Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Flamingos and Chickens!

Don't you just love it when you go into work on a Monday morning to be told your main task of the day is to sew together and stuff a knitted flamingo?! I love my job!

So, said flamingo is now stuffed and sitting in the new tropical themed window. I also made some watermelon and banana bunting (as you do) and a watermelon cushion, and Maxine made some pineapple bunting and pineapple teacosies. Catriona is crocheting a second flamingo (well, it would be cruel to just have the one!)
We're just waiting now for Carmen Miranda to make an appearance!

Having not done much painting of late I thought I better do a few new pieces for the upcoming Open Studios. I wasn't going to paint any more birds but in the end I couldn't resist. I wanted to experiment with painting with acrylic on wood and began with one of my favourites - a rather sinister looking crow. However, I then felt like doing something a bit lighter and more colourful so painted a rather daft looking chicken! I have to say, I don't think this will be my last time painting a chicken - I love their goofy expressions. I have several friends who keep chickens so I plan on going round and photographing them. Maybe my next exhibition could be called "Chickens of Frome"!

I also managed to make up some pendants - these are very satisfying to make (apart when when I almost stuck two of my fingers to one of them! Note to self - superglue dries fast!)

I'm currently working on a painting of a hare although I'm not sure if it will be ready for setting up the Open Studio on Friday. Nevertheless it feels good to be back in the studio, and the combination of sunny weather and Wimbledon on the radio (come on Murray!) makes the perfect backdrop. Happy days!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

It's too warm to wear a cardigan...

...just as I finished two of them! Clearly my clothes making is affecting the climate - I make a Summer dress - it rains, I make a cosy cardi - we get a heatwave!
I finished the Rowan Felted Tweed one a couple of weeks ago and despite being quite lightweight it is incredibly warm. I do like it a lot but it's quite hard to wear done up as I've chosen buttons for their prettiness rather than their practicality! They're a smidge too small and also not deep enough so the slightest amount of pressure and they pop open. I'm hoping to remedy this by sewing some ribbon on the back of the button bands. I've not done this before so I'm looking forward to trying it out. I've chosen some bright orange spotty ribbon to add a secret splash of colour!

My second cardigan was started and finished in about 10 days which is a record for me. I am a terribly slow knitter but this one is cropped with 3/4 length sleeves and worked in an aran weight so it positively flew off the needles! The pattern is Miette and is free on Ravelry and was a really easy knit. I really like the vintage feel of it, particularly the shaping for the bust. The only changes I made were to lengthen the body by a couple of inches and shorten the sleeves slightly. I was worried it was working up too small but now it's finished and blocked it fits fine. I haven't put buttons on it yet but I'm planning on putting in some ribbon reinforcements in this one too as the negative ease means there's quite a lot of strain on it and I don't want the button band to gape.

It's amazing how different the colour looks in the first two photos - in reality it's somewhere in between the two. I'm sure I'll make at least one more of these - maybe in a pale pink or buttery yellow. In the meantime I still have an Open Studio to prepare for (procrastinate, me? Never!)

Monday, 1 June 2015

June already...

...and as I type this it's blowing a gale outside and feels like winter! The changeable weather certainly created a few challenges with Me-Made-May. Most of my home sewn clothes seem most suited to warmer weather so it has required some serious layering to stick to the challenge! However I'm pleased to report that I managed to wear at least one item of home made clothing every day during the month of May - hurray! I did make a few extra garments to prevent boredom kicking in and it also made me evaluate my wardrobe to the extent that I got rid of 5 full bin bags of clothes that for one reason or another I just didn't wear or like! It's now obvious where the gaps are in my pared down wardrobe and I can enjoy making (wherever possible) clothes that I feel happy in.
Here are some of my May outfits...

Teal linen tunic dress - meant to be worn as a Summer dress but too darn cold so had to be layered. Lovely simple pattern (New Look 0775) but the linen creases really badly (even by linen standards!). Will make again in a drapey fabric.

Simple top made in some cotton I was given (layered up again!).

I like the effect of the spotty bias binding on the sleeve and neck edges. I have quite a lot of spotty binding so this may well become a regular feature!

Black linen dress - this one is sleeveless and doesn't crease quite so badly as the teal linen - I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this one.

This was my blocking technique for my Daybreak Shawl (pattern by Stephen West). I didn't want to lose the straight edge with pins so weighted it lightly with pegs - worked a treat! 

A lovely pattern that works well as a traditional shawl and also in the wrap around style below.

It came in very useful on the chillier days!

I also finished my felted tweed cardigan, which I love (no photos yet but I have worn it several times already) and I've started two more cardies - 1 knitted and 1 crocheted, so all in all, May felt like quite a productive month. June is going to be all about the painting as I gear up for another Open Studio in the Frome Festival!