I was exactly 12 years old when my father went to the "West" for the first time (that is, outside the Eastern Block) and brought me my very first ever jeans skirt. It was love at the first sight and it is fair to say that since then, there probably has not been a time in my life when my closet didn't sport a jeans skirt in there some where. I bought this particular jeans skirt in an op shop in Hamilton East and I love its soft material and easy-to-wear cut. This weekend, I decided to add my own touches to it - crocheted flowers and leaves (from scraps of wool) machine-embroidered with golden thread. My love affair continues......
A simple but effective way of keeping my little girl warm - I made it with 4 balls of 8PLY pure wool (machine washable of course, nothing else can ever live in toddler-land) and crochet hook size 4, and an easy peasy chevron pattern. It had to twirl - obviously - the signture of a good skirt. It will need elastic around the middle as the wool stretches very quickly. Happy days!
So I finally managed to actually finish my first granny square blanket. It has taken me about 6 months to crochet the whole thing but in my defence it is 120 cm by 170 cm, so it fits a single bed. I forked enough money out to make it out of pure wool (so it was not cheap), but it is definitely warm and snug - and I am hoping not too girly because in the end, I am hoping to give it to my son.
My latest discovery is this amazing crochet book: NORO style. Well actually, this is not a crochet style, but a yarn type. The yarn was designed by Eisaku Noro forty years ago and its distinctive variety of colours and fibers make it one of the most luxurious (and expensive) yarns on the market today!
The Noro revolution now encompasses a Noro Magazine and several knitting and crochet books. I used this book to made a vest (see below). Admittedly, I used normal cotton yarns (still handmade and warm but not as expensive as the actual Noro yarns). However, I LOVE the book. It contains many different projects and some of the smaller ones (scarvesand fingerless mittens) might just be small enough to allow mere mortals to invest in real Noro yarns.
The vest really caught my eye because it is a seamless all-in-one garment worked from the bottom up (so you can adjust the length). Who can be bothered with doing two separate pieces (front and back or sides)? I used a running cord to do it up (the book has one single button at the top but I chose a more fitted look). Also, the pattern uses a very thin yarn, worked with a 2.5mm crochet. This gives is a more summary feel and allows it to be worn with frilly skirts and dresses. I would say using a chunky yarn would also be fun for a wintery look. The vest is made in double crochet, with shell edging: simple as!
I discovered that unlike knitting, crochet is much kinder on my hands - hooray! But not knowing much about crochet, I attempted to teach myself from online videos.....(turns out a lot of these happen to be US based videos, a small little fact that had escaped my attention).
My mother-in-law & sister-in-law bought me a book of crochet toy patterns: "Crocheted Wild Animals: A Collection of Cuddly Creatures to Make from Scratch" by Vanessa Mooncie. I enthusiastically dug right in to make the elephant on the cover! Fast forward a few weeks.....and let's just say that Mr Elephant was not turning out much like the picture....he was more like an elongated eggplant of sorts. I would post pictures if only I had not unraveled the beast in a huge rush of fury! I am ashamed to say that it was only after my husband's insightful comment (he knows nothing-whatsoever about crochet) that I realised that DC (UK-lingo) was in fact SC (US-lingo)! [....of course amigurami is always SC oops!!, should have known that....]
So here is Mr Elephant take #2! Our daughter really likes him and I am very happy (to be fair she is not a harsh critic so it motivates me to make stuff for her). As a linguist, you would have thought that I may have realised just how important language is - go figure :)
Below is a little monkey I made for her some time ago, before Mr Elephant came to be - from a very helpful online pattern! I am ever so grateful for the patience and willingness of people to spend their time teaching complete strangers how to make stuff like this. It makes me wonder about my own teaching practice ....
This is my first quilt. I made this for my very first quilting class taught by the wonderful Ngaire Brooks and I finished it just after our daughter was born, in the middle of last year. I am still learning how to hand-quilt with a hoop (the "proper" way), but thankfully, it can be a bit addictive which helps. One problem I have is that I keep breaking the needles. We did not know whether we were having a boy or a girl so this is my attempt at a unisex quilt. It is much used and loved, and I am impressed with how well it has withstood the test of machine-washing.
I made this quilt a few months later. This is my own as-I-go design. It is not a cot quilt, but about twice the size and perfectly square - it makes a good picnic blanket (not that I would use it outdoors really). I really like the bright colours. I machine-quilted it (a very simple stich-in-the-ditch quilting pattern).
I decided to start this blog mainly to document my learning experiences in a different area than my job or my parenting - both of which are constant sources of learning for me. While I take these latter areas rather seriously (ok, not always but at least some of the time), crafting is something I do for fun and a laugh so it makes a nice change. I love to make stuff with my own hands and despite not always having enough time to do so, I feel that when I do get a chance to do this, it helps me to get some head-space too!
The second reason I decided to start this blog is because we recently lost a dear object. We lost a blanket of my daughter's - the first one I ever made for her (while I was pregnant with her). It was a lovely aqua colour, merino knitted blanket - a well used & well loved item. It was not perfect and certainly an experienced knitter could immediately spot flaws, but it was big (which means it took me a while to make) and in my mind, the blanket still carried that newborn smell of "hers". After losing it, it dawned on me that all this time, this blanket escaped the light of the camera and I have nothing to remember it by! So I do hope that this blog will help me to remember the things I made and will make in future, as well as lessons I learned along the way!
So here we go.....