Friday, 30 December 2011

Crochet lampshade - part 2

About six months ago I decided to make my (soon to be) mother in law, a crochet lampshade.

She has often admired mine but the colours are way off what she would like herself. After we moved in to our current house we had problem after problem and worry after worry..I felt like she  had been there for us throughout all of our woes and so I decided to make her a lampshade to say thank-you.

Now, I am a person who tends to get bored of working on just one thing at a time and in the end I got fairly bogged down with other projects, making things for sales and generally being a bit rubbish. It sat looking like this for AGES

It got to the point where I couldn't bear to look at it or think about it..uurgh, so depressing.

Eventually I was so disgusted with my lazy attitude towards it, I decided to pull my finger out the week before Chirstmas and finish the lampshade..and here it is.
Although it is not my choice of colours, I am happy with it.
And so, on Christmas day when it was opened. It was instantly placed on my standard lamp base for a good showing off..and it looked alright..phew.

So, that is another work in progress done and on to the next! yey!x

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Winter Log Cabin Floor Cushion.

In my last post I mentioned that I had found a really rather bargainous Ikea floor cushion, still vacum packed in a local charity shop for £2.49.

I was so tempted by it that I actually went against my better judgement and bought it anyway, even though I had soaking wet feet, bright red icy hands and happened to be walking to school (the school journey is a four mile round-trip) in the middle of a blazing thunder storm..not cool.

After handing over my money, the lady behind the counter passed me the giant cushion. It was so big in my arms I couldn't see over it, what was she thinking?? Was it perhaps that I might grow a second pair of arms to carry it whilst using the other set to push the buggy? Or that perhaps the arms I already had to push the buggy with might be able to grow extraordinarily long and also carry a cushion half the size of me in a kind of go-go Gadget arms kind of a way?! Hrm?
So, bearing this in mind, I said ''May I have a bag please?'' She looked at me as if I were mental then came back with a black bin bag (no handles - still can't carry it)  I decided at that point that if I didn't leave then I might either implode, my head might spin round in circles whilst I screamed and screamed OR I'd be so late to school that Baby F's big brother might be stolen by wolves, and he'd have to live like Mowgli in the woods.. so, I legged it back into the storm, after first having to tie the cushion/bag (it was over flowing out of a black bin bag) to the buggy, which left me having to walk/run rather a lot to one side of the buggy like some kind of crazy bin bag-weilding lunatic crab in the pouring matter, it was worth it. Baby F's brother wasn't even out of class yet and the wolves were in the process of collecting another child.

When I finally got home, drenched and exhausted from  my crab-like walk. I began to have various visions of how to cover the giant floor cushion, would it be chunky knit cable? No, too obvious. Would it be knitted hexagons..too fiddly. No..

I pondered a while longer, made a cup of tea, baked some shortbread and then, whilst munching said shortbread, I remembered a lovely blog I had read featuring a gorgeous log cabin..I quickly Googled 'Log Cabin' and scrolled through the pictures - there is was

The colours are just gorgeous..the way they are subtle but bright..

ok, so I know I wont be able to make it as pretty as that as all of my yarns are heavy and bold, and no matter how hard I try I can't make anything look that neat or tidy, but I gave it a go..

I began to knit the log cabin but the more it grew, the more unhappy I was with it. This is a large cushion that will need something a little stronger than a garter I unravelled it and began to brain storm, after a while and a few more storms, I decided to try and crochet it. Something I have never done before. A crochet log cabin. I had no idea how it would turn out but I just went for it.

It was so pleasing to see how quickly it grew. Now I am always going to be (first and foremost) a knitter, but I have fallen so madly in love with crochet, the speed and rewardingyness (that is a word, honest) of it. Just love it. Please excuse the stupid cruddyness of the photo, my camera died in the summer, some beach/sand related incident... and so I am left with camera phone, it doesn't like the light or dark or working in general.  And so the colours are (yet again) miles off what they really look like, so frustrating. Will buy new camera one day.
(still not a good photo)

And it grew, and a few hours later it really had I have just a few more logs to put in and it will be done (will tahhdahh in another post)
YEY! this is about right for the colours, isn't spot on but much closer than before.

And so I begin another crochety day. Really looking forward to finishing it. I have decided to use an old jumper to make the cushion back as it worked so well when making my little crochet cushion

A few other things I am looking forward to starting are:

Project 365 - Going to begin tomorrow so I get Baby F's first and second birthday in it and this Christmas.

The Sky Scarf Knitting Project - which I found out about after reading this beautiful blog (which I love) Concept knitting is so right up my street, it's like prog with wool. Awesome.

The 12 Dates of the year - L and I never get any time to do anything together what with him working miles away and being in a band and me being absorbed with being mum and getting the boys to bed and school etc, doing sales most weekends and other time consuming bits and bobs. All of our time seems to just filter away and by the time we get to sit down at night we are so tired there is no time left for us..bit rubbish really. So I decided that things have to change..and that is how the 12 dates of the year were born. We each write 6 date ideas down, nothing crap and usual like the cinema or going for a walk. But fun and new things..then, we put the ideas in envelopes and open them, one a month, taking it in turns to open each others envelopes. I am hoping this will give us some fun times and excellent memories. I think having a baby is such a wonderful experience but it can make you forget to tresure one another at times and that can never be a good thing. So things will change.

Anyway, enough blathering from me. I've a log cabin to make. See you later, ta-ta x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Crochet Flower Cushion.

And so it began, on Monday morning this little beauty arrived at the door.
I'd already bought a small round feather cushion and had been waiting patiently for my yarn to show up. I decided on Stylecraft extra as it is affordable and always makes up nicely - it's nice and soft and comes in loads of yummy colours. Oh I was excited..this is the most patient I have been about anything in ages.

I chose 15 different colours.
Raspberry, Claret, Emperor, Teal, Grey, Aspen, Pomegranite, Turquoise, Shrimp, Sunshine, Bright Green (mistake) Parchment, Pale Rose, Burgundy and Meadow.

Bright Green turned out to be a huge mistake, it was luminous, like highlighter green - YUK. I remember owning a pair of cycling shorts in the 80s that had stripes this colour down the side of each leg, truly vile. I am hanging my head in shame at the choice of bright green wool and bright green shorts - although, to be fair, I was about 7 at the time.
Anyway...The rest of the yarn was just dreamy and although the colours aren't my usual choice, what with it being very pink-heavy, I was mostly really pleased with my pretty new yarn and I carefully stacked it, stared at it and began to formulate a plan about which order the colours would go in for my new round cushion cover.

As you may have noticed by now, I am hugely inspired by the Attic24 blog. Lucy of Attic24 has a wonderful blog full of instructions of how to make her 'Blooming Flower Cushion'
I love it, every time I see it I think how colourful and fun it looks, how completely silly and lovely the style is. So I decided I would make one for my awful chair in the lounge..I would photograph it today and show you but I am saving it for my 'tahh-dahh' post.

So after I had planned my colours I phtographed them for my own reference and began. Lucy always seems to make things sound/look so easy but so far I have found the pattern a touch fiddly and have somehow managed to add some extra stitches in without meaning to, but it still works and is looking ok..
and so it began..
Slowly I go, round and round..
And this is as far as I have got so far - it's about half way round..I am annoyed at how rubbish the colours have come out in these photographs, they are SO far off the real colours it's silly - for example, that fourth colour in is teal. I guess I'll have to try harder in my next post to get the true colours but for now you get the idea. I am also not enjoying how curly the petals are. I am guessing because the yarn has no wool content, blocking the cushion probably wont work so I might go with a light pressing to just keep the petals a little flatter?

Moaning aside, I am fairly pleased with its progress so far. With each colour I add the vibrancy seems to become even stronger, which I hopefully it will end up making the dowdy old chair look excellent...hopefully! And Baby F LOVES it..every time I show it to him he just grins and holds his little arms out to touch it, so cute.

In other news I have L's entire family plus my dad coming to our house for Christmas, now aside from the fact that L has a huge family and we have a fairly small house, we also have a small amount of seating. So I was walking about the local chairty shops the other day and found a HUGE brand new Ikea floor cushion, still in the wrapping for £2.49 - perfect for little kiddies bottoms to sit on. So I bought it and now have until Christmas eve to knit/crochet it a cover (will blog it later) finish my mother-in-law's crochet lampshade (will blog that later) and do the rest of the wrapping, tidy the house and somehow fit in a first birthday party for Baby F two days before Christmas (wont blog those for your sanity)

Right, I am off to do more round and rounds..have a nice December 20th, wont you!x

Friday, 16 December 2011

Crochet Lampshade

April this year, L and I took our two small humans, our preggo cat, our boy cat (not the dad - shocking, I know!) and our doglet and we moved. Yes, we moved to a tiny, tiny town.
A town so tiny it is in fact, smaller than most tiny villages.

We bought our house from an elderly lady who had gone into a care home. Her children sold us the house and it was in the most incerible state. Not a bad state, but like a time warp. Like Sleeping Beauty had pricked her finger and time had stood still in each room in various eras.
The kitchen had its original range cooker and sheila-maid clothes drying devices, faithfully hanging from the ceiling, slowly gathering dust as they hung around doing nothing. The garden was lost under a sea of nettles and brambles. The lounge was a vision of the 60s (but not in a good way) my eldest son's room was tarred with 80s wallpaper of silver,pink and red stripes, can you believe!!! And baby F's room was last decorated some time around the 50s with (what I think was pink and green) floral chinzy wallpaper and clashing lampshade in blues and oranges, but, when you opened the 'cupboard' door you found a faded teal wall with PINK skirting boards - it was decorated in the 1930s..I thought they were stylish then but that was the room that style forgot.

Anyway, as with the rest of the house, when we moved in we found that the overall darkness of our lounge was a bit much - we're still dealing with the 1920s brown twisted wiring (well, not anymore but we were at the time) and that gave out little to no light.

Now, I have a love for car booting, I love the flthy haggle over 20p, 50p ohhhhh (sharp intake of breath) a POUND! A car boot sale is the only place on earth I will be disgusted that I am about to pay a whole pound for something. Take me to John Lewis and I'm fairly sure I'll find a reason to spend scores of money on a ball of wool or a bit of fabric..but when car booting, the challenge is on!

After many months of being utterly fed up of sitting under the previous owners pendant lamp with hideous gold plate and frosted grey petals I decided that I HAD to do something about the fecking lounge...urrrgh. So we went out, and we walked about the local car boot sale, and in amongst the awful, awful items and (sorry to be mean) awful, awful people...and other haggling maniacs and chain smoking ten year-olds, stood a vision of a woman. A woman with glowy silvery wavy hair, soft minty green, welcoming Hush Puppy nana shoes and a lovely cable jumper - she was just the biscuit for me! And whilst admiring the lovelyness of her items (all mid-century, she was having a clear out) I spotted an awesome old teak standard lamp. Now I have seen these bad boys sell for a pretty penny online and because of that I have never justified buying one - until now..I smiled at her and nervously twitched like some kind of mid-century junkie...''how much for the lamp?'' I hurriedly asked the dear sweet woman, she took AGGGES to reply and with a sorrowful and almost apologetic look on her face she said..''ummm, aaah, umm, would a pound be ok?''


''yesitwouldbeabsolutelyfine'' said I, almost barking with eagerness..whilst shaking her hand manically as if buying a car or a house (oh the shame)

Then she produced a giant lampshade from inside the car I didn't just buy and she said, ''you can have the original shade too if you don't mind the state of it?''

PAH! - the state of it. It was huge and suddenly my woollen urges began to kick in, Why.. I could crochet a lampshade, it would be the first bit of 'me' in the entire house, and I could see the light shine through and the colours would be glowy and lovely..mmm yes, crochet lampshade. The state of it was grand and so I handed over my pound with utter joy and bid the old lady a very happy and slightly over-excited farewell and went off with standard lamp under my arm to squeeze it somehow into my tiny VW Polo - never mind the kids, they can walk home..yehhh. What? 'but one is a baby' I hear you cry..well, he can crawl, and he needs the practise.

Eventually we got home (all of us) in the car with the lamp sticking out of the ragtop roof  in the pouring rain..and I lunged towards the wool, grabbed the nearest 4mm hook and began planning. After a while I decided to draw some grids out on the original shade and figure out how many squares and what sizes etc..then I went to work. I tore the awful cover off the lampshade and admired the bare bones of it..then, square by square I made it, its new outfit, all blues and greens to match my soon-to-be teal chimney breast wall..

And here it is, the beast, the very teaky boyo that I speak of..and how I love him. (before the new cover, before I hung the giant picture that looks eerily like L's dad , before I got rid of that old sofa, AFTER I had ripped the awful plywood cover off that original door you can see there  - I will strip it soon)

Once I had ripped the cover off this is what I was dealing with, a warped and rusty frame.

Please excuse all the crap in the photos, we were in the middle of decorating - we still are

With new outfit of squares :)

Stitching squares on the frame

Almost there...



One crochet lampshade.
It's not perfect but I like it very much.

The End.x

Monday, 12 December 2011

The finished article.

Happy 12th December everyone..not long to go now! I still haven't got the Christmas spirit going..even after watching Elf last night. The sun is positively blazing outside and it was warm enough to walk to school in a cardigan..still no coat. Will it ever feel like winter?

So the weekend has flown by and I finally managed to get the cushion finished...I'm fairly pleased with it, although the colours are not bright and poppy, they do work fairly well with my new beautiful cushion and it means I now only have four more cushion covers to make for my new sofas - a fine excuse for more wool purchasing and crochet time. Lovely.

Here it is, my very first crochet cushion (no laughing now!)

Although I have been able to crochet for a short while, I still havent managed to learn how to join as I go along so my edges arent as neat and tidy as they could be and the back looks like this! Oops :S

But the front isn't too bad and thankfully the feather pad fits nicely inside and so the stiches joining each square dont show too much (phew)

To make the back envelope part of the cushion I junked an old charity shop jumper I'd only worn once and didn't like much. It was 40% angora so you can imagine how nice it feels and I am so glad I did junk it as there was loads of it left over (it was a  knee-length cardigan) and what I haven't used for the cushion I am now going to turn into fleece-lined handwarmers - yum! Please excuse the crappy blanket stitch button holes..they look better in person (probably)

So what do you think?

I can probably do better with a little more practise..however, next cushion is going to be based on this pattern here
I love how scatty and tactile it looks. Apparently the pattern dates back from the 1940s, this pleases me as I love old fashioned patterns.

Not so long ago I got an arm chair from an older lady on Freecycle. It was part of a 1930s 3-piece suite and because it didn't have the modern fire safety labels she couldn't donate it to our local community furniture donation I, loving all things from this era, offered just one of the chairs a home, it was all I could really allow myself to have. I would have taken the entire suite but the weekend before I had donated my 3 piece suite to the community furniture donation scheme and bought myself two Ikea Klippans (my old suite was massive and Klippans are tiny!) so I had no excuse, no room and no space in my tiny car to transport said 30s suite should I change my silly mind!

Anyway, babbling aside, the chair was re-covered decades ago and it has this ugly stain where someone's head has been and it is quite gross actually (the cover not the chair) definitely needs re-upholstering at some point (which I can not do or afford) so, for now, the best option is a new crochet 40s flower pillow (see above) and a throw of some sort, not sure what yet? possibly Witney wool? Actually this deserves its own boring chair-related blog - I will write it another day.

'The better-making of the Chair of doom'

(nice use of the English language there)

So.. a new day, a new project?

I still have one glove (why is making the first one so much fun and the second such a drag?)  Half a knitted rabbit and a scarf left to make before Christmas day and have the motivation of a Sloth. So I had better get on. Ta-ta for now.x

Friday, 9 December 2011

Oh - oh -oh..or, HO HO HO?

Well, Im rubbish aren't I?
I haven't been here to make a post in forever, tumbleweeds pass me by as I type..really.

I pretty much gave in and buried my head in the sand about weddings, it's now four months to go and I haven't even sent out invitations..bah. Not to worry..these things can wait...a bit.

What I HAVE been doing in the last six months in conducting a little experiment...a rubbish little experiment I wish I had never begun..

Now, for the last few years I have faithfully sold my handmade wares on Etsy..and it has been ok. I've made some nice friends and I have made enough money to buy Christmas gifts all round..not tons of money, but enough to get by. The thing is, with making things to order I often find myself working each day from the moment I get up to around one in the morning and I always seem to miss the winter period (which I love) and then not really enjoy making things for myself. Also last winter I was busy being really pregnant then having a baby on the 23rd of December so that kinda took up most of the Christmas period. I guess I just missed having December to greedily call my own, to slowly work through and enjoy.

So, this year, in order to get December all to myself I decided, like a stupid nonce, to work in the 'real' world, selling my crap to 'real' people with real money - not like the PayPal money which is so much easier to spend (as I was soon to find out)
So I have spent the last six months working my stumpy little fingers to the bone making enough stock to drag round various fairs and sell to the fabulous craft-loving people of this world..
That sounds nice doesn't it???...yehh, it does.

None of them bloody well turned up. I worked for months and months, traipsed round fair after fair, talking to seller after seller about how crappy the recession has made the  crafting world and how no one wants to spend money. GREAT!
I made under £150 all six months. Was it worth it. NO.

So, here I am, a few weeks before Christmas, broke, with tons of stock I need to sell and no oomph for it..just a Grinchy little grizzle in the very pittttt of my belllllly.

Humph. Humbug..humphhhh.

So, in order to cheer myself up, and because I love to read the beautiful cheery, colourful works of Lucy at Attic24 (seriously I love it, it makes my whole world a brighter place) I dragged my sorry whinging behind over there and mused over the blankets and cushions and made a very serious choice..I will make something for...ME

Yes, Happy Christmas to me, no, you know what, Happy Birthday to me. I turned 32 and only ONE friend remembered and everyone ignored me all day and my boyfriend fell asleep, Baby F's big brother was upstairs in his room all day and night, and dear sweet Baby F tried his hardest to make me have a nice day but he is not even one year old so he found it all a bit tiring and so he cried then went to sleep!.. and I was ill, I had the flu complete with vomting, ear infection, throat infection and general self-pityitis..what a seriously unhappy day that was.

As a reward for being the saddest friendless sadcase (this is what happens when you dare to move 18 miles away  from 'home' and have a baby - be warned) I bought MYSELF a beautiful cushion  -it has come to be known as the 'beautiful cushion'

Beautiful Cushion is made by a rather lovely lady called Heather Miles (click on her name to see her Facebook -  Vintage Lilly) whom I happened to meet at a car boot or craft fair?? something lovely.. anyway, she is very clever and  makes wonderful items and has plenty of good and tasty vintage things for you too. Heather just happened  to have made the vintage cushion of my dreams,  and of course I have a new/old crappy house that NEEDED a beautiful vintage cushion to just brighten it up a touch! And so I begged and hinted and managed to get some birthday money from my lovely mother-in law to be and thus the beautiful cushion was MINE! muahahahahah...Amuahahah.

I have photographed it (badly, bad light, winter light hates my camera) to show you and I decided to make my beautiful birthday cushion a Happy Christmas crochet friend..

..Long-ish ago (scroll back) Lucy from Attic24 and a lovely camp man on YouTube (forgot which one) taught me (without knowing it) how to crochet. Ever since then I have been like a crochet FIEND and can't stop. I have begun to crochet a minxy little mate for the beautious cushion of here it is..

It's the start of my very own cute little squared cushion front..the light makes it look damn awful, the colours are lovely - I promise..if the sun ever comes out enough again I'll show you.

I loved the cushion front that Lucy had made and I wanted to make something similar, a little quick project that I could make up whilst Baby F was asleep and big brother was at school. Yesterday I had day 2 of the worst migraine I have had in about a year, so I made a big cup of black tea, put on a quiet film (which I ended up ignoring) placed my beautiful 50s wicker work basket down next to me and lined up Country Living as a well -deserved treat for the post woolly workload.

I then began slowly working my way through 80% of the cushion front. The quiet rythms of each tiny square really helped me relax and the satisfaction of putting it all together afterwards was a wonderful I am left with only 12 squares left to make, then the back to put together, then I will give it (as Lucy* calls it) its TADAHHH moment.
See, it is growing..getting there. now I just have to decide which of my old jumpers is going to be killed in order to make a saucy new cushion back (can you hear them all shuffling to the back of the drawer as I type?!)

I have also found an awful lot of joy reading other blogs lately, see it's not just magazines that are worth a squizz.

I love these ones (and many more) right here:

Here: Just Me  (This lady makes me laugh so much!)
Here: Little Tin bird (gorgeous photographs and colours and words)
Here: The Brick House (Sigh..I hate the hot weather but Morgan MAKES me want to live in her house in the blazing desert heat..she just does)
Here: Crochet with Raymond (God,  how I love Alice and Raymond!)

Aren't they all lovely?..and so, with that thought in mind, I have decided to stop ignoring my blog and start writing it more frequently for my own sanity and so I can keep lovely records of things that mattered at the time. Lucky you (sorry) but then again, no one reads it! it is a-ok!x

Well now baby F has decided to wake up and scream at me for I'll leave you with my cat SmallFry having a lovely kitteny sleep on MY beautiful cushion - sigh.

* My freakish obsession with Lucy/Attic24 isn't my fault..everyone does it. you go there and see how you cope!