Wednesday, 16 January 2008

visiting Grandma

Went to visit my Grandma yesterday - she stole one of the squishy pigs I had taken to show her!

She was telling me the story (again) of how she began to knit socks, so here goes.

It was during the War (world war 2) - she and my Grandfather had been married and I think my oldest uncle had been born, perhaps my mum as well.

My Grandad had been sent off to to man the barrage balloons near the big chemical factories in a neighboring town, and Grandma was scrimping and saving and living on rations.

She had gone to the wool shop, where like everything else wool was rationed - the woman who owned the shop had 4oz of wool for each of her customers, so Grandma bought her 4oz. The woman then informed her this was sock wool - grandma explained she had never knit socks before, and was expecting a refund, when the woman place 5 needles down on the counter, and asked grandma for nine pence, grandma handed over the money, and the woman finished the conversation with "there you go, you never had a better Chance to learn"

Grandma went home with the wool and needles - and after a lot of struggling and pulling everything back over and again, finally made socks.

From that day to the day he died at 87 years old, my Grandad never again wore a pair of sock bought socks.

I love how most of the crafts we do today came about through necesity. And grandma is in her 90's now, and if it wasn't for poor eyesight and arthritic hands would still be knitting socks today if she could!

Saturday, 12 January 2008


What inspires me?I have always had a need to make things, My grandmother studied dressmaking, crocheting, tatting, and knit the first aran jumpers in Warrington! I still have 4 pairs of socks she made me on 4 needles. My mother still knits all the time but has no confidence in her own talents and abilities - and she should do! the stuff she makes is wonderful, and the memories of the clothes she made me as a child are still fresh, and still inspire me. She will turn her hand to anything and have a go, and like me, always has something in the process of being made, and a pile of projects not yet finished (how's the advent calander coming along mum?)
so, it was inevitable that I would end up with a sewing machine in front of me. I would make all sorts of strange a bizare items to wear or use.I started a city and guilds in patchwork, but due to work commitments never finished it - never stopped me making quilts though.My favorite quilt artist has to be Kaffe Fassett - I love what he does with a simple pattern and the most amazing colours and fabrics, and more recently Amy Butlers patterns and Fabrics have really inspired me - if only I could do nothing but crafting!

Another use for those fabric samples, this quilt is for a pram or moses basket - I suppose any child underneath this cosy quilt might be a little over stimulated visually!

the squishy pigs - there ranks are growing all the time!

I found the pattern in an old Austrailian HandMade magazine in my mag stash - and have a huge pile of fabric samples that I couldn't for the life of me think what to do with. I love these little guys! (or are they girls? perhaps I need to start naming them)

I love the optical effect with this cot quilt - and yes for all you kaffe fassett fans out there, it is clear who my strongest influence is!

the effect of 3d is produced by using both the right and the wrong side of the fabric, which at the time felt like a real waste of fabric, but I do like the end result!

this is one of my favorite projects - a very small quilt I made from hand dyed fabrics.
I started with a bucket of pink and a bucket of blue dye, then diluted one with the other gradually to get the shades in between - I had been wanting to do this graduated log cabin pattern for ages, and the fabric really lent itself to it!

Spots and stripes...nuf said

here is the blind I made for the window. it looks exceptional on a sunny morning when all the seams stand out like the leading in stained glass, but looks equally good from the outside at night when the light is on - I love it!

Photo's at last!

just downloaded the photo's from the other night, and they didn't come out as bad as I thought they might!

here is a selection of the unblurred ones (tripod is in two pieces in the car at the moment awaiting repairs after an outdoor mishap!)

first - here is a cosy corner of me sewing room - the silouette picture I did in primary school about 30 years ago, I can still remember staning in the hall in front of the projector while the teacher drew round my outline!

Friday, 11 January 2008

sunny intervals

the forcast for the weekend is Saturday - sunny intervals, Sunday - Heavy rain...

so, my plan is to get me and my projects round to our allotment on Saturday - take some photos outside in a pretty setting, and perhaps even start to turn over a patch or two of the plot ready for planting.
Really didn't grow anything last year, and I am determined to grow something this year, especially as we invested in a polly tunnel a couple of years ago that has yet to pay for itself!
I think some unusual squash, peppers, aubergines and potatoes will be my priority. there, now it is written down, it shall be so! (sew?)


Have I just completly jinxed the weather? perhaps we will now get the snow that was rightfully ours at the beggining of this week, but arrived as rain?

oh well, so long as I am not at work - who cares!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Dark Days

oh dear - I really don't like going to work and coming home in the dark, especially when the days are so grim and dreary as well.

Got home in the dark last night, and went to take some photo's to put up here - but they all came out looking like they were taken down a coal mine with the lights off, so have checked the weather forcast, sunny on Saturday, and have decided to get out and about in the lovely countryside round here and snap stuff au natural.

my latest project is 'squishy pigs' - found a lovely pattern in an old austrailian hand made magazine, and have been producing these lovely patchwork squishy pigs from it - photo's comming soon.

My Daughter is into her charity shops at the moment, and has started coming home with some real bargains - loads of sewing and pattern books from the 60's and 70's - it is not surprising to find that so many of the styles in them are back in fashion, (with a little modification, and up to date fabric!) but they were really into their clasic tailoring and dressmaking skills back then, so just been photocopying a couple of the kids patters from 'golden hands' to make my own up to date versions.

Another project on the horizon is to request wool jumpers on my local 'freecycle' group and have a go at felting - might make a wooly squishy pig then...

All I need now is lots of time to myself! a comodity worth more than gold!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

well, lets hope 2008 is a good year!
first I discovered 'blogs' - I know, where have I been for the past ....years? I am afraid I am one of those technophobes, and until now e-mailing and the odd news group have been as adventurous as I have got, but one of those sequence of events happened that have got me all fired up and almost up to date with the rest of the multiverse!

First, it was my birthday last November - as always I asked for book vouchers. I love books and always wish I could buy more of them!
I didn't however spend them streight away, wanting to savour the spending process.
Just after Christmas I went into a local independant book shop, and discovered 'the Crafters Companion'
It took me 3 days to read from cover to cover - 2 days to totally revamp my workspace, another week to get round to looking into this blog thingy - and every second inbetween in the sewing room sewing!
I don't think I have gone through such a productive period for quite some time, and it has gone massivly towards saving my sanity, so next project is to get some photo's taken of my work, and get them posted up here - is there no stopping me? I hope not!