Saturday, 7 August 2010

This may take forever.

Fancied embrodiering a wordle, think they are kinda cool in design terms and needed a pattern that wouldn't take as long as a picture would to create. Little regeneration geeky cos the idea is to use it as an over-spill work bag. If I ever finish the plan is to do a craft one for a project bag.

Thought would be a nice project to take away with me, as it turns out I didn't get much time between visiting bits of Northern Ireland and writing my dissertation. Now I still don't have time what with work and the still unfinished dissertation. Oh well, at least its not a gift or anything, no need to finish any time in the near future. Here's how its shaping up (or was last time I had my camera to hand..)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Glob "the biscuit snitcher" Octopus

Embroidery of one of the charaters from a friend's book called The Whispering Sand. Glob is a talking octopus who can be quite friendly and helpful...when bribed with biscuits or blancmange. Described as an off-cream colour with a domed head but unfortunately against the black background the stitches look whiter than the greeny-beige I was going for. Might yet fill the back in somehow but I do like the idea of Glob floating in the blackness, dreaming of processed sugar!
Some in progress pics:

Friday, 9 July 2010


I should really change the name of this blog, it's been so long since I actually knit anything. In fact since my last months in education overlap with starting full-time job it might be a while before I have chance to craft anything much, let along picking my sticks back up. In the meantime I seem to have had everything aquatic on the brain as I've sketched out the beginnings of two new embroideries, check it out:

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Happy Birthday!

Well I've finished the crochet shawl. Its around 2m long, difficult to photograph but here goes for now:
It was a birthday present for my mum along with a carrot cake:
 which was absolutely delicious. It's Nigel Slater's recipe but with the traditional cream cheese topping since I didn't have any mascarpone on hand and was without a car for the weekend.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The half-way house of craft projects...

So I haven't really had time to make anything recently which is irritating, or rather finish anything.
My election-leaflet thing has gotten this far, but no further because I'm incapable of remembering to buy glue when I'm out:
 I've been somewhat absent-mindedly crocheting on various train journeys :

and gardening... which is new
...And also plotting an Isaiah Berlin/ Hayek based embroidery. But nothing is finished. Though on the plus side my purple asparagus plant appears to be pulling through.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Progress, finished.

The embroidery I started here is finished and finally had time to frame it. I'm pretty happy with it and the fabric was great to stich on (unbleached - cotton? - from ikea). Not sure about the bird, thinking of unpicking, but I left the little guy there for the time being. Some close ups below so you can see all the irritating french knots in the tree:

Friday, 14 May 2010

Reversible Knitting

Scarf I've finished just in time for the weather to pick up:
 Despite looking like crochet its actually knitted. Really the plan was to just try out some of the stitich patterns from Lynne Barrs fantastic book but it was fun to do so a couple of lines snowballed into a lightweight scarf. Pictures of the whole thing:

Thursday, 29 April 2010


I've just voted (by post) in both the local and council elections. It's been a wierd campaign not only because of the impact of the debates but personally because I've been too swamped with work to pay as much attention as I normally would. Having said that no-one seems that interested in campaigning where I live, there are a few signs and the odd leaflet but despite working at home for the last month I've not seen any door-to-door campaigning or seen anyone out in the community. The leaflets have been different as well, most have been from party central offices not the local candidates. The overriding focus has been on trashing the opposition; I don't for instance know anything about what our local LibDem parliamentary candidate actually supports, only that he seems to believe we have been living under a reign of evil not seen since Sauron stalked middle earth. Anyway these leaflets have been piling up at the end of my desk in the vein hope I'll recycle them but now I'm thinking about crafting with them instead. Not sure exactly where its heading but the first step is pictured above and the second is after the jump:

Monday, 26 April 2010


 I have a few things in progress at the moment but with deadlines looming there is no realistic hope of finishing them in the next couple of weeks. I do have a knitted scarf to post that I made to try out a stitch pattern from Lynne Barr's excellent book, Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand-New, Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns.   I hope to find the time (+cash for yarn) to try one of the projects very soon. In the meantime I've started to do an embroidery I drew out an age ago, here's the progress so far:

Thursday, 22 April 2010

More food, less craft.

Yum. Asparagus and cheese muffins. No home grown asparagus yet though, have a purple variety plant but its looking pretty peaky.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Real Big Fish Cross Stitch

"Monkeys for nothin' and the Chimps for free.." made as a birthday present for a friend with a ska-punk/ska-rock type obession! I created something like a pattern before hand, mainly for the space monkey (it's laughable really but if I come across it I'll add it to a post).

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Mighty Mighty Elm

I have the feeling this blog might go in a similar plant-based direction to Ian's. Mostly plants just die in my care but I'm making a concentrated effort this year. Got myself the bonsai (epi the chinese elm) and it is looking good. Plus I've got a whole crop of wickedly spicy chillis growing on my OAP of a chilli plant and I'm determined to be involved in the growing - and not just the eating - of our vegetables this year.

Office Chair Revamp

I meant to add this to the last post! I love this fabric, not sure where this trend for birds has come from but not complaining. It is almost worth the hell that is shopping at Ikea.

Almost, but not quite.

Office Chair Revamp, seat and back

Cutting and shaping the foam for the seat. The seat is curved and the original foam had been glued on to it, figured I'd follow suit so it'd be sure to follow the contours. Had no idea how difficult it is to glue foam though. Hot glue: fail. UHU: slightly better but still sucky. Superglue: so-so. Thought about going the araldite route but I hate the stuff so in the end the foam held to the seat by the fabric tension which worked fine.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

More chair revamping: the first stage

In the before. I'd taken the armrests off by this point, the rips also were me seeing how bad the foam padding was and whether I needed to add to it or wholsale replace it (verdict: bad, replace). The stains however, nothing to do with me!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Reasons I'm never going to finish my masters....Part #1

So with the whole day stretching ahead of me I could have done any number of things, could have even put the finishing touches to 1/5 of my dissertation. So what did I go and do instead? Well it started quite encouragingly when I cleared several weeks worth of notes/receipts/coffee cups off of my desk so I could actually get to do some work. But its also when the trouble began, I found my bag of embroidery floss which has been in such a mess I've been avoiding doing any stitching: obviously sorting it was more important than essay-writing so several hours later....

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Bead Games

I think the space invaders are positively cute. Pacman is still on the loom, thats why it is soo much bigger. And please ignore all the loose threads, got some finishing to do.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Zip Brooches

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to see if I could make the zip brooches without having to handstitch through six or seven layers of zip. These are the result, I need to clean up some of the hot glue that is showing but apart from that - and hot gluing myself multiple times in the process - they are a success. Also my pins finally arrived so all have brooch pins on the back now. Got a stall at a Macmillan thing next month, some of these might find their way there.

In other news I'm in the middle of a new knitting project so soon I'll have a post that actually fits my blog name: yay!


Monday, 15 February 2010

Plastic Fantastic

This is continuing the flower theme of the last post. A while back I frogged a project that I'd started with yarn made from carrier bags that hadn't worked out so I have a load of skeins laying around. I've got a few ideas about what to do with it all; the purse was just a way to test how it worked in crochet (I've only knitted with it before), I hoped with crochet I'd be able to make some more structural items that woulds suit the use of plastic. Think it might work too, builds up nicely and found it a much easier material to deal with when I have a hook rather than a point. Purse:
Its a pretty simple design. Perhaps too simple? I think I'd prefer to put a design into the stitchwork next time or use a fancier stitch (rather than embellish). I also can't decide whether it should've been cotton-lined: coins aren't going to slip through the crochet but it would help hide the plastic/zip seam which wasn't easy to make pretty and secure. Hmm...

I have to say that I love Sainsbury's for their ridiculously coloured bags! They make colourful flowers and look awesome melted together too:
( back of a shoulder bag made from fused plastic bags, minus the strap)


Saturday, 13 February 2010

Spring Flowers

After a week spent freezing my ass off a)walking across Manchester and b)in the seemingly unheated rooms at the uni, I thought I'd create some spring cheer and use up some scraps of yarn in the process. Also the perfect way to avoid writing my research proposal because I'm in denial about it needing to exist at the moment!

Not sure what I'm going to do with any of these; the middle one might make a half-decent brooch because the yarn holds its shape but I'm still waiting on a load of pins I ordered a while back *grumble*. They better arrive before the table sale in April or I will be annoyed. Half tempted to make like a million of the first one and have a daisy-chain type scarf or shawl, it would be a good excercise in hiding the lose strands at the back. Normally I'm super lazy and just leave them hanging. As for the last one, I'm not sure. I don't like that sappy light blue colour much; either that has to go or it has to find a home that isn't mine...
Not the carrier-bag crochet I promised but hey, not done the finshing on that yet. It involves some very tedious hand-sewing that I will only do when there is something worth watching on you'll see it when they re-commission Firefly then!


Split Focus

I've been working with my collection of plastic-bag yarn this week and its completely ruining my set of coloured crochet hooks. There will be some proper posts soon, once I've done some finishing on the crochet and I have a couple of x-stitch things in the works. Basically done my usual, begun like ten things at once in weeks where I have a load of work/uni/other commitments. Plus I have a load of vintage sewing stuff I'd like to post because the packaging is lovely.

Must. Learn. Time. Management.

Monday, 8 February 2010

What I do when I say I'm working....

I nicked the idea from something I saw in Boots the other week but I've since discovered that there is a tute by Eli-Chan for something similar over at craftster. They are stitched together but to be honest it's a bit of a drag hand-stitching through several layers of zip, I might have another go and see how hot glue works. Or get over my distaste for thimble-wearing.

I'm low on metal-teeth zips but if I do have another go I'll post up the result. Guess I could use the manky plastic ones, got like a million of those....


Saturday, 6 February 2010


the perfect pedestal for a bluepixie, and my first crochet design:


The seat of nature

Over the summer I had two pieces exhibiting at the Holmfirth Art Week, it is a great event and apart from all the art raised between £30 000 and £40 000 for Macmillian Cancer Support. I had to submit the titles of the pieces before I'd had chance to plan what I was going to do so really the finished work grew around it's title rather than the more logical reverse. In this case it was the "Seat of Nature". I used a second hand chair I got at a funny little shop in the Jericho area of Oxford, stripped it down and then collaged with magazines, newspaper (some stained with turmeric), stamps, tickets etc.

Doesn't show up to brilliantly in my photos but the centre of the sunflowers are hole-punches of newspaper individually stuck down in a spiral:

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Happy Hooker Scarf

Got the scarf to match my hat finished and photgraphed. Super cosy and super long: it finished up at 2 metres 30. I've put a close up of the stitch pattern below, its a combination of double crochet and chain stitches and produces a stretchy grid of triangles.

I've also bit the bullet and unwound (frogged) a scarf I knitted out of yarn cut from tesco plastic bags. My hope had been that with use/heat/detergent the plastic knit would soften but this never happened, huge shame because the scarf looked pretty cool. However now I have all the yarn I made to re-use and I'm torn about what to do, I'm tempted to knit or crochet it back into a bag but that seems a bit cliched. I've also been thinking about knitting a cosy for my flask to stop coffee drips staining my (white) bag but not sure non-absorbant yarn is the thing for that. Hmmmm.....


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

First Crochet

The yarn for the owl jumper was on sale but only if you bought bulk so I was left with a load of (lovely) red wool. What to do? What to do?

I've recently been teaching myself to crochet using the stitch 'n' bitch crochet book ("Happy Hooker" Stoller, D). Used up a couple of balls of really cheap acrylic practicing the various stitches/techniques and I've really come to love it, even though as a knitter it feels all wrong to be dropping stitches all over the place! The huge advantage of crochet is that I can do it on the train without poking the person next to me with knitting needles. Stoller's book is really excellent, I picked up the basic idea immediately and there is a nice balance in the book between suggested projects and information/stitch patterns - the history of crochet at the start is a nice touch. Unlike when I learnt to knit the instructions in the book are really clear AND well illustrated, with knitting I couldn't even work out how to cast on from a book.

Anyway, to come back to my owl-jumper surplus. I decided to try one of the projects in Stoller's book and thought it would be a good opportunity to use up some stashed yarn. I chose in the end a lovely open-grid hat (in pic) and scarf. The pattern has contrasting trims on both hat and scarf with the scarf being inverse colours to the hat but I decided on a plainer version. I also made the scarf wider and longer than the pattern suggested; skinny scarfs are not my dish. The hat in particular is great because the openness means your head doesn't get too hot when walking about. On the other hand the book suggests wearing them in spring yet it kept me perfectly warm in sub-zero January. Guess it wouldn't be so good if you were standing around though. I'll snap a picture of the scarf and put it up later.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Owl Jumper

I've had a life long thing about owls and over the years have somewhat accidently built up a large stash of owl-related possessions. Not sure how any of this began but hey, here we are, I saw a post about this jumper on craftycrafty (or was it craftster?) and couldn't resist. Only this was my first big knitting project. I'd knitted small things and a scarf or two but the owl jumper represents the first time that I'd be seriously upset if it went wrong and that the costs of time/yarn were pretty high. Well the yarn was on sale, but you know what I mean.

The pattern is Kate Davies' of Needled. You can download the pdf either at Needled or on Ravelry for £1.50, the procedes I believe are going to Medicines Sans Frontieres. Even when I was an utter beginner I managed to follow her directions without too much difficulty. Also, check out some of her other patterns, they're fantastic. I've since knitted the "Doll Heid" hat but it was a gift for a friend and I never got a chance to take a picture.



I need to write a proper introduction but in the meantime here's a quick note about me and this blog.

Hello. For those who don't know me I'm Helen or thebluepixie, you choose. Despite the title, this will not only be a knitting blog (maybe not even primarily); whilst I have love for all things yarn-based, I have a whole host of other crafty interests and hopefully this page will reflect that. There may also be forays in to philosophy or literature unless I keep myself in check! If there is not much on here yet please check back, I should be getting a number of projects posted up in the coming weeks.