A New Home For A Gnome

Around 18 months ago I showed you this gnome that I had made using the foundation paper piecing method……just because.

It’s a twelve inch finished block that ended up in my Parts Department as I didn’t really know what to do with it after I made it.  Ever get that feeling?

Anyway, the crafting group I joined a few weeks ago is committed to supporting Project Linus UK** and, although I can’t face piecing and quilting anything large at the moment, a small baby quilt measuring around 30 x 30 inches is eminently doable and will fit nicely under my machine for some rudimentary quilting (which is the only quilting I do).

So, the first step was to cut off those little black beads I’d used for his eyes, promptly lose them down the cracks in my floorboards,  and replace them with my even more rudimentary embroidery.

Then, using my stash and scraps, I did a spotted border to reflect those spots on his top and red cornerstones to pick up the hat.

Also in my Parts Department, I had the remains of a batik charm pack and then cut the cornerstones from fabric left over from a quilt I made for my niece’s baby a couple of years ago.

I used a cream fabric with a slightly embossed design for the border and the same fabric I used for the cornerstones as a backing.

Then I marked the quilt top with a simple, diagonal cross hatch design ready for machine quilting.

I had a fat quarter of Provencal fabric in my stash which, with a few joins and a bit of luck, was just enough to make the binding.

To give credit where credit’s due, Miss Tialys the Younger joined a lot of the ¼ inch seams for me while I did the measuring and cutting and, because she’s learning, she probably took much more care than I do.

I hope the baby and his/her parents like this little quilt and it brightens up their days which might have had a traumatic start of one sort or another.

Next, I have a paper pieced dog’s face in the Parts Department which I might treat in a similar way to this but make it rectangular for a bassinet.

While Miss T. the Younger was in the swing of things we made some tote bags together so now she has her own hand made ‘bags for life’ to go shopping with and I have another two to add to my collection,  We made them with box corners rather than the more simple shape as I find them much more useful for grocery shopping,

Again, I did all the measuring and cutting out but, hopefully, she’ll show an interest in doing that too eventually 🙄  Still, even if she doesn’t, it’s nice to spend time together doing something creative when she visits.  Plus, yet more stash fabric gets used up in a useful way.  Those first two fabrics are from Ikea I don’t know how many moons ago.

 

** from the Project Linus website:

“Project Linus UK is a volunteer organisation. We aim to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted blankets, and give volunteers across the UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community.”

, , , , , ,

9 Comments

Scraphappy Day June 2021

Nothing better to do on my birthday so I’ve made my daughter some hair scrunchies from scraps – she actually helped make them as part of her pledge to get more confident on the sewing machine.

So many scraps and bits and pieces of elastic left over from masks – the compulsory use of which has now been extended for at least another four weeks in England, due to fears about another variant, despite the vast majority of the more vulnerable being double vaccinated.  I don’t like the sound of that ‘at least’.  Oh well.

Only joking about nothing better to do for my birthday – we made them yesterday and Mr, Tialys and I are going out for a slap up meal tonight with favourite sister-in-law and her other half.  A great excuse to wear a ‘frock’.

Talking of Mr. T., he has made a rustic divider/wind break structure for one of the flower beds using yet more pieces of wood found scattered around the garden.

It’s rather stylish so I suppose I’d better include it too otherwise he’ll be a bit miffed.

Plus, let’s be honest, it’s much more impressive than a few hair scrunchies.

 

 

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 or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

 

, , , , ,

38 Comments

Pond Life And Other Goings On In The Garden.

I promise you that I have actually created some quite nice things from fabric recently and will definitely be posting about them but – I have had a bad back. Ouch!  I don’t know why but I know it’s been hurting for about a week now with a particularly nasty few days where I actually ‘took to my bed’ as a friend of mine with a dramatic turn of phrase might say.

So – I can’t spend too much time in front of my laptop at the moment – or in any one position to be honest – so, for now, I will show you some photos that I took whilst taking a gentle walk around the garden today as a counterpoint to laying flat on my back and, if feeling adventurous, doing reverse curls.  It will be quicker than typing words – although there will be a few.

There’s never a dull moment in the garden and a lot of them centre around the pond – more of that when I can sit and type long enough to tell you the stories.

Let’s get the pond porn out of the way first, then we can move on.

These, I believe, are some sort of damselflies laying their eggs on the surface of my pond weed.

After they’d indulged in a bit of this.

Ooer Missus.

I tried, in vain to photograph a rather fat looking dragonfly-type creature but this is as good as it got.

I believe it’s a Broad Bodied Chaser – a type of dragonfly.  I think that’s correct as he was trying to get jiggy with it – mid-air mind you – with a similar but golden brown creature who I believe is the female of this species.

Drawing a discreet veil over the pond performances and turning to the flora in and around the pond I give you this lovely water lily.

Cotton Grass – looking exactly as if somebody’s thrown some cotton wool to the ground

Another marginal – not sure what it’s called though.

It looks as if we’ve fitted a white rug beneath this wire bench but it’s actually Snow in- Summer.

An overview of where it all goes on.

Away from the pond, there are some other favourites.

This huge poppy is an early starter but look at all those others waiting to emerge.

We’ve inherited many and variously coloured Aquilegia but this one is my favourite.

A close up of a sea pink.

A carpet of yellow stars – a type of Sedum.

Which together make for a colourful rockery in a quiet corner.

Now we’re back in England I can have Foxgloves again.

The vegetable growing hasn’t been neglected.  This row of assorted Kale is a forewarning that Mr. T. will be making me greeny brown smoothies again that I (reluctantly) drink as if they are medicine.

Spotted a few stems of Quaking Grass in a post by Sandra (Wild Daffoldil) the other day and was fascinated by the many names it goes by.  My favourite is ‘Wag Wanton’. It shimmers beautifully in a breeze and the little pods look like mini scarabs.

A bit blurry but, true to their name(s), they were quaking, wantonly.

Talking of funny names – this beautiful viola would also be called a ‘Johhny Jump- Up’ or at least in Maine, U.S.A. where Laurie of Notes from the Hinterland blogs.

Some blooms just have to be taken inside to enjoy.

Well, not such a short post after all but it took me about 3 days to complete so, back to my ‘day bed’ for a bit of flattening out, followed by a few knee hugs and a couple of sets of reverse curls.

I have a chiropractor’s appointment on Monday.

(They are apparently busier than usual due to the depressing and daunting task of getting a doctor’s appointment these days.)

, , , , , , , , , , ,

27 Comments

When The Cows Come Home

The cows are back in the field alongside our garden again.

Some are trying to help us keep the grass in check.

Some just find us fascinating.

This one was a bit shy at first

Although she did pose nicely for me between rubbing her head on our willow tree.

I love them but Stan’s not quite so sure.

Very distracting from our home office when this is the view…..

………and not only for us

But I can think of worse ones.

 

 

, ,

40 Comments

Yesterday Was A Good Day

I found a crafting group!

As most of you know, we moved back to England from France in November and, after quarantining for two weeks there was a brief period of relative freedom before going into quite hard lockdown again.  I saw a few of my new neighbours whilst out dog walking but haven’t been out and about apart from ‘necessary’ shopping.

We have an artisan centre in the next village which has now opened again and, in one corner of the Makers’ Gallery they have a pop-up display from a local artist which is changed every two weeks.  I saw some beautiful knitted pieces and very large crocheted mandala in copper hoops there and, by chance, I found the artist on Facebook and noticed she runs a crafting group that meets every Thursday and it is up and running again.  Be still my heart.

It’s a half hour’s drive away through winding country lanes but where there’s a will there’s a way and there was definitely a will.

The group meets in a village hall and as the sun was finally shining, and the view was lovely (see above), we sat outside next to the little river and I started to get to know some of the people.

There are knitters, crocheters, weavers and spinners, needlepointers (?), quilters, dressmakers and all kinds of everything.  One of the members raises funds for the Linus Trust and they are making quilts for premature babies, full term ones, children and teens.  As I like nothing more than an excuse to make small quilts, I’ll be rooting through my fabric stash and making two or three of those. I took some simple knitting to do but it wasn’t simple enough apparently as, when I got home, I realised I’d made a few mistakes because I’d been enthusiastically chatting – so had to undo what I’d done, which luckily wasn’t much.

The club organises workshops and I do love a good workshop.  On offer yesterday to sign up for were:

Beginner’s Embroidery  – (need but don’t want)

Spinning and Weaving –  (don’t need but might secretly want)

Knicker Making – (yes! Signed up)

Dorset Buttons – (signed up,wondered why, was thinking of crossing out my name,  then was told the lady who teaches it is the Dorset Button lady and so, added to the fact that I now live in Dorset, why wouldn’t I give it a try?

Watch this space for knickers and fancy buttons.

The lady next to me yesterday was weaving a Jacob fleece into a rug – I can’t wait to see it but, being a newbie, I didn’t feel I could take photos of the goings on quite yet so, until I have ingratiated myself into the group a bit more, here are some pics from my dog walk  instead because I took them and therefore must inflict them on you.   The theme is white and wild, apart from the little viola.

Hawthorn

Ramsons – Wild Garlic

Queen Anne’s Lace plus Stan (who peed on it afterwards)

Haven’t a Scooby

Again, some sort of white wildflower – the head gardener isn’t here today to advise.

Edit: Stitchwort, thank you Wild Daffodil & now returned Head Gardener.

Just to make the day perfect, an independent boutique has opened up in the next village and it has lovely, unusual(ish) clothes at decent prices.  I felt as if I had to show my support. I was gratified to see that they wrapped my purchases in tissue and put them in a brown paper carrier bag.  I know plastic bags are awful but there’s nothing that takes the joy out of buying clothes (or underwear as has happened to me) when they are just rolled up and handed to you to stuff in your handbag.

Then I booked a table for four for my birthday dinner in a couple of weeks’ time for me, Mr. T., my favourite sister-in-law and her OH in a lovely country pub.

What will today bring?

, , ,

37 Comments

Tight Lipped Tuesday #33

Another brief visit for a Tuesday.

Remember my struggles with the Fisherman’s Rib stitch?

Every mistake shows and is difficult to put right.

Well, I persevered and finished it and as every cloud – and there have been quite a lot of them – has a silver lining, it’s still cold enough to wear it in the middle of May.

Farewell Fisherman’s Rib – I’d like to say it’s been fun but it hasn’t so I won’t be troubling you again.

Do you have something in the artsy fartsy/crafting line you’ve tried once and decided once was enough?

, , , , ,

43 Comments

Tight Lipped Tuesday #32

Last week I had a long awaited appointment with the dental hygienist.

Due to using a device that sprays lots of water around the hygienist and her assistant had to get togged up in an outfit similar to this but black instead of green……….

……….and a head covering which looked like an oversized biker’s helmet.

There was also a huge extractor machine by the window which had to be switched on for ten minutes  after I’d left the room before the next patient could come in.  Apparently, at the start of the restrictions, it had to be left on for an hour.

I felt like E.T. but I didn’t phone home because there were no hygienists in France so I really needed that appointment.

 

,

20 Comments

Scraphappy May 2021

It’s time to make things with scraps again and, this time, I’ve gone back to fabric scraps and it’s a ridiculously simple project so apologies in advance but scraps are scraps.

After moving house, I’ve never really got around to totally reorganising my sewing/craft supplies but, as you can see above, I’m trying.

I noticed a tutorial for make up remover pads (find it here) and I thought immediately of Scraphappy day and the fact that the pads call for 4.5 inch squares which I actually had pre-cut in my Parts Department box.

See!

Nobody is more surprised than me when I occasionally show signs of being organised.

The tutorial suggests using a bamboo velour for the actual cleansing pad part – probably because the shop sells it which is fair enough but I remembered an old cotton flanelette sheet I used for auditioning quilt blocks on and thought that would make a good substitute.

So, 4.5 inch squares of scrap cotton fabric sewn to 4.5 inch squares of soft flanelette right sides together, turned right side out and top stitched.

I told you it was ridiculously simple.

I have tested them out and I prefer them to the little crochet rounds I made before for the same purpose because these have more surface area and are more absorbent.  The flanelette seems to work really well but you could also use some old soft towelling.

Having made these I thought I’d follow the rest of the tutorial which has a zippered pouch with waterproof lining to put the used pads in and a side pocket to separate the clean ones.

I gave away the bulk of my scrap stash before leaving France but, luckily, a few scraps survived the move and I have started a new scrap collection already.

So, it was easy to find enough bits to make the pouch and, long ago, a friend had given me a length of waterproof fabric (PUL??) that I unearthed to use for the inside.

So some scraps used and lots of cotton pads unused which can only be a good thing.

Everything can go in the washing machine ready to re-use next time I get round to bothering to wear any make-up other than mascara which, once masks are no longer needed (fingers crossed) I might actually do.

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 or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

, , , , , ,

26 Comments

I’m Having a Knitfest

Remember me struggling with the fisherman’s rib stitch jumper?  The stitch makes a great looking fabric but every mistake shows and it’s very hard to put them right.  Anyway, having undone almost the whole thing once, I persevered and now I have a back, front and almost one sleeve so it looks as if I might have a wearable ‘slob around the place’ jumper at the end of it after all.

I need another blanket/quilt/throw like a hole in the head but I was sorely tempted by this knit along (KAL) run by Black Sheep Wools and designed by Sarah Haddon.  It’s called ‘A Day Out’ and I liked the idea of lots of squares made with different knitting techniques so I thought I’d do it and call it a learning curve.

The above example was made with one of the colour packs put together by Black Sheep Wools but it’s a merino wool which is not as easy care as acrylic and, much as I would prefer merino, any home furnishings in this house need to be as dog and cat proof as much as possible. So I tried to find similar colours in the alternative yarn (Sylecraft Special Aran) but couldn’t see a similar purple so substituted a dark charcoal.

So, full of good intentions and unreasonable expectations I joined the Facebook support group and cast on for the first of many 20cm squares.  The new squares have been introduced weekly on Tuesdays and some new (to me) techniques were involved and looked a bit scary

Week one was fun and we had to make four of these.

I finally gave in and bought some foam interlocking mats which were much cheaper than proper blocking mats – although I did treat myself to those rather cheerful rainbow blocking pins.  A lot of people don’t block at all – let alone acrylic yarn – but I find pinning the squares out to size and giving it a couple of squirts with the steam iron held a a few inches above, not touching the yarn, works wonders in getting the size right and opening out the pattern.

Week 2 was mosaic knitting which I thought would be very scary.  However, it wasn’t scary at all and I enjoyed it.  Quite difficult to see the effect in the subtle colours I’ve chosen (I have lots of crochet blankets in bright colours so wanted a change) but this square proved to be my undoing in the process of trying to keep up in the KAL as we had to do eight of this particular one and I just don’t knit that fast or that often.

So, once I made five I decided to come back to this one and carry on with the following week and, up to now, have managed at least one of the new blocks released each  week just to try them and give myself some encouragement and will go back and finish the others in the fulness of time.

Here’s week number three’s square, a pretty lacy sort of design.

Week four looked very scary but it turned out to be one of my favourites and was actually quite simple. You make the inner cabled square and then, one side at a time, pick up the stitches on each side and do the stripy garter stitch to make it into a 20cm square with the inner square on point.

I was also happy to see my charcoal coloured yarn introduced into the three colour mix as there are only  three colours and I was getting fed up with only using two.

I love this mosaic square for week five.

Week six was a bobbly pattern which involved a different technique than the usual one for making bobbles which some liked, some didn’t, There have been quite a lot of mavericks on the Facebook group going off in different directions or substituting different blocks for the ones they found too difficult or just not to their liking,

Week seven was one some people weren’t keen on,  It could be worked flat or in the round – I’m not keen on circular needles so did mine flat.  It was quite fascinating the way it started off with a lot of stitches then gradually decreased in a clever way until it looked all frilly on the needles.

Then, when you cast off, and after sewing up one seam, it turns into this square.

Clever eh?

Fascinating to make but it’s not my favourite and we have to do eight of them.  I’ll probably make four and do a different pattern for the other four – somebody on the FB group has come up with one that looks nice so I’ll use that, I’m not proud.

Anyway, this is where I am up to so far.  Long way to go  but there’s no rush.

Which is just as well because now I have my knitting mojo back I bought this….

to make this

and this

to make this.

What am I like?

That second pattern with the star in relief wouldn’t have caught my eye if I’d just seen the pattern leaflet but, when I went to the local ‘town’ the other day, I noticed there is a yarn/fabric/haberdashery shop – Glory Be! – and they had the finished article in blue on a mannequin in the window and it looked really good. So it is now in my ‘knitting whilst watching (although nothing with subtitles)’ queue which has to be simple knitting otherwise I go wrong.  Those squares have to be done with concentration so have to be ‘fully conscious during the daytime’ knitting and that’s probably why I’ve fallen behind.

The only thing is, I have taken up a whole bedroom in the new house as my workroom and I tend to knit downstairs so Mr. Tialys is starting to doubt the wisdom of that decision.  This means I have to get back on to that sewing machine but I really do have too many clothes already and my patchwork mojo is decidedly absent at the moment.  I have made a few new items for my Etsy shop but, since the ‘B’ word and the ‘P’ word (Brexit and Pandemic) I’m only selling within the U.K. so my audience is limited and, therefore, so is my enthusiasm for it.

Not to worry – I find that, unlike fly-by-night crafts I sometimes indulge in, my regular enthusiasms are on a constant turnaround  – what happened to my dog portraits for example? I would do those in my workroom.  I’d better get back to them at some stage as I have the national collection of wool fibre in assorted colours – probably enough to make a life-size dog, let alone a 2D ten inch square portrait.

I got up at 6a.m. this morning – the sunlight glinting off the frost woke me up – but I wrote this post instead of knitting another square.  Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

37 Comments

Tight Lipped Tuesday #31

 

Today I will be having my hair cut.

 

 

Which will be nice.

, ,

36 Comments