A super quick catch up (Sorry, it got long)

Okay so a lot happened since I last wrote. A lot. I got a bit better and then got a bit worse again. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and then with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Aspergers) and am currently in the process of being diagnosed with some kind of Hypermobility thing. Some of  that sucked. Some of that sucked and then rocked. Some of it hurts and some of it no longer does. I’m human. It’s a lot for anyone to process.

I guess I am not the first person to say that crafting is therapy. But crafting is therapy. Crocheting, knitting, origami, spinning and dyeing all distract me when I’m having an anxiety attack. absorb me when I am struggling to focus, get me moving when I have lost interest in everything and some days have literally been the only reason I have got out of bed.

Then there’s the fact that it’s socially acceptable to crochet or knit in public now. Much more socially acceptable, for example, than ‘stimming’ when stressed. How I hate that word. Such an ugly ugly word for something which is simply a repetitive motion repeated over and over because it’s soothing and calming. Smoking anyone?

So yeah. Crocheting in public has enabled me to take train journeys with a lot less anxiety than there was before. Crochet hooks, it turns out, can be used as weapons. Who knew.

Then I discovered something else. Wool. It’s like glue. Social glue. It turns out, everyone of a certain age remembers their grannies knitting. Or their mothers. I’ve overheard comments along the lines of ‘hey it’s so nice to see a woman doing what she should be doing’ and getting beaten over the head by their girlfriends. It turns out what he actually meant was that the sound of needles clacking brought back a whole flood of memories he wasn’t expecting.

Meanwhile I’m sat waiting to see the GP, calm internally, while my fingers fly externally. Turns out, when people are looking at my fingers, they’re not looking at me. Diversionary tactics are super helpful for someone with quite severe social anxiety.

Then there’s the satisfaction that comes from finishing things. I have not, historically, been particularly excellent at feeling satisfied with anything I’ve done. I was little miss perfectionist. Relentless. Pushed myself so hard I exploded my brain relentless. Pushed myself so hard I didn’t give up until I couldn’t take a shower without needing to sit down relentless. The kind of relentless that just refuses to give up and stops listening to her body kind of relentless. The kind that’s done permanent damage to her body cos of her relentless.

So what happens when you’re forced to stop?

Silence. Eventually. Not straight away. Not for months. Well, actually a year, lets be honest about this. It took a year for the crafting to have any effect. And it wasn’t instant. It’s not like a pill you can take to magically make everything better though god knows I’m taking enough pills. No. Instead it’s a gentle soothing, the kind that slowly puts the bits of your brain that were completely out of whack back together instead of one day waking up with some eureka moment. I’m hoping that silence will stay because it took so long to come.

I’ve spent an entire life with noise in my head. ‘You’re not good enough, you’re too fat, you’re too thin, you’re too gobby, you’re selfish….’ on and on and on and on and on. The silence first came or rather I first noticed it when I was spinning on my wheel. I stopped concentrating on drafting and there was suddenly space. And nothing to fill it. No negativity. No chattering. Nothing.

The sound of nothing is the sweetest most blissful sound I had never heard.

So did crafting save my life? No. But it’s sure as hell given me one back. So from this point forward, I guess this blog is going to be about crafting. Real crafting. None of this pretend stuff with pretty pictures and no personality behind it. I am a person, with a personality. And this is my crafting life, which keeps me breathing, keeps me soothed, keeps me thinking and keeps me living.

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This yarn habit is getting silly

So I figured it was about time I fixed that.

Cue spinning my own yarn from rovings using a hand spindle. Someone on Twitter pointed out that I didn’t need a wheel to spin and from that point it was all over. Off to Etsy I went last Monday and ordered a lovely starter kit from HillTop Cloud. Five days later my parcel finally made it from around the corner in Wales (I am Ms Impatient) and my Saturday was filled with playing with 15g of North Ronaldsey roving and my new drop spindle.

It’s fair to say that my first attempt was thick, and a little variable in width. My second attempt resulted in this:

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You can see from the kink that I’m over twisting the yarn. This has the inevitable outcome when trying to untwist it of untwisting it too far and reverting my carefully spun wool back to its natural state. This is only my second attempt though. I also seem to be the opposite of everyone else and be spinning the wool too thickly – I’ve certainly not had the issue of the yarn becoming to thin and dropping the spindle.

Having spun myself 25g of passable yarn I decided to do something with it:

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this is the beginning of a flower using a 5mm hook. Possibly the wrong hook for the job considering that my yarn is a littler thicker than aran weight at this point.

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I quite liked the finished article and I think in retrospect should have stopped here. As ever though, I thought I had a bright idea to add colour:

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Nope. Not a bright idea. Nevertheless, it’s my first handmade brooch so I sewed a brooch back onto it and it shall have pride of place on my £10 complete bargain slate grey summer jacket. Well it wont look like anyone else’s £10 jacket, will it?

I also received another lovely package last week, this time from Countess Ablaze. I tripped over her website on the way to trying to find some undyed wools and fell in love with some of the colours, so I ordered some 25g skeins to see if they were as gorgeous when they were right in front of me. They are.

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Nothing is going to quite explain how lovely these colours are. The skies over Manchester is my favourite I think, living 20 miles North of Manchester myself I know exactly how accurate those colours are in reflecting the rain clouds. I’ve not worked out what I want to make with it yet but another of the colours caught my partners eye…

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Meet Toxic the Bunny! He’s proved quite popular, I suspect because cute vs badass. Because make no mistake, that yarn in those colourways is seriously badass. It’s also an absolute pleasure to work with, and was surprisingly smooth on my 2.5mm hook. He’s now apparently sat proudly on my partners computer at work.

Inbetween all this I’ve finished my Bina the Bear and felt oddly disappointed with her:

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and made a start and finished a few more shawls:

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This is Araucania Puelo again but in a slightly more vibrant colour than last time!

And to complete the set, I also completed the same shawl in a lace weight yarn, Araucania Botany Lace. They all worked really well but I think my favourite is the ‘somewhere between 4 ply and DK weight) wool of Adraifil Sierra Andina. I may be slightly addicted to that yarn.

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Finally, I thought I’d finish with something furry but not wooly – meet one of my little Siberian Dwarf hamsters…

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Happy crocheting :o)

More catching up

I should probably explain why there’s been such a big gap. I’m a little bit broken at the moment and no one seems to know why so the week before last I spent a beautiful sunny day at the NHS’s pleasure inside an MRI for an hour. Annoyed as I was, I felt more for the poor staff having to give up an entire hour. I then spent an afternoon stressed in Liverpool as I”d suddenly discovered I couldn’t find my passport 10 days before we were supposed to be going away.

Cue frantic phone calls and emails trying to move the holiday and paying rather a lot of money to obtain another one within 8 weeks. Not the best week ever…but normally something which would have been dealt with. At the moment however, it’s enough to knock me over for a week afterwards. And so we come to why I crochet. But that’s a story for another time when I’m not so behind on blogging.

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This was a little experiment with colour and combining wool. I noticed that some patterns, especially bags, asked you to use two strands of wool so that the stitches were stronger if they needed to be load bearing. I wanted to find out if that worked with normal crocheting so I tried it on the granny square Simply Crochet released through their app a few weeks ago. Nice idea, wrong colours, wrong square to use it on is my conclusion.

I then got snaffled by shawl making. I made a beautiful little triangle scarf from some Auracania Puelo not so long ago and I love it to pieces. I found myself near Purl City Yarns last weekend whilst visiting the Northern Quarter in Manchester for something else.

I’ll do a shop review another time but let me at least say this: oh em gee. Could have bought the whole shop. Wanted to buy the whole shop. The wool is curated, that’s the only way to explain how carefully it feels each colour and type of yarn has been selected and then displayed.

I was good, and left with only 5 balls. But they were 5 balls of angel spun Adriafil’s Sierra Andina 100% alpaca. I’ve linked directly to the manufacturers website as Purl City don’t sell this particular yarn online. I can’t explain how gorgeous this is to crochet with. One of the reasons I’ve settled on crochet as opposed to knitting is that I can feel the yarn as it passes through my fingers before hitting the hook and leaving to disappear into a stitch. Knitting feels detached slightly from this process – something is between you and the yarn and it’s the needles.

Anyway this yarn feels fantastic. And as I discovered while working it into the fabulous pattern which is Cheri McEwan’s Bowtie P. It got warmer and warmer as the crocheted pile got bigger and bigger. I love the finished object.

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It drapes which is what I wanted to show with this photo but it also ripples. Now the most magical thing of all, is that I didn’t intend for it to differ from the original pattern, but it does. The reason for this is that I added an extra chain between the V’s across all of the rows which contained only V’s. This seems to mean that whether it’s draped across my plus size shoulders or the shoulders of someone who is a size 10, it ripples gorgeously just the same. And, as a final bonus, it meets at the front, meaning you can add an optional shawl pin if you want to.

After I’d finished it I had a little wool left, so I thought the best thing to do would be to make a matching necklace. I took a pattern from Ravelry for some flowers which I’d made before, made one large and two small and then chained 100 or so, double crocheted back down and sewed the flowers on like so:

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So because I liked the first shawl so much, I did the sensible thing, and immediately set about making another one, this time in lace weight yarn, but on the same size hook – 4mm. The yarn is Araucania Botany Lace

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It’s exactly the same pattern as the other one, not least because of this:

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which was my pathetic attempt at trying to use shells in a shawl and this:

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which is also showing the beginnings of turning into something it really shouldn’t be when it was supposed to be something that was appropriate to drape around ones shoulders. It’s really not as easy as it feels like it should be, this making patterns up from scratch thing. I do have a new found pile of respect for people who can do it – it’s a pretty awesome skill to have!

Right. I think we’re almost caught up now. There’s a big pile of new wool – well small bits of wool but new wool, and some adventures in hand spinning…

Happy crocheting!

Louise

Catch up time

Right. Been a while. Let’s have a quick catch up, shall we? It’s sunny outside for the first time in two weeks!
Before we start – this is written using the on screen keyboard of my iPad mini due to a spectacular array of technological badgering. Yep that’s a technical term. Badgered. The lot of it. So apologies for any typing errors. Anyway. On with it.

Firstly I discovered J Herbin’s fountain pen ink in Rose Cyclamen. Doesn’t sound awesome does it? It is.

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It really does matter. I’ve found myself writing a lot more in my journal thanks to loving the colour of ink coming out of the pen. Shallow? Yes. Happily so.

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This is my second attempt at a wrap for bridesmaids, weddings and special occasions. Having learned many lessons from my initial attempt, not least to read patterns properly (I am not good with numbers, writing ‘row x to y repeat rows a to b and stealthily including repeats in there is bad okay?) I’m really pleased how this turned out. The yarn is Rico Essentials 100% cotton. And of course I ran out with 2 rows to go. Of course I did.

Anyway, don’t do filet crochet in anything but 100% cotton. Just don’t. It doesn’t work.

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More pattern confusion. This is from the amazingly talented Fafylala and is for Lupo the Lamb. Now I managed the legs, body and head reasonably well apart from a slight twisting ‘seam’. Then I got to the head and I just could make sense of Row 5 and 6. I emailed her on Etsy and asked for clarification on the stitch counts and I still don’t understand. So I’ve decided to start with a simpler pattern of hers, Bina the Bear. She’s just as cute but a wee bit simpler.

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This is a part of a project I’ve got in mind but hasn’t quite happened yet. The book is Crochet stitch motifs by Erika Knight via our local library. It’s a fabulous book because it doesn’t just limit itself to granny squares. Nope. It’s for circles and squares and leaves and pentagons and hexagons and….you get the idea. Lots. Lots to play with and to spark ideas with really clear instructions and more importantly for some, visual patterns for those who need them for every motif.

Finally for this post since I’m waffling on a wee bit, meet my new little rabbit friend:

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He’s inspired by All about Ami’s Easter Bunnies which are super cute crossed with some vintage Swedish wooden dolls which I saw on Etsy. I wanted a pattern which used up small amounts of wool which could be colour co-ordinated easily and so the little bunni above was born. He doesn’t take long to crochet at all and is super simple.

Right I think that’s enough for one post. It really has been too long since I last posted, I’ll try and be a bit better. I’m currently waiting impatiently for the postman in the vain hope that the spindle I ordered on Monday will turn up today. I want to play!

Happy crocheting!

Louise

Shhhh!

I’ve been ever so quiet for a bit. I’ve not stopped crocheting – anything but in fact. The friend went to the wedding with a finished wrap which for a first attempt was…passable.  There were mistakes and it ended up being shorter than it should have been but the recipient was ever so graceful in her thanks and so it wasn’t a complete disaster. 

 

Having messed up the first iteration, I decided I’d try and tweak the pattern enough that I could think about selling it on a super tiny scale. So I’ve nearly finished a version in dusky pink and am currently working on a jade version. 

I’ve also ordered a hand spindle after a friend on Twitter pointed out it was a relaxing way of creating your own yarn. I quite like the idea of crocheting with yarn I’ve spun myself and am looking forward to finding lots of lovely roving in shades of grey. 

I’m sorry for the lack of pictures. It’s been horrid grey here for the last few days and not even the most persistent post editing can make crochet look lovely in the face of relentless grey of the wrong kind. 

Happy crocheting!

Louise

Things other than crochet

Shockingly, I have been up to things which have not involved crochet hooks. Or wool. I know. I’ve been getting withdrawal symptoms and am looking forward to an evening with a shawl I’m making for a friend to match a dress she bought on the high street. I really like her approach – find a stunning dress in a chain and match it with something handmade to make an outfit guaranteed to be different to everyone elses. And we all know what a minefield weddings are.

So yes. I’ve been ‘journaling’. At least I think that’s what it’s called. I’ve been calling it ‘Filofaxing’ as it has involved resurrecting a long abandoned Domino personal filofax and trying to make it work for me in a way that means I use it rather than carrying a small pointless brick around everywhere with me.

Now I have been struggling a bit recently and haven’t been very well. One of the symptoms has been brain fog – that wooly feeling you get in your brain when you have the flu, but I get it randomly most days and completely out of the blue. It’s where the name of this blog came from – Wool on my mind is a bit of a play on words.

So I needed something to order my mind, something that was easy to read to work out if anything important needed to be done while I was struggling with brain fog and perhaps most importantly in retrospect, something that allowed me to be a bit creative.

So this is my Domino in a gorgeous purple:

Purple domino filofax, slightly smaller than A5The pen is actually a super cheap fountain pen but by a fantastic company – a Lamy Safari. The Lamy 2000 is apparently the most awesome fountain pen ever, but at £140 instead of under £10 I think it might be something I need to save up for. I’ve popped a Convertor in there so I can use bottled inks and am currently writing in a rather gorgeous Bilberry courtesy of Diamine, a relatively local company.

So open up and what do we find?

filofax inside first pageThe weird black splodging on the front right sticker is to hide my phone numbers. On the left we’ ve got lots of post it notes and sticks and cards. Underneath the cover plate you can just about see the year overview pull out which I printed myself and which you can find over on the super awesome website Philofaxy. There’s a whole load of other things to print for free there as well including lined pages, day to a page, week to two pages…the list goes on and on.

filofax divider pagesThis is one of my home made dividers. I picked 6 top level sections: Money, Personal, Business, Crochet, Travel and Addresses. The template came from My life all in one place and I followed her excellent instructions and managed to create these. The image here and on all my dividers are from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum online archive of Botany images. I think this is Dogwood and is my favourite, my second favourite being this fern in pencil:

filofax divider fern

Inserting images and managing to make them line up is all explained on the link above and I found it very easy. My planner is starting to look a little more like mine already.

Next up, envelopes as not everything can be hole punched and shoved into your Filofax:

filofax envelopes

These gorgeous lovelies were free gifts which came with Flow magazine. If you don’t know about Flow, you’re in for a treat. For paper lovers everywhere is the tagline and it delivers, far more than any British magazine I’ve found. Yep, Flow is Dutch and actually has two editions, the Dutch language version and the International version. I love it to pieces and it’s one of my favourite magazines. Anyway, I glued these up, hole punched them and labeled them up ready to receive my magazine rip outs, post it notes, receipts and random drawings.

filofax dividers modded

The next thing that needed sorting out was the yellow dividers that came with the filofax. Yellow is not my favourite colour. Something needed to be done. Luckily, two things converged to make this rather pretty pile of covered dividers. The first is that I am a subscriber to Stack magazines distribution service that sends me a different indie magazine every month and secondly, that I never throw a magazine out without ripping out all the pretty pictures inside them and storing them in my hand project accordion file. So said file was raided and along with two books of papers which came with Paper magazine.

filofax papers

I have to say I’m a bit more of a fan of the Swedish fabric paper than the English tea party paper but I think they came out well in the end and I quite like the eclectic nature of them.

I then decided to make my own sub dividers. As you do. I used a cheap A5 drawing pad, hacked it a bit, and glued some gorgeous whimsy from various magazines including Oh Comely and VNA to end up with some dividers which were half size and happy making to look at.

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The paper on the left is hand cut from a notebook I got from T K Maxx ages ago for £2. As a result I’ve managed to get super cute Filofax paper for not very much at all. I know lots of people are selling awesome paper on Etsy but I wanted to have a go at sorting my own out just in case this is a whim and I don’t end up using it at all. Having said that, it’s going well so far:

filofax page entry diary

This was day one. I’ve managed to put something in every day so far. I think I also need a week to two pages view as well so I can see what’s coming up. But these pages are brilliant as I can record what I did on that day and then record what I need to do the next day too. The only thing I am slightly worried about now is running out of space – as you can see there’s not a lot of room on the binders for more paper. Oh yes, and the bottom on the right you might spot some Rob Ryan washi tape. Because Rob Ryan. Love his work. All of it.

Overall the process has been wonderful. I’ve found it enormously fun to indulge my love of pattern and colour and cover something that’s mine with those things without any restrictions. Hopefully it will bring order to a slightly chaotic brain as well, but most of all, I should stop losing those little ideas I scribble on post it notes and then never ever see again.

 

 

 

 

I finished something!

Did you have a lovely bank holiday weekend? We had some lovely sunshine here and much relaxing and drinking of coffee happened.

Lots of exercise also happened as hibernating may have been good for my mind, but it’s certainly not done wonders for my body. I’ve got a hyper extending spine which is causing a lot of pain so the physiotherapist suggested cycling would be an excellent way to strengthen the surrounding muscles which were stopping my spine bending backwards before I got ill. So I’ve been trying to get out every other day and mostly succeeding. Friday provided beautiful clouds:

Leeds Liverpool Canal

A nice flat surface with no bumps with no traffic for me to endanger myself with when my brain wombles off. I do love my bike very much.

My bike

There’s also been lots of wool wrangling. This morning I noticed that Simply Crochet had a new app and were going to be updating it with a granny square a week. I think this is a lovely idea and so I downloaded the app and set to crocheting the first granny square.

simply crochet granny square

Turns out, iPhone screens don’t come out very well in photographs. The hook is a maple 4mm which I tacked onto an order from Wool Warehouse a bit ago. It’s lovely to crochet with, the lack of flat ‘plate’ isn’t an issue at all. The only thing I’ve found is that I need to hold the needle turned towards me slightly as opposed to how I would with a metal hook, as the head is a slightly different shape. I’ll take a close up tomorrow and show you.

simply crochet granny square oneI know it’s only a simply granny square but I’m quite pleased with the finished product because it’s the first time I’ve consciously focused on stitch tension which is something I know I really need to focus on, and I think it’s come out quite well. I also love the colours, despite not being a pastel fan.

mistake full

In direct contrast – this experiment went horribly wrong. It was supposed to be a little doily to pop a vase on – and the colours work quite well but as you can see from the photo, and the lovely rippling effect, I may have been a little over enthusiastic with the increasing. Oh well, I’ve learned how to do skirts if nothing else.

sideboard cover mainSo, Drops were having a sale and it seemed rude not to. I thought I’d ordered 3 shades of blue and 3 of grey Alaska. It turned out I’d only ordered 2 shades of blue so I improvised a bit. I wanted to make a cover for our 1940’s sideboard as I really don’t like the colour and it pulls the tone of the room down. So I had a rummage on Ravelry and on the internet and found Attic24’s tutorial on the ripple pattern. I’ve been wanting to try this for ages and though she’d used DK and I was using Aran weight I figured it would still work. I think it did.

sideboard cover detail twoI even love how the wrong side/right side contrast works inside the two row clusters of grey. My stitch neatness is definitely getting better even if we’re not at perfect yet.

sideboard cover detailBig fan of grey. Did I mention? Hmmm, I suspect I did. Even though two of the shades are actually really very close together I still think it works. It feels glorious and I keep looking at it and smiling. It’s the first thing I’ve completed that I’ve felt incredibly proud of, I think because I picked the colours and textures and patterns all by myself instead of following someone elses suggestions. It’s taken a while for me to feel brave enough to do that, and I’m quite proud.

turqoiseThis is the beginning of the next big project. A friend has bought a beautiful dress for a wedding and needs a wrap/cover to go with it. I think this turquoise will look beautiful but I’m very nervous – I can’t unpick cotton if the pattern turns into something that doesn’t look right so I’m going to have to be super careful and do a lot of rummaging to find the right thing. They’re big old balls, so at least I should find myself running out of cotton. She’s also tiny, which always helps.

So that was my Bank Holiday weekend. How was yours?

Happy crocheting.

Louise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look what I made!

I’ve been busy this week. Well, relatively. But I’ve chased a lot of things medical and otherwise and crocheted frantically trying to get the hexagon blanket done.

So it turns out, when Lucy said the hexagons were fiddly, she wasn’t joking. They’re also small when you’re aiming to make a double blanket in a week. I don’t know what I was thinking, her birthday is today and I think I’m not even a quarter of the way there. So frantic head scratching on Tuesday night resulted in searching for crocheted horses.

After much hunting, I found this pattern on Craftsy. I have been trying to avoid paying for patterns so far as magazines and books are a much cheaper way to go especially when you’re ripping through patterns quite quickly. And there’s a library down the road. And you can request books stocked across the entire county for 60p each. And there’s a website which texts you when your book arrives at the library. I mean really, what on earth is not to love?

Anyway, meet Henry the Horse:

Henry the horse selfie

He took a selfie and this is what came out!

Here’s a slightly more serious shot:

Full shot of henry the horse

Sorry about the light – I’m still struggling with composition though I think the quality of shots is getting better. I’ve used small buttons for his nostrils and larger buttons (about 13mm I think) for his eyes as this is going to a 60 something, not a 6 year old. The rest of him is used up from assorted odds and ends – he took barely any dark and light brown wool but I think probably about 3/4 of a 100g ball of beige.

All in all, I think he took about 5 hours to make and was extremely fun to do. I can happily report that finally, after two months, my sewing skills have improved to the point where I can sew arms and legs and heads on and not sigh despairingly at the result.

After I finished Henry I continued to avoid the blanket of doom and started on a bag I’d been meaning to make for a while.

Shot of bag curving

This is made from James C Brett Marble Chunky an acrylic yarn, and annoyingly I can’t remember the colourway. I like it as a bag but I don’t think this is a wool I will be buying again. I don’t know whether the humidity in our living room was weird last night, or I was justing ‘doing it wrong’ but I made a start on a shawl and it just looked awful. I tried in two different needle sizes, the recommended 8mm and a 6.5mm and it just looked awful – no amount of blocking would have fixed it. So I unravelled and decided to go back to Plan A. Another bag. However, I am very glad I did, because I really like the pattern I used and will be used it again and modifying it so I can sell it when I’m good enough. I think it’s a bag that will look stunning in natural fibres but I also think that variegated yarn looks beautiful too. Not that I’m addicted. But then this might explain why:

bag detai,l

I love texture. And colour. And the way wool feels. Now this wool scores 2 out of 3 but it’s a real shame about the third

Finally, I managed to get some proper shots (well proper for me, it’s a low benchmark) of the shawl/scarf I made from the Araucania Puelo in greys I nabbed last week.

Shawl in greys

I’m never going to stop wanting to look at this shawl. It’s slightly smaller than the original pattern and it’s not edged. I’ve ordered a book from the library on edging as I didn’t like the edging the pattern suggested – it just didn’t seem to fit with how the shawl looked in variegated yarn. Each shell is different from the one before, and the edging needed to not take anything away from that:

shawl half

This is one of those items which is fine for me to wear, but isn’t quite neat enough yet for me to gift to someone else or sell, and this consistency of stitch tension is something I’m really trying to work on. I’m almost there on small toys – it’s more loose stitches such as puff  balls and shells that it’s really showing up:

shawl super detail

I suppose for someone so colour obsessed (pinks, purples, anything and everything inbetween) it’s a bit odd to be equally obsessed with greys. I ride a Surly bike which is black with a slight glitter to it and I’ve repeatedly joked that it needs to be resprayed in greys and pinks or greys and purples. Basically, anything with grey. I think of all the wools I’ve played with, this is my favourite. Llama wool feels like nothing else, and one of the oddest things I noticed about the Araucania wool was the smell. I know the wools and hand painted and this is something I’m fascinated by. I really really want to have a go and have found a local supplier of undyed every kind of wool. I’m just not sure where to start with the actual dyes and as I have no work room, garage or shed, I’m a little wary of splashing around dyes somewhere where it would be a little awful if I literally splashed them around.

That’s it for today…oh, one more thing. A while ago I was given the book Crocheted Wild Animals by my lovely other half. One of the many projects I completed was this owl:

owl full

He’s quite interesting as he was my first experiment in mixing types of wool – eagle eyed viewers will spot some Lima Drops as well as some random acrylic dk. On the upside, the world didn’t end, and I think his body looks awesome in the slightly chunkier wool. On the downside, his eyes are a little too….

Owl eye

…big? :O)

I adore making animals for people. They’re incredibly satisfying to make up, and see them coming together from all the separate pieces and because I am reasonably swift with a hook considering I’ve only been doing it for two months, I can rustle something up for people with a days notice most of the time – an absolute godsend when you’re struggling for inspiration, or over committed to doing a blanket in a week. Speaking of which…

Happy crocheting!

Louise

 

 

 

I’m not very good at persisting. I’m the kind of girl who has to unpick the beginning of a pattern more than four times and I’ll just find another pattern – I wont bother contacting the author or company to ask for clarification. I’ve not got the patience. So when my lovely other half bought me a Lumix and it didn’t click straight away (no pun intended) I just left it on auto and snapped away. Until I started looking at everyone else’s blogs and discovered that snapping on auto or with my iPhone with no thought to lighting, composition or even proper focus was probably going to mean no one would bother with my blog. And while I’m mostly doing this for me, it would be lovely if I could meet other crocheters through this blog and find some people to do crochet alongs with and swaps with. So I googled and youtubed and here are the results. All of these are taken on a Lumix Gf2. It’s a micro four thirds camera which means that it has interchangeable lenses but will fit in a (largish) handbag. It also means there are not as many settings to get confused by as there would be on a full blown huge heavy thing. Which I did borrow and try using but the weight really put me off. Anyway, some pictures. shawl detail

This is the detail of a the 8 hour shawl which I rustled up from one skein of King Cole Riot DK in Funky in 4 hours last night. The dk is different from the chunky version of this in that it’s slightly kinked, which I think you can see in this picture. It’s crocheted on a 4.5mm hook – anything larger than this and in my opinion this wool does not look good. The stitches need to be closer to lend more contrast and make the most of the variegation. Another view:

Main view of the shawl

I think this shot shows the colour phasing really well. And hopefully the increasing neatness of my stitching!

Pile of hexagons

These are my endless hexagons. I say endless because I’ve only been working on them since Friday (3 days) and I’ve done 40 of them and it does feel endless. They’re going to become a blanket for my not quite yet mother in law whose birthday it is on Thursday. The centre colours are based around the colours of her bedroom – Lavender. I took a lot of shots of these – the colour contrast between the centres and the greys led to some fabulous contrasts.

Zoomed in detail of hezagon

The hexagon pattern is from Lucy and Attic24. She’s written an utterly fantastic breakdown of how to do them. Finally, I snapped something I made a while ago – a bouquet made entirely from paper.

Origami bouquet made from paper

I’ve learned an awful lot today. ISO’s, f stops, holding cameras steady, how close you can get to something when zoomed right in and still be able to press the button, and a massive amount about post processing. I’m assuming everyone else who reads this will know more than me regarding blog photography but if you don’t and you would like some pointers, give me a shout and I’ll share where I’ve been today.

Happy crocheting!

Louise