Posts Tagged ‘hand made’


Finally! The laying and sanding of our sitting room floor has unfortunately eaten up rather a lot of knitting time, but after a few hours in the car last weekend visiting friends and the odd row snatched here and there, my Jared Flood shawl is at last finished.


It consisted of three sections, all knitted using different techniques, which kept it interesting, although I was ready for it to be over with by the end!


I did try take some photos of it without the use of children and dogs as props, but the colour just didn’t look right. It’s a gorgeous Shilasdair yarn dyed using tansy flowers. My sister is the recipient- I hope you like it Sophie!



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Well some things just don’t work out, do they. The quilt I had planned as a present for a dear friend’s baby has ended up on our sofa, and before that very nearly the bin. It was one of those feelings that sneak up on you when you’re making something, an uneasy feeling that something isn’t quite right.


As I scissor-cut the triangles freehand, I banished that creeping feeling, tried to ignore the millimetres here and there that deep down I knew would add up to centimetres out. When I pieced the triangles, all was well: they became neat, precise squares. But each square differed subtly from its neighbour and seams stubbornly refused to align.


Best of a bad bunch


and the very worst… painful!

It was only the gorgeous colours that made me keep it and piece it together, but I lacked the love to hand (or machine) quilt it and so I tied it instead, hoping also that the ties would hide the horrible misalignments slightly! I really do love the colours and the patterned fabrics I chose, and for me those have been its only saving grace.



Next time: rotary cutter, or templates. And not ignoring any sinking feelings…


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I’ve now knit this pattern most of any I’ve tried- it’s no longer necessary to dig it out from the bottom of my knitting bag or rip back and start afresh the seemingly endless times I had to when it was way out of my depth. I still love it and enjoy it, and the resulting fabric is stretchy, bouncy, and beautiful enough to be special without being so fragile and precious as to be squirrelled away for the moths to enjoy. I don’t think there’s a specific baby in mind yet for this one, the client who wanted it was given one for her baby and just wanted another one, this time in a darker grey. Otis certainly enjoyed it!


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There is so much loveliness out there, but often it’s just a matter of finding it. I found the lovely Julia Smith Ceramics, based in Inverness-shire in a rather old fashioned way; a friend gave me a sweet little spoon and a dish with a bird perched on its edge. I loved the melding of quite traditional glazes and colours with the fresh little illustrative decals that bring her pottery right up to date. Of course, those who know me know I’m no stranger to a bit of gloopy glazing on a deep brown 1970s mug, which I hunt down in charity shops and jumble sales avidly- but these feel so modern without losing that beautiful history of pot making.

I googled the maker and the next thing I knew was determindly entering my credit card details. I could easily –easily- have spent a good deal more, and I very much doubt Julia has written my address on one of her parcels for the last time.

She very kindly changed a drawing on one of her mugs for me, and Oli got a bowl for his birthday with a pointing dog on it in honour of our own pointer.

Pet themed presents are decidely cheesy, but this gorgeous bowl, with its rough black exterior and smooth interior, is anything but. Deepfired Studios also do some fantastic community work, which is also well worth a look. Check her Folksy shop out as well as her website, and enjoy!

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Another lovely little baby made his way into the world last week, at home, and I was delighted with an oppotunity to make proper use of these partially pieced squares I originally set aside for Otis.


As so often happens, other things, other projects, took hold and they languished. But the imminent due date of my friend spurred me into action and I finished the piecing and hand quilted it, with a couple of nautical embroidery motifs added in, as both my friend and her husband were naval officers.



I used a wool wadding for the first time, and as was utterly predictable, loved it. It has a beautiful loft, was easy to quilt, and is so warm, as well as breathable. I used a brushed cotton for the back which is invitingly strokable. It does mean, along with the hand work, that this quilt can’t really be bunged in the washing machine, but spot cleaned or gently hand washed. I know a lot of people despair at this sort of ‘impractical’ baby gift, but take heart from another friend who just saved the blanket I’d knitted until her little refluxy daughter had stopped drenching 20 muslins a day, and uses it constantly now- which gives me hope that care and love can usurp machine washability in the value of an item!



I also hope little Fergus (and his family) like his new quilt!


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McMillan Advent calendar 001

I did get this finished in time for my own two children to hang up the gingerbread man (for he was first, although true to form he did ‘run away’ down the back of the radiator as he was being held aloft) but I am so sick of the sight of them on my blog I didn’t take any photos or draft any posts.

McMillan Advent calendar 003

Hmmm, camera lens needs a clean. Who could be the culprit?!

But for completeness’ sake, here it is: the sixth and last advent calendar. I used a Scandi-inspired fabric from one of my local fabric shops, which I just fell in love with.

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I especially like the undyed, cream cotton background with flecks in it.

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Sol is very excited every morning to hang up the next decoration and we are all enjoying the visual reminder of just how close -or far- Christmas really is.

McMillan Advent calendar 002

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advent calendars finished 2013 011

After a bit of a delay thanks to an unpleasant tonsil virus and perforated ear drum (the latter Otis, not me!) 5 of the advent calendars are finished. Our one, the 6th, fell by the wayside last week when I had neither the time nor the energy to get the backing fabric for it. But I don’t need to post my one- these need to wing their way to England, to Fife, and, for the first time, to the USA! Which they should be doing tomorrow. How exciting. And, I’ll admit it, what a relief!

advent calendars finished 2013 013

The angel this year didn’t end up with green hair (a talked-of possibility) but black, with the sparkly red and white felt used, I hope, to Christmassy effect.

advent calendars finished 2013 008

advent calendars finished 2013 004

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And there you have it. Many, many months of work and much moaning (poor Oli). I love them so much once they’re done: they have a real weight and tactile invitation about them, and the fabrics are lovely, especially the larger flowers, above. But I am glad to see them on their way, and will be happy to start something NEW!

advent calendars finished 2013 015


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