Just sew

 

Hello All

The sun is out but there is still a nip in the air. Let’s stay in.

Today just felt ripe for setting up my trusty Singer and getting a couple of sewing jobs done. You know the sort of things: those little niggley tasks that have been cluttering your ‘to do’ lists for longer than you care to admit. Tabs for duvet covers whose poppers gave up the ghost several washes ago have waited long enough. My life is just so scintillating!

I obviously needed to sweeten the pill. Yeah! a project that used my cloth stash and would provide a little something for young Peanut happily sprang to mind.

DSCI0326

Those of you that knew me as a library lady will possibly remember this fabric I used it to make a shirt which I often wore for story times. Never fear readers there is no danger of an Omi-Granddaughter matching outfit scenario. My old Toddler Tales shirt has long since been relegated to the category of clothes that are only to be worn for painting and gardening.

Safe in the knowledge that there will be no baby-grandparent twinnage let’s move swiftly on.

The cutting out was a breeze. Only four pattern pieces and two pieces of interfacing. Call me odd but attaching iron-on interfacing is so satisfying.

DSCI0336.JPG

Like any clothes-making for littlies it was fun to pull it all together. Whizzing up the side seams, stitching the facing sections to the main body of the pinnie.

Even for me, an inexpert sewer, the running up of this simple dress was a breeze. That is  until …. the buttonholes!!!!!!!

As you’ll see I managed them. But even with a special buttonholing foot on my machine (I need all the help I can get) there was a certain amount of teeth gnashing. Believe me if you go awry with these little beauties it is the stuff of nightmares to unpick .

DSCI0346

BUT slicing between the two rows with my trusty seam ripper…..oooooooohhhhhh….felt goosepimply good.

And in no time at all I had a Peanut sized pinafore dress all sewed up.

DSCI0348

For those of you that would like to know which pattern I used it was New Look (Easy, Kids) Nos.6578.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Patterns are fun …eventually

Hello All

The sun has got its hat on. Hip hip hip hooray! Yesterday was a wonderful day for a train journey to my favourite city, Carlisle. A day when all my bus train bus connections came together and travel was an absolute pleasure.

As you know there is little chance of finding me on a train without wool and a project. Yesterday was no exception.

DSCI0308

In truth however I was running scared. I thought after the bauble success of last week I would try another pattern from the colourful “Boho Crochet” book edited by Merenke Slump. My knees turned to jelly when I realised I was moving from a two star to a THREE star skill rating. What was I thinking?! FPtrs and FPdtrs awaited along with surface crochet and sl st into blo (don’t ask, spare yourselves).

But before I could hook my way through a new crocheting learning curve my train had pulled in at Carlisle station. I had a little time before meeting with my friends at Tullie House Museum. Time for a visit to the library to pick up some light reading and settle down with a cup of tea.

DSCI0314

And yes that is brilliant sunlight casting shadows! Apologies for getting so excited but we don’t get a lot of sunshine in Cumbria. Infact like Nosferatu caught out by dawn we squinted, we fidgeted, we MOVED to get out of the rays. We may not get much sun but when we do it is stunning. Our eyes need time to adjust.

It was lovely meeting up with my friends but all too soon I was time to go our separate ways. A beautiful train ride later and I was back home and it was time to face my ‘Star Fruit Pattern Rug’ fears. Gulp.

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts.  I discovered I didn’t know my WS from my RS!

DSCI0315

Oops!

But having discovered this fundamental I started to get to grips with the lingo and enjoy myself.

DSCI0318

The Star Fruit shape began to form as I worked in the surface crochet. And the motif came together with the addition of the third colour edging.

DSCI0319

In no time at all I had three motifs completed. Only another 67 to go and I’ll have a rustic new rug!

DSCI0322

In case you were wondering I am using a 4mm hook and these chunky rough dyed rug yarns from Farfield Mill.

DSCI0325

Patterns. Pah! Nothing to fear after all. Next time 4 stars. Bring it on.

Until next we meet, Moke x

What’s on the kitchen table?

Hello All

Having said last week that Spring had sprung this weekend has been f-f-f-r-r-r-e-e-e-e-zing. Best spend the day in the warm with copious amounts of tea and a small (ie I have a chance of finishing it) craft project.

So what is on the kitchen table this week? Having a giddy flash-back to ‘Play School’ … what is through the …. round window? (I always wanted the round window). Enough of the 1960s back to the kitchen table:

DSCI0291

Time to set about a wee bit of crochet inspired by “Boho Crochet” edited by Merinke Slump until

 

I have two half orbs. Then only a few stitches follow and …

voila! a bauble

DSCI0305

with all it’s playful possibilities. Sparkle-y yarns for celebrations and your favourite colours for interiors …  all worked in a trice.

Infact it was finished too quickly. The great outdoors is still less than inviting so it is back to ….

DSCI0295

the sock-a-thon. Which as a dedicated woolly crafter I am doomed I mean duty-bound to complete.

What crafts have kept you busy this weekend? and who remembers Gonks?

Until next we meet, Moke x

Kitchen Table Crafts

Hello All

What a lovely day. A day of conversation and cuppas enjoying woolly crafting. All from the comfort of my kitchen.

When friend AFl suggested coming over I balked slightly at the craft she suggested. But as soon as I started gathering everything we would need I felt the old excitement I got from running workshops and joining in Wool ‘n’ Stuff sessions.

What were we going to do? There’s a (BIG) clue on my kitchen table.

‘Felting’ you say? Felting yes but with a twist. This is Nuno felting (felting onto cloth) and if you want to have a go at this low cost craft – or just want to see what we got up to – read on.

Here’s what we used:

  • surface to work on that you don’t mind getting a bit wet (kitchen table = perfect);
  • bubble wrap;
  • cling-film (needs to be quite robust variety);
  • muslin (remember there will be about a 50% shrinkage so allow for this);
  • fibres (we used dyed merino tops);
  • plastic bag each;
  • cool soapy water (I put a mix of washing-up liquid and cool water in an old plastic spray bottle);
  • clothes washing flakes or liquid; and
  • vinegar.

At this point I should have been able to show you what we did first but fueled with coffee (and a cheeky donut..or two…) I forgot to take any photos!!!! So words will have to suffice. Normal photographic service will soon follow.

Our first steps:

Bubble wrap was laid out bubble side down;

We wet the fabric and spread it out on the bubble wrap;

Remembering that less fibre leads to more shrinkage we pulled our wool tops into small, even and thin pieces;

Then we lay the fibres in all directions (one direction means shrinkage will only be one way);

We gently sprayed COOL soapy water on the fibres and cloth; and

Covered our fibre patterned muslin with cling film (AFl had brought an old industrial sized roll which was perfect cos it wasn’t too thin nor very sticky).

Now we gently pressed all the water down through the wool,

DSCI0119

until it started to go flat at which point we rubbed gently – still through the cling-film – with our scrunched up plastic bags. A bit like rubbing down a wet horse I thought …. or is that just me?!

Off came the cling-film and rolling commenced … oops just noticed the cling-film is not off … remember to remove yours.

DSCI0120

We rolled three hundred times (yes 300!) one way and then having re-rolled the felt in the opposite direction three hundred (YES 300!) more times.

Unbeknowst to us hours passed as we chattered and rolled … and rolled …. and rolled …  Time flew.

Once we could see fibres making their way through the muslin we flipped the bubble wrap over and rubbed the nuno (yes it actually looked like nuno felting, amazing) along the whole length.

DSCI0123

We put the nuno into hot soapy water. As hot as our hands could cope with. Ooooooch. Then came the best bit.

DSCI0122

‘Is that it?’ I hear you cry. OK it doesn’t look very exciting but this is my nuno felt after I had thrown it full force S-P-L-A-T onto the table. This only needed to be done about a dozen times but as I hurled my felting I found it was a great means of working off my angst … “and this is for …. bang! and this is for …. BANG!” Twelve throws was not enough. When you get to this stage you’ll know what I mean.

Not only was it therapeutic but it was also magical. Shrinkage! Houston we have shrinkage!

Finally all our nuno needed was a rinse to get rid of the soap and a last rinse with a splash of vinegar and more water.

DSCI0124

We were very pleased with ourselves. We had actually created nuno felted pieces and had just enough time for a celebratory soup as they dried.

Excellent way to spend a day. Getting together with a friend and having a bash (quite literally) at a kitchen table craft. Thank you AFl for reminding me.

Until we meet next. Moke x

Build Me Up Buttercup

Hello All

When a friend at work mentioned that there was a local charity project to raise money by the sale of wool crafts I decided that I must find a way to beat the bus sickness blues.

Much as I love the stunning landscape and its changing nuances it is a long daily journey to work and while I am fine looking out of the window I struggle with anything that means bending my head. That has meant reading and crafts are out …. oh woe is me.

Then an inkling of an idea. If I stick to crafting simple patterns on the ‘straight’ (the Romans didn’t touch these roads or were defeated by our mountainous topography), less lumpy-bumpy, bits of the road I might manage the odd brooch or two.

Practice first. I turned to an old favourite for inspiration,

With so much choice what to do? Start at the beginning with the easy crochet patterns and work my way through. Off we go.

First the lovely Hellebore,

A very satisfying make but with three colours fiddly. A certain recipe for a stomach churning journey. Next!

Let’s build up a buttercup ….

Pretty little thing. But while small is beautiful it is also a tad tricky for someone with fingers a bunch of bananas would be proud of. Lest this go the way of Goldilocks and the Three Bears … too fiddly …. too tricky …. shall we move on to ‘just right’ …

…. the madness of the Chrysanthemum.

Flamboyant yet simplest to do. Yippee. Despite its woolly wildness it makes a striking corsage brooch. Any suggestions as to yarns and methods to make it fit any occasion gratefully received.

Now I have a pattern I can replicate on the bus AND three little contributions for the charity sale.

Reading on the bus next …..

Before I go. My good friend JH came over for cake and a cuppa yesterday. We are both to become grandmothers within weeks of each other so you can imagine we had a lot to talk about and look what she made for No1 Daughter ….

Woof-ely and beautiful. Needless to say both No1 Daughter and I were very very grateful for such a wonderful handmade pair of baby bootees. Thank you JH.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Seagulls and Sewing

Hello All

Does anyone else have a problem with seagulls? Not in the sense that they sky dive to eat your cornet of melty ice cream or worse bomb you with an unhealthy dollop of  guano (if you don’t know don’t ask … spare yourself) but in the fact that they are dastardly difficult to draw. For reasons unbeknownst even to me I have taken it into my head that our work space needs to have its own seagull.

Before needle felting I like to do a little drawing. Things did not start well.

DSCI0007

Think my pencilled comments speak for themselves.

Time to take another tack. I felt like I needed to dissect a gull. Not literally of course but photographically. Nothing for it but to take my camera off to Barrow the home to many a European Herring Gull.

As I sat at the bus stop

DSCI0001

I geared myself up to tackle these monstrous birds. No joking they are HUGE. They make the pavement shudder when they come in to land. Boom. But Hitchcock would not be impressed. They turned camera shy.

They either came over all coy

DSCI0003

and turned their backs leaving me with a rather fuzzy picture of a bundle of feathers or

DSCI0005

they sat down on the job! Obviously they are after Equity rates darlings.

Anyhoo as sitting was the best I was going to get time to move on with the lying down gull drawing prep.

DSCI0011At least I won’t have to worry about those pesky fronty-backy knees … watch this space.

The other small fascination for the week has been brought about by a new book purchase.

images

I y-e-a-r-n for some new clothes but find it hard to buy the right shape and style for me. Time to revisit my teenage years and make clothes for myself. Luckily I have no photo evidence of any of those wonderful (!) teen creations – if I did would I show them?! Habibe Acikgoz’ book ‘Bold and Beautiful Easy-Sew Clothes’ is filled with stylish asymmetrical patterns and clear instructions and advice.  Appetite suitably whetted let’s have a go.

First job will be scaling up the pattern (gulp) so I needed dot and cross paper (or a lot of sellotape to join together A4 sheets of graph paper). I had been told that there is a very good dress-making fabric shop in Ulverston so off I set.

What a lovely find. Unique Image in Market Street, Ulverston is a proper dress-making shop and yay! it sells dot and cross paper by the metre.

DSCI0013

This is dot and cross paper in case you didn’t know and let’s face it I didn’t until about two days ago. Now its time for a little maths (eeek) and let scaling commence.

If all else fails Unique Image also run project led courses so I may be investing in a full day workshop in their lovely airy sewing room learning how to dress-make from a professional …. I’ll keep you posted.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Happy 2015 and welcome to new projects

Hello All and a very Happy New Year

Well here we are 2015. Flying along through the new millennium. I wonder how they felt in 1015? Muddy? Worried about the way Cnut The Great was looking at our monasteries? Thank goodness times have changed, now we look forward to the latest Nordic Noir (especially Sarah Lund’s Faroe Isle knitwear), love the way some of us have names that end in  -son thanks to our Viking ancestors and admire the beautiful wool crafts the Norse created then and now.

If I’d any sense (and ability) I’d have lined up a wonderful Scandinavian knitwear project. You know the sort: a highly patterned cardigan with ornamental metal clasp fastenings…drool…. Although that day may come for now I recognize my limitations and present you with (fanfare) the first socks of 2015 on the DPNs.

DSCI0401

As you can see the going is slow due to all the little twisty cables. Nonetheless the knitting is tactile-y pleasing as the yarn is Rowan’s ‘felted tweed’ a beautifully soft mix of Merino and Alpaca (I get no payment for saying this!).

DSCI0398

Holidays finished and it is back to work. But it also back to one of my favourite haunts, the library. Good friend BS recommended a book by Jacquetta Hawkes and with a little help from the wonderful, knowledgeable, helpful, hardworking staff (you know who you are!) I was soon excitedly clutching a copy to take home.

‘A Land’ is a revelation. A history of the formation of Britain and its people written by a brilliantly gifted woman who brought to her writing such rich poetic humanity. Her use of Isaac Newton buried under a deluge of apples is typical of her ability to convey information – in this case stratification – memorably and with humour. Thanks B, as always a superb recommendation.

Plenty to keep me inspired and busy through the still dark evenings of January.

I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2015.

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Thanks to my friend Jackie at ‘Knitting With Heart’ I am reliably informed that 2015 is The Year of The Sheep. An excuse (if one were needed) for twelve months of woolly wonderfulness. Yippee! Mx