Baby blanket finished at last

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This is my beautiful grand-daughter Effie. I began making a baby blanket when my daughter told me she was expecting – as you can see she is nearly three months old, but I am glad to say the blanket is finally finished!

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I used baby bamboo cotton – I loved all the lovely mix of colours and it is practical it can be washed easily. I used several different stitch combinations – making up each row as I went along.

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I liked the combination of triple stitches, shells and trebles. One thing I did discover is that my tension varies! One side grew a little more than the other and I ended up with a rather odd shaped rectangle.

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I added a single crochet border to add stability and it brought the tension under control.

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She seems to like it!

 

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Looming adventures in Weaving

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Isn’t this delightful? I bought it at a small craft centre in Weymouth – I fell in love with the cheery mediterranean colours and the sloping hills reminded me so much of the lovely Dorset hills – I snapped it up right away.

I have a lovely friend, who weaves the most amazing cloth but her loom takes up a whole room in her house not to mention the two that take up a double garage! Weaving has therefore always felt a little out of reach until I was wandering round Hobbycraft, with a gift voucher hot in my hand, when I spotted this little loom.

 

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Yes, it is aimed at children… well those six and above, but the size is just right for a wall hanging and I made the concept of weaving much more approachable.

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This is a very simple loom, there are no forward and backward methods to make the weaving simple – but I actually liked the process of weaving the threads round with a needle, rather than a shuttle.

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It is not going to set the world on fire, but I am enjoying experimenting with the wool, playing around. (well it is a child’s loom after all!) I would like to do a little more weaving – there is so much inspiration on Pinterest, fingers crossed I will be able to share something soon.

 

Mindful stitchery – hand embroidery

 

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Turn of the sewing machine and settle down to a more sedate pace, the gentle art of hand embroidery is creative mindful meditation. Far more transportable than machine sewing, hand embroidery can be enjoyed while watching a good film, sitting in a waiting room or travelling by train. You only need a few skeins of thread, small embroidery hoop and a good long needle.

While embroidery techniques might seem outdated they are essential to the dressmaker, couture sewing is always hand stitched – these techniques can give your garment a high end finish!

There are two forms of embroidery that delight me, the vintage style spring pastels on cotton and the glorious vibrancy of folk art on wool.

I am planning a hand embroidery afternoon – with tea cake and stitchery, so I thought I would create a few samplers.

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One of the most challenging aspect is to create evenly spaced stitches especially on cotton this sample is only 6inches wide by 8inches long on a 100% cotton.

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This close up shows the weave of this cotton – getting the spacing right is essential especially for stitches that are woven.

As you can see the couching, weaving and cross-stitches need to look uniform so there is a great little trick I can offer you.

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Create a grid using washable marker pen, the guidelines will help you to create even stitches but they can be washed away after the project is done! (You did not see them in the earlier example!) once you have completed a few stitches with the grid, you will get a feel for the distance needed and will be able to stitch evenly without.

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Using wool felt creates a whole different effect, like folk art, this piece was created some time ago by eye!

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And it is easy to use ribbon weaving to create a nice frame for stitches, this time using tapestry wool.

If you fancy an afternoon of Tea, Cake and embroidery I am running a class on Friday 11 March 2016 – details here.

ttfn x

Crochet Flower Tea Cosy

I find that wool shops can be like stepping into an artists palette, the colours and hues really do excite me. There seems to be an endless variety of textures as well as colours and after years of seeing haberdasheries and wool shops disappearing, the new wave of knitters and hookers has seen an upsurge in new wool varieties, merino and alpaca as well as denim, but I have a liking for cotton type wool and this is called baby bamboo.

Choosing colour is difficult for some people they are daunted by the sheer magnitude but I find if you look at a range you will find that the shades and colours have a harmony. Such was the case with this, there were a beautiful palette of the baby colours, blues, yellows as well as greens. The pink has come out in this picture a lot brighter than it is naturally it is lovely. Very soft to work with and gentle on the hands.

I have a sweet little tea pot, from Whittards, its lovely blue and white but was being swamped under tea cosies made for stouter pots! I felt it was small enough to practise on!

I wanted to learn to crochet but I have a terrible problem understanding practical things from books,  I wish I had let my Nan show me when she wanted to, she made the most wonderful bed covers using the granny square!

Since she could not show me, I did the next best thing and I took myself off to a local WI where a lovely lady kindly showed me the basics. I was then able to decipher the books and learn new stitches, but I still struggle to follow patterns!

So this is my little journey into playing with various stitches, made from two straight easy pieces of plain crochet and some practice frills. The roses were great fun, as usual I went off the pattern to create my own rose  but I was pleased with the results.

Crochet is so much more free form than knitting, you can make holes, add frills or simply pull and it will all come undone and you can start again. It really is the most forgiving wonderful craft.