Crazy cat lady silversmithing update

Before I went on my silversmithing course last week, I spent ages browsing Pinterest looking at jewellery. As a dedicated cat lady, there was really only one choice – a cat ring! You can check out the jewellery board here. I will be updating it a lot more over coming weeks – especially because I’ll be getting a new phone that will make Pinteresting a bit easier!

Anyway, on to how I’m a dedicated cat lady. No, wait, silversmithing..!

Intro to Silversmithing – the first class

I went to my first class last Thursday (read more about that here). The studio is in Central Bristol, in an absolute maze of a building! It looks totally nondescript from the outside. Walking in reveals a transformation from standard residential building to incredible silver studio, complete with faux taxidermy silver stag head! Alice Goldsack has decked out her studio with rows of benches for people to work at, beautiful photography on the walls, and display cabinets of examples of silver work by established smiths.

I didn’t take any photos of the studio as we were busy learning the ropes. I will try do this next lesson. There was so much to learn – hammering, annealing, soldering, polishing, work hardening… I also don’t want to take any photos of my fellow students as that gets complicated, so please bear with me.

Sneak preview! Sketching some ideas in the studio.
Sneak preview! Sketching some ideas in the studio.

What was quite strange was suddenly encountering techniques that I have studied the science of through my Materials Science degree, in a practical application. Even stranger, my brother gave me a jewellery textbook for Christmas a few years ago, which is one of those in the studio. Although it was a new environment for me, I felt like I was right at home.

After a chat about health and safety and some equipment demonstrations, it was time to start.

Cat Ring

Having had a look at the equipment, I went and voiced my thoughts to Mim, the tutor for the lesson. I’d initially thought I would do a wire ring bent in the shape of cat ears, but that would have had fewer techniques in it. I want to learn as much as possible, so it had to be more complex. I ended up getting a flattened piece of silver and cutting it to size to fit my right index finger, then cutting little ear pieces.

A length of silver for my ring, with two little ears.
A length of silver for my ring, with two little ears ready to attach.

After filing rough edges down I soldered the ears on. The pieces were tiny, and very difficult to manipulate, and because I hadn’t done it before it was very tricky. I also suddenly realised I had an audience of everyone else in the class, as I was the first person to solder. Terrifying. It went quite well, and I definitely felt very accomplished!

My cat has ears! You can see the lumps from the solder.
My cat has ears! You can see the lumps from the solder.

I had to file down the excess solder, then file the ends to join the metal into a ring. By this point it was time to leave, so next week I will be doing a bit more filing. Then I will be bending it into a ring and soldering. Hopefully I’ll finish it next lesson and be able to wear it with pride!

My cat, soldered, filed and ready to turn into a ring!
My cat, soldered, filed and ready to turn into a ring!

I can’t wait till Thursday’s lesson – I’ll keep you updated.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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My Kryptonite – also known as picking up stitches

Kryptonite is a weird way to be talking about this project. The naming happened organically and now I can’t help it! I’ve been talking about my mum’s birthday present for months, without ever having actually shown it to you. The time has come to talk about it (which meant I had to take it out to take photographs, and this will mean it’s far more likely to get finished as I’ve actually snuggled it in my hands again…)

Kryptonite, in the form of…

At the beginning of the year, my lovely mum and I were walking around the local town and we happened across a new yarn shop. Oh joy! We had to go in. I had a look around and spotted some of the new Sirdar Touch yarn that was so popular at the beginning of the year. As I was showing it to mum, the owner of the shop (True Design) picked up a lovely cardigan/tunic garment that was hanging near the till and showed it to us. It was absolutely beautiful – a nice length and so very comfortable. Mum expressed a desire to own one like it. Before I knew it, I had bought enough balls of Sirdar Touch to knit her the tunic.

The fluffiest, most comfortable kryptonite in existence.
The fluffiest, most comfortable kryptonite in existence.

Fast forward to May – on mum’s birthday I held up the half knitted article for inspection. I had got to a specific length and stopped, because I wanted to know her preference. The length was a little short for her taste, so I was glad I did – I knitted a bit further and bound off. I sewed it together and….stopped. It only needs a collar – with 12mm needles it would probably only take half an hour to knit! Here comes the Kryptonite part of the story.

This yarn, while absolutely gorgeous, soft, comfortable and so very, very warm is a nightmare for picking up stitches. It would already be hard to pick up the edge stitches to knit the collar because it’s black. And then we jump straight to the fact that it’s eyelash yarn. I’m not super comfortable picking up stitches anyway, despite having taken a finishing course at Spin a Yarn a few years ago. Combine that with the fun of the black eyelash yarn, and the fact that it was coming up to summer, and you understand why it’s taking me literally months to finish this off.

Its difficult to give an idea of scale, but its not small!
Its difficult to give an idea of scale, but its not small!
The garment as it is at the moment, awaiting a collar.
The garment as it is at the moment, awaiting a collar.

I know that I’ll probably pick the garment up and half an hour later wonder what the months of fuss was about…and I know that mum will love it, so I need to get it to her in time for winter (let’s not forget her birthday was four months ago). Picking up stitches has been my kryptonite for so long. Even when Melanie was staying in 2015 she picked up stitches for me on any projects I left lying around!

Hopefully this is only the first of two posts about this project – the second being the FO! I’ll let you know how I get on. I’d love to know if I’m the only person with this problem, and how to overcome it? (Apart from doing a load of knitting that requires practice, practice, practice…) What is your kryptonite?

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Blog, Knitting | 4 Comments

Silversmithing with Alice Goldsack in Bristol

Silversmithing?! That’s nothing to do with knitting! I know, I wasn’t sure how to make it fit either – and then I decided that rather than start a new blog for this new craft, I could just talk about all my crafting. I didn’t want to set up a whole new blog with web domains, new designs and a new name, and this is, as they say my party. So, silversmithing with Alice Goldsack.

Rewind to July’s birthday…

Back in July, I celebrated my birthday with over an elderflower gin and tonic. John had packed me off to work that morning with a Sesame Snap and a sweet note, which in all honesty was enough for me. Birthdays are something that I love celebrating for other people, but am not so hot on celebrating for myself. Too much attention!

Celebrating my birthday with friends in Bristol!
Celebrating my birthday with friends in Bristol.

Imagine my surprise when over that gin and tonic, John told me that my friends had clubbed together and contributed to a silversmithing course! The one he had looked at was at Halsway Manor, which I’ve talked about before in this post. This would be a residential weekend in November, which I could either go to alone, or take a friend. I was tickled absolutely pink, and the following morning at work waxed lyrical about it. One of my colleagues overheard me and told me another of my colleagues did silversmithing in Bristol. I went and chatted to her about it, and before long decided that I’d rather do the course with Alice Goldsack.

It turned out to actually be cheaper than the weekend John had looked at for me. With a twelve week course based in my home city, I felt it would also be better value for money. The added bonus would be meeting creative people who live in Bristol too. Additionally, if after my twelve week course had finished, I decided it was something I wanted to keep doing, it would be totally possible for that to happen. I suspect it will.

The Actual Course with Alice Goldsack

Alice Goldsack is my new silversmithing teacher.
Alice Goldsack is my new silversmithing teacher.

My first class is today, and I’m nervously excited. I’ve never done something totally new like this – I’ve dabbled in jewellery making before, but silversmithing goes one step more basic/complex, and involves shaping the raw material as well as assembling it. Instead of just using jump rings, I’ll be making them! The nervousness comes from the anxiety of being in a group of people, something I’m currently struggling with.

My teacher will either be Alice Goldsack or one of her tutors. She has kindly given me permission to take photos during class, so you can expect lots of pictures! I’ll let you know how it goes, without giving away the secret sauce.

Much love,

Corrie xx

PS If you’re one of the friends who contributed to this and I haven’t thanked you yet, it’s because I don’t necessarily know who you are! I’m on the hunt for more information from the elusive JS.

Posted in Blog, Life, Silversmithing | 4 Comments

A night in with Tonks – time for poetry!

The other night I was sewing in my craft room and Tonks came in to make sure I didn’t feel alone. Anybody with a cat will know how this went. I had been watching a documentary about arts and literature, and in my rage got writing. This was the result!

The night I wrote the poem. She promptly sat on it.
The night I wrote the poem. She promptly sat on it.

A night with Tonks

It’s Tuesday night and I’m here in my room
Trying to sew a small gift
And here she comes in (with a sly little grin)
“Aha! You can’t sew! I must sit!”

I change what I’m doing and pick up a pen
(As she sits on the small square of fabric)
“Oh no, I must eat it, you can’t write there!”
And she snacks on the ink like a maverick.

‘Right, no problem’, think I, as I move to the floor
Where I lay out the entire design
I put down my pieces and nearly complete it
It’s going well! It’s going to be fine!

But now she’s drinking water out of my glass
She really can’t be that thirsty?!
With a sigh I get up and chase her away
To the floor! My work’s getting dirty!

My scissors are abandoned, I can’t take a chance
Of her putting a paw into those.
I wanted to have a productive night crafting,
This isn’t the evening I chose.

With a cat in the room things are never the same
But shut her out and I’ll feel all the guilt
It’ll take twice as long, and need a good wash
But it’ll be ours, this small little quilt.

Tonks with all of her toys.
Tonks with all of her toys.
A contented cat lying on the floor.
A contented cat lying on the floor.

(Sewing a Quilt?!)

The quilt that I’m sewing has a subject that Tonks wouldn’t like anyway – you’ll understand when I show it to you! Even as I’m writing this she’s messing around with the fabric. My sewing time at night is definitely massively reduced by the cat. Gotta love her..?!

Anybody else’s cat do this?

Much love,

Corrie xx

Will I ever be able to brush my hair in peace again??
Will I ever be able to brush my hair in peace again??
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September 2016 Resolutions

It’s your favourite time of the month – September 2016 Resolutions! Even though I waxed lyrical yesterday about how much progress I’m making in my WIPs, my monthly crafting resolutions are still suffering. I’m struggling to keep up with the Ravelry group (although the members have been super patient with me, which I appreciate so much) and my blogging has been less frequent now than ever in the history of Plutonium Muffins.

I maintain that I need a pin board or something above my lovely desk to help me out with it! I’m feeling much better about things now that everything in my life isn’t totally new. Watch this space!

August 2016 Resolutions recap

In August I resolved to:

  1. Finish knitting mum’s birthday present. No, I haven’t done this yet – I’m going to talk about that in detail in a blog post later, but basically it’s knitted in eyelash yarn. You’ll see why this is causing delay soon!
  2. Complete another row of the leopard cross stitch. Completed…but I also put it to one side as once I realised it wasn’t going to be ready in time for the specified birthday, I needed to make a birthday present for that person! I will pick it up again later. This’ll probably be in 2017 as I need a break from it for a bit. Let’s not forget I also have to finish the Dr Who scarf before our next anniversary. (Boyfriend sweater, eat your heart out…)
  3. Pick out a fabric for curtains in the lounge. We went to the local fabric shop but they didn’t have any that fitted the colour scheme. I think I’ll need to go to a home furnishings shop, and the budget I have doesn’t stretch to that quality of fabric. I’m going to park this for a while and put up with my disgusting, disgusting curtains for a while.
The leopard cross stitch - parked for September 2016 now.
The leopard cross stitch – parked for September 2016 now.

September 2016 Resolutions

This September I can set resolutions for a few things. I’m also starting a new course which is totally relevant to Plutonium Muffins – you’ll find out about that too!

  1. Sew a quilt for a birthday present. I expect this to take up the majority of my time. I won’t talk about it in too much detail right now because the plan for it may change depending on time. This is an heirloom present-worth birthday though, so I hope to have something really cool to show you at the end of the month!
  2. Fix my spinning wheel. Tonks was catching flies in the lounge one evening and slipped off the windowsill. She fell onto the spinning wheel, which fell over and cracked along the glue line that holds the hub together. I’m going to have to take the whole thing apart and re-glue it together. At the same time, I might take the opportunity to do some sanding and re-varnishing. I’m on the fence about it as I’m desperate to get it back together so I can get back into my daily spinning. It would be nice to make it look a bit more cared for than it currently is, though!
Tonks looks all innocent, but don't trust that devious little face!
Tonks looks all innocent, but don’t trust that devious little face!

I’m feeling so much more organised with my desk set up, and I’m positive that things going forward are going to be much more efficient! In other good news, I passed my probation at work today. Things are looking up!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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The mother of all WIPs – craft room time!

The mother of all WIPs is life in Bristol, which as you can imagine, has been busy! With this post I am kick-starting Plutonium Muffins into action ready for Christmas crafting and beyond. I’ve now been at my job for three months, and lived in the new house for the same amount of time, and am starting to feel more settled and ready to start the process of living my crafting life again.

The biggest of the WIPs

I thought I’d just take some time to update you on what has been going on before I launch into my crafting. Although I’ve been quieter than usual, I haven’t been idle from a making point of view…however, until now my computer hasn’t really had a place to go and I don’t really do blogging on my lap in front of the TV as my RSI is made far worse by lap typing. So there’s the excuse and/or explanation for the lack of blogging! Right, what have I actually been doing?

Our house has been biggest of many WIPs. We took on a three bedroom house in south Bristol, with space for John’s office, guests and crafting. The guest room doubles as my craft room – which, as we haven’t yet bought a spare bed, is actually only my craft room! It has been a nightmare sorting it all out, and I haven’t even got all my craft stuff here yet. It was unfurnished, and we have only ever lived in flats in London where everything was provided. The first night in the house was a bit of a shock – we had literally nothing. We are slowly populating the rooms, but it has meant that stuff is still all in boxes, with nowhere to go. 

My brother also moved at the same time, and I bought some of his old furniture off him. As well as some essentials (a bed!), this meant that I also had a spare bookcase for the craft room, which now holds some of my stuff. Don’t let the photo deceive you – it looks like a lot of stuff (which it is) but is only a small fraction of my equipment, books and tools. This is my craft stall table – basically a glorified trestle table. It works well as a sewing table, and will keep that purpose because when we get a bed in here I will be able to fold it up when we have guests. This is also where I am now able to do some blogging!

My lovely desk! It needs a big pinboard above it.
My lovely desk! It needs a big pinboard above it.
Bookshelf crammed with a small fraction of my equipment.
Bookshelf crammed with a small fraction of my equipment.

I’m going to have to do a massive de-stash at some point. I would love to keep doing craft fairs, but I can’t keep some of my personal stash. I have literally trunks of the stuff – stash WAY beyond life expectancy, and I’m still young! I’ve been trying to do things that use yarn up faster than knitting (machine knitting, I’m looking at you) – but at this point I’m not good enough at machine knitting to risk putting some of my most loved yarns through it. Weaving has also been keeping getting rid of some of it, but I’m finding that almost slower than knitting as I’m not good at that either!

It’s still a mess (there’s a reason you haven’t seen the whole room), but it’s better than it was.

So that’s all for now! I’ll be back soon with some big projects to show you. Here’s a sneak preview of Tonks ‘helping’ with a sewing/designing project!

Tonks is inspecting my WIPs in minute detail.
Tonks is inspecting my WIPs in minute detail.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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August 2016 Resolutions – this won’t be a monthly thing!

It can’t possibly be mid-August already! How the heck did that happen?? I couldn’t believe it when I checked the last time I had blogged, and saw it was the 7th of July. The month has been so busy. It’s been so hard to adjust to full time work in an office that isn’t at home! The ‘commute’, a twenty minute walk to and from work, seems to take a lot out of me. In a good way – although I’m sure you now understand the reduction in blog posts!

That’s not to say this will become a ‘one post a month’ kinda place. My craft room is nearly open for business, and once my laptop has a home I will be able to get on it more regularly!

July Update

Playing with my family in Bristol in July!
Playing with my family in Bristol in July!
Playing with my garden. It has a long way to go.
Playing with my garden. It has a long way to go.
Fibre craft at Sidmouth Folk Festival.
Fibre craft at Sidmouth Folk Festival.
Flowers that were crocheted by my students at Sidmouth Folk Festival.
Flowers that were crocheted by my students at Sidmouth Folk Festival.
Rock chick 80's Corrie.
Rock chick 80’s Corrie.
Origami butterflies in my office.
Origami butterflies in my office.
My drop spindle collection is rapidly growing.
My drop spindle collection is rapidly growing.

In general life, things sprint along at a pace I can barely keep up with! Work is great, Bristol is great, I am feeling generally great. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of what went on in July and the beginning of August:

  • I celebrated my birthday with many of my friends, a number of whom bought me a silver-smithing course as a present. I was flabbergasted and delighted, and cannot wait! It starts in September – watch this space.
  • I had my mum to stay and she helped me sort my house out. We went nuts with succulents.
  • I taught spinning at Sidmouth folk festival – my pupils were very accomplished and went on to crochet flowers and make necklaces using beads they had carved out of soapstone during the same craft workshop.
  • I went to a hen do dressed as an 80’s rock chick, and thought my eyes would be black for the rest of time. We had a wonderful day at an activity centre, bouncing on trampolines and playing dodgeball. It was amazing, and highly recommended!
  • My team and I decorated our desks for the Rio Olympics – using origami butterflies! It took hours and hours to make them all and put them up, but looks just stunning.
  • I went on holiday to Cornwall and used my wooldar to find the only shop in Porthleven that sells drop spindles. My souvenir spindle collection is growing nicely!

July Resolutions

In terms of a July Resolutions Update, I had a relatively successful month, although I also spent a lot of time in the evenings collapsed in an exhausted heap in front of Big Bang Theory.

  • Finish knitting John’s Dr Who Scarf – I reached the halfway point and now can’t find a ball of yarn. I need to order a new one. He might get it before our fifth anniversary in January (bearing in mind it was his fourth anniversary present. I don’t do well at deadline knitting.
  • Finish knitting mum’s birthday present – errr…I plan to get this done this weekend. It’s sitting next to me. Waiting. This is also late, sigh.
  • Finish page one of my cross stitch leopard – yessir I did indeed!
  • Fix Garland – sorted and wearing with pride again.
Halfway through the leopard cross stitch.
Halfway through the leopard cross stitch.

August Resolutions

Bearing in mind that we are already halfway through August, I resolve to:

  • Finish mum’s birthday present
  • Complete another row of the leopard cross stitch
  • Pick out a fabric for curtains in the lounge – in the photo below you can see my curtains. They are awful – I got them in a charity shop for £3 and they were only a stopgap while we needed privacy in our house. We’ve been here for two months now…it’s time to replace them!
Tonks enjoying our new armchair, accompanied by our delightfully disgusting curtains.
Tonks enjoying our new armchair, accompanied by our delightfully disgusting curtains.

I’m sure by the end of August I will have finished binge watching Big Bang Theory. If anyone has recommendations for what to watch next, I’d love to know!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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July 2016 Resolutions – all the craft!

I’m tardy on my July Resolutions, I haven’t updated you on my June ones, and I’m just a bit tardy in every respect. Sorry! Work is fun…but oh my goodness I just want to relax when I’m at home. While I find blogging enjoyable, it’s not really relaxing because there’s a lot of process that goes in – photo editing, copy-writing, making sure the thoughts that spew from my brain make sense to you…

I’m going to have to figure out my blogging schedule, but for now here are some resolutions.

July 2016 Resolutions

The most ambitious of my July Resolutions is to complete the first page of this guy.
The most ambitious of my July Resolutions is to complete the first page of this guy.

I really don’t want to start anything new, and I have a lot of projects on the go that I need to get done and dusted and out of the way. So here are my lofty ambitions:

  1. Finish knitting John’s Dr Who Scarf – I’m a third of the way through, hurrah!
  2. Finish knitting mum’s birthday present – I just have to pick up stitches along one edge. You haven’t seen or even heard about this before! It’s now two months late. Ugh.
  3. Finish page one of my cross stitch leopard – I’m so, so, so in love with this guy – my latest video update on him is here. I finally did the eyes this weekend, and I am really enjoying stitching every stitch.
  4. Fix Garland – I’ve got a problem on one of the bound-off sleeves and need to fix that. Not entirely sure what happened, but the stitches are starting to run.

All written down they don’t look like too much, but they really are. It’s going to be interesting!

One of my colleagues has a birthday this weekend, and we celebrated at work today with a little quiz! The colleague in question like gingerbread and buys a gingerbread man to go with his lunch at least once a week, so I decided to bake up a batch. I haven’t really done much baking since university, which is insane cos I used to be really in to it! I had a lot of fun, and they looked great – so I think I may have to get into the swing of baking again.

Tasty tasty gingerbread men!
Tasty tasty gingerbread men!

In other life news, it’s my birthday on Monday! I’m not very excited about it, I’m starting to feel that dread of “errrr I’m getting older” that people have been warning me about for years, even though I’m probably not even going to officially be in my late 20’s. Ah well. But I’m looking forward to giving myself some “it’s my birthday I can do what I want to” crafting time. I mention my birthday so that I can post this video, which I took on my birthday last year. We were in Sydney and went whale-watching. Can you believe it’s been a year already??


Anyway, I’m off to do some stitching on my lovely leopard.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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I’ve moved to…Bristol!

It’s time for the next Plutonium Muffins update…we’ve moved to Bristol! I started a new job on the 10th of June, and while it’s going well so far, I am absolutely shattered! It’s been a while since I’ve worked full time, and as well as that we’ve also moved into an unfurnished house. You can probably imagine how much there is to do, and how little time I have to do it!

My main excuse for the utter silence around here is that my laptop has been in the shop for repair (not my fault!) and we only got connected to the Internet last night.

Living in Bristol

Our house...in the middle of our street...
Our house…in the middle of our street…

A few weeks ago, John and I came to Bristol to look for a house. I’d been applying for jobs for months, and we decided to just come to the city and find a home because it was taking a long time to get anywhere on the job front! By a wonderful chance, I got asked to an interview that same week. We saw a lovely house that we loved, returned to London to wait while my interview was analysed and our offer on the house considered…and within ten days my life was turned upside down as I walked into my first day on the job!

We moved at the beginning of June and are now in a house in the south of the city. I have a twenty minute walk to work and better than that, a five minute walk to a nearby craft cafe (Craftisan). You just know I’ll do a review of that soon!

Our house has three bedrooms – and you just know one of them is going to be a craft room! Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to actually bring most of my crafting stuff up yet. I’m most sorely missing my sewing machine, as with the Sewing Bee and a lack of curtains, I’m feeling really inspired to sew at the moment! Bristol also has a lovely fabric shop that has very reasonable prices close by…watch this space.

I'm loving kitting out a new working wardrobe again!
I’m loving kitting out a new working wardrobe again!
I've been to see the Gloucestershire cricket team play! #goglos
I’ve been to see the Gloucestershire cricket team play! #goglos

I have been doing a bit of cross stitch, and I’m also (finally) working on my Dr Who scarf again. The Dr Who scarf is in Cascade 220, and is absolutely beautiful. Sometimes you just need the monotony of row upon row of glorious, squishy, simple garter stitch to decompress after a hard day of learning about corporate tax, hours of taking minutes for meetings, and meeting over 200 new people in one fell swoop!

I’ve been particularly enjoying knitting in front of the football. Living with my parents, it was impossible to watch football as they are so not interested in it…I’m loving having my own home in which I can watch the national sport and spread my cut ends of yarn everywhere knowing that I’m the only one who has to worry about cleaning it up!

Progress on Leopard's Gaze cross stitch!
Progress on Leopard’s Gaze cross stitch!
Tonks is loving the yarn!
Tonks is loving the yarn!

I’ve got lots of crafty resolutions to share with you – as is always the way, now that I have less time to craft, my ambitions are loftier than ever!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Stitch Maynia is over!

Stitch Maynia 2016 is over! I had intended to post weekly updates of my progress….I didn’t get to posting the photos, as you may have noticed! I’ve been job-hunting and house-hunting in Bristol for the last few months, and the big news is…I’ve been offered a job! So next week I’m moving to Bristol, into a house with space for a craft room* (OK it will be a ‘spare’ room, but you all know what that means) and a shiny new job.

did keep up with my Stitch Maynia starts, and here they are for you!

Stitch Maynia Starts for May 2016

May 1st: Cross Stitcher Needle Case – this is a free kit that came with Cross Stitcher Magazine Issue 304. I’ve been obsessed with needing to keep my needles safe recently as I’ve lost a lot of them, so this is my attempt at that!

Cross Stitcher Needle Case.
Cross Stitcher Needle Case started on May 1st.

2nd, 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th and 31st: Plum Street Samplers Days 2 – 7 – I started this sampler in April and decided that starting a new day could count as a new start. More information on the actual samplers is here. I had originally planned to only do Days 2 through 6, but I had to change up my plans slightly because I went to London and forgot to take a couple of the kits I had planned to do. Day 7 replaced the Durene Jones Peacock I had been planning to do.

I made loads of progress on the Plum Street Sampler. I finished the border on the 1st of June, so that doesn't count, but I didn't take a photo before!
I made loads of progress on the Plum Street Sampler. I finished the border on the 1st of June, so that doesn’t count, but I didn’t take a photo before!

3rd: New Zealand Bookmark, a kit I bought in Arrowtown. This was my first experience of blackwork, and oh my goodness I loved it! I finished the piece the same day I started it, although I haven’t yet washed it.

New Zealand by Lyn Manning
New Zealand by Lyn Manning

May the 4th be with you: A little “I Love You” kit I bought from Hobbycraft. I stitched this in the pub, and didn’t get anywhere near as much as I wanted to do finished.

"I love you" on the 4th of May.
“I love you” on the 4th of May.

5th: The Liberty building, a cross stitch kit I bought at Liberty two years ago when I was with Melanie! I was really unimpressed with this kit – a lot of my framing allowance on my fabric is taken up with selvedge, the needle had burrs on it that frayed and cut my floss, and the pattern is hand-drawn and poor quality. I got a small amount done as I did this start just before bed and was tired!

A Liberty kit on the 5th. I was really unimpressed by the quality of this kit, bought from Liberty in London. Don't recommend.
A Liberty kit on the 5th. I was really unimpressed by the quality of this kit, bought from Liberty in London. Don’t recommend.

6th: Bunch of Dandelions – this was another ‘pub job’, and as you can see I got loads done! It won’t take me long to finish this one.

A fair amount of stitching time on the 6th of May - daffodils from Hobbycraft.
A fair amount of stitching time on the 6th of May – daffodils from Hobbycraft.

7th: A lovely Sailing Boat kept me company while listening to the Outlander series. I ‘read’ a lot of books via Audible as it allows me to get my literary stimulation while also keeping my hands busy – in the chapter I listened to while stitching, Jamie and Claire were sailing across the sea and it was a very appropriate start.

A sunny sunny ship for the 7th of May.
A sunny sunny ship for the 7th of May.

8th: This was a free kit that I got years ago. I did so little it’s almost laughable. I was tired.

A free Fizzy Moon kit, started on the 8th of May. I was very tired this night!
A free Fizzy Moon kit, started on the 8th of May.

9th: On the 9th of May I was even more tired than the previous night! I literally forced myself to turn my light on, put in four full crosses, then turn the light off again. This was the hardest start for me in the whole month.

Token effort on the 9th of May because I didn't want to miss a day! A little DMC kit.
Token effort on the 9th of May because I didn’t want to miss a day! A little DMC kit.

12th, 13th and 21st: Things started to get easier, and three separate Durene Jones patterns were started on one piece as an intended decoration for when we move house. I am loving how these are stitching up, and have already nearly finished the whole thing. Stay tuned!

These cat patterns are free from Durene Jones Facebook page.
These cat patterns are free from Durene Jones Facebook page.

16th, 17th, 18th, 20th and 22nd: Similarly to the cat piece, only Durene Jones also has little doggy patterns that I decided to combine into one piece. There was a lot of boring grass.

A little black dog to remind me of my gorgeous Chase!
A little black dog to remind me of my gorgeous Chase!

19th: I love penguins, and I loved the bright colours of this guy. This start happened while I was watching something very upsetting on YouTube (bring the tone down Corrie) so it was a welcome distraction!

A funky funky penguin cross stitch kit.
A funky funky penguin cross stitch kit.

23rd: Another beach hut! I left Devon for the rest of May at this point, so I was confined to kits and pre-prepared packs that I had sorted out. We stayed in a flat owned by a bit of a surfer dude – again appropriate!

Who doesn't love a good beach hut? These are a British Institution.
Who doesn’t love a good beach hut? These are a British Institution.

24th: I had a job interview and just could not get on board with the Gingerbread Man. It was another hard stitch.

Little Christmas Gingerbread Man.
Little Christmas Gingerbread Man.

25th: This was a really fun stitch. I was really on board with DMC Mini Kits by this point – they are excellent, and I definitely recommend them to everyone.

I'm not going to stitch the music notes into this ,but it was one of my favourite of the DMC kits I started during Stitch Maynia.
I’m not going to stitch the music notes into this ,but it was one of my favourite of the DMC kits I started during Stitch Maynia.

26th: This was a free kit I got at CHSI stitches. You can probably see how different the kit is with comparison to the picture. I was not impressed with the fact that it’s not the same – I was looking forward to stitching up Tatty Teddy! The birthday cake was cute though. I entertained the idea of finishing this for John’s birthday the following day…but didn’t follow through on that one.

Birthday cake and NOT Tatty Teddy as advertised...
Birthday cake and NOT Tatty Teddy as advertised…

27th: I cannot for the life of me imagine why I bought this kit. The best that can be said is that I got a lot done in 20 minutes.

A single daffodil. Boring.
A single daffodil. Boring.

28th: I chose to start Box of Delights today – using the gold and black colour scheme. This is a free pattern by Elizabeth Almond. I was scared of it (hence avoiding it for ages) but once I started I just LOVED it. Blackwork is my jam. The first picture was one nights progress, the second another nights progress that I did on the 30th after starting that day’s start, as I just loved it too much and my light was too bad for the Queen Bee.

I think this was the start of a beautiful relationship with blackwork.
I think this was the start of a beautiful relationship with blackwork.
Too addictive and I had to keep going on this start.
Too addictive and I had to keep going on this start.

29th: I had intended to start a Christmas ornament kit that I got with a magazine last year, but I forgot the pattern at home when I left for London, and didn’t have it! So instead I started and finished a butterfly that came with Cross Stitch Crazy in April 2016. This was beautiful and an addictive stitch.

A gift card butterfly that came with Cross Stitch Crazy in April 2016.
A gift card butterfly that came with Cross Stitch Crazy in April 2016.

30th: I put off starting this all month, and by the 30th had no option. The Queen Bee Needle Case is by Primitive Hare, and I fell in love with the pattern when an image of the final product was shown in her promotional material, and had to wait literally months to buy it. I wasn’t too sure about my fabric choice – it’s so small that I literally can’t count the HPI as I lose count each time! But I did eventually start it, and it’s not as bad as I thought. I don’t love it yet, but once I’ve sat down and actually had a go at it I’m sure things will be better.

These hexagons took a deceptively long time to stitch. Very, very fine work this one!
These hexagons took a deceptively long time to stitch. Very, very fine work this one!

I’m so behind on my blogging because sorting out real life has been hard work! Stitch Maynia starts have also taken up the time I would normally spend blogging – so although I really enjoyed the month, I won’t be doing a start a day challenge for anything other than Maynia again, as I value my blogging time! It was great fun, and I will participate next year – even if it’s an effort to finish this year’s starts by the end of May 2017!

Did you have a go at Stitch Maynia? Were you successful?

I’ll catch up with the blogs as and when I can. I have some super exciting craft shops to tell you guys about!

Much love,

Corrie

*For those of you in the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to John, he has a spare room to himself too so he can have a nice office. Although he seems to think this will also eventually become a craft room. He’s probably right.

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