Category Archives: craft

My punch needle cushions are finished.

Not sure what week we are on now with the lockdown, I’ve settled into the groove and I’m enjoying the tranquility of this new slow lifestyle although every morning I wake up thinking it’s Sunday and I do miss family and friends.

I thought I had already posted my punch needle adventure but it seems I forgot so I’m sharing the process from start to finish. My Oxford punch needle has been sitting around unused for ages, once I finished the waffle blanket I needed a  new simple project with a repetitive process as it’s kind of meditative.
Punch needle cushionsI wasn’t sure where to start in terms of design, I didn’t want anything too fussy just blocks of colour. I turned to my ‘Lansdcape’ sketchbooks and found some drawings I liked, then I did a few quick sketches before drawing the design onto hessian with a sharpie. I’m using rug wool from my stash as well as some Aran wool. I chose the colours to match the decor in my home, nice calming colours that I like living with.
Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushions

I have a frame which pulls the hessian taught making punching quite easy so long as there isn’t any tension on the yarn and you don’t pull the needle too far out of the hessian. My hessian square was bigger than the frame so I had to work around the edges out of the frame. This turned out much easier than I expected.

I soon got into a rhythm and found this process so relaxing indeed, I almost fell asleep a couple of times.

There’s a little video of the punching process on my Instagram.

Needle punching

Needle punching

This is the second cushion, I had to order more wool, also some linen for the backing. I had some manmade fabric that I could have used but seeing the cushions are wool and will be very hard wearing as they are rugs really and will probably last for years I thought natural linen was more suitable.

Needle punching

And here they are, I’m so pleased with them I’m going to make another pair of punch needle cushions for the sofa in the lounge, they will be similar in design but different colours, also I have some ideas for wall hangings and maybe a footstool.

I think I am hooked 🙂

Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushionsHave you learned anything new during lockdown ? I’d love to hear what you have been doing.

Stay well folks.

Waffle Comfort Blanket Crochet Pattern.

When I was sick as a child my Mum made me a bed on the sofa, I loved to snuggle up with a waffle blanket that only came out at times when I was poorly. I loved to try and put a finger each into their own indentation in the blanket, and it was so warm it felt like a hug in a rug.

At times such as these we could all use a comfort blanket.

This is an easy pattern, it only uses one stitch, a treble. I decided to make wide stripes so I don’t have so many ends to darn in, I hate doing that. I chose calming colours but brights would certainly lift the spirit.

Waffle blanket crochet along

Waffle Comfort Blanket.

Materials.

Double knitting yarn, I use Stylecraft, amount depends on the size of your blanket. I have 10 balls but will need another 10 balls ( 1 ball does 2 stripes the width I have chosen).  Plus yarn for the border, I haven’t decided how to do my border yet but I will update the pattern when I have finished the blanket.

Crochet hook – I’m using a 4.5 mm as I like a firm fabric but a 5mm will be ok too.

My blanket measures 116 cm in width, this is without the border.

I hope you will join me in the ‘crochet along’.

Pattern.

note – Cast on chain needs to be multiples of 3 plus 2 extra chain. My blanket is 198 chain.

Row 1.

Treble (tr) in 3rd chain from hook, tr in each chain to end of row. Chain (ch) 1 and turn.* Ch 1 counts as first st.

Row 2.

Tr in next stitch, trAP ( treble around post of next stitch ), tr in next 2 sts, repeat to last 2 st, tr A P in next st then 1 tr in last st. Ch 1 and turn.

Row3.

Tr in next st, trAP in next 2 sts, repeat to last st trAP around last st. Ch 1 and turn.

Row 4.

Tr into next st, trAP around next st, tr in next 2 sts. Repeat to end, tr in turning chain.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 to end of blanket. Change colour as desired. I decided to make wide stripes of 6 rows as I don’t like darning in ends. Each stripe took about 45g of yarn. I had 9 colours and did 3 stripes of each colour. 

Next Row.

Repeat row 1 to * finish off by pulling yarn through loop. Darn in all loose ends.

Border.

Row 1.

Note – I picked up 195 st on short ends of blanket and 270 st on the long sides .

Starting in 2nd tr of a short end ch3 for first st, tr into each st to corner, 3 tr, 2 ch, 3 tr into last st. On long side tr about 9 sts into each stripe to last st, 3 tr, 2 ch, 3 tr into last st. Continue around other 2 sides. Slip st into the first st. 

Row 2 & 3.

Change colour, working in waffle st as r 1 & 2 and keeping the pattern in line with the blanket pattern  do 2 r of waffle stitch, turning corners as r 1. Turn blanket over for 2nd r.

Rows 4 & 13.

Continue as r 1, 2 and 3 changing colour as you go, slip st into first st, pull end through. Darn in end. 

Here’s my blanket so far, I’m going to have to ration myself to one stripe a day as I will run out of yarn soon.

Untitled If you want to join in and crochet along, with this blanket or your own project I’d love to see photos, you can post them in my  Facebook group Hobbies For Wellbeing

Stay safe and well x.

 

Strange Times, Strange Times!

Indeed these are such strange times, it feels so surreal don’t you think?

I’m planning how to use my time, as a crafter working from home not a lot will change but there will be time for spring cleaning, possibly some decorating, and gardening. We need to lift our spirits and being in the garden does that, the soil gives off a chemical that does something in our brain and makes us feel good.

I was going to shut my shop for the foreseeable future but then decided to keep it open for UK customers and extend my dispatch time to 5 working days. I have to shop at least once a week so I will post then.

My twice weekly gym sessions have come to a halt, I  will miss it but I will try and keep fit with what’s available to me at home. I have a therraband for resistance, tins of beans can be used as dumbbells, and the stairs for stepping.  I’ve not done a 5k jog in a while so I will work on that. I hope to get out on the fells as much as possible, social distancing outdoors is one of the joys of living here.

I have lot’s of craft projects to get on with, sewing patterns to make up, that punch needle that I still haven’t tried out, lino cutting tools and a gelli plate from Christmas all sitting untouched.

I ordered yarn to crochet another blanket. I was tempted to call it the plague blanket but comfort blanket sounds better. If anyone would like to join in a ‘crochet along ‘  or show us what you are making to get through this time I have a Facebook page called ‘Hobbies For Wellbeing’ please pop over for a natter and show us what you are making.

These are the colours that I’ve chosen for my blanket, inspired by the bedroom curtains.

Waffle CAL blanketThis is the waffle stitch, it’s really easy, there’s only one stitch, a treble. I will post the pattern here and show you my progress in the next installment.

Waffle comfort blanketDo you have a plan to prevent boredom and feed your creativity while you are confined to your home?

Whatever we must do staying well and not putting others at risk is paramount.

Look after you and yours, we will get through this.

Jill

More handmade ceramics

It’s been a busy week, making new stock each day and now I am running out of drying space.

So what have I made besides the snowdrop ceramics featured in my last post?

There are raku fish, including the ever popular mackerel and sprats, also some tropical fish including clown fish. There’s raku hanging leaves and ceramic soap dishes and trinket dishes made from stoneware clay.

Ceramics for the home wip from Kiln Fired Art

These all need to be left to dry before bisque firing, then they will be glazed and fired again so it will be a few weeks before they make it into my shops. I’ve no space left to make anything more so I can have a little rest and plan some new work.

Snowdrop ceramics

It’s time to get back to work after a much needed break this month, however the snowdrops are out and they won’t last long so I’ve got a production line going making snowdrop themed ceramic hearts, ceramic ring dishes, and snowdrop tiles to hang on the wall. These items would be lovely gifts for Mother’s Day, or birthday’s or little thank you gifts.

Here they are as works in progress, they have to dry out before they are bisqued, then coloured and fired again before they are ready.
I’m making ceramic snowdrop hearts today in time for Mother’s Day

There are a few cow parsley ceramic tiles and some pulmonaria ones too. Working with the seasons means I have to work with what’s available.

Ceramic plant tilesCeramic snowdrops heart WIP

I do love how these delicate snowdrop flowers transfer to the clay, like a fossil, they will last for ever.

P. S. How do you like my new blog layout?

 

Making Beeswax Wraps

I really can’t get going this January. It’s always a difficult month as I only work in the daylight hours. Also I intend to adopt a slower pace of work this year, I need more time to do other things. I’m taking this ‘slow living’ to heart and really enjoying feeling calm and relaxed.

I’ve been reading, knitting and cooking healthy food, exercising and following my diet plan. I even made a Facebook group called  ‘Motivation and Support for Healthy Eating and Exercise’ click here if you want to join us.

This week I decided to make some beeswax wraps.

I cut some squares of cotton fabric, having washed it first to remove the finish. Then added some beeswax pellets and another square of fabric on top.
Making beeswax wraps

Making beeswax wraps

This was sandwiched between 2 pieces of baking parchment. I decided to do this on an old towel rather than the ironing board.

Making beeswax wraps

When you iron you can see the wax melting and coming through the fabric.
It looked patchy so more beeswax was added then more ironing.

Making beeswax wraps

Making beeswax wraps

I had too much wax this time, it leaked out onto the towel.

Making beeswax wraps

Because there was too much wax I layered up one waxed piece with a new piece of fabric and ironed to transfer the wax. I kept doing this until they looked evenly coated.

Making beeswax wraps

They were laid flat until the wax set.

Making beeswax wraps

I have to say I’m  not totally convinced they will work but I’m certainly going to try them out.

They work as bowl covers.Untitled

Lets try wrapping an apple.

Making beeswax wraps

Success.

Making beeswax wraps

I wouldn’t use them for things like meat but they will have their uses and they will save on some waste.

Dealing with the dark days of winter.

I often feel low at this time of year, probably down to the short, dark days of winter.

Last year in the run up to Christmas I felt stressed by my workload, as well as the preparations for the Christmas celebrations. So this year I made the decision to do things differently, I estimated how much stock I would need from last year’s sales, I made it in the summer months and started listing in the autumn. So all I need to do at this time is network, answer emails, do some custom orders, pack and post. This has helped enormously, I feel rather calm and relaxed this year which is a huge difference to last year.

Even if I didn’t have a rush on at this time of year I would probably feel low, not depressed but dulled, I want to sleep all hours of darkness but  when I go to bed often I wake up about every hour or very early in the morning, then my thoughts take over.

I’m reading a book called The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell, which Lesley reviewed on Art Elements .
Untitled
It’s a beautiful book and I’m really treasuring reading it, I take my breakfast back to bed and read a little from this book while I wait for the house to warm up and the daylight to emerge from the gloom. I could happily sit and read the book from cover to cover but I’m forcing myself to read just a few pages at a time and savour them like a delicious chocolate truffle. I found myself running my hands over the cover and feeling like I was giving the book a hug this morning which I thought was unusual behaviour but it’s  such a lovely book.

I  already know and relate to the ‘feel good’ powers of nature, I try to get out for a walk as often as possible. The little things like ice on some rosehips catching the sunlight, or a flock of redwing visitors squawking in the trees, or crunching through frozen puddles can fill me with feelings of happiness and calm.

Today  it’s sunny so I took a short walk in the bitingly cold wind to see the fells covered in snow.  On my arrival home I had a brief inspection of the newly replanted border to see if the snowdrops were coming up, they are at least a cm tall. I got told off by a blackbird, then I went to look at the vole holes in the bank. I noticed a pile of berries from the cotoneaster gathered at the entryway. I thought this was a little odd as it tells everyone where you live, I  might have to read up online and see if this is typical behaviour.
UntitledDuring the short days I no longer try to work in the semi darkness of mid afternoon, I find the energy saving lights really bad, they don’t give me enough light to work. I just accept this now and stop when the light goes. I do sit and knit or crochet in this half light, so long as it’s a simple pattern. I have also discovered this winter that knitting tactile soft fluffy yarn can lift the spirits. Sitting by the fire knitting is pure, simple hygge pleasure, like stroking a cat on your knee.

Untitled
Comfort foods also help, a bowl of steaming homemade soup ( recipe here) is like a hug in a bowl.
UntitledA slice of homemade cake and a cup of tea can make those looming dark skies at 3 pm seem not so gloomy at all,  if I  sit by the window I often see skeins of geese, or flocks of starlings flying in haste to join the flock for their murmuration ballet before roosting.

I think the weather so far this winter has played a huge role in my more upbeat mood. This winter we have had a lot of bright crisp frosty days with lots of sunshine, I know sunny days makes a big difference because as soon as the wind and rain returned last weekend my mood dropped significantly. So if the sun shines even briefly I try to get out for a few minutes and enjoy it.  Every little helps, and once the end of January comes I can see the days starting to get slightly longer, the snowdrops will start to bloom I know the gloom won’t last much longer.

While writing this I have come to realise this is just an extension of what I’ve been doing all year, I’m working with the seasons and not trying to fight against the long evenings and short days. It seems to be working, I feel really quite relaxed and content .

Do you struggle with the dark days, what do you do to combat them?


 

Last Minute Christmas Gifts From Kiln Fired Art

I don’t  know about you but we are so busy at this time of year that sometimes we leave buying presents to the last minute. I have lots of items in my shop all ready to ship. Orders can be posted first class up to the 20th December for UK delivery.

If you would like it shipped to the recipient I can do that for you too, just add a note and the recipient’s address.

Here’s some gift ideas,  I have a lot more in my shop Kiln Fired Art

Click on the images to go to my shop.

Ceramics for the home

Ceramics and eco print scarves

Leaf ceramics and art for the home

Unique gifts from Kiln Fired Art

Fused glass and ceramic gifts

Kiln Fired Art on Etsy

Christmas Gifts From Kiln Fired Art.

It’s that time of year when life as an Etsy shop owner gets hectic, I have worked on getting my shop fully stocked this week, I hope to get to 200 listings.

Here’s what you can find over at Kiln Fired Art. I have reduced my prices on many items as I need to make some space in my stock room / spare bedroom for my family coming home.

Raku bowls

Christmas gifts raku ceramic bowls

Succulent planters and ikebana bowls.

Succulent pots and ikebana bowls

Rustic stoneware pouring bowls. 
Stoneware pouring bowls

Raku jewellery.

ceramic pendantsCeramic pendants and brooch pins.
Christmas gifts jewellery
Raku clocks.

Ceramic clocks with raku glazeMoon gazing hares.

Christmas gifts ceramic

Raku art tiles.

Ceramic wall art

Christmas gifts ceramic wall art

There’s still some raku leaves left.

Ceramic leaf wall artEco printed silk scarves.

Eco printed silk scarves

And my ever popular  fish wall art are still in stock, and a lot more besides.
Ceramic fish bathroom wall art

So if you are stuck for a gift idea you might just find something in my shop. I haven’t quite made 200 listings as things keep selling. 🙂

I will tell you about my plans for next year next weekend.

 

My Last Raku Firing Of The year.

The weather forecast was good so we decided it was time to fire the rest of my raku pieces. The morning was bright and crisp with a thick white frost crunching underfoot. The sheep in the adjacent field seemed reluctant to rise but eventually as the sun came over the fells they rose leaving bare patches where they had been lying. With a start like this I just knew it was going to be a good day.

We wrapped up warmly and once the sun came round to the garden  it was the perfect day to raku.

There were leaves, lots of copper colour this time. I do wonder why you seem to get a lot of one colour effect in a firing but there are so many variables.
Ceramic leaves, raku leaves, wall art
There were lots of fish.
Raku fish wall art

Hanging ceramic fish
This spotty one is rather textured, I thought of firing it again but I like it as it is.
Raku ceramic fish

Trinket dishes too.

Raku ceramics
Phases of the moon with moon gazing hares, these got snapped up when I made the last lot. I have some more but I’m waiting for some cord to arrive. Shout up if you want one as they aren’t on Etsy yet.
Moon gazing haretI hope to have everything else listed in my shop by the time this blog post goes live.

Then I will get my notebook out and start planning for 2020. Changes are afoot for next year, but more later…….

P.S. I will have more work to add to my shop next week so come and have a look next Sunday and I’ll tell you about some of my plans for next year.