The WIP report -September 2016

September 2016 WIP

Diamond Hex Quilt – getting even more tricky to remotely photograph well

Ugh, September was not a good craft month, I’m still having to sort out the consequences of our bedroom swap, so it feels like it’s been 24/7 housework all month and there’s still boxes in the living room (my sewing machine space), so a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to do, I couldn’t.

I’ve continued to work on my diamond hex quilt and I’ve been doing a bit more work on the Farrah Top and it now looks more like a potential item of clothing.

September 2016 WIP

And I’m still working on my secret project cross stitch.

September 2016 WIP

And I’ve been doing some art too, drawing every day in Jennifer Orkin Lewis’ Draw Every Day Draw Every Way book (which is a brilliant book). Here’s my latest completed spread.

September 2016 WIP

As for October, I have to get my sewing space back, as there is a lot of stuff I need to do and I’m up to here with bloody housework, my official 16 week post op recovery period doesn’t end until next Friday but with the amount of stuff I’ve been moving around, if my medical team had seen I’d have got a thorough telling off, I think they (and my sore stomach) would much more approve of some nice gentle sewing….

 

 

The WIP report – June 2016

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Not that much crafting was done in June, the diamond hex quilt continued.

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And I carried on working on my Sublime Stitching pillowcase border patterns, the one in the photo above is the last one.

I have also done a bit more knitting on the Farrah Top, although you’ll have to trust me on that, as I can’t currently get it down off the shelf to photograph, but I think you can probably imagine what a few more rows of the bottom of a jumper looks like. The fact that it’s currently stuck on a shelf is probably not a good indicator of future progress (although of course, if I do want it down, I can ask Mr. Lacer, he’s doing a very good job of looking after me right now, it’s just that interrupting a game of DOOM, so that I can have something off the shelf to photograph, even I wouldn’t do that).

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I have also, in a spot of wardrobe reorganisation prior to my op, finally cut into the old jeans I’ve been hoarding for a few years now, as they were taking up a lot of space and cut into pieces a bit more ready to use, takes up less space. I have enough denim now to make a picnic blanket (which has pretty much always been the plan). I had hoped to make it before the op but I ran out of time, I almost certainly won’t be making it this month.

Oh and of course, I did complete something, the kimono from the previous month’s Mollie Makes.

In July I’m not sure how much crafting is going to get done, just typing this is a bit tiring (but I am soooo bored already). I will try and finally finish the pillow cases (I did manage to do a bit of that when in hospital) and some more diamond hex quilt. Meanwhile, I’m itching to do some machine sewing, which I can’t really, unless it’s something small that involves only small amounts of cutting (no leaning over / scrabbling round the floor cutting fabric for me). A side effect of the surgery is that I’m currently having problems with the ulnar nerve in both arms, it is getting better but too much crafting would probably not be good.

#30DaysWild 25 – wild crafts

A confession, I’ve prepared this one in advance, as I won’t be in a position to blog today but I will be out there, thinking wild thoughts …. But in the meantime, here are some of my favourite wild crafts.

Wintercroft masks

Wintercroft make amazing masks you can print off at home, stick to an old cereal box or something similar (so you’re recycling something old into something new too!) and then construct yourself. They have a wide variety of masks but a lot of them are based on animals, such as this gorgeous stag mask.

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Image credit – Wintercroft

It looks a bit complicated but honestly it’s not, it just takes a bit of time (I’ve made their skull mask before).

Embroider a floral motif

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Image credit: Polka and Bloom

Embroidery is a fantastically easy hobby to pick up (check out Sublime Stitching for some tutorials, it was a Sublime Stitching book that helped me start stitching many years ago now, they also have some lovely wild patterns, such as their Birds of Prey pattern sheet). It’s also an extremely portable hobby, so it’s great to stitch outside too!

Polka and Bloom have a fantastic range of floral motifs, such as the floral motif pictured above. Or if you like your embroidery a little more complicated, Follow the White Bunny has a fantastic shading course, where you can learn to shade the outline of a bird or a bear with an umbrella.

Cross stitch some creepy crawlies

If your needlework is more towards the cross stitch variety, Floss & Mischief have some fantastic creepy crawly cross stitch patterns, such as this death’s head moth pattern.

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Image credit: Floss & Mischief

Or if you like your creepy crawlies more monochrome and a bit more buzzy, What Delilah did has a lovely bee pattern. She also has many other nature inspired patterns, I am very tempted by the magpie pattern.

 

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Image credit: What Delilah Did

 

Knit some faux taxidermy

Actual taxidermy is of course a bit yeugh but knitted faux taxidermy, that’s quite cute. I don’t feel confident enough yet with my knitting skills but Louise Walker’s Faux Taxidermy Knits is lovely to look at and I think celebrates our wild animals, I particularly like her moose head.

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Image credit: Louise Walker

And finally Paint some wild

Creativebug has a fantastic range of art classes, many of which look at natural subjects, such as in Lisa Congdon’s Sketchbook Exploration class.

 

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Image credit: Creativebug

 

Creativebug is a subscription service but you can try any of their classes out on a free trial.

2015 review and ‘plans’ for 2016

Craft

embroidery 2015

1. firefly, 2. Tuesday Bassen pattern, 3. Tawny Owl, 4. Fowl Talk, 5. Bibliophile iPad case, 6. Advent Calendar, 7. Christmas mitten, 8. Cindermice trio

The amount of embroidery I’ve done this year as first looks a bit pathetic, specially as most of the embroidery in the mosaic above was done in the last few months of the year. However, I did do two large comissions for clients this year (and by large, I mean much much larger than the work I normally show here) and those took up a lot of time (and yay for getting comission work!).

I do have quite a few WIPs, particularly cross stitch, it doesn’t look like it much from the mosaic above but 2015 has definitely been the year of the cross stitch for me.

sewn 2015

1. Global week – welsh costume, 2. Tuesday Bassen pattern, 3. Wales 2015-22, 4. Wales 2015-50, 5. Slippers, 6. Headphone cozy, 7. Sew Easy Retro Duffel Bag, 8. Another headphone cozy, 9. Book pincushion, 10. Hexie cushion and pouches, 11. Sew Liberated carpet bag, 12. Bibliophile iPad case, 13. Advent Calendar, 14. Cindermice trio

Oh I had hoped to sew so much more this year but I didn’t, space, the normal problem, but I did manage to make a couple of bags I’m quite proud of.

wool 2015

1. Untitled, 2. Adapted Wool And The Gang Lula Hoop, 3. Wristwarmers with contrast rib, 4. Slouch Hat, 5. Log cabin washcloths, 6. Hat from Mollie Makes issue 60, 7. Another hat

This year my knitting has definitely continued to improve and I’m a bit more confident. I mastered rib and knitting in the round with those needles which are attached together (I’m such a rubbish knitter, I can’t remember what they’re called), but I tried dpns on a pair of leg warmers and as far as I’m concerned dpns are the work of the devil. I just about managed to knit one leg warmer, although it looked awful, the rib was all over the place and it was rather holey! I doubt I’ll ever make the other leg warmer.

Cooking

As pretty much usual for me, this year I knew that the best sort of food for me was food I prepared myself, from scratch but that actually happened far less than it should have. A good cook book makes all the difference though, so my top 3 for 2015 (not necessarily published in 2015) are –

1.

simply nigella

 

For lovely, simple but tasty recipes that are a pleasure to cook. Nigella positively exudes calm from the pages.

 

 

2.

Thug Kitchen

Whereas Nigella excudes calm, Thug Kitchen is like going round a mate’s kitchen where they firmly but affectionately lecture you on eating healthily whilst plying you with gorgeous food. I know some people don’t agree with Thug Kitchen but they always make me smile.

 

 

3.

a modern way to cook

 

Generally lovely recipes but I particularly like her tables of different kinds of dishes (like soups, bowls and salads), where she gives suggestions about what you can put in but it’s totally up to your imagination / what you’ve got in your kitchen.

 

 

Books

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I read a whopping 88 books this year! I am totally gobsmacked by that! My aim, at the beginning of the year was 50 and I thought that was over optimistic. I normally read somewhere between 30-45 books a year. This year has been highly unusual though, as I’ve had so many surgeries and most of my reading this year has been done whilst I was recovering. I had also rediscovered my love of crime fiction, so I had several quite long series to gallop through and that always boosts the book count.

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I read 72 adult fiction (up 49 from last year!), 4 kids fiction (-5 from last year), 3 collections of short stories, 2 memoirs (up 2 from last year), 2 comic books series (up 2 from last year) and 5 non fiction (up 3 from last year).

My top 3 books I read this year were –

1.

watchmaker

 

I fell in deep book love with The Watchmaker of Filigree Street this year, it’s imaginative, deeply atmospheric and has the sweetest love scene I’ve read in a long time. Set in Victorian London, it’s a bit steampunk. And oh, I’d love to go for tea and scones in the watchmaker’s kitchen.

 

 

 

 

2.

the death house

This was another deeply imaginative book, although a much, much sadder premise than Watchmaker. Children with some sort of defective gene or something (it’s never completely explained) are sent to death houses to wait to die. Whilst in the death house they have some schooling but they’re pretty much left to themselves, friendships and romance ensue. It is very sad but beautiful too.

 

 

 

3.

station eleven

 

Another unique story idea, crossing between the before and after of deadly pandemic as it follows various characters, including a Shakespearian band, across the US. It’s a strangely hopeful book.

 

 

 

Life

  • This year has been a very medical year and unfortunately 2016 will also be a very medical year. I leave 2015 minus two pieces of anatomy
  • All this medical stuff has put quite a lot of other stuff on hold.
  • Girl Lacer has started secondary school this year and we’re so lucky that she seems to have ended up at yet another remarkable school. We’re very excited about the opportunities she’ll have there.

And plans for 2016

  • Eat less sugar, eat more veg.
  • Keep up my walking (when I’m physically able to, I have more surgery coming up next year), going further afield to find interesting routes and look for other types of exercise to do as well.
  • Aim to read 50 books (I’ve ummed and ahhed about this, after all, I read 88 this year but it was an unusual year with all the surgeries but then again I have definitely one op next year, ‘hopefully’ two (if I can sort doctors out for the second, having issues there at the moment) plus a series of not very nice sounding dental surgeries and well, call be pessimistic but the two ops and the dental procedure I’ll be having next year have been on the books for a long time, whereas the four ops I actually had this year were sprung on me at much shorter notice, so who knows what could happen next year? So I may end up reading more than 50 books again next year because if it’s a year with lots of recovery time, I could read a lot more but if it’s a much more normal year, 50 books will probably be a bit of a struggle because it normally is.
  • Hopefully get more freelance stitchery work, I need to get a portfolio website up and some proper contact details.
  • Maybe, just maybe, set up that business I’ve always dreamed off.
  • Do more drawing and painting.
  • Continue to practice my computer skills.
  • Work more on my photography.
  • Reduce the amount of stuff I own and to think more carefully about and actually use stuff I buy in the future.
  • Work on some advanced embroidery skills.
  • Continue to work on improving my knitting skills.

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t resist

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I couldn’t resist after making Boy Lacer’s hat, making one of my own. Again using Rowan’s Big Wool and again using the pattern from this month’s Mollie Makes (issue 60). I love this yellow (heck I love anything yellow at the moment), so I’m day dreaming about a jumper in it at the moment.

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A hat for Boy Lacer

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My Christmas spirit is currently in negative numbers, but I need to get on with my Christmas making. A few years ago I came to a crafty truce with myself that I don’t have to make loads of crafts for Christmas but this year with all the medical leave I’ve had, I am extremely and utterly broke (I have a zero hours contract job, which does have some paid sick leave but I used that up a long time ago, so I’ve been on SSP) and I haven’t been able to start Christmas present shopping yet (except for some weird reason I’ve done my aunts and uncles, who are normally way low down on my list of priorities but a combination of being in the right place at the right time for a train mad uncle in a TFL gift shop and in a craft shop that was selling some lovely, indie made candles in tea cups which suited the rest of the aunts and uncles and at the time having some cash in my bank account, they’re all sorted). So I do need to make some stuff this year.

First up in a hat for Boy Lacer using a pattern from this month’s Mollie Makes (issue 60). The pattern is really easy and even more importantly really quick, I’m not the fastest knitter, but I think this took me probably about 3 hours, maybe even less. It also uses only half a ball of wool, although I substituted the pattern’s recommended wool with Rowan’s Big Wool, which is only 80 metres compared to the recommended wool’s 112 metres, so I don’t think I have quite enough left to make another hat (unless, maybe, I change the colour of the bobble).

I wish there were more people on my Christmas present list that needed a woolly hat, as I could happily make a lot more of these but as it is, although I have another five presents to make, everything is all planned and as much as I love this hat pattern, I like the stuff I’ve planned more, if you know what I mean. I may make myself one of these hats though, when I have the time and more wool funds, as it is very warm and comfy. I quite fancy one in mustard yellow.

I’m modelling the hat by the way as I could hardly give it to Boy Lacer now, it would sort of ruin the point but also because both me and Boy Lacer have large heads and so I know that if the hat fits me it will also fit him and it does fit really comfortably, I did adapt the pattern slightly though by adding an additional two stitches when casting on but I probably didn’t need to do that.

Washcloths

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Girl Lacer has started to show interest in washing her face (yay, I’ve been trying for years!), so she asked for some flannels, now I know I could have just gone down to Boots but the old ‘why buy something when you can make it’ kicked in, never mind the fact that I still had to go and buy the 100% cotton wool to do it.

I used the log cabin washcloth pattern from Purl Bee and I have to admit I didn’t totally understand it and I did bodge it a bit, the picking up stitches bit was hard, but I am still pleased with the results and more importantly, so is Girl Lacer. She’s been poorly recently, so the wet flannel on the head treatment came in very handy (I knitted the one with the light blue centre first, which is the one she’s been using, which is why it looks almost twice as big as the one on the left, which I’ve only just finished, I guess once wet, that one too will increase in size).