Christmas Crafts

Story book coverI can’t believe I have not posted here since January 1st! In my defence I have been rather busy this year with my new children’s illustrated story book ‘The Thirsty Flowers’ which finally arrived at the end of November – just in time to make a few sales before Christmas. Although the story was written some years ago and was broadcast on BBC Radio’s ‘Listen With Mother’ programme this is the first time it has appeared in print and I have updated the story a little. It has been delightfully illustrated for me by a very talented young art student and, like all my books, the net profits will be donated to a children’s charity. You can read more about the book on my publishing website at ‘Silverburn Publishing’.

Fir cone table decorationWhilst I have been busy with the book I have not had much time to spare for my weaving or other craft work but I have not been entirely idle and, in this run up to Christmas, I would like to share with you some of the Christmas decorations I have made. These use all natural plant materials, with the exception of ribbons and the few silver ‘berries’ on the table decoration (above).

Home made holly wreathI have often in the past made my own wreath but in recent years have bought them to save time, however they seem to get more expensive every year and, since I have all the necessary materials in my garden, it seems rather silly to buy when I can make.  All too often the shop bought ones include artificial add-ons which to me rather defeats the Yuletide idea of ‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly….’  I prefer the real thing!

Hanging firconesThese hanging cones use Cotoneaster berries rather than holly and were adapted from an idea in ‘Landscape’ Magazine, which I have mentioned before on these pages. I hung them at my French Window for the photo but they now hang from my dresser in the kitchen.

I have only recently returned from about six weeks touring through France and Spain (where our daughter lives) and all the fir-cones used were collected on my travels so the decorations also make a lovely reminder of our holiday. I have several more cones left but have run out of time now I think – ah well, there is always next year. In the meantime I wish seasonal greetings to all my readers and end with the promise that I will try to blog here more regularly in 2017!

Christmas Stockings

Cutlery StockingMy much travelled Green Man weaving went with me all through France and Spain but I have to admit that I didn’t touch it at all! However it wasn’t an entirely craft free holiday.

More of that later but first let me explain the Christmas Stocking – this is a fun knitting pattern that I found in the Christmas issue of ‘Landscape’ magazine – I mentioned this magazine before, a lovely glossy magazine that I have only recently come across. The little stocking, done in double knitting wool, has a cable pattern that you can barely discern from the photo and is intended to hold cutlery for each place setting at the Christmas table. The recommended wool was quite an expensive one but I had some cheap acrylic red sparkly yarn in my stash which is just perfect and I bought some cheap white acrylic yarn for the tops, so each stocking works out at quite a reasonable cost! Since I am hosting our family Christmas dinner this year I thought it would be fun to knit at least one for my Grandson Tom and if possible do enough for everyone. There will only be six of us sitting down to dinner and I am on stocking number three so fingers crossed I will get them all done. They take me about two evenings a piece.

Handbag for RuthBack to the holiday; while we were touring down through France I decided to knit this little handbag as a gift for my cousin Ruth who lives at Villefrance de Rouergue near Toulouse and who we were visiting for a few days on route to Spain to visit our daughter. This is in chunky wool so was very quick to knit. To avoid doing the lining by hand I lined it with some pale yellow check fabric that I had taken with me for the purpose once we got to my cousin’s, using her sewing machine. The pattern did not require the bag to be lined but it seemed to me to be a good idea to stop it stretching. The handles are looped through the cable pattern at the top and can be pulled up to make it into a shoulder bag if she wishes.

While visiting my cousin I went with her and a friend to a textile craft exhibition and sale in the local town. There were many stalls with knitted, embroidered and woven items for sale (though no tapestry), people were demonstrating spinning and there were items made from hand spun wool as well as lace making, tatting, quilting and other skills on show. For a small local event I was most impressed. Unfortunately my French was not quite up to conversing with the crafts people other than in the most simple of terms!

Ruth’s ‘thing’ is card making and she makes most of her own Christmas cards with great artistic flair. This made me feel rather guilty that I just buy them, so this year I have made a few, including one for Ruth and her husband, which is nowhere near as good as hers!

Now that I am home again I have all the catching up to do to prepare for Christmas so it seems unlikely that I will be doing any weaving for a while.

This will be my last post until the New Year but just maybe I might have some weaving progress to report then. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year as you celebrate in your own way and look forward to your company again in 2015.