Monday 29 February 2016

Work In Progress: Sewing, Knitting, Mending & Sorting

As always, I've got lots of projects in progress...

This weekend I spent several relaxing hours sewing felt flowers onto this cushion cover, which I last worked on in November (!!).

Back in November I'd got so close to finishing this but it's been sitting in crafty limbo ever since.  All the flowers I'd pinned and tacked in place back then have now been properly stitched in position and I just need to add a few more small flowers at the edges to fill in the remaining gaps.

I've also re-started a much-neglected knitting project (visiting a knitting festival does tend to put one in the mood to knit!).

Let's not talk about how I was determined to get this finally finished in time for Christmas 2015 and it's now February 2016, okay??? Shhh, it can be our secret.

This weekend I've also been mending my much-beloved vintage coat. After sewing on a missing button, I'm now mending some tears in the lining and holes in the pockets. Not at all exciting - and sewing black on black is such a pain - but important!

Does a project count as "in progress" if you've just bought the materials for it? Because I think this one might technically be a new project as I've yet to start it (or even make a real plan for how I'm going to make it) but I have bought the fabrics and washed/ironed them.

Semantics aside, these lovelies are going to be a small quilt for summer picnics and (of course) trips to the beach.

I'm also continuing my ongoing "sort out everything in my studio" project. Everything is looking so neat and organised, it's quietly thrilling.

One of this weekend's tasks was to sort through my stash of sewing thread - you probably can't tell from this photo that this is the "after" photo but it is!

My most-used colours (which match the felt shades in my stash) are in the drawer on the left, and the rest are in the drawer on the right. Not the most complicated system, I'll grant you, but a system nonetheless :)

Meanwhile, the urge to sort and declutter is contagious and my mum has been bitten by the bug. I've been helping her clear out assorted cupboards and take things to charity shops... and I've ended up with some new/old things that she's decluttered!

I've inherited a few bits of vintage crockery that belonged to my grandparents, including these pretty dishes (one Poole, one Carlton Ware). Aren't they lovely?


I'm also now the proud owner of some craft supplies which were left over from our childhood crafting sessions, then forgotten about in the back of a cupboard. These tubes of glitter will be an especially useful addition to my crafty stash!

Right, that's enough waffling about WIPs... I'm off to make the most of my "extra day" by doing something crafty :)

Friday 26 February 2016

Unravel Festival of Knitting 2016

Last Friday, after a walk around the centre of Farnham (exploring the town's history and architecture), I headed to Farnham Maltings to visit Unravel: an annual "festival of knitting" which also celebrates crochet and other fiber arts.

As any regular reader of my blog could tell you, I am not the world's best knitter (or crocheter). I've made a couple of big projects like my Sky Blanket and my Granny Square Blanket but I mostly stick to very small, simple things like basic scarves and plain squares for patchwork blankets.

But I'd been to the textile-themed Thread festival at the Maltings a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so when an old friend said she was visiting Unravel and did I fancy coming along? Well, a day of nattering and tea and cake and lots and lots of yarn seemed like a pretty good plan to me.

There was a lot of beautiful yarn for sale, plus books and patterns and kits and knitting/crochet accessories and loads more crafty goodness. The whole building was jam-packed with stalls, but here are just a few that caught my eye.

The Little Grey Sheep had such a fabulous selection of colours! Passion for their product was something that radiated from every seller at the festival, and this family farm was no exception. They have a flock of sheep which they shear themselves, the fibre is washed and spun within the UK and then returned to the farm where it's hand-dyed in all those lovely colours.

Charming kits and patterns for your dog, from Redhound for Dogs. You'd be knitting the coats for the dog, of course, as I'm not sure even the most talented of pups could master knitting.

(Do excuse these slightly blurry photos, my camera was struggling a little with the lighting!)

Fabulous pompom yarn (handmade in Chile) from Añañuca. How much fun would this be to knit with??

Needle felted awesomeness by Jenny Barnett. I love that little sign: You CAN make these.

Spin City had roving and other spinning supplies in some magical colours! And sparkles, too! Even the product names are magical: Mermaid's Hair, Cinderella's Slippers, Nebula.

Cute and quirky faux taxidermy and other knitted animal fun from Sincerely Louise. I especially love the triceratops and the little mole door stop.

More beautiful yarn in delicious colours, this time from John Arbon Textiles.

Finally, beautiful patterns and kits by Jane Crowfoot.

The flower blanket on the top right is called Frida's Flowers, and has been designed for a "crochet along" with yarn company Stylecraft. Kits to make the blanket will be available from March, and the free patterns will be published in instalments over 4 months, starting from early April.

I really don't need to start another project (especially one as big as a blanket) but I have to admit to being very tempted by this one!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

The Farnham Heritage Trail

Last week I took a trip to Farnham to visit knitting festival Unravel. I was meeting a friend at 1pm to explore the festival, but I wanted to make the most of my Nice Day Out so I got an early train to give myself some time to explore the town itself.

On my previous visit to Farnham (for the textile festival Thread) I picked up a couple of tourism leaflets, including a guide to the Farnham Heritage Trail. I love it when towns have trails like this. A ready-made walking route round a new place, with lots of interesting things to see and fun facts to discover along the way? Yes please!

Farnham is a very pretty place, with a lot of interesting old buildings...


... little courtyards...


... ghost signs...


... plus lots of nice doors! (You know I like a nice door).


I sadly didn't have time to follow the whole trail (or to visit the local castle) as my train was rather delayed in the morning (boo) but I was lucky with the weather. It was a lovely, sunny morning - perfect for a walk around town!

I loved the weathervane of the Golden Hinde on the top of the Town Hall Buildings, and the quirky arcade of shops of shops below.


Who could resist the charm of these old almshouses? (Again, I am a sucker for quirky doors).


I also visited a peaceful little park, built on the site of a former open-air swimming baths.


Those circular marks in the bricks were made with pennies, by generations of children queuing up to swim.

They're exactly the sort of detail that you'd miss if you were just strolling by, but they're so evocative of what the baths would have been like when they were in use. A teeny glimpse into the past! Delightful.

I'll be blogging about my visit to Unravel itself later this week, so brace yourselves for lots of photos of lovely yarn :)

Sunday 21 February 2016

Interesting Signs, Cute Kitties & Gorgeous Yarn

Blogging is a funny thing. Sometimes you write a blog post that you think will be really popular and it passes largely unnoticed and doesn't attract a single comment. Then other times you write about something you think "hmm, this is a bit of a weird thing to be writing a whole blog post about" and it turns out lots of other people love that weird thing too!

I am delighted that thanks to the magic of the internet we can all be door-loving weirdos together :)

Here are a couple of non-door-related snaps I took on the same London walk:

A lovely old street sign with a backdrop of gorgeous blue sky (I am so looking forward to the arrival of spring so we can see more of those!)...


... and a rather battered sign of a different kind:

I also took a trip this week to Unravel, the festival of knitting held annually at Farnham Maltings. I'll be blogging about it properly once I've had a chance to edit my photos but to sum up: wow, there was so much beautiful yarn! This loveliness was from The Little Grey Sheep:

Back at home, my tidying, sorting, organising and decluttering continues. While tidying I found this adorable hot water bottle cover from my childhood. How cute are those kittens?? Oh my goodness.

There's no way I'm going to throw this away but it's not really useable as a hot water bottle cover anymore... so I'm thinking about turning it into a cushion cover. I'll have to make a custom cushion insert for it, of course, but that can't be too complicated, right??

I probably shouldn't be adding another crafty project to my To Do list as I have so many of them already, but never mind!

This weekend I am finally getting "sew missing button back on coat" ticked off the list, and next up is "patch holes in duvet cover" which has been on the list for aaaaaages. I've decided to use a scrap of Liberty fabric to make the patches, because if you're going to do mending it might as well look pretty.

P.S. This is the pencil I'm currently using to write my To Do lists, etc. I have a whole bunch of fun pencils like this left over from my childhood, it really makes me smile using them and they brighten up even the most boring admin!