Catching Up

So, it’s been a little while since my last blog and what a busy month or so it has been. In early March I attended a knit weekend for my City & Guilds Hand Knit Textiles course. It was great to meet my tutor, Fiona Morris, and the other C&G students. It really gave me the boost I needed to focus on my modules.

One of the samples from my C&G module 1 coursework.

The course is not just about knitting, it also focusses on design and creative techniques. The first day was our ‘design’ day and we basically got to spend 6 hours painting and colouring! It was an opportunity to explore colour, paper and other craft materials to create backgrounds. It was brilliant fun and I came away with a list of craft materials to add to my wish list as well as lots of ideas!

Exploring colours and materials - some of the results!

Our second day was focussed on knitting techniques and Fiona spent some time showing us some of her design work and talking us through the design process. We covered various techniques, but the one I was really pleased to learn was continental knitting. I’ve wanted to learn for a long time. I found the knit stitch fairly straight forward but the pearl stitch is a little tricky. It’s a really handy technique to know if you are working with two colours – it really helps to prevent you getting in a tangle!

We also managed to squeeze a trip to the local yarn shop in to the weekend. Seeded is a fab little shop with wool, haberdashery bits and vintage buttons. I was very restrained and didn’t buy anything but I think I’ll be visiting again next time I’m in the area!

 The whole weekend was organised by one of the other students. With her husband’s helping hand, she also did the catering. It was an excellent weekend and so nice to have an excuse to do nothing but craft!

Some design inspiration from a local walk during the knit weekend.

Also in March, a good friend of mine, Richard Keenan of Keenan Creative kindly developed a logo and some branding for my blog. I’m so happy with the result and hope you like it too. I’d love to hear what you think.

This month we headed off to Australia for a friend’s wedding.  We stayed just outside of Sydney in a suburb called Parramatta.  The weather was great for most of the week – it’s currently their autumn, but equivalent to our summer, so nice and warm.  It was a fairly busy week getting ready for the wedding, but we managed to squeeze in some sight-seeing and I managed to get a bit of a craft fix from two fab little shops in the Rocks in Sydney city centre.

The first one was a wonderful button shop recommended to me by one of my fellow C&G course on the knit weekend. It’s called Buttons Buttons Buttons and it stocks a selection of antique, vintage and new buttons. The lady who runs it was really interesting to speak to and we talked a little about the history of buttons.

The second shop was the Australian Alpaca Barn. There were some beautiful knitted garments and I had a little splurge on some deliciously soft alpaca and silk yarn. I’m in the process of knitting it up in to a scarf for myself.

On our last day, we went on a tour of Old Government House, Parramatta.  It’s currently housing an exhibition of the costumes from the third series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (the first two series were a guilty Netflix pleasure of mine!).  The costumes were absolutely outstanding and I’m now hoping they release the third series on Netflix soon so I can see them in action!

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition

Just before we went away, I managed to finish an entrelac blanket I have been making for a friend's new arrival. It’s been a bit of a labour of love (and patience!) and I’m really pleased with how it looks. I used a free online pattern from a blog called Nikki, in Stitches.  The design looks so impressive and complicated, but it’s actually incredibly straight forward to do. If you can decrease stitches and pick up stitches along a knitted edge, you can master entrelac.

I’ve finished the blanket off with scalloped crochet edges and a fleece lining to make it cosy and hide the wrong side. The wrong side wasn’t particularly messy but isn’t as nice as the front! What do you think?

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