Thursday, 28 August 2014

i-phone cosies, ears and hangers? and just one more dream catcher

I knew I should have emptied the paddling pool sooner, the moment I did the weather started to improve but it is still trying to fool me because every time I just get the pool dry and turn my back for a minute a tiny shower comes along and I have to start again.

This week my source of inspirations or should that be sources of inspiration have been very different. First 'Inside Crochet Magazine' had some crochet ears for Halloween I found some black padded hair bands in my stash (I still think it is a hoard) and made my own version.

the models head is a bit too small
Next was a car boot sale where I found  a bag full of children's wooden coat-hangers for the princely sum of £1.50 - who could resist.

And Matt has a new phone which was in need of protection and after I had made one cosy I couldn't stop.

 I have photographed them with an old i-pod which is a bit smaller than an i-phone and used making these as another excuse to use my beautiful buttons.

Finally just one more dream catcher inspired by the interest generated by the last blog and FB .

We are going to Wales for a few days but I am trying to keep it quiet because at the moment the weather still thinks I am only trying to dry the paddling pool and the sun is blazing down. If you hear about hurricanes and the return of the ice age in Wales you will know word has got out!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

A dream of a day

Life is full of those amazing things that add so much joy. As an example I decided to hang all of the dream catchers in the garden so that I could take pictures and as I was doing it I caught a flash of movement in the tree I was using.

Here they are all looking beautiful in the apple tree but this was far more beautiful!

He obviously thought the dream catchers were bird feeders full of worms, perhaps and he was of the opinion that he was a humming bird trying to take the ribbons out of mid-air. He was also fearless and when he needed a rest he came and sat within a metre of me. What a treat!

Lots more dream catchers and I am trying to give them names so we have:
autumn dreams, pink dreams, halloween (scary) dreams, night sky dreams, velvet dreams, rainbow dreams and spring green dreams - so far!

 Some close ups of the scary dreams catcher - hope it does not give you nightmares

Monday, 18 August 2014

More of the same: mandalas, dream catchers and decorations

Graham and I had a lovely weekend. Ben and Danny came to stay so we went to Gravity Force which is the new trampoline place in Camberley. I think it is the first time that I have taken my crocheting to pass the time and ignored it completely. The boys had such fun bouncing off walls, playing dodge ball, and jumping into foam pits that I just had to watch - brilliant and highly recommended.

I did do some crocheting over the week, as you would expect, but nothing much that is new because I am still experimenting with mandalas and dream catchers.

This is the finished rainbow dream catcher - the big ring is the bottom part of a lampshade, the medium sized one is a plastic ring bought on line and the small bottom ones are plastic roman blind rings. I had ordered some feathers for it but I think that might be overdoing the decoration!

Next I tried something more artistic. I think this is a bit better than my usual attempts but you can't help but realise that I am a scientist when you look at my works of art.

 Two more mandalas. I made the orange circles separately and then crocheted them in. I really like the effect but I need to block the edges properly.
This one is my favourite so far. With these it helps to be able to do arithmetic and I am much more at home with this more geometrical work - Vicky is our family artist.

The other thing that happened this week was that Graham and I found a garden centre that also sells wool. I can imagine that we will be spending a great deal of time there something for each of us and a cafe for buns afterward perfect.

 This is what I made from some old bangles and  the tinsel yarn that I found at the garden centre

Finally this is proof that you can't have too many buttons: art work by Danny.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Circles Mandalas and Dream Catchers.

As you can see, this week I have been going round in circles. I have been looking at some of the beautiful mandalas that have been submitted for show at YarnDale. They are amazing and inspiring so I had to have a go. The other thing that I had been dying to try was overlay crochet .
The results of putting the two ideas together are here. All done in Rico essentials double knitting cotton.

I am pleased with the results although the colour schemes were dictated by what was already in my stash. Perfect excuse to buy more yarn (as if I needed one)

While I was rummaging for cotton I found an old pattern for a doily which I have converted (by way of the two copper rings from an old lamp shade ) into a pair of dream catchers. These are the perfect excuse to use up ribbons and beads (and anything else) from your stash.

This one is not finished yet but it is made using some rainbow ribbon yarn equivalent to about 4ply I should think.

Lastly Graham and I went to Farnham yesterday to check if the castle was suitable to take Ben and Danny to. It was very good with some quite hair raising views through glass panels to the ground. While we were there we discovered The University of the Creative Arts has a Craft Study Centre which is open to the public. I can really recommend a visit.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

First Christmas Ideas and a flash of genius

We really have started to think about Christmas and I wanted to do something a bit different so I raided the loft and actually found the Christmas decorations ( this is a miracle if you know my loft) and since then I have been trying to crochet around the ordinary plastic shiny baubles.

Isn't it pleasing to see baubles among osteospermum and passion flowers to say nothing of in the beach pebbles.

I will try to write a pattern for these soon.

The flash of genius?

I ran out of baubles and I couldn't face the loft again so I decided to make a granny square
advent calendar. The backing is made from super chunky yarn and it if fixed to a trouser hanger. I made the 24 granny squares first and then made the back fit. Each square has a fairly stiff felt lining which I sewed in place before attaching the squares to the backing.

As you can see I started to fill each little pocket with tiny little crochet things. I am particularly pleased with the jolly (drunk?) pixie. The angel has a mad miss Haversham look and somehow Santa seems hunched, cold and fed up. The others are a tiny tortoise, a miniscule owl, a small mouse and a fish.
Anyway then I had my flash of genius: why not make it an Advent calendar or Christmas present for crafters? You could fill each pocket with something essential or luxurious for a particular craft such as a packet of sewing needles, some special buttons a ball of yarn. Or you could put in a mix of things like the ones I am going to use;

And here they are in close up:

 3 large jingle bells and a ball of sparkly yarn
 Three different types of thread.
 Buttons and hooks
More buttons and a key ring finding
 Safety eyes  and some hair clip blanks
 a tape measure and a tiny purse clip
 A set of cat buttons and a set of snowman buttons.

Some small silver jingle bells and some stitch holders
 More buttons and some tassels
Brooch findings and hair combs

Some beads and some ribbon.

I know advent calendars should have numbers and I am still thinking about them - either felt cut with the dye cutter or I have some number beads coming. I am amazed that there are exactly 24 different things here although some might say there are rather too many buttons - but I don't think that that is possible.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Free Christmas gift for all our crochet friends - you can do bullions

Summer show over so start thinking about Christmas and some new things to add to the old favourites. Before that here is an early Christmas present.  We were asked so often how to do a bullion easily I thought I'd share my favourite method.

Bullions are an integral part of free-form and yet until recently I had avoided them because they were so difficult but then I discovered the drinking straw method and it is now almost as easy as a treble. Thank you bethintx1 - there is a video here showing this method.

1. cut a piece of drinking straw about the length of the shaft of the hook

2. cut along the length of the straw.

3. cut the corners off  and place the straw around the hook when you are ready to make bullions.

4. I am making a circle of bullions so I have made a magic circle and a chain about the length of the bullion I want to make.

5. make sure that the current stitch is around the straw and then wrap as many turns as you need around the straw - the picture shows 6 wraps

 6. put the hook into the ring, yarn over hook and pull a loop through, make sure that this loop is on the straw as well.
 7. yarn over hook and pull this loop through the centre of the straw.  You can use the slit in the straw to guide the 'nose' of your hook if need be.
8. Remove the straw and your bullion is complete.

Vicky managed to use a whole straw and a tunisian crochet hook to make a 100 wrap bullion. I think this must be a world record unless you know different.

TIP I have found that the straws from Macdonald's work the best - so here is a perfect excuse for some quick take away food.