Quilt invaders

colour_1

Its been another quiet weekend here as my other half left last Thursday to work in Barcelona for a few days. I mentioned previously that I’ve been working from home for a few weeks – I’m actually working in the kitchen, hooking up my laptop to a monitor which seems to’ve decided to move in. I’m not sure how we got from a nice empty (usable) kitchen table to one half full of tech, but it’s been handy for me, so I probably shouldn’t complain.

pixels

Its a nice new monitor, and my boyfriend has been bugging me to make a cover for it, to stop it getting dusty on the rare occasions we’re not using it. I’ve got an awful habit of making things we really don’t need, and nothing we actually *do,* so I felt obliged on this occasion to come up with the goods.

On Thursday I decided I knew what the weekend project would be, and hurriedly placed an order with M is for Make.

The fabric arrived on Friday, which was spectacular service and just what I’d hoped for. Its hard choosing colours from snapshots online, but I went with Kona Cotton: Lime, Emerald and Coal. The colours are really intense. I was super happy when I opened the envelope—and wondered why I’d not considered making a plain quilt before. I think I might try it. Anyway…

Can you tell what it is yet

Can you tell what it is yet?

diagram

I chopped the fabric up into 2″ squares, and used them as pixels. I even made a proper effort and plotted out the pattern into six different nine patches, plus extras. (Although not very neatly, as you can see). In the unlikely even you want to do something like this yourself and the pattern would help, leave a note in the comments and I’ll email it over (I’ll tidy it up first).

invader

Having plotted it out, piecing it was really fast. It’s easy to chain the ‘pixels’ together as you go, so for example, pixel 1 and 2 of the first square, followed by 1 and 2 of the second, third, fourth, by then you can add the 3rd pixel to square one, etc. Before you know it, you have the first line done.

bigger invaderI decided it would be more interesting if the invader wasn’t central, so pieced him over to one side. I’d love to share my measurements but I didn’t really make any…

strip

Which is why after I’d pieced everything together it turned out too short, so I had to add an extra strip on the bottom. (I’d bought this fabric at the same time, to co-ordinate but until that point had no need of it.)

back

I’d love to share my method for putting this together, but it was awful. Frankly I have no idea what I’m doing. The back (seen above) needs to be shorter than the front to allow for cables etc, which completely flummoxed me, I’ve got no idea why. Looking back, I should just’ve stuck to a method like a bigger version of the needle case with a pocket but I went down some insane route that I can’t even begin to describe. Anyway. Don’t do that.

inv5

Here’s a pretty terrible shot of it in situ, with what looks like avery unhealthy cheeseplant in the background. Don’t worry, it is actually healthier than it looks…

Overall, it’s functional, I love the colours, and I’m very pleased with the invader. I’m a wee bit frustrated that I did such an awful job of putting the rest of it together, but you live and learn. It’s also put me in more of a mind to make the pixel skull quilt that I promised to my boyfriend an age ago…final

 

Crochet, tatting, knitting, patchwork, secrets and lies

Little man

You know some weeks, nothing seems to work? I got so frustrated finishing this chap on Friday that I threw him in the bin. My boyfriend spotted him in there yesterday and took him out – then gave me a telling off for being mean.

He’s supposed to be a little mismatched, his ears and eyes are different, but really, his jumper was actually supposed to fit. I had to unpick half of the jumper when I realised I’d mis-counted due to a phone call. Then I realised that even after re-making, the dimensions were never going to work. The nice cuffs were going to be hidden as the sleeves need rolling up, and don’t even talk about the neck… (I’m so pleased I guessed it all correctly for the giraffe – looking back it’s a miracle!)

lil_chap2

In the end I stitched him into the jumper at the back, so it kind of fits, but it’s not ideal. I also made him some trousers – it’s not that easy making trousers, is it?! I just guessed the shape; imagine two pieces of fabric shaped a bit like an upside-down ‘V’. I ended up cutting them in half and re-sewing down the centre to get the right shape – but I think I might understand a little more about trouser construction than I did before!

lil_chap3

Actually after all that I really like him. In real life he looks like quite a gentle, bookish soul. It’s really the jumper that does it. Now I can actually knit I think every crocheted toy needs a jumper. Due to the slightly delicate clothing construction he’s definitely not for playing with, so I think he’ll live with me. I have a feeling he’ll be happy on a bookshelf though – I just need to be nice and apologise for throwing him away. (!)

Patchwork

Before I started fixing him yesterday, I got the sewing machine out and had a bit of a play. I’d already decided what I wanted to make, but I fancied playing with a few scraps first. These were all small pieces from my scrap bag, but I think they go nicely together. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet.

needlecase

This is not the most inspiring photo, but I decided to make a needlecase, loosely based on this tutorial. The tatting has been knocking around for ages… Eeek, since 2013 in fact! I thought it might be nice making something a bit less girly for a change.

inside

This is what it’s like inside – a little pocket front and back, perfect for the essentials (like a rabbit). Don’t look too closely at the binding. Ahem.

inside2

Just like the previous one, this is all made of scraps – which includes the dreadful, cheap, synthetic felt. So just like the previous one I stitched around the edge of the pages, but this time with darker thread on one side. (Yes, that rabbit is hiding a mismatched corner… thanks for asking).

prev

I love how different the new case feels when compared to the old one. And talking of the old one… I use it all the time.

You know what I’ve noticed? Everyone who makes a needle case and then photographs it does what I did up there ^. They show a perfect selection of pins or needles, perfectly aligned. Who keeps a needle case like that?! No one, surely? Certainly no one that ever uses their needles.

reality

 

This is what the old needlecase looks like now. Its all bent out of shape and a mess.

But I love it.

 

Stress bunnies

tiny

You know when you have a lot on your mind and you can’t sit idle but you can’t concentrate on anything either? That’s when simple patterns really come in to their own. Just basic counting, with the odd ‘knit 2 together’ or something every now and again. I made one of these last weekend for a gift, another because I wanted to check the previous one wasn’t a fluke and another three to keep me busy in-between dealing with work-related phonecalls and emails.

I wont go in to the gory details but I am about to start a new contract… for a variety of reasons its been delayed several times, and thus I’m not working, but I’m not on holiday either. I need to be available to answer calls and emails, and perhaps have meetings, and so I can neither relax, nor work (nor make any money!). Its been a bit of a frustrating time. Last week was particularly frustrating and so while I couldn’t do nothing I couldn’t quite face starting something new either.

bunnies

I found some odds and ends of wool that needed using up. I have to say that it’s a lot easier making these in soft wool than it is in cotton. It’s also a lot easier to stitch them together. Making so many arms and legs also gave me a chance to improve my i-cord knitting too.

back

I knitted them all flat and mattress-stitched them together, except for the one above. I knitted her in the round on DPNs. Can’t decide it it was better or worse really… Much more fiddly, but perhaps a neater finish? Its also a little harder to sew the face as you’re stitching into a tube. I think I’d say it depends on your attitude to DPNs – if you hate them its definitely not worth it!

dress
I do love making the dresses though. They’re so simple but so detailed – the arm holes, the tiny button/loop and any kind of decoration you fancy.

The blue bunnies are made in the weirdest colour wool. I think on a good day you’d call it ‘duck egg’. On a bad day you’d call it ‘grubby’. If it’s next to something *really* white then you can see that it’s quite a nice pale blue. If its next to any other colour at all, it just looks like it was probably a nice colour once, but it’s got really dirty since. I’m not sure why I bought it – must’ve been one of the rare times when it really did look duck egg.

phone_1

As promised, this is the finished iphone case – I said I’d blog it good or bad. In the end it’s turned out somewhere in the middle. Its not great looking, but its not awful either. It is exactly the right size though (luck, not design), and it’s quite dense fabric so works quite well. Its a basic Rowan 4 ply on 2.75 needles, so it’s quite thick. I finished it off with Kitchener Stitch – not particularly well, but that’s partly because I kept confusing myself. I think this video tutorial is really good – despite my general cackhandedness. Another plus – I’ve used up even more of the weird colour wool.

Again, if you want to make bunnies of your own, this is the pattern.

Hope you’ve all had great weekends. See you soon!

PS: Do any of you have any patterns you go to over n’ over? I tatt Mary Konior’s posy pattern on repeat quite a lot, and of course crochet the monkeys – but they’re just good gifts, rather then stress-busters…

 

En garde!

Knitting with DPNs

Word is, there are actually people who *like* knitting with DPNs… that’s true, right? I didn’t make that up? All I can think is that it’s like your first taste of alcohol—you just can’t believe people get involved with this for pleasure. I am willing to believe that it could be possible, but right now it’s way more pain than pleasure. Give me the nice circular needles any day.

This is an iPhone sock, it’s me forcing myself to use DPNs but keeping it simple with a knit 2 / purl 2 rib. It’s also given me a wonderful chance to pick up dropped stitches with a crochet hook… Not exactly on purpose, but hey. Now I know it can be done. (And that knitting is just a weird collection of crocheted chains). I was going to say that if you never see this again, lets not mention it – but you know what? I should blog my terrible things too. Life isn’t perfect and it’s good to learn from your mistakes. Hopefully I’ll blog it good or bad.

crochet rose

This is a crocheted brooch I made for a friend. I like it actually. It’s a generic rose pattern, of which there are millions on the internet  – most of which are the same, but just start with a different number of chained stitches. The leaves are loosely based on those from Attic 24. I say loosely as I made this while watching The Shield (box set, we’ve just finished series 3), and I wasn’t really counting anything properly.

A while back I bought some brooch backs, but have yet to use them so this seemed like a good chance. Terrible photo and off centre stitching but…

brooch back

You can see that this is quite a nice back. It’s good and solid. It comes in two parts, one is a disc with holes in, to which you sew your fabric front and the other is what you can see here, which you attach to the first disc by folding little metal claws with pliers. I got the backs from eBay – must make more use of them.

tatting

I’ve had one long train journey this week, so I ended up making another of these—the beaded one. The other one I made just to see what it would be like with variegated thread. They are so nice to make I can’t stop. And they photograph so nicely!

tatting

Ahem. Anyway. Back to knitting and the gentle art of stabbing myself in the hand.

 

Cloudy with a chance of knitting

Blanket

First finished project of the year… Although I did in fact start it last year. This is the Maxi Cosi baby blanket I started in November. It’s a simple pattern, but it really did take a while…

blanket_2

To begin, if you make it exactly as per the pattern, it’s tiny—dollsized, really. So I started several times to try and get it to an acceptable width (in the end I cast on 175 – the pattern suggests 96). Then I realised the needles I was using were just too short, so I had to order more. I also went up a size as I knit really tightly. Around this time I realised why crocheted baby blankets are so popular – doesn’t matter how long the hook is and boy, do they work up quicker! The pattern is nice, but I think I’m not in love with garter stitch borders. Maybe I’m just not a good enough knitter yet for them to look good.

blanket_3

There are several versions on Ravelry with fabric backs. I’m not sure why but I really do like the mix of fabric with knitting, so I scoured various fabric shops online for something that would be nice for a baby. In the end I thought clouds would be nice – dreamy and peaceful, which is what you hope for a baby… even if it’s not what you actually *get*. I blocked the blanket with wires before I added the fabric to the back.

blanket_43

I must admit, I love this fabric. It’s from Cloud 9, by Eloise Renouf. I took a real chance on the colour working with the yarn, but in the end I think it was a successful gamble. It’s bright and cheery, but not too garish. We’re in the process of having our kitchen done at home, which means we have no flat surface in the house — even the floor is a little tricky. In the end I managed to cut the fabric on the floor and the ironing board and I stitched it on my knee yesterday. I was worried that the stitching would  be hard, but in the end I think it was one of the more enjoyable parts of the project, as it really made it come to life.

It has yet to be gifted… Hopefully that will come soon.

Its been a bit tough to make anything recently. The trains into work are so delayed and disorganised at moment when they do arrive they’re overcrowded, so I rarely get a seat, so no tatting. The house is so up in the air there’s no room or time for anything else. Hopefully at least one of these problems will be fixed soon.

 

Instatatting

Train Sketch

Well – as you can probably see, that is not a photo of a quilt in progress –  nor a small crochet bear. It *is* an instagram snap of some tatting, taken on the train. I was sketching a new design, but I’m not sure it’s working. The green and white bit to the left of centre reminds me of snowdrops so that would be the best way to take it perhaps. We’ll see.

I’ve been working on a new quilt today, and so when the light was best for photographs, I was busy at the machine. Now I feel like telling you more about the quilt and the small crochet bear I’ve also made but it’s too dark for photos with my grumpy camera! Apologies.

bracelet

Again another Instagram shot. I made this yesterday from a Japanese pattern. I added the beads just to test something out – which worked. I’ve got a longer post to come about beads, but it needs more photos to explain, so… next time.

In other news, I ran my second 10k, and it was fine! I didn’t want to drop dead at the end of it, and I’m probably doing another one in November. It’s also the Knitting and Stitching Show next weekend, and I’m going with a friend, and looking forward to it immensely.

See you soon, I hope, with better photos 🙂

 

Warm weather, woolies

Bear

It’s been a funny month or so. My partner has been away for work for 3 weeks, and even more weekends, and so its been rather quiet. It’s given me some time to get on with a few things (and not get on with others – like the garden, ahem). I made this bear over two weekends, and I must admit, I’m in two minds about it. I like the fact that he’s shaped like a traditional bear, but I’m not at all keen on his arms. I’ll make it again at some point and see if I can make a better job of it. I like his feet, and his little tail though:

tail

That aside, I’ve made a knitted dress for one of the monkeys. I can’t even remember what made me look up a pattern actually, but I found this one (Ravelry Link), which is perfect – knitted flat, and very basic:

dress

Actually I’ve discovered I do my yarn-over-knit-one’s backwards, but at least I’ve worked that out now and can fix it for next time. I also finally found a use for one of the tiny crochet roses I made about a year ago:

rose

Oh, and I knitted this on these cheap blue knitting needles from Tiger. (Tiger is that store that you only buy things you didn’t know you needed from, because their stock changes often and is always *really* random.) I only mention it, as I love the colour of the needles with the yellow – the paint’s already flaking off!

needle

I like the idea of being able to take a toys clothes on and off – never seems entirely fair to trap them inside, so this one has little buttons at the back:

buttons

Not the neatest knitting in the world, but I don’t think she minds… I also made this little chap. I wasn’t concentrating properly when I made his head, and so he’s a row smaller than he should be – but for some reason i really like this one. He’s a really happy little chap.

monkey

He already has a home to go to, and he’s been waiting SO patiently. I hope he gets to go soon, or he’ll have to go by post, and no one likes travelling by post.

And finally, I’m itching to use this fabric, so I’ll wish you a pleasant rest-of-sunday, and see you all soon.

fabric