Sunday, June 03, 2012

May

9 comments

1. Stitchy wip - sheer pleasure!
2. Crochet slippers based on this pattern.
3. Little gem from a charity bookshop.
4. End of year teachers' gifts started.
5. My box - if you haven't seen it already, check out this post!



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Monday, May 21, 2012

Box of Delights

12 comments
This box has been with me for longer than Niamh's been around but it's only over the weekend that it actually reached a finished state!

It's definitely worth the wait!

Gorgeous new box

And I love the base of the box

The inside is as beautiful as the outside, although it's taken me 2 years to get it just right.

The inside is as gorgeous as outside

Every piece of the inside is stitched in a different stitch pattern - great fun!

How many monkeys can you .....


I love the top of this box

Good enough to eat!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Stepping back

15 comments
I give up. I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going. And I feel like nobody cares either. I know it’s me and my problem, but I’m just fed up going round in circles getting nowhere. And I need to stop apologising to everyone and feeling like I have to justify my actions.




I don’t know whether I want to continue blogging or not. I’ve lost my voice, don’t have anything to say.



Reading blogs is very annoying for me at the moment too. So many bloggers sound so smug and happy in their own limited little worlds where they never acknowledge that anything ever goes wrong. Or maybe something bad happens one week, but by the following week they deny that the bad thing ever existed.



Personally, I believe that your blog should reflect all of who you are and that includes the bad bits. You don’t have to discuss them in all their gory detail, just acknowledge that life is not all sweetness and light and bad things happen and can have on-going repercussions.



I read a blog post a couple of weeks ago that I even found mildly insulting. Someone taking great pride in never having worked and flitting round like a butterfly from one random thing to another all day and how that could never fit into a working life. I think she’d be surprised what work can give you. But at the same time, am I also jealous of her way with colour and her supportive family? The supportive family, definitely, I could do with a supportive family, not the kids (my kids are truly wonderful), but I could do with some more supportive adults in my life.



And I’m really p!ss℮d off with my sore elbow. Had a cortisone injection last week, but it hasn’t worked. Back to square one. Maybe I need a complete break from crochet? (Please, no!) Although how much damage can 30 mins a day do?



But 30 mins a day so frustrating too – want to cram a little bit of crochet into every spare minute. And inspiration comes thick and fast and I have no time to do anything about it!



As I said, I know it’s me and my problem, just need to take a little time to feel more at home in my own head.



So I’m stepping back. Don’t know when or if I’ll be back here at all. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll come back as somebody else.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flowers on Friday

6 comments
I've already given a brief view of this yesterday in my tassels tutorial, but it deserves a ta-da all of its own. And here it is!


Happy crochet!


The top flower uses a pattern from CAROcreated on Etsy.




Then there's  Lucy's happy flower.




Next, a heart using this pattern.




And finally, my blue and pink tassel!

Each component was crocheted with acrylic yarn as I have a ridiculously large stash of odd balls of acrylic in various mismatched colours which I'm desperate to use up! It works well enough but cotton would be better.

It's now brightening up my kitchen wall.

And if you haven't seen it already, check out my crochet tassels tutorial and let me know what you think!

More crochet tassels



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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crochet tassels

6 comments
Look - my first crochet photo tutorial! If you'd like to have a go at crochet tassels, give it a go! I'd love some feedback on what you think!

Yarn: whatever you have on hand, although a smoother or cotton yard probably works best.

Hook size: whatever appropriate to make a fairly tight fabric, eg. 3.5mm for dk yarn, 2.5mm for 4 ply.

Tension: not important.

These instructions use UK terminology.

First, the top 'cover' of the tassel.

Round 1: 6 dc in magic ring (6 sts)




Don't tighten the ring to close the centre hole, but keep a small hole in the centre.

The following rounds are worked in a spiral without joining.

Round 2: Working in the front loop only, 2 dc in each st all round (12 sts)




Note that the photo above shows the 'wrong side' so that you can see the unused back loops which we'll use later.

Round 3: Working in the front loop only, increase every 4th st to 15 dc (15 sts)




Round 4: Working in the front loop only, 1 dc in each st all round. (15 sts)




Round 5: Working in both loops, 1 dc in each st all round. (15 sts)

Round 6: Working in both loops, *1 dc in each of first 3 sts, work next 2 sts together, repeat from * to end. (12 sts)

 Sl st in next 2 sts




Keep this top 'cover' wrong side out with the empty back loops showing as we'll now use these back loops to anchor the dangling 'tassely' bits.

Ch 2 and sl st in first back loop from round 4.




Next, work 40 chain then sl st in the next back loop.




Continue in this way (40 ch then sl st in next back loop) until you've worked all the way back round to the beginning once.



(Please excuse the fact that I've switched to a different tassel here!)

However, as an alternative, you could work the 'danglers' in two different colours.




Now ch 40, miss one back loop and sl st in the next back loop. Continue to ch 40 and sl st in alternate back loops until you get to the centre.


(Looks like some kind of weird sea creature, don't you think?)


Work a long chain 'handle' and thread through the centre hole. On my blue/pink tassel, I worked 40 chain in blue, cut the yarn, then threaded this 40 chain through the centre hole. I then threaded the yarn tail back down again and finished it off among the 'danglers'.

You can now tighten the centre hole and finish off the yarn tail from the beginning.




Now, you need to fold over the top 'cover' of the tassel so that all the slip stitches and back loops are hidden inside the cover and the 'cover' is now right side out.




You would notice on the pink tassel that I added beads to the middle of each dangler. My hanging loop I then made extra long to make a necklace for Iona.




On my original tassels, I didn't make a complete hanging loop, but threaded some wooden beads on to the yarn tail.




And my blue/pink tassel I thought would make the perfect finishing touch for my Happy Flowers, inspired by Lucy!


 


So there it is! My first crochet tutorial. I'd love to know what you think, both of this way of making tassels and of the tutorial itself. Is everything clear? Are the photos OK? Any questions, let me know!

More crochet tassels

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two on Tuesday 2 + a little destashing

5 comments
Two things that make me happy:

1. A walk round the allotment with my 3 lovely children.

2. Crocheting in bed at midnight, discovering unexpected delights in this yarn!




I'm also clearing out my yarn stash a bit and trying to get rid of some stuff I'm fairly sure I won't really use.

Is anyone interested in any of the following? All is new and unused unless otherwise stated. The cost will be 1gbp a ball + postage

1. 2 balls Wendy Happy 4 ply sock yarn, shade 2503 Pisces, 75% bamboo, 25% nylon




2. 3 balls Sirdar Squiggle, super chunky, shade 0602, 51% wool, 49% acrylic. 2 balls completely new with ball band, 1 ball partially used then unravelled and wound in a ball.




3. 2 balls Regia 4 ply sock yarn, shade 01932, 75% wool, 25% polyamide - below left

4. 1 ball Regia 4 ply sock yarn, shade 05180, 75% wool, 25% polyamide - below right




5. 2 balls Sirdar Crofter Dk (Fair Isle effect), shade 0059, 60% acrylic, 25% cotton, 15% wool




That'll do for now!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday finishes

10 comments
Just a couple of recent finishes I haven't shared yet!

P2251396

My first amineko! I love these - more toys with character!

You can see that Merry the cat soon found a friend, although he insists they're really cousins!

P2251404

I also made some tassels recently for a parcel I was sending on a long journey!

Crochet tassels

The tassles in this photo worked out particularly well and I'm in the process of writing up how to make them, so come back next week to find out how to do it!

Friday, March 02, 2012

February motifs

5 comments
Well, now that I've writted about my plan, I feel kind of obliged to stick to it! Thanks for your comments, they make me feel like I've got something to live up to now!

Here are the motifs from Beyond the Square that I crocheted in February. Just 2 of them as Iona's got a bit of a cough and interrupted my evening's crochet!

Beyond the Square, motif no 11

This is motif no. 11. I'm not so keen on the colour combination on this one now, but I'm not going back to change it!

It's also not a great photo as I'm doing a bit of playing around and testing with my new iPod to see if it's worth using it for photos at all as it'll save time for formatting and uploading.

Beyond the Square, motif no 14

No 14 now. This one has a couple of extra rounds as I was having fun with the front post dcs! (iPod pic again.)

Writing this up, I'm finding it funny how easily I slip between UK and US crochet terminology these days! I think the pattern probably calls them front post dcs, but you might want to call them trebles.

You can see the motifs everybody else has been crocheting here on Barbara's blog. Alternatively head over to Tami's!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Plan

4 comments
I’m completely useless these days. I'm over my slump from earlier this month and am crocheting away, but I've lost my blogging focus and voice.

I've got myself tied in knots over what I want from my blog and what I want to give and share through it. Blogs are many things to many people and I've had to step back and work out what's important to me. Probably a good thing to do from time to time.

Anyway, the main conclusion I've come up with is that I need to be much better organised in both my crafting and my blogging in order to achieve my goals.

I would love to sell my patterns and toys and to put more time and effort in there. But, let’s face it, I just don’t have the time, and I need to remember that! I’ve always taken a laid back approach to both crafting and blogging. After all, I’m supposed to be doing this for pleasure. But if I want to actually achieve specific goals, I can’t go on like that.

The goals below relate to specific blog posts that I’m aiming to write, starting in March. You can see that they also dictate how I organise my crafting.

1. 1 post per month- Beyond the Square motifs with Barbara’s challenge (motifs to be crocheted the last weekend of each month)
2. 1 post per month – MTM update (aiming for around the 25th of the month as that’s when I blogged about it in January, but movable depending on how it fits in with everything else)
3. 1 post per month - new pattern/tutorial: most of the patterns below only need the final write-up, others are still wonderful ideas floating around my mind, but I need to get myself a bit more organised to do it all.
  • Tassel
  • Petal
  • Cedric
  • Pin cushion & craft caddy (an idea that’s been in my head for a very long time)
  • Victor variant
  • Mrs Tittlemouse?
  • Owl Babies?
  • Hippy monkey?

4. 1 post per week - other finishes and WIPs
5. 1 post per month – would like another group activity
6. 1 post per month – something around Pinterest? Yes, I am addicted, and yes I have read some of the many recent blog posts about appropriately crediting images etc. Not sure what I think, but maybe I'll look into watermarking (if that's the right term) my photos?

I’m still looking for suggestions for numbers 5 and 6!

I hope this list will also help me organise my blog writing in advance and to put aside some time every month to sort out photos and upload them to Flickr.

And my blog layout does need some attention too!

At least I have a new iPod to help me! Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Deserted

4 comments
Over the latter part of last week, it seems like my inspiration has gradually deserted me. I had big plans for things to crochet, but suddenly none of it appeals to me at all.

Even MTM has lost its appeal for now, tho' I'm still trying to do my 12 stitches.

If anyone finds my inspiration floating around - would you please send it home? I'm really missing it.

Friday, February 03, 2012

5 comments
Hi there!

I’ve been having a bit of a rough week at work, so I’ve been away from my blog for longer than I intended – why does it always work that way? See that real life – nothing but a distraction from the Internet! LOL!

Anyway, I’m in the mood to ramble today, as you might notice, and thought I’d share a few crochet odds and ends I’ve been doing recently.

Firstly I’ve joined Barbara’s challenge to crochet motifs from Beyond the Square by Edie Eckman. This is one of my fave crochet books – I do love motifs! I’ve randomly crocheted some of the motifs in the time I’ve had the book, but only odd ones here and there, for various reasons, so that I have no idea where they are now or what I used them for.

So I’ve joined Barbara’s challenge and am challenging myself to make 30 of them this year. That’s 6 months of 2 motifs, and 6 months of 3 motifs. I sat down last weekend to get started. I just started at the beginning of the book and crocheted the first motif that I liked the look of (number 2) and, having enjoyed that so much I couldn’t put my hook down, I then did number 3 too.

Beyond the square, motif no 2Beyond the square, motif no 3

Later on that night, being unable to sleep, I then did number 4 too.

Beyond the square, motif no 4

So that was January, and already I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself!


Most of my January was taken up with what you could call my first commission! A friend asked me to crochet something for her and her granddaughters, and even offered to pay me! WOW – imagine being paid to crochet! I’m not sharing pics at the moment until the parcel has arrived safely with her.

At the start of January, I was wondering whether to set up an etsy shop to sell patterns for some of my own designs, and the odd amigurumi toy too. I kind of like that idea, but the idea of having to treat it as a proper business and think about the tax implications scares the hell out of me! I just want to do something small scale and see what happens.

But I have no objections if anyone else wants to pay me to crochet …


A final discovery is something I did yesterday evening. Most of the crochet I did in January was probably done with a more ergonomic hook – I have a nice set of Prym hooks I treated myself to at one point, which are wonderfully comfortable – almost as comfortable as my one Clover soft touch hook.

But the point is, none of the January crochet bothered my sore elbow at all! Yay! I was even starting to think my elbow might be getting better. Except, of course, I hadn’t thought too deeply about the sort of hook I was using.

Forward to last night, and my 3.5mm Prym hook is snuggled away with my Beyond the Square motifs. Now, when I have a project on the go, I prefer to keep all the bits together, along with the hook, otherwise I’ll forget what size hook I’m using. So last night, I reverted to one of my old basic metal 3.5mm hooks for something else. Later, as I was going to bed, I was aware that my elbow was a bit more achy than it had been and this morning, it was even worse!

So was it the hook? It looks a real possibility, although it does puzzle me that I hold my hook in my right hand and it’s my left elbow that’s the problem! I was also aware yesterday, while crocheting, of the difference in the feel of the hook, but I was also aware that I was holding the hook fairly loosely.

Who knows … But it looks like a good excuse to invest in some more ergonomic hooks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Needles and Thread, not Yarn and Hooks

5 comments
Guess what? I’m stitching again!

My inspiration over the new Chatelaine designs lasted longer than the time it takes to get home, play with the girls, feed them and get them to bed! Yippee!!

I actually went and got out Medieval Town Mandala, set it up on q-snaps, and got stitching!

Gosh – I’m so d@mn pleased with myself! I’m loving every second!

Here’s roughly where I’d got to the last time I shared a pic –

Medieval Town Mandala - part 5 completed

I’d finished part 5 (of 12) and was making a start on part 6.

And here’s where I am now. Still part 6, obviously, but a little further on, I'm working on the big building in the centre of the north side of the square.


I’ve gone back to working on Gay Ann Rogers idea of 12 stitches per day, or as I do it, at least 12 stitches a day or as many stitches as I can fit in to the time slot I’ve allowed for it. So, what I’ve showed there represents almost a whole week of stitching.

It doesn’t make for fast progress, but it’s wonderful just to be doing it again!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas crochet redux

9 comments
I haven’t been able to keep up with these Christmas crochet posts in quite the way I’d intended, but before summer arrives, here’s a final catch-up!

I really wanted to share my Christmas dinner table with you. 2011 was the first Christmas we had the family Christmas at home plus visitors. We’ve done the family bit on our own before, the visitors required that just a
little bit more effort be made!

For the sake of simplicity (and not spending too much money), I had a red paper table cloth and also found a paper tablerunner in the supermarket (I love table runners but, other than the paper one, have never owned one!) As a finishing touch, I had the idea of crocheting some white lacy motifs to look like white snowflakes on top of the red.

Christmas table

I was very pleased with the way they looked – my longer term plan is to crochet all sorts of motifs like this and to make them into a table runner. However, I rather suspect it was these that killed my elbow!

Finally, I think you’ve seen all these before! I just feel the need to summarise these designs again as I don’t think I’ve always given full details of where things came from or whose patterns I’ve used. So, if you’ve seen them all before, you can ignore this bit!


1

Cedric

Cedric: My own design based on photos I’ve seen around the net.
Christmas present for nephew C in Manchester.

2

'Monkey' and Baby

Momster & Baby: Uses Momster & Baby pattern from Demonstrative Crochet, but with my own mixture of yarn.
Christmas present for Niamh. Niamh calls Momster Monkey!

3

Viktor

Viktor: Based on Momster pattern from Demonstrative Crochet, but made with
chunky yarn and a bigger hook. Individual coloured spots in dk yarn were added later (I don’t know that you can see them so well in the photo).
Christmas present for nephew L4 in Manchester.

4

Fleur

Fleur: My own design based on photos I’ve seen around the net and with my own mixture of yarn.
Christmas present for a friend.

5

Knitted monkey

Knitted monkey: Uses Monkeemaker’s pattern.
Christmas present for nephew L1 in Manchester. This one was a definite
hit!