Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Brother Autumn

Brother Autumn has come to join us in the handwork room at school!
I posted last week about Lady Autumn.
I have so enjoyed crocheting the little shawls and baskets for these seasonal figures, and  it's been really therapeutic to breathe life into wool again.

I am really excited to see how these nature corners develop over the year, and how we can involve the children. I am already dreaming up my King Winter : )

I've just finished reading Kathryn Stockett's The Help, I grew very fond indeed of Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter and I was left imagining what became of them all...great story : )
I am happily joining Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
It's tricky for me to post on Wednesdays now because that's a teaching day for me so I'll be linking up later than usual, hope you'll still find me ; )
 Speaking of teaching, I look forward to sharing some wonderful needle felted figures made over the weekend at the young people's workshop I gave at the Weekend in the Woods event. We felted through the wind and scattered showers and as always, so 
inspiring to see all the boundless creativity and effort.

'Til then, thanks so much for your visit x M

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

With Autumn in the air

It's been a while I know, I've missed writing and sharing here with ye!
Fiery orange leaves are appearing now, more every day... I have been watching and waiting. Probably my favourite season this one, I so love the symbolic nature of what's happening to the trees. The transformation, the new colours, the letting go and the laying bare. For there are big Life changes happening for me too these days. Challenging times, not easy but also full of promise, as change always is. 
There is much to do and take care of and I Thank God for the days when I wake up and feel like I'm able for it all, to work my way down through my 'to do' list with a vengeance, for not every day is a day like that ; )

We're up early these brisk mornings stirring porridge and making school lunches, and smallie is still very enamoured with his first real 
lunch box and totally enamoured with the story of Mr. Straight and Mr. Curved that they are hearing each day. I love listening to him in the car on the way home giving me the latest installment and telling me about that day's new colours they got for their crayon roll from one lovely new teacher. It is all so very exciting for him, fresh, new and sprinkled with glimpses of a whole new world opening up.

 The promise of being able to read enchants him. Exciting for me just to witness : ) I see how he was so ripe for the academic learning and is loving working in his main lesson book and 'busy bee book'. When I see that big ole schoolbag on his back as he wanders up the path towards me at pick-up time I see him so grown up, so capable and I know it's all perfect timing, life moving on exactly as it should.
And boy, we have been busy bees in the handwork room, getting everything set up for the term ahead and getting to know new students. I'm not quite past the feeling of overwhelm yet and look forward to feeling 'in the flow' of new curriculums and lessons.

I just felted this Lady Autumn for the seasonal table for Class One and crocheted a shawl for her, to keep the Autumn winds at bay : ) She is joined by a little acorn child. 
 Honestly, one of the things, if not the most heartfelt thing I grieved the loss of on leaving the kindergarten, was their daily forest walk, now reduced to weekly. A nature table in the classroom reflecting/celebrating the seasons, goes at least some way towards bringing it into their daily conciousness. 
It was good to set these up, then let them go, for already little drops of candle wax and a little settling of chalk dust have christened them ; )
I felt like she needed a brother so I'm just putting the finishing touches to Brother Autumn. He is bound for the seasonal table in the Handwork room, I'll share him with you next week.

Hope you and yours are settling back into good routines too. I'm happily joining with Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
Thanking you for your visit xM

P.S. I will be teaching a Needle Felting workshop at CELT Weekend in the Woods in Bealkelly Woods in East Clare on this Sept. 29th-30th if any of you locals feel like joining us under the trees to form wool into figures! I am so looking forward to this : ) I posted about a workshop I took at this event here

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

To school
Something small in my heart lurches at the thought of my small boy walking through the doors of the main school today to join class one!
 He's my only one and this is the very beginning of sitting behind a desk, the beginning of academic learning and so many other exciting new things that he is ready for. He has been such a dreamer, such a nature boy and his four years in kindergarten held him within that world. I keep remembering arriving at that little wooden gate to pick him up and so many times hearing 'Mommy!' and seeing him run towards me in his rainy, muddy waterproofs with holes worn in the knees.
But time and life move on with or without us right? So I'm taking that deep breath, I know how Life calls us up to let go of what has been, and embrace what is.
Early this month, feeling that tinge of sadness, I poured my love into sewing the few small things he needed to have for school.

I am still just getting the hang of using a sewing machine and when handed to me, the pattern for the crayon roll seemed baffling at a glance and I decided I'd need the help of a willing school Mama! As it turned out, I woke up one morning and just decided it needed to get done and I would begin it that day. I figured it out, it was actually not complicated at all, just took time and I gave the time to it. It ain't perfect, but it's Mama made and smallie chose the materials from a small stack of leftover stuff from school.

As a handwork teacher, I love that the children will learn to tie and untie bows when they use these. One more little skill mastered : )

Making it got us both excited about this new chapter in his life, helped me feel like I'm ready for the next adventure too : ) As I stitched away I pictured him reaching for his crayons when it was time to draw and colour in school and the stories the children will work from. Making something always helps, right?

Here is his hat. I made this some time ago but it only fits him now. It was the very first thing I made when a beginner knitter at our Woollygatherings. The pattern was for a plain slouch hat but I had to have some fun with it ; )

This was before I discovered circular needles, love them now. All made in DROPS yarn, the green is a wool alpaca mix and so lovely to work with.

I was kind of amazed by mattress stitch, once I got the hang of it.

Happily joining Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

Thank you for reading x M

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

One red polka dot dress

I'm in the mood for all things Retro these days...and small crochet projects that don't go on for ever!
I had fun making this cotton hanger, inspired by a pattern I found on Dottie angel's blog, lovely though I found the pattern confusing.
Now I want to make a colourful little collection of these for the few special things in my closet : )

And being that this is our last week of the summer holidays, let's talk dresses : ) I'd only ever made one before, a totally organic felted construction, you can see it here. But this one is my first humble foray into dressmaking.
I took a local class with the lovely Susanna Anker. And knowing I had a (big) mental block about learning how to use a sewing machine, I thought I'd better stick to a really simple pattern for a totally plain dress. And  use affordable, basic cotton fabric. The options available locally are very limited anyway!
 On account of being a little pear-shaped, the sizing was tricky. And despite the undeniable fact that said dress looked dire when I first tried it on (think shapeless grandmother's housecoat...at best) nothing could discourage me for I had sewed a dress!! And I had somehow, though crudely, managed the machine and with the tutor's help, followed the pattern.
And though I am not so clever about those things, I am able to make something not-so-great look much better. I love details and I love to transform things.
 Nothing that a little crocheted something here, and a length of ribbon there can't fix I thought. I also wanted to add a ruffle. So I got to work at home. 

I pulled in the waist with a new seam and added a couple of scraps of trim I had stashed.

I am going to wear this dress wherever, and whenever!
There is something truly special about wearing a homemade dress, some feeling of timelessness I guess.
 Just about special enough to throw all imperfections into the background, right? ; )

 Thanks to Ryan for these last few photos : )
Delighted to be joining Ginny and the lovely gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
Really appreciate all your kind feedback on last week's post and
thanks to you for reading today xM

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Blooming flower cushion

Ah the good feeling of finishing something, right to the end. And something that brightens our nest : )
I learned a lot about colour making this, always so much more to learn about colour, it amazes me...even after so many years of painting. With yarn it's different again.
 This was a project made from the scraps basket. I started out very casually, just nonchalantly putting one colour beside another that it seemed to work with, and kept going that way till I looked at it at a day later and realised I just didn't like the overall feel of the colour combination. So I did a lot of ripping back til I understood how the colours needed to flow. Some of the yarns are wool, some cotton.
 It's my variation on Lucy's pattern over at the lovely Attic 24. I wrote about it in a  previous post here.
I took this with me in my work bag when I travelled to England a few months ago to observe for a week at a Steiner school there. It was a wonderful trip, I'll be writing about it here soon. 
As I sat in each classroom each day watching and listening, I made a few rows...also one day there on the beach. When I sat in my room each night trying to absorb all I'd taken in, I made a few more. When I got home and looked with a fresh eye, I ripped back some and added some more, been a bit of a journey this one!
 I mentioned previously that I had to fashion a round cushion from a square pad. If I get to crocheting more circular cushions, I would source the right cushion forms online, there's no doubt that it makes for a better finish. 
I'm already dreaming up the next cushion, an easy, cosy project to have on the go over the Winter months.

I'm happily joining with Ginny and the gang over at Small Things today for this week's Yarn Along.
Hey, remember my knitted gnome from last week's yarn along post? Well I made him that leather bag I thought he needed, it was so fun to figure out how really do-able this is.

What do y'all think he would carry in there..?
Do tell!
And thank you for reading x

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Postcards from Brittany part II

I'm also happily joining Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
 It's been a while, I know. Busy times. It always strikes me as ironic that when I've got lots of work going on and much to share here, there's no time to post! But I do want to share the small  pieces I've been working on and will over these next weeks. 
But first, back in Brittany, I knitted up another gnome for school while we were roving around, stealing little moments here and there in between digging in the sand with smallie, and savouring a few small windows of quiet time when the lads went off on some adventure of their own.

One of my followers asked to see what these knitted gnomes look like when they're all knitted up, but before seaming and stuffing. Pretty funny, is the answer ; ) especially if you're using handspun wool! In as much as I can these days I'm trying to work from whatever scraps I can find left over from other projects.

And tucked into our awning on a rainy Breton day, the lads started carving. Smallie wanted to make a digging tool for the beach

We whizzed through all kinds of terrain on our bikes and one small boy showed me that alas, he is not so small anymore but big, and brave.
 I left all my deadlines and worries at home, relishing the absence of computers and mobile phones... we never knew what time it was and every now and then wondered what day it was.
I even got to draw : )

And I put the finishing touches to the gnome once we got home. Doing some leather work for him now, I want to make him a tool belt : ) or maybe a knife sheath..and want to explore what the children might be able to make for their gnomes from wool, wood and leather. I'm really having fun with this part. I keep thinking maybe they need a knitted fox friend too!

You can see the first post on our trip to France here.
And read about the first knitted gnome here.
Looking forward to catching up with what you've all been up to out there.
Thanking you for your visit x M