Tempus Fugits! 

Tempus Fugits… Time flies. Being the daughter of a watchmaker this expression was often used in our house and haven’t the last few weeks just flown by? 

My good resolutions to once again try to blog weekly didn’t even get off the ground but instead of keep apologizing, I’m going  ask your opinion.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time then you know that the content of my blog is in the title… Creativity and family, but since my Etsy shop has become busier nearly all of my creative time and energy goes into that and I feel that I’m left with very little personal creativity to share. So the question is, would you be interested in seeing some of the things I’m making for my shop and getting some peeps behind the scenes? 

Here’s a little taster for you.

As a teen, I used to do a lot of calligraphy. As hand lettering is making such a come back I decided to make some canvas signs for the shop.

First I drew the design onto paper, 

Traced it onto a canvas

And then using masking fluid I created a resist.


I then added layers of ink

Before removing the resist to reveal the writing! 


I’ve also been working on a custom order of some bags for a lovely lady who has a shop in Switzerland.

I love the fun colors of this fabric, perfect for spring! 

My sewing space is busy in both senses of the word but I love it that way…most of the time! 

These bags are my own design for a round bottomed Japanese knot bag and they are my favorite bag for taking out and about as they hang on your arm perfectly while you work, although the round bottoms aren’t the easiest to sew.

The long handle tucks into the shorter one to close the bag.


Then there’s the dyeing, I LOVE dyeing. That would sound awful if you didn’t know what I meant! I always say it without thinking and then end up shocking people. I went into the Chemist the other week for some acid, nothing awful, just the same strength as vinegar, but it was behind the counter and the assistant asked me what I wanted it for, I said ‘to dye’… You should have seen her face, I hastily added ‘to dye wool’!! After some laughing she let me have it. Then a friend rang while I was in the middle of dyeing yarn and asked if it was convenient to chat to which I replied ‘well, I’m just dyeing at the moment’. I  think I’ll have to start calling it coloring wool or something.

A dying rack full of brightly colored yarns is becoming a familiar sight in our house especially with all the damp weather and mist we’re having lately, it’s taking its time to dry.


My favorite part is thinking up and experimenting with new colourways.  Here’s a couple of my latest with coordinating mini skeins, 


And a lovely bright rainbow of minis

And my African sunset that may just find its way into my stash instead of the shop.


So, what do you think? Would you like more frequent posts with shop creativity or only the personal content as and when I’ve got things to show and say? 

In family news, first of all, thanks so much for all your kind thoughts, messages and enquiries about Abi. She’s recovering slowly and has started a phased return to work. This week she’s doing three six hour shifts, four the week after and five the week after that. She’s managed so far but only just and comes home exhausted. It takes her the next day to get over it so she’s a bit worried about how she’ll do two in a row. The trouble is, working in a residential home is hard work and even harder when all fifty three of them have dementia! It’s not only extremely busy and physically tiring, it’s also mentally exhausting.  Her tummy pains had gone before she returned to work but they do come back after a shift at work. She did have an appointment with a hospital consultant coming up so we’re hoping they might get to the bottom of it. We’re also really hoping that it isn’t anything that she’ll have to live with but we have to keep trusting God with that one. 


Here she is with a very chilled out Tilly.  Tilly has some news for you, she became a thelady at  beginning of the month!! Thankfully she kept herself very clean.  She keeps us all well amused and on our toes. Below is her new favorite position! 


I think she’s a bit confused between how dogs sit and how humans sit! 

Josh is off ill with a flu like virus that’s going round, we’re just hoping the rest of us don’t go down with it. Here he is with His new blanket.


How have you all been? Have you managed to avoid all the illnesses at this time of year? 

I’ll leave you with a very unusual sunrise we had recently. 


Happy crafting folks!! 

Sharon xx

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A Creative Catch up! 

It’s been ages since I did a really creative post, for various reasons there had been less creativity around here. There’s been so much going on but things are settling back into some sort of a routine now. 

Abz still works shifts so spending time with her on her days off still affects things but that’s good, she won’t be at home forever and I want to make the the most of  extra time with her now. 


Then of course there’s been Tilly. She’s settling down now and is quite happy to snuggle down near me or follow me about the house and we only get the occaisional mischievous moments. ….speak too soon, she’s investigating the coffee table right now but a stern NO! generally does the job these days unless she’s feeling extra naughty.


And she’ll take every opportunity to snuggle down or get a bit of attention.

Then of course there’s inspirational yarns, my Etsy shop. That means a lot of creativity but I don’t like to bore you with all the bags I make, yarn I dye etc but if you want to pop over have a look at my shop just click here. 


Also I’ve been reading a lot more again this year. I don’t think I read more than couple, I was so busy creatively . This year I’ve gone back to reading whenever I can snatch a moment. Now that Amazon offer audible on a lot of their ebooks I’ve started using that and it’s fantastic, I can’read’ and craft at the same time😀. 

Ok, so get to the point girl! Just what have I been doing creatively? Well, having been rather monogamous this year, which is really not me but something I’m enjoying, I  only have a couple of bits to show you. There’s this little nightdress I’m making for my niece’s crochet doll, it just needs prettying up. 


Then there’s the crochet cardi. The back and two front pieces are done so just the arms and hood and then so many ends to sew in. 


That’s gone onto the back burner though for a bit as I’m currently knitting a leg warmer. Yes, just one! It’s for a lovely friend on Instagram. She has a really painful nerve condition and keeping her bad leg warm makes the difference between her being able to walk or not. So with the winter coming I’ve dyed up some yarn special, hand painted a verse on it and I’m knitting up the leg warmer. 


I found this gorgeous pattern by drops design on Ravelry and I ummed and aahed about whether or not to give it a go as I’ve never knitted cable before and it looks so difficult but it actually isn’t, in fact it’s really quite easy and I’m enjoying this the most of all my knitting attempts so far. I feel as though I’m really starting to’click’ now.


 I even managed to fix a cable that I had missed and didn’t discover it until a couple of rows later. I didn’t frog, I just worked those four stitches back down and re did them without any help our tutorials.


 That probably sounds easy to you seasoned knitters but it felt like a huge achievement for me! I’m loving the look of it so far. Soon it will all be knit with just one cable running down the back. 

For my next project I’m already planning a knitted shawl. I’m thinking of the Karise by Karie Westermann. Ericka Eckles has persuaded me to give this one a go after seeing her gorgeous creations. If you have a minute you can read all about her knitting journey over the last year. She writes the most interesting posts with great word pictures. 

I think that’s about it on the creative font. Still no Christmas presents made which feels rather a failure after last year but I’m not putting any pressure on myself this year. If I make anything that’ll be great, if not, that’s fine too. Although, having said that, I have had a request for dolls clothes from my niece so I’ll need to find time for those. 

I got you’re all enjoying the transition into Autumn/spring. haveHoping you  a lovely and creative week! 

Sharon xx

Creative Drought!!

My creature time seems to have disappeared! I do spend half a day a week or so creating for my shop but last year I spent hours and hours creating!  Last week there was a custom order for some of my Scripture Yarn for a community project which was great fun!  Excuse the dodgy pics, Abi has the camera atm.

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Would you be more likely to buy the yarn before re-skeining (top) or after (bottom) ? 
Abi doing shift work has probably made the biggest difference to my creative time as she often has a couple of days off during the week but it’s a good exchange, it’s so special being able to spend so much time with her even though she’s in full time work and has a boyfriend! 

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A pic she sent through when they arrived! 

They’ve gone down to Cornwall for a couple of weeks so I planned a lot of creativity for this week but Josh decided it was his turn for some Mum time and is off school with earache and dizzyness! 

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So the creativity has been more a case of bringing the outdoors inside!  He’s created a live small animal basket trap out of sticks! I’m not too sure what he hopes to catch but we’ll see, it kept him occupied for a while anyway! 
And this is what happens when he flies hus drone too close to me!!

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I did manage a couple of rows on my ‘ waiting room ‘ socks but they just don’t keep me waiting long enough to get much done!

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My shawls hang over the side of my knitting /crocheting chair and are in and my shoulders day after day.  They’re so easy just to sling over my shoulders when I feel chilly:D.

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It’s Abi’s birthday on Wednesday so we had a birthday gateau on Friday evening before she went away. I didn’t even get to make her a gift this year but I did find time to draw her a card, I’ll try to get a photo for next time!

I’ve started reading more again too although a lot of the ebooks have an audio option now so I’ve tended to listen while I get my jobs done! 

Before I go take a look at this,  Father-in-law saw it in a museum recently,  can you read it?

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H4V3 4 CR3471V3 W33K!!

SH4R0N!! xx

Playing with Colour.

Do you remember that gorgeous bunch of flowers that Abi gave me for my birthday?

They were so beautiful, especially the lilies that it seemed a shame to just throw them away so I decided to use them to dye some yarn.

I have dyed with natural dyes before so I knew that there  are often surprises along the way and I wasn’t disappointed!

I stripped the flowers just before they died off, chopped them up and boiled them for a couple of hours. While the flowers were boiling I prepared the yarn.

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I had put the stamen into the pot too and knowing how much Lily stamen stain I was thinking I might get a bit of an orangey pink for the colour.

Well, the first surprise was that the spoon went bright yellow while the water was pink.

Once I started to dye the yarn it turned quite orange, a lot more orange than I thought and to be honest, a lot more orange than I wanted, although considering the ratio of stamen to flowers I should have guessed that one as the stamen stain so much.  Sadly the photo of the yarn at this stage seems to have gone for a wander 😦

Finally came the time to wash the yarn.  Here was the biggest and best surprise because most of the orange washed right out and I was left with a gorgeous flamingo pink!

Those stamen stained everything else, the carpet, my jumper and even my face but not the yarn!!  Not that I was complaining, I love the colour now 🙂

I was now a bit concerned that the dye may not be colourfast so I rinsed it as I usually do until the water ran clear and then left it to dry completely.  I then washed the yarn again to double check its colour fastness and was pleased that not a single bit of colour washed out.

I would love to dye with lilies again (hint for more flowers Abi if you’re reading this) as the colour it produced was just gorgeous.  I would also like to try and re-create the colour with my acid dyes.

This skein of yarn is now available in my Etsy shop (inspirationalyarns).  Oh yes, you can get 10% off your first order too with the code ‘firstorder10’ if you’re interested.

I hope you’re all enjoying your week so far, mine is a typical holiday week, the house is a mess with muddy footprints and dirty shoes littering the conservatory floor but Josh is having fun and that’s what hols are all about 🙂  Josh has a friend round today so I took the opportunity to jump on the laptop quick and say Hi!  I shall try to get around to posting again next week if I can.

I hope those of you with school holidays have a lovely time with your children and that all of you lovely peeps have a very happy and creative week.

Sharon xx

 

 

 

Challenges, crochet spinnning knitting designing!

I have quite a bit of creativity to chat about this week.  Wips, to do’s and help me’s!!

Firstly Josh’s blanket (I am keeping this project in the fabric basket I got at Portsmouth in the summer).

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I ripped back the blanket in January and started again with a more mindless pattern so that it could be my ‘no brain power needed’ project but I’m still going so slowly with it!  I think a lot of the problem is Josh!!  Poor Josh, it’s not his fault directly but he is having a real job getting to sleep in the evenings so he is not going to bed so early.  By the time he is asleep (anywhere between 9 and 10)  I am ready to hit the hay myself!

Also, to be completely honest, I am just not enjoying it.  I just have so many ideas for other things and other wips I would rather be doing that I overlook it! I have been mulling it over and decided to challenge myself (appealing to my competitive spirit usually works 😉 ) so, I will aim to work on it either for 15 minutes or work 1 row a day five days a week.  Probably Monday to Friday but if I miss a day I will catch up at the weekend.

While I am challenging myself I may just add 10 minutes of spinning a day to the challenge.

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I have hardly touched my spindle this year and again it’s because I’m not enjoying it.  I just don’t enjoy the colour I am spinning.  Abi loves it though so there will be a use for it so maybe if I aim to spin it for a birthday gift for her (June) I may just have the incentive to get back on my spindle.

I am also thinking that my spindle could do with a case of its own.  Maybe with a separate pocket for the fibre?

Also on my hooks I have another crochet shawl that I am designing. This time I am using the yarn that Abi’s boyfriend gave me for Christmas.  It is a lovely soft cotton, I love working with cotton but the only downside is that it can be rather splitty and this one is very splitty, so much so that if I don’t keep on top of sewing the ends in I end up with tassels!

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Despite this though I am loving working with the yarn and enjoying how the design is working out.  I am using the gorgeous bag that Jane made that was in my Stitching Santa swap.

I have made some bits and dyed some custom yarn for a yarn swap I have entered that Mina of the Knitting Expat Podcast is hosting but I won’t show them yet as I have told my swap partner about my blog!  I love the yarn colourway that I design for the swap and shall show you all the bits once my partner has received them 🙂  Oh yes, and while I’m on the subject of dyeing…

I’ve been thinking that the lilies Abi gave me for my birthday would make a great natural dye, so I may be trying that one out next week!

I have also made a couple of project bags and done some more dyeing so there are a few more bits in the shop.

The socks I am knitting for Abi are also only coming along slowly, this time it’s the doctors fault!!! 😉  I am keeping them for knitting when I wait for appointments as they are so portable, (especially as I keep them in my Japanese knot bag which hangs perfectly on my arm as I knit).

Anyhow, the reason it is the doctor’s fault is that she has been on time lately!  I always have to wait ages at the doctors and suddenly she decides to be on time! – I mean, it’s wonderful that she’s on time but what about my knitting?  I shall just have to start arriving extra early.

I did decide to buy extra ‘Big Softie’ yarn with my birthday money, lots of!!

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Hopefully enough to make a lovely oversized sweater. I am thinking of doing my own design so it will be interesting to see how that goes!  I’m not too sure how easy it will be to frog as it’s a singles, I think there will have to be lots of planning and drawing first!

Now to my knitting dilemma.  I am wanting to knit a shawl.  I have some  yarn that I dyed that I would love to use.

And maybe this one to twin with it!

But I just can’t decide on a pattern.  I have a couple I have downloaded, the latest being Mina’s brioche shawl.  I love this design but I am really not sure if my knitting is up to two colour brioche.  So if any of you have tried it I would love to know how easy it is? I have watched Mina’s tutorial which is really clear and helpful and has given me a bit more confidence but I’m still wavering!

Also do you have any other knitted shawl patterns to recommend?  I will be using 4 ply, each hank being 400m and I would like to use one or two colours and also try something new, like the brioche or maybe some simple lace?

I’m not sure why I haven’t started a pattern yet as I’ve been wanting to do this since the end of last year.  I’m sure if I was looking at crocheting a shawl I would have started it by now, maybe it’s just my lack of confidence in knitting that is putting me off!

So with that lot on the go I think it’s time I sat myself down in the sun and got on with it, yes we actually have some sun today, enough for Abi and her cousin to try out sunbathing in the garden, I’m not too sure how long it will last!

I hope you all have a creative and lovely weekend.

Sharon xx

A Busy Year, News and an Offer!

Hi everyone.  I mentioned at the beginning of the year a couple of goals I had for this year. One of these was to create a pattern each month!

In January I designed a crochet shawl pattern which I am really pleased with.  Actually, I’m not the only one in love with it, so is Abi, she promptly claimed the first one, then loved the colours of the second too and claimed that too so I nabbed back the first although she would have happily kept both!!  Anyway, by the time I had tested the pattern, made alterations etc it was the middle of Feb and then I was so busy with other bits (I’ll tell you about that in a mo) that I have only made a start on my February pattern – another shawl but completely different.

So, what has been keeping me so busy?  I have decided after a lot of thought and prayer to open an Etsy shop, click here.  I don’t have a huge amount of self confidence so it has felt a really massive thing to do.

A name was really tough to come up with but in the end I decided to go with ‘Inspirational Yarns’ as most of the hand dyed yarns are inspired by our family, home etc.  I wonder if you can recognise any?

Here are the hand dyed yarns I have in the shop so far.  – more to list

I have four main bases, Superwash Blue Faced Leicester (British wool) and Nylon in a 4 ply.  Superwash Merino, cashmere and nylon in a 4 ply. Superwash Blue Faced Leicester, silk and cashmere, 4 ply and a Dk Superwash Blue Faced Leicester.

Also in the shop I have some project bags in two styles – both my own design

Japanese knot bags with a circular base

and ‘basket bags’.  I have designed these with an extra wide base and a top that folds down over the outside to create a basket.  Just one size at the moment but more to come when I get time to make them!

Oh yes, look out for the little embroidered mouse somewhere on your bag!

I have my new shawl pattern in there too (and on Ravelry), my ‘Pebbles Asymmetrical Crochet Shawl’ pattern.  here are a few pics

It is a long asymmetrical shawl with a diagonal stripe, which can be worn over the shoulders with the longer side wrapped around and tucked through or more like a conventional scarf.

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and here is the other colourway

I have also made some scripture wall hangings (I’m happy to do custom orders for these).

And that’s it for now.  I have just created a new site for the shop as I don’t really want my blog space to change too much, so although I will sometimes show you what I am making for the shop and let you know when I update most shop news will be on the new blog/site which you can find here.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I am now on Instagram too @inspirationalyarns. I am using that both for the shop and general day to day snapshots of life. Please let me know in the comments if you have IG so that I can follow you (that is, if you would like me to follow you of course!!)

Before I go I have a special offer for you all.  A discount code for 15% off of everything in the  shop until 15th March. ‘opening15’ There will be a little surprise gift included in the package for the first three people to order from my shop!

Do You Remember?

It seems a long time ago now that I first seriously thought about knitting socks and set a challenge!  Eventually I started and I wrote this rather excited post last Autumn when I had completed my first pair.

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The challenge was one I agreed with Jane from Rainbow Junkie, she had mentioned that she had never crocheted a pair of sock and I had never knitted a pair so I said that if she crocheted a pair I would knit some and we did.  She made hers in the summer and waited for me to complete mine. I finished and blogged about mine in the Autumn, letting Jane know so that we could link but due an email getting lost Jane has only just posted about hers. They are lovely, you can read all about hers here!

I think now that my next pair of sock may just have to be crocheted!!

I hope your week is going well as we head to the weekend.

Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x