly leave anyone out. 
The crow above was made by Grace but as she had to leave at lunchtime she only got one side completed. Such beautiful stitching though. Sophia managed to work on both sides of her crow and just needs to stitch them together... and I should mention that she is only 7 years old!

The following two crows look like identical twins... but they are the work of Bluebell...

and Francesca who are the bestest of best friends.

Alev, who is only eight, came to her first meeting today and made the crow below...front..

and back... with virtually no help at all! I just love the lips!
We also have the front and back of Eve's crow (another 7 year old... Eve that is, not the crow!)

The front and back of Lottie's crow... more beautiful stitching!

Apologies now because the following four crows are the work of Abigail, Scarlett, Imogen and Jemima... but I can't remember whose is whose

Of course because our girls are so clever and self reliant it does mean that our "helpers" have very little helping to do (at least that is what they tell me) and so they managed to work on their own crows.. this one from Gill

The rather dapper Mr. Crow esq. below from Rhian

And last but not least this absolutely exquisite cockerel from Jan which does seem rather fitting as Jan will be taking over as YE leader at the next meeting. I think you are going to be in safe hands girls!

And mine... well I didn't finish one because I rather stupidly made two sides facing the same way so they couldn't be stitched together... doh! But I did make cookies for our tea break.

I've had a fabulous six years working as YE leader but it's going to be good to come along as just a helper. Looking forward to it!

Wednesday 18 September 2013


I like nothing more than a bit of a personal challenge.
So when I asked in my last post about making books "I wonder if I can go smaller", the answer is yes I can. Quite a bit smaller...

Can you guess how small?

Small enough to hide in my palm...

In fact as small as a matchbox.(Less than 3 cm square)

It has been a while since I made a book in a matchbox and I think of all the dozens I made last year this was definitely the trickiest.

I think I might keep this one but I fancy making some more miniatures for my shop. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed making them.

Although I'm definitely not going any smaller!

Monday 16 September 2013

Fold, Stitch and Stick

I've been making books.
I was taught how to make these lovely book structures by the very talented Heather Power who is actually a printmaker but also makes fabulous book structures. Although I have made several of them over the years I've never taught anyone else how to make them.

However, next month I'm teaching a class to our Guild called "Fold, Stitch and Stick"* on how to make these books... and it is one thing being able to make a book myself but a completely different matter showing someone else how to do it.

So I thought some practise was due to get the method clear in my head... and I've ended up with books of all sizes from 6" square to less than 3" square

And I've remembered how much I like to construct books.

I rarely do anything with them (I have a box full) but it is the process that fascinates me

I'm thinking it is about time I started using them!

I'm also wondering if I can go smaller...

But not this afternoon as I must dash... off to Chelmsford EG to give a talk this evening.
* If you are reading this and booked on this class let me know and I'll email you the requirements list!

Sunday 15 September 2013

Sunday Soup

I'm cold! The weather has changed and it feels distinctly Autumnal.
  • I've actually worn thick tights three times this week - the season for bare legs has definitely passed.
  • I've started making porridge for breakfast every morning rather than fruit and yoghurt.
  • So far, I've resisted putting on the heating  but I'm weakening... and we might even light a fire this evening.
  • Today I decided it is time for soup for lunch once more
Spiced pumpkin soup with a dash of creme fraiche... tasting all the better for having grown the pumpkins myself! And despite feeling cold I do actually enjoy the change in the seasons and the change in routines. Different clothes, different food, different pastimes... what do you enjoy about Autumn?

Saturday 14 September 2013

The People's Choice?

Yesterday was the AGM of our branch of the Embroiderers' Guild.
We had a fabulous talk from the very talented Nodeen Salmon whose talents range from the most exquisite counted thread work through to feltmaking, doll making, quilting and amazing machine embroidery, where she achieves the most brilliant painterly effects. Not only is she talented but entertaining and funny too.
Machine Emboidery by Nodeen Salmon
Of course being an AGM there was also some business to attend to and more by default than design I appear to have become the Chairman of our branch.

Almond macaroons
I can't help but detect that for a small (at least I hope it is small) faction of our branch I might not be the most popular choice...

Lemon Drizzle loaf
but then they didn't really have a choice because no-one else was prepared to do the job. Having said that I'm not entirely sure why I want to do it either...

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake
But at least I make the members cake!

Sticky Gingerbread

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Stitched Miniatures

More stitching... more last minute stuff for classes!
I devised a quick and easy way of transferring designs and free machining these little densely stitched pictures quite a few years ago. I've taught the method a couple of times as part of other classes but have never devoted an entire day to it before.

But tomorrow I'll be at Art Van Go and we will be making these miniature stitched paintings all day. Each one of these is not even 2" square - just a postage stamp sized image that is perfect for the front of a card or to be made into a small badge or brooch. Anyone else remember Roobarb and Custard... this was my inspiration for the cat's cheesy grin!

Or they can be made just a little bit bigger...

and framed for the wall.

But I must dash as this last little one is going onto the front of another book jacket and I haven't finished it yet. No worries... I've got until tomorrow morning! (Although I am going out tonight!)