Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy Hogmanay!!

Happy Hogmanay and a brilliant 2010 !!!- thank you everyone who has stopped by to read our blog over the past year - heres to another year of crafting adventures xx

Friday, 18 December 2009

Amineko, the sleeping cat

Hot off the hook - meet Amineko, the sleeping cat. He's a bit of a character, who as you can see has exactly the right idea at this time of year when it's cold and dark, and that is to sleep.

I found this pattern here via a link on ravelry, which was very well written and easy to follow. the nice thing about this amigurumi cat is he is very easy to place in different posing positions. The pattern suggested weighting the body, arms and legs with plastic pellets, so after a bit of thought I filled them with hama beads, and indeed it has added just the right amount of weight to the limbs for perfect sleeping positions.

Cosy Snood to Keep out the Chill

It can get pretty cold up here in the North of Scotland in Winter, particularly during the school run, that playground can feel pretty nippy. This winter has been problematic for me so far, being plagued with ear infections etc, which has meant I have been needing a cosy hat/scarf to bundle up my face and ears. The other day a parcel arrived in the post address to me from my mum.
My mum, Margaret is a seasoned knitting addict and in the blink of an eye she has knocked out a cosy winter snood to keep me warm - it's perfect, and as the snow begins to fall for the first time this winter, I am enjoying pulling on my snood and snuggling it around my face.

I asked my Mum for the pattern she used, and experienced knitter that she is, she didn't use one, but she helpfully passed on instructions for us novices (I still can't give up the hook for the needles I'm afraid!!)

" cast on 100 stitches and knit in rib until 100g ball of wool is used up. You can knit on 2 pins and sew seam or knit on circular needles, which is what i did for this one. "

So there you go, snoods all round this season I reckon, could be the next big thing.......

Monday, 14 December 2009

Ruby's Monkey

I like to sail close to the wind when it comes to finishing projects with a deadline, and this monkey has been finished right in the nick of time. You may recognise the pattern as a female version of this monkey, and is an order for a friends little girl as a Christmas gift.
The pattern is available free online here, and is a relatively easy amigurumi project for beginners. I hand embroidered the face and added a button to the top of the legs to make them slightly hinged and moveable. It' s always a bit nerve racking when you crochet an item to order, so I hope it meets all expectations...

Friday, 11 December 2009


I'm excited,- you know when you see something that just really inspires and gets your creative juices flowing? Well, thats where I am right now, just look at this wonderful crocheting maddess....

The crocheting genius responsible for these crazy creations is Howie Woo, and I don't want to make a big deal about this, but as you've seen from the name - Howie is a MAN!! I find this so fantastic, and my 7 year old son who is currently learning to crochet couldn't be more excited by the prospect of crocheted granades and guns!!

Howies' blog (WooWork) is packed with witty photos, cartoons and story board videos based around said crocheted item. I could go on and on, so please check it out. Forget cheap plastic toy guns!! not in this house, my boys are very soon going to be the proud owners of their first hand crocheted laser blaster this space!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Gingerbread House

Here is the Gingerbread house I made with the kids last weekend. I did cheat, its a kit from Aldi (around £4.00) which included all the little sweeties and little sugar people. Not really a thing of great beauty, but it was fun to make - everyday one child will ask me when they can eat it - anyone know the etiquette for eating Gingerbread houses?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

Ooooowww, this has got me excited!! Katy Elliot (a new blog to me, but love her style) has some instructions. look relatively simple to do, might be tricky without a snowflake biscuit cutter...

Friday, 27 November 2009

Wood you?

Feel free to direct my husband in the direction of these lovelies........ Look at this brilliant and lighthearted jewellery from
Stolen Thunder......... Very gorgeous.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Roll Up, Roll Up........

I'm not getting a whole load of time to be creative with craft at the moment, however, I was chuffed to finish and send off this wee project for a friend's birthday - it's a roll up wrap for knitting needles. Very easy to put together and a really satisying use for remnants of fabric and time.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Here is the link
to a web site my
talented little
brother has put
together, to
showcase his
work. The images
are fantastic and
the book illustrations
show a totally
different side to
his work. Please
have a nosey in
and see what
you think.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Printing memories

This etching was the product of last years print making course at Greys Art College in Aberdeen. It was inspired by a picture taken of my Dad many years ago. Asleep with the newspaper across his knee, a typical Sunday afternoon pose. The print used a variety of the techniques they showed us on the course, which was excellent. Still working on the film development from this years photography course. I love ME time!!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Little Creatures and Their Homes

How cute are these?? These little designs are based on a pattern in the fabulous 'Amigurumi Two' book by Ana Paula Rimola. I adapted the design slightly for the fir tree, by crocheting a basic 'christmas tree' shape top and then a simple cup shape for a base. The cleverness in the design of these little pots are the 'Back post' stitches used at the top to give a ridge for the lid to sit on - don't be put off if you've never tried this stitch before (I know I was), it is very simple -watch this video for a how to.
My boys were thrilled when they opened up the pots and found the little creatures inside - I love them!!
Let me know if you want me to write a quick tutorial for the tree, and I can post it here!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Little Robin Red Breast

GWI are having a table at a local Christmas Craft Fair next week. I'm planning on selling some baby beanie hats, a few panda/cute critters or two and some of these jolly little fellows.

Great fun to crochet, I made sure the guage was tight (small hook normally does the trick, i used a 3mm one) to ensure the stitches were close together to prevent the stuffing showing through. I found this pattern on the Crochetme website:-

Go on - knock a few up for Christmas!!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Panda Love

Here we have Penny Panda, a quick one night project. Simple 'tube' shape and would be a great beginners projects if you've never tried Amigurumi before.

I got this pattern from the Lionbrand website:-

I left off the legs because I felt she stood up better without them- a friend asked where her mouth was, but I quite liked the face mouthless - do you think I should embroider on a mouth?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Thread Sketching Tutorial

Here's a fantastic Tutorial for thread sketching with your sewing machine - by Clutter Punk

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Needlework with a twist

After my little brothers wedding I realised that many of the older generations were not around to produce some of the lovely samplers that I have, to celebrate my wedding. So I have set about that task myself. My first attempt was a mixed stitch sampler, which was ok but a little coarse. So I then went on to use Dan and Carries wedding invite ( seen beside the sampler, a little unusual in it's self) to inspire a needle point piece. I only put on their names and the date of their marriage. An unusual reminder, to hang some where discreet like the wardrobe!

Box room bargins

Another box room bargin.......£1.50 for the set.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Babychinos, Cookies and Play Dough

Saturday!! -yippee!! Start of the October school break and with an absent father/husband off running up a ski slope in the Cairngorms, all in the name of fun, the boys and I are having a lazy afternoon. In a fit of nostalgia, harking back to when my boys were toddlers, I have just cooked up a big gungy pan of play dough:-

Play Dough Recipe
300g / 10 oz flour
180g / 7 oz salt
2 tbsp cream of Tartar
scant tsp of Oil
500 ml / 15 floz water
1 tsp vanilla (optional, just makes it smell nice)

Mix together in a pan and bring to boil stirring continuously until it becomes 'dry' looking, remove from heat and allow to cool. Knead to bring together into smooth ball and if you like, knead in a few drops of food colour until desired colour.

45 minutes later, my 2 are still playing with it, which is a small miracle in itself given their short attention spans, I am trying hard to ignore the state of my kitchen table and floor!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Baby Beanies

These little hats have been a joy to make, and knock up very, very quickly. Hats and beanies I have made in the past have been done 'on the round' which are great in themselves, but sometimes I crave thick, chunky, ribbed knitted hats and I wondered if I could recreate the look with crochet.

Enter the half double crochet!! this beanie has been crocheted as a flat rectangle, slip stitched together into a tube and then decreased at the top to close the tube. I have made this pattern for a new born size, but it is completely adaptable, add more stitches to increase the depth of the hat, add more rows to increase the circumference.

This pattern is for the 0-3 month size only. 5.5mm hook & WW (chunky)yarn.
With red yarn, CH 22.
Row 1: HDC in 3rd ch from hook and each st across, ch 2, turn. (20 HDC)
Row 2: HDC in each st across, ch 2, turn (20 hdc)
Row 3 - 25: Repeat row 2.
Join work end-to-end and Slip Stitch up the side. Fasten off and weave in the ends. Turn right side out.

With green yarn, join with SC to top of hat next to the seam. Work SC's around the top but do not join.
Work SC2TOG continuously around the top of the hat until there are 4-5 STS remaining.
For stalk make 1 SC in each ST around, for approx 5 rounds until the stem is the height you want. Fasten off and poke the string down into the hat.

For the pom-pom hat, without the stalk, I simply joined on the same colour yarn at the top of the tube, (as with the berry) and continued to decrease until the hole was filled - I do wonder if this could be done a bit neater by just threading yarn around the top edge of the tube and pulling tight to join?
**UPDATE** I have just made another plain beanie (without berry stalk) and have found it to be much quicker and neater, if once you have created the 'tube' you simply make a running stitch with matching yarn around the top and then pull tight to close.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Birds of a feather...

My fascination for birds (of the feathered variety) led me to produce a series of textile designs for a course at the local art school. These are just a couple of them.

Winter warmer for an old bird

I feel quite victorious that not only have I finally produced something with my ball of beautiful "Noro" wool but, it is the perfect present for my mum. One pressie down, all the rest to go!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Happy Hookers Fat Bottom Bag

I have made this bag before (Fat Bottom Bag, published in 'Happy Hooker' by Debbie stroller), but couldn't get to grips with the wooden hoop handles. I need a bag I can just sling over my shoulders. After a search on Ravelry I found this adaption on the brilliant Bend Beanies blog. The bag had been made deeper with extra rows around the band at the top, and the handles crocheted onto the side of the bag.
For the first time in my life I also lined the finished bag, hoping that the touch of fabric would take away the 'homemade' look. To make the bag a bit more secure, I crocheted a strap and added a vintage button from my Granny's button collection. I do intend to make a corsage to sew to the straps, but in the mean time have pinned a lovely knitted flower broach my Mum recently made for me. Can a girl have too many bags?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Menu Planner

Here's the link to Future Girl's blog which features, among other excellent things, the quirky and versatile menu planner I've been using recently with great success. Having a loose plan for what the brood and I are going to chomp down on across the course of a week is helping me with shopping, economising and making sure we get a bit more dietary variety. Another happy fact about this menu planner is that it's 6 day format allows nicely for finishing up leftovers accummulating in the fridge, so, more quick lunches/random dinners and less wastage. Like.

And I love a freebie.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Ruth Cross

Just to keep our wee archive of all things cool and beautiful up to date, here's the link to the Ruth Cross website we've all been drooling over this week. I particularly love the 'toggle' necklace (top pic) and the big bead and loop creations, one of which is shown here (bottom pic). It's fantastic to see such a fresh perspective on knit designs.

Fairy Tale Blanket

I have a pile of patches sitting on top of our bookshelves that rather remind me of the incredible, inviting stack of mattresses in The Princess and the Pea fairy tale. My little patches aren't waiting to have a vegetable inserted between them or to be tested by royalty, however. They're waiting to be joined by yet more little patches before being fashioned into a blanket. I imagine the blanket's (distant) future as one of much luxury; it'll sit on the back of a deeply comfy chair waiting for someone who needs a bit of blankety goodness to match lazy thoughts of coffee, music, swaying fireplace flames and a good book on a wintery day. Blissful. Maybe cake should feature in the picture too, it would be unkind to leave it out of such perfection. I can visualise the blanket's future so clearly and with such decadence that it's a bit of a shock to look back at my wee squares and find them unfinished.... Ach well, the vision is good motivation nonetheless.

The squares are made of Bamboo tape yarn and were originally inspired by a little moss stitch heart tutorial in the Stitch 'n' Bitch Knitter's Handbook. The great thing about Bamboo tape for a knitting novice like me is it's very easy to reverse and correct mistakes thanks to the yarn's ribbony structure and slight stretch. On a very practical note the Bamboo's totally washable in the machine too, this will be very helpful when it comes to my less than careful attitude towards devouring coffee and cake. I simply cannot exist in a dry-clean only environment.

So far I've completed about 25 squares, each is 23 stitches by 23 rows, I think I'll need about 60-80 squares to make the finished product a decent size. The whole project is ideal for picking up here and there, doing a little and then putting down till time becomes available again. Even when there isn't time to knit, in their stack of mattresses kinda way, these wee squares are eye candy just as they are.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Baby blues

After the arrival of a friends fourth baby ( I can sympathize with that number, but know it is enough), I dug out my knitting needles and resurrected one of my favourite patterns. The wonderfully unisex tuck through scarf. It is a straight forward idea and I tend to follow my nose with it. Firstly I dug around in my huge bag of half finished projects and pulled out a ball of beautiful blue grey bamboo tape. Then I wrestled with my drawer full of knitting needles until I found two that matched. I started with casting on three stitches, then in plain knit increased at the end of every row until I was happy with the length. Then cast every other stitch onto a holder kneedle and knitted the remainder for 5 rows or so. I put those stitches onto a holder and knitted the other half up in the same way. Once the two pieces were the same size I knitted them together alternately, back onto one needle. Then continued with plain knit until I was happy with the length. I finished off by doing the same in reverse. Divided the stitches, knitted the separate pieces, rejoined and finished by decreaseing at the end of every row. When I had three stitches remaining I cast off. Now that sounded as clear as mud! Have a go and experiment you might hit it lucky and make something recognisable.

Lucite and silver wedding embellishment.

Finally I have found the time and have set up my shiney new hardware to do more blogging. I am feeling inspired by Heathers knitting find. I am loving the clickety clack of my needles in the evening. My neck cuff is taking shape and needs an inspired lining. This evening I am thinking about my new sister-in-law Carrie, who asked me to rustle up a wedding necklace, for her marriage to my brother Dan. After much discussion we came up with a loose brief and the lovely let me have a long leash for the rest. I mixed lucite flowers, very Carrie, retro and quirky, with tibetan silver charms and beads, reminding me of my Dad who couldn't be there for the wedding. I managed to use the extras to make some cute hair pins. Carrie looked beautiful and was kind enough to say she loved the creation........what else could she say!