Normally I’d write only about crafty topics (with the occasional foray into travel) but I had to have a break from crochet for a while as I seem to have given myself ‘tennis elbow’; and other things were getting in the way too, so I have been indulging in one of my other favourite activities: reading.  I always read – I’m one of those people who will read the ingredients on the ketchup bottle if nothing else is available! – so I generally have at least two books on the go.  Now I’ve given in and got a Kindle it’s more like five.  My ‘goto’ authors for the last few months have been Terry Pratchett*, Dana Stabenow, Andrea Camillieri, Sue Grafton, Kate Atkinson, M C Beaton (only the Agatha series) which were familiar and comforting (even if the subject matter of the crime novels is usually quite gruesome). Pratchett I love because his books can be read on so many levels – as well as being absurdly silly – and because I was able to share this love with a very dear friend who sadly passed away last year.

I don’t often experiment with ‘new’ authors, i.e. those who are new to me, but recently I was tempted by a Kindle Daily Deal and bought ‘The Golem and Djinni’ by Helene Wecker: this is a debut novel and like many people I am desperate to read her next release.

Some reviewers have called this a ‘fantasy’ novel but I see it more as ‘magical realism’ in a similar vein to the novels of Angela Carter, particularly ‘Nights at the Circus’ with perhaps a touch of A S Byatt’s ‘The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye”. The tale is set in New York in 1899 – as the title suggests two very unlikely creatures meet and their fates become entwined,  For me it was not just the story line that held my attention but also the quality of the writing and the historical detail – I now want to find out more about the Bowery and the Lower East Side, locations which up till now I’d only registered in songs but enough of this – just read it! Read the rest of this entry »

I was just having a nose around Facebook and came across this infographic from Make Holidays Greener.  I was already aware of the microplastic issue (did you know these are even in toothpaste?) but hadn’t realised how serious it was becoming.  If you’re going abroad this year, read the graphic and follow the tips!

(As an aside – if people eat plastic via shellfish, say, does this get used in their bodies?  Will people’s skeletons start containing plastic?)

Infographic

Knitting and Stitching 2015 - Goodies

Knitting and Stitching 2015 – Adding to the stash!

Some of you may be off to this show at Olympia, London this weekend so just wanted to share with you some images of my visit on Thursday (great idea to have half day tickets at reduced price, unless you’re going to a workshop it’s hard to see how you could spend all day there).  My aim in going to these events is to get some inspiration for my next designs as well as having the inevitable shopping spree – I’d been trying to find some buttons suitable for mug hugs and wanted to be able to feel what I was buying rather than use online shops, so had several good reasons to go!  I was quite restrained and only purchased a few things!

The yarn is cotton which I want to use for ‘mug hugs’ and my jellyfish amigurumis (or possibly finally venture into creating a cuttlefish) – I was a bit disappointed at the yarn offerings this year which were firmly geared towards knitters and bulk buying.  I use only small amounts of yarn at a time in a variety of colours, there weren’t many places I could find these.  One stall I did discover was RKM Wools where there was a rack of cotton yarns in a variety of weights and colours – sadly even they didn’t have the weight of crochet cotton I was after (No 3 if you’re wondering) but were very helpful and friendly.  The plain aran yarn was exactly what I was looking for, as were the buttons which I got from a couple of stands:  Italian Buttons (no active website) which are the plastic ‘sweetie’ ones; and Textile Garden who had a wonderful range of buttons to ‘pick and mix’, where you could select individual buttons (all priced separately) which made it perfect for me as I only wanted a few to try out.

Thread cutter

Thread cutter

For a while I’d been considering buying a thread cutter pendant and I managed to find this lovely metal example; when I’m crocheting and travelling on public transport I generally crochet a few motifs or flowers, and use my ‘snips’ or some children’s scissors but I often feel I might be accused of carrying a dangerous weapon so have been in search of an alternative.  The thread cutter has a circular blade embedded in the pendant and you slide the yarn in to one of the indentations to cut it.  This one is from Sew Mate (other cutters are available!) and it cuts crochet cotton well, will have to see if it can cope with DK acrylic yarn.  I also plan to take it on my next plane trip as scissors are usually banned for hand luggage.  From the same stall I bought some more tapestry needles for the DIY crochet kits I’ll be selling at the next craft show.

And finally, pure indulgence!  The material is from Beadtime and I felt the fishes calling me.  Not sure what I’ll use it for – lining a bag perhaps but I love the print.

The National Fashion Textiles Competition

The show was hosting the finalists’ entries for the competition which is open to 16-19 year olds.  I am was truly astounding by the quality and imagination in their work.  (see if you can spot the lavender stalks and grass used in one of the entries…)

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Crochet Jungle

If you’ve never crocheted before you might wander over to this stand (part of Toft) and have a go (or you might like to show off your skills).

Crochet JungleCrochet Jungle

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Just a quick catchup. Am making something for myself. I’m even using a pattern from as book! The yarn is greener than the picture shows and I love the curvy shapes…. But can you guess what I’m making?

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Still working on stock for next craft fair (13 July) but am distracted by Wimbledon tennis.  This little one still needs his fins but it’s easier to do the body of the next one watching tv.

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I started this last summer but got distracted with other projects. It’s a light weight neckwarmer from my own design.  Not sure whether I’ll be selling this or keeping it when finished. I love the colours and the yarn.

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Stopped as I don’t have the bracelet findings to connect them.

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Still feel it’s a little early but have a stall at local fair this weekend so have become obsessed with making  snowflakes. These will be strung in groups or attached to hooks to hang on tree or window. The wire ones look great against the light (when there is any!) but are tough on the fingers – luckily I have some already made. 

Click here to go to Crochet Camp!

Promised yourself you’d learn to crochet this year?  Then try this……

I’ve been following the Crochet Camp  run by the beautifully named ‘Slugs on the Refrigerator’ for a couple of weeks planning to make some of the goodies – but other work has now got in the way.  So for those you who still have some time, how about making some items of your own?  I might be tempted to have go myself so will post my efforts for comparison!

 

Have fun!  (Go to their Facebook page to join in automatically with the new patterns)

 

PS Tent is optional!

After a prolonged break have got back into crocheting.  For a recent craft fair, I wanted to create some beasties to liven up the Seawitch image, and had the brain wave of replicating one of my favourite dive sites in Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands.  So we have an octopus, some squid, and jellyfish:

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The jellies and octopi got a bit cutesy so I made up ‘Angry Squid’.  Despite this two little girls were happy to make off with the deep red (Humboldt squid-esque!) one from my stall.

Next I plan to create a ray or two – sting and manta – possibly an angel shark and cuttle fish (adapting the squid pattern).  This year there have been sightings of sun fish (mola mola) so I may try one of those – although they may not make very interesting amigurumis.  I also have plans to incorporate some soft circuits into the the jellyfish to give them illuminated stingers.

Patterns will follow too and the completed items will soon be on sale online via Folksy.