Saturday, 11 May 2013

Kaffe Fassett at the Fashion & Textile Museum

I have been meaning to visit this place for about nine years so was very happy to finally get here today with Liz from Knitting on the Green. This is the second exhibition we have been to together (the first being the A-Z of Crime) and it is so nice to have someone who knows what you mean when you remark on what he did for introducing large motifs into fairisle. The exhibition itself was quite splendid.
Kaffe Exhibition Upstairs
You started downstairs with a small room of historical bits from his early years and then were straight into the good stuff. As Liz pointed out, they hadn't been precious about grouping his work by when he did it or by which collection it came from (or from which book it was in). This was a celebration of his work and the only groupings I really noticed were that downstairs was more the warm reds and jewel colours while upstairs was more greeny. Quilts hung alongside knitting and embroidered panels. Glass cases showed waistcoats beautifully made up alongside professionally handmade slippers.
Kaffe Shell Waistcoat
Kaffe Waistcoat
Huge pillars downstairs (no idea of these are always there or were there for use in this way) were delicately wrapped in panels demonstrating his designs, such as these beautiful wonky mitred blocks.
Kaffe Wonky Mitre Square Blocks
You could also see both sides of a lot of pieces. Years ago I read a criticism of a V&A exhibition of his knitwear saying you couldn't see what he'd done with his ends. Well, none of that here.
Kaffe Crazy Patchwork Chair
Liz said how it was like he'd left that cardigan on the back of the chair and would be back with it in a minute. This section was my favourite - a few 'props' like carlton ware teapots and layering of the textiles made it look extremely voluptuous.
Kaffe Sampler
Kaffe Cat Cushion

The exhibition was a really good size. You didn't find yourself getting used to the beauty and the curation has been done so that the feel upstairs is very different to downstairs which is very effective and engaging. It was definitely inspiring and a good way to start the build up to the Festival of Quilts in August.
Kaffe Autumn Slippers
Kaffe Longstitch Flower
These were hanging downstairs and the next two photos are closeups of them. The backs were all visible too - lovely machine quilting. 
Kaffe Quilts
Kaffe Diamond Quilt Detail
Kaffe Hexagon Quilt
This one was a tapestry hanging and about 2 metres tall. 
Kaffe Shell Tapestry
This one greeted you on your way in. I think most of us can imagine thrifted men's shirts being turned into a bit of this. 
Kaffe Shirt Blocks
Lastly, what really caught my eye - so silly when you consider the size of some of the things - was this tiny pin cushion tucked inside a slipper!
Kaffe Crazy Slippers
I adore all the colours on it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with 2 hours to spare near London Bridge. £8 to get in and on until 29th June.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Crafting Tired

I came home last night and picked up a pin cushion I was halfway through making. I sewed the back and front together the wrong way round, so I unpicked it and put them the right way round and sewed them again. This time I forgot to leave a gap so I unpicked some of the seam and turned the buggery thing inside out. Then I realised I'd forgotten to add the hanging loop. I put the pin cushion down and walked away.

Today I am even more tired and only had half an hour to craft. I decided to stuff and sew up the hole in the pin cushion. The nice oval pincushion is now a kind of kidney shape. I'm just not intended to include this thing with the pouch swap parcel. So instead, here is that handbag I made a few weeks ago.
Patchwork Handbag
I put *a lot* of work into this and have put it through a test drive following which I can confirm the frame has a fatal flaw and it is too small for my use.
Patchwork Handbag
The handle being on just one side means it is liable to flop open if there is too much in it. Whch there will be because it's not big enough for even my minimum swag. Plus, behold the reason I hate sew in frames.
Patchwork Handbag
So messy. Not like my nice glue ones. But despite this...
Patchwork Handbag
...I really do rather love it. Hand sewn hexagons with my favourite pebble style machine embroidery on top.
Patchwork Handbag
Two different variegated threads - one on each side.
Patchwork Handbag
Nice.

I am so tired because this week is epically busy at work. I have to give a talk tomorrow too. Put me in front of a group as the sole trainer for a training event and I'm fine. Put me in front of a group of people as part of a panel each giving a talk and I'm much less fine. Plus it's streaming live on youtube. Now who's bright idea was that? Oh yes, mine.
Self portrait B&W
Man, I'm awesome. Craft on mofo's.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sunshine and Nature

It has been a warm few days but with only small amounts of sunshine. I did manage to capture this though on my way to the station.
Blossom
The trees along the road are in full bloom and while these don't smell very strongly there are other smaller plants that do so there is a little sensation zone as you progress down the road. I was also stimulating my sense of taste at the weekend with my first ever Frittata.
Frittata
It looks fairly ghastly but tastes delicious. I used goats cheese, sun dried tomatoes, salty black olives and then aubergine and shallots oven baked in olive oil beforehand. Six eggs and a glug of milk and voila! I made it in a bread tin to get the depth without having to make a huge quantity.

When thinking of sunshine and light I remembered that I invested in a cheap one of these...
Photo Tent
...for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week where you were supposed to do a day on a skill. Mine was going to be photography since I've long noticed that my iphone photos were looking better than the ones with my proper digital camera with all sorts of settings. Having read a few tutorials this seemed like the best option and was about £9 on ebay. I used it to take some of the photos in yesterday's post.
Vintage carded buttons
I need to play some more and practice but it does help with the light. Here is another of a WIP.
Knitted Monkey Face
I am knitting the Norwood Monkey for my niece-in-progress. That is the face, in case it is not clear.

My last thoughts on light prompted me to take a photo of my Succulent Garden which has now been settling down for a week after planting.
Succulent Garden a Week Later
Those two succulents I planted which had been all closed up are bow open and looking beautiful. I love the range of colours! But I do feel I need a small dinosaur or two. Very small - like railway person sized. I will keep an eye out for one.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bank Holiday Weekend

I haven't put so much thought into a swap since Secret Pal had it's heyday. I signed up for the 'advanced' category for this Pouch Swap and then got the heebies about whether I was good enough or what I was planning was advanced enough. I'm almost done and hope it's ok.
Patchwork pouch layout
I laid out my arrangement for the clamshell side then did needle-turn appliqué to secure them. I haven't done a lot of this so was worried it didn't look neat enough. So some Perle 5 and chain stitch later...
Clamshells embroidered
Chain Stitch Orange
For the other side of the pouch I wanted to continue the scrappy theme and the linen but try something different. I drew my design on some scrap cloth and then sewed the pieces straight onto it - like paper piecing (but not 'english' paper piecing like I do with hexagons).
Untitled
I had a lot of scraps to choose from. My partner seems to like rainbow colour schemes so red yellow orange on one side meant blue green purple on the other.
Untitled
The green's weren't working though so I ended up with this.
Embroidered Sky Burst
I appliqued a linen circle, this time using the freezer paper method which wasn't as time consuming as I'd thought, and chain stitched with more variegated Perle 5.
Chain Stitch
I really hope she likes it! And that just leaves me with the lining - which will be a plain fabric - and adding the metal purse frame. Phew!

I had a lovely time with the Romford Knitters yesterday which also meant I got hold of the last of my SkipNorth haul which I'd managed to leave at Nickerjac's house.
Vintage Buttons on Cards
I also got a box frame from Hobbycraft while I was there so will finally have a chance to do the button display I've been planning since at least February. Which reminds me. I pinned this earlier:
Good idea huh? I'm tempted but then home is where I relax so I don't want to feel pressured with a to do list looming over me. Will think about it though.

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