Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Pigeons and Purses

Not much time for crocheting today because an exhausted racing pigeon landed in our garden. I have spent most of the day feeding and watering it and then protecting it while it slept. We have cats, sparrowhawks and foxes all of which would like a pigeon for tea. I have just gone outside and he/she has flown away so a happy ending I hope.
This is my newest crochet thing. I found the little clips on line and I have been trying to make them into useable purses.

The actual crocheted purse part was quite easy to work out but I found joining it to the clip very difficult at first and I tried several ways of doing it.

After much experimenting the last one is shown in the picture above.  Here I just back stitched the two together. I now feel confident enough to make purses to sell ( see our face book shop soon ) or to make kits for other people. The yarn that works best is multicoloured ribbon yarn with a hook that gives a dense fabric. I used a 4mm hook but this will depend on your crochet style.
As usual Vicky had some clever ideas to improve the project so I will be lining anymore that I make and she suggested the tiny bumble bee as well.

More experiments in crochet soon.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Surface Crochet Wall Hanging or Throw.

Having rubbished old yarn yesterday I thought I had better make amends. One of the crochet magazines published an article about surface crochet not long ago and it reminded me of some that I did in the dim and distant past. I used beads from the charity shop and yes some quite ordinary, old and sometimes recycled yarn.
When I started working on the surface it felt very awkward as you can't hold the work in the usual way but with a little persistance it becomes easier and the results are worth the effort.

The background is made from an old unpicked cardigan (I think ) and it is rows of double crochet (single crochet?) with the occasional row of trebles to thread things through. Then the rest is an experiment in what can you do on the surface.

Notice how I did not always finish off the ends - I just left them and then threaded beads on them later. It is a wonderful way of using up small balls of yarn, beads and ribbon

I was really pleased with this when I finished it but it did take a rather long time because I kept putting it aside to try something new. I bet there are quite a few people out there with the same problem and a cupboard full of half finished projects!



Sunday, 28 July 2013

Confessions of a Yarn Addict at Fibre-East 2013

Went to Fibre -East 2013 today. What a lovely day full of friendly and knowledgeable people who seemed to have endless time to talk no matter how busy.
I am afraid I have also fed my addiction because the beautiful yarns and fibres were irresistible. Here is some of todays haul

The photograph does not really do justice to the glorious colours but they are amazing. I have a stash just like any self respecting yarn addict because it is often the source of inspiration. The trouble is when I see all these wonderful modern yarns I don't want to use the old stuff. I quite often think I should de-stash and just buy up-to-date yarn when I need it - but I know in my heart of hearts that I never will!
I should say that Vicky and my husband Graham each have a spinning wheel and they too had a very good day. They spent a lot of time chatting to the experts but we also now have two bags of sheep fleece in shades of brown, a small bag of alpaca fleece and three carded and dyed bats ( not sure if this is the right name). So my living room will be full of spinning paraphernalia and rather less pleasantly my bath will be full of fleece for cleaning.

Still as an addict I can put up with the mess if it means I get lots of beautiful hand-spun yarn.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Big brother and animal combos

Do you ever feel you are being watched? No I am not paranoid - at least I don't think so. What I mean is that I design make something I think is completely new, unique and original and then I find someone else has published a pattern for the same thing in a magazine or is selling it on e-bay. Don't get me wrong I find the crochet magazines really inspiring and I look forward to their publication each month but are they bugging my living room?
Anyway I have decide to try and make creatures that no one else will have thought of:

                                         An octo-owl or an owl-opus
I have converted two of his tentacles into wings and added a beak

A cat fish? I think these pictures make him look more like a bear fish but I still like him.

I will be doing more like this when time allows. Surely this is not going to be one on e-bay tomorrow - but you never know!!

Should go back to the commissions - a penguin and a family of moles. The penguin is easy but the moles are challenging since I want them to have big pink digging hands, a pink nose and a velvety black body. Will share the finished product here later this week.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Wanted to share ...

Just a quickie from me to show you one of my finished objects this week.   

My boys broke up for the summer hols (God help us) on Wednesday.  Danny left year 2 and Benji left his Foundation class.  The Foundation class teacher, Mrs Burridge, has been brilliant. Both boys started their school careers with her and it couldn't have been better for them.  She is a marvel.  

As a family we wanted to do something to show how much we appreciated her work, professionalism and care so, knowing she is very proud of her Welsh roots, we decided to make her a Welsh dragon.  

I didn't have time to design the pattern myself and so started searching for one online.  I found the perfect pattern on Ravelry (Crochet Dragon by Golden Crochet) I needed to make a few changes.  Firstly, the Welsh dragon needed to be red and I wanted him to be a bit more 'comfortable' so decided not to stuff him so firmly.  I also wanted a bigger dragon she could sit in her classroom and so used 16ply and a 5mm hook to super-size him.  

I particularly like the way the design made in balls looks like cherries (Mrs Burridge's class is called Cherry Tree Class).  

I hope she liked him.

Victoria x

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Eyes and Expressions

When I was about eight years old I went to stay with my grandma. No this is not the start of a fairy tale but it does involve a wolf. Anyway my grandma had no idea how to keep me occupied so she taught me to crochet. I have been crocheting ever since - for about 56 years and I still keep finding out new things about crochet. Especially now Vicky is crocheting too.

Here is a thing vicky showed me on one of her phone cosies (not this one)

He looks cross and evil

Until you open the flap when he looks scared and surprised.

The same applies to these phone or bag charms. Depending on which way up you look at them so their character changes. If you squeeze the sides they look very surprised.
This is part of a set of  'Eyes' He is the green eyed monster. There is also the red eye, the blue eyed boy and the brown eyed girl, the little yellow eyedol and a black eye.

If you have any more eyedeas for eye names let us know.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Butterflies and Business Cards - oh and a Pink Octopus.

On the 10th of August Vicky and I have a pop-up stall at the Holme Grange Craft Village just outside Wokingham. So I decided to make some business cards for the day. In another post Vicky has explained that we give away a small motif with each card. Looking out of the window I could see that the garden has more butterflies in it than I have seen for years so the inspiration fairy hit.

Really easy to make but effective if you have some nice yarn. I used three ply variegated and a 2.5mm hook ( could perhaps have used a size smaller)

How to make a butterfly: Make a magic ring then into the ring (2ch, 2htr, 2ch, ss into the ring)
repeat this once more then (3ch, 3hdtr,3ch, ss into ring) repeat this once more. Draw the magic ring fairly tight and fasten off the ends.
To make the body: thread a needle with black yarn,working from thr right side towards the wrong side put the needle into the hole in the middle of the butterfly. Leave a long end to make the antennaa later. take the yarn twice tound the bottom of the butterfly between the small wings ( here comes the science this makes the abdomen) Then take the yarn once round the top of the creature frombetween the two large wings and back through the hole ( you now have the thorax - I bet you really wanted to know that) Finally tie the two ends of the thread together several times to make the head. Tie knots in each loose end and then cut off the surpluss yarn.

These are very sketchy instructions so please ask if you need clarification. You can now make lots of butterflies or if you can't be bothered go to our face book shop and order some.

Another thing I am going to use in our cards are these made by Vicky, from gorgeous mercerised cotton, with  lovely long ends for sewing them on to things.

and these:

Finally I finished the octopus pattern it is now being proof read and tested but will appear soon.
This is the octopus I made while I was writing the pattern

Isn't she cute? Lovely soft cotton and amazing big blue (safety) eyes. Do you know someone with eyes like this who would like her as a present? Look in our online shop.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Olympic Rings and Bavarian Rainbows

Crochet is beautiful, useful and versatile. I love the way you can make everything from exquisite tiny objects to huge things made from recycled t-shirts. I am constantly amazed that you can visualise a three dimensional object and then crochet it. I am retired now from a life of teaching science but every now and then my science head takes over and what I make is not really beautiful or even very useful. It is just the challenge of how can you do that using a crochet hook and some yarn. Today I heard someone talking about the anniversary of the olympics and that set me off -can you crochet rings? So here are some pictures of the experiment.

These were sewn up and stuffed to make these

Not too bad but room for improvement.

Having made them I have had all sorts of ideas as to what I can do with them: how about crocheting a vehicle, they would make lovely wheels, they could be a unique and safe stacking toy,  I can crochet noughts so can I crochet crosses and most importantly I can now crochet doughnuts. Let me know if you have any more ideas.

I also decided today that I had got stuck in a rut. I was off to buy more yarn to make Bavarian rainbows, convinced that I had to have double knitting but then I found these in my immense stash of yarn.

It is beautiful soft 4ply cotton. I am going to use this for my rainbow.

It is all so exciting, I wonder if I am the only person in England that hopes it will rain tomorrow so that I won't feel that I have to do some gardening and I will be able to stay inside and crochet!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Bavarian Blending.

I have been re-kindling my love of Bavarian crochet today. Trying oblongs instead of squares. I really like the way this technique makes the colours appear to blend. There are some other examples on our Facebook page. I am going yarn shopping this week so that I can use bavarian crochet to make a rainbow.

Some people prefer the other side!

This will be a baby blanket when finished - I wonder if I am being influenced by the news today?

A happy event

Look what has happened over night. We only just beat the royals!

Just imagine how complicated a nappy change would be!!

By the way, if you want to celebrate in style our union jack  bunting crochet pattern is reduced to only £1 for this week.
Download, make it tonight and celebrate tomorrow ;)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Apres Sunday

Can you crochet a German Shepherd dog? Ok so what about the Super Mario Brothers or Yoda or Darth Vader. Will you crochet some skulls, can you crochet babies that will fit in a one and a half inch diameter bottle.To all of these questions and many more my talented daughter has said of course, yes, no problem.
I share her enthusiasm for crochet but not her talent but I am always crocheting. Today I have been inspired by the yarn which has somehow turned itself into a family of octupusses (octupi, octopisses?) I will write and publish the pattern for these next week. I should say one of the creatures was made by a very talented student who we are teaching to crochet.

Thanks to Ben and Danny for lending me the treasure chests
Hope you like them as much as I do.

Had to add to mum's post.  Look at this picture of my Mum teaching my Mother-in-Law to crochet an octopus.  Emailed to me from my dad and entitled: Crocheting Grannies.  Brilliant!

Victoria x

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Yarn-licious day

I've had such an exciting and yarn filled day. It was a yarn shop day which always makes it a good one. I went today mostly to collect a pile of yarn for the next few projects but I did have a little squidge of some other gorgeous things - oh my!  To top off my day several packages of yarn arrived too and were waiting for me when I got home! Now I have piles and piles of delicious new yarn.  I couldn't be happier if the chocolate fairy had visited.

 This is a small sample of what I have in my workroom.  There is pure wool, mercerised cotton, alpaca/merino blend, acrylic ... you name it.

Over the next few weeks I hope to turn it into toys, blankets, motifs (both fine and chunky), a yoda-style dog jacket ... yes you read that right ..., gloves, amigurumi dogs.  I have yet to chose natural yarns for childrens' clothes and cotton for a skirt and a dress. The crochet business is booming!  Yay.

Oh yes ... and do you like my mum's spiders?

Victoria x

Friday, 19 July 2013

Friday 19th July 2013

Blocking 50+ skull motifs for a big commission.  Much easier with the sun to help dry them. Each one is 12cm by 14cm and made in Rowan Big Wool for the winter season. No spoilers but a teaser of a peak ... :)  

 Victoria x