Here’s Something I Made Earlier

It has been a busy few weeks.  We got back from London and Monkey promptly came down with a bug, then had a cold and cough which seems to have dragged on.

Last weekend we were at Keighley Model Railway Club’s annual exhibition which seemed to be well received. DH and Monkey set up their Lego trains and were kept busy for the whole two days supervising people ‘having a go’ driving the trains around the loops they’d set up, with the added bonus of DH getting to talk to people about his Lego constructions.  Trains, obviously.

I’ve been busy too – I got the hexagon quilt finished (yay! – here’s the front and the back) and took it in to Barleycraft Fabrics for Project Linus.

I have mostly finished the mock-up of the dress I’m going to wear for a friends wedding.  It isn’t quite done as the top needs a little adjusting. It either fits my chest or my coat-hanger shoulders, but not both.

I’ve also been working on a quilt I had put to one side. I have 8 large blocks and Monkey has told me definitively that the two colourways (green-with-purple and purple-with-green) should be kept separate. I now just have to decide whether they should be two quilts of four blocks (with the backs plain) or just one quilt with four blocks on each side. I should have enough matching fabric to do the backs as well but I need to finish off and join up the purple-with-green blocks first which might be a couple of days work.

At the same time as all this is going on I’m having fun dyeing fabric samples for the quilt I’m planning on mentoring into the competition at this years Festival Of Quilts. I’ve planned the main idea and for once I’m doing things properly, with a notebook and these samples and stuff. So far I’ve done tea, coffee, avocado and walnut-ink. I’m hoping to pick up some interesting teas or similar when we go to Skipton on Friday as mostly what I have so far is brown, brown, pink and brown. If the colours are too boring I’m not going to be very inspired!


March 16, 2017 at 5:49 am Leave a comment

Old Friends

I met up with my brother and his family yesterday.  We don’t see each other very often (we don’t always get on as we often fall back into being annoyed teenagers) but we made an effort as they are soon going to be moving to the USA.  It got me thinking about the (very few) people from college and Unit that I’ve managed to keep in touch with.  And more than that, the people I’ve lost touch with along the way.

I went to a University reunion a couple of years ago.  It was a bit weird seeing how little some people had changed. Mostly though, it was awkward because I don’t have a great deal in common with them.  I don’t work so I can’t talk about how great/tiresome my job/employer/colleagues/commute is.  Monkey doesn’t go to school so that’s another topic gone (he’s past the ‘babies keep you up at night’ stage and isn’t yet old enough for the ‘teenagers keep you up at night’ one).

Many of them are employed in our subject or a related one but I don’t remember enough about it to ask much.  Geology and textiles don’t connect much.  I’m often shy and awkward which makes me less of a conversationalist.  “Hi, everybody here including you knows I had a huge crush on you for like ten years, let’s have a hug.  My kid is here but my husband is at home.  Oh you got divorced and your kid is with your ex this weekend, I am sorry.  No, I don’t work, I mostly make stuff then don’t finish it.  Oh you got your PhD, that’s great.  And you just got a job doing something interesting and innovative.  I’ll take a card – I know someone who might be interested in your product.  I’m sure you think I took your card because I think you think I still fancy you and although I don’t I still see that you are nice to look at which makes me even more awkward because I don’t know what to say.”

Sorry for the even longer than usual sentences.  Some of the above paragraph was paraphrased, some of it I just thought, but it was really awkward.

I’ve also managed to lose the gist of what I was trying to say but I think it was something along the lines of how difficult it is to keep in touch with people when you don’t have anything in common but the past.

This post is for my three old friends (in order of first meeting) Lorna, Ed and Giles.  I’m sorry I’m not better at keeping in touch.  I know we don’t have as much in common any more but I do love you all and miss you.

This is also for my brother – another person I’m not in touch with much.  Good luck, bon voyage and we’ll see you in May.

February 25, 2017 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

The Trouble With Hexagons…

So much for hexagons being an interim project.  I had been hemming hexies for patchwork from fabric scraps in order to get my craft space tidy.  In part it is working although it is taking a lot longer.

I ran out of space in my hexie boxes so I went through and pulled out all the completed ones that I didn’t like.  That made more space for nice ones but also left me with a pile of yucky ones on the floor.  I vaguely debated selling them in my shop but there already listings for hexies on Folksy and I don’t think I’d get much for them.

The next good (?) idea was turn them into a quilt.  That is what they are for, after all.  780 hexies later – they are mostly all sewn together, I’m just adding the border.  No idea what I’ll back it with!

In the meantime I was browsing on the Festival Of Quilts website.  I’m planning on going to this event again this year and hoping to enter a quilt into the exhibition.  I’m in London for a few days and will hopefully have time to look at some fabric as I’ll need to try some techniques out when I get home.

I couldn’t quite decide what to do for the back of the quilt but then I remembered all the hexies which aren’t part of a rather garish and excessively yellow quilt.  The ones in colours I prefer.  Maybe I could use some of them?  Admittedly I won’t be able to wave a magic wand for it to be finished.  For starters there are still over 1000 to hem.  There isn’t much point designing it until I know what I have and haven’t got.

My plan so far is to keep hemming hexies while I away, then finish the yucky quilt border when I get home.  Once that is done I’ll try to put the unhemmed hexagons to one side do I can do the samples I need to finalise my ideas for the front.  At the same time I have a dress to work on – I need it for May and I haven’t started the mock-up yet.

The problem is that as I’m in London and planning on looking at fabric, I may be distracted and end up acquiring some for other projects.  I’ve got a head full of ideas, we’ll just have to see what comes of them!

February 25, 2017 at 10:22 am Leave a comment

Present In The Post

I recently took part in my first ‘stationery swap’.  I’ve done artist trading cards before (which I’ve blogged about) but this was quite different.  It wasn’t so much creating as curating, which I found I enjoyed just as much but in a different way.  It got me to thinking (as these things are prone to do) – maybe I could do that?

I have a small and varied subscriber list.  But people are people and it is often nice to get presents.  So here’s my idea – you sign up to send (and receive) a gift.  It can be either made or bought.  You can say if there is a particular thing you do or don’t like.  For example you might be into textiles, or journaling, or maybe you aren’t crafty at all but would like to receive a small piece of artwork and think you could probably find your way to a shop that sold interesting things.

If you think you might be interested in signing up, please say so by commenting on this blog post, or by email (if you are anything like DH who subscribes to this blog so he knows what crazy ideas I haven’t told him about yet, but hasn’t worked out the best ways of adding comments, especially when he can just talk to me).

There’ll be a spend limit of £5 for those who are curating rather than creating – that might also be helpful for the creatives too, so as you know what kind of gift-investment-level we’re looking at.  If you prefer to work to a theme, let’s say ‘Spring’.  It is not compulsory but it is there if you want it.

If I get enough people interested, probably as few as 10 I think, I’ll put together a questionnaire so I can try to co-ordinate.  I’d probably also better set a deadline.  Sign-up by 27th Feb (swap partner details to follow, assuming we go ahead) by 3rd March.  Posting week will be the week of 27th March (a little earlier for international).

P.s. Thanks to VeryBerry and The Reading Residence for the idea and the swaps you organise.

February 25, 2017 at 8:15 am Leave a comment

Post-Christmas Making

Trying to get back into some kind of normality after a the rushing around of the festive season and the busyness of Christmas gift-making, although technically I haven’t quite finished as I’m still making a couple of jackets for a niece and nephew.  His is finished except for the sewing the buttons on. I’ve been working on hers and that is mostly done too, I just need to hem (?) the cuffs, topstitch the body and attach the buttons. Unfortunately I need buttons and thread to match so I’ve had to shelve that until I can get in to Duttons For Buttons in Ilkley.

All well and good but I’m without crafty occupation.  This is not a good thing as I’m more likely to start a new project when I should be finishing old ones.

I decided it would be a good interim idea to sort out the fabric that Monkey chose (he picked a small fat quarter bundle fromBarleycraft Fabrics last year) so that we could make a mini quilt.  But I can’t find it!

Instead I’ve ended up sorting out a lot of other bits of fabric in the hope that the missing fabric will magically turn up.  I’m sure it will eventually but in the meantime I’ve prepped lots of larger fabric ready to turn into hexagons for patchwork.  Anything too small has gone in the scraps bag.  I’m steadily working my way through and hopefully it will keep me going for now without starting another big project.

January 23, 2017 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

Hex Appeal

I’m due to send my latest atc swap card off in a couple of weeks.  My original idea was to do a landscape through a window – in part inspired by a view of a winter sunset through a café window in Dublin, a few years ago.  So I am, of course doing something completely different.

When I came to looking at the fabric I’d ordered I wasn’t seeing window panes at all. I briefly considered tearing strips of fabric and layering a wintery landscape, but wasn’t sure what kind of edge I’d get (being more accustomed to tearing paper and having a special tool for altering the edge of fabric, aka scissors). So what could I do to make an interesting background to stitch on?  Oh I know, I should do patchwork hexagons!  I used the new fabric to make some of the 7 I’d need to cover the card and managed to find enough scraps of different purples to complete the set.

Ok, background assembled, now what?  I found some unspun fibre which was sparkly and in the right kind of colours – ooh I could spin that and maybe crochet a star then stitch embellishments on it.

Some time later, having spun the yarn, I abandoned that idea – the star was turning out far too big and bulky, and I wanted something a bit more delicate.  I briefly debated using the spun yarn anyway, just couching it instead of crocheting it.  I think I may have to do some proper work for this one after all – sketches and stuff.  Hopefully Monkey will be in a Lego-zone when we get home (we are out at Haworth’s Steampunk weekend at the moment and the boys are off looking at some toys) so I can get underway, otherwise I’ll have to wait until tomorrow and hope he doesn’t wake up early.

I am hoping to get a little further with it before I get completely distracted by the Knitting & Stitching show next week.  I know what I’m like – I’ll come back with a head full of stuff completely unrelated to this project and probably some workshop kits to finish off.  I think that at least one of my ‘local’ shops (Barleycraft Fabrics from Saltaire) is having a stall this year so I’ll have to pop by and support her. All in all I’m running out of theoretical time.  Maybe I should investigate the torn-fabric landscape after all…








November 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm 2 comments

Following Stuff Up

After my little give away earlier this week I’ve been doing, well, not so much as I could have been.  Part of the problem is that I’m not very good at self-promoting.  So instead of me reminding people via various social media platforms, and developing an extensive mailing list, I just left it.  Fortunately enough people ‘signed up’ for the draw to not make it a complete embarrassment – partly I think due to at least one of the people I told about it letting other people know (thanks Ali!).

The trouble is I’m not sure where to go from here.  That isn’t strictly true – I know the general gist of it – raising awareness of me and my brand.  The problem part is that I just lose interest.  I’m easily distracted and should much rather do something else.  I’m fortunate enough to have just about enough other income so that my hobbies aren’t my livelihood, despite my trying a number of times a few years ago to change that.  Probably a good thing they didn’t work out and I stuck with a ‘proper’ job, I suppose.

I guess the question ought to be what next.  The honest answer is that I’m not really sure.  I had an order for a pack from a friend so I need to get that organised.  Then next week is Harrogate and at some point I have an ATC to make (the probable fabric for which arrived yesterday, yay!).  Other than that I’ve a belated birthday hat to make for another friend, a few quilts to finish off and about a million ideas on Ravelry.  I might need an extra few months adding to this year – I’m nowhere near ready for the next one.

November 17, 2016 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

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