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inspiration

I Got Itchy Feet and Stitchy Hands

Hey guys. Sorry about the break. I did mean to get some posts queued up before I went away, but I was so overwhelmed with packing, it just got away from me. But normal service has now resumed!

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Everybody’s got something to hide, except me and my monkey!

Time to get inspired! There was so much to see and do, I lost the rhythm of crafting. My plans were dashed. None the less, still have lots to tell you about. There is a fresh creative energy buzzing inside of me, and I can not wait to unleash it!

First of all, go and see things. Find all of the most beautiful places where you live, visit them, look at them with fresh eyes. In a 7th century church in Rome, I took pictures of the floor. Weird, huh? Well, I specifically had my mother in mind, I know she loves some good tile patterns to give her ideas for patchwork. She is pleased.

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Aisles of tiles.

Do things on your own and talk to people. Bit of a contradiction, right? Being by yourself gives you the time to soak up your surroundings. The most stressful day I had was when I did a walking tour of Rome. Not only was it hot and crowded, but I had to keep up with the group and couldn’t stop to take in the beauty of the city. The best places I went were places I went on my own. In Gibraltar, I talked to a taxi driver about the view of Africa from the top of the rock. In Florence I met a lovely street vendor from Yorkshire and bought a pressed flower from him. Barcelona introduced me to some American students to whom I gave some tips on what to do when they visit London which, thanks to Facebook, I know they used. I went to a talk about the psychology of art and nearly started crying because of the ideas that were discussed, something I may have been too self conscious to do had I been with someone.

Morocco
Confirmed: Morocco.

Find out how things are made. Anything. Even if it’s not something you want to make yourself. Our tour guide in Rome kept saying the architecture of the city is like a lasagne and she’s spot on. Rather than tear anything down, they just build more on top and it’s given me some great ideas for making some never ending projects that you just keep on adding to.

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The lasagne that is Rome

Throw your plans out the window if you don’t have time for them. My cross stitched diary I only ended up having time for the first four days. I’d like to give it another go if I have a holiday with more time to relax. On the first night, saw a band and rendered them in cross stitch. Later on I got to know them and on the last day I showed it to them. They had to have a picture of it. Happy feelings.

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It’s a boat! It’s a train! It’s SUPERBAND!

Until next week.

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.

Harry
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!

Acceptable in the 80’s

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I wish my hair was as big as hers.
I think Beverly Goldberg might be my spirit animal. I finished a project yesterday and it came out surprisingly 1980s. Although a lot of the fashion of that era is considered hilarious, if you are picky, there’s a lot of inspiration to be found.

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Look at all of them! I’d be that happy if I had that many.
Gyles Brandreth is many things, politician, comedian, television personality and knit wear icon. He was known for his fantastic collection, he’s even released a book of patterns. Which I may have a copy of. Bright colours and designs that would appeal to children, this man managed to make knitwear his trademark. Apparently the volume of his collection was in four figures at one point. With the rise of the Christmas jumper and fashion choices of hipsters, the cheesy jumper is making a come back. Here’s a clip of him more recently revisiting the remnants of his old collection.

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‘Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?’
Princess Diana was the epitome of ladylike grace and sartorial sophistication in the 80s. This was one garment that garnered attention. It wouldn’t be hard to take the basic sheep design and apply it to a more contemporary silhouette if you wanted to try something similar yourself. It could even be used to make cushions, scarves, anything you want really.  I’ve always had a weakness for sheep decoration, when rendered in knitting, doubly so.

DrWho
I hope you’re singing the Dr Who theme tune in your head right now.
Traditionally when one thinks of Dr Who and knitting, the mind would instantly find itself thinking about the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and his magnificent scarf. As a knitter though, it looks a rather boring and laborious task to take on. What would be a far more exciting task is the tank top of the Seventh Doctor (played by Sylvester McCoy). I’ve come across charts of the fair isle design before, and am quite tempted to give it a slightly more feminine twist. Anyone want to provide the matching umbrella?

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Crisps or video games, everyone loves them!
Inspiration doesn’t just have to come from preexisting knitting. Retro video games are made to measure for this, don’t you think? You get a iconic design that’s pretty much already a knitting chart! Space Invaders seems like it would be a great place to start. The rows lend themselves to being adapted easily into different spaces, you can get away with only using two colours. If you’re a geeky knitter like me and haven’t dabbled with this idea, what’s wrong with you!?

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If you don’t occasionally wander around humming the Mario theme tune, we probably can’t be friends.
Mario provides a huge range of choice for adapting into knitting. First of all, it’s got a lengthy history, so there’s a ton of different pixel versions of him to choose from. You’ve also got an opportunity to use the fact he’s animated to create something very kinetic. It’s not only Mario either, there’s a whole host of characters to involve and iconic backdrops. If you need a bit more guidance with adapting these thing, just do a  quick google. Loads of people have done it before.

So, thank you to the 1980s, I’ll see you all next week.

Lights! Camera! Knitting!

Inspiration for making something can come from all sorts of places, and one of the ones I am most conscious of using myself is film. I love the costumes, when ever I watch a period drama, I always want to make a dress afterwards. Here are a handful of iconic knits from the world of film.

Tom Hanks – Castaway

I love Tom Hanks. Anyone who knows me will tell you, he is my favorite living actor. If a film is ever made of my life, I want him to play me. (I know, I’m a 20something year old woman, but this man can do no wrong in my eyes.)

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Shame it got ruined by the ocean.
Can you imagine my excitement the first time I saw Castaway, before the floods of tears over the loss of Wilson, when I saw him in this masterful creation? Fair isle, cables and Tom Hanks all in one place! Plus, it’s not the only knitting in the film. Here are two more jumpers (and Helen Hunt).

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I like to think she’s thinking ‘Yey! Jumpers!’
Marilyn Monroe

One day I watched a documentary about the wonderful Marilyn and in it was a shot of her wearing a beautiful cardigan. I was in love.

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Diamonds are a girls best friend in this fair isle pattern.
After much Googling, I finally managed to find the right phrase to find a collection of images that would allow me to really study it. This is the only one on the list I’ve actually made. I found an old Starsky and Hutch pattern, researched the unusual stitch and drew out the fair isle element. After a bit of maths and a lot of time, I eventually created something very similar. It’s not perfect, far from, but I am so proud of what I achieved. A whole post devoted to this one will appear in the future.

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games

There is plenty to get inspired by in this franchise, but the cowl worn by Katniss in the opening scene of the second film seems to really have caught the online crafting community in particular.

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It’s so cold she’s wearing it inside.
It’s hard to grab decent images of this creation, especially with the naturalistic camera work and dramatic lighting. If I was going to have a go, I’d try to be inspired by it rather than trying to replicate. I love the shape and colour, but I’d probably make the neck a little lower and see how many styles of cables I could include.

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Much easier to get shots of the back.
Mark Darcy – Bridget Jones’s Diary

The original ‘cheesey Christmas jumper’ in my opinion. In the past few years these garments have become a trendy new tradition which I blame on Colin Firth’s character in this classic rom com.

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It’s only a jumper Bridget.
By today’s standard, it’s actually embarrassingly tame. We see ones that light up, play music, have doors that open as an advent calendar and even animated creations. But back in 2001, this was so unfashionable it made Ms Jones question his suitability to be her partner. Little did she know he was actually incredibly fashion forwards.

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Close up, it’s really not a worthy offering by modern standards.
So many more to write about, another time though.

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