Sunday, 28 February 2010
After weeks of anticipation, today I went to the Unravel knitting show at the Farnham Maltings. Looking at the weather, I was wondering if I'd get there in one piece - torrential rain and the road I took was awash with running water and huge puddles. The river in Farnham was just on the verge of bursting it's banks - about another inch to go on the footpath side!
I knew I was on the right path to get there - the lamp-posts in the car park all had knitted jumpers, as did this finely bedecked tree. Shame it was all wet and soggy!
A couple of hours later, I left with a large carrier bag full of woolly plunder. There were so many lovely stalls with yarns, buttons, knitting accessories, spinning, weaving, finished articles and a Best in Show exhibit. It was hard to keep within my budget....Ok, I admit it, I overshot my budget by a long way but who could resist this.....
...a bumper bag of Fiberspates yarns in mouthwatering greens, all for £15! Or these lovelies......
....lots of doggie buttons - don't you just love the vintage black Scottie dogs? A big cone of cotton/cashmere laceweight yarn for £2! Three balls of what appears to be Noro Kureyon but isn't - it's a pretty fine replica, 100% wool, but half the price - and the stockist is the wool shop in Farnham...oh dear! Some Mille Colori, a pair of No.2 bamboo needles - glorified cocktail sticks really, I am determined to destroy my eyesight once and for all - and a pack of mini buttons for felt animal leg joints. Not a bad haul, and all things I will definitely use in the future.
It's been a good weekend for bargains - our local art shop had lots of craft acrylic paints at half price yesterday - I only bought 6 colours that I know I will use.
I've already started to paint a small wooden box with the pale green as the background with some pink roses scattered across the lid - pretty!
Saturday, 27 February 2010
This is a commissioned set with an unusual combination of charms and red beads, which I think has worked very well. Once again, not something I would have thought of on my own but someone else's ideas gave me something to work on and it was a lot of fun figuring out how to make them into wearable pieces.
It's been such a long time since I made jewellery - I have bought new beads over the past year and they have just sat there while I have been otherwise occupied. Perhaps it is time to get back into the swing of things - I'm also always willing to take on commissions, so don't be hesitant in asking!
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Yet another little knitted dog, very small this time and I have been experimenting with adding patches in order to make him look like a Jack Russell. This one is not for sale however - he is going to help Tony Nevett and his dog Scotts, who is a Reading Education Assistance Dog, in their efforts to get children to read. The knitted dog has been requested by Tony for children who cannot go near a real dog for one reason or another so that they don't feel left out. Patches goes off with a nice red coat, a comfy blue bed and a little book (written & illustrated by me!) with a few sentences about Patches and his love of books.
As my day job is as a Special Needs Assistant in an infant school, perhaps I should make one of these dogs to use in my work too - I think my real dog would have a nervous breakdown if faced with a class full of eager children!
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
We saw this little squirrel on Boston Common last year. He was so tame we were able to get a photo from about three feet away while he watched us, nibbling on a nut.
I have painted this in watercolours with small touches of black ink & Chinese white paint. It was wonderful to take the time to paint a delicate watercolour again - it feels like so long since I have done this!
I'm trying to gather together up to 5 new paintings for a local exhibition in April, as I have had so little to exhibit over the past year. However, this is for sale from now - please get in touch if you are interested.
Friday, 19 February 2010
Here she is, after a week's hard work, Daisy the Cow finished and complete. I love it when someone gives me a commission which is completely outside my comfort zone, because after the initial panic and thoughts of 'Oh God, what have I agreed to? I can't do that?' it is lots of fun to work out exactly how it can be done.
Daisy has been knitted in acrylic yarn, with safety-backed plastic eyes, a red ribbon and little cow-bell. She has wool-jointed legs so is fully poseable...when she feels like it!
She has curly grey horns, lovely black markings, and even a set of (non-functional although wouldn't that be fun!) udders.
I have sort of written down the pattern for this as I went along with a vague idea of either being able to knit another cow should anyone want one, or selling the pattern at some point on Etsy. I haven't decided yet, but if you fancy owning a cloned Daisy, do let me know - she will cost you £20 plus p& p.
And as the sun is actually shining here today, I have been able to get a decent photograph of the gazelle painting in which the black is black and the colours and light are correct. This is how it really looks!
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Despite being started while I was in the throes of a high temperature, this picture has turned out pretty OK. It's a simple study of a gazelle done in Derwent Drawing Pencils on brown Canson Murano paper. Unfortunately, photographing this has proved difficult as always with these pencils - the light has reflected off the black pencil used in the eye area, making it look a little strange. In the actual picture the eye is very dark because of the hair colour and shadow.
This is up for sale on my website for £150 - if you are interested, please get in touch.
Talk about winging it! I've been asked to make a cow soft toy, and rather than search fruitlessly for a pattern that I know won't be what I want, I have chosen to make up my own. The above head is the result of a couple of evenings work, which wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I guess when you knit enough soft toys you get to learn what goes where and when to increase or decrease to shape the item. I think the most time-consuming part of this was writing it all down in a legible form just in case anyone else decides they want a cow toy! (I remember the mad scramble for the guinea pigs before Christmas!)
The other two pieces of knitting are lace shawls that have been put on the back burner for a while - the white one is so close to being finished but I needed a break before my eyes began bleeding!
Let's hope the body and legs of the cow will be as painless as the head...watch this space!
Sunday, 14 February 2010
I nearly forgot to do this! Thank you all for putting your names down for this giveaway - I wish I could give you all a present, but there is no way I am painting ten more potatoes!
So all the names were put into a bowl - excuse the fuzzy live-action shots!
Then my daughter kindly pulled out a piece of paper..........drum roll please.....
...and the winner is Midge at Soggibottom! This did make me laugh as Midge has been gently pulling my leg about the endless spud painting over the past few months - now she has her own to put on the wall!
Thanks again to all of you for entering - I will be glad to see the back of this little painting however.
Here's wishing you a very Happy Rest Of Valentine's Day - I hope you all were shown a little love by someone today.
Friday, 12 February 2010
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
It feels like I have been ill forever, although 10 days being poorly is still unheard of for me. However, the bug is slowly subsiding and thankfully my vision is returning - that was the worst part last week, being home yet unable to do anything as everything I looked at was out of focus.
So I have been able to put some work in the above pencil drawing of a gazelle - still quite a long way to go with this one but it is proving enjoyable and I'm pleased with it so far.
I enjoy knitting these little dogs - just as well as I can't keep one in my Etsy shop for more than a few hours these days! They always turn out with their own personalities and this little chap is no exception. He's quite tiny compared to previous ones ( knitted on size 14 needles - no wonder my sight is blurry!) and I have been experimenting with adding a few patches. Worked quite nicely too!
What I do find tedious is knitting all their accessories - the bed in particular just takes ages. I am looking forward to choosing the yarn for this dog's coat though - it will have to be something very fine in order to make the correct size, probably sock yarn.
Sunday, 7 February 2010
What a waste of a week! Ended up going to the doctors to discover I have bronchitis..I've spent the past four days either shivering or burning up, coughing like an old man, and today's icing on the cake is a crashing sick headache. Hopefully the antibiotics are starting to take effect, as today is the first day for a week without a fever.
So I have been too unfit to even pick up knitting needles, let alone a pencil or paintbrush. The above is a very old coloured pencil sketch of my two dogs, both now sadly deceased, but it does make me smile!
On a positive note, today I can officially declare the potato illustrations over! The last three paintings that needed minor alterations have been approved and taken away. If all goes well, the book should be published in the Spring. You still have a week to enter my giveaway for the 101st potato painting - with any luck, I will never, ever have to paint another potato!
Thursday, 4 February 2010
After struggling along manfully for four days with the help of the above, I have admitted defeat today and taken the day off work....something I should possibly have done right at the start, but I really don't like leaving c0-workers in the lurch if I can possibly help it.
Despite having the hot sweats today and feeling like my lungs are in a vice, I'm actually enjoying the first day at home on my own since I don't know when. Number one son is at work, my daughter is out for the day with her care worker, and I have free run of the house to play Muse at full blast on the stereo, make and drink a hot chocolate without having to make any for anyone else, the living room is clean and TIDY, and as soon as I have made the beds I have the rest of the day to either loll about on the sofa and catch up on some reading or get on with my current painting without having to tend to anyone else's needs for the next five hours.......almost worth getting sick for!
I've not felt much like crafting this week though - but the above little grey knitted dog has been made and I am currently in the process of knitting his accessories. As the little dog sets have been flying off the virtual shelves of my Etsy shop lately, I'm trying to keep at least one in stock. If you wish to commission a specific colour dog, I am always willing to oblige, just get in touch.