A fairly ‘unseasonal’ dash of sunshine added to the usual rain has come as a nice reminder that, in the sun, Dublin really is quite a nice place! There isn’t much blogging going on these days but presumably we’ll be back to soggy conditions soon so we’re enjoying sunshine while we can.
While on holidays I got a message from Nicoline at the The Reckless Needle, saying she was awarding my little blog a lovely Liebster Award. Nicoline has a beautiful sewing blog and her makings put my fairly rudimentary sewing skills to shame. Definitely go over there and have a little look.
The award is a great way of raising the profile of other blogs and a little rummaging around the web has uncovered the rules:
1. Anyone nominated wins! (that’s my favourite bit)
2. You should link back to the person who nominated you.
3. You should nominate five blogs, with less than 200 followers, that you like that you feel deserve the award.
4. You should let nominee’s know by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. You should attach the little Liebster badge to your blog.
As suits, you also get to ask your nominees a few questions. Here’s my answers to Nicoline’s….
1. How long have you been stitching? I started knitting as a child as my Mum, Grannies and Aunties were great at knitting. We learnt in school with little plastic needles and I remember the horrible acrylic wool squeaking off them as I used to knit waaay too tightly! I came back to knitting on-and-off during my teens but really in the last few years with the arrival of babies and – frankly, much less time being spent hanging around pubs!
My Mum used to sew us things on her old reliable Singer sewing machine. Although she would play it down now, she was actually pretty handy at it and even turned her wedding dress into a communion dress for my older sister and I. Even then though, I was quite a bit taller, so the surviving photos show my dress was a little on the short and indecent side! Ah, the 80’s.
As for crochet, I learnt a few years ago, while expecting my daughter. I found it really hard at the start but then took to it really quickly and I love it. The only draw back to my learning was financial – it turns out releasing a heavily pregnant woman into a designer wool shop is a recipe for stash-building!
2. Where did you learn to sew?
As proven by my dodgy sewing skills, I am pretty much self-taught in that department – though a recent class in the creative embroidery class in The Constant Knitter, has given me some needed encouragement to start more hand-sewing.I learnt knitting at home and in school – something I’m delighted to see our local boys and girls schools have continued to teach. My crochet classes were in the wonderful This is Knit in Powerscourt.
3. Why do you sew?
Most of my sewing is for my daughter who is nearly two. In my ‘lots of money, no kids years’ I was pretty good at trying to buy clothes from fairly ethical shops (that said I was probably just another naive consumer sourcing stuff from the opposite end of a sweat shop). With my kids, even though I have way less money, I have tried to minimise the amount of clothes we buy for them. We’ve been really lucky to have friends with slightly older kids who recycle their clothes onto us (always gratefully received – i.e. feel free to keep ’em coming), and I like mixing those with things I buy and make. I particularly like simple stuff for my kids and am a little conservative about the things I make particularly for my daughter (they are after all toddlers, not teenagers!). Also, I love making pressies for special little friends. Their mamas seem forgiving of the dodgy finishes and love the idea of handmade.
4. Which blogger has had the biggest impact on you?
I love Anne Marie’s Haakblog – a really contemporary take on crochet and other crafts like paper craft from Anne Marie in the Netherlands. I particularly love her weekly ‘Link Your Stuff’ which gives bloggers – big and little, a great way to profile their stuff and swap ideas. Anytime I have posted in her links I get really nice comments from visitors and great ideas for patterns and stuff.
5. What is the thing you have made you are most proud of?
From my sewing stuff I most love these little ‘Lucy Tunics’ from Schwin and Schwin Design. I would say I have made about ten of them in fabrics including jersey and cotton and they are just great! They are girlie without being fussy and handily reversible for that post-spaghetti switch around.
Yarn-wise, it’s got to be the epic Roses and Daisies Blanket. It’s my Ulysses – unless it starts unravelling, in which case it’s my 50 Shades of Grey.
6. How do you balance the rest of your life with sewing?
In short, there’s no balance – just a lot of squeezing and a good dose of multi-tasking! I work in a very non-crafting job 4 days a week, have 2 kids under 4, a husband I am quite fond of, and a large circle of very lovely family and friends I don’t get to see half enough of (though they may feel differently!). It’s always a bit hectic but I really feel quite put out if I don’t manage to knit or crochet in the evening. I think I have lost the ability to sit still and also to go to bed early – oh and I’d honestly say the last 5 years of telly may has well have been the radio given the amount of time I listen but don’t watch.
7. What piece of advice would you give to a novice stitcher?
For all crafts be cautious about free patterns – oooh and when sewing check if your pattern includes a seam allowance. Finally, for knitting and crochet, seriously, work out the yarn substitution.It could save you serious heart-ache. Learnt those the hard way!
8. What sewing skill eludes you that you would like to perfect?
Neat finishes on the inside! Those places hide my inner shame – which explains my love for reversible stuff!!
9. Why do you blog?
Probably because it creates a nice little space that is all mine! Considering its about four years since I went to the loo alone (eh, except at work!) having somewhere that is just for little old me is a fairly decent aspiration! When I was expecting my daughter my work situation changed from being self-employed/partner back to being an employee so the arm-chair psychologist part of me probably thinks that making this little crafty world was a fairly healthy way of making that really big transition a little easier. This way, I still have my own little corner of things where I’m my own boss!
10. Where do you look for inspiration?
Oh, Pinterest, Pinterest and Pinterest. And other blogs too.
11. Tell me something about yourself that people would be surprised to know!
I spend a good chuck of my time working in the world of engineering and construction where my male colleagues actually think its hilarious I knit, crochet, sew and bake – let alone organise these things on a community scale. I think they think I’m some sort of repressed Bronte sister who has forgotten what year it is! I recently actually had to point out that feminists have hobbies to. That ‘f-word’ certainly shut them up!
Now, as for my nominees, I don’t really know how to check up on follower numbers so I just did awards for people whose blog I love and gave a short reason why. Please don’t be insulted the many of you who have more than 200 followers…
I love MollyMoo – a craft site for kids and their parents. Michelle has a mad range of lovely projects and has done really fantastic stuff making crafts accessible – and winning a few awards in the process.
The Woolly Way of Ireland is a fab resource for linking and promoting arts and crafts projects and textiles in Ireland. Orla posts endless amounts of information on all types of events – and was kind enough to post a notice on our community crafting evenings for all to see.
Martin at Patents Pending does great projects and I like his recycling and project montages; and this lovely girl at An Apology for an Idler makes nice stuff and simply makes me laugh! Can’t go wrong there I reckon.
And finally f
or foodie heaven, my friend Sarah, another very busy Dublin Mama writes great recipes at her Home Organics shop’s blog
. I’m happily extending some Liebster love to her as surely its pure craft to make something look that good while juggling 3 kids, a husband and a shop….
So happy days everyone – and thanks for the crafty blog-fest.