Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Friendly Floella


My floppy friend above is so exhausted that she has to take time out for a rest. This is my latest knitted toy made from the pattern ‘Flamingo Friends’ in ‘Let’s Get Crafting! Knitting and Crochet Magazine', issue 61.

The designer is Lynn Rowe and it’s the first of her patterns I’ve attempted. The legs, head and neck have craft pipe cleaners threaded through them to provide stability, but I’m afraid Flo still looks on the floppy side, even though I can bend her into shape. Ah well, she seems happy enough. There’s enough yarn in the kit to make two slightly different flamingos, but I think I’ll quit whilst I’m ahead. I’m also hoping to be attempting my first knitted garment soon and I’ve still got my latest crochet bolero to finish.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Heart to Heart


My friend Pamela and I often have a heart-to-heart and when she moved house recently I made her these hanging decorations for her new dining area. Pam has a good eye for colour and co-ordinates fabric and accessories to great effect. Here in Lanzarote many of the dining rooms are situated in the outside shaded areas, a cool place to sit away from the always sunny weather we enjoy here. Pam had decorated hers with a winning combination of red, white and blue and, knowing my love for sewing, had given me the remnants from the soft-furnishing she had commissioned, to add to my stash.

Some of the pieces were quite small, but I thought that the best way to combine the colours was with a crazy patchwork effect.

I simply laid them out rectangles of the fabric and stitched them into several long pieces pieces first of all. Then I joined the long pieces but ‘staggered' the joins to create a random pattern.

Next the four hearts were drawn on on the reverse of the fabric and stitched along the drawn outline, leaving a small hole for stuffing.

The two hearts were then turned inside-out and trimmed closely around the edge, leaving a small seam allowance and clipping in to ensure that the curved edges were smooth.

All that was left was to add the trimmings, buttons, loop and ribbon, so that they were ready to hang.

My friend was delighted and we had great fun trying them out in several places to see where they worked best.









Thursday, 17 July 2014

Just Dandy!



Meet the new kid on the block. I’m honing my novice knitting skills by making these small projects from Let’s Get Crafting: Knitting and Crochet magazine. He’s designed by the talented Amanda Berry of Fluff and Fuzz.

In the magazine Amanda’s pattern is called Pipsqueak, but I’ve re-named mine Dandy. This partly because his yellow bow-tie makes him look so smart and ...dandy; but also his little red clown nose makes him look slightly comical. Dandy, the much-loved children’s comic, ceased publication after 75 years in 2012, so this is a kind of homage to that as well.

He took me a lot longer than any of the Bramble Bunny variations in my previous posts, and I’ve no idea why as the principle is pretty similar. I had some trouble with his mouse-ears and made several rather ragged looking ones until, eventually I gave in and got the crochet hook out - perfect.

Here he is with his new friends Wanda and Wendy. Yes I know, in real-life a mouse is so much tinier than a rabbit but we don’t talk about scale when it comes to making toys; after all, in real life rabbits and mice don’t wear clothes either!! These are designed to be cute and to make children want them as friends. Just Dandy!




Saturday, 28 June 2014

Baaarbara


Yes, my husband decided this one needed re-naming as well! Amanda Berry’s ‘Gruff the Sheep’ pattern in Let’s Get Crafting, Knitting and Crochet is so sweet that he thought Gruff sounded a bit harsh! I struggled with the loop stitch (I am a novice knitter after all) and the body section seemed far too large when I’d completed it. I laid it to one side and got one with other project for a while. When I resumed I just decided to work in the excess flesh as it were, as stuffing. The result is a small animal who sits in the palm of your hand.

There is nowhere for sheep to safely graze in Lanzarote so I looked for the nearest patch of green amongst the picon. It was only after I’d taken the photograph that I realised I had unwittingly placed Baaarbara in a bed of mint! As long as no-one mentions sauce it will be OK.

A safer haven

Monday, 16 June 2014

Flirty Fans




Finished at last! I saw this pattern in the very first Simply Crochet magazine, when it came out as a one-off Summer Special last year from the makers of Simply Knitting. It has taken me about a year to make as at one stage I got so fed-up with it I thrust it to the back of the cupboard until I could face it again. Checking on Ravelry it seems others have also had issues with the pattern. I found it quite difficult to follow. I have pulled back and re-done bits of it so many times that I really fell out of love with it. However, I was determined not to beaten, especially as I had lashed out on the (expensive) correct yarn.

Rowan Savannah is 94% cotton, 6% silk and not the smoothest yarn to work with due to the way that is made. I used a 4mm and 5mm crochet hook and my tension square made up OK so I wasn’t anticipating any problems - silly me. Once it was complete I decided the bow on the shoulder was too ‘fussy’ so I undid that too. The neckline didn’t lie smoothly and I ended up fudging it quite a bit. Other than that I still like the design and the colour (Arid - a sort of pinky brown).
The pattern is designed by Rowan’s Marie Wallin and also appears in a Rowan booklet as ‘Island’; the name Flirty Fans seems appropriate, although at times I substituted the word ‘flirty' for another!



Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Last of the Lot



















Here’s the latest (and last) in the series about small stuffed bunnies, as promised in my last post. These two were made specifically for two small people - my twin grandchildren. They were finished off to resemble as closely as possible the original soft toys owned by their Dad and his sister; and you can read about those in the previous posts.


I had to wait until a trip to England to be able to hand them over in person. It was well worth it as they were very pleased with them. Here are the photos taken by my son shortly after our visit. Can you see how they’ve cheekily swapped over in the second shot? Yes, Grandma did notice!


As usual the pattern Amanda Berry’s from Let’s Get Crafting Knitting and Crochet, which is still producing a new outfit each month for the original model - Bramble Bunny.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Mini the Pink

In The Reincarnation of Pink Bunny I introduced the you to the soft toy I made for my grown-up daughter to replace the much loved original lost in a house fire. I said there would be another development in my next blogpost, but somehow Easter and the crocheted eggs jumped the queue.

Here at last, is Mini the Pink, or Tiny Pink Bunny, made as an Easter present for my daughter. Once again I used Amanda Berry's very popular Bramble Bunny pattern which I used to make Wanda and Wendy. This time, however, I had to ensure that Mini Pink Bunny looked as much like the original as possible, so no garments and some additions.

I’d ‘barely’ finished when my daughter surprised me with a birthday visit here in Lanzarote and spotted the creation sitting on the bookshelf, immediately recognising the similarity with Big Pink Bunny. She was delighted with her gift and I was happy that I didn’t have to send Mini through the post.



Mini PB was introduced to Wendy and Wanda, although they appeared a little over-dressed and Mini still needed ears and paws enhancing with brown felt at this stage.

Mini travelled comfortably in my daughter’s hand baggage and soon settled in back in England, getting to know Big Pink Bunny and eventually taking a full part in Easter celebrations, including the egg hunt.






I know I said that I wouldn’t be adding to the warren anymore but there is just one more chapter in the bunny story to come, and then I really must get on with all the all the other knitting, crochet and sewing projects that are lining up for my attention, especially knitting, now that I’ve learned this new craft. It’s quite addictive and this pattern was a great way to learn techniques. A reminder that the pattern can be downloaded for free from Let’s Get Crafting, Knitting and Crochet.  Subsequent issues of the magazine have included new clothes to add the wardrobe.

Since I first posted this story Mini appears to have been adopted by Mrs Bunny, who I also made for my daughter about 35 years ago, and has a ‘vacancy’ in her open arms.