Sunday, 24 July 2016

A Little Protection

Well here it is the Talisman Shawl is completed and I am happy to say that it feels as fabulous as it looks The Tia Merino yarn was beautiful to work with and the colours worked beautifully together too.Stardust was the main body and the edging was Swoon.

Tia Merino Yarn by Countess Ablaze and
the fabulous Talisman pattern from
The Shawl Society
I am pleased to say that Shawl number two 'Amulet' is now also completed and has just been put onto my blocking boards. This Shawl also has a beautiful story to go with it Helen Stewart the designer tells us that it was inspired by ' the mystical beauty of an ancient Egyptian carving of a powerful Scarab beatle with wings outstretched to provide shelter and protection from harm' read more when you join the Shawl Society, here's the link;

It was going well
Colours chosen  bottom is
Tia Merino left from Talisman

 My main yarn was a Malabrigo sock yarn which I purchased in America but had lost the label!! The contrast was the gorgeous Tia Merino in Swoon, I was so lucky to have had enough left from the Talisman Shawl to use it as my contrast. My beads were in my stash of haberdashery which is in all honesty out of control but I love it all!
New shawl on the Blocks
Ready for Blocking

So I can now share with you why I have had a need for protection, I was recently made redundant from my job and it was quite a strange feeling.The realist in me said it was just a financial decision which is taken by so many companies nowadays and it was not personal but the emotional side of me felt quite upset and hurt by the decision. I considered campaigning to ban the word 'Redundant' but instead decided to create my protection in the form of these beautiful shawls confirming that I am of some use and that my creativity can get me through the more anxious times in my life. Of course I must also thank family and very good friends for their constant support during this time.

Off the blocking board and looking great - The Amulet Shawl

I must admit that shawls were never really projects which I tackled but I am thoroughly enjoying these projects and cannot wait for shawl number three, watch this space. 

Here are a couple of other shawls which I have recently completed too.

The one on the left is from a knit along by Very Busy Monkey and the cabling was beautiful (not a cable needle in sight) although the edging took me a long time to get completed. 

The crocheted shawl is using odd bits of Kidsilk Haze and fine lace from my stash it is a great basic pattern which looks really effective when finished. 

Shawls are also lovely gifts to give as by nature they are like an arm around your shoulders.

Helen and I hope you enjoy reading about what we are up to and we will hopefully have lots to share over the Summer and into Autumn. Stay well,  H & S xxx

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

When Life Throws You Lemons!

Hello! It has been a while!

Apologies for our lack of posts lately, it has been a busy time with lots going on in our lives. However Helen and I have managed to fit in a couple of events with one of them being a craft day at Stretford Public Hall promoting courses which are held at Trafford College. It was a lovely day and we met lots of lovely crafters showing their wares. Here are a couple of our linen covered jars which we were selling, also note the fabulous tiles in the background, Stretford Public Hall is a wonderful building to look around should you get the chance to.

Well back to the title of our post today, sometimes you really do feel like life is throwing lemons directly at you and you can either collect them and do something positive or wallow in their bitterness. Well as you can imagine I immediately pick up my needles and knit through the barrage of fruit! It does help when your stash has such gems as this just waiting to be used..........

This little beauty was a purchase which I made on Yarn shop day at Countess Ablaze in Swinton, Manchester The yarn is Tia Merino and the shade is Stardust and I have chosen to use it to make the Talisman shawl from the Shawl society by Curious handmade If you take a look at this pattern it tells of pilgrims who made shawls as protection on their journeys and I feel that I am beginning a journey which I will be able to share on our next post and I will definitely be needing a little protection.I will show you my progress on the shawl via instagram so please take a look - just click on the link on the left of this page.

Meantime let me show you what I have been knitting recently, lots of which will soon be appearing on our Etsy shop - Link also on the left.

I do find something very satisfying when knitting socks, as I have probably already mentioned to you all, I feel that they reflect life in so much as you go round in circles and then turning the heel represents those tricky times in life that you get over and then go back to going in ever decreasing circles again. 

More socks cast on and a few more pairs finished and I feel like life is back in some sort of order!!

I truly believe that knitting has helped me to overcome some of the trickiest heel turns that life has thrown at me and I am hoping that it will help me on the next.

I must remember to share my holiday knits from Kefalonia in my next post. Helen and I both love to find a new yarn shop on our holidays and the one I found in Argostoli did not fail to impress me, I even made a purchase........ I will save that for next time though. 

Finally just to end on a cheerful note let me show you the two rabbits which I made for gifts recently from the Toft book 'Edwards Menagerie' find it at it is one of the favourite books in my collection. Have a lovely week.............

Take care..... Sarah & Helen xx

Friday, 27 May 2016

Having Fun Whilst Learning a New Skill

It was really nice to read about Helen's course in Ireland and so lovely to see ladies enjoying it so much too. I think that courses are a great way to try out something new when you are in two minds as to whether or not you want to take up a hobby. Courses give you the opportunity to try before you invest in a lot of equipment. Let me tell you about my fantastic weekend trying something completely out of my comfort zone, upholstery!!!

I visited The Ministry of Upholstery to do the Weekend Footstool Course  I was both nervous and excited, I was going on my own due to having had to cancel a previous booking with my friend and sister, this was definitely not a knitting or crochet course! I did not have a clue what I was doing!
Fabric almost chosen ( I took them both)

Anthony & Susie immediately made us feel welcome with cups of tea and lively chatter about the day ahead and I met the other ladies who had signed up for the weekend. There are two sizes of footstool and I had it in my mind that I wanted to do the larger of the two and asked to upgrade, but a word of warning you really need to book this ahead of your course date because they are made up especially for the course. I was lucky as Anthony dug one out for me. 
Base Made & Webbing on

Legs Painted

All I had to take was my fabric, but as a crafter I had more than one in mind and struggled a little choosing my main one. This is an important choice as on day one you paint the legs of your footstool and they need to compliment your fabric. Susie has such a good eye for the fabulous Annie Sloane paints which you use that you feel like you are in very safe hands. 
Susie helped me to mix two colours to get the perfect match for my fabric, I was so pleased!
Anthony is quite scary when he crosses the line into the upholstery workshop, he, very rightly, becomes Mr Health and safety and when you do your training on using the compressed air stapler you realise why, if you are not sensible and careful a nasty accident could happen. He is very clear as to what is and is not allowed in the work space. Unfortunately he is not as strict with his music choice and tortured us with Dolly Parton on day two (some liked it, I did not!), seriously though, both he and Susie make learning so much fun and their passion for their subjects shines through.

Truly the crafter I made 2 sets of buttons because I could not choose

The work on day one was really all preparation for day two when my muscles where put to the test with lots of pulling and stretching of fabric and tightening buttons, which by the way we covered ourselves on the most fabulous machine, all in all by the end of day two I was exhausted and definitely needed the G & T which was waiting at home. There were 9 of us on the course and each of us made such different footstools, it was amazing. One of the ladies made the most fabulous pink sparkly footstool for her mum using fabric which she sells online.

The stool on the left was made by another student and the legs were done using silver leaf to compliment her pink sparkly top.

I finally chose my buttons (I got to use both my fabrics after all) and used my muscles to pull them into the footstool. I was so pleased with how my footstool was looking!

My legs are also on and I have used lots of skills to get to this point, all under the eagle eye of Anthony.                             

Everyone had had so much fun making these gorgeous footstools and we were all excited to take our prizes home!!

I was very quick to sit down and put my feet up on my new footstool whilst I pondered what my next upholstery project might be!! Maybe sitting and knitting for a while will help the thought process!

You can see lots of Anthony's work on the BBC program Money for Nothing 
which shows you just how creative you can get! Don't forget to visit the website and take a look at the shop where they stock Annie Sloane paints. 

Finally if you are thinking about doing a course in anything look at it as an investment in yourself, it is great to gain a new skill and have fun into the bargain. Why not start small and learn how to crochet with Helen & I.
Have a great weekend xx

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Ireland workshop

Once again I have had an amazing time out in Ireland holding a jewelry/decorative scarf workshop. I had lovely ladies come along on both days and we had a great time. Glen Gallery Crafts is a shop that is just full to the top with crafts and wool, you name it, they have it. 
I developed this workshop because firstly I love to make decorative things, beading with dangly bits, in fact anything fiddly and secondly I have a new i-cord knitting mill, oh my, it is brilliant !!!

This is the i-cord that comes off the i-cord knitting mill (right), just amazing !

Firstly I got the ladies to make themselves a brooch with 
i-cord and a leather flower and button.

And then they had to use there imagination to think what they would like to make. I gave them all a booklet of knitted and crochet flowers, leaves and necklace bases and they had to make a selection and put it all together. I had made a few ideas before hand for them to have a look at.

I think sometimes when you go on a workshop it gets your creative juices flowing because you are with like minded people. There was a lot of knitting going on as well as chatting and some of the ladies finished their pieces but the main thing is that they enjoyed themselves.

All smiles from the ladies

One lady decided to make flowers and decorate her throw that she had knitted and it looked fantastic.

 Lots of work in progress, I hope they finished the necklace because the colours were beautiful

 Glen Gallery Crafts have such a wide variety of yarns, this is a very small selection of yarns that are on sale. If you are ever in Belfast call into Glen Gallery Crafts, Fenagh Road, Cullybackey, County Antrim. Frances and Marilyn are two lovely ladies who are very happy to help  .

Hopefully I will get to go back but just to remind everyone that if you have 4 to 6 ladies who want to learn to crochet, knit or even do a crochet jewellery workshop, Myself and Sarah are very happy to come to you and teach, please ask for details.
So just to say happy knitting and watch out for our next blog.
Love Helen and Sarah xx

Monday, 11 April 2016

How Many are too Many?

I am of course talking about projects on the go! I mustn't be the only one of all you crafters out there that has more than one project being worked on at the same time. It drives my very patient husband mad! I have too many project bags and baskets scattered around the house ready to be worked on whenever I get a spare minute. Below are just a few of the projects which I am currently working on, each one equally as important as the next of course.

Current Projects
I must confess that I sometimes loose track of what I have on the go due to me having a terrible butterfly brain, which is so easily distracted when it sees beautiful yarn which will work perfectly with a pattern I have. My husband is the person who captures that butterfly and gathers up all the ongoing projects and deposits them into my craft room in the loft (Also known as my Lady Cave!) I then go up to get myself organised and sort the projects out so that I can at least get one completed. I find it helpful to lay them out on my crafting table as shown in the picture above and decide which should come downstairs to be worked on for this week. Let me take you through the projects on my table this week.

Rosamund by Kim Hargreaves
This is a lovely little cardigan which should be made using Rowan Kid Classic but I had been gifted some beautiful mohair so I am mixing it with the kid Classic, so watch this space for the finished result - Back and left front are done!

Rum & Raisin - Rowan Magazine 
This is a fabulous little Tee using just 5 balls of Rown Yarns Panama it is a lovely pattern and will be great over a little dress in the summer.
A basic crochet shawl 
Finally, a basic crochet shawl using Rowan Yarns Kid Silk haze, this will be a one ball shawl project, using just trebles and chain for a simple but beautiful shawl, a perfect handbag project needing just yarn and a 5mm hook!

A little summer dress
However, whilst I am confessing to my load, I must mention that when I went into the loft today I decided to cut out a dress for the summer using my lovely Merchant & Mills pattern The Camber Set. I have made this dress before and cannot wait to get sewing!!

The good thing about all these projects is that I am using up my stash of both yarn and fabric! One day I may have no stash left (Ha ha ha ha ha). Anyway I need to get on with my crafting now and I may say a little prayer for an extra day in every week or even an extra 12 hours in every day that no-one else knows about, pure crafting time!! Now wouldn't that be lovely!

Until next time keep well and keep crafting!! Helen & Sarah xx