Monday, 27 August 2012

September Giveaway !!

Introducing 'Edwardian Flower' a cream wrist wrap.
I am thrilled to have one of my pieces as the 'September Giveaway' for Handmade Europe (the European Street Team of Etsy). The giveaway is not here but on that site and starts 5th September so head over then to blog .  .  .

I thought I would write a little about making this piece and hope that whoever wins it will like it and enjoy the history.

I wanted to make something simple yet dressy, historic yet fresh .  .  .                                                                    
I choose some lovely pale cream lace from the 1930’s for this little cuff. It is a sturdy lace but is still light and has a delicate pattern.
To compliment it I picked a beautiful handmade applique flower that was made c1910. A fantastic example of Edwardian craft and so very very Downton Abbey !
I like to think that whoever made both of these pieces would be pleased to know they will have a second life.

To add some texture and detail I added tiny seed beads in matt cream at the cuff edges in little flower circles. A shimmer bead in the centers.
Then more beads around the flower in spikes and circles both matt and shimmer.

Then to add a bit of whimsy it closes with a cream shimmer ribbon.

A romantic and delicate little wrist wear - with lace from two historic eras.
For a chance to win this for yourself just go to - 
Looking forward to wrapping up and posting off to you !!

Truly Gifted Mallow !

Just a short note about a fun day yesterday in Mallow Co. Cork.
Queen of Cuffs is now on the shelves there !!

Set off on early train with hubby - crosswords and sandwiches on the way.
I  brought a selection of cuffs / wrist wraps / fabric pendants and fabric rings.
Heading for the lovely craft gallery shop ‘Truly Gifted’ which is situated in the Hibernian Way, just off main street Mallow. This lovely gem of a shop belongs to Majella and Bart and is a fun place to visit and a perfect one to find a unique gift.
The concept is that artists and crafts people rent space there and as no commission is charged -prices for buyers can be kept at very tempting levels !
Majella is also a glass artist and offers glass fusing workshops -  see their website for more info and a list of artists

I spent a very indulgent and totally compulsive time ‘arranging and re arranging’ my pieces on shelves!!
My only regret was that I forgot to bring my camera .  .  .  next time.
Bart kindly took a phone pic of my shelves for me. 
But no pics of the great bar that hubby found while I was shelf arranging - or the lovely place we had a well earned meal. Leaving all my creations displayed and shelved we headed for train and snoozed our way back to Dublin.

So if near Mallow - call in and have a look.
Next stock drop - more photos.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Knitting Therapy . . . and Lace Beads

Whenever I am flagging a little with my embroidery or fabric cuff inspiration I will often turn to knitting to revive me. It is so automatic, so comforting and it always seems to get me back on track.
I have knit all my life - my silly bad memory cannot recall exactly when I learnt, poetic perhaps that I cannot remember when I started - because it feels like I was born knowing how to knit !!
I prefer to be an intuitive knitter - I am a make it up as I go along type of gal.
I have no problem with patterns and have sold many in my day - but I love the buzz of  ‘add lib’ knitting. However, somewhere along the way - usually half way into a maverick piece - I begin to think . .  oh this is nice . .  and I start writing it down. I then end up with notes written on scraps of paper that I can never work out later.                                                                                                                                              
There is something so soothing and basic about knitting, the finger movement, the click of the needles, the roll of the ball. The fact that you can watch a TV programme  and not have to look down too often, that you can hold a conversation or plan a detailed shopping list is a bonus. It is portable and a very acceptable public craft.
It can therefore be both an easy social and a deeply solitary therapy.
It is part the tradition - part the ritual - part the rhythm that I love.
There is a whole knitting world out there that accepts you back even if you have been abscent for awhile. Once a knitter - always a knitter . .  the comfort in that !

If I need a quick fix I knit a little bracelet or lariat - those rewarding pieces that grow and mature quickly ! The finishing of these is not so fast as I feel compelled to add beads or buttons or embroidery. So this knit therapy of mine means I have an ongoing bag full of knitted pretties waiting patiently to be accessorised. That stage is saved for days I am creatively energetic !

Let me introduce you to one of my little therapy bracelets.                                                                                           
I started knitting this style one evening where I really wanted to be making something but was in that anxious state I call  ‘creative threading water’.  I had taken out a few things I was working on and could not decide on choice or colour/ trim/ bead etc.  I was doing a lot of looking and no doing ! With no clear direction and an indecisive mood, I still having itchy fingers, which meant I grabbed my knitting bag.

Here are two versions of the bracelet knit on same size needles - just different yarns. Based on cast on 3 stitches /cast off 3 stitches repeat it is a cosy little quick knit fix.

A few days earlier I had experimented with making beads from lace. I used 1930’s lace and twisted it around a knitting needle with a coating of fabric glue. The twists dried into very cute little lacy beads and were perfect to add that little extra to my knit bracelets.

To close the bracelets I used a speckled button and picked up the colours of the buttons in the seed beads I added around the lace.

These are thin and simple knit bracelets - with a twist.

And the bracelet in white . . . 

Did I say I love knitting ??  I love knitting.