Art of Craft

Creating Space‘s “Art of Craft” exhibition was yesterday and it went really well.  With two children in tow I ended up arriving with just 20 minutes available to set up my stand!

I’d found some blue denim in my stash (bought for making jeans a few years ago, but never used). It was an incredibly long length and I’m so glad I took it. Half way through setting up I realised I needed more table space, and was able to grab a couple of small tables to put at the end, the cloth happily covering them too. The denim had a second advantage, it showed off the yarns, shawls and photos really well, the dark colour complimenting them. I shall be using denim in the future, though I may cut the piece down into shorter more manageable lengths, or think about how to cover a table more effectively in the future (perhaps with a skirt to hide everything underneath) and then a separate cover for the top.

end shot

The photos I had printed were everything I hoped they would be. I’ve never had photos professionally printed from my digital pictures. I’ve had years of disappointments with developed photos from film, so I didn’t believe that the photos I saw on my screen could be replicated in a print. I was wrong, they could! I was lucky to find a firm in Cambridge1 who produce real photos from the digital images, and the results were stunning.

The photos I put onto 12″x12″ scrapbooking cards. I had intended to display them in an album but in the end I preferred them spread out on the table (they were the main reason I needed a longer table). For future shows I will have a selection of photos on open display and more will be in an album. I also wonder about making some of my flower photos available to buy as prints. I shall have to explore that option.

long shot

I didn’t in the end have enough time to put descriptions on all my photos (a task made slightly harder by some of the backgrounds being very dark and my needing either a silver gel pen or some white ink for a dip pen, neither of which I currently have). I shall now be aiming to keep my printed portfolio up to date for future shows, complete with descriptions, so that I can use it without having a rush just before a show.  I shall also endevour to have descriptions of some of the yarns, and the creative processes behind their creation.  For example, I was showing the three completed Tour de Fleece skeins, along with the original dyed fibre and some spun singles, with no explanation of the colour experiment I was working on.

Some of Friday evening was spent re-winding skeins of yarn and tying them up with ribbons. I was surprised how long this task actually took, and in the end didn’t display all my yarn, as I simply ran out of time. On the morning before the show I ironed my woven shawls so that they looked their best.  So one of my lessons for the future is that it takes much longer to get prepared for a show than it’s possible to imagine.

Harriette enjoyed her day out modelling the time travelling shawl (which just needed a couple of days recovering from being stored in a vacuum bag (moth proof storage) and no washing or ironing/steaming to get it looking its best). There were two highlights of the day for me.  Firstly, the great variety of makers we have in the group.  Quilting, dyeing, felting, printing, painting, drawing, spinning (from the finest lace to wonderful art yarns), knitting and weaving were all beautifully represented.  The second highlight was having the children with me, taking an interest in what I was doing and then also spending their day making crafts (knitting, weaving and modelling with play-doh and plasticine). They came home with an award from Lyn for being brilliant helpers and very well behaved.


I keep talking about “in the future”. Well, Creating Space are planning on doing another show, but more about that closer to the time!

  1. the firm used were Streamline Imaging and I’m happy to recommend them for good quality prints and excellent service.

The Sweater Curse

The “sweater curse” really does appear to be a thing. I’ve only attempted to knit a sweater for a partner once (it was my husband). I got 3/4 of the way through it before things started to go wrong (both with the sweater and the relationship) and it got put away in a box. It eventually saw the light of day again a few years later, when I rescued the stitch markers from it and gave it to a charity shop. They asked if I happened to have a pattern for it – and I explained that I didn’t (and why I was giving it away). That was ok, they said, they would have a volunteer who could sort it out. By this point I didn’t mind if it was finished, or unravelled and sold as for just the yarn. I couldn’t unravel it for myself, as the yarn was chosen by my then husband and was to his taste.

Over the last couple of years I’ve carded some fibre, spun some yarn then knit a scarf. All the time I was working on this I had the idea of giving the finished item to a close friend. It was a slow process, because I’m a slow worker on such projects, but eventually I had a finished scarf and gave it to my friend as a Christmas present. I photographed it in a rush and wrapped it, and hoped that I would have a chance to photograph it a little better in the future.

However, the sweater curse appears to stretch to hand-spun scarves. It was the second scarf I’d given to this friend, the first was hand-knit but from mill-spun yarn (very nice organic mill-spun yarn) and did not invoke the curse. This second scarf, however, does appear to have involved the sort of effort needed to invoke the curse. Because within weeks of Christmas last year the friend was no longer talking to me.

Sorry for the maudlin post, it’s not meant to be. A hand-made item shouldn’t have a curse. A gift of something hand-made should be a way of showing appreciation for the recipient and a way of spreading love and light. Whenever I’ve received a handmade gift I’ve been delighted and always felt joy both at the receiving and when wearing or using the items. Perhaps we need to work together to find a defence to the sweater curse, one that is invoked as part of the making or when giving the item away. I know scissors are always given with a small amount of money, the intention is that the money is given back as a way of “paying” for the gift of scissors, so that the friendship isn’t cut. Another tradition is when giving a purse, to include a small coin in it, so that the purse is never empty. So what could we do when giving a gift that has lived with us a long time while we’ve been making it, to ensure that it doesn’t precipitate an ending of that relationship? All ideas on a post card please, or, better yet, in the comments below 🙂



A Show

On Saturday Creating Space are having a show! I’ve been thinking about how to display my creations, and it’s not easy! Difficulties to overcome include hanging stuff on walls that are solid painted brick (I’ve decided I’m not going to), and showing a process for the things I make.

I’ve been shaking out shawls and examining skeins of handspun yarn. I’ve bought some thin ribbon that I’ll use for ties on my skeins (I’ll be rewinding them so they look neat) and I need some fabric for a table cover (I’m sure I have something suitable in my stash – at least I hope so!)

Harriette will be coming out this Saturday and will be modelling one of my shawls (probably the time travelling shawl). She’s really excited to be having an outing. However, I’m not sure she’s going to approve of travelling in the boot of my car (I’ve not told her yet).

I’ve also decided to get some photos printed, these I’ll put onto 12×12 inch cards and show them in an album with short descriptions. These photos will include flower pictures, processes and creations I no longer own. Here’s a collage of the pictures I’ve chosen.

Photo Collage

I’ll be able to pick the photos up tomorrow (I hope).  I had a minor problem when I looked through the photos I’d originally sent. I realised I’d not understood the format requirements and submitted photos of a poor quality. Fortunately I was able to phone the company in the morning and they were happy to cancel the order I’d placed online and accept a new order from me. If I’m happy with the photos when I get them tomorrow, they will probably have a customer for life!  I’ll have a busy evening tomorrow collating the photos! I feel like I’m recreating my blog, but in real life!