Craft

Hearts for Manchester 

Following last week’s attack in Manchester crafter Beth Clarke put out a call for crafters to make hearts. She’s collecting them and she and her mum will take them and distribute them in Manchester as a “little act of kindness”. 

I thought this sounded like such a lovely idea so have sewn a trio of little stuffed hearts, decorated with heart shaped buttons. They’re very simple but every last stitch was stitched with love and well wishes.


There’s a Facebook group for anyone interested in making hearts, based on seeing how many they’ve received already I decided to keep my contribution to three hearts even if it was tempting to just keep cutting and sewing.

They’re planning to make their first drop of hearts on 5th June so if you are interested in getting involved there is still time.

Craft

100 Days of Cross Stitch – the halfway mark.

Yesterday was the 50th day of my 100 Days Project. You can read more about it here and here but the short version is that for 100 days I’m cross stitching a 10 x 10 stitch square using a palette of 10 colours.

Here’s a shot of the whole piece

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I’m still having so much fun with this project. There are definitely challenges starting to crop up – having only 10 colours means I’m having to either discard ideas or get slightly creative (who’d have thought I’d miss brown?), having only 10 x 10 stitches means some ideas just won’t fit, and having an even number of rows and columns means that some ideas just don’t work because they need any odd number of rows and/or columns and off-setting them just looks odd.

Reaching the halfway point though has reminded me just how long 100 days is (this is not the first 100 day long project I’ve done, and it never fails to surprise me how long it takes to get to the end). This second quarter seems to have gone faster than the first did though so I’ll be back soon enough with my third quarter update!

Craft

A perfect pin

I’ve been loving the recent(ish) trend for cool and quirky enamel pin badges. I’ve only bought a couple so far, my wishlist is ever growing though – seeing other people’s purchases on Instagram is a pretty wonderful opportunity for virtual window shopping!

Last Sunday at The Handmade Fair I did spot a badge that I couldn’t resist adding to my tiny collection. 


This is made by Hawthorn Handmade, a stall that had me oohing and aahing over their gorgeous modern embroidery kits. I resisted the temptation to buy one on the day as I currently have far too many projects queued up already (I did take a card though and have got the website bookmarked now ready for a future purchase). When I saw this pin though I had to buy one  – it couldn’t be more fitting if it tried!

Craft

Halfway.

I reached the halfway point on my current knitting project today. Well it’s not really halfway I suppose, or not if the two halves have to be equally sized in any way. I did at least get to cast off


which feels like the definite end point of this first major section of two that isn’t actually half. The fact it’s stripey does mean though that my next challenge is weaving in these ends 


which is never the fun part of a project. Once I’ve done that I can cast on the other not actually a half and knit until it’s finished and I get to do all of this again. It’s a present that has to be given in a few weeks time so then I will be able to put together a proper finished object post. 

Craft · Music

Sneaking in a song for Saturday. 

I have been trying to write a post today but have been distracted from it by everything. I started writing it in my head this morning but then got distracted by a shopping trip that included my local fabric shop


After shopping I was ready to carry on but then got distracted by lunch… and then by reading something wonderful


Then of course came Doctor Who which was all kinds of distracting, before I realised I hadn’t cross stitched my square for today so had to get on with that 


Which all means that the blog post I woke up thinking about has made it no further than that. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

I did however get reminded of this performance from The Voice of Ireland so I popped off to YouTube to find it so I could share it.

Craft

Making a Morsbag.

At the Handmade Fair on Sunday one of the most interesting stalls that we saw was the one that belonged to Morsbags. Morsbags are, in their own words, re-usable cloth shopping bags made by volunteers worldwide using recycled donated fabric and given away free as an alternative to plastic carrier bags.

At the fair they had a stall where they were giving people the opportunity to make a Morsbag using a pack of precut and ironed fabric – they had two gazebos filled with old Singer hand powered sewing machines so you could make one then and there. We weren’t lucky enough to visit at a time when the queue was short enough to join so instead we brought our fabric away to make our bags at home.

I made mine yesterday. It’s a nice simple pattern and they have a great instructional video on the website that shows you how to make your bag. I was glad I’d watched it as their way for fastening the handles was even more secure than the way I’d planned to do it.

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I think this is a really lovely idea, I’m going to be ordering some more Morsbags labels and raiding my local charity shop for some fabric to make some more.

Craft · Days Out

The Handmade Fair – Midlands edition

On Sunday I went to the Handmade Fair, hosted at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. It was the third Handmade Fair I’d been to, in 2015 I went to both the regular Hampton Court one and the Christmas themed Manchester one. I’d enjoyed them both so was really excited to see that there was going to be a Midlands one shortly after I’d moved back home.

The three days (it ran Friday to Sunday) were hosted by different people – Friday was Kirstie Allsopp, Saturday was Liz Earle and Sunday was Patrick Grant. We didn’t see much of Patrick, he wasn’t involved in any of the sessions we went to, though we did seem him wandering around at one point.

One of my favourite things about the Handmade Fair format is that as well as your admission your ticket gives you access to a pre-booked Grand Make, Skills Workshop and Super Theatre session. The Grand Make is a half hour workshop where you’re one of a large group all learning a quick craft. We did one where we made a coaster using precut wooden shapes, decorating it using ink pads and Chiyogami paper. It was fun, and gave me ideas for other projects, my coaster looked like this by the end of it:

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The Skills Workshop lasts for an hour, and involves a slightly smaller group so you can get more guidance if you need it. The one we went to was called Watercolour Modern Botanicals, it aimed to teach you to paint a rose by the end of the session. I’m no artist, but I’ve learned from previous Handmade Fairs that it’s a really good way to try something new and so it felt good to step outside of my comfort zone. The hour was challenging (and not made any easier by the fact that whoever had used my paintbrush in the previous days’ workshops had somehow prevented the brush from returning to anything remotely fine line worthy) and by the end of it my rose wasn’t very rose like but I’d thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating it. It certainly hasn’t put me off trying a little more with watercolours, though I don’t think I’ll be aiming for anything realistic.

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The final session we went to was the Super Theatre which is a 45 minute long something to watch – whether a demonstration or chat or similar. We went to the Mollie Makes Mash Up. They take two different crafters, give them the same challenge and 45 minutes to complete it. We saw H & Sammy take on Francesca Stone, they were given a white polystyrene wreath and had to decorate it while also being interviewed by the Mollie Makes editor. It’s a great session format, it’s very entertaining watching people making things against the clock.

Alongside all of the workshops, the Handmade Fair also offers shopping opportunities. There was a large Shopping Village marquee filled with people selling their handmade wares, and companies selling things for you to use in your own crafting. I’m always slightly underwhelmed by this side of the event, the number of stalls selling things other people have made always exceeds the number of stalls selling things I want to buy for my craft. At this event there were so many jewellery sellers, and while their products all look lovely I’d much rather have seen a few more stalls selling fabric and yarn.

Comparing the event with the two I’d been to before I would say it fell in the middle. The Manchester event was poorly attended, and the experience suffered as a result – we attended it on the Sunday and many of the traders who’d already had two days of poor sales just didn’t seem interested in being there any more. The Hampton Court event on the other hand is much bigger – the Shopping Village takes up two of the marquees for starters – and is an established event. I’ve seen that the dates are already set for Ragley Hall for 2018 so I have high hopes that it will be growing and will soon match it’s southern counterpart.

Craft

And sew on.

In my last sewing post I mentioned that I’d run out of time to make everything I’d planned. Now though I’ve revisited and completed the third project I’d prepared the fabric for, a lined pleated pouch.

I liked the idea of this project because it was going to take some of the things I’d already been practicing and mastering and then add something new – a pleat on each side of the pouch. 


Like with everything I make, there’s aspects of this I know could be better. I’m already looking forward to making another and improving on them. Getting the pleat on each side in place was tricky so I’m glad I persisted. My favourite bit is probably the topstitching on the edge of the grey fabric – it’s the best and straightest topstitching I’ve done yet. 

Craft

Friday Favourites.

I’m off to the Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall on Sunday. One of the workshops we’re booked in for is a beginner’s watercolour session. I’m really looking forward to it even if it is completely out of my comfort zone – I may be crafty but I’m far from artistic. With that in mind I thought I’d share a couple of arty things that I’ve been loving recently today.

I’ve recently subscribed to BananaJamana on YouTube, I love watching her painting videos like this Moana one.

I’m also a huge admirer of hand lettering and have completely fallen in love with Alisse Courter’s instagram. Her posts bring so much colour to my feed and they’re properly inspiring.

Craft · Life

A crafty cuppa.

Last Saturday was Yarn Shop Day across the UK. I was away so couldn’t get to my local participating yarn shop so I suggested my mom went along anyway. She brought me back some giveaway goodies that have made my future projects list grow longer again, and treated us to these.


I think they’re great fun, my cuppa is currently resting on the crochet one and hers is on the knitting one. I’m sure they’ll get swapped around plenty!