Friday 23 May 2014

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Degree Show 2014

I had an hour in Dundee this morning to take a speedy look around the Degree Show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. I graduated from this art college in 2000 after studying Fine Art, specialising in sculpture. As soon as I entered the building the distinctive art college smell of oil paint and turps took me right back to to my student days. I enjoyed walking the familiar corridors which have changed very little since then.

I decided to concentrate on Fine Art and Textile departments because I was so pushed for time. In the Fine Art department I was struck by the variety of techniques and media that the students had used. My visit began at 10am and there were no artists there to talk to and ask permission to take photos so I am unable to share any images with you on here. I settled for taking a photo from the 6th floor corridor, from the window my middle sister, Aimee Henderson (BA(Hons), 2011), looked out of when it was her studio!

The view from the 6th floor, looking across the River Tay

By the time I reached the Textiles department the students had woken up and I was pleased to chat to a few of them. I enjoyed the work of Jennifer Heilbronn because of her eye catching use of mega chunky yarn!

Jennifer's tunisian crochet

I liked Jennifer's use of colour, mainly blues and oranges, invoking images of the sea, sand and maritime life. Take a look at her website, the photography is stunning!

I am looking forward to next year's show, when I will definitely make sure there is time to see more work!

Thursday 22 May 2014

Free Crochet Pattern - Zig Zag Scarf

I have designed this easy crochet project which works up really fast! It is a versatile pattern, the finished scarf is suitable for both men and women to wear and it can be made in any colour you choose! This pattern has been thoroughly tested and I am happy to share it with you for your personal use. Please respect my original design and do not reproduce this pattern or the scarf made from it for your own financial gain. Happy hooking!

finished scarf


2 x 100g balls Rowan big wool (approx 80m / 87 yds per 100g), in any colour
10 mm crochet hook
tapestry needle (to sew in the ends)


Because it is a scarf the tension is not too important, just keep your stitches loose. Approx 9 stitches and 3 rows per 10cm²
Finished size approx 140cm x 15cm

Abbreviations (UK terms)

ch chain
ch sp chain space
tr treble
cab st cable stitch (see notes)


The zig zags are created by working 1 cable stitch in the missed treble space; work 3 trebles, then yarn round hook, insert hook in the skipped treble space, pull through, yarn round hook, pull through first 2 loops, yarn round hook, pull through last 2 loops.

detail of scarf


Edit: This pattern was only free for a short time. It is now available to buy for only £3.60 from my Ravelry store ( or my Etsy shop (

Thursday 8 May 2014

Adding little details

I have not done as much crocheting as usual this past week or so because I have become obsessed with adding embroidery detail to my clothing! It began with an ankle length denim skirt. This skirt has always been one of my favourites but every time I wore it I imagined stitching extra detail around the hem. I looked out my embroidery threads and chose a slightly muted palette to go with the denim and began embroidering. Once I started I realised just how much fabric was in the skirt around the hem and that I had a lot of stitching to do!

detail on my ankle length denim skirt

As soon as this skirt was finished I attacked another denim skirt! This one was knee length and I decided to keep it simple, I free hand embroidered some flowers to one panel. I stuck to a blue fairly close to the colour of the denim in the skirt because I liked the fact that this skirt went with almost any colour of top, making it very versatile, and I wanted to keep it that way.

knee length denim skirt with flowers

detail of skirt

Altering my clothes and adding details like this is something I have done since my late teens. There have been a few disasters along the way, for example the time I decided to embroider massive flowers on a pair of bright blue cords - I used satin stitch but the stitch length was about 5cm, leaving big gaping holes that never really filled and the trousers ended up in the bin (clothes recycling wasn't available then). A few weeks ago, inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee, I bought a lovely yellow three quarter sleeve top in a charity shop. The sleeves were elasticated and actually finished around the elbow which wasn't the most flattering of looks on me. I chopped them off higher up and attached some home made bias binding which I was much happier with. The original buttons were poorly sewn on so I took them off, made co-ordinating covered buttons to match the bias binding which finishes the T-shirt off.

my altered T-shirt

The garment which receives most comments from people is my lambswool sleeveless wrap top. I picked this up for a few pounds in a charity shop, initially to turn into felt because it was so plain and not really "me".However, I decided to add needle felted swirls all down the opening and around the hem. These added spirals of colour have changed the top completely and made it one of my favourites!

my favourite top

As you know I am a big fan of Instagram and I love to see other people's twists on similar projects. Someone I have recently started following is Sue (@sewist53) and I loved a photo she had posted of a denim jacket of hers which she had added bias binding and bright applique patches to. I asked Sue why she enjoyed altering her clothes and she replied:

"I do it because I love to give favourite clothes a new lease of life and also I love the fact that it becomes unique to the wearer - you put some of your personality into it!! And it's fun, of course!!!" 

Another person who inspires me on Instagram is Polly (@jakandgeegee). I love a blog post of hers about how she had changed a pair of jeans into a skirt ( ). I asked Polly why she enjoys this kind of thing, here's what her thoughts were;

"I love to upcycle my old clothes as I hate to see things go to waste, plus it's fun to make something really show off your personality. It's good to be different and personalising your clothes is an easy way to do it!"

I agree with them both; it's fun, it adds personality and it makes your clothes unique. Have you added detail or altered your clothing? I would love it if you could share your experiences, send me a comment or tag me (@mrsdaftspaniel) on Instagram.

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