Showing your work

Have you ever thought about entering any of your work into a show?  It can be a scary thing, allowing others to look at and judge your work that you have put countless hours into, frogging and redoing until it is perfect.  Up until a few years ago, I hadn’t ever entered anything into a show.  I had thought about it but had never been brave enough to investigate how to go about it.  And then I made my Sophie’s Universe and I felt that that was a piece that just had to be seen.  Not because of my work but because the design is just so beautiful.  So, I found out how to enter the Royal Adelaide Show (our big state fair) and entered her.  She didn’t win, but I got some ribbons for some other pieces and my addiction to entering shows began.  I love it!  I love thinking about what to enter and looking for new, amazing designs to crochet.  I love delivering my pieces before the show has begun and seeing everything getting ready.  I love going to the show and looking at my work on display.  And, I love the expectation of waiting to see what the results are and if I earned a ribbon!

Last year, I entered both the Royal Adelaide Show and the Gawler Show (a smaller, country show).  The experience is very different with both shows.  The entry fees are higher for the Adelaide show, and so far, I haven’t won a first prize, which is the only real way of recovering your costs.  The Gawler show is smaller, but the entry fees are lower and so far, I have covered my costs of entering with my winnings, which makes it feel a bit more successful!

This year, due to me not paying close enough attention to the Adelaide show book, I only entered pieces in the Gawler show.  The staff at the show were absolutely fabulous as I realised I was going to be in Melbourne when I needed to drop things off and they were great about me dropping them off early.  As we literally swung past the show to collect my pieces on our way home from Melbourne, I had to wait until then to find out my results (one of my friends sent me pics of a couple of my results while we were away, but not all!).  It was exciting to collect them and find out that I had done really well this year!  Out of the six pieces entered, I earned 4 firsts, one second and a best exhibit for crochet (that I was totally not expecting!).  The prize from the best exhibit has allowed me to order some blocking wires that I have been eyeing off for awhile!  (Another review will be coming soon!).  I even won a trophy this year, as my Persian Tiles blanket came tied for first with another Persian Tiles blanket that the judges just couldn’t choose between!

If you have ever thought about it, but not had the confidence, I would suggest just going for it!  The worst that can happen is that you won’t win anything, and, although it is disappointing (I put hours into the baby pram cover and it didn’t place at all 😦 ), it is still a growing and learning experience, challenging you to find more unique and detailled pieces for next years’ show and to improve the quality and finish of your work.  I’d love to hear about your experiences entering shows!

Advertisements

A horse, of course!

A few years ago, I came across this pattern for a horse purse (http://kristieskids.weebly.com/welcome/horse-purse-pattern-at-long-last).  Sounds strange, but I fell in love with it and thought that my daughter would too.  It was only a few days until her birthday, so I whipped one up for her.  She loved it (I think most young girls love horses don’t they!).  She could fit a surprising amount in it for a small bag and it travelled around with us a bit.

One of her friends from school has a birthday just a few days later.  What to give her….a horse purse!  Another school Mum had also seen the horse purse and said that her daughter had loved it.  A few months later for her birthday and another one was made.  Her Mum was only telling me the other day that she still plays with the purse even now.  She also has a couple of younger sisters, so I’m sure that it will be passed down and played with for a long time.

As I mentioned last week, I love quick and easy things to make, and this was fabulous.  Just when you think that you’ve had enough and couldn’t possibly crochet another bit, it was finished and ready to be made up!  Who could ask for more?  Perhaps the only thing that could improve it – a unicorn horn!

Princess Lovelies

I love making quick, simple things.  Many people see me at work with my various projects and I will often get the comment “You must be so patient to do that!”.  Well, the answer is no.  I’m not at all patient, and my husband will attest to that (he is nodding his head as he reads this, aren’t you Gavin?).  I find online shopping a real connundrum.  I love shopping in my own home, in my pj’s if I want, and having choices of things that just aren’t normally produced or stocked in Australia.  But then, I have to wait for them to be delievered (I’m currently eagerly waiting the arrival of a pair of earrings that is taking longer than was stated!).  I guess this is probably why I have so many projects on the go at one time.  I work on one for a little while, but, if it’s too big or time consuming, I quickly find that I need to move on to something else.  Eventually, I’ll get back to the first one and most of my projects will get finished, weeks, months, years after they were started!

These little Princess Lovelies by Bowtykes (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pretty-princess-lovey) are a perfect project for me to gift.  They are quick, they are manageable and they are so cute.  I have made several now and really enjoy the process and escpecially how by just adjusting the colours and the pattern ever so slightly, you get different characters.  Amy from Spicy Tuesday Crafts has published some more alterations to make even more variations of this pattern (http://spicytuesdaycrafts.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/my-notes-for-pretty-princess-lovey.html).

They are perfect for babies as they don’t have any buttons or things to pull off and choke on and they are the right size for little baby hands to grab on to!  I totally recommend this pattern – it’s clearly written and easy to understand, well worth the money I paid for it!

Foxy ragdoll!

Naughty people on facebook are always sharing different patterns that they see.  Some I can scroll right past, but many catch my attention and require further investigation.  One of these was the Ragdoll Fox pattern by Spin A Yarn Crochet (https://spinayarncrochet.com/ragdoll-fox-free-crochet-pattern/).  This little fellow looks cute and easy to make, so I decided to give him a go.

He was fairly easy to make up – his parts were all fairly basic.  My only criticism is that my belly patch and eye patches did not turn out at the correct size (they are slightly smaller than they should be), but that may have been due to using a different brand yarn from the rest of the project.

Putting him together was fun!  Most of him was crocheted together, which is what I prefer – it seems to be quicker than sewing.  I also like the “flat” look it gave him on the edges, enhancing the ragdoll effect.  His head, however……oh wow, this was a bit fiddly (and in the designer’s defense, she did say it would be!).  Because I am a bit of a skim reader, I had to unpick a bunch of crocheting and start it again before it was completed, but in the end, it didn’t take too long.  I had visions of having to spend days constructing this critter, and, in reality, it only took a few hours.

And I can already attest to his popularity with kids – my daughters were fighting over who is going to claim him before he was even finished!

Puzzle Balls

Last year, I came across these Puzzle Balls by Dedri Uys from Look At What I Made (http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/free-crochet-patterns/star-ball-crochet-amish-puzzle-ball-pattern/).  I love the idea of a segmented ball that can be pulled apart and put back together as a puzzle and also be played with as a ball.  It would suit a baby and then grow with them as they become more inquisitive about how the world around them works.  I especially love the bright colours of this Star Puzzle ball!  It was joyful to make, but there were so many segments to put together – I wasn’t sure if it would ever end!  The best part about constructing it was that it is all crocheted together – no sewing involved!

I also constructed the Amish Puzzle Ball (http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/free-crochet-patterns/crochet-amish-puzzle-ball/).  This one runs along the same lines as the star ball, but is not made up of quite so many segments!  This one worked up a little quicker than the star ball, and I love the “flower” type effect that you get on the front when it is all put together.

Dedri has also compiled a book of puzzle balls that are animal shapes (https://www.anniescatalog.com/detail.html?code=871428&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=cj&source=CJAAFF).  Yes, I have bought the book and yes, I have made one of them.  I gave him as a gift to a friend’s baby and they love him!  Another one has been made but that will remain hush hush as he is to be entered into the Gawler show later this year.  I’ll let you know how I go!

 

Donut forget to read this post :)

There’s nothing more exciting than a last minute present rush!  Not!  We found out that it was our youngest daughter’s teacher’s birthday and I decided to make her a little gift because she has been very good to our girl.

So, with a last minute google search, I came up with the idea of a donut pin cushion (https://forum.crochetville.com/topic/32761-donut-pincushion-pattern/#comment-452246).  I loved it!  It was quick, it was fun and it also gave me a chance to use some of the red heart “gumdrops” yarn that I had purchased on clearance at big W for a rainy day!  I love how the yarn itself gives the effect of “sprinkles” even if there are no pins in it.

And the best part is – she actually uses it!  I see it on her desk at school full of thumb tacks for hanging up the children’s artwork.  I love it when I see my creations used and appreciated!

The bearded man

I am not afraid to admit I am not a fan of beards! I’m thankful that my husband doesn’t have one! My good friends’ husband has been growing a beard. For a few years. It was long and bushy and I’m sure the envy of beard loving men everywhere. However, he decided that he would shave it off as a part of “The worlds greatest shave” – raising money for research into blood cancers and cures for them.  He shaved his head and his beard and right when the nasty cold weather hit us here. So, I offered to make him a warm hat and replacement beard! I love the hat! The colours are great and the pattern was fab and easy to follow (http://ashleemarie.com/crochet-striped-beanie-pattern-multiple-sizes/), once I figured out sizing. I also love the beard – it made up in one night while at their place playing a card game (http://ashleemarie.com/crochet-bobble-beard-pattern-multiple-sizes/). I’m not thrilled with the fit – I used dk yarn which was slightly thinner than recommended so I adjusted it as I went. I think I would have been better off sticking to the pattern but the end result is still pretty awesome. And part of this journey of life is constant learning as we try new things! I hope it keeps him very warm as his hair grows back!

Being flexible!

This blog post was supposed to be about something completely different than what it has turned out to be.  But sometimes, you just have to be flexible and go with what you have.  This week, life has just gotten in the way and I didn’t get my scheduled project finished (so close, but so far).  Instead, I ended up working on a birthday present for my daughter to take to a birthday party.  It’s a pattern that I have had on my “to do” list for awhile and this was the perfect opportunity (and weather) to complete it!  The pattern is the Cuddly Cat Crochet Scoodie by Moogly http://www.mooglyblog.com/cuddly-cat-crochet-scoodie/.  When I showed my daughter, she thought it was perfect for her little friend!  It was a little challenging in that I (as usual) didn’t quite get the gauge exact, so had to adjust a little as I went.  I’m not thrilled with the fit but with the nature of the garment, it doesn’t really matter, it’s just me being a perfectionist.  Other than that, it was quite easy to make up, easily done in a weekend, and the nicest part was….my daughter is learning to follow in my crochet footsteps and she made one of the ear insides herself, which makes it an even more personal present for her friend!  It was also a great weekend for modelling it as the weather has gone from being roasting hot to cold enough to need a jumper, and she was quite happy to wear the scoodie to keep herself warm during the shoot!

20 reasons I love you!

As I’m sure you’re aware, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  I personally believe that Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to us to say “I love you” to those we love – not just romantic partners.  We often give our children a card on Valentine’s Day to say we love them – even though we tell them every day!

I was shopping with my sister last week, when I came across a lovely idea –  a jar full of paper hearts to write 20 different reasons I love you on them.  Of course, my crafty, crochet brain immediately thought about how I could make something similar, that would also have a hand made touch and voila!, here it is, 20 reasons I love you.

valentines2

If you’d like to make one yourself, I’ve written down the pattern below.  Please remember, this pattern has not been tested at all, so please let me know if there are errors, but be kind – it’s my first go at designing and writing out a pattern!  If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll happily help you out.

20 reasons I love you

Materials

  • Dk yarn in cream, red and white (or any colours of your choosing)
  • 4mm/G  Crochet hook
  • Jar
  • Coloured paper for hearts
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

Abbreviations

ch – Chain

sl st – Slip Stitch

sc – Single Crochet

hdc – Half double crochet

dc – Double Crochet

tr – Treble

Instructions

Please note – I use US  crochet terms

Firstly, you need to choose a jar.  I have chosen a craft storage jar because it is a bit decorative with it’s metal closure and I’ve had it lying around for awhile, waiting for the perfect project to use it in!

Once you have chosen your jar, you need to make a plain circle piece that will sit nicely on the top.  I used Stylecraft Special dk yarn and my jar has a 9cm wide lid.  The number of rounds you will need to crochet will depend on the size of your lid and tension.  If your lid is smaller than mine, make less rounds.  If your lid is larger, make more!

Lid cover

Using cream, begin with a magic circle.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc).  11 dc into ring.  Join to beg ch 3.  Close magic ring. (12dc)

Round 2:  Ch 3 (counts as first dc).  dc into same stitch.  2dc in each stitch around.  Join to beg ch 3. (24 dc)

Round 3:  Ch 3 (counts as first dc).  2dc in next stitch. *dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch* repeat between * * around.  Join to beg ch 3. (36 dc)

Round 4:  Ch 3 (counts as first dc).  1 dc in next stitch *2dc in next stitch, dc in next 2 stitches* repeat between * * around.  Join to beginning ch 3 and fasten off.  Weave in ends.

If you need to make extra rounds to achieve the correct size for your jar, continue following the pattern, increasing the number of dc in between the increases by 1 each round.

Applique Heart

Using red, begin with a magic circle.

Round 1:  Ch 3.  15 dc into circle.  Join to beginning ch 3.  Close magic ring.

Round 2:  Ch 3, tr, tr, tr, dc, hdc, sc, sc, ch 1, tr, ch 1, sc, sc, hdc, dc, tr, tr, tr, ch 3, sl st into the same stitch as the last tr.  Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Shape a little with fingers and sew onto the circle already crocheted.

valentines3Small Hearts (make 2)

Using red, begin with a magic circle.

Round 1:  Ch 1.  15sc into ring.  Join to beg ch and close ring.

Round 2:  Ch 2, tr, tr, dc hdc, sc, sc, hdc, ch 1, tr, ch 1, hdc, sc, sc, hdc, dc, tr, tr, ch 2, sl st in the same stitch as the last tr.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

Chain

Using white, join with a sl st into the top of one of the smaller hearts.  Ch to desired length (enough to tie around your jar and allow the hearts to hang a little).  Sl st into the top of the second small heart.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

Finishing off

  • Glue circle with applique heart onto the lid.
  • Tie chain around the top of the jar and fix in place with a little glue if needed.
  • Cut out hearts from paper.
  • Write your 20 reasons on the hearts.
  • Fill the jar with your hearts and gift it to your loved one!

valentines1

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first pattern!  It was fun to make, and I know my husband will love it (despite that fact that he’s already seen it!).  I’d love to see your version as well!  Please share it here in the comments or on my facebook page.