Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Sometimes It Goes Wrong

I was just sitting sorting through photos on the computer and it struck me that I'd never shared these with you, taken way back in the Summer. I remember this well because I sat outside in the sun doing much of the sewing in my spare time. I also remember it well as... the project which went wrong. Gasp!

Overflowing with enthusiasm after my time with the fabulous Julie Arkell at Cowslip Workshops, and being a little brooched-out back then, I hankered after making a fabric necklace. We weren't shown how to make them on the course though you will see Julie's necklace in the photos if you look with eagle eyes at this blog post, as Julie brought many of her beautiful handmade items to share with us.

Off I went, maybe it was all the sun (or all the wine?), merrily chopping out circles of Liberty Tana Lawn, as I decided this would be a good fabric to make the "balls" in (beads really?), being relatively light weight.

Ooooh, how I loved watching my little pile of balls grow. So very tactile, such delightful spriggy fabrics. (Note the Mollie Makes inspired photo!)

Having beavered away making rather a lot of the little balls, when I had finally sewn them together, I gaily flung my necklace round my neck and skipped indoors to the mirror to see how it looked. Giddy and exciting times, dear reader.

Oh horror of horrors! Had I not created the largest ever fabric necklace in history? It seems my sense of scale had deserted me. What size did you cut those delicious circles of Tana Lawn, Hen?

As such, I've rather preferred looking at my photos of piles or handfuls of Liberty fabric balls and when I just decided to write this post, I knew you would probably want to see a shot of the finished article. Well, goodness me if I had no idea where the necklace of disaster was, sadly discarded in disgust. However, a little search in the Den found it hanging on the back of the door.

(Look how dreadful the light is for photos. Oh I hate this time of year. Sulk.)

Admire my Ma Larkin-esque housecoat, why don't you, instead of that disgraceful necklace.

And while we're on the subject of housecoats and Mollie Makes-esque photos... I may as well add this one into the mix. Decidedly unflattering though this photo is, it still contains an undeniably splendid pink glass hen for my collection and another marvellous housecoat.

Maybe when the Munchkin is older and taller, he will not take such awful photos of me, shot from below, with me looking rather portly. Or is that when I stop eating cake?

Want to share your crafty disaster? Go on, it'll make me feel better (sob).


  1. The necklace looks pretty - is it really large.....?
    Julie xxxxxxx

  2. Maybe the necklace wasn't a success, but your pink nails look fantastic!

  3. Sorry ~ missed the last sentence, my crafty disaster is the quilt I am cuurently making. Because I want to try and sell the quilt, the quilt seems to know this........and has decided that three of the square have not fitted properly they have got to be unpicked and restitched!
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  4. I've just had one today Hen. I have been attempting to make my hanging Santa dolls for the V&H and have very nearly ended up hanging myself in between bouts of swearing at the machine and throwing the scissors! I think I had better leave the sewing alone today, but now I've got to clear it all up. I am looking forward to a well earned glass of the old vino later. Love the necklace by the way, all those little balls look so pretty.
    Jo xx

  5. Love the necklace, can't see any mistakes :) your little hen is so cute too!

    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  6. Your post made me chuckle. How about turning disgraceful necklace into some kind of Christmas garland?

    Craft disaster? Got none....well....there are a few teddy body parts lurking around....even the odd head! Burke and Hare eat your heart out!

  7. Here is my disaster. My first patchwork. I've probably made all the mistakes there are. But you know what? After being fustrated for a while, I thout, oh well, why not leave it this way it will always remeber how hard the patchwork beginning were. By the way this is only the middle part and the hole project gets better and better, but not finished yet.
    Here you can see it:
    Tell me what you think about it.

    Have a nice day.

    P.S. Don't the cats like to play with it ;-)

  8. I wouldn't call that a disaster at all!! very pretty and chunky at the same time :o)

  9. I think it looks great, chunky necklaces seem pretty popular at the moment. I love your little pink hen, I have never seen one like it before.
    Ann x

  10. Not just me that finds doom laden projects lurking....I was thinking of you on Monday as I have designed a quilt that requires sludge and was gazing upon some sludgy fabrics and feeling positively inspired by them.Came home and stroked my Amy Butler stash until I got back to norma.

  11. I think the bracelet is lovely Hen! Why don't you use the necklace as a garland for the mantelpiece in your den or to decorate the Christmas tree? I think it would look lovely. I have just seen that Amanda has suggested the same thing. It will make a beautiful garland - it just needs to be a a metre or so longer! x

  12. Hé your little hen looks the same as mine, except mine isn't pink. My mother in law gave her to me a long time a go. I's on the shelf in my kitchen,...

    there's a picture of it in this post,...

  13. Oh dear Hen so brave to share!
    I say make them into Christmas decs, I'm not sure how, but they're to pretty to hide!!

  14. The necklace is pretty but if you feel uncomfortable with it on, then I would suggest as have Amanda and Simone that you use it as a decoration. Perhaps string it on a fairly thick thread, perhaps a bead either side of each ball then a long length between bead/ball/bead? I hope you do something nice with it anyway, to much effort gone into it to discard.

  15. I'm really impressed with those little fabric balls actually, you know what though I think they'd make fab bracelets! It doesn't really matter how big they are :-)

  16. I am sure that you can do something else with the pretty beads - they actually look rather lovely stacked up in a bowl!

    For the photos, you need to stand on a box and get the Munchkin to stand further away and kneel down at a slight angle side on - this will give a wonderfully slimming effect (I have tried it and it works)!

    Pomona x

  17. My disaster is the on going quilt. While using my new walking foot I have somehow managed to break my sewing machine, I have never quilted before so I was obviously doing something wrong. Im SOoo sad!!!

  18. It's hard to judge the scale on a computer screen but however big the beads are they certainly are beautiful. One of the things you could do is to scent it with perfume or essential oils and use it to either fragrance a room (very gently) or hang it in the wardrobe or put in the drawer and make all your things smell nice. It is gorgeous though and should definately be used and not thought of as a disaster.

    I think it is better to try out something and have it go wrong than be a dreadful procrastinator like me. I am so afraid of buying the wrong thing or messing up and wasting stuff that I don't do nearly as much as I should. I also mind about using materials I have got (they are a bit limited) as then I won't have them any more! I spend far more time, looking and talking than I do making.

    I do have a knack for totally messing things up right on my very last stitch of both knitting or crochet. I did it on my border for my crochet blanket. The clever idea I had for sorting it out didn't work and also messed up the first stitch meaning I had to undo the whole row to get to it and redo it - quite a lot of work. I also cast off the last stitch for a fingerless glove, didn't like how that stitch looked, tweaked in the wrong place and found I had unravelled every end stitch for about 3 rows down. So I had to undo the cast of and about 3 rows (the end stitches are a bit loopy and confuse me). I was so excited about finishing too as I loved them! All is well with both though and I am very pleased with them now.

  19. Funny, I didn't imagine you having disasters!! I have them all the time then take it out on everyone else.
    Love the pink hen.

  20. I love the fabric necklace, its so bright and cheerful!!! Just what I need on a cold winter day!!!
    Chris :o)

  21. your 'disaster' is still pretty wonderful, what if you just spaced them out on ribbon or leather or put other smaller beads between them, or had a group of 5 or 7 with just ribbon tied to them? Not sure if I'm making sense? I think they lovely anyway.

  22. Keep your chin up, Hen. You do lovely work! And I know they didn't turn out as you had wanted but I think they are still cute.

  23. i see Liss has the same idea as me, to intersperse the bigger fabric beads with smaller ones or sections of ribbon,chain, glass beads perhaps? it is still very pretty , as are your lovely printed dresses.
    My recent disaster - just knitted 3 blanket squares and they are all quite different sizes despite same amount of stitches and being measured! Now i have to stop due to a type of RSI in wrist from computer - just as well perhaps!

  24. I think they look funky monkey!
    But I know what you mean when you feel something does not work for's sort of a let down, especially when you have a picture in your mind and it does not come out the way you thought it would....
    I made some tie backs with zip zag type edges....they are still holding the curtains back, I don't like em....but not got around to removing them and as my darn machine is broken....I can't make any more....annoying!

    Ho hum!

    Maybe the beads would look more at home trimming a large shopper bag...


  25. Oh Hen, my crafty 'disasters' wouldn't even fit in this expandable comment space lol :o)

    I have to say though I do like those beautiful balls (beads) that you have made. They are very, very pretty, and must have taken a while to make too!

    I love your MaLarkin-esque housecoats too! You do find the most gorgeous vintage clothing and brooches:o)
    Is your lovely little hen vintage? I've never seen one like that...I do like glass treasures.
    And you're wearing a pretty bracelet whilst holding the hen as well :o)

    Take care Hen.
    Love Donna x

  26. Oh! It is so refreshing to know that you, of all people, whose work is always soooo beautiful, can also produce a disaster!!
    Not that it was an entire disaster, mind, the beads are still very pretty and look lovely together in the bowl - like delicious sweeties.
    My disasters tend to be put away and not likely to be seen again for many a month!

  27. I think you could take that apart and make several necklaces. One for you, others for your shop. I would use 5 or 7 in the middle then switch the remaining "beads" to descending sizes. You wouldn't need to fill the whole ribbon, leather, or whatever you decide to use with beads. This would relieve the bulky look which, I suspect is why you don't like it. Your a smarty show us how you decide to make lemonade out of lemons.

  28. Erin from Australia24 November 2011 at 01:38

    Why not separate and hang those lovely little balls on your Christmas tree with matching ribbons/lace/wool- a liberty tree would be so pretty :)

  29. I'm with Pomona. They look charming in that bowl. Or, perhaps you cold put them in the hen? They are lovely. Smaller, the patterns wouldn't show at all.

  30. Hen, I do so very hope that you did not truly Discard those beautiful Liberty globes? They are bound to suggest another destination to you.

    I don't know if you have easy access to The New Yorker Magazine, but think that you'll be able to find a way to seek out its November 21, 2011 issue either in print on on line. It is the Food Issue and is full of fabulous articles. Why I bring this to your attention is an article by John Seabrook, called Crunch, and it's all about how new apples are sought out, bred, and sometimes even made available to those of us who love apples. Perhaps a starting place might be to see Mr Seabrook visiting an orchard.

    I think that you'd love the entire issue, but this article in particular.


  31. Well I think they're very cute! You make such cute bags, would your necklace withstand being made into the handles/straps for a purse/tote? To keep for yourself, of course! But they are very sweet just as they are. Bess

  32. Where do I start? Disasters go with the crafting territory. Without them where would my dog lie while I'm crafting? Hmm, she really likes the quilt I never bound because I decided some of the fabrics were horrible. What about the one curtain in my craft room, still waiting for a partner? Amazing how high a boy cat can wee when he puts his mind to it- all over my lonely single craft room curtain. I made a lovely button necklace that flops everywhere rather than sitting flat like other people's ones. I could go on forever! I rather like your necklace with the big balls. Not good with a dainty floral blouse, but fab with a more modern plain dress. xxx

  33. But they look good in the bowl! My friend makes lovely necklaces like this....' Kim Bows' you can find her on Facebook. I have lots of things that go wrong :( x

  34. Gosh I love your bright pink glass hen! I got a turquoise glass one not long ago.. in your honor! We have our Thanksgiving tomorrow.. I'll be taking photos for my blog. Yummy turkey!!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  35. I have a few myself and when clearing out my many baskets of fabrics I find them lurking underneath, what do I do with them, undo or cut out the material I can save and start again. Love your Mollie Makes photos.

  36. I wonder if those Liberty beads would not make the most fantastic Christmas garland? Perhaps strung with some space between the lovely fabric beads! They would look charming nestled in tree branches!

    My own crafting catastrophes? Too many to count! I forget them promptly as I move on to the next exciting project!

  37. I think it looks fine! But I was thinking along the same lines as a couple of other commenters - if you really don't like it, try stringing the beads on thick shiny cord (technical term!) with knots either side of each bead and a few inches of cord before the next one, I'm sure they'd look lovely like that - and you'd have enough for a few necklaces, win-win!

  38. Oh Hen I think it is adorable!! I would feel like a princess wearing it :) Maybe you could send it to me and then at least you won't feel like all that ball making has gone to waste ;) Really I love it. I have disasters all the time, part of learning and growing...well that is my excuse! Have a lovely weekend Hen....

    PS let me know if you want my address ;)

  39. I think those pictures of you are great! Love the nail varnish. :) I've had 'disasters' that I saw through to the bitter end and still hated them. But your little liberty balls are gorgeous! Maybe the necklace is too large for some tastes but you could still use them. What about sewing them together to make a little christmas tree shaped ornament?
    Jess xx

  40. Your Liberty balls are lovely, it's a shame not to use them for something.
    As others have said, you could maybe use some at the front of a necklace and make smaller ones to go round the back of your neck so it's not so bulky. What about hanging about three of them from a handbag or to make a key ring?

  41. I love the liberty cuff in the photo with the pink hen. Did you make it and more to the point, is there a tutorial ;) sharonxxx

  42. The bracelet was made during a weekend at Cowslip with Julie Arkell so if you would like to make one, you'll need to book yourself onto one of her workshops and have a fabulous time!
    Hen x

  43. So what's wrong? Who says it should be apparel? I think they would be lovely placed in a bowl or basket as a sachet. Or perhaps strung as garlands for the tree, mantel, etc.? Just think, they could be offered seasonally? If I had the time and/or the inclination, I would offer them up on Etsy in a heartbeat. The best part is that you mentioned that you truly enjoyed making them. Also, those necklaces have been done to death.

    Bonne Chance!

  44. OK, HEN, your don't have a disaster, sob. Think of the possibilites, sachets, garlands for mantels, trees, bookshelves, etc. You could do it seasonally.

    Whatever, I think you have a money-maker. The gravy is you can do it by the hearth and you are doing something you love.

    Garlands seem to be something grand. Just let people that Niki in Chicago, Illinois requested this idea.

  45. I think the little balls of fabric are lovely. But the necklace might be better where "less is more". Maybe you have enough for four or more necklaces. Maybe they can be strung with something pretty like long pearly beads. I just love the colors in your crafts and the professional quality of your blog, I've been reading for several years now but this is the first time I've written.
    Robin in Portland Oregon

  46. It's not wrong; just not what you expected it to turn out like perhaps?

  47. I thought id say hello, and greetings from the states. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,pa

  48. The necklace if fab Hen! You could sell that and you wouldn't be copying Julie, because I've seen that necklace in Cath K and other places. The joy of making those necklaces to sell is that you have the most amazing cloth stash to choose fabric from, so each necklace would be different. I don't think I saw you selling them on your vintage fair stall. Just lovely, that necklace Hen! Love Vanessa xxx

  49. Oh and I forgot to say, maybe if it was a shorter necklace it would work better, closer round the neck? I'd wear it, I like large necklaces! Love Vanessa xxx


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