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To do

Thought I’d make a list of my works in progress in the hope it inspires me to finish them!

  • Funky crochet blanket using the Babette pattern from Ravelry. I’m using Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply yarn in 12 colours so it’s going to be stunning. Completed the 50 two round squares this morning, just all the others to go and then the small matter of sewing it all up. My Ravelry project page is here.BAkecoTCcAAuIbS.jpg-thumb
  • Color Affection scarf. I’m doing this as part of my knitting groups January KAL (knit along). I’m really getting there with this, nearly finished all the striping, just got the final colour band to do. The trouble is with nearly 400 stitches, it takes rather a long time to do each row!
  • Double bed quilt. I have the top finished, I just need to baste it in order to start quilting. The trouble is, it’s 85″ square so it’s hard to find anywhere big enough to do so! I think I need to commandeer the bed for the purpose but it’s going to be a big job. As for moving it all under my sewing machine… We’ll just have to see how it goes.
  • Baste, quilt and bind a lap size quilt which has a beautiful feature butterfly print with gold highlights.
  • Lap quilt for my brothers girlfriend. This is a commission that I’m actually getting paid for so has pretty high priority. I have all the fabric ready to go, just need to finalise the design and get started.
  • The last 3 months blocks for the quilting bee I’m part of. I’m shockingly behind so really need to get a move on.

With all that to get done, I suppose I’d better get started!

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Hey Baby

At the beginning of April I am going to become a sort of aunt as my boyfriends sister is having a baby boy. This has provided me with the perfect excuse to create. First up, a crib quilt. I used this design on Moda Bake Shop as the starting point and the 10 Little Things fabric line also by Moda for most the fabrics. I then picked a few coordinating child friendly prints from my stash to complete it.

The first blocks:

photoTwenty blocks later and I was auditioning to find the perfect layout. It’s surprisingly difficult to get a design where you have all the inner blocks pointing in different directions!

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As you can see I still hadn’t quite got it right at this point!

I chose to use a dark grey for sashing as I thought it would show up marks less than white or cream and then added another border of a grey truck and car print. I decided to also do a pieced back to make a truly reversible quilt.

Quilting in progress:

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I quilted in the ditch on the front of the quilt and used a blue variegated thread on the back to add interest.

The finished front:

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And the back:

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Finished size 33″x41″. All ready to wrap up and give away.

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Shop?

Yesterday I visited a vacant property that would be beyond perfect for a modern craft supply and workshop venue. It couldn’t have a cafe so that part of the planning would have to go on the back burner for now but other than that it is everything I could have dreamed of and more.

So suddenly it’s gone from a pipe dream to a very real possibility. There is much to think about though. It’s a massive commitment, beyond anything I have ever done before. Assuming I got as far as opening the doors, could I make it work? I like to think I’m an engaging person who is good at what I do but would the rest of the world agree? Could I keep getting the customers through the door? Would my health hold enough to make it work? I cant afford to get ill again.

Before that though I need to work out what it will cost me to get the doors open. It’s a nightmare, there are so many considerations. I’ve never been the best at the practical, common sense side of stuff, I’m more of a dreamer. I’m finding it difficult to get quotes for things like insurance and card terminals without actually having a premises or indeed a business at this point. Companies won’t even give me access to their trade prices without access to a premises so calculating stock costs is all guess work. It doesn’t help that I have a severe phobia of phones that I’m only just starting to get over so calling people up out of the blue is really beyond me.

I want to have a focus on British made products by independent designers. I’m thinking gorgeous hand dyed yarns, beautifully tempting haberdashery and unique fabrics. If anyone produces these and is looking for a new stockist, please give me a shout, make my job a little bit easier!

My heart says to just go for it. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to really go somewhere, I’d be foolish to pass up on that. I could make it work, somehow because it is what I really want to do.

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Toffee Vodka

Last night I had the pleasure of sampling our homemade toffee vodka and I thought I’d share the recipe in case anyone wanted to make it for themselves.

You will need:

  • 1 x 135g packet Werther’s Originals Traditional Butter Candies
  • 600ml vodka – I used Smirnoff because that’s what we had in the house but any would work
  • Wide necked jar or bottle
  • Bottle to store finished product

Instructions:

  1. Unwrap sweets and put in the bottom of the jar
  2. Pur vodka over the top
  3. Seal jar and shake
  4. Continue to shake every few hours until the sweets completely dissolve
  5. Transfer to bottle and store in the freezer until ready to drink

It took less than 24 hours to completely dissolve the toffee sweets so it’s ready really quickly. Has a hell of a kick to it but tastes delicious. I really don’t recommend mixing it with lemonade to make a long drink, it just didn’t work. ,

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A new skill

The other week, I enjoyed a rather decadent day out in London1 with some of the other members of my stitching group. We were lucky enough to visit Loop and iKnit and very wonderful they were too. I always claimed that I was never going to knit, after my only attempt several years ago when I became frustrated by my own incompetence.  But with yarn displays like this…

 

 

 

 

 

…how could I resist the temptation to purchase something. Then once I had it, I had to figure out what to do with it.

My first purchase was this ball of deliciousness:

 

 

Knit Collage, Rolling Stone in Sangria Wine.

I figured that there was so much going on with it, it should hide any mistakes. Then it was on to Ravelry to find a pattern. For anyone who doesn’t know, Rav has a veritable feast of knitting patterns and the ability to search by yarn type makes it easy to find one to suit. I chose this free pattern for a Big Button Cowl. And this is the result:

 

Mine ended up a bit longer than the pattern suggests as it seemed a shame not to finish the yarn. Finished with a fab quirky turtle button from John Lewis. Not bad for my first ever completed knitted project if I may say so myself. I’ve no doubt the British weather will oblige me with an opportunity to wear it soon.

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For my mum

Due to a somewhat unconventional upbringing, I never studies any textiles at school. The first time I used a sewing machine was at 23! I was going through a difficult patch in my life and was still living at home. My mum was desperately trying to find anything to distract me so she took me out bought me a £20 sewing machine, a book on basic patchwork and a few fat quarters. From that point on I’ve been hooked. Learning to sew was the perfect distraction and as my sewing has improved so has my confidence and wellbeing.

I knew I wanted to make her something to say thank you and when I came across Fabric Freedoms range of fabrics based on the designs of William Morris, I knew they’d be perfect. My mum adores William Morris designs, I’d already made her a cushion from somethings similar in the past.

This is the result.

It’s the first time I’ve made a quilt not using a pattern. I based the central cross and dot part on something I’d seen before but worked out the sizes myself and designed my own border.

I quilted in the ditch around the central motifs and around the border.

The final design ended up at 58″ square, perfect for curling up under on the sofa of an evening.

I just hope she likes it!

Sorry for the abysmal photos, it’s grey and raining outside and I don’t have anywhere big enough to hang quilts to photograph.

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A crazy idea

Ever have one of those ideas that no matter how crazy you feel you have to act on otherwise you’ll regret it? Well, a friend and I may just have had one. We want to open a craft cafe.

We’re both incredibly keen crafters. She’s a very talented knitter and i never stop sewing. We want to create a venue that becomes the place to go for all your creative dreams.

There would be a cafe selling good quality coffee and delicious home made cakes. It would have comfy seating to indulge in your latest project with friends. A bookshelf with reads providing all the inspiration you’d ever need.

We’d have a workshop room and a packed timetable enabling you to learn a new skill or maybe branch out in an old one. Visiting tutors would teach their specialties. When there were no classes, the space would be available for local clubs. A knitting group or maybe a book club.

We’d have seeing machines available to hire so you could complete small jobs without having to buy one. You could bring in projects for advice and work on them in a friendly and sociable environment.

There would be supplies to buy but not those you could get in Hobbycraft or John Lewis. We’d focus on independents and small businesses, things that you can’t get elsewhere on the high street.

So, totally crazy or plain perfect? Would you use a place like that if it opened in your backyard? There’s still a lot of work to do not least deciding how we’re going to finance it. Then there’s finding a property, decorating and stocking it and actually getting people through the door. At the moment it may seem a bit of a hopeful dream but maybe one day if we can sort out the practicalities. Who knows?

P.s. If anyone knows anything about starting a business in a physical premises, advice would be much appreciated.

P.p.s If you know a lottery winner who wants to fund us, send them my way ;)