Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Miss & Master Quick Chick

I sat down last night to make a quick ami, without really having any idea of what I wanted to make.  Great designer I am!  Anyway, some yellow yarn and a pair of safety eyes later..........I was stuck.

I put the call out on Instagram and Tumblr for suggestions, got a several responses and Quick Chick was born.  I am going to make all of the suggestions that got thrown in, they're great!

After a few failed attempts at the beak, wings and feet; here is how she turned out.

She works up quickly and the little bow is just glued on.  I reckon she could be made in an evening in front of the chattering cyclops.

ETA: I couldn't help myself and made a little Master to go with Miss.  Isn't he dapper?

If you would like to make your own Miss & Master Quick Chick, click here!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Rainbow Ripple Rug

This is, without doubt, the longest running project I've had and it has been an absolute joy to work on. Part of me couldn't wait for it to be finished but at the same time, I didn't want it to be over.

I can't quite believe I made it, sometimes I will just stop, spread it out and admire the pretty colours. I wish I'd made it a little wider but my partner suggested that I do a large border to make it the width I want.  This rug was only meant to be a square, as something that protected the lounge from my tootsies.  We have an L-shaped lounge that is awesome for gaming that my brother gave us when we moved house.  Guess where I sit?


As you can see the rug grew into something much bigger than a square and I'm a bit in love with it!

The basis for this rug came from Lucy at Attic 24. Her blog is a riot of colour and I find it a soothing place to spend time ogling the colours and her enthusiasm for all things hooky.  There is a sense of love from her blog, she really invites you in *shrug* I can't really explain it.

I ran out of yarn when I only had one block of 7 ripples to go and the red is not the same shade as the one that has been used for the majority of the blanket.  This annoys me.  Lesson learned: make sure you buy enough yarn from the same dye lot!  Not to worry, this blanket is for me and won't be for sale.  The border gave me a bit of grief but I think for a first attempt at a blanket, I did pretty dang good!  The difference between border and no border is amazing, it looks so much better with one I think.

Blocking this sucker was...interesting as I don't have a floor space large enough that can be protected from my doggy's fur and feet.  I chucked it in the machine with some other washing to make it easier to block and get rid of the slightly chemical smell that the yarn had.  Necessity is the mother of invention since I don't have a blocking board so I got some extra large towels and put them outside in the sun on the front deck and pinned the blanket to them.  It wasn't perfect by a long shot but it did the job well enough.  I think for the next blanket I make, I'll get some styrofoam to stab the pins into.  One layer of towels is a bit tenuous!  Since it was a pretty warm day yesterday, it didn't take long to dry and I think the heat actually killed the acrylic a little and now the blanket has a lovely drape.

I do believe that is enough banging on so without further ado, photo's!

Much chocolate was consumed in the making of this rug.

This is post-blocking.  Looks much better!

The last two pics show my favourite spot in our back yard under a big Camphor Laurel tree.  I sit out there quite a bit and crochet, drink too much wine and plot my woolly world domination.

I'd love some feedback lovelies!

P.S. For my fellow hookers, I used a 5mm hook and 8ply DK acrylic yarn.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

I'm messing around with the layout and backgrounds and what not, trying to find something that really speaks about what I do.  Please be patient! :D

Thursday, 7 February 2013


I've been a keen photographer for many years, since I was a teen really.  I don't have a spectacular camera, although I will one day!  The camera I use for photographing my crochet is my my trusty iPhone 4.  I have another point-and-shoot digital camera but it doesn't take very good close ups, they are too grainy.  A little bit tragic that the best camera I own is in my phone (yeah yeah, first world problems *lol*).

When I first started making amigurumi, I would photograph them in my bedroom.  It had good natural light, although I did have to time it around when the sun was shining into the room, otherwise I'd end up with over-exposed shots.  I used to use our doona cover as the background, not having anything else at hand.  After a while I started using a neutral coloured sheet as the backdrop when I realised I had a sheet set that doesn't get used.  If I did a very close shot, you could see the threads of the fabric which I didn't really like.

Very recently I made my own light tent.  I'm so pleased with it because now I don't have to photograph in the daytime, I can takes pics whenever I want and for the most part they turn out pretty good.  It was ridiculously cheap to make, the only thing I had to buy was a sheet of white cardboard.

I used an old cardboard box from when we moved house a few months ago and cut windows out of 3 sides.  At the front, I cut away all the cardboard except for a small strip along the bottom.  I use cheap pillows for stuffing my ami's and for some reason I hung on to the fabric the stuffing was in.  It turns out it's really good as a light diffuser!  The piece across the top is fixed on with blu-tack and sticky tape and the side pieces are just stuck on with blu-tack at the top so I can add side lighting if I want.

DIY light tent waiting patiently to serve it's purpose :)

As you can see it sits on a dining chair with a flexible reading light above it.   Very low budget here (as happens when you don't have a paying job)!  Sometimes I grab another reading light to help things along if the shadows are too pronounced.  I love this little thing, it has improved my photo quality a lot.  Now I have visions of another 2 lights on the sides and different coloured backgrounds to show of my crochet goodies!

Photographing crochet can take ages.  Sometimes I can get the images I want with only a couple of shots, other times, it might be 30 or more before I give up in frustration and make the best of what I have.

Got a question or a comment?  I'd love to hear it!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

My Creative Process

An enormous amount of work goes in to creating something new and getting it out into the world.  I have a folder that has a graph book and note paper in it for my pattern writing ideas and designs.  The graph paper is useful for giving me an idea on where to start increasing and decreasing. I tend to write a pattern as I'm hooking it and as a result, it ends up being several pages long and notes all over the place.  It would be seriously confusing if someone else were to look at it!

My amigurumi folder with note paper and graph book.

It takes me about a month from inception to finished product.  During this time I draw, erase, draw, erase, draw, erase, choose colours, change my mind, change it back again then start hooking, writing and taking photo's.  Sometimes while I'm making it, I have to frog it because it just isn't turning out the way I want it to.  This isn't a bad thing, it's just frustrating.  I wish I could get it right first time!  There's lots of crossing out of notes and scribbles all over the place and usually a fair bit of cursing and happiness, sometimes in the same breath!

Pattern writing progress, looks like a mess!

After I finish stuffing and sewing, it's photo shoot time!  I have a light tent that I made myself for taking pic's (there will be post about that in the next few days).  The photography can be really time consuming.  Using my trusty iPhone 4, I take several shots of the piece from different angles, do close ups and change the pose.  The light also gets shifted around and sometimes moving the piece only a centimetre or two can really make the difference between an okay shot and great one. I might take 30 photo's of a piece and use only a couple.

DIY light tent

When I'm done with taking photo's, I transfer them to my computer and use Picasa 3 to edit the ones I want to use.  I've found that since I've started using the light tent, my photo quality has really improved and I don't need to do nearly as much editing as I did when I was using a sheet as the backdrop.  More on that in the upcoming photography post!

Typing up the pattern comes next, some I sell, others are free.  I use the Open Office suite instead of Microsoft because I am cheap (frugal?).  It's free and word documents can easily be converted to a .PDF.  I like to use PDF's for my patterns online as I can protect the document so it can't be changed or the images copied.  The typing generally doesn't take too long, I add photo's that I have taken during the creating so that  whoever is reading the pattern, has pictures to refer to and it gives them an idea of what it should look like.

After all that is done, the uploading begins!  Pictures of items and patterns that are for sale go on Etsy and Facebook, free patterns go on my blog and Ravelry and the photo's get uploaded to Facebook, Ravelry and right here on my blog.  Sometimes I add them to my Flickr account too but I usually forget  >_<

So there you have it, a run down of how I go about making new stuff and getting it out there.  One of these days I'll get much more organised about getting it all to happen in one hit rather than all over the place.