Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pots of Yarn

In the comments of my last post, Carol, (to whom I cannot reply directly as blogger does not seem to make it possible, really and truely, one of these days I will move the blog elsewhere, but I will need a lot of wine), anyway, I digress, Carol asked me about my pots. I refer to myself as "potter" in my sidebar but really this is something of an untruth at the moment as in fact I haven't made a pot for 3 years. I have a very antiquated and enormous kiln which has spent 3 years sitting in a storage container. When we first moved up here we lived with my Mother in-law and there was nowhere for my kiln to go, we moved here a year ago and there is a large shed but a very narrow path and some steps make it virtually impossible to get the kiln to the shed and even if we did there is some doubt as to the strength of the floor. So I remain a potter in waiting. I hope to perhaps sell the old kiln and buy one of these newfangled lighter weight kilns.

I really miss making pots. I discovered ceramics about nine or ten years ago when I began an evening class while still living in London. I was lucky, it was a really good class, fairly unstructured, lots of encouragement for everyone to do their own thing and I was immediately fired with enthusiasm. When we moved out of London I tried several other classes but found them all very lacking, too often aimed at complete beginners and very restricting. Then I saw an old kiln advertised and hey presto, the beginnings of a very steep learning curve. I struggled with the chemistry of glazes and firing but eventually began to find sucessful recipes and combinations. I was lucky enough to begin selling the odd pot and knew that this was what I really wanted to do when babies became a little less demanding.

My pots are mostly handbuilt, although just before we moved I had begun to teach myself throwing. I love the slow, organic process of handbuilding, I feel really intouch with what I am making. I usually start with an idea but often find the clay takes me somewhere else once I begin. Although I haven't been able to make a pot for three years there is hardly a day goes by that I don't think about pots and I have a notebook crammed full of ideas and drawings. I would love to perhaps investigate the possibility of a full time ceramics course in the future, maybe when the children are both in full time school although that will depend on logistics of course.

In the mean time I continue to day dream about pots, collect pots and fill pots with yarn......

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Illness and knitting

There has been much illness, of the vomiting variety. Not good. We got back from our lovely weekend late Sunday, the Christening went very well and my clever Godson managed not to cry once, well not until the vicar took him for dunking, her hands were very cold and he cried loudly into her microphone which I think shows excellent communication skills. Anyway, Monday morning I woke up feeling very nauseous and things went down hill rapidly from there. The Technical Advisor had to deal with dinner and managed to be pretty creative with what little was available but Tilly sat at the table and was immediately sick, her brother started some time in the night. The Technical Advisor earned gold stars for dealing with all of this while I lay pathetically in my sick bed. He began feeling ill by morning.... Thankfully we all seem to be a whole lot better now.

The quilt obviously was not completed and I feel much better about it all now that the pressure is off, I expect to finish the top this week, it is very almost done in fact and will start the quilting next week.

Other unfinished objects include the Denim. The knitting was finished a few weeks ago but I haven't been able to face sewing, I will soon, very soon.

Meanwhile there has been this. Betty from Rowan 38. I love this Yorkshire Tweed, the colour, the yarn, perfect. The pattern proved to be a little less mindless than I was hoping, every other row requires the stitch to be increased which isn't very much fun but I do like the fabric it creates and all being well I think this will be a much worn knit. I have completed the back and two front pieces so far, just the sleeves to go but obviously at some point I must tear myself away from this and complete the darn denim. Soon, very soon....

Due to all the illness, and subsequent washing, I am a bit behind with replying to comments, thank you so much for all the comments and opinions on the quilt, it really is so helpful. I will reply slowly but surely.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Frantic Quilting

The extra fabrics I ordered for the Christening present quilt finally arrived on Monday so I have been pressing on ever since but as we are due to travel down this Friday it is very unlikely that the whole thing will be completed. I am cross with myself, for once I was very organised, I started planning this quilt months ago and yet still I haven't managed to complete in time. Anyway, this is how it's looking with the new fabrics. The stronger red stripe gives it a much bolder (and hopefully more masuline feel) and I have changed the blue and pink stripe for a blue and white stripe. I left the flower, after all, this baby has a bossy older sister so there are going to be some flowers in his life whether he likes it or not.

Caroline suggested changing the stripe directions which sort of went against my original idea but seems to work better in this case. Interestingly my husband made the point this seemed more uniform than my usual style, I hadn't realised I was an un-uninform type but perhaps I am... I still need to decide what to do about border and backing, I was thinking the blue stripe? Of course in my heart of hearts I think a little floral rosebud type sprig would be scrumptious and would mix it all up a bit but there I go with all the girlieness again, I am finding it very hard to think "boy". All ideas gratefully welcomed.

Duh, I am editing this post for the 3rd time, I think I need to increase fish oil intake!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Two Times

I finished two dresses for Tilly this week, the pattern came from this book (scroll down) and is incredibly simple, the bodice is half lined which worked brilliantly and looks very smart. Tilly is quite tall so I went for the larger size but this made the dress much too wide and I had to mess about quite a bit with alterations, never mind, I'll know next time to stick to the smaller size and just lengthen it.

For some reason I completed messed up the zip on the Amy Butler dress and it took me about 6 attempts to get it right, just not in the zone I think, I made the polka dot dress first and the zip went in perfectly first time. I have ordered some narrow velvet ribbon to trim the dresses which I think will provide the finishing touches. Please excuse the ill-matched tights, I was over ruled by the Mini Diva, she has some firm ideas on fashion already.

I am feeling incredibly thrifty now as the fabric is all from stash bought for pennies at Abakhan Fabrics which means that I get to buy something nice to reward my virtue, excuse me now, I am off to do some virtual shopping.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Meet Pepper

I am still waiting for the additional quilt fabrics to arrive so no progress on that as yet, panic, panic, panic. Thank you so much everyone who commented, I gleaned lots of advice and tips and am slowly getting around to replying to all by email but have been a little delayed as my Technical Advisor has rebuilt my computer in the last couple of days. To soothe my nerves in the meantime I have been busy with a couple of things. First of all, there is Pepper (named by Tilly who has been longing for her own giraffe). Another giraffe, no bag as yet but a fetching skirt and blouse ensemble and I am especially pleased that I managed to sew with the elastic, a first for me, it required a bit of experimentation but we got there in the end and the technique works well for doll's clothes. I did mean to add some weight to the bottom this time but sewed it up before remembering, next time..... I have changed the pattern a little this time but it is still essentially the same pattern which has got me thinking about copyright issues with these Japanese Patterns. There is a shop locally which I think might provide a small market for this sort of gift but presumably I would be infringing copyright? However, I do notice a lot of things for sale on-line which would seem to be based on designs from these books so how much should a pattern be altered? I do have some ideas for toys of my own creation which I will get to work on soon but no doubt if I searched the internet hard enough I would still find very similar designs, perhaps it is just that sort of market. I am not going to research my own ideas for fear that I will throw up that very problem.

Of course none of this tarnishes my fondness for the Japanese Books and with Pepper the Giraffe completed I set to work on a couple of dresses for Tilly, the pattern comes from this book.

Just some small adjustments to make and zips to put in, hopefully some model shots later this week.