Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Millenium Memory

I have a friend who is a talented craftswoman herself. She makes wonderful patchwork quilts and hangings, and is a very creative person altogether. Many years ago when we were both working at the same school, my friend passed her Grade 5 piano exam. It was about this time of year, and so I spent some of my Christmas leave from school stitching a special New Year/Millenium present for her. I’d seen the design in a magazine I think, and decided it looked like Pam. I just had to change the hair colour.

 As you can see she was delighted with her gift, and I had a lovely thank you card from her, which I still treasure. I didn’t have a digital camera then so the pictures aren”t the best quality and I had to scan the finished picture. The important thing is that the memory isn’t fuzzy though!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Clangers in Kit Form

I’m ready for my close-up
I wonder how many of you recognise this little creature. It’s `Tiny Clanger from the classic children’s BBC TV series ‘Clangers’. The show first appeared on British television in 1969; I was still a teenager myself, but my family and immediately became hooked. The series was being shown again when my children were young and they, in turn, succumbed to the Clangers’ charms. There are dozens of examples of Clanger toys, and I even have one that will make authentic sounds when squeezed. The Clanger above was a joint effort by my Mum and me. She knitted the pieces and I stuffed, stitched and added the ears, paws and garments, and embroidered the features. I think the pattern was a Patons leaflet.
This is my best side

I need to get a move on and make a second one though, as all the pieces have been lying in my ‘To Do’ box for years. 2011 was going to be the year of finishing the unfinished business so I need to stop making new things and concentrate on the next Little Clanger.
Clangers in kit form
If you’ve never seen Clangers I urge you to look them up on You Tube or get the DVD. The message of peace and harmony they bring would serve as an example to many today.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Adding an Extension

Remember the dress and shirt in 'From the Heart’? Well, children being what they are, they went and grew when I wasn’t looking. Fortunately they only grew upwards and not outwards, so with a little cutting and sewing, extensions were added, giving the garments another few months' wear (at least, I hope so).

I had plenty of the cotton gingham fabric left over, so it was easy to add a piece to the shirt, and the dress was just crying out for a contrasting frill. I suppose I could just add another frill next year!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Two for the Price of One

Here is my grandaughter modelling the crochet cardigan I made for her last year. She is making tea for her great-grandma to help her celebrate her 90th birthday.

It had been a while since I made the crochet dress in ‘A Repeating Pattern’ and I thought I may lose the knack again! I enjoyed the pattern - well all the double crochets and trebles, but not the picots, which I found a wee bit fiddly.

The original pattern is a King Cole 3033, and as it came with a jumper as an alternative, I thought I’d try that next. Two for the price of one! Because of her lovely skin colour and dark hair, bright colours really suit her. The cyclamen pink of the cardigan looked lovely, so I chose a primrose yellow for the jumper.

I’ve only just made a start, and with other sewing projects on the go, not to mention these two blogs, I doubt if I’ll have it ready for when they come to visit in a few weeks - especially as I’m now onto those picots! When they come I have to extend the arms and add a couple more rows of shells to the skirt of the cardigan as she is growing apace! At least the pattern lends itself to that sort of addition. She’s a slim little fairy but she’s going to be tall, so let’s hope we can keep the cardigan going for a while yet.

In this update of my original post I have added a picture of the completed jumper. Finished just in time for Christmas 2011.
I don’t think it will be long before I’m adding another pattern row to this one either!

I was delighted to find that she was still able to wear the jumper for Easter 2013. Thank goodnes I allowed room for growth.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Hearts and Flowers

As a special present for my friend Lynda, I made this Patchwork Memory Heart, which I found on the ‘allaboutyou' website. We were visiting UK for a few days and this was a thank you for a lovely time.
I remembered that her colour scheme was blue and yellow, with a sunflower painting and other sunflower themed pieces. The back of the heart is all sunflower fabric and I made up the patchwork from my fabric stash. I had already made the cross-stitch design, possibly to use in a card.

 It doesn’t have a useful purpose and is purely decorative (unless you wanted a giant pincushion or somewhere to pin shopping lists). Lynda was delighted with it and after trying it in several places she chose a spot by the kitchen window. Now I think I’d like to make some more with different themes, but first I have a crochet project to begin!
Now where shall I hang it?
In its temporary position awaiting a nail in the wall

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A Repeating Pattern

My first attempt at a crochet dress for my daughter and my son wearing hand-me-downs!
So, having embarrassed my son by dressing him in a bright blue angel top as a baby,  I compounded the issue by making him wear a playsuit and hat in a pretty cool cotton print, which had been made originally for his sister. I think these days it’s described as ditsy print for some reason. Well he didn’t seem to mind too much then, and it was practical.

The original owner of the ‘ditsy print’ playsuit - my daughter 

 I continued to hone my needle -skills by making most of my offsprings’ clothes. I even embroidered their little towelling bibs!

The dress my daughter is wearing was my next big challenge, and I was really pleased with it. I still have the pattern. I have a vague memory that the child model was Patsy Kensit, though I may be wrong, and it doesn’t say so anywhere. My daughter got a lot of wear out of it and I probably then passed it on to a friend. Yes thrifting was around in the seventies too!

So I decided to make one for my three-year old granddaughter - thirty odd years later.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Hand in Glove with Grandma

As you know from my previous posts, I learned to crochet from my Gran. She in turn learned from her own mother and this was probably repeated along the generations.My own mother is a wonderful knitter, a craft I never mastered.

I thought I’d share with you some of the delicate pieces I have inherited from my Gran. She always worked with fine crochet threads and cottons and would probably have been surprised at the some of the garments I’ve produced from modern yarns.This delicate dressing table/tray cloth is now framed and hangs on my bedroom wall above the bed. A lovely reminder of my inheritance.

The colours are pale cream with a deep burgundy pink running through, worked in random-dyed thread. Here is  a close-up of some of the fine work.

Whilst sorting through a drawer in my craft cupboard I found these gloves she made. They fit me perfectly but unfortunately I have no occasion to wear them.

Here is my Gran on her wedding day in 1918, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the lace edging and trimmings on her wedding dress (and quite possibly her undergarments) were worked by her or her mother, or even one of her sisters.

My Great-grandma had four sons and six daughters (one of whom was my Gran, Edith, above), and as well as bringing them all up and running the family home, she found time to crochet and sew. So many people today say they haven’t got time to learn new handicrafts, or even pursue the ones they already have, but perhaps it’s just a matter of making a choice. I’m glad to see that crochet is having something of a renaissance at last. For more pictures of my Gran and Granddad’s wedding see Wedding Day Delay

I'm updating this and linking to Sepia Saturday where gloves are a possible theme choice. Why not give it a try?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

From The Heart

I decided it was time to pull out the sewing patterns I’d stashed away for the twins, and actually make something! If I didn’t get cracking they’d have grown too big. I found this sundress, which I love, and the shirt pattern.
I had some pink gingham and blue gingham cotton polyester and after much playing around with different fabrics for the contrast on the dress, I decided I’d make a pink dress and headscarf, and a blue shirt  (yes, back to the old blue for a boy theme again), but I’d use the blue gingham as the contrast fabric for hearts on the dress.

Now, the little dress was a dream to make, but I had to re-learn all my old shirt-making skills, and ended up unpicking and re-doing the collar, until I was satisfied. 

Well, I was pretty pleased with the results, though I worried that the shirt was a little short.

After stitching on the hearts, I found some pink satin ribbon and used a decorative machine-stitch to give it a lift.

The shirt has a tiny pink heart on the underside of the collar, not seen by the world at large, but linking the twins heart-to-heart. 

They fit! Great relief, when you’re hundreds of miles away and can’t try them on during the making process. I was right about the shirt though. next time I’ll make it longer. But if you want to see how  overcame the problem of children growing out of garments too quickly, see ‘Adding and Extension’.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Hello Dolly

Perhaps the subtitle should be: "I'm ready for my close-up", as not only have more old photos of 'Susie 1' surfaced from the archives, but today I received an update from my daughter by e-mail. Here she is in 1987 in the arms of my daughter's friend. My daughter, in her turn, is holding Nicholas, who was MY plaything at her age. He is a Roddy doll, from approximately 1960, and has now been passed on to my daughter-in-law for safekeeping for the grandchildren.

Susie aged 10
These photos are from c1987 and here she is on a picnic at the bottom of the garden accompanying, among others, dear-departed Pink Bunny (see Easter Expectations in my other blog).

Susie on a picnic with Pink Bunny
And here is the original Susie in her Spring makeover. I couldn't believe it when this photo arrived today. I asked my daughter if she'd been reading my latest blog. She hadn't and it was purely co-incidental that she'd dressed Susie in her own angel top from 34 years ago. My daughter reminded me that I'd made the bee Susie is holding too. You can see that my daughter, who is in retail management in London, also has a flair for setting the scene. See also ‘Dolled Up’ and ‘If You Knew Susie Like My New Susie’ along with 'Hair Today' which chart the project’s progress and 'On First Getting Hooked' where you can see the angel top below being modelled by my daughter as a baby, thirty-four years ago.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

On First Getting Hooked

I was first introduced to crochet at my Grandmother's knee. She worked very fine crochet with small hooks and produced table runners and dressing table sets of gossamer quality. She learned from her own mother, who was a child in the 1870's, and who probably learned from her mother in turn. My Great-grandma had ten children, six of them girls, and my Gran would tell me tales of how her mother used to make their clothes, including undergarments, which were all edged with hand-crocheted lace. No mod-cons in those days, so I wonder how she found time to execute such fine work.

My own mother is a wonderful knitter and although she has crocheted in the past, she is lost these days without a knitting project. At 90 years old, as you will have read in previous posts, I'm still giving her projects to do.

I dug out my crochet hooks when I was expecting my daughter in 1977. There was no internet, and my Grandmother was quite poorly (in fact she passed away when my daughter was five days old), so I couldn't seek advice. Books from the local library, and a couple of pamphlets and other magazine specials, were all I had for reference. There wasn't the plethora of publications that we see today in newsagents and booksellers. I was so content to be able to produce this hooded shawl as my first attempt.

Look at the price of the pattern: 11 pence
I think that would be called vintage now.

I was quite pleased with myself so decided to make an 'angel top'. That's what you dressed babies in in the 1970's. Those and babygrows (wonderful invention). It was quite a challenge and I'm sure it was full of mistakes, but my daughter didn't mind, and she really did look angelic wearing it.  When my son was born in 1979 he had a blue version. I waited until he'd arrived to get the colour right. Yes, again in those days we did do a lot of pink for girls, blue for boys. I found it harder; probably because my brain was still full of pregnancy hormones, but I persisted, and here they both are modelling their respective tops. My daughter s angel top also appears in the post 'Hello Dolly', where it can be seen still in pristine condition 34 years later.

Maternal Grandparents admire my handiwork - and the angel top!
Paternal Grandma only has eyes for the latest grandson - who could blame her?

Maternal grandparents again - grandson demonstrating his 'startle reflex' beautifully. Clearly overwhelmed by his Mama's latest creation and the bright blue colour!

So, with a break of twenty-nine years I completely forgot how difficult I'd found the second one and decided I'd make TWO, for my twin grandchildren. I chose cream this time and got going. Well, as my now three-year old granddaughter would say, "I did it!"
Considering the problems I'd had in the 70's this was quite a feat - as my brain was now nearly thirty years older!  
It's a matter of choice whether it was worn with buttons down the back or the front.

My Mum again  - showing that she hasn't lost the knack of holding a baby.