Monday, 31 December 2012

Next year...

OK, so it's been a stressful week...

The gifts you lovingly handmade for friends and family...

didn't go down quite as you'd hoped....

and then the family gathers for lunch...

and the in-laws arrive...

things get a little crazy...

It is enough to make you...

Don't worry, next year will be different.

Next year I will be ready...

Happy 2013 everyone!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Peace on earth

I just wanted to pop in briefly to wish each of you blessings for the season and I am parcularly thinking of those who are alone and those who are parted from loved ones at this time.

Love and peace for 2013 xxx

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Here come the girls!

Hello crafty ladies!
First of all I would like to extend a huge thank you to all you lovelies who left such warm and encouraging comments on my last post - much appreciated!
Secondly, I have been crafting madly and have something to show for it. I have quite a stash of vintage fabrics and I have some gorgeous little girls in my family. Add them together and you get an idea I had for some cloth dollies. As you may know, I love cloth dolls of all shapes and sizes and yet I have never made one before. Soooo, I did lots of research and had some ideas and came up with these girls....

I got ideas from various doll makers online but ultimately just made my own pattern from a sketch and then embroidered the faces freehand so they just evolved! (To be honest, I think one of these dollies is a bit of an ugly sister but hey, it is the beauty within that counts so she is staying!).
I sewed the dolls by hand and it was pretty quick really. The hair took AGES though (which is why I am not keen on beheading 'homely' dolly and giving her a make-over). I have pulled at the hair all over to ensure that it is pretty much little-girl-proof.
The boy was quite impressed despite them not being made of Lego. He named the one above (with the Scandinavian look) Lizzie, which I think suits her just fine. She is going all the way to South Africa where I hope she will be much loved and played with. I got a sneaking feeling that the boy quite wanted to keep her but then he manned up and asked for a Boy Scout doll!!!
Anyway, I have been enjoying all your lovely Christmassy posts and will be back soon, hopefully with something to show. If not, then that is ok too!
Have a lovely week xxx

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Staying afloat

Hello dear friends!
Despite your wonderfully encouraging and much appreciated comments on my last post I still couldn't get it together to post again until now. Depression has stuck again and any of you out there who wrestle with that particular beast will know how debilitating it can be. Odd that the last time I was in such a dark place blogging really helped...this time I haven't been able to get interested in anything much. But I have really (and I mean really) missed being part of the Canyon Ladies and have decided that even if my posts are teeny weeny and bland, it is better for me to post than to not. I sometimes think I set myself up to fail by thinking that I have to post something super-interesting and wonderful, full of all the amazing things I have been making. Well it doesn't always work out like that and if I wait for that to happen I might never post again! Then I feel guilty for not posting and so I stop visiting all you lovely, talented people because it reminds me that I am not making gorgeous things and posting about them. And then I feel like a failure. And so it goes on. So this is me saying Hello!, still here and waving not drowning.

Have a lovely week xxx

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Finished blanket!

(and pretending to be uber creative whilst not blogging but actually having been doing nothing much)

Ahem....anyone there? I do hope so. Despite my long absence it would be nice to think that someone somewhere will read this!
I hope all you ladies are doing well and those in the UK have managed to find some sunshine. It is a sunny morning here in my patch of Yorkshire and was almost felled by a migraine on opening the back door this morning, so unused am I to sunshine!

I have been trying to find my creative mojo and I am not sure that I really have yet. I have had problems with my thyroid and I think that has contributed to a feeling of almost total inertia. I have had little bursts of making things, not hardly anything in the way of finishing them! However, I have completed a blanket I started some time ago........

If you remember, this was for my sister in law and she had chosen the sort of colours she wanted. Now, I am not used to using colours like this but I wanted to find an unusual pattern that would keep me interested. It sort of worked! Well I did finish it (eventually)!

I think I like it but my vision is clouded by the relief of having finished and also being really quite fed up with seeing it around the place! I will be happy when it goes to its new home.

Do you want to see some pics?

Believe me when I say that this is not a difficult pattern. If you can do basic crochet stitches and if you can count then you can do this.

The original pattern is here and I just changed the colour combinations to make it a bit different.

Have a lovely week xx

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Say hello to Henry!

A very good day dear ladies! The sun is shining on my patch of Yorkshire and it feels like spring is finally here!

It has been a while since I posted but I'm here today to share with you a fantastic visit I made to Yorkshire Sculpture Park a couple of weeks ago.

Although it is always a great place to visit I wanted to go for a very specific reason - to see an exhibition of Donna Wilson's woolly creatures! And I wasn't disappointed! Donna makes the most incredibly off beat knitted creatures, but also a wonderful range of Nordic inspired blankets and cushions.

I really love her work and especially as she uses British yarns and recruits the awesome talents of knitters from the Scottish Islands and Highlands - traditional craft areas that struggle with unemployment.

I fell in love with a little chap named Henry. He has been hand knitted in pure wool in the Shetlands and takes his character from traditional Icelandic patterns. And now he is mine!!!

Say hello to Henry!

It is rare for me to splash out like this but Henry is useful, hand crafted using pure wool, has provided employment for traditional craftspeople and is beautiful!!!!!

I was inspired to make a complimentary cushion using Fair Isle patterns and have done about half so far. ...

I'm really enjoying this 'free form' style of knitting. I am not following one pattern....I am following a variety of patterns and mixing and matching as I go along. There is no planning so I hope it all comes together ok! I will let you know. The yarn I am using is a favourite of mine from an historic mill in Lanarkshire, Southern Scotland. It is beautifully rustic, pure new wool with a great range of natural looking colours. Perfect for this sort of project.

For those who haven't been to, do try to visit if you can. It really is a marvellous day out - lots to see, child friendly, great for picnics and beautiful strolls. You may also meet some interesting characters!

Enjoy your weekend! xxxxxx

Monday, 16 January 2012

Check this out

I just had to share this Sudafed ad with you, which uses......crochet. Wonderful. I wonder who did the crochet?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Dolly daydreams

Hello dear ladies! I hope you are enjoying your weekend. We are having a really cold spell here in Yorkshire and I awoke this morning to a very thick frost covering the whole garden. Magical.

Thank you so much for your lovely comments about the pooches. I do hope some of you decide to make them. With some help, it is a good project for children.

I wish I could do this!!!

It is my great niece Jemimah's first birthday soon (where does the time go????) and I thought about what to make her. She's had lots of blankets and my sister made her a quilt....then it came to me. A doll! So then I started looking online for cloth dolls and found an absolute treasure trove of  dolls ranging from exquisite to, frankly, creepy.

Children have played with dolls since ancient times. Dolls found in ancient Greek and Egyptian tombs are very crude affairs, made from wood, and sometimes clay or even bone and ivory. However, it seems that the cloth doll or rag doll has always existed. Due to it's fragile nature there aren't many examples but some have survived. This Roman doll is over 2000 years old and now lives in the British Museum! I'm sure it was more attractive when new!

So long before dolls were made commercially, enterprising parents or older siblings would craft soft dolls for the infant members of the family, invariably from scraps of cloth left over from dress making, or reusing worn out items of clothing. Even sackcloth was used.

Here are some early examples of cloth dolls...
Beautiful African American twin dolls from the late 1800s (courtesy of Hatch Collection)

An entirely hand made American doll from around 1890-1900

A Russian doll from the early 1900s

A French cloth doll from around 1920s
I do love these old dolls but I have been completely bowled over by the masses of amazing dolls being made now. I couldn't possibly post on all of the gorgeous dolls I have found so here is a little taster...

Firstly, there is a whole world of stunning, artist created dolls that are definitely not toys but are works of art to be treasured. This one is a Frida Khalo doll by artist Cyra R Cancel. I LOVE it!

This beautiful girl is called Raggedy Red and is by Black-Eyed Suzie whose blog can be found here...

The very pretty Madeline has been made by Tessa whose blog is here

And I adore little Lucy made by Jen at the Fabled Needle.

The following dolls are more child-friendly but are no less beautiful. 

These cuties are from Dolly Donations and a free pattern can be found here! There is so much generosity online!

This very colourful doll is by Jenny B Harris at Allsorts.....I love the fabric!

Another free pattern here for these gorgeous Lucy Dolls by Wendi Gratz....

These are made from a free pattern from Emily Martin and have inspired so many beautiful variations. Just google Black Apple doll and you will see!


Now we have Rosie, who is a more traditional rag doll - with yarn hair. A free pattern can be found here . I do love the yarn hair but I think for babies and very young children who will probably chew/suck it, it is probably not a good idea.

Seriously, there are just so many truly gorgeous dolls around. I am so inspired! I have a stash of vintage fabrics and also some Amy Butler. All I need now is the body fabric, although some doll makers recommend using a white pillowcase (if you want a white doll). I suppose at one time they really were rag dolls and were made from whatever scraps of fabric were around.

I will post on my dolly progress! Have a good week xxx