Wednesday, 28 January 2009

That 70's Vibe Again...

As a child of the 70's I seem to be inextricably drawn towards fabric prints that take me back to that era - I view them through my nostalgia tinted glasses and exclaim "how wonderful!" whist others may tut "oh how not very modern".

On one of my recent forays into a fabric shop I stumbled across this wonderful yellow fabric that was printed with strange brown and grey birds - the images reminded me of a chopping board I'm sure my mum used to have (she'll have to correct me on that one if my memory is mistaken!)

And so my Retro Bird Clutch Bag was born - I added a hand crocheted band of wool, a brown vintage button and hey presto, this is the finished result:

I added the bag to my Etsy shop yesterday, but this wasn't the only 70's style fabric I found on my travels - more retro bags will be on their way!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Herringbone Happiness

My lovely Aunt recently sent me some fabrics, left over from her previous cape making business. Amongst them were some adorable pieces of herringbone, in shades of grey, as well as some fantastic tartans. Some of the off-cuts are too small to make a bag out of, so I wondered how they would look made into an iPod/phone sleeve, and this is the result:

I added a pink crocheted band of wool and a vintage button to close it - I'm really fond of this grey/pink colour combo, I think it manages to be chic and cheerful at the same time.
This one I've popped in my folksy shop - I'll be working on the tartan ones next!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Obsessions, obsessions...

So by chance I happened to spot some Japanese crochet books while browsing the internet one day - can't remember quite how I stumbled across them but these things are easily done if you have a few aimless hours on-line. (I think I may have been avoiding filling in the tax return for yet another day).

And what can I say - I was hooked (do you get it - crochet - hooked.....ok I'll stop now).

If you haven't seen any Japanese craft books you really must take a look, the styling, the photography, its all stunning and inspirational. After a day or two just looking at them on-line I decided I must have one of these books, so visited, where there is a wealth of choice - craft books for everything. I thought I'd start off with a book that is full of crochet stitches 1st, before trying to understand a full pattern, as the books are (obviously!) in Japanese but all the stitches are detailed in chart form - lots of symbols and things!

This is the book I ordered - 300 crochet patterns - and some of the stitches look totally delicious.

This link here should take you to a page where you can see the inside of the book too so you can get an idea of what to expect.

Ordering from yesasia was pretty easy too, although at first I found it a bit tricky trying to find the crochet section (is it hobby, lifestyle or arts?). In the end I used the search facility which brought up about 3 pages of lovely looking books, so no doubt I'll be shopping there again soon.

I have successfully managed to make some tiny little crochet circles from one of the patterns (ok, I cheated a bit because I did know how to do crochet circles already but I wanted to be sure I could do them following the chart in the book.) Now I'm ready to tackle more adventurous stitches - pictures will be posted here!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Knitted Bangle Turorial

Knitted bangles are a great way of combining wool and plastic bangles - charity shops usually have some bangle bargains or check out the sales in any of the accessory shops.

Firstly gather your ingredients - bangle, wool and knitting needles.

(I used 4.5mm needles and a pure double knitting wool, but select whatever needles suit the wool you are using)

Then measure your bangle

and cast on the amount of stitches that will stretch to the same measurement
(my bangle was 10" and I cast on 35 stitches, so that the wool would sit very tight around the bangle)

Then knit away! Use whatever stitch you like (I've used stocking stitch here, knit one row, purl a row etc, but have also used ribbing, seed stitch - they all look good!) Knit until your piece will wrap around the bangle - either stretch it around whilst still on the needle or measure the bangle and knit your piece to match.

Cast off once you get to the right size - don't worry if your piece is curled at the edges, you can block it to flatten it out (see here for blocking techniques).I knitted 8 rows for my bangle.

Now for the sewing! Wrap your knitted piece around the bangle and sew up the seams - once you've finished sewing the wool piece will be able to be swivelled, so you can move the seams so that they sit inside the bangle.

And voila! Your bangle is done!

And you can also keep redoing them - bored of the colour? Simply snip off the wool and knit another colour. And a quick handwash keeps them fresh too.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Hold The Front Page

Yeah one of my favourite brooches made it to the front page of etsy - and I missed it! Luckily there is a flickr group which saves screenshots of the etsy front pages so if you miss your moment of glory you can catch it later.

This was a treasury picked by dandyapple, I love the selection and the colour theme. The brooch has now been sold, time for me to get crafting I think and make more!

Monday, 12 January 2009

You've Got To Knit A Bangle Or Two....

I love wool bangles, wool wrist cuffs, fabric cuffs - there is something earthy about draping textures and fibres around yourself.

Using wool around a plastic bangle is a good way to have that chunky bangle look too - and a super method of upcycling any old plastic bangles that have served their purpose in their fashion life.

One of the problems with making these bangles though is that unless you get the tension and pattern just right, the wool can feel a bit "baggy" and not sit close enough to the bangle. However there is a way to ensure you get a tight fit - a little bit of felting.

I knitted these bangles using pure merino wools, then when finished and attached to the bangle, did a little bit of machine felting. They are now super soft and the wool sits really close to the bangle too. I have a lovely lilac wool in my stash that I think will be perfect for the next bangle too...

Friday, 9 January 2009

Craft Fair No 1

So I've started with the craft fair buzz already and booked my 1st fair for 2009 - the Handm@de Craft Fair in Cambridge on the 4th April 2009.

It follows on from the success of the Handma@de Oxford Fair last year, which I had the pleasure of having a stall at - I totally enjoyed the day and met loads of lovely craft folk. Handm@de Cambridge will also feature a plethora of independent designers and creators selling all kinds of handmade delights so put this in your diary now!

Monday, 5 January 2009

Bleary Eyed Elf

Tired this morning as the last 2 nights have been spent recapturing those BC days (Before Children) when we would sit up late playing PlayStation Games until unearthly hours.

Quick rummage in the cupboard and we found our old games, and in a flick of a button I was an elf (not any old elf, a wood elf ranger with a speciality in the bow and arrow I'll have you know!) - yes "Champions Return To Arms" was loaded and we were off.

A creatures destroyed, a few treasures collected, some big scary thing defeated and we live to fight another day.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year And All That

Hello 2009.
My thoughts are already thinking about what might lie ahead, what changes are to come, what plans and ideas I can bear into fruition, and most importantly, what colour to die my hair.
I'm thinking copper.

Aside from vanity issues I've spent the day jotting down my plans for my crafting, I've got some ideas on how to develop my products and ideas for new stuff too. Now just need the Time Machine to give me an extra 3 hours every day and all will be well.

Here's hoping the New Year is good and kind to us all x