Saturday, 31 March 2012

Cloaked in Secrecy....

I'm sorry - I've been a bad blogger this week and it's not because I have nothing to show, it's because most of it is to be kept quiet for now.  Not this bear however - but unfortunately this is as far as I have got with him, as I have had no spare time.
A great deal of my time has been spent knitting ducks and honing the pattern into a legible version that normal people would be able to follow.  Two down, two to go.......

I've also been knitting some little things for the animated film, but will not be showing them.
The garden is coming to life and I really should have spent some time out there this week, but what with the knitting and the day job, I was tired and unenthusiastic.  These flowers are rather lovely - I can't remember their exact name, but they are Easter something-or-others and I am very impressed that their internal calendar has ensured they flowered a week before Easter.  I wonder if that works no matter what time of year Easter falls......

It is the Easter Break now which means 2 weeks away from the day job, so perhaps I can re-charge my batteries and be a bit more creative!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

There, There, Bear....

Instead of getting on with boring stuff paid work yesterday, I took a little time out to dress the bear. Her dress is hand-stitched from some pretty floral cotton, with ribbon trim around the neck and back opening.  The dress is fastened with a snap fastener and has a tiny pink button.

I'm afraid her bow is stitched to her head - I whispered an apology as I stabbed her little kapok brain with the needle, but there is no other way of attaching such adornments to a bear with no hair!

She'll be going into the Etsy shop later today.  I really want to spend more time sewing these tiny felt bears but with another list of knitted articles to be getting on with, I just don't know when.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Bare Bear

Over the past year my Etsy shop has been a bit neglected.  It used to have lots of little felt mascots and toys, which sold well and I had fun making them.  With the amount of other work I have had recently, there hasn't been much time for sewing - and that's a shame. 

So this week, while I have had some free afternoons for a change, I have made a start on a little project that's been in the back of my mind for a few weeks ever since I got the exciting bundle of remnant fabrics from Taiwan.  I want to make some tiny bears and give them pretty dresses to wear.  The first one is in white and she is still naked, although her limb joints are adorned with some tiny flower buttons. 

I've also just received a big bundle of felt in all sorts of wonderful colours that you just don't see in craft shops (not in our neck of the woods anyway) so there is no excuse not to squeeze in a bit of sewing here and there.
On the's a duck.  Of course it is.

Friday, 23 March 2012

I've Not Been Idle..........

Finally this week I have had a chance to get out in the poor winter-ravaged garden and do a bit of sorting out.  The 'lawn' was a bald, mossy mess and needed raking thoroughly, then re-seeding and topsoil spread.  The flower beds were full of dead leaves and twigs that needed clearing up before new plants are put in, and the patio was a disgrace.  There is still plenty to do, but the worst of it is done and there are several seed trays full of seedlings waiting to be planted out when they are big enough.
When I've not been in the garden or at the day job, I have been knitting....and knitting...and knitting some more.  These are ready to go across the Pond now......
...and this is still in the design stages.  Can you guess what it is yet?  There is a vital appendage missing, if that is any help.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Are you between 8 - 10 inches tall?  Do you feel the cold wind whistling round your neck?  Do you long for a scarf that is both ecologically friendly yet with a strong vintage style?  Well, this item is definitely for you......

Indeed, it is a miniature knitted fox stole.  This is for a puppet only and will not be available for sale/commission ever as it was VERY HARD TO MAKE!  It wasn't the adapting of the pattern from human to dolly-size, it was the sheer tinyness of the needles, yarn, everything.  Gripping dpns the size of cocktail sticks and doing the wrap-and-turn shaping of the head, my whole left shoulder, arm and thumb kept going into spasm.  Maybe it's a result of knitting 3 normal size animal mascot scarves in quick succession this week(sounds of gentle sobbing....) but I think I've invented a new medical condition which I shall call Knitter's Palsy!  Wearing a thumb brace helps alot...when I remember to put it on, by which time it's usually too late.

I'm not really complaining - I love the challenge of knitting in miniature and the results are worth it.  I just wish my thumb would enjoy it as much as I do....

Monday, 19 March 2012

40 Watt Goldfish

The hollowed-out lightbulb has successfuly been filled!  Hollowing out the bulb wasn't too difficult; knitting the fish was easy; crocheting the weed was a breeze.  Putting the latter inside the former was enough to turn the air blue however!

The fish has a concealed wire up his middle, which works just fine outside the lighbulb.  Stuff him inside the bulb and the wire gets bent and so do his involved a great deal of poking and prodding with a pair of forceps and a crochet hook, as well as his removal and re-insertion a couple of times.  Then you have to get the arrangement of the weed and fish to your liking, followed by carefully pushing the wires through a piece of plasticene which then has to be wedged into the base of the bulb.

Then you carefully place it in a rough-hewn wooden base which used to be a candlestick made by your daughter at school, go upstairs to show it off to your son...who promptly drops it.  Run downstairs, bit of re-arranging, followed by super-glueing the thing into it's base (should have done that the first time...) and it's done!

I think it's cute - do you?  I'd like to sell these but goodness knows how I would transport them by post, I don't think it would be possible. But if you live locally you can order one!  I'd like to do more of these with various types of fish inside, the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

At Last!

Thank goodness that's over!  I did enjoy drawing this but found it a real slog - perhaps I wasn't in the mood for a tight controlled pencil drawing, but the final few days felt like very hard work!  But I didn't give up and I'm glad because it's come out reasonably well.  I'm not too sure what to do with it now....any offers?
A bone of contention in our house is the amount of toys living on my daughter's bed. I know she loves each and every one of them and that they all have their special positions and at night the more favoured ones sleep with her while the others have little sleeping places made for them around her room, with cardigans and jumpers for covers.  However, when it comes to me making the bed, they drive me CRAZY!  My daughter cannot make her own bed - it's raised and she can't reach it without precariously balancing on the steps, so it's easier if I do it. So every day I have to gather them up, sort them out and put them back in their proper places.  When it comes to changing the sheets...well, you can imagine, it takes quite a while.

Today I took off the old sheets for washing before breakfast and it was an hour or so before I went back up there to put the fresh ones on.  This is what I found - a quite spectacular pyramid of soft toys - the photo does not do justice to the sheer mathematical precision of this arrangement.  I don't know how long it took her or if it was the work of some entity from the film Poltergeist, but it really made me laugh!  It made putting the sheets on a whole lot easier too!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Too Busy...

I've been very busy over the past week but not with much I can show unfortunately.  I've been designing and knitting some mascot scarves for a company in the USA which has taken up a lot of time - a terrific commission, but I'm keeping the designs under my hat. 

I did have time yesterday to hollow out a lightbulb.......why?  You may ask - I'm going to fill it with something which will hopefully look quite cute.  It took two attempts to get a successfully empty bulb - I managed to poke a screwdriver through the first one just as I had finished doing the hard work of getting the thick glass seal broken down and out of the way.  The thing I am most proud of is getting it done without any blood loss!
I'm losing the will to live over this drawing - not only is it in meticulous detail using only the sharpest of pencils, but he also has quite a difficult coiffure to achieve in this style.  As soon as he is finished, I'm getting the watercolours out and painting something loose and splashy!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

I See The Light........

Yes, it is indeed a knitted standard lamp, about 10 inches tall.  No, of course it doesn't work....there isn't a bulb in it yet!  There is a switch though, and the shade comes off for easy bulb changing.

What's next?  You'll just have to wait and see........

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Slow Progress.......

I'm very glad I don't work like this all the time, it would drive me crazy!  This seemed a good idea initially, a painstaking pencil study in minute detail, and I know it will be worth it when it is finished but I have to admit to feeling just a teensy bit.......bored.  Perhaps it's too soon after the three detailed animal pictures, perhaps I should have done something big and splashy instead.  Never mind little dog, you will get finished, honest......

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

So Much Fabric, So Little Time!

The trouble with internet shopping is you can purchase stuff at any time of day or night.  A couple of weeks ago I placed an order for some fabric early one morning (just as the sun was rising.....) and whilst I knew I was expecting a parcel from Taiwan with fabric in it, quite honestly I had forgotten exactly what I had ordered. 

So opening the envelope today was a lovely surprise - I had forgotten about ordering the pretty pink floral piece and what was in the selection pack of small remnant pieces.  Now apart from sorting through them and admiring their gorgeousness, what am I going to make......

Monday, 5 March 2012


Yesterday I had the day off....well, anyone who knows me knows that a day off doesn't mean sitting around doing nothing!  It was a chance to play with my new book of fish patterns - I have a new great-niece/nephew on the way and want to make a mobile for him/her.  I love how these patterns look like nothing on earth until about halfway through when you get the 'oh there it is!' moment.  I'm really pleased with both of them but particularly like the cuteness of the angel fish - can't wait to make more in brighter colours.
I also got to spend an hour or so working on the Chinese Crested - I had originally planned for it to be purely pencil, but have decided to use a smattering of pink as it is an intrinsic part of this breed of dog, the bare skin.

It's back to work today though - time to plant up those seeds for the garden and to get on with some paid work rather than playing with my own projects!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Just For Fun......

I have no painting commissions on the go at the moment, and after a couple of days resting the eyes from painting that leopard, withdrawal symptoms set in.  A while back I bought National Geographic magazine as it had some fantastic photographs of dogs as well as a really interesting article about their DNA.  (Finding out my saluki is one of the closest breeds in DNA to a wolf was enlightening - wolves spend a lot of time lolling on sofas and pestering for cake do they?)

Anyway, the Chinese Crested caught my eye and I fancied drawing him in fine detail.  It's very soothing to quietly sit there using tiny pencil strokes, working at my own pace intead of breakneck speed.

I also found myself looking up rescue sites on the web to see if any of these adorable little dogs were up for adoption.....but having an almost-wolf (would-be wolf?) in the house might scupper that idea!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Here Fishy-Fishy......

This little chap is going to get mounted......he's a trophy fish for the animation, so needs a nice 'wooden' plaque.  This was fun to make yet surprisingly time consuming.  I started by using the shark pattern from my new book, but after a few rows knew it was time to strike out on my own in order to get the freshwater fish shape I was after.  I've also knitted the tail at the same time as the body rather than knit it separately and sew it on, thereby creating a much smoother line to the fish.

Together with the grey yarn I incorporated silver silk thread and green/purple irridescent thread in order to create a bit of shine.  When the fish was complete, I sewed on some re-cycled sequins (goodbye pretty Indian cushion, you were so beautiful until you started to disintegrate...) and embroidered lines on the top fin and tail.

I do like fish......when I get a spare moment (haha!) I want to make another shoal-of-fish mobile.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


You know how it is when someone asks you to knit a bulldog?  No?  Well, it isn't that easy as I soon found out.  This is my second attempt at it's basic head, which turned out well...I'm not showing you the first one!