Festival of Quilting

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 10th August 2015 I took my kids to the Festival of Quilts for the first time last week, and we were totally blown away by the imagination, skill, and beauty on display. There was an enormous amount to see, and even if we’d been able to stay for a day (four …

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Blank canvas

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 3rd August 2015 Another thing I’ve been wanting to do for years, is rug making. My parents introduced me to the concept of actually making your own when I found a whole pile of their homemade looped-wool rugs in the basement. What these were doing in the basement, along with woodworking …

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Credit where credit’s due

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 27th July 2015 This is a plea to anyone who shares stuff, particularly creative stuff, on social media or blogs. A few months ago, a picture of a beautiful patchwork popped up in my facebook feed, and I shared to the Wildbrook Woollies facebook page as one of my “colourburst” posts. …

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Featured Artist: Diomo Glass

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 13th July 2015 Diomo Glass is run by 39-year-old Susan Morris, who’s been working with stained glass for over 10 years. Since founding the business in 2008, she’s worked from her home, now in Rye, East Sussex, UK. Susan’s interest in glass began while working at Hampton Court Palace, surrounded by …

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Meanwhile… Stone

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 6th July 2015 Last weekend, while camping at Gumber Farm, we were lucky enough to try our hands at stone carving, taking turns to hack bits out of the National Trust’s Rise of Northwood sculpture. This two-and-half-tonne lump of Portland limestone is moving between various locations on the Slindon estate in …

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Now on Pinterest

Follow me on Pinterest for many colourful pictures of wonderful stuff! There are boards for creativity in all its forms: art, bags, buildings, buttons, ceramics, clouds, coffee, enamel, fire, food, furniture, geology, glass, (craft) hacks, ice, jewellery, leather, metal, mosaics, photography, paper, plants, rugs, steampunk, street, stone, tattoos, textiles, water, wax, wicker, wood, and yarn-bombing! …

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Jumper progress

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 15th June 2015 Progress on the jumper moved quickly, and the front and back were soon ready to be joined. I learned a new stitch from YouTube, which allowed me to join the two panels in the way I wanted. By a pure stroke a luck, a seamstress friend offered me …

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Meanwhile… Mosaics

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 8th June 2015 Everyone thinks of the Romans when they think of mosaics. Of course, the Roman craftsmen produced the most elaborate and beautiful floors for villas all over Europe – some of which took years to build – but mosaic art began long before the then. The word “mosaic” is …

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Start of the rainbow jumper

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 1st June 2015 “Why don’t you make a jumper?” the kids said. And I thought, there’s an idea… I decided on a simple design – nothing fancy for a first go – with the front and back panels being shorter versions of the small blanket, just made with single-crochet stitch rather …

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Hats and scarves

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 25th May 2015 With the first scarf having vanished into the clutches of my children (though not before I got a photograph of it), I started work on a hat to go with it. I’m a fan of hats that cover the ears, so that’s what I made – again leaving …

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Single crochet stitch

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 11th May 2015 The blankets had all been made using a double-crochet stitch, which was perfect for large pieces, and would work well for a proper shawl once I came to make one, but I didn’t feel it would be best for the hats and scarves that sat next on my …

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New Yarn

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 4th May 2015 The arrival of a new yarn order in this house triggers the ceremonial Unwrapping and Arranging Along the Back of the Sofa. The subsequent Admiring can go on for days. So when our HUGE order arrived, much was made of stacking all the skeins in the right order …

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Meanwhile… Leather

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 27th April 2015 Working as a basket-maker also brought me into contact with leather, as people invariably wanted leather straps on bicycle baskets, picnic baskets, shoulder baskets… Fortunately, I knew a brilliant saddler, who was prepared to try any ideas I threw at him, and he always came up with wonderful …

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Project planning

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 20th April 2015 The rainbow blankets had given me ideas, and I started to plan of range of rainbow-themed woollies: bobble hats, tassel hats, scarves with bobbles, tassels, and/or pockets… I should probably make gloves or mittens too, and what about other clothing…? The list went on, and I found myself …

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Mini rainbow blanket

by Leigh Forbes Monday, 13th April 2015 I’d caught the bug for multi-coloured crochet, and the next thing to appear was a mini rainbow-blanket, which spent the last months of winter on our sofa, being extremely handy for covering shoulders, laps, and feet whenever it was needed, which was often (we don’t have central heating). …

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Meanwhile… Wicker

In a previous life, I made baskets for a living, which offered yet more opportunity for personal injury (secateurs + fingers = lots of blood), but was otherwise the most therapeutic of occupations. The rhythm of weaving – whether to make snoods, blankets, or ali baba baskets for theatrical props – busies the hands and …

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End of the Rainbow

After three weeks, and with a huge cheer from the kids, I finally reached the end of the rainbow blanket! And, having a bit of a head for numbers, I couldn’t help working out a few stats: like how many stitches I’d done (21,000); how much it weighed (1.8kg); and how much yarn it had …

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Start of the Rainbow

Back in the world of finger-crochet, I still determined to get the tension right. I realised my problem lay in always allowing the yarn to tighten as I went along. I obviously had some kind of fear of it getting too loose (perhaps some deep memory of my previous “floppiness” issues). Bored with experimenting, I …

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Meanwhile… Metal

As well as eschewing home economics in favour of woodwork, I also managed to wangle metalwork instead of the also-compulsory-for-girls needlework class. Perhaps if I’d hung around long enough to discover embroidery, patchwork, or tapestry, I might have stuck it out; but to the 12yo-tomboy-me, needlework meant “mending”, and I rebelled on principle. Besides, Metalwork …

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Charcoal blanket

Having decided on a more colourful theme, I ordered a load of charcoal-coloured wool, which confused the kids completely! But my initial vision called for a charcoal-coloured blanket, threaded with rainbow-colour strands. I made good progress, improving my general technique as I went, and I felt I’d got the idea of coloured threads spot on. …

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“Shawl” sample

Having realised the potential of finger crochet, I began work on a shawl… only – as I still couldn’t get the tension right – it turned into more of a mini blanket (see picture). Despite the shrinkage, I felt I could be pleased with the technique I was using, and the general appearance. Again I …

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Meanwhile… Wood

As a 12-year-old tomboy, faced with the prospect of Home Economics classes, I rebelled. “I don’t want to do cooking,” I declared. “I want to do WOODWORK.” The school’s response was decisive: they said, “Don’t be stupid, you’re a GIRL,” and packed me off to flipping cookery lessons. I refused to take part, and my …

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Learning to crochet

I’ve always loved crochet, and have long wanted to learn how to do it – so when my sister proudly showed off her novice (but accomplished) Christmas-decorations at New Year, I badgered her into showing me how to do it. So, while half-watching Esio Trot (I’ve always loved Dustin Hoffman too), I experimented with my …

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Meanwhile… Enamel

I’ve had a love affair with enamel since I was a child – maybe just because it’s shiny!! Even as an adult, I still opt for the enamel version of anything: it shouts “quality” and “longevity” and, most importantly to me, “BEAUTY”. When we talk about enamel in the art sense, we’re talking about vitreous …

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