WIP Wednesday: butterflies and flowers

Perhaps that should be WTHP – works that have progressed. I’ve been busy 🙂

Since my last craft-related post, I’ve been settling into our new home in the Pennines, in a town which is a good long train ride from my work. Commuting can be crushingly miserable, especially on Northern’s old buses-on-rails, so I’ve taken pains to make the most of the experience. Train 1 of 2 is for breakfast: a flask of something hot, and a pot of overnight oats. Then, a brisk walk across Manchester to Piccadilly while the sun rises (and sometimes you can even see it!), to train 2 of 2. This is where the crochet happens.

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WIP Wednesday: picking up the (paper) pieces

With full awareness that neither of my previous works-in-progress have really progressed (I’ll be making those granny squares until the end of yarn and time, and amigurumi isn’t for me) I decided to start another project anyway: English paper piecework.

This is the big one – or rather, the first timid step in the general direction of a big ambition: learning how to sew. Working in a place that makes and sells these wonderful fabrics, I wanted to start learning how to use them.

paper piecework_QB fabric

cotton galore

So I bought some books and some basic supplies, decided that patchwork appealed more than dressmaking, and yesterday – after months of not knowing where to start – I found an excellent online tutorial with printable templates, and took the plunge.

paper piecework_Toto

tacking the fabric around the paper piece to form a neat hexagon

The tiny dog was unimpressed by my concentration on something other than him…

paper piecework_patches

the project takes shape…








I got the feeling this is something I will really love – especially after seeing Flossie Teacakes’ kaleidoscopic paper piecing patterns – so last night I started a diary as well, to keep track of patchwork projects. Four hexagons cut and tacked so far, eight to go before I can start sewing them together to make my first project: a patchwork pincushion.

paper piecework_pincushion

the end result? (pattern from Patch! by Cath Kidston)

 End note: the hardest thing about sewing, for me, is negotiating the happy-little-homemaker stereotype. I struggled enough with my inner Angela Carter when I started baking bread. Buying my bread, my throws and my placemats instead of attempting (clumsily) to make them certainly frees up more time to devote to philosophy and politics and cultural pursuits – but I’ve had a good decade of staying out late in smoky bars discussing big ideas, and I feel ready to add something a bit more tactile and creative to my repertoire now.

WIP Wednesday

Granny Cool

The amigurumi from last WIP Wednesday has stalled at row 11 – all that stitch-counting got a bit frustrating – so I’ve been carrying on with the much more relaxing work of making granny squares for a planned blanket. ‘Planned’ in the loosest possible sense: I’m going to keep going until I run out of yarn, then join together all the finished squares and hope for the best. If it turns out ok, the resulting blanket is destined for one of the work-in-progress babies that my friends are in the process of producing right now!


12 down, 48 to go…

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WIP Wednesday

Earlier this year I came to the earth-shattering realisation that I didn’t really care about being bad at crafts because they made me happy anyway.

The roots of this discovery go right back to the attempt, three years ago, to break my writer’s block. It didn’t work, but in the process I tried my hand at singing, knitting, painting and drawing, calligraphy, sewing and – most recently and most enthusiastically of all – crochet.

Once I’d figured out how to hook, my first project (still ongoing) was a granny square blanket for one of the many friends’ babies on the way this year. I left that one at home this week, feeling the need to expand my repertoire, so right now I am trying to teach myself how to make amigurumi.


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