shell beast

•February 9, 2016 • 6 Comments

I think he might be meant to be a snail with legs – he has antennae?


his slouchy pose kind of reminds me of the coal men who came round the houses to deliver sacks of coal when I was a child though, the way they slung the sacks over their backs – I was always amazed they could lift things like that.

I must admit he’s one creature I’m a little worried about doing in sections as I’m concerned about the swirly bits lining up with the lumpy bits on top of his shell, but I think I’ll be ok if I leave him uncovered from his central orange spine.

I’m quite pleased with his cute little face though.


•February 5, 2016 • 19 Comments

There’s a silver tealight holder you can buy with the Oxford skyline on it

Two years ago Gareth saw it and declared he wanted one with King’s college Chapel, and the porter’s lodge.

I did my best to finish it for Christmas, but you know that thing where you realise that yes, you could finish this thing for Christmas, but it would probably kill you, and you would kill someone else, and then you would be too tired from all the stress and Grumpiness and gratuitous slaughtering of innocent bystanders to actually enjoy Christmas?

Well, that happened, and I didn’t even get the basic wall cut out. (drafting it had taken me a week)

I mean it would help if the habitual minimalist hadn’t suddenly decided he wanted the most ridiculous frilly wedding cake of a building rendering in miniature silver – I mean, the thing is testament to having more money than sense in the stonemasonry budget. (he lived in the sixties concrete block concealed within the frilly bits, but did he want the concrete block? NO, because the concrete block would have been too easy. GIt)

Anyway, after about thirty hours or so of drilling and piercing, I’ve got this far, and I’m not entirely happy with it.


I’ve accidentally cut through the (much simplified) tracery on one of the towers, and it’s so delicate I’m ever so slightly terrified of trying to solder a repair. And bits of it are wonky. And you can see the drill holes (I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oxford one was laser cut)  Actaully I’m completely terrified of doing any soldering on it at all, I’m seriously contemplating just bending it round the glass inner and telling him it’s new wave deconstructionalist silversmithing, that it’s a very avant-garde new technique I’ve used to counterpoint the delicacy of the gothic frippery. He’s completely bamboozled by artspeak so I reckon he’s buy it.

It needs about two weeks of careful filing before I even contemplate any solder though, and his birthday is in less than a week.

So Guess what Gareth isn’t getting for his birthday?


•January 31, 2016 • 6 Comments

I haven’t managed much thisweek



stitchalong, part five

•January 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

here’s the PDF for the little knight



and This first stage is quite simple and straightforward, with no fancy stuff. Just block in the areas shown using laid and couched word as per the previous tutorial


Owl steed

•January 21, 2016 • 10 Comments

I know it’s just the way the frame rolls, but the creatures in this piece seem determined to tease by not fully revealing themselves until the whole piece is done.


I wanted his wings to be teal, but I just didn’t have the right shade. I tried mixing blue and green in the background, but I pulled it out because I disliked it so. I do quite like the dark blue with blue green double lines though, so it was ok in the end

Random weekly roundup

•January 17, 2016 • 9 Comments

ON account of this being the height of tax return season, there hasn’t been as much activity as I would have liked on the needlework front – 45 minutes of an evening and then off do fettle the accounts. However, in order to garner means by which to pay the aforementioned tax return, I have been back at work and making fair progress on the January panel from the women’s labours.

January is spinning, thus tying her in with Mr January, the god Janus, by alluding to the classical myth of the fates. I thought it would be nice to use some of the sheep coloured handspun wools I used on the November panel last time round. I chose the grey Herdwick, and quickly remembered why Herdwick is not an ideal embroidery wool.

However, the shape of the fluffy distaff keeps reminding me of something…


possibly I should have used the brown wool instead?

IN other news I decided to make myself a new winter coat, mainly because I wore my Christmas coat all December and I love the cosy shape. For those of you who haven’t been here that long, this is my Christmas coat.

Now, when I finally finish my fairytale coat I’ll wear that, but I’m kind of stuck on part of the design right now, and have been for a while, so I decided I just make something I could wear. I could go out and buy a coat, but they’re always such boring colours, and I do have a lovely black cashmere betty Jackson coat, but the colour is boring, and I want something to cheer me up on a miserable day. It was originally just going to be a plain coloured coat, but plain is kind of against my nature. I didn’t want a design that would take a long time though, so I’m using the same simple pattern and I quickly settled on a sort of pseudo-baroque kitty border of my own devising…


(the hotel choc bag is Branston’s. he like a bag, and if you explain to the staff in hotel choc that you have a Maine coon who is too big to fit in a standard sized bag, they will very understandingly pack your chocs in an extra large bag)

I’m not actually sure what colour that is. It’s too pink to be properly purple, not obnoxiously bright enough to be fuschia, and too bright to be pink. pirplchia?

It was just a remnant I bought because the colour is so fab, although I’m certain it’s not 100% wool, there’s at least ten percent something artificial in it by the feel of it.

Anyway, I had about four hours to sew after I cut it out, and that’s how far I got – both the cuffs and most of the border. Next weekend I should be able to apply the kitty patch pockets, machine sew it together, and then hopefully edge it with racoon fur which will tone with the grey appliques.

IN the mean time, are we ready for  the next stitchalong instalment sometime next week?

I do have a post for you this week, honest…

•January 14, 2016 • 6 Comments

…but I also have a shiny new phone, upon which  are all the photos, and the two are not proving mutually compatible.



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