Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Christmas crafting

Okay - so my pattern alteration hasn't been posted yet, the good news is that I'm happy with the adjustments but I'm still working up a few example to photograph before posting about it properly... it seems that it is going to have to wait until after Christmas now.

I have been busy with a few other projects though, both of which got started during my recent hospital stay. Both of these are Christmas presents but the recepent's don't read this blog so you can all have a preview.

First off we have a blue totoro from the fantastic studio ghibli film "My neighbour Totoro*. The pattern for this guy is freely avaliable from Heavens_hellcat's LiveJournal here. I love this little guy and I'm sorely tempted to make another one up for me as well as one of the little white totoro's to keep him company.

My other handmade Christmas gift (sadly I didn't manage to do the handmade Christmas that I had hoped for everybody... maybe next year?) is this little pooh bear book mark for a friend who is also a huge pooh bear fan. Before starting it I had managed to forget just how long it takes to do a cross stitch piece and I really couldn't quite believe just how many hours this little bookmark sucked up. Ah well, it still looks lovely.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas crafting

My little boy is still taking up most of my time but things have started to settle into a more manageable routine in the last few weeks giving me time to get back to my usual crafty ways.

My first proper piece of crafting since having the babe has been this little Santa hat that turned out just how I had pictured it and was surprisingly simple to make. I've even gotten round to writing up the pattern for this and you can find it on the CrochetMe website at: http://crochetme.com/patterns/baby-santa-hat. Doesn't he look like the cutest little guy you've ever seen? Hopefully this hat will still fit him for Christmas day, but if not I can always make him a new one!

My second bit of crafting is a couple of little crochet candy canes from a PlanetJune free pattern (http://www.planetjune.com/blog/free-crochet-patterns/candy-cane/). These little candy canes are lovely as tree decorations and so quick and easy to make, perfect for the mum in a hurry!

Now I'm off to try and finish off an adjustment to one of my early patterns which hopefully I'll be able to show you the results of soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crafting delay

Gosh - it's been almost 3 months since my last post, you all must have thought that I had disappeared off the face of Blogger never to return. Don't fret as I'm back now though I may not be able to quite keep to my promised weekly blog posts as I am very proud to announce that I have a baby son!

My little boy has been keeping me very busy these first few months but as I'm starting to get to grips with looking after him I'm also getting a little bit of last minute Christmas crafting in. To keep you all happy I've put in some photos of pre-baby crafting which are the presents I made/partmade for my sister's Birthday.

The softie cake on the right is from the lovely "Softies Kit" by Therese Laskey. I really loved the softies shown in this kit especially the cute tree softie which on the one day I get to do a little crafting for myself I'll be making first. Putting together that sweet little cake softie was much harder than I had expected it to be. For some reason the pattern didn't include the circle for the top and bottom pieces - so you had to spend a good while fiddling with a number of different sized circles to get the right one. Joining up the scalloped icing piece at the back was also a bit of a mission and I didn't manage to get mine to meet neatly at the back. Has anyone else had similar problems with this?

Next up on the left is a photo of where I am currently up to on the second part of my sister's present - can you figure out what it is yet? Gold stars to anyone who guessed "Galaxy Top" by Katy Westcott (a free pattern from the CrochetMe website). This is hopefully going to be a lovely top accented by pretty crochet circles ... but right now it is giving me grey hairs as it is so very labour intensive to make. Just making all the circles and winding in their loose ends took me about 40 hours of work... joining them up with the top is also a bit of a nightmare and there are pins everywhere. If my sister is very lucky I'll have this finished in time for Christmas, if not then who knows when.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Moody blue octopus

Again I have slipped behind a little in my craft blogging - 3 weeks since my last post - I just can't believe that time has gone by so quickly!

What have I been up to for these last 3 weeks then? Well, for some of it I was making up this very cute little chunky octopus from the well know Octopode Pandemonium pattern on Craftster. However, I really can't blame him for taking up so much of my time, he was lovely and easy to make and only took a few days.

The rest of my crafting time has been pretty much eaten up trying desperately to finish up a Birthday present for one of my sisters... and I'm very sorry to say that even with a lot of frantic crocheting on the train and in every other free minute I'm still not done! I can't yet show you any pictures of what I'm working on as I would like it to remain a surprise for my sister, however please could you all wish me luck with it as I'm starting to lose the will to crochet.

So to make up for the lack of new project photos I'll leave you with a top view of the little blue octopus - he looks a little like a blue sun from this angle doesn't he?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cluster of baby hats

After just a week of frantic crochet I now have 4 pretty little hats for the Save the Children "Knit one save one" appeal. With a little trial and error I did manage to design my own version of the new born hat pattern that was published in Woman's Weekly. In fact - I had so much fun designing the first hat that I also designed a similar second hat (you can find these patterns in the sidebar on the right).

The two patterns for these hats (shown in the photo as the first 3 hats - blue, lilac & pink) should hopefully be error free and are much, much easier to make up than the pattern that I spent a week struggling with. These little hats are now destined to be sent off to my Mum for packaging up with any hats that she and my sister make up. Hopefully they help warm some little newborn heads soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Save the Children hat

My mum sent me a pattern from her copy of Woman's Weekly so I could join in with the latest Save the Children campaign which is trying to get knitters and crocheters all making up hats for newborns.

I've had a number of problems in working up this pattern though - to the point where I almost tore it apart in frustration. The pattern is worked from the bottom up as one flat piece and then joined together at the end. The instructions for this are very confusing and the pattern's main stitch is working crossed dc's which I had not encountered before.

I'm very tempted to have a go at writing a similar pattern that would be quicker to work up and much easier to understand... for starters I would certainly want to be working this in a round with no joining together at the end. I may even publish it on Crochet Me so that anyone else who wants to join in this appeal can have a nice simple pattern to work with.

For a quick laugh I've included a photo of my first attempt making this pattern up - looks pretty bad right?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Jayne Cobb hat

Some of you may already know who Jayne Cobb is - but for those of you who don't he was one of the characters in the fantastic series "Firefly" and during that series he received a hat similar to the one I have just finished making.

Over at the Crochet Me website Kim Werker has put out a call asking all crocheters to have a go at making up one of these hats and posting a photo of themselves in it in the hopes of enticing Joss Wheldon (creator of Firefly, Buffy & Angel) to do an interview with her.

Well my attempt isn't quite right, it has 2 extra colours in it for starters (I didn't have enough of one yellow for the top so to even that out I had to use an extra darker red at the bottom) and instead of using a chunky yarn I ended up with a much finer double knitting yarn... so I had to do my own pattern. I still like this hat though - and hopefully my sister will too as it is one of the first of the Christmas presents I've made... only about 50 more to do *sigh*.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pretty purple

I'm already starting to make use of some of the stash that I've just received from that lovely freecycler I mentioned in my last post. This weekend was spent playing with some of the purple wool and it feels great to be using something other than green!

First off I wanted to make a simple card up to say thank you for all the wool and using the pattern for a small chrysanthemum from my Crochet inspiration book to make up the main motif it only took another 10 minutes before I had a pretty card to send.

Next I decided to do another bit of Birthday crafting and make up one of my simple purses, but this time in purple. With a matching zip and little felt star (and a few sequins for a bit of sparkle) the purse looks so sweet and is just the right size for getting a few credit cards, coins and notes in.

More Birthday crafting will probably follow shortly... I also have high hopes of doing some early Christmas crafting very soon to try and get a good few presents made up before I go into baby panic.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Christmas has come early

Have you heard of the fantastic emailing list called Freecycle? If not then you are probably really missing out. The idea is that you subscribe to the list and offer anything that you don't want/can't sell/have cluttering up you home to the list. Anyone who is interested can then send you a quick message and ask to have it. This way unwanted items stay out of landfill and a large group of people get to share what they no longer need.

My husband and I have freecycled a lot of our unwanted stuff (mostly after house moves) and it was great to know that these items would go on to other homes who wanted and would use them. But today it was my turn to take what someone else was throwing out and give it a good home. I hit the big time with this huge stash of beautiful wool. Just look at it... that rainbow of left over skeins of wool (so many exciting new colours!) and then those two massive piles of bright red and lovely purple wool. I think I shall be smiling about this for such a long time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Frog in my throat

Yup - I've been feeling poorly, poorly enough to take a day off work and rest up at home. Sitting back my fingers itched to make something cute to cheer me up - and what better to make when you have a sore throat - a frog of course!

I've been wanting to make up the excellent pattern of a tree frog from the Roman Sock blog (this site has some beautiful free patterns and is well worth a good long visit) for about a year now and I've only been holding off as I couldn't find red cats eyes anywhere. Finally I bit the bullet and made do with some green eyes that I already had in my stash, and I'm so glad that I did. Because of using green eyes I decided to stick with green feet too as I thought it would be better to do a good old fashioned frog rather than a half attempt at a tree frog.

I've just officially fallen in love with this guy - I had great fun taking his photo earlier and I'm really going to find it very hard to give this one away. Sadly he is intended for a friend's Birthday, but I doubt it will be long before I make one up for myself.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fruity purse

Another summer birthday is on its way so I needed a very quick project that I could whip up in a few hours, luckily I had something started already.

You may remember that back in January I was trying my hand at designing my own crochet items for sale. One of the items that I thought might sell well were little crochet purses - and they were very quick and easy to crochet up. However, when it came to finishing them off and trying to hand sew in a zip things got a little harder.

This little purse is the same one photographed back in January, but this time with the zip finally put in and a leaf added at the top in the hopes that it looks something like an apple. I've also not bothered trying to line this purse as the crochet is very dense and sturdy so should be fine without.

I may make more of these, I just wish I had a bit of orange wool so that I could do some oranges as well as apples - hey, maybe I could try a few different fruits too...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Manic Birthday crocheting

Looks like my crafting break is well and truly over now - I've been non-stop crocheting for the last week all to try and have gifts ready in time for family Birthdays. I'm pretty proud of myself though with these two little cuties.

On your left you should see a little crochet frog who is looking very alert with his wide open eyes. This little guy was pretty easy too do especially as I opted to only do the easy feet for this one (I was in quite a rush and the hard feet version would have meant sewing on 24 individual toes). He has been sent out to one of my little nieces to enjoy as part of her Birthday present

On your right I would like to introduce the little elephant that I made up for my second little niece's Birthday (too many Birthdays!). This little one was also very easy to make (though when making the ears I really couldn't see how they would end up looking anything like elephant ears... but it all worked out in the end).

The main pattern is the same for both animals and these two are from the Kirstieskids 'Lazy Days 2' crochet pattern (which you should be able to purchase from Etsy here)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Moving house

I'm terribly sorry for the complete lack of crafty posting for the last month - but I have a very good excuse, I've just moved home.

This is my first time buying and while it has all gone pretty well it has taken up a huge amount of time and effort. The house is a lovely 2 bedroom mid terrace with a cute little garden that hopefully will be growing some pretty flowers and herbs soon.

To break back into regular crafting gently I've just finished up making these little moving house cards/notelets to send out to friends and family. They are very simple, just a printed A4 sheet of paper with the title and message printed on. Then I just cut out some little card board houses added either 'Fragile' or 'This way up' and stuck them to the front - done!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Filling out

After only 15 weeks of being pregnant I'm already having real trouble fitting into any of my clothes. None of my trousers fit now - not even my lovely loose hip hugging jeans, and most of my tops are just too short to hide my bump.

Luckily I have a sister who has kindly passed on to me a large box of her maternity clothes. Going through them was great fun - it was like having bought a huge amount of new clothes but not have to spend hours in those tiresome shops. So to thank my wonderful sister I quickly made up this card which uses up two cute miniature pieces of clothing which I saved from an old Birthday card years ago.

I've also done a tiny bit more crochet - finally updating my curious Alien pattern with a good few more foot-os (the feet are the trickest part of this pattern - but hopefully these photos will make things a little clearer).

There are some lovely photos of the little aliens that others have crocheted already up on Ravlry. If you have a Ravelry account then go and have a look here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hyperbolic coral submissions

After almost two months of starting my first hyperbolic crochet coral form at the workshop in the Southbank centre I am slightly ashamed to say that I haven't done nearly as much hyperbolic crochet as I had planned. I did finish off two forms which will hopefully make it in time for the first main submission deadline

The red coral on the right here is my favorite - the lovely soft yarn that I got to use from the workshop is a deeper colour than shown in this photo and really does look very pretty. I also think the combination of large loose curves and small tight curves works well and adds interest to the piece.

The workshop did fire me up to try crocheting with plastic - and the quick demonstration of how to cut the bags to make the yarn was really helpful. I dissected about 10 orange Sainsbury's bags to make the coral on the left, and then I trimmed the whole thing with 3 Wing Yip bags. Crocheting with plastic yarn is hard going though, and all the cutting up bags pretty much used up the enthusiasm that I had. Hopefully now I've had a good break I'll be trying some other forms and get a few more submissions in before the exhibition goes live on 10th June.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Some exciting news

I am very happy to announce that I am just gone 3 months pregnant! This has been one of the reasons why I've not been posting as much to this blog as I would like - I've needed to spend any free time sleeping instead of crafting.

However, I still have grand plans to craft lots of cute baby related items, clothes, booties and little blankets so any time that I'm not dosing off on the sofa I will be diligently making pretty things. Like these very sweet little crochet booties from the "Kyuuto! Lacy crochet" book.

I love the look of the projects in this book - such pretty items which look so simple. Sadly the instructions that go with them are hideously complicated - it took me three separate attempts before I successfully finished my first bootie. I love the idea of the clear crochet diagrams, but perhaps because this is thread crochet the detail on the diagrams is really very small and difficult to make out at times, especially with the crochet that is in a round - it is so difficult to make out which row you need to be working. There are also written instructions, but these have obviously been translated from Japanese and are quite basic as they rely heavily on the diagrams to give you all the detail you need.

Lastly - these booties are made in two separate pieces, the sole and the sides which are joined together with the second colour thread at the end. Why on earth would you want to make them this way? Surely you could do them all as one piece and then add a nice colour edge round the bottom which would have exactly the same effect.

I really do love the finished look of these booties - but I can only hope that I have a boy as there is no way on earth that I will go through making these again.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A late blooming poinsettia

You don't normally get the best out of poinsettias in April - but not in my flat... nope, in Jess land time has stood still for a good 4 months.

As you can see I'm still doggedly working my way through a list of UFO's and this is one that I started way back in December but didn't have the heart to finish. Nothing to do with the pattern though (which is freely available on the PlanetJune blog), I made life much harder for myself by deciding that I wanted to make it up in crochet thread and have it as a tree decoration.

In the end I think it was well worth all the effort, I love the chunky 3D nature of this decoration and I can't wait till December to show it off to my friends and family. But for now this will be the last late Christmas decoration that I'll be making up, best move on to some of my other patiently waiting projects.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pirate slipper

I'm so sorry for the lack of posting recently - I've been in a complete craft slump and I have not made a thing! Hopefully that slump is now on the way out though as I finally got round to patching one of my husband's slippers.

Why does it need a pirate eye patch? Heck, why do the slippers have goggly eyes at all? Well, Rich wanted the eyes, and they have been on there for quite some time, but a while ago he managed to knock one of the eyes off and then got it into his head that it would be cool to have a pirate eye patch for it instead.

Now I'm tempted to do something similar to my slippers...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hyperbolic crochet - hooray!

On Sunday (16th) myself and my sister Thea made our way through the wind and rain to attend the Hyperbolic crochet workshop being held in the Southbank centre. When we arrived the seats were already mostly full of eager crocheters and we hurried to find ourselves a place before it started.

Margaret Wertheim from the Institute For Figuring (IFF) started the workshop by giving a very interesting talk about how the Chicago and New York hyperbolic crochet coral reefs came about. She started by explaining what hyperbolic space was (which I won't try to do here - but if you are curious then the IFF have got a very good explanation here) and how in 1997 the mathematician Dr Daina Taimina was able to construct the first physical model of it by using crochet. Margaret then went on to describe the the effects of global warming on the great barrier reef in Australia - that the reef was rapidly becoming 'bleached' due to the increase in water temperature and that 1 third of it was already bleached and dying. Next we got to see a number of slides showing the crochet reef exhibitions in America as well as getting to hold and examine a large number of the different crochet coral pieces that Margaret had with her (some of these can be seen in the photo top left).

After Margaret's talk we were all really keen to have a go at making some coral forms and were allowed to help ourselves to the large stash of yarn that Rowan yarn had donated. Many of the attendees were new to crochet but after a fantastic finger crochet demonstration from Inga they too had a go.

Thea and I also got straight into some hyperbolic action with Thea deciding to try a form starting with a circle and I began a form that started with a simple chain. Once everyone had a hook and some yarn we all got straight to work and were completely focused on our crochet - so focused in fact that most people forgot to stop for some tea!

One of the nicest things about this workshop was the chance to meet some of the other crocheters involved in a group like this. One of my fellow crocheters from the Crochet UK yahoo group Susan came over and said hello to me and we had a great chat about crochet and local groups - thanks for saying hi Susan! I also got the chance to meet Inga who has done such amazing crochet work for the Chicago crochet reef (be sure to have a look at some of the magnificent pieces that she has made here)

All in all a fantastic day out and now I'm brimming with excitement about the chance to take part and produce work that be exhibited in the main foyer area at the Royal Festival Hall between 11th June - 17th August. If you want more information about getting involved with this fantastic project then send and email to the UK reef team at: ukreef@southbankcentre.co.uk

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hyperbolic crochet in London

Oh yes - finally, a crochet event in my local area that I can make it along to!

The Southbank centre in London is going to be visited by Margaret Wertheim who will be doing two workshops over the next weekend (15th & 16th March) on creating some of the fantastic hyperbolic crochet reefs. What gets created during these workshops will become part of the larger display and continue touring the world.

This was too exciting for just me to go along to by myself so my sister will be joining me for the Sunday workshop (if we managed to book a place in time) and I'll try to remember to get some photos from the day for my next post.

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Workshops
Saturday 15, Sunday 16 March 2008
2pm - 5pm

Booking essential as limited places are avaliable - UKreef@southbankcentre.co.uk

More information can be found at http://rockpoolcandy.typepad.com/sculpture/crochet_reef/index.html

Monday, March 3, 2008

This little piggy...

...came back to the parental home with me yesterday as a special mother's day surprise for my mum who absolutely adores pigs.

He is from the simple but adorable pattern by wee wonderfuls but I left off the wheels and just did him as a simple toy to keep my mum company at home. After finishing him off I now have a strong urge to make up some more little felt pigs - maybe I'll try to come up with my own design before my mum's next Birthday... either that or I could always make some for a future giveaway :-)

After having a good look around the new house he seemed to be satisfied with it and I'm sure he thought that my mum would be an easy mark for his cuteness. Hopefully he will be a good house pig and not leave things in a pigsty (a common complaint that my mum used to make about us kids).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mini giveaway

During a wool stash sort thorough I found a few more UFOs that I had started and then forgotten about. First off would be these little Koala booties (designed by crochetroo). These are the first pair that I made from this pattern, but they ended up at the bottom of my stash due to being too small for the intended recipient. They are light lilac with light blue koalas on the front and they measure 9cm by 4.5cm. If you have a little one that they would fit then leave me a comment (with your email address) to let me know.

Next up is a little crochet thread bag - made from the same lovely book as my crochet stars. Another very early project, it has a simple round bottom with a petal design and then a lacy body through which you can thread a bit of ribbon to act as a drawstring. This bag does not come with the tasty chocolate money that is shown in the photo as I have every intention of eating it all... however, if you would like the bag (sans chocolate) then again just leave a comment with an email address so that I can contact you.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Last of the resolutions

Look who came round to my flat to play this weekend - two of the little guys from Aranzi Aronzo's "The cute book". These slightly mischievous friends came to help me with my third and last new years resolution -

#3 - to make at least one item out of each of the craft books (and magazines) that I currently own.

Last year I went on a little bit of a spending spree when it came to craft books (in my defense there were published some truly irresistible new books) and looking at my lovely shelf with them all on I am ashamed to say that I've only made a couple of items out of all of them!

So last week I had a fun hour having another good look at some of the lovely projects that they contain and I've marked up a few potential projects that I will be sure to start making.

Just a quick note about "The cute book", lovely though the little toys are, be warned! They are incredibly fiddly to make, all the cutting and gluing and tiny sewing will take a good long time and may well try your patience. I love how mine turned out but it will be a while before I make any more.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Slightly late scottie dogs

This little chap is running slightly too late to be put on the Christmas tree so he has had to make do with decorating our friendly yucca house plant.

Yes I'm still working on Christmas decorations even though it is mid February! If I had been slightly more with it I would have done something crafty for valentines - but that will probably have to wait until at least July now..!

There is a reason why I choose to make scottie dog Christmas decorations though - it all started months ago when I decided to make up the lovely poinsettia pattern that is freely available from PlanetJune's blog. When asked by my husband mid through working on this poinsettia what I was making he seemed surprised and said that he always thought that was a dog. After that I had to make him a dog decoration - and the most Christmasy dog that I could think up were these cute little scotties.

Now to get that poinsettia finally finished!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yarn stash overload!

Today I've been left to my own devices as I had booked this day off thinking I would be worn out after all the skiing... but as I seem to have far too much energy I've been getting up to all sorts of mischief.

Rich called me this morning to let me know that our local Lidl store had some cheap wool in and so off I went to have a look. Instead of being sensible and only purchasing one or two bags, I went completely overboard and bought four large bags of yarn and 8 balls of crochet cotton!

Now I need to find somewhere to hide it all before Rich gets home from work...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Holiday crafting

Myself and Rich are just back from a fantastic skiing holiday where we stayed in the most lovely chalet with a group of friends and spent our days falling over and eating. As promised I took some craft supplies on holiday with me in the hopes that I would find some time to do a little crafting while away.

In the end I decided that crochet would be the most portable, and I did manage to find a little time in the evenings to whip up a little amigurumi octopus for one of our ski friends. I've finished writing up the pattern for him this evening so if you fancy trying to make one too the pattern is now up on the Crochet Me website.

I also had a good bash at trying to make a little crochet whale - but I'm sorry to say that he did not turn out well at all. However, after checking up on a few of my favorite blogs today I found that another crochet blogger has also come up with a pattern for a lovely little whale! Once I've finished up sorting through my suitcase I'm going to give him a go instead.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Miniature patchwork

For the last week I've been sewing like a maniac trying to finish off what is probably my oldest UFO.

My older sister used to do a little part time work for a local fabric store and her one perk would be that she would get the occasional offcut. One day she came home with a small plastic bag full of these tiny squares of fabric - they had been samples that the shop owner had given her. She gave them to me and so the patchwork began. These squares are tiny - 2cm x 2cm and all of them I've had to hand sew together (324!)

Well that was about 14 years ago now and this patchwork has been done in little bits for many years in a number of different homes. Every now and then I would take it out and add a few more squares then put it away again. Now in my fever to finish off all my different projects I have finally put the last squares together and I'm ready to turn the
whole thing into a cushion. I've added a border of purple corduroy fabric and once I've bought a suitable zip I'll finish the whole thing off. I love this cushion and I'm so excited that it is almost finished - but I probably will have to keep it locked away for fear of ruining it.

Tomorrow I'm off on holiday for a week - but hopefully when I get back I'll have something to show you for my time away, I just have to decide what crafty goodness to pack!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Years resolution - number 2

For my second craft related New Years resolution I resolved to reduce my stash of yarn that I've been storing up for years (you may have noticed the number of green items that I've been crocheting - this is all to use up a large amount of green yarn that I've had for many many years).

I'm also clearing out some of my no longer used crochet magazines and a baby crochet book that I never got around to making anything from. After finding a thread on the wonderful Crochetville forum about 'Random acts of kindness' I decided that I would give this a go. The idea is to write up a short list of your own wishes for anything from postcards to a new house in the hopes that some of your wishes may come true. You can then go through some of your fellow crafters wishes and see if there are any that you can grant.

So the photo above is of some of the items that I will be posting off in the hopes of making someones day a little bit brighter. This is such a lovely idea and perfect for finding a good home for the items that I haven't been making the best use of.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Years resolution - number 1

One of my crafty New Years resolution is to finish off some of my UFOs that I have been meaning to do for years. These little thread crochet stars were one of the first things that I ever crocheted, back when I was teaching myself at around age 14 (14 years ago now - yikes!).

I borrowed a lovely book from my local library called "Country Crochet" (I think - it was a long time ago now) and the beautiful fillet crochet and simple white thread items really appealed to me. Sadly this book was out of print at the time and I never found a copy that I could buy.

However, I did make these little stars - but because each one had about 11 loose ends to work in I never got around to finishing them off and starching them with PVA glue. I found them again a few weeks ago and decided that they had been waiting long enough! So after a few hours of working the ends in and then dunking them into some diluted PVA this is how they turned out. I really love them, and they will definitely be making an appearance on next year's Christmas tree.

Monday, January 21, 2008

To sell or not to sell?

Recently I was approached by a soon-to-be shop owner who wanted me to sell some of my crochet items through her shop. Initially I was very keen to give it a go (and it probably helped that I was flattered to have been asked) but after a little more thought I've been slowly going off the idea. I would need to design a whole range of quick to make items that didn't cost too much in materials and somehow come out in profit after this shop keeper has added on her 100-150% mark up.

Even though I've now decided against following her offer up I've still spent some time working up some simple purse ideas as well as buying a number of pretty 10cm zips. (If you have problems finding 10cm zips anywhere then I highly recommend "ribbon moon" they do stock a number of different colours and have a very helpful service team)

My first crochet purse attempt turned out a little warped... I worked it as all one piece in a continuous spiral from the bottom, so it didn't have nice defined edges and tended to turn in at the corners. Because I was having no joy finding anywhere that stocked little zips I also crocheted a flap with loops for buttons... but I'm not very pleased with the result (I'll probably end up frogging it and reusing the yarn).

For my second attempt I ditched the continuous round idea and stuck with a plain simple rectangle of crochet that I doubled over and stitched the edges together to make a basic pouch. I used an alternating green to do the outlining and I really liked how it brightened up the simple shape. Then I crocheted a simple leaf (if anyone wants to know the pattern I came up with then just leave a message) which I added to the front.

Now the tricky part, adding the lining and the zip. For the lining I used an old (but clean) T-shirt which was nice and soft and stretchy. After making a little pouch slightly smaller than the purse out of the fabric I pinned it into the purse and tried to sew it in with the zip in place too... and yes this was very tricky. I think I'm going to have to try and find some 'how to hand sew a zip' tutorials before I try the next purse. Even though the purse took over 3 hours to make I'm very happy with the results - but unless I get the construction time right down then it isn't really going to be suitable as something I make to sell.

The last purse idea was to make a simple circular purse with another leaf as decoration in the hopes that it will look a little like some sort of fruit, perhaps even an apple. I'm still thinking that it will take me a good few hours to sew the lining and zip in, but you never know, magically this could be somehow faster? Whatever happens at least I'll have a few more purses around the flat, and if I ever get round to it I could try selling them on Etsy.