Tag : fabric
Tag : fabric
‘Twas the night before Craftmas
‘Twas the night before Craftmas, when all thro’ the workshop,
Not a crafter was crafting; could hear a pin-drop;
The scissors were placed by The Crafty Lass with care,
In hopes that the morning soon would be there;
The ribbons were nestled all snug in their draws,
With visions of crafters soon through the doors…
The chores for the day completed and done,
We’d just settled down – our evening had begun.
When suddenly there arose such a crafty vision,
I sprang from the sofa to put it in to fruition!
Away to the studio I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of ‘The Old Grain Store’,
Brought a luster of glitter I couldn’t ignore;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But my papers, my baubles, my fabrics – oh dear!
– It might be quite late – but I can be quick,
And whip up some projects in a momentry tick.
More rapid than eagles the ideas they did came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, POMPOMS! Now, PAPER! Now, BUTTONS and BOBBINS!
On, CROCHET! On, FABRIC! On, SEQUINS and RIBBONS!
To the top of the studio! To the top of the wall!
Now Craft away! Craft away! Craft away all!”
Things to be sewn, fabric to dye,
Sketching and gluing, and cutting; Oh my!
So up to the small hours, the time it just flew,
With my mind full of designs—and making them too!
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the drive,
The laughter and chatter – the crafters arrive!
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the lane, they came with a bound:
So full of plans, to make and create,
So happy and eager – they just couldn’t wait;
A bundle of thoughts were flung in the air,
To try and inspire with fun and with flair,
Their eyes—how they twinkled! Their excitement: how merry,
To make paper flowers, or crochet, ideas – so many!
With fabrics and ribbons drawn up in a bow,
Perhaps bunting in colours or as white as the snow;
And so I can teach them – my thoughts to bequeath,
And show them how to make a beautiful wreath.
So with plenty of tea, and cake in our belly
We crafted and laugh’d, full of chatter and glee:
“Just time out to relax, time for oneself,
Learning new things – inspiring myself”
Techniques and teachings, on boldly we tread,
Cotton and crepe, yarn, lace, and thread.
We spoke not a word, concentrated on craftwork,
We’d made lovely stockings; and sewn up patchwork,
And crocheted some toys – counting the rows,
And layering papers, they’d finished their rose.
They sprung to their cars, it was time for dismissal,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight—
Happy Crafting to all, and to all a good night.
Although having been a resident of Northamptonshire for several years now – I was sadly, actually unaware until last month that there was such a thing as both a special ‘Northamptonshire Flag’ – and also a special county ‘Northamptonshire Day‘ on 25th October… Did you know? BBC Radio Northampton have also been holding a wonderful event over the last few years, on a weekend as near to 25th as possible, since 2014 when the flag and county day became established. The event highlights and celebrates all things fantastic about our wonderful county – the heritage, the producers, the things to do and see, the crafters…
When the opportunity arose to be a part of this special day for 2017 – this time to be held at Holdenby House on Sunday 22nd October – I jumped at the chance! And boy, was that a good decision! The day was simply brilliant – and made me proud to be part of such a vibrant community. There were foodie delights, beautifully made crafts and decorations, beers and ales, simply stunning falconry displays, archery, balloon modelling, face painting – even ferret cuddles and racing!! We were fortunate with the weather being on our side – an unexpectedly cold but crisp day of blue skies, sunshine – and some crazy winds thanks to Storm Brian, but none the less the people poured in for a day of fun, heritage, history and merriment! With approximately 2,000 people coming in through the door – I was lucky enough to meet some amazingly interesting people, make new friends and understand a small slice of just what our county has to offer!
The Crafty Lass stand was demonstrating making fabric tinsel and wreaths – ahead of the upcoming Christmas craft workshops – and also briefly appeared both live on BBC Radio Northampton with Carson Wishart and for a short stint in the ‘Talk Tent’ discussing just how important craft is – and how it can be a therapeutic opportunity to relax out of our busy working lives.
A particular shout out and thank you to the wonderful Elke Pollard who I met today and loved my craft demonstrations of fabric tinsel so much she bought the demo make to wear as a scarf! What a trendsetter!
Thank you to everyone who came along, watched the demonstrations, bought from The Crafty Lass (our greeting cards and some beautiful fabric fat quarters were for sale!) and were excited about coming along to the craft workshops! Also to all the other lovely producers and traders who I met today. Finally, a MASSIVE thank you to BBC Radio Northampton and Holdenby House – what a fantastic event you put on! See you next year!
Having studied Art & Design – specialising in textiles for A-Level, BTEC Foundation in Art & Design – specialising in Textiles and then going on to specialise in Printed Textile Design at University – you’d think my go to medium of choice, would always be fabric. Of course, I would never turn my back on the beautiful warps and weft of material but it is sometimes nice to try something new.
I have made many flowers out of fabric before – making HUNDREDS of hand cut petals for our wedding. Sewing these into large ruffled flowers that adorned the tables, the chairs, the corsages – and have since held several flower corsage craft workshops teaching people how to make these.
It was only fairly recently that I started to explore making flowers out of a new material – paper.
Paper, with all its varying weights, styles and colours provides incredible flexibility to create texture where perhaps fabric cannot to the same degree. Paper, when you fold it, it often stays where you put it – you can roll it up, cut it up – without fraying, it can be stretched to create shape (in crepe paper certainly) it can be crumpled up to create folds and definitions. It can be delicate (tissue) and strong (card). It provides a whole wealth of inspiration and ideas. Of course there are delicate silks and structured chords and denims to explore with fabric, but paper somehow feels more tactile, more instantaneous texture. I have always been more focused on the graphic design ON the fabric – colour, the pattern, the print of the fabric, not necessarily the texture.
Colours – I’ve always been inspired by nature and the amazing palletes it brings. What could be more invigorating than looking at the colours of a glorious sandy beach against cool blues of the sea? Or, the remarkable russets, greens, golds and oranges of an Autumnal tree? Or the pastels, brights of a floral summer garden?
Using real flowers as the most obvious starting point, when making paper flowers – I like to try and recreate the styles and shapes and as close to nature as possible… but equally it is quite nice to give a nod to – that the recreation IS paper. For example, peonies – I’ve been known to hand paint crepe paper to specific shades of pink to replicate the imperfect colouring in nature of real peony petals. I have been told that people didn’t realise that it was paper, they looked THAT real! (Mission accomplished!) However, with daisies – I tend to cut the paper into little straight strips. Thus giving square edged petals – they look like daisies, but just not quite.
Flowers can of course, be built into extraordinary displays and bouquets – and what a choice! From tiny little delicate ‘baby’s breath’ to huge ruffly roses and sunny sunflowers. Often interspersed with foliage and leaves building up layer upon layer of colours and textures.
As beautiful and striking as real flowers can be – they do not – very sadly – last.
However, fabric and paper – very happily – does.
I have been honoured to be asked to make various paper flower commissions – primarily for people’s weddings – and most recently, I had a very romantic request – for a first ‘paper’ anniversary gift, to replicate his wife’s wedding bouquet, so that she could keep it! (He’s a keeper!)
Using a wedding photograph as inspiration and lots of secret messages between myself and the groom to make sure it was just right, after weeks of paper folding and making – he gave her his thoughtful gift within the last week. I’m really glad to say she loved it. (Mega brownie points for hubby, right?) Yay!
Looking forward to 2018, I plan to launch paper flower craft workshops for people to come and learn how to make them… in the meantime, if you – or someone you know would like a paper flower commission – please do get in touch!
When it comes to fabrics – I am certainly a bit of a magpie! Particularly if vintage – so they have a bit of history behind them. Or an unusual print or pattern. Or colour, or weave… Who am I kidding – any fabrics that might have a use! I often buy them if I like them, to keep ‘just in case’… (Otherwise known as a classic craft hoarder – much to The Husband’s dismay!)
This time, with a specific project in mind – I was on the look out for some ‘Rose’ fabric – to craft up a present for one of our lovely friend’s little girl’s 1st birthday present. I had kept a sneaky eye out on eBay for anything coming up, and hunted in my normal ‘go-to’ fabric haunts – and I was tempted to go for something such as the Cath Kidston Antique Rose design until, I suddenly, unexpectedly stumbled upon some beautiful vintage roses pillow cases in Brackley Antiques Cellar. Bingo!
I had planned to make a cushion – which may sound a strange first birthday gift – however the bright floral colours, and an idea for potential ribbon details to play with, I am hoping it will be an item loved for years to come in her nursery/future bedroom!
I was already intending to make a simple ‘fold over’ style cushion cover (where the back overlaps) – and my first thought with my new found treasure – was to simply just cut away all the seams of the pillowcase, and then use the fabric as per normal. However, when I started to look at and measure the cases, I realised size wise – it was near as perfect for the cushion inner I had in mind. Wouldn’t it be silly to rip out perfectly already achieved craftmanship, just to redo them all over again?? So, with that in mind – after washing and ironing – I decided to embrace the pillow case as part of the design! Here is how I achieved the final look…
Have you ever upcycled a pillow case into a cushion cover? I would love to see!
Babies grow REALLY fast. Everyone tells you – “enjoy it, they won’t be like that for long…”
I heard what people were saying when I first heard this… but I am not sure I really took on board just HOW super mind bogglingly fast time actually disappears… and that some days I think our little one grows before our very eyes. One minute he is wearing that cute little star print vest I love, the next – well, not. I once even thought I had shrunk everything in a wash load – but no no, he really had grown that quickly! Almost overnight…
When he was born, and I had taken approximately 200 first outfits to the hospital in various sizes from very small to very very large ‘just in case’ (we looked pretty much like we were moving house when arriving at the maternity ward, or perhaps maybe a long holiday with 3 cases!!) … he STILL didn’t fit in to any of them. Given the size of my hippopotamus sized bump I was certainly surprised…! Anyway, one of the first jobs for new Daddy was to go out and buy more clothes – turns out we needed very very very small!
Staring at this little bundle of cuteness, who we were suddenly in charge of – and now enclosed in a tiny little babygro on Day 1 – I couldn’t imagine him fitting in to one of the actual ‘going home outfits’ that I’d meticulously and totally unnecessarily planned – let alone all the other what seemed almost ridiculously large items for future months we had at home.
Now, at only (only!) 9 months – he is out of all those wonderful first items – and marching into 9-12 months plus and onwards. So, what to do with all those leftover clothes??
Some of those clothes have memories engrained in them. Little laughter and magical moments woven into the fibre of their cloth. Forever to be captured on camera and shared into the Instagram #babyspam. The sleep suit on his first car journey home, on his first Christmas day, when he first smiled, and rolled over. The first time in a jumperoo, and at a baby sensory class. The special outfit at his first wedding – and the first time he met his grandparents. The list goes on… all those milestones that suddenly happen, you grab your camera and BAM – that’s what he was wearing when ‘that’ happened…
I can’t look at some of those beautiful little items without smiling, crying, remembering and rejoicing! If they are going to be made into something they need to be CUT UP… So they need to made into something that will be used, loved, cherished.
On this note, we are now starting to plan a 1st birthday party, which I cannot quite believe – but what would a party be without decorations? And in particular, BUNTING.
And so… I have spent this evening, going through the no longer used, but still very much loved, clothes – the cute little fabrics – selecting, remembering, and cutting triangles. The triangles won’t match, there will be colours, stripes, prints and patterns galore. It will be fun! And memorable. Personalised – a year in the life of our little man. I’m not going to lie, a few tears have been shed tonight – happy tears – but I repeat – how can he be growing so fast??!
This craft might take some time, there are plenty of triangles to be cut and sewn, and they won’t be perfect, this bunting will have poppers and seams galore… but what a project!! So enjoyable to plan and make… and so exciting to see the outcome.
I look forward to it being hung, resplendent at his first birthday party!
And if this clever (even if I do say myself) crafty idea – could get any better… my plan is to now do this as time goes on. I will add to it, every year, whenever a new celebration that of course requires bunting is needed – with the next batch of discarded wears so that by the time he is 18 it could no doubt be hung to the moon and back!
Right, I’m off to see what else he can sadly no longer wear, do some more remembering, and to cut triangles…
There are more memories to be made tomorrow, who knows what the day will bring. I hope he is wearing a nice printed outfit!!
I really wish there were two of me. Or, if we are going for ideals – perhaps even three or four…
Right now, there is simply just so, so, (SO) much whizzing round my mind. Multiple, multiple tabs open that often sends my brain in to overdrive. I actually started to write this blog post at precisely 1.45 am (!) – instead of divulging in gentle slumber and taking advantage of the fact my little one was (finally) snoring contentedly, I decided then would be an opportune time to start writing a blog post and plan workshop ideas…
So many crafts, so little time. I have to say though, I’m not complaining – I do actually much prefer having a lot on. I am not someone who thrives on boredom – I need projects, plans and a purpose to get going! I like deadlines, pressure and things to be doing. Right, here goes – to give you just a taste of what is going on inside my (too full) mind…
So obviously my primary role is to be a mother, and a wife, and (try and) find time for a social life… We have just moved house, so there are rooms to be decorated, boxes still to be unpacked, chores to be done, dogs to be walked (although The Husband is a star for this one!), Freddie’s weaning ideas, our dinner to be cooked, eaten… I’ve started a new part time role, working from home – it’s great and of course helps to keep the bills paid
before The Crafty Lass takes over the world… I have crochet to be done, sewing projects on the go, product ideas being designed (!), commissions to be made, various new crafts I would like to try and taste.
Obviously within all of that – the main thing is getting the new ‘craft space’ up and running and those (very exciting) workshops planned. I need to practice, cost, time, prepare. I need to think about how everything will be laid out, and when this will all happen… And sometimes I might relax and sleep…
I recently have a new sewing machine, which doesn’t help with the brain activity – as that in itself is like a dream come true. My old one served me well – it had gone through college, uni, various house projects over the years. I went to get it serviced – and the answer was a big fat crafty NO – it was time to give up the ghost, and send it into haberdashery heaven. I was sad, but being realistic and honest – wahey! – A NEW MACHINE. Without sounding old and past it – wow, hasn’t technology changed?? I can now have the machine thread the needle for me?? And a ‘top-loading bobbin’ – basically, no more faffing around with it… it sews neatly, consistently, basically the best thing I could have done was to finally invest in a new one.
Except – I am now obsessed! So many lovely fabrics to turn into projects – and fun accessories for our boy! Dribble bibs being the starting point… love that a simple splash of fun fabric can update even the most basic of babygros! I wanted to buy him lots of different designed bibs – and then I had a lightbulb moment – why not MAKE them. I am The Crafty Lass afterall…! Yes, they will get messy – but he can look cool and I can have fun with it too!!?
To help with my (ever growing) list of things to do, ideas to be realised and dreams to be achieved, my mum is currently here for a few days. (And, yes, it is simply amazing having her here!) In reality – what I could have done this afternoon, is have a (very well deserved) nap?
But no – I made a ‘tag blanket’ for workshop practice, and for little one…
Again, a simple little sewing project – but it has given much joy today… for both me, and Freddie! Fun nautical inspired prints from ‘The Craft Cotton Company’, different coloured and textured ribbons – great fun! 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled for a craft workshop on how to make them for yourself, coming soon…
Happy New Year! I can't actually believe it is January 4th - where did Christmas go?? How did that happen?? I had been planning ump-teen blog posts for Jan 1st - but, here we are... Well, time flies when you are having (lots of) fun...
I was both humbled and honoured to be recently asked to turn a beautiful bridesmaid dress into cushions - a scary, but exciting challenge for me, but what a lovely idea! I was desperate to post a photo on here as soon as it was complete - but as this was a Christmas gift, I just had to be patient, and it just had to wait...
I was given some beautiful textured velvet for the backs, the dress - and instructions for two cushions! It was pretty nerve wracking - I mean, if anything went wrong - it wasn't like I could go and get more fabric! Once I got going with it, it wasn't that scary... just slowly unpicking the main skirt of this glamorous nod to the 1950's style dress and measuring everything out to create two 50cm x 50cm cushions.
The dress was originally worn with a sash around the waist, I thought it might be nice to incorporate that into the design along the middle of the cushion.
Starting on Wednesday at the Waitrose Head Office in Bracknell, where 19 of us were not only making our fabric wreaths – we were singing along to some festive carols and music, there were mince pies, Cadbury’s roses… it certainly felt like Christmas!
With so many of us, and all nattering away, tearing up the fabric, and methodically and therapeutically knotting onto our wreath bases – at times it felt like we were in some sort of factory production line! 😉
The event was even filmed for the Waitrose Advent Calendar (a daily internal video highlighting what partners at Waitrose have been up to!) and, I have been lucky enough to be allowed to also use the video in this blog post. Check out here how we got on!
Thursday evening, I was at the John Lewis Head Office at London Victoria – where there were 8 of us making wreaths – and I actually also made mine tonight too! 🙂
It always amazes me, that each person starts out with very similar fabric selections – but the range and array of the results – are all so different and individual! We had ‘Italian flag’ wreaths where they blocked out colours, we had pastels only, very ‘natural’ holly-style looking wreaths, all stripes, all plain – amazing! Have a look through the photos below for all the different versions! 🙂
I had a really important moment over the last two days – with the magical mood, festive music, and lots of people enjoying themselves…it felt like – this is it! I am really doing it – The Crafty Lass workshops are really happening. Of course, I have done other workshops pre-these, but perhaps it was just the festive atmosphere, lot of smiley and happy faces – it just felt very special and I can’t wait for 2016 and all the craft workshops of the future!
If you would like a The Crafty Lass workshop in your place of work (or at home, or in a local venue!) please do get in touch!
What a gloriously sunny day yesterday was! Well, it certainly was in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
I love Yorkshire – I am fortunate to have married a Yorkshire lad, so we do get to visit this beautiful part of our country fairly regularly – but it never ceases to amaze me when we return just how stunning the scenery is – picture perfect rolling green hills, idyllic little villages, the lovely Yorkshire stone buildings. Just delightful.
I don’t of course need an excuse to visit Harrogate – but, what better reason to than to go and see The Women’s Institute Centennial Fair – 100 years of Women’s Institute history!
With plenty to see and do – demonstrations, talks, book signings, workshops, places to eat – and certainly BUY (the Christmas shopping has begun – and yes, I know it is only September!) I would like to detail all the purchases I made – but certain people who I know read this blog may just be getting something, and I know they would know it was for them! Ha!
Anyway, apart from having a lovely look around lots of lovely stands – I also booked myself in for the ‘Origami Teacup’ workshop with Clare Gage later in the afternoon.
It wasn’t actually what I expected – but not in a bad way, as I am not actually sure what I did expect! However, it was brilliant! Very inspiring – and really got me thinking about what creative skills I, and we all do, have, and how these can cross into new ways of looking/making/doing/trying new things. Clare used the term creative ‘hacking’ – which is just a perfect explanation really. For example knitting – well instead of using ‘normal’ wool – why not giant wool, or tiny needles – or knitting with something entirely different, like wires – or plastic! Thinking outside the box.
We started out with just a few squares of sugar paper, ready to be ‘origamied’ (is that even a word?) into a little, simple cup design. Next we translated this into different scales – seeing whether it was easier to make the same shape with a very small piece of paper, or very large. I actually enjoyed the tiny pieces of paper, having to try and make super delicate folds to keep the cup design shape. Once we had the hang of that… we moved on to different types of materials – tissue paper, crepe paper, cellophane, fabric, stiffened fabric… and finally clay! Each one responded slightly differently to the folding techniques and the final outcome of a little shape, some better than others – but all unique and individual.
My clay attempt – was actually the hardest part – and, I know it looks a little ‘clumsy’ (you can see in the photo’s below) – but, I had fun – which, I think with craft – it is often the most important part?? – making a little handle, decorating it by stamping out button shapes… We actually only had an hour to make all of these little trials – and so I think quite a lot achieved! I would love to give the clay another go actually – try a bit more creative hacking!
After the workshop – I was desperate to buy a beautiful mug from Clare’s stand in the fair – and, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to pick my favourite…but with the aforementioned already purchased Christmas shopping – I decided not to. However, it was this morning – when I made my morning cup of Yorkshire (of course!) tea, I stood there thinking – how much nicer would this have been in a beautiful textiles inspired piece of delicate porecelain? So – it is on my Christmas wish list for sure (please take note friends and family members – and just to be extra clear – Clare’s website is HERE. And after much deliberation, my piece of choice is THIS stunning Patchwork teacup. I love just how gloriously delicate it is in the pure white – but really feels like a mug you could have a proper brew in! Deeply textured ‘fabric’ porcelain. In Clare’s own words from her website “It’s comforting, passionate and nostalgic”.
Anyway, enough of my Christmas wishlist – the time spent with Clare making the lovely little cups – made me really think about my own craft and creative workshops- and how to best deliver them – and of all the exciting The Crafty Lass things to look forward to…and of course Christmas, and my new cup! (ahem!) 🙂
Categories: Places to Go & Things to See
The Crafty Lass wants to get Brackley SEWcial!
Do you love craft? Do you enjoy (or want to try!) sewing? Fancy meeting local people, or a night with friends? Want to handmake a new accessory?
I am holding a ‘Fabric Flower Corsage Workshop’!
The Green Room, Brackley – Thursday 20th August 6.30-8.30pm.
Tickets are limited and are available for purchase from The Green Room. So book yours now to avoid disappointment! They are £17.50 per person and include a glass of prosecco*!
Any questions, feel free to ask! 🙂
*Soft drink alternative available.