Of Puppies and Bunnies

Gentle reader,

It’s a new week, and a new entry in the FO parade. I’m gonna jump right into it!

le Bunny du Blue (that's French for Blue Bunny, y'know)

First up is this little blue bunny. He’s a wee little thing, and he looks rather kooky, but I like that. I’m not sure exactly what brand of yarn I used for him, but it was an 8 ply pure wool.

Dapper Dog

I’m quite pleased with how this dog turned out. I think he’s rather dapper! I haven’t made too many dogs or puppies before, but I think I’ll make some more, and perhaps try a version on all fours. He’s made out of Cleckheaton Country Naturals, which I really like working with and I like the extra bit of texture it has over regular Cleckheaton Country.

Well, that’s all for today, it’s a short and sweet one, I’m afraid.

How was your weekend? Did you have a good one? I hope so!

– R

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The Shy Lion on Facebook

Gentle reader,

There’ll be more proper posts coming this weekend, but in the meantime, I’ve made a Facebook page for The Shy Lion here, and it would be awesome to see you there! You can follow the link or click the “Like” button in the nav bar to the left.

I’ll be posting smaller bits and pieces and sharing some inspiration between blog entries, and I’ll also post links when I update the blog.

And please always feel free to use the blog comments and the Facebook page to share, chat, and give feedback. I always love to hear from you!

– R

Of Bears And Presents

Gentle reader,

Here’s is the next float in my FO Parade! Only one today, because I have something else awesome to show you too.

Blue Bear says "Wassup!?"

He’s more or less what I call my “formula bear”. When I start crocheting something, I have no idea what it’s going to be. Often I’ll have the body and head before I even have a clue what kind of critter it will be. Sometimes it even comes down to the ears. But, if nothing strikes my fancy along the way, they become a bear like this. I love these bears though, even though I can do them on autopilot now. I especially love this little gentleman because of his wonky eye and lopsided nuzzle. And his little tongue!

For this fella (and the Nugget the Owl, actually), I used a yarn from Spotlight called “Cardinal” which is an acrylic, alpaca and merino blend. I actually really liked it! It can be easy to be a yarn snob, but sometimes a decent, cheaper acrylic or acrylic blend is just the trick for these little critters. And hey, sometimes we crafters are on a budget, right? ^_~

The other thing I wanted to show you is a gift from my lovely friend Kate, who has a food blog called The World Is A Chocolate Cupcake which you should check out. Anyway, she has been taking sewing classes at Thread Den and she got a sewing machine for Christmas, and she made me this project bag!

le Bag du Project (that's French for project bag, y'know)

Firstly, who does’t like presents? Secondly, who doesn’t love handmade presents? And furthermore, a thoughtful gift is the most awesome, and clearly Kate knows me pretty well. I LOVE project bags. I mean, I have tons of them and it’s never enough! I usually buy drawstring bags from Japanese dollar stores (if you’re looking for a good, cheap project bag and you’re in Melbourne, check out Daiso right this minute!) but I’m always looking for new ones. And I love green (in case you haven’t noticed) so when she presented me with this little treasure I melted! I love, love, love it!

She’d also stuffed it full of all kinds of interesting yarn remnants which I’ll put to good use soon, I’m sure. It’s the ideal size for an amigurumi-to-be and some yarn. I can even fit my little notions pouch in there as well. Perfection!

Thank you, Kate! ❤

What’s the best handmade gift you’ve ever gotten? Or that you’ve given? Ooh, do tell!

– R

Of Owls and Dinosaurs (Maybe Dragons?)

Gentle reader,

I’ve been crocheting up a storm lately! I have lots of finished objects to show you, but rather than blast them all at you at once, I’m going to do it bit by bit. That gives me time to keep making more and we can see just how long I can make the FO Parade last!

First up today is an owl I finished just the other day! I’d made a smaller owl in this fashion a few years back as gift for a friend, and this is kind of like a bigger, refined version.

'Nugget' the Green Owl

I named him Nugget because I love how he’s just a little nuggety unit with owl parts. He makes me happy, and is definitely my favorite of today’s line-up. His eyes are made by layering three buttons, and his beak is this bizarre button I had lying around that’s made from a shell! I thought it was just the right shape for a little owl nugget.

Trade secret: You know the black rectangles of plastic in the bottoms of environmental shopping bags? To make his little tooshy flat and to keep his wings and tail stiff, I cut the shapes out of that plastic rectangle and then stitched the felt over it, or pressed it into the bottom of his body before I stuffed it. He also has a Gacha machine capsule filled with rice in his center so his nose doesn’t tip him forward. Which is a good way of reusing them, since I am clinically incapable of passing a Gacha machine without getting something. Oy! I have problems.

Now, the last one for today, well, I’m undecided what he is. If he’s a dinosaur, he’s part T-rex and part Stegosaurus. But, maybe then he’s a dragon? Who knows? You’ll have to ask him yourself.

"Am I a dragon or a dinosaur? I'm so confused!"

He was a bit of an experiment, and while I consider the experiment a success, I definitely have my lessons learned for next time. His face could be a lil’ bit cuter, and I might even add claws next time.

Meanwhile, I used my Kanji and Hiragana charts as backgrounds for a change. I really like it! It’s a nice change from black or white paper. What do you think?

– R

The Shy Lion! 2012! Aaaaaannnnddd…. GO! Crochet Classes at Thread Den!

Gentle reader,

Apologies for the long post title! I got a bit over-excited. Oy! I have some cool things happening in 2012 and the first cool thing is that I’ll be doing even more teaching. So, if you’re looking for crochet classes in Melbourne, then you’ve come to the right place!

The most exciting thing that I’ve been dying to share with you for ages is that in addition to the classes I’ve been teaching for Morris & Sons, I’m now teaching at Thread Den. I’m so super stoked about it, and the first class is soon!

Hamanaka crochet hooks are love.

The class is a two and a half hour session on Sunday the 29th of January at Thread Den in Fitzroy from 2pm to 4:30pm, and it costs $49 for the session. You can get all the details here. Go give Thread Den some love! They’re really awesome. That’s the only class officially on the calendar at the moment, but I’ll keep posted on more. They also have excellent sewing classes, so check ’em out!

In the next few days, I’ll make a new page in the navigation bar listing my class schedules and how to book etc. Maybe I’ll see some of your lovely faces, huh? ^_~

I’m hoping to do some writing too, but we shall see! What cool stuff will you be getting up to in 2012?

– R

 

December Travels – Chapter Three – Thrifting!

Gentle reader,

This will probably be the last of my December Travels posts before I get back down to business. But, it’s also probably the post I’m most excited to share with you!

I don’t know about you, but I love, love, LOVE a good poke about a thrift store. Back when I used to do costume design, I would hit the thrift stores hard – I once costumed a cast of 30+ on $200 with change to spare – but I didn’t come to love it until I quit theater and started thrifting for myself. Some things just aren’t fun when it’s work!

Well, while I was up in Queensland, I managed to do a bit of crafty thrifting and I think I did pretty well! First up, while I was in Brisbane, Panda and I dropped into this crazy antique store that we happened upon. It was quite big, and was more of a serious antique/collectors store, and some of the treasures in there were mind-blowing (with prices to match, in a good way!), but they also had some small little lovelies with more thrifty prices. Naturally, I managed to sniff out the craft accoutrements and patterns in no time, and I picked up these babies with change out of a tenner.

Lower left! Totes adorbz, yes?

After my few days in Brisbane, I caught the bus to my home town. After Christmas, my fantastic friends, Alf and Robert, drove up from Brisbane to visit me and we went thrifting! Now, my home town has some amazing thrifting. Because it’s a smaller town, and perhaps a little bit conservative, it’s not yet caught on that thrift stores are a bit “cool” these days. Or at least, that’s what it was like last time I shopped there…

But now, they’d finally caught on! And prices reflected that. Which isn’t a bad thing, mind. Most of them are charity stores, remember! So more money in their pockets are a good thing. But, I still felt a small niggle of nostalgia for the days of filling a bag for two dollars. Ahhh!

We popped into a few stores (in spite of my nearly getting us horribly lost a few times – it’s been a long time since I’ve had to get around town, everything had changed!), but nothing struck my fancy. Until we got to the big Lifeline store, and I managed to find a taste of the old days with some ridiculously cheap gems!

It seems that while it’s caught on that thrifting is “cool”, it’s yet to catch on that knitting and crochet is now a bit “cool” too! I found two pattern books and… A DROP SPINDLE!

I love the aran sweater on the front, but there are some tragic beauties inside!
"Raynie! Take me home! I've been waiting for you!"

Now, none of their patterns were priced, and I don’t think anyone knew what the spindle was. I took them to the counter, and I was served by the most gorgeous elderly lady named Vera. She looked them over, and not seeing any prices, she ummed to herself for a bit.

“How does fifty cents sound?” she asked with a lovely big smile.

I was floored! “Really!?” I exclaimed. I rummaged in my wallet and found a two dollar coin. “Let’s make it two dollars, shall we?”

“One dollar!” countered Vera, bless her!

“Vera! Why are you trying to talk me down? Take the two dollars!” I said with a laugh. She looked at me for a second and then giggled as she took the coin and bagged up my purchases. Too adorable!

I think vintage patterns are becoming a compulsion for me. I don’t even really intend to make most of them. Definitely some of the mens patterns. But, even if I don’t plan on using them, I just adore them! And I feel like, what will happen to them if sympathetic crafters don’t take them home? I can see this becoming a hoarders-like situation. Oy.

Things will be back to normal after this one, I think! Be prepared, I have a finished object parade busting to be blogged, and I have lots of exciting news (classes, anyone?). So, stay tuned!

What are your favorite thrift store purchases? Share, share, share!

– R