Sunday 23 December 2012

Happy Holiday Hat (and The Importance of Swatching)

Panda hat
In the past few weeks I've made quite a few hats, most of them have been beanie type hats using nice chunky yarns and a K2 P2 rib. So far they have been well received. I gave one to my long suffering partner; I made the first hat for my brother for Christmas and then decided I had been neglecting said partner so made him one too (instead of doing the washing up which is what I probably should have done.) I also made one for me in gorgeous colours but then decided it made me look like a boy so I gave that one to my partner too.

Beanie detail

Lovely colours beanie

Anyway, I digress. This post is to showcase my purple panda hat. I picked up a copy of Rachel Hendersen's '25 Animal Hats' for cheap a few weeks ago and have had my eye on the panda hat from the start. I've been avoiding making a panda hat as there are so many on the high street but they are very cute. I decided to put my mark on it by making a purple and white rather than black and white panda.

Crochet panda hat

This pattern was a good example of why you should swatch. I used a different yarn to the one specified (same weight and fibre, just a different brand) and used the recommended hook size. It soon became apparent that this was a bad plan. However, being stubborn I carried on and tried to convince myself it was fine. It clearly wasn't so I tried felting it, but I'd used super-wash wool and even at 60 it wouldn't felt. So I admitted defeat (sort of, I still haven't actually unraveled it) and started again. This time I used a hook 2 mm smaller and found this gave me about the right tension ( I still failed to swatch but I did measure after a couple of rounds.)

Shell edge detail

Back of the hat

I added a shell edge to my hat as I like little touches like that but otherwise mostly followed the pattern in the book. When I had completed the crochet hat I used felt, buttons and embroidery thread to make the face and made two fluffy pom-pom ears. These waggle in a slightly disconcerting way when I walk but the hat is warm and cosy and I think everyone should have a silly hat at Christmas. And on that note, Happy Christmas Everyone!

Eye detail

Monday 17 December 2012

Life Drawing 13th December 2012 (plus buttons)

Detail of drawing. Water soluble graphite on prepared paper

The last life drawing session this year; our model Martin gave us some excellent poses as always and this time I managed not to cause him too much suffering! I started off with my usual pen drawings and for the longer poses I used the water-soluble graphite. As I had some prepared paper to work on I got a different effect to last session as the paint I use to prepare the paper mixes with the water to make a paste, giving a different texture.

Permanent marker
Permanent marker


I was also very excited as one of my regular attendees (not sure that's a word) very kindly gave me two tubs full of old buttons. Collected over two generations there are some lovely buttons and I've had great fun already having a look through. You can never have too many buttons!

Sunday 9 December 2012

More Doorstops

Green and purple elephant doorstop
Front view of elephant

I thought I'd share with you a picture of the finished green elephant mentioned in my last post and a few owls, just for good measure.

Button free owl

Eyes not made of buttons

This owl was made for a friend who has a fear of buttons. It seemed strange making an owl without buttons but I decided to face the challenge head on and he's actually one of my favourite owls so far. I really like the layered felt and stitching and the fact that he's very purple helps!

Green owl

Tartan owl

I have also listed a couple of owls in my Folksy shop, a green fellow with very large eyes and a seasonably tartan chap.

Wednesday 5 December 2012


Sunshine Elephant

On Saturday I did a craft fair at the Tithe Barn in Carlisle. It's a really lovely venue so it was a real shame it was so quiet. However, the people organising it (Masseuse Smooth, who also have a shop in Penrith stocking some of my stuff) came to me to tell me they'd sold one of my owl doorstops and the person who'd bought it wanted to know how much an elephant would be. So, I set about designing an elephant and came up with this design.

Design for the elephant doorstop

They took it away to show the person in question who said yes and so last night I made a lovely sunshiney elephant. Now I'm off to make one in green, as you do.

Side view

Back view