Saturday, August 11, 2018

Oh, I do love a knitted cardie!

Oh, I do love a knitted cardie.....I do, I really, really do. Come to think of it there are a few pretty, summery cardies just waiting to come out of the wardrobe when Ol' Man Winter disappears to those northern shores. Why, I have read of late that the humble cardie is back in vogue. Not that in my eyes, this article of clothing made famous by Lord Cardigan was ever out of  style. But then, I am not really a gal who follows those fashionistas' faddish edicts, who deem what's in and what's not. I have always followed the beat of a very different fashion drummer  as I pirouette down the catwalk of life, sashaying those well padded hips of mine. I have always had a quirky fashion style, some would say a little eccentric. Who wants to look like everyone else anyway?? Certainly not I!! History tells us that Lord Cardigan invented the cardigan after noticing that the tails of his coat had accidentally burnt off in a fireplace. Well there you go, I will endeavour when next I warm my royal derriere in front of the open fire to be mindful of not singeing my tails, nor indeed my tail! =) 

But enough of Lord Cardigan and what's in and what's not. The purpose of this post is to inform you my purple, cable cardie is finished! Yes the last stitch has been knitted; the fronts, the back, the sleeves and the yoke have all been stitched up and the buttons are popping in and out of the buttonholes. I, so exciting, well at least it is for me. As you know I will never earn an income from churning out hand knitted woollies. Therefore, when I have finished a knitted woolly there is great cause for celebration. So go boil that kettle, gather yourself a pretty teacup, plump up those comfy cushions and in a celebratory spirit read on, whilst I unveil my purple, cable cardie. Don't worry, it won't be a long post. You will have read this post well before you drink your last sip of that ambrosial cup of liquid gold....I promise. =) I mean really, there can only be a few photos surely, of one 'little' purple, cabled cardie!!

So, so happy my purple, cable cardie is knitted and I can wear it all buttoned up.....yes indeedy I am a buttoned-up cardie kinda gal. =) My favourite cardies and jumpers for that matter, are ones that have a yoke.....preferably cabled. Why, just the other day I found another pattern for a cardie brimming with cables and a lovely yoke. looks like another cable cardie could be on my knitting pins in the not too distant future. But then......perhaps I should knit a woolly for my dear husband. It's been an age since I knitted a jumper for him. Me thinks he has been neglected in the knitted woolly department of late.

But....before I even begin to think about casting on another woolly, I would really like to finish the quilting of my Spring Blossoms quilt. Yes indeedy, the light at the end of my quilting tunnel is beaming ever so brightly. Another week or two and I will be waxing lyrical about my Spring Blossoms pretty. During this last while, though I have been feverishly knitting my cardie, I have also been enjoying some hand quilting as well. The last quilting stitch should be stitched in time for the onset of Spring. SO, SO EXCITED......both because of the anticipation that Spring is not too far away and that another quilt will soon be singing a colourful, Spring song!

Oh, just one more thing before I didn't finish that cup of tea before you concluded reading my banging on about my little cardie, did you??  You know I told no lie when I said this was going to be a short little chat. =) Thank you for visiting my 'almost Spring' little world. It is always such a delight to 'entertain' you for a little while. ♥

Until the next time..................

Linking up this week to Sum of their Stories.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Tassie wintry mornings are what magic is made of!

Winter is in full swing down here at the bottom of the world. Both Maisie and I haven't let the frigid and icy fingers of Ol' Man Winter and Jack Frost dampen our desire for our early morning walks.  My trusty spaniel is always up for an early morning adventure. Indeed, if you don't drag yourself out of your cosy bed jump out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, you miss the magic of those early dawn skies. For if you are laggard, the drama and enchantment of the early skies can disappear in an instant.  The majesty appears for but a moment and then vanishes the next. And.....believe you me the skies, just before Ol' Man Sun peeps over the horizon and slowly arises is not to be missed. The theatre of the skies at first light; luminous, lucent, prismatic; is truly one of the most spectacular sights to see......and I might add, free for all to witness.

Most mornings me and my faithful shadow set out at first light with the waning, milky moon smiling down at us in the predawn sky. It sits there glimmering faintly, a slowly disappearing beacon as our footsteps crunch upon the ice-sheathed ground below us. I love the sound of footsteps upon the white shards of ice encrustations which smother the earth below. We stroll along many different paths. We follow the patterns, the dancing light in the sky. There is hushed beauty everywhere. Just Maisie and me, and the cows sleepily looking at us. Sometimes there is the very occasional sound of a faraway car journeying to it's owners place of work. There is not a soul in sight......even the farmers are a no show.

Some mornings are shrouded in the most beautiful mist. Love, love, love wintry mornings that are aglow in a veil of ghostly, opaque fog. Love strolling along the path with the blurred silhouettes of ancient, giant trees looming in the shadows. I almost expect to see a gothic character, akin to Heathcliff emerging from the mist........but then I remember, silly me, my Heathcliff is home tending the fire, keeping the home fires burning and cooking breakfast. =)

You never really know what beauty awaits you. Some mornings the skies are blue as blue and some mornings the sunrise paints exquisite, pigmented clouds as the sunlight dances through the sky.  Winter skies where clouds are splashed here and there are my favourite as the vibrant, impressionistic nebulous masses are astonishing in their chromaticity. Is it my imagination but do Winter and Autumn skies appear more spectacular than those of Summer and Spring?? I don't think so. I read the other day that there are scientific reasons why the skies appear more intensified in Autumn and Winter, but frankly as I am no scientist I could not begin to elucidate to you the scientific facts.

Then Ol' Man Sun peeps over the hills and the astonishment continues, bringing a brilliance to the dawn. Each sunrise fills me with awe at the light show before me. A light show filled with colour and pattern casting sunbeams everywhere illuminating all around me. I stand in my open air cathedral, always marvelling at the artistry and majesty of my Heavenly Father.

Each morning with the distant opalescent hills before me, as I witness yet another miraculous sunrise I am reminded of Psalm 121, my favourite, which says: 

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, whom made heaven and earth..........."

Beautiful rhythmic words, beautiful assurance; words which humble me, words which I hide in my heart each splendorous morning as I experience the grandeur of this landscape.

May each one of you marvel at the wondrous miracle of each new day. From this frozen but beautiful li'l corner of the world, wishing all you lovelies a most beautiful weekend.

Until the next time.............

Linking up this month to the lovely Soma's Wandering Camera

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Knit then Stitch.....Stitch then Knit

Hello lovelies. Thank you all for your sweet comments re my little slipper chair. I have spent many moments these past two weeks sitting on it whilst knitting a stitch or two of my purple aran cardie. My little slipper chair has even been used for what it was originally intended for back in the day.....that is to sit on it, enabling the easier slipping on of one's shoes.....(my San Fransisco boots need a shoe horn to slip one's feet into). Come to think of it, as I have been knitting my purple pretty I have been sitting on my patchwork needlepoint chair as well.....I love to spread the lurve around. =) This past little while has been  filled with a little knitting then stitching....then a little stitching then knitting. 

My cardie is progressing, albeit slowly. If I just sat and knitted and knitted, my cardie would be on my back keeping out the wintry chill. My problem is I get distracted with other pretties that are colliding around in my imagination. The nature of knitting is, is it not, that you pick up whatever it is you are knitting and when you have progressed a little (or indeed a lot) you put it down until the next time. Sometimes for me  it is a very long time.

The back and fronts of my cardie are finished and now I am knitting the yoke. I am enjoying this pattern as it doesn't tax the brain pan too much. Though I do relish a complicated knitting pattern, it is wonderful  to just sit and knit and not have to think too much about it.

You know how I said I get easily distracted, well, as I knitted I became a little preoccupied with another pressing thought. As I sat and continued to knit and purl and cable, it occurred to me that I do not have a bag in which to hold my knitting. Sure, I have  a few baskets but I wanted something more suitable when I am out and about. A knitting bag was required, a carryall to hold the paraphernalia needed when knitting a woolly pretty. A more suitable bag to hold knitting needles, yarn needles for sewing in the ends, tape measure, row markers, stitch holders, pen and notebook for taking notes for keeping track of where you are in the pattern, pattern books and all those other knitting bits and pieces.

I thought a scrappy bag could be rather spiffy. Gathering together pretty fabrics I stitched 1" strips together.

Though the strips joined together dance a merry polka, to add a little interest I decided to machine sketch a little picture. It's been an age since I have machine sketched anything. Doodling with my machine is always an enjoyable pastime for me so I drew a picture of a girl  lazing on a sofa, knitting, with a kitty cat snoozing on the floor and a sweet birdie in a bird cage, and a pot of tea complete with a tea cup resting on a little table.

I chose a Koda fabric with the name of Bubble Gum as the background and sketched everything in black. With the machine sketching complete I ruched strips of fabric that I stitched together which will dosy doe around the border of the picture.  I drafted a pattern and thought I would use some pretty bamboo handles which I rescued from an op shop a long time ago.

Stitching my knitting gal onto the front of the bag, I then stitched the ruched strip of fabric to the  front, sashaying its way merrily around the edge.

After sewing the back and front together and stitching in the lining I then hand stitched the handles to the bag. I toyed with adding a touch of whimsy in the way of bobble trim or ric rac but believe it or not I didn't. Kinda hard to believe I know, but there you go. I was in a 'KISS' (keep it simple stupid) frame of mind.

Ooooh.....nothing makes my heart go pitty-pat quite like a sea of scrappy happiness!

But then........a sea of bright and happy, woolly loveliness makes my heart skip a beat or two, too.

I am happy with my new knitting bag. I love the pretty fabrics and I love the sense of fun it exudes. It is a good size too; about 20" in width and 15" in length....big enough to carry all those woolly bits and pieces. It was such an easy pretty to design and make. From go to woe it was a breeze to fashion. After the herculean stitching of my pretty curtains and tarted up chairs of late, I was up for a little stitching that required no thinking, nor indeed any opposition. 'Tis wonderful, is it not, to every now and then whip up something quick and simple??

Now all I have to do is get on with the knitting of my cardie. Maybe, just maybe this pretty will soon be on my back, all buttoned up, bracing against the frigid winter chill. That is of course if me, myself and I do not  imagine another 'must have' pretty in the dark corridors of my discombobulated brain pan. One never really knows, does one?? But......this is what makes a creative life oh so fascinating!

Sending a little love your way this lovely day. Until the next time.......

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sitting Pretty

Many years ago, as I walked home from work I happened upon furniture that had been ousted to the kerb waiting for removal by the council pick-up contractors a pavement acting as an alfresco bric-a-brac showroom. Amongst rather unremarkable once-loved items that certainly deserved to be carted off to the local tip, that place of refuse for once-loved furniture, there was a little woebegone slipper chair with a rather unremarkable cover. Sure, it had seen much better days, but I saw perhaps what the low-slung little chair could become. Besides, being small it certainly wouldn't take up much room. I am afraid my penchant for old and pre-loved chairs had surfaced yet again. Ho hum.....another tarted up chair, so sorry!!

Back in the day these little slipper chairs were often used when maids helped their mistress, the lady of the house put on her shoes or slippers, hence the name. Now......there is no lady's maid dashing into my boudoir each morning to help me get dressed or indeed, brush my hair, fashioning my locks into some fancy coiffured hairdo. Neither is there a lady's maid to help put on my shoes. I can do that myself.......just......BUT.....with the entry into my venerable years, I rather like the idea of sitting on a chair low to the ground to slip on my shoes; which could become no small feat in my feeble and decrepit condition as the years slip by.

So........I picked up the sweet little chair, swung it on my back and proceeded to walk home in a strained and laboured way, rather like a slow, slow tortoise lugging it's home on it's back. You can laugh at this juncture because to be honest I did look positively hilarious, but I will go to extraordinary lengths to re-home an antediluvian chair.

Upon moving to Tasmania, I had forgotten all about my little chair until recently when I was looking for something else in the man cave. Yikes.....the man cave.....where angels fear to tread.....but moving right along, I dusted the cobwebs away and hurried the spiders on to new homes where they could spin beautiful, silk-like gossamer, living quarters on some other antiquity waiting for a little tarting up (oh yes.....believe it or not there are more). After all I was in a hurry to prettify my little slipper chair.

I purchased this linen-like curtain fabric a while ago pretty much on a whim, thinking surely it would fit somewhere in my humble abode. I love the pretty blue background colour (blue is my hue) and rather like the water colour impression of the flowers.

Looking at the fabric and the chair I thought of appliqueing some Irises to the back just to add a little more visual interest. I wonder if a day will ever awake where I dress a chair in fabric and leave it be with no adornment, with no embellishment???? Somehow I don't think so. Seriously, there is an aberrant gene within my DNA!! I adore creative play. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, fingers crossed this time it does.

For the Irises I used a batik purple to blue fabric and a Kona fabric called Helliotrope. The stems are Kona fabrics in colours Peppercorn and Jungle. The greens I think, match quite nicely with the flower stems on the chair fabric.

I drew a couple of Irises on paper, then pinned them onto the back, adding stems to add a little more interest.

Being content with this simple arrangement I traced each pattern template onto freezer paper, ironed fabric onto the freezer paper templates and then cut out each flower/stem allowing 1/4" seam allowance, which I turned under as I ironed around all the pieces. Pulling the freezer paper out I then glued the seam allowance under. With all the flower and stem pieces ready for placing  I applied dabs of glue here and there on each flower part, then arranging and placing all onto the chair back fabric. Being satisfied with the arrangement I machine stitched around the flowers and stems onto the fabric. The thought of hand appliqueing the Irises did cross my mind for a fleeting moment but I thought better of it as this would have taken a lot longer. Besides I rather like the outline machine stitching. I then stitched some veins onto the lower petals of the Irises........not too many as I didn't want a botanically correct look. Let's face it, those of you whom are au fait with the finer, more intricate details of the 'Iridaceae'  will know that my sweet little Irises resting on my little slipper chair are certainly poor cousins to those elegant, showy flowers of the botanical world. Let's just say I have taken artistic license.

Being  happy with the Irises I then proceeded to dress the chair. With my trusty staple gun and hot glue gun on hand this didn't cause too much angst.

Slipper chairs of old usually had a flounce to the floor but to give this chair a modern look I wanted the legs to be seen. I did vacillate for a long while whether to sew a flounce on or not....I went with not. This chair obviously had a flounce for a reason. The legs were made in such a fashion that not a lot of thought went into aesthetics. The legs are more to be desired but with an inclination for a more modish look I painted the legs and sanded them, scuffing them up a little. This chair will certainly not be remembered by its shapely 'pins' but not to worry, with a lick of paint they are acceptable for viewing. To add a little bit of fun I added pom pom trim and ric rac.

Do you know if I had my time over again I would love to do an in-depth upholstery course. One of those courses that takes three years to master the intricacies involved in how to dismantle each part of a chair, cover said part with fabric and then reassemble everything again. Oh, how I would love to reupholster one of those beautiful, buttoned back french chairs with the most elegant of silhouettes, sitting atop curved cabriole legs but alas, I cannot as my skills I'm afraid are not quite up to speed. I would have oodles of subjects to practice my skill on, seeing my propensity of lugging home pre-loved chairs. Come to think of it, if I had my time over again there are so many things I would love to learn the nuts-and-bolts of  as I skip down the yellow brick road of creative pursuits; instead of my usual modus operandi of winging it!

I am happy with my little slipper chair and it's pretty, new cover. So much easier on the eyes than the awful beige, faux velvet that it was draped in. Sometimes I like to sit on little chairs whilst I enjoy a little hand stitching or knitting. Being small my slipper chair doesn't take up as much visual or physical space, and I love the fact that being little it can be moved from room to room......the boudoir, my sewing room, even the family room; it will fit in perfectly wherever it sits. AND.....I can now sit low to the floor and put on my shoes!!

From this li'l upholsterer's workroom (I use the term 'upholsterer' very, very loosely) or is it an alfresco furniture showroom where tarted up chairs seem to abound.......I don't rightly know......but whatever it is, I would love to wish you all a fabulous weekend. Me thinks I might spend a little time sitting  pretty on my sweet, little slipper chair.

Until the next time................

Linking to Handmade Monday