I work with Copyright by day and Craft by night ....

Marguerite Designs is now a registered trademark for fashion and homewares.

Join my blog as I experiment with colour, pattern and textile arts ...

I love photography, drawing, painting, working with fabrics/yarn and anything vintage ...

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Some decisions ...

From now on, I've decided that this blog, margueritedesigns, will be dedicated purely to my crafting and sewing activities only. This will include my sewing, knitting and dressmaking.

My surface pattern designs and illustrations will be seen in my professional capacity over at my companion site, www.hudson-sharpe.com

This should then distinguish the two activities clearly and not disappoint any of my sewing, knitting and crafting audience still hanging in here after all this time!  Thank you for still being here  😊

And on a more serious note ... this is a photo I took last time I was in my home town of Manchester, the busy bee symbol.  A city still close to my heart and even more so in these troubled times.  It will always stay with me and I don't have words to describe my feelings .... stay safe and strong everyone.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Make It In Design


Another reason for being quiet on the blogging front is that I've been following Make It In Design, Module 2, 'Creating Your Professional Identity'.  I've loved doing this course and am still creating my logo and business stationery for it.  It's made me do a bit of soul searching about where I want to go with my designing ...  It's a fabulous course for helping you get to the nitty gritty of who you really are as an individual.  I've been able to take up where I left off at art school years ago ... it was all about drawing and creating then, which is ok but not so hot for preparing you for the business world! This course and the preceding one 'Designing Your Way' which I took last year are great for this.  I am planning to do the next instalment, Module 3, 'Monetising Your Designs' next year.  In the meantime, I have lots of time to practice, get proficient with Photoshop and organise my portfolios. I'm glad that I've kept all the art I've every done over the years ...  This photobook was created using some of it as well as more recent work. I've learned how to mock up my ideas on to products which really brings the work to life and shows how it can be used commercially.  The company that made the book is Saal Digital. I took advantage of an Instagram offer to create the book and thought it would be a good way of having a go at making a 'Look Book'.  I'm really pleased with the quality of it and wouldn't hesitate to use them again.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Keeping Busy ...

I have been quietly crafting away in the background ... I've ventured into bag making and have entered a competition with one - I'll show it you once the winners are announced - I'm keeping my fingers crossed!  There's also another one underway as my second venture into Product Testing for Minerva, which should be finished after the weekend and you'll be able to see it on their blog soon. I've also made a brave stab at gardening - I take the Botanical Gardens near where I work as my inspiration and have just seen these lovelies on a lunchtime walk ...

I do love having a garden of my own, even though I don't have as much time as I like to tend to it.  It's perfect gardening weather at the moment - sunshine with regular showers - just got the plants in in time! 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Minerva Product Testing - Prym Ergonomic Knitting Needles

I was delighted to find out a few weeks ago that I had been selected to be a Product Tester for Minerva - they have the biggest selection of fabric, knitting, haberdashery and crafts products in the UK.  Have a look at their website here for all kinds of crafting goodies.  I will be notified at intervals about new arrivals there and I can select a product I'd like to try from a list.  To start with, I've received two sets of Prym Ergonomic knitting needles.  I first came across the term ergonomic in my Open University days as being a description for something that can be used safely and easily with optimum productivity and where form follows function.  It’s something I wouldn’t normally associate with knitting needles…. surely a knitting needle is a knitting needle and that's it?  I was intrigued to find out what could be different, especially as a left hander – would I be able to cope with them?    

They are beautifully packaged and would make a lovely present.

The needles arrived in boxes with window fronts.  I could see why when I handled them - they are very lightweight and need some kind of support around them for a point of sale area.

My current knitting project is the Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky.  It can be found all over the web and was first was printed in the Autumn edition of the 2006 Knitscene magazine.  You can buy a downloadable pattern at the Knitting Daily store here.

Photograph copyright http://www.interweave.com/store/central-park-hoodie Reproduced here for the purposes of criticism and review only  

The yarn I'm using was bought for me as a birthday present and I am just commencing knitting again after all the busy events of last year!  Hopefully, I should be finished in time for autumn and winter this time round.  I have already had to undo the project once as the size I chose was coming up too small – I am using Lion Brand Wool Ease in Denim Twist, a wool and acrylic blend in a lovely mottled denim effect which knits up beautifully but is not the recommended 100% wool yarn for the pattern which would have knitted up bulkier.  Anyway, I've now finished the back, which gives you an idea of the cabling detail.  This was knitted on regular needles.

 I have since started a sleeve using my 4mm Prym needles.  

I have 4mm and 3mm needles to try and this rib was done on the 4mm.  The texture and tension of my knitting is the same as when using a regular needle.

You can see this by comparing with the rib of the finished back piece.

Needles are light alabaster coloured – good for knitting while watching tv in minimal light and when used in conjunction with dark coloured yarns such as this one.  They are also flexible and bendy – if you like that from a needle – therefore commuter friendly if you like to knit while you travel like me.  The larger size has the needle size printed on the body which is handy for identification.  They are triangular shaped which makes them comfortable to hold and use and I had no trouble with the needles in conjunction with my left handedness!  The Prym website explains that the triangle shape helps the stitches to glide easily.  

needle size printed on the body

The needles have a drop shaped tip too which, as Prym explain, has been done to help with picking up and guiding of yarn.

The grooved bobble end allows for clicking the other needle into place when not in use.

They are made from a high performance synthetic material which doesn’t get sticky in use from your hands.

This is me using the needles at our work craft club which meets each Wednesday lunchtime.  We try out any kind of crafting as an oasis from the work environment.  I find knitting or patchwork to be the most portable.

I love, love how the needles click together when not in use to stop stitches falling off.
However ... take note and make sure your work is well hidden in your bag when travelling.  The needles are so lightweight that one of them made the journey on its own to Kings Cross, as it must have pinged off and then out of my bag when I gathered up my things to alight at Cambridge.  I looked everywhere for it and came to the conclusion that the train was the only place where I could have lost it ...

Everything has been thought of with this product.  Priced at £5.99 per pair, that is quite reasonable and I liked using them, though given the light nature of these needles I think I would like to try out yarns such as laceweight with them.  Overall, an enjoyable experience for my first outing as a Product Tester!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Sarah Campbell Fabric Painting Day

A grey start to the day....  I was unfortunately going to be a bit late for my class at The Fashion and Textile Museum and had already made my apologies in advance but there was a further delay at Moorgate tube and I had to walk down to London Bridge. Not a bad walk but I was then lost at Monument and Pudding Lane … I then realised I was also on the wrong side of The Thames!

Doubling back on myself, I found a stairway to the top of a bridge and was able to head towards The Shard at Bermondsey where I knew the Museum was located. 

I made my apologies at reception and was then able to join Sarah Campbell’s class who were just about to have a lunch break.  I took the opportunity to photograph everything and anything I could in the Josef Frank exhibition.  What impressed me was a riot of colour and blooms on lengths of fabric suspended from the ceiling.  

There was also a beautiful room set up with painted furniture, prints and glassware, where you could see the fabric in context.  

The Museum shop had Sarah Campbell scarves and cushions printed in mouthwatering colours ...  

Some from the past and newer designs such as this hand painted birds and nest.

I enjoyed browsing through the books and cards, particularly a Zandra Rhodes cut out and colour paper doll complete with outfits!  

I also came away with a Fashionary book – like a dictionary of fashion styles and faint templates of figures for drawing over.

It was a pleasure to meet Sarah Campbell, who I’ve blogged about before: Start to Finish - The Collier Campbell/Sarah Campbell Story UPDATED , when I saw her exhibition in 2014, again at The Fashion and Textile Museum.  

Although I was late, she made me feel at ease and I went straight into painting on calico.  I was inspired by the sunflowers I’d seen in the Frank exhibition.  I learned about auto-fade pens and lightly sketched out my pattern on the fabric. 

Auto fade pens are like felt pens but the outline disappears after a short length of time and doesn't spoil a painted design.  It’s been a while since I handled paint but I took to it again immediately and loved the way the fabric paints blended and bled on the cloth.  

I only had a couple of hours to do anything in and made the most of it while I could.  

The end of the class came round too quickly and I felt I should head off home in good time considering the journey I had in.  Delays on the way home too!  I didn’t arrive home until 9 in the evening which meant for an exhausting day.  Enjoyable though and of course, I met a heroine of mine  ....  A grey day ended up full of colour ...

I've since bought a set of fabric paints of my own and I'm now looking forward to finishing my design.  So glad to be back painting again! 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Cleo Goes to Work ....

I've finished my first Cleo and it won't be the last!  This Tilly and the Buttons pattern was a joy to sew from start to finish and ended up looking so professional - nothing homemade about it at all!  I stayed safe with my choice of fabric in navy blue, figuring that I could then wear it with a variety of tops.  I found it at The Fent Shop in King's Lynn, Norfolk which is a small, family run store which has been there for years (it even has it's own Royal Warrant!).  They now sell online too for anyone who's interested, although a visit in person is a treat as it is well stocked upstairs and down with all kinds of fabric treasures and discoveries - they are known as an 'Aladdin's Cave' of fabrics.

I've never sewn with corduroy before though but that was a pleasant experience - I used a thick cord which holds its shape nicely.  I only made one slight alteration to the pattern to suit my shape which was easy enough, grading the bottom half slightly larger to suit my shape.  The cord sewed up beautifully and is wonderfully soft.  I used a single row of topstitching all around to finish off.  It's a perfect outfit with a stripy top for our dress down days at work - I always stress about what to wear but this is perfect!  Watch out for more versions as spring and summer draws near ....... want to do a print version next ......

Friday, 3 February 2017

100,000 hits ...

Well for a small blog, then that's not bad!  Particularly as I haven't been as active in the last year. Thanks everyone and to all who have stayed around ...  I already have a couple of new posts coming up and am looking forward to the new blogging year.  In the meantime, some 'Fair Maids of February' to cheer us all up and show that spring is on its way!