Sunday, 25 September 2016

fo: knitted nick

Pattern - Basic Crochet Doll Pattern by LisaAuch, clothing and details my own design
Yarn- various stash

Ravelry project page -  here
Hello strangers, I'm back on track, fresh from my first ever Yarndale yesterday! Talk about an amazing, inspiring show which has buoyed me into casting on 2 new projects, even though I'm part way through 4 already! But I'm going to save this for another blog post because today, I would love to introduce you to Knitted Nick here. 
Nick was commissioned by my lovely politics teacher from college, who I keep in touch with over Facebook and what not. The head of politics and sociology (I think, don't quote me!), who was also a great ex-teacher of mine, retired last year and I don't believe a formal replacement was hired. So, partly as a joke, I was asked to knit a replacement, to watch over the kids (well, students, they are 16+ after all) and bish, bash, bosh, here he is. 
It took me a surprisingly long time to find a basic crochet doll pattern that I liked, but in the end I settled on this one. I really enjoyed how it came together - the construction is very similar to how I designed my Spiderman doll, maybe that's why. And the size is a really good one, so much so that I rather want to make another one myself but not sure who, perhaps Wonder Woman or Supergirl? 
But I digress. Once the body was crocheted, I knit up some trousers and shirt, muddling through and making it up as I went along - the beauty of knitting, eh? I just made some basic clothes-like shapes and sewed them up to scratch, which seemed to work. Pretty well, actually. I am particularly delighted with how the trousers look, the knit stitches just adding a little definition and variety of texture to the doll. They were waaay too big when finished, but a trim here and a new seam there and it was no problem really.
I had these great ideas of how the hair would look, and I like putting in long hair on dolls because I think yarn hair looks so cool. But I've never done short hair before and the idea of sewing it on as above was straightforward enough. It perhaps doesn't look as great as it could have, but (from a distance) it looks pretty good. 
Over all, I'm really pleased with Nick (the name of said, now retired, politics teacher) and Will (latest teacher) was happy with him too! I really can't wait to have a go at another doll, I'm feeling female super hero or leading lady, perhap Xena Warrior Princess? GUYS - give me ideas? :)

Who should I crochet next?

Thursday, 1 September 2016

time for a life update

Hello lovely readers! As you've undoubtedly noticed, I have been blogging more sporadically than usual and have repeatedly mentioned (apologised) about how busy I have been. As a reader of blogs, I find it very frustrating when blogs I like to read offer excuses like that, but I understand why they need to because, as much as I didn't really want to say, I did. And perhaps it doesn't bother you as much as it bothers me but, if it does, hopefully you will find some consolation in the fact that I've been annoyed at myself for that reason. 

So, on the back of that, I really wanted to share with you the big changes that have occurred in my life, which will help to explain why I've been so busy!
As well as attending Star Wars Celebration and Comic Con in July, Ben and I had been looking to rent a house together and we found the right one right at the beginning of July! Which, with hindsight, was so silly because we had so much on that month (two conventions, a weekend in Wales, Ben had camp, eesh) so navigating packing and sorting out the house in that month, while sewing 2 complete costumes and making several props - whew! It was a hectic time, but hopefully you will agree, worth it; the conventions were a blast, as they always are, and we were finally taking the big step in our lives that we've been waiting for for years. 
one of my (new) favourite pictures of the two of us
A week before we were due to pick up the keys and move into the house, I received an email from a company that I've interviewed with for a job a couple of times over the last 7 months or so. I hadn't yet been successful, mainly because the opportunities the had at the time weren't the right fit for me. But, like I said, I received this email and ohmygoshtheyofferedmeajob!!! The very job I wanted - editorial assistant on soft crafts magazines!! A perfect fit! The company in question is actually Practical Publishing - Knit Now, Crochet Now, Quilt Now and Love Sewing,to name a few of the many titles they publish - and are based very close to where I live. 

Which is an opportunity I have been waiting for, for a very long time - the timing though is crazy!! Last month has been all about moving, sorting out the house, bills, internet, TV etc., while at the same time I've been preparing to leave work, helping to train a replacement, and writing in-depth instructions of what my job is day to day (working for a small business, one needs to prepare these documents). So I have been FRAZZLED. 
Today was my last day at work, and I start my new job on Monday - so 1st September is bringing me many changes. At least I have a 3 day rest now that *mostly* everything is sorted

Knitting has been slow going as a result, which is a shame, but my Totoro jumper I think will be finished tonight, while I watch Brooklyn 99, eat popcorn and drink some brandy. And I can stay up, sat on my own sofa (well, mine and Ben's!) and watching whatever I (*we*) want to!

So, here's to new challenges, exciting events, and everything in between!! I'm going to get my knit on hard, right after I've started to *finally* type out my Space Invaders hat pattern. 
Have you got any big changes going on in your life too?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

fo: knitted sheep baby blanket

James Gosling Photography
Pattern - Sheep Blankie
Ravelry project page - here 

In May, a couple of really excellent friends of mine got in touch to request that I knit a baby blanket for a friend of theirs who was expecting. They didn't know what blanket they wanted, just something hand knitted, that they could choose. Trusty ol' Pinterest to the rescue. I put together a selection of options, and we settled on this sheep blanket pattern, choosing green for the base because they didn't know the expected gender of the baby, but also of course that sheep graze on grass. 

Lion Brand Vanna's Choice is a brand I have used many times before, including on my Jayne Cobb hat, so I knew that their baby brand would be perfect for this project. I wanted something as fluffy as possible for the sheep too, to make them soft to touch for the baby, and to make them stand out on the blanket. James C. Brett Flutterby Chunky fit the ticket; I'm sure I've never knit with something so soft, and it's perfect for babies as there are no loose fibres escaping, as you might find in a bouclĂ© yarn or equivalent. 

James Gosling Photography

James Gosling Photography
The finished blanket is small and square, knit to a newborn size. The border is my all time favourite stitch pattern, moss stitch, and the main feature of the blanket is 24 small, fluffy white sheep, all knit in stocking stitch using the intarsia knitting method. 

I think the blanket looks really splendid, but I must say I am not really in a hurry to knit another! The 24 sheep are made up of 4 rows of 6, which means that when knitting the sheep I had to work with 7 balls of wool at once (6 white, 1 green carried across the back of all 6) and my goodness! The number of times I got in a tangle ... And the ends. THE ENDS that I had to weave in. But it does all look so splendid. 

Once the knitting was finished, I simply sewed the face and feet with some black yarn, and steamed the blanket to finish. I've only crocheted blankets before, so even though this is only a baby blanket it really was so satisfying to finish and I love the weight and texture of the knitting over a much larger area. I will be attempting to knit many more blankets in my time, preferably in one piece if I can. 

Thank you to James for taking the pictures for me! He takes absolutely wonderful pictures and does offer half and full day photo shoots. For more information visit his website or Instagram.

James Gosling Photography