March 2018

I’m watching it snow so it is pretty hard to believe it is March. Fortunately I’m not too badly affected by the snow yet, but I have not been enjoying the minus temperatures.

I had a busy February but also managed to get a craft weekend in, where I got my jewellery hardware out, so quite a few finishes and then a few new things added.

  1. Quilt – suprise, suprise no change
  2. Beaded purse – no change
  3. Epp stars – I’ve got all back ground hexagons cut and basted. 6 stars with hexagons attached. Another ~15stars made and ~12 cut out and basted.
  4. Beaded business case – on pause for a minute
  5. Bead crochet – I took this to my beading group and added another inch.
  6. Mini hoop – im taking part in a swap and am doing some bead embroidery
  7. Jumper – I got bought a kit from wool and the gang for my birthday and have started the first panel.

For finishes I have

  1. Lapis lazuli necklace
  2. Bead crochet necklace
  3. Chenille rope necklace
  4. Ring necklace
  5. Dishcloth
  6. An embroidered repair of a jumper

I dont think I’ll have that many finishes next month. Im doing some travelling so hoping to get plenty of my epp done, as long as I get some prep done beforehand.

My featured image is the vase I recieved for my birthday with some valentines flowers. Can’t get more February than that.

 

 

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My blanket – version 2

When I was first learning to knit, I made a blanket. It was the second or third thing I started and it was a little dysfunctional. The full story of version 1 can be found here, but the short version is I ended up with a ‘blanket’ that was 2.10m x 0.85m.

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My original plan had been to add borders but I’d used lovely merino wool (and lots of it) for the middle and in my searches for something compatible I hadn’t found anything as nice but cheaper (perhaps not a suprise). I didn’t want to compromise but couldn’t face spending potentially hundreds of pounds to make an overly large blanket. So I sat and thought about it for over a year.

Then on a wander round the internet I saw a tutorial for knitting squares from the middle out, and I knew I had found a vaguely more sensible idea, so I began unraveling the blanket.

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At the beginning

Instead of just following the tutorial, I decided I wanted to make a rectangle not a square so cast on enough stitches to give me a 2 x 3 rectangle. However as you increase all sides by the same amount, you lose the rectangle pretty quickly because who can tell the difference when the sides are 150 x 151 sides. I should have gone back once I realised this at the beginning but I’m a little stubborn and too quick to rush into things. I think this might be why the final blanket tents a little.

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With 4 circular needles

I started on a long circular needle but quickly had to swap to using multiple circular needles like double pointed needles. Ive now ended up with 5 6.5mm circular needles, so I am set if I ever want to make another. I am a much quicker knitter now than when I started the first blanket and I was knitting it over Christmas and new year so there was a lot of in front of the tve knitting time, and it went together very quickly.

When I originally chose the wool, I’d planned on having a light purple center and dark borders, and had bought two balls of the darker colour. So when it came to thinking about casting off I thought about using up those balls. I found this useful comparison of cast offs a while ago and was drawn to the picot cast off. I decided to go for it and I really like the end effect.

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Picot edges

The finished blanket could really do with being blocked to help with the tenting and rolling of the edges, but my flat isn’t big enough so it will have to wait. I may have had to make it twice but it is a lovely blanket for curling up under.

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The finished blanket

 

February 2018

February suprised me this year. However January has been a good month. I went to a local beading group and despite the tricky journey, I had a lovely morning and will be doing my best to go again.  Crafting wise it has been mixed, in some areas I’ve been productive and others have stagnated. I also took some time in January to review my longer term projects, so the list looks a little different.

Here goes:

  1. Quilt – suprise, suprise no change
  2. Beaded purse – no change
  3. Epp stars – I’ve made ~12, bought more fabric, picked a design, cut out another 12 and some of the background pieces.
  4. Beaded business case – on pause for a minute
  5. Bead crochet – one I’ve started and the other I bought hardware but haven’t put it together
  6. Necklace – again I’ve bought hardware and not put it together
  7. Lapis lazuli necklace – I splashed out on some gems when I left the beadshop in 2016 and finally got round to making something. Guess what – needs hardware
  8. Chenille rope – I started this at my beadgroup and it is a fun stitch

I’ve only got one finish in January, but it is a big one.

The purple blanket.

Its not perfect but very cosy and so much better than last time. I’ll tell you about it soon.

I have the potential to finish several things in Feb but who knows what will happen.

For my feature image, it is snowdrops. They come out earlier down here than back home, but even though they suprised me, I still went and rung one.

Small things artist trading card

Back in the autumn Ali at veryberryhandmade announced she was hosting another atc swap. I’ve loved every one I’ve participated in so far, so I signed up immediately. The theme this time was small things. I like to use making these cards as an opportunity to try a new technique or experiment more with something. I knew I wanted to try embroidery this time, after seeing some amazing work on instagram.  Therefore I kept that in mind when I was planning the design. I had two ideas in mind, things that grow and all the small things by blink 182.

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This is how I plan

In the end the all the small things idea was too captivating, and as my partner in the swap hadn’t given me any directions, I went with my heart. I took one of the lyrics from the song as my inspiration and wanted to embroider roses on the stairs. I’m not an artist so it took me quite while to work out how to make it look in proportion.

I used satin stitch for most of the background. I started with the stairs, where I used a mixture of colours to help with the shading. I then randomly stitched roses all over the stairs. This was a very fun part, I like the playing with colours and sizes.

It took me quite awhile to figure out what to do with the background, and which way the stitches should go. I’m glad I did it though because it really helps with the proportions.

 

Every time I make these cards, I use a different construction technique. This time I needed it to have a fairly stiff structure so the satin stitch stays in place. I used a sort of English paper piecing technique, I based the front and back onto paper pieces but then left the paper in when I whip-stitched the two halves together. It worked pretty well.

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My completed ATC

Hopefully my partner liked it. In return I received this beautiful ATC. It depicts a little manchester bee.

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This is number four in my collection 

2017 reflections, 2018 goals

It’s been a year of flux and waiting for me. I’ve started a new job and left London and then been waiting for my partner to finish his PhD and see where his job search would take him. So while my own circumstances havent changed since the spring, it feels like we’ve been dealing with a different set of circumstances every other month. Its now looking like we’ll  be much  more settled with us properly living together next year, so I’m looking forward to less change. Although I’ve probably jinxed it by typing that sentance.

So for 2017, I finished approximately 21 different projects, learnt 4 new skills and have only carried 5 projects through the year.

My new skills were English paper piecing, resin casting, knitting with beads and bead crochet. I haven’t really taken to the resin casting but all the others I will be carrying on with.

I can’t really pick anything as a favourite make this year, I think the cross stitch along with friends was possibly the most fun.

For 2018, I really want to knit a garment, but my blanket takes precedence. I’m trying to learn brioche knitting. I would also like to get my sewing machine up and running again, but let’s see what happens.

For December 2017, I did quite a lot of stuff this month due to the holidays.

  1. Beaded handbag – I did a couple of inches
  2. Quilt – no change
  3. Lip balm cozies – no change
  4. Heat packs – no change
  5. Beaded purse – no change
  6. Beaded case for business cards – no change
  7. Purple blanket – I’m now using 5 circular needles like double pointed needles.
  8. Epp – I have 4 complete stars
  9. Bead crochet. I completed the stringing.
  10. Bead crochet. I have completed the crochet but it needs some hardware before it’s complete.

I’ve had one finish this month, a netted bauble. I made this up as I went along and it required a few goes to get the last bit right but it looks lovely now.

The final feature image of the year is from the coast near Edinburgh where I had a short holiday at the beginning of the month.

 

Christmas cards

I’ve been making Christmas cards for a few years now and I really enjoy the process. I have a few tricks to make it an easy and enjoyable task:

  1.  I only make a few, typically around 20 and my list is ordered by importance so if I dont make as many that year then some people can get shop bought ones
  2. I try and start early i.e. September
  3. I look for patterns that require materials I already have.
  4. About half are a simple pattern that can be repeated in different combinations (I have a tree template that gets cracked out every year)
  5. I try and pick patterns that require a little prep and then I can complete in the evenings while watching tv
  6. I add in some more complicated patterns to keep it interesting
  7. It’s absolutely ok if they look handmade. They are

And for the moment this works for me.

 

Christmas decorations

I bought and decorated my first tree this year. Its the first time I’ve had the space and time to bother having a real tree.

I’ve been collecting ornaments for a few years now and have displayed them in some way or another. I’ve also made myself an ornament (or two) each year, so I have a lovely collection. And yet they still look a little sparse on a real tree, but I’m trying to build a collection of special pieces so I can live with that for now.

However this year, I wasnt feeling up to starting Christmas crafting in the autumn and as most stuff I do is fairly time consuming, I resigned myself to not having any new handmaded ones this year.

But actually between finishing something from last year, reapproriating old pieces, returned makes, some shopping and some grand plans which where scuppered by buying the wrong thing, I’ve ended up with 6 new ornaments this year.

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5 point star

I started this one as a four pointed star, two years ago and all it needed was the last piece to be zipped up. However when I tried, it just didn’t work. So I whipped up another square and now its a five pointed star.

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Ponsietta ornament

This ponsietta began life as a decoration for a hat for a friend’s wedding, but as it no longer lives there, I decided I needed some more colour on the tree.

These two snowflakes were made last year to help my sister do some fundraising. Unfortunately she only sold about half so she returned the others to me. I’ve been giving them away but we kept our favourite two.

I love the bath Christmas markets and this year I took a day off work to go and play. Going on a weekday was perfect as wwe had much more space to walk and lok at stuff. I like to buy a hand crafter ornament every year and the markets are a perfect place to look for things. This year I splashed out and bought two.

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Sequined bauble

I’ve been considering doing some sort of bead covered bauble ornuament for several years but never bought baubles to do it with. I finally ordered some, thinking that if nothing else I could take some of my random bits of beading and hang them inside. What I forgot to consider was the size of the opening, so of course nothing fit. I’ve since Google it and you can get baubles that clip open so I may purchase them next year. This won’t stop me doing the fancy beading but I was disappointed that I wouldn’t have a quick new bauble. So instead I searched for things that would fit inside the bauble, and found some sequins. With the addition of some pva and some time spent twirling the bauble while it dried, I have a sparkly bauble. My collection is low on actual baubles so I’m glad to have another one.

There is still one more week to Christmas and I have packed a lot of beads so who knows what might happen.