LilibetLoves Etsy

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A bad fleece.

If you are a doer whether it be a craft or something you make or build , the best advice I ever had was to use the best materials you can get. It applies to almost everything.

In spinning , it can sometimes be hard to get good fleece. Friends can be very helpful & often I am given fibre that they have either excess to their needs , that has been donated at my Guild , or that someone wants to get rid of because they don't know what to do with it. The latter is not always a good one. I have had alpaca fibre given to me that was not nice. It was full of skin bits stuck to the fibre shaft. Totally unusable unless you either picked it all off or cut it out. Not very nice anyway & I later found out that it had most likely been sheered off a dead animal. Another one was a collection of fleeces that had come from someone starting up in sheep. It was their first clip & not brilliantly done. The Southdown was very short & open but with lots of short cuts. The Jacob was felted. In hindsight I should have thrown this fleece away , but I wanted to see if it could be processed & how hard it would be. Also the owner wanted a little something back in exchange for the fleece.

I decided to tackle the very felted Jacob fleece. A friend of mine who is a very experienced shepherdess & spinner thought the fleece had been left on the animal too long & the new fleece had grown into the old one felting as it did. Anyway it was pretty clean so I didn't wash it & just teased the locks out & combed it out using a slicker dog brush. A great little tool for sorting out difficult fibres & although you can only do a small amount at a time, its very effective at getting out matts. Working from the end of the tip of each lock , I soon had enough to spin. I did make my hands ache but I was determined to get it done.I spun the single with quite a firm twist as I knew I wanted the yarn to be hard wearing. In the end , after sampling , I ended up with an aran knit which I had Navaho plied. This kept good colour sequence with the fleece & I ended up with a pair of very nice , durable , working gloves for this new shepherd.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Greetings !

Happy Easter to you all.

Its that time of year again when the Easter Bunny lurks in surprising places & leaves chocolate eggs for all the little children & big ones. Obviously its not actually but we all know the story . What Easter means to me is the importance of family & family life. Normally & when I was growing up, we would all get together & have a big roast dinner, usually of lamb. Pudding would be Lemon meringue pie with lashings of cream. I can feel it on my hips now!
This year it was not to be. The men in my life were all working so I headed for my Mum & had lunch with her. It didn't matter she is in hospital, I still had lunch with her. We are very lucky in the fact that our local hospital is incredibly good & looks after families who come & spend time with their family who are patients. Mum has been there for weeks now & I have become a bit of a fixture. I go every day to see her & help her with daily life in readiness for her homecoming. She is doing well & nearly ready to come home. I cannot wait .
 Lunch was very nice & after a game of 3d noughts & crosses , of which I at last beat my mum hands down, we were ready for a jaunt out for the afternoon. After a quick ride home to see the dogs, I took mum to the local shopping outlet & we had a lovely time . We strolled around the park admiring the wonderful spring flowers & looked at the display of animals a charity had . Meerkats & chickens & a skunk !There was also some little ducklings. Cuteness was in full swing. After a cuppa & cake it was time to head back. A lovely afternoon & Mums first experience of Lincolnshire Springtime full of flowers.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Springing into Spring!!

It has been nearly a year since my last post. Not quite, but in a few months it will be. We are now in a whole new year & so much has happened to me & my family since then. Some of it good & some not so good & some just downright sad. A lot has involved hospitals & many miles of travel . For now , its getting back to working at my own family life & holding a home together & enjoying my family & dear friends.
Throughout this difficult time, apart from my darling hubby & sons , my dear friends have been my constant. So supportive & loving. Some of these are my newest friends who I have met through my most favourite crafts. Its amazing what health benefits we get through crafting. Not only do we get to focus our thoughts on something else , but we exercise our minds & laughter muscles & we all need to do that. Crafting is also something you can do alone or in a group. I do both , but I am in my most creative phase when working within a group , bouncing ideas off one another. It is this group time that allows me time off from my day job. A couple of hours twice a week is what keeps my going & recharges my batteries. It really is food for the soul.
During my time out , I thought about my little blog here often. I felt guilty , not attending to her needs to be fed with new stories & articles of interest. I felt frustrated at not having time or the mental thought process to write about things that I was making or I had seen. However , here she is patiently waiting to be filled & taken on a journey of creativeness once again. Looking at her stats , it appears that you, her readers have also been doing the same, popping back every now & then to see if something new has popped back on her pages. How disappointed you must have been. But here we are with new things just waiting to be shared here in blogland.
I love books, love childrens books & good novels. Most of all , I love a great crafting book & magazine. I used to regularly buy Mollie Makes , but now only sometimes or if there is an article I particularly want to read. I do sometimes pick up the books they have published. I have a Christmas one & more recently I purchased Woodland Friends. A great little book with some very cute things to make featuring my favourite woodland critters. There are so many items to make you will fall in love with. My favourite is a very cute foxy eye mask. So useful for keeping out the light when in need of a summer afternoon nap or even a full days sleep after a hard nights work!

I cannot wait to whip this foxy beauty out of my stash of fabric & felt. I know I have the perfect fabric in my stash drawer somewhere....
I bought my book on sale in The Works but it is available from many major high street book stores & online ones too. The recommended retail price is £11.99. I paid only £2.99.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Summer loving! Summer weddings & babies .

I have been a busy girl since I last posted. I was admitted to hospital one night not long after the baby shower with terrible abdo pain. It was decided that I have lots of gallstones & the surgeon is going to chop me about & give me some of his sewing tips!I am waiting to have some more tests done, these are next week & quite frankly , I'm a bit scared! I'm sure I will be fine but if I could get out of having an endoscope , I would!!!
 I also start a new job next week , just a few days before my hospital date. I am so excited about this job. I'm going to be an Heir Hunter! That's the same as the t.v Heir Hunters . Its been a while since I last had a proper job & I am looking forward to it. I have worked hard to find a job I really liked & I think this is kind of similar to what I did before , just there will be more happy endings this time.
We have a new baby in our family. Its a little boy & he is just two days old. How lovely to have a brand new baby! I was at a loss as to what to send mum & dad for the baby. The first born was a spring baby , so most of his clothes will probably be too warm for this one. They live in Austria & it is really hot there at this time of year, in the 30's some days. I decided to make a quilt as part of their gift . I love choosing colours & fabrics & I plumped for a nice grey & orange colourway & made it out of washable baby friendly cotton with a 100% cotton wadding as well. I'm afraid the budget couldn't stretch to organic cotton , but this I think is just as good. I made sure all the dressing in the  fabric was washed out well along with any starch I used to stabilize the fabric as I sewed.
I used a pattern I bought from Craftsy . I used the Baby Chevron Quilt pattern. from Piper's Quilts and Comforts. Its very simple to make , the only thing I wished I had known before I cut & sewed the squares into half square triangles is that once they are cut , they stretch like heck!This is preventable by using a ton of spray starch & pressing the fabric carefully & well . Press rather than iron , as this will help avoid the fabric from moving out of shape. Also to recheck the squareness of the blocks before sewing them together.
One other mishap I had was using some unknown cheap thread. It puckered all my sewing & I had to unpick every last bit & re sew it all. This took me a whole evening & made me get really behind time. Moral of the tale , use a tried & tested brand. Never use cheap thread or cotton as it just wont perform the way you want it to. Apart from the odd pucker here & there , I am very happy with the quilt for this little boy & hopefully it will become a firm favourite of his.I just have to make a label for it & it can be packed up & posted off.
Squaring up ready to bind the edges.

A crocheted blanket for friends who got married.

I also finished a blanket I had been making over the last year as a wedding present for friends of ours. It was so nice when it was finished , I didn't really want to part with it! I made a label on the printer using freezer paper. 

This is the front of the baby quilt.

Back of quilt showing pieced fabric. I managed to use nearly all the fabric I had bought without having to buy extra for binding or the back. I like the way it looks all pieced together. I love the multi fabric for the binding as well.I hope little one will use it as he gets older & finds great comfort from it.I cant wait to meet him.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The fate of the Very Hungry Caterpiller

Two months ago I attended a very dear friends baby shower. She was about 3 weeks away from having her baby.
I made her a flower baby basket , which I unfortunately did not take pictures of . I also made her a little cardigan in the first size & she had the Very Hungry Caterpillar outfit. Lou was absolutely thrilled with it. We had such a fun afternoon.

 The girls get their nappies on!
 Mum to be opening the Very Hungry Caterpiller

Granny to be made the lovely cake.

Long awaited post for needle felting.

I belong to the Lincolnshire Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers. We meet on a monthly basis & enjoy getting together , celebrating & sharing creations made from fibre . Every so often we have someone to talk to us about a particular hobby that may overlap one of the crafts we practice or may be more in depth with helping us to learn the craft.
My last visit , 2 months ago , we had a wonderful lady called Cindy visit us from Chicktin Creations. Cindy makes these wonderful dogs from needle felting wool fibre together over a wire armature. Her dogs are so lifelike. She told me that a few months ago , she was selling a piece on Ebay. A person lodged a complaint about selling puppies on Ebay as she believed they were real dogs! What a huge compliment to Cindy.
We had a great chat from Cindy & she was asked many questions & showed us how she made her creations. The detail in them is amazing. Obviously to get certain parts for that size is a near impossible task , so Cindy creates those herself. The dogs noses & hooves for the ponies , she sculpts from Polymer clay & most of the eyes are beads she finds at car boot sales or charity shops. Please visit her website & she is also on Facebook as Chicktin Creations. Hope you enjoy the photos below.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Learning to use my Canon 600d

Just over a year ago , Mr T bought me a Canon 600D . I was so thrilled  but it has taken me a little while to get used to it & start getting images that I can be proud of. The great thing about a DSLR is that you can snap away & take a mountain of images , delete the ones that are bad & keep the successful ones.This camera has many great features & is lovely to use.Never having a DSLR before & only ever using a compact camera or phone camera , this was a big change for me.
I started learning to use it by taking a short 10 week course locally. I had no clue about f stops & ios's! I really needed to learn this. The course was held at Unique Cottage Studios & we really enjoyed it.It was about general photography & not just about using DSLR's but that was not an issue. Other people had compact cameras & bridge cameras. We all learnt so much. At the end of the course , we had a trip out on the Spalding Water Taxi which apart from being great fun , we managed to photo lots of wildlife from the boat !
From this course it gave me the basis to go on & get some reasonable pictures. I still needed learn more. I had been bitten by the bug of getting better pictures. Youtube & Google have been great sources of information. Its amazing what you can find that is totally specific to what you want to know. I taught myself to Tat on New Years Eve this way.Today I have been reading up about was to get great images when your subject is a child. The post I used is here . The best tip on the same website , Its always Autumn , is this, Give Kids a reason to look at a camera, Pez Sweetie Dispenser !I love these little sweet dispensers & now I have a reason to buy one , or two....! I am so doing this!!
The next step I took in my photography journey was going to a photo shoot. Mr T knows a guy who is really into photography. He was organising a shoot to give local up & coming models , MUA's & stylists a chance to work on a shoot & gain experience at little cost to themselves. No one has rights over the images & they can be used in any way. I went along a took back ground shots. I learnt from my mistakes & gained a whole lot of experience & information. I really do think you have just got to jump in & get on & do it. It was pretty scary for all of us. I have just done my second shoot & through talking to those who attended previously I found that most of them felt the same apprehension & nervousness. Its not easy , but it gets easier as you learn.
Here are a few images from the first photo shoot . The location was at Fydell House , Boston, & it was organised by Paul Hutchinson .

Since this shoot, I have learnt so much. I now know how to change the light levels. See the difference below!

We have just had our second shoot & I cant wait to show you the results of those , once I have done some editing in  Adobe Photoshop

I hope I have shown you a little about my journey into photography & its not been too boring. I have lots to show you coming up , so do please check back here soon.
Have a great day ,
Lilibet , xxx