Thursday, April 29, 2010

Loose ends to tie up

I'm part way through a number of projects at the moment as I've gotten carried away again and started doing new things before finishing up other projects.Once I've knuckled down and finished them off I'm going to be doing some baby crafting for a little girl that is due to be joining my family later this year :-)

There will hopefully be some finished items to show you soon but until then can you guess what I'm making from this progress picture?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday book review

"The Crafter's Companion" edited by Anna Torborg
ISBN: 978-1-905005-17-8

This book is one of my favourite reads when I need a little inspiration to get me crafting again. Each of the contributors have written about why they create and what inspires them as well as including a pattern for a sewing project. Most of the projects included are quite simple and are meant to give you a starting point for your own creativity. Even though all the projects have very clear and well written instructions I have yet to make any of them.

What keeps me coming back to this book are the beautiful photos of the creative spaces of the contributors as well as the photos of the beautiful things that they create. There are contributions from some very well known bloggers in here including Amy Karol from angrychicken, Cassi Griffin from belladia, Heidi Kenney from mypapercrane, Hillary Lang from weewonderfuls, Lyn Roberts from mollychicken and tons of others.

This is a really lovely book and a great introduction to a host of beautiful craft blogs that are well worth paying a visit to.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is it a bird, is it a plane?.. it's a strange crocheted neuron.

There is a project going on in the UK at the moment which is asking knitters and crocheters to have a go at making a yarny neuron. These neurons are going to then be used as a large piece of art work that can demonstrate the damage that occurs in the brain after a stroke.

So I've had a go at following the crochet pattern on the Knit a Neuron website and this is what I ended up with. I'm not too sure that it is the best attempt at a neuron, but hopefully it'll be included in the project and may at some point in the near future help raise funds for the Head Injury Therapy Endowment Fund before being homed in the University of Bristol's brain imaging centre. Why don't you join in the neuron fun and try making one yourself?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday magazine review

"Inside Crochet" issue 7
April/May 2010
UK crochet terms

This latest issue of Inside crochet is focusing on the broomstick lace crochet technique which I've yet to have a go at. The section showing you how to do the broomstick lace technique is clear and has good photographs of the different steps involved. With this and 3 patterns for broomstick lace items including a really nice cardigan I'm very tempted to give it a go myself.

Apart from that though there wasn't much in this issue that really appealed to me. The little crochet dress which is also shown on the front cover does look very sweet, but for some reason this issue seems to have focused on hats, scarves and wraps - not really very seasonal for a April/May issue!

There is also a really good article about Shauna Richardson who does the 'crochetdermied' animal pieces which was a really interesting read. If you haven't heard of her work then you should go and have a look at some of the amazing pieces she has done on her website

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tiny stitches

After writing up my review for "Blanket statement" I was inspired to have a play with some of the felt scraps in my stash. Because of being drawn to small projects at the moment the pattern for the tiny gnome took my fancy and these two little mischievous guys were made before I quite realised it.

The pattern called for small circles of pink knit fabric and as I only had a normal bit of cotton I had to go with that, though they did end up looking a bit wrinkly. My little garden elves also have a little bit of lavender stuffed in their bodies, just in case their future owners want an excuse to have them around after the Christmas trees get packed back up next year.

Surprisingly I still had a little spare time to have a go at another of the projects that was calling me from this beautiful book. This time I pulled out a bit of white felt and made up the pretty little pony. I'm very pleased with how he came out - so tiny and so much detail but somehow still neat and even. Again this little pony would be a pretty addition to a Christmas tree but I'm tempted to pass him on to one of the little girls in my family as I think he would be most loved that way.

These three little ones took me only three days to complete which is astounding. Usually it takes me a good week to see an item from start to finish so while doing these it felt like I had time on my side for a change. The patterns and instructions were very easy to follow and now I really can't wait to get started on another project from this book soon.

That's another three items tucked into the Christmas box, hooray! Hopefully with a few more successful little projects like this I'll be much closer to have next Christmas under control.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday book review

"Blanket Statement: One Thrifted Wool Blanket Repurposed Into 40+ Projects" by Vicki Haninger
ISBN: 978-1440430299

This beautiful book has been at the top of my wishlist for a very long time now, but due to it not being available on the UK amazon website I wasn't able to get it when it was first published. However all that has recently changed as the UK amazon are now stocking it so I quickly ordered myself a copy.

You may too have heard a little about this book as quite a few craft blogs posted very positive reviews about it when it was first published late 2008. The book came about from a series of projects that were blogged about at all using one wool blanket bought from a thrift store. The challenge to try and use all of the blanket turned out some beautiful items that just make you itch to have a try yourself.

My excitement about getting this book was well paid when I got my hands on my own copy. The book is beautiful, well written and lovingly laid out. The how to's at the front are simple and clear and go into just the right level of detail to encourage you to have a try for yourself. Then you have the projects. So many lovely things, where to start? I probably love the little heart pincushion and rosebud booties that you can see on the front cover the most, but then I also love the tiny pony, Eskimo doll, cat nip mittens... in fact I love most of the projects, and that is really rare for me with a craft book.

So now I have to decide what to make first. Thankfully most of the projects look very simple and quick so there should be no problems with my being in love with half the book!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all my readers from everyone here at Tea Towers!

After weeks of crocheting little bunnies I finally think I've done enough to keep my friends and family happy. These little guys have all been sent off to various places around the country and will hopefully all have made new friends by now.

For any fellow crocheters out there that may be interested I thought I would write briefly the alterations that I made to the original Lion Brand pattern:

To crochet a little tail:

the pattern specifies making tiny pompoms which I didn't have the time or paitence for

ch 2, 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook
*2 sc in first sc, sc* x 2 (6 sc)
sc in each sc around (6 sc)
finish off with a large tail to sew tail on.

I also found that the ears on the original pattern were a little longer than I would like so I didn't work the last row on mine.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday book review

Before I get started on this week's Friday book review I wanted to say a quick sorry for not managing to get one up last week. I have a good reason though - I spent the time putting together a separate page to index all my Friday reviews on to make them easier to browse through. Why not go and have a look once you've finished reading through the review for this week?

"The Cute Book" by Aranzi Aronzo
ISBN: 978-1932234688

The cute book was one of the first of a growing number of simple styled craft books by Aranzi Aronzo that have relatively recently been published in English. The Aranzi Aronzo name is well known in Japan where the characters have been well loved for some time and because they were so popular the original makers decided to write books so that everyone could make them.

The cute book contains 19 different patterns for some exceptionally cute little felt mascots. These little toys are only a couple of inches tall but are overflowing with kawaii (Japanese cute) and so many of them are just begging me to have a go... In fact I did have a go back in February 2008 when I made the two little cute critters on the right. They turned out really well, but at the time I was taken a back by how tricky they were to put together and that was enough to put me off having another go.

Now when I look through the book again there are still so many that I want to try, like the beautiful little squirrel with the very cute flower dress, and the fluffy little lambs, oh and I really must have a go at making the slightly worried looking monkey. As well as a host of very cute characters there are some much more sinister creatures in here too, perhaps to help offset all the cuteness? These interest me and are fun to read about, but I'm not too sure who I would make the 'kidnapper' for, or for that matter the 'liar'...

This book is beautifully presented and very simple to follow, everything that you need to know is clearly explained with just the right amount of detail. It is very cute throughout with lovely photographs and sweet little drawings. It has a style all of its own and if you too love the Japanese style of cuteness then this is most definitely the book for you.