Saturday, 21 January 2017

Saturday Art Day

I am slowly getting better - but I am trying to take things as easy as possible.

I spent a lovely afternoon finishing my flower pot page

There are all sorts of ink and paints used - which create all sorts of different textures and finishes - plus a few paper flowers - and glitter!


Friday, 20 January 2017

Fabric lined basket

I have a bit of a thing for the old fashioned shopping wicker / cane baskets.  I love them!  I can't resist them when I find one in a charity shop and use them for storage and work baskets.

I also like to line them.  They are usually a bit rough on the inside for storing yarns and fabrics so I love jazzing them up with a different fabric.

This little chap has been sitting on the shelf for a while.  I sprayed it with a bit of metallic gold and lined it with a fabric that was gifted to me.

I seamed the top and ran a ribbon through so that I could tie a bow at each side

A lucky co-incidence is that there is a super little gap at each side to keep my spare knitting needles tucked in out of the way.

The basket has a flat plywood base - so it was easy to cut the base the correct shape and gather 2 side panels to fit.  The lining sits in the basket beautifully!


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Let's talk wire

In the first of a series about jewellery making and components I will tell you a bit about the different wires used.

Wire is wire - right? - - yeah - right! -- like it's that simple.

Wire is made from different materials and in different thicknesses to do different things.  You need to think what you want your wire to do - and then choose what will do the job.

The easiest to explain is aluminium wire.  Aluminium wire is made from exactly the same stuff as your aluminium foil sheets in the kitchen.  it is soft and bendable - crease-able and flexible and can be worked and reworked until  you are happy with the shape.  It comes in several thicknesses - I have never seen it thinner than 1mm - usually 1mm / 1.5mm / 2mm - but can go thinker for large model sculpting.  It does come in loads of colours - it is usually a coloured plastic film coating which will scratch  and distress if want it too.  It is perfect for sculpting shapes - commonly used under paper mache figures or in mixed media / floristry where you want to sculpt an intricate shape - also as the backbone for wire wrapping.  It won't hold it's shape in heavy use or if you put any weight on it.

Next we have copper based.  Comes in loads of colours - usually a plastic coating as before,This can come as a thin copper wire which is very flexible and is mostly used for the detailed weaves in wire wrapping - also to add beads to larger pieces and for mixed media pieces to add coils and swirls and texture - and for wire crochet and knitting - yes really!

Now it gets a bit more complicated.  You can add other metal too and make stronger wire.  The stuff used for making jump rings - ear ring wires etc is a copper base - treated differently and with other things added to make it harder and more resilient - it comes in a huge range of different thicknesses - called gauges - for different uses.  This one is much harder to work into shape - won't easily forgive you if  you make a mistake - but will hold its shape and take a bit of weight.  You can make your own jump rings for chain mail  and Byzantine work - but I won't confuse you any further today - we will think about gauge and work-ability later.

Think about how soft and workable you want your wire to be.


Monday, 16 January 2017

Cute kitten fix

Monday is kitten's day off

New Year - New Stuff - Soooo much to do

roll on summer


Thursday, 12 January 2017

Jewellery fix

Jewellery making has always been big in the shop - and this year it is growing even more with it's very own new dedicated wall and storage space.

This is the work in progress.  It used to be the habby /sewing board - I have bought a new 6 cubby hole storage unit - and the slat wall has been moved up on top of it.  This whole section will be jewellery making. 

I am still trying to find shelf space for a stock of beads - need more space!!!!

For this year I had the idea of doing a monthly explanation of some of the jewellery finding - tools - supplies - anything you need really.  So on the 3rd Tuesday of the month I will try to un-pick some of the mysteries and makings on the Jewellery world.

It's funny how the world goes round - I am actually a trained jewellery.  In my second work life I went to work for a proper jeweller.  I think that's how I got my 'yes - we can' attitude.  I coordinated with amazing arts and crafts people, importers, factories, single skill tradesmen with talents to die for - from this country and all over the world.

So If there is anything you would like to cover let me know and I will do my best.


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Square of the month - Bamboo pattern

This is a really useful pattern to learn.  It creates a fairly solid texture so it is perfect for bags - blankets - scarfs - cushion covers etc - anything that is going to take heavy wear.  It is quite a subtitle pattern - worked best in a paler colour.

You will need;
1 strand of double knitting to be worked on 4mm knitting needles – about 12g
Or 2 strands of double knitting (equal to chunky weight yarn) to be worked on 6mm knitting needles – about 20g

·         If you are using the double knitting weight of yarn, then use 2 strands together throughout.
·         If you are using the chunky weight of yarn, then use 1 strand throughout.
·         Remember to count all the rows as you work up the square.

Cast on 27 stitches.
Row 1: *(knit 1, purl 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1.
Row 2: *(purl 1, knit 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, purl 1.
Row 3: *(knit 1, purl 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1.
Row 4: *(purl 1, knit 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, purl 1.

Row  5: knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1,   knit 1, *(yarn forward, knit 2, pass the yarn forward loop over the 2 knitted stitches, knit 1) -  repeat from * to last 4 stitches, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1.
Row  6: purl 1, knit 1,  purl 1, knit 1, purl to last 4 stitches,  knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1.

Rows 5: and 6: form the pattern - repeat until you reach

Row 28: *(knit 1, purl 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1.
Row 30: *(purl 1, knit 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, purl 1.
Row 31: *(knit 1, purl 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1.
Row 32: *(purl 1, knit 1) – repeat from * to last stitch, purl 1.
Cast off.
I use Robin double knitting 100% acrylic yarn for all my knitting work.  If you are using pure wool, or a wool mix you will need more as the yarn is heavier.

**** This is my own original work.  Use it for your own use or for charity selling.  Use it to inspire you, and to lead you on to other projects.  But, please do not resell the pattern as your own workings.  It takes me years of learning, and months of work to produce a final pattern.

The Kitten and The Goat

9, New Shambles, Kendal, LA9 4TS


Monday, 9 January 2017

Cute kitten fix

Monday is kitten's day off
Poorly kitten

As the weather forecast for this week is so bad I am taking a few days!!!  Yeah ok - I got so run down over Christmas I have picked up a bit of bronchitis - I need to step back before it turns into shingles again.  I could not handle that right now.

Email or Facebook me if you want anything - I am still working at home on line


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Saturday Art day

I have promised myself all week that I would get back to my journal.  I am still very fragile - and it has been quite busy in the shop - so I wanted something fairly simple.

I still have the flower pot to finish and flowers to add in - but this has kept me pootling about all day.


Friday, 6 January 2017

Meanwhile back in the living room

Remember I started to redecorate the living room - what - last March???

Well Now that we are free from Christmas - Perhaps I should finish it.

So cleared loads of space to start work

And - starting stripping

Wall stripped!!!

I am not doing anymore this week.  Next week I have to sand the wall and put a base coat on it so I can see any lumps and holes that need sorting out.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Kit of the month - cosy slipper socks

Ever wanted to knit socks - but think they are to hard?  - - Trust me - if you can work a purl stitch and a knit stitch - you can follow along with me.

As always every step is fully written down for you - no abbreviations - no jargon - I take you by the hand and walk you through it all.

Once you have mastered the pattern you can experiment with colour and design for yourself.

I also have just the pattern you can download if you prefer



Tuesday, 3 January 2017

And - back to work

Holiday is over  and I am champing at the bit to get back and move on with this year.

It's been a tough year - first quarter I was seriously thinking that the shop would fall.  None of us was prepared for the downturn in the town after the floods - and it just went on and on.  I wore myself out trying to get help - practical and financial - to tide me over until things improved.  Nothing - no help - no one would lend a hand - even the landlords ignored all the whole alleys plees.  Then - after Easter - things lifted a bit.

I put in for a grant to the community flood relief charity - it was really gutty - I had to submit all my accounts - plead my case - and try to get them to understand my crazy little business.  Bless them - they compensate me for loss of earnings January/Febuary/March - then gave me a little top up for April/May/June.  It was not a huge amount - most people will take home more than that in a month - it was just that they listened - and could see the value in supporting me through the bump.

That - and the old goat paying my flat rates for 6 months this year - are about the only reason I am still here.  I have been holding on just for tonight - for the past 8 months.  It has been such a tough ride!

S0 - as they say - what went well / badly - what would you change. Not all the monthly tasks survived!  
 - I have loved doing the monthy kits - that's going to stay
 - the videos bit the dust pretty fast - perfectly comfortable in front of the camera - but - lack of time -    lack of skill to do the editing - oh and I blew up the laptop that had the editing on and they would        not let me transfer it to my new one!  So that has been a flop!
 - something that really surprised me - I struggled with the layout sketches - never expected that one -     lived and died for the past 8 years on paper crafting and I just could not create them!!!!!  I don't          know if it was because my head was so stretched elsewhere that I could not get in settled in - but        it became too much of a problem child to continue with.
 - the knitting squares - love - love - loved doing these.  I have no idea how many (or not!) of you           have followed along because they are out here and on my site for free - but knitting is my second         language.  If I could send emails with knitting needles I would have such a huge following ;-)             Seriously - these will continue.

Next year - focus shiftling slightly.
 - the 'Kit of the Month'  - keeper. With more sewing projects and some embroidery types too.
 - knitted squares - with the odd variation!!!! - will continue
 - we will be doing less paper crafting - moving more into knitting/crochet and fabric - I am just not      selling paper/card anymore ? ? ?  Sorry - what can I do?  I have to stock what is selling to pay the        rent and yarns  - fabric - habby is growing. Also more sewing kits - you have been asking for more      embroidery and the like.
 - jewellery making will be growing.  I have a new wholesaler and I am finding my way around their      site so let me know what you need.  
- and if you are wondering how it's all going to fit in - we are having a bit of a move about and re-fit.      Couple of new units and a few alterations to streamline and tidy.  

I am going to make a huge effort to be more organised this year.

You know the old Jewish proverb - Man plans - God laughs - -  - - come on then 2017 let's see what you got!!!!


Monday, 2 January 2017

Cute kitten fix

Monday is kitten's day off

and I am getting the best out of my holidays


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year


Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year's Eve


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

It's my birthday


Monday, 26 December 2016

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Eve - not quite an art day

Line up for a Christmas season of cute kittens!!!

and as for the art - the window over Christmas


Thursday, 22 December 2016

I have eaten my frog!

Don’t panic – no slicing and dicing of our cute little Kermit is involved!

This is a tip I picked up from my business mentor to help you get things done.

If you had to eat a frog before you go to bed today – when would you eat it?

We all have ‘those’ projects.  You know – the ones we started with all good intentions – and then went off - - or the ones that have got buried because we ran out of something – or we passed over on to more exciting things – or sparked off another idea.  Those are your ‘frogs’.  We push them away in the cupboard – or burry them in boxes and forget all about them – well we try to forget all about them – but they niggle away at our subconscious and hold us back – those are your frogs.

Soooo – you HAVE to do it.  You have to eat your frog today.  Do you put it off for as long as possible and not go to bed for 3 days because you really just can’t – or do you slice your frog on toast for breakfast and get it over with because that way – you can play all day without it hanging over your head all the time.

Meet my frog of the past 8 months or so.  I started it because I never make enough 'big dog' jumpers - but I had only done about 4" and I went off it.

 It has been sitting in my favourite work basket (thinking as it was in my favourite basket I would do something about it! – yeah – right -  don’t work).  Every time I finish a project and am looking to fill in an odd evening I have picked it up and done a bit - but I have hated every minute of it!  This year I have been making a huge effort to finish – tidy – clear – and I have finally finished it.

The positive side is - I love the basket weave stitch - so I will be writing a new jumper pattern with that stitch - but a nicer body pattern.

I can’t tell you just how good it is to have finally finished chewing on my frog!!!!!!


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Freebie project for you

Every Christmas I make a little gift for all my fellow shop owners in the alley.  This year I have come up with a seriously cute little basket with a handle for a Ferro Rochier.

Start with a magic ring
Round 1: work 6 double crochet into the magic ring.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 2: chain 1, work 2 double crochet into each stitch around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 3: chain 1, *work 2 double crochet into the first stitch, work 1 double crochet into the next stitch, repeat from * around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 4: chain 1, *work 2 double crochet into the first stitch, work 1 double crochet into each of the next 2 stitches, repeat from * around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 5: chain 1, work 1 double crochet into each stitch around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 6: chain 1, work 1 double crochet into each stitch around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 7: chain 1, work 1 double crochet into each stitch around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 8: chain 1, work 1 double crochet decrease, work 1 double crochet into each of the next 2 stitches, repeat from * around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Round 9: chain 1, work 1 double crochet into each stitch around edge.  Join with a slip stitch.
Work 15 chain stitch for the handle, join to body of basket about half way across with a slip stitch,
Slip stitch all around top opening of basket.
Double crochet over chain handle.
Finish Yarn.

Tie a contrast bow at the side of the handle.


Monday, 19 December 2016

Cute Kitten Fix

The shop is open on Mondays in December - but you can still get your Monday 'cute kitten fix'


Monday, 12 December 2016

Cute Kitten Fix

The shop is open on Mondays during December - but you still get a cute kitten pic


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Saturday - but no art today

I hit the ground running about 8.30 this morning - and I have just got back home - put my feet up and started on catching up with all the computer stuff.  The town has been lovely and busy, but I have been trying to take it gentle - promise!  Everytime there is a lull I put the kettle on and have a cup of tea standing at my desk tidying up and trying to keep things straight.  It's mostly working.

It sounds odd - but I don't think people realise that it's only 2 weeks and I will be sitting here on my hols.  I am getting lots of poeple looking for help with ideas and going away to think about it - and I am still getting people asking me if I will be getting more in before Christmas.  Sorry folks, I am afraid that I won't be able to get stuff in now.  The minimum order amounts mean I can't just buy 1 or 2 items - and the wholesallers are looking a bit bare at the moment!!!!!!

So - no art today - but I have managed to keep 2 of my desks clean and neat - and I am pretty much up with everything that needs doing.

So see you all next week for anoher busy time.