Friday, November 4, 2011

Little Red

Ah! I must say I'm writing this post with a muster of enthusiasm, which is quite novel. The last few weeks have been quite productive, craft wise. I'll start with the seasonal offering - my Little Red Riding Hood costume. I figured if I found material for the hood cheap enough I could put together the rest of the costume using stuff I already owned, so it has a pleasing balance between creativity and economy. I found a red bed sheet in a charity shop, and used the flounced edge as a detail in the hood. I used this tutorial as a guide for anyone who's interested. The only two specific things that make a Red Riding Hood costume are the hood and the basket (which in the sotry contain wine and fruit, but I opted for a box of Lemsip and a Get Well Soon card). If you look for Red Riding Hood costumes on google all you find are big busted women in low cut tops, which didn't seem overly authentic to me, given that Red Riding Hood was little. Despite the freedom to interpret the costume however I wanted, nothing in my wardrobe seemed suitable, so I used up some fabric from my stash to make a basic black and white lolita style dress, then use some red dye I also had hanging around to give it the appropriate coloring. The idea would be that I'd be able to wear the dress again, rather than having another costume cluttering up my place year round. I used this tutorial for the dress - I've used this pattern several times now and I love it. I didn't put the flounce on the end - I wore a white frilly skirt of mine underneath to add a slight bit of volume.
Then I made a few finishing touches.

Et voila.

The rest of the time I've been playing with yarn, Be it spinning and plying....

....or making hats as birthday gifts....

....or working up some luxurious mitts for myself.
The hat was made using this free pattern from Ravelry and worked up quick on mighty 8mm double-pointed needles. The gloves were improvised as I went along - the cable pattern is as basic as you can get. Apart from that, I am currently working on a few little things which I can't publish now - it would ruin surprises!

Stay crafty.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So, as you may or may not have noticed, I did not post last weekend. This was intentional, as a means of easing us all into a new way of doing things. For the next few months at least, I am going to suspend my normal system of posting every week. There are several reasons for this, the chief one being that my next few planned projects are for people who read this blog. Another reason is that I hope to do a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between my Donegal homeland and other places over the next whileen, which also brings disruption to the post every week ethos. I hope that by just posting when I feel a genuine urge, when I genuinely feel like I have something cool to show, will encourage me to spend a bit more time both on the projects and on the posts themselves. My prose of late has been rather functional, I'll be the first to admit. I'm sure you'll be inconsolable at this news, but don't worry, it will never be too far from another post. Who knows - with the 'pressure' off, they may even become more frequent! And what celebrations we will have then. Ok, for now, tirrah.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Winter preparations

This week saw the beginning of another jigsaw - as I mentioned last week, my sister asked me to complete another 1350 piece monstrosity she needs for an upcoming exhibition. Having already done one, I'm attacking portions of the all-blue sea as early as I can this time. The more pieces you get out of the way, the quicker you progress. Some of these pictures are quite poor quality, being taken on my phone.
Day 1.
Was busy doing some things on day 2, so nothing was done. Day 3.
Day 4.
Day 5 (today, only an hour or so at it today).
Jigsaw aside, I managed to squeeze in some knitting at Stitch'n'Bitch yesterday. I made some small mistakes in my cable gloves, but as they're for me, I decided, as I generally do, to just live with it. When I broke for the thumb where I did, I didn't think the cable would lie so much to one side, but I quite like the accidental asymmetrical slant. 
This week I also remembered I was supposed to be making a crocheted hat for the boyfriend of a friend. I hooked it on in the middle of August and promptly forgot about it. Once remembered, it didn't take long to finish.
Have an interesting (in a good way) week everyone

Monday, September 26, 2011

Don't be such a chicken

I decided not to post last week - while I had done some knitting, the majority of my time was taken up doing the jigsaw for my sister which I mentioned previously. It's nearly finished now, but as my sister is under a lot of time pressure I'm going to do another one for her, on a tighter time schedule. Her exhibition is sure to be awesome thanks to my mad jigsaw skillz.
As predicted, I had to frog the cable gloves (mentioned here). I hadn't accounted for how much the cable pulls in the stitches around it and they were too small. I've started them again with more stitches this time.

A friend of mine is passionate about poultry welfare, so for her birthday this week I made this little guy from polymer clay. He has a little dot of red clay on his butt, but I feel it just adds to the charm....right? The beak was made with white clay and colored in yellow with a Sharpie.

These are also for her. I don't know how I survived this long without being able to make facecloths as a quick, useful gift. The color scheme was selected especially to cater to her love of purple.

Right. I gotta go finish this jigsaw before round 2.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cable girl

As some of you may know, I used to be an avid baker. Nary a birthday would pass by without my smuggling something into the party house under tin foil wraps. Like a lot of things, this has fallen by the wayside in recent years, mostly due to time constraints. Well, time is (mostly) all mine now, so I judged it time for a return to my old distraction. I wanted to make something new, and decided on cinnamon buns, because me and my sweet tooth love cinnamon buns on a Sunday morning. I used this recipe, altering it both in the rising time (I made the dough yesterday and let it rise overnight so all I'd have to do today was make the filling and pop them in the oven) and in some ingredients (I left out the pecans, and used demera instead of plain brown sugar) . Unfortunately my oven must be a bit more powerful than some others - the tops (which became the bottoms when the buns were inverted as directed in the recipe) were a little burnt. They still taste pretty good, but next time I will keep a closer eye on them.
Today marks a year since I tipsily kissed a housemate in an altogether not unpremeditated act of daring. The bookmark below was a token gift to mark the occasion. This is not the same bike embroidery as last week - that was lost somewhere in the washing machine. It didn't take too long to reproduce though, and I think this second attempt is a mite better than the first.

Myself and same fella went for a cycle yesterday morning, which started late and ran a little overtime, meaning I couldn't make it to my local Stitch'n'Bitch group. I haven't been in months what with being at college all the time, and the last few Saturdays I've either been in Donegal or, erm, hungover. So though I missed today, at least it was to a healthier end. I have high hopes for next week. Anyhoo, I spent the resultant afternoon watching Adventure Time and casting on a new project -  some cabled mitts made with delicious yarn I got on my last trip to London. Unfortunately  I've since misplaced the label and I can't recall the exact yarn name or blend. What a shame, as it's so soft and luxurious I'd definitely be recommending it. I put a simple cable down the front. Having not worked with cables before, I didn't anticipate how much they would 'pull in' the stitches around them, making the circumference of the glove much smaller than that which I cast on. I foresee frogging in my future.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone. Don't get blown away.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Feeling puzzled

Before I discuss craftiness, I'd like to say a sincere thank you to everyone who made the last 2 weeks so awesome - between birthday and writing up celebrations, I've been thoroughly spoiled. Thank you all so much!

As I mentioned yonder week, I took advantage of my new found freedom to spend a few days at home in Donegal. Oh, the novelty of being at home for more than 48 hours! As I didn't have any knitting or crochet projects on the go at the time of my departure, I threw some embroidery floss and needles in my bag. My embroidery skills are poor, but nothing improves without practice.

The proportions on the bird are obviously incorrect - or maybe not, given that I was just making it up as I went along, it's not as if I had any specific breed in mind.

I wasn't the only one celebrating a birthday around these times - a friend of mine in Dublin was turning 30. I was unable to join the party, so I needed something small that could be send in the post. Cue another Totoro craft (you can see a previous incarnation here). This one was made with polymer clay - a word of advice? Putting polymer clay in at 220 degrees centigrade instead of fahrenheit will give you the following result, regardless of the sculpture you started with:
Much better results can be achieved if you follow the directions correctly. Here's my second attempt preoven.
And ready to be sent off, with eyes and chest marks painted out (inexpertly).
So there you have in. In actual fact I did make one other thing this week, but as it's a gift for someone who may read this blog's imminent birthday, I'll have to keep it secret for now. In the meantime, perhaps I'll mention something else I'm making - though not strictly a craft. My sister is an artist, whose work explores boredom and the acts we carry out as a means of escape. Jigsaws are recurring themes in her work - not just any jigsaws, big ones. She has a project coming up, and I've undertaken to do one of these big jigsaws for her as a means of easing the pressure on her. It's an atlas, so for the most part it should be fine. The sea however, will not be fun, lacking as it is in any distinctive features - this particular atlas has had the lines of latitude and longitude removed. Any tips? Apart from patience and perseverance?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

End of something big, start of....?

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the most impressive thing I made this week - certainly the thing I'm most proud of. While I could post the document itself, I doubt many would be overly interested in 124 pages about a specific aspect of carbohydrate chemistry. My mind is beginning to reconcile itself with the fact it's over - the hangover I had yesterday certainly helped drive the fact home. When I saw my Masters thesis all bound and professional looking and finished, my mind really was at a loss. What am I going to think about now? it asked me. Over the next few weeks I will attempt to answer this question.

I mentioned I was making an overly large hat last week. Despite ripping back and resizing once or twice, I couldn't get the size exactly the same. I decided to make it a little smaller, as I'm sure it will get stretched out with wear anyway.
I've been sketching a lot of sugar skulls lately - you may remember my skull shrinky necklaces from a few weeks ago. Today while nursing a still somewhat sore head (I haven't drunk that heavily in a while. Correction - I haven't drunk tequila in a while) and watching the cycling, I did a little bit of embroidery on the same theme.
I think we all look forward to me being able to take pictures in natural light. And perhaps spending more time making posts interesting too. As it is, I have a semi-busy first week of freedom, between getting some money sorted and and going to Donegal. Oh yes, I'll be going home during the week until next Monday, so the next post will either be late....or early. I haven't decided yet.

Have an awesome week everyone.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Attack of the 50 inch hat

Less than one week until my Masters thesis is handed up! I hope anyway - while there are some improvements I know I could make, at this stage I just want to get the thing out of my sight. Friday is the big day for me. As you can imagine, I'm looking forward to it immensely. I'm taking a few months off, and frugal months they'll be. Among other things - cycling, computers games, reviewing some more chemistry - I'm also hoping to step my crafting up a notch. With so much time on my hands I'll have no excuse for cutting corners and not improving my skills. It will be good for me to learn some patience - though with my chemistry work over the last year I have definately learned the value of taking the time to do something properly the first time. Putting it into practice in my crafting life will be its own reward.

The boyfriend of a good friend of mine had a crocheted hat that he loved. Well, he called it a hat, it was more like a yarn based tureen. 
Anyway, it got ripped and I was asked if I could have a go at repairing it. The damage was quite near the center of the hat - in order to repair it I was going to have to rip it nearly all the way back to the beginning anyway. If I did this, I wouldn't be confident if I could accurately recall how huge to make the hat, so instead I've just opted to make another one, using the original as a reference.
As you can see, I still have quite a bit to do, but with the chunky yarn and 6.5mm hook I don't imagine it will take very long. If the shape isn't right I'll have to rip back and do it again, but either way, nothing too labor intensive. Those crafts can wait another week or two.

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm no polymer chemist.

On my way home from college yesterday (only 2 more weeks until my thesis is handed in....I hope) I popped into Feanor, an incredibly well stocked craft shop here in Galway. Among other things, I picked up a sturdy cardboard box, of which they have an ample supply, all sizes, most shapes. Can you guess which shape I went for?

I painted a couple of base layers yesterday, I'm currently trying to decide what type of decorative feature to put on top. I also replenished my small collection Fimo polymer clay, this time with some glittery silver/gray. My sculpting skillz leave a serious amount to be desired. Cookie cutters are a blessing for polymer newbies.

I don't know why the star is so sad. Cheer up little star.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yes, you are earring me correctly.

Spain was awesome. I shan't bore you with details - I'm not travel writer, and my photos are only so so. If you want to read about interesting trips with good photographs and some crafty goodness, I advise you to wander over to my friend Fiona's blog - she's much better at it than I. Suffice to say there were long walks, aquariums, good food and bilingual confusion. I highly recommend San Sebastian as a destination for a couple of days stay, if you like walking and exploring. While we were away the aforementioned Fiona volunteered to feed and water our various creatures. As a gesture of thanks, I made this brooch today, featuring her flutterby favorite and my own brand of wonky mattress stitch. I think there's probably a bit too much distraction from the stitch details, but Fiona, I hope you like it!
If, like me, you like tacky stuff, Penneys is awesome (for any non-Irish readers, Penneys, also known as Primark, is an chain store which sprawls across Ireland and Great Britain. Selling clothes and accessories, they provide cheap versions of whatever fashion extravaganzas are sweeping the nations at that moment, as well as basics like underwear, socks, home-wares etc). I rarely pay full price for anything in Penneys though - the beauty of tack is to pay as little as possible for something which someone else paid full price for with no sense of irony. Such as the following earrings - 3 euro full price, or 50 cents on a good day.
I know what some of you may be thinking - as fond as I am of piercing, they're not really mon style. However, a bit of jiggery-pockery with some jump rings and round nose pliers can work wonders. Still as tacky as ever, but on my terms, and with more anchors.