Sunday, 31 May 2015

may crafting - update

I've been doing my monthly crafty-plans/challenges and matching round up's now for 5 months or so, and I do enjoy tying up the month this way. Do you like reading these posts and my progress on my makes? Please tell me if you do/don't and what you might like to see more of in the comments! 

In progress - use Pinterest as a spring-board to make something
Perhaps my greatest strength, and simultaneously my greatest weakness, with this month's crafty challenge was to make something inspired by Pinterest. This gave me a virtual world of freedom to decide what I wanted to make and even to interpret it myself, not having to make something, but instead choosing to make anything. 
This is what makes Pinterest pretty darn awesome - wouldn't you agree?
This was a weakness because, inevitably first there were too many choices. In particular there was a denim whale I never even came close to starting even though I though I might like to, and a granny square jacket that was completely pushed out of my mind. Even when I eventually settled on one idea (using these cushions as inspiration), I invariably changed my mind and started crocheting a rug with ripped up bed sheets and a 15mm crochet hook (more on this later next month! It needs to be finished). And THEN at comic-con last weekend, I saw these cushions, 

And here lies the strength in my little challenge. Even with the amazingness that is Pinterest, I have been able to use what I've seen online as a backing to the inspiration that hit me when I saw something in real life. So in the last week I've had brainwave after brainwave and have started making a set of items, back to being inspired by the above picture and the afore mentioned cushions. Can you guess what I'm working on?

I don't want to ruin the surprise, because if what I make works it will look downright AWESOME! And one mustn't rush awesomeness just to make a self-imposed blog deadline after all! So please bear with me and watch out later this month for some pretty excellent crafty/geeky makes - fingers crossed anyway that's what happens! 
What did you make this month? Did you meet your deadlines better than me, if you had any that is :)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

amigurumi tiger - free crochet pattern

Earlier this month I took part in an animal themed craft swap, and Hannah, who I sent my swap to, said she loved tigers (among all other animals!). I wanted to do something a little more special so instead of finding a pattern I made a pattern up myself so that Hannah would hopefully feel her tiger from me was a little extra special! Look out for a blog post very soon about the craft swap - I just need to get to the sorting office to pick up my parcel...

This pattern is ideal for any level of experience in crochet, and is written in US terms.

4mm crochet hook
Aran weight yarn in orange, black, cream/white (I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Terracotta, Black, and 123 Beige)
Toy stuffing
Tapestry needle
Optional - safety eyes 

Note this pattern is written using US crochet terms

using orange yarn

Round 1 – sc6 in magic ring (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
Round 5 - *2sc in next, sc in following 3* round (30)
Round 6 - *2sc in next, sc in following 4* round (36)
Rounds 7-10 – sc round (36)
Round 11 - *sc2tog, sc in following 4* round (30)
Round 12 - *sc2tog, sc in following 3* round (24)
Round 13 - *sc2tog, sc in following 2* round (18)
Round 14 - *sc2tog, sc in following* round (12)
Stuff head firmly. If using safety eyes be sure to insert these into position before you stuff and close the head!
Round 15 - *sc2tog* round (6)

Fasten off and weave in ends

EARS make 2
using black yarn

Round 1 – sc4 in magic ring (4)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (8)
Round 3 – sc round (8)

Fasten off and leave a tail to sew to the head. I sewed the ears into position at this point to help position everything else!

using cream yarn

Round 1 – sc6 in magic ring (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 – sc in next 3, 2sc in next, sc in next 3, 2sc in next, sc in final 4 (14)

Fasten off and leave tail to sew to the head. Using the picture as a guide sew the nose ¾ round in position on the head, then lightly stuff, and sew closed.
At this point, using black yarn, sew on the face features (eyes, nose, mouth and stripes across the top and sides of the head).

using orange yarn

Round 1 – sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
change to black yarn
Round 5 – sc round (24)
change to orange yarn
Rounds 6-7 – sc round (24)
change to black yarn
Round 8 – sc round (24)
change to orange yarn
Round 9 - *sc2tog, sc in following 2* round (18)
Round 10 – sc round (18)
change to black yarn
Round 11 – sc round
change to orange
Round 12 - *sc2tog, sc in following* round (12)
Rounds 13-14 – sc round (12)
Stuff body firmly.
Round 15 - *sc2tog* round

Fasten off and leave a tail for sewing to the head BUT don’t sew hole closed as this will form the neck. You could sew the body to the head at this point.

using cream yarn

Round 1 – sc5 in magic ring (5)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (10)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (15)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (20)

Fasten off and leave a tail for sewing. Sew the tummy into position on the body. If, like me, your colour changes aren’t that neat, you could use the tummy to cover your colours changes. 

if your colour changes, like mine, are a little messy, hide them using the tummy
LEGS make 2
using cream yarn

Round 1 – 6sc in magic ring (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
Change to orange yarn
Round 5 – sc round (24)
Round 6 - *sc2tog, sc in following 2* round (18)
Change to black yarn
Round 7 – sc round (18)
Change to orange yarn
Round 8 – sc round (18)
Round 9 - *sc2tog, sc in following* round (12)
Rounds 10-11 – sc round (12)
Stuff leg firmly.
Round 12 - *sc2tog* round (6)

Fasten off and sew closed, leaving a tail for sewing to the body. When you have made both legs sew them into position on the body so the tiger is in a sitting position (I think this makes him look a little cuter).

ARMS make 2
using orange yarn

Round 1 – sc6 in magic ring (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Rounds 3-6 – sc round (12)
Round 7 - *sc2tog* round (6)
Round 8 – sc round (6)

Stuff arm lightly, flatten slightly and fasten off/sew shut, leaving a long tail to sew to the body. Once you’ve made both arms sew them to either side of the body just below the neck.

I hope you enjoy your little tiger! As ever if you make him please do share pictures in the comments below, over on the Ravelry page or Instagram. Enjoy the pattern and your new baby tiger, and don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions!

This pattern is for personal use only, please do not sell items made from this pattern. Please do not republish this pattern as your own/without permission.

Monday, 25 May 2015

we just got back from comic-con!

I just came home last night from a long, fantastic, tiring and exciting weekend in London at the MCM Comic Con and it was splendid!

I've got a lot of blog posts planned for the next couple of weeks but have been so busy with this weekend and getting ready for it that I haven't managed to get anything down yet! But worry not there is a lot to look forward to coming up, 
  • pictures and thoughts from the Comic Con of all the great cosplays we saw
  • pictures and thoughts on the stuff I saw and bought at Comic Con
  • a free crochet patten to make your own amigurumi tiger
  • an animal themed craft-swap - just waiting to receive my swap!
  • how my crafty plans have gone this month
  • what I want to make next month
here is a sneak peek of mine and B's costumes - MANY more pictures to follow!
So much to do and so little time to get this all done - but first things first, I haven't even managed to knit for over a WEEK and I can feel my body shaking with the lack of its calming effects, so a few days devoted to knitting I think for me!

What have you been up to this week?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

fo: giant crochet magikarp

So recently I've gone crochet Pokemon crazy! I've written a free pattern so you can crochet your own Azurill, and I've also finished an adorable baby Squirtle crochet which has proven incredibly popular, particularly on Instagram. After spotting this pin on Pinterest though, I knew a derpy Magikarp was on the agenda as well... 

Pattern - Crochet Pokemon Magikarp
Yarn - Lion Brand Vanna's Choice (shades: 133 Brick, 158 Mustard, 123 Beige)
Ravelry project page - here
This Magikarp took a few weeks to complete, and was one of those projects that, as I went, I thought oh no this isn't looking anything like it is supposed to, I'm just wasting my time. But happily I persevered and once all the pieces were brought together and all the finishing touches added Magikarp was alive! He turned out very large, especially so as I used a 4mm hook rather than the recommended 2.5mm. The colours I had left over from my Jayne Cobb hat were just too good not to use on this project, though I did have to order 2 more skeins of red (brick) and a new colour beige. 
I'm not sure he looks as excellent as the pattern picture, but I'm happy with him! As you can see I opted for red rather than orange as the main colour. I also used ripped up bed sheets and scrap fabric to stuff him rather than toy stuffing (to save on costs) which, it turns out, just isn't as easy to use to define shape ... and also made the finished project very heavy!
My only problem with this project was the number of errors in the pattern. There were quite a number, of which I've made notes and corrections on my project page. In all fairness the pattern designer was very good and emailed me back very quickly with my initial concerns about the pattern, and updated the largest error (miscounted rounds on the top and bottom crown, causing the spikes to be quite irregular) and re-emailed the pattern. She was very lovely to deal with! The other mistakes I managed to work out myself and have shared now. 
Magikarp is currently being used as a cushion on my bed due to his size and weight. I am very pleased with how he turned out but won't be undertaking such a large crochet pattern again for a long time! 

Friday, 8 May 2015

fo: crochet baby squirtle

Pattern - Baby Squirtle
Yarn - various stash
Ravelry project page - here

I think to date this baby Squirtle has to be my favourite finished amigurumi! Last month I decided I would crochet at least one Pokemon, and I ended up working on 3 (a massive Magikarp is currently in the making - watch this space!) and when I came across Evelyn's designs I knew I had to make one!

They are all so adorable and full of life in the detail in their eyes, but B was helping me decide which one to make and he is a big Squirtle/Wartortle/Blastoise fan, and considering I knew I had the colours to hand baby Squirtle was the obvious choice.

The actual pattern istelf can be found on Evelyn's Deviant Art and is very easy to follow. I particularly adored the tiny details in the pattern which defined the nose better, and the optional 'puff' stitches used for fingers and toes. I included these as they weren't a difficult stitch at all and the detailing is one reason that these designs really stood out for me!

I used a 3.5mm hook instead of 3.75mm (which I don't even seem to own - the horror!) and DK weight yarn - or so I thought. The shell came out much larger than it looked like it should judging by the pictures on Ravelry and I was very worried that Squirtle was going to be a failure. But fear not! Once the pieces were sewn together and the details stitched on he turned out perfectly. 

The real beauty is in the eyes though, don't you think? Evelyn needle-felts her eyes which I have only just learnt/attempted to learn over the last couple of weeks or so (Squirtle was completed in the last week of April so as to complete my monthly challenge). I took at the very least an hour constructing the eyes from 4 layers of felt, sewing them and positioning them as it was clear these would make or break this little guy! Once they were sewn into place I did attempt some felting with a large needle (not an actual felting needle though) in order to soften the appearance and make them look like Evelyn's. I don't know if you can tell but for me it made all the difference, bringing the layers together and just adding that extra something. 
I hope you like Squirtle as much as I do, and perhaps you should try and make one of these baby Pokemon yourself! I have my eye on making Eevee next, and then ALL the Eeveelutions! 

Monday, 4 May 2015

happy star wars day!

May the 4th be with you, always...
I make no secret I am a HUGE Star Wars fan, and today is the perfect excuse to show you a couple of Star Wars themed makes I've made this past year (one you've seen before and one you haven't). 
Above is the present I made for my dad for Father's Day last year, based from the design of an 8-bit card from this Etsy shop. This remains one of my favourite makes to date, particularly as gifts go, and dad was pretty pleased with it I am happy to say. It worked up very quickly and turned out brilliantly considering I wasn't working from a pattern per-say. 

Another one for my dad, I crocheted this Millennium Falcon for his birthday in March. I don't know about you but I find it difficult to decide what to make for the men in my life, but I think this was another successful one! This was tricky to make and involved a lot of smaller pieces sewn together. However the pattern (which is available to purchase here) was good for the price. You can also buy it with other patterns for Star Wars machines, such as an AT-AT or a Naboo Star Fighter. I bought 3 but haven't had a go at making the others yet.
Also today is a great excuse to tell you that I very very excitedly booked tickets this morning to the Star Wars Celebration 2016 that will be held in London next year! It was just held in L.A. last month and it looked amazing! The great thing is it travels the world and is only on once a year, meaning London next year should get some big names attending! I've booked Saturday tickets so if you are thinking of doing the same why not let me know and perhaps we can meet up there :p

May everyone enjoy the force today, and let's get excited for Episode 7 in December this year!

Friday, 1 May 2015

crafty plans for may

Every month I aim to set myself, and complete, a ‘crafty challenge’ – a personal goal to help improve my knitting and crochet, and to embolden me to react to all the patterns and inspiration that is available on the internet! By sharing this with you I feel more encouraged to branch out and do these challenges by the end of the same month, and hopefully you will be interested in what I am working. Perhaps it will help inspire you to try something new as well?

Following my successful month of crafting in April, I've really been stuck on what I should aim to do this month. I've got Comic-Con to think about in 3 weeks time (I AM SO EXCITED) but the alterations I need to make to mine and B's costumes aren't very exciting when it comes to sharing - though once we are in our finished costumes and at the Con you better believe there will be a barrage of pictures on Instagram!
Anywho, I'm hoping to make another baby crochet Pokemon this month using another one of Evelyn's patterns - as the Squirtle I made was just GORGEOUS, see it on Ravelry here, or wait until next week to read more about it! - but I think I will just set myself the one crafty challenge this month...
image source here
Use Pinterest as a spring-board to make something a little 'different' 

If you read Emma's blog - Lily Allsorts - you might have noticed that she is taking part in a monthly Pinterest Challenge. I love reading these posts and it's great to see her marvellous efforts to capture just some of the wonderful things we crafters love to 'pin'. Inspired by this this month I will choose (at least) one tutorial or picture from Pinterest and use it to make something a little different. But I don't know just what yet! I have my eye on this whale made from denim scraps, or for a long time I've wanted to make a geeky cushion, or maybe I should finally start working on a granny square jacket. The possibilities are quite literally endless and I'll see how my creative juices flow this month and what finally takes my fancy! 
Have you got any plans this month - crafty or otherwise?