Distractions

I’ve been very distracted so far this year.  I’ve been seriously studying 2D needle felting as I’ve joined a paid online course and want to do well because I’ve got plans to do portraits of both my dogs.  I’ve put the 3D needle felted sculptures to one side at the moment although I’ve every intention of getting back to those once I’ve mastered the 2D stuff.

Before the course started I had a go at this snow hare.   Room for improvement but, doing this, sort of got me hooked which is why I signed up for the dog portrait course.

I started practising noses and eyes.

I sent a photo of this one to Mr. TIalys when he was in the U.K. and he thought one of the dogs had done something on the carpet!!💩

I progressed slightly although they look weird as stand alone features don’t they?

Both my dogs are mostly black and, unfortunately, the wrong colour fibre was sent to me so I couldn’t really make a start.  I did have lots of brown though so decided to follow the workshop for a Jack Russell even though I don’t have one, never have had one and don’t know anybody who has.  All good practice though.

Ooh, a bit spooky. Also this eye is too big really but I carried on regardless.

I’m counting this as a partial success as the ‘too big eye’ impacted on the rest of my markings and I made a complete mess of his chest hair but, as it was my first attempt, I’m trying to be kind to myself.  I am quite proud of the nose though.  Also, it does actually resemble a Jack Russell so it can’t be all bad.

I just put it in the hoop for ‘show and tell’ purposes. It will actually go in my ‘Progress Portfolio’ so that when I get better I can look back and laugh at my early attempts – she said, hopefully.

So, I’m going to try to replicate this photo of Stan which was taken before he had any grey hairs but is a favourite of mine

I’ve made a start by transferring the image on to some linen and, now that my 50 shades of grey (and black) have arrived, I will try to immortalise dear Stan in felt.  Of course, I didn’t think about ordering any red fibre for the bow tie did I! 🙄

My other main distraction – and reason for lack of blog posts – is the possible, well probable really, relocation back to the U.K.  Nothing to do with Brexit I hasten to add.  A difficult thing to achieve when our needs are many and varied including displacing multiple animals, a husband who needs commuting facilities, the need to be within a short drive of one of our daughters, the need (well, desire) for workshop space and a largish garden (very difficult to find in the South of the U.K. at a price that is achievable by people other than film stars and Lottery winners) .  To say nothing of the time it takes to sell property here in comparison to the U.K.   I am so sick of looking at houses on the internet and am dreading the whole thing.

On the brighter side, I’ve been doing some patchwork as the new round of F2F (foot square freestyle)has started which means, I will be making three blocks each month for the next ten months for me and the other nine participants in our chosen colours.  The first up is Tracey of It’s a T-Sweets Day and she has chosen Christmas colours – red, green and Christmas pudding brown.  I can’t show you the blocks I’ve made for Tracey as they are on their way to her now and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Hopefully, see you next time I take a break from the felting, foundation paper piecing and freaking out about moving.

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Scraphappy February

This month I’ve used some scraps and managed to increase the stock, just slightly, in the most sadly neglected of my three Etsy shops.

I made a few needle cases a while back, gave some as gifts and took some to sell at a couple of the fundraisers for the dog refuge I support.  I had three left which I stuck in a drawer and forgot about until I came across them again a couple of months ago.  I thought I might as well put them in my shop so I did and sold a couple quite quickly.  Thinking to follow up on that success, I thought I’d make some more as they are the perfect size to use up scraps – albeit not the teeny tiny scraps.  The biggest piece of fabric you need is about 11 x 8 inches.

The first one I made with a precious scrap of Echino fabric by Kokka.  The quilting is done with the outer, wadding and lining, then the pocket and felt ‘pages’ added afterwards.  Then the whole thing is edged with binding in the same way as you would a quilt.

Unfortunately, I messed up the first one by not mitring the corners neatly enough so – what a shame – I’m going to keep that for myself as the little needle book I bought ages ago is looking a little tatty and is only big enough to hold needles.  I want something to also put scissors, etc. in for when I take small hand sewing projects downstairs occasionally (my workroom is upstairs).

The second one is also Japanese Echino fabric – another scrap from the same original yardage.

All the bindings, interior fabric, felt and trimmings are also leftovers from other projects.

The last – for the moment, but I have more plans – is the Llamas in Love.  Llamas are ‘a thing’ at the moment – I think they are the new flamingos – and this was a scrap of organic cotton I had left over from a bag project.

It’s fun trying to find coordinating fabrics from the scrap bin to make it look as if that’s the way you planned it all along.

I really enjoy making these although I would prefer a quicker way to bind them as I’m hand-stitching the binding down on the inside as I do for quilts and it takes time which doesn’t really make them cost effective.   Any suggestions?

Still, it’s using scraps and that can only be a good thing can’t it.

 

 

 

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn,(me) Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, PaulineSue L
and Sunny

 

 

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #23

 

Beginner 2D needle felting project number 2.

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26 Comments

Further Felting Adventures

I’m continuing down the path of my new obsession – needle felting.

After my idiosyncratic hare which was my first attempt at a beastie……

……..I thought I’d have a go at 2D needle felting.  In other words, making a picture using wool tops and a felting needle.

For my first attempt I copied the ouline of an illustration from a card I’d sent to Mr. Tialys at one time on to some linen. Then filled it in with needle felting.

I really like the texture you can achieve.

Then I went back to the 3D sculpture stuff and made a fox.

He has rather a high forehead – probably a very brainy fox – but, overall, I’m quite pleased with my second animal sculpture.

Here he is again resting in some monster-sized faux lavender.  I need to learn how to tame unruly whiskers.

I stretched my 2D picture in a hoop just to display on the blog but I’ll be keeping my early (flat) attempts in some sort of portfolio file in order to track my progress.

Although I think this would work quite well, with a little felted heart between them, as a Valentine’s card.

I’m not sure yet, whether I prefer making the 3D needle felted sculptures or the 2D needle felted pictures but it’s early days yet and for the moment I will carry on with both until I make a decision or, more likely, continue with both sorts.

Next, I’m going to have a go at a dog sculpture – I think I could adapt the shape of the fox to represent one of my dogs.

Also, I’m going to try to needle felt a picture of my other dog for which I’m going to follow a live Facebook tutorial.

At this rate, I see felted gifts for friends and rellies in the future – which will make a change from blankets and quilts I suppose.

But, first, we’ll see if I can make anything worth giving.

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33 Comments

Tight Lipped Tuesday #22

I’m sure you’ve met Flo before.

She is the light of Mr. Tialys’s life and can do no wrong.

In his eyes, she is a Princess.

So, Mademoiselle Tialys the Elder had this ‘painting’ made for him for Christmas.

I’m saying nothing.

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First Major Finish of 2020 – Nature’s Walk CAL

I don’t often do CALs (crochet alongs) – or any ‘alongs’ but was very tempted by this blanket – different designs on the squares, lovely yarn, soft muted colours and a bit of a challenge.

Some of the squares were more difficult than others but I kept up with the eight squares a week right up until the sixth week.

Then came the joining – I fell behind.

Then came the border – and Christmas – I fell further behind.

However, I didn’t mind because the CAL had kept me on track with the squares and, once I’d done those, it was never going to become a UFO (unfinished object) and I’d also seen all the finished blankets in the Facebook group which inspired me to press on.

Everybody who has made this blanket seems to be thrilled with it – I am too – lots of them are going to make it again – I am not.  That beautiful border almost did for me as it seemed to go on forever.  Still, I’ve done it and it’s finished and I love it.  Here are some photos.

Here it is on the blocking mat.  I blocked the squares as I went along but blocked again at the end to help open out the border although I don’t actually think it made much difference.

The seemingly never ending border – worth it though.

Flung, stylishly over the bath in a desperate attempt to get good lighting.

The washing line photo – colours a bit bleached by the sun.

Nature's Walk on the SofaSofa Pose

I love this one with the sun behind – it shows up all the different designs. It was a happy accident because I didn’t realise, until I took it, how much the sun was shining through.  I’m not on Facebook much but did join a group for support and information during this crochet along.  I put this particular photo up on the group page as one of the others would just have looked like everybody else’s who had used the same colours.  Within minutes the likes and loves and comments came pouring in.  For a brief moment I got an idea of how it must feel for somebody to ‘go viral’ on social media.

This lovely pattern was designed by Cherry Heart and is available free – see here.

Three different yarn packs are available to buy from Black Sheep Wools  – I used the Wild Hedgerow colourway in Scheepjes Stonewashed.  If you buy the pack from BSW, the bonus squares were free during the CAL (and still are) but these have now also been released for sale should you want to vary the amount of designs used in your blanket.

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31 Comments

First Scraphappy Day Of 2020

A new year, a new scrap friendly project – and a very simple one it is too.

If you’ve been reading my recent posts you’ll know I’m trying out needle felting again.

Before the French postal service did away with their economy international tariff, I used to sell French linen of the sort that is used to make tea towels.  I still have lots of scraps and offcuts and sometimes use them for various crafting purposes.

Most people seem to use a foam pad underneath their work or even a sort of brush thingy – these protect your work surfaces, support your work in progress and, usually, stop you stabbing yourself with the stiletto like barbed needle that is used for needle felting.

When I was doing my research into needle felting and deciding whether to to take the plunge again after my not too successful efforts a few years ago, I spotted several people using hessian bags filled with rice and, as that seems more eco friendly than foam or a plastic brush, I thought I’d put those pieces of linen into use.

The linen is quite a coarse weave so I think it will work well.

I just cut two squares, approx. 12 x 8 inches, overlocked the edges, leaving a gap to fill with about 1.5kg of the cheapest rice I could find, and sewed up the gap.

And, I’m ready to go!

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, PaulineSue L
and Sunny

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28 Comments

Tight Lipped Tuesday #21

I thought I’d let you know how my needle felting journey is progressing.

I know his ears are super long but it was me putting my own spin on the kit.

A back view to show off his tail.

I really enjoy the way you have to sculpt the wool to get the shape you want.

I like to think I’m making some progress since my first efforts.

Still far from perfection but I’m quite proud of him and there’s enough wool left in the kit to make another one .

As for this needle felting lark – I think I’m probably a goner.

 

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43 Comments

Another Never Say Never Again Post

Regular readers will know that I like to say ‘never say never’ about certain things although one ‘never’ that won’t change is that I will never voluntarily go on a sea cruise.

Obviously crafts are a different matter because, having very briefly tried needle felting once, I’m pretty sure I wrote it off as something that didn’t appeal to me and said ‘never again’.  I do like some of the things you can create with it – particularly animal sculptures – but I was a bit ‘meh’ about the actual doing of it.

However, when my daughters were over here at Christmas, Mlle. Tialys the Younger said she wanted to try felting.  She had done some wet felting at a workshop so she’d bought a kit to make small cat figures which she brought over to France with her so we could do some together.  Having wet and soaped and wet and soaped some more, I’m going to stick my neck out and say I’m ‘never’ going down that damp and tedious road again – although I haven’t totally given up the idea of felting a bar of soap because – well, why wouldn’t you want a bar of felted soap?

So, I unearthed my very small supply of needle felting stuff I’d bought to try out that craft several years ago.

There was more roving (wool tops) than that in the bag but see below.

One thing that definitely does appeal about this craft is the relatively small amount of tools you need and the small amount of space to practice it.  I really don’t need any more bulky supplies around at the moment as I have enough fabric, yarn, sewing machines, etc. to sink a ship as it is.  Also, I think it could be fairly eco friendly as you can buy lovely British breed wool tops  and I even noticed one shop selling ‘vegetarian’ wool as it comes from a farm where the sheep are kept almost as pets and never, ever sold for meat.

I must admit to not being particularly enthused about the projects available in the book I had so I scoured the internet for beginner videos and more information.  I’ve ordered a kit from this U.K. shop which has lots of information and video tutorials on their blog.  I am hoping, when the kit arrives, and I have had a bit more practice, to make a little hare.

In the meantime the Younger and I decided to make something round with a couple of features just to get into the swing of things and I show you my first attempts in the sure and certain belief you will not be overly impressed.

This started as a chick but, you know, I only have limited wool colours (and eye supplies) at the moment.

At least this one is yellow.

After Mlle. T. the Younger returned to the U.K., I followed another video tutorial on YouTube for a mushroom.

Or is it a toadstool?

I played around with adding features like the spots on the cap and grass growing around the stalk so it was good practice.

I think I might be addicted and things can only improve although it might be some time before I’m being commissioned to replicate people’s dogs and cats in felt like this Japanese artist known as Wakuneko

I think I’ll aim for something a little more achievable for the moment.

Watch this space.

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36 Comments

Mostly Shirts And Sharks But Also Some Foldy Things

A Happy New Year to all and, in case you were wondering why, on my last post just before Christmas, I broke my usual habit of answering all comments, I apologise and have no excuse apart from the impending visitation of my daughters and the barely contained panic of trying to get last minute presents made before the big day.  I promise I won’t do it again – well, I might but will apologise again if I do.

Despite having the most beautiful weather over Christmas with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, I was really lazy and mostly passed dog walking duties over to Mr. Tialys as he was home and it was nice to have a break from it if I’m honest.  Also, Zumba and Pilates classes had stopped over the holidays and I’m far too undisciplined to work out on my own at home.  Still, it’s back to normal today and it turns out I haven’t been that lazy because I do seem to have a few makes to show you.

Firstly, I finished the second ‘All Day Shirt’ for Mr. T just in the nick of time for Christmas.  I fell behind with it because I wanted to attach the sleeves differently but got in a muddle so ended up doing them the way the pattern said after all.  I used Liberty tana lawn again as I had a length of this tiny floral in my stash so that’s used up a bit more ‘excess’ fabric.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of him wearing it on Boxing Day so a close up front of folded shirt (please note the contrast fabric – also Liberty – on collar facing, inside yoke and it’s also inside cuffs) and a back view worn by my antique male mannequin will have to do for the moment.  Anyway, you get the drift.

After seeing the Cheyenne Tunic pattern by Hey June on another blog, I thought it would make a nice, relaxed top to wear over leggings or jeans and I had some double gauze with gold spots on which I thought would give a sparkly touch for Christmas.

You can see the gold dots more clearly if you click on the photo and they did make the top a bit more ‘festive’ but it meant the construction was more difficult than it needed to be as pressing the fabric had to be done very carefully in case of gold dot meltage (possibly a made up word).  I like the pattern and the only alteration I made was to make the sleeves slightly bell shaped as I didn’t want the turn back sleeves with tabs or the long sleeves with cuffs on this occasion.  I was going to gather the ends of the sleeves at the wrist but decided against that in the end (I told you I was lazy).  I will make it again in a different fabric as I like the neck and placket closure and the general overall shape.

So, both daughters were home for Christmas and Mlle. Tialys the Elder and I were keen to make ourselves a pair of workout leggings from a new pattern I’d bought – Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielsen – for a bit of mother daughter bonding while we weren’t watching Christmas films, playing board games, scoffing festive food or arguing with our sister (!).  Obviously that last one was not me as my sisters weren’t here although, if they had been, I probably would have argued with them.

Unfortunately, this is not me either.

Shark Pants

I did make myself some of these too but, trust me, this is probably the photo you would rather see.

The fabric, bought online,  came as a bit of a shock – I thought the sharks were going to be tiny and barely recognisable as sharks but, as you can see, that wasn’t the case.  However, in a way, it’s better because you don’t get that many full sharks to the leg (a sentence I have probably never said before in my life and probably won’t ever again).   Certainly it’s true in my case as I’m short and also I cropped the legs of my pair to mid calf length.  We did try to be careful not to get a shark disappearing up front or back crotch piece.   Anyway, the fabric was a bargain and I bought it so we could try out the pattern for size and I’m grateful to Mlle. T. the Elder for so thoroughly testing them out for me so that at least I know my seams should contain me during a squat, or worse, a down dog.

I saw, on Anne’s blog, that she had been doing some book folding and, as often happens with me, I was immediately inspired to rush off and try it out. I decided to re-purpose a couple of very old, never looked at books into Christmas trees – one was a cookery book for ice cream dishes (never going to happen in this house) and the other had a lot of very nice vintage style black and white illustrations from which I made the one on the right below and another one as a gift.  There was a fourth one too that I made as a last minute present for a friend on Boxing Day  – and so I also got to be a dab hand at five pointed origami stars.

Folded Book Christmas Trees

Of course I had to investigate further and ended up nearly ruining my hands for all time by folding an old paperback into an angel as one does.

This may have been a step too far as it took me ages and, in a search for a suitable angelic topping, I stumbled across a ball of gold tinsel yarn I bought at some time for who knows what and made a pompom for her head.  She sheds little gold sprinkles wherever she goes so I might think about a different head next time I unpack the Christmas decorations.  However, that will be the first and the last angel body I’m ever making out of a paperback.

I also did a lot of crochet work on the border of my Nature’s Walk CAL blanket but obviously not enough or I’d be showing it to you now.  The deep border seems to be never ending but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it in the end.  Lots of the other people who did the CAL enjoyed it so much they started on another one straight away – that is probably (definitely?) not going to happen in my case.

So, not too lazy really and I have also started a new hobby in a fit of madness but mainly in a quest to get Mlle. Tialys the Younger interested in some sort of craft.  Progress (or lack of)  will be revealed next time.

In the meantime, against all the odds, let’s hope 2020 will prove to be a good one for everybody, everywhere.

 

 

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