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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!

Leigh Art Trail 2017

The time has arrived and the Leigh Art Trail 2017 has begun! Now in its 20th year, the Art Trail is on from 10-17 June with over 70 artists exhibiting in over 50 venues around Leigh on Sea.

SEVEN, a creative journal collective, are exhibiting at Planet Leasing, Leigh Road, and day one has been a real success with over 60 visitors.

The display includes one sketchbook from each artist and there is a blank sketchbook for visitors to add their own contribution. SEVEN have been developing the sketchbooks for four months in the run up to the Art Trail and its a real inspiration to see the final result.

SEVEN have been meeting on a bi-weekly basis and each artist has run a workshop which focused on one of their favourite processes including blind drawings, one-minute sketches, assemblage, maps, abstract and threads of thought. Each artist then developed their own work and shared their developments on Instagram.

You can download the workshops from the SEVEN website and if you would like to follow the developments of SEVEN go to instagram/sevenartistsuk.

Read more about the Leigh Art Trail and discover the work of some amazing artists.

Re-upholstered 1950s kitchen stools

original-kitchen-stools

I recently bought a couple of 1950s stools from a local junk shop. I love this style of furniture as its simple, robust and very functional. The stools were structurally very solid, but obviously the upholstery was in need of some updating! These are the simple steps I took to reupholster them.

seat-removed

The first step was to remove the drop-in seat. To do this there were four simple wooden pegs that spin around to lock/unlock the top from the base. Once lifted off the next step was to remove the old fabric.

remove-old-cover

On newer pieces of furniture fabric is usually stapled in place. I used a staple remover and pliers to carefully remove all of them. With some reupholstery projects it is often a good idea to keep the old fabric to use as a template for cutting the new fabric; but as the shape of these seats were very simple it wasn’t necessary.

cut-foam-to-size

The next step was to cut a new piece of foam. The 1950s stool generally has a thin foam seat. However, this isn’t always as comfortable, especially if you’re planning on using it for more than occasional use. The foam I used was 1.5″ thick and was pre-cut to a square shape. I then drew around the seat with a black marker pen and cut around the corners with scissors. As an alternative to scissors you could always use an electric bread knife, which is more useful for thicker foam.

heavy-duty-glue

I used a strong adhesive spray to fix the foam to the seat, which I did outside in the garden. As the spray is very sticky I put down a plastic sheet under the seat before spraying.

cut-fabric-to-size

The next step was to cut a new piece of fabric. I positioned the seat on top of the fabric and cut around it leaving a border of approximately 2″.

attach-fabric

The next step was to attach the fabric. I always work on the edge furthest away from me as I can use my body to push against to create a consistent tension when pulling and stapling the fabric.

I put my first staple in the edge directly opposite me (i.e. the ‘north’ position), folding the fabric over and placing one staple in the middle about 1/2″ from the edge. I turned the seat 180 degrees (so that ‘south’ was at the top) and pulled the fabric tight and placed one staple in the middle. I then repeated this process for the ‘east’ and ‘west’ of the seat, giving me four staples to anchor the fabric in place.

Beginning from one of the middle staples, I then pulled and smoothed the fabric while stapling along the edge working towards each corner, leaving about 1″ away from the corner. I repeated this step until I had stapled along all four edges.

trim-excess-fabric

I then stapled the corners and trimmed off any excess fabric to prevent the corners from being too bulky and finally trimmed off any excess fabric from along the edges.

completed-stools

I put the drop-in seat back on the base and fixed it in place. These are my finished stools.

workspace

The stool is a perfect fit for my little creative work space.