Saturday, 22 February 2014

A goal

I turn 30 this year. I'm not worried about getting older, I'm the odd one who is really excited by it, but having spent all of my 20s raising a child with special needs there's not much to mark off as solely mine. I haven't flourished in my career nor had chance to travel. My time has been sucked into raising him leaving little time to do anything else. This isn't a complaint merely a fact that comes with having such a demanding child. Plans are rarely made simply because I cannot do everything. I need to make a change. So, for the first of this years challenges I intend to knit every pattern in a newly purchased sock book! 

Ok, I admit, as far as 'things to do before you're 30' goals go it's pretty tame yet achievable and it's something I enjoy. Isn't that the whole point of it? 

I have a few more things on my list to tick off as the year unfolds. All, in different ways, important to me. I'm not after that adrenaline rush just a few things to say 'I did that' and erase the overriding sadness that sometimes creeps up that I'm hardly living my life. Merely existing. 

So here goes. 

Sock number 1 of 60! 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Quilt

Back in august I started making my quilt. I started slowly, adding new patches as fabrics were found. Old shirts, a worn skirt even ruined pillow cases made it into the finished quilt. 

Each piece was trimmed to waste as little as possible, perfect squares weren't important and to me perfect squares lose that beautiful imperfect feel. I even kept the pockets and button holes on some pieces. Smaller pieces were used to cover holes, worn and stained pieces of fabric. 

I spent a few days exploring how to bind the layers of quilt together. Traditional western methods just didn't appeal. 

I bought a pair of sashiko samplers and sewed. By the time I'd finished my first square I was hooked. It was the perfect way to bind my hand stitched quilt. 

I chose a simple pattern to stitch. Partly because it was a large quilt and would take weeks to finish and because the fabrics on the front were so busy intricate patterns would be lost. 

The simple wave pattern. The backing was an old bedsheet I dyed by hand. 

Fixing the edging in place. This was made from off cuts of the quilt backing. 

The finished quilt. Hand stitched from the patches right through to the binding around the edges. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014


"You know, these aren't terribly valuable. You should just bin them." He uttered looking over the items I had out ready to be repaired.

He was right, of course. If I chose to sell the items, a brown, chicken-shaped egg store the base broken in two, a teapot with a chipped spout and a fine china teacup with a broken saucer, they wouldn't make anything more than £20 - if I were lucky. 

I didn't want them to be repaired to make money, following the lead of all these antiques shows the television is saturated with and quite clearly show you how. I just wanted to keep them going for longer. I wanted to keep them in my life .  I wanted to enjoy them for a few more years as these items, as worthless as he had made them seem had a value to me.

One had been a gift, another a first item purchased when I left home. Things that have long been part of my family but also there to mark important milestones

Even now, years later, I find the attitude to things odd. Why not repair something even if the monetary value is so low? Why does it always have t be about money? Why can't it be about beauty or about  the quality of an item? Why does it always come down to pounds and pence?

The insane view 'you are what you buy' has stuck firmly amongst those I know. New cars, mobiles every few years. A new wardrobe of clothes each season. It all seems so wasteful. They often poke fun at my way of being. Choosing not to buy new slippers but sew on new soles. Dyeing my faded jeans or using all the scraps of fabric to make a quilt. 

It's a slow life, not for everyone. The brown chicken pot was finally smashed to pieces in a house move and lines the bottom of a plant pot. The teapot was given a new home when I sourced a bigger one from a charity shop as my family grew and the teacup has found a new saucer, it doesn't match and my tea doesn't taste any different! 

Tea Towel makes

All these makes took less than an  hour and were made from new tea towels. Opting for tea towels  rather than fat-quarters of 'hand wash only' quilting fabrics suited these hard working items (and me) perfectly.I'm keeping my eyes  open for more bold, interesting tea towels for the long list of  makes I have planned!

Double-point needle roll 

Regular needle roll.

Peg bag.