Thursday, 25 July 2013

Old MacDonald had a Farm E- I- E- I- O

Earlier this year I injured my thumb, making it rather difficult to make things. After some attempts to knit and crochet with my left hand,  I realised that extended rest and a thumb splint was inevitable. My patience and sanity only extended to about two months before I was back into making items of substance. My first commissioned piece came in the form of a tea cosy for a woman who lived on a farm who was soon to turn 60.  Yay, my favourite tea cosies. My brain when into overdrive thinking of all the options for making a farm themed tea cosy. The idea I pitched was for a green tea cosy with little farm yard animals sitting on top.

So first things first. Lets see if I can make little animals.  I found crocheted patterns for a cute cow and sheep. Originally the pattern was for 8 ply yarn and a 4mm hook to make animals 7.5cm high.  I can't put animals this big on a cosy, the animals wouldn't stand up properly. So here came thumb test number one; lets make them out of 20 mercer cotton with a 1.5mm hook. The sheep was first and here is a little picture of her.

 Yippee it worked! She ended up being about 4 cm long and about 2 cm tall. Perfect size to put on a tea cosy.

The excitement continued with the addition of Betsy the cow.

Then the tricky, chickens. All of the patterns I could find resulted in chickens the same size as the cow. It was looking like, I would be rewriting the nursery rhyme... "old macdonald had a farm E- I- E- I- O, and on that farm he had a super mutant chicken....". But with some even finer work and felt, three chickens were made to make the little family complete.

Ok, animals check, cosy hmm, what and how. To which I thought, wouldn't it be great to make it like a field with tussocks using a moss stitch. Turned out this is not as easy as you think. Moss stitch is made using an uneven number of stitches, tea cosies knitted in the round are made in multiples of two. These concepts cant really exist together. But with the use of my science and creative brain, a plan was hatched (ha ha bad pun). Admittedly there was quite a bit of refining as the cosy developed. But here it is, the finished one piece moss stitch knitted cosy.

So with the blank canvas made, the animals of Old MacDonald's Farm were going to make their debut. With only the animals on top, it looked a bit sparce. So with some tiny flowers and grass it was starting to take form.

It still looked a bit sparse, so more grass tussocks were put on the top.  With the final touches made, Old MacDonald had a Farm E- I- E- I- O was born.

Update: I recently posted this on Facebook and I am very chuffed with all of the lovely words people have said about this cosy.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Every cloud has a silver lining

As part of the self imposed year of crafternoons, I have been lucky enough to be holding some workshops at Shop Handmade Canberra throughout the year. One of the workshops I had planned was to make origami lilies; a lovely little introduction to origami that isn't the ubiquitous paper crane. Don't get me wrong, I love what the paper cranes stand for, I just think variety is a good thing. Anyway I was all ready for the workshop to be held. I'd sourced cool origami paper from Japan, old maps and music and cut them into numerous 15 x 15 cm squares. I made a couple as examples and put them in Shop Handmade to build interest

Alas, given timing of the Canberra 100 Year Birthday Celebrations, there was not enough interest in the workshop to hold it (that's what I'm telling myself anyway),

So, where is this silver lining you are talking about. Well, as the samples were in the shop, one of their regular customers saw them on display and was keen to find out whether multiples could be made as so to become her bridal bouquet. Of course they could!! The Bride wanted several flowers to be made out of red/crimson, cream and latte colours. Hmmm I know some brides can be quite the bridzilla so I thought the best way to handle this was to get a variety of colours in the general area of those colours and present them to her to choose. 

Colour choice swatches for the Lilies
Colours chosen for the lily bouquet

From the colours chosen, four lilies were made from each colour. This gave rise to a lovely collection of flowers. 

But a pile of lilies doesn't make a bouquet. So with a bit of floral decorating magic, stems and florist tape was added to make them into a true bouquet.


 Off to be delivered tomorrow. I hope she likes them. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Fashion mashup; crochet necklace meets singlet

Early this week, I had a little light bulb moment. I love singlets and sleeveless shirts, but the pretty ones are too darn expensive. So I though why not jazz one up yourself. Off to the craft room I went with a lovely set of different cotton singlets. Now anyone who knows me will confirm that I do love an adornment; with many of my clothing and shoes with ruffles, bows and buckles. With a scan through my favourite pictures I came across a lovely little number that A Common Thread designer/ maker Stephanie created; the crocheted bib necklace

The pattern is made in a bulky cotton and looks great for the bib necklace, but bulky yarn is not really my thing. Searching through the bag of fine crochet yarn I found the perfect yarn to go with my plan white cotton singlet, a Milford Perle 10 natural yarn in natural. 

As the yarn I chose was so much thinner than that of the original pattern some adjustments needed to be made. Firstly I increased the number of scallops on each row and increased the number of rows to five. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished product. 

Thank you Stephanie for sharing a lovely pattern!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My craftcrush on Amy Butler

As you may know Oliver and Madge shares a post box with Sophie. Usually this box is full of boring old bills. But not today :-) two Amy Butler patterns arrived yippee. If you have never heard of Amy Butler before today, you HAVE to check out some of her fantastically bright and cool fabrics and patters. Even though she is based in the USA, fabrics and patterns can be sourced in Australia. 

The two patterns that arrived are frenchy bags and birdie sling. 

I have previously made the weekender bag using bright fabric from Ikea. Currently Amy Butler is asking people who have made the weekender to post photos on her Friday Flickr Page. 

So I am very excited to be starting my new projects.  I'll keep you posted on the progress