Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bob's been to Scarborough again!

It's been quite a busy end to my week. Thursday and Friday saw me delivering and then collecting a selection of my textile artwork for assessment in order to be re-admitted as a full member of East Riding Artists. The work is assessed by people such as museum curators, college lecturers and then we get to know in about a week if we are successful. I have submitted myself as a textile artist this time rather than a digital artist so we'll see what happens!
It's a weird selection process because you don't necessarily get in if your work is good, some excellent artists have been turned down. Maybe it comes down to personal taste of the assessors.

I was up early today as I had to take my car to Scarborough for it's MOT and service, this is always a bit of a pain as the MOT falls in the middle of winter and I usually find myself traipsing around in the cold for half a day whilst it's done. I was lucky this year as the sun was shining in Scarborough, chilly though.

I took Bob the Bunny and the night before we had searched Trip Advisor to see if there was a nice cafe we could kill a bit of time in. I found 2 which sounded good and not your usual seaside greasy spoon. The one I went for as I came to it first was Eat Me cafe, near the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

It was quite nice inside, calming shades of grey, interesting artwork and a friendly atmosphere.

It's gets better, when the tea came just look at the lovely tea cosies, Bob was impressed with the knitting!

I'd read they do a good mushrooms on toast and as there wasn't much time for breakfast this morning, mushrooms was my food of choice. 

Wow this was such a substantial plate full and it was devine, I felt like I'd gone to mushroom heaven, the creamed sauce was delicious, the bread was just lovely. My dining partner had the veggie breakfast which was equally good. 
Eat Me cafe was a little gem of a place, highly recommended and I will look forward to going again.

Other lovely things I found in Scarborough were fabric.... but not to buy this time! Quite expensive interior fabric which I snapped through the shop windows.

I bought some wool in a really good craft shop I hadn't been in before, despite the lady saying she'd been there for 9 years! These 2 balls of patterned wool were cheaper than I saw in a shop in York last week.

I also bought a really small crochet hook as I'm having a go at the wrist warmers in the current Mollie Makes, I've made a start when I got back this afternoon, wonder how long these will take or if I'll stick it out..... watch this space for progress!

Not a bad morning, car done by lunch time & scraped through the MOT so it'll keep me a going a bit longer. 
Time to relax now with the coffee machine and a Creme Egg!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Angel rabbit finished

The strange little white rabbit I have been working on has now turned into an angel rabbit. Possibly a guardian angel rabbit.
With my new found knitting skills I have knitted wings out of some sparkly pink wool, it was quite horrible to knit with as there were many strands & I kept sticking my needles through. I persevered and this was the best I could hope for.

As you can see I didn't stop there, I made her a little pinny too!

That may be be it for strange rabbits for the time being! 

I ordered some circular needles on Sunday and they have just arrived so I can't wait to try them out. After much searching the internet for KnitPro ones, I found the cheapest starter set in acrylics to be through Forest Fibres on Amazon and the free express postage is very impressive.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Knitting in York & lovely haberdashery

I'm pleased to say that the knitting course in York went ahead this morning with 5 of us attending.
The courses are held inside Me & Mrs Fisher cafe which I hadn't been to before but the building is a recogniseable sight in York as it is inside the 'Bile Beans' building.

On my walk there I saw this unusual curved building which I haven't particularly noticed before on Monkgate Bar.

Also saw these nice flowery pots in a shop nearby, I think it was Avoca pottery.

Back to the course. It's up above the cafe with a view across to the walls and the Minster which would be lovely on a fine day but it was a bit bleak and blustery.

Jo was our knitting teacher and this is the sort of thing she does, isn't this Fairisle hat beautiful. She also had some fab socks on she'd knitted.

The course was great, we all seemed at the same level and wanted to know the basics of increasing and decreasing and for me this was a major progression and achievement from my 'square knitting'.

This is the start of my increasing. I hadn't used circular needles before, I thought they were only for socks but clearly not and they were great to use, I want some.

Here's my first square, increased and decreased to create a diagonal pattern where the increase is on the end of each row. I also saw how to increase in the middle of a pattern.

I then tried 2 colours and was quite happy perfecting the increase and decrease until I felt happy I'd remembered it.

I completed this square and then amazing how time flies when you're having fun, 3 hrs had passed and that was our time up. Really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to trying my new skills out on something simple.
Jo reckons we could tackle a simple sock pattern next so that might be a course she does in the future.

I had chance for a quick look in the little haberdashery shop they also run above the cafe and it had some gorgeous things. They sell bits of vintage fabric of which I got the piece below, Liberty fabric & ribbons, Clothkits stuff, and other beautiful trimmings both new and vintage.

Didn't get chance to sample the cafe although I noticed the cakes looked delicious but I'd had a really good morning.

It got better when I got home, a new delivery of coffee beans had arrived and more fabric and trimmings, the giveaway I won from Becky's blog so thanks Becky they are lovely.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Crochet cherries & another strange knitted rabbit!

The internet is working, ... slow, but working, so I'll do a quick post.
I'm going to reveal another one of my strange knitted rabbits because it made me laugh when I started stitching it together!

It looks a bit like a snow-rabbit, I think the arms are too long but then of course there's no pattern to it, it's just rectangles stitched together. I fancy stitching some wings and turning her into an angel-rabbit, I think that might be fun.

Fingers crossed it looks like the knitting course is still going to run on Saturday so I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully I might have some new knitting skills by this time next week.

Slightly more successful is this little crochet cherry brooch. I can't remember if I have posted it before as I made it some months ago but I am just about to stitch a pin on and make a brooch for my sister.
It really is quite small as you can see from the 10p on the 2nd picture, I crocheted it with some thick embroidery silks. Probably won't do any more this size as it's really too fiddly and uses a 1.5 hook.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Frustration - Folksy & the internet

Trying to use the internet has been like pulling teeth here for the last few days and there's no sign of any let up yet.

Our service provider is Virgin Media and we suffer with very slow download speeds at the best of times, usually lucky if it's 1.3Mb/s. It's got worse since new year, I'm about 2 miles outside Driffield and BT are currently installing the high speed fibres into Driffield, this seems to be affecting our line because the last few evenings it drops off at about 9.30pm and doesn't appear whilst next morning. This is very frustrating for me as I'm a late night worker and surfer. It is doubly frustrating because when the high speed Broadband goes into Driffield, I won't benefit, only the people in the town will.

Last night I was at a ladies networking event and the speaker did a talk on social media, mainly about Google+, we all rushed off home to investigate it and guess what, the internet had gone again when I got back! Grrr!
Of course that then leads to waiting ages on the phone to try and talk to BT and then Virgin about the issues and getting no sense out of either.

Equally frustrating, yesterday I tried to list a couple of new items in my Folksy shop and the description panel kept telling me there was an invalid character but it didn't highlight what it was. I couldn't even see any odd characters like ampersands or such and I kept reloading text and pictures but with no joy. I gave up. If only the new Folksy website told you what you were doing wrong!
This morning through trial and error and no logic I have finally listed 2 new items. Tea and cupcake brooch and some knitted butterfly wrist warmers.

I feel like I've lost the will to live now as it's a constant battle at the moment to go online.
Hence I may go a bit quiet.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Scarborough, fabric & vintage cards

Very cold here today but it was a lovely sunny morning so got wrapped up and went for the first seaside stroll in Scarborough since Christmas.
Lots of surfers riding the waves today.

I popped into the Sewing Centre as they were having a sale and I haven't been in for months, however I couldn't particularly see any fabric in the sale and it looked to be just 10% off some haberdashery stuff.
I bought this fabric, I loved the vintage looking rose design and I thought the 2 Oriental looking designs would make nice Japanese pincushions.

I went to a place I've never been to before and that was the Scarborough Market Vaults, it's underneath the indoor market and it's an eclectic mix of quirky stalls and shops, lots of vintage and antique stuff.

You can maybe see a palm readers shop on the above pic and there was a proper record shop, below.

I found a really interesting shop with a lovely lady who makes textile and bead jewellery, felted bags, scarves and all sorts of other stuff. She is in the process of expanding the shop and will start to sell other vintage items from her stash. 

I initially went in her shop as I spotted a rack of vintage greeting cards which I thought looked pretty convincing if they were reproductions but it turns out they were the genuine article. These are original 1930's cards which she came across when an equally old shop was closing down and the cards were in excellent condition in their original packaging.  
This was such an exciting find for me as I'm really into my greeting cards for both pleasure and inspiration in my own designs.

Look how lovely they are inside.

In the coming months she also has a collection of rescued Edwardian photos from a gallery, some old postcards, & some fabric, all sounds very interesting so I'm pleased I discovered the vaults today.

Finally, quite a pretty bowl I spotted on an antique stall, I liked it because I have some 1970's fabric like this!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Knitting next week hopefully!

I planned to go on a beginners knitting course tomorrow but when I looked at the description of the beginners and then the improvers class the week after, I started to question which would suit me best. I talked to the lady at the cafe and she thought I'd be best on the improvers class as I can at least knit & pearl.

So hopefully I will be able to get my first look at Me & Mrs Fisher cafe in York on 21st although I've been told there's only me on the course so far and it may not run if they don't get a few more bookings. Maybe some of the beginners doing tomorrows class will enjoy it so much that they jump onto improvers the next week!

Until then I'll just keep plugging away at inventing knitted things!

Not getting much crafty stuff done at the moment as quite a few design jobs have come in along with art needed for East Riding Artists. First off is a piece of artwork which follows on from the Art in the Garden visits we did last year. I'm doing a piece of digital art and I need to get it finished more or less in the next few days.

Then I have to get a selection of new work together to reapply as a full member of ERA. It is 3 years since I was accepted and every 3 you have to send fresh work for assessment and reselection. I'm changing from being a digital artist to a textile artist for this submission so it's a big unknown as to whether I will be selected. All will be revealed at the end of Jan.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Red Bag from the Green Rabbit!

Lucky me, look what the postman brought this morning, a parcel to open, doesn't it look nice.

Wowee, it's a beautiful hand knitted Nordic bag by the talented Green Rabbit designer Vivienne.

Vivienne is currently having a winter sale in her Etsy shop and I decided to snap up this lovely festive looking bag so that I can enjoy using it next winter (lets get this winter out of the way first)!
The bag is lined with a lovely tartan fabric and even has a couple of gadget pockets inside, it is just a lovely, beautifully made item and I think Bob the Bunny will enjoy riding inside it from time to time!
He's already taken a liking to it!

The bag complements a selection of other festive gifts I got with a red Nordic feel as you can see here, clockwise from bag, knitted cushion cover, Christmas jumper and M&S chocs.

You will find other lovely things knitted & crocheted by Vivienne via the link below. and the sale is on until end of Jan.
Thanks V x

Saturday, 7 January 2012

How to make your own Bob the Bunny!

As I may have mentioned before I am rubbish at knitting, I can do knit and pearl (or is it purl) and I make squares or rectangles. This may be about to change, she said hopefully, as I have made enquiries about going on a beginners knitting course at Me & Mrs Fisher cafe in York next Saturday.... fingers crossed!

With my limited knitting skills it gets a bit boring doing scarves or squares for blankets, so with that in mind I thought about sculpting or shaping a square into something and the result was the birth of Bob the Bunny.

So here in all it's glory is a little tutorial to make your very own bunny like Bob.

You need a small quantity of wool, appropriate size needles, stuffing, black embroidery thread, felt.

1. Have fun choosing some pretty wool and then knit a simple square or rectangle, mine was a rectangle & measured approx. 9cm high x 11cm wide.
When you've cast off leave a longish tail for stitching up later. Decide which is the front and with some embroidery thread or black wool stitch his eyes and a cross for his mouth at about a third of the way down from top.

That is the main body done.

2. Now for his ears, knit 2 more smaller rectangles, mine were approx. 3.5cm high x 3cm wide. Again cast off and leave a tail on each to stitch up.

3. Now we stitch up Bob's body. We start at the top, if you've got a tail of thread at the top great (if not thread up some of the wool) and with a darning needle do a running stitch along the top edge. When you get to the end pull to draw it up as you can see in the photo, make sure it's drawn up fairly tight so that there's no hole for the stuffing to escape. 

Next stitch the 2 sides together down the back of Bob and finish by stitching in your thread or if you have a loose tail push it into the body.

4. Now do similar with the 2 ear pieces. Do a running stitch along the top edge and draw up to form a slightly pointed ear shape and stitch the sides of the ear leaving the bottoms open. 

We are ready to start stuffing!

5. First push a bit of stuffing into each ear to give them a bit of strength.

Stitch the ears onto the top of Bob's head.

6. Now stuff Bob's body, hiding any loose tails of wool if you hid them inside earlier.

7. Nearly done, cut a small circle of felt at whatever width the base is and stitch that in place to keep the stuffing inside.

Voila! Bob is done.

Up to you if you want to add a little bunny tail or perhaps dress your bunny up like the cuties below.
Have fun and if you get cracking now you can make a whole family of these for Easter Bunnies!