26 June, 2013

Advancing my crochet

Although doilies look really tricky, I don't actually think they are - you just get lots of bang for your buck by going around and around doing different stitches. To me getting increases and decreases in the right places and remembering how many stitches you've done is far trickier so I was quite nervous when I started out on Rada the Rat by Lydia Tresselt on Ravelry.

I needn't have worried though, it's a great pattern and I'm so pleased with how it's going. I only have a photo of the legs so far, although I've done the (super cute) head and ears, hands and tail as well. I'm just really chuffed to have produced actual feet! I did the decreases and then suddenly there were feet and they looked even better stuffed. And then I managed to join the legs together and begin the body and it looks good! Well sort of, if you don't examine between the legs too closely - but then you woudn't would you because you're not a perv.

These legs are made for walking - even if the body isn't quite there yet! I'm absurdly pleased with myself for doing the shaping and joining, it's the first time I've done anything like this. #crochet #amigurumi #rada_the_rat #legs #craft

I've had to stop at this point though, as I ran out of wool! I need to get to the shop again and am crossing my fingers and toes that they still carry it and that the colourway isn't too different to what I have. Mat suggested I could just start a new colour and make it look like he's got a top on and I guess that would be ok too, although I'd like to go all the way in the same colour.

23 June, 2013

Scrappy tripalong pillow

I realised when I came to parcel my swap items up that I tend to craft large, and if I ever do another swap I need to work on my small items! Kristel was much more savvy and sent a wonderful array of little things in a padded envelope, I sent a gigantic box. What actually took up the space and required a box were the two tin can lanterns we sent, but also this pillow case - no I didn't send the inner but it's quite bulky sewn up. I had some blocks left over from putting together my scrappy tripalong quilt top and coincidentally four of them were exactly the right size to make a pillowcase that fits what we call a Euro pillow (not sure what Europeans call that size...)


I came across the technique of quilting the scrappy tripalong blocks with a line either side of every second seam on Red Pepper Quilts, and it works really well. I also went diagonally to try and emphasise the diamond pattern which wasn't particularly obvious on just a cushion, partly because of the prints and also because one of the blocks was put together slightly wrong but it was a pillow by the time I figured it out. Can you spot where I stuffed up? It was backed with plain linen quilted with wavy lines. Hazel was very dismissive of that technique, felt it wasn't attractive and was appalled I was going to be sending it to poor Kristel who could not fail to be displeased. Children, they are so free with their opinions! I haven't had any complaints back btw ;) She liked the front though, and so do I. I'm not sure if I have enough blocks to do one for myself, not that they take a long time to make up or anything!

Talking about the Euro pillow makes me think of a topic I often wonder about - here in NZ, and in Canada from memory, furniture and other items are often advertised as "European design" or "Italian design" or "made in Germany" and all these terms are used to tell us that it's really stylish or that it's well-made, or both. So what I always wonder is how those items are advertised in those countries - do Europeans assume that things made there are stylish like we do here? Or that if it's made in Germany it won't fall apart in 2 weeks? Well actually that's usually true of the stuff that gets here, but I bet they make crap stuff too. Do Italians like to be told shoes are made with Italian leather? Drat, now I've got Ricardo Montalban saying "rich Corinthian leather" in my head, over and over again...

20 June, 2013


A little while ago I did a crafty swap with Kristel (one of my favourite bloggers) in the Netherlands, and as part of my parcel I made her a runner sort of thing with doilies scattered across it. The pattern is from Simple Crochet, although I didn't do all the doilies and the runner isn't quite as long I think. I still liked how it turned out (apologies for the poor photos, some were totally out of focus when I came to look at them but the runner was long gone!)


That photo was taken at our old house, makes me feel a bit nostalgic and sad!

The doilies were all done in either Perle 5 or crochet cotton #10 (or was it #20...) and I really liked the contrast in texture that gave. Some of the patterns in the book didn't seem to work right and I had to add or subtract stitches to get them to sit flat, but in general the results were great.






Doilies made for a swap #crochet #doily #craft

The last one is via Instagram, which I still love, because the orginal sitting on Flickr has been squashed down and is all distorted. Does anyone else have this problem when exporting images from iPhoto? It happens to some images and not to others, sometimes not at all, sometimes really frequently - always compressed vertically. It's weird.

14 June, 2013

Bee blocks

This poor neglected blog, I feel bad! But I just haven't felt the desire to blog recently, not sure why. I think perhaps I'm just not finishing things the way I used to, and feeling like I don't have anything to blog and then getting anxious about not blogging so I don't blog and so it goes. I might try and see if I can break the vicious circle because I do actually have a few things to show off.

Doing bee blocks for our Monday Modern group really does let me finish things which is always a nice feeling!

The first two I did were for Louise, out of this delightfully gothic fabric by Tula Pink. I don't know that I'd want a whole quilt out of it but it was fun doing two blocks! That's the best thing about bee blocks I think, you can just love something on a superficial level without committing to a whole quilt. The block itself was also great - big and easy and very effective when put together with the others. I gather it's also Tula Pink.


The second lot of blocks were for Cris, and she gave us a pile of solid strips and told us to go for it, keeping a log cabin in mind.

Bee blocks for Cris

This was a lot of fun to put together. The first one was pretty straight-forward, and I kept it fairly traditional. There was quite a lot of fabric left over so I thought I'd just make another one, but ran out of long enough pieces towards the end. But I liked the pieced strip I made for one side, in a desperate attempt to finish it. It wasn't quite enough though, so I had to add a couple of strips out of my stash to get it to size. My husband wasn't at all sure why I was doing that "just give it to her like that" he said, but I really wanted to finish it for me! Which probably says a lot about why we all do blocks - not necessarily out of the goodness of our hearts but because we like the challenge and playing with other people's fabrics - all fun care and no responsibility!

I'm determined to get out another post in a few days, so check back soon!


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