Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Father Christmas and the Vintage Fairy

Well the decorations have at last surfaced. Everything has a story!!! 

The Father Christmas was made for the first Christmas that I had my granddaughter living with me. 

The fairy dates from about 1956 when I was three!! Such a long time ago now.
She has the prettiest face ever, look at those cute dimples. 

Snowman, another 3ft tall stuffed and sewn decoration, is quite jealous as its his turn to hang in the window. They fight every year as to who will hang next to their darling fairy.

Fairy really needs a new dress as the one she has dates from 1969, when it was lace cuffs on my Mothers going away dress. That's the year she got married to my Step Father. More memories, as the dress was found carefully packed in tissue, when my Mother passed in 1985. I made the dress that Christmas. Sometimes you just have to have memories, its nice to think of loved ones.

Super Warm Shetland Wool Jacket For Ethna

Just thought you might like to see how I go through the design of a garment. 

First I discuss with the recipient what they want, style, yarn, fibre, colour style. Then I look to see if I have some suitable yarn in my stash. So I had a phone call from Ethna, she's suffering from the cold and wants a jacket in 100% wool in an aran style.

She did mean the really thick Aran knit style but that type of yarn is way too thick for the machine that I have. I suggested Shetland yarn as its light but very warm. Now its off to the books to find a suitable punch card. 

Picture three shows the test knitting. Here I am trying out various needle settings and tensions. This did not go very smoothly as my machine decided it did not want to co-operate and I had to spend several hours finding a technical fault!!!

Shetland yarn arrives spun in oil, so after knitting the test sample it has to be washed in hot water with much washing up liquid, Then rinsed in softener. This transforms the yarn from an oily smelling, stringy looking item to soft fluffy yarn.

The card is shown in the middle picture and I have spotted an error in it, darn that did not show up in the test knit. I have to mend the wrongly punched hole, with sellotape.

The 1st picture is the final sample.  The purple threads are marked stitches so that I can measure the number of rows and stitches to 10cm. 

After finalising the stitch and yarn details, I can now look for a suitable style. Just a round neck jacket with patch pockets. Measurements are entered into my Designaknit (DAK) knitwear design programme on the computer. This then shows on screen a pattern, just like a dress pattern. It shows each front, the back and sleeves. This is an original pattern so I have to make sure that all pieces fit together and measure correctly. Also I have to add the pockets, front bands and collar pieces. Then I print out the pattern.

So far its taken me about ten hours to get this far, not including the breakdown time. That does not include thinking time, which goes on whilst I am doing other stuff!! Today, I hope to get the back knitted. I will then wash this and measure, when dry. Just to double check it is coming out the correct size.

Now you know why its costly to have garments made to order!!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Zoe in Birdland

Finally finished this!! Yippee, its been hanging round as other projects took preference.

Now I am onto the rest of my own Christmas makes................ pictures will have to wait till after Christmas, just in case any nosy friends spy their pressies!!!!!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Lst Minute Christmas Card Order

More christmas card designs. The cup that loks like wine is, unfortunately my water pot :-))

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Happy Christmas Every One!!!

Hope you are all having a fun time getting ready for Christmas!!!

Today is card making, so this is my design from paper and bits and bobs I have in stock. The wee cards are some I designed a few years ago. I have just printed mini versions and made them into cards for Bear to hang round his window.

Have a very Happy Christmas one and all.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Knitting Masterpieces One Finished

Its been a busy couple of days finishing this sweater. My brain has finally got back into the swing of machine knitting. There are so many things to remember, I am so glad I learned this when I was young, would stand no chance now!!!

Here is the finished jumper, I am really pleased with it. So is my friend she popped in today to see if I had finished it!!! Pictures show, side seam, matching patterns!! Neck all hand stitched.

The finishing is the most important part, the machine knits perfectly every time. You have to sew the garment up well to make the whole thing look good.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Well today has been a day of surprises. Saw a loose dog, a Basset Hound running past my house. So Molly and I wrapped up warm and went to catch him. I put him on the lead, after having to chase him round. Boy those dogs are really strong. He eventually managed to trip me up and I went splat into the verge. Lucky for me it was a nice soft landing on the snow.

Only thing I landed on my mobile and it made a dent in my thigh!!! So bruises 'R' Us here. I am thinking Molly might make a good camera girl so I can get the £250 from you've been framed.

I have been busy on the knitting machine again. Browns and red is for my friends son again. Next one Jade and Navy Fleck is for me and the others are just testing out patterns.

I finished my turquoise sweater and am wearing it today, lovely and warm it is too!!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

These are the sample swatches for my jumpers. I am busy knitting on my machine, last week I made a sweater for my friends son, he has Downs and has shorter than normal arms, so it was good to be able to knit him a jumper that fitted!! He walked round to mine on his own to say thank you, tears in eyes on that one!!

Now I am knitting a few warm sweaters for me. They are just basic raglan round necks, with polo collars. I have a professional design programme on my computer. I feed in my measurements and the stitch and row counts then out comes a pattern. Its brilliant. Once upon a time I used to work all this out by doing the maths.

I think the ice is too bad on the roads so am giving the Contemporary Art Group a miss this month. The school bus has not run today. We are 1 1/2 miles from a salted road. Just can't afford a car accident.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

My First Art Sale

Today was my first time helping at the sale at Cuckoo Farm, its not paid you help for free :-) . Hazel was there to help me learn the ropes and we had great fun. Quite a few customers and we made some sales too. Even better I sold two of my boxes and some cards.

Two ladies from my art class turned up and they bought the boxes. They are coming back next week so I hope the stuff at the framers is ready by then.

Any way a few pictures so you can see what the sale gallery looked like.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Fun With Acrylics Art Class

Wednesday evening, my church hall I taught an art class, Fun with Acrylics. Eight people came ages 13 to 70's, some painters, some not. We had great fun, they are all coming back next month too, so I think it went well. Here are some of the results.

Acrylics, painted with foam pads and tile grout scrapers. Once dry we cut them up and rearranged the pieces in the mounts. Some swapped pieces with their friends. I think the results are brilliant.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Cuckoo Farm Studios

The great Winter Lights Sale is on 13/14th and 20/21 Novemebr check it out here.

I shall be selling some of my cards, boxes and pictures here for the first time. Today I took them over, Molly my wee staffie came along too. We stayed a couple of hours to help with sweeping floors, washing display shelves and stands and then painting. Molly was a real good girl and made friends with all the artists that came along to drop stuff off. It was great fun.

Hope you can come along there are some great items for sale.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


I just had to buy this for my Staffie Molly. She suffers with the cold, having a thin coat. This is a wee bit tight so next one I have to get the bigger size. But she just looks cute.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Lovely time at the CAG today, Julia did a drawing exercise and I am pleased with my efforts, pictured above. Cherry bought us all Christmas Cake, there goes the diet.

Eve and That Apple Tree and Three Objects in Red and Black.

After the group I went into Sue Ryder charity shop and got just the right fabric and base for the Sewn collages. Emily in Birdland, is made from all recycled or left over materials from other projects. So its not cost much. The birds are again from those given to me by my friend Fi. I've done another one for Zoe too.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Starting a Journal

A group of my friends from Loving Mixed Media, this is a link to my page are doing Journals. We plan to do so much then swap them around and do some work in each others, then pass them on again.

We hope it will be fun and we can do some new ideas, add to each others work etc..

This is my front cover. Then a collage of all the business cards I collected at the Essex Art and Design Fair in October. I met and talked to all those interesting people. That's the inside front cover. It will be interesting for the girls in the USA to see who is around near me.

Flu has gone at last, just a bit of a cough now. I hate being ill. Molly has hurt her leg, so we have had a vets visit. She is on 3 months house rest, injections, which I get to do and pills. More bills. Hopefully this works then she won't have to have an operation.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Starring the Mad Birds

Hey here I am again back in 1950's land. Now the Mad Birds have got in there with me. Some have even been brave and are modelling their bikinis for you.

When I was sewing this batch I noticed that some of the captions could apply to two cut outs. So you can see this on the Mademoiselle Letter picture. The Little Mouse could be Mademoiselle too! I will look out for more of these in future, that theme works for me.

I must get Fi to do some more of her cats 'n' birds these have worked so well. She's still not seen any of them yet as I am still not well. Now the flu has left me with a chest infection., I am wheezing like and old pair of bagpipes!!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Fighting Flu and Birds in Girls Stories

Its funy when you start on some art it just gets hold of you and you get a sort of compulsive addiction to it. This seems to have happened with these sewn pieces. I just can't stop producing them.

Even when I've got a stinker of a temperature, streaming nose and am generally dying with the flu. Every day I am stitching away, thinking how can I combine the next lot, what colours should I use, stitches, my head is just going round and round on this.

This lot are starring the mad birds, again drawn by Fi, in scenes from a 1950's girls story book. I love the madness of the patterned paper, the really starchy pictures and captions, then you do a double take and say, "What are those birds doing in there?" It sort of throws your mind, because really they just do not belong together, but they sort of go, if you know what I mean.

When looking through these books, it strikes me that we have come an awful long way in regard to our way of portraying some ethnic peoples and women. For the better, but all this change has happened in my lifetime. Views I accepted as a child I would not tolerate now. That means some of the images I have not used, although they do portray the period.

Any way enjoy the Mad Birds.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Oh!!! Now the Cats are going to publish a book!!

Well the cats loved starring in the sewn picture series so much they have asked if they can be in a book. So we searched the picture books and found one they liked, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It just so happens that two books had pictures of this story, so we have made our own version.

The 12 pictures are all sown, just have to do three more Goldilocks' hair. The old book which will be the base pages has been butchered and stuck together. That's now being flattened and drying under a heap of books.

So there is a taster of some of the pictures for you.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Colchester Fine Art Open Exhibition

Last night my friend Jennifer and I went to the Preview night it was quite packed. Wine and nibbles, got a catalogue, well you have to especially as all the art work is pictured. Not that I'm being big headed but this may never happen again.

My painting is in the foyer, so its right in your face as soon as you enter the building. Mary who has bought it is coming along with Danielle to see it. She's so pleased with herself for picking a painting that is now in an exhibition.

I forgot my camera, doh what an idiot so only a picture of the catalogue!!