Tuesday, August 26, 2014

we are the sea

Hello blog-fans. I've been a bit quiet recently haven't I? Well, it's that time of year again, time for the annual Shambala festival. 'Oh dear, what kind of strange costume has he gone and made now?', I hear you mumble to yourselves with baited breath.........well here you go!

'What in the world is that supposed to be?' - I imagine you saying. Well the theme this year (I know, we normally don't take any notice of themes) was 'the Seas of Shambala'. So I decided to make not one but two costumes that were kind of abstract interpretations of the sea.

So here's the explanation. The sequined robes represent a wave, and shimmered when we danced (which we did a lot). The balls on top represent the foam on the break of a wave (all crocheted of course). And the veils over our faces - well that's just to tie the two in together, that and to keep us anonymous while we were wandering around talking drunken nonsense.

I designed the costumes so that we could see out, but it was quite hard for people to see our eyes as the balls and veils kind of covered them - that and a lot of blue glittery makeup. It was such fun wearing the costumes, and needless to say we freaked out a fair share of people.

When it started getting darker and when we were in the music tents, it appeared that we became even more anonymous. We danced around people mimicking the oceans, making swooshing noises and generally going a little bit insane....I'll blame that on the fact that we drank far far far too much rum (and don't follow my example - we've had decades of practice).

The reception we got from the general public was mixed as always, from the 'wow that's amazing', to the 'what the hell are you guys supposed to be?'. Shambala is a very family friendly festival so there's a lot of kids about during the day, generally they were pretty terrified of us....which I suppose is fair enough.

I did learn a few things from making this costume. Firstly, two costumes will take double the time as one costume - don't know why I didn't think of that before. Secondly, I should stay away from sewing machines. I made the robes myself, the fabric was a nightmare to sew with, and I also managed to break not one but two sewing machines in the process. But, we had fun, so I think it was worth it.

Those of you that read my column in 'Simply Crochet' magazine about festivals might be thinking of the annual gift that I give out to a random stranger. This year it was this little fishy (and another blue one so my mate could take part and give one out too). I gave mine out to a random lady whilst we were dancing in one of the music tents. She didn't seem to quite understand at first and even came back to find me and to say thank you again.

Anyway, we had a brilliant festival and had so much fun. I'll end this post with a picture of me and my drinking buddy getting our costumes ready and when we were still half-way sober. Hope you've enjoyed.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

the amazing Kaffe Fasset

Right, so what you wanna do is....get your ass over to Bath, get on the free shuttle bus to the 'American Museum in Britain', and go see the amazing Kaffe Fassett exhibition!!!

As me and 'the lovely wife' had a few days off work around my birthday, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to go see this exhibition by one of my biggest idols.

The American museum is a grand building on the top of a hill with amazing views over Bath. It has beautiful gardens, very interesting exhibitions about everyday life throughout american history, as well as a stunning collection of Navajo & Native American rugs and blankets. So with all that it's a great place to visit - but we were there for Kaffe, so let's get on with it. There are a lot of pictures so I'll try and whizz through it.

As soon as you enter the grounds, the first thing you will spot is some good ol' yarn-bombing, and who doesn't like a bit of that? But it gets bigger and better...

....They've only gone and covered the whole tree outside the Kaffe exhibition centre!!! This must have taken ages to put up, and I suspect must have involved a crane or cherry picker or something to get them up so high.

It was all so colourful before you'd even entered the building. This was just a snippet of what was under the tree. Anyway, lets get in and see the exhibition.

This was by far my favourite piece of the exhibition. I love his work for his combination of shapes and use of colours - something that is very important in my own work. The fringing on this piece is really the genius to this shawl in my opinion, it takes what is already an amazing piece of knitting and really makes it pop.

The exhibition is full of amazing garments, shawls and sweaters. What is particularly great about this exhibition is the way they have arranged it into sections of colour, making it a really interesting experience.

These button hats instantly got my wife's attention, there were a load of them in a glass cabinet. Such a simple idea, but done so effectively.

Of course there was a lot of quilting as well, as that is a big part of his work. I'm no expert when it comes to sewing, but I challenge anyone not to be impressed with these! They are done so accurately and with such detail.

In fact all of the quilting completely blew my mind! A lot of the pieces like this one kinda mess with your eyes and draw you in - which is exactly what I like to see when going to galleries/exhibitions.

In conclusion, this is a bloody amazing exhibition. It's the sort of exhibition where I think everyone could find something they like, regardless of whether they are interested in crafts or not. There's so much to see and I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone. The exhibition runs until the 2nd of November so you've still got plenty of time. Oh yeah, there was also a wall of quotes from Kaffe taken from his various books throughout the years, so I'll end this post with one of those.....it seemed very apt and put a huge smile on my face.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

out in the woods

Hello all. Summer is here so that means only one thing...time to go camping! Me and my mate packed our bags, went to the woods and pitched up my tipi tent. But you know, woodland camping can be a dangerous folly, you have to keep an eye out for the local wildlife! You never know when you might come across......

.....a shifty looking lion! People say that lions don't exist in the UK, but they're everywhere.They're just always up to no good and scarper the moment they get spotted.

Seriously though, this little fella was made for my friends new baby. She has a safari themed nursery so it seemed appropriate. As for him looking so shifty, well that's just my style. Anyway, more about camping...

Even though it's the middle of summer, it still decided to rain on us for the majority of the weekend. Luckily we're experienced campers and don't let a bit of rain stop us. We set up a tarpaulin amongst the trees to keep us dry and sat out with a massive fire to keep us warm. But what's this got to do with crochet you may be asking.....

....well did you see what I was sitting on there? I crocheted myself my own camping stool. With a bit of shoddy woodwork, a bit of canvas fabric and some nice tapestry crochet, I ended up with a great little seat.

It did the job, although maybe needed to be a bit sturdier - as I've said before woodwork isn't my strong point. I made this in the week before I went camping, so it came together pretty quick. I also made a crochet hammock to suspend between trees, but due to the constant rain I didn't really get the opportunity to put it up - oh well, maybe next time. And finally......

I also did a bit of good ol' whittling and made this very unique crochet hook. Whether I'll ever use it is another question, but who doesn't love a bit of whittling!

So overall, weather = bad, camping = good, crochet = great!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

technicolour t-shirt

Oh where do I find the time? Big project after big project....I can't stop you see, an idea pops into my head and I just have to make it! Here's the latest one.

Yep I made a t-shirt for myself, and of course it had to be mind-blowingly colourful. It's made to fit me - so that's super super slim fit size I guess!

Made from spike stitches and out of 100% cotton, it took a pretty long time. The fact that I used a 2.5mm hook, and that on average there were over 200 stitches in each round, was probably a contributing factor.

It also involved absolutely no sewing. It is basically one long tube, with two smaller ones for the sleeves worked onto the main one. I confess that I did look at some garment patterns to get an idea on how to make a t-shirt using a tube style shape, but I did do it differently to any patterns and worked out all the measurements and increases/decreases myself - so I do still consider it my own creation.

I'm really happy with the final product, and I think it will be my 'special occasions' t-shirt. I know it's not exactly the sort of thing you see in the high street, but that's the point innit!!!! Obligatory beard shot coming up...

So there you go, a crazy colourful t-shirt. You'll certainly be able to pick me out of a crowd.....but that's nothing new. That's all for now, catch ya on the flip side :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ooooh big news

Hello readers new and old. It's been a big week for onemancrochet. Some of you may have come to me through this, but my loyal followers may be unaware.....I've had a column printed in this month's Simply Crochet magazine!!!!

They asked me to write about my festival outfits and experiences, and they even used a picture of me making my moody crochet man face, which helps me stand out from all the pretty smiley models. This has been huge for me as it was one of my dreams/goals to get some of my writing published, and all the feedback I've received so far has been fantastic.

I just want to say a massive thanks to the people at Simply Crochet, especially Tanya. Also thanks to you guys and gals who've supported me from the start, your comments and appreciation of my work means the world to me. Also thanks to my family, friends, and of course my lovely wife - who proof reads everything for me and without whom I wouldn't have even started this blog.

Lets hope this is just the start :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

more arty stuff

Hello all. Well I've finally finished one of my large scale projects....... at first glance you may think this looks like a painting - but no, this is some of my crochet artwork.

I've been working on it for some time, I even had to make a hidden frame to display it on (which was a bit of an effort and led to a few strops - woodwork is not my forté!). I struggled to get the true colours to show on these pictures, the green, orange, yellow and pink are a lot more neon than is showing - but I'm sure you get the gist of it. It now hangs proudly above our dining table....just gotta try not to splash food on it!

'So why bother making this?', you may be asking yourself. Well, I plan on making at least two more pieces like this and then showing them in some art galleries. They measure roughly 50 x 50 inches, so it's gonna take me some time to get the others made.

You may also be wondering, 'how did you make these?'. It wasn't just done freestyle, this was meticulously planned - well, maybe not meticulously, but planned either way. I've always been a bit obsessed with geometric shapes, and in the past have done various graphic drawings in a similar style. I wanted to replicate this style in crochet. First I did a drawing using angles that I knew I could create with crochet, and then broke it down into a grid so that I could crochet the pieces to be the right sizes. Here's the drawing from my sketchbook just in case that's not clear.

Of course there could be a debate as to why I call this art, when essentially it is a patchwork blanket. Is it because I say it is? Is it simply because I've displayed it? Is it because I have an art degree which gave me an education in being able to talk pretentious rubbish? At the end of the day who cares, I like it and I hope you do too.

Peace out for now!!!!