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Monday, 30 December 2013

Seaside Christmas


No, I'm not at the seaside. Given the recent weather in Britain, I am perhaps quite pleased not to be at our windblown coast. I just thought I would post a few pictures of my own Christmas tree, with some of my knitted sea creatures that I have made into decorations.


It might seem a bit strange to have sea creatures on your tree. When I created most of these patterns I did not intend them as Christmas ornaments. (The exception is the sand dollar, which was a special request for Christmas.) But the scallop shell, sand dollar, star and fish do all have symbolic a link to Christianity, so perhaps it does seem apt to find them on a tree at this time of year.



There are links to my patterns for all these creatures on ravelry in my sidebar on the left, or on Craftsy in my right sidebar.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Hedgehogs


Another group of little presents, which I have made for my daughter to give to some of her friends for Christmas. They are knitted from Raynor Gellatly's Harry Hedgehog Pattern, which I found in her free patterns on ravelry, and they are very easy to make. 

I made some small ones following the pattern exactly, and larger ones by just increasing for two extra rows. I might have a go at making some even larger ones. I think they are really cute. She also gave one to her teacher and says it sits on his desk now, next to a ladybird.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Pohutukawa


I promised one more fairy, and here she is. She is called Pohutukawa, and is for my friend from New Zealand. My friend is not going home to New Zealand this year, so I am hoping she will remind her of home (in a good way) and not make her too sad.


She is the fairy of the pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa), which is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree. I had a lot of fun researching the flowers of New Zealand, before discovering her. She lives in this little red velvet bag.





Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Snowflake


This is Snowflake. I found the wool for her hair in the bottom of my stash. No idea where it came from, but it is just perfect for this vibrant girl. Her dress is much more blue than it looks in this picture.


She lives in this sparkly, embroidered bag. I love embroidering snowflakes, as you can quite legitimately make every one different.



The other fairies of my self-imposed Fairy Week are, Dandelion, Holly, Christmas Fairies and Lily.

There will be one more fairy, but since she is a gift for a friend I will not show her quite yet.



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Lily


Meet Lily, the next of fairy of Fairy Week. She is a very special fairy, for a girl whose name you can probably work out. 

When I was asked to make her I started researching lilies. So many types: water lilies, lily of the valley, tiger lilies. In the end I decided to make a calla or arum lily. It is so distinctive and cannot be mistaken for any other flower. As well as the lily on her hat, she has a little lily to carry.




The other fairies so far are Dandelion, Holly, and the Christmas Fairies.

Who will tomorrow's fairy be?

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Fairies


Here as promised are two fairies today. No flowers this time, they are simply Christmas Fairy Friends. I am going to put them in Etsy together, and have made and embroidered a slightly larger drawstring bag, which fits them both.

I'm still having problems with the light in my photographs. I really hate flash, so had to rush up to the top of the house to try and photograph them directly under the skylight. "Can't talk children, I've got to photograph fairies."




You can also see the other fairies in Fairy Week, Dandelion and Holly, and there will be more tomorrow.



Saturday, 7 December 2013

Holly


So it is Day Two of my attempt to have a new fairy every day this week, and I am already slightly regretting my rash promise. Dandelion was yesterday's fairy. Holly is a much more Christmassy Fairy. She has holly leaves for wings, and some bright red berries on her hat.  


I sat up quite late last night doing the embroidery on her bag. The dupion silk has a lovely rough quality, and although once again the light is not good for photographs, I think my photos do show the real (not too brash) gold colour.


I really wanted to photograph her with a sprig of holly, and although there is a lovely holly tree with lots of berries in someone's garden in my road, I was too chicken to reach over and pick a sprig. My daughter was extremely embarrassed that I even considered doing this, so instead I hope her fluffy dressing gown gives a snowy background.


There will be no fairies on Sunday, but hopefully on Monday (light being suitable) there will be a duo.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Dandelion


Meet Dandelion. She is not very seasonal, I know, but I have some more fairies (some of whom are a bit more Christmassy), and am going to feature them all over the next week. Hopefully there will be a new one to see each day. I started off thinking I will make angels, but they have ended up being fairies again. 

My problem has been photographing them, as the light does not seem good before I go to work, or when I get back.





For some reason I keep humming Barry Manilow's Copacabana. Can't think why! She just looks like a bit of a show girl to me. She is off to Etsy later today, where I have had a bit of a run of sales on my fairies recently.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Bugs












I've been so busy crafting for Christmas I have nothing very new to show this week. I am a bit craft-faired out, and am going to get back to making something just for the sheer fun of it next week.

So I just thought I would put together a compilation of all my minibeasts and bugs. Patterns for all the above are on Craftsy and ravelry (some for free), and on the others I have a Minibeast promotion: £1 off if you buy any two of the above patterns together.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Selfie


I'm not very keen on photos of myself. Apart from all the predictable reasons, I tend to shut my eyes when I'm being photographed. We had our photos taken at school last week for new i.d. badges, and while everyone else just got snapped, it took eight attempts before the photographer got one without me squinking. 

So this is the closest I am going to get to a self-portrait. It does sort of sum me up though. But I am still not very happy. Shouldn't I go in at least a bit at the waist?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Love Heart Phone Cosies


One last batch of iphone/phone cosies, and then I am definitely moving on. I decided to have a go at something a bit more graphic with simple colours, that I hope might appeal to teenagers. So these are the Love Heart Cosies. The colours really are this bright.



The embroidered hearts are made up of lots of hand-embroidered french knots. It is fun slowly building up the knotty area, and the padding of the knots give a bit of extra protection to the phone or iphone. I have found them really quite hard to photograph, but hope you can tell how thick and luscious the hearts are.


The top of the cosy is so stretchy it is really easy to get your iphone in and out, but tight enough so it won't fall out. If you want to make your own my pattern is still available free on ravelry, and my tutorial on french knots is in my right sidebar.


These are really aimed at my forthcoming craft fairs, but I may put a few in my Etsy shop. I am toying with the idea of something for the boys. Perhaps an embroidered skull made up of knots, as there do seem a lot of skulls around. Can't quite decide, as time is running out, and also my son insists that no self-respecting boy would want any sort of knitted cosy for his phone. He's probably right!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Pansies and Violas

I do promise to stop with the flowers soon. It is just that they are such fun. The flower photos below are violas, from the window boxes at the front of my house. I love their cheery little faces.
 

So I have used them as inspiration for some more cosies, but this time not for phones, but for glasses. I thought they might make good Granny gifts. Using my phone cosy pattern, which is free on ravelry and Craftsy, but just knitting them a bit longer. I have also sewn in a felt lining to give them a bit more rigidity. 


So are my flowers pansies or violas? I had thought that it was simple: the little ones are violas, and the bigger ones pansies. But after a little bit of research I find the National Viola and Pansy Society say that officially a Pansy must have a blotch (that is a consolidation of the rays that forms the dark velvety face of the bloom), while a Viola may have some rays, but these should not be so thick as to form a blotch. However commercial breeding of pansies and violas has somewhat blurred this definition. Though I am also sort of right too as violas are smaller than pansies.


Did you know that the name Pansy actually comes from the French word pensee, meaning "remembrance" or "thought"; thus when a bouquet of pansies is given to you, it means, "I'm thinking of you." The French believed that pansies could make your lover think of you.

Nicknames for the pansy include heartsease, love-in-idleness, godfathers and godmothers, call-me-to-you, jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me and faces-under-the-hood. And biblically, because of its tricolor, the pansy is often considered a symbol of the Trinity, and was sometimes called herb trinity.

Pansies are steeped in folklore. Pluck one of the upper petals, and your lover's future can be foretold by counting the veins that run through it. Four veins means there's hope; seven means forever in love; eight, a fickle lover; nine, a change of heart is on the horizon; and finally 11 an early death for the love of your life. 




Gosh, this has become a very wordy post for me.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Little Owls


I couldn't think what to post today, as I am part way through another project. I am not very good at writing about WIP's, but prefer posting about projects when they are finished. I'm not sure what that says about me. 

But then I remembered these little guys. 

I knitted them back in the summer when we were on holiday in France. They are from a free pattern on ravelry, called Owls Two Ways. Really nice simple pattern, which also has a crochet version. The knitted owls are done on double-points. 


I like a project on holiday where I do not have to refer to the pattern too much, and after knitting one or two I could more or less keep the instructions in my head. Some of these chaps were knitted on the ferry and the beach, where it is nice not to have to worry about your pattern being whisked away by the wind.

I did slightly altered the pattern, by adding the wings, and for some of the owls instead of sewing a seam along the top of the head I grafted. You can see this in the photo above: grey owl is sewn, tan one is grafted. This was just really because at the time I had just discovered grafting, and enjoyed doing it so much.  


What I like about the owls is that by using different wools, slightly altering the size, adding a few speckles, they do seem to take on a life of their own.