Monday 30 March 2015

Knitting blues

Playing with stitches, knitting and crochet but always blue
Thinking about denim and all the shades of navy through to palest blue gives a discipline to this wild type of knitting. It's never boring because you can experiment with new stitches or different textures. It will hopefully still look ok because it's all blue. As usual my photograph is lighter than the actual knitting.

I collect yarn usually of the 'odd ball' type in wire bins in shops which are half price. I've got a tremendous variety. Ideally I'd buy that denim yarn from Rowan that is designed to fade when washed but I'm not sure they manufacture it any more. Today I'm meeting my daughter and grandaughter in London for a wander round the shops and I hope to pick up some more yarn from John Lewis. And I'll also take some pictures for this blog.

When I look at this picture the dropped stitch glares out as if it had flashing lights around it. I'll stitch it in later so hopefully it won't show!

Friday 27 March 2015

In the boxes this week...

In the Easter window this week. See below for details
 From the top, left to right: Origami star card by Sue Inglis 1.95; ceramic heart by Kate Hackett 3.00; textile bracelet by Jenny Stacy 15.00;

Porcelain blue decorated bowl with spoon by Ali Cooper 24.00; daffodil jug £18 and two mugs below 16.00 all by Kate Hackett; moonstone silver ring 58.00 by Kirstie Turner; silver locket on chain 50.00 by Emily Watson;

 Fox coaster by Jacqui Watkins 4.00; crochet bluetit 29.00 by Michelle Green; hand knitted socks 25.00 by Carol Keats and mini wheelscope kaleidoscope 88.00 by Frank Higgins.

Monday 23 March 2015

London Sunday

Chocolate strawberries in Selfridges. £10 a cone.
At the Country Living show. The woman is giving a talk on keeping chickens.
The Heals stand - starting a trend for bright cushions?
Beautiful fabric through the window at Annie's costume company.
In Loop. I love these little knitted guys. Think Laura Long designed them.
Inside Loop

Julie Arkell's quirky doll. I bought one of her books at Loop.
Glad I visited the Country Living show yesterday. A proper day out.

So refreshing to tramp the streets of London again and get ideas and see fresh sights and talk to interesting strangers! 

Gertie Strahl makes delicate patchwork, crochet and embroidered pieces using ancient fine fabrics.  Her stand at Country Living stood out for me. She'd made everything herself. I can imagine her work in Libertys.

I was also smitten with the feminine greetings cards by  My daughter has given me these cards - delicate kitten heeled shoes embellished with dots of glitter or ballet shoes and tutus lightly glittered. So pretty.

I spoke with two companies whose work I'd like to stock in Handmade Happiness. More of these later!

In Camden Passage lives Loop, the brilliant knitting shop owned by book author Susan Cropper.  Julie Arkell gives workshops at Loop. I've long wanted to have a go at papier mache, with jewellery in mind. Yesterday I couldn't resist buying one of Julie's books picturing lots of her quirky animal figures.

Thought for the day: Using really fine yarn to knit or crochet with makes items look more appealing, more clever and more expensive!!

Friday 20 March 2015

Seascapes and lino cuts by Christine Burgess

'Breeze' by Christine Burgess. Love this painting.
'Dunes' by Christine Burgess
'Wild Woods II' by Christine Burgess
Lino cut card by Christine Burgess
'Dandelion' lino cut card by Christine Burgess
When I started Handmade Happiness I already had a nucleus of makers, old friends, whose work I wanted to sell. One of these is Christine Burgess. I have known her for many years and Christine constantly impresses me. Everything she does turns out well.

She ran a successful childrens' craft shop called Crocodile Crafts in Chichester. She turned her attention to wood turning and produced the most beautiful bread boards and wood serving boards. Her lino cuts are sophisticated and popular and now, her amazing acrylic paintings usually featuring the sea and cloudy skies just blow me away.

These three paintings pictured above are her latest work, delivered to Handmade Happiness this week. Now is the time to invest in Christine Burgess. I have a strong feeling her work will be very collectable in the near future. 

Friday 13 March 2015

New ceramics at Handmade Happiness

Bowl and teapot by Justine Jenner
Coffee cup and saucer, two dessert cups on tray and mug by Justine Jenner with cushions by Kate Box
This week Justine Jenner brought in her ceramics. I love these grey, contemporary pieces. Just simple, good design and beautifully handmade. Justine's work is totally different from any other ceramics stocked by Handmade Happiness. They are a welcome addition.

Sunday 8 March 2015

New paintings by Christine Burgess

Three seascapes by Christine Burgess. New ceramics below by Kate Hackett.
Lemonade by Christine Burgess
A beautiful painting by Christine Burgess.
I had two 'Wow' moments this week. The first when Pam Dew bought in her stunning new quilt (see post below) and the second when Christine Burgess bought in her new paintings on Friday. 
I am immensely proud to display these two peoples' work on the walls of Handmade Happiness. I think you will agree that their work is first class. Displaying these pieces in Handmade Happiness creates a special atmosphere and makes the shop even more of a pleasure to visit. 

Pam Dew's stunning new Quilt

It's immensely colourful and really big. I love it. Quilt by Pam Dew.
Pam Dew's new quilt is a magnificent piece of art. It would say welcome in a big office foyer. It would cover a whole wall in a cosy cottage. I just can't imagine it across a bed. Far too special for that!

Friday 6 March 2015

Celebrating Spring at Handmade Happiness

Kate Hackett's spring flower decorated ceramics. Mugs £16; jugs and plates £18.
Easter tree by Sue Inglis. Chicks, bunnies and sheep £5.95 each. Pom-poms 50p 
Today Christine Burgess is delivering her latest paintings. I can't wait to see what they are like! 
Today also marks the start of the Contemporary Textiles show at Landmark Arts in Teddington. The preview is tonight. I hope to get there on Sunday. Younger daughter is staying tonight which will be lovely.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Keep the creative flame burning

Some of Alison Crosthwaite's gloriously dyed velvet
When was the last time you were truly creative? When you drew/designed a new making project that was unlike anything anyone had done before? Some people are naturally creative and have ideas flashing into their brains night and day. Others have to work harder at it. But I believe all of us are born creative if we only allow ourselves to be so.

Last September was when I was last truly creative. I made lots of medal brooches each entirely individual and I was pleased to come up with something that looked so different.

Today I was looking at one of my 'design notebooks' and I was amazed at how every day it seemed I jotted down new things to make. Most of them never got made. But my notebooks remain a rich source of inspiration.

Right now I want to make some original necklaces. I've made lots of jewellery in the past:  conventional jewellery, painted bead and modelled bead jewellery and textile jewellery. It's time I focussed on it again. 

Few things in life are more exciting than the thrill of making something you've thought through for yourself. Techniques can be learnt from library books or the internet.  Ideas and the special way you use them pop into your head and will help you produce something different that is uniquely 'you'.