Sunday, 13 October 2019

Lino Printing


At the beginning of the summer I was taking the rubbish out when the front door slammed shut behind me.  I didn't have a key and my phone was inside.  Doh!  'im outdoors has just left on an errand and I wasn't sure when he would be back.  So what to do?  There isn't any side access to the house, but I wondered if I could get into the garden from next door?  I rang their bell and hoped someone was in.
June answered.  Of course I could try her back gate.  But that didn't work.  Maybe her husband could help but he was out walking the dog.  While we waited for him to get back we chatted and she ended up showing me her sheds.
June was a fabric artist who was also a printer.  She doesn't do so much now but she showed me all her stuff and I was quite jealous. 
(her husband was able to get me back into my garden and so into the house.)


I'd told June about my paper making, so a couple of weeks later I put some of my paper through her door as she'd sounded interested.  She thought it was amazing and asked if I'd like to try some printing.  I jumped at the chance.
We finally found a date that worked for us both and she told me to bring some simple line drawings that we could turn into a print.


As it was my Mum's birthday that week and she lives by the sea, I was inspired to try and make a print for a birthday card featuring a seagull.
We went down to Junes shed and she showed me her equipment and what to do.  Her shed is perfect.  It smells like an art shop, full of ink and paper and tools and odds and ends.  I have a room that is trying to be like this but I have a way to go before it is as good as June's shed.


We started by preparing the lino square with a light sanding.  I then drew my design on in pencil.  This requires some thought as you have to think hard about what you want to show in black (or whatever colour you are using) and what should be white.  Also any lettering has to be the wrong way round to come out right in the print.


With the lino all cut away then came the messy part - printing.
First we had to decide which ink to use.  Damp and heat and cold can all change how an ink behaves so it's a bit trial and error.
We also had to decide how to press the print.  We could use a big press or hand burnish it.  Both have their pros and cons.
After a couple of test prints we got the combination right and printed my square.


First we used a piece of plain white paper.  Then we tried some of my garlic paper, lastly a piece of paper with a different texture.
I can't believe how well it came out.  The letters read fine, the bird looks great and the textured background puts me in mind of sea and wind.  Its such a clear print, I keep having to look at it again and remind myself - I made that.  
Once the ink was dry I cut the paper down and stuck it to a bigger piece of card to make a birthday card.  My Mum loved it.
I'm really inspired now and I'm starting to think about what else I could do like this.  Christmas cards maybe?  (but not this year!)

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Garlic Paper part 2


In 2015 I made my first batch of paper using garlic skins.  I loved it so much I started collecting them again straight away so I could make some more at some point - garlic skins being very small and fine you need a lot of them to make paper and collecting that amount takes some time. So some 3 1/2 years later, with a big bag full, I decided it was time to try again.


It really is beautiful stuff.  I love the look and feel. I made a good batch this time and just need to press it flat before I can use it.  I made a mixture of A4, A5 and A6 sheets, so I should be able to find some uses for it.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Chester the Bashful Bunny


At the beginning of the year I made Herman the enigmatic bear.  He was tricky to make because he was so small, but that was also his charm.  So when I found there was a bunny pattern too, I wanted to try it out!
Again Chester was tricky because he is small, but I also love that he is that small.  He was also easier to make as I had a better idea of what I was doing this time.  
Annoyingly I messed up one of his ears - it's inside out, but I think it has helped me realise why I've been having trouble with my knitting-in-the-round.  So after some research it seems that if you use the back needle, which I do when using circular needles, then the right side of the knitting will be inside, however if you use the front needle, which I do when using DPNs, then the right side will be on the outside.
So switching between the different types of needles meant that sometimes the right side was inside and sometimes outside.  Now I understand why I can try again and see if it makes any difference to my knitting.
I look forward to having another go.    

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Coco Top


In 2015 I made my first dress.  It was Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress and I still wear it now.  But I loved the idea that you could also make a top using the same pattern and have been on the look out for nice material ever since.
You can't really see it in the photos but this sweatshirt material is glittery!  With super soft fluff in the inside.  


So on a really hot bank holiday weekend I decided to make a nice warm top ready for the autumn!  It actually went really well as all the templates were ready cut from making the dress.  The only thing that really slowed me down was the front pocket as I had to design that for myself.  In the end I was inspired by the pocket on my dhb sports top.  Using ribbon to edge it makes a pretty little detail.
I'm really pleased with it.  I just need some cooler weather to wear it in!


Friday, 16 August 2019

Paprika Mustard Classic Knitted Cardigan


I love to wear a dress, but you need a nice cardigan to go over the top, or at least I do as I'm always cold.  But I couldn't find one that I liked - they were all too thin and short.  So I started looking at patterns instead and came across the Paprika Mustard Classic Knitted Cardigan and fell in love.  It can be as long as you want and it has pockets and it can be any colour too!


It's taken me ages to make though.  I started knitting around Easter time and it went quite well but then I got stuck on how to do the sleeves and worked on the Woven Wonder Cushion until I could work it out.  Of course once I did work it out they were easy!
And now its finished, except for some buttons.


I think I need to block it out as it sits a little funny in places, but otherwise I'm very happy.  Firstly it actually fits which is a great achievement.   If I do it again I might make the sleeves a little longer but otherwise I'm very pleased with it.


Also I'm not 100% sure about the colour.  I do love a purple, but this is quite bright.  I'd like to try it again in maybe a teal or a storm gray.
I love the pockets.  Again I couldn't get my head round them until I did it, then they were easy! 
It's definitely a classic for my wardrobe.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Gorgeous Cakes - part 29


This week I was back cooking from the Gorgeous Cakes book, an Upside-down Apricot Cake. I had to wait for fresh apricots to be available before I could have a go at making this pretty simple cake.  The sponge is quite lemony and dense and I'm not sure how it will last the week, even in the fridge.  It's also quite sticky so taking it to work will be interesting too.  Still it tastes nice so not all bad.

Verdict:

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Woven Wonder Cushion


I love making cushions so when I came across a pattern for an entrelac knitted cushion I had to have a go!  The best thing about this cushion is that it was free.  The pattern was a free download and the wool was all from my stash.  The only thing I had to buy was the cushion insert.


It might look super complicated, but once I got my head round what I needed to do, it was actually quite a simple pattern.  And because of the way it's knitted the only sewing up was sewing the back and front together. 
I love how its turned out and it sits very well with the other cushions.  If I keep this up there won't be any room on the window seat for Milo.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Shorts - re imagined

In 2017 I attempted to make myself some new shorts for sleeping in.  But when I added the waist band it kinda went wrong and I ended up giving up.
Last year when it was so hot all summer I really needed to try this project again, but because I wasn't sure how to take it forward I kept putting it off and putting it off, until it was getting cold again and there wasn't any point. 


I had Friday off work this week and had been planing to make myself a sweatshirt, having found some lovely material, but it didn't really seem appropriate in a heat wave, so I dug out the pattern for the shorts I made last time and had a think about how to improve them.


Once I got started it really wasn't that hard.  And I made sure to write everything I did down, so I can easily make them again (if they turned out OK).
I'm not sure about the material, it was in a sale somewhere so cheap but not that soft.  I'm hoping wearing and washing will sort that out, but now I have a pattern that works I don't mind spending a bit more on nice material.
And I have a few ideas on how to tweek the patter to make it even better, but all in all I'm chuffed and relieved to finally have finished this project!
I just have to try sleeping in them to see if they really work.

Friday, 31 May 2019

A New Lunch Bag


I've been taking my lunch to work with me for years now.  Most recently in this tatty plastic bag.  Mostly it gets shoved into my big bag, but its useful in case there isn't room as it has handles. 
However the blue colour comes off on everything (including my work laptop - don't tell) and a couple of weeks ago I put my finger through it as I tried to force it into an already over stuffed bag.


So I decided to make myself a replacement.  I found some rip-stop nylon on the web in a lovely shade of purple - this is really light weight but durable.  Then I just needed some time to put it together - a cool May Bank holiday was perfect.


I didn't have to do much except copy the bag I was already using.  So I cut out a paper template then cut out my material and sewed it all together. 


With the body put together I added the handles and now have myself a lovely light weight bag which takes my lunch boxes perfectly.  It only took me a morning and hopefully it will last much longer than the tatty plastic bag.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Snowflake Coster


When we first moved in together I found some lovely placemats for the dinning table.  But that was a while ago now and they are starting to look pretty tatty.  I've been looking to replace them, but I haven't found any I like, so I decided maybe I should make some.


So when I came across Martin Storey's Snowflake design which includes coasters, placemats and a table runner, I knew these were the ones.  Its a pretty design and very straight forward to knit.  I've made one coaster so far, but now I know what I'm doing it shouldn't take long to make the whole set, it's the sort of thing I'll do between bigger projects.  And now I know that while continental knit stitch is amazing, continental purl is pure evil.  I look forward to completing the set. 

Sunday, 19 May 2019

The Loch Ness Marathon - part 6

 
So this is the last update around the Loch Ness Marathon which I ran last September (promise).  To encourage people to sponsor me I offered everyone who did sponsor me the chance to be entered into a prize drawer.  The winner could chose to have something knitted for them, be it a jumper, cardigan or teddy.
 

So having run the marathon I had to find someone to drawer the name for me.  We found a lovely lady in the Baxters soup tent to do this.  I think she was a bit bemused but was happy to help.  She pulled out my friend Katie's name.

 

Once back home I let Katie know she had won then waited while she found a pattern she liked the look of.  She chose Kate Davies Carbeth jumper.  We then had a lovely visit to the local wool shop to select some wool. She went with King Cole Magnum Chunky in parsley.  The photos here don't do it justice - it is flecked with lots of different colours and is quite beautiful.


Then it was just a case of sitting down and knitting it.  It was actually a really lovely knit.  Fast to do because of the chunky wool, and quite straight forward - it only took me just over a month to knit.


And it came out really well and actually fits her which is amazing.  Of course its the wrong time of year for a thick roll neck jumper now, but she'll be all set for winter.  The sleeves might be a tiny bit too long, but the rib cuff means she can roll them up to the right length so I'm not too worried, much better than being too short!


And I learnt a new technique - grafting.  This allowed me to join the stitches under the arms in a way that looks like the knitting just continues.  My first attempt wasn't perfect but I'm really pleased with my second attempt. 


 All in all it was great to knit my friend a jumper.  As I knitted it I thought of all the cool stuff we've done together over the past 20 years, from the bouncy castle in her garden for her 21st Birthday to all the chats and walks and eating cake together.  I hope she can feel all those positive thoughts and happy memory when she is wearing it.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Basingstoke Festival 5k Race 2019


Today I ran the 7th Basingstoke Festival 5k race.  Not only is it the 7th time this race has been held but its the 7th time I have run it.  We had a lovely morning for it, sunny but not too hot but I was glad I decided to wear shorts and a t-shirt.
Following my success at the Winchester 10k I was determined to get my time under 26 minutes where it has stuck now for the last couple of years. 
This is a really nice race - you start off running through the shopping center, then out round Waitrose and some office buildings before running round a boating lake.  And it's so well organised, my time was printed out and stuck on a board by the time I'd caught my breath and no queuing for toilets either.  I just wish the medal was a little more exciting.
Anyway, I was dead chuffed to come in at 24:59.  Only 6 seconds slower than my 5k PB.   
I look forward to coming back next year and seeing if I can get it under 24:50!

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Joni Dress


With a week off for Easter and some lovely stripy material just waiting for me to do something with it, it was time to have a go at another of Tilly and the Buttons Stretch patterns.  This time I made the Joni Dress.


I did make it a little harder for myself by using a stripy material, but it was still pretty straightforward to make.  I spent an afternoon getting my pattern sorted and cutting out my material, then a day to sew it all together.


The hardest part was the neck line, but I got there in the end.  Matching up the stripes took a little extra time, but was well worth it in the end.  I'd also found some tiny pink buttons in my button jar which were just perfect for a little detail on the arms.
I only wish I'd thought to add pockets when I was putting together the skirt.  Tilly has a blog post about how to do this with any pattern which would have been perfect.


I can't decide if this can be a work dress or not.  The pink stripes are a little sparkly, so it feels like it wants to have more fun than just sit in an office.  I do know that I'd like to have a go at making it as a real party dress with velvet and sequins!  Maybe in time for Christmas?