Thursday, September 29, 2005

National Knitting Week

National Knitting Week is from October 10th - 16th 2005. As part of this celebration of the resurgence of the popularity of knitting I will be hosting a 'Knit In' at Wallsend Library. Bring your knitting and keep me company, or learn to knit or crochet. The events around the country are all in support of the national charity 'Help the Aged'. Hopefully we will raise awareness of knitting and the skills of women, make some friends, and have some fun. The knitting starts at 1pm until 3pm and any donations for Help the Aged will be gratefully received.

Also on a knitting theme The Children's Society are running a campaign from now until March 2006 to raise funds for their work with vulnerable children. They are offering free patterns as well as lots of events on their website so check them out even if you are outside the UK. Winter is usually my knitting time so I will be curling up on the sofa with a few good yarns (sorry) and making good use of my time to raise money for both these worthwhile causes.

Ted's BoM quilt block 3

Ted's BoM quilt block 3
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Here is the third in the series of blocks for Charlee's quilt - a free BoM with patterns and instructions via the web. This phot is much better than the previous ones as it was taken in daylight and shows much more acurate colours. I don't know why Ted chose to put a border around the stars instead of having them but up to the sashing but it is a pretty block and I like these fabrics.

Otherwise this week has been pretty craftless. I now have two scarves in the 'made this for christmas' box. Probably one each for mum and grandma depending how much time I have to do anything else.

Planning to do another applique block for the friendship block swap and then crack on with the bags of fun bag. Also have 2 dolls to make one for a forum swap and the other a special one for a private swap (looking forward to that one, but not started yet). I have also signed up for a christmas ornament swap and they should be nice little projects so may do one of those before cracking on with the rest.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

bags of fun

bags of fun
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

How it all fits onto the bag. The area to the right of the figure is covered in a beaded velvet which is beginning to say 'cosmos' to me. Just beginning ...

mother with cornfield

mother - bags of fun
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

She stands in front of the cornfield. The blank faces are becoming fixed I can't see them any other way at this time.

bags of fun again

bags of fun again
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

More corn :) to the right of the mother figure

Corn Field

bags of fun
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Corn field to the left of the mother figure. This captures some of the view I had out of the train window a week or two back but I will definately revisit this image as it is not all of it. Also I would like to see it on different backgrounds.

bags of fun

bags of fun
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Belle asked to see the Maiden in context so here she is. Happy with this figure now, although it did seem strange to see her clothed for a while, but to save my DD blushes she is now dressed. Wise woman will go on the right hand side, over the pocket and surrounding area.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Maiden Clothed

Maiden Clothed
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Another view of my Maiden. Slightly yellowed colours due to artificial light, but does show the spread of the surrounding stitching. Decided today I will add some flowers later but still not decided whether to add a face or not. Ready to move on to the crone/wise woman now.

Maiden Clothed 2

Maiden Clothed 2
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

A closer view of the Maiden for my bags of fun bag.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Katrina, caring and craft coming in a poor third :(

Just a quickie to let anyone know I am still here :) Very hectic fortnight but I have been crafting :) Only things for swaps in the last few days so I will have to wait to post photos as I have limited myself to posting them after the opening date in case partners peek in here and get a surprise they didn't want to see - yet.

So I have been doing an appliqued Christmas block for the friendship block swap - that's my September one - can't believe this year is winding down already but I have a beautiful stash of red school house blocks which I look forward to making into something in December - probably January!

I am 3/4 of the way through another scarf to the same pattern as my winter swap (see earlier) this one will go in the 'christmas presents I have made' box.

I have joined the Katrina 'all that Jazz' block project over on flickr hosted by SharonB - looking forward to having the time to browse all the other contributors blogs and learn loads.

My bag was well received for the shabby chic bag swap but my partner is unwell so I still have my bag to look forward to - Hi Kelly :)

I have done some work on my bags of fun bag but not as munch as I would like. I am really ready to be finished with my maiden now :) I just need to dress her - the stitching around her shows up quite well and is in different shades of pink but the darker tones don't photograph clearly so fill in the blanks for yourself.

Planning for a doll swap and a private doll swap which will be great fun - have lots of ideas for that one

Also made the second block of an online BOM

- with all these blocks lying around I made a protective folder (fabric) to keep them in until I make them up, happily used a UFO grandmother's garden to decorate the front. So all my blocks are cosily housed between clean white felt sheets until I need them :)

The caring of this title is my children and foster daughter. Big kids back to school this week and it has taken me a while to adjust to being at home with little one again. Very hectic rushing about not getting much done sort of week. Would be very nice to be back at the cottage :) X's mum annoyed me on my birthday too :( but I will survive and that which doesn't kill us ....

More later ... time permitting!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Is this how you design?

I had a wonderful moment this afternoon. DH and I were out with little X at a preserved railway. I was riding along, in the late summer sun, with my head stuck out of the window of the carriage, smoke and steam billowing past. We paused for the engine to run round at the end of the line and opposite me was a corn field, harvested and now all stubble. Around the margin of the field the wild flowers were growing up through the stray corn and stubble. Suddenly I saw for the first time ever a scene that made me want to stitch it.

I have discussed here previously, how working on my bags of fun bag has enabled me to enter new territory in drawing my own patterns for the work I have done. To take a step away from slavishly following someone else's design. This is another new step. I looked at the field in a new way and 'saw' the image I wanted to create in stitches, ideas began to leap into my mind of what stitches and which threads. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me, and my visual memory is weak so I do not know if I will ever actually capture those colours. But for now the amazing thing is the idea, the desire so sew something that I have seen and I have interpreted in stitch. Wow, I cannot really convey how it felt.

Since Wednesday's meeting about X I have been feeling down and blue, today was especially bad and traces of that malaise remain, but now I also have a warm, but somewhat frightening new feeling. I can do this design thing, can't I? I never thought I could before, I never realised I wanted to, but somewhere I had the ability I didn't know I had. Now ALL I need to do is to realise it, make it real. Oh, is that all? LOL. But, no, I should not disparage :) the hardest most surprising part is done. I had the idea! Is this how you design?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Updating the update :)

My swap partner for the winter swap did like her scarf - phew! What a relief :) Feel happier that knitting was an acceptable choice as she knitted for her partner too - a down the line swap.

R has also received her embroidered heart and is pleased so that's good too. I told her she can redo the beads if she wants, still not sure about them myself :(

Have completed the first block of an on line block of the month (BOM) Jacobs ladder first time I've made this block and it went together smoothly. I am using 1930s reproduction fabrics from my stash and may make this the Christmas quilt for my niece depending on how it turns out and time available to make her another one.

This photograph was taken under artificial light and this has yellowed the colours. I prefer to photograph in daylight but nearly always sew at night! Anyway it gives an idea of what I have done craftwise today.

My sewing tonight was very therapeutic as I have had a negative day. Looked After Child Review meeting for little X. I like meetings normally (school governors, statement review, parents evenings, etc.), the structure and invitation to speak ones mind constructively, the social outlet in a controlled setting - I don't know why, I know lots of people hate them, but me I love it, the formality appeals! In fact I went to a very sloppily run meeting a couple of months ago and I really wanted to take over and do it properly hehehe. These meetings, however, are different, they are so negative and achieve so little. Excellent chairperson, lots of structure but such unhappy and desperate people with such unhappy and desperate lives, making so little if any progress between each meeting. They leave me feeling very gloomy.

So my Jacobs ladder has pulled me out of that grey place and back into the sunshine :) I have another BOM project which has been gathering dust since January. I think the forum feedback and the personal contact via email with the teacher has made this a totally different undertaking for me :)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Catching up

So, back from my holiday and with minimal housework (sound like I usually do some? - don't be fooled)I felt as if I had done lots of work on my bag - that is until I checked the bags of fun challenge and saw what everyone else has been up to :) Well done everyone, going great guns. My additional work so far looks like this

The idea will be to use different colours and shapes in the stitching for each character and to add charms and buttons etc. to each in themes appropriate to each phase. Belle has been very helpful with sources of inspiration for the crone and ideas are starting to form for her. This is a much slower and more deliberate and careful process than what happened with the maiden and the mother figures - reflecting the nature of maturity perhaps :)

In addition to this I added to the CQ block for Gail by doing a herringbone seam

and a lavender bush

I tried to copy the work of one of the others from the CQ RR I am in at cqcrazy but couldn't do the bullion stitches. I thought I had taken my stitch dictionary with me but couldn't find it so I had to improvise. I made the flower heads by sewing a stitch of the required length and then button holing along it without sewing into the background and anchoring the end. Does this 'stitch' have a name anyone?
The block now looks like this

While I was away I also had the opening day for another swap - the theme was winter and I made a scarf, sadly I still haven't heard from the recipient whether she liked it or not :(

Before I went away I posted a cq'd heart block to R for the friendship block swap I am in - R supplied the background fabric for her block and I had fun playing with different stitches - it ended up like this (I am not sure about the beads but happy with the rest) again I haven't heard from R if she has received it yet but it has been well over a week since it was posted so I hope if she does check in here she will have already received it. i enjoyed doing the blue roses but I think over all I prefer to use the stranded cottons and metalic threads rather than the ribbon, it's a littl unpredictable for me :)

When I got back I quickly made another swap to meet the deadline :) This is for a Shabby Chic bag and was my first proper bag. I made it using a pattern from the latest issue of Country Threads. It is a little handbag with 'wooden' handles in co-ordinating floral prints with lace trim and a internal pocket in a complementary colourway. The pattern called for Pellon but I didn't have any so I used a much lighter weight iron on interfacing and then added wadding which I quilted. I didn't decorate with the appliqued flowers as in the pattern, a) because of time constraints but also b) because I felt the fabrics were not suitable. The finished look is very different from the original and I like it better. I was really happy with this bag so I hope G will like it a lot as it was a hard one to post :) If she likes it too then I will be happy, if not then I will wish I had kept it myself :( I cannot post a photo as I only had the regular film camera at the time and the photo I took is rubbish! Hopefully G will be able to take a picture to show the bag to it's advantage and I will share that :)

I now have a swap lull :) This month I only have a friendship block to do - this time applique and a Christmas theme. There should be another CQ RR block but they take a while to arrive and the next one hasn't reached the previous person yet so I don't think it will be here in a hurry. Then on to Doll making - another new area for me - I've done one. So I should, theoretically, have lots of time for Bag this month