Monthly Archives: July 2015

Reduce your use

I have just found this post by http://www.thesnailofhappiness.com I think it was posted last month.

As crafters and knitters and crocheters and generally creative people, I’m sure we are all guilty of hoarding and collecting in the name of ‘stash’.

The amount of beads, threads, stickers, wool, needles, fabric, embellishments etc I have is unreal.

So instead of being in buying and consuming mentality I think it would be much better for environment if we got into sharing and reusing mentality. xx

The Snail of Happiness

Tomorrow marks the beginning of National Recycle Week, with the aim this year being:

to get us all thinking about all the items we can recycle from around the home that we might not previously have thought about recycling (Recycle Now)

Now, I think this is a great idea. We should all think more carefully about what we can recycle. However, I think that recycling is similar in some ways to carbon off-setting, in that it gives us ‘permission’ to carry on as before with the same level of consumption. Telling ourselves that it’s ok to keep buying ‘stuff’ and using resources because they can be recycled is really not sustainable at current levels of consumption. Recycling takes energy, but less than production from raw materials:

It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials. Making recycled steel saves 60%…

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The Ten Crochet Commandments

THE TEN CROCHET COMMANDMENTS

 

You shall crochet whatever makes you happy, regardless of what other people say. Be that a crochet dinosaur or a crochet pencil topper…the only goal is happiness.

You shall take every opportunity to teach others about the craft. Whether they want to learn or not.

You shall have yarn. A hell of a lot of yarn.

You shall sacrifice clothing, objects and furniture (and men if necessary) to find a space to put said yarn. And you shall proudly call it a STASH.

You shall spend many happy hours drooling and sighing over other people’s crochet masterpieces, knowing if you tried that particular pattern or technique, it just wouldn’t look the same.

You shall crochet on every mode of transport where you are not actively driving / piloting / navigating.

You shall understand this: time stands still for no one who crochets. So get a move on and finish that WIP.

You shall not mind the crochet fails. They happen from time to time. Take it as a lesson learned and try again. You shall not give up or give in!

You shall subtly let other people see how amazing your crochet makes are…without being too obvious of course.

You shall share the love. Make gifts for friends and family. Make items for charities and local people. Make something for your neighbour or a colleague. Share. Share. Share.

 

Simple really aren’t they?

Ellen xx

Crochet Disaster

Hey up people!

It is Monday and it is dreary.

Drizzly rain has fallen all day and the day has seemed really dark and gloomy. Which I kind of like. Especially with the window open and you can smell the freshness and hear the splashes as the cars go past. Of course, this makes it harder to make anything in this gloom, but that’s ok.

I am starting on a new blanket of granny squares. Pictures to come on a later post. I call it the Dark Granny.

 Coz all your makes have to have a name you know. Like when you read a pattern and see the name either the designer or the magazine has given it…’make the DORABELLA blanket today’ or ‘have fun with the MYRTLE scarf’. I refuse to call anything I make with old fashioned ladies’ names. No…mine get names like ‘Granny Funky Blankie’ or ‘THE FLANGE’.

 

Anyway, I made something two days ago and I’m not sure about it.

I call it ‘THE FLANGE’.

It is another scarf…but I ran out of the purple and had to use pink (the colours are actually really nice in real life…the picture doesn’t do it justice). BUT. The bit I had to do pink was the ruffles.

 And when I wear it I feel like I am wearing an octopus. It is nice and warm, so maybe a scarf to wear in the house due to scarf-shame?

 Have a look and see what I mean…

 

flange tastic

 

IT’S HIDEOUS!!!!!!

WHY OH WHY DID I THINK AN OCTOPUS WOULD LOOK GOOD ROUND MY NECK?!!

In the spirit of full disclosure I will share successes AND failures.

 After all, I didn’t succeed at crochet the first or second, or even the tenth time. I persevered and researched and trialled and queried until I got it right.

And even now I make mistakes.

Luckily, I don’t make the same ones over and over (I leave that to other areas of my life).  

Although it is embarrassing to admit failure when you consider yourself between advanced and awesome!!

 

Until next time…

Ellen xx

Stash busting

Stash Away!

This week I have realised something. I HAVE A LOT OF YARN!

I have a set of 3 plastic storage drawers full of yarn and fabric. And a bag full of yarn. And another bag of wool. And there is some in a box on top of my wardrobe. And some on my desk on top of my crafty books. And more dotted around the house.

So it’s time to whittle it away. I used up all the wool which was in one of the bags doing a giant granny square blanket. There were only three half used balls of wool but because it’s variegated it looks like there were more colours. It’s big enough for a baby blanket but maybe I will get another ball or two to finish it off for a proper lapghan.

grannywip2

I also used up a couple of cotton balls I got free with a magazine. I made a couple of re-usable make-up remover pads and some granny square coasters (still need blocking).

makeup

coaster

 

I think I need some goals to get motivated for the rest. So, By next Thursday (when my cast comes off – yay!) I will have done the following:

 

  1. Finished crochet WIP – the only project outstanding, a red top started years ago
  2. Finished my big cross stitch project
  3. Finished reading David Copperfield

 

Doesn’t sound like much but they are all dragging and can’t wait to finish them off once and for all. And if I finish the top then that is one bag less that is on the floor all the time!

 

So that’s all for now folks, see you soon

 

Ellen xx

Unsleep sheep

Hi there!

Something short and sweet for now.

I lived and worked in Thailand teaching English for 6 months last year. Some of the things that were sold in the shops with English written on were hilarious. Like this cover of a notepad.

Did you know? WHEN A SHEEP MEET COFFEE…IT BECOME UNSLEEP SHEEP!!!

I can’t believe I have gone through life without knowing this. Now everything makes sense.

unsleep sheep

 

And the most hilarious of all? For New Year a group of us English interns went to Pattaya (Thailand). It was beautiful, the streets were packed, the beaches and the surrounding islands serene and idyllic. And on one of the islands (I forget which one) we went to a National Park which had a beach. But before you got there you went through a small village and this was on a sign for one of the restaurants. It’s the name of it!

internal men

HA!

Needless to say…we DIDN’T eat there!!!!

Well, on that note..,

 

Until next time

Ellen xx

Vintage vs. Retro

Happy Monday y’all,

And Happy Holidays! For many of my teacher friends this is their first full week ‘off’. Smiles and sighs of relief all round I think. 🙂

Thought I would share something special today. A couple of ‘old’ knitting booklets that my gran gave to me a long time ago. Unfortunately I never learned to knit as a child, I did a small bit but then gave up. I don’t think I had the right impulse (is that the word?) to really want to learn. Thankfully I do now though!

But trying to describe these patterns I got stuck. I think they are from the 70s or 80s (possibly 90s but I don’t think so) and it’s made harder to date them when I realised there are no dates ANYWHERE on them.

So what are they? Vintage? Or Retro? Vintage has connotations of being ‘old’ in my mind while retro is more a style that I would associate with bright funky colours and bold prints.

Dictionary.com says vintage is: ‘the class of a dated object with reference to era or production of use’ hmmm OK. And retro? ‘of or designating the style of an earlier time’.

I think in this case I would say they are retro dolls and doll’s clothes patterns and oh just look at the yellow doll set!

Here they are:

vintage1

 

vintage2

 

vintage3

vintage4

My gran was an amazing knitter, she made me a huge lovely baby blanket when I was a baby and I remember a dark short sleeved jumper that I saw she had made for herself and I asked her to make one for me too. She bought me a Forever Friends knitting bag for my 9th birthday. I think there is still a small piece of garter stitch on one of the needles that she did when she was trying to show me how to knit. It will stay there for as long as I own the bag.

Looking back I wish I had learned to knit and since she couldn’t crochet, maybe I could have taught her. But it’s too late now.

A bit of a personal share this time. But that’s part of crafting isn’t it? It’s all personal, from the choice of garment and the recipient, to the type and colour of yarn.  I don’t think it matters what you make or who it’s for, as long as you do your best to share the skills and your passion and then who knows, one day it will become someone else’s passion too.

Or…if you have friends like mine, they’ll think you’re weird!

Love

Ellen xx

Skinny Crochet Scarf

Hello crafters!

Good news…my cast comes off in 2 weeks which will mean I have had my left foot in a cast for almost 15 weeks now. I can’t WAIT for it to come off. 🙂 I still can’t walk normally and it will take time to get used to having no cushioning cast and shoe but at least I will be able to scratch it. OMG the itches…:O

I look forward to the day I can walk for 20 minutes and not have to sit down in pain. The operation to fuse 2 bones together, the nightmare of having to live on one leg (even temporarily) and needing toilet handles!!, the faff on getting all those scans and trialling steroids being injected into joint….I REALLY look forward to the day I can say it was all worth it 🙂 Happy Happy Happy…

 

foot 2

 

The past couple of weeks have been ‘busy’! Done some more on big cross stitch project – maybe another week or so and it’s finished. Done some more on my knitted scarf, but haven’t felt too good this week so that’s put aside for now. Done some more reading.

I did manage to finish a WIP (Work In Progress). Or you could say it has been WIPPED! I WIPPED IT GOOD! My skinny Tunisian crochet which I have been working on since Christmas is now done. I didn’t even have that much to do, just had to find the motivation to do it.

If you don’t know what Tunisian (or Afghan) Crochet is then google it immediately! IT IS EASIER THAN KNITTING AND CROCHET. I PROMISE YOU. The needles look like a cross between a knitting needle and a crochet hook and I love the Tunisian Simple Stitch, which is what I used for the scarf.

For Tunisian Crochet, you basically put all the stitches onto the hook (forward pass) and then take them off again (reverse pass).

Here is a picture of the finished product (sorry my picture taking skills leave a lot to be desired…but for now my excuse is wobbly crutches!).

skinny 2

skinny 1

 

The pattern went something like this:

5mm Tunisian Crochet Hook

Yarn

100% Acrylic James C Brett Marble Chunky: purple

Make 16 chains loosely. Tunisian Simple stitch until scarf measures the length you want it. Edge it with a border of Double Crochet.

Simples!

 

Still need to block the ends as they are curling a bit.

There are lots of examples on the internet how to do Tunisian Simple Stitch. Try this YouTube video out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EdRuM6I-3w

That’s your homework people! Learn to do this stitch 🙂

I have also been busy ordering off internet. This arrived yesterday…my gemstone pack of 12 assorted colours from deramores and oh my golly goshness they feel good! I have a few ideas what to do with them but I need to finish my last WIP before I start anything new…it is hanging over me like you wouldn’t believe (since 5 years ago).

woolllll

 

Anyway I need to go pick up and do stuff. Maybe. Maybe not. Definitely need to try walking a bit more :O

And I think it’s time for shortbread biscuits nom!

 

Ooh I just thought of something….next post I think though!

Tune in next time…same bat time, same bat channel!!!

Ellen xx