Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Like I Never Left...

So it's been a really long time and I must apologise for that! I know all you cyber crafters love following your favourite blogs and I shouldn't have left it sooo long. The thing is, I've just been SO busy! I've literally not stopped and, for various reasons, my crafting horizons have been expanding beyond all recognition! I'm so terribly excited about this new phase I seem to be entering.

The countdown has finally begun for my Sister's wedding (4th September) so things have really started taking off in that department. The flowers are chosen, table linen has been ordered, the cake is waiting in the wings and we've -so far- had two bridal gowns (don't ask). The latter, and preffered, dress was in desperate need of taking up when we finally got our hands on it. My sister is only about 5ft, so even with skyscraper heels the dress was never going to be a perfect length. (Don't feel sorry for her - the jammy cow is practically perfect in every other way! Perfect white teeth, petite frame, gorgeous blonde hair and cheek bones that Julian Clarey would kill for! I, on the other hand, drew the short straw and took after my father. I got the round face, 5 o'clock shadow at 11am and hair that will, I am reliably informed, start to recede within the next five years!) Off we trotted to our local alteration place where Becky was asked to put the dress on so the hem could be pinned. The shop assistant merrily threw back the curtain of the 'changing room' to reveal a space about the size of a small espresso cup. Needless to say, the next five minutes were very hot as I wrestled my sister into the dress, pulling zips, hoisting the skirts in order that she could bend to do up her strappy heels, alternating between my denim clad behind sticking out between the drapes and her frilly red thonged one. By the time we catapulted ourselves out of the match box sized room, quite a large number of the shop staff had gathered together, supposedly to "look at the beautiful dress". Personally I think they were more curious about who the thong belonged too! One confused woman did look at me for a short moment with a slightly bemused expression on her face and a partially extended finger before quietly saying "The Groom?"...... "Nope, Gay Brother" I replied and the confusion vanished from her face. Anyways, that is all sorted now and I am pleased to report that the dress is exceptionally beautiful and ready for the big day....

There's not much else to report really. Nathan and I took a brief trip into London earlier this month. We were at a bit of a loose end so decided to go and have a rummage around in 'iKnit' London shop and then go for lunch. After eating, we felt too lazy to walk back to the station, so Nathan hailed one of those rickshaw contraptions that ride around all over the place. Have you seen them? I tell you, I've never felt so guilty about my weight in my entire life! Realistically, I'm not huge. 13 stone is, however, still overweight for somebody of my height. The entire duration of the ride, while Nathan giggled as we wooshed over cobbled streets and zipped in front of pedestrians, I was transfixed by the driver's calves! As his muscles pulsed and contracted under the effort of turning the pedals, I clenched my butt tighter and tighter in an effort to make his load lighter. Of course, the fact that I was already clenching came in pretty handy when we came face to face with a large black (insert car name here - I'm useless!) that seemed determined to run us off the road with nothing but a piddly bicycle bell for protection. Nonetheless, we arrived in one piece and while Nathan paid the fare, I managed a slight nod and a feeble apology for the beads of sweat that had formed on our driver's brow.....

I'd better turn to something crafty now - I don't wish to lose all of my followers! I've had a massive shift in perception these last few weeks and have discovered that, while I have a natural propensity to over-think EVERYTHING, I also have the ability to just jump in and get on with things. Having seen, and even featured here, various crafters that are in the business of making toys and softies, I decided that I wanted to have a go. In the absence of any tuition, I grabbed my sewing machine, a few pairs of socks and decided to muddle my way through making one of those adorable sock monkeys. All in all, i'm pretty pleased with him, and he has already been claimed by Nathan and re-homed in Richmond as the office mascot. There are a few things that I will be changing on subsequent chimps, but I love the fact that each monkey can have its own personality! There are endless opportunities to have fun with them! I may do an Amy Winehouse version with a huge beehive! What larks! Here he is before he was abducted:

I've also broken out of my comfort zone this month by having a go at making some jewellery. I don't intend to become a skilled silversmith and beading does not really hold an awful lot of interest for me. However, I do love a bit of quirky kitsch and so, having imported various beads and charms from China (thank heavens for Ebay!) and investing in sterling silver charm bracelets and split rings, I came up with my first design! I think this is so lively and fun, and would make the perfect summer accessory. This item is soon to be added to my folksy/etsy shop and there are more in the pipeline.

Nathan's mum was down from Scotland this weekend and stayed with us for one night on the way through to his Sister's. She is such an inspirational person to have around. I mentioned that I was starting to find knitting patterns a little too prescriptive and that I'd like to have a go at designing some smaller pieces on my own. While I'd have deliberated this until I was claiming my pension, Gill was very enthusiastic and suggested that we form a joint venture. Gill, as the founder of her own yarn company 'Artisan Threads', is looking for a few new patterns to be written using her latest range of yarn. The intention is for me to work on these with her to both highlight her products and develop my confidence with pattern writing. The patterns will remain my intellectual property, but as Gill has numerous contacts in the knitting world and spends plenty of time on the exhibition circuit, my designs should get plenty of exposure! All very exciting stuff. Thus far, I have started work on a crocheted choker and Victorian style lace gloves. It really is so liberating though to break out on your own, and with all the sketching and knitted swatches, calculating measurements and selecting colours, it does give you a real sense of validity and achievement, of legitimacy even. Who knows where this will lead but watch this space! Indeed, for my next blog, I am going to be constructing an entire feature around Artisan Threads and I hope to be able to give you all a really good look behind the scenes of the company, how the yarn is made, a sneak peek into the studio and a Q&A session with the woman herself! Feel free to send any questions to me that you'd like to put to Gill and i'll be sure to pass them on.


M xxx


  1. My God, you're alive! If you have any intellectual properties you'll know to call me asap so that you're not struck off my Xmas card list. I can't believe that you've been having such a good time WITHOUT me ;-p You missed my birthday picnic too :-( I don't usually get stroppy, as you know, but I might just start...........!!!! CALL ME (Zola by the way in case you've forgotten!) xxxxxx

  2. As usual a joy to read! Thanks for brightening up a VERY rainy evening. And I must say Mark I'm impressed with your lovely Monkey - he's got a real quizzical look and a very big banana! Hope to see more of them soon! Bye for now. x