May 31, 2012


After finishing off the pincushions yesterday, I had the urge to make something else small, there are 3 owlet brooches winging their way into the shop soon!

I'm off out on my own tomorrow (first time in ages!).  The company I used to work for, which is part of Coats Crafts UK, is going through some big changes, so tomorrow night there is a big do in Bolton to say goodbye to many members of staff.  Obviously, I said my goodbyes in 2006 when I left, but as I worked there for almost 12 years, it was a big part of my life, so it seems fitting to make the trip.

Beyond that, who's up for a street party??  Happy Jubilee Weekend!

May 30, 2012

one, two, three... tea!

A quick solution to plug a gap while I finish off the last King Charles Spaniel, 3 tea time themed cotton reel pincushions...

I have only made a couple of these recently, so it was a case of having to remind myself how to do it as I went along.  Do you ever do that? forget how to make your own designs?

I was sat for a while with a circle of card, wondering where on earth it went!

It's a base (obviously!), but for a while my mind just went blank.

The pincushions are in the shop now.

May 17, 2012

Constant state of confusion...

This is probably going to sound daft coming from someone who has written a whole craft pattern book, but in the light of the recent 'things I'm afraid to tell you' meme that has been doing the rounds, sometimes I just need to say out loud, that when it comes to my designs, it's a constant state of confusion.

Working at home, for yourself, on your own, can lead to over thinking rather than more concise decision making.  I also wonder if my background, having a degree in textile design and working in industry, is somewhat restrictive as it places my mindset within learned constraints.  As Picasso once said, 'every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist as you grow'.

Things I do know are, I have developed a design style, and I do enjoy using recycled materials much more than buying new fabrics to a point where I am totally out of the loop when it comes to the latest fabric lines, and I'm ok with that.  The indecision stems around this design style being too cute looking.  I see what I design and make as soft sculpture, objects of art - not soft toys.  The use of the word 'toy' scares me because of the health and safety issues.  But legally, regardless of how I personally perceive my work, if it looks like a toy, it is a toy.

The conclusion I think I've reached is to split my design work.  Some patterns are on their way to become available via PDF download.  They will stay 'cute', but also probably not use felted wool.  As much as I love that medium as it's easy to sew with and hugely forgiving when it comes to the odd mishap, I am lucky to have amassed a bit of a collection over the years in my stash.  It does seem second hand, true woolens are becoming harder and harder to find.  The patterns I'm going to keep to make myself will begin to go on a development journey.  One which has already begun...

Last week I made a gift following the dog pattern I've used before, but as soon as I finished the face, I unpicked it all.  Referring back to the changes I'd made with the King Charles Spaniels, I began reworking.

 It's just a small change, and overall it's an ongoing process, but it's cathartic to be able to talk about this stuff rather than have it just swimming around in my head.  

I don't know if the changes made it better or worse, but I did feel happier with the finished softie once it was done. Any suggestions on how to make a dog softie, more dog like are always welcome!

May 16, 2012

Bang, bang, bang...

That was the noise my sewing machine was making last night while repairing jeans.  After spotting this and this on Pinterest, it seemed the coolest way of mending the knee hole in Luke's favourite pair,

but given how much fluff there must be inside my machine, a hazard of sewing mainly with felted wool I guess, I think a service may well be in order.

May 11, 2012

Crowning glory...

The King Charles Spaniels are nearing completion, finally!  Lots been going on so they've been slipped in between other projects.

Other news is... my book won an award!  Silver at the Pubwest Design Awards in the Craft Book category.  Well done to C&T Publishing and Stash Books!