23 February 2011

A Glimpse of Stitch

Among my many, many unfinished projects is what was going to be a Christmas present for a friend. Erm, Christmas last year, yes.  Today, I had a rummage in my embroidery case and took it out. Terrible, terrible picture, but you get the gist.
This Buddha is from Jenny Hart's pattern "Om sweet om". It is (partly) stitched onto raw yellow (yes, that is yellow in real life!) silk from my curtain sample collection.

Looking at it now, I am not at all happy with the stitching, so will probably start over.  I was thinking of layering the silk square onto another fabric and making it into a miniature wall hanging. The original idea was to select three patterns (Buddha, Lotus Flower and one other) and join them together in a wall hanging.

I guess I could do the same thing but make a small bag or cushion? Anyway, it is her birthday SOON so hopefully I'll get it done in time and she will actually get it at last. I'm away for the weekend, so will have some time for some relaxing stitching.

Will post a better picture when it's done. I haven't forgotten about the tatting, just can't quite get past the basic stitch and picot yet!

13 February 2011

I went to the craft show and I bought...

Today was the last day of the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts show in Brighton. I went along with my self-imposed budget in cash (with a back up debit card of course!) and hit the stalls. Actually I was quite restrained this year. Partly because there were not many crochet / yarn or fabric stalls (very disappointing) and partly because I was good and gave the bead stalls a wide berth - so hard!
I went up and down the aisles, settling at the Decopatch stall because in my head they did a matt glue/ varnish that I wanted. However, I must have imagined that because they don't. Not to be perturbed I made a mental note to look it up on the Internet later and bought some more papers and a little kit with a notebook to cover. 

I fell in love with the tatting at the Ring Of Tatters stall and a lovely lady (whose name I sadly don't remember) showed me how it was done and then let me have a go, talking me through it. I bought the starter kit, a bargain at £5, including an instructional DVD and booklet, information on the organisation, list of suppliers and two shuttles with thread. I'm going to have a go at this and hopefully show you something later this week. I'd love to know if any of you have tried this and see your work!
I also ordered a clover soft touch hook 4mm (my favourite hooks by far) and did an enamelling workshop run by the guild of enamellers . I made this keyring:

I apologise by the way for the poor photographs, the light here is terrible.
Until next time xxx

17 January 2011

Are You Still There?

Service Will Resume Shortly... :-)

Thank you for your patience blog friends, and a belated Happy New Year!

Last year was not a good year for me. I must have broken every one of the resolutions I had made so there will be none this year! 

I will be blogging again soon

20 May 2010

Open House

Every May and December, Brighton and Hove hosts the “Artists Open Houses” festival. Homes, gardens and studios across the city (and beyond) open their doors to the public over the weekend to show a huge range of arts and crafts produced by local people. This May, a staggering 243 venues opened their doors to passers by.

To be honest, I find it a mind boggling exercise to choose where to visit. Houses often show a number of artists work including paintings, prints, needlework, sculpture, crochet and knitting, jewellery and much, much more. The quality does of course vary and not everything will be to everyone’s taste. But this is part of the appeal and is a welcome change to mass produced, mainstream crap stuff that you often see for sale elsewhere. It’s a bit like having walk in Etsy stores with the added bonus of getting to look around other peoples homes!

So last Sunday I went to the shop and gallery of the Sussex Guild at Southover Grange in Lewes, having been seduced by the prints of Annie Soudain. I ended up buying three cards of her prints - but I would have loved to have taken home a full size original (one day!).
Annie was actually manning (womanning?) the shop so I managed to have a chat with her - a lovely and talented lady.

Southover Grange is a beautiful 17th century building with wonderful gardens. Across the lawn is a gateway into a floral garden through which runs the river Ouse.

It reminds me of The Secret Garden. I hadn't even known this place existed before and will definitely visit again (when the weather is nice).

I did take a couple of flower pictures, but they didn't come out too well, so I'll leave you with one of my favourite flowers:
Have a lovely weekend everyone!

03 May 2010

Ooh La La!

Where did April go? I have evidence that there was sunshine - some rare sunlight is creeping through the nets in the above picture. The last few days have been overcast with torrential rain (I would expect nothing else on a Bank Holiday). There's nothing quite as Springy as a pot of narcissi don't you think? I'm not a big fan of yellow, but this April it was a welcome visitor to my home.

  These cheery fellows (chrysanthemums?) lasted a good three weeks (oooh - I spy some crochet!)

Even with my blurry photos I love 'em!

But, perhaps even more exciting - pssssst, you will NEVER believe it, but today I found a project I liked the look of and did it! Yes, finished it! In ONE sitting no less.

Well, unless you're going to point out that in actual fact there is the matching pillow case to do....but you wouldn't be that mean to me now, would you?  The instructions are on Cassie's blog  and she has made them super easy to follow. Even better, she lists chocolate in the supplies - clever lady!

Cassie starts by showing how to make your own pillow case, fit for the purpose. I think I made life difficult for myself by using an existing case. I know, I know, this should have made it easier BUT - there was some stretch to the fabric in my pillow case and I didn't have the nice guide line that the hems would have given me (told you she was clever!). Still, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, although the initial blanket stitching with a loooooong length of yarn was a pig. Really.

So pleased, that as you can see I took photos for you without first ironing it. I have to admit, I don't really do ironing....life's too short. But I would have. Honestly. Just for you.

There's also an "On The Edge"  flickr group where you can see lots of more colourful versions. I'm looking around now, wondering what else would like a crochet edging..... 

28 March 2010

Back to the Hook

This weekend,I felt the urge to get back to hook and needle. I really want to finish my Lucy inspired Summer Garden Granny Square blanket that I began back in October last year. However, my attention span is not well-suited to big projects, so I will work on it little by little while I concentrate on some smaller stuff.

I really like this shawl patten from this book:
A bigger project than I had in mind, but the motifs are very simple to crochet. I made one up in some white cotton double knit yarn with a 4mm hook:

Then in a four ply with a 3mm hook (the size in the pattern):

Here they are side by side -  quite a difference in size

I'm thinking it will make a nice table cloth (or runner!). I'll probably stick with white or cream (although I do like that pink shade a LOT) but can't decide which size to make (the larger has a diameter of  4.5", the smaller is 3" across - excluding corner loops). The bigger one would be much quicker to make, but the smaller one gives a more delicate effect.

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll know how indecisive I am. Which version do you think would look best?     

24 March 2010

Printing Practice

I couldn't wait to get going with the linocuts, so I delved straight in. I found it was much more difficult than I expected!

The fish was my first effort; I chose a design with simple lines and little detail to get the feel for cutting the lino. Far from perfect but strangely satisfying results. The colour is uneven and my cutting skills  need a LOT more practice.

In fact, every step of the process, from coming up with a design (thinking about what will work in terms of negative space and cut lines), carving the lino out (I cut myself TWICE and still can't get a clean empty space on the lino), applying the ink (how much, how little?) and finally pressing the image to the paper (has it pressed evenly?)  all require practice, patience and attention. Oh, and more practice.

I really wanted to try a design in black - so along came the tree:
Again, I wasn't dissapointed, despite the mistakes and imperfections. I can't explain it, but there's something about the process that separates me from the final piece, unlike painting or drawing an image directly onto paper. The mistakes (and lack of experience) seem less personal somehow, I don't take them to heart. 

So, after getting two holes in the lino, two cuts in my finger and making a whole lot of mess, I have a pile of rushed practice prints
I have discovered that there is a fascination in this for me. Although I loved linocuts before, I can now truly appreciate the skill that goes into creating them.

NEXT time, I will do it at a table and not the floor and NEXT time I will take my time! I definitely want to continue to learn about this craft and to practice, practice, practice.