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.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Hyperbolic Crochet

So, recently I took up crochet. Mainly because a friend linked me to the awesome Cthulhu pattern over at Chthulhu Crochet and Cousins. But even after I'd sorted the basics, I didn't want to make the Chthulhu just yet, as the only colour wool I had was a bunch of cream stuff my grandma had given me to get going with. My local wool shop (apart from being painfully expensive. And small. And limited in its supply) didn't have anything like the shade of green I'd want to use, so for the while I contented myself with some painfully expensive green wool from Uruguay to make a scarf with, and, when bored of working on that, using the wool my grandma gave me to make a representation of hyperbolic growth, after seeing this video on Youtube. I also knew it was the kind of thing the boyfriend (Domibaar, as he shall henceforth be called) would like. It's not as hyperbolic as it could be since Domibaar decided he wanted it to be obvious that it was one plane, but mainly because I ran out of wool. It's nowhere near as colourful as a brain coral but it's still pretty fun to play with and twist around.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Running After Rabbits

Assuming the only people who ever stumble across this blog will be rabbit lovers, you'll probably be disappointed to discover this isn't much about rabbits. There will be rabbits occasionally in some form or another, but what I wanted (and what I made) was a craft blog. Why did I call it 'running after rabbits'? Because 'master of none', 'mistress of none', 'jack of all trades' and 'jill of all trades' were all already gone. And those were the names I really would have wanted for this blog, because that's what I feel I am. So, on finding all my acceptable variations taken, I googled the phrase to see if I could turn up anything interesting. The first hit was of course, wikipedia. It gave a brief summary of the phrase, and then a long list of the phrase, or its equivalent, in varying languages. I scrolled down to the bottom not really paying much attention, and then this line caught my eye: 'Romanian: Cine alearga dupa doi iepuri nu prinde nici unul ("Who runs after two rabbits will catch none")'. And since I really do quite like rabbits, (I have a small bunny obsession developing due to having wanted one for years, and not having lived anywhere that would let me keep one) I decided that would do the job. And here we are.

So, in brief, I intend this blog to be a record of some sort of the various activities I undertake - crochet, sewing, knitting, quilting, painting, drawing, paper mache, the playing of various instruments, etc.

I've been planning to make this blog for a while (I promised myself I would wait until after my exams were over), so for the first few weeks I have quite a stock of things to post already. Not that that really matters, as I have no reader-base, and probably never shall due to the eclectic nature of everything I do (even the paintings I do within the same medium completely lack any continuity of style). So liking one post doesn't guarantee that you'll like anything else I post. Hopefully in the next few days between posting I'll get the opportunity to make the page look more (or less, I suppose, depending on your taste) aesthetically attractive.