Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The one with the knitting needles and the bracelets


It's a well known fact that the Mister thinks I'm bonkers.
So it's just as well he didn't see me boiling my knitting needles at lunchtime today.

Yep, you read it right. Boiling my needles.

See? Here's the proof.


No, I'm not THAT hungry. I just fancied trying something crafty.

I'd found the green and red plastic needles in a charity shop (10p per pair, I kid you not) and knew just what to do with them. 
And for once, it didn't involve yarn.

Here's what I made:


Bracelets! 

If you'd like to follow suit and confound your family and friends with your culinary madness, then here's what to do:

1. Find some plastic knitting needles (raid your stash for lonely ones, or keep your eyes peeled in the charity shops for cheapo ones).

2. Boil them for 20 mins or so -they need to be really soft for them to take shape. My first attempt didn't work as they weren't pliable enough.
Do be aware of nasty fumes which can be released- ventilate your kitchen and you'll be fine.

3. Remove them carefully from the water. Within a couple of seconds they'll be cool enough to handle.

4. Bend them quickly into shape and use something to hold them in position. (See my imaginative use of the elastic bands the postman insists on dropping along the street)


5. Allow to cool completely.

If you're not happy with your bracelet, then just pop the needle back in the boiling water to soften and start again.

Now adorn your wrists with your awesome creations and wait for the comments to come flooding in...


NB: not all plastic needles will bend. The grey one refused to comply and has been returned, sulking to my stash.

Enjoy your week!

Sarah x


Monday, 21 July 2014

The big stuff

I loves a bit of mahooooosive yarn.


It has to be a favourite of mine.
It's so exciting- seeing that huge skein, rolled up in a cone or ball. So many possibilities ...




I've made quite a few things now, with the big stuff:


And I've got a few projects in mind for the book, too.

If you fancy giving it a go, then there are plenty of commercially produced yarns available. And you can always make your own t-shirt yarn - there's lots of tutorials online to guide you - try this one for size.

My stash (and there's more)

It goes without saying that you'll need a big hook-anything from 10-20mm (US 15/N/P - S) depending on the pattern and then you're good to go. Hold it in exactly the same way as you would a smaller hook and yarn- it takes a little getting used to, but you'll soon adapt.

The great thing about this yarn is that it works up really quickly.
In no time at all you can have a bag or basket or slippers! 

Enjoy your mahosssive  yarn adventures,
Sarah xx

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Twenty

A magic number.



Not my age (alas), but the number of projects I need to design for the book.




Luckily, as it's a book for beginners, the projects are neither complicated nor lengthy. 




However, designing everything from scratch involves a lot of testing and trying and fixing and frogging.




And there's a lot to be done..


I do hope you likey.



Enjoy the rest of your week, 
Sarah xx


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Let's Get Crafting

Its funny how things work out, isn't?
I've never exactly had what you might call a business plan, but I've tried to give myself a goal or idea for what I'd like to achieve each year.

And so a few months ago, I'd said to the Mister that it might be nice to have a pattern published in a magazine.   
I had no idea how to go about this, but imagined I might have to send lots of emails. A daunting task, I thought. It would be something I'd do later on in the year. Maybe once the little'un had started school.
Yes, something I'd definitely aim for later in the year. 
Much later.

So that was the plan.

And then I received an email from a lovely editor, saying how much they liked my designs *blushes* and would I like to accept a commission for the knitting and crochet magazine, Let's Get Crafting?
 

Ooooooo, yes. I said.
How exciting, I said.

And so I was asked to design a cactus, a toadstool keyring, a flower pen cosy and a toadstool pen cosy!
What fun!

Images courtesy of Let's Get Crafting Magazine

I designed. I made. I wrote up the pattern and emailed it. I sent the physical items..
And then I waited...

And here it is!!
I'm very proud to say that my little cactus made the front cover..
Image courtesy of Let's Get Crafting Magazine


.. and the keyring made the front jacket..

.. AND I have a full spread inside, too!!!!



Happy days.

What's more, I've been asked to take on another commission. Here's a sneak peek:




But now, it's back to the book. More designs need to be made and more writing needs to be done.




Suffice it to say that things are a bit busy at Annaboo's House these days. 
But that's how I like it best.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

Sarah x

Monday, 26 May 2014

Moggy

Hello, you lovely lot!
As you know, things have been a bit busy here, but I thought it was about time for a free pattern.
So here's Moggy.
She's my new doorstop. 


And why would I want to make a new doorstop, you wonder?
Well, I have this little dog called Lola. She is a year old now and very, very cute.


But Lola can be a bad doggy.


See? That's my old doorstop.
Anyhoos, I thought I'd reuse the filling and the bag of sand to make another.



This is an easy project; Moggy is crocheted in continuous rounds of single crochet (UK doubles) in amigurumi-style. I used some leftover chunky yarn from my stash, so she worked up quickly, too. 


You could use any yarn to make yours.
Moggy Doorstop

You'll need:
Yarn and hook to match (I used Sublime Chunky Merino x2 50g balls and a 6.5mm hook)
Polyester toy filling/ a bag of sand/ rice to add weight
Stitch marker
2x 13mm safety eyes
Length of contrasting yarn for nose
Ribbon

Stitches and Abbreviations:
I use US terms, so single crochet= same as UK double crochet here.
Chain (ch)
Single crochet (sc)
Stitches (sts)
Single Crochet 2 Together (sc2tog)

To single crochet 2 together:
Insert hook into next stitch.
Yarn over, pull up a loop. (2 loops on hook)
Insert hook into next stitch.
Yarn over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)
Yarn over and pull through all 3 loops.

Pattern
Starting from the bottom and working up
Make 6 sc in magic ring OR
ch2, 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook.

1. 2sc in each sc (12 sts)
2. 2sc in each sc (24)
3. Sc 24

4. (Sc 1, 2scs in next st) repeat around (36)
5. Sc 36

6. (Sc 3, 2scs in next st) repeat around (45)
7. (Sc 2, 2scs in next st) repeat around (60)

8-21. Sc 60

22. (Sc 2, sc2tog) repeat around (45) 



Begin stuffing /add your bag of sand

23. (Sc 3, sc2tog) repeat around (36)
24. (Sc 1, sc2tog) repeat around (24)
25. Sc 24

26. (Sc 1, 2scs in next st) repeat around (36)
27-28. Sc 36

29. (Sc 5, 2scs in next st) repeat around (42)
30-33. Sc 42

34. (Sc 5, sc2tog) repeat around (36)
35-36. Sc 36

Ear 1
To make the ears, you will work both 'halves' of the head separately
37. Sc 9, turn, sc 9 (18)



Add eyes and stitch nose. 
Stuff as you go.

38. Sc2tog, sc 5, sc2tog, sc2tog, sc 5, sc2tog (14)
39. Sc2tog, sc 4, sc2tog, sc 6 (12)
40. Sc2tog, sc 3, sc2tog, sc 5 (10)
41. Sc2tog around (5)

Sew closed.




Ear 2
Repeat rows 37-41
You will have a slight gap between the ears, which can be sewn closed at the end.



Tail

Make 6 sc in magic ring OR
ch2, 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook.

1. (Sc 1, 2scs in next st) repeat around (9)
2. Sc 9
3. (Sc 2, 2scs in next st) repeat around (12)
4. Sc 12
5. (Sc 1, 2scs in next st) repeat around (18)
6-9. Sc18
10. (Sc 1, sc2tog) repeat around (12)
11. Sc 12
12. (Sc2, sc2tog) repeat around (9)
13-14. Sc9

Fasten off, leaving 30cm tail for sewing on later.
Stuff





Finishing off
Sew the tail to the side of the body.
Add a ribbon to your Moggy's neck.
Sew the gap between the ears closed.

There you go- your very own Moggy doorstop.



Mine will have a new home upstairs, well away from the bad doggy...

Have a great week, everyone xx

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Advancing Deadlines

The deadline for sending the advance materials to the publishers approaches
(Eeeeek! It's all happening!!)


(The advance material is a section of the manuscript, containing some of the patterns and the physical crocheted items. This is used to mock up a kind-of early version of the book, which is used for marketing.)

I've been good at working and am the kind of person who works easily within time limits, so I think I'm on track. Mind you, I keep re-reading the text and changing bits here and there. I must stop doing this and leave it for a bit.


BTW, I am enjoying this whole writing malarkey immensely and choosing new yarn is so much fun. The ones in the above picture above are Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and they are completely delish...

Right, just a short post. I need to get on.

I'll keep you posted on bookish happenings and I have a new freebie pattern that I'm working on, too.

And so the clock ticks....



Friday, 2 May 2014

Instagrannies' Day Out

Well I have to say, the writing's going well so far and I must admit, I'm really rather enjoying the whole process.
But as we know, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so it was with great excitement I went off to our second Instagrannies' day out (the first seems so long ago...)

Image from here
This is the meeting place (Barnett Hill, near Guildford).
Isn't it lovely?

It's a beautiful house, built in 1905 by the grandson of Thomas Cook, the Travel Agent. It was later given to the Red Cross and used as a convalescence hospital during the war years and then as a training facility. Now, it's a conference centre. 
History lesson over.
Oi, you at the back, wake up.

Anyhoos, the super-gorgeous ShabbyChicSarah is the brains of the outfit and decided to invite the gals of Instagram to a little meet-up. And so, for a very reasonable fee, we travel from far and wide and get together.




Tea is sipped.
Homemade cakes and biscuits are nibbled at.



Look at all the crafty stuff


We sit, chat and bring our projects to work on and there is sewing and crochet and knitting and embroidery and lots and lots of laughter.
(And we also eat a great big lunch. Four courses, no less).
And before we know it, our time has come to an end and we mourn how quickly our day has passed.


Plenty of yarn
Busy bees. There's Ashley from CountryRoseCrafts, too!
But new friends have been made and ideas have been shared. Tips and tricks have been wondered at and stories have been told.
And there is the promise of another get-together in the summer....

...I will be there. With bells on.


Yours truly and the lovely Sarah (not so shabby, really)


Have a lovely weekend, everyone.
(Bank Hols here in the UK- yipppeeeee!!)

Sarah x