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!).

Friday, 30 August 2013

Family Ties

Never waste a thing, that's how I was brought up in the post-war years. My parents had learned to 'make do and mend' and I would often watch my Mum unravel an outgrown jumper to re-use the wool. Both my Mum and my Gran had remnants of material which I remember playing with as a child, dressing my own dolls and making collage pictures. Perhaps that's where my love of fabric was born.

As a young woman I would make nearly all my own clothes, and when my daughter was born in 1977 I delighted in making her outfits too, both crocheted and sewn. The thrifty ways passed on by my parents meant that if I saw a some fabric at a bargain price I would buy more that I needed, so that when the garment I had in mind was finished, there was always some left over for future projects. This is how my Dad, pictured above, became the lucky recipient of a handmade tie, which he honoured me by wearing when he came to visit his newborn granddaughter. I never found out whether he actually liked it or not but it was a gesture typical of my Dad.

The fabric had originally been bought to make a maternity dress, which would also served to hide my post-partum bump; that's what you did in those days, no showing it off as the Duchess of Cambridge did this year. Note also, it has a front tie-fastening for easy access at teatime.

The habit was so ingrained that as a young mum I would often buy enough fabric to make an outfit for me and one for my daughter, creating a family tie of a different sort. My husband and father were thus spared any further embarrassments of having to wear a tie which matched my dress.

Followers of this blog will know that I still have the habit. My owl cushions and toys contain scraps to match my grandchildrens' garments, as well as my own Laura Ashley bridesmaid dress from thirty-five years ago. In fact it all ties together nicely.

Sepia Saturday inspires us each week to us search our photo albums to match a prompt. This week's image was men in rather jolly neckties. Why not join us to see how others have answered the call?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Little Bit of Sparkle

Here's my granddaughter jumping for joy when she received her new cardigan in the post. It was from Simply Crochet Magazine Issue One, under the title 'Little Cherub' and described as having a 'vintage vibe'. The pattern, by Sirdar, called for their 'Snuggly' 4 ply yarn, but Black Sheep Wools had an offer on of Wendy's Peter Pan Moondust so I bought enough for the cardigan and some for my stash (I knew I'd find a use for it). When we last visited UK in April, my granddaughter was interested in my crocheting and I told her I'd be making her a cardigan with little sparkles in it next. She was very patient, although she asked a few times when it would be ready. I took the opportunity to get her measurements and hope she wouldn't have too much of a growth spurt in the interim! 

By the looks of the pictures I got the sleeve length just right, and I can always add a row or two next time I'm over if needed. It would be more tricky to add to the length, as I have with other things I've made for her, as this garment was crocheted from the hem upwards, and some creative thinking would be needed.

It was a fairly easy make, but for some reason the bodice decreases wouldn't come out with the right number of stitches at the shoulder. Checking on Ravelry, it seemed I wasn't the only one, so a few minor adjustments were made. 

If I make this pattern again I'd add a little button as the ribbon isn't enough to hold the garment closed when you do a lot of dancing and jumping apparently!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ravelled Bolero

bolero |bəˈlɛːrəʊ|
noun ( pl. boleros )a Spanish dance in simple triple time.• a piece of music for or in the timeof a bolero.(also bolero jacket )a woman's short open jacket.ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from Spanish.Sorry, I couldn't resist the puns. I actually like the music, Boléro by Marice Ravel which will always remind me of Torvill and Dean's victory at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, but I have to admit that this bolero of mine became ravelled and unravelled several times, until I finally had the solution - the pattern was wrong! I'll spare you all the ins and outs; what follows is the simplified version.
I saw the pattern on the front cover of a new magazine 'Simply Crochet' (Issue 3) and it looked to be well within my crocheting skills, so I sent for the yarn from Black Sheep Wools* who happened to have an offer on in the peach colour, so that's what I ordered. All went well until Row 9, when, no matter what I did I couldn't get it to work. I drew diagrams and sketches and even gave my husband a crash course in crochet - not the actual hooking, just the chart. Being mathematically minded, he agreed that it was not right and that I wasn't losing my marbles. A thread was started on the Simply Crochet Facebook page, which revealed that others were having the same problem. Similar pleas for help were issued on the Simply Crochet website. We even contacted the designer. I promised you a short version so I'll cut to the chase. In the end a revised pattern was issued (with chart) and at least three people to my knowledge, have completed the garment and shown it on the Facebook page. I've added it to the Ravelry database and shown my finished garment in the Simply Crochet 'finished projects' forum on there, and hopefully many more people will enjoy making it. Once the glitch was sorted out, it really was a joy to make, and now I'm making a second one for someone else. The magazine seems to have got over its teething problems and continues to provide a really good read each month with patterns, ideas, stories and other inspiration. 

The Lacy Bolero is designed by Ruth Maddock and I used the recommended yarn, Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Fairtrade (100% cotton, 50g/125m). I made it in the small size which used five balls. and only cost me £9.95 to make. Hook size was 3.5mm (U.K.). The button was one I had already. I've got the yarn for another one in a pretty plum/aubergine colour (14021) in my stash. Just right for the Autumn here - as long as I can get my other projects finished - it may be Autumn 2014!*Excellent customer service from this company, who shipped my parcel in days.