Both my parents and I have been doing a lot of sorting in preparation for the baby arriving. Mum has been keen to find my baby clothes as well as all the toys, books etc etc that she’s kept for 33 years. She sent Dad into the loft and down came many bin bags of stuff that haven’t seen the light of day since I was in nappies. Out of one bag came a quilt with a story I felt I needed to share with you.
This quilt is probably nearly 80 years old and was sent to my Grandmother from her friend in Canada during the war. The quilt came in a parcel along with items that would have been considered a luxury during the war as well as the essential items that were rationed over here. My Mum remembers a label that was with the quilt and she thinks that it was handmade by a group of women similar to the WI. Sadly the label is no longer around however after a bit of googling, it seems like these initiatives were very common, with the Red Cross sending out over 20,000 handmade quilts from Nova Scotia in Canada. The detail of the quilt is amazing, the stitching is all done by hand and is perfect, with the colours as vibrant as they were all those years ago.
The quilt was passed on to my Mum from my Grandmother and was used by me as a child to play on. My Mum has now passed it on to me for our baby to grow up with. As I laid it out on the grass in the sunshine to take some photos, I couldn’t help be a little emotional to think of the history behind it and excited to think of the future and the happy memories we will create as a family.
I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted. I’m now 23 weeks pregnant and fast approaching the deadline for handing my dissertation in for my Masters degree. Needless to say my crafting has taken a backseat whilst I have my head in books as well as rejigging the house making room for the baby and all the paraphernalia that goes with it. However I have mamaged to squeeze in a few makes, things that are quick and easy but still very satisfying.
Last November, when I visited the handmade Christmas fair, I bought a kit to make some baby bibs. Initially these were to make for a friends baby that was due the following month, however I couldn’t resist keeping it for myself. The kit was from Eternal Maker and consists of some lovely soft cotton and some terry toweling material. The pattern and instructions are available on their blog and is very straightforwad to follow. I’d bought some gorgeous guess how much I love you flannel fabric for another project (blog post coming soon!) so was able to make 4 bibs (after buying some extra terry toweling) plus a burp cloth that I made up the measurements for to use an off cut of material.
I have to say these are pretty adictive to make. I’ve still got some of the toweling left, so I’m tempted to buy some more flannel fabric, after all I’m pretty sure we can’t have too many dribble bibs!
Needless to say we are both delighted and can’t wait to welcome our new adfition into the world in December. Of course there will be lots of blog posts over the coming months as to what baby related crafty things I have been making! I have a very long list of quilts I want to make, blankets I want to crochet and things to make for the nursery, now just to find some time to make it all!
In an attempt to broaden my skills and add a few more crafts to my repetoire I decided to try something I’ve wanted to do for some time – mosaics. The evening workshop was held in a bar which was also hoist to a fantastic mosaic exhibition. We were given everything we needed to complete the mosaics, including grout and instructions to finish our piece when we got home. I already had in mind what I wanted to do and with a little help from the lovely Karen and Tracey, my design was drawn out on the wooden board and I was ready to go.
The piecing together of the tiles was initially quite hard as cutting them to the shape I wanted was very hit and miss. However once I got going and got used to the process it was really therapeautic. The hour and a half passed so quickly and I hadn’t quite finished my design, however we we able to collect whatever tiles we needed so we could finish it at home.
This weekend I made use of the sunny weather and sat outside piecing the last few tiles together and then mixed together the grout to finish it all off. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it and have already thought of another mosaic project I would like to try!
After trying a bit of Folk art with Folk it at the Handmade Christmas fair, I wanted to give it a bit more of a go and bought their level 1 kit a few weeks ago. The kit comes with everything you need including a really helpful dvd! I bought some extra mount boards as I knew I wanted to make some cards and also some ashesive to help the paint stick to pottery.
If you haven’t tried it, you really must give it a go, it really is so simple! Using dots and a dotting tool you can create all sorts of lovely patterns. I had made some pottery hearts in my pottery class and glazed them with a transparent glaze. Using the adhesive the acrylic paints went on perfectly.
I am now addicted to it and can’t wait to try out painting on some wooden shapes. The possibilites really are endless!
Last month it was mums birthday. Each year it’s always a battle to find out what presents she would like as she always says she doesn’t want anything. This year I had a few ideas of some handmade presents I could give her. When I was at the handmade Christmas fair in November, I came across Joes Toes, who sell kits to make knitted slippers with felt soles. At the time they only sold them with a knitted pattern however recently they introduced a crocheted one and they looked perfect for a present for mum.
I ordered a kit in tones of blue (mums favourite colour). Unfortunately they sent me the pattern for the knitted version, however after an email exchange I had the crochet one and was ready to go. The pattern itself was very straight forward and attaching the crochet to the sole was also fairly easy. I struggled however with the crossover of the flap at the front and I wasn’t quite happy with the end result
They look okay but I think if I was to make them again I know there would be bits I would do better. Needless to say mum loved them! I have a different colour of the chunky yarn left over from another project so I’m tempted to order some felt soles and make a pair for me!
It’s not often I get to combine work with my love of crafts, but this month I’ve managed to do it twice!
Most recently at our work away day as part of the wellbeing afternoon we had the choice to do a craft workshop. It was run by a local company called French Knots craft studio who I have followed for some time on Twitter. We had a hour to make a fabric keyring, using lots of lovely fabrics and ribbons. It was a perfect way to switch off after the group work in the morning and enjoy a bit of crafting. I was quite pleased with the end result, although I’m not sure it would withstand being bashed around in my handbag!
At the end of February a fellow work tweeter asked if anyone was able to make one of these, a brain hat
After a quick google I found I could crochet one rather than knit and there was a pattern I could buy from etsy, perfect! I bravely replied and was set the challenge to complete it within 4 weeks as it was needed for a conference mid March.
Thankfuly the pattern was a simple double crochet, converted from the American single crochet. First the hat had to be made and then 2 lots of ‘noodles’ both roughly 12 feet long. This took much longer than I thought and I ended up being up gone midnight the 2 days before it needed to be finished. I would not be beaten and after attaching the noodle with some needle and thread in the best anatomical way I could manage it was completed.
It was well received at the conference and there were many photos of different people wearing it!
I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. The noodle was a bit bigger than the one in the original picture and if I was to make one again (!!) I would make a few tweaks to the pattern. Overall not a bad job I don’t think!
Yet again there has been a haitus in my postings and sewing has continued to take a back seat as I continue with my masters degree. My husband and I have also entered the Great Lakeland 3 day mountain marathon, so most weekends are taken up with practice walks in the mountains. I have however continued with my crafting, just in a slightly different format; next week will be my last week of a 9 week pottery class. It is something I have wanted to do for a while and when a space became available in the class my friend goes to, I was eager to give it a go. I’ve learnt lots along the way; different glazes and firing temperatures of the clay and different ways to develop my ideas into the finished item. I had a few ideas of things I wanted to make and have been able to experiment with the different glazes.
I will be sad to finish the class as I’ve still got lots of things I would like to try. My friend is doing an introduction to pottery course which I’m also tempted to do, watch this space!
I may have been absent for time time, however in the background I have busily been trying to finish a crochet blanket for my mum for Christmas. The idea of doing the blanket probably started about a year and a half ago when I saw Attic 24 post about her coast ripple blanket. My mum loves the sea and her favourite colour is blue so the colour way seemed perfect for her. When I first learnt to crochet I remember my mum saying to me to crochet as much as I could and not loose the skills I had learnt. I thought the blanket would therefore be a perfect gift for her for Christmas, however I never thought it would be Christmas 2015! Continue reading
Last weekend I started my Christmas activities early and popped along to the handmade Christmas fair in Manchester, organised by Kirsty Allsop. As part of the ticket price you were able to select 3 different workshops to go to. I went along with my friend Karen and after much debate we decided on doing some folk art, making some mini Christmas stockings and a demo on how to make Christmas Parkin.
The demo was first and we were delighted that Kirsty was there in person helping with the demo and doing some decorating of the Parkin
It was passed around for us to try and we managed to sample the one Kirsty had made, it was delicious!
In between the demo and workshops we had plenty of time to browse the beautiful things that were there to buy. So many talented people were there and I managed to find a few unique Christmas gifts and treated myself to a few things too!
Next we did the folk art, run by Folk it! The proviso of getting Karen to do this with me was that she didn’t need to paint anything, it’s all done with dots. By the end of the 20 minute session we had both made a beautiful heart plaque that can be stuck onto a card. We were both stunned at how simple and effective it was!
Lastly we made some mini Christmas stockings. Simple to make yet still very satisfying. The highlight for me was meeting Deborah Simms who was on the Great British Sewing Bee and talking to her about dressmaking.
The whole day was fabulous, certainly value for money and a lovely way to kickstart the festivities. I’ll certainly be going back next year!