Mississhippi's Madness

A place to share my creative pursuits

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A little bit of crochet

I have had a go at some fine crochet for the first time. I picked up a really pretty variegated ball of Katia Jaipur mercerised cotton (whites, pinks and mauves) and a 1.75mm Clover crochet hook.

I had no idea what I was going to do with this, so I hunted though some old crochet books my mum gave me to use. I found this one…

I found a pet tern inside for a small doily and got started. The Clover hook definitely made it easier. I have some old fine hooks but there is no way I’d have been able to use them as easily as this. I decided to modify the final row as I didn’t like that row of the pattern and how it looked.

It still needs to be blocked and the yellow lights tonight have changed the colours a bit, but I am really happy with my first ever doily!! I love that the colours give it a more contemporary feel.

Now I just have to work out how best to block it out to get the shape right.


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Crochet catch-up

Things have been very quiet on this blog for a while as I settle into a new job. But I have been crocheting quietly in the background. Here are some pics of a couple of the projects I’ve completed over the last few months.

Goodie Bags_June 2014_web For my daughter’s birthday I made seven goodie bags for her girlfriends. Each bag was filled with goodies and then they got to keep the bag as a gift as well! Making the tassles was the hardest part!

A friend asked me to make a couple of hot water bottle covers for her, so I designed a pattern for myself, one using variegated yarn and the other I used up some left over wools and made striped of blue, cream and aqua (it looked great but I forgot to take a pic of that one). Here is the other one…

Hottie Bottle Cover April 2014I have also completed a blanket and made a jellyfish (see this post for ones I made previously) to give to my cousin for her birthday. So have kept playing with yarn in the evenings and sometimes at work during lunch.

My next project is a baby blanket that my mum has asked me to make for her to give to a friend. Have chosen the yarn and pattern, now to get started.


Off to Market…

Tomorrow I’m off to a my local Art & Craft group to take part in the Open Day and Markets. I’ll be demonstrating (soft pastels and drawing) and I will also have a stall to sell a few of the things I’ve been making over the last month or so.

My blog has been quiet lately as I have had to go back to almost full time work (33.5 hours). As I haven’t worked for ten years this has been a bit of a shock to the system and has meant little or no time for art. Once things settle down I will get back into drawing again, but for now, things will be a little quiet on the art front.

But I have been crafting…

Bags_Oct 2013_webThe retro ribbon straw bags all have cotton handles now and I’ve made a couple of cotton tote bags as well.

Xmas Decorations Oct 2013_webI’ve made lots of Xmas decorations for the tree and a couple of brooches, so hopefully they will sell.

But whatever happens, it will be a fun day as I’ll catch up with all the friends I haven’t had time to see over the last month or so.


Retro Craft… or the kind of craft I did in my childhood

It seems like the crafts of my childhood are rearing their heads again. It is a fondness for times past, or were they just great activities that have been discovered by new kids.

My mum used to work for a craft distributor in the 70s and 80s. Over the years there she bought bits and pieces and socked them away for her retirement. She has retired, but is too busy to sit down with her granny blanket on her knees and craft! So she asked me to look through the boxes and see if there was anything I could make use of (imagine me rubbing my hands together with glee!).

Anyone who follows my blog knows I have recently learnt to crochet and have been enjoying it (maybe a bit too much).  Well, amongst the supplies stashed away was ribbon straw… lots of ribbon straw.

Retro craft_2Retro craft_1When I was a kid it was used with plastic mesh to make coasters, tissue boxes, baskets and all sorts of things. But it was also used to make market bags (another of those things I have become addicted to liked since starting to crochet). They had hard plastic handles and were used to carry groceries before the standard supermarket green bags.

There were a few of the handles in my mum’s stash, but they hadn’t travelled well, so I came up with another way to make them…

Retro craft_3I have a stash of left over of 10ply (4ply US) cotton which feels great as handles for bags, so this is the outcome. I am experimenting with shape and size for the bags and will do the same for the handles, but they work great together. The rayon ribbon straw is durable and sparkly (a must) and the cotton makes it soft to hold and carry.

Once I get the handles the way I want them, I’ll be doing a giveaway, so please keep posted if you like the look of these retro bags!

Another special little thing I found in mum’s stash were wooden beads. I remember going to the Myart warehouse when I was a kid and helping to look out orders. I loved the bead aisle. Bags upon bags of beads, all different colours and sizes.

Retro craft_4I feel really lucky to have some of these beads in my stash now. They are beautifully made (made in Japan) and I can’t wait to incorporate them into something I make. Thinking… thinking…

So, many thanks to my mum for sharing her craft stash. There was more, but that is for another day.




Bartering Craft

A friend and I decided to make a trade last year.

Back in the 1980s I had stitched some bargello cushion covers. They had been rolled up in storage since then as I don’t sew much – in the too hard basket! I brought them to the craft group for a display and Nic said she’d be happy to turn them into cushions for me.

On the same day I was sharing a new knitting book I had and Nic saw a hat in she she loved, but she doesn’t knit at all. One of the other crafty ladies suggested a trade – a hat for the cushions. A barter was born!

We both had other projects on the go so there was no pressure. I ordered the wool from Blue Sky Alpacas and started knitting, Nic started to think about what colours would work best with the tapestries.

Last weekend we had an Open Day exhibition. Nic decided to get the cushions ready to go into the display and surprised me with them on Tuesday. I knew I had to pull my finger out and finish that hat – which I did for Sunday, the Open Day.

Here are the cushions with their covers…

Bargello cushions_1_webThe blue one was the original pattern in a kit. I went and chose the other colours and worked them using the same pattern

Bargello cushions_2_webThe backs Nic chose were perfect and she made them so they are easy to pull the cushion out and wash if needed.

Bargello cushions_3_webThere were two other cushions I made. This is one of them. The last one is in 1970s oranges and browns (it was a kit I was given) – I have donated that one to the group to sell on one of the craft stalls. Its amazing to think those colours are popular again now.

And here is the hat (with a very happy Nicole modelling it for me)…

Nic's Slouch Hat_1 Nic's Slouch Hat_2The alpaca wool was beautiful to work with.

This is one of the best things about belonging to a community art and craft group. Everyone is willing to share their time and experience to help each other. We’ve both ended up with something beautiful and handmade that we couldn’t have done for ourselves.


Craft in the Community: still alive and well in my local area

I am a member of my local art and craft group here in Sydney. They have been an important part of my creative journey since 1997, when I discovered they held art classes at night that I could attend to see if I had any ability to draw or paint.

I moved into a different area when I married, so I wasn’t a local. Because we spent so much time commuting (up until I left my job to have my daughter, I worked an hour and a half away from home), I didn’t even know more than a couple of my new neighbours. I am not a regular church goer, and because of my arthritis, sport is not really an option – so that removes two great ways to become part of a community. At home for two years with my baby, I was going a bit potty and needed an outlet – a mental health break I called it – and was lucky to find The group.

In the art room

I started just going to the art classes once a week on a Tuesday night. Then I started to go to the monthly meeting and met some of the wonderful women who take part in the craft groups on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Age didn’t matter, young and old work together, have fun, create, and share. I had found a community that welcomed me and made me feel a part of this area for the first time, over a cup of tea and some cross stitch!

Community groups like This one are not as numerous as they used to be, which is a great pity. But with so many people having to or choosing to work, not so many people have time to go and take part in community activities.

Craft group

All of the members are enthusiastic about their creative endeavours be it crafts, pottery or art. We share our knowledge with each other. If you don’t know how to crochet and someone else does they will sit and teach you. Want to learn to quilt, they can show you how. The kids art classes are extremely popular as are the pottery groups and classes. The women of the Fibre group do a lot of charity work, providing baby quilts, chemo hats and shawls for hospitals and raising funds through sales of arts and crafts created by the talented members.

I now take part in a lot of the activities at the group. It is where I go to play with clay, work with pastels and on a Tuesday morning have that cuppa while I knit or stitch and catch up on all the news. (I also now create the newsletter for the group, which is quite a task but everyone appreciates it so much it is worth the effort.) I help out in the office and I find it a very satisfying experience all round.

If it wasn’t for The group and the knowledge I gained attending classes there, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to attend college last year to obtain my Certificate IV in Visual Arts and Contemporary Crafts. Their continued support whilst I was full-time at college was fantastic.

Pottery Room

I’ve had a lot of people tell me to be careful getting involved in a community group, not to sign up for too much responsibility. But if some people don’t do that, these community groups will die out, as will the knowledge the older members have of crafts that are not so popular any more.


Learning Embroidery

Embroidery Hoop

Scarf made of hand spun wool

Raku ware dogs made by Ilona Ede

As a member of The local group  we look after the Art and Craft rooms at the Local show This was a painting I entered a couple of years ago. I like to support the work My art group does whenever I can, donating art works to help raise money


Nothing beats hand made!

Do you belong to a community group? Are they disappearing in your area? I’d love to hear how arts and crafts are doing in your part of the world?


Sketch: Daffodil in texta?

K. and I spent some time doing craft this afternoon, so I thought I’d make use of the opportunity to do a sketch. So I used what was to hand – textas!

They are not as forgiving as crayons, coloured pencils or pastels, but it was fun to try and see what I could do.

On a cardboard door-hanger, drawn from memory.

I’d probably need to treat textas like watercolour and leave what I wanted white, white, in future. Didn’t think of that at the time, just drew. K. kept asking why I was mixing other colours in with my greens – a great opportunity to explain a bit about colours. Whether she’ll remember it, who knows, but knowing her she will have absorbed it and I won’t know when she will make use of it, it will just happen.