Sunday, 20 July 2014

Catching up

Again its been ages since my last blog post. My editors are keeping me very busy and finding time to write is tricky, heck finding time for a cup of tea is tricky at the mo, but it'll all be wroth it as there as some lovely patterns coming out over the next few months.

Before this issue of inside crochet leave the shops its time to tell you the story of my ice cream patterns that are in this issue.

 A long, long time ago I was asked by Craftseller magazine to design these ice cream patterns for the magazines relaunch. I really wanted to get a proper Mr Whipy look to these ice creams so I started with my then recently discovered spiral pattern.
 Vanilla has beads embroidered to look like sprinkles and a chocolate flake and a cherry on top.

 Raspberry ripple my favorite flavor - yum :)
finally chocolate with chocolate sauce. Many thanks to Inside crochet magazine for letting me use these photos.

For whatever reason these patterns were never published in Craftseller magazine and so after a year I got them back and offered them to inside crochet. I loved these patterns so much I didn't want then to be  forgotten about. I was really please when Inside crochet snapped them up and they look stunning on the pages of this months magazine.

In other news this month we've had the tour de France in Yorkshire and the second stage started in my lovely York. I unfortunately had to work but I was following along with the footage on telly and I got out before hand to see York all dolled up for the race.

Cliffords tower was looking lovely with all the yellow bunting around it.
 View from the shop I work in on the day before the race. The crowds starting to fill York in preparation for the race.

 A very rare view of the shambles when it isn't teaming with tourists.

The excitement of the race was all around York and I talked to people from all around the world happy to be in York to see the boys on bikes go by. I was very proud to be from Yorkshire and I think we did a great job.

On a completely different matter I can finally share a card I made for a friend who has just bought his first home.

I wanted an old fashioned American sampler but with a clever geeky twist.

This is what I came up with (shamelessly stolen for futurama). I used graph paper to work out a chart and then stitch on 14 count aida. The frame is strips of card, colour using spectrum noir pens to look like wood.
It was nice to do a bit of cross stitch for a change :)

Thats all for now but hopefully I'll get another post up this weekend as I have to tell you all about this months Craftseller and my amigurumi picnic xxx 

I'm linking in with handmade monday blog hop

Monday, 23 June 2014

The craft club charity Yarn bomb

A few day ago some ladies came into the shop I work to buy some toy eyes. No I'm noisy by nature and I can't help but ask people who are buying toy eyes what they were making.
 These guys said they were creating little animals for this charity yarn bomb world record attempt. They told me all about it and we chatted for a while and I said I'd do everything I could to help out.

I got home and on the internet I went for a better look at what was going down.

You can find their website and all the details here

This is pasted from there site -

We are attempting to beat the Guinness World Record attempt of number of crochet sculptures in one installation, the current being 4061. Our theme for the yarnbomb is Enid Blyton's boom The Magic Faraway Tree, which features characters like Silky the Fairy, Moonface and Mr Saucepan Head, as well as lots of imps, pixies and magical land creatures. Our yarnbomb will have some very large sculptures which are about 4ft tall and then very small items like flowers, toadstools, birds, owls, sunshines, hedgehogs etc. We are calling on the crochet community to help us beat this record and any donations are gratefully accepted. So far we have had donations from as far as America and Mauritius all of which have been tagged with the person who has made it's name on it. The yarnbomb will be installed at Little Havens Hospice (havens hospice) in Essex, which provides care for children with life limiting illnesses. The yarnbomb will be part of their creative play activities and be installed in their sensory garden. If you would like to be part of it please email us at Much love The Craft Club Girls

I'm back :) I have followed their facebook page and if you want to do the same you can go here

I am also going to make as many things for them in my spare time from now and the august deadline and I want to encourage you all to get your hooks out and help them too.

To start with I've raided my makes box and selected this first lot of amigurumis, hearts and flowers I'm going to be posting off. Some old favorites in here but they are going to a better home and for a wonderful cause.

I'm also going to use this a really good excuse to re-read the magic faraway tree and maybe come up with some new designs for fantasy characters :)

To finish go here, like their facebook page, share their advert and even if you can't crochet you can be part of something that is going to be wonderful xxx

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Nook

Things are starting to setting into an odd sort of pattern here at amigurumi barmy HQ and I'm finding it easier to predict when I will have free time, meaning I have been able to get of of the studio and enjoy some days in the sun.

One of my favorite cafe/bars in York is the Nook its a small little cosy place with great food, wine, beer and cocktails. It used to be only open late on the weekend but they have changed the opening times so its now open all week. Much to my delight when I was out on a Monday evening.

 There is a real artistic feel about the place. I'm not one for sitting in pubs by myself but in here I was happy to wait with a glass of wine and my sketchbook till my friend to turned up.

This what the result of the sketch by the way, a little viking that will one day become an amigurumi.

My friend turned up eventually and wine was drunk, food eaten and a good time had by all, then we decided on a walk by the river.

 View through the trees into the museum gardens.
Walking back into York, the sun on Lendal bridge.

I really wish I'd taken my camera as the one on my phone doesn't seem to take very good pictures but I remember for next time. That the good thing about living in York there are lovely walks everywhere.

The peace was short live as new commissions started to arrive to the next day to fill my diary again. completed projects were sent of to happy editors and I'll be very excited to see one of them in the next Love crochet magazine as I have been told it'll be the cover project.

Its not a small thing to have my work on a cover so I'm always very excited when I get the news. I got an extra surprise this week when I saw the latest edition of Love crochet and knitting magazine hit the shops.

I hope you'll forgive my little excited dance in the newsagents when I saw my lovely geisha girls in another staring role. I had no idea they would be there. That brings my cover total up to 11 :)

I've got some great stuff I'm working on this week, one of which has been on my dream make list since I started to crochet so thats gonna be huge fun.

I'll lave with a little sneak peek at the yarn selection for my latest craftseller project. I do love seeing all the jolly colours together an my vintage tin. Happy days

Can you guess what that little lot is going to turn into?

I'm linking this post in with handmade Monday x

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Craftseller cardie and tourist

Sorry for the delay in this post. I've been having a bit of writers block and every time I sat down to write this the words wouldn't come out. It was a very strange feeling and not one I want repeated anytime soon.

With only just over a week till the latest Craftseller magazine hits the shops I had better tell you about the projects I designed for the issue that's out now.

I've explained the commission process before but its worth pointing out that Craftseller magazine commission new designs every month so that their projects are free of copyright and anyone out there can make and sell them, after all that's the nature of the magazine. It is the only magazine in the UK that contains all new copyright free patterns and I think it deserves a lot of love for going to this much trouble for us crafters.

First up with thoughts of summer holidays in mind they wanted a boy tourist with a camera amigurumi doll. I knew as soon as I read this he had to have really great hair and he had to beginger and so sent my sketch of for approval.

I know you like seeing my bad drawings so hears another x

and here's how he turned out...

 This was before I sent him off. I took a quick snap of him. Bit weird taking a photo of someone.
 holding a camera  but we coped.

Here he is in the pages of Craftseller. (I really want that little suitcase they've pictured him on). Isn't he sweet, with his little ear sticking out and that sweeping ginger hair, he also looks surprisingly beefy :) I'm more than a little in love with him. I think its cause I don't get to make boys very often that I get very attached to them or maybe its just cause he is so cute and I want to give him a big squeeze.

Yarn used was the DMC natura range, quickly becoming my favorite yarn for amigurumi. Its 4ply so you can get a lot of detail with it and the colours are amazing.

While having fun with this commission I got another little request from Craftseller if I  have time. "Of course" I said, "delighted, what would you like?"

A crochet lace beach wrap was the answer.

Kinda scary I haven't done much in the way of garments but I'm always up for a challenge. In the time I had there was no way I could make a project in lots of different sizes but I knew I wanted something that could be adapted to different sizes easily if necessary.

I decided I would make squares and started with something like what I'd done for the flower motif cushion but opened it out and made it more lacy. I then worked on how to attach them together and the fabric was born.

Its bad sketch time again..

 Fashion designers out there would be horrified to look at that I'm sure but it makes sense to me and with the help of the sample fabric it made sense to my editor too.

This is nine squares joined together so you can see the nice open texture of the fabric.

I'm not gonna lie, this is a big project and it takes a long time to make 40-60 hours depending on your speed but I think its worth it. The fished cardie looks lovely.

Its all floaty and soft (rowan handknit cotton DK, yummy, yummy yarn, not cheap but this is going to be worn next to your skin and you are worth it). The belt is just platted leather thonging.

 In the magazine I think it looks great. A bit of retro chic :)

Ok this was made for a size 10-12 lady but if you go up hooks sizes it comes out larger use a 6mm hook for a size 14, 7mm for size 16 and so on and so on. You can also leave out squares to make it shorter or add more to make it longer, same with making it wider and narrower . The world is your oyster!! that's why I made it this way rather than in a big piece, there was method in my madness ;)

What do you think of my first step into crochet clothing? Should I make more? What sort of crochet clothing do you like? answers on a postcard or in the comments box below x

Finally I'm going to be doing some free and copyright free exclusive patterns for the first one is this super easy bunting and its available here

What do you think of the photo? These projects I'll photo myself rather than sending them off for the magazine to photograph. I soon found bunting isn't easy to photo but I liked this one the best.

Next up will hopefully be a crochet heart key fob to go with the free wallet kit that comes with this months issue, so if you haven't got a copy rush to smiths now while you still have chance :)

Lots more to tell but we'll leave it here for now. Back soon x

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Love crochet needleset and more

I wish I could show you the crochet project I've just finished and sent off to Craftseller magazine. Its taken 4 days of crochet and comprised 58 different components.

I can show you this pic of all the pieces before they were sewn together
The finished project is really cute but it'll be a couple of months before I can show you how it turns out.

Cal was my constant companion on crochet corner although she wasn't too happy when I had to frog one of the pieces and she got a new hair style.

For another project its been all about teal

I collected together all the different teals yarn I had to try and pick the best colour. I when for the DMC woolly that's on the top right but it was hard to pick a favorite teals such a lovely colour.

My other new favorite thing is my new sideboard. This is really old it comes with a matching blanket cabinet and it used to me my mums bedroom furniture but now its looking lovely in my living room and hiding lots and lots of yarn. You can just see the newest addition to my yarn collection is on the top, its more of the DMC woolly to go with the teal.

So on to magazines this months inside crochet is out and my needlework set is in it.

I'm very envious of the soft clover crochet hooks in this photo from the magazine but strangely I do have a pair of those green floral colours.
This set is the first of a series of practical and pretty crochet designs I'm working on. There is more coming soon.

There is also a sneaky peek at my ice cream pattern that will be in the next months copy of inside crochet.

I'll tell you more about these next month when the magazine is released.

Also this month the more adorable toys bookzine came out you can purchase it here. I don't have my copy yet but I have two projects it it that can be made with the yarn that comes with the magazine.

These animal masks and lulu the doll.

More about these when I get my hands on the bookzine. 
While having a google search to find this magazine I look what I found..

I haven't seen this in the shops so if anyone does see it give me a shout. Thats my Suzie bunny and Percy chick on the front so its going on my cover project list as number 10. I know nothing about this but I think its a bookzine I'll have a hunt to find out more and let you know more when I do.

Lastly its new craftseller time to here a peek at my projects from this months issue.

More on these in my next post. Till then happy crocheting :)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Love crochet zoo

In one respect its been quite a quiet week here. I haven't had any pressing crochet work on and have been able to have a relax and enjoy the calm before the storm.

That said I have a lot to share. You may know I have a day job at Duttons for Buttons a haberdashers in York. I don't talk about my crochet to customers much I'm trying to sell haberdashery after all but a week last friday a couple came in with the latest Craftseller magazine wanted toy eyes to make the mermaid on the cover. I was putting stock away and not really paying attention as the couple were being served by my colleague  she pointed at me and said "oh Liz over there designed that pattern". I'm not sure who was more shocked - me who hadn't seen the latest Craftseller yet and was trying to polity ask if I could have a look at her magazine or the lovely lady who was now face to face with the person who had designed the mermaid pattern for which she bought the magazine.

We had a lovely chat and I was able to get her the correct toy eyes as I myself had bought them from Duttons. She asked me to sign her magazine which was a first and I had no idea what to write but I hope I didn't let her down. I guess I met my first fan.

Craftseller asked for selfies of people with their copy of the mag and as me an Cal were settled in crochet corner I took this pic of us today to join in the fun.

Next up Love Crochet magazine came out at the back end of last week. I knew I had the cover project but I didn't get my copy till this monday.

This stripy elephant is the first of three project I designed for this magazine.

The original sketch I did had a more traditional sized elephant with a bigger body but I just couldn't get this to look right when I made the pieces. In the end I was getting close to deadline and just thought I would try it with a smaller body and see what happened. Well as you can see the results are above. I am so happy with this little elephant now. I've never tried colour-work like this before in amigurumi but it now firmly on my list to try again.

 I spotted this on a facebook crochet group I follow.

Jane Watson was very quick of the mark and has already made a little Eric the elephant herself. She say this was her first crocheted animal. I think she's done a wonderful job. Apparently she's onto the monkey yet and has told me I have to design a giraffe to go with them. I'll put it on my list Jane thanks x

More love crochet this is the monkey

Alfie is his name. This one came out as planned right down to his lovely little toes. Really you could put any motif or design on his little t-shirt but I had an A in my craft box and I liked the way it went with the other bright colours of the group.

Last up for this months love crochet is Blossom the panda.

Shes so pretty.

I'm just got the commission in for the next issue of Love crochet and while I can't say what it is, it going to be very, very cute :)

Finally I have a little group of pattern in this months inside crochet aswell.

More on that in my next post. now its time to head over to handmade Monday and catch up with my fellow craft bloggers x

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mandala love

Well my copy of Love crochet magazine hasn't turned up yet so I can't do that review yet. I'm also having one of those strange weekends where I don't have any pressing work on so I've been able to play.

Lucy over at Attic 24 has been asking for mandalas for Yarndale. Yarndale is a festival of all things yarn, I heaven for knitters and crocheters held in Skipton north Yorkshire. I found out about it last year but couldn't go because I was working at Duttons. I was tormented by people who had been to yarndale coming in the shop to buy buttons to go with yarn they had bought, pulling out hanks and balls of  the most beautiful yarn out and making me drool. So as you can imagine I can't wait to attend this year.

So back to mandala. Lucy has asked for us crocheters to make a mandala and send it in to be displayed at yarndale. You can read more about it on her blog here

I have never made a mandala. There are a lot of patterns out there.

I started off trying the little spring mandala by Barbara smith

This is my result

I went slightly wrong on the third round and one of my bobbles has an extra stitch in it but other than that I really enjoyed making it. The pattern is really easy to understand and has some techniques I haven't tried before but were fun and gave a great result. If anything I think mine ended up being a bit small. Lucy wants mandalas that are about 8 inches across and this is only 6.

Next I attempted the spokes mandala

I went for really bright colours on this. I used the rico cotton aran and a 3.5mm hook so it was nice and tight and would hold its shape. The yarn worked well but it does split so doing the long spokes was pretty tricky. While the finished product looks great there really are only two rows in this that are not just basic treble crochet in the round so it wasn't as much fun to make as my first one.

Lucy wasn't wrong these really are addictive to make. Next up I had a go at Lucy's pattern that shes written exclusively for yarndale.

This one was really fun. Every row is different so its really entertaining to crochet. I made a slight change to the pattern after the slip stitch round I worked the next round in back loop only. I like the edge this gives as it defines the slip stitch round.. I'm going to make a few more of these in different colours.

Next up was a bit of a departure but I saw this on pinterest and couldn't resist. This pattern for a heart pop holder can be found here on Sandras blog cherry heart

I love this its so pretty. I did struggle a bit with the pattern but there is a chart which really helps. I had to fudge it in areas but I think it worked out ok.

With so many wonderful patterns out there I didn't know what to make next but I was already starting to think of my own ideas and ways I would make one of my own design. I had a play and came up with this.

Its a bit of a work in progress. I used some of the stitches I liked in the first mandala I made and added a drop stitch to create the colour work between the bobbles Its finished with a picot edge cause I really enjoyed doing the picot edge on the heart.

 I haven't written this pattern down yet but I will and it'll be available here free for Yarndale.

So here they are all together and now I just have to decide which one to send to Lucy.