Crafty works in progress

Despite the lack of reading, I have been doing other stuff, believe it or not.

Back in the early 1990s, Laura Ashley issued some of their fabrics in precut squares, and I picked up a whole load of these packets, but never got laura-ashley-quilt-topsaround to doing anything with them. 20 something years later and I’m overflowing with fabric, so I decided I had better do something about the situation.   I’ve therefore been doing some paper piecing, and have got to the point of making some headway into a quilt/patchwork top. I have *no* idea what I’m going to do with it, or what happens next after I’ve completed the top – I’ve never got as far as backing and binding, but that’ll happen sooner or later!

Large Cross Stitch SamplerThe large sampler has been sitting out and about for over a year now, and I should get around to finishing it off. A couple of more weeks should do it once I get my act together – of course the nights are now getting darker earlier, so it means that I’ll have to get the clip on light to put on the frame – I once brought a specialty clip on light, only to realise I already had a book light that I never used and that would do just the job!

potential-wips

 

Having done The Festival Of Quilts a few weeks ago, and despite saying I’d not add to the stash, of course I did. That did prompt a tidy up of the stash – here’s an indication of what the stash looks like (excluding the crates worth of fabric!). I dare not look at the fabrics or the amount of wool that’s hiding around the place – there’s only so much a girl can take in one go!

So there’s plenty to be getting on with – I now just have to do some of it!

 

 

Summertime Blog and Reader Challenge – Non Book related hobbies

Summertime Blog and Reader challenge - week 4

It’s week four of Parajunkee’s Summertime Blog & Reader Challenge, where the week is about moving further away from books and blogging about the things we enjoy, other than reading. It’s Post 15 and we are asked to talk about our non-book related hobbies

My other main hobby is crafts, and I currently have a couple on the go.

I’ve had a stash of fabric that’s been following me around for years.  The bulk of it was a set of quilting fabric that I picked up from a company called Laura Ashley, in what must have been the early 1990s.  I think it’s followed me through 2 countries and 3 houses, so a few months ago I bit the bullet and started doing what’s known as “paper piecing”. At the moment there are several large squares of fabric (made up of 16 smaller squares) sitting on my dining room table. Sooner or later I will have to join them together and make something (though right now not sure what, beyond some kind of quilt top).

There is also other piles of fabric stash lying around the place (one of the reasons I decided I had to do something with the stuff I had). Some of this is specific from patchwork/quilting companies, and some have just been from shirts etc that have died a death and are otherwise no use to anyone.  Again, as with many crafters, I am a bit of a hoarder here and simply need to get around to using it.

I’m a sucker for making large pieces in cross-stitch, many of which have been given to family or are currently hanging on my walls.  I have one Work In Progress that I started at least a year ago, am about 2/3rds of the way through and need to finish it, if only to stop it looking at me and guilt tripping me for ignoring it!

Once in a while I get a fad for knitting – something that proved useful when I was sick and couldnt see well enough to read or do sewing. At least I didnt need to see to feel my way round a set of knitting needles!

What about you? What are your non-reading hobbies?

Friday Salon: Is every craft dominated by the Americans?

I’ve been to exhibition shows such as “Festival Of Quilts” and “Knitting and Stitching” enough times to know just how many people in the UK and Western Europe who have interest in crafts, from books, to sewing, quilting, knitting etc.

However, I’ve recently set up a few Alerts on Google, to see if there are any topics, items of interest etc. that I can post about here. And every single one of the items that come up are from the Americans. Blog posts, craft shows, you name it, the Americans do it (on the internet at least) more than the Europeans.

What’s the reasoning for this? Am I doing the alert wrong (it’s possible, but….). Of the thousands of people who go to the shows, support the fabric and yarn shops etc in Europe, does not a single one of them publish anything anywhere? A good percentage of the people who go to these shows are over 60, granted, but there are plenty of people under 60 who also go – do NONE of them write about what they do?

So in order to prove me wrong and show that the UK crafters are at least as good and as productive as the Americans – who should we be paying attention to? What websites, blogs, tweeters etc should we be following?  Who or What should I be on the lookout for?

 

 

Crafty tools – how do you keep yours?

I was clearing up some crafting materials yesterday, which lead me to realise just how many long tools I have stashed out of sight – knitting needles and paint brushes in particular.

Being put away is good in a way in that it keeps my flat nice and tidy – the downside is that I don’t see them, so forget they’re there, it’s one of the reasons I’m not using them as much as I perhaps should be.

I would like to at least get them neat and tidy but visible. Current thinking is that I have a number of house plant pots that I’m not using right now, which could be useful once cleaned up.

Meanwhile flatter items are kept in big plastic boxes on top of a wardrobe. This contain things like fabric scraps, stamps, papers, some charts and patterns etc. Buttons are kept in a small opaque multipurpose plastic box I use exclusively for this. Wool is kept in a cardboard box – simply because it’s what I had at the time!

WIPS (at least theoretical ones!) are stored in big plastic envelopes in my living room with all bits required to complete together in one piece. I also have a biscuit tin – dont we all! – that contains needles, cotton thread etc.

So how do you store your crafty tools? Do you have a separate craft room or do you have your tools placed around your living space (or neatly thrown into your wardrobe like me?).

Review: Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Back On Blossom Street (Blossom Street #3)Back On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Macomber’s latest Blossom Street tale begins with a new knitting class at the shop Lydia Goetz owns in downtown Seattle. Lydia’s business is doing well, and in attendance are Susannah, who runs the flower shop next door; Colette, a young widow who lives upstairs; and Alix Townsend, a baker and former hoodlum engaged to a future minister. Lydia always tries to encourage friendship among her pupils, but this group is none too warm. Colette’s reticence is attributed to grief, but she is actually in hiding. Alix is trying her best to please her future in-laws, but as the wedding draws near, worries mount.

Another easy read from Macomber, I demolished this in a day. I think I’ve missed the middle book in this series, but no huge loss, as it”s virtually a standalone.

I like the pattern in the front, but wouldn’t dare to attempt to stitch it!

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Review: The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

The Shop on Blossom StreetThe Shop on Blossom Street; by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a little yarn store in Seattle. It’s owned by Lydia Hoffman, and it represents her dream of a new life free from cancer. A life that offers a chance at love…

Lydia teaches knitting to beginners, and the first class is “How to Make a Baby Blanket.” Three women join: Jacqueline Donovan wants to knit something for her grandchild as a gesture of reconciliation with her daughter-in-law; Carol Girard feels that the baby blanket is a message of hope as she makes a final attempt to conceive; Alix Townsend is knitting her blanket for a court-ordered community service project.

These four very different women, brought together by an age-old craft, make unexpected discoveries—about themselves and each other. Discoveries that lead to friendship and more

First of the Blossom Street series from Macomber. These are not exactly taxing books, and this is the running of the new Yarn shop on Blossom Street, which is undergoing a rebuild and investment.

Lydia is recovering from Cancer, and is suffering from loss – of her father, her confidence etc. She starts a knitting class, and starts to make friends, with her customers, her sister and the local delivery man.

These are a little formulaic, and are best read as “fluff” books that are not very challenging, but a pleasant way to spend a day or so. It sets up the Blossom Street story community, which Macomber has successfully spread into several different communities

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