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Outside maybe cold, white and covered in snow…
… but inside it has been bright and hot.
I examined my crafting at the end of this weekend and saw my subconscious at work. Hot colours to remind me of places far away.
Lots of bright colours employed in using up ends of yarn, appropriately made into a hot water bottle cover.
And for a snow-excited Spaniel, stripes of Kaffe Fassett scraps quilted up into a dog-bed pad.
I love how crochet can be like colouring-in with yarn. No real plan, just whatever colour I fancy next.
All warm and dry but longing for summer already.
Back in August while I was on holiday in Wales, I began this hand-made Christmas gift.
I’ve done a basic crochet course and made granny’s squares but I was keen to try and master something else, so armed with tutorials on the iPad and a week with little else to do, I set about crochet and un-crocheting until I had mastered this puff flower.
It did take me a while to understand it but then it became as easy as pie and I was hooking it up without too many mistakes!
It became really puffy and super soft and once it was big enough and sewn onto a cushion cover it became very tactile and was loved and hugged by the recipient on first sight. It’s always satisfying to challenge your skills and try something new but even better to hand make a gift that is received so well – win, win
On our recent trip to Pembrokeshire I became the junk shop equivalent of David Dickenson (without the perm-a-tan though!)
It would seem that Wales has lots of vintage goodness ready to sell and at good prices.
We found one cold, warren of a place piled high with everything you could think of and not being staffed by the owner. This opened up the opportunity for some cheeky bargaining (I still don’t know what came over me.)
I came away with 3 old wooden storage boxes, two blue and white jugs, a tiny floral jug, a lace work cloth, two embroidered chair-backs and an enamel pan for £15. I quick-stepped it out before the owner came back. I mean when is anything ever as cheap as 50 pence! My gall is a disgrace!!
The next day I spotted two lovely white and blue enamel pieces sitting outside an antiques shop and bartered them down just a little bit.
I have a plan to fill the oval tub with lettuce seeds so that we can grow our own salad this summer and keep it by the back door.
So now the garden is ready for it’s thrifted, vintage makeover (as soon as it stops raining).
We had also been very lucky on a recent family trip to Manchester to come across an antiques arcade. There was beautiful crockery, coloured glass wear, old books, crocheted loveliness and a super wicker basket to carry it all home in.
I have saved the best for last – all the crafty holiday photo’s.
In the North of the island we found by chance a sleepy little village called Volimes which was lined each side of its one main road with crochet stall, after crockery stall, after crochet stall.
My favourite one was run by this lovely lady who was crocheting as we browsed and in broken English she explained how she had made all the pieces, pulling them out to show (sell to) me. I in turn used my broken Greek (sign language and smiling) to show that I too could crochet and so we crossed the language divide and settled happily on common craft ground.
I bought this table runner because I fell in love with The Lovely Crochet Lady and because it is supporting a handmade livelihood and because at 15 Euro’s it was cheap for all the work that had gone into it and because the pattern seemed quite modern and reminded me of red and white swirly sweets.
Oh and because I fell in love with The Lovely Crochet Lady!
She was making an edging whilst we were there. She could crochet one meter in two hours and sell it for 10 Euro’s. Thought provoking… it reminded me of this little film found here which is worth a watch.
And it seems only fitting while I’m musing on the necessity of passing down craft skills to the younger generation, to tell you that Lu had her most successful knitting lesson while we were away. She is a natural at increasing stitches!
And to finish up, a little water-colour sketch of the view from our veranda. Hope you enjoyed our holiday too and it wasn’t like having to sit through some boring relative’s slide show! Happy Bank Holiday.
I have really enjoyed the making of this blanket, i.e. the crocheting of the squares and playing with the colours. The sewing up ended up being a case of mind over matter because it was so boring and tedious! But here it is in all it’s final finished glory. I wish you could feel it because it is a lovely heavy wool and is so snuggly to curl up under. A few weeks back I imagined it being used in October but because of our current winter conditions I have been using it each evening. I cast on some knitting this week. 18 months without two needles – it felt good to put the hook away and knit again, especially from snuggled underneath this.
The other day this beautifully wrapped parcel arrived through my letterbox.
And inside was this totally gorgeous crochet garland from Emma Lamb which I had won on a giveaway from her blog. I am still totally amazed at the quality of this and how long it must have taken to make and the fact that she gave it away to me!
It’s so soft (the yarn used is a well-kept secret) and look at all the little details on the packaging; a hand sewn label at each end no less.
Emma’s blog is always full of inspiring colour palette’s and you can see she has a superb eye for colour.
Have a look here for the most mouth-watering work desk ever!
Thank you Emma for your generosity – hope you have a wonderful wee weekend!
As I grow older my memory gets worse, so I found myself this afternoon going through the last year of photo’s muttering “Was that this year? Really?” The above photo says a lot of what this year has brought. It’s easy to forget once it’s passed, where you’ve been and the fear and risks taken, but to end the year with six paintings in two local shows has been my biggest dream come true this year.
I stuck to my painting day like it was real work (tongue is in cheek there) and made it a habit. Out of that came all this painting and creativity and peace and sanity. I kept going and found I’d built a body of work which I could call a portfolio. I finally learnt how to use Photoshop and found endless possibilities open up. I approached a new gallery and continued to have selections for an exisiting one.
It would also appear that I make a lot of cakes! Some for birthday’s other just because I feel like the world is the right way up if there is cake in the tin to be eaten.
We moved house after eleven long years in a beautiful house which saw us bring up our babies. It was a wrench. But we moved only five minutes away and I’ve never looked back. This house has space in abundance, the woods on hand like an extra garden and so many opportunities for decorating (tongue back in cheek). I’d even forgotten the garden furniture fiasco (six days to paint with the wrong paint). Then there is my studio space which is the cherry, and icing and sprinkles, on top of the cake.
The support and love of friends and family is hard to document here as not many want their pic’s on the web but you underscore everything I am and do. Even our pets play a big part – with one miracle guinea-pig surviving the death knoll of the vet.
There has been an abundance of sewing (a new quilt made) trying to crochet, learning to crochet and then actual real, useable crochet!
And then there’s you. Some of whom I feel I know because we exchange comments online, my friends and family and those of you who drop by anonymously. Thank you for enjoying my blog, or using it or being inspired by it.
I wish all of you a light-filled, peaceful New Year. Claire x
I have been happily crocheting away for the last 5 months, enjoying mixing up the colour’s in different variations and watching my stack of squares grow.
So I began to get that feeling (especially as the yarns were dwindling down to being nearly all gone) that I must be nearly there.
So I laid the squares out and got a wake-up call when I saw that they covered about half of the area of my desired blanket size.
Wow – only half way. This is a Project with a capital P. Should I regroup and make a knee blanket?!
No, I opted for a trip to John Lewis for reinforcements and a few more yummy colour’s that could not be left out. It’s a good job that X Factor is on for three hours every weekend as I can crochet guilt free.