Sunday, 28 August 2011

New Octomonsters!

Just a quick post today - I thought I'd show you a couple of octomonsters I've just finished.

I've done this design before and they've been popular so I thought I'd have another go. I'll be popping them in my folksy shop as soon as it stops raining for long enough to get some decent photos. These are quicker to make than the ones with the hand stitched dots on them so I will be able to charge less and hopefully entice someone to buy them! That's the idea anyway....

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

Dotty x

PS. I have given my parents the stained glass lightcatcher (from the previous post) and they seem to be very pleased with it - hurrah!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Oooooh! Glassy!

I haven't blogged about it much before but one of my new(ish!) favourite things to do is make stained glass pieces. I've been doing classes for about a year and a half now and I love playing with all the colours and designs and coming up with a new piece.

I now have loads of glass in my flat - some leftover from other pieces and some bought because I was in the shop and saw something so beautiful I couldn't resist! (Seriously, going to a glass shop is like going to a sweet shop - there are beautiful things on every wall and you want them all!)

I seem to gravitate towards blue pieces and had lots in my stash so I decided to make use of all the pieces I have accumulated and design something modern and abstract using bluey greeny colours.

I also had never leaded up a circle before and its something I wanted to try so I decided to incorporate that into my design. Normally, when doing a straight edged piece, you lead into a right angle made with two blocks of wood - because you can't do this for a circle it is slightly more tricky! Unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures whilst I was leading up - the one above is after I had leaded and soldered but before cementing and polishing.

This is the finished piece:

It has been cemented to keep the glass secure in the lead, the lead has been blackened and the whole piece has been polished to give it a shine.

I'm pretty pleased with the results, I just need to secure the ends of the chain and then it will be hung in the window as a lightcatcher. I think I am going to give this to my parents this weekend - I hope they like it! Just one more close up of those lovely blues:

I have also made another leaded circular piece of a similar size which incorporates pieces of fused glass but I will have to show you that another time. As well as finally finishing my glass pieces I've been taking a precious metal clay course this week which has been lots of fun and I'll have the results of that soon.

Happy crafting!

Dotty xx

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Work In Progress (WIP)

The problem with doing so many different crafty things is I often get involved in a new project without properly finishing the previous one. I always have several projects on the go at any one time which is great because if I get bored with one I can always pick up another but it does mean I have lots of unfinished work hanging around my flat!

With this in mind I've decided to start doing a regular (maybe monthly?) Work in Progress (WIP) post - partly to show you what I've been up to, partly to try and shame myself into finishing them! Hopefully by the time I do my next WIP post some of these will be finished:

1. Emily Peacock Hug and Kiss cushions

I finished my Hug tapestry over a year and a half ago and the Kiss one sometime last summer. These have now been sitting around for over a year waiting to be turned into cushions. I've bought the backing fabric, the bobble trim and the cushion inserts and yet somehow I still haven't managed to spend a few hours making these into lovely cushions for my bed. I have no excuses!

2. Granny Square Cushion

These granny squares have been sitting around the house since the early summer waiting to become a cushion! They were originally going to be a blanket but the cotton I was using was really splitty and I decided it would drive me mad making a whole blanket so a cushion it is! I need to block these first (I've not done that before) and then decide how I am going to attach them together and how I am going to back the cushion - either fabric or more crochet. All this indecision has left me doing nothing!!

3. Fused glass jewellery

I've got loads of these pretty glass cabochons waiting to be turned into jewellery. Most of them are made of dichroic glass which really sparkles - they should be lovely when I get round to doing something with them!

I've also got these ones which have been attached to jewellery findings already. I want to take some decent pictures of these to put in my folksy shop. I've had a go a few times now but haven't managed to get any good enough photos yet - it is difficult to photograph glass!

4. Emily Peacock and Rob Ryan tapestry

I was given this kit for Christmas and it is a perfect present for me - I am a big fan of both Emily Peacock's and Rob Ryan's work. This is actually going quite well at the moment. I started this in the Spring and am about halfway through it now. I have finished most of the tricky picture part of the tapestry and now I am just working on the background. This means it is perfect for evenings in front of the TV when I want to do some sewing but need something that doesn't take too much concentration.

5. Granny Square blanket

Even though I have decided to make my other granny squares into a cushion I still wanted to make a granny square blanket with a white background. I am using a granny square pattern by Jane Brocket that I found in Mollie Makes magazine. I love this pattern - it makes quite a large square with a really nice squishy feel to it. The pattern is based on a blanket of 54 squares but I would really like to make mine bigger than that so I think it might be crocheting this one for a long time yet. I've done 20 squares so far so we'll see if I change my mind when I've got a bit further! I've realised that I probably shouldn't have chosen such expensive yarn - this is going to be one expensive blanket!

6. Fused glass photographs

I am currently trying to take photos of my fused glass pieces. Mainly to keep a record of what I have made and also to show you on this blog. Also I am thinking of trying to sell some pieces in future - there is only so much glass I can fit in my flat but I would like to keep making so I think I will have to sell some to stop myself getting buried in it (this is only a small fraction of what I have made) and also to help fund future making!

7. Stained glass pieces

I have two small stained glass pieces which I need to solder some chain onto for hanging and then polish up so they are finished. I won't put any pictures here as I am hoping to do that in the next couple of days (ha! a likely story...!) and then I will put up some pictures then.

8. Plushies

I have various monsters and fish in various states of completions that I am making for gifts and my folksy shop. These look a bit sad without their stuffing so I'll put some pictures up when I'm finished!

Phew! That was a long post! I feel a bit exhausted thinking about all the things I need to get on with, let alone actually doing them! Hopefully next time I do a WIP post some of these items will be finished.....

Dotty xx

PS. Sorry if the pics are a bit dark - its a horrible day here. Not good for taking photos but perfect for staying in and making!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fused Glass

I haven't had much time for blogging this week as I have been taking a fused glass course all week. With all the things I normally do in the daytime having to fit into the evenings everything has been a bit busy!

I'll show you some pictures of what I have been up to this week when it is all out of the kiln but in the meantime I thought I could show you some of the pieces I have made over the last year since I started fused glass.

A lattice piece which has since been slumped over a mould to make a bowl:

A coaster made with loads of stringers (thin strips of glass):

A flat piece in some of my favourite glass colours which I am planning to make into a shallow dish:

A multicoloured light catcher which glints and sparkles when I hang it in front of a window:

I love fused glass so much and I'm so glad I have found such a fun and exciting hobby! I'm sure I will talk about this in later posts as I can't get enough of it and would really like to move into selling some of it at some point but for now I hope you have enjoyed these pictures!

Dotty xx

PS. Thank you to all of you who have popped over from the folksy forums to comment or follow my blog. It is so nice of you to come by and I am so pleased that you have. I am looking forward to investigating all of your blogs in more detail after my course finishes tomorrow!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Creating a buzzzzz!

Just a quick post today - I thought I'd show some pictures of a softie I made recently as a gift.

He's been received now so I don't have to hide him any longer!

I was thinking of making some more to pop in my folksy shop. What do you think?

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Dotty xx

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

New loves – Crochet

I have decided to do a series of posts on crafts I have picked up whilst I’ve been away and not blogging. I thought I’d start with crochet. I only started crocheting at the beginning of the year and I am completely hooked! (Sorry, I never get tired of that pun!)

I’ve always liked crochet but for some reason thought it was something I would never be able to do. I suppose it’s because I have always associated it with knitting and the one time I tried knitting was disastrous – I was so uncoordinated with the needles and ended up in a grumpy impatient mess!Then earlier this year I noticed that a new crafts venue near where I live was offering drop in crochet and knitting on a Wednesday. So I headed to The Create Place and Marie gave me my first ever lesson in crochet. At first I found it so hard and couldn’t find a way to hold the hook that felt natural but eventually managed a couple of rows of single crochet. I was just getting used to that when Marie suggested I try a double crochet and then once I had mastered that a triple crochet. By the time I left that morning I was grinning wildly and I was clutching a square of purple crocheted yarn that I was insanely proud proud in fact that it sat on my mantelpiece for about a month!

After that I was addicted – I went straight to the shops and bought some yarn and hooks and began trawling the internet for interesting (and simple projects) I could try.The first proper thing I made was the wrist warmers using the tutorial on the wonderful Attic24 blog.

These are coordinated to match a scarf I already have and were a really good beginner project. Plus they taught me a new stitch – half treble (which I call half double because I learnt the American terminology – v confusing!).

After that I was away and started work some circular cushion covers inspired by those in Cute and Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench. I couldn’t get the pattern in the book to work for me so with some more help from Marie I came up with these:

And in closeup:

At the same time as I was making the cushions I became obsessed with the idea of making some crochet bunting. There were loads of lovely bunting patterns about there (just look at this flickr gallery that Lucy from Attic24 put together) but there wasn’t anything that was exactly what I was looking for. In the end, after a lot of trial and error I came up with my own pattern and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

I’m only giving you a sneak peak here as I was thinking I might do another post on the bunting and maybe even a tutorial if anyone is interested?

Finally, what would a crochet post be without a mention of granny squares! After a few months of crocheting I asked Marie to give me a lesson on granny squares. She showed me how to make a classic granny as well as her own pattern (similar to a sunburst pattern). I went away and this is what I came up with:

I was originally going to make them into a blanket but I decided a cushion would be better to start with! The cotton I used split really easily and it was going to be too frustrating to make the hundreds of squares I needed to make a blanket. Now I just need block these squares, attach them altogether and work out how to make a cushion cover…..that should be easy enough, right?!

I’ve actually already started on some squares for a blanket with different yarn but I think I’ve rambled on enough now so I’ll save that for another post!

Have any of you tried crochet? What patterns and crochet blogs do you like? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas!

Dotty xx
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