Sunday, 26 October 2014

idea-list #14

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Vulpix is one of my most favourite Pokemon ever - after its beautful evolved form Ninetails of course - and I have for a long time been looking for a decent crochet pattern to make one. As a matter of fact the whole reason I learned to crochet was to make Pokemon, and already under my belt are; Mew, Snorlax, Pichu and Charizard! These patterns are the best I have seen so far in all of my looking, but I wonder if maybe I couldn't make one up myself ...

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These are adorable! As if Pokemon weren't cute enough, these chibi style Pokemon just make you want to cuddle them and squee - well I do anyway :) Though the link does not lead to a pattern I am sure some internet searchig will yeild positive results (Sunday night after a busy weekend is not the time to look however...)

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These cross-stitch patterns, both available to buy from Etsy shops (see the links on the captions), and beautiful. I can't express the nostalgia that the 'Home Sweet Home', taken straight from Blue/Red/Yellow, invokes. I will definately be making this for our home when me and B move in together (he is in his final year of uni now, and everyday we talk about it getting closer and closer eeeep) and will hang it where everyone can see it! Also the batte scene between Dany and Jon Snow is a really perfect mash up of Pokemon and Game of Thrones - just so brilliant!


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to awesome Pokemon crafts that I want to do (and just hope that I can find all this time one day!), you can find these and many more being added to my Pokemon crafts board on Pinterest :)

Friday, 24 October 2014

a realisation (or 'a crafty ramble by jenny')

I'm currently working towards a craft fair on 1st November held in the village I work in, Poynton (most recently featured on Luis' final bake on the Great British Bake Off). I'm counting this as my first ever craft fair, although back in March I did a table-top sale . However I sold nothing because people weren't prepared to pay for handmade gifts an account of it being March, and other tables were selling items at 50p or less (but I'm not sore, in fact I had a lot of fun!). Maybe even because what I was selling wasn't good enough, but I feel that it is :)
I've known for a month I'll be doing this fair, and have a reasonable size stock to take to it. I've even ordered some business cards! But working towards the fair has made me realise something that I've always taken for granted since getting more serious about my crafting - I'm not interested in selling at fairs

I almost typed that I don't want to do the fair, but that is a lie - I am looking forward to being in the environment, drinking a coffee and knitting, chatting with other crafters and (hopefully!) selling some of my makes.

But I, along with many others I am sure, love to craft different things; once I've made something I am happy to move onto the next thing, rarely using a pattern more than once unless it's something I really love, or a special request. I've also come to love more and more intricate projects, ones that require many elements and details and some time putting them together. The problem with a craft fair is I feel have to make multiple items of reasonably simple things which is not what I enjoy most in my creativity.

Since starting this blog in March (gosh I never thought I could keep this up!) I love writing about the things I make, and since starting to make patterns and tutorials, coupled with working for a local magazine in which my editing responsibilities have been increasing somewhat, I know that my passion lies in writing patterns and writing what I like about certain things I've made or tried, and not as I first thought in growing into a profit-making business.

I'm not going to lie, I would love to make money from crafting, but in dipping my toe into the sea of money-making crafts I know that making isn't what I want to do, but designing - writing and sharing patterns, working towards a book years down the line, and if I can working for a craft magazine! And working towards this craft fair has just stinted me in the time I can spend on designing and making the things I really want to make.

Ravelry is another area I would like to become more adept in - it is such a wonderful pattern database and from everything I read online it is a splendid community as well, though I am so pants at that sort of thing I know I need to spend the time to work out how best to utilise it for myself. My mum was so good at online craft communities and she met lots of lovely people all round the world - I want to be able to do that too. I also want to support Ravelry as a community as well because it is such a wonderful resource and I plan on writing and uploading as many free patterns as I can!
my own pattern - available on Ravelry
I also have all these concerns and worries about copyright and feel safer moving towards free patterns in order to establish myself more, before I consider again selling patterns - I do have lots of ideas for non-branded projects at least, though the work I put into my Spiderman pattern deserves I think it's price tag, and I've been careful to credit Marvel where it is due!
As a result I am wondering whether or not to close my Etsy shop, but I think I would like to keep that open just as a go to with anything I make for the fun of making but no longer want to keep, or to sell the inevitable left over stock I will have following this craft fair!

So as you can imagine, and I am sure you yourself sometimes feel this, that there is just so much to do and so much that you want to do that it can be overwhelming and start to take the fun out of the activities you love. And so an important realisation, even if it may seem a small one, can open the floodgates to optimism and reinvigorate ones passion - as I feel it has done for me! Hence the alternative title for this post - a crafty ramble - as at this moment so many thoughts are simply spilling out!

So with a renewed sense of excitement, I am treating 1st November as a bit of a personal turning point; get the craft fair done (and enjoy it!) and then focus on what I love now about crafting, moving towards improving my blog around/after Christmas, and focussing on designing patterns without the worry of making money, because that isn't what crafting is about for me. :) Also I should be able to afford a laptop again and won't need to type my posts over lunchtime at work or on my tablet at home.

I also need to really develop my Marvel character dolls - I am ever so keen to have my own collection thought up!

Finally, if you are in Stockport or even Cheshire area and can get to The Civic Hall in Poynton on 1st November between 10am and 1pm come and find me at the Autumn Craft Fair - leave me a comment and I can look out for you :) 


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

#dicraftswap - vintage/retro

crocheted flowers with pipe cleaner stems
Its that time of the month again where I get to share with you the wonderful goodies from the #DICraftSwap - this is always one of my favourite posts to write as the more I take part in this swap the more I come to love planning what I am going to buy and make, the excitement of sending of my swap in the post, as well as of course receiving it, and meeting the lovely like-minded bloggers that take part in this.

Organised as ever by the wonderful Hannah (Dainty and Ivory) this month's theme was VINTAGE/RETRO. I was paired with Claire (Little Bohemium Butterfly) and I was SO excited because we've chatted before and done a craft swap ourselves, and she even just sent me some perfect Marvel Comics postcards as a surprise. 

knitted bird
Claire said she loves birds, floral, nostalgic, stationary and really just as far as I could tell pretty things (but not too much pink!). I've never knitted a small animal yet as I naturally tend to crochet animal shapes, but was determined to give it a go this time and found this pattern for a little knitted bird. The pattern was a little fiddly and worked on double-pointed needles, but I was so happy with the result and Claire said she loved it! I've been toying (later pun intended) with making small knitted animal gifts (bam!) as Christmas presents this year, inspired by this gorgeous idea from Elise at Foof & Faff, and feel much more confident in doing that now.

they make a bunch of everlasting flowers!
The bird didn't feel nearly enough though, and so another thing I wanted to work into the swap was some crocheted flowers/roses as I always love the way these turn out but never have enough reasons to make them! Using a variety of patterns I made 7 in varying colours and sizes, and then didn't know what to do! In the end though I pushed some pipe cleaners through the centres of the flowers, secured with a hot glue gun, and voilĂ ! Instant yarny bunch of flowers - I am really impressed with myself on this if I do say so myself and can't wait to try out a pom pom variation.

Claire emailed me to tell me her plans for the flowers - decorating rooms,some clothes, and also a gift - and I think everything she is doing with them is perfect! So lovely of her to tell me too even though they belong to her now :)


Finally the bought items were some bird stationary (I hope accurately reflecting Claire's love of birds and #happymail with the stamp motifs) as well as a bird stamp sets (because stamps are awesome) and some self-adhesive fabric that can be used for any number of paper-crafting. This was a lot of fun to put together :)

I received my swap from Claire (was that on purpose Hannah?! :p ) over at Owl in the Teacup and she sent me some lovely goodies! I wonder if she made everything rectangular on purpose - makes for a splendid picture!




Claire sent me an excellent hot-drinks kit filled with Whittard tea and Cadbury's hot chocolate 'from one northerner to another' (oh the ways to our hearts!). She embellished a gorgeous wooden frame with some buttons and included a 'Make Do and Mend' postcard in the frame which fits so wonderfully that I still can't decide whether to replace this with a picture of my own or not! But my absolute favourite part of the swap must be the Make Do and Mend World War 2 replica leaflet - a combination of my love for history and knitting and crafting?! What could be better! Thank you so much Claire, I cannot wait to read this properly!

Next month's theme is WOODLAND and sign up has closed, however between the 1st and 15th November you can email Hannah at daintyandivory@yahoo.co.uk or tweet her to sign up for the next theme which is yet to be announced but promises to be an amazing one as ever :) I have my fingers crossed we are coming up on a Christmas swap soon....

Sunday, 19 October 2014

idea-list #13

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I don't know if you can tell, but I'm on a bit of a Snoopy kick - I love Snoopy! In my house we have all of these really old gorgeous annuals filled with Peanuts comics, and I've bought a couple for myself from charity shops over the years, and I can't believe that after all this time I still haven't made anything Snoopy related! And so in true Pinterest binging style I've found dozens of different Snoopy crafts that I want to try so badly!! I will undoubtedly begin with this free pattern and I am sure that I will make many more Snoopy items - just got to find the time...

You can find my Snoopy inspiration on my knitting, crochet, and cross-stitch & embroidery boards.

Do you like Snoopy? Which of these crafty items would you choose/like to make? :)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

idea-list #12

A few months ago I picked up a Clover Pom Pom maker from Hobbycraft for free with a voucher from Mollie Makes, but I only just got round to trying it out a week or so ago - and I LOVE IT! The pom pom maker is phenomenally easy to use, fast and so much better than using cardboard as it won't need replacing and the pom poms come out much more uniformed. I think they are only about £5 (they come in sets of two) and definitely worth it - however the instructions with them are pretty pants. Instead I heartily recommend using this tutorial from Stephanie's blog All About Ami.

Now that I can make all the pom poms I want though I need to direction as to what to do with them all! And thus the inspiration for this weeks idea-list :) You can also check out my Pinterest board on pom pom projects and ideas here.

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Pom pom rugs look so wonderfully simple to make, yet really effective. I love the cream rug broken up by the different shades and coloured pom poms, but also the distinctly colourful rug that would brighten up any room really easily. My friend had a great idea of using an old towel instead of a rug base to make this if you are on a budget.
My only issue is I bet once flattened the rugs might not look so great, and also what to do about washing them...saying that, I think I will still make one one day!

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These pom pom flowers are simple but would make a great decoration in any room/on the mantelpiece in a simple vase. They look really fast to make as well and I can think of a few people who will be getting a variation of these yarn-based flowers as Christmas gifts this year. I think pipe cleaners will work just as well for the stems.

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Pom pom garlands would be so simple to make and look so beautiful, I particularly like the ones with varied sizes and colours and would be an ideal stash busting exercise!! I am THIS close to having finished decorating my new bedroom and will certainly be making a pom pom garland to make it feel more homely.

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And finally I never even really thought about making animals from pom poms, but these hedgehogs are beautiful, and the bee would make a lovely friend for Elvis the bumble bee :) you could also make some adorable bunnies around Easter - all of these would make ideal gifts/projects to do with kids!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

my third lootcrate - september, galactic


I thought I was excited with the villains theme box (which was brilliant) when I first signed up to Lootcrate in July, but then I heard the next theme was to be heroes and I was even more excited (the box was even better), and THEN I heard that last month's theme (sorry little late in posting this!) was GALACTIC -with the promise of Firefly, Star Trek and Star Wars goodies and I was OVER THE MOON!

In case you weren't aware, Lootcrate is a monthly subscription box filled with all things geeky at a great price, and each month has a dedicated theme. You can subscribe one month at a time, three months at a time, or more, and Lootcrate give you teasers of what will be in the box so you can decide whether you want it or not - but they don't spoil the surprise!

I like Lootcrate a lot because it, so far, has always been filled with goodies that I really like but might not ordinarily buy for myself - they even occasionally have t-shirts :)


As I said I was so excited when I heard that this theme was galactic as the films and TV shows surrounding this theme have to be my absolute favourite (dad brought us up on the Star Wars video cassettes, Blake's 7 - what a show - and of course Star Trek). The contents of the box did not disappoint!
This month some of the things I received were: a Dallas figure from Alien; a Tribble toy from Star Trek; a Han-Solo poster from Star Wars; some sweets; the usual badge; some Halo digital download loot (comics); and also a magazine explaining all about the loot.


But my absolute hands down favourite loot has to be the little Captain Malcolm Reynolds vinyl figurine and the bank notes from Firefly, as well as the fridge magnet depicting the scene in Star Wars where the Millenium Falcon is hiding from the Empire in the asteroid field - but as an old fashioned video game! These goodies in particular are just amazing, as good fridge magnets are just excellent, the money is such an inspired and brilliant idea for loot, and I can't even begin to express the Firefly kick I've been on since watching it for the first time a few month's ago. I'm even going to knit myself Jayne's hat this year, I AM.


The next Lootcrate theme is FEAR which I'm not sure I will like so much (the beauty of a month by month contract however is that you can opt out at any time!) but when I told B what the theme was he got so excited I decided to stay signed up to get it and I guess I will share the goodies with him this time :)

If you want to sign up to Lootcrate (and really I have no qualms in saying that I am glad I did with the way the past few boxes have been!) click this link and use the code FEAR to get 10% off your order!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

idea-list #11

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This Instagram inspired phone case is so charming and really captures what has easily become an iconic app - perfect for any Instagram junkie in your life! The crochet pattern itself is easy to follow and on a beautiful blog! Incidentally, have you followed me and my blog on Instagram yet?

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I can't decide if I like these sort of floppy hats that I see ladies wearing a lot more these days (showing my fashion know-how!) but this lovely red hat and lovely pattern are making me want to make one for myself to see if I can be converted! I'm fairly certain I would wear this, even if the only reason was that I made it!

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I am always on the look out for stash-busting projects, and this lovely baby blanket would be a perfect one! Using 3 skeins of yarn at a time with a 15mm crochet hook (which incidentally I just bought myself) it should work up reasonably quickly! I think I will have some deciding which colour combinations to use...

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This scarf/shawl looks really snugly, particularly now that the weather is getting noticeably colder. I also really like Lion Brand patterns since I completed a cardigan using a pattern of theirs and was delighted with the result!

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No crochet idea-list of mine would be complete without some good ole amigurumi to round things off! This rabbit and his little brother loks absolutely fabulous and the colours work so well together- I mean they come from the blog Greedy for Colour - what more would you expect! :)

Do you love crochet too? Check out my crochet Pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration :)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

chunky cable knit headband - free knitting pattern


thanks to my gorgeous sister for modelling!
I actually wrote this pattern months and months ago, but it was not long after last Christmas and I decided there wouldn't be much demand for a headband pattern. However with the days (finally) getting colder and Christmas on the horizon it now seems a great time to share with you this really simple and chunky pattern for a cabled headband. It is an ideal pattern for anyone new to cabling as with the large needles and easy cables you can see exactly what is happening as you go, and makes a great fast Christmas present!

Do make sure to read all of  my notes though before you get stuck into the pattern :)

why not knit a dk weight yarn with your chunky to make a nice feathered effect?
Materials
9.5 mm knitting needles (or to match tension)
Large cable needle
Chunky yarn – for the pictured headband I used Stylecraft, Life Super Chunky  (shade Moorland)
Large brightly coloured buttons
Tapestry needle & scrap of slim yarn (to attach buttons)

Tension – 9 stitches by 12 rows over a 10cm x 10cm (Tensions for this pattern is not too important as it all depends on how thick you like your headbands)

Key
k = knit
p = purl
slip = slip the next stitch onto the right needle (as if to knit)
C8F = slip 4 stitches to cable needle and hold in front of the work, k4, k4 from cable needle
C8B = slip 4 stitches to cable needle and hold behind the work, k4, k4 from cable needle

Note at the beginning of every row I will tell you to ‘slip 1’, and at the end of every row ‘p1’ – this is to create an even finish along the edge of the knitting; not doing this is really obvious on this particular headband! This is not neccesarry for the rib sections however :)

Note always slip as if to knit

Pattern

Cast on 16 stitches

Row 1 – *k2, p2* repeat to end to create rib
Row 2-8 – repeat rib pattern
Row 9 – slip1, p1, k12, p2
Row 10 – slip1, k1, p12, k1, p1
Row 11 – slip1, p1, C8F, k4, p2
Row 12 – slip1, k1, p12, k1, p1
Row 13 -16 – repeat rows 9 & 10 twice
Row 17 – slip1, p1, k4, C8B, p2
Row 18 – slip1, k1, p12, k1, p1
Row 19-20 – repeat rows 9 & 10

Rows 9-20 create the cable pattern. Repeat this pattern until the desired length of headband is reached, remembering that you will repeat the rib pattern to complete the headband (my headband shown is 5 complete cable patterns)
 
Work 8 more rows in *k2, p2* rib pattern

Cast off in rib

To Finish
You can either sew the two ends together to complete the headband, or you can finish with button fastenings which look very effective and are also practical for adjusting headband sizes! Simply sew 2 or 3 large buttons to one end of the headband using the tapestry needle and slim wool (which I personally find more secure than sewing thread) and natural gaps in your knitting create readymade button loops for you to simply push your button through and complete the headband!


thanks to my gorgeous sister for modelling!
You can make this pattern a little more different by knitting with a DK weight or similar yarn along with a chunky weight yarn to create a feathered effect pattern with your knitting very simply!

the buttons will push through natural gaps in the knitting

If you make this headband please do share it with me! You can either do so using the Ravelry pattern page, you can comment on this post, or even email, Tweet or Facebook me!

sister headband selfie!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

we made a thing! - back to school


The really lovely Rhiannon, who writes one of my absolute favourite blogs The Sparkly Panda, got in touch with me and the equally lovely Hannah, who also writes another of my absolutely favouritist blogs Dainty and Ivory, to ask if we would be interested in taking part in a sort of monthly craft along. It is quite informal, and I've said before that I always craft a little bit better when there is a deadline (but the informal aspect means it is by no means a stressful deadline!). Plus isn't making something more fun when you can talk to people about what you are making on the same wave length?

We discussed together what ideas we had for the craft along, but I would like to give full credit to Rhiannon for having this really lovely idea!

And so to the concept! Every month there will be a set theme and within that month you can make anything you like that matches the theme, the only rule is that you have to make it all yourself! We will all then post our crafts on (or by) the 1st of the next month to share what we got up to, and also be sure to link up to (at least) Rhiannon's blog.

How could we not craft throughout the month of September without a BACK TO SCHOOL theme! :)

 
Having been out of school for a little while now (a yeah and a half if we count university as school!) I wanted to make something as true to the theme as I could, but also something I could use myself mostly at home. Having recently bought a Totoro pencil case (as you can see in the top picture :p) I was for a time stumped on what to make that would be useful. But then I bought the Christnas issue of Let's Get Crafting and was spoilt by all the patterns in there, one of which was for a crocheted wall hanging/organiser.

The pictures in the magazine were so delightful, and the magazine came with a free yarn pack to make the hanging, so I set my sights on this! It was a very easy and satisfying pattern to follow, and I really love anything with granny squares.

I did have one or two problems with the pattern however. It claimed that there would be enough yarn in the pack to complete the project, but by the time I got half way up the back panel I ran out (after having to substitue colours already) and so had to resort to just white from my stash. The pattern also directs you to make the back panel way too wide to match the granny squares that I had already made and so I had to adjust the pattern myself. Finally there are a lot of componants to this pattern and I am not normally one for starting and stopping a lot when I craft.


Having said this I think this hanging is marvellous and absolutely can't wait to hang it in my new room once it has been decorated (I've been doing a lot of painting and sanding recently...), it will really add something to my room. I also think the idea of using 10mm knitting needles to weigh the hanging is inspired and will just show visitors how much I love both knitting and crochet!


If you would like to join in our craft along every month, why not leave a comment below, or tweet me, Hannah or Rhiannon. Hopefully by next month there will be a link up for everyone!

Next month's theme is AUTUMN and I can't wait to get stuck in! Posts to be up by 1st November.

Can't wait to see what everyone makes :)