Sunday, 27 November 2016

My Crochet Artist in Residence assignment

Since I retired from my full time office job in March of this year, my feet haven't touched the ground. There has always been something for me to do which I have already blogged about.  My latest, Crochet Artist in Residence at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry in Kendal during the town's Wool Gathering event must rank as one of the most enjoyable, so far.

Never having done anything like this before, it was such a great honour to be asked. All the staff and volunteers were so welcoming and I met some lovely people.

Here are my best bits.

Frog Prince Tea Pot Cosy. I think this may have set off my journey as I made it for the Workshops in Peoples Homes project.  It is not my design, it was in a crochet magazine and uses the crocodile stitch pattern.  The Battenberg cake, custard slice, donut and jam tarts I made up as I was travelling to Leeds and back to see family.  The two and a half journey was well utilised and caused a few curious looks from fellow travellers.

 Originally I was going to try to show water pouring out of this tap, but a bigger tap was found (see below), I made teardrop style shapes using thick yarn with a little bit of sparkle in it and suspended them from grey cotton thread.

 The Roast Chicken, my favourite piece, what a time I had making this, the legs seemed to work out just right, straight from the start, but I had three attempts at the body.  My sizes were a little off, so I took myself off to the Supermarket and studied the oven ready chickens on the shelf.  I know it would have been better if I'd bought a chicken to bring home and measure, but I'd already done my shopping for that week.  I coloured the outside of the chicken with some bronze fabric paint to give it the authentic roasted look.

 I am very pleased with this piece.  It is worked in Tapestry Crochet and I mapped it out on graph paper, much as you would do for a cross stitch picture. The room it was in was quite dark and it brightened up the fireplace very well.  My take on flames.  (I have since sold this piece)

 A quick trip to the Wool Gathering wouldn't be complete without Alpacas.  Here are two lovely creatures. They look so gentle and dignified.

 As part of the display advertising the yarn bombing of the museum I made the cheese and buter. The butter paddles and the jelly were made by someone else.

 A couple of bees on the hive.

 And with mushrooms and half an apple, which I also made.

 Little touches like these candle flames were also added.

And here is the little chair I covered in crochet.  It really appealed to the children who came into the museum and when I said they could sit in it they were really chuffed.

As well as my items, the local schools and community groups had also made sheep and they covered most of the ground floor.  They are on offer for donations to the charity 'In the Moment' which supports people living dementia. 

 Water flowing from the pump, the crochet tube worked in double crochet has been held open with a plastic tube, the 'water' hitting the stone bowl at the bottom with bobbles to signify the force of the water.

My hot Mexican stripes blanket, which I am missing a bit since the weather has gotten colder.

What a wonderful experience I have had.  The displays have been in the museum since October but they are changing them soon and I will receive my items back.

Wondering what to do now .....  I'm sure something will turn up.


Tuesday, 4 October 2016


What a lovely bonus weekend we have just had. The sunshine was a real tonic for the soul. But I know our warm sunny days are going away soon for the winter. I think my neighbours knew it too, we were all out tidying our gardens. The grass has been cut, trees and shrubs given their Autumn trim, the flower beds stripped of annuals, perennials tidied up. But I wasn't ready to let all the colour go. I put some flowers in water in a can. They are still there this morning.

There is colour inside too, my gerbera has flowered. I'm so excited as after I bought it I read that it can be tricky to look after. Perhaps I have stumbled on just the right place for it to thrive - my kitchen windowsill.

I just had to start to use some of the Marino wool I purchased at Yarndale. I am making one of the shawls from The Crochet Project book I also bought there. I think it looks a bit like a giant moth at the moment.

I've also found a bit of time to start making items for Appleby Textile Group. We are taking a stall at a craft fair in St Lawrence's Church in a few weeks time and have all been asked to make something. 
Seems strange to be making Christmas items in the sunshine.

Hope you too had a productive weekend.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


I have found it a challenge to put a title on this post, there is so much going on, so I just took the simple approach and called it September.

The weeks and months are just flying by, and I'm wondering how I had time to work. It's now 6 months since my redundancy/retirement and I haven't had time to 'spit' yet. My goal of weekly posts has not materialised either.

First my big news.   .........   (Dramatic pause) ...........

I have been asked by The Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry (aka MOLLI) in Kendal to be their Crochet Artist in Residence during Kendal Wool Gathering. I will be there 1200 - 1500 from Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th October. I have been busy making some crochet items to be installed within the existing exhibitions and will be on site to deliver workshops and give demonstrations. You too can be involved, click here to see what it's all about. So if you are in Kendal on these dates, why not pop in and see me. I cannot give too much away, but here is a sneaky peek at a few of the items that will be displayed.

Roast chicken
Ginger moustache 
Block of Red Leicester

On Saturday I went to Yarndale in Skipton. Bacon butties and fizzy on the train was a great start to the day. I found some emerald coloured linen and turquoise Merino yarns, plus a book of six shawl patterns. 

This was my third visit to this event and it just gets better each time. 

Hairpin Crochet. 
It's something I've been wanting to try for some time now. And this gift I recently received contains instructions on how to use. I think I have some patterns in my crochet magazine stash. Something to add to my crochet museum.

I've also recently been shown how to do Needle Tatting. After searching online I had to purchase one from the USA. 

This is my first attempt.

I think I am going to have to practice, I have found a pattern for snowflakes which will come in useful.

I keep seeing patterns for Super Scarfs this season so have crocheted one for myself, with a matching hat. At 126 inches in length (over 10 feet), it can definitely have the title of a 'super' scarf.

Off now to crochet some more items for the museum.

Bye for now.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A chair, a dress and a snippet of news

Stayed up late last night to finally finish yarn bombing my little wooden chair. I'm quite pleased with the way it has turned out.

It's now found its own place, brightening up a space in my crochet museum in my living room.

 It's been too warm and humid for much crocheting, and with my granddaughters 6th birthday next month, at the weekend I made her a dress from this cute fabric printed with princesses.

Her main present is going to be a doll, so with the left over fabric I have made this little dress and knickers. I do hope they fit.

I've also been working on some crochet pieces to go into The Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, Abbot Hall, Kendal for display during Kendal Wool Gathering in October. More about that in a future post.

Sandra xx

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Flowers and a chair

From my garden.

The best show ever from my lily

Spots of colour

Crochet lily pad flower

The beginnings of a yarn bomb on a small wooden chair

Friday, 8 July 2016

The Fun Continues

I've been neglecting my blog again. But here is an update for the past couple of weeks.

Helped with setting up the display of work in Appleby Tourist Information Centre.

My garden is looking greener.

Made three skirts and a summer dress for my granddaughter.

Joshua (see previous post), has four crochet noses to add to his collection.

Finally got round to listing some items in my Folksy shop. The Wedding Samplers require names and dates, and the Tooth Fairy Castle Pillows were inspired by my Granddaughter's thoughts on where The Tooth Fairy lives.

My grandmother is looking good for someone who will be 104 in a couple of months.

And finally, went into battle with ants in my conservatory. I WON.... Now where's the vacuum cleaner.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Double Treble Bobble

Wow, what a great time I am having. The culmination of several months has come to fruition. So much has happened since I read an article last year about an arts event in Cumbria called 'Workshops in People's Homes' and decided to contact them (ANDfestivals).

I have been on an amazing journey and have met some new friends.

The mentor; the amazing artist Joshua Soafer, who has a thing about noses.
The facilitators; Tricia and the rest of the Abandon Normal Devices team.
The participants; Barbara, Celia, Colin, Di, Hugh, Jean & Maud, Kat, Nicholas, and Sue.

By volunteering to assist with the Peer Assessment of the workshops. I have :-

Made felt, whilst swapping stories of home, with Jean and Maud, my felt to be incorporated into a giant nest which will be displayed at Woolfest.

After being interviewed over the phone about by memories of home, I have received an original watercolour painting by Celia.

Put up a tent and walked round a playing field with Hugh, whilst chatting about home.

Drunk barley and rye shots, and looked at all things grass with Sue in her home and the field.

Been welcomed into a temporary summer home, made temporary art and practiced mindfulness with Di.

For myself I have finally put into some sort of order my collection of crochet artefacts, patterns and books. I have researched into the social history of textiles and put together a light hearted lecture with a museum type display in my living room. I have welcomed members of the public into my home and hope I have promoted the craft/art of crochet.

I am not an historian, or a crochet professional, I'm just passionate about crocheting. And this is just a little look into of what I have put together. Please excuse the shaky video, I took with my iPad and there is no commentary.

The journey has been fascinating and enjoyable, and may yet be continuing. Who knows where this will take me.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Gardening, an upcycle, and Tunisian Crochet

It's so lovely to see the sun again, it lifts ones spirits and enhances creativity. 

My garden has received some love.

Beds dug, seeds planted and anti cat protection put in place. I don't mind sharing my garden with the neighbours' cats, but I do object to them digging holes where I want flowers.

I edged one bed with scallop shells I collected on a holiday to Skye.

Bulbs in pots are also beginning to poke through the compost. I use crushed egg shells to deter snails.

A couple of tulips have peeped through from the garden next door to add a bit of colour.

I've also tried my hand at a bit of recycling! An unwanted pallet, blue paint, an old shower curtain, and ta-da, a vertical herb garden. I saw the idea a couple of weeks ago and I'm quite pleased with my results. Seeds for coriander, basil, parsley and rocket planted and a mint from Aldi this morning planted.

On with my museum displays, one for Tunisian Crochet, 

and was so inspired to make some so crocheted this bag. Just need to find a button and make some straps.

Not sure what this stitch pattern is called, it's a mix of TSS (Simple stitch) and TPS (purl stitch).

Think I have earned a little sit in the sun now. Hope the sun is shining where you are.

Sandra xx

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Tool of unknown purpose and more museum preparation

I'm glad my parents are organised hoarders. Many items have been saved even if they don't know what they are. One such item was rediscovered last week and I have been trying to find out what it is.

It's about 7inches in length with a blunt point on one end 

and a flattened one on the other.

The middle is wood and it has what appears to be dried glue stuck to it, so I know it has been used at some point. It also has a label stuck on it with my grandparents surname on it so I'm assuming it may have been used out of the home.

My grandmother was a great needle woman so may have used it for some type of craft.
My grandfather worked in K-Shoes in Kendal, but I'm sure he would have been provided with tools at work.

So far it's been suggested:-

An awl
A sail making tool
Something for making marks in clay
Hand loom tool
Shoemaking tool

But perhaps you know better?

Do you have any items of unknown purpose which you would like to share? Somebody, somewhere will know what it is.

The preparations for the museum are ongoing. This lovely sunny weather has been an ideal opportunity to launder my linens. All have crochet borders. Some were made by my grandmother, others I have picked up over the years, collected just because I like them. 

Some are quite intricate.

Some are showing their age. Well some will be over 100 years old.

All ironed now, they smell so fresh and feel so crisp.

Off now to sort out more items for my museum. It's 'Stitch-n-Bitch at mine tonight so I also need to tidy up and make cake.