Thursday, 30 June 2016

Still no knitting

My wrists have been feeling much better without knitting or crocheting but there is still a long way to go, so the yarn is packed up in the loft and I continue to explore other crafts.

Earlier this month I made a curtain for Pinky's room after months of battling with a faulty shop bought blind.  I didn't really know what I was doing so just had to work it out as I went along ...

Pinky and Perky have been trying some origami using this book:

Sometimes it's interesting to see the trials before the finished article:

I didn't want to be left out so found a good tutorial on youtube here to make a dragon:

For the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations Pinky and Perky each made and decorated a cake for the village garden party competition:

Both cakes were inspired by ideas found on pinterest.  The crown cake was originally inspired from this article and the silhouette cake links from pinterest through to but at the time of writing this post the blog is not available.

Pinky and Perky have also been working on cross stitch projects which have been taking a long time, mainly because there are long gaps between working on them:

The penguin pattern was found on pinterest and links back to here.  I have been unable to find the panda pattern on the internet again - if it is yours please let me know so I can correctly credit it - but there are many similar ones on pinterest and google images.

I have made a bit more progress with my quilting, but it's been a bit painful to do it for more than 10 minutes or so.  I'm now on the last combination of patches: 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Crafting with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I wasn't surprised to get a definite diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome recently.  I have had hand and wrist pain for a few years but the main problem from CTS is interrupted sleep and the exhaustion that leaves behind.  Of course, this is a difficult diagnosis for a knitter and although I haven't done anything yarny for a couple of months now, I really want to do something crafty.  

Many, many years ago (more than 30!) I was given a few bits to do some patchwork.  I was just a child at the time and without anyone to guide me and no internet it was an unfulfilled dream to actually make something with these tools and fabric.  I tinkered a little more with them in early adulthood and on a couple of other occasions, making quite a bit of progress last year or the year before with making the patches.  With knitting and crochet off the menu for a while (or longer) I decided that I would see how my hands coped with sewing.  At first I did a bit of embroidery, just trying to learn some stitches really, and I'll post about that in due course, but then decided I really wanted to make some progress with the decades-old patchwork quilt, so I finished the last few patches and then started arranging and re-arranging them:

I searched for photos from about 14 months ago when I'd started trying to lay out the patches.  I started on the dining table:

but soon had to progress to the floor:

These were helpful in working out how to join the patches, but I'd made more patches since the photos so really had to start again.  It's always helpful to rule out what you don't want to do though, on the way to working out what you do want to do.
So, here are some of the flowers I have put together:

There's still a long way to go, but so far no wrist or hand problems from the sewing :-)  By the way, I am learning mainly by error and a little by youtube how to do this - a great many time-consuming mistakes are still being resolved!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

When Crafters go on Holiday

When crafters go on holiday, I wonder if they all do what I do which is generally to look out for crafty things.  We recently had 6 days/5 nights in West Wales and it was absolutely stunning.  Here is just a little of the craftiness:

Sheep's wool caught on barbed wire.

Amazing patterns in the sand left by the retreating tide.

A visit to St Dogmael's Abbey:

Wood carving above the door to St Dogmael's Abbey (probably an image of St Dogmael).

Bright, bright coloured stained glass and beautiful paintings below (St Dogmael's Abbey).

Statue of St Dogmael.

A visit to Cilgerran Castle:

Enormous wicker man at Cilgerran Castle.

Very imposing.

A visit to the National Woollen Museum:

Huge chair and huge knitting at The National Wool Museum of Wales.

I wasn't sure if the public could carry on this knitting.

Lovely model of women gathering sheep's wool.

It must have been back-breaking, slow work.

I think I would rather have been the shepherd.

Two buildings cleverly joined together to create a new indoor space.

How sheep were shorn before electric shears.

A delightful model showing the difference in number of sheep shorn per hour with hand shears and electric shears.

Bunting made from fabric produced at this mill.

Very appropriate decor.

Examples of the produce from the mill.

One of many machines from the mill - I am unable to name the vast majority of them.  This one seems to be a press of some kind.

This one also seems to be a press - quite a serious one too.

The Hot Press Stand

This is how I knew its name.

A fantastic old wooden cart full of ...


This wheel had lots of little spikes to collect up the small parts of fleece.

Beautiful weaving.

A work of art in itself.

I think this was the other end of the machine with the wheel with lots of little spikes.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who makes a mess.

How much fluff?

More beautiful weaving.

I think this machine stretched the bits of wool out into longer strands which had a special name which I've forgotten.

This makes it look easy - I don't think it is though.

Wool and languages all mixed up - perfect!

Look at the lovely red.

A coracle - different type of crafting but still very admirable.

Using a coracle to get into the river and wash the sheep - hard work.

There were lots of these signs - for some reason I really liked them.

Spinning before all those machines.

Very fine work.

Enormous loom.

Couldn't help thinking about all those little Victorian children running back and forth, risking their lives ...

Beautiful craftsmanship.

I think this was for pressing/stretching the cloth.

Fantastic square yarn holder/wheel - never seen one of them before.

This little trap door in the upstairs floor was used to pass up bolts of fluffy yarn from the floor below, ready for it to be thinned out.

I think these were the 'sausages' from the carding.

Such clever architecture - this was the view from the bridge taking us from one building to the other at first floor level.

Absolutely enormous boiler - you can tell its size by the chairs and bench near it.

Clever roof windows ...

a craft in themselves.

This is part of the tentering machine with its tenter hooks (another language/yarn combination).

State of the Art in its time.

Outdoor tentering.

Stunning array of patterns.

Set up like an old 'back of shop'.

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

I could easily snuggle up in any or indeed all of these.

Part of the old shop display.

Just look at all that work.

Huge quilt - makes my eyes go funny.

This was all I could find on knitting.

If I remember correctly this was made from parts of the cloth made at the mill.

I think this was called a memory quilt.
Now, this amazing museum was not the end of my crafting experiences on holiday, I was also very blessed to get to see the Fishguard Tapestry.  I knew nothing about this extraordinary piece of work, nor even the invasion it commemorates, but I'm far more educated now.    The light where the tapestry is displayed wasn't conducive to photos, so I'm afraid I'll just have to tantalise you with this:

And you'll have to take my word for it when I say it is well worth a visit.  30m long and of a similar height to the Bayeux Tapestry it tells the tale of the last invasion of Britain (no, not the Battle of Hastings) in 1797 when the French invaded, landing in Fishguard.  It was only a matter of days before it was all over, but there was plenty to be embroidered.  As well as the tapestry there was a DVD (approximately 30 minutes) being shown on a loop telling how the tapestry was made - wow, what a lot of work went into it, and what inspirational people who made it happen.

Finally, a picture of Cardigan Island as the sun was setting - a piece of work by the Great Crafter.