Monday, 20 December 2010

Plain Stripe Scarf

A very simple stripy scarf pattern from the Domiknitrix book. I didn't bother varying the thickness of the stripes because... I've never owned a simple stripy scarf before. And I wanted one. I found the instructions for kitchener stitch in this book incredibly confusing, and ended up searching online for an alternative way. So I managed (just about, it's not really a seamless join) in the end. I think I prefer working on 2 circs as oppose to 4/5 dpns, it just seems easier to me.

I'm knitting/crocheting 3/4 (one I know isn't going to be finished in time) presents this Christmas, one of which is finished, the other two of which are both just over half finished. One is following a pattern, the other I'm making up as I go along. The one that I'm not trying to get finished for Christmas day is another scarf pattern from Ravelry - longcat/tacgnol.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Small projects of November

So very, very busy. It can be hard to find time after everything else has done to get some crafty stuff in, but I've had a few small projects (and one big one) to keep me going through November. In no particular order, here are:

A simple cover I made for my money box (which is just an empty Cadbury's hot chocolate can with a slit cut in the lid). According to my mother, this is one step away from crocheting toilet roll cosies, but at least I can now tell which of the several Cadbury's hot chocolate cans in my room has my money in.

A bookmark for a bookmark exchange I joined. I did have an earlier one with a better dragon on, but when I came to trim it I foolishly snipped part of the dragon off. Because that's the kind of clumsy crafter I am. I still have no idea if this is good enough compared to the other bookmarks. :/ It seems a little simple in artistic design by comparison. The corner bookmarkness came from this tutorial by Chocolate on My Cranium.

I also finally got a small, small chance to start playing around with chain maille. It's trickier than it looks, which I expected, but is still trickier than I expected. I'm also having trouble finding any decent tutorials/books.

A pair (shocking) of 'Bell Cuffs', as I have decided to call them. I made them with a ball of wool I took with me when I went to visit my parents for a weekend. I have small hands and small wrists, so 'one size fits all' gloves usually really don't fit me. The only way I can seem to get a snug fit around my wrist and still be able to get the glove over my hand is buttons. So buttons we have. I'll write the pattern up at some point unless I find someone else has already done something strikingly similar.

There are a few other smaller projects going on, (which cannot be mentioned, at least not until after Christmas), and a few big ones, which I will hopefully post about soon. After finishing this Ancient Greek essay.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Yesterday and today has been full of bakey-bakey fun. The smilies above were what I did with what was left of the gingerbread mix after I'd finished making as many stars as I wanted to. There are so many tiny little stars! I may take them in to my lecture tomorrow and become the crazy baking girl. But I also had fun making my tiny little goth cakes, as pictured below. They have a yummy vanilla flavour (I panicked for a moment when I accidentally added way more vanilla essence than I meant to the mix, but then the delicious smell of vanilla wafted up, and all was well). The icing looks so yummy when it's still wet, it has such a lovely blood-like shine.
I also made some green ones too. Mainly because weak little me couldn't get the lid off the red food dye this morning. Luckily, a friend came round later and managed to open it.
And here are the little star cookies. I quite like baking tiny litle snacks, I've decided.

I'm rather impressed that they turned out as well as they did (lots of ways I could improve them, I'm sure), considering that my oven is rubbish. It's an old gas oven, no fan, and the only two temperature settings it has are 'low' and 'high'. Also, for the gingerbread recipe I followed one that was written in 'cups' and used another site to convert. I don't know whether the recipe was wrong or whether the conversion was wrong but after following it I ended up with something a lot closer to cake mix that gingerbread dough. I had to add a lot more sugar and flour to get it to turn into something I could actually roll out.

Of course, the best thing was the apple crumble that Domibaar made with the free windfall apples. But we ate all that before I could snap a photo of it.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Another Monday, Another Small Haul

My sixteen year old self would have been absolutely baffled to see how exciting I was over vegetables when I discovered a new Better Food Company shop had opened near me. My sixteen year old self wouldn't even have heard of a patty pan squash let alone wanted to cook with one. Though she may have acknowledge to awesomeness of the fractal Romanesco Broccoli. She would also have been baffled by my complete "Girlishness" in wanting more cake-baking trays and cookie cutters. Though she would perhaps have been slightly relieved to see me buying black cake cups and red food dye to colour the icing. We only walked past the new food shop because we'd gone to a Kitchen shop so I could buy Domibaar a birthday present (the chocolate cookbook and the marble board). And because we went to the Better Food shop instead of going down to Sainsbury's as we'd planned, we walked a different way home, and walked past a house offering free windfall apples. So the plan is for a host of yummy veg for tea, followed by apple crumble. My sixteen year old self is turning in her grave, bless her.
And since I've made enough blog posts already today (I really should try and space them more evenly over the week), I have a final picture. On Wednesday I was helping out with a Guiding centenary event. We spent several hours blowing up 500 balloons with LEDs in them, then fitting out a bunch of lanterns with glow sticks. It was a pretty fun night. I ended up bringing the glowsticks home to find out if they could be recycled rather than just throwing them away, along with a few LEDs from several balloons which inevitably burst, as balloons are wont to do when you throw 500 of them down from a balcony into a room of excited young girls.

Moebius Gloves

I'd had some Rowan Tapestry wool that I'd bought in a sale sitting in my stash for a while. I bought it intending to make Domibaar some gloves, and even had a certain pattern in mind (Pixelated Mushroom's Moebius mitts). But for one reason or another, I just didn't get round to making them. With Domibaar visiting this weekend, I figured I should set myself a goal of finishing them before he goes. So I did, and so I did.

For some reason I cannot fathom, despite being both the same length in terms of stitches, one looks a little smaller than the other. I actually sewed the twist in place when I was done, just so Domibaar would be able to tell which glove went on which hand (not that it seems to have helped). The pattern is simple and incredibly quick and I still have another ball of the tapestry wool left, so I need to think of something to do with that, now.

Hats, Hats, Hats

So, having bought the lovely King Cole DK Mirage wool last week, I had to do something with it straight away. I love hats, because usually, hats love me, so I figured a hat was indeed the way forward. I wanted a slouchy hate, because I've never had one, let alone made one before, so I found this pattern. It came out okay, technically. I added one more row of decreases than the pattern suggested and it still came out a little too big - it stayed on my head fine, but I would have liked it to feel a little more secure.

The main problem was that because of the colour changes in the wool, it started to look like a rasta hat.And the problem with rasta hats is that I just don't like them. I don't want to look like a rasta. So after umming and aahing for a bit, and trying the hat on in various different ways (letting it flop to the side more like a beret, etc), and being reassured by my friends that it looked just fine, I decided that even if it did look just fine, it looked like a just fine rasta hat, and I was never going to wear it, and therefore, it had to go. The good thing here was that being a slouchy hat, it had used more wool that most other hats would, so if I just unravelled it, I'd have enough wool to make most other hats. So unravel it I did.

I decided, slouch hats being out for this wool, that I would try instead a pattern I tried a few months ago and just couldn't get right - Kristy Ashmore's Diamond Ridges Hat. This time I found it a lot easier. Probably just because I took a little bit more time to read the pattern before diving in. So if you're trying this pattern, reading the instructions carefully is definitely something I'd recommend. But I finally have a hat I can wear! And enough wool left over to make some matching gloves (one completed, one to go).

Monday, 18 October 2010

Shiny new things! YAY!

So this morning I took a trek along Gloucester Road, to go to the bead shop, wool shop, and general craft shop. In the bead shop I picked up a single bead for use in a bookmark I have to make for a bookmark exchange over on Elftown, a set of three pliers so I can venture into the rather cool world of chain mail, and some jump rings for the same purpose. In the wool shop I picked up some double pointed needles, two sets of circular needles and four balls of wool. Two of them, at least (the black and purple aran balls) I had plans for - the project for which I was also buying the needles. The other two (the yellow-orange-purple-red angora and the funky purple-green DK) I just fell in love with and therefore had to buy. Project plans can come later. Talking to a crochet friend later today, I discovered she'd done exactly the same thing with the same two wools. Great minds think alike? (Or fools run in the same track?). In the craft shop I ogled their thread display, but restrained myself to buying two sheets of card stock, again for the book mark mini-project.

By the time I got home, I'd already thought of a hat I wanted to make with the Dk wool (it's from King Cole's Mirage range), but I pretty much had to dump my stuff and dash off to lectures. Yay for 4-6 PM lectures. Can you hear the enthusiasm?

After that I got back, grabbed some tea and headed of to the UoB Knitting Soc meeting. This session was for beginners who don't know how to knit, but since I can't make the normal sessions and they were offering a free ball of wool and needles, I went along. I took the Mirage wool and the pattern I'd fished out for it along with me, intending to just sit back and crochet whilst the rest learnt to knit. But when I got there the few people who did know how to knit were vastly overwhelmed by the newcomers who didn't, so I spent the entire evening teaching people how to knit. Which was fun, but rather scary. I don't think I'm a very good teacher. At least not for knitting. I'm sure lots of them won't come again, but hopefully a few will. By the end of the evening the group I'd been helping had all learned to cast on, knit, and purl, albeit still rather unevenly. I've ended up walking roughly about 7.5 miles today and I haven't just rubbed up blisters on both ankles, I've popped them too. Taking the socks off was rather painful, but I guess it's worth if for. I'm determined to cosy up by the fire and start this hat before I go to bed, though. I'd hoped to start playing around with the chain mail stuff too, but I guess that can wait 'till tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Rabbit Leaps, The Turtle Swims

*creeps shame-facedly back in* I didn't die over the summer, but it wasn't anywhere near as productive as I'd hoped, either. I spent most of it trying to catch up with the reading goal I'd set myself for this year (100 books. It's still not going to happen, but at least I finally finished War and Peace) I did, however, produce rather a lot of art (for me, that is, it was only 4 pieces). The above being one of them, and a highly unusual piece for me in that I just started doodling and adding stuff with no real plan. You can see more of the art here.

I did also start crocheting some gloves for the winter with some Rowan tapestry wool. Such lovely colours. So frustrating to use! I usually have a problem with gloves in that, having tiny wrists, the gloves are always really loose and baggy around my wrists. 'One size fits all' evening gloves do NOT fit all sizes. On me, they gather and clump in a stupid way around my wrists. Obviously, these aren't evening gloves, but still. I like a snug wrist fit. So that's what I aimed for when I started making up these gloves. Because they're going to be so snug around my wrist, I couldn't just work round and round - if I did that, I wouldn't be able to get my hand through the wrist part without stretching it out of shape, so: buttons. Button up gloves. Classy.

In retrospect, tapestry wool wasn't the best wool to choose to just make the pattern up as I went along in. Lots of undoing. Lots of knotting. Lots of frustration. Which, I guess, is why I took a break from them for a long while after finishing the first glove. Hopefully, with winter just around the corner I'll have the incetive to pick them up again. The one I've made is still not perfect. it fits around the wrist, but it's a ittle loose around the thumb. *sigh*

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Granny Hat Free Crochet Pattern

In English notation, so remember if you're American if the pattern says treble crochet, do a double crochet, etc.

Notes: I changed colours and finished off every round. If you don't do that - you're working in one colour, etc. then you'll have to add a few slip stitches to the start of each round to get you to the chain space.

To do the first treble in the new colour, make the slip knot on your hook, hold in place with your index finger, yoh, push through stitch, yoh, pull through 2 loops, yoh, pull through 2. No chaining required.

Bobble: is basically a tr2tog but into 1 stitch instead of 2, so, yo, insert through st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, yo, insert back through same st, yo, pull through, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, yo, pull through remaining three loops on hook.

Gauge: foundation round & round 1 = 6cm / 2.5 inches

Foundation round: ch4, tr into first ch, ch 1, *work 1 bobble then ch 1* repeat 5 times. sl st into top ch of the ch3. Fo

Round 1: *3tr in ch sp, ch2* repeat 6 times, join with sl st, Fo

Round 2: *3 tr, ch2, 2tr in middle stitch of treble cluster on previous round, ch2* repeat 12 times, join with sl st, fo.

round 3: *3tr in ch sp, ch2* repeat 12 times, join with sl st, Fo

round 4:*3 tr in ch sp, ch 3* repeat 12 times, join with sl st, Fo

round 5: *3tr in ch sp, ch 2, 3 tr in first ch of next ch sp, ch 2, 3tr in last ch of sam ch sp* repeat 18 times, sl st to join, Fo

round 6 - 13: *3 tr in ch sp, ch2* repeat 18 times, sl st to join, fo

round 14: in colour A: *dc in first st, ch3, sk next 2 st* repeat 30 times. sl st join, fo

round 15: in colour B: working into round 13, dc in stitch next to where you started with Colour A. *ch 3. remove hook from last loop, push hook through the chain sp from colour A, push hook back into last loop of chain and pull the chain through to the front, ch 3* repeat around. Note: every time you chain 3, the first chain will trap the chain from Colour A.

Foundation round in Yellow colour for centre of flower: ch 3, 9 tr into first ch, join with sl st to top of ch 3, (10)

round 2: ch 1, 1 dc into same stitch, 2 dc into ea st around, join with sl st, fo (20)

round 3: in new petal colour, inserting hook into front of stitch only: *ch 3, dtr in same st, 2 dtr in ea of the next 2 st, 1 dtr ch3, sl st into same st, sl st in next st* repeat 5 times, fo

round 4: start this round in the middle of one of the petals from previous round, in second petal colour, inserting hook into back stitch only: *ch 4, tr tr in same st, 2 tr tr in ea of next 2 st, 1 tr tr ch4, sl st into same st, sl st in next st* repeat 5 times, fo. Leave a long end to sew it to hat with.

This is the first pattern I've tried to write up for other people to be use, so be gentle when pointing out the inevitable mistakes please. ;)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Elder Signs and Golden Mushrooms

Here's one of the things I've been working on this week: an embroidered Elder Sign. The material it's on is quite long and thin, so I thought I'd do the Yellow Sign above it, and then the second version of the Elder Sign above that. Then I'll see how much space I have left and go from there.

This is something I made many, many, many years ago. I'd guess 10 years ago. But It's survived the numerous purges and house-moves and I found it the other day: a golden mushroom from Mario Kart. He's 2 cm tall.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Ripple Wall Hangings and other things

So I used the pretty wool to make some 'wall-hangings' to decorate my new bedroom, which is pretty big and thus has a lot of wall space to fill. I got bored of just having posters up there and since I can't put up picture hooks to hang my masks and framed pictures, I decided to crochet some colourful ripples to hang around. They turned out alright, I think - other than the blue. That bright blue was beautiful, but completely the wrong shade. If I see the right colour somewhere I might unpick that last band and try again. I'm really pleased with the green and the purple though - those are some sexy colours.

But the great thing about making all these was it gave me a chance to experiment and get to grips with several different brands of yarn, and I have to say: Palette yarn is EVIL. the three colours on the yellow ripple are all Palette Collection and apart from the fact that it feels about as soft as dry grass, within the five rows of the ripple I did in the orange there were four separate places where the yarn had broken and been tied back together in a knot, one place where one strand of the yarn had broken and another place where two and a bit stands had broken, holding it together by the smallest amount. In the lightest yellow there was one break that had been knotted back together and in the middle colour, despite there being no breaks, there were quite a few places where the thickness of the yarn suddenly became very uneven. So yes, don't go near Palette unless you plan to make yourself some exfoliating gloves and don't mind darning in 20 more ends that you should need to.

King Cole was probably the best, which was to be expected since it's 30% wool and the rest are 100% acrylic. But Premier Value DK was almost as soft and the colour was gorgeous. The Sempati Classics DK was okay - not quite as soft and a bit fuzzy but still wonderful compared to the evil, evil Palette yarns.

I also finished this hat for iippo - the same design as my raspberry hat (a modified yarncat design, link to pattern in previous post). I think the colours will suit her really well. It's such a fantastic wool - Manos Del Uruguay again. The hardest part was picking out a ribbon which would best complement all the different colours in the wool.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The bacchae; Part Three

Final installment of masks. I'm missing two of them Cadmos - which was pretty plain anyway, and Dead Pentheus. Which was the same as the Pentheus mask, just covered in blood. So, in no particular order, we have:

Tieresias. The blind prophet, hence the third eye and the black band across the eyes (it would have been just a plain black band but that made him look like a burglar, so I added the swirls which makes him look slightly creepy, but that suits me just fine).

Pentheus: son of Cadmos, current king of Thebes.

The Messenger: How to paint this mask? I gave him the staff of Mercury (which is not the medical symbol - the staff of Asclepius, that has one snake and no wings thankyouverymuch) and a quote around the edge which should be familiar to Ancient Historians and some American postal workers, since it's Herodotus (8.98).
The Herdsman was another hard one, but in the end I went for some healthy green leaves to show (s)he's not really one of the city dwellers but isn't plagued by Dionysos in the same way Agave is with her unhealthy black clinging vine leaves.

And finally, the most important mask: Dionysos, son of Zeus. Really I would have liked to have made two masks for Dionysos, one with, and one without the horns but in the end time constraints meant I could only make one, and I went for the one with the horns. If we'd have had both, Dionysos would have changed masks at the point where Pentheus noticed the horns, putting the audience in the same situation as him, and hopefully therefore making them sympathise a bit more with him. So when I knew I'd only got time to make one of them, I went for the horned one so the audience didn't feel totally isolated from Pentheus when he suddenly noticed invisible horns.

And that's it for this play. But the masks were a huge success so there will be another. Not sure what it will be yet. I'd prefer another tragedy, I think. Unless we did something like Aristophanes' Birds, tragedy gives me more room to play with the masks artistically.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Bacchae; Part two

These masks are the chorus leader and the chorus. I wanted them to be quite weird, other-worldly and slightly creepy so asymmetry and weird eyes were definitely the way forward. Chorus Leader got a crown of sorts because I wanted to make her stand out.

The mask below is a slightly different colour to the rest because I had to mix a new batch of paint to make it, and for the life of me it would. Not. Make. The same colour. Which I'm sure is something most painters have experienced at one point or another. It baffled me - I added far less blue to this one than to the others and yet it's come out as a far bluer purple.

The leaves that they have swirling over them are vine leaves, so the groups of gold dots hanging from them end of the swirls are supposed to be grapes.

I quite like the eye on this one, it has a 'melting' look to it, rather than some of the others which look more lava lamp-esque.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Euripides; The Bacchae - Part I

This would be incredibly picture heavy if I did it in one post, so I'll spread this over several. This year, in May (on the 4th and 5th, to be precise) the Classics students (and a few students from other departments) put on a production of Euripides' Bacchae. I was co-producer and artistic director and one of the things I insisted right from the start is that there would be masks. Masks are usually shunned in drama, which to me, as a great lover of Venetian masks, is a shame as it closes up whole avenues that could be explored in addressing questions of identity, emotion and how we portray who we are. All, it seems, because some actor had a tantrum about having to wear a hot and restricting mask. It was amusing really because when we started people really weren't keen on the idea - the co-directors expressed concern frequently before I'd even shown them designs for the masks, telling me the actors (who'd also not seen the designs) weren't happy and were worried about using them, etc. But I quietly stuck my heels on over this one and ignored their complaints (how can you even complain without having seen them, or even asked to see the designs, anyway?) When the actors first saw the masks they loved them. Most of them kept them after the production. And several people told me afterwards that the masks were one of the great successes of the play. I suspect I rather radiated smugness.

For me it was a great opportunity - to be involved in the production of an ancient play, and a chance to experiment with how to make Venetian masks - and because it was part of the production, I got to experiment for free. So the clay, plaster of paris, etc. cost me nothing. Brilliant.

As you might have guessed from that short paragraph, I did this "properly" I made a clay face then made a negative cast of that face using plaster of paris (actually, we made two - the second face was far better than the first). From those negative cast, I made all the masks.

This is the second of the two clay faces. we managed to get it a lot smoother than the first by gently rolling an 8-ball over it. I cheated a little with the lips as I just couldn't get them right. My housemate has a shop mannequin (long story) so I made a paper mache cast of her lips, then formed the clay lips from that. Not that the lips really mattered for the production as they had to be cut out on all the masks! But it gives me a chance to make full-face masks later.

So the masks were made out of paper mache, eyes cut out, chin & mouth cut off, shaped, then sanded to get them smooth...

Then painted with a base layer of acrylic - it's not white though it looks it in this picture - it's a more creamy colour. Then I added details, again in acrylic...

Finally, after painting they were varnished and then some gold detail was added. I actually wanted a crackle glaze effect with the varnish, so I looked up a load of sites and tutorials, bought a water based glaze and an oil based glaze and followed the instructions and... nothing. Not a single crack. I tried again with variations of how thick the applications of glaze should be, how long I should leave it between applications - I even switched which one I put on first, just in case everyone online had somehow got confused. Nothing. Not a single crack any time. Alas.

Anyway. This mask is Agave's. It was one of the more impressive masks, along with Dionysos and Chorus leader, and it was the one we used on the poster (mainly because we needed to get the posters sorted and this was the only one I'd finished that would make sense on a poster). The leaves are Ivy and vine, the plants of Dionysos. The flower on top worked pretty well because Agave spent a lot of time on the floor leaning over Pentheu's dead body, so the audience got a proper view of it, and a constant reminder (for those who knew the Ivy was the plant of Dionysos) of who was behind the tragedy.

The following mask is the guard's. I made a typical Spartan mask, partly because that's the kind of mask steretypically identified as Greek by non-classicists, and I wanted it to be obvious what his role was. But because that was the point I was making, I deliberately aged it and made it looked like a corroded relic, feeling that was probably the look more people would be familiar with. Hopefully at least some questioned why his mask was the way it was.

It also gave me a chance to give him the Leonidas look, which amused me if no one else and finally, in my mind it made an amusing contrast to the rest of his outfit, which was that of a British Queens Guard soldier. The contrast just added an extra element of weird which suits the play as I always feel like it, and many other tragedies should be/are entirely pervaded by the sense that something is very wrong.

More photos to follow...

Monday, 28 June 2010

Pretty Things and Not So Pretty Things

When I was young I was constantly entranced on walking into most shops by the variety of colours - wool, thread, paint, pens, paper, fabric, staplers - you name it, if it came in a range of pretty colours, I wanted it. Of course, I never got it, because I was a kid and I had no money and my mom knew that I didn't need five hole-punches just because they looked pretty if you lined them up. Then I became a sort of goth, and lost interest in buying the pretty colours and went for the blacks, dark reds and purples. But after stumbling across Attic 24 and seeing all the fantastic colours she uses, I remembered my ld love for pretty, pretty colours and thus, having located a far cheaper wool shop than the one I usually use, I bought this lot for £20:

I'm hoping to make a few things to decorate my new room with, since I'm moving flats in two days time. Fun fun. The below... thing. Is something that one of my housemates left behind when she moved out. She was going to hand it to a charity shop but ran out of time. But when I saw it, I thought 'I could use that wool' and have thus begun the process of unravelling it.
Most of the wool pieces are pretty short so I think I'm mostly going to end up with hundreds and hundreds of little picot flowers that I'll then have to think of uses for. The first few got nicked by my housemates, who decided to show of their manliness by wearing them as bracelets. My housemates are mostly pretty cool.

Tomorrow I'm going to go and pick up some fabric so my mother and I can start a summer quilting project. Once again, I think I shall indulge in the pretty colours and the fact that I can now afford them.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Spider Stitch Experiments

In a rather old needle-craft book I acquired from my mother there is an example of a stitch it refers to as 'spider stitch'. Now, this is decidedly not the spider stitch I saw everywhere when I googled 'crochet spider stitch' so I don't know if it just has a different name now, or whether people just decided it didn't need a name but it looked cool from what I could make out from the small, black and white photograph in the book, so I decided to give it a go.

My first attempt was using a 4mm hook and I gave up after a few times because I just couldn't see what I was doing (probably not helped by the fact that I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing anyway) and moved on to a 7mm hook instead. I still had to use stitch markers in the first few rows until I was a little more familiar with how it was supposed to look, but after that it was easy and went along fine.

I then had the 'what do I do with this thing now?' dilemma and decided instead of just unravelling it all to make it into a wrist band, so I added a few more rows to make it fit around my wrist and slip-stitched the two ends together. You can see how it turned out above.

The pattern requires you chain an even amount of stitches, then two for turning, then into the third chain from the hook you dc 1, ch 1, dc, 1 (or sc 1, ch 1, sc 1 if you're American) dc (sc) in the final stitch then chain 2 & turn. In the next row you repeat the 1dc, 1ch, dc in all the chain spaces from the previous row. Again, dc in last stitch and ch 2, turn. Rince and repeat the second row.

It's a pretty nice effect it produces and I'd definitely experiment with it more. I thought the pattern would be more visible if I tried again with a bigger hook, which is what I did. I'll talk about that a bit below, but it didn't quite give the effect I wanted. Now I'm thinking a yarn with less elasticity might be what I'm after. Maybe a lce-weight yarn would work well. I'll experiment more when I actually get my hands on any lace-weight crochet yarn.

So, with the 10mm crochet hook I decided to see how it would work in the round. I crocheted an even amount of stitches again, but since I spiralled it I doubt it really matters. Spiralling produced a different effect which was more checkered. You can't really see it well in the photo, but it's definitely there.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Plain Crochet Scarf

In Manos Del Uruguay using a 7mm hook. A pretty plain scarf for Domibaar. It's not quite Double Treble (or Treble, if you're American) as the stitch went: yoh, yoh, push through top of stitch, yoh, pull through two hoops on hook, yoh, pull through two, yoh, pull through two. Not really sure why I chose to do that, but there we go. I started this before the hyperbolic ball and the hat, but finished afterwards, mainly because I ran out of wool - I bought the wool to follow a different pattern (it wasn't the wool the pattern called for, but the shop didn't sell that, so I substituted this), which only needed two skeins, but gave up on following it pretty quickly, it just wasn't working right in the different wool, and doing it in the plain stitch used up the wool quicker. It's still not quite long enough for me, but a) It doesn't matter how long it is for me - I don't have to wear it b) I would say that, I like really long scarves and c) That wool is too expensive to buy another skein.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Raspberry Hat

I made this using a gorgeous wool from Manos del Uruguay and a bit of ribbon I bought several years ago which I never found use for, but that turned out to be just the right length for this. I love the wool because it has such a rich variety of reds in it and having used just over half the ball on this, I'm struggling to think of what to use the rest of it for - I could probably make one glove, or one arm warmer...

Anyway. the pattern I used is here. I made a minor change in round 11 to double trebles (just trebles if you're American) so that the stitches would be long enough for me to weave the ribbon through. I found the pattern was coming up a bit short anyway, so I didn't need to compensate for the longer row and it turned out just the right length for me (and I think I have a rather small head - or at least, that's what the amount of hats I've tried that are too big for me has lead me to believe), so if you're just following the pattern normally, I'd definitely try it on after round 11 and then decide whether to add another round or two or not.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Moppit & Wall Paintings

These are pretty old - a year old, actually. One of my summer projects last year was to spruce my bathroom up a bit with four paintings. I have a small obsession with playing cards so I decided to paint four aces but to try and make it look like the suit in each image was a window to a night sky behind. I also tried to get some idea of very small sequence of events between the panels. The first two are just night sky - the Ace of Spades has the moon and some stars in, as you can see.

The Ace of Diamonds is more cloudy - clouds being another thing I'd spent a lot of time playing around with recently and painting/drawing in various media. Since this was the first time I'd really played around with stencil paints and brushes, I was pretty pleased with how they turned out (actually, I think stencil brushes are pretty well suited to painting the more fluffy clouds).

Moppit is a stuffed bunny I've had since I was very young, and has always been my favourite. I'd painted her once before a few years ago in an entry to an art tournament with the theme of 'dreamscape' (I painted a cloudy sky with lots of stuffed toys riding on balloons). I'd recently been trying to re-do the painting, but it was frustratingly not turning out how I wanted it/could see it in my head, so I put the painting on hold (and it's still on hold...) and transfered the idea over to the painting of my bathroom. So here is Moppit, travelling through the night sky on her balloon.

In the final panel Moppit, perhaps spying the viewer as she was flying around on her balloon, has decided to to have a closer peek at what's happening on the other side of the window. I would say that I painted this panel the way I did because it gave a chance to emphasis the idea that the suits are windows, rather than flat cards with pretty paintings on, but that was just a happy coincidence. I just thought it would be cool.

The same summer I also started painting a much larger panel in the spare room, which I never finished - partly because I ran out of time, but partly because I realised that the picture I'd had in mind to paint just wasn't going to work the way I wanted to. I'm still trying to think of something else to paint instead.