Today I had my first bash at blocking, which I'm told is the art of turning your wibbly wobbly crooked stuff into the shape it's meant to be – a kind of "you will be this shape whether you like it or not" technique.
The project I'm blocking is going to be a present for Mother's Day, so I'm keen to get it finished and in the post asap. It's going to be a Happy Flower Decoration, and I used this tutorial from Attic24 to make it. So I set about with a towel and some pins straightening the once curly and cactus looking thing into a nice straight flower and stem with leaves.
Next came the fun part – PVA glue! In true Art Attack/Mister Maker stylee, no homemade project is complete without PVA glue and it's abilitly to stiffen/coat/ dry clear. I went out to the shops this morning especially to get some. I should perhaps have continued reading the instructions a bit further and noted I was also meant to have a paintbrush – but oh well, I wasn't putting it off any longer so the nozzle on the glue bottle and my fingers would just have to do!
Now I just have to wait until the glue drys!
I seem to be in a bit of a joining in with things mood this year!
Along with the blankets, I'm also joining in with the Crafty Bums Quilt Along 2012. You can read about it on their blog. Crafty Bums is new website, a bit like a UK Etsy for handmade things in the UK, and once I find myself back in a position to make things to sell (i.e. back in the UK) I will have my own shop on there too!
I've had the fabric for the quilt ready for a couple of weeks and finally got around to cutting the squares for the first block today. It was the first time I'd used a rotary cutter too – gosh that was harder to use than I was expecting! But after several attempts I have begun to master the technique and have all the squares cut out and ready to sew.
It's gone 11pm now, so probably not the best time to try following instructions sewing them together, so I'll leave getting the sewing machine out and finishing it off for another day.
Also today we bought a new camera so I've been testing it out. I've learnt two things: 1) Having a camera with a flash (as opposed to just my phone camera) means I can take photos at night – hurrah, and 2) Green is not a good colour for photographing under a flash – it comes out yellow!
Here is my photo of my squares laid out in the positions I'll sew them in 🙂
I've not been very productive for the last few days. I've started a few things, continued with a few things, but not actually finished anything.
I found this though when I was tidying up all my craft stuff. It's a little monster lady that I knitted before Christmas. It actually spent a few weeks on top of the Christmas tree in place of a fairy/star (as we didn't have one).
I think it's quite cute 🙂
This is (one of) my current works in progress!
I am part of a group of people (not just ladies, there's a couple of men there too!), who have challenged themselves to make a square a day (knitting or crochet) to make a blanket. I also read about conceptual knitting here and wanted to try that too, but not knitting as I'm a very slow knitter! So I joined the two! I'm making a blanket, making a square a day, where each square represents the sky on that day.
The picture above shows the steps I do to make it. The little circles represent the temperature for the day – I've made several of these up ready to go. Then the bigger circles represent what the sky looked like on that day – blue, cloudy, grey etc – as you can see I'm a few days behind joining them all together! Then they're joined together so at the end of the year I'll have not only a blanket but a record of the year. Already I can look at it and point to a particular day that was especially hot/blue/grey and remember what happened then.
And below is a photo from 31st January 2012, when I'd just completed the first month! I'll add a picture each month so you can see how it's progressing, and so you can compare how similar/different your sky/weather is in your part of the world 🙂
Yay, I've finished crocheting my first blanket!
I found this tutorial on YouTube to make a star blanket – YouTube is great for teaching you to do things as you can watch and follow, so much easier for a beginner than attempting to translate a pattern! The man made it seem so easy, so I found myself a rainbow of coloured wool and off I went!
And lo and behold, it was easy. It got harder as it got bigger, just because there were so many more stitches that you seemed to be hooking forever without seeming to get anywhere. But two weeks later and it's finished – hooray!!
I finished it off with a final round of fluffy furry wool in black – something I found for a bargain price in the shops on Monday. This was the most difficult part of the whole thing – I couldn't see what I was doing through the fluff, and working with black in the evening (lack of) light is really hard going, but I'm so glad I kept going because now it's finished it looks so good!.
So here it is, my finished rainbow star blanket, ready to keep my lap warm on chilly evenings 🙂
So having learnt to make squares and hexagons, I want to actually make 'something' – a thing with a purpose.
Etsy is a very dangerous place to visit when you've learnt a new skill and you're looking for patterns to follow using it! Patterns just seem to jump into your basket, and then you pay with paypal (which doesn't count as real money, right?) and before you know it you have enough patterns to last you a decade or two!
This bag though really did jump out at me, begging to be made. And it turned out just great. The pattern had so many pictures to demonstrate the steps that it was just right for a beginner like me. The pattern I used can be found on Etsy and was made by ZoomYummy.
So here it is, my first proper crochet make – an owl bag 🙂
So I've found myself for the past 4 months without a sewing machine. It's put me at something of a loss as to what to do of an evening once the boy's in bed.
I returned to cross stitch at the beginning – starting a kit to make a height chart. But my fingers were still twitchy for something else to do.
Next I turned to knitting and the started the jumper that I'd brought the wool and needles needed to make with me. I went out and bought some new (brightly coloured) wool and a pattern to make little creatures (which I'll show you in another post soon) and they were quite fun to make.
But everywhere I looked people were talking about crochet and showing off the things they'd made doing it – and I wanted to join in too. So the day after boxing day (and I mention the date because I've impressed myself with how far I've come in less than 2 months) I scoured YouTube for a video tutorial that I could understand and follow. I found it in the shape of a series of beginners videos made by Bethintx1. I've since recommended these to everyone I've met who's still looking to learn. They are seriously fab and the only way I've managed to learn, even after reading instructions in books and magazines and even my Mum trying to show me how it was done.
So these were my beginnings. I started small with squares and then hexagons (thanks to the great tutorial from Attic24)
And they led me on to joining in with the Leap Year Blanket, and Sky Blanket – but I'll show you those another day 🙂