You have to be quick off the mark to get a Sew Sweet Violet project bag when Jooles updates her shop as they sell out in seconds! I was lucky the other day and managed to buy this one featuring Liberty Tana Lawn in the blue Kaylie Sunshine print. It's beautifully made and very roomy, and I'm delighted with it.
"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?
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.
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.
"In an interview that she gave to the magazine Needlecraft in December 1906, Lady Carew professed to spending several hours each day at her embroidery frame. She strongly recommended needlework to women of all classes of society as a panacea for 'the bustle and fatigue' of everyday life. Plying her needle was for Lady Carew a cathartic experience which soothed the mind, dulled mental anxieties, absorbed the worries of the day and brought a good healthy rest at night."
Look here for more information on Lady Carew and her sister Lady Cory, "famed throughout society for their needlework skills and for the scale of the embroideries they produced for their Irish and London homes," and click here for the article from which I've quoted above - I love the bit about Lady Carew's aptitude with a needle having come from her mother who had cross-stitched her own stair carpet [don't we all?] , "a task her daughter believed every young bride should undertake".
The Great Tapestry of Scotland is on the move again and will be exhibited at Stirling Castle from the 31st. of January to the 8th. of March. There is no additional charge to view the Tapestry, but normal admission prices for the Castle itself will apply.
Then from 20th. June to 20th. September, the work will be on show at Kirkcaldy Galleries (conveniently situated next to the railway station).
Meanwhile, plans for a permanent home for the Tapestry at Tweedbank in the Borders are taking shape, but if you are far from Scotland you may have to make do with pictures of the piece, so you could scroll down through the archived posts for various reports from work-in-progress to finished object, look out for the book which contains images of every panel, or watch the slideshow above (which hopefully will work!).
You'll see from that post that another book to be represented in the displays is Tracy Chevalier's most recent novel The Last Runaway; if you'd like to know more about it (it's excellent), there's a post on it here, and over here is the piece Tracy wrote for us on learning patchwork and quilting as part of her research for the book.