Tuesday, 27 April 2010

I am a bad, bad blogger

It's been so long since I last wrote a post that you have probably forgotten who I am. Sorry! I am still here though, and have been exceedingly busy making sock monkeys.

When I was making them, they each seemed to have their own distinct personality. I know, I know, it's a bit cliched, but honestly it's true! Of course each monkey has its own name too. If you would like one they are £12 each - either leave me a comment or drop me an email (first come first served!)

 This is Cora - she is a very bright and inquisitive monkey, though a little prone to nosiness. She is naturally very cheerful and will take a ticking off in good heart.

 This is Frank, who is the original cheeky monkey. He has mischevious stripes running right through him.

 Monty is quite the go-getter. He likes being a team leader and organising other toys in fun activities. He is very kind and a good listener.

 Emmeline is a bit of a worrier. She is very soft and fluffy and cuddles always cheer her up. She likes to be in company as it makes her feel loved.

 This is Charles. He is a big scruffbag at heart. If he wore a shirt then the tails would always be hanging out. However since he is a sock monkey he looks quite smart most of the time.

 This is Christabel. She is an energetic monkey who loves to investigate. Be warned; when you return she might not be where you left her. She likes to get around.

 Bertrand is a happy-go-lucky chap, quite happy to go along with the crowd. He is very well-behaved (although he does rather enjoy watching other people get up to mischief).

 And finally, here is Stanley. Stanley is loyal and loving. He asks for no more than that you occasionally share your secrets with him, about which he will be very discreet.

At the moment this gang are happily keeping each other company in my workroom, but they are looking forward to finding new homes!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Now where did I put my mojo?

I have done nothing for about two weeks! Still feeling under the weather, and just shattered in the evening, which is when I do most of my work. However here is something I have been working on at a recycling workshop:

This was an ordinary wooden table, picked up at a junk shop, which I sanded and painted ivory. I then used cement to adhere the pieces of pottery to the top. I had collected the pottery on beachcombing outings over the previous few months - I have a lot more, but just picked out the blue and black stuff, then interspersed them with white pieces. They have all had their edges softened by the sea and feel fabulous.

Before grouting, I painted on a layer of protective coating (not sure what it is called, but it stops the porosity of the seawashed pottery from soaking up any spills). Finally I used an ivory grout so that it looks like the pottery has just washed up on the beach.

I am quite pleased with the final result, but being a perfectionist I can see all the bits I am not happy with!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Happy birthday, Mr President ....

Urgh, I have the lurgy. I am feeling distinctly under the weather, so not much crafting going on just now. But here's something I made for a laugh last week - Marilyn Monroe!I made the body by following this pattern, then crocheted the top part of the dress (I found this easier than knitting as I could measure it as I went along), then the skirt I knitted on 3mm needles, starting with 50 sts, then increasing to 100 stitches on the third row. A lot of boring knitting! I finished with four garter stitch rows, to which I then attached some fine wire, in order to make the skirt "blow" up. For the hair, I knit some acrylic DK on 5mm needles, then ironed it as hot as I could to "kill" the acrylic. Then I unwound it and carefully sewed it to her head to make her waved hair. I am quite pleased with the result, but not sure what to do with it now! It might form part of another giveaway in the future.

I also got a nice surprise in the mail this morning - a picture of some knitted cupcakes I made just before Christmas, but forgot to photograph before I sent them off! Thank you very much to My Precious Family Time for the photo.

Cupcakes are great fun to make; I have a cupcake commission coming up and I'm looking forward to it!

I'm now off to nurse my temperature. Gah. I hate being ill!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Relaxing ... and the Giveaway result

It's been a while since I did any embroidery, but I was given a commission recently to make ten linen laundry bags with the word "Laundry" embroidered on them. Linen is sooooo lovely to work with, I really must do it more often! I find the whole process really relaxing. And each piece tucks away nicely in my project bag, so I can just whip it out and do a few more letters whenever I have ten minutes spare. I'm about halfway through the embroidery now, having sewn a prototype bag to begin with so I know what I'm doing! Once I am all done with the sewing up I will blog the final result.

I'm also loving the knitting I am getting to do for my new niece! Here's a cute little hat I ran up last night:
Difficult to get a sense of what it looks like, flat on a table, isn't it? So I looked around for a willing model:
I didn't find one.

I also decided to knit her a tomato hat. As she is a little dot, I first of all knit it on 3mm needles, but when I looked at it, decided this was "a hat that would fit a tomato" rather than "a hat that looks like a tomato". So, I re-knit it on 4.5mm needles instead. And wow, look at the difference in size!! I am hoping one of them at least fits, but fear one will be too big, and one too small!

And of course every baby needs cute shoes. These were plain Mary Jane shoes, but I knitted the bar in green and added a couple of leaves so they match the hat. Awwww. I'm not broody. Honestly.

And now, the bit you've all been waiting for ...

(In fact, admit it, you've all scrolled past the pictures to find out if you've won, haven't you??? Huh?)

The winner of the Giveaway is Renee G! Congratulations!! I will send you an email for your address and pop your prize in the post to you. Thank you all very much for entering!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Pipe cleaners and pompoms - the universal cure-all

Calum has been off nursery this week. It started with him losing his voice which totally freaked him out (and of course I didn't help when I said "oh, you've lost your voice!" because then he started frantically looking for it!) He then developed an ear infection and conjuncitivis, poor wee man!

Anyway, at an attempt to cheer him up as he was missing nursery, I got out some pompoms and pipe cleaners and bits and pieces from my box of tricks. Calum had a wonderful time making snakes and "prickle fish" as he called them. "This is so fun, mummy," he whispered, "I am so happy!" Awww!!!

And in other family news - I am an auntie again! This time to a gorgeous baby girl. I have knitted a wee car-seat blanket - just the right to tuck around her when she is out in the car. I decided to do very brightly knitted squares (photo above Calum - for some reason blogger decided to mess up my photo order!). However that left a LOT of ends to be sewn in - argh!

So I took the cheat's way out and backed it in fleece instead of sewing them in!

Should be lovely and cosy on cold days anyway :)

Don't forget folks - there is still another week to enter my giveaway - link it on your own blog if you have one to gain an extra entry!

Monday, 18 January 2010

White knuckle ride, knitting style!

At the end of last year, a Norweigan friend of mine commissioned me to make her son a traditional Scandinavian sweater and trousers, for him to wear when playing outside during the winter in sub-zero temperatures. I've always wanted to knit such a garment so I gladly accepted. However it soon dawned on me that I was going to have to steek the the sweater. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it meant I would have to knit the intricate delicate pattern, then cut it up. Eeek!

However I'm always up for a challenge so I decided to tackle this, together with help from trusty google and youtube for extra tips (what a wonderful resource is the internet!).

For the outfit I used a Norweigan 100% wool washable yarn by Drops called Karisma Superwash, which I bought from Scandanavian Knitting Design. I have used this site a few times and am always impressed by their prices and prompt delivery.

So here is the body of the sweater, all knitted up to the shoulders, but before the steeks are cut. If you look at the edges of the sweater you can just make out the tacking lines I have made for where the steeks are to go.

Next think to do was to sew either side of my tacking lines in order to stop the sweater becoming a heap of threads when it's cut:

Then comes the scary bit:


Now here's the final sweater - all looks well (phew!)

And the matching trousers:

All winging their way to Norway as I write - I hope they fit well and will keep my friend's little boy cosy and warm this winter.

Having now had a go at steeking, I'm not quite as scared of it now. I love the end result, and knitting in the round instead of back and forth does give a lot more flexibility in terms of the patterns you can knit, plus far less in the way of ends to sew in! I would love to make a steeked kauni blanket at some point. I'll just add it to the enormous list of "Things I will probably never get around to making".

Friday, 15 January 2010


Here we are at last, I have got my act together and organised a GIVEAWAY :)I decided to go with a theme of blue and made a few different things reflecting my various interests.
So I made a blue and white striped sock monkey, a crocheted washcloth, a blue bracelet with a cat on it, and a wee mobile of knitted hearts. I hope you like them all!
Here is a close-up of the bracelet:

Now then, giveaway rules: you can have up to three chances to win all these (oh, and I'll throw in the fabric that you see in the photo too!)
1. Leave a comment on this blog. You can tell me what you would call the monkey if you like! But that's optional.
2. Post a link to this giveaway on a post on your blog. I need more visitors! Once you have posted your link, come back and post another comment on here to let me know.
3. Put a permanent link on your blog to mine (eg if you have a blogroll, list of faves etc). Again, once you have done so, post another comment on here to tell me. So you may leave up to three comments on this post! If you already have a link on your blog to mine, then post a comment to tell me that.

Please make sure that all giveaway entry comments are put on THIS post, even if subsequent posts appear before the giveaway time is up. It just gets too confusing otherwise for my poor little brain ;)

Closing date for entry will be two weeks from now, ie Friday 29th January. Good luck everyone!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Projects on a theme of ... stripes!

I seem to have made a lot of stripey things lately!Stripey sock monkeys (this is Max and Jake). I love making sock monkeys, I think I have made over fifty now! I love the way they all have different faces and looks, and I love giving them names (though I usually let my daughter Caitlin choose them!).

A foray into sock cats for a change. Not sure how successful that was. It's rather cute, but I'm too in love with my monkeys I think ;)

... and I was commissioned to knit a Dennis the Menace sweater as a Christmas present! Shame I only managed an awful blurry photo of it, taken on a rather dark afternoon. It went down extremely well with the little boy who received it, and was rather fun to knit as well!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

What have I been up to ...

Well since we are only nicely out of the Christmas season, I won't apologise for showing you my only seasonal make of 2009! This was my reusable advent calendar made from material scraps left over from other projects of the year. I hung them up with miniature wooden clothes pegs on some festive red ribbon, filled them up with roses chocolates, and the children took turns dipping into the stockings each morning - great fun!

I would really like to have finished off the edges with my pinking shears but they have gone missing :o( - if anyone knows where they are then please let me know!!

The giveaway prize is in its infancy but coming along nicely - more info on this in a few days' time :o)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Happy New Year - Da Cat is BACK!!

Well hello again, what a long time it has been since I blogged! New year, new start I think. I will try and keep up this time!
Although I have had a blogging break, I have not been on a craft break - in fact, it's because I have been so ridiculously busy that I haven't had time to write. So I'm sorry for abandoning you all, and I promise I will make it up to you by wafting around that magical word ... GIVEAWAY ... coming soon to a blog near you!

Anyhoo, re the pictures - this was an ordinary pine kitchen chair, which I stripped, sanded, painted with two coats of pale blue, then dry-brush with some off-white, then painted on the cat picture with acrylics, finishing off with a couple of coats of varnish on the top. Am very pleased that I resisted the urge to overwork the fur and am quite happy with the result! (It evens says "Miaou" on the back of the chair!)
I hope you all had a great Christmas and a good start to 2010 - look forward to catching up with what you are all up to in the near future.