Monday, May 27, 2013

Keeping on with the crafting, no matter what!

It's been a very strange week for me this week.

The ME has been really playing up, and I've been sleeping some very strange hours - to the point that I have to look at the date and time on my laptop to know what day it is, and when.

This sleeping thing always seems to come in waves, as though the Fibro and ME have an agreement to take it in turns so that, one minute I'm sleeping all the time, and the next I'm lucky to get a few hours. A real pain, whichever one it is, although I do get more crochet work done when it's the Fibro! :)

I have managed to make a couple of things though, despite the oversleeping. I managed to make a second outfit for my friend's doll, Muriel. I had already made a red riding hood outfit for her, and so I decided to make her a more summery outfit, and in the peach shades that my friend prefers.

I've mentioned before that this doll is an awkward size. At 21" she's too big for all of the crochet patterns I've been able to find, and so I decided that I'd do what my mum always does when she's given a doll to dress - and I'd make it up as I went along!

Now I've done it, I can understand my mum's enjoyment of creating an outfit in this way :)

Anyway, here's the outfit I crocheted freehand:

Muriels Peachy Summer Outfit
Muriel's Shorts

I made a vest top, a skirt, a pair of shorts, and a headband to match :)

Muriel's Right-hand side

Muriel's Left-hand side
A close-up of Muriel's necklace and bracelet

I was really pleased with the way the outfit turned out and, when my friend received the parcel with doll and outfits in it, she was over the moon with what I'd made (I hadn't told her what it would be).

After I'd sent Muriel on her way back home, I wasn't quite sure what to do next, until I went onto Facebook, and looked in on my fellow Discworld devotees, where I saw a knitted version of Terry Pratchett's Death of Rats.

As soon as I saw it, I wanted to make one myself - not for me, but for my daughter, who is just an avid a fan of the Discworld as I am :)

The trouble is, I couldn't find a decent crochet pattern anywhere for it, and so I decided to be brave, and make it up as I went along, just as I'd done for Muriel's outfit :)

After some trial and error, this is what I came up with:

Death of Rats - the Grim Squeaker!
I used white pipe cleaners to make the hands, feet and tail.

I used a black pipe cleaner, & kitchen foil to make his scythe :)

I used blue buttons to give an impression of the wink that Death and the Rat used.

DOR's cloak. I used a black pipe cleaner to edge it, to make the shape.

As I hate to be without a project, I also completed this month's Crochet Crowd challenge. This month it was a circular motif throw and, for a change, I actually managed to complete it in a few days. The pattern itself was a little complicated, especially for someone like me, who had never tackled joining motifs together as I went but, once I'd got the hang of it, it was made up quite quickly.

There were 27 large motifs, 16 middle motifs, and 16 edging motifs, and I crocheted them in different colours - Hunter Green for the large, Windsor blue for the middle, and Real Teal for the edging motifs. I think they all went very well together :)

I gave this as a present to a very good friend of mine, as she's just getting her crafting studio together, and needed something with a bit of colour to put on a plain white chair she had in there - it can also double up as shawl, in case she feels the cold while she's working :)

So, as I've finished all if this, I decided to get on with some items I'd promised my daughter I'd make for her . . . . . . . and I'll show you them once I've finished :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

To Yarn bomb, or not. . . . . .

I have just read an article, posted by Michael Sellick in his Blog, The Crochet Crowd, and it really got me to thinking about how I viewed crochet. Did I think of it as a nice hobby or, as Mikey does, do I believe it is an individual's artistic expression?

I really didn't have to think too hard for the answer, though, as it is the inspiring work of people like Mikey, that has encouraged so many people, like myself, to take up this amazing craft. His work is always colourful, zany, incredibly inspiring, and as near to a brilliant work of art, as I've ever seen!

In his article, Engaging Others: Food For Thought, to be found here: 

Mikey tells us that some people have accused him of being wasteful with yarn, when he creates his fascinating and exhilarating yarn bombs. Pardon? Who in their right minds could call what he does 'wasteful'?

Being a newbie to the crochet scene, it has been his inspirational work in this form of artistic expression, that excited me enough to be determined to work hard enough, to gain the skills needed to attempt this sort of project. I doubt if I will ever attain the same level of skill with crochet work as Mikey has, but his work has encouraged me to be the best that I can be!

So, if his artistic expression does anything, then surely it can be said to be a great example of something we can all work at to achieve - and is in no way a waste - neither of Mikey's time, labour, artistic expression, nor yarn!

I find it totally sad that there are still people who value art so little that they can only see it's expression as 'waste!

Yarn Bombed Bike, The Crochet Crowd

When you see a picture, such as this above - a tricycle that Mikey yarn-bombed for Canada's largest consumer Craft show, held in April of this year - surely you can see the thought, time, energy and, especially, the artistic value that he put into it?

Mikey's whole ethos is about inspiring as many people as possible to take up this craft - or any other for that matter - in order to express their own creativity. As far as I'm concerned, he's doing it right, and I hope he will always have the energy to keep on working at his yarn-bomb pieces, so that they can keep influencing ever more people to take up this wonderfully expressive, age-old craft!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Busy, busy, busy . . . .

I can't believe how quickly this last few weeks have gone by!

I can't remember what I've done, and when, except, of course, for the fact that I seem to have completed a lot of things, craft-wise, except my May challenge, the Ocean Wave Throw :(

I'm not sure whether it's because of the pattern itself, or if it's the yarn I'm using, but I can't seem to concentrate enough on it to finish what I've started! Mind you, I did have to undo half of it, as I'd gone wrong without realising it - and that definitely helped in my losing any real interest in it. But, as I always try to complete whatever I've started, I'm going to soldier on with it, even if I don't finish it in time for the challenge end, on the 15th May! :)

What had got me busy, however, is a complete set of outdoor clothing for a baby - for my future step-grandchild, to be exact :)

This is my second attempt to make an outfit for an actual baby, and I'm pleased to say that it came out the right size this time :)

I chose Lemon for the colour, as we don't know whether the new baby is a girl or boy as yet. 

I used my new batch of Red Heart Super Saver Yarn to make it, and it has turned out really lovely and soft - I also used some pretty organza ribbons for the ties.

I'm really very pleased with this little outfit, and I've enough yarn left over so that, as soon as we find out whether it's a girl or boy, I'll be able to make some leggings to go with it, choosing the style to suit the baby :)

I have to confess that I have actually made a nappy cover (or Diaper cover, as they say in the USA), and it was supposed to go with this set as well, but I didn't realise until I'd almost finished it that it's for a 3-6 month old baby, and not the 0-3 month that the outfit is :/

I'll be sending it along anyway, as it will fit eventually :)

I used exactly the same yarn for it, but I took the photo at night, using electric light, and the colour looks totally different to the rest of the set, which I took using natural light - I didn't realise it made this much of a difference, so I guess I'll be trying to take any other photos of things I make during the daytime from now on! :)

Once I'd finished the set, I did a little bit more of the Ocean Waves throw, but then I received a parcel from a friend, which contained a doll she has owned since she was 3 years old. I had told my friend that I'd crochet a few outfits for Muriel (the doll), as she had just come back from the Doll's hospital, and needed something different from her usual outfit :)

I've just completed the first outfit, and am now starting on the second one. For the first one, I decided to crochet a Red Riding Hood outfit, as I had some lovely red yarn I wanted to use. I had to adapt a couple of patterns I'd found, as Muriel is 21" long, and the only patterns I could find were for 18" dolls. I used the patterns to create a skeleton of the shape, but I totally changed the crochet stitches used, and I also changed the finishing touches, and this made the design uniquely Muriel's :)

Here's the complete outfit:

Here's a photo of the dress:

And here's a close-up of the dress, and the choker I made to disguise the neck joint of the doll:

I also decided to complete the outfit by making some pantalettes to match the dress :)

I had fun making all this, and am now using my friend's favourite peach colour to create a more modern-looking outfit for Muriel. Once it's finished, I'll put a photo on here to show you :)

In the meantime, I also created a couple of things for my daughter, made from some yarn given to me by a friend. The yarn was 50% Cotton, and 50% Acrylic, and I had just enough to make a top, using a great tutorial that Clare, from BobWilson123 fame, made on her site:

The pattern can be found at:

I also made a pair of footless sandals to go with the top:

The tutorial for these, and two other versions of the same, come from Clare, too, and can be found at:

As my daughter has just left after staying for a few days, I've also got a small list of things she'd like me to make for her - a head wrap in 2 different colours and yarns, to keep her dreads out of the way, and a couple of bikini tops, also in different colours and yarns :) 

Once they're finished, I'll post some pics on here so you can see how I did with them :)

And, in between all of this, I really must try to finish that Throw! Lol