Blethers and blahs

Random ramblings from a chaotic life

Storytelling Sunday – Generations of crafters

I love crafts, all kinds of crafts from scrapbooking to knitting, crochet, sewing, baking, cross stitch and a few others that I have been less than successful at.  I think it is genetic.  My mother was a keen needlewoman and sewed, knitted, crocheted and baked.  I am sure she would have been a scrapbooker had she known about it as many of the photo albums she kept had tags with them which told part of the story.  My maternal grandmother did all these things too but that was as much out of neccesity as enjoyment.  In fact the other day I found a lilac dressing table mat that had been crocheted from very fine cotton and was one of the many that I remember gracing my grandmother’s dressing table over the years to stop the top of it being scratched.  I also remember embroidered chair backs and sleeve covers to keep the furniture good.

There were a few down sides to having such a creative parent such as always having hand knitted things when everyone else had – what seemed to me then – prettier shop bought clothes.  Now it is far cheaper to buy than to knit clothes but then it was the opposite. This page shows me about 2 years old, wearing my handknitted togs and my hand sewn tartan trews.  My mother sewed everything by hand and never quite got to grips with a sewing machine.  I cut my teeth on a treadle machine aged about 14.  My grandad had bought it in an auction – a real one where people bid in person, because he thought I would like it.  What an understatement, I made so many clothes on that machine including most of my first working wardrobe, I was heartbroken when it died and I so wish I had kept it.  I had hand sewed things before that though and I still have the certificate I got aged 11 for making a large, red corduroy stuffed cat.

This is all put into perspective by a phone call from my oldest grandaughter earlier in the week looking for wool.  She had been sewing thistles at school and they wanted to make more things but the teacher didn’t have any other colours of wool so could I spare some?  The answer was, of course, yes and off I dashed.  The emergency parcel contained a book on needlecrafts for children, that I had bought for myself as there were some super ideas in it, some embroidery thread, some wool and some felt.  I had bought her a Harumika doll as part of her Christmas and she has hardly put it down since so I knew she would find these things useful.  The next thing I knew she had made herself a dog puppet to play with her younger brother with, which was lovely.

I wonder of my great grandchildren will also have the crafting bug?  I hope I am around to support and guide them if they are, oh and share some stash with them too 🙂


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Storytelling Sunday – anyone for muffins?

I know that Sian only does a storytelling Sunday post once a month but I am enjoying thinking of a story each week.  Last week’s story is one that hasn’t made it to a scrapbook page yet, but when it does the story is all ready to go, result!

This week’s story is one that happened very recently, in the past week in fact.  I am sure that you remember this post where I promised to let you see the doll and the finished clothes, but somehow I never did.  This week I had gone to see 2 of my grandchildren after teaching a class in their school, which they find very strange.  As I walked in Katy was playing with Charlotte, her birthday doll.  Apparently Charlotte can do the splits and touch the floor with her nose when she goes to dancing class with Katy on a Monday.  However on Tuesday she was in a lot of pain, Charlotte that is, not Katy and, no, it wasn’t because she had touched the floor with her nose.  She has really sore hands because it was cold and she had no gloves.  Katy asked me if I could make a hat and scarf for Charlotte, oh and some gloves.  I suggested that gloves for Charlotte might be a bit tricky so Katy said maybe I could make the ones with only a thumb, like muffins 🙂  I am sure she meant mittens but they will be forever known as muffins.

The colour of course has to be pink to go with the jacket she wears, which also have trousers and a skirt to match.  There is a coat all cut out and ready to sew but that is in a long line of things I need to get to.  For now here is Charlotte.

Pink outfit complete with lined jacket that has lined pockets - for a doll!

Lady in Blue - ready for a night on the town

Easter outfit

Pink PJ's - I need to make more of these

Katy applying magic cream to Charlotte’s hands because she keeps saying “ow, ow” because they are so sore with the cold.  Now all I have to do is knit some muffins.

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WOWW 136

I have missed sharing my workdesk the past few weeks.  I have still wandered around a few others though and found some lovely work.  I am hoping that this year will be a more productive one for me and I will be making a great effort to have something on the go at least twice a week.

This week it is felt.  Many weeks ago a Hobbycraft opened near where I live and for the first 2 weeks I resisted, then I caved BUT I didn’t buy anything on my first visit.  I did see this book though and it niggled at me, a lot!

I then decided to go back for it as I couldn’t source it anywhere else and I just knew that my oldest grandaughter would love these.  So off I went and had a wee panic to myself when I couldn’t find it where I thought it was.  I think someone else had their eye on it as I eventually found it in a different section right at the back of all the books.  Anyway, I bought it and it is mine and I am hoping to start using it in a week or so when I get used to being back at work again.

To get back to my workdesk, this book made me look at felt a bit more closely and I found a lovely photo of my youngext grandaughter which I had converted to sepia and had printed and I suddenly had the urge to make some felt flowers for a vintagy page using that photo.  Here is what I have accomplished so far.

Now embroidery was never my thing as I was always far too impatient to keep all my stitches neat and roughly the same size but on this scale I can just about manage.  I still have 3 to sew and that will hopefully be tonight with a view to having the page finished before the end of the weekend, though with more school planning to do it might be a tight squeeze.

Any useful tips about embroidery stitches, sewing with felt, or even where to buy good quality felt at a reasonable price are all welcome.  I have my eye on this book next

though another obsession is so not what I need right now!  For more fun and wonderful inspiration pop on over to Julia’s blog and see what everyone else has been up to.


WOWW 131 – needles and pins

My workdesk has been in a different place for the past week  the remains of the backwards Christmas cards are still on my main desk.  The reason is simple – one special little girl’s 7th birthday and a grandmother who likes to indulge and as usual, totally overestimate my capabilities.

Many months ago I promised my granddaughter a doll for her birthday.  Not just any doll but a doll that looked like her.  I had seen the American Girl dolls and was totally taken by them helped by the fact that most of the gorgeous sewing patterns for dolls clothes were for 18″ dolls which I could only find one of in the UK and I didn’t like it.  Since then of course Argos now do a lovely 18″ doll at a really good price, just my luck.  To get back to the original story I duly bought an AG doll (the shipping and tax were horrendous!) and although it was expensive I don’t regret it.  This was swiftly followed by loads of knitting and crochet and the cutting out of sewing patterns and fabric.

Note that I haven’t yet mentioned the sewing of fabric.  In my typical fashion i left that till the last minute so I have spent almost every waking minute for the past week sewing elastic into knickers and trousers or making clothes or sewing on press studs or velcro and I am almost finished.  This is a good thing because her birthday is today!  I need to rush home form work later today, hastily wrap up boxes and then see if all my efforts have been worth it.  No, I take that back, I know all my efforts have been worth it as I have enjoyed almost every minute and I have no doubts that I will continue to enjoy making clothes for the doll for many years to come.  I did worry when I found myself awake in the wee hours of Sunday morning stressing about whether I had made pyjamas for the doll 🙂  This is a particular worry as the said little girl has a few dolls but one very special one called Baby Carrot, from whom she has been inseparable for 4 years now and who is a part of the family.  My granddaughter insists that my daughter is her granny, much to my daughter’s displeasure.  In fact BC has been the feature of several scrapbook pages including this one I made for a challenge at a recent crop.

The challenge called for lace which i didn’t have in the right colours so I crocheted some which meant the page was a bit rushed to get it finished in the time allotted.  I added some beads into the lace as I went and I like how it turned out so I will probably do something similar again at some point.  For now, I am away to sew buttons to a dolls jacket though i promise to share some photos of the finished items over the next few days.

If you want to see many more inspirational blogs, pop over to Julia’s blog.