Sunday, August 16, 2015

woodland camping

Ahoy hoy. So this year I have been camping twice so far. I love camping, sitting around a campfire in the middle of the woods under the stars with a drink and your best mates...what's not to love? But how can crochet improve camping?......Here's how!!!


I actually crocheted this hammock for camping last year (that's right, lazy lazy one man crochet). Rain stopped me from using (and completing) it last year, but this year I decided to finish it and put it to use.


It's actually surprisingly comfortable, and just about perfect for me size-wise. Making a hammock is actually incredibly simple, it's just filet crochet, and if you wanted to you can google it and you'll find loads of advice on how to make one.


As it's filet crochet it doesn't take long to make. I made mine out of common household string, as it's a bit stronger than most wool (and as it's going in the woods and likely to get dirty I wanted to use something cheap).


Some tips to be aware of; You want to make your hammock wider than you think you need, and you want to make sure the supports at the end are strong enough to support your weight. Mine is just about wide enough for me (assuming no sudden movements are made) and the single lengths of 2x4 wood supports me (although I am a little whipper-snapper, doubling up the wood would probably have been a better idea - all that beer and pizza is bound to catch up with me one day).


I mostly used the hammock for relaxing in during the day, and as an extra seat in the evening (although one downside is the swinging can get a bit much by the time you've drank half a bottle of rum). There are some people that camp out all night in hammocks, but I'm not quite that hardcore yet...my back needs a half-descent roll mat to sleep on.


So yeah, if you're off to camp in the woods anytime soon, I'd recommend making one. But this is all making our camping trips sound a bit too civilised, I'd better show you a more realistic interpretation of our trips....me looking hungover with melted marshmallow stuck in my beard and on my clothes.


That's all for now folks......coming up next........it's August.......it's nearly time..........
Shambala is a'calling!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

other stuff

Hey there. This is one of those 'I am busy crocheting but it's all big projects and taking too long so I better post something to keep people interested' posts. So what's been going on? Well, beading for one.


I've been going a bit necklace crazy recently. I generally just wear single colour t-shirts and garments so necklaces are a good way of adding in a bit of color. I got the inspiration for this one from last months Mollie Makes magazine, and from there just kept going.


I think this one is my favourite, It's simply seed beads hung on metal eye pins, and by connecting the eye pins together I was able to keep the different elements of this necklace separate.


And then there's this one too. This one's a bit simpler, and I tried to bring in a little bit of influence from African beading colourwork.

So what else can I babble on about.......oh yeah, TAPE!!! Remember how in a previous post I talked about how I've started to hoard all sorts of patterned tape, including duck tape?


Well, that's all well and good, but what would you use said tape for? Me personally.....for funking up my car of course!!!


Black wing-mirrors are so last season, how bout some crazy circle and blue leopard skin goodness! And as for the interior....


....it looks like this now! As with most things I do I know that it won't be what a lot of people would do, but I like it.

Aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnndddd, finally. Now that I have my cool little car, I can easily take the lovely wife out for the weekend. This weekend we popped down to Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire.


As you'd expect with a wetland centre, there's lots of birds (including this cute little duck). But Slimbridge has got something special (and amazing) going on at the moment.


They currently have a trail of Lego brick animals on display, they're all massive and they're all awesome!!!


I mean seriously, who wouldn't be impressed with a mallard like this. But it gets better.....much better!


There's only a massive bloody OTTER!!!! If you follow my twitter at all then you'll know that I love otters, so this was a massive part of us wanting to go see these Lego sculptures.


Impressed? I was! But if they have a big Lego otter on display....does that mean they have some real otters?.....you bet your ass they do!!!


This lovely family of three lady otters (the mother and two daughters) were great to watch. They're a different species to the ones we have in the wild in the UK (hence why they're up during the day).


They even put on a talk during feeding time which was great. We learnt stuff like - when otters go underwater, more blood pumps through the vessels behind their eyes, which make their eyes protrude a bit allowing them to see better. Don't say I never teach you anything.


So yeah, a great day out....if you like Lego, birds and otters, get yourself there (p.s. they've also got a great gift shop).

Anyway, I promise there will be crochet reaaaaaaaaaaaallll soon, much crochet, crochet that will make your eyes pop out like an otter underwater!!! (follow me on twitter for sneaky peeks of what I'm working on)

until then, peace out x


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

yarn travels: Get Knitted - Bristol

S'up y'all. Yeah yeah yeah, I've got enough wool, but like that's gonna stop me. At the weekend I popped over to good ol' Brizzle, and I just had to stop by 'Get Knitted'


I've been meaning to go to this shop for a while. I'd seen their adverts and heard nothing but good things, but the opportunity to get there has never came up before - as it's not exactly in the city centre (but now that I can drive that's no longer an issue). But boy oh boy, as soon as I walked through the door I knew that the trip was worth it!!!


First things first - it's a big ol' shop indeed. This is a really brilliant aspect of this shop. In my time I've been to a lot of wool shops, and most of them are small, quite cramped spaces. But 'Get Knitted' has so much space you can comfortably walk around perusing their items without fear of knocking something over - even if you're a clumsy person like me.


Although they do stock many extra's like fabric, buttons, etc, make no mistake, this is a wool shop - and a very organised wool shop. All the different brands, weights and colours are displayed in an incredibly sensible and organised way - no digging around trying to find another ball of the same dye lot here.


They also had a huge range to cater to pretty much every taste, lots of your luxury expensive wools as well as your more reasonably priced stuff. Of course they also had a good supply of hooks and needles, but also lots of those little things you might need to complete your projects (velcro, clasps, ribbons, etc). Basically if you ask me, this shop is nailing it!!!


I guess one big plus to having lots of space is you can also display lots of work, and 'Get Knitted' doesn't fail in this respect either. There was loads of crochet blankets and other stuff on display (like this Ram with brilliant knitted accessories in the window).

Needless to say, I had to buy some things. I wouldn't say I was restrained, more like sensible. I got a load of neon Stylecraft yarn for various projects I'm working on - and you can never have enough neon.


So, in conclusion - this place is brilliant. If you're in Brizzle, the south-west, or anywhere to be honest, you wanna get yourself here. Anyway, enough from me for now, I've got crochet to be getting on with!!!

peace out

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Outlaw Craft Fair Bristol

hey hey hey. Well strictly this is more 'craft travels' than my usual 'yarn travels', but hey it's all good! here's my write-up of Outlaw Craft Fair Bristol


I only heard about this event recently but straight away knew it would be the sort of thing I'd love...and I wasn't disappointed. On entering it was nice to see quite so many stalls. The word 'Artisan' is certainly apt at this event, these stallholders are all pro's!


I couldn't help but notice that although every stall was full of quality goods, much of it was along the lines of jewellery and homewares - which isn't a bad thing, I'm on a bit of a jewellery kick at the moment anyway. What I'm trying to say is it's not your regular craft fair where you can pick up some yarn, fabric and those sort of things, it's a bit more specialist (although they did have a supplier zone - albeit a bit small).


The first person to bring outlaw craft fair to my attention was one of my twitter friends and fellow Cardiffian Helen of nellys treasures. It's always great to meet fellow crafty people in person. She had a great stall setup with a wide range of goods, and we had an awesome chat about yarn-bombing, tattoo's and festivals - the girl's got style!


As well as all the stalls (more about that in a min), there was also plenty of workshops and demo's to attend. Most of the workshops I was interested in were already sold out by the time I got there, so I decided to check out the 'Get inky! Printing with Rollers and Stencils' demo by Sophie-Rae of Bristol-based the art troupe. I was actually surprised by quite how inspiring this demo was, although she was very quickly covering techniques, she addressed many points that really got you thinking of how you could achieve different results. I definitely want to give it a go soon - so clearly a good demo, anything that leaves you actually wanting to go out and try something new is clearly a success.

Anyway, onto the stalls and their content. You know I said I was on a bit of a jewellery kick, well I wasn't kidding, I bought loads here!!! Here's some of my faves (as well as my purchases)


The first thing I want to show you is the work of this guy - www.sstutter.co.uk. It's laser cut acrylic jewellery, and I have to say it's some of the best I've ever seen!!!


In particular I think this massive gold lion is absolutely amazing, but it was a little out of my price range (although in my opinion not undeservedly so, quality costs!).


I bought one of his slightly smaller pieces in the end, this awesome geometric fox. Seriously I was so impressed with this guys work!!!


Next is the work of Stephanie Duckett Ceramics. I do love a good bit of ceramics, and these pieces were especially nice. She also had some really unique hanging plant holders, but the necklaces were what I was really after.


I went for this simple orange envelope style necklace in the end, and even though it's ceramics (which you may think might feel odd when worn as jewellery), it's actually the perfect weight and size.


Next is the work of Rhea Clements. This lady is absolutely nailing this style of ringed jewellery (much like that tutorial I wrote recently). All her pieces are so perfectly and neatly done. It was very interesting seeing how she had her own style to this approach, and has some wonderful pieces where the rings are only half covered. For me though I just had to purchase one of these off her -


It's a little light bulb shaped glass pendant with some embroidery thread inside, a perfect little 'break in case of craft emergency' piece - but of course I could never break something so awesome!


These cat badges were the work of ladybirdlikes....and you all know how much I love cats. Now I gotta fess up here, I did make a purchase and I think it was from the same stall - but I'm not 100% sure, so apologies to the makers if I've got it wrong, but I think these little pieces of awesomeness were a part of her stall too -


Little ceramic animal necklaces!!! And there was practically a whole zoo of them too! I was very torn between which one to pick, the pig? the lion? the unicorn? the t-rex?


In the end I went for this little bunny (mostly cos it reminded me of the rabbit episode of 'Father Ted' so when that popped into my head I just had to buy it).

Nearly done now. Finally I want to show you some pieces I got from baku forest studios. Firstly I got this cool little badge which is actually an old coin that she's somehow added this cool geometric front to (don't ask me how)


And I also got this clear x-ray necklace of a cat (the little mouse in it's stomach was what sold it to me)


So all in all, a pretty excellent day out! Needless to say I won't need to buy any jewellery for a while. Although you've obviously missed this Bristol event now, the Outlaw shows can be found in a range of locations across the south-west and Cornwall, so if you want to tke a trip to the next one you can find out more about their next events here

That's all for now, peace out peeps!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

yarn travels: wonderwool 2015

Wonderwool has come and gone again, and despite the fact that I have more wool than some sort of wool collecting woolly thing, I couldn't resist heading to the ol' showground to add to my stash!

It's the third year that I've attended, so a lot of the stalls I had already seen in previous years (not that that's a complaint - it's all quality). So with that in mind I figured I'd show you more of the arty side of the show. There's normally at least one piece of large scale work on show, and this year was no different with this massive knitted gingerbread house.


This mammoth amount of work was done by Alison Murray (and her helpers). I thought that this piece worked particularly well as there were so many objects and little touches that made the whole thing come together.


The house was covered inside and out with various cakes and sweets (as you'd expect of a gingerbread house), but they really added a good punch of colour. This year we were treated to not one but two huge knitted artworks, the second being this 'cardigan for Cardigan'.


Knitted by the people of Cardigan, as well as by visitors to this Welsh town, this cardigan was huge. Again it's the small details that can make a piece like this. I personally like the happy little man waving from his tractor, and the lovely wife found the mermaid pretty funny.

But as well as the large works that catch your eye, there are also some smaller stalls displaying work by various groups and guilds. The bright colours being used by the 'Carmarthen School of Art' students work drew me in.


In general I always enjoy Wonderwool, because as well as all the wool and shopping there's always plenty of things to see as well as buy. There was the usual mass of looms and spinning wheels being demonstrated. And of course there's always the animals to see too - the sheep, the angora rabbits, and those naughty naughty alpaca's!!!


And now we get to the point where I show you my haul. I didn't go mad this year, I tried to only get things that will be practical for projects I have in mind...even if that is a lot of projects. I got some bargain multi-coloured hanks, a few little small hanks off the fivemoons peeps, and a pack of 'tropical heat' colour scheme wool from those brilliant guys at www.easyknits.co.uk.


I also got a few extra bits and bobs. The handmade beads (as well as the pot) were from a stall selling African wares. The beads are made from recycled materials (in this case a poster), and are from a non-profit organisation that supports women in Botswana and South Africa that care for orphaned children (you can find out more at www.mothersforall.com). I also got some new knitpro stitch markers and some plastic rings (for more jewellery making). Finally I also got this necklace (bottom right), which is a silver crochet hook made by my friend Becca aka Alterknitive (who I met at the knitting and stitching show). She had set up a really nice stall selling her shawl pins and jewellery and it was really nice to catch up (if you would like to see more of her work check out her Etsy shop here.


So that's my Wonderwool 2015 round up. Lots of wool and lots of fun..........oh and of course the handmade scotch eggs people were there again, so I'll leave you with a pic of me cramming some eggy meaty goodness into my mouth!


peace out y'all