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African Flower Crochet

Here’s a photo of my progress on my third Heidi Bears creature:

africancrochet

I’m still using leftover yarn.  The white yarn is a bit thinner than I would like but hopefully it will look alright with the white stuffing behind it.  I’m using a join-as-you-go method using the crochet hook rather than sewing the pieces together at the end.  I’d like to say it’s because it’s a better method but it’s really because I’m impatient and I like to see the creature forming as I go.

If you want to know how to crochet this “African Flower” motif, and you like video instructions like I do, then here’s a couple of great videos to follow:

Geoff the Giraffe and Gardening

I’ve been letting the blog take a back seat for the last few months because I was hoping to put more energy into my artwork.  As always, life (and Microsoft) got in the way, and I wasn’t able do that.  My graphics machine is the last refuge for Windows in this house but not for much longer because a Windows update made it about as useful for drawing as a brick.  Anyway, the loss of my drawing tool freed me up to tackle a crochet project that I’d wanted to do for ages.  Anyone who has followed this blog from the beginning will probably know that I tend to binge on my hobbies.  I can go for months or years without doing any crochet, origami or whatever, but when I get started I just can’t stop.  This time I’m addicted to woolly creatures designed by Heidi Bears.  I’m on my third one.  I can only show you the second one because the others are destined to be gifts for people who might see this post.  Meet Geoff the Giraffe:

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time in the garden:

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Knitwits & Crafty Stitchers

I had to go to Galway today.  Galway is one of my favourite cities (not that I’m familiar with that many, mind you).  Today I stumbled upon a little gem tucked away on an industrial estate (Liosban Business Park to be precise).  It can be hard to find supplies in the West of Ireland so I was delighted to find such a well-stocked shop with reasonably-priced yarn.  People tell me to shop online but I like to get my hands on stuff before I buy it; I guess I’m old-fashioned.  I’ve just checked out their website and it looks like you can order on-line too (for those of you who like that sort of thing). 🙂

I bought the sparkly white yarn because I thought it would be perfect for more Christmas snowflakes.

Crafty Christmas

Last year we had a very crafty Christmas but I didn’t have this blog.  This year I have the blog but I’ve done very little Christmas crafting.  Solution: I’ll tell you about last year’s Christmas crafting.

I have a crafty friend who teaches me (and sometimes my daughter) how to do wonderful crafty things.  Last year she taught me how to make a Christmas wreath for my front door.

wreath
We also had a crafting session with my daughter. We made angels out of paper plates, snowflakes on sticks and a huge ball made out of gold plates decorated with old Christmas cards. As you can imagine there were sequins and glitter going everywhere.
ball
All that wonderful crafting gave my daughter itchy fingers. She saw the Christmas tree I hadn’t decorated yet and did this to it.
invasioncats
I thought the pictures were so wonderful that I put most of the usual decorations away. I just put the fairy lights on and a few white baubles. The rest of the decorations were handmade. We made some snowflakes out of paper and I also crocheted some.
crochetsnowflakes
Here is the final version:finaltree

Drum Hat

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m thinking of getting rid of my drum.  I want to document it on my blog before it goes.

I was worried about the skin getting damaged in transit so I made my drum a woolly hat!  There are several layers to the hat and a drawstring to secure it in place.  The inner layer is thick plastic cut from an old case that used to contain computer training manuals.

drum1 drumhatbot drumhattop

Getting Knotted – It’s a Human Thing

In case you haven’t been following this blog, I like knots.  I crochet and I like to draw Celtic knots.  I have also experimented with the type of knots found in Islamic art.  African - Right Side of a Double-page Illuminated Frontispiece - Walters W5563B - Full PageNow, thanks to a couple of Internet friends, I have found two more styles of knotwork which are very similar to Celtic interlace.  The first – Croatian interlace – evolved on the same continent.Hrvatski pleter  The second – mizuhiki (水引) – evolved in Japan.
Mizuhiki plant
It seems that wherever there are human innovators there are also complex knots.

The Mayo Artists’ Show is Coming Again

The Mayo Artists’ Show is a biennial exhibition that is open to all artists in the county of Mayo in Ireland.  Artists can submit up to two pieces of art without providing evidence of any of the credentials that exhibitions usually require.  This is great for me because I don’t have any art qualifications and I’ve never sold a piece of art in my life.  I managed to get two pieces into the exhibition last time, and one the time before.  Here they are (sorry about the rubbish photography):

Enemies at Dinas Emrys smallcornucopia smallbikes small

The first one is called “Enemies at Dinas Emrys” after a story about dragons.  It uses Celtic Interlace and stylized dragons.  The second one is called “Cornucopia” and was produced by spraying paint through a piece of crochet and a few pieces of my childrens’ construction sets.  The third one is called “Two bikes, two lights” and is a painting of the pattern made by…  Can you guess?!  The colour doesn’t show up very well in the photo; it’s actually more green than it looks here.

Well the show is coming around again so I’m planning two more pieces to submit.  This year the entries have to be less than 20cm in any direction.  This suits me very well because I naturally work small and have to make an effort to make my art big.  I’ve decided to do one with Celtic interlace and one with origami and possibly some Japanese calligraphy.  I hope I can get them ready in time for the submission dates (14th-16th November).

Simple Stripy Sleeve

glasses_sleeveI forgot to include this in my post of crochet-so-far.  Maybe it’s because I loathe having to wear reading glasses.  I made this sleeve for my glasses to protect them.  I was finding that when I wore them around my neck they were getting bumped into things and accumulating scratches and dirt.

The pattern is very easy to do.  You simply start with a foundation chain that is slightly longer than the width of the glasses.  Use an even number of chains (this includes one chain for the turn).  For the first row, turn and dc into second chain from hook.  1 ch and skip a chain, 1 dc.  Continue with ch/dc to the end of the row, 1 ch and turn.  Now skip a ch, 1 dc into dc and 1dc into ch-space.  Continue as before with ch/dc except now you do 2 dc at the end of the row.  These two rows form the pattern.  If you change colours after each second row you will get the pattern I got in the photo.  Different colour changes will produce different patterns.

I’ve used UK notation so if you’re used to US notation you need to convert dc to sc.  I’ve probably made the pattern sound more complicated than it is.  Here’s a chart that might show the simplicity more clearly (I’ve left out the turning chains):

chart1

Continue with the pattern until your piece wraps around your glasses with a little wiggle room.  Then join first and last rows together using your favourite joining method.  Tah-dah!  When I want to wear my glasses, the sleeve just slides along the neck cord and sits behind my neck.  It’s not ideal but I find it better then having to detach it each time.

My Motif It Has 3 Corners, 3 Corners Has My Motif

Particular of a crochet hook

Particular of a crochet hook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is about the triangular motif that I showed in my previous post.  The instructions below are copied from a page that I saved from a knitting magazine (I couldn’t get a magazine devoted to crochet in my hometown) in the eighties.  I can’t remember the name of the magazine and there is nothing on the page that allows me to give due credit to the designer of this motif.  Anyway, it’s not mine; I’m just passing it on for non-commercial use.

Here goes (UK notation):

6 ch, ss in 1st chain to form a ring.  Now the rounds:

  1. 12 dc in ring, join with a ss to 1st dc.
  2. 5 ch, miss 1st dc, [1 tr in next dc, 2ch] 11 times, ss in 3rd of 5 ch.
  3. ss in 1st sp, 3 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 3 tr in same sp as ss, yrh, draw through all 4 lps [5 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 4 tr in next sp, yrh, draw through all 5 lps] 11 times, 2 ch, 1 tr in top of 1st cluster.
  4. [5 ch, ss in next 5-ch sp] 11 times, 2 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 5 ch at beg of round.
  5. [*5 ch, 1 tr in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 10 ch, 1 tr in top of last tr, 1 tr in centre ch of same 5-ch sp as before, 5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp*, 7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp] twice, work from * to *, 4 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 5 ch at beg of round.
  6. *7 ch, 8 tr in 10-ch sp, 8 ch, ss in top of last tr, 8 tr in same 10-ch sp, [7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 7-ch sp] twice, rep from * twice working last ss into 1st of 7 ch at beg of round.  Fasten off.

I hope I transcribed it correctly.

Happy hooking.  😀

It’s NOT knitting. Okay?

crochetblankets2Certain people in my life (who shall remain nameless) are so uninterested in handicrafts that they ask me what I’m knitting when I have a crochet hook in my hand.

I met a lady recently who is a prolific crocheter.  She bemoaned the fact that people don’t seem to realise how much time and effort go into handcrafted items.  She told me about the time she went round to a friends’ house and saw the crocheted blanket she had made for them in the dog’s basket.  I then had to tell her about when a certain member of my household (who shall remain nameless) gave my hand-knitted cable cushion to the cats to sit on.  It got so smelly and covered in cat hair that it ended up in the bin.

flowerblanket2Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures of my crocheted items in the hopes that someone in the blogosphere will appreciate the work that went into them.  The blankets in the first photo were made a long time ago, pre-Internet.  The blue one is like the classic granny squares blanket except that it uses Hawaiian stitch.  The blanket in the foreground uses a clever triangular motif that I got from a magazine.  The central panel of the blanket in the second photo was based on a pattern I found on the Internet.  Here’s a link to it.  It uses American symbols so if you’re on my side of the pond you need to convert sc to dc, hdc to htr, dc to tr, tr to dtr and so on.

003The amigurumi is my own invention – hence the slightly demented expression.  He’s supposed to be a lion cub.  Look, I know they’re not blue with white bellies but I was going for cute rather than realistic, okay?cape

The final item is a make-it-up-as-you-go-along cape I made recently for my daughter to wear on a special occasion.

Do you have any stories of unappreciated handicraft?  If so, please leave a comment and we can commiserate together.