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

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first tatting pattern…

Yellow and white tatting

Well, the good news is, I’ve got back to tatting on the train again. The bad news is that I decided to finish something off at home earlier and I messed it up! I was listening to a podcast and must’ve stopped concentrating; made and closed the wrong ring — and in thread size 80 I’m not sure I can face battling it open again. I’ll work out what to do with it later. There it is though, and despite me being an idiot, it does photograph well.

Variegated thread

The yellow is a variegated thread, which in this instance, I really like. I only bought it as Roseground where I buy my ecru thread didn’t seem to have a solid yellow in DMC 80 at the time, and it seemed silly to pay postage on just one ball of thread! But you know how that goes…

Red Variegated

I ended up buying some red too, and it’s horrible! I guess if you only use the red and don’t combine it with anything it could be ok, but yeuck. This was just a tatting test to work out a pattern, but it’s so hideous I can’t bring myself to finish it. If there’s anyone in the UK who really loves red/pink variegated thread and will do something much nicer than this with it, shout, and it’s yours 🙂 (And i wont judge you – I’ve probably just chosen to use it badly).

I had a little play with some other colours and shapes too:

Blue green

The pattern didn’t work out on this one but I like the colours. I was using up the ends of two shuttles…

tatted daisy

I had a play around with something more daisy-like too. I really love that yolk-yellow. Not sold on the pattern yet, but might go back to it another time.

Anyway. The outcome of all of this, is that I think I’m done with that pattern. So if you fancied making it too, it works in one or two colours and comes out like this (it’s not stitched on, in this shot):

curtain edging tattingHere’s the pattern – let me know if you try it – and if you spot any mistakes!

free tatting pattern

Phew!

phew

Panic crochet

On the run up to Christmas, I’d decided to make a few gifts for various people. Little by little time started to trickle by, and before I knew it, run away with me completely. I was going to make bunting, but then that plan was scuppered by someone faster with the same idea, I was going to make a monkey, but decided that the recipient was probably still a bit young. I was going to make a lavender bag, with the little piece of Irish crochet I’d made, but didn’t have time to get to a fabric shop, and… and… like I said, time just disappeared.

On 23rd December, I knew I had a failsafe plan for a friend who had made me some cushions for my birthday – which I *loved*. I was going to make a Queen Anne scarf – the pattern for which is available for free here. (It seems to be missing its pictures, but if you’d like to see pictures, Flickr has lots). It’s a lovely pattern, works up pretty quickly from what I’d read, and I knew just the yarn, as I’d spotted it on Ravelry.

Except that on 23rd December 7.00pm, John Lewis had decided to take the remaining few balls of this yarn off the shelves  – and put it at the bottom of a huge cage in the stock room, unreachable by human hands.

I switched to a different yarn. ‘It’s pretty similar,’ she said, ‘it should work out fine.’

Except that it was nothing like it. I started the scarf. It was tiny. You’d be lucky to warm the neck of a Barbie, let alone that of a full grown friend. I switched patterns. I started the Boteh Scarf instead – I knew I could do it, I’d made it before. Except  I had my doubts. Was it right in this yarn? It was a bit heavy wasn’t it? Not very delicate. Doesn’t feel that special. Ack.

I searched Ravelry to see what else people had made with the yarn I had available, and lo and behold, I found a lovely pattern!

I crocheted into the night. I crocheted while I waited for a kettle to boil. I crocheted on the phone. I crocheted on the train. I crocheted on Christmas day and on Boxing day. I finished on 27th December, and it was ironed and blocked by the evening.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure I’d recommend this yarn for this pattern. The yarn is nice, the pattern is great, but to do the pattern real justice, I think something less textured would be better. This is a bit fluffy and so some of the detail gets lost. But the details are lovely when you can see them.

So it all worked out ok in the end. And I’ve learnt a few things:

• I’m no good at making things to order. Being an Occasional Crafter means you’re pretty good when the pressures off and you can faff about staring into space now and again – but when the push comes to shove, you’d rather stick the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea

• That it’s fine to be a faffer – it’s a hobby afterall

• That Ravelry is really pretty amazing. There’s a ton of patterns on there, which is great – but that you can search by yarn first and see what things people have made with that yarn. Who even knew you’d ever want to do that? Well – proper crafters maybe, but it was rather a revelation to me.

Happy New Year 🙂

Monkeys, threads and crochet flowers

‘Sit there nicely for a sec’, I said. ‘You know, as a size comparison! So people can see the difference between thin crochet cotton I’ve used before and this nice new Rowan Sienna cotton’.

At any point, did I say ‘Stick the flower I just made so lovingly, on yer head! Make like it’s a hat!’ No. I did not.

It’s not a monkey hat, it’s a brooch-without-a-back. I’m actually going to use to make a gift look pretty. (The shop was out of brooch backs. Tsk!).

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m still kind of new to yarns and the different shapes and sizes you get. This Rowan cotton is really nice to crochet with – there’s something about it that feels really smooth and rounded – and the colours are lovely. I’ve been wanting to make one of these flowers from Attic 24 for ages, but the yarn I had already was a bit wooly. This is perfect. I managed to find the one spare button in the house that isn’t black, too, and it does the job nicely. I’m almost finished making a monkey out of the same stuff – but actually, as often happens with projects before they’re finished, I’m not 100% sure about him. We shall see.

Co-incidentally, after all my searching for garlands and bunting, Lucy at Attic 24 made a great garland out of these flowers. I might try something similar, as they’re so nice to make. I’ve got no idea what I’ll do with it when it’s done, but I have a feeling there’s a monkey who could find a use for it.