Tag Archives: Crafts

Art with my needle – my latest creation.

It has been a long time and I have almost forgotten how to go about this. Was it one step at a time? Well perhaps yes, but in this case it was one stitch at a time… from an idea racing round in my head. No pattern!

So what elements did I need… a chunky cardigan with a high collar and a pocket for my phone. Could I do that all in one piece?

Today at Parlour Yarns

Today at Parlour Yarns

That much yes, but the sleeves would have to be separate,

The top piece , all worked as one includes the pockets the shawl collar the two fronts and the back. the sleeves were worked separately. Next was the fun part – fitting all the jigsaw pieces together. Testing it on my dress form, lining the pockets and sewing the pieces together.

I wanted buttons down the front with tab closures. Did you notice the difference in the last two photos in the gallery? Four tabs were in place when I left home, but two of them went AWOL!

I found them when I came home from Parlour Yarns, they were lying on the pavement enjoying the sunshine, I nearly drove over them! Note to self:- tighten the buttonholes.

sunbathing tabs.

sunbathing tabs.

Next I wondered how to use up the last two skeins of the yarn…

using the left overs

using the left overs

I have enough for a beret and it is almost finished!

I love my Tuesday mornings, kindred spirits working away, sharing knowledge, fun and laughter!

 

Good and Not so good

The past few months have been busy, but not that you would notice. I have been staying off line for many and varied reasons.

When the weather was favourable I spent time outdoors. Sharing coffee outings and walks with a lady senior in age to me but with a bright mind to compensate for her physical frailty. The challenge was to find somewhere new for our coffee each week and now our list is growing.  Only a few disappointments. One place was no longer trading, another had changed hands and was closed for refurbishment. There are a few earmarked for return visits.

On my travels I discovered a wool/yarn shop that hosts a morning of crafting where we bring the piece of knitting or crochet that we are working on and work away while nattering and sipping coffee. I had not realised how much I missed the camaraderie of kindred spirits and the inspiration we seem to feed each other. **

Last week was a difficult one. I travelled to Dublin at short notice for the funeral of a life long friend. She had lived a few houses away from my parental home for all of her life. The two families have kept close contact since them. This meant I met the grieving family, most of my siblings and several of the ‘old guard’ neighbours, a few of whom I have not met for about forty years! They needed no introduction the greeting was always the same: You look so like your mother! Thankfully they remembered mammy in her younger days, so I took it as a compliment! 😉 That part of the few days was good for my soul!

I stayed with my sister for a few extra days. She had been very involved in the care of our friend for the past four years of illness and would miss her daily visits. The end came suddenly and was a shock to everyone.  May my friend Rest in Peace.

I almost had a passenger stowed away in my car. She somehow dicovered how to self pack, I found her in a bag one morning!

Allanah in a bag

Allanah in a bag

Allanah whimpered all the time I was packing my car. Playing with a ball will have to wait until my next visit.

I moved to Elly’s for a couple of days and Buffy had great fun smelling the messages on my trousers and shoes. We played ball and tug the rope at every chance she got and the head went down when I was leaving.

** On my visits to Parlour Yarns I learned about Marinke Slump from A creative being, known to all as Wink.  A young creative and inspirational force who used blogging in her attempts to fight depression through crochet. She was so talented sharing patterns and publishing a book of her ideas and patterns. Alas the final post on her blog was not from Wink but from her sister… the depression had won.

Design Wars has asked that people pay their respects by sharing a mandala with the hashtag ‪#‎mandalasforwink. Parlour Yarns in Carrickfergus are taking up the challenge with a display of mandalas in the Courtyard on15th of August. Below are my contributions.

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We all know people suffering the agonies of depression, it would be difficult to find a family untouched by this dreadful affliction.

Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the deeply imbedded negative thought patterns that depression has for the individual struggling with it. Fighting the demons of depression when their voices are louder than any of those around, is not easy. Medications don’t help with that aspect of depression; the negative thoughts have to be fought with positive thoughts which have to be internalized to be effective because when one is in the darkness, other peoples voices are not heard over the din inside the head.

It’s hard for those who don’t go through the struggle to understand. It’s like having your wires crossed and certain signals not allowed through. The dark place is real and no one likes being in the dark. The mental pain and anguish is as real as the physical and all they want is to find a way out. Something’s wrong  and the patient can’t understand why.

If you are a sufferer please try to talk about it; don’t keep your feelings bottled up. If people don’t want to listen…find someone who will.

May we together hold hands and circle those who suffer, with our love!

For Irmi

Earlier in the week Irmi left a comment on my About page asking if I could explain the ins and outs of ‘Liking’ on blog posts. Irmi hails from Munich in Bavaria, but does not as yet have a blog of her own. Our paths have crossed on blogs we both visit and participate in, on a regular basis.

Can you tell me the way how one can “like” a comment at wordpress?

like-button

like-button

The Like icon appears at the base of most published blog posts and all you need to do is click on it. Then your avatar will appear with any others already there. I think you might need to be logged into WordPress or have an Avatar in order to use the Like button.

Is there a deeper meaning in ‘Liking’ – besides being nice and friendly?

Likes are a way to show appreciation for a post or a comment. Some people use them to show they have visited without leaving a comment.I notice that some blogs have the facility to like a comment, but I do not use it.

Are there competitions for ‘liking’ a post or does the blog owner for instance get something for being ‘liked’ very often?

Not that I know of. Perhaps it gives them the boost to keep posting on a regular basis.

Thank you for visiting my blog and adding your tuppenceworth at times. We are kindred spirits when it comes to crocheting, I see. The blue scarf you mention stopped me in my tracks.

Did you mean the knitted mauve and white cowl using a random coloured yarn?  ‎ I saw it on Pinterest but did as I often do with 3D objects: work from my head without a pattern. I worked it on a circular needle, decreasing stitches evenly across every eight or ten rows. On most occasions it works out and since I do not sell items, it is not a problem if it is not exactly like the original. As my father was fond of saying: Every fault is a fashion!

I am pleased you enjoyed my trip down memory lane through the wool and craft shops of my (much) younger years.

Enjoy delving into the older posts. If you click on the Categories in the side bar and scroll down to Crafts and click on it, you might find some posts of interest.

SUGAR!

Well that is not exactly what I said.

It began with S and had fewer letters. 😉

What brought that on?

This:

broken side-arm

broken side-arm

I have ordered a new side but with the holidays, it might be Thursday next week before I get it. Meanwhile the Jack Duckworth look will be the fashion of the week.

I will just have to stay quiet and experiment…

Experimenting

Experimenting

Knitting

 

“The most powerful thing about knitting is that it makes you happy to be in your own company”

~ From an interview with Kaffe Fassett

Thanks to Parlour yarns for the video link.

Then I found these 

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_ 1

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_ 1

Buffy you are safe, your coat is short!

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_2

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_2

Imagine:- it takes 4.2 sheep to make a sweater!

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_3

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_3

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_4

clever-crafters-guide-to-wool_4

 

A simple comment

You are just the kind of person that used to warm our cockles when I was in the business.”

So commented Ramana, on my recent Post: Playing with yarn.

It set me thinking about how ‘Craft’ shops have changed since I was a girl, over half a century ago.

When I started working in Dublin, back in the middle nineteen sixties. there was a small wool shop in Camden street. The name and the shop may have faded with the mists of time, but just thinking about it I am right back there, in the narrow passageways between the body high higgledy-piggledy stacks of yarn … fine baby yarn, double knit for winter jumpers and the true unwashed Aran wool with the oily smell. It was an amazing maze of inspiration and colour!

At times it was difficult to see the shop owner as he delved deep into a mountain of yarn to find the exact ball-band match for the one you had just given him. Sure enough he found it. Customers came, purchased and left. There was little space to stand let alone browse or have a conversation. Everyone was friendly but on a mission … to find an appropriate yarn for the next project or another skein to finish off the job in hand. It was possible to select the yarn you wanted, pay for one skein leave a small deposit on the remainder of the packet and collect and pay for it a week later. If you changed your mind, the unused yarn was returned to stock and all you lost was the deposit. Window display was not a priority back then, stacked packages of yarn with an occasional pattern propped against them was enough for this man. He customers were more interested in purchasing the yarn, than standing looking at the window.

Rowes of Earl Street was one of Dublin’s most famed haberdasheries, stocking a large selection of sewing supplies. Anything from essentials like needles thimbles and thread, to elastic, cord, piping, tape, braids or bias binding all sold by the yard. Buttons, buckles, zips, leather elbow patches, shoulder pads & shields, or frog fasteners they had them all. Net to trim hats and don’t forget the hatpins, we all wore hats for Sundays and special occasions!

Hickeys Fabrics on O’Connell Street, where we plundered the remnant bins for fabric to make skirts, tops, trousers or evening dresses fully lined for a couple of quid (£s). Dress dances were all the go back then, Guys in a tux and bow tie, was easy and we had a dress suit at home for the lads, but we ladies preferred to make a new dress for each event. I was very slim (skeleton skinny) back then so two yards of sngle width (30 inch wide) in a fancy remnant made a great cover for my bumpy bones! I still like to have a nostalgic visit to Hickeys when I am in Dublin.

In preparing this post, I discovered there seemed to be a connection between Rowes & Hickeys

Arnotts Department Store in Henry Street, Dublin, sold fabrics & haberdashery needs in the basement area, but now since the store has been updated and the three floors changed to five, the fabrics are gone and the craft work needs disappointing.

How I missed all of the above when I moved North to a small market town, almost thirty eight years ago. There was one shop that sold thread: Black, white or an ugly shade of red! That was it! I swapped all that wonderland for the stink of cow muck! Ah, but the other four letter word made up for my loss:- Love!

You can imagine my frustration until I found:

Craftwoman Fabrics, Carrickfergus.  I was totally zapped by it and that feeling has never left me. Plenty of knowledgeable experienced and professional staff, never pushy but always interested and helpful. As somebody described it: “A sweet shop for designers and makers!” I totally agree. It was there I purchased the makings of Elly’s Prom outfit and later the fabrics for her wedding: bridal & bridesmaids.

on-our-way

on-our-way

here-we-come

here-we-come

If you want more details of the wedding outfit you can read about it here

Fiddlesticks Fabrics in Broughshane, I was introduced to last year. They regularly hold classes and workshops. I came home with a Toyboy after my first visit!

Gino Gingerbread

Gino Gingerbread

And the wool shops today are so much more social with beautifully displayed yarns, some finished items to give inspiration and a space to sit knitting and nattering awhile before washing it down with a cuppa and sweet treat!

Parlour Yarns In Carrickfergus, is now a favourite spot for a visit after my walk along the Promenade. I am hoping to visit on Tuesday morning and join in with the girls, this time I will bring along my multi yarn project!

New knitting project

New knitting project

Selections Wool Shop  This little old style treasure is also in Carrickfergus, at, 33 North Street. I was looking for one skein of orange yarn to make a pumpkin before Halloween last year. Since it was for decoration and not clothing, I looked in one of our local budget shops. They had none but a very helpful young lad suggested I try Selections in Carrick. He gave me precise directions, telling me he often brought his granny there, she was always knitting. “I guarantee you will get the colour you want.” He said. I did and I have enough yarn left to make a few more!

Meet Peter Pumpkin

Meet Peter Pumpkin

One of Ballyclare’s oldest buildings on the Main street. Lovingly restored, is now home to Brown’s Coffee Co with Hansel & Gretel’s Wool shop tucked away in the back section. It has a limited selection of specialist yarns but a varied collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks, even the double ended ones! They do hold classes at certain times of the year, and I hear the places fill up quickly. I have yet to purchase yarn there (still waiting for my stash to shrink.), but I did add to my collection of needles and regularly enjoy their coffee.

I did ask permission but it was busy and difficult to take photos without intruding on customers spaces.

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Playing with yarn

My yarn stash never seems to recede and I keep seeing exciting new varieties in the shops but being the good girl that I am, I refuse to purchase any more until I used at least half of what I have!

I had an idea 💡

Extreme knitting

Extreme knitting

 

Back in March I had the opportunity to try extreme knitting – using several strands of bulky yarn and very large needles. Naturally I wanted to give it a try myself but needed to find a way without using long needles.

I've got the hang of it

I’ve got the hang of it

These needles were not for me, I would end up bruising myself so I finally found a solution!

My KnitPro cable needles.

interchangable needles

interchangable needlesK

Once I had that sorted in my head it was a matter of choosing the yarn.  There were oddments of ‘hairy’ and ‘knobbely’ yarns begging to be used  so sorting through them I chose eight and rolled them into one large ball. I repeated the exercise several times more using different colourways.

eight strands per ball

eight strands per ball

New knitting project

New knitting project

This is where I am at the moment. really relaxing and it saves my sanity when My eye objects to any more reading.

What will it be? Who knows. A cushion cover perhaps, a knee rug or even a back warmer! I’ll let you know when I finish the yarn!

Pick and mix

I have been quiet for a while, but I am still alive and very much so. Things have been happening. Some good and some not so good.

This was the sky on Tuesday 5th May at 17:44, it makes it hard to believe it is nearly summer.

20150505_174434

There was a birthday that I missed attending on Wednesday 6th May, it was a little too far away….  87 hours without traffic, otherwise it would take 89 hours (according to Google)! Mind you, this was beginning on the A26 and the journey would involve car transport, toll roads, include a ferry and have to cross through multiple countries. In other words a distance of 4,095 miles! Anyway, I had other plans that day.

A photo session with twenty questions!

Not that kind of photo session. I was allowed to keep my clothes on… so long as there were no buttons, zips or bits of metal. The pictures were rather revealing, in a good and not so good way. Livable with!

I made some discoveries. I lost and I gained. Twelve years ago, I discovered I was a full inch taller that I thought I was for all of my adult life. I was 170.5 cms, now I  have lost 1cm.

And the gain? I had put on weight. Middle age spread. Is it any wonder that gravity is winning the battle and pulling everything south! 🙁 I was on the scales at 09:45.

I do know for a fact that at that very time, thirty seven years ago I weighed in at all of 130 lbs, by late afternoon, I was so much lighter (114.5 lbs) and had a bundle in my arms. That very bundle was now celebrating her birthday in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel.  She was working, but we did manage to speak by phone, and I was pleased to hear that her colleagues were taking her out for dinner.

No. I am not trying to hide the amount of weight that i gained in thirty seven years… I am all of 139 lbs today! Note to self: Avoid walking over grating incase I disappear! 😛

The following morning I was up and out early to do my duty and cast my vote. There was one other voter in the poling room and a couple joined us as I was adding my folded piece of paper with an X to the box. I turned to walk out of the room as the school bell rang for the normal start of the school day: 09:00. I walked home through the park, which I had to myself with the only sounds coming from the ducks.

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I do have a tip for you that I learned over the past few weeks

My last batch of antibiotics came in a bottle with a childproof lid. I am sure that every child would manage to open it unaided far faster then my aging hands with lack of grip. I am never stuck. living alone, I cannot afford to be stuck!

Nut cracker to open a pill pot

I used a nut cracker to grip the lid where it is meant to be squeased and turned the bottle with the other hand.

Today I had mail. A small package and the contents were described as ‘Flexible rubber, dimpled and ridged’ and there is a hole for a size guide! Now get your durty minds out of the gutter guys, I am talking about something very useful and simple.

Thanks to Kate I discovered an unusual kind of thimble. I asked her for details, and phoned around to see if I could get it locally. Alas no, I had to order it on line. For my sewing friends out there, I give details below. it feels really comfortable and I look forward to using it tomorrow.

Flexible thimble_1

Flexible thimble_1

flexible thimble_2

flexible thimble_2

Art with my Needle ~ mellow yellow

Who remembers this:

Work in Progress

Making the base fabric

or this:

jacket front

jacket front

I wanted to gather and double the fabric at the back, to keep my back warm.

Could I make a butterfly pattern out of the gathers?

Could I make a butterfly pattern out of the gathers?

I got kinda stuck.

Life interfered.

The unfinished creation remained on the dress form for many a month. The fabric was proving too soft for the effect I wanted, so it was a case of getting back to the drawing board once more.

I unpicked my surface stitches until I was back to the knitted fabric. Turning it around so that the pattern was vertical, I doubled it and remade the basic shape once more. The front is now similar, but the back has lost all the extra bulk.

I extended the sleeves while I was in sick-bay, ripping out the the same piece three times!

Now it looks like this:

Jacket back view

Jacket back view

jacket side view

jacket side view

Jacket front

Jacket front

I am not sure about the double buttons… I may remove one and make a finer loop. I still have plenty of yarn

Left over yarn

Left over yarn

Now I wonder what I can make with that?