Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Oh golly!

I really, really didn't need a new obsession but one seems to have jumped up and got me anyway!

There I was, minding my own business at work the other week when a lady phoned with some things she wanted to put to auction.  Nothing unusual there. Most of my phone calls are from ladies wanting to bring things in to sell. But this one was exciting!  Well, it was exciting to me - I don't think the auctioneers' quite got it but I was buzzing!


You see, she had a spinning wheel to sell.  And she had mentioned the very important fact that it was one she had spun on 30 years ago, so it wasn't just a decorative item. She asked me if I thought it would sell.  Normally I advise people that they should really speak to the auctioneers but this time I was able to confidently tell her that I was sure it would sell because if no-one else bought it then I certainly would!


I've been interested in spinning since Moogsmum got started (and now I'm interested in weaving since she took that hobby up too - I'm a copycat, what can I say!)

When it came to the sale day I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of buying a machine I knew nothing about for a hobby I knew nothing about, but then temptation got the better of me and I snuck out of the office and bid for it, next thing I knew she was mine for the grand sum of £25 plus commission.  I then spent about three hours regretting my purchase, thinking I'd bought a white elephant that I would never be able to use. But then I sent Moogs a photo from my phone and she instantly identified the make, model and age of my new wheel. I was now the proud owner of a 1980's Ashford Traditional for which I could still buy parts!  From then on I got very excited!!



I went on to Ravelry when I got home and asked a local group when their next spinning meeting was (4 week's time), but then someone commented that there was a spinner's gathering about 25 miles away on Saturday with stalls selling fibre and an Ashford supplier who would have the parts I needed for my new wheel. 


To say I was excited was an understatement.  My colleagues all found it very amusing.

So on Saturday I went to the gathering of lovely people and the Ashford dealer set my wheel up for me so that by 11.30am I was making my first tentative attempts at spinning! Everyone was really helpful and I got a lot of invaluable advice on how to do it.   I made plenty of mistakes and broke the yarn a good few times but gradually it started to feel do-able.

So then I went and bought lots more fluff!


I'd started with some undyed Corriedale which was very reasonably priced



then I bought some beautiful packs of dyed Blue Faced Leicester


followed by some undyed Masham


and another bargain plait of BFL

followed by some bright blue BFL that I spun before I could photograph it.

 
 

I've had a lot of help from the Ravelry forums and today I managed to ply my first skein and a half of yarn.  It's undyed Corriedale twisted with blue Blue Faced Leicester.

Very lumpy and bumpy and variable but I absolutely love it!

Spinning is just the best thing!  Why didn't I do it before?

And as with all of my obsessions, I really am obsessed!  So all things woolly and sheepy are now very firmly on my radar.  So when I saw this postcard of Mr Locket in the future I knew I had to buy it for him as something to aspire to! ;o)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Going potty! ;o)

 
That title is silly but would have had double meaning if broken arms were still set in "pot casts" rather than the clever stretchy/hard bandagey jobs they use nowadays.
 
Poor Fred broke his right wrist at school the other week - but as you can see by the photo he is in very good spirits about it.  In fact, he has been absolutely brilliant and hasn't complained once!
 
He even managed to paint with his broken arm when we went back to the pottery to glaze our creations last weekend.  We then picked them up on Saturday.
 
 
His pots were rather inspired by monsters and Pokémon and he is delighted with the end result
 
 
Daisy's were more stylish and are already on display on her bedroom shelf complete with shells
 
 
and Dot was influenced by some bold Moroccan style pottery we had seen last summer.
 

I didn't use paint for mine but instead used 3 different two tone stoneware glazes where the stronger colour comes out where you paint thickly.


I'm a bit disappointed with two of my bowls but I love this one with the Topaz glaze - and fortunately it's the best shaped bowl too.

 
Today I have been making more birthday presents and Daisy liked this fabric combination so much that she now wants this for her birthday quilt instead of the brighter colours I had bought previously!


This is a late 50th present for my friend and comes complete with Jelly Babies as she always has them in the car when we go to running club - and they are VERY welcome!

 
As far as the swap is concerned, I think it is probably best if I leave it this time as there weren't enough people interested to make it viable. I expect everybody just has too many other commitments at the moment.  I did try to contact those of you who had expressed an interest but unfortunately I don't have your email addresses - sorry.
 
My next challenge - after a few more birthday presents, is to turn these
 
 
 
into quilts.
 
More later!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Swappity Swap!

Would anyone be interested in a "Sewing Stuff Swap"? 
 
Catchy title, isn't it?
 
 
What I was thinking was something like a pincushion as the main thing then a couple of other small pieces to make it fun - a bit like I made for my friend's birthday but not necessarily the same stuff - just useful sewing-y thingummies  - along with maybe a few bits of fabric or sewing kit like thread or ribbons or buttons.
 
What do you think?
 
Would you play along?
 
Leave me a comment if you would be interested.
 
Lucy xx

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The last mini quilts

My very late mini quilts  have finally arrived at their destinations and I've had absolutely lovely messages from both Stephanie and Jo who seem very happy with them.



I also included some fabrics from my stash and a little rainbow hexie pincushion.
 

This is the "Spring will come" quilt I made for Stephanie - inspired by this glimpse of a cushion by Blue Elephant Stitches and my own seedling wall quilt that I started last year (and still need to baste, quilt and bind).


And this is the "Spools" quilt I made using the instructions for Thimbleblossoms mini quilt - which is actually quite big so I made it slightly differently.

It's so good to have got them done and I really enjoyed making them and packing up the parcels to send.  I'd like to do some more swaps in the future - has anyone got any suggestions?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Patchwork Presents

Patchwork presents for one of my closest friends:


She is coming here with 3 other close friends to celebrate her birthday in about 20 minutes so I think it is safe to show you her presents (especially as I have tidied the house just about enough!)


I chose her favourite Tilda fabrics - and I did such a good job of choosing them that when the two of us went to the fabric shop a few days later she went and chose almost all of them herself for her own projects! I'm so clever!! ;o)


I really enjoyed making these presents for her


I used this tutorial for the cute needle case


this tutorial for the boxy pouch


this tutorial for the drawstring bag (which is filled with chocolate mini eggs)


and the pattern from Patchwork Please for the pincushion.

If I hadn't had to go to work I would have carried on making her things as I was having so much fun! I would have made her this mini house decoration as well!

Monday, 3 March 2014

keeping it simple

Now two fabrics I can cope with...




Or using one designer's fabrics - like Tilda (although I can't show you more as it's a secret project)



These are decisions that are easy to make - but is it cheating?

Maybe, but I'm still pleased with the results: a bag for my boss (late Christmas present with a pair of mittens), a matching one for myself, a pouch for daisy's new camera, and a selection of presents for a friend's birthday.

We've also been trying out new crafts.


This is what you end up with when four Lockets get to play with clay and a potter's wheel (here).

 
I wasn't very good at it!
 

And Daisy thought Fred would like to wear clay on his face.  Actually, she thought we all should ;o)

We will be going back in a couple of weeks to glaze our pots. The children thought it was the best thing they'd done in ages and daisy and Fred have both asked if they can go again instead of having birthday parties. (This was Dot's belated 16th birthday treat). So it was a very successful day out.

And other good news is that I finally posted out my extremely late mini quilts to Jo in Tas and Stephanie.  That made me happy - I hope they make them happy too.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

making decisions

As much as I am loving being even more creatively inspired than usual, I find myself struggling to make the necessary creative decisions of my own.

Exactly which of my fabrics should I put together?

What colours of yarn should I use and in which order?

I have been seeing so many gorgeous combinations on blogs and on pinterest but this inspiration has almost crippled my own imagination through the fear of not getting it quite right.

I only seem to be able to cope with different fabrics of the same or similar colours.

I think this is why my rainbow hexies were so appealing, and why I was pleased with my diamond mini quilt. And when I made my first project from Patchwork Please I followed Ayumi's design and went for a single colour scheme - and it does make me happy, but it's not very brave, is it.


I almost find myself unable to imagine how MY fabrics will go together when they are not the exact same ones that I am seeing being used elsewhere. I know I can't go out and buy an entirely new stash (although it is tempting!!) just to match something I have seen online so I need to find some way of making the best use of what I have. But what if I get it wrong and end up making a mess?


I had to abandon a pair of fairisle wrist warmers for my boss because I kept repeatedly getting the colour choices wrong and having to rip it out endlessly - until I was thoroughly sick of the sight of them when I have previously loved the pattern. In the end I had to compromise and knit her a nice safe pair of Susie's Reading Mitts in one solitary, safe colour.

I find myself craving some simple sock knitting for it's basic decision-free round-and-roundness - when this would have seemed too boring a week ago.

Does anyone else have this problem? Where brilliant inspiration leads to a complete loss of creative confidence? If so, how have you overcome it?

Answers on the back of a postcard please!