Thursday, 29 July 2010

Crafts at the movies

You don't often see crafts references in major films.  Although Harry Potter has a little knitting in it (more in the books than in the films, it has to be said.)

Anyway, I went with dd to see Eclipse a few days ago. I watched Renee (Bella's mum) give Bella a hand-made quilt  made out of various T-shirts - a lovely idea to keep memories alive.  If you  haven't seen one before (I hadn't) here is rather a nice example of a Tshirt quilt that I found on the web.

Dd rolled her eyes at me when I started talking about T-shirt quilts after the movie, so I shut up. If I didn't have this blog to wax lyrical on about crafting, I think I'd be very sad.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Yarn embroidery

I made this little pair of embroidered baby shoes over the last week. The pattern was in Debbie Bliss's Quick Baby Knits, which I have a copy of in my knitting library.

I made these little shoes because I wanted to try simple embroidery on a knitted item. But I have to say, it is a lot more difficult than you would think, to make it look OK. Don't look too closely - and bear in mind it was my first ever attempt!

ETA: Shared at Tea Rose Home Link Party No. 17

Thursday, 22 July 2010

To-sew list?

These are all the issues of Sew Hip I haven't yet made anything from [blushes]. As well as all of these, I've also got two unused Prima patterns, and several as-yet hardly-used sewing books.

It's a pity that the resurgence of knitting should have depleted my sewing activity so much this year. I've finished only three sewn items so far, with a fourth taking rather a long time*.

I was looking at the Sew Hip Flickr pool recently, and wishing I had something to add to it. Idly following a few links on other people's lovely projects, I ended up at Crafting with Mel's blog. Mel's approach, of trying to make at least one item out of the current issue of Sew Hip before the next one is published, seems rather a good idea in terms of encouraging yourself to sew something.

So I'm going to adopt this strategy from August onwards, and will try and complete one sewn item per month, even if it is only something small.

Hopefully this goal is realistic enough for me to achieve it, and won't impact too much on the knitting!

* But the end is in sight. My quilt is pinned together and about to be basted!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Local exchange

We grew french beans this year instead of the usual runner version, and they are cropping madly in our garden. So madly, in fact, we exchanged a bundle of them for a bunch of carrots from our neighbour's allotment.

Just think of the teeny amount of carbon that must have been involved in that transaction, as there was no transport involved at all, only a little shoe leather! LETS (short for Local Exchange and Trading Schemes) rock!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Piece work

Quick quilt update: sixteen re-formed quilt-top blocks assembled, and all sewn together in pairs, but then I had to stop, having run out of green thread.

The good news is, I now have all the supplies I need to finish this project:

Also, dd has finished all her Year 10 GCSE modules / courseworks so I will hopefully have more free time at weekends to pursue this project, instead of having to be on revision support / coursework encouragement stand-by - at least until school starts again in September.

I really must finish this quilt soon, or it'll be an addition to my "languishing" list, and I really don't want that!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Family outing

We took advantage of the splendid weather yesterday to go on a country picnic.

We went to Breedon on the Hill, where there is a yarn shop. I only realised this when my Peaches & Creme order arrived from Create and Knit, and the accompanying invoice showed an address only about 40 minutes' drive from us. Admittedly the yarn shop was a big factor in my picnic suggestion, but public footpaths through the woods, beautiful Leicestershire countryside views, a historical church and several pubs in the village gave our destination wider appeal.

The church at Breedon is fascinating - it features original pieces of Saxon stonework. I especially liked this female image, holding a book in one hand and with her other in a Byzantine position:

(Note: a notice at the church entrance said amateur photography was welcome.)

There were some tombs dating from the 1500s. The largest was a monument erected by a husband to his deceased wife in 1598. Their five children were featured as statues on the tomb. Sadly two of the five had died in infancy: these were shown as babies tucked up in little alabaster cradles. Beneath these statues was a life-size alabaster skeleton, which ds thought was fabulous, but I thought rather gruesome! (I did photograph it, but I think it too macabre to publish here.)  As well, there were some more regular tombs, with reclining knights in full armour. Ds was interested in those, too, especially the one with a sword:

Did I mention there was a yarn shop in Breedon?! It's ages since I bought any yarn from a physical shop, as opposed to a web presence. There were loads of gorgeous yarns in the shop, but owing to new washing machine outlay, money is rather tight this month so I could not splurge as much as I would have liked. But I'm sure I'll be making a repeat visit ;-)

This is how we ended the afternoon:

Just the ticket for a hot summer's day.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Dishcloth discovery

2 petals washcloths

I discovered recently what fun it is to knit a dishcloth, or a washcloth, as these are far too pretty for kitchen use.

I made the above two first, using up scraps of Rowan handknit cotton. Both are Little Petals washcloths from the 3-in-1 washcloth pattern in Yarn Forward magazine no 26.

Then I bought the recommended yarn:

Which is Peaches & Creme worsted weight 100% cotton. I got this supply from Create and Knit. The colour range is quite wonderful. Left to right these colours are country meadow, eggshell and gum drop.

Using the recommended yarn gives a larger washcloth, I discovered on my next attempt - the Gumdrops pattern this time:

Being small, dishcloths are quick to knit and a great way to devise new stitch patterns or practise new techniques. I learned to do crochet chains in the Little Petals and i-cord cast-on and cast-off in the Gumdrops version.

The pattern also has a third option, and once I've located my 4.5mm circular, I intend to have a go at that one too.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Cheered Up

Just to say I am feeling a bit better, after my horrid start to the week (see last post!).

I solved the no-clean-clothes-for-Belgium problem with a visit to the launderette, so dd has gone off with a full suitcase to the First World War battlefields. I hope she gets something out of this trip, not least an appreciation of what can happen when people cannot resolve their differences by peaceful means.

One appliance is already mended; the other had to be replaced. Tomorrow dh and I will have to squeeze a new washing machine into a rather awkward location, in the cupboard under the stairs. If we can't manage it, a friendly plumber is on standby to install it on Monday.

The theory is technical problems tend to turn up in threes, but we also had car-related trouble, in the middle of this week, so hopefully we have had our quota now.

My next post will be about crafting, I promise!

Monday, 5 July 2010


I worked another five-day week last week and then on Saturday we drove to Wales on a flying visit to attend a family member's birthday party. This entailed a five-hour car journey in each direction. Unsurprisingly, no-one was in a very good mood by the time we got home yesterday evening, nor were our spirits much enlivened by a house in a terrible mess, and the discovery that our dishwasher was not working. Today the washing machine has also ground to a halt - and dd needs clean clothes to go to Belgium on a school history trip on Thursday!

I have done no crafting and have absolutely nothing to report except complete fed-up-ness.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Patio finish

From Wikipedia: "A patio (from the Spanish: patio meaning 'back garden' or 'backyard') is an outdoor space generally used for dining or recreation that often adjoins a residence and is typically paved. It may refer to a roofless inner courtyard of the sort found in Spanish-style dwellings or a paved area between a residence and a garden."

In our case, it refers to a paved area between house and lawn, which we definitely intend to use for outdoor dining, weather permitting.

I can't begin to tell you what a vast improvement this is on the patch of mossy, weed-covered tarmac that was there before.  

I'm hoping for a long summer of outdoor breakfasts, drinks on the terrace and other outdoor delights.