Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Stay calm and keep knitting

This past week had been full of adventures if excess amount of water can be called an adventure. We run from one flood to stumble upon another and at some point I caught myself in rolled up jeans walking through calf deep freezing water to find a higher place for my dogs potty break. Nor me nor dogs had wellies so it was quite exciting experience, especially for my energetic Dachshund. Good job that he does not mind swimming.
Then a Jaguar slowly hit our car's front door (again, blame the rain, visibility was really poor at that moment) - insurers decided that car will be a write off.... And then my mouse took a coffee break - now it has so much white coffee in it that I need to get a new one who would be not so allergic to coffee. Imagine fun working in Photoshop without a mouse. It's possible, of course, it is actually possible, but it just takes ages to do even the smallest things. So quite a week I would say.

So what I do to keep my sanity? I knit. I just keep calm and carry on knitting. So far this flood time has resulted in 7 mittens (3 pairs already finished, one for the 4th pair completed, and another half way right now - so I keep steady pace  - a mitten per day or a pair in two days.

As UK has been promised more rain all week long, at the end of this flood I will probably have enough mittens to supply everybody, polar bears included.

Och, yes, today I completed the quilting on another bed spread. So not a bad week regarding my indoor projects but that means that trip to Scottish west coast will be delayed for another week or so.

And then most likely it will be it - off to warmer and dryer places. I'm sick of this weather with wet feet and running nose.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Jeremy the Bear

This is Jeremy the Bear. 5 joints, glass eyes, needle felted noise. Jeremy’s standing height is 32 cm, sitting height – 26 cm, so he is the biggest so far. He also has an open mouth. He still needs little things done then and there but in general he is ready. 

And this is Laura, the little bear made by my youngest. All 5 joints and blue glass eyes. Now the full garderobe for Laura is planned and some pieces already on their way among the schoolwork.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Let me introduce you to Monty. He is the first one who has the right strength in joints so he is the first who can stand properly.
Monty’s standing height is 20 cm, sitting height – 16 cm (Not a big difference as his legs are short but sturdy). His nose is needle felted and he has glass eyes. 

He already has a little basket that he can carry around and now I’m making him a few little things to put in the basket. There is no point to have an empty one, right?

My youngest also decided to try to make a teddy bear by herself. So far it’s coming together nicely so I’m very proud of her. She knows basic knitting and weaving, now she is trying toymaking with hand sewing and tghen it will be time for a sewing machine. If nothing else, she will be able to sew a lost button at least later in her life.

While I’m completing little unfinished jobs right now, my head is full of knitting designs and patterns. It’s great as when I start, I do not want look back. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

At least one

Well, this morning was nice and sunny so I managed to take picture of one quilt. At least some proof that I'm not laying in bed reading books only :D
Here it is - my version of autumn leaves. It is 72X88 inches. Not very perfect job as usual but all in all I'm improving my quilting skills. The back side is one colour, nothing exciting, but by me, colours matches well to the top.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Where the time goes?

The days are running so fast! I had finished another quilt and made two more creatures but had not had time to take pictures to post here. I also wanted to take pictures of our fireworks on the Guy Fawkes Night but was so carried away that I hadn't made one worth posting! Silly me because we had a great one this time. Even police arrived to check what we are doing but didn't find anything wrong. 

I have started a new top for the quilt, using a triangle shape pieces. Pale orange with different shades of quite light blue. I usually use bold colours so this time I wanted to experiment with something pale. So far it looks quite promising but I'm still not sure about the final product. 

And yesterday I finally took out all my knitting bags, sorted out yarns and now for long dark evenings there will be another thing to do. I'm not great fan of TV, so knitting is my favourite wintertime entertainment at night. I never knit in summer, but when the winter knocks on the door, needles are out.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Another wee one

Here we go... Among pumpkin carving and layers of make-up I managed to finish another one. This little creature is ready and even named - Muppet. Glass eyes and needle felted face and paws. Sitting height - 14 cm, theoretical standing height - 19 cm.

Theoretical because no way this wee wobbly one will be ever able to stand. Poor thing is wobbly. I mean seriously wobbly. So for myself I decided - never ever again romantic old fashioned joints with buttons or something like that... Never ever again.

Maybe I simply do things wrong but at least bolts and nuts with additional leather discs holds things together without looking like leg or arm will drop off next minute. That's the reason why poor wee one is wearing a scarf - take it off and it's obvious that we have a serious Parkinson's case. Never ever again.

Other than that I like his little palms and toes, and other little details like that. He is not a bad boy in general, just wobbly. Poor little one.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween whatever you are!

Gone haunting!

Will return at midnight!

Eat, drink and be scary...

,,,and if the broom fits, fly it!

When its too wet even for the duck

In comparison with Sandy it's nothing, of course, but weather again seems to be too wet even for the ducks. There is nothing I can do about it - just put my boots on the heater to dry out, make a big cup of coffee and wrap myself in a blanket. And cheer myself up with the fact that itš not snowing here yet. :D But anyway - this is the time of the year when knitting mode starts creeping on me.

Yesterday I started another toy - not sure yet which kind of creature it will be at the end, I will decide it later. I'm experimenting with designs and technologies still  and haven't find the optimal solution for joints. With this little one I tried buttons for joints. Metal bottons with leater discs and a wite. Not happy - again too wobbly.

I make the joints tight, as tight as I can, and at the beginning all looks nice. But when stuffed - well, joints become quite loose, nearly vobbly again. Maybe its because I like to stuff properly, very tight, so toy isn't soft anymore? I do not know yet. But so far I'm not happy. I had been reading a lot on Internet about them and will try until I will find the solution which I'm happy with. 

Experimenting with different designs is much more fun. This creature will have needle felted face and paws - I like mixing sewing and needle felting in a toy - it adds character then and there. At the same time it definitely takes away the vintage look which sometimes is not the right thing.

If the weather will be bearable, few other trips might be an option but right now I prefer warm blanket and a big mug of cofffee on the side. Autumn is slowly creeping on me.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Among other things

Despite fact that I spent most of my time on wheels, I managed to finish another bear - her name is Minnie.

She wears nice drawers (trimmed with vintage lace) and a knitted cardigan.

Her standing height is approx 28 cm. 5 joints, glass eyes. Everything, except cardigan, is hand sewn (it is hard to carry a sewing machine along :D). Cardigan is knitted out of nice,soft wool,

This time I feel I'm getting there... OK, at least into the right direction.Slowly but steady.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Its all about fairy tales

Well, long before Harry Potter films nearly every fairy tale started with the Prince or Princess, and all of them lived in castles, right? So even as an adult when you see a castle, a real one, it still carry some feel of a fairy tale, at least for me. So visiting castles is... is something special.

Caernarfon Castle is one of the famous castles in Wales. Built by king Edward I, now it collects £4.95 from each visitor (and you must add the parking fee as well) so not much different from Edward's time - castle is costly thing for a taxpayer. But even then you simply can't resist. When it is not overcrowded by tourists, there are mere moments when you can get the feel - stomping of heavy feet, horses neighing and occasional bucket of dirty water being poured over the walls... You can look over the sea from the tops of the towers and just imagine standing there hundreds of years ago, watching the horizon and dreaming of an odd sip of whisky in that harsh, deadly wind.

Well, today it looks not so worn off and it is huge. HUGE. If you want, you can spent all day climbing up and down each stears then and there, and simply enjoy the feel. If not, there is about an hour to look around, and visit two small museums - one is for Welsh regiments, the other - of course, for the Princes of Wales. If you are into Royals, you will love there. Not really for me, but still interesting, esppecially seeing Charles so young in the film there. But the most is castle itself.

Gray, gray slate

If we talk about industry and history, Wales is all about slate. So I went and visited some. Blue Lake is the very past, Llechwedd Slate Caverns is still open, at least for tourists to get the feel.

It is situated near the historic slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. (I'm still fascinated by Welsh names). It's not very stunning place to visit, but if you like history, the real one, that's the place to go. It grabs you and is hard to forget later when all these WOW! sights appear one after another.

Slate is gray. Everything is grey. All the shades of gray.

For me it was very personal trip down there because my father in 50's was working down in some Soviet coal mines in far North (not voluntary).

As I probably will never visit there, this gave me some idea, some illustrations for his tales from the dim past.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Blue Lake

I can be posh and throw here names like village of Llwyngwril (if you can pronounce it :D ) but I better will show the Blue Lake.

It is a very deep lagoon in the old Golwern Slate Quarry above Fairbourne in Wales. It is accessed by foot only through a little wet tunnel.

The pool is coloured blue by the amount of dissolved natural materials within the lake.

Well, it's not one of nature wonders, it is simply leftowers of human actions but still it has its own beauty. It is small, very deep and well hidden in the old Quarry.

See the colour of the water? It was a gray, rainy day when the colour was so bright so I can only magine how unrealistic it looks in ful sunshine. 

Fairbourne is deep down if you look from the top. All in all it is some serious climbing but we all did it without accidents and we all really enjoyed the trip.  Even the slippery slate paths, covered with leaves and running down streams to walk over. I hoped that the lake will be bigger but actually such a small, hidden place is a real gem to visit.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Since my last post I had been very busy. I finished the autumn colour quilt and 3 more bears - they all are waiting for the better weather to take pictures. Today I finished the knitted dress for one of the bears - what a fun, I feel like a child again :D

In between the jobs I learnt my first word in Welsh - ARAF. Driving in places is quite interesting thing especially when you see the ARAF approaching. To cut long story short - I spent one fantastic week in Wales. If you had been there, you will understand. If you haven't jet, I really do recommend. It's definitely worth it. Pictures I had been taking do not show even the 10% of the wonderful views there. Probably I would need camera with different filters and such and way more knowledge to show it in full colours.

Travelling around this time of the year has some pluses and minuses. First of all - there are no tourists at all anymore so a big plus for me. Weather in turn is a minus but at least it throws some reality into the tourist daydreaming. It's wet. Simply wet, raining or not. Right now I would like to find myself in the desert with humidity level no more than 25% :D

But again... It was a beautiful trip for me. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

My first pair

I’m busy bee right now. Weather hadn’t been nice to me so I spent a lot of time in my room. Yesterday I cut over 600 pieces for the next quilt top and right now finished noses of both bears. Now they only need some pretty dresses for Christmas.
The little one is Miranda, that’s definite. Tiny girl, watching after herself very well with a bit of forced smile. I presume she doesn't like this world very much, so many things are going wrong by Miranda. Kids are quite not as well behaved as they were and overall morals are going down, you know... All that stuff is quite upsetting Miranda but she will keep calm and smile. Ladies do, you know.


The boy... By unknown reason to me his name is Rodger.It just is. I think he is a little bit of a dreamer. OK, maybe a Liverpool fan and all that outside but deep inside he is still whistling  "Imagine"... 

I do not like his name very much but things are how they are. Like Miranda. Not my fav name at all, especially for a bear.   

Both have cheap plastic eyes and 5 joints, with bolts. Now I must find what I’m doing wrong as all joints are a bit too loose. Using two washers and two nuts to secure each bolt it needed to be pretty tight, but they are not.

 I will try to add leather washers next time, maybe they will improve the situation. If you have any ideas what I'm doing wrong and tips, please, share your knowledge!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Somewhere half way

One top is ready, other - other half must be put together, and then just borders for both. And second teddy will be sewn together today. So all in all - I'm somewhere half  way with all my current projects.

I'm quite pleased with the first top just because it's the first one I PLANNED before - made the drawing, counted the numbers of pieces in each colours and so on. The second one is just leftovers from the first one, but all in all it will be bearable at the end - most materials are nice cotton sateen.

With the bears... I'm just starting. I want finish these two so I can move to the next one, the idea of which is already starting to spin in my head. By some unknown reason, toymaking is so much fun for me.

Until then - this pile must be turned into a little cuddly one. Adjusted gusset looks better but the next one will have completely different design - just for more fun. 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Bosworth and bears

As weather goes up and down we simply do follow. As yesterday was a nice day we went to Bosworth battlefield. Not so much to see except the fantastic vies from the top of the hill but so much for the imagination to roam in the depths of the British history. You know... red and white roses, Richard III and that entire bit from your school books... It is weird to stand there and realise that it happened here, it really happened HERE...

Sometimes when you go to historic sites like this all is so crowded, so tourist orientated shit that I simply can’t get the feel at all – simply another Disneyland but yesterday there was perfect – just few people around, the low autumn sun and the crisp air – you just close your eyes and you can hear the swords being sharpened, horses stomping the ground, nervously whispered prayers... It was in the air yesterday, at least for me. 

And then the full moon and serene walk in the woods with dogs...

On the other hand, yesterday I finished the shell of the first bear and started the second. 

I try a bit different pattern, change this and that, until I will find my favourite size and shape - something that I really like. For the first one I made quite wide head gusset so Teddy has a very big, weird shaped head, a bit like ostrich head. 

The second one I will try a bit more classical, with narrow gusset, so it looks more bear head shape, not such an alien. Then it will be time to reduce ear shape as well. It is so much fun to play with patterns and try them out. I use the cheap faux fur and plastic eyes, so materials cost about 2 pounds per bear – not a big deal, I can experiment like that for a long time.