Thursday, 21 July 2016

Mum's Garden - July

Today I paid a visit home. I was picking up a few things and took the opportunity to take some photo's of the flowers. After planting them it feels a shame to have missed so much. For example, the hanging baskets have bloomed and are now starting to wilt. At least my dad has been enjoying it and has been sending the odd photo here and there. There are no shots of the whole garden. My dad has been working away and hasn't had time to cut the grass in a while. Looks like a wild garden (not quite that bad). These Dahlia's are looking good though and it looks as though there are some still to bloom. I planted three bulbs in total and they look good at the front of the house.

I also planted these at the front of the house but in a large pot. I can't for the life of me remember what they are called but they look like little cabbage roses which is why I picked them.

The Lillie's have been growing back each year and this year is no exception. I did plant pink ones at the front but they haven't made an appearance. Perhaps they will next year.

 These are black ball cornflowers. To be honest I'm not entirely sure I like them. At least not where I planted them. They are a little to dark next to the red acer.

The poppies are also out and I discovered where I actually planted them which was at the front and in the little wheel barrow. Sadly, they are loosing their blooms but I did happen to notice a few bees still enjoying them.

The white roses are also coming out. No sign of the yellow though.

The horstas are looking good too. This one is starting to shed already but the others are just starting to open their flowers.

These are Atirrhinum's. These were the little seedlings I had on the window ledge months ago. The Dahlia's which I also had on the window ledge are out too. Sadly the photo didn't turn out and I only noticed it when I get home. I'm afraid they will be gone by the time I get back to the house in a few weeks.

Despite the overgrown grass the garden is looking good. Just some weeding needing done and it won't be long until I start planning for next spring.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

July WIP

With most of my things still at my dad's I feel that I am limited on what I can work on just now. As a result I have been spending very little time crafting even though there are things that I can be working on. Instead I have been spending most of my free time with my nose in a book. I changed that the last few days and picked up my mushroom cross stitch. This came with me in the initial move but it hasn't been touched until now. I now want to get it finished although that might prove a problem as I don't have my sewing machine with me. However, I can get the actual cross stitch finished and I have just two mushrooms (although large ones) to go. I'm going to be sad when this is finished as I have enjoyed stitching them. Might have to make another.

July's socks are also on the pins and I went for a mosaic pattern this time. I am almost at the heel but put it aside when I wasn't feeling to well last week. Think I will have to get back on them tonight if I want them finished on time. They will also need blocked when done.

I am also working on August's socks. I'm not cheating. The yarn isn't on the pins yet. In fact I just got it today and it's special. It's the pattern that I am working on. I'll reveal more on that in August.

So that's it. I have sock yarn that I have been meaning to wind. I plan on knitting a basic pair of my sister. However, if I wind it I will cast it on. If I cast it on I will start knitting and then goodbye July socks.

Anyone working on something exciting? Inspire me.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Playing at Art

I have a small dining area in my kitchen. It's really more of a nook. It was a cupboard which was taken away and the kitchen extended about 30 years ago and a dining table for four fits in there perfectly. It's a tenement though and the ceilings are high which means lots of bare walls to fill. Above this dining table was a rather large framed poster of a Paul Klee print which was left by his owner. Having looked him up I agree with my sister in that it wasn't his most interesting of his work (and his work is interesting).  My sister then suggested that I put my own work up there. I in no way profess to be an artist. I leave that for my talented sister. I'm a crafter but I did like the idea of messing about with paints.

As soon as I mentioned that I quite like Jackson Pollock my sister brought along a couple of books with a few excerpts. I then picked up a Taschen book on Pollock which I am working my way through. Now this man was truly talented. If you have a moment look up his mural. He did that in one night! I in no way profess to be able to do a Jackson Pollock but I used him as an inspiration and had fun while I was there.

My sister brought me along some paints, some brushes and some cups for mixing. I actually used up a few of the colours just in this one painting so maybe just as well she picked me up my own set. I used acrylics which I have used before. It was always going to be acrylics over oil. It mixes well to the consistency I was wanting, it dries quickly, it doesn't smell and, more importantly, it washes. Which is just as well because I ended up with green footprints across my bathroom floor (all gone).

The footprints were inspite of the bin bags. I had my new carpet put in today so this will not be happening again even if it does wash out. I started with a dark green and made sure it was nice and watery.

I did this standing while flicking the paint into the shape that I was wanting.

And then I started layering it up. Getting lighter and then going back to dark.

To my sister's disgust I was finished all to quickly. Not as quickly as she made out mind you but it wasn't exactly hours of labour. Meanwhile my sister was on the other side of the room working on real art (one day I will convince her to start her art blog that she has been talking about for years). It was fun though and I have a few more ideas that my sister is going to help me with. None of which involves splashing paint across my livingroom.

I do have a theme for my kitchen though and I wonder if you can guess what it is? Like it or hate it I have my first item hanging on my walls.

Monday, 11 July 2016

July Stash

Stash wise I've actually been very good of late. I've been trying to be good. Partly because I really should be saving for other things. But also because my stash has grown into a monster. I have enough sock yarn to last me a couple of years at least.

Having said that I did join Lisa's mini skein club. After my posts on mini skeins I couldn't resist although I had no clear idea as what I would do with it. As you expect from the title the club involves getting so many mini skeins each month. You can sign up for 3, 5 or 7. You can also decide not to take part after the first month or skip if you feel the need. I decided on 5. I thought it was a good number if I wanted to create something with all five skeins. It makes up to 100g which after all is a pair of socks. I also chose sock weight for that reason.

The first box came through my door and I was excited for two reasons. It was my first proper post. Everything else I had until then was mail for the previous owner (which has since stopped). So nice to have something so lovely as your first official mail. Which leads onto the second reason. Look at all the pretty colours!

The second set came not so long ago. I am in love with the greens in this set. I particularly love the middle skein for the blue too. I have been thinking about what I could do with these mini skeins. I was thinking that I could continue collecting and separate them into matching colour to make a larger project. I haven't quite decided what yet. I will say that the second on the right reminds me a little of Christmas with the red and green. Might have to save that one for another project entirely.

You can sign up for the mini skein club over at Lisa's etsy shop here. Well worth it if you ask me. Especially if you are looking to start up your own collection with a range of colours.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Great British Sewing Bee - The Final!

Two Sewing Bee posts in one week. I was going to hold off until Monday but after watching the final I couldn't wait to talk about it. It was a good one for lots of reasons. There was no clear winner right until the end. I think nerves got the better of all three of them but they were all there for each other. They clearly wanted to win but wanted each other to succeed too. For that reason this has been my favourite season to date.

The final episode was all about evening wear. A perfect choice for a final episode as the sewers can go all out. For the first challenge they had to sew a man's dress shirt. It had to include perfect pin tucks and of course those dreaded cuffs. Each of them started off nervous and as a result there wasn't a perfect sew among them. Joyce won this round as her only mistake was the button hole on the collar not being perfectly aligned. Poor Charlotte came last as she took too much of a seem allowance for her collar and so it didn't quite work out. She panicked after that and sadly it showed.

For the second round the sewers had to reconstruct a mans dinner suit into a little black dress. Joyce and Charlotte swapped round this time and Charlotte won. To be honest I think she was the clear winner here. Her dress was very well done and it was perfectly sewn. Joyce made the rookie error of using blue sequence in her little black dress.

Lastly the sewers had to make an evening dress for their model. This time their model was someone from home. Joyce stitched a dress for her granddaughter, Jade for her mum's best friend and Charlotte for her ex husbands wife (I kid you not, how nice is that). My favourite dress was actually Jade's. I thought the beaded train was a perfect choice and went very well with the orange fabric. I think she should have won it for that alone. I don't think the mistakes she made in the dress were quite as noticeable as the others. Although she did come second in all of the other rounds I think it was a good second.

The dress which won it was Charlotte's evening dress. I personally wasn't as excited about this. I also think the mistake with her zip was visible straight away. I did like the colour though but I thought the style was a little safe. As for Joyce, she once again had a problem with fitting as she once again made her dress a little too big.

Over all though I think that Charlotte did justly deserve to win. I may have had a soft spot for Jade but Charlotte has been consistent through out. I felt from that start that she would definitely be in the final if not the winner. I liked Charlotte too as she was always seen to be helping out her fellow sewers. Not to mention all the hand knits she wore. I spotted that hitchhiker scarf a mile off.

Most of the sewers this series have their own blog or website. I have linked them all on my blog list page but you can see them all below here too. As always these images do not belong to me but to the BBC. Now when does Bake Off start?

Angeline Murphy - 
Charlotte Newland -
Duncan Carter -
Jamie -
Josh Barnett - 
Rumana -
Tracey Symonds - 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

June Socks - Basic Sock

I had absolutely no intentions of knitting up yet another basic sock for June. I had a pattern picked out. Unfortunately, the month ran away with me and if I wanted to keep to a pair of socks a month then I was going to have to rethink what I was doing. So I resigned myself to using the basic pattern once again. On the plus side I got to pick out a pretty yarn to make up for it.

This rainbow yarn immediately jumped out from my stash. I love the striping effect all through the socks. I even love the way it pooled when working on the gusset. It almost reminds me of the rainbow effect of oil in puddles. Or even bubbles just before they are about to burst.

The yarn is dyed by Owl About Yarn. You can find her on etsy. I bought this yarn a while ago and then picked it up for my fibreshare partner even before I had worked with it myself. It was beautiful to knit with and has a little sparkle in it too. It's a Merino/nylon/Stellina blend and knits up well. I actually think this would have made lovely socks with the Broken Seed socks and I might have enough leftover to do some ankle socks for my sister. It pays to have tiny feet people.

The reason I am so behind is the same reason I have been absent here. Moving into my flat. However, I have discovered that my breakfast bar makes a fantastic yarn winding station.

I have already started on July's socks and while the yarn isn't fancy the pattern is. It's not the pattern I had originally planned and there is a whole reason for that which has to do with August's socks. Unfortunately you'll have to wait and see on that one.

Monday, 4 July 2016

The Great British Sewing Bee - Week 7

Week 7 and the semi final was all about puzzles. Basically the sewers had to show their understanding of patterns and how they come together. Quite a hard one I think and the most challenging so far. On the other hand out of all the series I think this is the episode which has let the contestants free with their creativity (as free as they can be).

Just a reminder that these images came courtesy of the BBC

First up was the pattern challenge and the sewers were given a Japanese style skirt to stitch. The skirt was done in two pieces which were cut in a wave pattern which were then carefully fit together. One misstep could lead to an uneven stitch and a skirt that didn't flare in the right places. The winner was Charlotte with this lovely blue piece. I preferred Jade's choice in a grey wool material but this was by far the best finish.

For the reconstruction challenge the sewers were given a duvet cover which they had to reconstruct into a garment without wasting any of the fabric. They were given little mini manikins to practise on with the pillow covers. I loved this idea which is used a lot by designers (learn something new every day).

Charlotte won again with this dress she created. Patrick raved about it stating that it was his favourite garment to date and it even won garment of the week. I think best garment ever is pushing the boat a little but it was the best of the four. I quite liked her choice in duvet cover too.

For the final piece the sewers had to construct a dress. They were given a block pattern and from that they had to go away and design their own. I liked this idea and the three dresses were very different. Each of them took their own take on it. My favourite was Jade's skater dress. I love a skater dress and the fabric choice was lovely. It was even considered for garment of the week which guaranteed Jade's moving on to the final.

At the end it was a toss up between Tracey and Joyce as to who would be leaving. I don't think there was much between them really. Although I think in the end that Joyce is the better of the two sewers which is largely due to her experience. Tracey on the other hand is more able to let go and try new things. Tracey is the bubbly one of the group and I think she will be missed but at least she made it almost all of the way through.

Tonight you lucky lot will get to watch the final while I will have to wait and hope that I don't come across any spoilers. At this point my money is on Charlotte. While I would like Jade to win I think that her experience will let her down at this point. You never know though. It would be a shame to dismiss Joyce entirely but while she is brilliant at sewing I think she steers towards a more dated style which shows in her fittings as well as her fabric choices.

I was going to add some links at the end here but I have night shift to prepare for. Something for you to look forward to when I blog about the final.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Colour Inspiration - Red

 This is my first colour themed post and it seemed apt that I should base the first one around the colour red. My mum was well known for her love of this colour. She would sometimes dress from head to toe in red. She would have had the whole house decorated in it if she could have. Myself, I was not always a fan but in the last few years I have grown to appreciate it and in fact have surprised myself by gravitating towards it. It's both bold and vibrant and I actually do enjoy working with this colour.

As a result I actually have a fair amount of red in my stash. As you can see above I already own a fair amount of red in my sock yarn stash. The first two are hand dyed yarn. I think this is quite a hard colour to get right when hand dying. Not that I have any experience in it. However, I imagine it would be so easy for it to turn out pink rather than red. The first is by my good friend Lisa of For the Love of Yarn. The second is by Jillian of Mothy and the Squid. Unusual for me in that they are solid colours and I think a nice bold pattern would be suited to them. I also have a selection of 4ply yarns by Patons and Debbie Bliss. I bought these with my mum in mind. Not traditionally sock yarn as you can see but that's what they will be used for. These will knit up a little thicker than the hand dyed which is perfect for winter socks or for under boots without having to pick up DK or Aran.

My fabric stash is rather limited and I won't be able to do this every month but I have picked up a few in reds. My living room is going to be in blues with a touch of red and with that in mind I had picked this up months ago. So long ago that I can't remember where I got the top one from. I can tell you that it is from a series called 'Little Red Riding Hood' by Riley Blake. It's quite pretty and of course I love any design with mushrooms or toadstools. This print is available with other background colours including blue. I think though that it stands out more against the white. The bottom fabric is by Liberty fabrics (I love Liberty Fabrics) and I picked this up from Mandors. These along with some pale blue might eventually become cushion covers.

I do have some washi tape in reds. Like the fabric though I have not kept note of where I got it from. With the fabric I probably should have but I'm never going to do that with washi tape. Instead I thought I would pick out a couple from places I have shopped from. The top two is from Unwrap colour and I picked up some tape from them recently. The stars I love because it's a foil washi tape. That is something that I don't have in my collection. The bottom two are from Fox and Star, a stationary shop that I love but don't buy from much. Only because I tend to buy most of my notebooks in person (far too many notebooks). I have a red stripy tape in my collection which I am sure I did get from Fox and Star. The little star flowers though is now on my radar. It is very much like a sashiko embroidery pattern. I have shopped at both stores and the images of the tape have always matched what arrives through the post.

The final image is from the garden. Sadly there aren't as many red flowers in there this year. Just one solitary red tulip. I have plans to change that for next year. I have a spring selection of red flowers and I look forward to planting them and watching them grow.

 I also love red with other colours. It goes well with my favourite colour, blue. This combination was all the fad a few years ago. It's maybe waining a little but I still love them together and that's my colour choices for my living room. If you head over the my Pinterest board you will see examples of these colours combined.

Lastly, something I have always liked is redwork. It became popular back in the 1800s and is still liked today. It's like blackwork but instead you are working entirely with red thread. I always meant to do something along those lines with my own design. Now that I have my own space it's the perfect opportunity.