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New best friend/beast

So, no sooner than I started a blog than I took a huge break from it. Whoops. In my defence, it’s been a crazy couple of months.

I’ve been looking for a new job for a while now,  as I’ve worked at engage for nearly 8 years and really felt that a change was in order. Well, change is a comin’, as from 14 May I’ll be working at the Electoral Reform Society! Quite a move away from the arts, but the ERS’s mission is to reform the electoral system in the UK to ensure everyone is fairly represented, and I think I’m going to really enjoy working with them towards this aim. Their activities include campaigning for the Single Transferable Vote, and working with other organisations such as the Fawcett Society to increase women’s voice in politics.

Despite the silence on the blog front, and all the job applications/interview prep time etc, I have keeping busy on the making front. I love the PurlBee blog for quick, fun projects, and their patterns were used to create some new friends for our living room. My sister Jess, who blogs at http://jessnotpots.wordpress.com/, inspired me to pick up my knitting needles having created the wonderful Owlgot for herself (pictured below, next to a half-created Archimedes, who is a welcome addition to our home). I went for the sister-creature, a rather large beast of a rabbit, who I have named Romily.

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Incidentally, the patchwork cushion was created after I was inspired by a photo posted by Abi of SewYou Handmade – I had a go at copying how I imagined it was made; no sooner than I was finished than a blog tutorial appeared anyway, so I could have saved myself some thinking time… Anyway, it’s a great idea of hers, and I think the result is lovely. Definitely a good way to use up scraps of fabric, and it reminds me of many past projects at the same time.

Um, what else have I been doing… Oh, I made another Peony! (Colette Patterns). This one is probably my favourite, made from the uber-cheap fabric found during my Brighton weekend. Can’t argue with a dress costing less than £20 total to make.

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Last but not least I spent a fabulous day at Fibreworks in my hometown of Chipping Norton learning to needle felt with the lovely and uber-talented Gretel Parker. I worked with Gretel for a short while at Waterstones in Oxford, back before I moved to London and before she had become so renowned as a needle-felter. Gretel has blogged about the day here, and here’s a photo of the little postie bird I ended up making. Image

I hope this mega-post makes up in slight for the gap in writing. Another plus side to the new job is that it’s a mere 30 minute commute from home, so I’m hoping that my evenings will now be longer and more making-filled. I’m also planning to start using Pinterest in earnest, to collect design and craft inspiration, and start designing more of my own things, rather than just following patterns.

But before all that we’re off to Toronto tomorrow for a 5 day stay with family and then 6 days in New York with a friend! I’ve already sought out the fabric shops and am fully expecting to come back laden down with pretty goodies. Hurrah!

Samples snipped to take to the shop for matching zips and thread

Last weekend I spent a lovely day and evening Brighton with the awesome Caz/Caroline. She humoured me with a fair amount of fabric shop trawling, resulting in some gorgeous purchases. The tartan made into will be a dress for myself, the apples are for bags (to sell, see below) and the teal/mustard piece has yet to find a use. I suspect it may been one of those cuts that linger for months or years until the right project suddenly becomes obvious.

Despite not blogging last week, I have certainly been doing a fair bit of sewing recently. I am hoping to have a stall at a forthcoming Brixton Makers Market (with the fabulous Rose of Rose Kentish Kitchen) and am therefore working on items to sell.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hey, it’s the weekend! Well, nearly. It feels like it for me today, as I’m off to the V&A to help out at another Crafts Council Craft Club. The last one at the Whitechapel was really fun and I’m looking forward to seeing what differences there will be at a much larger venue, and during half-term.

We don’t have much planned for this weekend, which feels like a rare treat. I’ll probably be spending much of it on crafting pursuits. I feel very lucky these days, as since our move to a new flat I have my own work area – I grandly consider it my studio, though really it’s just a corner of the living room…

The perfect addition to my expanding collection of stuff  is this gorgeous valentines present from lovely Nick – just what every making-obsessed girl needs❤

Happy weekend to all!

My Colette Peony dress in tartan felt very appropriate for taking tea in Bath

The first item of clothing I ever made was an a-line skirt from Burda, sometime in 2005. This was the summer I was given a sewing machine by a friend’s mum, rescued from the rubbish tip at school. It was a fairly basic Janome, but it did as asked (with a little coaxing), and had the advantage of being the same model that I learned on. Since that summer I’ve gradually increased in confidence around making clothes, though it’s still rather trial and error. One day I’ll get around to having some lessons in pattern alteration and even cutting – until then, it’s all about improvisation and crossing my fingers!

I can’t remember when I first stumbled across Colette Patterns, but it was truly love at first sight. These patterns are a dream to make, packaged beautifully and very easy to understand. Their slightly retro edge really appeals to my sensibilities and the clean lines are very flattering. Read the rest of this entry »

I have signed up to volunteer with the Craft Council’s Craft Club initiative. One element of the scheme is called Knit 1, which aims to introduce children to knitting and crochet through informal events. This weekend they’ll be holding an event at the Whitechapel as part of the gallery’s Family Day, which I’m really look forward to helping with.

Apparently we might be teaching Finger Knitting, which I’ve never actually done before. Luckily the internet can be relied upon for a decent tutorial

I’m hoping to gain an insight into teaching craft skills, engaging young people and working with artists and other makers in a learning environment. Oh, and the Zarina Bhimji show at the Whitechapel is absolutely fantastic; if you can, go!

On a related but separate note, this evening I’m an initial visit to a St Mungo’s hostel in Camden to meet staff (and residents, I presume) and discuss running workshops there once a week. More on that soon… and some more actual craft-related posts too!