Thursday, 29 November 2012

Lovely Lurchers

It is soo much fun replicating people's pets in yarn - or trying to anyway.  There is a moment just after embroidering the face and before sewing the legs on when the dog suddenly takes on it's own personality.
Must admit I have been known to squeal in joy when it looks lifelike - it always feel like the process has been taken out of my hands at this point and the dog is almost making itself, I'm just the conduit!
Then there is the pleasure in photographing these little pets in various positions - always makes me giggle.
These two are quite conservative though, no bottom sniffing here!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


It's been a very long time since I sewed a little felt set - I was glad someone asked me to as it reminded me how much fun it is making itty-bitty dogs out of felt.
If you fancy one of these pug sets, don't wait around for me to make one and put it in my shop - just ask me and I'll gladly take some time out from knitting to oblige!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Never Smile At A Crocodile...

 ....or four alligators!  Finally finished this lot and they are now ready to fly across the Atlantic to their home state. Next time I design college scarves, I will think twice about adding a glove puppet feature and fancy texture - these took weeks!

Little Pixie now has her coat and collar and is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her three companions - now the scarves are finished, perhaps they will come sooner rather than later.
Never one for the conventional, I now have two zombies which will be on my stall at a Xmas fair this weekend - who doesn't want a knitted zombie in their stocking on Christmas Day?
Finally, here is a little bed waiting for it's occupant.

If anyone asks me if I had a nice weekend, I can honestly say 'yes', but boy, am I tired!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Coughs & Sneezes......

When you've spent the whole week feeling like this......'s good that it's been possible to get on with this...
This is a very small portion of a painting I've been commissioned to do for the Derwent website - you will have to wait until it's up and running to see the rest.  This has been drawn/painted using Academy watercolour pencils.

I've also been able to make this....
...a tiny replica lurcher.  Interesting to do, figuring out how to make the whiskery bits look natural!
Hopefully it looks like the real dog....
One down, three to go......

There have been other projects on the needles, but none I am at liberty to show!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

What A Difference A Day Makes....

For so long it feels as if we have been living under a permanent rain cloud, so when a day like today comes along, it is surprising just how good it makes you feel. No lie-in today, it was up and out for a crisp walk with the dog in the frosty fields then back home for pancakes and strawberries, our Sunday morning treat.

After getting some chores out of the way, it was off to Fleet Pond to feed the birds.  My daughter loves to feed the geese and swans - my favourites are the gulls.
It is quite difficult to throw bread high in the air and then try to get photographs of the gulls in flight without chucking your camera into the pond.  I took about 50 pictures, but only a few are worth keeping. However, I plan a painting using them at some time in the future.
Just before we left, this magnificent fellow came swimming up and I managed to get the perfect picture without risking life and limb.  Now this one definitely goes in the 'potential painting' folder.

I have lots of projects on the go at the moment, but none ready to show.  A painting for Derwent, yet another alligator scarf, some footwear for the animation, and joy of joys, someone wants me to knit replicas of their 4 lurchers - I love knitting little dogs!

Oh yes, and there is another zombie on the way.....

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Halloween Shenanigans.....

 I've been sorting through some more of the holiday snaps - these are some of the sights we saw in Salem on Halloween...

 ...we all need some 'dabachery' don't we
 This guy probably thought I was stalking him - I have quite a few photos of him in various locations in an attempt to get a proper view.  Luckily this was my final try.

 This stall took facepainting to a whole new level - I would like to have had a bit of gore too but the queue was too long.

 See what I mean?
Not everything was scary...

Monday, 12 November 2012


I wish black yarn photographed better!
This is a mini replica of a real dog called Wrigley who is a rather fine back spaniel.  He's been rather a long time in the making as my list of commissioned work reached silly proportions this year.
He's knitted in boucle yarn with soft eyelash yarn used for the ears and the 'feathers' on his legs and belly.  His legs are fully jointed and he has a leather collar.
The colour scheme for his coat and bed was chosen by the owner - I must admit I rather like it, particularly the way the check coat has turned out.  Mittens in that combination might be rather nice...

He'll be off to his new home very soon!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Boston - Random Snaps

 While various craft projects are still in the pipeline, here are a few pictures from our recent trip - I know other people's holiday pics are usually tedious, so I've tried to pick some interesting ones.
This was a breakdancer on the street outside Quincy Market, part of a really entertaining group.
Stacie and I mid-hurricane....
One of the many decorated houses in Salem at Halloween.
Me making a purchase in a Harvard smoke shop - anything you need for pipe smoking, you'll find it here.  I was actually buying violet flavoured mints!
A rare picture of Stacie grinning - think she was laughing at me (as usual) freezing on the whale trip boat.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Bears & Booty....

Having had a week without having touched a needle, neither knitting nor sewing, I've come back raring to go.  There is plenty of commissioned work to be done, but I took a little time away from that yesterday to whip up this little felt grizzly ornament from a pattern in this month's edition of Handmade Living.  There is also a fox pattern I want to make when I get a spare minute.

I'm slowly sifting through the hundreds of photos we took in Boston - there will be more when I have sorted them out.  For the time being, here is this year's plunder from the discount fabric store that just happened to be opposite our hotel.  I could have spent every penny I had in there, but managed to restrain myself and only buy 6 yards from the remnants table.
Just as well, because I spent what was ostensibly 2 days food money on this pendant I found at a craft market.  I don't know if you can see it clearly - it's very tiny and hard to photograph - but it is a diorama of a park bench with a flock of pigeons sitting on it and a bin nearby.  The pendant is only about an inch wide and the pigeons about an eighth of an inch tall.  It was one of those things I had to have - all hand made and incredible workmanship.  You can see a few more of the designs at Stern Design Works - it was very hard to make a choice, I was tempted by the itsy cows and pigs too....
I'll leave you with us sitting in the sun on Halloween....

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Hold The Front Page!

A few copies of Paint magazine came through the letter box today - I knew my article was going to be in it, but had no idea my name would be emblazoned on the front page! Wow!
Here's the article from inside - how strange to see something written by me in a magazine.  Still can't get my head round it!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Boston or Bust

Just under a month ago we decided after the tough year we'd had, it was time to organise a last minute holiday - it was a toss up between Boston or New york.  Thank goodness we are cheapskates and opted for Boston......
Our first day (October 26th) looked like this - we didn't even need coats.
October 27th looked like this - the sea was as calm as a mill pond and we went whale watching.  The sun shone the whole way, we saw loads of whales (which I failed to get photos of - they don't hang around!) and even the return journey was not an icy ordeal - I got sunburnt!
On our return to the harbour, I noticed this ominous halo around the sun - we already knew Hurricane Sandy was on it's way, this was nature's way of warning us too.

October 28th, we went to a craft market and the weather was closing in - the tops of the tall buildings were shrouded in cloud, the wind was picking up and the rain started.
Monday 29th was wild!  I have never experienced a wind like it - needless to say we took a walk down to the shore to see what was going on.  The beach by our hotel was fairly sheltered as it is part of a bay, but the water was certainly coming in and we had trouble standing upright on occasion.
This was the playground nearby - those 'planks' under the roofing are the tops of benches.

After a sandwich at a local shop, we went back to the hotel and stayed safe in our room watching films for the rest of the day while the wind howled outside.

We did feel the media made too much of how Sandy was going to affect Boston - yes, it was bad throughout the Monday, but the next morning instead of the predicted continued wind and rain, we awoke to brilliant sunshine.
So we visited Fenway Park, home of the Boston Redsox - well worthwhile taking the tour.
Also visited the boutiques on Newbury St. but felt it was not quite for us so left after a quick walk around.
Saw a huge crowd of sparrows on Boston Common - this is just a small section!
Halloween was another warm dry day, so we headed off to Salem - by train this time.  Stacie was obviously not impressed by this mummy!
We loved this family group - inspired costumes!
This house always does an amazing display - this 'vomit' spewed out every few minutes.  I'll show more pictures another time.
Loved this girl's costume - she stayed in character all day and later on met up with her boyfriend who was also a zombie. Creepy.....
This was the most incredible bookshop I have ever been in - I don't know what you'd do if the book you wanted was at the bottom of a pile.....

We didn't stay for the evening celebrations  - by 4 p.m. we'd had enough and headed back.

November 1st was the day we went home - but as our flight was in the evening, we had time to visit Harvard.  Bob had a spot of bother with one of the faculty.....
Harvard is an amazing place - students there are very lucky indeed.
And finally, we ended up back at the harbour for one final bowl of chowder at Quincy Market, a last minute purchase of salt water taffy and then back to the hotel to await the shuttle to the airport.

We feel very lucky we escaped the brunt of the hurricane - seeing the devastation in New York and New Jersey was a very sobering experience.  I hope they get the help they need as soon as they can.