Monday, 26 January 2015

Sew & Sew...

Now that the work room is just about finished, it's been time to use it.  I've discovered the sewing machine fits perfectly on the desk, the pretty wicker chair is actually very comfortable when sat in for a long time, and it is great to have all my materials where I can see them.  While sorting out, I found a large piece of fur fabric hidden away - we'd used it years ago to upholster the seats in our VW Beetle.  It was just the right size to make a cover for Clovis's bed - poor dog, he's had an old quilt sewn roughly over his mattress for years now and he hates the crocheted blanket I made for him.  Snuggly faux ponyskin seems to have gone down well though!
I've also sewn a backing to a large piece of patchwork made by my mother - I am sure some of these fabrics are from summer dresses she made for me as a child.  I hated them at the time, but now it is a lovely reminder of days gone by and I am in awe of the patience my mum must have had to make this.  My sister has the double bed version!

Still to be sewn are some cushion covers, then the room can be officially declared finsihed!

On the needles...designing a little character for a new animation.

Friday, 23 January 2015

We're on Radio 4!

Over the past week or so, Radio 4 has been featuring knitting and asking for listeners to knit the schedule. We (that's nudinits) have several pictures included - see if you can spot them!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Who's A Pretty Boy Then?

This is a little something I have been working on lately. It took longer to plan than to actually make - lots of lone dog walks while working out increases, decreases and shaping in my head.  The idea is that this pattern can be adapted and used to make any kind of parrot or macaw, depending on colours used and leaving off the crest of course.  Next thing to do - transcribe my scribbles into some kind of working pattern!

On the needles this week: little Valentine's things, but you'll have to wait to see them.

Coming up - I've long wanted to do a tutorial on how to paint on fabric with Inktense pencils and blocks.  Now that I will be making some calico cushion covers, it will be an ideal opportunity to kill two birds with one stone - watch this space.

Ready To Go!

Yesterday the divan was delivered and put into place. Today I filled the underbed storage with the duvet & pillows on one side and the majority of my yarn stash on the other.  Fancy wools have been kept separate in boxes on the shelves. I discovered all sorts of bits and pieces while I was sorting out boxes today - I'm not sure I will ever have time to knit with all theyarn I have accumulated over the years, which is a shame as there are some lovely skeins hidden away.

I just need to make a cover for the bed with a large piece of patchwork that I inherited when my mum died, and make some cushion covers - time to get tht sewing machine out and on the desk!

I have NEVER had anywhere to keep my materials before, let alone keep them all tidy and easily accessed. It really is so exciting and very timely, as there is plenty of work waiting in the wings.  I'm a very happy lady right now!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Here & There

Here's a little something I have been working on whenever I get a spare minute, a lace scarf.  It's knitted in a soft varigated wool blend with a slight fuzzy haze on it.  It might take a while as I am busy with other things, but I think we're about half way there.
Proving how little I am aware of what goes on in our town, while dog walking with a friend of mine the other day I discovered a fabric and sewing shop had opened down a side street. I went in for a look yesterday and found out that it had been open for months.....  It was impossible to leave without buying a couple of remnants and some fat quarters.  Usually I buy fabric on a whim with nothing specific in mind, but these do actually have a purpose.
While I've always wanted one of those fancy wooden shed/studios out in the garden, this is not quite what I had in mind!  We (I say we, but my contribution came down to holding things and very little else) put this up yesterday and it will house boring things like the mower. I do get to paint it though - but not until it dries out, which could take a while.
Meanwhile, Clovis takes his job as sofa quality control inspector very seriously....

Thursday, 15 January 2015


Here is Wilbur No.2 - he turned out slightly different to Wilbur No.1, who knows why, yarn has a mind of it's own!  I think he looks more like the actual dog this time.
Last year I made this hat from Woodland Knits and gave it away as a Christmas present.  This year, I made one just for me.  You watch, there will be a heatwave now but I'm wearing it anyway!

Not Mushroom In There...

I could get used to this working from home malarkey!  A free morning while my daughter was out meant I could buckle down and finish this highly detailed coloured pencil drawing. It was fun but the tight detail was beginning to pall, so I am glad it's out of the way.

This was drawn using Faber Castell coloured pencils (wonderful things!) on The Langton Extra Smooth watercolour paper.  It's now for sale in my Etsy shop.

Next up....not sure, but nothing using coloured pencils for a while!

Throwback Thursday...

...or otherwise known as  thinly veiled touting for business!  It's got to be done I'm afraid, but it is an excuse to look back on some of my favourite commissions.

This was Sam, painted in acrylic, and I had such fun painting him.  Not just for the challenge of a wet dog, but those ripples on the water and the drip - heaven to work on!
This was a painting that seemed to have a life of it's own - it was done so quickly, I couldn't believe at the time that there were so few problems with it.  Again painted with acrylics.
This is Wrigley, a black cocker spaniel.  He is based on a real dog - I NEVER get tired of knitting dog replicas!
This was another fairly complicated little commission.  I'm not sure what I enjoyed the most, sewing the pugs or making that teeny tiny sofa!

No matter what medium I am working with, to be making and creating is the best!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Slow Going

Considering I have supposedly been freelance for over a week now, yesterday was the first day I actually had time to work in the morning as well as the afternoon.  I'm trying to get this detailed coloured pencil drawing out of the way in order to move on.  It's taking far longer than I thought, not just because I've been painting & decorating, but also because I am discovering just how much detail there is in old leaves!  I'm using Faber Castell coloured pencils which are a dream to use, especially with the new pencil sharpener I got for Christmas which hones them into a deadly point, ideal for fiddly detail.  However, it's reached the stage where I am starting to get bored, so it needs finishing before it gets abandoned.
The new work area has reached a bit of an impasse as well. Over the weekend we put up the little corner shelves and a corkboard. Kind of appropriate that the only thing on the corkboard is one lone plush brain cell...  Until the new divan with under-bed storage gets delivered, there is not much point in shifting my yarn stash upstairs.  Some of it has gone up there, but the bulk of it will go under the bed, so I can't do anything for now.  At the moment I keep wandering in there, admiring it and wandering out to go back downstairs and work in the living room - got to get a grip!

On the needles this week: bagpipes, haggis, whisky and a small dog.

Friday, 9 January 2015

You're Never Alone With A Clone...

Do you remember the little knitted dog set I made just before Christmas?  Well here it is together with the real dog it was based on...
I just love it when I get feedback on something I made!  Now I have to make a second one, exactly the same.

Do you fancy having your pet immortalised in yarn?  Look no further, I can do that for you!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Transformations & Toadstools

For the past few years, this has been my work station, although not usually quite so messy as this!  Under that heap are two boxes of fabric, two boxes of yarn, so deeply buried that I can't remember what is in the yarn boxes. There are three bags of yarn that I use most often, a wadge of felt that I am currently using, two boxes of habadashery, a couple of books, a few magazines, and several wips.  It's awful, I know!  The only plus side is that it's right next to where I sit on the sofa and everything is within arm's reach.  But it has reached unworkable proportions - and something needed to be done!
I'm a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and last month events seemed to fit together like clockwork - it started when I made the decision to quit my day job, followed by my son announcing that he was moving out.  Which meant there was a room going spare....  I have worked very hard over the past couple of weeks, painting the walls and door and assembling and placing new furniture.  The room is so small that I cannot get far enough back to take a decent photo, but this will be my desk and those shelves are waiting to be filled tidily with all my clutter craft materials and books.  There are shelves under the desk, one of which is just crying out for the sewing machine.  I'm aching, tired, but very pleased that it is well on it's way.  Now comes the long process of sorting through my stashes and being ruthless with anything that is never used. 

Did you notice that the new rug has buttons on it - buttons! 
I did take half of yesterday off though - a trip to the tip and a second coat of paint on the door were enough for me, and so I could spend a little time on the toadstool which has been sadly neglected over Christmas.  I think one more afternoon should see this completed.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Organised Chaos

Today the world gets back to normal after the long Christmas break - I love Christmas, but would be the first one to say that it goes on for far too long.  Our tree has been taken down, cards recycled and the huge surplus of chocolates, sweets, cakes and alcohol has been condensed into one unhealthy stack in the kitchen. Time to get on with real life once again!

I have spent quite a few hours over the break decorating my son's old bedroom - he had it painted dark brown and beige, so it took quite a bit of covering, especially as I want it to now be white and pale blue. Yesterday saw the last few brushstrokes on the walls and it is now ready to receive the new furniture which should arrive within the next few hours. As well as being a spare bedroom, this will now be a craft room with a desk, and lots of storage space for all my stashes - yarn, fabric, beads etc.  Hopefully this will free up the rest of the house and my family will not have to look at great heaps of it all any longer!  It also means that if I start a project, I can leave it out until the next day rather than have to pack it all away time after time.  My sewing machine might actually get to see the light of day too!

So today will be spent constructing flat-pack furniture and doing as much as I can to get it sorted as I am absolutely champing at the bit to get on with this new chapter in my life!