Sunday, January 25, 2009

Annual Fabric Sale! ....and a nice surprise.

Last Sunday afternoon, I went to the annual Nantwich Fabric Sale. This happens every January and is a good opportunity to stock up with fabric, books and general bits and pieces. There is usually a small exhibition of quilts too, with some stalls giving information about local courses.
I went along with my friend Hilary, a fellow quilter.

I bought quite a nice collection of fabrics - some to fill in the browns and yellows of my fabric stash.

Also, some reds and a couple of patterned fat quarters. The first of these is a Japanese print, which will go nicely with the Japanese themed quilt I have languishing in my WISP collection. The second, I really could not resist. It is a black and white Art Nouveau Alphabet. I have no idea when I shall use this, but it really pleads to be put into something.
Then there was the book stall. This was wonderful. I bought four books.

All of these were amongst the many second-hand books there. The Samplers book has such a wonderful cover with some really inspirational Blackwork designs. The second book will go into my small collection of old DMC books. It also has some wonderful designs there which I can see myself adapting.

Then I found these two books. I love the idea of making boxes, but have not made many so far. The first book, by Jackie Woolsey is one of those wonderful books which records the techniques ready to be used in whichever way you choose. Perfect. The second may seem a strange choice, but look at the following page from inside.
I just love the swirling design of paisley, having played about with this in the past. These drawings - it is a book of drawings of different paisley designs, just tempting me to start exploring possibilities again. The book is by Gregory Mirow and is one of the Dover Design Library publications.

This week I have been busily knitting Liz's jumper. I gave her the yarn for Christmas with the promise of completing it sometime. Luckily, I didn't make any promises about exactly when it would be complete and she understands my workload..............

This is the design on the front. Plain up until the chest area, it has this design up to the armholes. Then I intend to continue in the darker shade of blue, joining in the sleeves. So far I have got to the halfway stage with the first of the sleeves. Its definitely coming on now. I had been getting so very bored with the plain blue.
This weekend has been very pleasant. We had a visitor staying with us - a friend of my younger daughter. She and I had a lovely chat about various crafts - she is a knitter, sewer and felter! Imagine my surprise when she and Rosie came into my workroom as I started writing this to give me this delightful little present.

As the fabric label states "A very handy little tape measure". I just love the tab with the fish on it! It sits proudly on my shelves, just within reach whenever I need it. How very thoughtful.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bits and pieces.

I had a lot of fun during the Christmas break trying out different techniques of printing. You may have seen the Cat bag in my last post. This used some of the results of my printing experiments.

The first of these was lino printing. Can you see the daft mistake I made first? Yes, the resulting print will be back to front!

I tried again. This time getting the design right.

I tried printing these with fabric paints, but these were not thick enough. The lino print paint is fine, but since I really would like to print on fabric it really will not do. Back to the drawing board on this one. I shall find a thickener for my fabric paints, or a thicker type. I did not throw out the first lino board that I cut. I decided that, in a pale colour, it would actually be a good foil to the real design.

The other form of printing I played with was potato printing. Such a lot of fun this was. I printed cats paw prints, stars and just a flat potato edge using four colours.
I printed on the unprinted side of a fabric bag I have had for some time. It was one with an advertisement for some kind of alcohol on the other side. Now that the printing of this side is complete, I intend to add a false front to the other side. This will cover the original design and make the bag more useful to me.

Joy of joys, I now have a new tenor recorder! This is the bag it came in. It is a beauty and sounds wonderful. At present I am just playing this in. The recorder is wooden and needs to be played for just ten minutes a day for the first week. The next week it can be fifteen minutes, gradually lengthening playing duration each week until I can play it for forty minutes.

My gorgeous new friend. A Mollenhauer Denner.

This is Salts Mill, Saltaire. The Early Music Shop, where I bought my new recorder is to be found on the ground floor. Its a wonderful place to visit, if you ever have the chance. There is a gallery holding a marvellous David Hockney exhibition.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


For some months I have been working on a piece of embroidery for the Stitching Sisters group.

It is part of the Band-Robin we have been working on for some time. This particular sampler belongs to Jenny. She did the wonderful Hardanger work you can see. This is now just waiting until I know who will be the next person to work on it.

For further details, please see my post on the Stitching Sisters Blog.

I have started Liz's new pullover, the second to be knitted to the Elizabeth Zimmermann "Open-collar design"

Apart from this, I have completed a Christmas Challenge. This was set by the Knots and Needles Group. A stitchers group, we were challenged at the Christmas meeting to decorate a bag each. These were supplied by the committee. The bags were basic shopping bags from Hobby craft. This is how mine looks now it is completed.

This is the side I think of as the front. The applique cats picture is also a pocket. This design was originally used for my cat quilt - sadly still languishing in my WISPs pile. It only needs quilting, but I still can't think how to quilt it.......... I must finish it this year.

This is the back. Ooops! I've just remembered that I forgot to blog about the bits and pieces I did over Christmas. The paw prints above were an experiment in printing. More in my next post.

I don't think I shall use it as a shopping bag, but it will come in handy as an additional project bag.

Today, I am working to finish a bag lining. The bag belongs to a friend of mine. She rather liked the lining I had added to my own bags, so I offered to add a lining to her bag. As you can see, the original lining is beginning to fail. There is also another bag here, which started off in a rather worse state.

I was rather lucky in that I went into the local Help the Aged charity shop. They had this gorgeous pair of curtains.

These will make a superb lining, just the right weight of fabric. I do have some other furnishing weight fabric in my stash, but could not find any of it when I first got hold of Sheila's bag. Its in there somewhere.........
Whilst in town, I also picked up the latest copy of Sew Hip.

Inside, it suggests getting fabric from charity shops! There is also a rather good "Vintage Cloth Holdall" which I shall definitely be making. There is a very nice "Joli Cube Bag" pattern too. Then theres Henrietta the Hippo. Now who can resist ! I know I can't She will look wonderful in the curtain fabric. Yes, I know I do not have any young children at home........... She will be a friendly addition to the menagerie in my workroom. I already have a pottery cat, a miniature teddy bear I made some years ago, and my daughter's toy bat.

I was also lucky to find these.

Aren't they fun! They are supposed to be the weights to hold down table cloths when used outside. One of my friends, Hilary, was clever in using this type of weight to hold down the bottom edge of a long hanging she made recently. It looks fantastic. I just couldn't resist these when I saw them.

Well, I am as old as I feel, and that's not as old as my age might lead anyone to suspect! I refuse to grow old gracefully........................ Life is for having fun and making things in any spare moments.