Friday, 25 February 2011

Quick hat

After the enjoyable - but long - process that was Nelly the giraffe I was looking for a quick fix. It is hedonism after all that drives all this making.

The crochet tunic is going well but there is just so much of it. This is another reason why I never really make clothes for myself. Granny squares, mushrooms, and things for small people are so much quicker. So to give my eyes a break from all that black and just to get something finished I made this little hat.

I was reminded again why I am a crocheter and not a knitter, this genuinely was a quick hat. Not instant mind you, but quick. 

The pattern is the Snowbunny hat from Alicia Paulson's page on Ravelry. The woman is a crochet colossus. I adapted it slightly, changing the colour distributions around. I also added another three rows of the treble clusters to lengthen it as the pattern is for a newborn and not a big bouncing gal like mine.

I also added a few double crochet stitches around the ends of the ties to balance up the  eau-de-nil.

The end ties and their extra stitches. Very tasty apparently.

The eau-de-nil was a Debbie Bliss, the tomato red and cream were nameless balls from my stash.

I do find it worth sometimes paying a little for patterns, much as I love and use all the great freebies out there. 

This pattern could be easily adapted for larger children and even adults - by adding a few of the increasing rows at the top of the hat - that is assuming I can find adults to wear the hats I make. 

This of course is the other great benefit of making for children. 

I might have added a few too many rows as it fits my older daughter who now thinks it is hers.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Year Will Grow

Recently, I was staring blankly at some pieces of wooden metre rule I had lying around from an old project.  

I was thinking about these rulers, about how lovely they are, and how they have managed to avoid extinction in the cut and thrust of the 21st century. 

I was also thinking about how little legs are getting longer, and how even smaller legs like to stand more and more these days. About how these children grow.

These thoughts converged in the blankness and a new project was born: a growth chart made with the bits of metre rule. And it must be a giraffe. 

So here is the lanky lass (a girl called Nelly apparently) who has been keeping me so busy:

First I had to find the right giraffe shape. Some of my very non-zoological models:

When I was happy with the shape I drew it out on some 6mm plywood. Then I stuck the metre rule pieces on top with a lot of PVA. I marked on the rules where they would be cut, or where they hung over the edges. I trimmed some of them with the saw.

Once that had dried I cut it all out with a jigsaw. This bit hurt (I have a rubbish jigsaw and no work bench) and I had some very kind help from Mr Year.

Next, I painted. I painted a white strip next to the metre rule that would be doing the actual measuring. I did in satinwood paint for ease of wiping and because that is what we had. I added eyes, ears and also an imperial line - feet and inches - next to the metric. Gotta be bilingual these days.

Finally, a lot of sanding. Each stage took a little while and there were a few splinters and muttered obscenities along the way but I am pleased with the result.

This song was my playlist - if a playlist can be one song only - throughout the making of this giraffe. Move along to 4 mins 27 secs for nearly three minutes of exquisite nostalgia and the sweetest song in the whole wide world. 

For the year will turn and the spring come round and the seed will grow.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Humanities Shelf

I am working on a larger than usual project at the moment. It's going fine, I'm just coming up against the age old-hours-in-the-day vs stuff-to-do problem.

So I had to get creative gratification elsewhere this week. With that in mind I finally spruced up this little corner of my home and that made everything feel better:

No good having them all piled up: these are big ideas and they need to be free to breathe.

The wallpaper is a vintage roll picked up on holiday in Sweden three years ago. What a country. From design, through music, to belief in the value of a large state: I love it.

I also went to the exquisite John Stezaker show at the Whitechapel gallery and felt very much in the hands of a master. 

Back soon, with that big project.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

If Carl Cox made pyjamas for his dolly

Just over a year ago now I made this doll for my daughter's second birthday. She came from Clothkits and was very quick and easy to sew:

I copied the pattern for her dress and made her three more so she had a little wardrobe:

She was much loved and adored. She and my daughter spent many happy days lacing daisies into each other's hair and swapping secrets. 

But then. A new doll was given as a present. And this one had a dummy, a bottle, a pink babygro and when you squeezed it's tummy it cried. All of a sudden dolly was dumped. So it goes. Kids: so fickle.

But, I have learned that toys come in and out of favour and this has certainly been true for dolly. Recently, her popularity has been given a boost by the purchase of this pyjama kit. I bought it for a Christmas present and made it up a few days ago.

I used my overlocker and my sewing machine just for the sheer hell of it. If Carl Cox made pyjamas for his dolly - and I like to think he would - his workbench would look something like this:

It went very smoothly. I got a little bored by the end but that is more to do with my limited patience as a dressmaker than the pattern. Less good was the Liberty bias binding supplied in the kit running out but fortunately I had some of my own.

There was a little of the cotton gingham left so I made her a teddy in matching pyjamas.

I cannot say what the future holds for this doll but for now things are secure.

a year above the shop

a year above the shop