Saturday, 27 February 2010

Embassy Sewing Needles

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.