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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jess treats herself

For Christmas this year I did get some lovely crafty things (including a fantastic crafty filled stocking from my wonderful husband) including a few of the craft books that I've been busily adding to my Amazon wishlist. Oh Amazon - how you tempt me with all those books I want!

There were a few books which I wasn't given that I just couldn't wait until my Birthday for so I just splurged on them instead. I've sneaked them home tonight without my husband knowing (he seems to think that my craft book collection is getting out of hand...) and I'm going to try and hide them somewhere before he gets home.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A new hat?

My husband seems to have gotten very excited about my latest completed project... so excited in fact that he has put it straight on his head when it isn't in fact a hat. Oh dear.

It is a nice chunky bag from one of the patterns in the Crochetville forum (waves of colour tote bag pattern) which I've doubled the size of so that I can use it to carry around my crochet projects. It also gave me the opportunity to use up some of my left over balls of wool that I've been struggling to find projects for. I even finished up some lovely bamboo yarn that I had left over from making my wedding dress wrap.

Now that I've used some of my stash up perhaps I should wander over to the shops to buy a little more...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Newest arrival

This little curious alien got completed yesterday evening after a good few evenings of frenzied crochet. When I started work on him I really had no idea how he was going to turn out, I just got my hook out and started with only a few vague ideas.

My lovely husband would like to be mentioned as the co-creator of this yet unnamed fellow. His input really did change how this little guy turned out - the alien that I had in my head was a very different alien... but not nearly as cute as this one.

I've just finished writing up the pattern for this little guy and you can find it for free at:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Quick preview

I've just finished figuring out how on earth to crochet a small green foot (which will form part of my next exciting free crochet pattern) and I just had to take a quick footo (oops - photo!) to show it off.

Hopefully with a little more work I'll have a lovely new pattern to share with you... it may take me a few more days though!

Until then I think I may also have a go at the lovely pattern for a frog which is freely available from the roman sock blog. Can you tell that I have a stash of green yarn that I'm trying to use up?

Nice day for a new blog

I've been thinking about getting myself sorted with a separate craft blog for some time now and today I have finally decided to do so.

Why do I think that I need two blogs?

Hmm - probably because I feel that my crafty life and my personal day to day life are two separate things. I don't really want to bore my friends and family silly with the craft projects that I'm working on - and I really do want to join in with some of the lovely craft blogging that is going on at the moment.

So my one New Year's resolution will be to put some time and effort into this blog and to try and post about something new at least once a week.