Monday, 11 May 2015

Dave the dodo

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the dodo bird. The story of this lovey docile larger than life, fearless, flightless, plump pigeon captured my imagination. As a child all I wanted was to see a real one but of course they had left the earth a long time before I set foot on it and all that remained was a few old feathers, pictures and stories.

I read everything I could about them and that fascination never when away. I used to go car booting with my dad and was always on the hunt for anything dodo related to start a collection.

I only ever found one thing, this little brass dodo. I think it came from a mixed box of stuff Dad had bought from a local auction for us to sell on a car boot but as soon as I saw it, it had to be mine.
 I do remember no one but me believing this brass bird was a dodo but I was convinced and I loved it. It was the start and only member of my dodo collection for many years. Its still sat on my shelf of precious things now.
As I grew up and after my dad died I didn't go to car bot sales as often and I stopped actively searching for items for my collections but I never forgot about them and I never saw another dodo.

When I started amigurumi design I knew one day I'd love to make a dodo but they are such a odd shape it would never be an easy job. I let the idea rattle around at the back of my mind where I would occasionally fish it out and try and work on bit of the problem with how to create a dodo, but I never solved all the problems.

A few months ago I spotted this in asda home department and my dodo collection double to two.

Cats are not aloud to sit on the dodo cushion but they like sitting next to it. Cassi it being good.

Having the cushion in the house kept reminding me how much I really wanted to create an amigurumi pattern for one but the cogs in the back of my mind still hadn't solved all the problems that this design would have.

I spent the past weekend working on a few different new projects for new designs and ran out of yarn on three projects in a row. I was in a bit of an bad mood, I had done three full days of work and had not one complete item to show for it just bags of body's, heads and unattached limbs. I would have to order more yarn and put these projects off till next weekend.

I still had one more day that I'd planned to dedicate to crochet work but I wasn't really motivated to start a new design and would have wasted the day doing little bits of nothing.

I had a cup of tea, yet again looking at my dodo cushion and prodded the back of my brain to see if it had solved anything. The main problem is the beak, its an weird shape and includes the eyes, I had not a clue how to even start making it. There are many other problems, the curve of the neck and body and the huge body itself.

I knew how I'd make the fluffy tail feathers and the feet. I had a good idea for the wings and figured I might be able to fudge the body and neck by making pieces and sewing them together but I could not get my head around the beak.

I could just bumble wildly in and start making it and possibly it would work or it would be a disaster and I'd have wasted a day. As I didn't have any better plans I decided to go for it.

Fist problem was the colours to use. I needed a main colour I had quite a bit of as I didn't want to run out of yarn again. I really liked the colours of the bird above so I found a nice teal and mustard yellow, white and a rusty orange. The colours looked nice together but dull, dull, dull. I'd been working with bright colours all weekend and the thought of making my favorite bird with these drab colours wasn't doing a lot for me.

On my work table I had the colours I'd used for the three little pigs dungarees, a project I'd run out of pink yarn for the day before and had to abandon. hot orange, bright sunshine yellow and cool aqua, my favorite combination of colours and they were so much prettier together than my basket of drab. This was a project for me, I wasn't trying to please anyone else or fit into the constants of a commission, it was to make me happy and so I thought sod it, I'll use my favorite colours and my bird will be bright.

I started with the beak. This wasn't easy I had to start again a number of times but when I got the main part and the hook at the end of it made I knew it was going to work. The rest was fairly easy, I managed to work the head neck and body in one piece and by this point I could see what it would look like when it was finished and was already in love.

I was working with an aran cotton which isn't easy on the hands but I was on fire, I couldn't stop till I had all the pieces made. I worked from 9am -7pm but I did it.

My hands were too messed up to sew it together last night so it had to wait till today.

I don't have the best photos yet but I wanted to share the finished make.



There is nothing I don't love about him. I'll will have a pattern ready for him soon and I may send him off to have his moment to star in a crochet magazine but for now I'm just gonna keep him close.

Dave the dodo I love you xxx

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Patterns

Three years ago I got my first pattern published in a magazine. This had always been my goal for my crochet patterns and I was lucky. From a slow start my patterns became pretty popular and I got more and more work.

This is my collection of magazines that I've done work for now.

I haven't counted but thats quite a few magazines. I've nearly filled this shelf and am looking forward to starting on the next one :)

Now, when I write for a magazine the pattern I produce belongs to the magazine for a set amount of time and then I get the copywrite back. This means I have a massive backlog of patterns that I need to put in my etsy shop.

 I don't know how many of you have an etsy shop but listing items is one of the most boring things you can do ever, but as the weather been pretty rubbish this week and I don't have an excuse to go play in the garden I thought it was time I started making a dent the listings.

So now I'm going to try and do something clever and it probably won't work. I'm gonna post pics of what I've listed so far and hopefully if you click on the picture it'll take you directly to my etsy shop and that particular pattern.

Yeah that didn't work but if you click on the caption under each pic it will take you to the pattern.









 

 

We I've made a start. Go have a look at my etsy shop and let me know what you think. All feedback will be great fully received.

Now I know not everyone likes buying patterns in a digital format so soon I will be able to offer a printed version of some of my most popular patterns.

Thats all for today, happy crocheting xxx

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Bank holiday weekend

 I tend to start every blog post by saying sorry for how long its been since I've written and this one is no different. As usual I've been kept really busy working on new crochet designs and exciting things.


First up is the new #crochet magazine This is the third issue of this fantastically modern crochet magazine and for this issue I created the spaghetti necklace you can see on the model on the cover and below on my dress form Miranda.

This is such a super easy make it would make a great first project to get someone started with crochet. You only need to be able to do a chain stitch and you'll be able to make this. Grab the mag for the pattern it should still be in the shops.

Also in this magazine I made theses tiny Micro crochet pets

I don't have a pic from the mag but I might add one when I get it. These are tiny but they are not difficult to make. Yes you have to concentrate a bit more but its well worth it to get these tiny amigurumi that can be made into charms or key chains.

I got slightly addicted to micro crochet for a while and have some new patterns coming to my etsy shop soon but for now I can show you these lovely super tiny toadstool earrings I designed for inside crochet magazine.

Thanks to Inside crochet magazine for the use of this lovely photo. I think these were in last months magazine but back copy's will be available if you want to get your hands on this pattern. It really is fun and makes great gifts.

On to craftseller I've missed a few months here and so there is a bit to show.


 These flower fairy's are from issue 48 if you want to get yourself a back copy. Again I don't have a photo of them from the magazine but when I do I'll add it in. I've made a tulip, primrose and snowdrop fairy but it would be so easy to chop and change the colours to make all different types of flower fairy from these starter designs.

For Craftseller issue 49 I made something entirely different. This is a bit of a new direction for me in crochet design so I'd love to know what you think.

 This ice blue vest top with flower corsage was designed to be simple to make and stunning to wear. I actually added the flower corsage because the pattern is so simple it didn't fill the page in the magazine. I love the finished look of the iris stitch. This isn't a quick make but its very relaxing the yarn feels amazing to work with. (drops Safran 4ply)
 Here is the finished top on Miranda and in this pic you can see the ribbed band that finishes the bottom edge.

There is another crochet top in the next issue of Craftseller magazine due out next week I think and it also comes with a free magazine of stash busting ideas that have a bonus two extra patterns from me in it :)

Right back to what I'm best at amigurumi.

What do you think of Dolly my very pink, very fluffy and cute spring sheep?

I've been playing around with eyelashes again as I just love the look it gives theses cute critters.  I have a few more designs coming with eyelashes to but I'll be posting all the details here when I finish the patterns.

Dolly is super easy to make but the bocle yarn can be a bit of a pig to work with. You kinda have to trust you instincts and just go with it. The best thing is no one will every be able to tell if you make mistakes with this yarn its fluffyness (is that a word) hides everything.

If your a fan of Love crochet magazine you may have noticed the I have been lucky enough to design the cover project for them for the past year and a bit. You can see all the covers on the top of my blog and it makes me very happy seeing them all together.

Also in this magazine issue is my little fox design. Originally designed for #Crochet magazine.

Right well its the tour de Yorkshire today in York and I'm working at Duttons so I'll get see it go by. I have to get the bus soon so I better leave this post here.
I'll catch you up what else I've been getting up to shortly and I'll be having a my usual sale of worked amigurumi soon so stay tuned to my etsy shop and facebook page

happy crocheting love Liz x




Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cyril the caterpillar

Meet Cyril the caterpillar.

I've been playing around with some new designs and Cyril is the first new amigurumi to be finished. He started as an idea to make a jointed caterpillar in one piece. My plan was for this to be a child toy so I thought it would be safer made in one piece rather than lots of balls sewn together.

Hes pretty big over 60cm long so  I though he would make a nice pull along toy. I ordered some lovely wooden wheels for him but yesterday when I finished the body the postman still hadn't delivered the wheels. I had a spare afternoon and really wanted to try and get him finished so I made a lot of little legs.

At first I toyed with the idea of mixing up the colour of the legs with the colour of the body part but it just looked a bit busy so I went for matching the colours. I think just by picking out the middle section colours for the antenna make it colourful enough without being too busy now.


I wrote the pattern in my usual way of typing up the pattern before I pick up my hook and get making. This way I'm testing the pattern as I'm making it and am able to make any changes as I go along. It also means I can get the patterns released quickly and brighten up my etsy pattern shop for the spring.

If you'd like to get your hands on the pattern its in my etsy shop which you can find here

I've used the Rico cotton yarn which I get from wool warehouse

More new patterns coming very soon and also quite a lot of my magazine patterns from last year are now free from copywite so keep you eye on my etsy shop where I'll be listing them.

Happy crocheting xxx

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Miranda

I'd like you to meet my new friend. This is Miranda and she's my new dress form.

I've always wanted a dress form. I've seen a far few I've liked but they have always been out of my price range. Then one day, not so long ago, I was shopping with my mum and we went into a random gift shop. You know the type of place that sells candles and photo frames and other dust collectors. We were just having a look around when half way down the shop we spotted Miranda. She was half price because she has a cracked leg but to me she was perfect.

It was serendipitous as that day I'd had a commission for a crochet top so she was put to work straight away, and since I've had more clothing commissions come in so shes defiantly earning her keep.

I'll share all the clothes I've been making when magazines come out.

In the pic above shes wearing my three row scarf. Its such a simple pattern (UK abbreviation)

use chunky yarn and a 6-8mm hook. chain a length as long as you want the scarf to be.

one the first row  treble stitch in each ch st.

row 2 and 3 - 2treble in each st.

that's it, fasten off, weave in your ends and you have a scarf in an hour or so.

My head is full of interesting patterns to design, make and adorn Miranda in and I'll be adding some new patterns to my etsy shop soon.

This one is a really old make but I wear it so often its almost my signature look :)

Its actually an incomplete jumper design. This is the cowl that's meant to go round a long ribbed jumper but I never got chance to finish it so I just started wearing the cowl.

So many people have commented on it and asked for the pattern I thought it was time I wrote it up. It'll be posting it up soon.

the other new pattern is for this asymmetrical cowl necked poncho. This is another of those ideas I've had rattling around in my head waiting for a chance to give it a go. Yesterday some new yarn had come in to the shop, I loved the colour and knew it was perfect for this design. I had to buy it and start it straight away.

Its a really simple design and it actually doesn't take long to make. I hooked up this in a few hours this morning. The pattern will be in my etsy shop by the weekend.

Thats all from me today. Happy crocheting xxx



Monday, 16 February 2015

Where does the time go?

Its the middle of Feb already and not only have I not finished the end of year round up from last year but I haven't had a spare few minuets to write a new blog post. The reason for this is very simple. I'm busy, very busy, the amount of crochet work I have at the mo leaves little time for anything else. I'm not complaining I'm having great fun but it means I have loads on stuff to catch up on.

I'm just gonna rattle through the past months magazine.


The first of the year was this lovely cover of Craftseller magazine. This chihuahua was a really fun project to work on and it was lovely to see he made it onto the cover.
 Here he is before he when of to be a star. I loved making all the little accessorizes that went with him. He's got a heart cushion, a big bone and a traditional granny square blanket. This project didn't help my current craving to have add a real dog to my pet family and i really got stuck on the idea of how cute it would be to have a dog that's smaller than my cats :)

Next is this little sheep. she when to join the pages of #Crochet magazines third issue. This project was to celebrate the Chinese new year of the sheep so I added a red flower as it a very traditionally lucky colour. I was born in the year for this sheep, i'm not sure i truly believe in any horoscopes but I'm happy to be a sheep :)

next...
This fluffy bear was published in last months lets knit magazine. This was my first attempt at using boucle yarn in crochet. Its a bit of a tricky yarn to use but the results are so great I've been using it lots more recently.

Here he is in the magazine shoot. They called him Franklin. Isn't that a great name :)

 Next up is a brand new magazine called happy crafting. Its a big one and comes with yarn, crochet hook and knitting needles and all the projects you can make with the sample yarn. I was tasked to design a baby bonnet, a rattle and a monster plush.
 This is the bonnet. Now I planned for this to have the green edge framing the face but that's not how they have chosen to photo it. I think it shows the great thing about this simple baby bonnet is that it works either way and is very cute.

Here are the rattle and the monster. The rabbits head is made from the inside of a kinda egg so it has a really good rattle to it and it meant I had to eat chocolate for my job (its a hard life).

This little monster is one of my favorite makes ever. I love him. Hes inspired a whole sketchbook full of mini monsters and there will be lots of patterns coming soon.

Next up it this little traditional teddy for Love crochet magazine.

He made it onto the cover but only just...

He got lost in the post. The horror. I had to remake him and had bear mark 2 finished just in time but then the original one turned up. So now I have a spare bear but I've an idea I'm going to turn him into a her and make a lovely red dress and hat for her and there will be another new pattern to share.

I do love this little bear. I designed a whole new face shape for him and its worked out nicely so I'll be using that to bring some more creations to life.

Right I think I'm getting up to date. I may have missed a few things but I'll post about them another time if I remember.

The last one this month is my lovely giraffe Georgina made for Craftseller magazine.

 I was very excited when this commission came in. Its one of those animals I've been waiting ages to get a good excuse to make. I knew just how I wanted her to look. I knew I wanted to do lidded eyes. I haven't had a chance to do lidded eyes for a while. A lot of the projects I've done just didn't suit them but they were perfect for this project.


  I had a crazy idea to use fake eyelashes. I didn't know if it would work and I really had to persuade my editor to trust me to give it a go.

Oh my what a result.

There comes a point when I'm about to complete a project when the designing stage ends and the creatures come to life and get their own personality. Georgina decided she wanted to be adorable and who was I to stop her.
 

She is also filled with rice so she feels lovely and stands up with her head held high all by herself.

Ok one last thing.

Last year I did a project for Craftseller that was for amigurumi food.

When the worked models came home I saved them to gift to my nephews for |Christmas. Well the boys love them and play with them a lot. I thought it might be a nice idea to add to the set as their birthdays are coming up so I'd make some more foods.

Now I couldn't pick what food to do so I started with fruit and whenever I got a bit of spare time I'd make something new.

I started out well and got all the basics in there.


But me being me I couldn't stop there though and had to create all the fruit.

So here it is, my cornucopia of fruit. Patterns for these will be in my etsy shop very soon.

I'll leave you there for now. I'll try and write more often but I have a grocers shop of vegetables to create and many magazine deadlines looming :)







Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 year end review part one

So 2014 is over and boy was it a busy old year. This is my now traditional look back over the year and as its been such a busy one I'm gonna split this into two posts.

Lets start with January

January saw my set of humanoid amigurumi cats on the cover of Craftseller magazine

Work was starting to come in thick and fast and I had this bundle of cuteness to play with.
Cals third and probably last litter of kittens a were a joy to raise and all found wonderful forever homes.

February was a bit of a big month. I had my first commission project for Love crochet magazine and got the lovely surprise of it being the cover project.


 Two projects for February Craftseller magazine, this very sweet daffodil brooch

 and a piggy cup warmer.

 I had a photo of my omnipoms shown on the telly on Sunday brunch.
 Finally the first book projects I worked on were released my dot the dragon fly pattern was published in the American book Crochet critters and bugs.
 I was also involved in this wonderful crochet book and did many of the toy and amigurumi patterns for it.








In march my project for Craftseller magazine made it onto the cover. These lovely Easter chicks are ever so simple to make but very cute and effective.
 I had another crochet project in this months craftseller magzine aswell as the chick my pattern for this useful string shopping bag.
Sticking with chicks I had another Easter project in march's Lets knit magazine.


I also started to relaunch some of my patterns in my etsy pattern shop and jain the snail got a bit of a make over.



By April the amount of work I had coming in gave me little time to do anything else. My whole work life balance got very unbalanced but the reward was see in my work in more and more publications.

Craftseller this month was one of my favourate things to make this very retro but pretty cushion


Inside crochet published my Lucy bunny pattern and my simple crochet ball earring. (Lots more crochet jewelry coming this year so stay tuned)





 I became an Aunty again when we welcomed little Hector into the world this month. I can't believe how small he is in this pic hes huge now and crawling all over the place :)


I released two new patterns into my etsy pattern shop my blossom fairy and my bride doll. I am slightly ashamed that this was the last of the new patterns I had time to do for my own shop for the rest of the year, my brides groom is still legless at the bottom of my work bag waiting to get put together. I'll be putting lots of work into my etsy shop this year and there will be lots and lots of new patterns and my bride will have her groom very soon.


Finally this month my Scottie dog pattern I'd done for Craftseller magazine last year was repuplished in this months Love crochet magazine.

May was my take over of the crochet section of most newagents not only was my lovely mermaid on the cover of Craftseller magazine..

I had my hedgehog pattern republished in this handmade toys magazine.

 I had one of my most popular patterns of Eric the elephant on the cover of Love crochet


 along with his pals Archie and blossom the panda inside the mag.

 Love Crochet magazine published my floral needlework set and my delicious ice creams.


 I had lulu the rag doll and these wierd animal masks published in a magazine called cute characters to make.
 Finally this month my bunny and chick from last years Lets knit magazine was re published in this creative crochet magazine.
It was a bit of a crazy month with so many of my patterns being published in one month and it was all a bit overwhelming but the lovely knock on effect was even more offers of work coming in.

 At this time I dropped some hours in my day job so I could concentrate on doing more crochet more. I think this was also the month that my yarn stash became bigger than a mountain.

June


I tried my first attempt at a full crochet garment pattern and the results were this sunny lacy cardie that was published in this months Craftseller.

Along with the Cardigan they also commissioned this boy tourist doll.

I also released some free patterns in connection with Craftseller online including this pretty bunting design.


My geisha girls also got reprinted this month and appeared on the cover of Love knitting and crochet magazine.

well that's it for the first half of the year, I'll type up the rest of the year soon xxx