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!!
I’ve also been sorting my yarn stash. Probably a place that no one has dared to go before! Actually the amount of yarn has been greatly reduced as I used quite a lot on my last teaching cruise. The ladies made “twiddle muffs” for donation to care homes.
I have also used quite a lot of my yarn stash making a throw (afghan) which is very colourful and on the brink of completion. Yippee!
Just when I thought all yarn was sorted I stumbled across another bag of yarn! I am not allowing myself to start this project until two of my WIPs (works in progress) are finished. So maybe soon.
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 super popular craft that we worked on whilst on our recent cruise to Canada, was Twiddlemuffs. I donated the yarn from my personal stash, with the intention of “making space” at home. Ha ha! Should have known better. We used loads of yarn but the stuff must grow in the dark as we certainly brought a lot more home. Honestly? I confess we actually bought more in Canada. I can’t resist!
This was a great project to bring a group together and was extremely popular. The ladies discussed and chatted, swapped yarn and helped each other. The finished muffs were put into the final cruise exhibition. Some were taken home for elderly family or friends suffering from dementia and we brought the remaining ones home. We intend to donate the remaining muffs to a home for the elderly where, hopefully they will be put to good use. A TwiddleMuff is a woollen muff, with twiddles attached inside and out, designed to provide a stimulation activity for the restless hands of disoriented or confused patients particularly those with dementia. When distributed at a hospital, they are labelled with the patient’s name to prevent any cross infection and patients will be able to take them home with them so there will always be a need for many more to be made.
OK I confess it should have been finished for last Christmas but hey ho the thought was there! I finally gave this shrug to Darling Daughter. It fit and dare I say it, looked good! Amazing after the catalogue of disasters that it had become. I must emphasise in no way the fault of the yarn but the fault of the knitter. Me!
I purchased the yarn from Woolfest nearly a year ago. I fell in love with this beautiful fibre and bought Darling Daughter’s favourite colour. I checked the yarn thickness and yardage against the pattern and away I went. First mistake. When I came to knit the yarn I realised it was knit with double yarn so I quickly ordered more to be sure of the same dye lot. This yarn was very expensive so the garment felt as if it should be gold plated!(I would never have payed the full amount had I realised, but mistakes happen!)
I now found the double yarn difficult to work with as I kept spitting the two and creating holes. Second Mistake.
Third Mistake. I knitted happily away until the second front. For some reason known to no one I knit this front much too long and had to unpick the hard work.
I picked up over 400 stitches around the front and back using a circular needle as instructed. Fourth Mistake. When knitting this welt the circular needle broke. Disaster!
In fact it’s something of a miracle that I completed it at all! But I did so Whoo Hoo another WIP done.
One of the great things about cruising is getting dressed up for dinner. On our recent Fred Olsen cruise to Norway there was a choice of casual or smart dining. Mostly I chose dressing for dinner, just to make eating an occasion. The problem with this cruise was the need to take so many warm clothes! Sweaters, thermals and woolly hats don’t blend well with cocktail dresses and high heeled shoes ( In fact I mainly wore snow boots!!). Anyhow a great time was had.
We arrived In Alta, Norway our most Northerly port of call. It was very cloudy and mild (ish) so not too bad underfoot for a walk around the town. The cathedral was the first place that I visited. It was small, modern and peaceful.
In this beautiful building in the photograph above right, I lit a candle for a small person that I had lost and sat for some thoughtful moments in the peaceful pews.
I explored the town. All of the shops are located in “malls”and from the outside don’t look very interesting. Inside I found many shops and coffee places and FREE WIFI! I felt very clever when I used Google maps for the first time ever. This directed me to what is reputed to be Norway’s largest craft and wool store.
I had been warned of the high prices in Norway. Apparently a beer cost £9 but I didn’t try that! A coffee and cake cost £5 and I did try that! As money was no object(ha ha!) I gave in and purchased some Aida fabric and an embroidery hoop. Hopefully not destined to become another UFO.
It was interesting to get back onto the ship and compare craft finds with my new crafty friends!
As you know dear friends I am in the middle of a “Big Sort” I’ve striped my wardrobe nearly bare and am regarding it as an opportunity to buy more clothes! Well not really as I do have another wardrobe that I’ve not touched yet. I remember being told that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, this I think is true so why clog up the wardrobes with 80% of stuff that I’m never going to wear? It’s really liberating this de cluttering.
I have a HUGE stash of yarn, textiles and craft items. When I sorted my wool stash I put it into one of those bags that you use the Hoover to suck all the air out and shrink the package for storage. Now I have a confession to make. I actually couldn’t use the Hoover!! It’s not that I don’t Hoover the house honestly. I do nearly every day, but I never use the extension tube. Hubs always hovers the stairs so DONT tell him that I couldn’t use it! Oh the shame! ( not)
Finally on a cheerful note:
Life is assuming a normal rhythm after a difficult summer. But what is normal? Mum has gone, summer is waning, Hubs has gone walking and Benji Dog has a sore head! I seem to be overcome with the urge to sort out everything. Now this is NOT normal! I have discarded most of my clothes, no not the ones I’m wearing!. I have sent six bags of older clothes to local charity shops. The ( spare ) wardrobe can now breath. I haven’t even started on the main wardrobe.
Hubs has gone on a long planned holiday with the ” boys” I use that word in the loosest sense. He has been lovely this summer whilst I retired to my cave to mourn. He even bought a new spare bed when the Grand children found it didn’t work as a trampoline. This is maybe what has given me the urge to sort everything out or maybe it’s a reaction to loosing Mum.
Benji dog had a visit to the vet yesterday at vast expense. It’s seems that whilst running through undergrowth up the hill he has torn the skin on his forehead and got an infection. He’s very sad but I’m not sure if that’s because Hubs has left him behind or he feels sorry for himself.
I have been looking for my craft mojo and think that I might have found it, probably hiding under the broken bed. I have found mountains of wool. Well not found it, I always knew it was there. I have collected it all together and sorted out a new project for when the current one is finished. I have put it all into one of those bags where you suck the air out for storage. OK the Hoover sucks it out!
Whilst clearing out the wardrobe and looking for my craft mojo I accidentally weighed myself. I will say now more just bring on the lettuce. Now THAT is normal!
I must be honest with you dear friends! I was very restrained over the number of purchases that I made on my recent trip to Woolfest 2016 in Cockermouth. Now those of you who know me will realise how remarkable this fact is! Oh yes, I squished loads of yarn, felt lots of wool and admired a rainbow of colours. But I only bought ONE new project!
I couldn’t resist this beautiful Mohair and Wensleydale blend of yarn. It is a 4ply yarn sold by Whistlebare and marketed as”Reared in Northumberland, Spun in Yorkshire, Dyed by hand” The yarn was from http://www.whistlebare.co.uk I can’t wait to get it on the needles.
I also bought some devine heart shaped buttons to finish off my current project. I am knitting the button band and loving the lacy effect. I’m normally nervous of knitting holes but this band is good therapy! The buttons were from http://www.textilegarden.com
Hopefully this garment will soon be finished and ready to show you so watch this blog!
I went to Woolfest in Cockermouth Cumbria this week. We took Damnvan1 and stayed at a place called Scotgate in Braithwaite. This was so that I could catch the bus at the campsite gate. The plan worked beautifully and I caught the free bus (I like free!) from Cockermouth to the venue which was an out of town animal auction mart.
There was a lot of wool, not a great surprise. There was wool in every style, colour and type.
The animal pens were turned into mini shops or stalls and there was the authentic aroma of animals! There were prize winning sheep on view, looking very bored. There were Lamas looking very snooty.
Most of the spinners, weavers and knitters were local with many individual dyers and commercial enterprises. It was lovely to see and great to talk to the business owners about their products This event s definitely in the diary for next year. I will up date you on my ever growing stash very soon.