Friday, 16 December 2011

Oh dear...

...Where has the time gone?  I'm sorry that I've been gone from this little space for so long but I can explain.  Sort of.

You see, I lost my crafty mojo.  I worked hard on my friend's doll and then all my desire to create just fizzled out.  Yep.  Just before Christmas too.  Needless to say, only one person is getting a handmade gift from me this year and I think she'll be getting it late.  Whoops.  That's not what I had planned! 

BUT, I'm going to fix this for next year!  I'm going to work on gifts all year!  I will be prepared!!  More on this later, though (I've got some plans...but let's get through this Christmas first).

Anyway, I am truly sorry for my long absence and will be back (and better than ever!) soon. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Meet (baby) Amyrlin!

I can't believe I've waited four whole days to share this, but here is the little doll I made for my friend Lydia.

Ta-da!!!


(Baby) Amyrlin is modeled after Lydia's night elf druid on World of Warcraft.  She's an avid pet collector in the game so, of course, I had to make an amigurumi hyacinth macaw as well.  (Luckily, Lydia recognized both dolls as what I meant them to be - thank you, facial markings!)


This was a great project for me because I got to try several new things.  My first doll, my first embroidered face and my first amigurumi.  I'm delighted with how everything turned out...especially the hyacinth macaw.  I now have three more sets of safety eyes so I look forward to making some more amigurumi critters.



As far as the doll...well...I want one too, but I think I'll wait until I hone my sewing skills a little before attempting another one.


(Baby) Amyrlin was made using a Bit of Whimsy pattern and I used Lion Brand's parrot pattern for the hyacinth macaw.

Tomorrow I'll share what Lydia made for me!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

One thing I really miss about living at home in California, is Halloween.  Sure, it's acknowledged and sometimes even celebrated here...but not like it is in America.  That being said, our Halloween plans are still up in the air but I bought some candy just in case. Here it is hanging out on my coffee table. 


Oh...and I finished a doily from Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts!  Lacy Crochet.  Have a fun and safe evening!

Friday, 28 October 2011

57 Days...

...Until Christmas!  Can you believe it?  This year has flown by so quickly that I swear it's still August  (especially because it's so nice out today).  Thanks to a 1/2 off toy sale at our local grocery store, my husband and I have pretty much finished shopping for our little guy.   While that's certainly a relief, there's still SO. MUCH. TO. DO.  I still need to finish the chevy blanket for my friend, Max, as well as make gifts for many of the lovely ladies in my family.  I have an idea of what to make for a couple of people but I'm otherwise totally stumped.  Luckily, my copy of Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts!  Lacy Crochet arrived today and there are so many great projects in it.





While on the subject of Christmas, I can actually share one of the gifts I made because I've already given it.  Truth be told, I'm always pretty lousy at waiting to give people gifts (that is, when I'm not being lousy about even getting/making a gift at all) but this time I really had to.  When my cousin was here I showed her a picture of the scarf I made for my mom and she loved it (so much that she asked where to find the pattern so she could make some for friends).  Then, as we were talking about yarn, I showed her the various colors of King Cole Riot that I like to use and she pointed at the exact yarn that I used for her gift (I KNEW she'd like it since her favorite color is orange).  It was meant to be.



Ta-da!  Another Queen Anne's lace scarf!  I love making these. 

Anyway, I'm hoping to get another 6 or 8 rows done on the chevy blanket this weekend as well make a doily or two.  Maybe I'll even make another Christmas gift. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Forever a student

I recently found the most wonderful blog for people who want to learn how to crochet.  Dana of Craftyminx has so kindly been teaching Crochet School (for free!!) during the month of October and I love it.  She covers everything from the parts of a hook and types of yarn fiber to increasing/decreasing and working in the round. Even though I know how to make all the basic stitches, I'm following along and learning new things (or at least how to do some things the 'right' way).  If you've always wanted to learn how to crochet, you no longer have an excuse not to! 

Look...I've even included a button on my blog.  Check it out!

(p.s.  I don't know if you've noticed, but I've also added a Pinterest button.  Oh my gosh, is that website addictive!)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Doilies!

Since learning how to crochet I've been all over the place in terms of what I want to make.  Hats (however sad they my be), scarves, blankets, mittens, toys, jewelry, handbags, doilies...I want to make it all!  Unfortunately, each project will have to wait its turn because I just can't do it all at once.  The one thing I was really itching to try though, were doilies.  So, on the way home from Stonehenge last week, we stopped at Hobbycraft and I picked up some crochet thread and teeny tiny hooks and gave it a go.


These truly are titchy stitches!

My first attempt was made from this super easy pattern.  It's a bit small (the pattern says to use sock yarn, not crochet thread) but I like how it turned out and I'm even making another one with some different thread.  The second (unfinished) doily came from here.  It's a little more complicated than the first so I haven't finished it yet...but I will. 

Next on my list is to get this little beauty (Just ordered it!) and find new uses for my crochet thread (and make more doilies).



Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A week ago

Last week (when my cold was at its worst) I went on a day trip with my cousin to see Stonehenge.  It was my second time there (her first, hence the reason we went) but I still found it as magical as the first time. 








I'm sorry for the long absence.  Between not feeling well, toddler sleep issues and early mornings at work, I just couldn't persuade myself to sit down and write (or lounge on the sofa and write, like I am right now).  Hopefully all that has passed now (well...except the early mornings at work...those won't change) so I won't be taking anymore long breaks. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Man cold

I'm sorry it's been so quiet here over the last few days.  We've had visits from family which has kept me quite busy and on top of that, I have a cold.  Not just any cold....a man cold (it is totally possible for a woman to get a man cold, just ask my husband.).  I'll leave you with a funny little video and hopefully be back tomorrow.



Bring on the Lemsip!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Should have made a pillowcase

If you're like me and haven't sewn in a long time, take my advice and do NOT make a little doll your first project.  Make something like a pillowcase...or a tote bag.  Anything with lots of straight lines. The pattern I'm using is easy enough but the pieces are small...with curves!  I'm getting through it but not without many mistakes and do-overs.  Honestly, if I had just a little more experience I could have finished it in an evening.  Easily.

Here are a couple of my 'oops' moments (sorry about the horribly dark photos):


  Yikes!

My stitches are all wrong in both pictures but I've worked everything out now...after some trial and error(s). 

I've also been working on a new blanket for my friend Max of Magic Belles.  I'm using the same yarn, hook and pattern that I used for the baby blanket I finished recently...except I chose not to work into the front and back stitches.  The result is that the stitches are spaced pretty far apart:


I'm liking it, though.  The colors are fun and bright and I think Max's daughter will like it too.

Finally, I'm not the only crafty one in the family.  Today my son made his first pasta picture at toddler group.



 I might have helped a little...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Meet Fred...

...My new sewing machine.


Fred has lived in my house for a few weeks but we didn't start getting to know each other until today.  He's sturdy and easy to use so I think we might become good friends.  Honestly, I don't think I've used a sewing machine since I made a skirt when I was 17.  That's a long time ago.  Like, over 5 years! (Okay...maybe even more than that)  Luckily, when my mom bought Fred for me (thanks mom!!), she also bought a handy guide to help me relearn many things I've forgotten.


I'm definitely a beginner again!  Phrases beginning with, "What the..." and "Where the..." came out of my mouth a lot.  A LOT!  Anyway, during my son's nap today I cut out all the pattern pieces for the doll I'm making and I even sewed some arms and legs.  I would show them off here but, unfortunately, all my work is top secret for now.  Oh...and they weren't that good.  In fact, I'll be sewing the arms and legs again later.  It's nice to be sewing again, though!  Hooray!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Challenging

A few weeks ago, my friend Lydia wrote on my facebook wall in response to me expressing a desire to own this book.

"Bria, I have a proposal for you:
You make me some awesome kind of raggy doll thing, with typical Bria flare and creativity, and I will draw you a picture. We can swap gifts when I come see you in Nov :¬) xx"

Let's quickly go over a few facts:
  1. I have never (ever) made a doll.  Ever.
  2. I have not positioned myself in front of a sewing machine in years.
  3. Oh!  But I DO have a brand new sewing machine!

So all I have to say is...




Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Ta-da!


I did it!  Here is my first ever completed blanket!!  (I used Vicky Howell's Chevy Baby Blanket pattern).  I don't exactly know how long this took to make but I DO know that I did it very, very quickly.   When I started it I didn't even have plans to see the friend I made it for, but plans were made when I was only a few rows in so I had to work quickly.  In fact, I finished it within an hour of meeting with her.  WHEW!

Unfortunately, due to my haste, mistakes were made.  I spotted this one too late (I had already done another seven rows):

AAAARRRRGGGG!!!!

If I didn't have a deadline I probably would have gone back corrected my mistake but I just didn't have time.  But look...if I pull a little here and poke a little there, it's gone!

Like magic! (okay...not really)


 THIS is magic.  


(P.S.  The model in the first photo is a child's chair...not a full-sized chair)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Fit for a Queen

My mom finally received the gift I sent (only 3 days late...oops!) so I can finally share what I made for her.  I used the fabulous tutorial from Mrs. Micawber to make a Queen Anne's Lace scarf.  The pattern is really quite easy and making each shell is so addictive that this scarf can be made very quickly.

Anyway, my mom wanted a yellow scarf to add some color to her wardrobe this winter so I bought what I thought was mostly yellow yarn with a bit of purple....

Um...no yellow here!

I guess this is what happens when you buy stuff over the internet.  Luckily, I was still pleased with the colors and I think my mom is too.


I like it so much that I think I'll have to make one for myself as well (in black, perhaps).  A girl can never have to many scarves, right?

Yarn:  King Cole Riot (Hot)  30% wool, 70% acrylic -- I really like this yarn!
Hook:  5mm  -- I'm noticing a trend in my work...I like big stitches. 


Lastly, I'm going to finish the baby gift I've been working on.  JUST. IN. TIME!!  I'll share photos tomorrow.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Summer at last!



England is currently having a lovely little spell of gorgeous weather.  I don't know why we couldn't have had more weather like this when it was actually summertime, but I'll take what I can get.  We went to a BBQ on Tuesday (so much for all that crocheting I was going to do) which kept me from doing housework, which in turn, kept me from crocheting yesterday because I was busy cleaning house.  Whew!

Today I have (so far) added four rows to the baby gift I'm working on and I'm planning to add more later when the little one goes to bed.  I now have until Tuesday to get it, and another small project done.  I can totally do this, right?

Sure I can.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

None a Day

Today should be my One a Day post but I don't have anything to show.  You see, I signed up for the One a Day group on Ravelry about a month ago thinking that I could be a part of something bigger...a whole bunch of people working on one square or one stripe a day!  Unfortunately, with birthdays on the way and the arrival of babies, I've been busy with other projects that need a lot more work than one a day.  Oh.  And I don't have the yarn for a big project.  I'm still a little scared of buying yarn.  I don't know how much I'm going to need and I have a hard time picking colors...AND buying so much yarn can get expensive.  It's a big commitment!

So instead of showing my One a Day progress (which is none), I'll provide a little link to what I want to make when I finally get around to taking the plunge and buying some yarn:  Ta-Da!!  I really like the idea of using grey, black and white as the main colors in a granny square blanket.  The only change I'd make is using more colors for the middle of the squares.

Anyway, I've finished another project but I can't really share what it is yet (It's for my mom's birthday).  Here's a little teaser:
 Yep.  This is all you get.

After I finished it I quickly switched to another WIP for a new baby girl who I hope to meet soon.  Again, I can't divulge too much but I'll give you this:

Very pink!

Fingers crossed that I can crochet 10 or mabye 20 a day!



Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cascade


A few weeks ago I finished my very first scarf.  I found this super easy pattern for a lovey cascade scarf and knew I had to make it.  After staring at yarn online for half a day, I finally chose the color 'magic' from King Cole Riot and I wasn't disappointed.  I'm not a huge fan of purple but I forgive this yarn for being so purpley because it's so nice to work with and I love all the other colors (especially the blue!).

Oooooo

Aaaaaaahh

Ooohhh

One of my favorite things about this scarf is the large, loose stitches.  I'm completely mesmerized by them (yes, I am that easily entertained).  I was originally planning on making a bunch of these for Christmas presents but I think my plans have changed.  Although I loved making this and I really like the result, I don't want to get stuck in a rut (oh, did I mention that I also made one in black?).

Anyway, time for some technical stuff
Yarn:  King Cole Riot (Magic)  30% wool, 70% acrylic
Hook:  7mm
Changes to the pattern:  I only chained 160 (instead of 170) so I wouldn't run out of yarn. 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Hooked!

Hello, my name is Bria, and I'm a crochetaholic.  I love it!  I stare at crochet blogs and get lost looking at pictures on Ravelry...all I want to do is make beautiful, fun, funky things with some yarn and a hook.  Unfortunately, I'm just a beginner without much of a stash of gorgeous wool (or cotton, or acrylic) to make stuff from so I'm stuck with small projects at the moment.  So, how did staring at photos of yarn take over my life?  I'll tell you!  Lucky you.

In early July, I came across this tutorial on how to make a knotted headband.  It looked so easy,  doable even.  I had tried (and failed at) crochet before so I knew I could (at the very least) make a long chain and use a hot glue gun.  We live nowhere near a craft store and we don't drive so actually getting the materials was going to be tricky but when we went on vacation to Lerwick, Shetland, I knew I'd be able to get some good yarn there.  Of course, that's just what I did.  I bought some lovely black wool with silver sparkles and set to work making chains.  It felt so....crafty.  I was actually MAKING something for the first time since I'd moved to England (unless you count making a baby...yeah...probably doesn't count).  Here is the finished product:


Pretty cute, huh?  Well, I felt silly for being so proud of myself because all I had done was make a chain.  How hard is that?  So I looked up some basic crochet tutorials on YouTube and set to work learning how to really crochet.  These are some of my early creations:


All of this while I was still on vacation.  I'm pretty sure my mother-in-law (and husband, for that matter) thought I was a bit nuts for spending so much time crocheting, but the seed had been planted.  I couldn't stop.  Of course, making little flowers and granny squares can be very fun but I needed something more.  Something bigger.  So I found this hat tutorial on ThreadBanger.  Maybe it was too much too soon because this is the sad hat I made (while on a ferry in the North Sea):

 Mushroom?  UFO?  Who knows!

Poor sad hat.  I should really frog the whole thing and reuse the yarn...perhaps I could make another hat.  A hat that I would actually wear!

Since making the sad hat I've actually completed some things I like (more on those later).  The problem with finding a new hobby is that I want to do EVERYTHING...right NOW!!  It's hard to step back and thoughtfully choose one project to work on and finish before moving on to the next one.  I think I need to make a list...and I need a fairy yarnmother to shower with me gorgeous skeins of lovely yarn.

And that's it.  My very (VERY) short crochet history.

UPDATE:  I took photos of the sad hat while my son was napping but left it on the coffee table when I was finished.  Well...apparently the sad hat has a fan.  Once he got up, my two year old discovered the sad hat, shouted, "HAT!" and then ran around wearing it for quite awhile.  Maybe I won't frog it after all.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A rebirth of sorts

Well...this is most certainly not my first attempt at blogging.  I've had two blogs before this one that have fallen by the wayside.  I just lost interest in the first and the second was so boring that I didn't even want to read it (actually, there were probably BOTH boring).

So here we go again.  I'm hoping this will be a place for me to share some of the things I make as well as some of the stuff that goes on around me.  I'm not an excellent writer so I may make mistakes and I won't always be witty or clever.  Perhaps I just need to find my voice.  Fingers crossed...