Many of you are aware that I occasionally work on cruise ships teaching crafts. I average about three “craft” cruises a year. It is not as simple as it sounds as an awful lot of work goes into the preparation for the cruises both financially and time wise. Trying to remain current and popular with the crafts I teach is a challenge. Deciding which crafts to offer is a major consideration and knowing how to do them is handy!!
This involves watching which crafts are fashionable or even revisiting vintage crafts for ideas. Which brings me to…
Do you remember French Knitting? We used a knitting dolly. This seemed like a possibility for a cruise so I ordered 40 Knitting dollys. (see what I mean about expense?) Then I needed to organise the yarn – more cost! Most importantly I needed to remember how to use it. Guess what? I took the kit on a holiday cruise! I practiced and practiced.
I also thought about Textile printing which I’ve done before. I already have the printing blocks so I bought 30 Textile tote bags and tea towels – more expense! I took a tote bag on the cruise with me so that I could embellish it to demonstrate the possibilities.
On this last cruise Sis also took along a craft. She was teaching herself needle felting. Now there’s an idea!!
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I would buy some fabric and make a throw for the seats in my caravan. You know the score make it more up to date, more on trend, more now! I found some light grey fabric at Abakhan and set to work. Change the plan! Throws didn’t work. They slipped, rucked and creased. So more fitted covers were required. One whole weekend and disaster not enough fabric. Back to Abakhan I went and found a toning dark grey. Another weekend and more cutting and stitching. In the middle of all this I burned my fingers, luckily on my left hand. I certainly couldn’t have managed without my sister whose input and advise was much appreciated. We continued to stitch cut and tuck. I hemmed, drew round plates ( for arm covers) and discovered upholstery pins. Result- not bad. Maybe more modern, certainly protecting the upholstery, and I learned a lot. Most importantly never ever to do this again!
There’s something about January. A new year, new beginnings and new starts. Maybe it’s the dull, dark, damp days that encourage us to sort out, tidy up and clear the decks. So sort the stash I must. Actually I had to sort out because I couldn’t close the lid on my Textile box!
I emptied the pine box and sorted through the cottons, velvets, linens and lace. I folded, stacked and checked what was hiding in the storage chest. Then I lined the bottom of the chest and Whoo Hoo the lid closed!
I am going to try really hard not to acquire more fabric unless it is a considered sensible purchase. Ha ha! Watch this space!
Next, I’ve got rather a lot of yarn….
Working on one of my many Works in Progress(WIP) There’s nothing better than working on a blanket in front of the fire in the Winter. Here is my current blanket which is crocheted from yarn in my stash. It’s a life time objective to reduce my enormous stash of yarn and textiles. It would work if I didn’t keep buying more!
This particular project is something of a rainbow blanket which I am making up as I go along and it uses a lot of yarn. I’m about half way through so the wool pile will be quite reduced by the end. That is if I don’t have to buy more wool for the border……
A great visit to Yarndale in Skipton a few weeks ago. This is One of my favourite days out of the year. Of course I didn’t go to buy any yarn, after all my stash is beyond measure! I just went to enjoy the woolly experience. Well, enjoy it I did! I enjoyed buying some beautiful four ply Merino wool. Well it was a bargain and it would have been rude not to buy it. I checked out all of the stalls, which are incidentally, located in a the animal pens of an auction mart. I enjoyed squeezing lots of wools and admired the rainbows of colours. It’s the colours that are the main attraction. I enjoyed buying a wool felt cushion kit. A girl can never have too many cushions (although when I will make it I have no idea!)I did also buy hessian, now I REALLY needed this! Also a roll of Tweed scraps just because I could!
During my recent working craft cruise one of the “makes” was a wall clock. I have done this project on a previous cruise and it always proves popular. We used vintage fabrics, wadding, strong card for backing, embroidery hoops and of course, a clock mechanism. It does prove to be fiddly and the clock mechanism is temperamental. Although, that could be because they had travelled by mail all the way from China! The ladies who made the clocks were delighted with the outcome.
Use round doilies to minimise cutting and bulk.
Make sure backing card is strong but cuttable.
Provide smaller embroidery hoops (but not too small)
This project will defiantly be repeated if I’m lucky enough to be asked onto another cruise!
When we were on our recent cruise around Scotland, one of the projects that we made was a clock. We used vintage textiles including tray cloths and doilies. The results were amazingly good and everyone who made one was delighted with the results.
As always there were lessons to be learnt.
1) The wooden embroidery hoops, used as a frame, take up a LOT of space in a suitcase!
2) Do not squash your finished clock into a suitcase as this stops the hands turning!
3) Use vintage doilies for the clock face not tray cloths. This way you don’t need to cut the fabric to fit and you get a better result.
Watch this space for more cruise craftiness.
Another busy busy week. Not that I’m complaining as, fortunately, all is good.
I took Damnvan1 out of winter storage this week. I am very fortunate in that friends let the camper van live in their barn, so it has been warm and sheltered all winter. This year she did however need a new battery and a minor repair- all down to age I’m afraid. She’s not too old and low mileage but I keep thinking about changing/upgrading her. Shshsh! Don’t tell her! I might keep her forever!
This week I’ve also been on a felting course which was free! I like free! It was a two hour introduction course, very relaxed and very informative. We were supposed to make an egg, which I did and then got bored. I went onto make a small piece of felted Textile which is destined to become a Wild Woman! More about that at a later date!
Thats all folk see you soon!
Eldest child turns up and says”Can you make some cushions for my new house Mum?”
“Of course I can son – no problem” I reply.
And the result is:
Eldest son arrived clutching a bag containing off cuts of Harris Tweed. Irregular shapes with some from a sample book as they had appropriate holes in them. I put them together in a random patchwork pattern and stitched them ktogether. I chose a lush silver grey velvet from my stash ( Hoorah more stash used up) and inserted a zip along one long side. There were some Harris Tweed labels which I stitched onto the cushions and whoo hoo! Two really nice cushions. They look great in son’s new house and coordinate nicely with the decor.
Cruising along the coast of Norway we had a total of seven craft classes. One very popular class is using our Textile Inspiration Packs. We make these packs up using a variety of textiles, colours and buttons and bows. The idea is that during the class the ladies( it’s usually women) choose a pack and let the fabrics inspire what they make. We guide, suggest and help the ladies with what they make. In one case we actually made it!
The ladies enjoy this project and often make a rosette or flower brooch.
One day I went on an excursion to The Troll Mountains. The scenery was awesome. This picture of the mountains is jaw dropping. This is where adventurers BASE jump from the top! Now a banned sport following many accidents. Apparently (mad) some still attempt the BASE jump in secret. I won’t be joining them, it’s one ” thrill” that I shall forgo.
Because we were in Norway the home of Trolls I was on high alert to see a real Troll. They are notoriously shy, mischievous and cheeky. But guess what! I found one willing to pose for a photograph!
Good bye dear reader, see you soon.