Wednesday 24 September 2014

Adjusting...and sharing the yarn love

The flowers in my garden are confused...

A second flush of lavender, chives, borage, even wild strawberries!
It is September, but the sun has been shining bright, the air has been warm, and the garden doesn’t know whether it is coming or going!

The sky is Mediterranean blue behind a small cluster of jasmine blossoms.

The nasturtiums continue to burst open in hot colours.

Tree leaves are beginning to turn behind a late-blooming rose.

I am similarly muddled. But today I finally feel a nip in the air that hints of autumn. I reach for my shawl and my crochet hook.

‘Tis the season for super-chunky yarn

A blanket in the works.

‘Tis also the season to get a head-start on Christmas

Oh, this book! The possibilities! While I wait for my Anchor Aida Crochet Cotton No. 10 in a range of icy pastel shades, I made three of the snowflake designs from this new book with DK yarn. All using a 4mm hook, all with different, pleasing results. I have yet to weave in the ends and block these snowflakes, so they're a bit untidy, but you get the idea...

The Louisa Harding Etoile has beautiful tiny sequins to give that authentic snowflake sparkle. The grey Smooth DK has the slightest sheen, and the lilac Patons is a mercerised cotton, so it hooks like smooth string.

I’m going to experiment with blocking and stiffening - a comparison of fabric stiffening spray and a mix of PVA glue and water. Watch this space for results!

I am adjusting to a new phase of life, and while I am thoroughly enjoying all the busy-ness that has made up these past few weeks, I am still trying to find my feet. Trying to find time to be *still* and get a grip on what’s happening all around me. I know that time will come, but not yet. 

For the moment I wake up and look at the calendar on the wall and do exactly what it tells me: “Crochet Course 10-12”; “Embroidery Workshop 9.30-12.30”; “Lunch Date 1 p.m.” “Choir Practice 7.30-9.30”. If I didn’t have that thing on the wall I’d probably stand stupid in the middle of the kitchen each morning not knowing which way to turn!

But it’s all good. All good! I just don’t have as much time to blog as I used to, but I will find my groove. You can also find me on Instagram (check the link up there on the right) where I share simple photos of what I’m doing until I’m able to sit down and write about it all.

Here’s some yarn I shared recently on IG, nestled comfortably here in my favourite pink basket:

I was teaching my Beginner’s Crochet Course at Pins & Needles in Grayshott. It is dangerous business, teaching in lovely haberdasheries. I’m constantly spending my earnings on bits of fabric and yarn...well, it just so happened that stock was being cleared to make room for the new season, and those pretty pastel balls of Debbie Bliss Eco Baby were £1 each!

I left with 15. It would have been a crime to leave them!

The yarn is soooo soft and pretty, I was thinking they would make lovely washcloths to wrap up with a beautiful bar of handmade soap for Christmas gifts. However, upon hooking up three shades into a flower just for fun...

I have discovered that the colours coordinate perfectly with my living room! 

Now there’s a dilemma...I just happen to have purchased Annettes newest pattern, the Popcorn & Lace pillow...pretty granny square pillow or Christmas gifts? What would you do?

Chrissie x

Sunday 14 September 2014

The Dreaming Tree lampshade

Last week was my first full week with both girls back at school. Bunny loves being in secondary school, she was ready for the challenge of a larger school and all the new subjects and extracurricular activities and that it offers. 

She’s even looking into the school orchestra – I’m not sure they’ve ever had a harpist!

Little Flower is settling in nicely into Reception/Kindergarten. She loves being there, but Wednesday morning last week the novelty wore off – you know how it is with small children, they love donning their school clothes, carrying their backpacks and lunch bags, staying all day...

...until Wednesday, when they realise that this is actually the way of life now, and the lazy days of summertime are over. So the rest of the week I had to contend with tears when I dropped her off. The crying stopped about thirty seconds after I left each day (luckily the teaching assistant is a good friend of mine, so I have a first-hand account!) as she got down to the business of playing. I know the waterworks are just for my benefit. Hmph.

I have filled my calendar with craft workshops. Not taking them, but teaching them! I’m very fortunate that local haberdasheries and craft workshop venues are including me on their course rosters. In addition to the crochet courses I’ve been teaching for a good while, I’ll be holding workshops ranging from beginner’s embroidery to simple cushion making. I am so excited to be spreading the crafting love!

I spent a good part of my bloggy break developing these workshops, creating projects, writing handouts and running some mock-courses with friends acting as crafty guinea pigs to make sure all ran to schedule.

Last week was the first lampshade workshop at The Cotton Wool Store in Petworth. Part of the fun of teaching here was that we had the shop full of amazing fabrics to choose from!

I made one in advance using the “Wee Wander” range by Sarah Jane Studios for Michael Miller. I love this enchanting line! I could make an entire bedroom set with the fabrics in this range...

Look at that sweet boy sitting in the tree, you know he’s imagining all sorts of magical adventures...takes me right back to the crab apple tree I spent hours in as a child.

I wanted to highlight this whimsical tree for the lampshade. Embroidery is perfect for this, lending just the right touch of embellishment. 

Lazy daisy stitches are ideal for the leaves, and as I started rummaging through my floss stash I realised that I didn’t have to choose one colour, I could make a rainbow!

No need for ribbon trim with the focus on what I’ve dubbed The Dreaming Tree, but I encouraged the class participants to choose pretty trims for their shades. They had such fun!

Guess which workshop participant made this doozy of a shade? None other than Naomi from Redeem Creations – you might recognise her work here:

Photo courtesy of Redeem Creations
She’s the cover star of Mollie Makes Issue 43! It was so lovely to meet her, she has such a creative flair (and she makes *fabulous* bags!). The room was brimming with inspiration!

Naomi and others left with extra kits to make more lampshades at home. The possibilities are endless – embroidery, patchwork, trims galore...and all bespoke. Hooray for handmade!

Happy crafting!

Chrissie x

Saturday 6 September 2014

Foraging... the wood and around the heath this afternoon.

We found blackberries

for the season’s first apple-blackberry crumble.

And hiding beneath this enchanting fairy toadstool...

...I found my blogging mojo!


It’s good to be back. More soon!

Chrissie x