Sunday, December 29, 2013

Colour and Who

The dark days of winter are here in Scotland and 2013 is coming to a close. Christmas this year has been a lovely family time after a long struggle to this year and brought a lot of closure. The man who killed my Uncle was convicted and sent to prison for a long time so we can now start to move on.

One thing that I've found a love for this year is colour or more specifically colour work. It's really not as scary as it seems. I've dabbled a little before but decided to dive in full force and knit Little birds by Ysolda Teague.

Litte birds

Which involved steeking or cutting knitting for the non knitters. Again not as scary as it seems.


I utterly love the cardigan and have worn it a lot.

The other big thing for me for the end of this year was the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. I started watching Doctor Who when I was very small and have loved the show since I first hid from the Daleks whilst they fought Tom Baker. So when it was announced that there would be an anniversary event in London on the day of the anniversary, I booked my ticket straightaway. There was of course, some pre event knitting.

Police box mittens in OMA Tardis and Dreich

Tardis mittens

And of course the scarf - which was finished off for the event a little shorter than planned but will eventually be fully finished

Who scarf stage 1

The scarf even got to meet some Doctor Who companions - Lalla Ward aka Romana II who was my favourite.

With Lalla Ward

Louise Jamieson aka Leela

With Louise Jamieson

And Jenna Coleman aka Clara Oswin

With Jenna Coleman

I met and listened to many other Doctor Who people which was really cool.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tapestry time

Just over a week ago, the Great Scottish Tapestry exhibition opened at the Scottish Parliament. Unfortunately I couldn't make the formal stitchers' preview event due to a trip to London but I've been over to visit it a couple of times now.

I've taken a lot of pictures which you can see at my flickr album Each time I look at it, I see something else to marvel at.

Last Saturday, I took a tour of the Parliament whilst I was visiting. For those who aren't familiar with how the UK is set up, Scotland remains part of the UK but certain issues are devolved to government in Scotland to deal with. The building itself has a controversial history - it took longer than expected to build, cost more and has had issues with beams falling. The designer of the building and the first minister of Scotland both died during the project build.

It is a lovely building and full of light, which is hard thing to achieve when it's rainy day in September in Edinburgh

View across chamber

It was amazing and somewhat emotional to see the panel I stitched on hanging there

Panel 130

There are so many panels that it's hard to pick out favourites. I love this one -panel 107 the Paisley lady

Panel 107

Panel 93 - Scots in India is another favourite

Panel 93

Panel 140 Cumbernauld is a great one, especially as it depicts a scene from classic 80s Scottish movie Gregory's girl which was set there

Panel 140

In November, a book of all the panels is going to be released and the Tapestry is going to be displayed elsewhere in the UK and in the USA/Canada hopefully in 2015. The panel I stitched on grew out of oral history project to record the stories of the people who lived in Paisley between the 2 world wars. A film has been made which is now online and hopefully the link will work below.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What's going on

The past month or so has gone pretty quickly.  We've had some actual summer weather which was fantastic and life is continuing on as before.

The Paisley 1930s panel is completed and we are just waiting for the exhibition at the Scottish Parliament next month.   

The final panel looked this.

I'm really looking forward to seeing it all together in one place.

The past few weeks have brought some challenges too. My ongoing hand issues have turned into something a little more serious and just over 4 weeks ago, I was found to have a prolapsed disc in my spine.  Thankfully no surgery is required but the cure is time, rest including no exercise and painkillers.  I'm a fairly recent convert to the whole gym/exercise thing but the not being able to go the gym is some thing I'm finding tough, largely because it worsens my insomnia. Things are gradually improving and I'm hoping to be back at the gym in about 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Last Great Scottish tapestry progress report

Again I spent yesterday with the Paisley great Scottish tapestry panel group stitching. This was the last Saturday of stitching on the project as its almost finished. There had been a lot of progress made in the past few weeks and yesterday. This is how the project looked at the end of yesterday's stitching session.


As I've done for quite a few times, I brought the project home to stitch on last night and today. This is how it looks now.


And some close ups




The bit I'm most proud of is the Mill girl which was finished this afternoon


The rest of the group are working on it further on Wednesday afternoon and should finish it then. The next time we see it will be probably at the Scottish Parliament in September. From what I understand the original plan was that all the stitchers would be invited to the opening of the exhibition but the number of stitchers has doubled since then so we are waiting to hear what the final arrangements will be.

Whilst the panel stitching is over, the plan is for the stitching group to continue. We are going to be taking part in a project called the Scottish Diaspora tapestry and will be stitching panels for this. There is also some early discussions about developing a project about Paisley and Renfrewshire, documenting our history in stitches as there are many tales to tell.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Great Scottish tapestry progress

Most Saturdays at moment I can be found at the Paisley Thread mill museum stitching on a local panel for the Great Scottish tapestry. Its been very interesting and has really got me interested in stitching again.

The panel designs were added by the project artist Andrew Crummy, with input from the group on the side panel images. The central area has set colours but the other colours are decided by the stitchers within the overall palette of the tapestry. The individual stitchers work out what stitches to use in the figures but the borders and lettering are in particular stitches - heavy chain and quaker stitch respectively

The last time I shared a progress picture, the panel looked like this

The Panel

The past few sessions and some time at home let me finish this square about Willie Gallacher a local political figure from the 1910-1940 era. I'm really pleased about how this turned out


And the whole panel looked like this at that point a few weeks ago


Here's an action shot of several of us stitching on the panel at the same time

The past few weeks has seen quite a bit of progress. I had the project at home for the past few days and this is how it looked when I handed it over prior to the mid week stitching meet up


Most of my weekend stitching focused on stitching the Mill girl figure in woven stitch covered with lazy daisy flowers


Other stitches have been working on the skater figure


And a cinema goer


The project is being filmed on Friday by the BBC for an edition of Songs of Praise but unfortunately I won't be there due to work. A local film maker is making a film for the national lottery heritage fund also which I have been filmed for so I have already been caught on film. We are hoping to finish the project this week and I think we might just make it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Escape to the country

Project progress has been a little slow of late due to the stitching on the Great Scottish tapestry. More about that soon. However earlier in the month, I escaped work for a holiday and headed off for an annual break with some stitching friends. We hire some farm cottages and spend the weekend talking, stitching, knitting and getting to see all the animals.

There are chickens and chicks




Goats that go for walks and help with the weeding


But best of all are the alpacas




I managed to finish a pair of socks when I was away - the yarn is Knitpicks Felici in Time traveller. A very appropriate colour way for this lifelong Doctor Who fan.

Time traveller socks

Monday, May 20, 2013

More stitching

So the stitching bug is really starting to come back. Last week I found a Sashiko kit that has been around for a while. The little straight stitches helped to soothe what was a very stressful week.

Sashiko panel

And in a very handy coincidence, it fits with the Monochrome May theme of Theme-a-licious 2013.

Most of this past weekend was spent stitching on the Paisley 1930s panel of the Great Scottish tapestry project. As the deadline for completion draws close, I brought the panel home with me to stitch on. I made a lot of progress and completed the central female figure.

central section

The whole panel looks like this.

The Panel

I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished panel hanging with all the others in the Scottish Parliament in August.

Last week was stressful for 2 very different reason. Firstly I was waiting to see if I had passed my most recent MSc module. Thankfully I have. The second reason was that the police made an arrest in the hunt for the man who killed my Uncle and finally at the end of the week, a man was charged with murder. The next few months are going to difficult but I'm much more hopeful we will get justice for my uncle.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saturday stitching

Again I spent this past Saturday working on a local panel for the Great Scottish Tapestry. Last week I stitch some shoes and a bit of a dress.

This week it was more shoes and some grass.

Paisley panel progress pic1

Paisley panel pic 2

Another stitcher finished this lovely thread label section

Corner close up of Paisley panel

The stitchers might recognise the Anchor motif - Paisley is the original home of the Coats and Clark families who founded the original companies that are now the Coats brand. The town has many statues dedicated to the family members, they also paid for the local town hall and built a local Church in memory of Thomas Coats. When I graduated from the local university, the memorial church is where we graduated. The town's textile history is also reflected in street names - Thread, Cotton, Lawn and Gauze streets amongst others.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Knitting finish - Blue milkweed

Like most Scottish people, I have relatives overseas in Canada.  My aunt went to live there over 40 years ago.  Unfortunately she's unwell at present and my mum and one of her sisters have travelled over to Ontario to visit her.  My aunt in Canada appreciated some knitting that I did for her grandchildren last year so I thought I'd knit her a little shawl to help whilst she has treatment.

The pattern is Milkweed by Laura Chau.  I've knitted this pattern before and its an enjoyable knit.  The yarn is Drops delight in blue.

Blue milkweed

Blue milkweed close up

Blue milkweed pic 2

Hopefully she likes it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Stitching progress

Before knitting came along,  stitching was my main crafty thing. Of late it has fallen by the wayside for a variety of reasons - mainly hand problems and the addictive properties of sock and shawl knitting.  After seeing the Prestonpans tapestry, I had an urge to stitch this past weekend and even finished a few things.

A little hardanger embroidery book mark.  This went much better than my previous attempts at this type of embroidery

Hardanger bookmark

A little hedgehog in satin stitch with french knots

Hedgehog embroidery

And I finished a Shepherds bush scissor fob that I started ages ago.

Here's the front

Scaredy sheep front

and the back

Scaredy sheep fob back

I then moved on to some finishing, sewing together the Trick or treat sacoche that I finished a few years ago.

Trick or treat Sacoche pic 1

Trick or Treat sacoche pic 2

Trick or treat sacoche pic 3

Trick or treat sacoche pic 4

Hopefully this wanting to stitch feeling will stick around for a little longer as I have a lot of projects I would like to stitch.