Time for the anniversary blog post. It’s been 11 years since I started writing about my knitting and crafting life.
Last year was a great year as my baby boy arrived in July. I enjoyed the pregnancy (by and large!) and OJ is just a delight to us all. Needless to say, many of my knitting and sewing projects were baby related last year and I’m sure that trend will continue in 2018. In fact I’m currently knitting him a pair of mittens!
Time will no doubt be precious this year, with looking after OJ, running the business (which has now gone back to being Internet only) and having family time, so I’m not sure how much crafting I will achieve.
I do however want to do some modern calligraphy. I was interested in traditional calligraphy many years ago, and now keeping a bullet journal and following journallers on Instagram, my interest has been sparked again in trying some of the more modern types that I’ve seen them use to illustrate their journals.
I also want to do more photography this year. My DSLR camera is in need of repair, but the repair will be so costly and considering the age of the camera, my husband is kindly buying me a new DSLR body for my birthday later this month. I’m very excited!
I WILL finish at least one quilt this too. I’m so close to finishing the whitewashed cottage quilt. In fact we have family coming to stay in March and I am going to aim to finish the quilt before they arrive, because it will look so nice in the guest bedroom!
On Saturday, Mum and I, together with the 11 year old daughter of a friend of mine, went to the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycraft Show at Westpoint, Exeter. Mum and I have been most years but it was delightful to take my friend’s daughter too, because I got to see the show through fresh eyes. She’s been coming to us for sewing lessons after school and loves crafting and as we walked in, a huge smile came across her face!
There wasn’t much in the way of yarn and fabric at this show – there never usually is to be honest – it’s more of a paper and bead crafts show, but there was still a lot I could have spent my money on.
There were a lot of kits at the Pinflair stand which I could have bought, but I did limit myself to the Christmas Tree Surprise Kit.
I’m particularly excited about the needle felting kit though. I’ve never done needlefelting before so Mum and I thought we’d have a go. She bought a couple of different kits: one is a picture and the other two bunnies.
I’m all excited to get on with some crafting now… but I just don’t know where to begin!
Last night my friend organised a craft evening at our church, for all the women in their church and their friends. There were about 30 women there and we got to choose whether we wanted to make a Christmas tree from a paperback book, a paper Christmas wreath or a fir cone. I chose the fir cone option and here it is!
The lady who taught us how to make it actually bought the fabric from my shop. It’s from the Winter’s Lane collection – our most popular collection at the moment.
It was pretty easy to make. Just a matter of folding lots of 2″ squares into triangles and then pinning them to a polystyrene egg. Here’s a YouTube video explaining it:
She also showed us how to make christmas baubles with ribbons using a similar technique of folding and pinning to a polystyrene ball. I might pop to Hobbycraft or the Range at the weekend and pick up a ball, so I can have a go at them. They looked particularly effective!
Not a lot happening here on the crafting front these past couple of months.
At the end of September Mum, hubby and I went to the craft show at Westpoint, Exeter. It’s something Mum and I do every year and this year, my husband thought he’d come along too out of interest, bless him! I was fairly restrained. Bought some pinflair glue for my mother-in-law and some fabric with VW camper vans on. Not sure what I’ll make with it yet… maybe cushions for our VW T5 van which we are planning to convert to a camper one day.
I haven’t really done much knitting at all. There’s a secret project on the sticks at the moment which I can’t talk about but I’m just not feeling inspired. Not sure why. I have started a top-down jacket but I think it’s going to be too small, so the thought of starting again has made me put it down and not pick it up again.
I’ve only done a little bit of work on my quilt too.
However the Saturday before last, we hosted a lampshade making workshop in the shop, and thanks to my Mum for minding the shop, I was able to join in a make a lampshade too. The class was taught by Ruth from Quincy Lampshades and she was a great teacher: she explained things very well, and we all went home excited and pleased with how our lampshades turned out.
My husband was impressed when I got home and immediately hung it in the spare room.
Whilst reading Knit and Tonic’s blog today, I learnt about Temari balls. I’d never heard of them before but I then came across another of the blogs I subscribe to, talking about them. Twice in a week, is a bit funny!
Temari balls are japanese embroidered balls and the ones I’ve seen on people’s blogs are stunning… like these:
If you’re in the UK you may have seen a mini series called Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas. For those who don’t know, the presenter, Kirstie Allsop usually presents a property show, where she and her co-presenter help people find their ideal house. But she also likes crafts and interior design too. So earlier this year she had a series called Kirstie’s homemade home, in which she was renovating a holiday home in North Devon and she decided to “make” a lot of the little things such as lampshades and fire pokers and a knitted draft excluder. However I’m not entirely convinced how much she actually made herself! Anyway, last week she had a Christmas mini-series, making Christmas decorations and things for the Christmas table like crackers and embroidered napkins and place settings and candles etc.
Well we’ve been doing our own version of a Homemade Christmas and we think ours in much nicer!
Firstly there’s this Christmas tree ornament – a little padded star. Just two lots of 6 diamond shaped pieces sewn together with a little bit of wadding in between. Ideal way to use up those little scraps of material that you might have in your stash.
Then there’s the Merry Christmas banner. It only took 5 fat quarters (you can get about 3 letters out of a quarter) and then strung up with some ribbon.
She also made these amazing card hangers. They have pockets in which you can put the cards.
Sadly whilst the east of the UK is covered in snow, we in Devon haven’t any 😦 It really does upset me. Last time we had a lot of snow in this country, I think the whole country had snow except my town. It stopped short of us by about 3 miles, skirted around us and continued into Cornwall. Seriously it did. I had to get the train to Reading to see a friend and as I looked out of the window over the countryside as we left the station, there was this definite line where the snow had just stopped. It was as if an invisible shield was put over our town, stopping the snow getting in.
Anyway, instead of real snowflakes, my Mum has been very clever and made large paper ones instead.
I don’t about you, but if I have time, I like to give handmade Christmas cards to my family and special friends. It is nice to make the extra effort for the people you’re closest to. So a few of our friends will be getting these cards this year:
They were so easy to make. We used some card blanks bought from a local craft store and a piece of Novelty Labels and Classic labelsChristmas fabric. From the fabric, we cut around each square label. These were mounted onto a small piece of wadding which was slightly smaller than the size of the square. We fixed the fabric to the wadding, wrapping the edges around the wadding so it was nice and neat.
The red and green card blanks already have square apertures cut into them which were the right size for the squares. So we were able to fit the now padded squares into them and sealed them up. The white card is plain, so we just glued it the square to the front of the card.
Last week Mum took a family friend to Spin a Yarn in Bovey Tracey and whilst she was there she saw someone making a scarf by weaving chunky yarn through a special mesh. The store had sold their display item so were making a replacement. Mum thought this looked really good so picked up a grey mesh and a white one as well as some suitable yarn, so that we could have a go ourselves.
The mesh is by a Swiss company called Lanartus and it is really soft but not fragile. One of balls of yarn was also by Lanartus, called Sumo and is in a sea green mix of colours.
The other is a Gedfrida yarn in white with bits of orange and gold.
This afternoon she was in Totnes and popped into Sally Carr and saw a Texere variety pack – lengths of different fancy yarns – in just the right colours to match the chunky yarn she’d bought. She had this wonderful idea of how the thin glittery lengths would lift the sea blue colours of the Sumo yarn.
So this evening I sat down after dinner and tried it out. Mum graciously let me just get on with it how I wanted.
Weaving was easy and I soon got into a rhythm. I threaded a tapestry needle and went under and over, leaving a short length at the end before cutting. Then I started the next column, this time going over and under. I guess how you weave depends on the pattern you want to create. You could even go widthways. I picked a few lengths from the variety pack to add in and I was delighted with how it turned out. The only fiddly bit was stitching the ends of the yarn to the mesh to stop them coming out.
It took just 1 ball of the sumo yarn to make a 1.5 metre scarf.
I can see that this will be a favourite scarf for a while. I might even make some as presents for friends.