Monday, 15 August 2011

Things of which I am proud...

I am considering going back to college. When I was there first time around, I studied English, Media and Politics. I did a year long PGCE. These were all enjoyable things at the time, but as I've grown older, I've changed.

I'm doing a lot of research into what my next steps would be. I'd LOVE to do the year long art foundation course, but I'm not sure that I have the required drawing skills, to be honest. I really want to push myself, though, and I haven't got 2 or 3 years to do a course in; I need a relatively quick fix. I am passionate about textiles. I love what I do. I want to get better at it, and I want to meet local people who are good at it too. I'd also like to learn what else I might be good at, with the right effort, instruction and opportunity. I'd really, really like to do print making, with a view to printing my own fabric.

I have sent a link to my blog to a college tutor. I don't know if he/she will take a look, but it got me thinking. How do I want to represent myself? What am I most proud of?


I'll tell you my insecurities. I'm worried that my work is parochial and twee and not arty enough. I worry that I'm too old and too frumpy. I worry that I don't have enough talent or skill to make it work in that arena known as "art" rather than "craft"


I love the work I do, but it's work that I do for money, so it's necessarily commercial. Who knows what I would make if I could make something for art's sake?

William's Memory Book

Would it be any good?



I wonder if I am *really* good at something that I haven't yet discovered. I love sewing, quilting and crocheting. I'm not especially excited about making garments, but making stuff for the home makes me fizz with excitement.



I am inspired by: vintage fabrics, old fashioned household tips, recycling and living more greenly, children's creativity, illustrations from children's books, the changing seasons, beekeeping, the sea.


Dom's Memory Quilt

I enjoy making pieces that are personalised, and also quirky. I like to use domestic styling to shock and compare modern life with past times:


bless this home fuck fucking housework

fuck the fucking houswork

I like stuff that's just a bit different:

Veggie Bag

..and stuff that's pretty...

Bunting Notebook

All the items I have shown you above have been made since January 2011. There are lots of things of which I am proud from previous years (you may see some of these in the folders on the right --->) However, THIS year I decided to stop working from patterns, and start focussing on making what I want to make. This has been a scary, but liberating, experience but I have learned a great deal.

I'm not sure whether the pieces I have shown you demonstrate a particular style that is demonstrably mine, but they do represent a journey I have undertaken, in which I am striving to do exactly that. I hope, in a year or two more, to get that licked.

Most of all though, I love what I do, and I am extremely lucky to have the time to indulge my passion, and customers who want to buy the things that I make. And for that, I am very grateful.


I feel as though a formal qualification will be part of the next stage of my journey. I want to push the boundaries of what I can achieve, and experiment with new materials, processes and ideas. I want to watch and learn from other people. I want to be able to use equipment beyond what I have at home. I want to grow in confidence - and the feeling of legitimacy - so that I can confidently say "I am an artist" (and believe it)

Claire x




Summer Update Part One - Baby Knitting and Adventures With Cake Part Two

Hello, blog lovers. I'm sorry I haven't had chance to pop by, but it's been a BUSY summer so far. I hope you are well and that you are having lots of fun with your crafting adventures and your families.

I'm doing just fine. I had an ME flare at the beginning of the summer, and was stuck in bed for about three weeks. That was incredibly frustrating as it just came out of nowhere with seemingly no reason. Having said that, it did pass eventually, and I need to remember to simply be patient and remember to just let it all wash over me. As luck would have it, my best friend Naomi was about to have a baby, so I spent that time knitting a couple of lovely little jumpers. I made a lilac baby hoody, which was so adorable my ovaries winced, from this pattern booklet (which was the one I very first re-learned to knit from, back in 2002) 

First steps booklet

Yes, I made that little square hat. It was green with navy stitching. I even knitted the little garter stitch jacket in shiny green. It looked OK after I had finished (OK, brilliant in my eyes), and I was extremely proud of them. However, when Charlie came along three years later, he looked ruddy awful in them. And so they have never been worn, and will be lurking around somewhere in the loft. They're not so badly knitted (honestly), they're too bulky and badly shaped. Although, to be fair, it IS difficult to make a nice baby garment with just garter stitch and no shaping, I am sure. 

I also knitted that checked blanket. It took weeks and was so wonky that I threw it away. Sadly, no-one had told me about the joys of blocking. What a waste!

The other little jumper I knitted for the baby, who has now been born by the way and is an adorable bundle called CHARLOTTE, and is very obviously not a boy as we'd all believed, is from this fabulous blog: It's an adorable blog, and an adorable little cardigan, knitted in one piece:

Maile jumper

Now I'll be honest, I haven't finished this one yet and it's gone onto the WIP pile. It is, therefore, entirely possible that lovely Charlotte may not be it's recipient given the rate that baby's grow. But I have adopted a new sentiment, which is that of the "hope chest." Mine is a small chest of drawers in the spare bedroom. Whenever I fancy knitting baby items (which, let's face it is frequently, given how adorable they are, and how quick they are to complete) I can make an item without guilt, and without needing to know a pregnant woman. These lovely items are blocked, labelled with their size, wrapped in acid free tissue paper and put into a plastic zip lock bag, ready for any appropriate gift giving opportunity. I hope to live a long time, and have a lot of babies to knit for amongst close family and friends (even if I have no more myself.) Therefore this is an entirely practical, and NOT RIDICULOUSLY EMOTIONAL thing to do at all, obviously. Even if all I do is give them to a charity shop, at least I get the enjoyment of knitting them in the first place. It's taken me a while to convince myself that these are not the actions of an almost menopausal woman who would actually quite like another baby even though it's pretty much impossible. These are, indeed, the actions of a benevolent, mature woman, for whom it is a sensible decision. Honest, guv.


Oh, and Aunty Pauline was 60 and I made her a cake. 

Pauline cake

It was great fun, but it literally took a week to make. Which is why I don't do these things professionally.

Pauline cake 2

Pauline cake 3

I won't leave as long next time!

Thanks for dropping by,

Claire x