Monday, 27 January 2014

Stitches and design

Its hard to crochet when you have something this adorable and sitting on your work. Underneath this trouble some pair is my latest project for craftseller magazine (we won't tell them most of the yarn was chewed by a kitten before I could work with it).

Looks cute doesn't he, sleeping on my yarn, but oh no, he's not sleeping. Its a game, every time I think hes gone to sleep and can start crocheting again he attacks me, my yarn and my look. If it wasn't one of the cutest things I've ever seem it would be driving me up the wall.

On to crochet.This week I've had two projects for an upcoming craftseller magazine, one an Easter themed amigurumi and one for a crochet bag. Now I'm not gonna give the game away on how these turned out, you'll have to wait will the magazine comes out for that, but i though it might be nice to share how I start a design.

First of I get a brief from the magazine. This is usually a description of what they want and a couple of photos for inspiration.

My first step is usually to start a mood board for inspiration. I do this using pinterst as its makes the process very simple. Its also really good to see what other patterns are out there as I don't want to copy anyone elses design.
You can follow me on pinterest here if you like and see if you can guess what my next projects are going to be.

Next comes sketching. You can see with this sketch I did of the amigurumi dolls that most of the dolls stayed true to the sketch but for the one on the end who changed as I was making him as the colours of the yarn didn't work together.

Speaking of yarn, that is usually what comes next. I have found a few ranges of cotton yarn that have all or most the colours I like to use. Rico design essentals cotton dk and dmc natura just cotton 4ply are my favourites as they come in the biggest range of colours. I am looking at some new ranges to try but its quite an expense when you pretty much need all the colours in a range to be able to design with it.

The next step is writing the pattern. I've been writing amigurumi patterns for a while now and they come easily but the bag project required a bit of thinking and I got to use one for my favourite crochet books.

This book by Betty Barnden is the best I have found for covering all of the different crochet stitches. It is well written and give clear instructions in English terminology.

For the bag I was planning to make I needed a net stitch. I could have used the one I'd used on the shawl I'd done for craftseller magazine a few months ago but I wanted to try something different and this book has dozens of different stitches to try so i was spoiled for choice.

I'm happy with the stitch I went with and the bag turned out well. I'll post pictures as soon as the magazine has been released :)

I spent so much time playing with stitches for the bag I found a new stitch I really like. I'll leave more about that for another blog post but I'll leave this as a taster:)

 The kitten are asleep so its time for me to crack on typing u my patterns but first I think i'll head over to check out handmade monday :)

Monday, 13 January 2014

New cover

A new year and a new cover :)
back in October I was sat in the pub with a friend sketching these cats for craftseller. They had asked for trendy cats in hats and scarfs. Not being the most trendy of people I had gone to one of the newest bars in York to have a look at what the cool people wear.
 I think everyone I saw had a neck cowl and or headband. boots and jeans and mustard yellow seemed to be a popular colour.

It was easy to come up with inspiration for these three. Sketching is the easy part, next I have to figure out a pattern that will work for all three and bit simple. Most of my patterns have some basis on something I've done before, that I then adapt to fit the new idea. for these I started with a completely fresh body shape so I had to write a totally new basic body pattern.

I was really pleased with these cats when they were finished and thrilled to see they had made the cover of the magazine.

I got loads of projects finished and of to more magazines this week. Unfortunately I can't show you anything till they are published but I think they are worth the wait :)

In between magazine projects I've been going all traditional. I been making granny square blankets. I've fallen back in love with granny squares and I'll be using them in some up coming projects but for now let me show you some picks of my blankets

 This is the one I made for Richard its the first granny square blanket I've made that's got bit enough to be called a blanket. I enjoyed making it and loved the finished result. i was tempted to keep it but instead i decided to make another. I sorted the yarn I was going to use for the new blanket and it just seemed t fall into this gradating colour tones. Its not finished, its gonna go to ranges, yellow and finally finish with cream. Its gonna be huge when its finished but I love it.
 So do the kittens. I can't believe how fast they are growing. They are all on solid food and showing off their mad personality's. I have homes for all of them and it'll only be a few weeks before they leave. I'm gonna get as many cuddles as I can before then though.
Its handmade monday time again so time to catch up on my fellow craft bloggers

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Year end 2013

2013 has been a very busy but exciting year.

I started the year making a walrus and narwhal to finish off the fins and flippers pattern group.

In February I was busy picking and organising to move home. Cassi, Cal and I moved into our new house at the end of Feb. The shelf above the sofa quickly claimed by the cats as the cat shelf.

March saw my first magazine pattern of the year. My bunny and chick featured in an amigurumi special in lets knit magazine. I have just finished my next project for Lets knit I think it'll be in this years march issue, its got an Easter theme again but its a bigger project and I'm sure you'll like it.
I got lots of crafting done in March and started working on a new range of household accessory's.
At the end of the month my second magazine pattern was released in Inside crochet magazine.
Which was such a lovely birthday present I decided to write a free mini Easter bunny pattern that I released on my birthday. Its still available on my blog here
March/April was a very busy pattern writing month. I was given the opportunity to write the toy patterns for a book on crochet that will be out in the shops this Feb. It was a tight deadline and a lot of work but lots of fun. I can now finally show you some picture as info about the book is finally coming out.

This is the cover. Doesn't it look lovely. Filled with over 80 patterns including 6 of my own, this book is suitable for any level of crocheter even a beginner. Its available to pre order from amazon here

I quick peek inside at one of my patterns. A cuddly polar bear with a scarf.

I'm very excited about this book coming out so getting this little look inside from the DK website it wonderful :)

 After the book work was finished April was a month dedicated to getting some really good pattern designs under my belt. I knuckled down and worked hard. I created a new stitch along with some really traditional patterns.

 Green sweater bunny has a bear and a cat as friends but at the time this was taken they were still in pieces.

This hedgehog pattern which includes the new overworking stitch became my most popular pattern of the year but we'll get to that later.

May saw my next pattern grace the pages of craftseller magazine as Bubblebunny became a star.
I had sold the original bubblebunny at a craft fair at the end of the year before so when Craftseller asked for her. I only had an afternoon to get another one made. My crocheting speed defiantly improved after that afternoon.

In May I also made an investment to get some really good drawing pens so I could improve on my sketching and work out the colours and designs of amigurumi before I started crocheting them. My first attempts are sketching are a bit amateurish but I'm still learning and getting better every time i try.

The weather was starting to be lovely and being stuck in crocheting wasn't really what I wanted to be doing with all my spare time. I was very lucky that an old friend came back into my life under the main role as pub companion at this time. Even if I felt slightly guilty for wasting time I could be working and sending money I hardly had, I resolved not to go back to being a hermit and become more sociable since.

It wasn't all fun and games, I got some work in and started the mini patterns.
I also wrote another free pattern to go with some lovely vintage buttons that came with molly makes magazine. its still available here

June arrived with the release on my next magazine pattern for Craftseller magazine and what a surprise I got.
My first magazine cover :)

I had three magazine patterns in July. Two inside crochet and one in craftseller magazine.

Other than that I think I must have been out enjoying the sunshine as I didn't blog a lot in July. I do know I was working on the next project for Craftseller magazine. It was a big one but great fun and in August I got the happy news that my girls had made it onto to cover.

Two covers in my first year of working for magazine I was ecstatic. Work was coming in fast and patterns for my etsy shop had to go on hold while I completed the magazine work. I did get chance to make this boy doll for a tutorial on amigurumi hair I will be posting at some point.

I also had another two none amigurumi patterns published in Inside crochet.

By the end of August I had started to rework and update some of my first ever patterns. Teddy heart was given an overdue makeover.

I started to look at the way I photo my amigurumis and added making my photos better to my never ending to do list. ( a challenge for 2014 me thinks :)

If I was surprised to get two cover in one year then I was utterly thrilled when I got my third in September.
This owl doorstop had been my first ever published crochet pattern so to see it again was lovely in Love crochet. I'm currently working on my next project for Love crochet which will be another cheeky Easter surprise.

There was defiantly a woodland theme this month as my Craftseller project was woodland critters as well and this months magazine had my hedgehog, fox, raccoon and bunny pattern

I also got time to update some more patterns and work on my new idea for crochet jewelry

I still haven't had time to add long limbed bunny or blue sweater bear written up and in my etsy shop - another thing to add to that to do list.

Leah modelling my tiny crochet ball earrings (another pattern I haven't written up yet, its on the list don't worry)
My day of the dead bracelet was picked up by inside crochet magazine and they had it as an exclusive free pattern on there website for Halloween. Its still available here

October also saw the start of Christmas crafting appearing in the magazines and my Santa, elf and gingerbread man was released in Craftseller magazine

I also had my hedgehog family pattern printed in Simply crochet magazine this month

 Lucy over at attic24 made one of my hedgehog's for her wonderful Autumn wreath go have a read here and just look at this amazing wreath she made. Its because of this post by Lucy that my hedgehog pattern has become my best selling pattern ever.

The weather started to turn and I took time away from amigurumi to make something for me
I make myself a hat every year. This year I decided to go for a cloche style. Its not a very good photo and you can't really see the buckle but at some point I'll remake this and write up the pattern and photograph it better (how many thanks have I added to my to do list now?)

I had a different project for Novembers Craftseller magazine a shawl.

I love crochet and I really enjoy projects that take me out of my comfort zone. This shawl was great fun to make and looked really pretty in the magazine.

I got another bundle of fun late November when Cal gave birth to four lovely kittens

Finally December arrived and this month I was in three different magazine Craftseller, Inside crochet and love crochet.

 I was busy all month writing patterns for next years magazine and creating custom dolls for customers but I still found time to spend with friends  and family and enjoy the festivity's. I did run out of time to get my own Christmas pattern written up so yet again that's on the to do list for next year.

Pride when before a fall when I was all smug after finished piping merry Christmas on my chocolate cake for Christmas dinner, then I realised I'd spelt Christmas wrong. I'll share the photo here so you know its not just on my blog where my spelling is so bad :)

My final project for the year is a very belated housewarming gift for a friend and my first completed granny square blanket. Its been one of the most relazing things to make and very cozy as I can snuggle underneath it as it grows. I may struggle to part with it.
Cal getting in on the photo there :)

I hope you all had a lovey Christmas and new year. 2014 will hopefully be even more busy than 2013, I'll keep crocheting away whatever.
 I'll leave you now with some more pics for Cals wonderful kittens while I pop over to handmade Monday to see what the other crafty bloggers have been up to.


Say cheese :)

See you in 2014 xx