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Stitch Shape and Bristol Fashion

Crafting in the West Country

Month

March 2016

Pattern Scavenging

I’m a dirty rotten pattern scavenger and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Making unique objects is a part of the joy of crafting, but, as with anything creative, creating something entirely novel is nigh on impossible. When I have made my own items without using a preexisting pattern as a base, I’ve still looked at quite a few to get my head around it. My rule is credit where credit is due. I will happily use another persons pattern and alter and change it, but at no point do I claim it to be entirely my own work.

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This is my most recent completed project. Pretty cool isn’t it? It’s also a combination of two different patterns I used to create one striking and unique object. I’ve wanted to have a go at the Tree of Gondor chart for quite some time. I love the jumper the person who designed it put it on, but once I looked at the price of that pattern, I thought I’d have a little look to see if I could find something else to create a similar effect. (I don’t mind paying for patterns, but I think the current USD to GBP conversion rate has made some things a touch on the expensive side.) After a trawl through ravelry I found this pattern which was a fantastic match. Cables on both the sleeves, and around the neck which ended up matching nicely to the tops of the branches.

viking

Last year, a friend mentioned she wanted a knitted viking helmet after seeing Anna Sui’s on the catwalk. I think she was hoping I’d make her one, but wasn’t expecting one. But I loved the idea, and in the next couple of months produced this for her. Perhaps a little less fashion forwards and a little more Hagar the Horrible, she was none the less over the moon with it. There was a part of me that wanted to keep it for myself. I honestly can’t remember what hat pattern I used, but I chose something in stocking stitch, with a stitch count that was divisible by 10 and 4 in order to work with the cables I had planned. How did I create the horns I hear you ask? Clanger heads knitted in chunky wool. Originally I used the adult pattern, but they were just too big, so I scaled it down and used one of the child clanger heads instead.

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Quite some time ago I came across this gorgeous Totoro adaptation of this pattern. Being a student at the time and finding larger projects somewhat intimidating, I didn’t end up taking it on for roughly another 5 years. The original pattern just lends itself to being redesigned, the designer’s even written about some of her favorites other people have done. I’ve done two of my own versions of it, shamelessly adapting small colour work charts I found on google image searches. I’ve got a few more planned too.

Well, that’s it for today. See you soon!

May The Craft Be With You

Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places. Crafting is warm and homely, science fiction is technology driven. But a huge number of crafters find inspiration in the fantastical.

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Anyone got any Jelly Babies?

In a previous post I talked about Dr Who‘s glorious tank top in Sylvester McCoy’s incarnation. However, one of the most iconic pieces of televisual knit wear was Tom Baker’s scarf when he was the fourth doctor. One day I shall start one, which I believe will be an eternal work in progress when I need to get on with something easy. There is endles information on how to create your own, but a particularly good source seems to be this website which even shows different versions of it.

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Incoming message from the big giant head…

Aliens land on earth, what do they do? Infiltrate the government? Take over the planet with their advanced technology? Or live in a small American town for a few years and form a nice comfy  ’90s life style? Well according to 3rd Rock From The Sun, it’s the latter, and boy, do those aliens wear some awesome knitwear. Whilst they all have something to show, the single character who has the most fantastic array is Harry. His collection has even been archived by a fan on tumblr. You should defiantly check it out.

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Any guesses as to the theme?

I am in that frantic point of my current project where I want to finish it so I can get started on the next. There’s a pile of yarn ready to go! I can’t say too much about what I’m making as it’s going to be a surprise gift, but needless to say, I am doing my usual trawl of the internet, finding bits of other patterns to thieve. What inspired this upcoming project was the annual Geek-A-Long mystery blanket run to raise money for Child’s Play Charity. If you’re looking for a fount of colourwork patterns along a geeky theme to get inspired, look no further! A couple of the designs are going into this upcoming project.

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Imagine his expression is his response to me not having seen Firefly.

Confession time guys. I haven’t seen Firefly. Well, not all of it anyway, I watched a couple of episodes and just didn’t get into it. That was a few years ago now, it might be time to try again, especially since I have been binge watching Buffy (another Joss Whedon show). But just because I haven’t experienced the full saga, doesn’t mean I don’t know about a particular hat everyone who loves the show seems to want. If you want to make a stab at reverse engineering for the first time, this seems like it would be a nice place to start, it’s quite a basic hat with ear flaps and a pom pom. All the parts are simple enough and the simple colourwork is what makes it recognizable.

A quick word before I go, everything’s a bit chaotic at home right now, I promise I’ll keep posting every week, it might be a little less interesting for a month or so though.

Live long and prosper!

Money Makes the Yarn Go Around

Having a hobby is great! Having to fund it is not. It would be quite easy to over hear parts of a conversation with a crafter and assume they were talking about drugs, with their stash and hunting for needles, they do go missing a lot… And another similarity that could be drawn is the issue of needing to get the money together. So, what to spend money on and what not to?

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The only reason my house is not full of wool is due to monetary constraints…

Cable needles are a huge waste of money in my opinion. The concept is great, but honestly, you can do the same thing with other needles. For me, I actually find them more annoying than using my own techniques. Its simple, slip the stitches onto a spare needle (it doesn’t even need to be the same size, relatively similar though) hold in front or back, knit your next stitches, slip the stitches back, knit and continue! Occasionally, you do come across a technique where you’ll need to knit off the other end, so dig out your double pointed needles in that case.

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My most recent cables and what it was achieved on.

If you have something it’s worth keeping ‘in stock’ because you use it so much, buy it when you see it cheap. My mother is the master of this. She knows she will always use black and white fabric, so if she sees something of a high quality and cheap, she will buy it, even if she’s not going to use it immediately, because she knows she will eventually. Whenever there’s a trip to Ikea, she keeps an eye out for reduced duvet sets, because quilts always need backs. Having a small stock of them also means she can pick one that compliments the front.

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Having a duvet day?

Know your local craft shops. There’s one that’s a national chain near me where everything is sold at the RRP. I know I can get most of these things cheaper elsewhere. However their offers can be pretty good. Their yarn seems to be permanently 3 for 2, so when I’m stocking up for a big project, as I seem to be doing on a monthly basis this year, I know I can get a new jumper for a third cheaper than I might do otherwise, which isn’t a bad saving.

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Wowie! Bowie jumper made with a third off the yarn!

Sometimes a local craft shop just isn’t an option, so it’s time to think outside the box. When I was a student I was living in the outskirts of London and walked everywhere. Unfortunately, I never found a local craft shop, and the price of transport shot up not long after I got there. There was always good old Ebay and such, bringing things straight to my door, but you can’t always trust the quality (or speed). A surprising number of shops do sell cheap crafting supplies, so if you’re not looking for something special made out of mohair, you can do pretty well on the high street. The Works, Wilkinsons and even the pound shop can keep you crafting in desperate times.

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One of my most infamous WIP’s. Knitted on yarn that’s £1 a ball!

See you in a week guys!

Oodles of Doodles

Some days you just can’t think of anything you want to make. Other days you have ideas coming out faster than you can say ‘What time does the craft shop close?’  You can use one problem to combat the other. Write down all the ideas you have as you have them, and when you get stuck in a dry spell, you have somewhere to go get inspired.

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Check out that cover! Patchworking win.

Mama Sheep had an idea. An idea of a perfect patchworking notebook. But she could never find anything that would quite fit the bill. The Concept was to have pages with squares, but they would alternate between different sized squares, depending on what kind of detail she wanted out of it. Frustrated by her inability to source one, she eventually made herself one. It has provided her with several years of design recording and she’s never looked back.

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Working through one idea, two different sized squares are WONDERFUL!

Making a book for yourself isn’t as tricky as you might think, especially if you’ve already got crafting skills. It doesn’t have to be of exceptional quality, just sturdy. She included two different sizes of squared and plain paper with a patchwork cover. There’s plenty of tutorials online to provide you with different ways of binding your own book, so if you can’t quite find something to fit the bill, do it yourself!

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Yes, I drew out pokemon knitting charts in case to mood ever strikes me. I am not a bad person.

While trying to get an amazon purchase to a high enough value to get free shipping, I came across a squared paper for knitting charts notebook by chance and it was just about the price I needed. What so special about this paper I hear you ask. Well, it’s not quite squared. Knitting stitches are a little wider than they are tall, so if you’re charting out a fair isle design on properly squared paper, it will be slightly distorted when it comes to the knit. I’m not completely happy with the paper in this particular book, I feel the lines are a little bulkier than I would like, but I am glad I’ve bought it and will invest in some from a different supplier again in the future.

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I have my reasons for wanting to make an octopus costume. If you keep reading, one day you’ll find out what they are!

Have a notebook just for general ideas. I have a ton of them! Each idea gets one double page. Any ideas I have relating to that project prior to construction go in that book, but once construction has started it’s for reference only. Some pages only have a title, others have calculations, small sketches, different ways of trying to make the idea work. They don’t have to be good sketches, just represent what I want out of it.

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The notebook of minty freshness and blogging joy!

I also have a whole notebook just for this blog! Ideas for posts, lists of things that could go in them, ticked out, scribbled off, regrouped into another in a similar line. I’m also having ideas about other stuff to make constantly while writing this, so making sure I highlight any new ideas while I’m writing so I know where there’s something else to be made!

Have a great week guys!

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