Spock Hat. Dunzo. Classes. I Haz ‘Em.

Gentle reader,

Are you peeps ready for some SRS BSNS!? (that’s excited text speak for ‘serious business’)

The Spock Hat is finished and photographed! Y’all should give your thanks to The Beard, because he’s been sick and he was on his way to work, but I pulled him outside and made him model it for me before I’d let him leave. “Enough’s enough!” I said to myself. “This needed to be done, like, months ago!”.

And so, I present you with an earflap beanie of the Spock variety. BLAM!

Also, get a load of The Beard’s beard! That’s impressive.

To do the ear detailing, I just did a surface slip stitch in a darker yarn. It turned out pretty well, I think.

“Live long and prosper.”

So Vulcan, so chic.

Well, that’s that done! Finally! I had intended to write the pattern as I made it, but at some point I realized I’d stopped making notes and it was all over. Oh well.

In some housekeeping news, I’ve added a section for my class dates! So, if you’re in la Bourne du Mel (that’s Frenchie for ‘Melbourne’) you can totally come sit with me and I’ll show you how to crochet! Fun times!

Just clicketty-clack in the handy-dandy nav bar, and you can sign yourself up for some crafty education. Hurray!

What’s the nerdiest thing you’ve ever crafted!? Bonus points for posting pics on the Facebook page! ^_~

 

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Of Oz, Clogs and Linocut Prints!

Gentle reader,

When I finished high school in Australia, I went on student exchange to the US to do the last half of senior year all over again. Glutton for punishment, right? ^_~ Not really, it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life, and I met some of the most awesome peeps ever. And, I also got to learn how to do linocut prints! I wish for the life of me I could remember my art teacher’s name, she was so amazing, and I feel like a jerk that I can’t remember. But, that class was so amazing, and I learned more about art and craft in the six months than I did in the two years I took art at my Australian school.

Anyway, recently my super lovely friend, Amy (who blogs at Mildly Crafty, so you should give her some love!), gave me a whole bunch of linocut bits and bobs – all stored in a delightful old cardboard suitcase – and a book about different DIY printing processes. I already had some linocut stuff, but I hadn’t touched it in years so this got me all fired up about linocut all over again!

Amy’s Awesome Gifties.

I didn’t use the clean, new blocks that Amy gave me, because I wanted to save those for when I was more practiced, so I used some lino scraps I already had. The fabric paint didn’t work very well on my lino – it balled up and didn’t print very well – so I used the regular block ink that I already had. I can’t wait to do some fabric printing though!

My first carving went straight into the bin because I’d forgotten to mirror the letters so they printed the right way, but after that I did a Wizard of Oz print which came out really well! I was very happy with that one. Beginner’s luck. The next one I did was of the clogs. It’s somewhat of a tradition for bloggers to take pictures of their feet, I guess, which I’ve always thought was quite funny and cute. A bunch of the lovely ladies whose blogs and Instagrams I follow seem to love their clogs, so I asked GourmetGirlfriend if I could use one of her Instagrams as a reference and carved a tribute to bloggers who clog. ^_~

It’s slow going, but super satisfying!

I’m still finding the best amount of ink to use. The first time, I used to too much, and tried watering it down a little. I got the best prints from thicker ink though, and having a lot of ink had some trade-offs. I got better prints, and more prints from one application, but I also got more waste prints at the beginning from the ink squishing around the edges too much. So, the second time I used less ink, and got good prints, but not quite as good, and only one or two prints per application. I need to find the happy medium.

The roller is called a brayer. The more you know!

I did prints on brown paper and some canvas cartridge. I think I liked the brown paper best. I have lots of love for brown paper… brown paper bags, brown paper parcels, ah! I love it all! So, I was really happy with my brown paper prints. I found that I liked the Oz design a lot more when the print wasn’t completely even, and the paper showed through in places with the ink. But, for the Clogs one, I liked it more when the print was very crisp and even.

No Place Like Home, and Clog Lovin’

The canvas was more of a mixed bag. I think it was just a little too textured, and the Clogs design went right up to the edge so it was tricky to line up. I think I’d like to try printing on some other textured materials that aren’t quite as rough, like watercolor paper or something. I still liked them! Just not quite as much.

Click your Silver Clogs three times… (or Ruby Clogs for the movie peeps).

All in all, I’m properly happy with the carvings, but I still have some experimenting to do with the printing process. They’re definitely not Etsy-ready, but hopefully soon. Experimenting is the fun part, so I’m well keen to get on with it!

Meanwhile, I should have a finished sock to show you soon! ^_^

What other kinds of designs would you like to see? Have you done any printing before?

Toto-Phone: Finished!

Gentle reader,

You peeps and my pals on FB seem to have gone properly mental over my Totoro cross-stitch phone case! Y’all are crazy! And completely sweet, and I heart you all. So, not to disappoint, I’ve worked as fast as I can, and, now, I present to you my Toto-phone!

Mmm, shall I do a Cat-Bus one next?

I’m pretty happy with it. The case itself is a great, snug fit for my iPhone and I was glad to get rid of the stretchy, loose silicone one. The design itself turned out in the end; I did have to make a few slight changes to my original chart, but I’m pleased with him now. I will do up the chart and post it in case anyone is interested in doing their own cross-stich Totoro. ^_~

To recap, if you want to do your own cross-stich iPhone case, you can get yours online here or here, or you can buy them in store at Morris & Sons (Sydney and Melbourne).

If you could do one, what design would you go for? And if you actually do do one, you MUST share it with me! I’ll pretty much love you forever! 

Of Veggigurumi And Undead Books

Gentle reader,

I had the lovely opportunity of visiting Stephanie and Megan at Can Do Books in Hawthorn today. If you’re in Melbourne and you’ve not been, you really must go. Their selection of crafty and arty books are totes amazeballs, and the prices are kind of jaw-droppingly reasonable (which is a bit of a rare thing in Australia, actually!). We had a chat about some opportunities to do some really cool stuff together, so I’ll keep y’all posted. In the meantime though, do you mind if I show off the purchase I made while I was there? The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt!

Back from the dead!

The 4-1-1 on this book is that it was well popular and then it went out of print for a number of years (the publication details lists it’s last edition as being printed in 1988!). Demand was so high though that people went properly crazy and apparently second hand copies were selling for the $200 ballpark on eBay! Oy! But, it’s been revised and updated and is back on the shelves. Zombie book! It’s alive! I had a quick flip through and was overcome with the desire to take it home with me, so I did, as a matter of fact. I think these will sell like gangbusters, because it’s the kind of book that if you only ever bought one book about knitting, this would do perfectly. Seriously, this thing is so big you could brain someone with it. I tried flipping through some more on the train and I nearly dislocated my arm! And considering it only cost $49.99, let’s be real, I kind of feel like a stole it, just a lil’ bit. I’ll tell you some more about it when I’ve had more time to pour through it (seated safely at the table, mind. No more dislocations).

Meanwhile, I have some crochet FOs to show you! Back when I was at the Loch Quilt and Craft Festival, I was crocheting while I was sitting at my table, and I don’t know what possessed me, but I started to whip up some vegetables, or ‘veggigurumi’ as I like to call them. I did the aubergine first. Now, I would sooner eat my own sick than eat aubergine, but I think they’re pretty and I love their color. And this yarn colorway was even named “Rustic Aubergine” (Morris Estate 14 ply), so I suppose that might have sown the seed for veggigurumi. And the carrot was next because I happened to have a red-orange yarn and I actually do like carrots. So, there you have it!

Do carrots and aubergine even go together? I haven't a clue.

Anyway, I was really quite happy with how they turned out, actually! I think aubergines are a bit longer, but I wanted it to a be fat little nuggety one. I can’t quite remember what yarn the carrot was made of, but I suspect it was Sean Sheep from Big W (don’t pooh-pooh the Sean Sheep from Big W, it’s actually quite lovely!). The green bits were from some Magnum Soft, which is a pretty decent acrylic yarn if you’re on a budget. It’s quite squishy and not at all scratchy or plastic-y). I feel like I need a few more items for the collection, for a fruit/vegetable bowl or cornucopia if you will. Perhaps an apple or broccoli, I’m not sure.

Also, if you missed it, I’ve opened an Etsy store, which you can visit here! And, if you go to this post and comment, I’ll send you a coupon code for 15% off, just ‘cuz I love you. ^_^ Truth be told, you can comment on any post and say you want a coupon code. Ask and ye shall receive.

Have you bought some awesome books lately? Share, share, share!

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

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