Monday, May 31, 2010

Planet June spring crochet along

I've been working my fingers to the bone with crochet for the Christmas box recently so I very almost missed the crochet-along that Planet June was hosting over on Ravelry.

She has a beautiful free pattern for a daffodil which was the first choice for the crochet-along and for those of us with a little less time she also decided to include the pattern for her little whale.

Because I left this all to the last minute I went with the little whale and I love how simple he was to make. In just under one hour I had completed this little guy and I think he turned out very cute :-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Designer focus - KristieMN

For the last couple of weeks I've been making more of a concerted effort to try and fill my Christmas box and to help me I've been using a number of free patterns by the fantastic crochet designer KristieMN.

Kristie has designed a large number of patterns which she has either very kindly made freely available on her website or sells from her Etsy shop ( She has a great selection of patterns and if you are an amigurumi addict like me then you'll love her clear and simple patterns.

My family and friends all remember the little crocheted ladybirds that I made a ton of to use as decorations at my wedding reception. They were attached to the flower arrangements as well as being hidden in a number of places around the venue. All of them were found and taken to new homes apart from the two that I managed to keep hold of for myself! After seeing just how popular those cute little ladybirds turned out to be I bookmarked a number of the other free patterns that I liked and making them up was such fun :-)

My favourite out of the free patterns is probably the little mouse just above. A very quick project to make and so cute! I love how tiny this little one is, I love it's cute round ears and little tail. The bumble bee above is also a very quick project, and with the round black head and little pipe cleaner antenna it seems to go well with the ladybird.  

Next up I made the little horse, but this took me much longer than the other creatures and I found that putting all the separate parts together pretty fiddly so I'm not likely to make this one again any time soon. He turned out okay though and I'm quite happy with how he looks even if he isn't quite as cute as I had hoped for.

Lastly I made up this very cute sheep that I enjoyed making a great deal. The pattern for the body seemed a little odd as you had to turn the work after every row which is unusual when working in the round. However after a few rows of doing this you saw that it started to create a slightly bobbly texture that made the sheep look fluffy.

There are a load more free patterns available on Kristie's web page which are well worth having a look through, and then if you are still keen to have a go at some more patterns be sure to visit her Etsy page. I can also highly recommend her Lazy days (and Lazy days 2) patterns that I've made a few items from over the years.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday book review - a little late

Sorry for the delay in publishing my latest book review - the pattern that I choose to make from the book took me a little longer than I had anticipated.

"Vintage crochet: 30 specially commissioned patterns" by Susan Cropper
 ISBN: 978-1903221884

 UK crochet terms

This beautiful book contains a range of lovely looking projects all in the vintage style that seems to be becoming very popular at the moment. The projects range from cardigans and wraps to crocheted food covers and a beautiful summer canopy. The projects seem to be aimed at a confident crocheter as they all seem to be between intermediate and advanced level and there is only a limited techniques section at the back.

There are a number of patterns that I have fallen in love with from the photographs with my favourite being a beautiful wrap called the 'Ava wrap' which is made up with a repeating large open crochet motif. I also love the 'Papilon canopy' which is a simple open worked net which is designed to be hung up in your garden to give a little bit of shade in summer, if I had a larger garden to fit it in then I would be making it right now.  My other favourite patterns are both by the same contributor - Alicia Paulson, and I've book marked the baby cardigan as one to make up so I'll let you know how I get on with it.

The pattern that I choose to make up for this review though was the 'Peony corsage' by Kate Jenkins, mostly because I thought it wouldn't take too long... but I quickly realised it was fiddlier than it first appeared. I had a few disagreements with the pattern - there were some basic errors in the pattern that should have been picked up in pattern testing and there wasn't any guidance about making the flower up from the separate crocheted pieces.

However after about 5 hours of fiddling with petal placement and weaving in a ton of loose ends I did end up with a very pretty flower so this is a pattern worth making a bit of extra effort for.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Giveaway winner...

The result is finally in for the winner of this little panda - the random number generator choose comment #6 - Anne Marie from Texas. (Junie Moon wanted to be skipped as she is trying to have a house clear out at the moment)

Congratulations Anne Marie, if you could let me know your home address I'll send this little guy out to you straight away.

It's been great to have a few new people visit here so thanks for joining in and I hope to see some of you here again soon, you are all very welcome!

The next giveaway will be for when I hit the 50 followers mark so if you want to be involved in that then be sure to click on the Follow link at the top of the page.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

100th post and giveaway!

After 2 and a bit years of blogging I'm proud to be able to say that I've finally reached my 100th post. When I started writing this blog back at the beginning of 2008 I really didn't think that I would be doing it for so long and I've surprised myself with how addictive it can be. Thank you to all the people who have left encouraging comments in the past - they really do make it all worth while. Thanks also to all my followers - watching the number of people who follow this blog climb has helped keep me motivated.

To say thank you properly I'm going to do another giveaway - see this cute little panda, well he could be yours! Just leave a comment on this post and I'll enter you into the draw for him. I'm happy to post him anywhere in the world so everyone is welcome to enter.The draw will be done on Tuesday 18th May so all entries need to be made before then.

I'm also planning on doing a little giveaway when I reach the 50 followers mark, so if you add me as one of the blogs you follow then that giveaway will come round that much quicker!

Oh - and if you don't win this time then not to worry, this little guy was made from a free crochet pattern on the Lion Brand website so log on there and have a go - the pattern is lovely and simple and would be a great first pattern for anyone wanting to try Amigurumi.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday book review

Because I want to try and add an example of something that I've made from each of the books that I review I'm going to be now only doing a review every two weeks. These new bi-weekly reviews should hopefully give me enough time to have a go at crafting one of the projects. This should in turn help me to write a better review of the book and give you something more exciting to look at than just the cover image.

"AntiCraft: Knitting, beading & stitching for the slightly sinister" by Renee Rigdon and Zabet Stewart

ISBN: 978-1-60061-030-1

Sometimes the sugary sweetness of crafting can get too much and after looking through page after page of cute bunnies, pretty pink booties and lovable soft toys you start to get tooth ache. The antidote for that is probably this book - but be warned as this isn't crafting for the faint of heart!

This book has it all from a load of skull and crossbones emblazoned projects, evil Easter eggs and crochet whip with handcuff set. There is something for knitters, crocheters and people who sew (surely not sewers though?) alike with some simple getting started instructions at the back for beginners.

There are a large number of projects in this book that I will probably never make as I'm fairly sure that I don't need a menstrual cup cosy shaped like a squid or a two headed albino rat. However there are a small handful of projects that are really lovely, like these beautiful little owls by one of my favourite crochet designers Alice Merlino. Alice is super talented (does some beautiful crochet as well as very cute felt soft toys) and I'm a regular reader of her blog so when she posted about being one of the contributors to this book I just had to get my hands on a copy. The pattern instructions for these owls were simple to follow and as the owls themselves were such quick projects I was able to make all three of them for you to see - hooray!

As well as all the projects you also get a really good fun read. There are lots of little tongue in cheek articles about the dark side of crafting with plenty of Gothic old style images to enjoy and the occasional anticraft comic strip thrown in as well. This book is well worth having a good look through, but if you are looking for a more practical project focused book then this isn't one that you would want to spend money on.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Who's this?

After a few more days of construction I managed to put together the pieces that you saw in my last post and I can now proudly reveal my latest crochet critter - a tiny amigurumi giraffe from the free pattern by Anjapanda (if you are a Ravelry user you can get the pattern from here). Well done Hannah for guessing it correctly, must have been because you make so much amigurumi yourself!

Look at him peeping out from behind some of the overgrown grass in our garden (perhaps he'll help me keep our lawn a little shorter if I ask him nicely?) isn't he sweet! Though he is very cute he is also rather shy and after a good deal of coaxing I've managed to persuade him to come out properly so you can have a good look at him. He seems to be enjoying the garden which is great as we've put quite a bit of work into it this weekend so I'm glad that someone is getting the chance to spend some time in it.

The pattern turned out to be surprisingly simple with a simple head and body shape, 4 little legs and one long tube for the neck. The hardest part as ever was the construction, but even with all the fiddling with pipe cleaners, sewing bits together and embroidering on all the spots it was all done quite quickly.

Now I'm going to have to somehow try not to get too attacted to this little fellow as he is destined for the Christmas box. Hopefully I'll find someone who will love him lots and make sure he has plenty of fresh grass to eat.