Monday, 30 September 2013

Hearts, Halloween and a Hairy Tree.

I am still half way between Christmas and Halloween. So today I have been completing my set of Halloween pencil toppers.

I am now reasonably happy with the set but skull is still a bit friendly.

I think I must have got a bit confused yesterday when I made these hearts, I was thinking that they could hang on the tree or on a bag or phone but they would have probably have been more appropriate for Valentines day. They are all made from the same pattern but with different size yarn and a hook to match. The thing I really like about these is that if you play your cards right you only have one end to weave in when you finish..

Finally there is this tree. I am hoping that Vicky likes this one. Once again made by covering a cone from the inside of knitting yarn. I start from the top and slowly increase. The way I get it to fit is by trying it on the cone every few rows and making sure it is well stretched. So when it is about half an inch from the bottom I decrease rapidly with the crocheting on the cone. This means the crocheting is held onto the cone.
By the way the holly is a festive brooch and does not really belong on the top of the tree.

Now I am going to put my head on the Christmas track and make puddings

I do like that one better - although I think it needs a sparkling star rather than a lump of holly.  It would look brilliant as a table centre.  Victoria x

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Chocolate cosies and granny square stockings.

Not much crochet today as I had several assistants;

These are Ferrero Rocher cosies but Ben and Danny were not fooled and quickly found the chocolate.
They are made in 4 ply yarn and are very quick to make until you come to the leaves and beads which are quite fiddly to do. The leaves are a strand of green 4ply and a strand of green metallic, the berries are little tiny crystal beads. I do have a pattern for these if anyone is interested.

The second thing today is by way of a question: I have seen little Christmas socks made from a slightly altered granny square so I did an experiment and this is the result.

Fold this to make this

It looks like someone with huge feet, wearing ice skates. I shall keep trying but the question is does anyone know where I can find the pattern? Or can anyone tell me how to do it? PLEASE.

I notice I didn't get any chocolate!!  Victoria x

But you did get fudge!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Setting up your Stall. a Forest and Wikipedia

Bought my new copy of Craft Seller today and made lots of resolutions about "group as single items as well as sets", "label and price everything", "practice setting up your stall in advance" and much more.
Here are some of our practice before the event tries:

This is our attempt at cristmas - in a bedroom on an old pasting table. Notice the crochet wall hanging - it is hanging straight but the house is at an angle.

This is just a general stall that took place near to mothers day, hence the potted plants and cup cakes.
Then below is the real thing held in a primary school. The date was somewhere near Easter.

I love the Craftsellers magazine and really enjoy its advice and the experiences of others -especially those who make a good living selling their craft. But the trouble with practising indoors is that you do not have to put up a gazeebo outdoors in the rain or worse in the wind. The other thing is that you don't know how much space you will have ( we went to one craft fair where there was not enough room for the people to pass each other since the gangways were so narrow). You don't know if you
will be up against a wall or out in the open. What I am trying to say is that although practice is useful the best thing you can do is arrive as early as possible and be prepared to change your plans if necessary. Always take gaffer tape, pegs and blutac. (and if at all possible take Vicky who has a really good eye for making things look attractive.)

Another thing that the magazine suggested was looking at other peoples blogs and while I was doing that I came across this link. Now who would have believed that Wikipedia could be so inspiring and useful to a crocheter? I am really amazed by the virtual Museum and the antique pattern library links, but there is so much stuff there that everybody should find something of interest or something that is useful.

My own crocheting has become a forest over the last few days:

This is my favourite

This is Vicky's I think.

Tonight I am going to make some more cosies for those lovely golden chocolates that you get at the ambassadors reception. As you would expect I had to buy some chocolates to make sure the crocheting fits at least I am fooling myself that that is why I bought them.

This is something I find really stressful.  I worry and worry about how the stall looks but there never seems to be time to worry about that AND make enough stock before the fairs.  I have more pictures of stalls.  I'd love to hear your criticisms and advice - Victoria x

PS that horrible purple tree isn't my favourite.  There was a gorgeous fluffy red and gold one last year - that was my favourite.  Don't listen to my mother :)

This was our first attempt at a stall in Maidenhead

Christmas Last Year
Mum at Christmas last year

Two from our latest fair this summer - Some of our shelves had fallen in the wind and broken so there is some chaos!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Stars, Trees and Upcycling

I am never quite sure whether what I have been doing over the past few days is upcycling or recycling or maybe even bicycling. No I am sure I would know about the last one.

 I am a big fan of charity shops and on a recent visit I found 5 old lamp shades. When I got them home I removed as much of the fabric as possible and then soaked them. This was to remove the rings that now support these stars. The ring is about 6 inches across. the yarn was that sort of dk with an inbuilt sparkle and I used a 2.5mm hook. The stars/snowflakes and the grapes look strange together don't you think?

 Here are two cones that are used to wind yarn. First I covered them using a strand of green and a strand of gold. Now I am decorating them, as you can see this one is using buttons the next one will be using beads I think. Incidentally the beads are upcycled too - from old jewelery that I have cut up.

Then there are yoghurt pots ( these are vitality bio yoghurt drink by Muller) . They have been covered in Twilleys Gold Fingering to give them sparkle. I have made a tie on lid from the same yarn. They can be filled with sweets or small gifts for hanging on the christmas tree. The other thing I notice is how like the human form they are (speak for yourself I hear you cry) so wouldn't they make great snowmen if you covered them using white yarn and made a black lid or how about father christmas covered in red etc.

I do love it when I can use things a second time for some completely new purpose, I wonder am I saving the planet or am I just a cheap skate?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Old/New Patterns and A Family of Snowmen

The Sue Ryder Home, quite near to where we live, has a regular sale of donated goods. Graham and I went to look today and I am afraid the craft stall got the better of me. (Although I did resist the yarn - well nearly). I am now the proud owner of a pair of pinking shears, a patchwork cushion kit and of all things a crochet kit. But best of all I found about 20 Stitchcraft magazines from the seventies,which are full of knitting and crochet patterns. Here are some examples of the crochet.

There are lots like this, cardigans and jumpers for the whole family

A pattern for curtains as an example of the home beautiful section.

Some really lovely things - I am going to try the butterfly brooch.

If you are of a certain age you will remember having a knitted swim suit. You will also remember coming practically naked out of the water because the yarn absorbed immense amounts of water, which was so heavy that it made the garment stretch - well you get the idea.
I just hope these were only for sunbathing but I bet that todays yarns would work well for this pattern so that swimming would not end up with you being arrested for indecent exposure.

There are lots more. I noticed both knitting and crochet patterns for covered coat hangers, which seem to be very fashionable at the moment. It just proves that learning to crochet will always be useful and up to date.

As far as my crochet is concerned I have made more cats and these.

I wish I could claim I set out to make a family of snowmen but in truth they are all different sizes because I was making them up as I went along and kept forgetting exactly how many stitches, decreases and increases etc. that I did last time. Mind you it is interesting how some of the children look like their mum and some like their dad!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Cats, Lion/Hedgehogs and Brides Maids.

I have been very busy over the last two days. Crochet busy that is. The cat seemed quite popular so I made him some friends.

They are all bendy so they sit and stand and you can move their heads and tails. I notice that the brown one has no clothes on - I must find him a ribbon.

Anyway I also made another hat but.......

Is it a lion or is it a hedgehog or is it another hybrid like the catfish?

Then there are lovely dark grey satin head bands with a paler grey flower made from ribbon with a slight sheen. All finished off with a black button made from shell. I thought they might be nice for brides maids.

I have to get back to making cats because foolishly I rushed into making them without waiting for complete instructions so they have the wrong coloured eyes. Of course they are safety eyes so I can't get them off and replace them. Never mind the more cats I make the quicker I get.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Can We Make a Cat - Well Maybe.

You know those bendy hair curlers, well look what they can be.

Tie three together to make a rough four legged animal shape.

Crochet covers for the  legs and tail - I found that 8dc in a ring using double knit and a 3mm hook, covered nicely.

The body is just a flat piece of crochet. Sew this around the body and attach to legs and tail.
I also made a cover for the neck which was also attached to the body piece.Finally make the head - two circles- put on the face, stuff and then attach to neck. Make and attach ears. You now have a toy that can change its position, they used to be called bendy toys.

Sorry to be long winded but it is an experiment that I have wanted to try for sometime and Vicky said people were asking if we can make cats so I tried. I am not sure that I have made a cat but isn't he friendly and nice. Whatever he is I am not sure I can bear to give him away.
Now I am going to make a bendy snake - that should be easier!!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Mostly Flowers and a Cup Cake

I have made 11 Christmas puddings and I need a break so I tried a new way of making a Christmas wreath.

This is another one of those plastic rings I found on e-bay, a few crocheted leaves snd flowers, all of which are tied on to be glued later and a bit of gold ribbon. It is about 7 inches in diameter and almost entirely double knitting. Oh I forgot the two brown buttons which are the centres of the two cream flowers.

So then In a complete change of mood and style I made a childrens film inspired beanie. Is it completely sexist to say it is pink so that the girls can join in?

I also got to thinking about the cones from the centre of yarn, after talking about it last time and I remembered some more things I have made with them.

These are very similar uses; the cup cake is the wider top part of the cone and the flower pot is a narrower section which have been cut from a crdboard cone using the bread knife. Once you can do these you can decorate your cakes as you like and fill your flower pots with all kinds of flowers. They make lovely presents especially if you give a spring flower in winter and a completely calory free cake to anyone worrying about their waistline. Tip: if you do one of these use yarn with some give in it so you can stretch it over the cardboard cone to give a neat and smooth finish.
The taller flowers are stiffened with wire or pipe cleaners.

It is funny how your memory works, I have just reread this and noticed that I forgot about the buttons that are in the photograph right in front of me but I remembered that I had photographs of cup cakes and flower pots that I did at least a year ago. I often ask Vicky how come you can remember that you have forgotten something but you can't remember what it is???????

Friday, 13 September 2013

Christmas in the Work House.

You know how crafters talk about their work room and how you see pictures of lovely colourful spaces in crochet magazines, well as usual I am different, I have a work house. That is not something out of a Dickensian novel, it is just that every room in our house has something to do with my crochet in it. For example this is the current state of the dining room.

I am trying to stiffen snowflakes, stars, bells and angels. The angels reminded me of two things : one is that these little angels are made from two granny squares and a ball (granny squares are really useful) and two the usefulness of the cones that yarn is wound on. I have used them for hat stands on our stall, I have made them into christmas trees and used them like a flower vase for our head bands. Above I am using them as a conical shape for the angels to dry on and below are cones used as hat stands. Perhaps we could start a thing like we did with granny squares but with cones.

I have also made owls and christmas puddings

I really like the little cross eyed one on the right.

Speaking of owls I defy you to look here and not fall in love!

I know you will find it hard to believe but the only room in our house without something in it to do with crochet is what we call the box room and the only reason I have not yet taken over here as well is that we are decorating. I wonder if we could prevent world domination  by telling the aliens  that we are just decorating the Earth?