Having recently discovered Illyria Pottery via Instagram, I made a point of visiting the physical shop when I was in Oxford at the weekend and I'm so glad I did.
Katie has lots of lovely things for sale, but having to allow for the constraints of flying home, I contented myself with buying just three small ones:
an Oxford Blue-speckled mug that feels just right in the hand, a tiny jug for pouring cream on porridge, say, and a soap dish for our favourite pine tar soap (we'd already stocked up in Objects of Use). The Christmas star was free - a generous gesture to customers on Small Business Saturday.
If you can't get to Illyria in person, you can always shop online, but if you are in the area do stop by - the welcome is warm, and the wares very tempting.
"Do you have any tendencies when it comes to selecting fabrics? Are there any colours you find yourself buying all the time, even though your stash is overflowing with them? Do you gravitate to striped fabrics, or tiny checks, or florals? Do you seem to always have more solids than prints in your stash?
It's very helpful to know what your preferences are, so you can do a little 'corrective shopping' once in a while. Since my tendency is to load up on bright, saturated colours and prints, every few months I go on a fabric-shopping trip where I only allow myself to buy subtle prints and neutrals. That way, my stash stays more balanced, and I can build more effective palettes for my EPP projects."
That's Diane Gilleland writing in All Points Patchwork - English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts and Small Projects, but the 'corrective shopping' idea could equally well be applied to wool-buying: creative justification for a few acquisitions, don't you think?
As a supplement to this post and this one, here's another source of wool for you, and 'source' is the right word because this 100% Poll Dorset DK comes from the Isle Yarns family flocks on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.
The picture here captures the colour pretty well for it is the most lovely moss green (though I have my eye on the lavender and grey too); the wool is destined to be a hat for Mr. C.
Following on from yesterday's post, I drew 'painting' from the Advent hat today so I spent 20 minutes with my watercolours* - something I would not have done otherwise - and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Advent calendars containing chocolate seem commonplace these days compared to the exotic versions going around. You can get ones which hold beauty products from Liberty, tea from Harrods, candles from Diptyque, colognes and creams from Jo Malone, and even ... wool!
I know lots of knitters are making sock yarn blankets and similar and are going to use their advent mini skeins - whether from a calendar or other purposely acquired set - to knit a square a day from now until the 24th. The idea of it - a small, different, daily act of making - appealed to me, but I thought I'd approach it in a slightly different way. I haven't bought anything new, instead I've nominated a range of projects, some neglected, some long-term, some yet to be begun; each day I'll draw one at random*, and work on it for a short while. This could be 20 minutes on some embroidery or needlepoint (canvases-in-progress, but ones which tend not to see the light of day for long periods), a little bit of sewing, a Granny square, or something that's not textile-related at all.
Where the crochet is concerned, I have several Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails which I bought for the purpose a few months ago, so they will feature on six or seven days, but as I've assigned each colour a number they will be used when that number comes up. Today's was Mandala (as you see above), and the square has been finished, washed and blocked.
I'm keen to see not only which project is drawn from the hat each day, but what I'll manage to accomplish in terms of diversification in my 24 'creative breaks' by the time Christmas arrives. It should be fun.
*I've put corresponding pieces of paper into a hat.
Prompted by Barbara's comment on this post, I thought I'd put together a list of yarn dyers/sellers I've used whose products I like. If I've already knitted something with the yarn in question I'll link to the post or Ravelry project page, if not it means the skein is still in the drawer awaiting its turn on the needles. Some of the following may be familiar to you, some perhaps less so, but I hope you'll find a source of good things among them.
A case for my phone - made up as I went along - using Liberty Lifestyle 'Cranston', Sevenberry 'Seigaiha', a length of grosgrain ribbon, and some wadding.
Here's the finished piece inside out showing the ribbon pull by which the phone is lifted out of the case. One end of the ribbon is stitched a third of the way up the inside of the front, then it runs to the base of the case and up the inside of the back where it is held in place by a fabric tab.
Right side out. It's a good fit, nice and snug, and the wadding front and back gives sufficient protection without bulk.
It's been a while since I did any embroidery or sewing and I want to get back to it, but knitting and needlepoint in the shape of works-in-progress and others which are 'needle adjacent' seem always to take precedence.
And then there's Janet Clare, another recent discovery, whose book The Wordsmith appeals, but I fear it would be folly to embark on yet another thing.
In view of the above, I'm interested to hear from the 'multi-craftual' among you: how do you fit it all in? Do you work on only one project at a time, from start to finish? Do you devote certain days (or seasons) to one craft over another? Do you do a little of everything so that there is some progress across all your work all the time? Do you just knit or stitch or sew as the mood takes you, without feeling overwhelmed, or that you're neglecting what's not in hand at that moment? Are you disciplined about not buying the supplies for a new project until you are free of other work and ready to start it?
I suspect Mme. Fontaine here was faithful to her embroidery - she certainly seems to display an appealing level of serenity and absorption in her work.