Sunday, April 6, 2014

time for an update

I've been up to various crochet bits and bobs recently, so it's probably time I updated you all on them. Firstly, one of my best friends recently had his first baby. It's a pretty big deal for me, since we've been friends ever since we were little whippersnappers.

Of course a new baby means only one thing - lots of little tiny crochet projects. I've got lots of things to make for baby Lilia, and I'm sure I will be supplying her with crochet items throughout her life. But to start off with I made her some booties, cos every new-born needs some funky footwear.

This pair I made out of remaining 'Sirdar Click' wool left over from my first hoody. I used a pattern from Nicki Trench's 'Cute and Easy Crochet' book. It's a very easy to follow pattern, and they fitted baby Lilia perfectly.

This other pair I made from a pattern in the 'Crochet Today Baby and Toddler' Issue. They don't look that great in the photo, but they're so cute and tiny. Next on my list is to make some toys to fit with her safari themed nursery room.

So what else have I been up to? Well, I do have one big project that I'm working on. It's kind of something I'm keeping secret for now, as it is going to take a long time for me to complete my plan in its entirety. But for now I'll give you a sneak peek at it.

Oooh what can it be!!! Well, all will be revealed in due course. I know, I know, I'm such a tease! Lets just say it's one of my arty projects.

And it only gets worse. I have another secret too! This will be revealed in the next few months. It's pretty exciting but I'm keeping my mouth shut for you'll just have to wait - AND NO!!! IT'S NOT THAT I'M HAVING A BABY!!! A 30 YEAR OLD MAN CAN HAVE NEWS/SECRETS WITHOUT THEM INVOLVING PREGNANCY!!!! GET OFF MY BACK SOCIETY WITH YOUR JUDGEMENT AND PRECONCEPTIONS!!! Sorry, sorry, don't mean to rant. It's just I keep getting asked about it a lot at the moment.

And one final thing. I'm sure you're all bored of them by now, but I knocked up another hoody. I gave the last one I made to my younger brother, so I quickly made another for myself. Again I used 'Sirdar Click' wool, and this time added a little pocket. I also made it a little bit longer than my previous ones.

That's all for now. As I say, more news and projects coming soon. Peace out world!

Monday, February 17, 2014

winter collection

Oh my it's been a while, but it's not my fault! If only the rain would stop for five minutes then I could get outside and take some photos. Well, lucky for you there was a break in the deluge yesterday, so me and my lovely wife went for a walk in the park wearing the winter clothes that I have made.

.....and shock horror, the wife even agreed to pose for the camera - on the condition that she be allowed to wear her funky sunglasses (in her defence it was quite bright out and we would have ended up squinting). So these are our winter-time clothes, here are some more details....

Firstly, the poncho. Ever since I first learnt how to crochet, 'the wife' has wanted me to make her a poncho (it's pretty appalling that it took me so long to actually make one). It's just your basic two-rectangles-sewn-together style poncho, made in chunky wool so it's nice and warm.

As you can see from the close-up shot here, it's made with a variety of stitches and a variety of wool (some of it is even a little bit sparkly). There are popcorn stitches, basket-weave stitches, front post ribbing and bobble stitches and a few others. She doesn't wear it out of the house really, but she does wear it most evenings. I think it really suits her and she looks beautiful in it, but I suppose I am a little bit biased.

Next, on to my outfit. Inspired by my multi-coloured hoody that I made last year, and influenced by the Kaffe Fassett exhibition I went to, I decided to try making my own patterned hoody. It's all made with double crochet stitches so that the stitches are nice and tight, making it a bit warmer for the winter.

Overall I am really happy with it. I did mess up the shoulders a bit, and I think I could have chosen better colours (for my own tastes anyway). But it was mostly an exercise in pattern making and pre-planning, and in those terms I think it was a success.

I used the tapestry method to make the pattern and change colours. It was a little bit complicated, and even with plotting my design on graph paper to know exactly where to change colours, I still managed to make quite a few mistakes. That said, it was really gratifying to see my design gradually take shape with every stitch. I certainly don't think this will be the last time I try something like this.

Next......ooooh fingerless gloves! Oh I do love a good pair of fingerless gloves, and I can't believe this is the first pair I've made. I've made wrist warmers before but never anything like these, and I love them to bits. I adapted a pattern for a normal pair of gloves and made them so they fit perfectly. I also used a yarn that kind of felted as I went along which had left me with a really nice strong fabric.

And finally, my silly hat. As usual, as soon as the weather started getting colder I started making a new hat. I've made plenty of beanie style hats before, and I've made bobble hats, so I decided it was time to make a tassel hat! It is what it is really, there's not a lot more to say about it!

So that's my winter collection! Some of it I actually made around xmas time, so needless to say I am already busy working on various other crochet projects. These will be unveiled as soon as my hand starts feeling better and I can finish them (yep, another crochet-related finger strain injury). Until then, keep it cool world, and stop raining so much dammit!!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

xmas makes

Booooo, Bah Humbug and all that!!! This time of year drives me insane, the pressure, the needless spending, the indecisiveness, the remorse and haze after the work Christmas party. But wait, there is one thing I like about Xmas, getting my craft on!!!

I mean who wouldn't love this little chap? My work did our usual Xmas charity raffle, so I knocked out a few items to donate. I first learnt how to make these cute little snowman from Nicki Trench's 'Super-Cute Crochet' book, and normally end up making one every year, cos I love them so much.

I also made these tiny earrings, using embroidery thread/cord and a tiny tiny hook. It was a bit of a challenge making them this small, and then attaching the chains and earring parts without wrecking them, but I was really happy with how they looked in the end.

And finally, a snowman bobble hat!!! Screw your ironic Christmas jumper, don't you know it's all about ridiculous hats this year? So all the gifts were raffled off and made a great amount of money for a local RSPCA animal centre, and everyone that won my crochet items loved them.

Anyway, I'll let you all get back to your frantic wrapping, the unnecessary stress, and your last minute rush to the shops when you realise you forgot to get someone a present!

Have a good one y'all, and roll on 2014, I've got a feeling next year's gonna be a big one!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

crochet 4 life

Sup y'all. Various projects are in the works at the moment, but in the meantime, I've been taking my crochet thing to a whole new level - check it!

Yep, that is what you think it is. Look past my beard (that just seems to be getting bigger and bigger) and you'll see my new crochet tattoo!

I'd been thinking about getting a crochet tattoo for some time, so I eventually got around to drawing up my design and committed to getting it done. You may be wondering why I got two hooks on it. Well, mostly for the sake of symmetry, but also people who don't know the difference will think its just a knitting tattoo - but educated stitchers will recognise that they're crochet hooks. It is quite big and bold, and I know it won't be to everybody's tastes but personally I'm really happy with it. Maybe its not to your kind of thing, or maybe you think its a bit daft....well you might prefer my other tattoo I got last year...

......cos seriously, who doesn't like a bit of bunting!!! Especially around the old ankle. I mean, isn't that the manliest tattoo you've ever seen! Still not convinced? Well what about this....'s even got a little bow on the back holding it all together. Come on, you gotta like that! Oh well, it's my body, I'll be as stupid as I want with it. If you're not into this kind of idiocy, don't worry I'll show you some more crochet in my next post.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

yarn travels: National Wool Museum

Oooh its been a while since I did one of these sort of posts. I've been on my yarn travels again. This time I've been to....

...The National Wool Museum (in Wales). Me and my lovely wife had been over near Carmarthen for a few days for our wedding anniversary (and stayed at a great boutique hotel called 'The Corran' - I highly recommend it). On the last day before coming home we figured we'd hop on the bus and go check it out.

It was a bit of a bumpy bus ride through a lot of windy roads, so I was feeling a little queasy when I got there, but it was worth it - its a wool museum for crying out loud! So I got over that and thoroughly enjoyed it. The first thing that caught my eye was this spinning wheel, how lovely is that!

And then there was the looms, man I bloody love a good loom I do!!! There was quite a few of them, and even a few little basic ones that you could play with to see how they worked (yes I know they were for kids to play with, like that's gonna stop me!).

As well as the looms and all the machinery to look at, there was a fair bit of the museum dedicated to history, as the museum is in what used to be an old mill. There was this mock-up of an old market stand....

....and these old school crochet hooks were on that stand, so of course I had to take a picture of them. Overall the museum is a good one, I love everything wool related, and I also love big old machinery, so it was right up my street. They also do demonstrations on how the machines work, we saw one where the machine takes the sheep's fleece and does all sorts of magic with it making it into strands ready to be spun. The museum is free so if you're ever in the area then I'd recommend popping by........oh but wait, that's not all, there was another reason that we went!

There was also an exhibition on at the wool museum of work by the textile artist Kaffe Fassett. I love his work and use of colours, so as soon as I found out that was on I just had to go.

I was blown away, everything on show was amazingly impressive. I can't even describe how much I want any one of these jumpers!

It was a brilliant exhibition, and his work is so inspiring, If you ever get a chance to go see his work then make sure you do!
So after that we had just enough time to hit up the gift shop and get on the bus back. It's a great museum, not too much to overwhelm you but still plenty to see. It certainly gets the onemancrochet seal of approval!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I has done an art innit!!!

Yoyoyo!!! So lets take this blog off on a slight tangent, one that I've been planning for some time. You may be interested to see this....

I have started making my first footsteps into the world of crochet art. I studied fine art at University (back in the days of my misspent youth) and ever since I learnt crochet have wanted to start using it as part of my artistic practice (see, I can even use pretentious art lingo, but I'll try to lay off that).

This weekend we had an arts festival in our local area of Cardiff ( I thought it was a prime opportunity to start showing some of my work, and whenever I've participated in the festival before it has always been fantastic.

What happens during the festival is that, as well as various events going on at galleries and venues around the area, artwork is also shown in 'Open Houses'. Basically, artists open up their houses (or kind members of the community let artists use their houses, as has happened here) and then members of the public come in to have a look. Not only does it make it an interesting and different experience from your conventional gallery setting, but it also gives you a great opportunity to meet and talk to neighbours and local people.

I created a series of spheres that I filled with balloons and hung with invisible thread (or fishing line to you and me), which all revolved around the number 6. I have always been fascinated how when crocheting circles (and most commonly in amigirumi), starting off with what should just be a hexagon shape suddenly turns into something so perfectly round.

Standing below the spheres were these stalagmite style sculptures. Continuing with the '6' theme they were all created using multiples of 6 stitches and hence why there were 12 of them.

They were all made from recycled or reclaimed material (another way of saying junk that was lying around my flat or gathering dust in the loft). They were made from old t-shirts, plastic bags, old rope, string, electrical wire, stereo cables and garden twine. They say you should suffer for your art, and I did - I totally busted up my hand doing these. I wore off the skin on one of my fingers and wrecked my thumb, which is only just starting to feel better (giving crochet a break would probably help it heal quicker - but as if that's gonna happen!).

The reason I hurt my hand so much is that I had to crochet these really tightly so that they would support their own weight. I considered making wire frames to hold them up inside but that seemed like cheating to me. If you're wondering how to crochet with things like t-shirts or plastic bags then just ask Google how to make t-shirt yarn, there are loads of tutorials out there.

Overall it was a great success. I got lots of brilliant feedback, and taking part and seeing other peoples work has rejuvenated my passion for the arts. I have to say massive thanks to Nina and Chris who let me use their house to display my work, and also to Kirsty Foster who also showed her photography work in the house and helped with much of the organising.

So will I continue on this path? Hell yeah! This event was a little bit of a tester for myself to see what I could do for a small scale exhibition, and it has got me thinking bigger and better!!!