Thursday, 29 January 2015

A weekend on Skye

It's a long way to go, 9 or 10 hours drive up... hit the hay for a few hours had one full day meeting up with people and doing things, then drive all the way back the next day. We must be mad but we love it.

Not many hotels open this time of year so had to opt for something a bit more extravagant than our usual bargain basement accommodation. We stayed in a lovely suite in the turret of this hotel, the Cuillin Hills.

The hotel does indeed look across the bay to the Cuillin Hills, this is the view from the dining room, it's early morning so a bit bleak and misty looking but you can just see the colourful buildings along Portree harbour.

I like this hotel, they have a proper full veggie breakfast on the menu and it comes with veggie haggis, yummy :)

I also liked the hotel because it had that one thing I always long to find in a country hotel in winter, a roaring fire. I can honestly say this was the warmest I had been for weeks, maybe months and I didn't have to wear vests and long johns for 2 days! Plus, they have a most interesting and extensive whisky menu.

Now I'm no connoisseur but I do find the tastes and smells of whisky as interesting as single estate coffee. Just look at some of the prices per glass, we are talking rare and unique drams.Talisker is the local Skye whisky, we have some origins and tasting notes here

This is the cabinet of all those rare spirits.

There was a nice dusting of snow on the mountains with a windswept and interesting view around every corner.

I just had time to visit friends in Skye Batiks who I'm currently doing some more design work for and I picked up a square scarf with my design on. They had some patchwork packs of batik remnants, not the hand loom fabric, and I think you got 1.6m worth of fabric for £10. I think they had some hand loom fabric to buy per metre but I didn't actually see it which was a shame, I forgot to look, I was so engrossed with their other lovely clothes.

Back here and back to the cold conditions, hope it's not too cold or snowy where you are this week.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

January making and buying

It's been ridiculously cold in the house the last fortnight and I've been making 'house scarves' and buying more long johns. Honestly I think I could set up a shop selling long johns I have so many pairs!

With it being so cold I drop into the same routine at this time of year by doing less challenging crafts whereby I can wrap myself up in layers, not think too much and just knit or crochet very simple things. You can't get much more simple than loom knitting and I started some neck warmers on the circular loom.

There is something quite satisfying about the speed you can create something and here is my first neck warmer.

This pink neck warmer was quickly followed by this bluey one, although not done on the loom but hand knitted.

I'm not much of a knitter but I have got this item on the go also at the moment, it's some sort of scarf / cowl with some interesting wool I bought in Whitby.

Continuing with scarves, this time crochet. I found a Youtube video showing how to do a type of moss stitch for crochet, it was a very good and easy to follow tutorial by Olivia at Girlybunches who has some great crochet videos.

A scarf in moss stitch is a good way to use up small scraps of wool.

I didn't want tassels on the end as it's a fairly short scarf to tuck into a coat so not the neatest of finishing off at the ends but it's a nice stitch to do.

Had some of my fabric back from the printers, the Scandi Trees design, and I've sold a bit on ebay.

With some Christmas money I bought myself a nice quality rotary cutter. Previously I had a £3.99 one and it was useless but spending a bit more on this Olfa cutter is proving great for accurately and neatly cutting my fabric.

I bought some more Harris Tweed last week from the weaving lady on Harris and I'm in the throws of creating some textile jewellery and a tweed needle case.

Another needle case I've recently completed in the book style is this one, made with scraps of hand loom cotton from the Skye Batiks shop on Skye which I believe have recently taken delivery of a new batch of my designs on some garments.

Back to crochet, I found a pattern in a recent magazine for crochet buttons and I turned the basic idea into pin cushions.

Thanks for sticking with all these photos, I'll finish with some food just ahead of Burns Night. Joy of joys I found the veggie haggis had made a welcome return to Morrisons, more of a sausage shape to previous years but will make a lovely, hearty feast.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Hornsea Pottery in Homes and Antiques

Fabulous news for all of us who love Hornsea Pottery, there's a feature in the new February issue of Homes and Antiques, yes a massive 10 page feature which is absolutely brilliant and will do wonders to raise the profile of this often overlooked ceramic company.

Very nicely photographed, perhaps more photographs than words but still a worthwhile purchase if you like the stuff.

I think Hornsea pots are certainly the sought after items for folks creating a mid century feel to their homes.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year friends and thank you for all the lovely festive wishes. I am trying to get myself back into a positive frame of mind and manifest a good year ahead.

A few design jobs have come in already this week to keep me busy and I am using any other free moments to launch a new way of selling my fabric designs. At last we have a great new digital fabric printing company in the UK, it's Woven Monkey and they are about to launch a facility similar to what I had going with Spoonflower. The ability to list your fabric designs and make them available for the public to buy and earn yourself a little commission kickback too.

This will be so much easier than the hassle of ordering from the USA and all the import tax you can get stung with. Of course having bespoke short runs of fabric printed is never cheap but this service is comparable in price to Spoonflower, free delivery for us in the UK and having sampled their service last year it's very good quality printing.

I am currently converting my fabric designs to fit new sizes and I am slowly uploading some of my popular vintage caravan designs onto a selling page.
New designs I create will be going straight onto this website too. The service will be going live some time later in January, it's very exciting and I'm looking forward to seeing how it takes off.