Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tiny minions of cute

In Birmingham there is an awesome bookshop. It outdoes the new library (largest public library in Europe) by a country mile or three million. In terms of books you can take away. Aside from the whole money aspect of course. The library wins hands down on that one.

Anyway, it occurred to me (after spending the day at first the bookshop and then the library unsuccessfully finding books) that the awesome bookshop would have knitting books. Cue another trip to central Brum.

This is all a roundabout way of saying I found a new crochet book and I likes it.

It advertises itself as q book of creepy cuteys. But its not really creepy. Just cute.

And really quick to create. Below I present my first two minions of cute: the devil, and the ninja.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Dragon of luuuuuuurve

"Because your love is eternal. Just like the (imaginary) fire of this dragon"

It makes perfect sense if you don't think about it at all.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Coraline doll

So some months ago it was Ross' birthday (in true me style with organisation and all) and so in accordance with my general principles I got him to name something for me to knit him. He went with Coraline, after some initial indecision and disinterest.
Since then, um, we moved so - not only is this present several months late, but to someone who is now an ex-housemate when it was promised to a housemate.
I suck at timing.

This one posed a few problems, chief among them that Ross was not so impressed with the concept of a knitted raincoat, but that is totally iconic for Coraline. Ebay to the rescue.

This apparently is a vintage Amanda Jane doll raincoat, hood and shoes set. This I care about very little, but the raincoat is perfect, so I went for it. The hood and shoes I ditched. Far too much like effort to incorporate them.

I used this pattern, but making sure that the body and arms were in red colours for her jumper and fit into the little raincoat. Surprisingly enough this worked perfectly, without any alterations or anything. Rocking.
The next problem is not really a problem at all, but... I don't much like her hair. I ran out of my preferred blue for hair, so had to multihue it. And now its giant. The hair. Its giant.
Hopefully Ross won't mind too much!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Knitted skirt

I tried to come up with a better blog title. Honest.
It didn't happen.

The summer holidays rumble on like an inevitable freight train. I may (very slightly) be bored completely to death by them. However, knitting is my salvation.

I've been wanting to knit a skirt for a while, and since I also have recently been impulse buying wool in yarn shops I have nice pretty wool to play with.
Pattern is Lanesplitter skirt from Knitty. It demands a specific yarn (which I don't have) but after a fairly short inspection of the mathematics and construction of the skirt I worked out that actually it doesn't make a difference. Rather - it makes a difference to colourways and hang of the material. However, provided you like the colourway of the yarn you use, and that you use something with sufficient weight that it will hang vaguely properly, everything will in fact be fine and dandy.

I used Ultimate blend colours of Patons Colour Works Aran yarn. Which is not wool - mostly. 25% wool. Whatever. I never have cared much on that distinction.

A whole load of people on ravelry hate the side seam, but I quite like it. I'm not sure why, but that's fine with me.

This is also one of the very few projects I have actually blocked properly. Between that and paying close attention when inserting the elastic for the waistband it actually fits very well.

In the mean time, I have also decided that garments you can try on as you go are the right way to go. Accordingly I have begun a top down cardigan, which doubles as an interesting project, and research for a long cardigan that I sort of promised my mum I would create for her and haven't done a single thing about.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Chubby the Dragon

It has been a stupid year in the way of weather. Everyone in England knows this, but I just thought I would mention it.
After having snowfalls all the way to the Easter holidays, and frosts continuing beyond that we have had a heatwave that lasted over a month and now we seem to have just about finished with a fortnight of thunderstorms.
Its like the weather spins a wheel, picks a form of weather conditions to play with, and then goes hell for leather on it for insert-time-period-here.

In any case, it has meant that the beginning of my summer holidays were wool free, because it was hot enough to make my fingers sweat without adding wool to the equation. Now though, I have got back on the horse. Or dragon, as it were.

This guy is just so cute.

I've been calling him Chubby, more or less because I've been listening to Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms while crocheting him. As he is a present for Suzz's birthday, she will probably rename him, which is possibly good as Chubby's fate in the book was to be exploded by means of a mirror.

Which was quite mean really.

He's about 30 cm tall. I used a whole variety of purple double knit wools that I have various quantities of in my stash. I am seriously pleased with him, but I really wish he could hold his own head up. I spent some time and effort trying to arrange things so that this was so, but he refused.

The pattern for him is for sale on ravelry. I seem to have gotten over my objection to spending money on patterns. Maybe I've grown.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Wedding cushion

The Wedding happened.
The last several times I saw the various other uni friends who have been hitting the same stumbling block with this concept (to whit "AAAAAAHHHHH ITS TOO SCARY IT CAN'T BE HAPPENING AAAAAAHHHH") before the day we have been referring to said event as "the big Focus get-together with slight legal proceedings".

But. Its official.

We are Grown Ups.

Elsewise how could my best friends be married? And they are definitely married. I know. I was there. I signed the register and everything. Okay, so it may look somewhat like a four year old stepped in and signed it for me, but honestly it was me. Really.

The point of this post was not in fact to bemoan the state of adulthood and the world in general or the specific piece of it known as Sophie and Matts marriage certificate. Although it does seem to be what has been achieved so far.
In any case, what actually makes this all relevant to this blog in particular - since I really don't want it to devolve into a diary blog - is the wedding present I made them.

It *may* have been completed on the train.

I also should vaguely apologise for the quality of the photos. As I finished the thing on the train, I also took the photos on the train. This has the effect of them having rather randomised lighting as my phone either over flashed, underflashed, or shook.                                     

It's awesome though. I really am pleased with it, and seriously hope they will be too.

All the pieces are slightly random. Most of them are entirely freeformed, though there are some that I found charts for. As previously chronicled on this here blog o' mine the Happy Lion I actually had to create a chart for, and its available on Scribd free of charge. (I hope).
The pieces were sewn (or in some cases glue gunned) onto a fairly icky coloured cushion cover I got in Hobbycraft, which more or less fit a boring cushion inner.

In all fairness to my organisational abilities, the completion on the train only consisted of a small amount of touch up sewing, and taking the photos. Also in my defence, we did move house the weekend before W-Day.

btw  - I realise that the wedding passed, but the happy couple aren't doing pressies yet. So, again delayed publishing.
EDIT: um.... now the delay is just cause I'm not that organised. Whatever. Catch up works.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Happy lion

My best friend's wedding is coming up. Fast. It's terrifying.

It proves we're adults.

Seriously scary stuff.

For a wedding present I'm making the pair of them a cushion, inspired by this one. I stumbled across it while Jen was trying to persuade me to abandon sanity in favour of the endless but admittedly beautiful project of scrappy blanket. I am saving ends. Some day, yes, I will succumb. But not this day.
A problem with this is that Sophie actually reads this blog, so all related posts are being written but won't be posted until postwedding. But whatever.

Anywoo. In the making of the freeform cushion I decided it needed a lion, the most drawn animal by Sophie, and the one that came as the personalisation on each of the invites.

Ravelry, however, failed me.
This usually isn't a problem, but my laptop also failed me earlier this week, in a puff of burnt plastic smelling smoke. Thus leaving me without my usual image editing software, or indeed any other software, or the stupid laptop itself. (It turns out writing blog posts on my mobile is possible, but really and truly annoying.
Happily, since I needs must wait till after the wedding anyway, I can sort out all the problems later, on my *hopefully* resurrected laptop.)

Hence the first chart I have made freehand.
Somehow, that seems appropriate in the task of making Sophie and Matt's wedding present.

So happy lion chart greets you, and wishes much luck for the future.
Or failing that, that soon you will feed him.

Steak for preference.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A koala called TimTam

I started this Koala about a month ago, due to pressures of time and work and social life and all, its really taken that long. I started him at Jen's, cause.... I'm not sure, but it had something to do with a bright blue kangaroo that I was intending to make and lost interest in.


He's finished now and he's soo cute!

Yes. He does have one arm a different colour.

See, he got in an accident, and he had to have a lot of surgery on his arm. He fell out of a tree, cause he was too busy being cute to hang on properly. (I borrowed wool from Jen, and ran out.)

Due to this unfortunate occurrence, he has a sling.

May just be me, but now TimTam is even cuter


Friday, 5 April 2013

In which we discuss Animals, Hats, Rollercoasters and Late Frosts.

This is Easter. This.


In Easter holidays.

Really weather????

Just before the Easter holidays I got to take a French exchange trip to Drayton Manor. That's right, I got PAID TO GO ON ROLLERCOASTERS!!
Unfortunately, due to snow, the rollercoasters were not in fact operational.

In the Easter holidays Mum and I decided we needed to go play with ALL THE ROLLERCOASTERS!!!!

So we went to Thorpe Park. And then the next day to Alton Towers

It was fffffreeezing.

Happily I had planned ahead. That week I had been making myself a Lion hat from the most awesome knit book I own (I originally bought a copy for Suzz for Christmas, but then discovered that I really did need another one for me) Animal Hats. Then, since I was planning on making a prat of myself wondering around a theme park in a Lion hat, I sat down the night before going to Thorpe Park and made my mother a noxious green frog hat.

The Smiler in construction. Covered in SNOW!
Which is actually how we saw it.

Needless to say, she was thrilled at the notion.

At Thorpe Park we got several people complimenting the craziness of the hats, and LOTS of strange looks. But it was cold so we wore the hats.

At Alton Towers the next day, there was snow on the ground and on the rollercoasters (which were, happily,  running) so we definitely wore the hats. There we got lots of strange looks, some compliments, and lots of jealous looks. It was freezing.

Not on a rollercoaster, sorry. When I was in Cambridge, irritating Anne
by wearing it in public. In fact, she stole it off my head in the middle of
 the road and wouldn't give it back till we got to her house. Spoil Sport.

{there will be a photo of Ma in the frog hat here. eventually. honest}

Apologies for the lack of photos of us on rollercoasters. Unfortunately since we are slightly die-hard riders, we do not stop for buying overpriced photos from the parks, and we don't take phones/cameras in with us, cause all that would mean is that we would spend precious ride time taking pictures.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Lent update

I'm normal.
I'm good at some things, and bad at others. I'm mostly comfortable with that. It means I'm human.
That's fine with me.

In the past few years I have done giving up of things for Lent. In fact, some of the things I listed last time as potential candidates. Giving up chocolate was easy. Giving up alcohol was too, but I admit to replacing it with fizzy drinks.

The couple of years I try to take something up for Lent, I find that much much harder.

4 days left of Lent, and 50 ridges (just under half) of my pattern to go.
It's been a relatively difficult project, largely because I messed up about 25 ridges in and have been adjusting each ridge ever since to recover.

It's not been anything like as prayerful as I was intending.

I'm gonna do my darnedest to get it done this week.

I feel like a bad Christian lately.
That's not something I'm comfortable with being bad at.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Today is Ash Wednesday.

Time for serious thoughts. Not my usual bag I know, but bear with me please.

Lent is begun. The traditional time for giving things up, for becoming better human beings in the time that Christ spent wondering in the desert, tried, tormented and tempted by the devil.

There are many things I should consider giving up. Alcohol. Caffeine. Chocolate. The problem is that due to recent exponential increases in stress levels at work, these are the closest thing to a way of dealing with work. Not alcohol. The other two. It is reasonably frequent that I will say to a passing colleague - "Tea is the closest thing I have to sanity"

So instead, I am choosing the other moderately traditional route. I am taking something up, in order to try to be a better person.

Before you point out the flaws in me taking up something I already do as a semi-serious hobby, I'd like to clarify. Which I realise- since I am writing this not speaking- I could have done already, but .... whatever.

I'm taking up specific knitting. Due to my obsession with illusion knitting several friends who have previously not cared one infinitesimal jot about my knitting have recently been giving suggestions as to what I should illusionate. One suggested a portrait of Jesus and/or Mary, which I may do soon. He got me thinking though.

I found a truly beautiful photo of a cross on the internet, which the photographer had been kind enough to allow many privileges of use. This I have transformed into illusion knit pattern form.

Please do not use this pattern for personal profit.

I intend to knit this up several times during the course of lent, as a form of active prayer. The creations I will then sell on eBay, profits to go to charity.

I hope you don't mind that for once I have been talking about real things, not my lack of organisation or will power. I will shortly revert to that theme, but for now: good luck with your Lent endeavours, in whatever form they take.

For those of you who bore with me till the end, here is something for your troubles.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Les Miserables, completed illusion

This is cool.
Very pleased with this one.

Please note the colours, and the lyrics of the song on the vid. One of my favourites, although it does change daily at the moment. Can not wait until seeing it again on the West End.

Les Mis girl chart is available on the other end of that link. Should be freely available to all, but please do NOT resell the pattern or anything that you make using it.
I'm gonna be turning mine into a wall hanging. Cause I'm cool.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Les Miserables. A musical. A lifestyle choice.

The colours of the world, are changing day by day. 
The blood of angry men!
The dark of ages past!

So Les Miserables came out. I have only been waiting for this for about 5 years. Ok, 8. And only waiting in earnest since the teaser trailers came out. And planning to see it since November when the UK release date was in December so I would have been able to see it with home-friends who are equally obsessed (Anne).

Its been out 5 days. I saw it opening night, and then again yesterday.
That was slightly by accident. I was on my way home from shopping. It made sense at the time. It's not like I had lots of planning to do.......
(And only one person remembered that it was a plan I told them about after seeing it with them Friday night. out of 20ish)

Anyway. It took me till after seeing it the second time to realise how an obvious illusion knit was staring me in the face. The logo, done in Red and Black.

I made the pattern. I have it, it's currently on needles to be completed this weekend (Bah Work. Why you make me no knit all time?!) and then I will upload. I want the first one. I am also very obsessed so will have a nice time all weekend knitting it up in front of my two different concert DVDs of Les Mis, or listening to one of the 3 variations of soundtrack CDs.

My housemates, by the by, are suprisingly relaxed about my constant and consistent singing of Les Mis songs at them. One commented that it will never stop being funny, and tells me that I have a 'Les Mis face' which is apparently awesome and benefits from the frequent bouts of excited jumping.
I'm just glad they haven't chucked me out to go sing in a bar or while walking around town.
Which is also massive amounts of fun. Just saying.

The world about to dawn.
The night that ends at last!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

My Housemate Totoro

New year, new projects. 

One of my two New Years Resolutions (which do not really deserve the capitalisation they are receiving, but whatever) is to create at least 50 projects of varying descriptions this year.
I haven't totally decided if this counts as one project or three. 
It counts as 3 on Ravelry though. That should count for something, right?

My housemate is into anime. He likes Totoro. It made sense. 

It started out with the grey one. Also with quite a lot of me moaning at people who have more idea as to what makes the perfect Totoro telling me that he had to be grey when I wanted to use a more exciting colour. Like not-grey.

Then I found out that in fact you ARE allowed not-grey Totoros. They are blue, and small and - I really can't stress this enough - not grey. And cute. That too. So, clearly I needed to make a small blue Totoro as well. 

Since I am pretty lazy I actually found this out by looking at the other Totoro patterns available on Ravelry and discovering that the wonderous person who made the original big grey Totoro patterns had also made patterns for the whole family of Totoros. 

This is also where the little one came in. He is adorably small.
He fits on the big grey ones head. How cute is that? 

I'm getting better at this. His birthday was only 4 days ago. That's lots better.
Last time it was months late.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hats and stuff

Hats. So thats a traditional Christmas gift right?
Beards. They go with hats right?

My brother sent me a photo about 3 days before he came home for Christmas of some girl who had crocheted herself a Viking helmet and beard combo. He wanted one. Who says I never give him anything he wants.

The beard is removable, to make the helmet wearable by itself. Or - if you are sufficiently crazy - the beard wearable by itself. My mother is sufficiently crazy. Who knew?

Oh wait. I think everyone did.
My friends don't get out of randomness either. This year I drew Suzz in the Coventry Secret Santa (oh alright, I got Sophie to rig it so I got Suzz because I already wanted to get her this) and got her a book of animal hats. There was a picture on the front of a girl grinning and wearing a crazy hat that just reminded me of Suzz oh-so-much.

I promptly stole the book and used it to make the Secret Santa present for the Poole victim, the lovely Anne.

Who is modelling the Poisonous Pink Frog Hat.

And who got slightly forced into promising to wear it in public in a non-fancy dress way at least once.

And take photos.
I did give the book back to Suzz (and I swear it is actually a present for her and not for me - Honest!), but not before also making a panda hat from the book for my uncle.... who  I failed to take embarrassing pictures of before he took the hat off, and subsequently left Bournemouth to resume his normal life. I say normal. Whatever passes for it for him I suppose.