Saturday, 17 March 2018

Getting Crafty: DIY Lampshade

Making a lampshade has long been on my 'To Do' list and after being inspired by the fabric and lampshades in a local shop, I decided to give it a whirl. So I brought a metre of gorgeous fabric with a mermaid and fish design from said shop and a wire lampshade frame from from eBay and off I went!

The first step was to bind the frame so that I could sew the individual fabric panels onto the binding. I used some blue bias binding and wrapped the frame top to bottom excluding the internal light-bulb fitting.

Using thick brown paper and a pencil, I then traced around the inside of one of the lampshade panels and cut it out, creating a template to work from. Because I wanted a mermaid in each of the  panels, I had to work out the pattern placement on the fabric to create this, including the extra 2" border that I had to add to the outside of the template to enable handling and stitching direct onto the bound frame.

After I had cut out the 8 individual panels including plain pink lining panels, the next stage was to hand stitch each of these onto the frame, whilst pulling the fabric to create a drum-like tautness. I'm glad that I brought a good quality cotton sewing thread for this (Gutermann 100% cotton) as it stood up to all the tugging! I think it would have driven me loopy if the thread kept breaking!

I did find the sewing very therapeutic and spent a enjoyable number of hours stitching, drinking tea and listening to ghost stories on Audible.


After glueing up the stitched seams to ensure that they didn't fray, the next stage was one I was really looking forwards to...adding the trimmings!

I first glued the blue gimp* down the vertical frame ribs...

...then worked my along the curved lower frame sections using the gimp and some narrower gooseberry green gimp as additional contrast trimming. 

I found it easier to use washing line pegs to hold the fringing in place when glueing as I found it a bit tricky manipulating the fringing around the curved frame sections without it peeling off.

Ta-Dah! - Here's the finished lampshade...

...all I need now is a wooden lampstand.

* This word always reminds me of Pulp Fiction; in fact I was going to name this post "Bring Out the Gimp!"

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Colour Bomb Knitting

I've been on a yarn diet over the past year, trying to dutifully knit from the stash, but when I saw this colour-bomb yarn over on Etsy I knew it had to be mine! Its hand-dyed 4ply sock yarn in the colourway 'Sherbert Rainbow' dyed by Kate Selene. Luckily you can request for the skein to be wound into a ready-to-knit from ball, which saves time winding it up yourself - bonus!

I decided that a colourful pair of long, fingerless mitts are what I need for Spring 2018, cast on the required number of stitches onto my bamboo dpns and off I went...

The yarn is a joy to knit with and I've finished one mitt and have cast on for the other. Its been fun seeing how the colour striping works out when knitted in the round and I'm happy to report that there's been no obvious pooling of colour, unlike other yarns I've knitted with.

Before starting on the mitts, I wanted a lazy knit to do over Christmas, where I could knit in front of the telly without having to count rows, patterns, stitches etc. Delving into the stash I found a bag of yarn that I brought from a car boot sale years ago. I can remember being surprised at finding it, as its quality yarn and I think cost me under a fiver. I decided to knit a simple cowl with this DK yarn, knitting with two strands simultaneously on 6.5mm needles as I wanted a heavier knit than the usual DK texture. 

Like the previous yarn, this is also from an indie yarnie and one that's local to me too: May Hill Gotlands. I've cribbed the below quote from their website, because they describe it far better than me:

"We produce wool, sheep skins and woolly creations from our flock of Gotland and Gotland cross Blue Faced Leicester sheep that graze within sight of May Hill, the famous landmark near Newent, Gloucestershire. This Viking breed originated about 1000 years ago on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, off the Swedish coast. It is becoming increasingly popular because of the high quality, beautiful wool it produces. The lambs are born black but turn grey/silver as they mature. The young coats are silky, curly and, to quote Tolkien "like dusk silver as water under stars".  Gotland wool was even chosen to make the Magic Elvin coat in the film The Lord of the Rings".

Now doesn't that make you want to knit with it?

I'm glad that I had this project on the go as I fell ill with a lurgy over Christmas and ended up recovering whilst bingeing on Amazon's Outlander series and mindlessly knitting. I soon noticed that my cowl with its undyed yarn looked similar to the knits used by Outlander's costume department, so I've nicked named it the 'Fraser Clan Cowl'!

Friday, 20 October 2017

A Tight Squeeze

Last weekend I was painting...the parents' hallway that is, with Mum's favourite colour: magnolia. I've tried to entice her over to the brighter side, but she's not having any of it. I was surprised when she let me paint my bedroom in ox-blood red when I was in my teens (I was going through a big Victoriana phase), but she gleefully painted it magnolia as soon as I moved out (it took more than two coats to cover the red up though -hee!).

On my way back home I thought I'd make my last ever stop-off at one of Stroud's best antique/collectors shops: The Malthouse Emporium. It was a last visit as the Malt House has been forced to close trading for good from its current premises in Stroud, which has disappointed/angered a lot of The Malt House's traders and customers (read more here: here). However, all's not lost as it still has its Tewkesbury branch.

Little did I expect that I'd be coming home with this...

At home
 ...yes it was a true impulse buy! Heart ruled over head.

In The Malt House
I did check that the dresser's measurements would fit into the alcove, which was the only place where it could live in the kitchen. Yes, it all looked fine on paper, but back home it was a different matter.

We had to take the skirting board off, hack an inch or so from the chimney breast...and then I realised that when I was measuring I didn't take into account the width of the architrave at the top of the dresser (sigh). So, we had to take off the architrave side strips and cut off a bit at the front to fit it in! Not what I wanted, but I've kept them and can easily fit them back on if needed at a later date.

I've been having fun filling it up with stuff. My cookery books conveniently fit into the two big drawers...

...and I've been adding to the shelves... minimalism in our gaff!

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