Category Archives: craft

Spring is in the air, getting back into work!

We had some lovely weather for a while then it changed, however everything in the garden is starting to grow and the spring flowers are blooming so it’s time to get back to work. I feel in the mood for making, what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. I even finished my second lockdown waffle blanket, you can find the pattern here. I made the first one a year ago when the first lockdown started.

I managed to take my work into the garden, I sat in the sunshine and put some colour on the snowdrop ceramics.

Now they have been fired for a second time, see how the colour changes. I love rustic ceramics.

As well as hanging hearts with snowdrops there are ring or trinket dishes.

These are glazed on the back.

And decorative ceramic tiles to hang on the wall.

They are now ready to add to my shop, I hope I’ve made enough this year to last until next spring. That’s one of the issues with working with the seasons.

The pulmonaria and brunnera are flowering now.

These are drying, then the firing and decorating process will start all over again. 🙂

My Sock Knitting Progress

There a a few things that stand out for helping me deal with the past year, one of those things has now become a bit of a passion. I’m now a sock knitting addict.

I’ve knitted one pair of socks in the past, on 4 needles but I wanted to try one of the small circular sock needles. It seemed strange at first but well worth persevering with. I love it, you can pick up and put down whenever you want, it’s on of those things you could easily do if you were out somewhere.

I have a beginners tip, If you use self patterning yarn, wind off half the ball( I weigh it ) then lay both ends out and find the same point in both yarns and cut it. Now make your cast on loop both at the same point. Now when you knit the second sock they should match up. I discovered if you knit matching socks it’s easy to know where you are up to on the second sock without counting rows. I check the rows when I think I’m there.

The pattern came from Winwick Mum Blog the site has full clear instructions and videos on all aspects of sock knitting.

This is the first pair that I knit in December, I was pleased with the fit.

Then I knit a pair as a gift. I love the the way the heel is knit, it grips and it’s cushioned too.

I knit myself another pair, this time matching the colours.

Now I’m knitting OH a pair, I really can’t put these down as I love the way the random pattern is working out. I had to measure his foot and follow the instructions to size the sock up. I did decrease the toe on every row on the last few rows as I thought the sock would be too long, it fits perfectly.

Updated to say they are now finished and he loves them.

More sock yarn has arrived but there’s no rush to knit it up yet, I’ve a crochet blanket to finish..

So what to do with all the oddments of wool?

I have just discovered scrappy socks 🙂

Another Great Raku Day!

This week we braved to weather, which was cold but still, to do our first raku firing of the year. It’s always exciting and unpredictable, hopefully in a good way. This time things started off really badly but we sorted the issues and re-fired the first couple of pieces. We also had a few breakages but you come to expect that it’s the nature of raku work.

Here are some leaves that have made it into my Etsy shop, I had a few customers waiting for new stock to arrive so they are going quite quickly.

colourful wall sculpture
hanging ceramic leaf
raku leaf wall art

I have restocked the small raku fish and there are a few larger fish as well, these ones have a lot of copper, the others are turquoise and blue.

ceramic fish for wall

I have a few moon gazing hares too, these would be great Easter gifts to let someone know you miss them.

Here’s a closer look.

moon gazing hare ceramic hanging

The snowdrop trinket dishes and hearts that I showed you a few weeks ago are in the kiln now, I can’t wait to open it up but it’s still cooling down, patience pays off in the end.

I am watching things growing in the garden, soon the bluebells will be out, I have some pulmonaria flowering but no sign of the brunnera flowers yet. It’s going to be a busy time in a week or two, watch this space. I like working with the seasons.

Last Minute Gifts From Kiln Fired Art

Looking for a last minute gift ? Here are some gift ideas that I have in my shop.

I can post directly to the recipient and if you want I can include a message for you too.

I can’t guarantee delivery in time for Christmas as this is out of my control but I will do all I can on my part.

Ten pounds and under.

Handmade gifts £10 and under

Ten to twenty pounds.

Over twenty pounds.

I may decide to close my shop on Tuesday but you can always message me if there’s something you would like.

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.