Monday, 25 May 2015

A Crafting Project for Worcestershire & the West Midlands

Poppybead blog University of Worcester Arena

As some of you know I have a great love of sport, Basketball in particular.  This sport has kept me off the streets when I was a child.  It also has given me support, focus and a sense of belonging in my darkest times.  I have been privileged to officiate at some of the biggest Wheelchair Basketball tournaments held in the UK.  In 2010 the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships were held in Birmingham and this is when I started knitting again.

At the end of August the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships will take place in Worcester.  University Arena is the home of Great British Wheelchair Basketball & British Basketball.  This is alongside the BBL team Worcester Wolves and age group academy teams.

So when I got the request to bring two of my greatest passions together I jumped at the chance to get involved.  The organisers of this tournament would like to give the athletes and support staff a handmade gift and good luck message from the West Midlands and Worcestershire.
This project hopes to engage local groups and people from the area with European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.

Here is some information about the project

  • How many gifts are required?
Each team will have 12 players and support staff i.e coaches and at present 19 teams are entered.....grand total of 228 players (You wouldn't need to make all of the gifts)
  • What type of gifts?
    • Cushions,
    • Note books,
    • Knitted scarves/cowls,
    • Hats,
    • Dolls,
    • Key rings
    • Cufflinks
    • Brooches
All gifts will be greatly received but oversees players will need to get gifts home so it has been recommended them being smallish.

  • What countries are taking part?
Men’s Teams
    • Czech Republic
    • Spain
    • France
    • Great Britain
    • Germany
    • Israel
    • Italy
    • Netherlands
    • Poland
    • Switzerland
    • Sweden
    • Turkey
Women’s Teams
    • Spain
    • France
    • Great Britain
    • Germany
    • Italy
    • Netherlands
    • Turkey

  • What format do the good luck messages need to be in?
If possible would be a lovely touch to leave personal messages in nations native language but again I'm sure they would appreciate it just as much in English.  

  • Are makers able to share that they make other things by leaving business cards with their gifts (Not everyone has to sell the things they make)?
Yes more than happy to promote business and we will encourage players to promote through social media.  

  • How will gifts be collected?
They can be sent to me (Rebecca Orleans) and then they would be collected from myself.

  • If gifts need to be sent will any costs for postage be covered?
Yes if cost is sensible as there is a small amount of money, or I can collect from Birmingham as I don’t drive.  I just need to confirm how this will be paid.

  • Is there any finance to cover the cost of materials?
There is a small budget but not enough to cover postage as well as materials.

  • Can you confirm the deadline for completion?
20th August 2015, this is so the gifts can be placed in the accommodation before arrival.

This project is open to people, crafters and the handmade community in Worcestershire and West Midlands.  So if you would like to get involved drop me a message at or via social media. Or Lee Lough

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Quick knits

I thought I would share the quick project I completed over the weekend.

I was speaking to someone who needed cheering up and thought  I would make something small to do so.  The Bluebird of Happiness by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, it's a free pattern on Ravelry.

I struggle sometimes reading knitting patterns and I did with this one.  The one of the reasons why I like Ravelry is you can get help from other people's projects.

My first attempt was made with Rico Essentials DK on 3mm needles.  Then I made another one again with Rico Essentials, but aran this time on 3.75mm needles.

It was an enjoyable quick knit and really cute.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Sewing and crochet

Once upon a time I tried to make a dpn (double pointed needle) case, which is in the photo below.   It wasn't my best piece of sewing by any stretch of my abilities.

So whilst I have been recovering from surgery I have been crocheting.  But I keep losing my hooks and no matter how many 4mm hooks I buy it keeps happening.  So I thought some up-cycling was in order.

I removed the flap and replaced the internal fabric for something nicer.  I then made each compartment fit my hooks better.

 I have made some matching bias binding to secure the roll and I am happy with the completed roll. 

Thank you for reading and looking at my photos.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Love Your Blog: Ugly

 As part of the Love Your Blog challenge the third prompt was ugly more importantly what to do when blogging ugly.
 Starting this prompt is made me think quite hard, being ugly is not always visual.  So for some people someone else's appearance might seem ugly, but somebody's actions can be seen as ugly as well.

 My health has been more than ugly and my issues with dyslexia sometimes stops me from writing this blog.  It also spurs me to write my blogs and contribute to another.  Over 2 and a half years ago I had a knee injury just as I started selling my beaded jewellery at craft fairs.  This affected all aspects of my life, then I was hit with severe cold hands and turned out to be primary Raynauds.  On top of this I have been struggling with pain from endometriosis & fibroids.

These issues have been a real bind and I haven't been making as much as I would like to but I have been concentrating on my website, the quality of my product photography and my online presence.  I am very lucky to have a photography club at my day job and you can see some of my photos on Flickr and a previous blog entry.  I also went to a really good product photography workshop run by Blue Strawberry Design Studio, I think there is another one coming up in June.

With not making and selling came little interaction and then I start a vicious cycle of looking at my stats.  No one is looking at my website, no-one is buying what I do have made blah blah.  So I need to make more of an effort to interact with people and not to worry too much if I haven't had lots of likes, shares or comments.