Sunday 25 November 2012

Find Chaffy

Has anyone else heard of Chaffy? Little One and all her friends have a bit of a craze on him. He seems to be in books that are a bit like Where's Wally. You have to search for the Chaffies in very busy pictures.

Yesterday she announced that she was going to hold a Find Chaffy competition amongst her friends. She spent the afternoon cutting and pasting on the computer (and using up all the ink!), making the competition sheets. She then asked if I could make the prize Chaffy for the winner. 

So after my two craft fairs (one went really well, and the other not so much) I felt I needed a break from Christmas knits. The week also involved Big One slipping at school and breaking his wrist (5 and half hours spent in A&E), and the death of Noel our pet lizard, so it has not been great.

But I have spent a pleasant afternoon designing and knitting a Chaffy. (He is the prize, but now she tells me I need to make another one for her to keep!)  But I have realized that what I really enjoy is designing knits, and craft fairs will probably just be something I dabble at from time to time.  I have one more in a fortnight, but am going to try not to stress about it.

Chaffy and Friend

Saturday 24 November 2012

The Rubberband Years - Is This Fibre Art?

I have been really busy this week, partly with craft fairs and also my son fell and broke his wrist, and so we had a long visit to the hospital. I have not been very creative, so I thought I would post about an object that you can always find somewhere around my house: The Giant Rubberband Ball.  I think it is a bit of a testament to my family's love of the slightly offbeam and perhaps misdirected efforts. 

Although you can't tell from this photo, but it is almost entirely made of red rubberbands picked up from the pavement. These are the ones that the postmen throw away. We started making it when my son started walking to nursery school, so it has been a very long term project. It was great fun looking for the rubberbands, and we also felt we were helping tidy up the neighbourhood. I am a bit embarrassed to admit though that sometimes my husband would go on a special trip to the postal sorting office, where he would find a bumper crop of bands for the ball.

But progress has slowed a bit lately, as it has got to the stage where it is so big the rubberbands won't stretch to go around. Someone gave us a packet of larger bands, which is the outer layer.

I have weighed it on my bathroom scales, and it weighs 10.5 kg, or 1stone 9.2lbs. Actually I was a bit surprised it wasn't more, as it is very, very heavy to pick up.

And what is the point? Well there isn't one, although me and my husband do sometimes refer to those walks to and from school as "the rubberband years".

Friday 16 November 2012

Seaside Boy on A Scallop Shell

I've been putting on so much crafty stuff recently I thought I would have a bit of a break, and post a photograph. This was taken at Aldeburgh a few years ago. My son is on a statue called The Scallop, by Maggi Hambling. If you want to see the whole statue, which is rather fantastic, and is on the beach click on the link below,_Maggi_Hambling,_Aldeburgh.jpg

I absolutely love this photo. He is holding Mike The Osprey, who we had just bought at the RSPB reserve at Minsmere. We had a few holidays in Suffolk, and it became a bit of a tradition that we would go birdwatching at Minsmere, which is just a few miles up the coast from Aldeburgh. What was really great was how helpful the serious birdwatchers were to us amateurs, with two noisy children in tow. They never seemed to mind it when we arrived in the hides, and always helped us identify the birds. We have a little collection of birds from the shop, which all make the accurate birdsong for that bird when you squeeze them. My son's favourites were always the birds of prey, which might be because he was going through his dinosaur phase. Do all boys go through phases?

Wednesday 14 November 2012

A Bit More Christmas Love

I'm still knitting away at my Little Christmas Love Hearts, and have put the instructions on how to make them on ravelry for free. I'll put a link in my sidebar tonight. Making them is a bit compulsive, as the knitting does not take very long, but the fun is in deciding how to decorate them.

I love doing a little bit of embroidery, but it is also quite fun making them Fair Isle. I've put some blank Fair Isle charts at the end of the pattern, as I definitely have not explored all the options.

And finally the sun came out this afternoon, so I pottered around in my back garden, hanging up the decorations, and photographing them. I do think my neighbours might think I'm a bit nuts.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Christmas Love

I've been knitting away like mad all week, as I have finally booked two Christmas Craft Fairs (one in a school and one in a library), and now am worried I don't have enough to sell. Not very pleased with these photos, but the light was fading.

I have found it really hard to find fairs that aren't exorbitantly expensive. I have only done a couple of fairs last year, but if the table is £35 (or more!) I have to sell an awful lot of little knits before I've made anything. Would love to know what other crafters pay for a table at a fair? Is it impolite to talk about money? (I think perhaps the best idea would be to get together with some like-minded crafters and organize it ourselves.)

So I've been beavering away at these little hearts, and will probably put the pattern on ravelry as a freebie. Very quick to knit, but the fun is deciding how to decorate them.

Sunday 4 November 2012

My Family Heirloom

I've been saving this post for a rainy day (i.e when I have nothing else to write about). I made this patchwork quilt a lot of years ago, and until recently it has been hidden in a chest. But finally my kids have passed the years when I have to worry about little accidents, so I thought it was time for it to come out of hiding.

I started making it when I was about 13 years old, and it took the good part of the next 8 years. Part of the reason it took so long was I kept running out of material. The original plan was, I think, to have no repeated fabrics, but if you look closely I do have two or three diamonds of some fabrics. I guess you would call most of the fabrics vintage, like me.

The section I like best is the middle. Partly it is because some of the stitching there is not very good. I got better as the years passed. A lot of the fabrics were from my mum's material bits and bobs box. 

It makes me realize how much sewing my mum did. I can remember most of the outfits that the fabrics came from, and it makes me nostalgic. Can you see the teddybear fabric from my sister's and my aprons? The purple flowers were from a little dress I made at school. Little turquoise flowers on white seersucker was a nightdress. I could go on for hours .... 

I have just remembered that my mum used to make us pretend bills, whenever she had finished a make. We would find the finished item of clothing on our bed, wrapped, and either with a bill from Anna's Dress Shop, or Nancy's Knitting Shop. She did this for years. I think she was trying to make a point ...

So there it is, my family heirloom. Every stitch was done by hand, even attaching the backing and edge ribbon. I slightly regretted using such a simple design, and have a hankering to make another quilt one day, perhaps with a more complicated pattern, and a colour theme. But this quilt was a labour of love for my children, and I'm sure I will not make anything handsewn on this scale again.