Sunday, 30 March 2008

work in progress

Around this time of year I start to panic that I won’t have any work to show when we open our doors for the SouthBank Arts Trail. One of my reasons for starting this blog was to record my work and reassure myself that I am, in fact, doing something even though it may be quite slow.
These are two almost finished pieces. Just that tricky decision – is it finished or not? Then I need to think of a way of presenting them. Current thinking is spraymounted onto board, but I need to do some experiments before I commit to something that may ruin them!
I trudged into town yesterday to buy some machine embroidery thread. (Bristol is oddly ill-supplied with creative needlework materials.)
I have been playing around with stitching into plastic carrier bags. I like the idea of recycling plastic bags and, you never know, they may soon be a scarce resource! Maybe in fifty years time plastic carrier bags will be exhibited in museums as cultural artefacts, monuments to the prolific foolishness of the twentieth century. Of course, they will have to store them carefully in acid-free tissue paper to stop them from fading and degrading in the light.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


This is a mistake.
A lot of knitters seemed to be talking about Noro Kureyon and the pattern of choice seemed to be the Lizard Ridge Afghan. I thought I’d give it a try and bought a couple of balls of yarn. Rather more muted colours than the other examples, but I didn’t want to just COPY, I had to introduce my own twist. Anyway, I’ve knitted up a square and I hate it. I didn’t enjoy using the yarn which is rough and knobbly and makes the complicated picking up of wrapped stitches in the short rows pattern very hard to see. The finished result just reminds me of hippy seventies sweaters. At my age that doesn’t look retro and cute; after all I can actually remember all those earnest young men in their corduroy flares and baggy jumpers – reader, I married one!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


This is what I’ve had on my needles over the past couple of months. It’s a vintage-inspired cardigan for me. All the knitting sites I’ve been looking at are obviously having an effect because I’ve blocked all the pieces before sewing up, which is something I’ve never really bothered with before. Can’t believe how grown up and patient I’m becoming – it’s a fiddly, time-consuming job and I thought I was going to run out of pins!
By the way, did you notice my lovely cactus pin cushion? Thank you gift from the aforementioned Si (who has already had more name-checks than anyone else on my blog!). It caused a great deal of cactus envy from daughters 1 and 2.

The cardigan has to go back on the needles after blocking to knit up the front bands and little shawl collar. It’s been frustrating because I have already had to go back to Get Knitted for an extra ball of wool and I’m worried that I still won’t have quite enough to finish it. They’re holding an extra ball in the right dye lot for me just in case, but I won’t be able to get out there until my next "car day".

Friday, 21 March 2008


I was given some woad seeds for Christmas by lovely friends who know my passion for indigo. Woad is a similar plant to indigo, but native to Europe whereas indigo came originally from Asia (and gradually superseded the local product). I’ve only ever bought and used synthetic indigo so far, so I’m very excited about growing and producing my own dye.

Stu has agreed to let me have a little bit of space to grow it on the allotment, and Good Friday seems an appropriate day for sowing. The directions on the packet are a bit sparse so I have found some interesting stuff on the internet about growing and using woad.

Just got to sit back now and wait for the little shoots to appear!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

embargo lifted!

Now that she has received her birthday present I can reveal the small part I played in the creation of Sue’s quilt!
Si had the lovely idea of asking friends to contribute patches to a quilt for Sue’s 40th birthday, so that she could "wrap herself in her friends’ affection". Their friend Emily was main-craftswoman, responsible for planning and putting the quilt together and I had the privilege of creating a border for the quilt.
The background fabric of the quilt was restricted to two different blue fabrics and unbleached calico so I decided to introduce a mix of complementary colours (red/orange/pink) to create some visual excitement and emphasise the blue-ness. This was all done at a distance - they’re in Leeds; I’m in Bristol - so it was pretty much fingers crossed that I’d interpreted what was required correctly.
Anyway, all is now revealed and it has come together beautifully. I especially love the central motifs of the quilt which include little figures of the family in blue and white Leicester City colours!
Here’s one of my photos of the border before I sent it off (all 7 metres of it!):
And here’s the square I contributed: