Monday, 8 June 2015

A different craft for Isobel: taking over from another crafter, who lost interest.

Hello there - a day late! 

Cy Bear here just to let you know that all is well, but to also apologise for not posting as usual yesterday.

Earlier this year, one of our Sleepy Koalas ( left us for its new Forever Home in Devon, UK, and it was followed shortly thereafter by its Adopting Friend, MsHG ordering first the Grey Baby Koala ( to keep Sleepy company, and then the Brown one - because we're no longer making them, to conserve the faux fur for our Big Light Brown Teddy Bears (

Because Isobel has got involved in another craft recently, we've not been doing quite as much on the Coldham  Cuddlies front that is new for us to post about.  So, as our computer has also been out of commission today as far as Isobel is concerned (it's been being cleaned out, because there was too much stored on the hard disc), we decided we'd show you this picture of a recent Farewell Ceremony to start with - and then Isobel can take over from here to tell you about the new craft project.

Thank you Cy Bear:  good to be back with everyone and my apologies too for the late post this week.  Yesterday saw me otherwise occupied in family oriented activities (the First Communion of Clare and Alan's godson, followed by a family party) and it was just too late for any blog composition to take place.  

However, I thought I'd let you see how my time is being taken up with a change of craft - which my fellow residents and I hope will result in an injection of funds for our future entertainment.  The Tenants Committee spend time organising outings for us and - naturally - they cost.  So, the Housing Association who runs our complex encourages its residents to undertake independent activities.  While they do contribute some funds towards the cost of such events, they also encourage their tenants to raise their own funds independently.

A few weeks ago, a former resident, who still visits at our regular weekly Coffee mornings, mentioned she had a half-finished latch hook rug that she wanted to get rid of (she had started spring cleaning a bit earlier and needed more space in her current dwelling).  Apparently, the project had been started some 10-15 years ago, when she was living in Cyprus - although she had purchased the wool and canvas here in Kirkby-in-Ashfield either before she moved there, or during a visit home while she was living abroad.  In the interim, she'd lost interest in the rug and still couldn't motivate herself to finish it off.  She offered it to anyone in the room at the time who might like to take it over - with the Residents deciding what to do with the finished item.

I was the only person who had either ever made such a rug (in the 1960's, when I made one for an Aunt and Uncle's 40th Wedding Anniversary!), and I still had the latch hook among my craft tool store.  So, I volunteered to take it over - and three weeks or so later, the package duly arrived, together with the wool supplies she could find in her home.

This is half the rug, and the original crafter had done one side up to the middle white row.  The opposite side was not level, so I started out by working the other side to match.  However, during that exercise,  it rapidly became clear that there was not going to be sufficient green or white yarn for the project to be completed.  (Now anyone with any knowledge of matching yarns when one is actually involved in a project knows that a total match is not always possible - whether one knits, crochets or, as in in this case, hooks rugs.  When there's a 10-15 year break in the mix, the problem is definitely intensified.)  

So I set about seeing  how to  replenish my wool supplies to the point the project could be completed.  Our benefactor told me where she'd got the wool in the first place, so as the market stall was still in existence (although not necessarily in the same hands) I started there.  A total blank - the current stall holder does not sell rug wool any more, and couldn't remember ever having done so.  A similar result was achieved by visiting every haberdashery supplier in the immediate neighbourhood. 

So an internet search was begun and I discovered five or six likely candidates and started approaching them.  One was particularly promising, because not only did they sell rug wools, but they appeared to have a green that might be a good match - (or near-match) - AND they also supply the polyester fibre stuffing needed for the Cuddlies.  My current stock is dwindling, and their prices are very competitive with those I have been accustomed to pay previously in Wiltshire.  

So, having levelled the two sides of the rug, I decided to use the white wool (it's actually a creamy pink, until one has hooked it onto the canvas) and edged the whole pattern as I decided to change the pattern and use up the brown, rust and red colours, as well as the mixed greens,  in a different way. 

 Provided  get a reasonable match, I'm going to get more cream wool like the sample already received.  Although it's a lot more creamy than the original one - once mixed up together and latched I don't think it will look too peculiar, especially as there's going to be a different pattern (which will be revealed when the project is completed!)

The independent square shown in the second picture, is the replacement cream wool, which is also a little shorter than the original wool piece.  I've made this up, so that I can created a template - it's  approximately 10 mm square (4 inches) - which  will then be used on the blank canvas to calculate how many more packets of the creamy white wool I will need to complete the project. You can see that when it's made up, the colours are not that different where the cream is concerned. 

The green does have more of a difference, but it has been agreed by one and all (the progress is monitored with interest by my fellow residents!) that when complete, it should not look too bad - because it will look as though the colours have been deliberately chosen to look like that!!  (I do profoundly hope that indeed it will be so!)   The intention is to use up the colours in squares alternating with the cream background until the hole in the middle is filled.  I managed to do two green squares this afternoon - I'm planning on spending up to a couple of hours each afternoon until the thing is finished - and it's not looking too bad so far.

Meanwhile, the other tenants are debating how best to use the finished rug as a fund-raising tool - the cost of the replacement wool is being met half from the existing Tenants funds and the rest from the Cuddlies.  We've been offered a 10% discount on any purchases I make from the firm I located after the internet trawl.  

You will be updated - and meanwhile, this evening, as a bit of a respite, I've managed to almost complete the Tiger Prototype Puppet I've been working on, while waiting for the new pattern for Daniel Tiger to arrive from Tulsa.  Am hoping that will come this week, so that I can get on and finish that contract, and then get on with replacement Cuddlies - have got a lovely supply of new poplin fabrics for Lady Toys that I can't wait to make up.

Until then - Cy Bear and I will sign off, while wishing everyone a good week.