My friend Lizzie bought me an ice dying kit for Christmas (thank you!) and I’ve only just now found the time to have a go.
The results are pretty cool if I do say so myself!
I’d never heard of ice dying until she bought me the kit but basically you place ice cubes onto a piece of fabric, sprinkle over powdered fabric dye and as the ice melts it makes some really funky patterns depending on whether you scrunch up the fabric beforehand.
I think it’s supposed to give a kind of tie-dye effect.
I placed my fabric on a baking rack over a baking tray (I didn’t have a bowl or bucket wide enough for the fat quarter so I used a tray).
I also folded my fabric into 4 quarters and laid it flat.
Once the ice had melted I realised that on the bottom the baking rack had made a striped pattern which was quite interesting! All 4 quarters had different patterns, I’m just waiting for it all to dry before I decide what to do with it.
So, if you want to have a go at something different and easy to (you could do this with kids it’s so easy!) then this is definitely an option!
It’s my brother’s birthday today and I spent 20 minutes this morning making him a fabric zipper gift bag.
I was aiming for ‘eco-friendly’ as I didn’t want to use wrapping paper which would just get thrown away. At least he can reuse the bag.
And I haven’t sewn anything for a few months…I’m just chuffed I didn’t have to look up which way to place the fabric, I figured it out all by my little self!
My friend Lizzie bought me the fabric a few weeks ago (thank you!) and there is enough left to do something else with it.
The nerd in me loves the fact that Halloween Darth Vader is a skeleton…in Return of the Jedi you see him briefly as a skeleton when he gets electrocuted. That fabric was designed by a true believer…
I just did a basic bag and inside there is his card, a couple of books, a pack of posh cookies and some loose chocolates. He doesn’t read this blog so don’t panic!
It was good to get the sewing machine out again.
That was basically my only finished make of the week. I’ve also cast on a new knitted baby cardigan and made a pom pom for a baby hat I finished a few days ago. But it’s all been writing still…no time to craft anymore!
I started this project last month and honestly haven’t done anything on it for about 2 or 3 weeks.
I’ve been so preoccupied with my new digital hobby, creating digital ‘art’ and messing around with Photoshop etc. that all crafting has been put to one side.
After several years of ‘BLAH BLAH BLAH’ (which I won’t go into here), I feel like I have emerged with a hit-the-ground-running kind of attitude in the last couple of months or so. Things which have been on my list to do for ages have got done, things I wanted to start have got started. I am MOTIVATED!!!!
So, naturally, knitting and sewing has been put aside for the moment. Although, saying that, I did manage to get about 10 rows of my Neon Fair Isle Bag done last night whilst listening to some Youtube channels.
I also opened a brand spanking new Etsy shop last week too. Yay! There’s nothing on it yet, still doing the back end stuff like policies, making nice banners that kind of thing. But it will eventually become a digital download place where I sell printables (but better quality than what I’ve been posting here! You know…do it ‘Professionally’).
But it’s empty at the moment. I also have to, you know, CREATE some printables for the shop, but just having it opened and ready to go is motivation in and of itself.
I am also leaning towards doing some more sewing again, I feel like sewing is a bit of a faff compared to say, knitting. I have to actually set the sewing machine up downstairs, collect my sewing box, materials, threads, patterns etc together and it just seems to take more time to set up and get started, so I might do some sewing on Saturday or Sunday. [Spoiler alert: I didn’t!!]
Saturday 17 April
I treated myself to a Fat Quarter of fabric from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics which came in the post today. I’m getting seriously fed up of my current fabric choices, I think I might make a bag (my favourite things to make) and if there’s anything leftover then a scrunchie too.
I also went for a walk down the country lanes near me, it has been so sunny and ‘warm’ lately, it looks like not just Spring, but Summer (although occasionally feels like Winter!).
Sunday 18 April
I have bought and printed off a couple of new patterns from an Etsy shop called Stitchrovia. I did a cross-stitch piece a few months ago and after years of putting cross-stitch aside I realised I loved and missed the hand embroidery element to it and so I bought 2 more to do.
They’re text based patterns, not what I usually go for, but I’m feeling motivated lately like I mentioned above, and so, why the heck not?!
A motivational quote makes for a motivated person…maybe?!!
I’m going to stitch the first one on some black Aida I have, that might be a little hard on the eyes, I can’t remember ever having done cross-stitch on a black background before. If it gets too difficult to see, I can always start again on a white background.
Another project that I dug out to finish is a leather handbag. I went on a workshop last year, luckily right before lockdown happened, and made a mini leather handbag and got the pieces ready to make another one.
I dyed the main pieces a dark green and red (looked more pink) last year and bevelled the edges, got the buckle on and then I got sort of stuck sewing on the buckle strap. On the day of the workshop, the teacher did this part for all of us to save a bit of time because saddle stitching takes ages!
I used up a lot of the thread she gave us, and I sort of lost interest a bit. But, now I have some thicker black waxed thread so we’ll see how I go.
I have all the tools and materials, I needed there to be strong natural light really. It was too dark and cold to work downstairs in winter. I’m ready to try again!
Monday 19 April
You know those days that you know you have been productive but there is absolutely NOTHING to show for it? That was today!
House cleaned, paper recycled, papers shredded…so much boring admin stuff done! Dumped so much old stuff…files on computer, old papers (that’s one thing that piles up for me…I love to scribble random notes on paper). I sorted a bag of books to take to the charity shop…and yet the place still looks the same!! 🙂
Part of me being motivated and productive is cleaning and de-cluttering, I never knew years ago, how good it would feel to throw stuff away!
I started a book called The Testaments by Margaret Atwood today. It’s the last book on my shelf that I haven’t read, once this is done then my reading list will be complete.
It’s a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, I love dystopian future fiction. Give me a book about the world ending any day, I mean come on. Who wants a romantic comedy when you can have death and destruction?
I’m going to try and get some more of the Neon Fair Isle Bag done. It’s only small and it’s only knit and purl, but the colour changing and untwisting takes me forever! It’s soooooo slow going. I have about half of the second side to do and then sew it together and make an -icord strap/ drawstring with my French Knitting Doll.
Well, that’s all for now folks, I’ll try and post more regularly but I’m all steam ahead on the digital stuff now. I even planned out an e-book at the weekend. I do want to get my crafty projects done though, sometimes they hang over your head for ages and they become bigger things than they really are. Some things, like the bag, were only meant to be short and quick projects, and yet they drag on for so long that they almost aren’t fun anymore.
Goals for April:
-Finish Neon Fair Isle Bag
-Do some more on my leather bag (doesn’t mater how much, just SOMETHING)
-Try and finish The Testaments book
-Knit a bit more of my orange jumper that I’ve done half of
-DIGITAL STUFF: open Amazon KDP account, finish all the back end of Etsy stuff (FAQs, Policies, etc), do a bit more on Pinterest and RedBubble sites, Figure out commercial usage fonts and then it’s all go! Start designing printables and work on my book.
These are strange and interesting times. Uncertain ones too. Especially if you own or work for an independent small business in the arts, fibre, or crafting world.
Now, more than ever, small businesses need your help and support, whether by sharing or purchasing their work.
As a crafter – knitting, crochet, and sewing mainly – I try to buy local and small as often as possible. This past year of 2020 I basically used up all my wool stash, so I didn’t really buy much new yarn. In the future, I will be trying to buy hand-spun and hand-dyed as much as possible. Of course, this can get quite expensive (and why should it not? You are after all paying a premium for time and experience and creativity), so, where I couldn’t buy handmade, I bought local, whether in my local town or in the UK.
I have bought fabric from UK Etsy sellers and even flour from Kat Goldin – knitters and crocheters will know that name! (See Gartur Stitch Farm on Instagram for more details). I have shopped from local independent chocolate shops on the high street for presents and bought handmade, one-of-a-kind pottery pieces from UK potters – Sam Throws Pots on Etsy and Instagram does some beautiful oil burners and trinket dishes.
I try to support artists I like by buying something small (for example an enamel pin) if I can’t afford/ don’t have room for a big piece such as an art print or original.
Some businesses like Shetland Wool Adventures will have had to pivot completely to how they used to work as a result of the pandemic. Instead of offering guided tours around Shetland, this small business instead opted to write, design and have published their own beautiful journal.
I bought the journal pictured above a few months ago, it has a few knitting projects, recipes, articles about Shetland, walks, information about wool. All sorts. I really want to visit now! And by the way, the apple cake recipe was NOM NOMMY NOM!! 🙂 See Shetland Wool Adventures on instagram for more details – I can’t wait for volume 2.
So here are a few independent shops I like. All of them I have purchased from in the past and can heartily recommend.
FusedGlassCornwall – Etsy
This shop sells a variety of fused glass objects such as jewellery, light catchers, hanging decorations, Christmas decorations, cards, art pieces. All in a chunky, bright style that I love. Her penguins and snowmen are particularly adorable.
FabricJungleUK – Etsy
This shop sells fat quarter fabrics in really cool patterns – think Marvel superhero fabric, Harry Potter, Star Wars and much more. I bought fabric to make my Dad and little brother sewn zipper bags for Christmas.
AllSewnUpBySophia – Etsy
Again fat quarters, but the ones I got from this Etsy shop were slightly more traditional (I bought sewing themed fat quarters from here) but still pretty – the Christmas striped fabric was my favourite.
thelittlestfalcon – Etsy
I bought some of my Christmas cards from this shop this year – robins, whacky penguins! Pretty cards with prints of hand painted animals on. And since I am in Yorkshire, I think they are relatively local to me too if I remember rightly.
EarthKindCreations – Etsy
A shop selling natural, eco-friendly products and kits. I bought my mum a beeswax wrap kit. They sell kitchen items, re-usable cloth sponges and towels, sanitary products, all in beautiful fabrics.
CottonandTwigg – Etsy
I bought a few hand sewn gingerbread men from this shop. They had facemarks and were holding a roll of toilet paper with the year 2020 sewn on!!! 🙂
WonderWeaverDesign – Etsy
Willow basket weaving shop which sells beautiful handmade baskets (the orange pumpkin and black cat baskets would have been perfect for kids if I had any!!) as well as kits. I bought my mum a pot holder kit for her birthday last year – all these kits I buy my mother and she hasn’t even started one of them yet!!
These are just some of the shops I have bought from last year. Definitely have a look at them the next time you are browsing Etsy looking for something to give as gifts or to try yourself.
The smaller shops need your custom and support much more than Amazon or Wish or Ali Express or whatever, so support them now and hopefully help keep skills, local heritage crafts and traditions continuing well into the future!