back again

It feels like its been a while.  Sometimes I just don’t feel like blogging and I don’t feel bad about that.  Hello again.

This most recent absence though is more to do with an almost entire lack of crafting to share.  I didn’t just lose my knitting mojo this summer, my spinning, dressmaking and quilting mojo’s all flew out of the window too.  There were no major house projects to occupy me, or big changes in the garden.  I’ve just been living quietly and my brain’s been a little full of worry to fit anything else in.  (The worry is easing a little now.  There was nothing particular to worry about, just the prospect of something bad happening.  So far, it hasn’t.   Right now, things are fine. But when terrible things have happened to you before sometimes its hard to shake the worry away.)  Sorry if that’s a little cryptic.  I have no secrets but am a little shy and cautious.  I might talk about things more here when I’m ready.  In the meantime, if you’re on Ravelry, this knitting project helps explain it.

And onto the making!  Pretty much the only thing I worked on through my worry was my Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery monthly sampler.  I worked on it a little back in January and then stopped, so I had a lot of months to catch up on.

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I think progress (and so the fact that I made anything at all) should be credited to my good buddy Bex.  She’s working on the same thing, alongside lots of other beautiful embroidery pieces, and she made me want to reach for my hoop.

Just in the last couple of days I’ve felt my knitting mojo starting to nudge me a little.  Maybe something to do with a trip to a new yarn shop?  I cast on for a Wee Brock for a friend* as soon I was home and fed.  I can feel that obsessed-with-a-new-project feeling coming on.  Hopefully it’ll lead to another one…

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*This friend is a Mr Saz’s cousin, who has an adorable little two-year old.  She doesn’t knit, but always seems to be appreciative of handknitted things, and she got a lot from the ladies at her work (and me) when her daughter was born.  But as new babies have been born, her supply dwindled.  I randomly knit a little cardigan and it was passed to her, and I didn’t hear much, apart from ‘she says thank you, she loved it’ from my mother-in-law.  Then, a couple of weeks ago I was in a different town and randomly walked into her and her little girl.  Her daughter was not only wearing the cardigan but she was snuggled up it, it was covered in bits of the biscuit she’d been eating and wow, it looked like it had been loved.  I could see her looking embarrassed that it looked a little messy but all I could think was ‘You get more knitwear for your little one.  You get ALL THE KNITWEAR for your little one.’  Seeing the things I’ve made look used and loved is one of the best feelings ever.

I’m not ready to talk about the time I was in my sister’s house and spotted the huge quilt I’d made her scrunched up her dog’s basket.  It might have looked used and loved, but it gave me the opposite feeling…

february and april

We’re back now from our little trip (more on that later).  I used my train travel wisely, and stitched away on my samplers from the Dropcloth Sampler of the Month Club.  As much as I love knitting, its nice to have fallen for another portable craft.  It almost makes me miss my commute.

This sampler series is becoming a bit of diary of my year.  I stitch the samplers in colour combinations that are meaningful to me at the time, or that are featuring in my life in some way.  The fabric I use for backing is starting to be involved in this too.  I feel sure that these samplers will become part of a quilt next year, and the plan is starting to come together in my head.

February was blanket stitches, and all about love –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAApril landed in my ‘craft tambourine’ (as Mr Saz calls it) as soon as it arrived, leapfrogging March since it didn’t require a stitch dictionary and therefore was a bit more travel-friendly.  March has some very personal inspiration behind it, and needs a bit of thinking.

And so April was running stitches, and all about growth –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAApril makes me want to go back to the previous samplers and attack them with the embroidery foot on my sewing machine.  But since I’ve already considered them done, I am resisting…

happy mail day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m about to go on a little trip, and take a class a class with Tilly at Ray Stitch.  I am beyond excited about this, my dress-making skills have slipped a bit and a refresher is required.  Especially when there are 3 metres of blue silk waiting for me when I get back, ready to be transformed into something amazing for my little brother’s wedding next month.

Before that though I am squeezing in some last-minute decorating (what do you think about the grey wall?, I am a little in love with it) and getting my crafting ready for the trip.  The new plants will be potted on in the greenhouse and will need to wait until next week.  So much to do!  It’s starting to feels like the season of doing and growing.

slow stitching and a giveaway

Pretty much all my crafting falls into two catergories – very fast and very slow.  Sweaters probably fall somewhere in the middle, but I don’t make too many of them…

It’s working well for me just now.  Keeping a balance seems key – if I’m working on a slow sewing project like Swoon I can pick up a quick hat to knit for relief.  And when the Beekeepers Quilt or those massive colourwork socks get too much I stitch up a quick potholder, or spin a little sampler.  Its helping to keep me sane and focused right now, which is just what I need.

Finishing Swoon gave me a little more confidence in my ability to actually finish big, long-term projects.  So I started another –

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The first patchwork I ever did was paper-pieced (and small), and this is the first time playing with it since.  I even managed to find my old hexagon templates, though, um, I’ll obviously need a few more.  This one is destined for another family member, and one with an extremely large bed.  I’ll need to get some sneaky measurements of it…  Just as Jules said in the comments on Swoon, one stitch at a time is the best way to undertake big projects.  I’ll do this the opposite way to Swoon – hand pieced and then machine quilted.

I’m in a kind-of methodical mood at the moment, taking my time with things and being thorough.  I did a little spring cleaning (including cleaning and oiling my sewing machine – eww), and came up with a little giveaway.  In my embroidery box I found two of the same Dropcloth samplers – the original one shown here.  I’ve decided to give one away, and will throw in some hand-dyed silk from the Yarn Yard.  It’s lovely, dyed just a few miles from my house, but is a little thicker than I like to use for my embroidery (but is loved by others, I’m sure.)  If you’d like these threads and the sampler just leave a comment letting me know, and on Tuesday night I’ll pick someone at random.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI might dig around in my stash and see what I can add in too.  Have a good weekend x

january sampler

I’m not sure where February has gone.  How can it be almost over already?

Our house has been very quiet for the last few days and yesterday was filled with worry.  Penny had some surgery – nothing life-threatening or serious – but nasty and uncomfortable nonetheless.  I picked her up from the vet, drugged and unsteady, and was told that she’d needed 13 teeth removed, as well as three benign lumps under her tail.  We inherited her bad teeth when we rescued her, and now the dental work is complete I am armed and ready with brushes and chicken-flavoured toothpaste for when her wee mouth recovers.

And so as she lay slumped in bed yesterday, crying whenever I stopped stroking her head, I realised that knitting anything was going to be difficult.  So I switched to embroidery, which seemed easier to pick up and put down for when she woke up and realised I wasn’t there.  My little January sampler from the Dropcloth monthly sampler club got finished off, and I made a start on February.  Seems only right since the month is almost over, and soon the March design will be arriving…

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my favourite wip

There are lots of things I love on my list, but the one that is now closest to being finished is definitely my favourite.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sad to be finishing work on my Ursula, but excited at the same time.  The buttons are ready, and hopefully I’ll be wearing it at the weekend.

This space has been very knitting-heavy recently, but I have plans to start on a new embroidery project this week, and its a quick one…

2013

Happy new year!  I was immensely glad to say goodbye to 2012.  It was a year that a friend perfectly described to me as containing ‘the worst kind of awfulness.’  It changed me forever, but made me stronger too.

For 2013 though, I have high hopes.

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Last month I asked all my family and friends that were spending Christmas with us for one word or phrase.  Something that summed up their hopes or wishes for 2013.

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Some people offered the same words, and so they were simply included twice.  Some people got a little excited about their word and wrote it out three times, so that’s how I stitched it.  Round here, animals are part of the family and so their words were included too.

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It took a while for me to decide how to finish it, but its now hanging in my office as a reminder of the lovely people I’m surrounded by, and of what they are all aiming and hoping for this year.

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My word is at the very end, stitched in a lighter thread.  It feels a little like a whisper, not really legible unless you’re up close – hope.  This year I hope for happiness, light and life, for me, for my family and friends and for all x