Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Sunday, 19 October 2014

La de dah...I'm a Lady...

The city of Birmingham has to be one of my favourite places.  Somebody has to love it.  This is Chamberlain Square.  The Building to the left is the Birmingham Museum and Gallery.  That is where we headed yesterday bright and early.  The museum received a multi million pound National Lottery grant to finance a new permanent gallery to house The Staffordshire Hoard.  The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon Treasure ever to be found.  It was practically stumbled upon by an amateur with a metal detector in a farmers field.  Lucky find.  It really is a story worth googling and googling it can do it more justice than I can.  You are not allowed to photograph some of the exhibits or exhibitions in the gallery, so I have no pictures of the hoard.  Awesome does not really come close to describing it.  I have seen the hoard several times and I hope to see it many more times.
The Edwardian Tea Rooms have recently had a revamp within the museum.  I think you would be hard pushed to find a more beautiful setting for a cuppa.  It would be easy for 'one' to slip into the persona of an Edwardian Lady and get lost in delusions of grandeur. 
We chose this comfortable little corner.  I do not like anywhere if it is busy.  We planned our journey to skip breakfast at home, catch the train and walk to the museum in time for opening.  We were very ready for breakfast when we arrived and the tearoom was almost empty!  I love it when something goes to plan.
The whole place is just eye candy.  Can you see the beautiful floor?
I had to photograph the floor by my seat and I am glad I got the chair fabric in the shot too.  The furniture is all mismatched and 'odd' but it works together beautifully, whoever designed the revamp is a real genius.  If you are a coulour, pattern and texture fan you just can't stop looking everywhere.
I love the concept of framing part of the picture.  The tea rooms started to fill up and I feel a bit silly going around with my camera but every wall has something different to look at.  
Not only can you get tea, you can get all kinds of tea.  
And coffee, I needed coffee.
Small things please small minds and all that but that dinky milk bottle makes me smile.  It is very nostalgic of the free school milk that we all used to receive daily.  We would race our friends to drink our milk through little straws before we could go out to play.  If you did not like milk, tough luck, you had to drink it anyway unless your parents sent a letter to explain you had allergies.  Milk in the Winter was lovely and icy cold but in the Summer I used to hate my milk, it was warm and nasty.  You had to hold your nose and drink it down quickly.  I am sure many people have mixed memories about free school milk.
How posh was my breakfast?  It was so tasty and cooked beautifully.  I am sure being hungry made it even nicer.  The ten year old went for a Full English Breakfast, it is a regular feature of our weekends, we often cook a Full English Breakfast.  Then you really don't need to eat again for quite some time.  In fact it would be quite easy to consume double the recommended calorie intake just by breakfast alone.  
I think this is a civilised Full English (sorry not for veggies).  Do you get Black Pudding in other parts of the world?  Black pudding is made by congealing pigs blood and mixing it with Oats Barley and seasoning.  You buy it in rings or large sausage shapes.  It is tasty if you don't think about what it actually is.  I had a work colleague once who was brought up on a farm and his job as a child, after the pig had been slaughtered, was to keep stirring the bucket of blood so it congealed evenly.  I could easily skip black pudding if I had to do that!
   Because the museum are celebrating the opening of the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery, they had some 'Anglo Saxon' specials on the board.  I thought this was a nice idea especially for children.  Food is a great way to secure some knowledge.  
They did add an Anglo Saxon veggie option of Barley and Vegetable Broth.  
     Last week the Museum had another celebration.  It was to commemorate 150yrs since the Sultanganj Buddha statue arrived in Birmingham.  It is the largest complete metal sculpture to come out of India and it was made and then buried for 700 yrs.  It is a beautiful piece that is on display.  If you click the link you can read a bit more.
 It is a work of art that you feel you haven't just looked at, he emits love and peace.  The local Buddhist Community held blessings at the statue last week.  I am so glad this piece found its way to Birmingham and it had quite an adventure getting here all those years ago.
People left origami lotus flowers at his feet.  It is nice to know he is a much loved statue.  He is in a little Buddha Gallery that is really worth a peek.
    This is a very photo heavy post.  I think I should save the rest and get busy on another blog post.  I would like to share some 'Modern Art' that I photographed because I just don't get it and you maybe able to enlighten me!  Maybe modern art is like olives?  You don't like it at first but you have to get accustomed to it. 
   If you made it to the end of this post, well done you.  I should include a little download for a certificate of achievement.  Thanks for reading.  It is nice to share happy days.  :) xxx 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Fungus Among Us

I am having a bit too much fun crocheting fungus.  This week is the turn of Phallus Indusiatus or The Bamboo Mushroom which is much easier to say.  If you have a mind to you can search Bamboo Mushroom on google images and you can see the variety of shapes and colours that they appear in. Or click this link and I have searched it for you ;)  They are edible.  I can't say I fancy them.  I have never seen anything quite like it.  I know when I have picked wild field mushrooms they have never made it to my plate as wild mushrooms seem full of grubs.  I think the little skirt on a Bamboo Mushroom must offer it some protection from flying critters that would lay their eggs in the fungi, a bit like a built in mosquito net.

I decided straight away that Ruffle Yarn would be effective as the skirt.  I had no ruffle yarn and I had never worked with it.  I would be interested to know if you have worked with it how you got on.  How did you find it to work with and what did you make?  For freeform crochet effects ruffle yarn has great potential.  It is pesky to work with though.  I have seen Ruffle Yarn Scarf kits sold as suitable for beginners, I must be a bit challenged!  I found it very frustrating to work with and control.  I love my finished fungus though.  I am keeping them in a shoe box.  I am waiting for the weather to be nicer than it is today (it is nasty, windy and wet today) then I can take my fungi outside to photograph, (as you do).  
I used photographs and keep them in front of me while I crochet and I try and copy what I see.  It is a bit like drawing or painting but with yarn and hooks.  The caps of the mushrooms are crocheted using scrap singles of handspun yarn.  I love being able to put the waste bits left on a bobbin to use.  The stalks and skirts are commercial yarn.  If you have never crocheted yourself some fungus, I really can't recommend it enough!

Thank you for reading and thank you very much for leaving your lovely comments.  xx

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Talking Turkey

I did not know crocheting fungi could be so much fun.  It does sound like a strange past time.  I found it a little too absorbing and I am very proud of my 100% handspun fungal creation.  It is for a Fall/Autumn challenge at the International Freeform Forum on Ravelry. Each week there is a different weird and wonderful shroom to recreate in knit or crochet.

I did the best I could with what I had.  I had a rummage in my stash.  The orange and green yarn was a gift from someone, it is handspun but I don't know what it is.   I am guessing it is hand dyed too, I really like the subtle colours.  The dark brown yarn is 100% alpaca.  The colour is lovely. The bright green is some beaded Corriedale (I remember that name as it is a cross between Coronation Street and Emmerdale, two popular  TV soaps in the UK).  The yarn was plied with cotton thread with tiny, clear seed  beads.  The white is 100% silk. I have been working on more Turkey tails in lilacs, silver and purples to go with my other freeform  crochet scrumbles.  If it would stop being so cold and wet and stormy I would like to take my creation to photograph outdoors where it can pretend to be real.  I would also like to walk in the woods to see if I can find any more fun guys  fungi!  xx

Monday, 6 October 2014

Scrumbling along nicely

Oh please indulge me and let me bore you with crochet scrumbles for a while.  I think this is complete now.  I mean how do you know?  If I could do a nice bullion stitch button I would, that is what it is lacking.  I have tried bullion stitch and it is beating me for now, so I had to make do with puffy buttons that look like anemones to me.  As soon as I master it, this scrumble is having a big one!  I did not really like making a scrumble from one colour.  It was for a challenge.  It did make me look at how to add variety, shape and texture to the scrumble without colour.  I tried different hook sizes and worked with multiple strands of yarn but not to any great effect.  I loved adding the other shades of yarn.  I really loved working with silver sparkly thread.  I liberated the thread from a charity shop for 20p, it is a great big spool, I am sure the thrifty bargainousness of the thread makes it even lovelier to work with.  In my opinion scrumbles cry out for sparkly thread.

My friend who is not a crafter is completely baffled by my scrumble.  I hope for any of you that are baffled, after this post you won't be.  I have been busy working on other scrumbles too.  (If you say you have been 'busy working on' it sounds more important than saying 'I have been having great fun playing with yarn').  Working 'freeform' without a pattern is very liberating and I can recommend it if you feel your skills have reached a plateau.  You live and learn eh?  For example my next scrumble will not be repeated.  I liked lots of 'petals' but they were a labour of love.
Scrumbles do not have to be elaborate or complicated.  Simple scrumbles have their place in the world.
Playing with stripes, yarns and stitches.
This was my first attempt at a 'block stitch'.  I will keep practicing, I liked the bend though.
I have also played with circles and spirals.  I am yet to master spirals too.

It is when you start to piece the scrumbles together that the magic happens.  These two were 'made for each other'.
You piece it together like patchwork into a single 'fabric'.  None of the pieces are fixed yet, it is fun swapping them all around.  

Then you have to decide what to do with it.  If I made a hat I would sure get noticed.  Some people make 'art' and 'wall art' with their scrumbles.  You can pay hundreds for a freeform crochet coat.  You can use the scrumbles to embellish plainer fabrics or garments.  I think I am going to turn this one into a cushion.  I am going to work on some pink scrumbles to decide if I would like two pink and purple cushions or one pink and one purple.  Decisions decsions.  I best get scrumbling.  I do hope I have tempted at least a couple of you to have a go.  Let me know eh?  xx  

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Some of these and one of them...

I do have a life other than tinking my knitting mistakes you know.  I just have to remind myself.  I am afraid to mention the knitting.  I fear it may be jinxed.  We had a stand off for over a week, then I tinked my little heart out again to correct yet another mistake.  I do love the yarn and the pattern and will show you more when there is more to show.

How clever am I?  I can grow 'Yellow Benders'!  I am yet to eat one but they are fun to look at.  Their correct name is a Yellow Crook Necked Squash ( I think, but Yellow bender is what they are called in this house).  We have also dug up potatoes.   We are really living off the fat of the land again, if you like potatoes and yellow benders.

I am out of my comfort zone knitting a garment with a pattern.  There is a certain amount of concentrating and counting, neither are my strong points.  I often have multiple projects on the go at any one time. The opposite to counting and concentrating is to 'Freestyle'.  I have crocheted without patterns before but I have never crocheted abstract freestyle.  It is something I fancied having a go at.  I have created my first 'scrumble'.
The yarn is lilac with silver thread through it, in the photographs it is showing more as gun metal grey.  A scrumble is one piece of knitting or crochet containing several elements.  This is my first scrumble and it was for Challenge Number 1 in the Project Freeform Group on Ravelry, (you are not too late to join in).  The challenge was to only use one yarn.  I just made it all up as I went along and tried to add a variety of stitches and texture.  Now it has been photographed I can't wait to add more colour to it.  The beauty of freestyle is you can't go wrong.  Anything goes.  This 'scrumble' may not look much but I have high hopes for it.  Watch this space.  I have more scrumbles to show you just as soon as I have sewn some pesky ends in!  Move over Granny Squares, make way for the Scrumbles.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

While I Continue To Tink...

Could you all just amuse yourselves please, while I continue to tink.  Re 'tinking' see previous post.  Tinking is a bit like taking one step forward and two steps back.  Tinking is like trying to wade through treacle.  Tinking is trying, to say the very least.  I am not happy in my tinking and I am doing a lot of it!  Maybe knitting is not for me for a while.  My little mind wanders, oblivious to what the pattern tells me and before you know it I have 'freestyled' 1000 stitches!  It is a wonder I have not knitted a granny square on auto pilot!  At least I now know who the recipient of this jumper is going to be.  I think it is for my grandson, for his eighteenth birthday.  I am hoping by the time he is 18, he is a 'small' fella for those are the instructions I am following.  There is no pressure for time as in fact my grandson has not even been conceived yet, let alone born!  I do not like working to rapid deadlines, you have to take all the knitting and tinking into consideration with the time estimates.

I have nothing to show for my tinking, the progress is all spiritual!  The patience of Job springs to mind.  So in the absence of a 'newsy, crafty post' I will share this unscheduled post about goats.  Why not?  These are actually our holiday photos!  My ten year old took a large quantity of goat photographs, I think the first one is great.  I would like it on a T- Shirt with the slogan 'You gotta be kidding me!'  
The goat I tried to photograph kept being silly.
Goats are very playful.

These lucky goats could play indoors or outdoors.

Goat milk is good for making delicious cheese (I do not recommend a Goat Milk Latte, Bleurghh!)

This was the 'Shop'.  I wish I could shop here all the time instead of doing battle at the supermarket.

These sausages cooked on a camp stove were great, well worth the very, very long wait to cook them.  There was an empty pig pen and these are pork sausages.  We did try goat sausages, but my ten year old found that upsetting!  I am concerned with how meat gets to our table but when you have to look the meat that you eat in the eye, a vegan lifestyle seems appealing.  The ten year old has concluded it is ok to eat animals you do not know, sadly I think it is the opposite.  It is easier to eat animals we do not know.

Very nice sausages even if I do wrestle with my conscience.  

I better go.  'I tink therefore I am.'  There is tinking to be done again before progress can be made.  I wonder when/if I will learn?