A creative jump start

24 Jul

Once a year I get roped into helping my Mum out with one of her many jobs/duties as the secretary of the Lunesdale Agricultural show, it’s usually a little frantic the day before and there’s lots of ticking things off long lists, the show itself is quite traditional and the actual day is quite fun with a great atmosphere with the odd person telling me ‘you must be Gill’s daughter & that they knew my Grandparents’ – it feels quite homely despite having never lived in the area myself.

Despite the slight bit of work involved with helping out, I do look forward to the show each year for a couple of reasons, firstly working in a city it’s delightful to escape for a few days to a place that is so far from my ‘Norm’, to a world where people are chatting about sheep passports, cattle and farming. And secondly the home industries show!

Some of last years winning items

Some of last years winning items

Every year since my Mum has been involved (I believe this is her 4th year) I have entered items into the homes industries show, usually bits and piece I’ve made throughout the year. Previously I’ve entered beadwork, a crochet rug, patchwork, felting and jewellery, on average maybe 4 or 5 pieces a year. Chatting to my Mum last weekend I suddenly felt all creative & determined, having had a little bit of a creative lull, mainly to do with the hot weather I think & the fact I’ve not being able to face tidying my craft room, so I pulled myself together, got tidying and started making lists & sketching ideas!

re-discovereed skirt to finish

I do find that tidying and having a sort out of stashed items can in itself lead to some great ideas as well as some great re-discoveries. For example I found a half finished skirt that I started making last year (but then the weather turned & so the skirt got put into hibernation, where I forgot all about it).
liberty print fabric strip

I also discovered the Kumihimo disk that I bought several months ago with the intention of having a play with braiding with different textured thread. So here came my first idea, and a perfect excuse to do what I intended to do in the first place. So I rummaged around to find some suitable fabric I could braid with and found an off cut of some thin Liberty print fabric I used for a previous project that was already in a thin strip (& also cut on the bias which makes life much easier). Using different materials I thought it best to stick to a simple pattern and one that I already knew that uses 8 threads.
Pink Kumihimo conbination
I created this pink and green braid first – picking out threads to match the colours in the fabric.
I liked how the braid turned out, I just wasn’t so sure about the colour, mainly as their not my usual cup of tea & the fabric was a little swallowed out in the overall design.pink kumihimo braiding

Version two I used a thicker strip of fabric and added in a few more beads and chose coloured I much preferred, mainly blue and turquoisy-greens.
blue kumihimo braiding
However once I’d done this braid I discovered I much preferred the original one, I liked the twisted effect it had and I decided it wasn’t the end of the world that you couldn’t see much of the fabric – the designs & colours worked well together & I may not wear it myself, but it will serve its purpose in the show and I will no doubt find someone to give it to.

If you’re interested in learning Kumihimo braiding there is a free sheet of downloadable instructions on The Bead Shop (Nottingham)’s website, where I also got the disk. There are loads of variations of kumihimo braiding on pinterest, once you’re set up with your disk & threads the braiding is quite therapeutic.

Although my blue deign didn’t work out as well as I anticipated, all it not lost. With some of the excess bits I cut off, I simply plaited together the left over fabric strip and 2 different ribbon pieces and finished them off with fold over ends and a clasp to create a simple & effective wrap around bracelet, I left the fabric ends attached, so I could tie them to disguise the clasp. It shows off the fabric and it’s perfect for summer.
Wrap bracelet clasp
Wrapped bracelet

I have loads more ideas up my sleeve for the home industries including this wire work necklace I created this week. Based on a workshop I teach at The Bead Shop, herringbone wire wrapping, I thought I’d play around with colour and created this bold necklace.
Herringbone wire wrapping

Look out for more posts about my entries.


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