Friday, January 30, 2015

Stash Busting

I have been trying to chip away at some of my crafting stash.  Being a sewer, crocheter, crafter, etc, etc., I have quite a bit of stash in all departments.  My yarn stash has grown by leaps and bounds this past year -  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not - and I figured I should tame the beast perhaps a little.  Really I only felt I had to use some of it up when I had to hide two  recent yarn purchases in the laundry room!
My Grammie used to make those crochet topped kitchen towels we all find so handy, and when she passed away my Mum gave me the towels they found in her stash.  The towels were taking up space in my yarn cupboard, so I figured by completing those I would make extra room.  After a few quick Google searches I found a pattern I could use and completed all the towels.

Also taking up space were five balls of really soft yarn I bought for a dollar each at my local yarn store.  When I saw Jill's granny stripe cowl I was sure this was the perfect pattern to make up a scarf with the yarn.  After I stitched a few rows I realized it didn't work with the yarn I had, so I ripped it out and made a simple scarf with alternating rows of double and single crochet.  This actually worked out perfectly and I used almost every bit of each colour.

My felted sweater stash has grown as well; in most part due to my volunteer hours at a local charity clothing shop.  I found an interesting pattern on Pinterest to make some slippers from felted wool with leather bottoms.  I thought these may be a little quicker to make up (not to mention longer lasting) than crocheted slippers.

Admittedly these aren't the most beautiful slippers in the world, but boy are they warm.  I used two layers of felted wool plus a layer of suede for the foot bed, and my favourite felted sweater for the top and back.  The hardest part was making the pattern, but once you have that done you are good to go for many pairs.  I wish I had made the pattern out of strong tissue paper like the author suggested:  I would have been able to fit the pattern around my foot and seen then that my top and back pieces were too large. At that point I could have adjusted the pattern before cutting the pieces out.  I will still be able to take these ones apart to re-adjust; and re-cut my pattern pieces so they fit better.  It was a nice project to complete in an evening.

The website with the tutorial is here.

This next project wasn't so much of a stash buster as the amount of fabric used was pretty small.  However it was great in that I had absolutely everything required to make it and I was able to complete it in an afternoon and evening of blissful making.

The pattern is from the February issue of Bustle and Sew magazine.  When Helen showed her preview of this month's magazine I knew I had to make this one.  I even cleaned the house a day earlier so I could enjoy this issue the day it came out!    I did change the pattern just a bit:  I changed the container into a little jug as opposed to the mug in the original pattern.  I also had no wool felt, and I didn't like the look of the acrylic, so I covered the felt piece with a piece of fabric.  It made it more difficult to do the free motion embroidery, but in the end I am happy with how it turned out.
We got about two inches of snow yesterday as I stitched this, so it will be a long time before I see any real snowdrops!
Tomorrow is the last day of January - oh happy day!  I am finally in the mood to do some Valentine crafting.
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January Days

It's still cold here.  I am itching to paint my kitchen, but with the temperature seemingly at a permanent double digit below zero that isn't going to happen any time soon.  I have a lot of restless energy:  I want to DO stuff, but I don't know what. I start a craft, then I want to start another one.  I look in design catalogues and want to get rid of everything I have and start over. Yesterday I moved a bunch of things around in the living room and then moved it all back at the end of the day.  It wasn't a total waste of time though:  I did get the curtains hemmed that have been puddling on the floor for a year and a half.
I went through my 'Pretty' cupboard:  this is the one I keep all my flowery, china, vintage things in.  Well, what I can fit anyway.

I took everything out and cleaned the shelves, then put half of it back.  It was getting so crowded in there and slightly precarious to try and remove anything.  Today I'm packing up the rest and it can go into a holding zone in the basement.  Maybe in a few months I will switch the dishes around, or if I find I don't miss what I packed up they can be re-homed.
I like how it looks now; much easier to see everything:

Can you see that cute little face up at the top?  I just love her and the little chicken at her feet.  I got her at the church bazaar for 50 cents.  Look at her little red shoes!

It occurred to me yesterday, as I was about to throw out a bag of highly scented Earl Grey tea, that some little sachets for my cupboard might be nice.  (This tea has 'natural' flavour, which gives me a headache.)

I dug into my stash of vintage hankies: so many choices it was hard!

I picked three of the smallest with pretty edgings.  I put a couple of tablespoons of tea in the centre of each and tied them with organza ribbons.

Don't they look so pretty?

I am in love!  I will definitely make some more of these.

For my tea this morning I felt like making a little something extra.  I tried the Welsh Cakes from Jane Brocket's Vintage Cakes.  As I sorted my kitchen last week I found a ton of mixed peel:  who knows what I had planned to make with all that.  I used some of that instead of raisins for the Welsh Cakes.  I did quite like them:  I would say they are a cross between a North American pancake and a baking powder biscuit.  They don't take long to make at all which is nice.

The rest of my day will be more of the same as before:  a little sorting here, a little organizing there.  I have to say though that I am noticing the impact of all that purging I did last year.  No cupboard or closet has overwhelmed me so far, and it's quite nice to just dust and rearrange most of the contents.  I am finding a few things to pass along or throw away, but not heaps and heaps.  It's a nice feeling.

 Libby has January figured out:  she moves from one sunny spot to another sleep: wandering into the kitchen occasionally to see if there are any treats.  What a life!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Warm and Wooly

It has been unusually cold in our part of the country.  When I look at the big picture, I know we are probably in the top three of the warmest places in Canada, but it's still cold for us!  Beds have been piled high with all sorts of blankets, and Big Bertha has made an appearance.
Big Bertha is a very large crocheted bedspread I bought years ago at a church sale for $4. She is big and very heavy.

Since then she has made an appearance on the spare room bed a couple of times, but more so for decorative reasons.  I have threatened her multiple times that she will soon be back on the second hand train because she takes up valuable real estate.  Last year during the combination ice- storm/power outage/ furnace breakdown she was pressed into real action, and  we were grateful.  Likewise this past month we have been happy for the heavy and warm (and very pink) comfort of Big Bertha.  I think she can stay.

Since I try not to venture out too much, there is a goodly amount of time for tea drinking and crafty pursuits.  Most of my efforts have been in the wooly department:  again, something warm.
I finally amassed enough cashmere sweaters to make a blanket.  I don't have the budget to buy these lovely things new, but volunteering in a charity shop gives me the opportunity to pick up those unfortunate sweaters that have been put through the wash for a good price.

It was a bit of a nightmare to sew together, and I blame the extra stretchy cable knit sweaters.  At first I was disappointed in the lumps and bumps and the thin-ness of it:  it didn't look nice and I was pretty sure it wouldn't do to keep me warm at all.  However it is very warm, but not too warm like some wool blankets can be.  Because it isn't thick it doesn't take forever to move out of the way if I need to get up or move over to let the dog sit beside me.  Everyone loves it's softness, so it has been granted an arm rest to live on for the rest of the cold weather.

As much as I am loving the slow days of January, I know that February is coming, and with it Valentine's Day.  My rag wreath from a few years ago is looking a little limp, so I made a cheerful crocheted wreath like Lucy's from Attic 24. (January 12 post).

I used some lovely new cotton yarn    ( Louisa Harding) and a few others from my stash.  I sewed the buttons on with embroidery thread and glued everything to a coat hanger base.

I found some pretty crocheted anemones on Heather's blog and was absolutely smitten.  While I am in love with her pastel versions, I knew I wanted to make a bright version.  The first time I went to France I bought a little bouquet of anemones from the market, and had them displayed in a jar on the fireplace mantle.  These little flowers will always remind me of that, and it brought back such happy memories of France to stitch each one.  Thank-you, Heather, for such a good tutorial!

As always, thanks for visiting and stay warm!

You Might Also Like

You Might Also Like