Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Finished at Last, Cat and Owl and Giant Buttons?

I have had a few days of trying to finish off small projects because I have some ideas for Easter stuff and I don't want to start anything new until I have cleared the decks a bit.

Here is the completed owl. She is a bit lopsided and one eye is bigger than the other but that is the nature of hand made things, especially made using this technique. I am very pleased with her and I think I might even attempt to frame her and put her on the wall. I have struggled to hold all the different pieces together before stitching them but I had a lucky find, in a charity shop yesterday, in the form of a large cork board. So in future I will be able to pin the pieces in place before I start sewing.

The skeleton of this cat has been sitting about for weeks. He is made using three bendy curlers which are tied together with tarn. I use tarn because it is slightly elastic and can be wound a few times around the body to pad it a bit. I then just crochet bits to fit around the body, limbs, neck and tail. The head is just two flat circles. I have described this in a previous                                                         blog. Anyway another thing finished!

This is another thing that has been sitting in my head ever since I made those hair combs. For little girls, these hair bands are like tiaras.They are made of especially sparkly yarn for dressing up purposes. I suppose you could do a more elaborate form of these for weddings?

My conscience is now clear - only two large projects on the go, most of the small ones are finished - I even sewed buttons on the tablet covers!

Again I want to share with you my appreciation for the way my family all help and support what Vicky and I do. I have said before that my Dad (aged 92)  buys yarn for me whenever he can, his partner Ellen (aged 95 nearly) is full of suggestions for what we can make, she takes our business cards to her whist club and never forgets to ask about the crocheting when we speak on the phone. Graham has taught himself to spin, he  also removes beads from old jewelry for me to use ( see the owl above), he winds wool and he actually enjoys untangling it. Matthew is always a source of encouragement and an honest opinion, which I value. However I sometimes think he has not quite grasped what we do. He has had a lot of trees blown down where he works so I asked him if he could cut me some disks of nice wood to make buttons from.

This is what he made - I have twelve of them - they are about a foot across and an inch and a half thick and weigh about 10 pounds each. I suppose I could make buttons from them if anybody knows any giants.
Still I am grateful for the time and effort he put in and I will find a use for them in the garden probably
P.S if you want to find out more about free form and scumble look here where there are beautiful examples and lots of links to more.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Do You Scumble, a Pig and an Elephant

Vicky reminded me about scumble (also know as Freeform) the other day, So I looked around and as usual found lots of examples in our collection. It is a really good idea for using up small amounts of yarn. Just add a few buttons and beads and maybe ribbon and voila or hey presto or something.

This was made by Vicky and became our order book

This was my very first attempt, using lots of different motifs and then assembling them like a jig saw puzzle.

Some time ago we started to sell bags of small balls of toning yarn, so I thought I would find out how much you could make with one bag and here is the result.
 Another of Vicky's creations a truly beautiful cushion - sadly (or maybe gladly) we have sold this one.

Once I started making small motifs I decided to try to assemble something that is representative rather than
an artistic piece.

 Try not to compare my work and Vicky's. This is what she has done using exactly the same techniques and is one of a series based on fairy tales. I suppose what you are seeing is the difference between the artistic (Vicky) and the scientific (me) mind. It is truly amazing that crochet lends itself to both.

Again you can see how the small motifs have got to me - lovely little ducks used to decorate this cotton sun hat.

Finally, I was browsing through my Simply crochet magazines and...............

I have made the elephant before - exactly right for small hands. The pig is filled with granules and has a good solid feel to it.
However, is it only me that thinks they both look as if they are on something illicit (it is not the fault of the pattern, I didn't have the right size eyes for either of them)?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Some Eyedeas for Good and bad Mothers day Gifts

The answer to the ding bat (from the last post) this is an eye pod.

I have an ever growing collection of these. I have shared in a previous blog: the blue eyed boy, the brown eyed girl, the green eyed monster and the red eye. Matthew and Graham keep thinking of new ones which I then try to make. Here are a few more:

 These are birds eye. the black eye and a bulls eye - I think I might add horns to this one.
 A cats eye?
An eye pad.

I promised a few more suggestions for mothers day gifts, so how about a soft toy or a pretty hat? For the more affluent there is one beautiful shawl which would make a lovely gift.. Visit the web site there are lots of things there or look back in this blog for more ideas.
This got me thinking I wonder if there are things that are not suitable as Mothers Day gifts? Here are two candidates for the least suitable mothers day presents.

The string bag is not too bad but the string dish cloth is definitely not a suitable present unless you promise to use it for your mum.

This is a bit short - I don't know why but I am having a week where I feel as if I have no time  but I think the truth is that it takes me twice as long to do anything these days. Still who cares I can take my time now I am retired - perhaps this is the trouble?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Remembering and Ideas for Mothers Day Gifts

Vicky reminded me that it is mothers day very soon which set me thinking about my own mum. She was a crafter extraordinaire, making her own chutneys, jams and jellies from fruit and vegetables that she had grown but also she crocheted clothes for me, and knitted and sewed for both Vicky and Matthew. There is still a blanket crocheted from delicate hexagons on my Dad's bed. Sadly I don't have any of her crochet but here are a couple of examples of what she did.

The picture is made from pressed leaves but unfortunately it is starting to crumble. The patchwork is a hand sewn family history, made from the leftovers of her sewing. There are bits of the material used to make my school uniform dresses( don't forget that I am retired and aged 65), there are bits from the maternity smocks that she made for me when I was expecting Vicky and patches made from the first angel tops she made for Vicky. There are lots of bits that I don't recognise but I really love this quilt. It inspires me to start a similar thing to pass on to Vicky but it would have to be crochet!
Before I turn into Dolly Parton (whose music I also love incidentally) here are some suggestions for affordable mothers day presents that I would like to receive.

Yummy cakes and biscuits that are not at all fattening - it might be diplomatic not to say that to your mum though. I made these as a demonstration but I am willing to make other varieties.

Maybe your mum likes jewelry?

We can make these in any colour combination.

The phone charms above are small but will serve to remind your Mum of you every time she gets her phone out. The ones to the right are bigger and have a dingbats theme, If I tell you that the one with a hat and a dirty mac is a private EYE (get it?) perhaps you can work out the other one.

If your mum is a crafter we have hook rolls needle cases and pin cushions.

What about a tablet case or a paper weight. To be honest the paper weight is just a beach pebble that I have crocheted round.

    These are not great pictures but we have bees that we sell to bee keepers and others. There is also a beautiful jeweled dragon fly but we have never sold this to a dragon keeper. The black string you can see is to hang it up by.

What about treating Mum to a pair of barefoot sandals or a lovely lacy collar?

A cheery caterpillar or a tiny mouse if she likes soft toys.

A purse or a pansy each with brooch backs.
We do sell all of these things but I think mums will much prefer it if you make something yourself so perhaps you can use these to give you ideas about what you might make.
By the way Vicky I would like a green dragon fly please.
P.S There are a few more ideas that I will include next time together with the answer to the eye puzzle.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Pretty Crochet for Your Head and a Lovely Dog

I have three different uncompleted crochet projects on the go and yet I have been distracted by my new discovery.

I showed them to Vicky at the weekend and she suggested that I try crocheting on them directly.


I was quite disappointed with these until I tried them on the HEAD. Here they look quite pretty If you did them in white or pale pink they might make pretty head dresses for brides maids.

So then my mind started to wander and I made the white flower with the pearls at its centre - for the bride maybe? Then some more flowers in cotton with a pretty wooden button.These flowers are sewn on to the comb and I also need to tell you that the HEAD is about half normal human size so these are not as huge as they may appear.

My next idea was to use two or three of Vickys' tiny cotton flowers but they didn't fit very well so this is what happened: They are sewn on to a plain metal head band.

It wasn't all hair accessories:
Another dog but the inspiration was Vicky and families new puppy. Isn't he gorgeous? Notice the crochet rug in the second picture - good idea for a dog blanket?

 I would have made my dog all black too but I find it really difficult to crochet in black unless I am in full day light and there has been precious little of that recently. We hope you are all safe after the                                                                 ridiculous weather.
                                                     Lynn and Vicky

Monday, 10 February 2014

More crochet and more Portugal.

The beach that we walked along was famous for its EAR/EYE shells. The Portuguese consider them very lucky. The pictures show two sides of the same shell, how did that happen?


This is an owl purse crocheted from the same yarn as the hat (see the last blog) but the real reason for showing you this is the strange effect that moving the flap has on his expression. Vicky discovered this when she was making were wolf, phone cosys (really). On the left the flap is behind the button eyes on the right the flap is in front of the eyes. Nothing else has changed but he looks slightly scared or incredibly cross, these could possibly make nice mood indicators.

Here is another thing that I learnt in Portugal. They are made from those plastic rings used for blinds or bra straps, some 3 or 4 ply cotton and a piece of ribbon. They would make attractive jewelry or maybe belts. I am trying to write a pattern, the ring part is really easy but trying to illustrate how to thread the ribbon is really not.
Finally today, Vicky tells me that people want the pattern for these snakes that I shared in an earlier blog, but it so difficult to make the big ones that I thought I would try a smaller version

So based on a bendy curler ( 24 cm by about 1 cm ) I made my first snake, very carefully writing the pattern as I went. This is the result

Unbelievably skinny body with huge head. The trouble is that I crochet by look and feel and writing somehow interferes with that process but I am determined ( some might say pig headed ) so here is my second try.

The proportions are slightly better but I got engrossed in the crochet and forgot to write the pattern. Still third time lucky I hope.
Most of this blog seems to be about my failed attempts at writing patterns but we do have lots for sale that are for a range of abilities and we are always willing to offer support if you get stuck so check them out and get in touch.