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Surface pattern

Woodland Crochet-A-Long (CAL)

Being a newbie to the ‘Crochet-A-Long’ (CAL), I found the Woodland Blanket CAL on the Attic24 blog and thought it would be a good project to try.  The wool was a Christmas present from my mum and when it arrived it sat under the Christmas tree…waiting…then on Christmas day I could finally open it. Yippee!! What yummy colours!!

The pattern was due to be released on a weekly basis, starting in January, via the Attic24 blog. So, with a week or two to go I had some free time on my hands. Firstly I decided rewind the balls of yarn into cakes. Its just a personal preference but it gives you the opportunity to check the wool for any problems before you start; and it makes it easier to pull the yarn from the centre, so the ball doesn’t bounce around.

Secondly, I made my colour tags, so that I could easily identify my colours as I’d removed the ball bands.

Then in January the first week of the pattern was released. I made my tension piece and began my foundation chain. Both steps took a few attempts to get right.

The pattern was a variation on a ripple stitch and I was surprised how easy it was to do the pattern wrong and it wouldn’t be apparent until 2-3 rows along! I learned a new word during this project, ‘frogging’. Basically its a word for undoing your work, i.e. ‘rip it, rip it’. I lost count how many rows I had to undo.

Still, I persevered and placed markers along the row and counted, counted, counted! By the time I was half-way through the blanket I finally got into the rhythm of the pattern and began to enjoy it more.

The number of pattern rows released each week was more than I could comfortably keep up with but thanks to a ‘spare’ week at the end I managed to get myself back on track.

This is my finished blanket! Its so soft and warm – I absolutely love it!

I live in the UK and it couldn’t have been finished at a better time…literally just in time for the ‘Beast from the East’. Freezing temperatures has meant this blanket has been put to good use already.

I’ve now started knitting some more socks. I just love winter accessories!

Silk Painting Workshop at the Embroiderers’ Guild

I haven’t tried silk painting before, so when I saw my local Embroiderers’ Guild were running a workshop I thought I would give it a try. The session was run by textile artist, Kirsten Yeates, from Denmark.

Kirsten began by handing out pieces of silk that had designs pre-drawn on them using gutta – a technique that creates a boundary that the inks can ‘bleed’ up to. Apparently it can be quite tricky to draw smooth lines of gutta so, as a beginner, it was ideal to be able to start with these pre-drawn examples. We were then given a short demonstration on how to apply the inks. A fine paintbrush and cotton bud is useful if you are painting a detailed design and a thicker soft brush if you need to cover larger areas with a wash of colour.

The silk painting inks are very concentrated and produce a really vibrant colour on the cloth. Painting with inks looked easy but the inks dry quickly leaving a hard edge of colour. To prevent this from happening you can either damp the fabric slightly with your brush, before applying colour, or water the inks down.

I’m more familiar with watercolours, so by diluting the inks I was able to create the effect of the colours softly blending in to each other. Here is the piece I made, before and after…

In a short two-hour session, these are some of the lovely pieces that the group produced.

For more information on the Embroiderer’s Guild, or to find your local branch visit https://embroiderersguild.com/

Mandala mosaic garden table

When I went to a local junk shop to buy a mid-century sideboard, I spotted another glass-top garden table. I do love these. I don’t think they are much to look at in their original state but they are perfect for adding a touch of mosaic decoration!

As the table was circular, I wanted to create a mandala-style design.

I began by placing tiles around the edge of the table to create a border, varying the colours with each row. I then located the centre of the table, divided the circle into eight segments and began to fill out the pattern; playing with different shapes, sizes and colours to develop contrast and balance in the pattern.

I always like to use broken mirror in my work; I love the way light reflects on the broken pieces. The effect is magnified when the table is in the garden as it mirrors its surroundings and twinkles in the sunlight.

Once I’d finished cutting the mirror pieces and positioning all the mosaic tiles, I used a tile adhesive to stick each piece down.

The next step was to grout the tiles. I prefer to use a dark grey grout, rather than white, to give a dramatic contrast against the colourful tiles.

I used a powder grout that when mixed with water becomes water and frost resistant. I mixed it to a slightly fluid solution and used a palette knife, making sure the grout filled all of the gaps.

Once the grout had begun to set I used a damp cloth to wipe over the tiles to clean off the excess. The grout was left to dry overnight and then I polished the tiles using a clean cloth and scraped off any excess grout from the edges of the tiles.

This is the finished table…