Sunday, 30 October 2011

Crochet Toadstool

I've been getting overwhelmed by the size of my crochet blanket project so I decided to work on a couple of smaller crochet projects that I could finish quickly - sometimes you need to bask in the satisfied glow of a finished piece! First up, a crochet toadstool! I found this pattern on the lovely Annaboo's house blog and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make it!

This is my first attempt at amigurumi and it wasn't as tricky as I expected! Apart from a short break because I ran out of red yarn it all went pretty smoothly. I think I lost count of my stitches a couple of times but the pattern was pretty forgiving and it all seemed to work out OK in the end!

As you can see here I used crocheted circles the spots for the toadstool top. The pattern uses beads and crochet to decorate the stem of the toadstool which looks gorgeous however I decided to put a classic amigurimi face on mine instead as I have been waiting to use the eyes I bought for ages! The smile is a bit wonky but I think my toadstool looks pretty cute! I am really pleased with him and am enjoying having him smiling down on me from the mantelpiece!

I think I must have a bit of a thing about mushrooms and toadstools. As soon as I saw the crochet toadstool pattern I knew I wanted to make it and looking round my house I have been drawn to mushrooms in the past. There were the felt mushrooms I posted about way back in 2009:

These were one of the first things I made when I started crafting again.

And then, earlier this year I decided to mosaic some mushrooms for my garden (I say garden - its more of a step!)

These were some cheap ceramic garden ornaments which I thought would be greatly improved by covering them in mirror and turning them into disco mushrooms! They haven't actually ever made it out onto the step (apart from for the photo shoot!) and are still languishing in my fireplace.

So, I think we can conclude from this that I have a slight mushroom obsession! There must be more mushroom crafts out there..... Oooooh - a quick google search suggests that yes, indeed there are....I shall have to get to work!

Happy Sunday xxxx

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Woohoo! Tapestry finally finished!!

This week something very exciting happened - I finally finished my Emily Peacock / Rob Ryan tapestry! I don't know how long I have spent on this (it must be well over 100 hours) but it was very exciting to see it all coming together at the end. Ta-dah:

I think I started this in about February and have gradually been working away on it between other projects. I must have sped up lately though as I seem to have completed about half of it in the couple of months (comparing it to how far I'd got when I wrote my WIP post).

I am really pleased with how this turned out. Although I have to admit that these don't take that much skill other than following the pattern! The finished result is all really down to the fantastic design.

This is the fourth tapestry I have completed now. I've done two other Emily Peacock designs:

And one design by granny knits:

The camper van is the only one I have made into a cushion though. I am hoping that finishing the round design will spur me on to make the others into cushions! The Hug and Kiss designs have been finished for well over a year so I have no excuse really!

I am a bit worried about turning the latest one into a cushion as I'm not sure my sewing skills are up to it!! The one in the Rob Ryan shop is made into a round cushion with piping which I would really like to try and do but I've never done piping before. Plus, I know from the camper van one that the tapestry is pretty hard to manipulate through the sewing machine. I have no idea what I am going to do with all these cushions!!

I am already really missing having a tapestry on the go. I really like to have a project that I can pick up and work on which keeps me occupied without having to do much thinking! Its brilliant for the days when I am not feeling well or am sleepy but still want something to do in front of the TV.

I have already started researching what I want to do next. I'm thinking maybe this to be framed above my bed:

(Picture taken from Emily Peacock website)

Or maybe a handbag kit from Felicity Hall or a kit from Jan Constantine. Ooooh so many options...... The big question is whether I can wait til Christmas to get my hands on one!!

I suppose the next step would be to design my own....!

Hope you are all having a lovely craft weekend xxxx

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Finished presents!

After lots of work I finally managed to finish the cross stitch I was working on for my grandmother in the nick of time. Phew! Here is the finished piece:

My original plan was to make a picture with nine butterflies but I quickly realised that it was going to be impossible in the time I had given myself so I had to settle for six butterflies instead. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't plan better so I had more time but other than that I am actually really pleased with how this picture turned out.

My grandmother seemed super pleased with the pressie and was obviously really touched that I had made the effort to make something so that is the most important thing!

It was also my aunt's birthday celebration but luckily I had been a bit more organised for her present and started working on it a few weeks ago in my fused glass class.

I decided to make a dish made up with squares of some of my favourite glass colours - mainly blues and pinks (as usual!!). This was slumped over a mould to give a slightly curved dish shape.

I really like making these dishes and I always make things using lots of squares and in these colours - it seems to be becoming my signature style!! I love the way the glass shines like boiled sweets!

I'm still finding it really hard to take decent pictures of my glass pieces - hopefully you can kind of see the shape of the dish in this one.

This dish is roughly 20cm square. I also decided to make a smaller one to match too which is about 10cm square. Here they both are together:

I think my aunt was pretty pleased with these too - but it was more difficult to tell from her reaction! I hope so!

I really like making homemade presents but I find it so much more stressful giving them than bought ones! Does anyone else find this? I think the reaction feels so much more important when you have put so much time and effort into making something.

I definitely need to start planning my Christmas presents now. Working on that cross stitch last week has made me realise that I will need to be a lot more organised if I am going to give homemade presents - I don't want to be frantically finishing all my Christmas presents with one week to spare!

Better get to work.....!


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Stitching against the clock!

Firstly, thanks for your comments on my last post - its given me a lot to think about before I start attaching my granny squares together. I've had to put that to one side this week as I have been working on a present for my grandmother's birthday. It was her birthday on Thursday and I am seeing her tomorrow (Sunday). I've known I wanted to make her a present for ages and I've known I am seeing her on Sunday for ages. So when did I start thinking about what to make? Monday of course! There's nothing like forward planning!

Since Monday I've been frantically stitching in any spare moment to try and get the present ready in time. Its been tricky as I've had a pretty busy week. And I still haven't finished! In fact I should really be stitching now but I need a break! I decided to make a cross stitch picture using some butterfly designs I found in Crossstitcher magazine.

Here's the results so far of my frantic stitchery! And the process my brain goes through when I start making something.

Day 1: Monday

"Right, this is going to be great. I think I'll do a sampler with 9 butterflies"

"Aaaah, I'm enjoying this. The butterflies do seem to be taking longer than I expected though"

Day 2 - Tuesday

"Hmmm....these actually take quite a long time. Its probably not great to stay up til 2 am sewing every night"

Day 3 - Wednesday

"I'm so tired. I shouldn't have stayed up so late stitching last night! I'll just fit in one more butterfly before I go out tonight"

Day 4: Thursday

"I'm not sure I really like this. Maybe I should put in the black back stitch to see if that makes a difference and check they really look like butterflies"

"Yep, starting to look more like butterflies now. The back stitch part takes ages though. Maybe I haven't left enough time....."

Day 5: Friday

"Aaaaarrgggghhh. It's Friday. I'm never gonna get this finished!"

And that's as far as I got by the end of yesterday!! I'm still stitching away and hopefully I'll have it finished by tomorrow! I think I like it but I'm never sure til I've finished something. And its going to have to be 6 butterflies rather than 9 which is disappointing. Aarrgggh - why didn't I start planning earlier?!! I never learn....

Right back to work! I'm trying to bake a birthday cake and wrap up my aunt's pressie at the same time! Hope you are having a lovely (and not too frantic) weekend xx

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Granny Blanket Progress

I was finally reunited with my granny squares on Friday! WOOHOO! (Is it sad I was so excited by this? Probably! I don't care!) I had to leave them in France with my parents three weeks ago when I had to severely pare down my luggage to a small rucksack which was manageable with crutches. I'd been looking forward to getting them all back with their buddies at home and seeing what they all looked like together. And here they are:

I couldn't remember how many I had but I thought it was either 80 or 100 altogether so I was a bit disappointed when I gathered them together and found out it was only 60! Still, they are pretty big squares so I thought I must have the makings of a blanket by now. But actually when I lay them all out it still looks quite small!

The squares are roughly 10cm square so arranged like this they give a blanket of 60cm by 100cm. I think I'd like it to be at least double this size if not triple so I've got a lot more work to do!! I wish I'd chosen a cheaper yarn - this is going to be the most expensive blanket ever!

I've got another 40 squares on the go at the moment but have decided to join these ones together first to save having to do it all at the end and get some sense of how it will look. I've not done this before so I have done some samples of different ways of joining the squares to work out which I like best. Any opinions would be much appreciated!!

Method 1: Whipstitch together through both loops

Method 2: Whipstitch through the front loop only

Method 3: Weave through the back loops

Method 4: Single Crochet (or UK double)

Method 5: Slip stitch

Phew - that's a lot of photos! Sorry about that. I thought it might be useful to put them all here for future reference!

What do you think? Any thoughts? I think I am erring towards methods 3 or 5 at the moment. I like the fact that they are almost invisible so don't take away from the squares themselves. I am definitely not going to go for single crochet - I don't think I want a ridge between all my squares.

I'm looking forward to getting on with this soon....although maybe not today! Its hotter in London today than is California so sitting with wool on my lap might be a bit much!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

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