Thursday, 27 October 2011

My Creative Space

Christmas present making is vaguely under control ... 

  • 3 completed (1 posted!!) 
  • 1 underway 
  • 1 planned and waiting for me to find time to get started!  

I should just about get everything done in time.  And this year it won't be a completely handmade Christmas unlike the last two years (that's what being back at work does for you!) ... I'm easing the pressure by buying for a few people on my list instead.

So I'm playing about with some decorations.  I made a few last-minute crochet snowflakes last year, but this year I wanted to try some different patterns.  More to follow as I'm not really in love with the one above, although it does still need to be blocked and starched.

I'm not playing about too much because this yarn arrived in the post this week direct from The Natural Dye Studio in Suffolk.  This is their "Angel' DK - a lovely blend of alpaca, cashmere and silk - it's so incredibly soft.  I discovered them via Pinterest ... I possibly spend a bit too much time on there, but it has been a useful source of ideas!

More crafty goodness at Our Creative Spaces

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Just playing about ....

Taking a break from making Christmas presents to play around a bit with some patchwork and trying to work out how / if to do some machine quilting on these two pieces before making something out of them.  

Haven't quite decided what to do yet.....

What a presentable ironing board cover! It's even being used to take photos now I'm not so ashamed of its appearance!!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

My Creative Space ... Swatching

In a rare moment of caution I'm making a swatch!  

Not for gauge but to ensure I've understood the pattern before I dive in with the expensive alpaca / silk lace yarn which uses an unfeasibly small hook. I don't want to be trying to decide if I've got the instructions right when I can barely see the individual stitches.   If I were being honest here I might admit that I did start with the expensive yarn and couldn't work out if I was doing it correctly which is when it occurred to me to make the swatch!!

I'm also trying to decide what to do with an unexpected gift ... tenugui are supposed to be hand towels, but frankly I think that would be a waste for such lovely woodpeckers.  All suggestions welcome!

And while we're on the subject of trying to make up my mind I have some more gorgeous Japanese fabric bought on my last trip to the UK which is destined to be a skirt ... but I can't quite decide whether to go A-line or try to make my own pattern from a skirt I already own and love (vaguely A-line but not as much as the green one I made a few months ago).  

Decisions, decisions!  Maybe I'll just go back to my crochet and mull it over!

Lots of fabulous crafty people are joining in today at Our Creative Spaces.

Monday, 17 October 2011

A Quick Makeover

My new ironing board cover!

I've been thinking about making an ironing board cover for quite some time (probably about the last 2 years!).  I can't buy a cover large enough anywhere and the brown stains on the old cover (at least 10 years old) were getting on my nerves.  So today I finally decided to make one - how hard could it be?

It was actually ridiculously easy and took about an hour to make.  I've had 2 yards of this brown cotton from JoAnn's in my stash for a couple of years and I've long forgotten what I was going to make with it originally. Perfect fit for the ironing board!  I salvaged the cord, toggle and velcro fastenings from the old cover, used it for a template and ran up the new cover.  I was lazy - I overlocked the raw edges and then turned them over once with the cord inside to make a channel (no need to fiddle around with a bodkin feeding the cord through the channel), sewed round attached the velcro and voila!  

Fits way better than the old one did and hopefully any brown stains won't be so noticeable on this brown fabric!!

Yesterday I turned my pile of 16 hexagons into this:

Not bad for a first attempt at hand-piecing, I think.  It took all afternoon and I probably wouldn't do a whole diamond in one go again (it got a bit tedious) but I wanted to see how it all went together.  

I think I'm going to have a crafty week.  Andy left on business early yesterday and won't be home till the weekend plus I have very few classes because many of my students are on holiday.  I've got lots of ideas ... another skirt (this time with overlocked seams!), some crochet projects and maybe some Christmas decorations!!!  

What have you got planned?

Friday, 14 October 2011

My Creative Space

Lots going on round here, but some of it is secret squirrel stuff ... what with Christmas just round the corner (eek!).  There's the blanket that I've just finished crocheting that you can't see till after Christmas and the next project on the hook that I'm going to really enjoy working on that I also can't tell you about!  I can tell you that blankets don't satisfy my need to create something quickly and I nearly went mad the last few evenings trying to get it finished so that I could move onto the next project.

That really doesn't augur well for my quilting project!!  I've joined a local quilting group and we're working on a big quilt that will be raffled for charity whenever we finish it ... at the rate we eat biscuits and drink coffee during the quilting meetings, that'll be a few years off (at least).  I've been to two meetings so far and haven't picked up needle and thread yet except to show another new member how to do slip stitch!

Yep - these hexagons are going to be hand-pieced!  Am I right to be worried that whoever cut out and basted the hexagons obviously didn't start by ironing the fabric?  So glad I wasn't around for that stage though!!  We have hundreds of prepared hexagons and we'll be piecing 16 together at a time to form diamonds in different colours and then joining those together to make the quilt top.  I was given the pink hexagons to make my first diamond .... it remains to be seen how long that takes me and whether I can stand all that hand stitching!

On a completely different note, this gorgeous yarn arrived last week ... baby alpaca and mulberry silk....


Love it!!

To see what everyone else is making, head on over to Our Creative Spaces.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Postcard from Venice II

Murano ... the glass-making island (above and below).  The blue sculpture in front of the clock tower above is glass!

And the very colourful island of Burano where lace was traditionally made:

Hard to believe that just over a week ago we were enjoying such wonderful weather in Italy ... and when we got back to Germany it was still pretty good.  Now autumn has set in with a vengeance ... just 2.6 degrees centigrade this morning!!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

My Creative Space

Some yarn that I'm using for my next project.  Nobody warned me how warm crocheting a blanket can be!!

Linking up with Our Creative Spaces.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Postcard from Venice

Piazza San Marco from the water ... the blue advertising on the right is disguising the restoration work to the Bridge of Sighs.

The Basilica is very ornate even on the outside.  Sadly photos weren't permitted inside!

There were gondolas everywhere ... but early in the morning they're moored up around town.  We didn't do the gondola ride - one cliché
 too many!

But plenty of people do.

Stunning architecture - this is Casa d'Oro.

Splendid views down the canals - this is looking from the Accademia bridge down towards Salute.  That huge church isn't the Basilica .. Piazza San Marco is round the corner in the distance to the left!  And you can just see one of the many huge cruise ships heading out of the lagoon in the distance!

San Giorgio Maggiore ... one of the many islands in the lagoon; this one is opposite Piazza San Marco.  Photo taken from the top of the Campanile.

Just a taster of Venice from the 500 photos I took in just a few days last week!!  We had a great time - fantastic food, wine and sight-seeing.  Very relaxing indeed!!  

It was even relatively easy to eat gluten-free there which surprised me - all the waiters I spoke to (in English) understood the demands of a gluten-free diet and several restaurants provided gluten-free pasta on request (clearly stated on the menu), plus you could take your own for them to cook if you fancy carting bags of pasta around when you're sight-seeing!  It made a refreshing change and I never needed the Italian travel card that I printed out from