Sunday, 28 September 2014

A visit to the Handmade Fair, Hampton Court

Last weekend I took the long trip to Hampton Court for the Handmade Fair http://www.thehandmadefair.com/, well it's not that far from Birmingham when you stop in Earlsfield en route!

I went a long with my friend Miranda and started our day at the Super Theatre with a Mollie Makes Mashup between Benjamin Wilson http://knityounexttuesday.com/about/ and Sew Over It's Lisa Comfort http://sewoverit.co.uk/.  A really entertaining start to the day.  Benjamin was making a tie dye slashed tshirt and Lisa was making a dress - both had to make their garments in 45 minutes - no pressure!

We then had a little walk around for 30 minutes and then learnt to make pompoms with the new pompom making contraption (I now want several in different sizes!) and contributed to the guinness book of records attempt for the longest line of pom poms.  Rosy Nicholas http://www.rosynicholas.com/ was also very entertaining, especially with her suggestions of what you can use pompoms for!

We had a really delicious lunch and took a little breather. The food on offer really was excellent - very impressed.  Had a little wander in the tents, bought tshirt yarn for my huge rug for our hallway and a Sew Over It 50s dress pattern and then watched a pompom making demo on a contraption that looked very similar to a bendy wire hanger - looked a bit advanced for me - I'm still wanting the plastic contraption with the arms we saw in the pom pom making tent.

We kept walking past lots of people I recognised from Mollie Makes Magazine - the Tea and Chat bit.

The afternoon session was our skill workshop - Upcycling furniture.  Jay from Out of the dark http://www.outofthedark.org.uk/ was our expert.  He taught us how to paint furniture to a high quality and gave us a step by step guide.  He not only taught us to paint but gave us great advice on how to do it as economically as possible.  I was so inspired by the session that I'm going to upcycle a boring white ikea wardrobe we have in our bedroom.  I will paint it (with my hubby's help) with a wallpaper print on the front of the doors and front of the drawers.  The wall paper is already on order, I just need to go shopping for paint and I think it will be a bright turquoise.

I had a great day at the Handmade Fair.  I came away brimming with ideas.  I loved the workshops.
 I've been to craft shows before but usually they are a mass of stands with some experts doing talks, but this was really hands on.  Everyone who attended had to have a go at trying something.  Brilliant idea!  The only thing that we were missing - it would have been great to have experts we could go up to with questions as we had a dress pattern problem and didn't find anyone to talk to.  Maybe it was there - we just didn't know where to find it with so many things going on.

This really was a great day out, hugely inspiring, really positive vibe, workshops were fantastic - looking forward to next year's fair!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Summer Time Crafting

Often in the summer months, crochet, sewing and other craft projects take a back seat until the cooler darker evenings draw in but this summer the projects have been rolling on.  It's what I do when we're watching TV in the evening (I try and stop myself from doing them in the day or I wouldn't get anything done!)

I must admit with all the lovely weather we've had this summer that the allotment plot did get plenty of attention and I've got some cracking crops to show for it, especially the 1.2kg Ram's Kodu Squash.  But I'm sure lots about them will feature in a gardening post.  


The biggest project I have on the go right now is a crochet rug being made out of T-shirt yarn and a 10mm hook.  I'm spending a fortune on eBay for the yarn - I think it'll be about £100 in materials by the time I finish but it will be the cosiest rug we've ever had when I finish and I'm not far from the finish line.  Hubby will be happy as he wanted me to make it for a more draft proof hall this winter.  It's been a long project and I've found the best place to crochet it is on the bed as it's so big, bulky and heavy now.  It is 64 stitches wide and will be about 2 metres long when I finally finish.  As long as it's finished by October we'll all be very happy.  It's the first time I've tackled Tshirt yarn as a material - you need muscles for it and there's a fair bit of yanking involved!   My other big project is the crochet mood blanket.  If you're into your crochet and have an Instagram account, chances are you will be taking part in or will have heard about the crochet mood blanket.  The idea is to make one granny square a day for your blanket and by the end of the year you will have a crochet mood blanket.  Some people crochet a colour depending on their mood - I started to do that but quickly gravitated to crochet the colour I was most drawn to and which went with the other colours nearby the best.  

I visited a lot of friends London way over the summer so train journeys were fantastic to catch up on my mood blanket squares.  I'm mostly behind (I'm currently a week behind on schedule) but it's a lovely project and my bedroom will be so full of bright colours when I finish.  
It started making me thinking what other things I can make with lots of granny squares. Our household may start filling with brightly coloured cushions in the same style as the crochet mood blanket.
In between all the crafting and gardening, we managed to squeeze in an 8 day trip to France to visit my 91 year old grandmother.  She was very chuffed and found it curious that I wanted to see pictures of my great grandfathers.  My curiosity was sparked with all the talk of the first world war and I wanted to know what my great grandfathers that fought in the war looked like as we never get to meet that generation.                                  As we were passing through villages in France there were a few that were decorated for village festivals.  I will definitely take some inspirations from these.  They look like they were made with paper tissues.

There was a wedding over the summer and one of my colleagues got married.  I just didn't know what to make as a wedding gift. Pinterest came to my rescue, I googled lots of coaster images until I stumbled onto some pictures which inspired me to make these.  I think the picture that inspired me was from Craftsy.com.  If you like making flowers these are easy to make. It's all based on trebles and experiment until you find the right amount for the row and the space.  So for example, the first row is trebles (I think about 20).  The second row is two trebles a chain or two chains space (depending on what yarn you are using).  The next row is 3 trebles and a chain or two space and the fourth row - I experimented a bit to get the flower effect with half treble, treble, double treble, treble, half treble.  There is a slip stitch in between petals.  

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