Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween craft swap

Happy Halloween guys

This month I took part in with u in minds Halloween craft swap and today I got to open my surprise.

There was a lot of excitement in the house as the package rattled and the cats have been trying to get into it since it arrived.

 Cal sitting on top of the door watching me open the parcel.

 Our first clue was this note. I was a bit bemused by this note but the Kitty's knew what it meant straight away.

 Cass getting very over excited when she realises the prezzie is for her :)

 Look how fantastic is this a kitty collar for Halloween. Such cute little pumpkins and now we know what was making that rattle.

 Cal was first up to claim her present

 here Cal is sporting the lovely pumpkin collar.

 She got a bit carried away and started pulling scary faces.

Next up it was Cassis turn. Cassi hasn't worn a collar for a while so she wasn't too happy to try it on and stormed off in a bit off a huff after I got it on.

 She got used to it and even though I put it upside down she won't let me take it off now :)

I really had fun taking part in the Halloween swap and I really hope my partner likes her gift as my Kitty's are really happy with theirs

You can see all the swap links on with u in minds blog

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Amigurumi jesus - guest blog post by Boo

Guest blog post by my fellow crocheter and good friend Boo

I’m thrilled that Liz has asked me to guest post for her, so I thought I would share with you the last custom piece that I made.  It was a request to be made as a gift for a religious education teacher for her to use with her class – an amigurumi Jesus.  I felt this was quite challenging, as amigurumi by nature is meant to be cute and a little bit kooky, so how to combine being respectful to someone’s beliefs while getting that cute balance was something I thought quite hard about. 
As usual, when I get a bit stuck or start to have a bit of doubt in my abilities, I think back to Liz’s encouraging words when she first taught me to crochet – ‘just go with the flow, trust your instincts’.  I have to say, this advice has always stood me in good stead; the times when I do end up having to pull out some of the stitches in my work, or drop-kick a particularly frustrating piece of work across the room is when I haven’t paid attention to the little nagging voice in my head telling me to try something different or start over.  
So, with Jesus, I just thought it best to make a start with something I felt confident about, and work my way on from there.  I used as a starting point the humanoid pattern from Elisabeth A. Dohety’s book ‘Amigurumi!’  I do like this book, I’m not sure it’s ideal if you are just starting out on your crocheting adventures, but it’s great for those who have a bit more experience and want to boost their confidence.  I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, as like I say I followed the Amigurumi Barmy advice of going my own way, but was really pleased with the result for the bodyshape.
The more challenging part for me was making Jesus’ robe and sandals.  Because I had made his body to my own design, there was no reassuring pattern to follow to make his clothes.  So, after a couple of experiments and more than one false start, I made a loincloth by simply crocheting an oblong of rows of single crochet, and then a waistband of single crochet chains.  For his robe, I took a few measurements, and then basically just crocheted a foundation chain for the diameter of the hem, joined it with a slipstitch to form a circle and double crocheted in the round, decreasing slightly towards the waist, until I had a tunic shape.  I crocheted the arms separately and sewed them on, and it turned out fine.
Now I know that all this sounds a bit confusing, and it would be lovely to be able to show you a complete pattern and say ‘this is exactly what I did’, but the whole point is that sometimes it’s ok to just go for it and enjoy creating something that you’re making up as you go along.  I LOVE following patterns, I really enjoy the process, but there was something really satisfying about having the confidence to make it up and it turning out fine!  I think my enthusiasm showed when I embroidered his face because he looked so happy and friendly.  The only ‘oh-oh’ moment I had was that I gave him too much hair in the first instance and he had the fullest bouffant hair imaginable, but that was easy to sort out.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy seeing my first foray into making something all my very own.  Thank you to Liz for letting me witter on!  


Saturday, 20 October 2012

spooky amigurumi

With Halloween approaching my pattern writing has been cranked up a notch. There are just so many wonderful things to make and amigurumi really lends itself to the strange and slightly spooky creations.

My problem has always been making my creations look scary for some reason they always end up more cute than creepy.

First up this pile of pumpkins came from a sketch I did in my ideas book. The sketch was very creepy the pumpkins looked really evil, the top one had teeth and was dripping blood onto the lower ones who were not happy at all.

 I even treated myself and used my hand dyed orange yarn to make them bright and evil but then I came to sewing them and created their faces and they just went cute

Next up is a creation that's been hanging around in the bottom of my crochet bag for a good while. She was gonna be part of the trick or treat dolls set but I didn't get her finished in time. I have over the past months lost both her arms and a leg so when it came to finishing her off I had more work to do than I thought. I hoped a bride of Frankenstein doll would naturally turn out quite creepy but no she had a mind of her own and turn into the cutest little girl.

So I give up I just can't make my amigurumi scary :)

Patterns for the new amigurumi will be in my etsy shop soon

I'm linking in with handmade monday :)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Feeling sheepish

When your to do list is longer than your favourite novel then its not really a good time to start a new project, but sometimes I can't help myself :)

While working on a project for Craftseller magazine I was playing around with using different yarns. I've seen some lovely amigurumi made from sirdar snowflake yarn and thought I'd have a play with it.

This is what came off my hook a few hours later

Its a fat little lamb :)

It was decided by the girls at work that the lamb should be knitting so bowing to peer pressure I got the cocktail stick knitting needles out again and started off a scarf for her. I'll be writing up the pattern so you can make your own sheep soon too :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Pin cushions and pretty things

Its been a strange week I've had my article on blogging published in Lets knit. I've a new magazine commission for an amigurumi pattern and I've been writing up some more patterns for my etsy shop. I can't show you any photos of those yet so I'll share with you what I've been making in my spare time ;)

The mobile cases I was working on last week are now finished.

 As a kid I used to love playing with fuzzy felt and making these mobile cases is just as much fun. I got some amazing colours of felt from lupin on esty and spend a day cutting out all the different flower shapes and leaves till I had a jar full of pretty felt shapes. I then layer up the flowers and leaves in different colour combinations, hand embroider the detail and add vintage mother of pearl buttons to finish them off.
 These are great for gifts you have to post as they are light, and unbreakable :)

I've also been using up some odds and ends of fabric and making pincushions. I made one of these cause I needed a pin cushion and couldn't fine one I liked. I enjoyed making it so much I decided to make some for the craft fair as they might go down well as a cute gift. The picture above is of my second batch as my boss at Duttons for buttons bought the whole of the first batch off me to sell in the shop.

I'm linking in with handmade monday

Friday, 12 October 2012

Let knit comp

 I'm just a little bit chuffed today to be featured in this months Lets knit magazine.

 I while ago the editors at Lets knit asked me to write a little bit about how I got into blogging and it was very nice to see it in the magazine today. They have used photos of my favourite creations, my art dolls the omnipoms twist, ginger and cooper and Tony the evil bunny these dolls are custom made to order I only have a few slots left up to this Christmas so if you want one for yourself or as a present get in touch soon.

I'm also giving away some pattern sets with lets knit you can enter here for your chance to win some of the fat friends patterns. If you win you will have a choice of 1 of 2 sets of patterns the bunny, bear, cat, mouse and frog or the monkey, elephant, tiger lion and panda. Good luck :)

Monday, 8 October 2012

adventure is out there

Very early morning I was woken up by the awful sound of a very scared kitten. If you have cats you will know that they make lots of different noises but you are left in no doubt when they are hurt or scared as they scream their little hearts out. Heart in mouth I jumped out of bed to see what the matter was. I couldn't find her, I searched everywhere, opening every cupboard door and trying to think of anywhere she could have got trapped but she was no where to be seen. I was getting really worried there was only one place left she could be. The kitchen window was slightly open so she was ether on the windowsill outside or she had fallen out and hurt herself. I couldn't see anything but I could still hear her yelling her head off so at least she was alive.
When it was light enough to see I went out into the garden to see if I could find her but again she wasn't there. I was getting really worried now, the little lamb was still screaming her head off but I just couldn't find her anywhere. Commence me running like a mad think around re checking everywhere. The only place left to look I hadn't checked was the loft. There is no way into the loft apart from the hatch at the top of the stairs so I was shocked when I open the hatch and her calls got louder. All of a sudden a little face covered in cobwebs appeared before me, I put my hands up and she fearlessly jumped into them, purred loudly and settled into my arms for a cuddle. I have no idea how she got into the loft, shes just a bit too adventurous for her own good.

In other kitten news 4 of the brood have now left mum and gone to their forever homes and I only have 1 home left to find for this little boy before he eats me out of house and home :)

In crafting news I've had a sewing week. I got an order for some bunting so while I had the sewing machine out I've been making lots more bunting, Christmas bunting, pincushions, mobile and kindle cases and getting my stock levels back up for my next craft fair. I don't have many pics to show you but I'll post them as soon as I do.

 As I've been up since the crack of dawn today I've also got quite a few hand embroidered mobile cosies ready to sew up. I really enjoy doing hand embroidery and I find it very relaxing which after this mornings antics is very much needed :)

I'm linking in with handmade monday yet again :)

Monday, 1 October 2012

This is Halloween

A week ago I posted my latest pattern set of trick or treat dolls. I got some lovely comments on them on here and my facebook page. I was asked on Facebook if I'd ever considered doing the characters from the nightmare before Christmas.

 I love nightmare before Christmas and all the fantastic characters in it and they are perfect for amigurumi.  I thought there would be loads of patterns out there already for them but when I did a search for Jack skeleton i wasn't that impressed with what I found. I figured I'd give it a go.

I was hindered slightly by the kittens who like nothing better than to hang off my crochet
 The main thing I wanted with this design was to keep him tall and slim to keep him looking as much like the original character as possible. That doesn't make for easy crocheting and when I get this pattern written up it will come with the health warning *crocheting this is so fiddly, it will frustrate you so much you will want to throw it in the bin at least 6 times. This is normal have a break and a cake before continuing*

 The head, neck, body and legs are all worked in one piece so it actually works up quite quickly. I do wish I could find black toy stuffing as there is no way you stop the white stuff showing through.
 In the film Jacks suite is pinstriped but I just couldn't make such a fine stripe on his suit without him looking a total mess, id rather he looks smart in a black suit so I can live with that. The jacket is all crocheted in one piece and has a bit of felt detail.

 I was gonna make skeleton hands out of fimo but I wanted him to be able to hold hands with Sally so I stuck with crochet.

I'm linking in with handmade Monday as usual and I'm also joining in with the handmade Halloween link party :)