Tuesday, October 18, 2011

colour 2

A recent sunny afternoon gave us the opportunity to get out of the house for a wee adventure.
Lush winter coat.

The view of our beautiful little settlement as I settle down for some serious knitting, reading and quiet-ish time while the kids play at our local playground.
Off to explore the undergrowth and look for the rabbits that live under there.
My thrifted $2 Pacific style yarn basket full of odds and sods that have come my way over the years. I visited Spotlight to grab a few balls of bright colours that were needed to make my work pop. I had a lot of earthy colours.

I surprised myself by purchasing acrylic. I stood them umming and ahhhing because the difference in price is really big and gave in as the small amount of money in my account dictated. Images of my grandmother unrolling jerseys and the natural-fibres exclusives' including myself, had me in a real fuddle. Wherever possible, in the past, I've used natural fibres because they feel better, last longer and are made using processes that are kinder to the planet. Not only that but if you finally no longer need them, they breakdown quickly. And its nicer to wear real wool, silk, linen, etc.

Acrylic, horrid stuff to wear but affordable for my small homeware projects and on our small income, that was the best way forward for me. I'm hoping that some trips to the op shops and Savemart will help me out. I need more in the colour department however I am quite happy to mix things up and use new with old, acrylic with real wool. Mostly though my wool has come from op shops, friends and the free table at our monthly craft up. All that colour makes me so happy.

A spot of knitting while the kids play on the playground. This is Jane Brocket's frilly bloomer coat hanger pattern knit on my circular needles. I'm a fan of circular needles. Very practical when travelling as you can't lose a needle and your work doesn't fall off the needles either.

I swear I am going to Mexico one day. I will go for the festival Dia de los muertos, The Day of the dead. I will visit Frida Kahlo's home and look at art and textile collections. I shall buy lots of kitsch religious icons, skulls and Day of the Dead memorabilia and Mexican oilcloth. I will wear a shawl in the evening, bright red lipstick and flowers in my hair. I shall drink tequila and listen to mariachi bands and dance the night away. My camera will also have a happy time snapping shots of colourful houses and costumes, and places. Not forgetting my love of burro. I dream about having my own donkeys one day. I love stubborn old mules. Random huh.

Some more projects I love. This tweedy tea cosy with pops of colour on top. Until Mexico, I shall drink tea from decorated pots, wearing my colourful apron and sitting in my colourful home. Well, its my plan anyway. I'm not quite sure how three lads feature in it. No wonder I feel a bit potty sometimes, I am two people living in one body.

I will wear wonderful vintage dresses. These are Jane's wonderful coat hangers that inspired me on my coat hanger frenzy. See, you didn't know you wanted one until you saw these either, did you?! hmmm. ;)

Knitted bunting. I recently received another knitted bunting from my dear friend Betty-Ann for my little vintage style market stalls I have from time to time. Its glorious and has lots of colour. You might think bunting is 'pants' (a phrase oft used by my favourite blogger Dottie Angel) because its been done to the death, but I find it cheerful. It makes me happy.

That's the thing about personal style. You're not dictated to by trends but by your own sense of joy and passion. If you want to wear bright red skinny jeans when no one else is, I think you should. Just because it makes you happy. I say bollocks to trends. Just do, wear and make what makes you happy.

In the meantime, Craft 2.0 in the city is in two weeks. I shall be sure to take lots of photos of my stall set up and post them for you to see. Come on down and see what I've been up to and snaffle yourself some vintage lovelies. There's lots of wonderful makers there who are passionate about handmade. There'll be plenty of things to make everyone happy. Come and find someone a great gift or something for your home. I have it on good advice that there will be lots of lovely potholders and hangers available too. ;)

I adore colour. I can't get enough of it. Today my youngest son is wearing a knitted stripey jersey like the blanket illustrated above. Enough said. Thanks Jane for a lovely book full of wonderful images. I have loved knitting but this got me in my own zone and love for vintage-inspired handmade homewares. Coolio.

My sons' baby quilt is now one of our picnic/park blankets since he moved to his big bed. I can't quite bear to part with it yet. Its such a happy reminder of him and now its getting a second life. The wind is quite cold here and so it provides some much needed warmth should my boys want to settle down with a book and a sandwich. I doubt it but I'm prepared.

Slowly down now. Must be time to head home.

My sons bring the real colour to my life. Filling it with meaning, noise, mess (ahem) and love. They are still my favourite creations. And I guess in the big picture of things, that's a good thing.

NB: For more inspiration you can visit Yarnstorm, Jane Brocket's blog. She also has a few other books out including The Gentle Art of Domesticity which I also enjoyed.
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Inspired by Jane Brocket's book 'The Gentle Art of Knitting'; love for my nana's colourful crochet skills and of course all things vintage, I've been hooking like my life depended on it. Its a real joy to be working with big pops of colour, vintage inspired and totally makes me recall my grandmothers love for colour.
My growing little collection of vintage dresses and coats gave me a good excuse to create some popping coat hangers to match.

Crochet or knitting is pretty time consuming, taking me the better part of a day and a half to knit just one. I either have to get my wardrobe down to eight items or I had to find a new way to do this. So I grabbed a few felted jerseys, chopped and roughly stitched them on. I'm happy with them and now it only takes about an hour to an hour and a half including a big frilly flower. Still labour intensive but more of a quick project with instant satisfaction.

The ones to the rear are Jane Brockett's frilly bloomer knitting pattern. I highly recommend her book for new knitters who can knit, pearl, cast on and off, and increase, decrease. Don't forget that if you're new to knitting, You Tube has lots of great how-to knitting videos.

I love the stripey ones. Once I had made a few, I changed the stitches around and created a few of my own styles. Its nice to put ones own flavour into things. Thanks Jane Brockett for the inspiration and beauty that is your book (which I endeavour to feature in my next post).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A right royal potholder

I've been playing with my hook and scraps of yarn. Those "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters and branded goods may have been around for awhile but they still catch my eye. Being a mama with my crew, I'm thankful for the reminder those little posters bring.
When the royal wedding happened earlier this year, I realised how much I admire the Queen. I enjoyed watching William and Sophie's wedding with my best friend and my family, marae-styles as we waited to see the dress, hear their vows and see that kiss. It was a rather grand occasion wasn't it? A bit of welcome fun and good news.

I have a small stash of cups and plates with HRH Queen Elizabeth the II on them. Collected while thrifting. Of course, I'd love more because she really is the bees knees but they are becoming more scarce and more expensive. She's so very gracious and regal. Impossible to imagine just how much she must has to deal with.
My love for vintage lovelies has only increased since I've given over to my love for homewares from the 60's-80's. The kind of stuff my grandmother made. She was an avid maker.
She used to bring home handknitted jerseys from the op shop (thrift store), wash them and unravel them. I don't ever recall her purchasing new yarn. She had a large basket of yarn by her armchair and she'd spend her evenings happily winding balls of wool, all reclaimed from other peoples disgarded garments. She crocheted giant circular bedspreads for us all. I wish I still had mine. My mother managed to save me a small circle that covered an armchair arm rest.
Recently it sunk in why I am attracted to bright patterned circles. Doh! I was raised in a house full of them. The tea cosy, the sugar covers, the bedspreads, the hems on dresses and table cloths. All crocheted and all in bright colours. It also explains my love for kitsch/retro styles as well. Her kitchen was brown, orange and yellow.
A couple of years back I spotted this image by Mieke Willems. I didn't realise then why but I started to collect vintage potholders, as well as make my own.

And I hid these weird objects because I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with them all except to maybe create a similar installation one day. I mean, one can only really justify having a couple of them for actual pot holding. To have multitudes of them didn't quite make sense.
Recently I joined Pinterest. I enjoy having a place to record images that catch my eye when I'm online. I love it and daily click away saving images that inspire me. As my collection has grown on my pinboards, a cohesiveness in what I select has emerged. I do see a rhythm of patterns, colour, texture, form, line in my collections.

I've realised I wasn't so random collecting all the secondhand stuff that I hoarded over the years. True vintage style long before it was popular. Vintage wallpaper, linens and housewares. I've even got a steady growing collection of vintage dresses now. In fact, I had so much stuff that earlier this year, I sold some of it in a little trial market. It netted me a good return and made me aware I wasn't the only one with an appreciation for preloved vintage homewares and linens. I've seen a growing interest in vintage things over the past five years in New Zealand home and design magazines as well.
These images are of my vintage inspired potholders that I made this past weekend. Of course I am no domestic goddess. I wanted to bring a touch of royalty to my home. I found that tea pot on our recent trip to Napier. Its so retro cool and only cost me $6 at the Salvation Army store there. A big draughty place but I was so happy when I found it. It warmed the cockles of my little thrifty self! I know right.
A happy domestic scene. Totally staged. ;)
Keep calm and carry on. I find that a soothing thought.
The sink looks so cheerful. I don't recognise it! Haha. Usually it is covered in the detritus that washes ashore this boy-laden home. Earlier I recruited my son who is on school holidays to do the dishes for playstation time. I know, I'm so manipulative.
I had thought about submitting this idea for a class to Handmade 2012 but seeing as how I just organically crochet, making it up by feel as I go, I don't have a pattern. And I'm not confident I could teach crochet in a couple of hours. I did submit a few other ideas though so I'm hoping that at least one will be accepted. I enjoyed attending this year and enjoyed meeting Melissa of Tiny Happy.
The boys room. The handknitted bunting is by dear friend and avid knitting guru Betty-Ann. The painting is by my mum.
100% handstitched. I love low tech methods. Meaning use what you have, hand stitching, eye balling and cutting without measuring and fussing. Sometimes work can get tight and fussy. Mine will often look a bit more rugged but I personally like to see handmade goods that look handmade. So you can see the hand of the maker in it.

For the applique side, I used an old felted blue jersey, strips of a red dyed blanket I had, a bit of black ribbon and some leftover felt I had. I have a small collection of felted jerseys. Its nice to use things that have had a life before.
Freehand hooked and designed by me with yarn that I've collected along the way. That's the beauty of potholders. One can use leftover yarn and they are such a quick and simple project. Perhaps I can get a pattern together. I shall look into it.
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