Mosaics : a new challenge

10 Feb

I’ve always liked mosaics, the more inventive and colourful the better. I dream of having loads of colourful mosaics in my garden and took a lot of inspiration from my trip to Barcelona back in October.

My trip also made me just get on a book a workshop I had been pondering doing for some time, so the same day I got back from my holiday I booked a workshop with Lily Mosaics & attended a day later!

It was a lovely relaxed day, I loved picking out colours and seeing all the different mosaic bits n bobs on offer to work with. I went with the intention of making a small plaque of an owl/bird, that I might have hung in my bathroom, but then on a whim started creating a bold geometric design on a small tray.

It is quite a time consuming activity, (well it is when you do something far from simple as a beginner), I found it very relaxing cutting and playing around with different pieces. I got most of my larger motifs done in the workshop and then took a few spare bits to continue at home. I had already acquired several mosaic tiles myself and I ended up incorporating several of these into my patterns at home, as my design evolved.

I had originally planned to do a grey background, however a went for a lighter white, as I thought it’d make the colourful tiles standout more and match the already white tray.

I rather like my finish tray and found the grouting less arduous than I expected, though some of the really tiny pieces I used were a pain in the bum (lesson learnt).


mosaic tray - nettynot blog

mosaic tray close up - nettynot blog

I have since covered a simple picture frame, I’m not a huge fan of the finished result, I didn’t think enough about the edge where the tiles meet, but it looks alright in situ and still an improvement on the boring pine (fortunately I’m not too much of a perfectionist)!

I also made a set of Rennie Macintosh inspired coasters for part of my parents Christmas present. I really enjoyed making them. It was one of those rare occasions where the idea in my head worked out exactly as I imagined!

macintosh ungrouted - nettynot blog
macintosh grouted coasters - nettynot blog
The only thing I’ve not figured out, is what’s the best way to seal them, I didn’t want to make the lovely matte tiles shiny, but equally don’t want them to end up tea stained. I gifted them as they are, but keep meaning to do further research, does anyone what any suggestions?

 

I’m eager to do more now & started collecting ideas on a mosaic & garden board on Pinterest. Just need some warmer drier weather now.

Thanks for reading!

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Procraftination

12 Dec

I like all my crafty pursuits to have a purpose, I like to have some thing tangible to show for the time spent creating something, which is one of many reasons why I love knitting. I can appreciate why others colour-in or scrapbook for relaxation, but I’ve always felt it’s not my cup of tea.

That said, many years ago when I went on the Amy Butler colour workshop at the festival of quilts (bought as a 30th birthday gift by my wonderful friends). I found it fascinating to see how her themes develop and they mostly start off with a trip, photos and then collages, from which she picks out colours, which then inform the pallet for her new range. I found her talk inspiring and actually really enjoyed making the collage we created on the day (something that has no real practical use). I have actually framed it and hung it in my spare room (which doubles as my sewing room).

When I was feeling a little uninspired recently, I’ve had a tea leaf of an idea brewing away in brain for a little while and sometimes when I have a vision for something I’m quite apprehensive to get it started in case in turns out terribly. However I found collating a few things, ripped out of old magazines and creating a collage helped with the idea brew further and I’m feeling more confident to see it through.

My collage just focused entirely on colour, I found it very therapeutic and I now have a great colour palette of my own to inform my projects.

This was very therapeutic to do, helped with my creative though processes, and I cleared out a loaf of old magazines too (a whole shelf’s worth)!

Patterns Everywhere : Barcelona part 3

5 Nov

Palau de la Música Catalana

We popped in to this wonderful building for a bite to eat and a drink and were so impressed by the entrance and small section we saw ,and I really wanted to see the stained glass ceiling in real life, that we booked a tour for the following day. I must admit I know very little about music halls and they’re not somewhere I’ve ever spend much time. However I do have an appreciation for amazing buildings and this really way spectacular.



Patterns Everywhere : Barcelona part 2

4 Nov

Casa Batlló 
We headed to one of Gaudi’s impressive creations having been intrigued by the blurb in my guide book (yep properly tourist-ing it up) and I wasn’t disappointed. Inspired by nature there’s a fluidity to the rooms and space with wonderful rich wood and colourful detail.

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I could have shared loads of photos here, however I wanted to remember some of the more subtle details, from the paving outside thee house also design by Gaudi and seen all over the city. I had to buy myself a coaster of the design, I just loved the clever way the same single hexagonal piece creates different shapes and patterns when tessellated.

All photos are my own. Copyright Steph Gibbs.

Patterns Everywhere : Barcelona part 1 

3 Nov

Everywhere I go I can’t help but spot patterns in everything, I’m sure I’m not the only one, my phone is full of snippets of walls, leaves, doors & floors. My latest holiday a few weeks ago was no different, Barcelona is full of wonderful patterns, tiles, mosaics & buildings so I thought I’d collate some of them together in a little blog post.

( I have now decided to split them in to s few posts I hadn’t realised quite how many photos I’d taken in 4 and a half days – over 500, the joys of a good camera phone).

Part 1 : Catedral de Barcelona



This really was a magnificent building with a huge amount of details in every part of the building and a good start to our holiday.

All photos are my own. Copyright Steph Gibbs.

Aqua Top

12 Sep

I love knitting, but I won’t lie, sometimes I get a little bored with big or time consuming projects. And although I try to finish one project before moving on to the next, sometimes I just have to stop, do a quick knit and then get back to it. Which is exactly what I did while I’ve been knitting Morning Echo (which is close to completion now).

Morning Echo WIP - Nettynot Blog

WIP – Morning Echo Cardigan

One great thing about knit group is you get to see other people’s finished projects which often inspire my makes which is exactly what happened here. After seeing Vanessa’s bright orange plain tee knitted in bamboo cotton, I really liked the neckline and short waist length and thought it’d look great over summer dresses. You can see Vanessa’s project on Ravelry here.


I picked a good summery colour (aqua) that I knew would go with several dresses I had and got cracking, I completed the knit in about 2 n half weeks, nice and satisfyingly quick. The front and back are knitting the same, then the sleeves, the pattern is straight forward, however I knitted the neck band in the round rather than flat as the pattern stated, much quicker!

King Cole Top - nettynot blog

I finished the top in time to wear it for Knit in Notts 10th Birthday party back on the 2nd if July (yes it’s taken me this long to get around to written this). The only issue I had with the top was it relaxed quite a bit during its first wear, and started to slouch off my shoulders, I had been warned this may happen by Vanessa (which she quite liked about the top) however I don’t have much in the way of a bust to help hold the top up.

Slouchy top - nettynot blog

However it was easily sorted, I ripped back the last 6 rows on the neck band and re- knitted them on 3mm (as opposed to the original 3.25mm) and cast off quite tightly and that has fix the issue and I’ve continued to wear it quite a bit. It’s great over my summer strappy dresses when it’s a bit overcast or breezey and I’ve not been too warm in it. I have also gone against my self imposed theory that no knitted jumpers or cardigans should have short sleeves (well there’s always got to be an exception & it is meant for summer).
Aqua Top - nettynot blog

I would definitely Knit this again, I’d perhaps make it a tad shorter and add a little more shaping into the waist as I have a short torso. Pattern info and yarn details are all on my ravelry page. Though is worth mentioning that the Pattern & Yarn only cost me £11 in total (fortunately I only needed 2 balls – I had about 60cm to spare), which is a great bargain of course from my wonderful LYS Knit Nottingham!

Thanks for reading!

Patchwork Cushion

9 Aug

I have written a whole blog post about the chair I made this cushion (it was a slight tangent, but a lovely nostalgic one for me). However my original intention was to write about the cushion. I have made many things over the years and not documented them, I used to be able to remember the majority, however I find I stumble across old photos and think, oh I’d forgotten all about that skirt/bag/jumper I’d made. So I’m making a more concerted effort to document things, which Instagram has made easier to do, but I also like to use my blog as a notebook to myself as to the challenges/issues I encounter and had to resolve along the way. That said, although I do plan most of my project, at least to begin with, there is a considerable degree of  let’s just give it ago and see what happens.

I love a bit of Patchwork, and although it’s time consuming I do really like English paper piecing, which I hadn’t done for while after finishing the mammoth task of my Mum’s quilt. However I thought this would be a little project. I sketched a few ideas quite small to begin with and once I found an idea I was happy with I enlarged it and drew it out on some wall paper lining. I quite enjoy the Maths involved with patterns and pieces, I probably enjoyed this process as much as the actual making.

Paper piece template cushion - Nettynot Blog

Once I had my piece draw, in theory all the same shapes should be the same size, so it shouldn’t matter which pieces I sew together along as they are the right pieces, however learning from previous mistake I knew I really needed to be putting the pieces back together in exactly the way I cut them up, as it only takes a few of them to be a millimeter or so out to make it really awkward sewing them together later on (& I’m only human after all). So I numbered each piece and took a photo on my phone, for reference, before cutting up the template.

I often struggle to find enough time to get stuck into a project like this in one big chunk, so I decided I’d try to do the tacking and sewing of 1 set of shapes each evening for a week, so that it didn’t feel like it took too long to complete.

English Paper Piece - round Cushion cover - nettynot blog

It took me longer to decide what to do with back and get my act together to complete it. That didn’t go quite to plan, but I made it work in the end (sort of). I think the errors here were not measuring and cutting properly. I sewed strips of fabric together and made a cardboard template for the triangular shape, which really isn’t accurate enough when using a rotary cutter  (lesson learnt).

Cushion Back - Nettynot blog

The seams didn’t match up on the back terribly well, so I unpicks a couple of seams and tweaked it enough that it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb, but in the process it had the central two hexigans wonky, I would have prefer them to be symmetrical as intended however it’s not too bad and everyone (hopefully) will be looking at the front and not the back. That said I did get the invisible zip in evenly, though not so invisible with the fabric stretched slightly.

Cushion Back with zip - Nettynot blog

I do like the finished result, and it is the bold eye catching design I had in mind, influenced slightly by the leather 70’s pouffes seen in many retro and vintage shops. However if I was going make one again I would make the cover larger, whenever I make a square cushion cover I make it slightly smaller as it makes for a better plump finish, no one wants floppy cushion, I applied the same principal here, wrongly as I think it looks a little too tight and puckered at the edge. I think even just an extra half inch all round would have made a nicer fit.


I also might try to be clever next time and make a convex shaped cover to eliminate the puckering on the back…..hmmmm the cogs are whirring on that one already.

Thanks for reading.
Steph

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