Inspire Me 29/10/2012 – Still Crocheting

Inspire Me 29/10/2012 – Still Crocheting

This new found skill has me all in a flutter with ideas, I’ve already blogged about becoming hooked. I started crocheting a circular cushion, shown above and suddenly I could see all sorts of possibilities. The first round of stitches … Continue reading

Colouring Books

I know it’s everywhere in interior magazines but I could not resist, I’ve colour coded our books. Now please don’t be thinking I’ve got too much time on my hands if this is what I do in my spare time. I have had all the books off the shelves anyway so I could paint the wall behind the shelves. I’ve also painted all the other walls in the lounge just in case you’re concerned. So as I was having to restake the shelves anyway I thought we should have a change and here it is. It was very satisfying place the spines in rainbow order and standing back to behold the spectrum. I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be to find our favourite books, although I can recall the colour of most of my cookery books, however it looks very pretty.So pretty I’ve started doing the CD’s, which I think the other half might see as a step to far….

Inspire Me

I do that thing, when my husband can’t stand the towering pile of magazines pushing up my side of the bed or threatening to topple and wipe out one corner of the lounge, I go through the magazines and tear out all the things I like and recycle what’s left. Every kitchen I want, holiday I desire, all the food I need in my life, those dresses I covet, they become a stack of ripped edge paper that creates a new but smaller pile on my side of the bed or in a corner of the lounge.

Recently I found this image of a woolen Chanel dress, it’s from Red magazine back in 2010. I think it’s so beautiful, the knitted texture and the shiny trimming are a match made in heaven. It looks effortlessly simple yet I doubt that is the case and far from inexpensive at £4,145. It got me wondering just how difficult or easy it would be to create such an item, what stitches were used and is it hand or machine knitted? It has definitely spurred me on in my ambition to conquer crocheting and  I was thinking I should try and master some new knitting stitches. Whether I achieve wool craft world domination or not, I am loving being inspired by this dress.

I have a giant peg to which I attach these images, pictures which I hope will inspire me to be creative. It struck me that you lot out there may also look for inspiration in all sorts of places and how I would love to hear about it. Maybe it’s a person maybe it’s a place you’ve visit, something you’ve read or something you’ve seen . A  picture, words or both. So come along and join in, share your inspirations with me and maybe you can inspire someone else. Or maybe you are looking for inspiration if so check out the list on the Linky page.

I will post my inspirations on a Monday but the list will remain open all week. Sometimes inspiration does not work to a timetable.

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Crocheting always seemed like something I couldn’t do. I had never tried, not even considered having a go, just watching my mum working that single hook and her fingers left me feeling incapable. That is why I’ve always let her do all the crocheting pieces for Freda and Me.  I’d often heard people say “I can’t get the hang of crocheting” complaining about its complicity. This and those often far from comprehensible diagrams that you find in some crafting books had worked their way to convincing me of the impossibility of this craft. That was until recently when I finally decide the time was right to tackle this beast.

A Flower crocheted by mum and then beaded by me. Available in my shop.

My mum taught me to knit a long time ago, in my teen’s maybe. As I am left handed and her right, it caused some confusion trying to reverse the knitting action and in the end I just learnt to knit right handed like her. So sitting side by side again, me forty and, let’s not embarrass  mum, her more mature again, I feel young once more  warmed by the prospect of sharinga skill. We attempt the right handed version as we had with knitting but I struggle desperately to manipulate the thread with the fingers of my left hand and the hook in my right. It appears like it may not be possible after all. Swapping over to try left handed, it at first seems even more alien as now my instructor seems unsure of what we are doing. Slowly we piece it together and then a small “click”. Somewhere in the recesses of my creative cortex crocheting makes sense. Admittedly it’s shaky and slow but the concept of what I am doing is understood. I try a couple of different stitches and now, don’t hold me back I want to make something. I start with a flower.

I made that first flower into this brooch. Available in my Shop..

My mum  invested in a book for use to share, small crocheting projects to tackle. The book Cute & Easy Crotchet by Nicki Trench. It’s a beautiful book, the images are fresh and modern as are the designs and colour palette of yarns,  full of inspiration. I examine the pages with eagerness and desire to make and create. What shall my first project be? I’m drawn in by the bright colours of Cafetiere Cosy and the more difficult but very striking Stripy Wave Cushion, but an arrival in the post  makes my decision for me.

The Book

All my own work.

Wrapped safely inside, my hooks.

The package contained a colourful set of crocheting hooks. So the chosen project was the Hook Holder. It was a perfect baptism to the world of crocheting. The main section required repetitive rows of the same stitch, allowing me to improve my tension and hook handling without having to worry about which stitch was coming next. Edging the piece was slightly more challenging but I got a great sense of achievement from creating the pretty scalloping. For me the fact that some sewing of material was also required endeared me more to the project as I love mixing crafts and materials.

So to crocheting I am officially hooked and I’m already planning my next project. What will it be? Wait and see.

Spanish Treasures

Whilst perusing a small vintage shop the other day I spotted the Spanish dancer. Skirt all a ruffled and striking a pose of intensity, with the elegant curve of her back, her flamenco prowess on full display. Amazing isn’t it that I got all this from a needlepoint tapestry, but it was love at first sight she drew me in the moment I saw her. You see the art of Spanish dancing is woven into my very artistic, dramatic being.

In my early years I used to do a little bit of Spanish dancing, Spanish dancing you understand not fancy flamenco. My wonderful nana, Betty, she taught me. In the Monk’s Chest in here hallway (now in my hallway) was an assortment of Spanish treasures, castanets, Spanish dresses, shawls even a mantilla. On our weekend visits my sister and I would unfold the seat of the bench to reveal the mass of lace, fringes, frills and bright colours and with excitement we would layer ourselves in these beauties. Then, gathered in the lounge, nana would raise her arms above her head into a soft but firmly set arch, twist her upper body and tilt her head to one side. Her prodigies would do the same, of a fashion. Nana’s face would set into a passionate, wanting glare which my sister and I would reproduce as pouting lips and wrinkled eyes.  Her foot would then flick up behind her returning quickly to the floor in a stamp, we would follow suit and soon we would all be pounding around clicking our castanets, flouncing our skirts  and shout “Ole”.

Nana was not Spanish, in fact she was half Italian half Irish born in Egypt but she too had been doing Spanish dancing since she was young which made her a perfectly qualified teacher. Here she is in her teens with her handsome matador.

My Spanish dancer also has a matador and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even notice him, so transfixed by her was I.  “She’s part of a pair?” I exclaim head twisting around searching for more ruffles and colours. Above a cupboard stood in the dark is the solemn matador, up there on his own I’m not impressed. He is brought down, dusted down and placed down next to the senorita. Instantly the two speak to each other and I can see these hot blooded lovers belong side by side. Sold and home they come.

It’s not just the subject matter that drew me in but the craftiness, the handmade brilliance of the pictures. Needlepoint tapestry is something I’m yet to try but I’m sure when I do I will love it. The neat little rows of stitches in tonal shades, bright shades, light shades, dark shades which all add depth and contrast to the image, intrigue me. How one tiny stitch with another tiny stitch and another with a little bit of patience creates something so beautiful.

Not entirely sure where they are going to go, maybe in the lounge that I am currently half way through painting, where ever I will need to let the husband see them first. Not braved that one yet.

P.S on the same shopping trip I also bought these…..

An Embroidered Heirloom

My mum asked me to find a piece of embroidery I had from my grandma, Freda. It is a piece she had been working on but not finished before she died. I took up the challenge to continue the work but have to confess that I lost interest, then forgot about, then adopted two children. So it has sat in a draw for some years until the other week when my mum mentioned it.

My mum, like her mum and now myself included, find it difficult to sit in an evening without occupying  our hands. Crocheting, sewing, knitting, needlepoint, or any assortment of crafty activity will do. So the piece in question has been shown the light of day again and  offered  another chance to reach it’s final destination as an embroidered tablecloth. My mum intends to start the work again.

Mum thinks that grandma may have received the piece for a special birthday, around the 1970’s maybe her 60th. I still have the paper stencils which would have been carefully ironed onto the fabric to guide the embroider and some of the embroidery silks. I have however used some for other projects, so an improvisation of new colours will need to be thought out. The stitches used are fairly simple, blanket, back, bullion knots and french knots, however the task is time consuming and requires plenty of patience.

I am excited to see that this piece is to be worked on again and hope that I will also get to improve my contribution. I will keep you informed.