Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Me Made May 2016

So here we are in May and I am taking part in the Me-Made-May challenge again. Like last year, I am promising to wear at least one home made piece of clothing every day throughout the month. It should be easier than last year as I have more clothes to chose from but I am hoping it will highlight those that are most useful, and also those that rarely get worn and why. May is a good month for this as the variable weather gives me a good chance to try all types of clothing. So far this month we've had heavy rain, hailstones, cold winds and bright sunshine!
I shall try to record each day's outfit mainly as a reminder to me, but so far the lighting has not been great when I've taken the photos so the quality is a bit rubbish. It also give me a chance to catch up on recording some outfits which I've made in the last couple of months but have been too lazy to blog about!

Day 1
A simple tunic in a ponte style fabric - very comfy to wear but the fabric is stating to bobble a bit. Worn with my newly knitted wrist warmers which are based on the Little Cotton Rabbits pattern. I love these - they really keep you warm without the bother of a cardigan. I've already made a second pair and more are planned!

Day 2

One of my most worn makes - the pattern is New Look 6340 and I have made three versions so far and will probably make more! I love the simple shape and its layering possibilities. Worn with a little scarf knit with one skein of gorgeous Skein Queen - possibly my favourite yarn to knit with. And under a pair of boots were my hot off the needles socks - the yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners and were supposed to be my Christmas knit but they had to wait until April!

Terrible photo of another New Look 6340 - this time with sleeves. This is after a day of work, hence the crumpled look!

Today I'm wearing a hand knit cardi ( I don't wear this very often because the vibrant green is hard to pair with anything other than black). A black linen top which started life as a dress but was hardly worn, so when I needed a black top I just chopped it off and re-hemmed it. And the cropped trousers were my first attempt at making trousers - they were cast aside as disastrous, but during a tidy up I found them crumpled up and decided to see if I could salvage them. I cropped the leg length and to my surprise found them quite wearable!

On a more artistic note, I've had a clear out and tidy up of the studio and in a bid to be more organised for this year's Frome Open Studios in July I have started a sequence of linocuts. I have two completed and two more nearing completion. Next up is the fun part which is experimenting with hand colouring some of the prints. This doesn't always work out but the joy of printmaking is that if it doesn't go according to plan you've always got more of the original image.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A tale of two scarves...

Scarf No 1 -
Knit on 9mm needles using 5 skeins of Debbie Bliss Paloma.
Time taken - 3 evenings.

Scarf No 2 -
Knit on 2.5mm needles using 2 random skeins of 3ply lurking in my stash.
Time taken so far - 4 hours.

Conclusions -
1. I hate using big needles almost as much as I hate knitting moss stitch. The finished scarf is, however, gorgeously soft and squishy and warm and I love it so it was worth 3 evenings of annoying knitting.
2. I love, love, love using tiny needles and variegated yarn. This scarf is possibly going to take the rest of my natural life span to finish but I don't care because I'm loving the process.

Friday, 19 February 2016

When things don't go according to plan...

Lately my creative pursuits have hit a number of brick walls.

A lace weight knitting project was going swimmingly until I spotted an error that I can't work out how to fix and so it lies unloved and ignored in a bag.

A pair of trousers I was sewing were looking good until I made an adjustment to narrow them in the hips and now I can't get my hands in the pockets and they're lying in a heap waiting for their waistband.

A shirt I made for myself looked lovely until I tried it on and I realised that the buttons were straining to come undone in a most inappropriate area - now I've lost interest in adapting the pattern even though I have some gorgeous fabric patiently waiting to become a shirt.

I spent three whole days working on a new painting of a wood pigeon and was almost finished when I decided to use an acrylic glaze to seal it - it reacted to the paint underneath and the whole thing was ruined - at this point I may have cried.

I have no photos of these disasters as I didn't want to depress myself so instead I've included some photos of the pop up shop I'm involved in at the moment...

It's taking place in Studio 4 in The Black Swan, Frome and will be on until the 27th February. The photos are not great but we've managed to pack a lot into a small space. There are 5 of us taking part (known collectively as The Keyford Artisans) so there's a good variety of hand made crafts on offer.

Following my disastrous week or two I only managed to add one new painting to my collection - another raven...

and also enjoyed whipping up a few crocheted daisies for some more bunting...

When in doubt, go back to the things you can rely on - in my case, crochet and crazy birds!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

A New Year and a new skirt...

...and it's crocheted!
I've often thought that the qualities of crochet that make it hard to create most wearable items - it's bulk and density and lack of drape - actually make it perfect for a simple skirt. However, when I first mooted the idea of making a crocheted skirt over a year ago, most of my work colleagues were sceptical, to say the least! Nevertheless, when I saw a pattern in Simply Crochet that I liked I bought some yarn, did a sample motif and then promptly put it all in bag and forgot about it. I think I was put off from putting so much time into a project that may be completely unwearable. This Christmas, though, in looking for something to do over the holidays, I came across the bag and decided just to go for it - and yesterday I wore it to work!

I teamed it with an all black ensemble hoping to blend into the background and not be mocked for wearing a blanket but the response was positive - even my most doubting of colleagues made encouraging noises!

Having had a good clear out of my wardrobe, I now have more handmade clothes than shop bought. My aim for this year is to continue to make as much as possible and particularly to make well fitting trousers. I'm definitely won't be crocheting those though!