Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Anyways, I decided that I'd make a few soft toys for Christmas for the kiddies. Here's my first few toys:
The pirate kitty - looks kinda like a little devil!
Pillow-y dollface thingy
I like them, they're different. And squishy!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
First up is an Aussie football scarf. Look at that green and gold goodness! The funky tassles! This is crochet as it's been for generations...well, at least the generations that support football. Yay team! I'm not a fan of tassles, but this was a gift and it was requested that they be added.
Ok, this is classic Nana crochet, but for good reason. How useful is a hanging hand towel? All right, no need to answer, it was meant to be rhetorical. Anyway, I love these things and I reckon they make a perfect little gift for someone, especially as a housewarming present. I see a lot of them at craft markets, but they're made with tea towels cut or folded in half. I like to use the thick, high quality cotton face washers, they're very absorbent and soft (tea towels can be quite scratchy) and come in some awesome colours. I bought some face washers with the printed jaquard pattern on them (you know, cut away in the shape of a flower with a flower printed over the top, giving it a 3D effect?) so that I can make some ultra-retro funky ones.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Ok, today I'm going to post something OTHER than fabric or fibre crafts. Mmm, rocky road! I just gave my very basic recipe to my friend and thought, well since I've just written it up I should blog it. So, here is the *recipe* I use but keep in mind, I change it every time I make it. This is perfect to make then pop in a nice tin or container as a Christmas present. Or, you know, you could just eat it yourself. Whatever, I'm not the boss of you.
- approx. 400g of chocolate
- approx 200-250g of marshmallows
- half bag of red licorice
- selection of nuts & peanuts (cashews are our favourite)
- some sultanas or craisins (dried cranberries) or other dried fruits
- desiccated coconut
Line a small baking tin or tray (like a loaf pan?) with greaseproof paper. Melt just less than half of the chocolate (I use the double-boiler method on the stove, a big bowl sitting over a pan of steaming hot water, but if you're confident in not burning the choc you can do it in the microwave) then dribble some on the baking paper in the tray. Start to lay down a foundation of marshmallows, licorice, nuts and dried fruit in the melted choc and when that's done, pour over some more melted chocolate. Sprinkle some coconut and some more of the smaller ingredients like the nuts and fruit, and dribble the rest of the chocolate over the top. Then make another layer of the bigger stuff like the marshmallows and licorice, and melt the rest of the choc. Just continue to make layers of the choc and the other ingredients until you've used up all the choc. Stick it in the fridge for a few hours, then you can use a big-arse knife to cut it into the size pieces you like.
Obviously, you can use half the amount of ingredients to make a smaller batch, but in my experience with Greg and myself (and a little help from Dylan too!) it's so good that even using the big block of choc, the batch doesn't last very long. Gone in just over a week?? I usually cut the licorice pieces in half before I put them in because Greg likes to have a little bit of everything in each piece, and I have to say it looks really pretty when you cut it in half. I've also used choc orange chocolate before, which was really good! You could really put anything in there that can be choc dipped, maybe even some crushed biscuit chunks? I used up a few leftover pieces of smashed choc honeycomb in the last batch I made. The key is, quality ingredients will give you a quality result. I made the mistake of using cheap marshmallows on the first batch I made and it was rubbish! I haven't done that again.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So now that we're all friends again, let me explain from the beginning why this blanket nearly drove me up the wall.
The original concept was simple: a blanket made up of 9 squares (50cm each) so it would be 150cm square. It was to be in different tones of red, black, white, grey and burgundy. Each square would be made using a different crochet technique, so that it had a patchwork feel to it.
The first square to be completed was the skull square. I'd seen a pattern on Flickr (thanks to underthevalley http://www.flickr.com/photos/nat_neko/3456699344/ ) and wanted to give it a go, and so I did. I loved the result but decided I didn't care for making picture designs in crochet as there are far, far too many ends to weave in. And we all know how I feel about end-weaving! So I went back to my list and changed the few squares that would require much end-weaving. The only one I left was the square with the wording, I figured I was writing block letters and the end-weaving was minimal, so I wrote myself a pattern for the words and got stuck in. I learned that it doesn't matter if you're working in straight lines or doing small patches of colour, there's still a hell of a lot of little fluffy end bits that need seeing too. Hmm, let's re-assess the patterns, I say.
Next was a black and white checkerboard patterned square (which sadly, didn't make the final cut). I decided I'd make it like 5 little scarves, alternating between black and white after so many rows, then stitching them together side-by-side at the end. I thought it would would quicker than making granny squares and stitching them together, and there would be less ends. True, there were less ends. But it wasn't quicker and the end result was a square that wasn't actually square but rectangular. Bum.
Next was a gorgeous square made from 9 granny squares out of the Jan Eaton "200 crochet blocks" book, in the red, white, grey, black and burgundy colour combo I had originally intended. It's pretty, I think. However, you may notice it's not part of the final blanket.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I'm making the blanket for someone I love dearly, which may be why I am stressing so much over it. Searching the internet for free patterns that fall under the catergory of "goth" or "punk" yields very little, even the ones you need to pay for are very light-on. So I've had to write my own patterns, which sounds easy enough in theory but ughhhhh, it's not.
Anyway, since I've written these ones and there aren't many freebies on the net, I thought I'd share them here. Use them for your own personal work, but don't try and resell it or claim it as your own work. I believe in "credit where credit is due" so please do the right thing. Oh, and if you use it, I'd LOVE to see a picture of it!
Ankh (Egyptian cross)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Just to give you an idea of what they look like on!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This wrap skirt is a birthday gift that needs to get sent today if it's to make it to the recipient in time. I finished it about an hour ago. You wouldn't think a wrap skirt would be too hard, would you? Well in actual fact it isn't really, it's just that I always find taking direction from other people all too hard and end up making things difficult for myself because I just want to do it my way. (Yeah, fight the system! The Man isn't going to hold me down!)
Anyways, it's done and I think it turned out pretty cute. I just love the Japanese style fabric, I'm not sure if you can tell but there's actually metallic gold print for the outlines. I used the pattern (kind of!) from http://www.bigredcouch.com/journal/archives/2007/03/wrap-skirt.html but because I'm not quite sure of the exact size of the person receiving this (she just had a baby but is usually about the same size as me) I made a little bigger than needed to fit me then added 2 darts to the back panel. That way there's enough fabric to let it out if needed, but it's ready to wear if she's about the same size.
There were many a sew/unpick drama in the making of this skirt but I think I finally got it right. I think. Doesn't help that the presser foot doesn't stay up on my sewing machine anymore, which is a worry since I had it replaced once before and the machine is only 12 months old - not sure if I'm too hard on it or it's just a design fault. Ho hum, better take it out to get fixed again!
I'm working on some other crochet stuff too, pics soon...
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
In the meantime, check out the awesome retro shopping bags I made from an old tablecloth. Pretty slick huh? I got 4 from this tablecloth, and I've cut up a vintage Sheridan sheet and got 6 bags from that. They're mostly done, I just lost momentum with them and put them aside for now. I'll get back to them later...for now I just love these ones. Funny, I didn't think much of the tablecloth in it's original form, but love these now they're bags.
Pattern from http://www.morsbags.com
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I've now sent my 2nd Flickr Amigurumi swap overseas...although I think this may be the last one for a bit. VERY expensive to send the stuff, that's the downfall of living in Australia I suppose. It's a long way to anywhere from here! For this swap I made a cupcake and a mushroom with faces, I reckon they're cute and hopefully the girl I sent them to likes them also.
This little doughnut guy was made for Biz, for my first Ami swap. He was based on the character from the Wrigley's Extra gum ad - http://www.munkmotion.com/ver4/projectsPage.php?id=00003&img=00052
And, in a not-so-co-incidental co-incidence, the guy who designed this character happens to be friends with the girl who gave me the original Amigurumi book. Oooh freaky! The circle of life, people, the circle of life....
Sunday, August 2, 2009
It turned out all right, but I wasn't happy enough with it to send it off as a gift to someone. So I presented it to my own Blythe petite doll, Ruth. She dug it.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
On the other end of the scale, here is the WIP that has been in progress since December last year! It was meant to be a stash-buster and use up all the yarn I had, but the colours would have been a little bland and I ended up buying some more to mix it up! It's taken so long as I've been doing many, many other projects in the meantime, and I really want to finish it off so I can complete some other things without having this one hanging over me. I still have 4 strips to do, one for each side, so that it's final size is 2 metres square - big enough to cover our queen bed. Actually, I've done 2 of the 4 remaining sides but I haven't attached them yet. I need to finish the other 2 bits first so it can be pieced together properly.
Friday, July 24, 2009
This one is for my neice, she was 1 last Christmas and I wanted to give her a blanket that was bright but not over-the-top girly or babyish so she could still use it as she got older. I used the leftovers from this one to make the Rainbow Blanket for my son. There was only the one change of colour per square so I didn't bother weaving in the ends as I went, as a result when I'd finished all the squares I abandoned it and started (and completed!) the blankets for her 2 older brothers! I eventually went back and wove them all in, crying and swearing to myself that I'd never, EVER again leave the end-weaving 'til last. Ever.
I like to think of this one as the "Forest" Blanket because of the earthy green and brown. My nephew loves bright lime green, but after searching and failing to find the green in question I decided that this colour scheme would still be nice. I'm not really a fan of brown as a colour, but recently I've found that it's actually a pretty good colour for blanket making. The green is almost an army green colour, and the lighter yarn is a varigated cream and beige. This one was fairly easy to make, as it's one large Granny Square. I changed the number of rounds so the further the colour bands came out from the middle, the more rows there were. And I just worked over the ends after a colour change so when it was all done I only had a few little bits to neaten up with a pair of scissors. Ha! Pure genius. Again, a colour scheme that still made the blanket useful as he got older.
This next one, for the oldest of my brother's 3, I was going with a "Delft Blue" theme, like the gorgeous pottery from the Netherlands. It was going to be all smaller Granny Squares alternating between the typical Granny Square with a few colour changes and one solid block of colour with a light blue border. But I got bored about halfway through and nearly abandoned it all together (seems to happen at the halfway mark with me - the first half is mega easy then the second half takes forever....) So I stopped and pieced together a 9 square centre. Then I did laps around it until it was big enough to fit the remaining squares as a border. Ta da! A beautiful finished lapghan in 3 shades of blue with cream. Classy!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I also did another baby ripple blanket in gender-neutral colours using a different pattern, Bev's Baby Ripple Afghan: http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/cp2.html This one is all in single crochet and takes a little longer, but geez it's nice.