Saturday, 30 August 2014

Birthday Cushions

I remembered in the last few days that I totally forgot to photograph and show you the very last project I did in the university studio. I was being very thoughtful and organised and decided to make some birthday presents for the friend's whose birthdays I was missing whilst I did my thing at New Designers.
I asked the girls what their favourite saying was, and then spent a while on Photoshop playing with different fonts and images and layouts until I was happy with how it looked. The image was then flipped and cut out using the plotter and cutter onto vinyl. The bits that I didn't want were peeled off and the remainder heat pressed onto cream linen.

Although you can't really see it in the photos (I totally forgot to photograph them before wrapping and giving them away so have been sent these images by the girls), I have embellished some areas with hand embroidery. In the above 'Live, Love, Laugh' cushion which was for my lovely friend Amy, the word 'Laugh' has been stitched around with back stitch, and the flower has been filled in slightly with french knots.

The 'What If The Hokey Coky Really Is What It's All About?' was for the lovely Vicky, and I have stitched inside the flower petals and backstitched around the inner circles of the 'Hokey Cokey'.
The backs of these cushions are of course, envelope backs, and I have added slightly different widths of Oxford edgings to all of them.

And finally, this quote, 'And We Danced All Night To The Best Song Ever' was chosen by myself as the lovely Emma couldn't think of her favourite one and it reminded me of our nights spent dancing the night away at parties. The left hand side musical note has been backstitched around, as has the inner of the words, 'To The'. The stars at the top have had a sort of star stitch put into the centre of them.

Hopefully these will be much loved cushions!!

I think this will be the last post for a week or so as I am off on another holiday on Monday. This time I will be narrow boating around The Four Counties Ring, and I will, of course, be taking lots of photos to share with you all when I get back. So excited!!!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Sunset Ripple Ta-Dahh!

Woooo!!! I have finally finished it!! The Sister's Sunset Ripple Blanket is now done and dusted and I can down crochet hook and wool for a while. I have felt a bit pressured to make this blanket, it wasn't a nice relaxing ripple journey as I had a deadline and knew that I had to keep going even when I didn't want to.

Of course, if you have been following this blanket's story then you will know that this is the second attempt, and I actually started this version at the beginning of August, working on it since then for days at a time with the box set of Midsomer Murders to keep me going. Less than a month to create a blanket is pretty impressive in my opinion though so I am quite chuffed about that.

In comparison to some of my other blankets this is one of the smaller ones, but is still big enough to snuggle under and get cosy.

So would you like to see it all spread out? Are you ready for the final reveal?

Here we go then.....


If I remember correctly there are 53 rows of colour, so that is 106 rows in total. I have no idea how wide the blanket is in terms of stitches, I tend to be quite organic about the length and just keep chain stitching to start until it looks about right.
This is the first ripple blanket that I have edged, which is quite exciting (I may have to go back to my other ones and add an edge on those too!). Attic24 has just published a ripple edging tutorial which I looked at because I used her ripple blanket pattern, but I have done mine slightly different to hers. Instead of working out of the loops at the top of stitches, I worked in the gaps between the treble stitches, adapting her pattern for the section where you straighten off the ripple. It does mean that you get a kind of frill at the edge of your blanket as you add back in extra stitches but I quite like that.

(For the Attic24 pattern only.) I worked backwards from the centre point at the top of the ripple, between the two lots of double trebles. In this gap I worked a Slip Stitch, from here on you just repeat the following pattern: 3dc, 2htr, 5tr, 2htr, 3dc, ss. The Slip Stitches should always be between the two sets of double trebles, and remember, these are worked between the stitches not in the loops at the top. Hope that makes sense, do send me a message if you need any more help.

The sides of the blanket are the same as Attic24's, two trs in each stitch to create a little 'v'. For the next few rounds, I just worked treble stitches between the previous stitches (again, not through the loops at the top), alternating the direction for each round to create a nice flat border.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Matilda Cushion

The other day I had a request from a very good friend. "I've found the most wonderful fabric!" she said. "I just had to buy it!" she said. "Could you make it into a cushion?" she said.
"Of course!" I said. And so I did. This morning.

The fabric really is lovely, inspired by the Quentin Blake illustrations for Matilda, a children's book by Roald Dahl. I think it came from C&H Fabrics if anyone is looking for Matilda themed fabrics, there might be lots of Quentin Blake themed ones, which would be exciting.
As ever, I made it an envelope backed cushion (my absolute fav and so easy to do!!), and the whole thing was made very quickly whilst Amy looked on (she did help to pull the pins out after I had finished sewing). Apparently now I have a request for a cushion making course so that she can learn to make up her own. Something to think about.

The cushion is designated to go onto Amy's teacher chair where I'm sure it will look fantastic. One very satisfied customer.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Abbeydore Holiday :: Days 6 - 8

Chaps! We come to the last leg of my holiday journey, and I am going to attempt to cram three days worth of photos into one blog post. I fear it will be very picture heavy, I hope you don't mind. Isn't the stained glass window beautiful? I definitely have a thing for coloured glass. This particular window is to be found at Goodrich Castle (we visited an awful lot of castles this holiday!!).

I think it is really strange to walk into a part of these ruined castle towers and have window seats and fireplace surrounds all the way up the walls. How different it all would have looked when actually in use! Imagine walking into a room and sitting on this cosy, sunlit window seat...

...looking out over the impressive view. Probably most of which would be owned by the owner of the castle.

The view in the panoramic photos can only be obtained by going up some very tiny staircases. Although I read the sign that said 'Dark and narrow stairs', you still think that you will be perfectly fine, how dark and narrow can they be? I will never ignore the sign again and will always approach with extreme caution! The stairs were little more than an uneven ladder, and dark actually means, you will arrive at a point halfway up the stairs where no light will penetrate and you will be totally blind, grasping around with your hands looking for the next step up. It was an interesting climb to say the least! (And coming back down was worse!)

On the Friday, The Sister got to choose where we went, and she opted for Hampton Court Castle. Often confused with Hampton Court Palace, lots of tourists end up here rather than there (if you see what I mean) which causes lots of confusion. We definitely meant to be at the castle though so all was well.

Originally built as a posh manor house, at some point it was realised that the very threatening Welsh were creeping closer and defences were needed, so it was built into more of a castle with defence plans and turrets and watch towers, which only add to the atmosphere of the place.

It has a very surprising interior style inside, as during it's long history, it was bought by an American millionaire, who restored it (the previous owner having let it go to rack and ruin) and decorated it how he thought the English would decorate a castle. So it was very over the top, with lots of objects he bought to look the part but wouldn't have actually been used in England- Hollywood guns nestled next to Indian knives and a full taxidermied lion who died of natural causes at Chester Zoo. It all looks very impressive though.

My favourite bit was one of the hallways, and the incredible windows at the top. Isn't it beautiful?

The light fixtures were sometimes very odd as well. The American chap had a slight obsession with chess, and a lot of the replaced chandeliers or larger light fittings are inspired by chess pieces, with shapes of castles and knights and pawns, and the colours arranged in a checkered pattern.

In the ballroom and library though there were some magnificent chandeliers.

The gardens were very lovely. Mostly walled, there was a Dutch garden, kitchen garden, rose garden, water gardens.... a tunnel made out of Wisteria which would be simply incredible when in flower.

There were lots of Swallow nests around, some in every castle we went to, and also in the little pagoda type things in the gardens of Hampton C Castle. We watched them for ages, waiting for the parents to come in and out to feed them, seeing the little beaks open wide, hoping that it is their turn for a juicy morsel. The noise they make when they see Mum or Dad is amazing for such little things. This particular nest had five babies very precariously perched in it. It was a bit of a nail biting palaver when one wanted to go to the toilet and they all had to shuffle round. They were so cute though, especially with the little tufts of fluff on top of their heads.

Also in the garden is a great maze with a tower in the middle. You can go up and see the view from the top of the tower, and also down into a tunnel that is as dark at one point as the staircase at Goodrich Castle but that eventually brings you out next to a lovely waterfall.

That you can go behind!!! This caused great excitement, for everyone who discovered it, although for small people it can be slightly daunting being behind such rushing water and I did make a little friend who appeared and clung on to me for a while until his confidence returned. Very sweet.

The kitchen garden was full of colour and giant sunflowers!! They went up up up into the sky, much taller than any of us, and some of the flower heads were of gigantic proportions!

The day was rounded off with some slightly less exotic, although no less beautiful, butterflies in the herb garden.

Saturday heralds the start of our journey home, and we headed for the city of Gloucester, wandering around the town centre (which smelt awful!!! It probably doesn't always smell like that, but obviously somewhere a farmer had been spreading manure and the wind had been bringing the smell into town. It made The Mother feel ill!). We ended up in Gloucester Cathedral which is very very impressive!

It has hundreds of stained glass windows, one of which is the size of a tennis court!! The cloister is beautifully carved and ornate (I would have a photo but you had to pay for permission to photograph inside), and several family members went on a tour of the crypt. The Mother and I went in search of the Whispering Gallery which was truly astounding. You stand at either end of a passage that curves around behind the biggest glass window, so on either side of the nave and several metres away from each other. You then whisper into the passage and the person at the other end can hear you like you are standing next to each other. Jolly good fun!
When we had finished whispering things and exploring the damp depths of the cathedral it was time to head home. And here ends my holiday story! I hope you enjoyed it, maybe you will go and visit some of the incredible places we did- they are certainly worth the trip. =D xx