Tag Archives: birthday present

Textile Book

My eldest Granddaughter, Miss E has just had a birthday, and I was thrilled to be able to give her this book – I have been making it for ages.

The fabric I have used for the cover is from 1946. My mother-in-law used that fabric to make a cot mattress cover for her baby son (my husband). When my first son was born she gave me the fabric. It felt so precious I never found the courage to cut into it to make anything with it … until now.

Where the desire to make books comes from, I don’t know, I have been on several courses and started quite a few books, but this is the only one I have finished to date.

This book was started during a wonderful few days one-to-one with Frances Pickering in Spring 2016;

then a day’s one-to-one workshop with Kim Edith. in Southampton in 2018. I can highly recommend both workshops. I learnt many things I have yet to put into practice;

and now I am making a Stitchbook with Helen Birmingham,  also highly recommended.

I am not quite sure what it’s all about, but if I discover why, I’ll let you know.

Miss E has been watching this book take shape and she beamed with delight when I gave it to her – I asked her if it was ok for me to share the video and she gave her permission.

I hope you enjoy it .

Dragon Balaclava

knitted dragon mask, balaclava

My Grandson, Little Bro, became 8 yesterday. He had asked me to make him a dragon mask some months ago and was so sure that is what he would be getting. I heard him telling his Mum and he was so excited!  At first I had no idea how to begin to make a dragon but he seemed so confident in my abilites that I felt I must take up the challenge.

I found this pattern on Ravelry: Dracoclava

I can’t say I can recommend it. It is a genius design with absolutely terrible written instructions for the pattern. If it were not for the notes of other intrepid knitters who had paved the way, I would have given up. The notes that helped me the most were these by a member of Ravelry from Chicago.

The pattern asks for Aran weight yarn. I didn’t have any in dragon colours so I used two threads of Stylecraft Special DK and an 4mm needle.

The colours: Claret for the main part, Burgundy for the i-cord and a scrap of Tomato to sew round the nostrils.

The neck part is made in the round in the pattern, but if I were to make it again (eek! I really don’t think I could face it!), I would make the front and back as two pieces.

I don’t enjoy knitting in the round, all that fiddling around with the loop of the wire in between, I would rather sew some seams.

However I did discover The Magic Loop, which helped a lot.

Another useful new skill I learned was to make an attached i-cord. There are several You Tube clips for this, this clip has a few other tips and tricks in it.

the back and top

I did not make holes for the horns, but marked where they were to go.

The i-cord for the brow is an 8 stitch icord, and I stuffed this with crocheted chain of 3 chunky yarn threads together with a 6.5mm hook. I attached a big safety pin to one end and threaded it through.

knitted dragon mask, balaclava, halloween

The ears are knitted separately and will form part of the side of the head.

Following the notes of other knitters, I made the bridge of the nose just 5 sts wide.

The pattern suggests that you knit the bridge of the nose together with the brow when doing the i-cord. By this time the pattern was giving me headaches enough, so to keep it simple I left them separate so that I could sew together later.

construction of dragon mask

balaclava construction

Luckily I have a polystyrene head the I can pin things to. This helped enormously in getting the placements right.

ear attachment

knitted dragon mask

at this stage I had a FaceTime meeting with Little Bro to ask if he would like the ears sewn flat to the head/neck as in the pattern, or with the bottom curling out. I wish I could share with you his face beaming with awe and joy. It made all the days of trial, error and headaches worth while!

He wanted the ears flying free at the bottom and so that is how I have made them. I always like the children to have some say in the design, but with lockdown in progress it has been a bit trickier.

I did not get it to him for his birthday but at least he was able to see it complete and he absolutely LOVES it.

 

Joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along.

 

Painting a Cow

Miss E and I were watching a TV programme called ‘Home is where the Art is‘, which had 3 artists pitching to a potential buyer for a commissioned work of art. I asked her, “If you were to commission a piece of art, what would it be?” To my surprise she said, “a painitng of a cow”. Not what I was expecting from an 11 year old.

She had a birthday coming up so ………. off I went trawling the web to see if I could find some inspiration. Hey presto! Kath Dunne on Instagram was the answer. Her work is full of life and colour.

I saved this image to my computer

Kath Dunne

Isn’t it fabulous!!! Do go and have a look at Kath’s other work. She is an Australian artist and you can see her work on her website: kathdunneartworks.com

I wondered if I could paint a similar picture for Miss E’s birthday present.

I tried it out in an altered book to see if I thought I could capture something acceptable

altered book

Hmm, yes, I thought I could, so I started to paint with acrylics on canvas, sketching out the basic shape with thin white paint that I could rub off with a damp cloth til I got the shapes I wanted.first sketch for cow painting

With hindsight, it would have been better to block in the background of the shape of the cow first, in light and dark tones, before adding splashes of colour.

sketch

At this point I knew it was time to put the eye in – yikes – scary – the eye and the expression in the eye can make or break a painting. I needed to have a practice painting to work on alongside this one

practice painting

Gosh I did find it all a bit stressful!

Back to collage and sploshing paint around in an abstract way for a bit of relaxation, for a while – then onwards ……

cows

And here it is, below, the finished painting – I wish I could have captured the look on Miss E’s face when I gave it to her – she was absolutely surprised and thrilled. She said it looks like Clover, her current show calf – so that is the name of the painting: Clover.

cow painting

I contacted Kath Dunne to ask her permission to share my painting with a link to her website and she said ‘go for it’! Creativity and connection across continents – love it!

I’m looking into making a few prints of Clover, let me know if you are interested.

Birthday Blanket

DSCF9313

Miss E’s design is coming to life. The daisy squares have been added

The edging done

DSCF9329

Only the daisies to sew on in the centre.

DSCF9330

I’m hopeful it will be finished in time for her birthday.

Joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along.