28 March 2010

Back to the Hook

This weekend,I felt the urge to get back to hook and needle. I really want to finish my Lucy inspired Summer Garden Granny Square blanket that I began back in October last year. However, my attention span is not well-suited to big projects, so I will work on it little by little while I concentrate on some smaller stuff.

I really like this shawl patten from this book:
A bigger project than I had in mind, but the motifs are very simple to crochet. I made one up in some white cotton double knit yarn with a 4mm hook:

Then in a four ply with a 3mm hook (the size in the pattern):

Here they are side by side -  quite a difference in size

I'm thinking it will make a nice table cloth (or runner!). I'll probably stick with white or cream (although I do like that pink shade a LOT) but can't decide which size to make (the larger has a diameter of  4.5", the smaller is 3" across - excluding corner loops). The bigger one would be much quicker to make, but the smaller one gives a more delicate effect.

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll know how indecisive I am. Which version do you think would look best?     

24 March 2010

Printing Practice

I couldn't wait to get going with the linocuts, so I delved straight in. I found it was much more difficult than I expected!

The fish was my first effort; I chose a design with simple lines and little detail to get the feel for cutting the lino. Far from perfect but strangely satisfying results. The colour is uneven and my cutting skills  need a LOT more practice.

In fact, every step of the process, from coming up with a design (thinking about what will work in terms of negative space and cut lines), carving the lino out (I cut myself TWICE and still can't get a clean empty space on the lino), applying the ink (how much, how little?) and finally pressing the image to the paper (has it pressed evenly?)  all require practice, patience and attention. Oh, and more practice.

I really wanted to try a design in black - so along came the tree:
Again, I wasn't dissapointed, despite the mistakes and imperfections. I can't explain it, but there's something about the process that separates me from the final piece, unlike painting or drawing an image directly onto paper. The mistakes (and lack of experience) seem less personal somehow, I don't take them to heart. 

So, after getting two holes in the lino, two cuts in my finger and making a whole lot of mess, I have a pile of rushed practice prints
I have discovered that there is a fascination in this for me. Although I loved linocuts before, I can now truly appreciate the skill that goes into creating them.

NEXT time, I will do it at a table and not the floor and NEXT time I will take my time! I definitely want to continue to learn about this craft and to practice, practice, practice.

23 March 2010

Brand Spanking New

Oh- oh! I've been shopping.
What's in the bag?


Not this time

Embroidery goodies?

No, you will never guess.
I have found myself a completely new (to me) way to spend money crafty interest.

Want to look?

I'm going to have a go at lino cut printing!

I always love lino prints when I see them. There's something so satisfying in their simplicity on the paper. Just do a search on Etsy or Folksy and you'll see what I mean. I was inspired mostly by some prints I saw yesterday by Sarah Young and by seeing fellow blogger Mayaluna show how to make a stamp (clever girl also prints on fabric).

So, I'll go and have a play with my new toys and hope to show you the results soon!

07 March 2010

Paper Play

Hello all! Ever since I was very small I could often be found playing with paper. I'd usually sit snip snip snipping it to make snowflakes or paper people chains or some other intricate creation. Sometimes I would make things like newspaper palm trees or paper houses. There would usually be a trail of little snippets of paper where I had been. Well, not a lot changes. Nowadays it's making cards and an itch to create a collage.

So when I read Lucy's post back in November about Decopatch I filed the information away in the back of my head. Then in February I was at a craft fair in Brighton and came across the Decopatch stand ...so of course I HAD to get some bits and pieces. It wasn't until I was doing my blog catch ups last week that I found that Kinbles had also been inspired by our Lucy, shopped at the same stall as me and been busy busy Decopatching. You can see her results here, aren't they lovely?

So, here are my efforts so far. Please excuse the fuzzy photos!

This is Dippy the dinosaur, my first attempt. I used three different papers to cover the blank form. Tear, stick, tear, stick....so satisfying. Easy and quick.

Next on my hitlist was a mirror with an ugly broken plastic frame.

A hot glue gun, some torn paper and glue and it looks so much better (its even nicer in real life, trust me!)  I also covered the fronts of the drawers in an Ikea wooden storage box. My parents bought me this years ago for me to decorate. It houses a lot of my jewellery making bits and pieces.

I'm not too keen on the bottom two drawers and may re-cover them at some point. My favourite is the top left drawer. I'm planning on giving the box a coat of paint to finish it off. I also have an old and rather tatty coffee table that I'm thinking is going to get the treatment. If  I do it, I'll post a pic, I've already done a couple of patches on it to see how it looks (not that it could look worse than it did!).

Well, the weekend is almost over and I still have some birthday presents to start making for the end of the week so I will run along now.

02 March 2010

Spring Has Sprung! (and about time too!)

After torrential rain and mad gustiness over the weekend, the last two days have been lov-er-ly. The winter coat has been replaced with a lightweight, I am able to walk to and from work in daylight (hurray!), the crocuses are pushing up to say hello, the birds are singing, I have some sunny yellow tulips by the window and all is right with the world.

I like many things about winter but in January and early February I get the blahs. I just want to sleep and my energy, creativity and mood take a dive. Which is why there has been such a long gap since my last post. I have had no words and nothing to report on. Even getting myself in front of the computer was a struggle and my reading of  other blogs (and my e-mails) dwindled from daily to rarely.

But I'm back now and need to get busy as there are some birthdays coming up! I still intend to include a little homemade something in the gifts so will be letting you all know how it's going. Can you believe that this:
is all the crochet I've done since I last wrote here? Maybe I was dreaming of spring, knowing that my spark would come back with the flowers.

So I will leave you all to some more yellow floweriness and hope that they give you the lift that they give to me!
Now I'm off to catch up with my favourite bloggers... take care