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?