Friday, September 30, 2011

A haiku a day...

A bottle of red:
Conversation flows just like
Old times at wine time.

It's loud and hot here
and not like me, but on the
dancefloor I feel free.

Sunday sunflowers:
My arms full of their long stems
and happy faces.

Reading means doubling
my '"me": I'm here and I'm there,
inside the pages.

All at once the birds
take to flight, united in
wingéd commotion.

Outside a strange voice
sings; a melodic breeze floats
in through my window.

Almost October,
but Summer has snuck back for
one last brazen fling.

Thanks for reading my little ones. I just looked back through my old haiku posts and realised that I have already written another haiku about sunflowers which I had completely forgotten about. Reading it again I remember exactly the moment that inspired the first one :) So it turns out they are not just poems but also magic potions for the memory: take/make one a day and remember little moments that would otherwise be lost. Writing a haiku really is a fun way to capture a little bit of the essence of your day... why not leave me one in the comments?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Every leaf is a flower...

"L'automne est un deuxième printemps chaque feuille est une fleur"
~Albert Camus

(Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower)

Did I mention that I'm obsessed with autumn leaves? I take so many pictures of them every year. These are a few of my favourite pretty ones from the last few years. It certainly does feel like a second spring with all the sunshine that this week has brought
:) Hope you're enjoying the unseasonal autumnal weather...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

on my hook...

A sneaky glimpse of the view from my hook...

(you can read about the inspiration behind this patchy affair)

I'll show you some more soon as it grows and grows :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

We are stardust, we are golden... (stitching up a skirt)

I've had this lovely starry fabric stashed away in my fabric box for over a year....

It makes me think of the Joni Mitchell lyrics "we are stardust, we are golden" from Woodstock. I've been listening to lots of Joni lately and had her playing whilst stitching up this skirt so the two are now permanantly associated in my mind :)

I bought the fabric to use for a blouse pattern that I had, but never got round to making it. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I don't really ever wear blouses. Finally last week I decided that enough was enough and it was time to put these lovely golden stars to good use - and to make something I will actually wear. So I dug out one of my favourite easy patterns - a highwaisted full skirt with pockets (all my favourite skirts and dresses have pockets), which incidentally is perfect for twirling! Here are the pieces...

You simply cut our 8 of the skirt pieces and 4 of the pockets, then stitch along the seamlines of the skirt, putting in the pockets on either side and a zip at the top of the waist on the back. Easy peasy!

(I got this pattern for free somewhere online a couple of years ago. I wish I could remember where so I could point you there. I thought it was from the Burda website (a wealth of free patterns and sewing knowledge) but I can't find it there, anymore sorry! Anyway, the pattern is really straightforward and you could probably sketch one up quite easily by measuring your waist, and your hips as per the photo above if you're feeling adventurous.)

I started by lying the pattern out on the wrong side of the fabric to make sure I can cut out 8 pieces... this took quite a bit of working out and eventually I had to shorten the length of the skirt to get it to fit....

Here I am pinning together the pieces ready to sew with the seam lines marked out on the wrong side of the fabric to make sure the measurements are all precise ...

And away we go!

I got the pockets all stitched up (no pictures of that stage, sorry), the side seams sewn up, and the zip attached at the waist, so all that was left was hemming the skirt and sorting out the waistline. Rather than just folding down the top of the waistband as per the instructions, I decided to reinforce the waist with
interfacing and an extra piece of waistband fabric (to go on the inside of the waist unseen) to stiffen it as the waist is quite high on this skirt and it helps to give it a more polished look.
I used one long piece for the front of the skirt (4 x the pattern piece waist measurement x 15cm~ the length of waistpiece) and two short pieces for the back (2 x the pattern piece waist measurement x15cm~the length of waistpiece)...

Measuring and cutting the interfacing...

and waistband fabric...

and ironing the interfacing onto the extra waistband pieces...

I stitched these last bits into place

by the spooky glowing light of my sewing machine

And... TADA! Here's the finished skirt...

The high waist makes it perfect for pairing with belts...

And I told you it was perfect for twirling...........

In the words of Joni, all that's left to do now is get myself back to the garden :)

Do you have a favourite pattern that's nice and simple to stitch up?


Friday, September 23, 2011

A haiku a day...

Tiny squares, each one
a small accomplishment hooked
onto its neighbour.

Concentric circles
On the surface of the lake,
Rippling raindrops.

The air is scented
with falling autumn leaves, a
colourful perfume.

Glowing orange sky:
backdrop for our evening walk,
in early autumn.

Inside each conker,
an entire tree lies in wait:
chestnut potential.

Outside my window,
clouds float past, high in the sky,
faster than you'd think.

Trust not the ticking
of clocks: minutes and hours
are slippery beasts.

I'm into my third month of daily haikus and still enjoying putting together these little syllabic momentoes of my days. See all my haiku posts by clicking on the haiku label in the right sidebar over there somewhere -------------->
And please do leave me a haiku of your own in the comments if you so wish.....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ce qui m'inspire en ce moment... PRETTY PATCHES OF COLOUR

Having just finished my latest crochet project I've been thinking lots about what to hook up next. I thought I wanted to go out and buy lots of new wool in co-ordinated purple and bluish tones and make a giant blanket for my bed with a proper pattern. But then I had a think about what has really been inspiring me lately and I've started something quite different...

Bright summer colours might have faded from the streets (people are wearing less bright colours, choosing instead to revert to drab greys and browns) and the flowers in gardens are starting to wilt and die but
the colour pallette of months gone by lingers on the edge of my consciousness. Meanwhile, as autumn gets going, berries start appearing and the leaves are becoming a little bit more multicoloured then usual. Before it's all gone for winter the world has a last blast of colourful energy and I want to capture that. Here are some of the things that have inspired me - all of them colourful and patchy in some way...

This bright corner of my mum's garden at the end of August. I love how all the colours zing together, not quite clashing or co-ordinating but co-existing in a bright happy way...

and smaller but still colourful... my own window ledge, having one last flourish :)

Bright graffiti tags appear and disappear in layers of paint on the walls of the nearby nature walk...

Even the leaves get transformed in this painted patchwork...

Patchwork people - a sculpture at Glastonbury. What drew me to this was all the tiny patches of colour juxtaposed together...

Flicking through old photos I was drawn to the glowing kaleidoscope of colours in this light installation I saw at the
Fete des Lumieres in Lyon a few years ago...

and the bright happy colours of this flowery tree installation which 'grew' on the banks of the Rhone...

and photos of mosaic tiles from the walls in Park Guell in Barcelona...

Clothogancho is one of my favourite sources of crochet inspiration. Her blankets are huge landscapes of patchy colour, immense woolly works of art. Like this one...

Image via clothogancho this post
I urge you to go and see all her beautful creations! Even her blog heading is a feast for the eyes!

One of
MeMeRose's latest posts got me thinking about the possibility of something patchworky with her link to the amazing Beekeeper's quilt by Tiny Owl Knits...

Image from Tiny Owl Knits where the pattern can be bought via MeMeRose

This image makes me want to always use every possible colour of wool...

That's when I fished out my big bag of leftover wool accumulated over the last few years from all my knitting and crochet projects. Just peeking inside the bag made me realise that I have so many odds and ends of different colours to use up (and a huge volume of wool that needs to turned into something useful, instead of just sitting at the bottom of my wardrobe taking up space)...
So I've started something patchy, something colourful, something to snuggle under for warmth as the colours burst and fade in the coming months. I will show you soon once it has grown a little larger :)

What's been inspiring you lately?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bobble Berry Cardigan

I finally finished a crochet project I've been working on for a while. I gave you a sneaky glimpse of it here. Now it's time to reveal what is quite possibly my craziest woolly creation yet: My bobble berry cardigan!

Here's the front...

and the back...

The basic structure of the cardigan is that of a hexagon granny square - if you crochet 6 right angles and sides into a basic granny square, you get a rather unweildy piece that will naturally fold itself into an L shape. If you do two of these and then join them together in the middle and along the top of the open flaps you get a very easy cardigan! You can then make the body and the sleeves longer and shape it so that it fits around the body and neck. Unfortunately, I didn't really take many photos as I was hooking this up so it's quite tricky to explain - for better full instructions see here here and here.

I've made a few variations of this design this before and this time I didn't want the holes you get in a granny square so instead I used double crochet stitch to form a more 'knitted' surface and also went a bit crazy using the bobble stitch which I learnt from the
Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework which I wrote a bit about here.

Here's a bit of a close-up so you can see the bobbles (and my alarmingly pale hand!!!)

I used my three favourite colours of Stylecraft wool: Claret, Cranberry and Copper. The bobbles don't half use up a lot of wool - I got through about 2 balls of each colour for this. It means that the cardigan is very very warm indeed. Perfect for autumn and winter - I'm going to get lots of wear out of this crazy creation throughout the colder months. Also I realised when I was out for a walk that all the berry coloured bobbles mean that I blend right in amongst all the berries that have been appearing on bushes lately!
Not everybody's source of style inspiration!

Here it is again :) You can just make out all the different colour buttons that I've carefully stitched on...

Why not learn to crochet so you can make completely unique and ridiculous cardigans of your own too?