A couple of weeks ago I finished this blanket I was making for my son. I began the blanket last year, it took approximately 18 months to complete. I didn’t work on it everyday, but would make some squares here and there while zoning out in front of the TV.
Completing a project like this looked pretty simple, but needed a fair amount of planning before I started, and as I progressed, to bring it together.
I started by looking online for a 15x 15 pixelated image. I was using an 8ply pure wool yarn. I ended up settling on this image, and reduced the colour pallet to six shades, instead of nine:
Then I had to locate a crochet square pattern. I wanted more of a solid block pattern rather than granny square style. I looked online for free patterns and found one that I felt would give a pixelated effect. I used rounds 1-3 of the April square: https://www.allfreecrochetafghanpatterns.com/Granny-Square-Patterns/April-Square and made each square for my blanket in a single colour. I ended up adding a boarder to the blanket with additional grey squares, making this blanket 17 x17, 7 cm squares.
I attached the main coloured squares into rows, and periodically checked that the placement would work. Here are some images of the blanket ‘in progress’. I tracked rows against the pixelated diagram using post-it notes which were numbers with columns, and attached using bull dog clips.
289 squares later, I was done 🙂
It took a long time to hide all of the ends from the individual squares and from the row seaming too. While I am pleased with how it looks, I wont be making another one any time soon 🙂
Now I don’t have any big projects on my shuttle, hook or needles…I wonder what will take my eye next?
Until next time, happy crafting.
This week was very exciting for me. It was the first time I have had my crafting efforts recognised as art. I was invited to submit a piece to the TAP (Teacher as Practitioner/Teacher Artmaker Project) and fringe exhibition https://www.facebook.com/TeacherAsPractitioner/.
This year’s theme was ebb and flow.
To come up with an idea for submission, I contemplated the theme ebb and flow. In my mind ebb and flow refers to gentle movements. These gentle movements over time may lead to changes in how we perceive nature. Invariably I kept coming back to water, and the idea of the ebb and flow of the tide. As a biologist this reminded me of the amazing fossils which have been revealed because of the relentless motion of the tides. This natural process has revealed fossils which were hidden for vast tracts of time. The discovery of these artefacts has lead to a variety of scientific understandings. One of the most famous (and most common) fossils are those of the ammonite’s which lived 65-400 million years ago. So I tatted a representation of an ammonite ‘fossil’ using thread and beads.
I knew I wanted to use Marilee Rockley’s pattern (from her Craftsy class), but I wanted to make it slightly bigger to display as part of a scene. The threads I had of the correct colour was size 80. Making one in this size was quite small, and I incorporated it into the final piece, but it was too small to be the main feature. I needed some help.
At the next Melbourne tat and chat I was able to explain my idea to Lea, from Alenalea’s Tatting and she bravely took on the challenge of hand dying size 10 thread to match my sample fossils, and in particular lengths so I could wind the shuttles CTM (continuous thread method) without measuring or wasting thread. Within a week I had the thread in my hands. She had also made an extra sample in size 7 thread for me to test. Thanks Lea, you are a thread genius!
I ended up completing three tatted ammonites, and displayed them on a felt covered board. The layers of the felt represent the geological earth layers and the ocean. You can interact with the display to move the tide and ‘discover’ the small fossil. In this way I feel the piece invited people to be participate in the art experience. My piece was displayed with a few other fibre based objects. I will have to get a photo of the full display next week, as I forgot to take one on opening night.
I wonder, do you think of your craft as art?
Until next time, happy tatting
A little while ago I saw this very cute pattern on Julie is Coco and Cocoa, and it was knitted in the round using a very short cable needle. I really wanted to try out this kind of knitting, and so purchased the pattern from her etsy link. The pattern was reasonably easy to follow and, once I got clear on the way it was worded (and needed to check back to the blog itself for the revised instructions, hints and tips) I remade the hat twice more to get it to fit me (increasing the stitch counts according to the noted on the blog). This hat is pictured above, being started at one of my favourite cafes and the finished in the picture beside it – Bendigo Wool mills 8Ply milky way (wool and milk fibre yarn). Sometimes working through these problems makes you feel more triumphant when you do complete a project.
Despite the sizing hiccup, the pattern was quite fun to make, and also to practice cables, so I bought some new 10ply Bendigo wool mills bamboo/wool blend yarn and made the one in the bottom picture. I have yet to add buttons to either hat, as we are now getting warmer weather in Melbourne and I no longer need the hat for my walk into work. I will source some cheap buttons over summer so the hats will look new for the rotation in time for Winter 2017.
Don’t forget to enter the 1,500 likers giveaway, you can enter by commenting on the blog post here: 1,500 likers giveaway or on the facebook page with the post about the 1,500 likers blog.
Until next time, happy crafting,
Last week I decided to tat another Tardis, and I dug out the pattern and threads to begin. I decided to try and get an idea of the amount of thread needed on each shuttle to make one, and measured out 4.5m of thread for each shuttle. As I had some thread left on each shuttle I will try again this week with 3 meters of thread – hopefully not too much left over.
This is a great pattern to practice split rings on, and there is one split chain too. Once mastered, these two techniques open up a lot of opportunities in tatting, including being able to reduce the number of ends to sew in on older patterns.
The Tardis pattern is one I adapted and shared a long time ago, that Anne Bruvold kindly added to her original version of the pattern as an adaptation Anne B’s Tatted Tardis, available for download from here: http://nuperelle.net/EngPatterns.htm . I have tweaked it again to add a white ring to act as the ‘notice’ on the window of the Tardis.
Don’t forget to enter the 1,500 liker giveaway by commenting on the blog from Sunday: 1,500 likers giveaway or over on the Facebook page under the post for the 1,500 likers blog link.
Until next time, happy tatting
A few weeks ago I took a craft lesson on how to knit cable stitches and in the round using the magic loop method. I have never ventured into using cable patterns and thought this was a good way to learn the technique. The magic loop method was one I had never heard of before- so I was surprised at how cleverly it uses the cable to allow you to work on small peices in the round. The lesson took place at one of my favourite places- Unwind Craft Cafe in Keilor East. I used the lovely cable needles I got for my birthday and some Bendigo Wool Mills milky way (blend of wool and milk fibres).
I was pretty pleased with how quickly this knitted up, and how nice the wool was to work with. The pattern is from ravelry- main street by tin can knits.
Until next time, happy crafting
The winner of the 1,000 likers on facebook prize, Janis, received her craft pack recently. Here is a quick picture of what ended up in the pack. I included a purple birch ‘joke’ shuttle and a few other little surprises too. It is lovely to share the crafting fun with everyone. Next giveaway will be at 1,500 likers. Again- thanks to everyone for following – it is so much fun to have you with me on my crafting journey 🙂
Around the time of my own 1,000 likes giveaway recently, I entered a giveaway on Dearest Debi’s facebook page. I was one of the winners, and was given a code to select three of Debi’s crochet patterns from ravelry for free! I was really excited- she has some lovely patterns. Here is one I selected- flower bud granny octagon. I have just sat down and made this now, and the pattern was pretty easy to follow (I made the usual substitutions from US pattern terms to the ones I am familiar with), and I am really pleased with the results.
Thanks for the patterns Debi, I look forward to trying the others I downloaded very soon.
Until next time, happy crafting
A couple of weeks ago we were on holiday in Queensland, enjoying the beautiful weather and tourist trail. I took the opportunity to work more on the Mystery Doily, and progressed from round 2 to 6 in the time we were away. Here are some photos of my progress, on the plane and at our accommodation. I have been challenging myself by using split chains and split rings to climb out of rows, and reduce the need to cut and tie each round. This was fine, until I ran out of thread on my shuttle with one final ring to complete in round 5. Some quick thinking, and I was able to use the ball thread to make my rings, the Shoe Lace Trick (SLT) to swap between the threads, and the small amount of shuttle thread as the core of the chain. Phew- I made it 🙂
I am still chipping away at round 6. More progress reports as it is made 🙂
Until next time, Happy Tatting
A few months ago I began knitting my second adult Kina. The one I knitted before was in wool, and too warm for summer weather here in Australia. I am happily wearing it in winter, over long sleeved T shirts and skivvies. However, I really want one for the summer, and so found Bendigo Wool Mills 8 ply cotton, in a lovely lilac and have started my second Kina! I hope to have it finished in less than a year 🙂 But have had a couple of setbacks.
The 8 Ply cotton knits up a little looser than it’s wool counterpart, and so the first cast on and increases looked a little gappy. This didn’t bother me too much. The real problem came when I thought I would try a different knitting style than what I currently use- the much faster looking ‘continental style’. It was after doing a few, much much slower, rows that I decided to go back to my normal knitting style (that I have used for 30 years) and try continental knitting on another project. But first I wanted to get this Kina off my needles so I can make some other projects for some family and close friends having babies soon. So, I kept knitting and then realised this had happened….
Can you see it? Yes- a line! When I thought about it, the continental style did pull the threads through in the opposite way to my usual style, and I should have realised this at the time (hind sight, huh!). Having spent so long already on this project I was reluctant to pull it out- so have taken it to a few ‘knitting consultants’ (read: friends and family) to see how obvious this error is (the consensus is that is is VERY obvious). I also cast on a new Kina (I had another ball of this cotton) while I was waiting for feedback from others, and deciding whether to ‘retro knit’ the first one. I took the opportunity to use my new stitch markers, they are little macarons! Very cute- from Bead Passion on ETSY. I also decided to try and ‘fix’ the gaps, so I am using smaller needles and making the next size up of the pattern. Hopefully this will compensate and as it is a forgiving pattern I am confident it will work OK…but will keep you all posted as I progress. I still haven’t taken off the other Kina from the needles…when I need the next ball of cotton I will muster the courage 😉
Is there a project you have needed courage to start over?
Until next time, Cappy Crafting
I know, I know- Jan’s Doily II was a pain to make- I whinged and whined over it for the last few months. So I feel a little embarrassed to now be so very very proud of it! After blocking it is STUNNING (if I do say so myself, but Wonderful Husband (WH) agrees, so does Little Tacker(LT)). Thinking about my PhD research into what motivates people- there is a lot written in the education world about having challenges just at the edge of our current abilities (Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development ZPD) – that sweet spot where you know the task is a little harder than you expected, but you know if you persevere you can complete the task. As a teacher I feel pretty confident in finding that ‘sweet spot’ for my students and designing tasks that will support them to their next level. It is a good reminder that we all are constantly learning in life….however I wont be rushing to do another Jan Doily in a hurry…I’ll need to work up to the next one 🙂
My next “ZPD” challenge is in Crochet. A friend of mine gave me a ‘Star Wars amigurumi’ kit for my recent birthday-
So, of course, it has distracted me for the last week as I learned new crochet stitches and techniques to make this little ‘wise’ guy 🙂
After making one Yoda (WH claimed him) I had friends (and LT) who wanted one too. As it is winter in Australia at the moment there is a lot of wool at craft shops- so it wasn’t too difficult to locate ‘yoda’ coloured wool (there was a larger than I expected range of Green coloured wool!). So, I started a ‘yoda production line’ which was fine, until I was up to the feet…they are the ‘new stitch’ and the point where they are stuffed and embroidered. Below are pictures of the ‘heads’ and ‘bodies’ ready for the next step. As it is a long weekend in Melbourne- I hope to finish all the feet today and get onto the arms and ears too…I will post when they are done.
In keeping with the ZPD theme of this post, Kersti over at Craftree has started a ‘Mystery Doily Tat along’ which she has tailored patterns for both beginner and advanced tatters- needle and shuttle. It began last week and so I made a start on it yesterday. Round one is cupping (as expected from reading the discussion forum) and I hope to get the second round completed today. I urge you to join in- or at least come and join the fun in the discussion forums on Craftree 🙂
I wonder- what craft has recently pushed you to work in your ZPD?
Until next time- Happy Crafting
I was recently gifted some variegated pink Coats cotton, and a lovely hand decorated shuttle (Thanks Sam, from Rogue Threads) so, of course, I abandoned my Jan S doily and started another doily! I have been wanting to make Marilee Rockley’s Arches doily for a while, so started straight away! While I am not happy south my tension in the round I have just completed, I think this is a really clever pattern. It is also easy to keep track of the stitch counts (well, much easier than I have been finding the Jan S doily recently).
I will block this over the weekend, and redo the last 2 rounds if I need to correct the tension.
Oh, here is the gorgeous shuttle too:
Until next time, happy tatting