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

Of Squishable Yarns… For Keeps!

Gentle reader,

I wasn’t able to post on the weekend, but never fear, I have made my decision on the winner of a ball of yarn featured in the Meet Me At Mike’s Good Stuff Holiday Guide!

Hurrah!

Well, I couldn’t narrow it down to just one! So, there are a few winners.

First up is Trish, because she was so prepared that she even has a project in mind for it.

Next is Marg just because she used the word Katamari. Oh, I love those games. Oy.

Melissa is next, because she always leaves the most lovely comments; they feel like a conversation. ^_^

And lastly is Robbie from Knitxcore, because I had to let one of the fellas win ^_~

So, if you peeps could please email me your postal address at the.shy.lion@aol.com, I’ll pop a parcel in the post soon. I’m going to pick the yarn arbitrarily but if you’re really, desperately hankering for a particular one, lemme know (although, the Norway is taken already… for my cardigan!)

That’s all from me today! Hope y’all have a wonderful week!

– R

In Which I Espouse The Virtues Of A Selection of Yarns

Gentle reader,

I’m a bit slow on the uptake with this one, but a while back I wrote an article for Pip Lincolne‘s Good Stuff Holiday Guide. In my article, I write about six of my favorite yarns and why I heart the gosh-darn crap outta them. It’s not a definitive list because I tried to cover a nice spread of fibre types, weights and prices – not all of my faves made it in – but they’re all worthy of the praise.

Image Credit: Pip Lincolne, Meet Me At Mike's

Click the pic to go read it! My article is on pages 98 – 99, so have yourself a bo-peep.

And, just for fun, I’ll pick a random person who comments on this post and I’ll send them a ball of one of the featured yarns. Ooooh! (Sure, one ball won’t make anything massive, but you can squish it to your heart’s content and knit or crochet a swatch to see if you like it and then you’ve discovered a new yarn, and that’s fun times!). I’ll probably do a random number moment, but if you really crack me up or something, I might pick a winner on merits. ^_~

Robbie from Knitxcore also wrote a piece! You can check it out on pages 6 – 7.

– R

The Bear & The Cat

Gentle reader,

Amongst my wanderings, I’ve also been quite productive. I really have my sights set on getting enough items together to start my Etsy store. It’s been a while since I’ve done some serious amigurumi stuff (excluding the bits and pieces I made for the Dirty Granny show, but that was deadline crochet which is never fun).

First up is this little bear. I used the Pop Merino I got from Pierrot Yarns, and I have to say that it was a delight to work with; very soft, but didn’t split too much for an un-plied yarn. I love how the colors came out too, even the muddier sections where the overlap was. I wasn’t entirely happy with the proportions, and his legs turned out a little short and club-footed. I’ll probably snip those off and remake them – I have plenty of yarn left. He has a wonky eye, which I actually love, and I’m super pleased with how his nose and mouth embroidery turned out.

Pop Merino Bear With Muto Legs

Next, I made a cat with the left over yarn I had from making a beret for my friend Leeana (I’ll be writing a post on our swap later in the week!), and he turned out pretty much exactly as I wanted. The yarn is Cleckheaton Country Tartan, which I must say I loved crocheting with, and his snout is just a bit of random acrylic. His proportions are right on, and I love his longer legs (I usually get impatient and start the body sooner), and I made some i-cord for his tail (the first time I’ve ever done a knitted i-cord rather than using a knitting nancy! Super pleased). Also, his confused look kind of makes me happy.

Tartan Kitty

What crocheted critters would you like to see me have a go at? I feel like I’m on a lion-bear-cat-bunny loop, so suggest away!


Raynor

Pierrot Yarns Haul 2.0 – It May Look Like I Have A Problem, But…

Gentle reader,

Now, I’m writing this post to present my second Pierrot Yarns haul to you, and though it may look like I may be in the fledgling stages of a serious self-control problem, I assure you it’s not the case. Or at least, I can rationalize those niggling thoughts away for now…

A good part of this haul was on behalf of my dear friends, Judith and Jules. Their interest was piqued when I showed them the bounty of my first haul and we poured over the color card together ooohing and aaahing at the delicious little snippets of beautiful yarns. And so I ordered them each two cones of Irish Linen. Naturally, I had to throw in some goodies for myself and so I chose a ball of Pop Merino, three balls of Zakka Acrylic Namibuto which are for an amigurumi project I need to get started on, and a set of Hamanaka double-ended crochet hooks.

Yarnie delights from Japan!

The Pop Merino is a lovely aran weight single spun 100% merino wool yarn. I had actually intended to buy the #6 color way, but accidentally ordered the #7 (this happens to me far more often that is humanly probable), but I’m not at all bothered, #7 is still a very nice color way.

The Irish Linen is absolutely gorgeous; it has a beautiful texture and the most amazing sheen to it. I’ll definitely follow up with Judith and Jules to see what they think of it.

Now, the Zakka Acrylic Namibuto is an insanely soft and squishy acrylic yarn that is somewhere between an 8 ply and a 10 ply. I’m sure some of you are turning your noses up at the very thought of acrylic yarn – I know, how reprehensible of me! – but hey, acrylic is awesome for amigurumi, especially if they’re intended for children to put their grubby, unforgiving little paws on them. I’m totes not a pink person, but I have to make a pig to test out a pattern I’ve written (the pig I made while writing the pattern was stolen! True story.) and I’ve been procrastinating like WHOAH. I was pleasantly surprised by how soft and fuzzy this yarn is, so it’ll be perfect for a little pig.

And as for the Hamanaka crochet hooks… well, I’ve not even used them yet and I’m completely obsessed with them. So obsessed in fact, that I became a bit snap-happy when I was photographing, and I felt that they deserve a collage of their own.

Hamanaka Hooks

I’ll probably get started on that piggily using one of these and the Zakka. My fingers are itching to get started even as I type!

Fear not, gentle reader, this will be the last Pierrot haul for at least a while, so this blog isn’t in danger of becoming a Pierrot Super-Fan page (well, not yet…).

What online yarn companies do you like ordering from? Comment below!

Pierrot Yarns Arrived! First Impressions

Gentle reader,

Pinch me! I’m must be dreaming! My Pierrot Yarns order has already arrived. Well, that was rather quick-quack. And let me tell you, I am one VERY happy customer. As I outlined in an earlier entry, I ordered one ball each of four different yarns just to for the sake of seeing what the yarns are like and how the online English store is. I placed the order on the 27th and it was here from Japan on the 6th!

So here are my yarns:

Scrummy Japanese Yarns!

But, wait! There’s more! They also sent me a free color card (which you could buy separately on their website for 1000 yen) and a book which showcases some of their yarns and even has a few free patterns (charted, of course).

Color card and booklet

All the yarns are so soft and lovely to touch, and they were sent individually wrapped so they got to me in perfect condition. There was even a little printed letter which had been addressed by hand thanking me for my purchase.

All in all, the prices and freight are perfectly reasonable, the service so far has been of a very high standard, and find me someone who’s heart isn’t warmed by thoughtful freebies? I’ll definitely be putting another, bigger order in.