Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Holiday? What Holiday!

Technically, I am on holiday from work with the schools being closed for summer.  However, I still have lots of work to be getting on with.
I have a couple of these to be doing - lovely to be drawing dogs again, I think they really have to be one of my favourite subjects.
This is slowly taking shape - it's nice to take some time out now and again and knit a rock - just free-forming and no idea what it looks like until it is stuffed.  These rocks have been sewn into place now and I have plans as to how the bottom section will look.  Then I have to populate it....

As well as the above, I have been spending a great deal of my time knitting something very complicated for the animation involving beads and buttons and a lot of sewing.  I've also been designing another scarf for Dunlop McCandless, which is still in the prototype stages - I shan't know if it has been successful until it is all sewn together.

Some of us are finding the summer harder going than others......

Thursday, 26 July 2012


School broke up three days ago and I have been making the most of the sunshine by doing the garden - it was a jungle out there after a month's heavy rain.

I've also been catching up (or trying to) with some of my outstanding commissions - knitting little shoes, hats and tables; designing a knitted wolverine, knitting more pebbles. It's also been an opportunity to go through my big box of jewellery that I cart to various local craft fairs with less and less enthusiasm.  I've photographed some pieces that have been tucked away for far too long, and they will be in my Etsy shop over the next few days.  I don't get time to make jewellery any more, and it is a shame that what I have is hidden away - here's a chance for some necklaces and earrings to go to good homes.

Monday, 23 July 2012

More To The Collection....

Last week we took a trip to Ikea - I hadn't planned on buying anything much, but I just had to have this set of cookie cutters. By the time I've finished, I'll be able to make a gingerbread zoo.....
I've not had the time over the past week to do much crafting - the last week of the summer term is always very busy.  I did manage to squeeze in a spot of jam making though - made with fresh raspberries that we picked the day before.  Delicious!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Guess Where We Went Today......

...it was fantastic!  I liked the film very much, but it didn't move me - the stage show had me weeping through most of it.
One of us preferred the goose puppet to the horses.....Philistine!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Do You See Where This Is Going?

Despite having more work and less time to do it in than ever before, I have managed to make a start on this little knitted rockpool set.  It's been quite liberating knitting rocks - just free forming as I go and learning a little more about short row shaping at the same time.  The prawn and the anemone were already made - do you think a five year old will notice that only cooked prawns are pink?

I can't be the only one counting down until the end of term - only four more days but it feels like an eternity.  At least Sports Day has been cancelled due to a saturated field - very sad for the children, but I must admit to giving a small cheer at the thought of having the afternoon free to get those knitting needles flying!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Teddy Goes To School

Remember a poor little half-made teddy about three months ago? Well, I have finally finished him - I am ashamed to say it only took half an hour to sew up his arms and attach all his limbs, so he's been hanging around all that time for nothing really.  Then I knitted him a little school jumper and made him some grey felt trousers as his bare (bear) bottom didn't look right - I know there are some kids who wander round our school trouserless on occasion, but he doesn't have to be one of them!

He is going to be a small gift for someone who is leaving who I know collects teddies.

Our blackbird babies have hatched - I can hear them cheeping up in the nest.  No chance of getting a better photo though - I don't want to scare off the mother at this late stage.  Now, if we can keep the magpies at bay and make sure Clovis is supervised in the garden when they fledge, they might have a fighting chance of surviving this time.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday 13th Wasn't So Bad....

After spending my morning yesterday watching the finals of the talent show at the infant school where I work (there's a couple of hours of my life I can never get back...) I returned home to find a very large parcel had arrived. Inside were these wonderful pieces of fabric!  They have been designed by the very talented Helz Cuppleditch, who I met virtually on an artist's forum, and met in reality at a craft fair in Sussex.  She had been sent whole rolls by the US company as samples of the finished product and didn't know quite what to do with them.  She very kindly sent me this great selection, which I shall be using in the next couple of weeks to make a few gifts for my new great-nephew who arrived a couple of days ago.

See more of Helz's beautiful work here.

In the un-official tomato race this year, I am the winner!  Unfortunately, due to the weather this 'summer', Soggibottom Cottage has lived up to it's name and not produced any red tomatoes yet.  I don't have much to crow about as this is the sole red tomato in my garden.....

And my garden is looking more and more like the outside of Sleeping Beauty's castle, with the shrubs going berserk, the vines taking over and the grass unkempt.  It's not through lack of enthusiasm, I just can't catch a break inbetween being at work and torrential rain.  I hope I can get out there with the lawnmower and some secateurs before I need someone with a machete to hack us out of here!

Finally, yes indeed, it's a knitted stethoscope.  Not much more I can say about that...

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Animal Scarves

The scarves I have been designing for Dunlop McCandless in the USA will be in production come September.  I was asked to give an interview about my knitting history and the design process used when coming up with these scarves.  Here's a link:

All Right For Some....

Here is the hammock, just about finished - she needs her toes painted but that's about all.  Then she is off as a farewell gift to some lucky chap who got a promotion from the UK to The Seychelles....I'm in the wrong job!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sleep Is For Wimps....

This week I am attempting to knit three more of these......
........do a bit of work on this....
...and who this scantily clad young lady is, I just don't know, but she's been hanging around my living room for three days now!
To put you out of your misery, the first picture is a mascot scarf, the second is a knitted rockpool - or will be eventually - and the third is a hammock.

I've been knitting the main part of the scarves first this time in an attempt to get the boring bit out of the way before making the heads.  I don't think it makes the work any faster, but psychologically it feels better with the 'carrot' of the heads dangling in front of me.

Knitted rocks....so far I have a pebble - still thinking about how to make yarn look angular and hard.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve, don't worry...

The bathing beauty will be going all the way to the Seychelles - I should really keep a record of all the far flung places my work has found it's way to!  If anyone else is thinking painting on a hammock is a good idea, I strongly advise against it....the fabric is incredibly difficult to work on as it soaks up paint and the first layer comes out rather blotchy.  What would have taken me an afternoon if it was on a wall has stretched to far too long.  On the other hand, it has been quite a fun project - I do enjoy painting life-size occasionally.  This has been painted in acrylics - it needs to be durable and waterproof.

I've also been emboidering something on something else for the animated film, but that's all cloak and dagger for now.  Wish I could show and tell, it's hilarious!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Glad All Over....

This little vase of gladioli stands about 4 inches tall.  The vase is knitted, the secret base being half a shampoo bottle from a hotel freebie.  Each stem of flowers and leaf is separate, so the blooms can be arranged.  I made them from lengths of jewellery wire crocheted over with crochet cotton (now that's a fiddly job!) Each flower was crocheted separately and sewn on to the stalk.

It's quite effective and pretty but certainly took a long time to make.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Happy 10th Birthday!

Clovis is 10 today - I can hardly believe it!  We still think of him as a pup, possibly because he is still a bit of a delinquent at times.  We've just had a good walk, chased some rabbits (yes, me too...) and played with a ball.  He's eaten his dinner but I am sure later on he will find some room for a bit of macaroni & broccoli cheese - his second favourite, after tuna pasta bake.
He hasn't changed much over the years, a bit thicker round the middle maybe, but then aren't we all!
Happy Birthday, Monkey-Boy....

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Complete Koi...

Finished this yesterday - that was a lot of fun!  It's a bit unpredictable painting on silk but some of the effects you can achieve are wonderful - I discovered that splashing darker pigment on wet fabric makes a lovely splattery pattern, and dropping plain water on still damp pigment creates a watery look when it dries.  White Inktense dries quite pale but in some lights shines like it is reflective - terrific for scales and ripple highlights.  Wish I had time to play some more with silk painting, but that will have to wait a while for now.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Silk Koi...

Here is what I am working on at the moment - a hand-painted silk tie.  I'm using good old Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks - I think I may have found my favourite medium to use...for this month anyway!  After painting on a t-shirt which was very forgiving when having water and pigment dabbed on it, with few runs and bleeds, it was a bit of a shock to go back to painting on silk.  When mapping out the basic design with the first layer of colour, I blythly dolloped orange on the edge of the fish and watched in horror as it spread across the water too.  Luckily a) the paint was very pale and b) if you catch it quick enough you can reverse the flow by putting water the side of the bleed which pushes the pigment back, and you can then dab with kitchen paper at the mistake and lift it out.  It took a few goes before I got into the swing of how much pigment to use and just how wet it could be before spreading too far.  Yesterday I had it mastered and work went along very quickly - I didn't really want to stop, but unfortunately my family need feeding at regular intervals...

Monday, 2 July 2012


We went to Birdworld in Farnham at the weekend - lots of lovely tropical birds to see and photograph.  This wasn't one of them - it was in the petting zoo. I think it's some sort of chicken but wouldn't swear to it...it did make me laugh though.
Stacie enjoyed hand-feeding the hornbill - he was a terrific catcher!

I'm knitting a table at the moment...as you do...

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Shells & Swans

I ordered this bead from Cheeky Cherub Designs last week, and when it came yesterday I was overjoyed.  The photo really doesn't do it justice, it is so beautiful.  Now I have to think about how I am going to make a necklace with it - I am thinking on natural thread with a few shells maybe.  It's been such a long time since I made jewellery, I feel a little rusty.
I'm finally happy with the swan painting - I gave the water a fairly thick covering of white Inktense pigment whcih calmed the patterning on the water considerably.  It can be purchased on my Etsy shop now.