There is a cabinet of lovely old lace fragments at my local museum, which always serves to remind me that it is good to tackle a more complicated craft project every now and then, and that it is amazing what craftsmen and women could make with their hands before machinery started to do it for us.
These pieces of handmade lace are so delicate and intricate, and must have taken an immense amount of time to complete: they certainly show the benefits of patience and dedication.
I am particularly partial to the shade of greeny-blue often described as eau-de-nil, and the contrast with the orange glaze on the rim of this bowl is rather eye-catching.
I have been playing around with the small loom I have previously used to make scarves and cowls, experimenting with different textures and techniques.
I decided to weave several small sample pieces (approximately 8 x 13 cm / 3.5 x 5 inches), experimenting with different patterns and ideas for each piece. The width of the loom allows for two sample squares to be woven at once (which was a little fiddly), or the piece can be woven using only half the width of the loom.
The individual tapestries are great quick projects, and a good way to use up any pieces of yarn left over from other makes. I plan to make a few more small tapestries, and then combine them in a project to be shown in a future post…
Bright greens make me think of spring- which is hopefully on it’s way!
Lots of different tools can be used for mark-making, and can produce a variety of different effects. I haven’t taken the time to do any drawing or painting for a while, so this is now on my to-do list. Sometimes just playing with different tools can provide inspiration.
I am currently weaving a wool snood/cowl, using a mixture of mohair and merino yarn. The purple and grey yarns (the weft threads) are relatively chunky (Rowan ‘Cocoon’), but weaving rather than knitting means that the finished material isn’t so heavy/thick. I have previously knitted a cabled scarf using Rowan Cocoon and it is lovely and chunky, but too warm for all but the coldest of days!
Every autumn when the weather gets colder I start knitting again, and produce at least one pair of socks a year. Having hunted for properly warm socks for years previously I have decided that hand knitted is definitely the way to go- they can be as thick or as thin as you like, and you can use the softest, warmest wool you can find.
There are also some great colour ways and self-patterning sock yarns available these days, so it’s easy to make quite complicated pattern using just one ball of yarn.
I haven’t made a friendship bracelet since I was at school, but decided to experiment with the method as I have plenty of embroidery thread in lovely colours.
As you can see, I experimented with a few different colour combinations and patterns. The free-form pattern below I made up as I went along, experimenting with changing direction.
I wanted to use the finished piece as something other than a bracelet, so decided to make a short length to use as a zipper pull on a jumper.
As I had cut longer strands of thread than I required for the pull, I left a gap and then knotted a second section below the first to use in another project.
I trimmed the ends and cut the top section free from the bottom section.
The top section became the zipper pull, with the loop used to thread it through the metal ring on the zipper.
This was a good way to use up some of the odds and ends of thread that I had in my stash: now I have to decide on projects for the other pieces that I made…:-)
If you fancy having a go for yourself (and didn’t learn how to make these as a child) then there are plenty of helpful guides and how-to videos to be found online.
I recently went through the various vintage and antique hand-embroidered fabrics that I have, in the hunt for some material to make bunting for a friend’s wedding. Due to the hours of work that these pieces represent, I am loathe to cut them up, with the exception of any items that are damaged or spoilt by a permanent stain (I remove and bin the damaged area, and use the rest of the material in craft projects).
Depending on the size of the material, the embroidered fabrics can be used in a variety of projects: I really enjoy giving new life to something that someone else has put so much time and effort into, but is now ‘ruined’ for it’s original purpose (e.g. a tablecloth with a stain in the centre).
Using some fabrics that I already have (in this case by upcycling) also means that I am still managing to stick to my new year’s resolution to buy no new craft materials this year!
The few pieces that I have shown here are all undamaged items, and as I seem to have collected quite a few pieces in good condition, I have decided to sell a selection- after all, there are only so many tablecloths etc that one person can use!