Archive for category Arts and Crafts

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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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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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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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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The F2F3 Quilt Finally Makes Its Appearance In Time For Christmas

Long, long ago, in July 2018 I made three 12 inch (finished) blocks in neutral(ish) colours and received three blocks in my chosen colour palette from each of the other participants of the collaborative quilting swap organised by Kate known as F2F  (which stands for Foot Square Freestyle) and this was the third one we’ve done.

Some time passed – well, let’s call it a year -and I decided that I wasn’t going to quilt it myself – not even as a ‘quilt as you go’ project as I have done before – because I wanted it to be enormous, big enough to fit my superking size bed and drape down the sides a bit too.

So I just (eventually) joined the blocks with ordinary sashing, added a couple of borders to get it to the right size and sent it off to Yorkshire for quilting by Fiona at Quilt Sandwich.

An indulgence but I’m never going to make a quilt as big as this again so it was a present to myself.

Sashed blocks laid on a different quilt in case this photo confuses.

I was so pleased with the quilting pattern I chose – ‘Hearts On A String’- as it has some interest but isn’t too dense and doesn’t overwhelm the blocks.  I also asked Fiona to supply the Henry Glass ‘Breezy’ extra wide fabric for the backing – she has a great choice of hard to find patterns in the extra width needed to back quilts without a join.

I asked Fiona to trim the quilt  so that it was all neat and ready for me to attach the binding by machine and hand sew it down on the back which I did in stages between cats taking residence on the ‘quilt in progress’ and my own fading resilience in the face of so much binding.

I had some Liberty of London fabric left from my Hatbox Quilt which hangs above our bed and, luckily, there was enough to make the binding which was perfect because the neutral(ish) colours went very well with the rest of the quilt and was also available in my stash.

The finished quilt is too big to be held up by my 6’4″ husband or even to be photographed on the washing line so here it is, in situ, just in time for Christmas.

Now at least Kate can put one finished quilt in her F2F3 gallery which is only fitting as I was the first one drawn to receive blocks so should also be the first one to finish.

Now, bring on the next one!

My girls are arriving today for the Christmas break so this is how I’ll end my blogging year – with a triumphant finish.

I hope you all have a wonderful time this festive season and thank you for following my posts.  I really value your input (I know I ask lots of questions) but, even if you don’t always comment, I sort of know you are out there and it’s great to think I am not just talking to myself which, I have to confess, seems to be happening more and more ‘in real life’.

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Bonnes Fêtes à tous.

❤x❤x❤

 

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ScrapHappy Christmas 2019

After last month’s rather cheeky (and violently coloured) scraphappy day entry –  the yarn I used for my anti-hunter, bright orange beanie could only very tenuously be called scrap – this time I’m back on good behaviour for this, the last scraphappy day of the year.

A selection of scraps were unearthed and I display the proof below (although some of these didn’t make the final cut.)

You might remember that, last year, I paper pieced a reindeer and made it into a Christmas table runner.

I bought another pattern from the same designer.

Now, I’ve made a scrappy gnome and don’t really know what to do with him.

Because a gnome isn’t just for Christmas is it?

Any ideas?  He’s 12 inches square.

 

 

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, Pauline and Sue L.

 

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A Christmas Dilemma

Yesterday I went to a Christmas craft fair and had my first vin chaud (literally ‘hot wine’) of the year so now I’m starting to feel a bit festive and realised I haven’t posted for a while so here’s a quick catch up.

It’s difficult, when you make things yourself, to buy things at a craft fair.  It’s easy to think ‘well, I could make that’ and some people actually say it and, having done a couple of craft fairs myself, I can tell you that it’s one of the most annoying things to hear.  I want to say, ‘yes, but will you?’  ‘Do you have the equipment you need to make it and, if not, are you going to go out and buy it just to make one thing?’ ( whilst smiling politely and saying worse things under my breath).

Anyway, I managed to buy a couple of things that I won’t make myself even though I could.

Firstly, this lovely wreath made out of loads and loads of pieces of Christmassy fabric.

I don’t have much festive fabric in my stash and, if I did, I wouldn’t be cutting it up into hundreds of pieces.  Sometimes, there are people with more patience than you and, since I know the lady who makes these, I was glad to support her.

One hobby I started but didn’t finish is needle felting but I really would like to give it another go one day.  So, I couldn’t resist this little mouse, complete with appropriate French attire who will go on my tree as I always like to buy at least one new tree decoration each year.

I usually harvest some mistletoe from a small tree at the top of our garden but, this year, it doesn’t seem to have appeared so this seemed a good excuse for another felty festive purchase.

Last time I tried needle felting, I couldn’t even make a round bead properly so I’ll be on the lookout for a workshop or something next year and maybe, next Christmas, I’ll be able to say ‘I could make that’ – though not out loud of course.

Anyway, back to what I have made myself.  Having dislodged the cats from my Nature’s Walk crochet squares which were laid out on the dining room table for ease of joining, they are now all joined and the first two rows that set up the edge for the fancy border have been done.  I think I’ll do the rest on my lap when the cats are outside.

They have now found another work in progress to impede so I still have another two sides of my F2F quilt to bind.  Look at that face – would you have the courage to move her off?

At least that’s forced me to try to finish the new shirt I’m making for Mr. Tialys’s Christmas present.  Despite having made this same pattern recently, I’m having trouble with the sleeves.  Last time, I set them in and finished the inside seam on the overlocker/serger.  This time I wanted to do a felled seam as it looks more professional.  The sleeve cap is quite large on this shirt, compared to the armscye, so it’s quite difficult to set it in without puckers anyway, let alone trying to fell the seams too, so it’s causing me some problems and I keep finding other things to do to put off tackling it.

(edit:  nothing wrong with the pattern sizing at all – it was me, matching the wrong notches!!)

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I commented on Kate’s post today about gift giving- although I sort of went off topic – and would be interested to know your thoughts on something.  I love giving hand made gifts to friends and family it gives me a lot of pleasure (and hopefully them) and also gives me a good excuse to make more things.  None of my family live nearby and most don’t appreciate hand made items anyway – with the exception of my daughters who are already drowning in blankets and quilts – so it’s generally friends who end up with the results of my efforts.  However, some (non-crafting) friends I usually go for a pre-Christmas lunch with have a ‘no gifts’ policy and have asked me not to surprise them with anything this year.  I only ever give them hand made things – not shop bought – and I’ve explained before that I don’t expect, or even want, anything in return. I try to give them useful things too – crocheted cloths or cleansing pads, fabric baskets, make up bags, last year it was knitted cowls, as I know not everybody wants blankets or cushions or even quilts.  This year I was going to give them little fabric baskets filled with foodie things – home made lemon curd, chutney, quince spread and bombay nuts.  But now I’m not 😞  I sort of understand that they might feel they have to reciprocate but, in previous years, I’ve been very insistent that they don’t.  Now I feel sort of offended.

What do you think?  I’d be interested to hear if  you think I’m being over sensitive.

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A Cautionary Crochet Tale

All our dogs, past and present,  have had different predilections for things they liked to chew.  Susie liked hard plastic toys – preferably complete with batteries.  Taz liked rolled up pairs of socks which, miraculously, would pass through him and emerge in the same form at the other end.  Stan used to like soft furnishings to name just three.  One of Stan’s earliest conquests was a cat shaped doorstop which made me realise how much stuffing actually goes into one of these things

I say he ‘used to like’ but bad habits sometimes just lie dormant .

This blanket was over the back of a chair and not draped across the shoulders of one of my antique mannequins where I displayed it for this photo,  which is probably a good thing.

The culprit looked suitably abashed and made a vain attempt to hide although couldn’t resist peeking out to see if we had spotted him.

And just in case you were wondering what had happened to all those ‘Nature’s Walk’ crochet along squares I’m supposed to be joining.

My progress has been somewhat impeded.

Pets.  Who’d have ’em?

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43 Comments

Scraphappy Day November – Sort Of

Ages ago I bought a ball of horrible cheap acrylic yarn from a street market because it was bright orange and I wanted to make a beanie hat from it.

‘Wanted’ might not be the right word but, around these parts, you need to be on the look out for hunters.  They are forever shooting each other by accident and I don’t want them to shoot me when I’m out walking my dogs so an orange hat is what’s needed.

I kept putting it off as a bright orange beanie hat is definitely nowhere on my list of desirable fashion accessories but the other day I pulled that yukky yarn out and crocheted a quick and not very attractive hat which will not serve to make me look very chic but will,  hopefully, keep me from getting my head blown off.

I blocked it in an effort to improve upon it

*shudder*

I was going leave it looking like a hideous orange flower pot but Scraphappy Day was fast approaching and I hadn’t had time to do anything for it this month and I do like to join in if I can.

So, I had some of the yukky yarn left and in a leap of faith which some of you might think was a leap too far I considered I could call it scrap.

I decided to make a pompom.

So, I still hate it and hope I don’t see anybody when I’m up in the woods with the dogs but at least – as tenuous as it might be – I got something in for Scraphappy Day and, more importantly, shouldn’t get mistaken for a wild boar .


Should I?

 

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, Pauline and Sue L.

 

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40 Comments

It’s Blanket Time

Around this time last month, I attempted to show you some autumn colour but it hadn’t really started turning yet here.  We’ve now had a bit of rain and it seems we have gone straight from Summer to Winter at least up on those peaks.


Time for lots of blankets so just as well I’ve finished all 48 squares for the ‘Natures Walk’ crochet along – albeit a week late

I’ve laid them all out and now it’s time to join them together  😱

The colours look a bit ‘muddy’ here because I made the mistake of laying them out in a room without much natural light  – see above photo for more accurate colours.

The rogue off-white square is there because I found the last square design given to us a complete nightmare to do and couldn’t face another one so I’ve put in my test swatch as a substitute.  I call it my ‘signature’ as it will differentiate it from all the other blankets made in this colourway and it’s also a good excuse.

Although I’ve fallen behind by a week (will soon be two) at least I’ve managed to actually get all the squares done which was the important thing as far as I was concerned.  I’m not going to rush to join them together just to keep up so it might be some time before you see the finish.

Plus there’s quite a fancy border to go round the edge which looks as if it might occupy more than a few evenings when I suppose I will be forced back into my addiction – watching Greys Anatomy on Netflix – I’m up to series 3, only 14 to go.  It’s not got any better – the lead actress is still as lachrymose as ever and her erstwhile beau is a match for her in tear production.  In fact, last night, I wondered whether watching this series is possibly bringing out the worst in me.  When our leaky heroine was dragged from the water half drowned by her wet- in both senses of the word – boyfriend and taken to hospital where they tried their utmost to revive her for over an hour and a half – I’ve never hoped so much to see a flatline.

But, what can I tell you? I’m ho😉ked

 

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