Sunday, 29 December 2013

Finding Time...

Here is the little rabbit compete with body.  This is such an amazing pattern, it is knitted entirely in one piece apart from the front paws, and stuffing is inserted through the hole between the ears before you sew it up.  I found that if I stopped knitting before the ears, I could put in safety eyes quite easily.  This took an evening to make - it would have been quicker without the embroidered face, but I always like to go the extra mile.
I used the free pattern called Henry's Bunny by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, which can be found here. 
I take my hat off to Sara - this is such a simple but clever pattern, the contours of the rabbit's head are perfect, and the shaped body just fits perfectly in the palm of your hand.

Now that Christmas is over and done with, things are slowly getting back to normal and I am finding the odd hour here and there to get on with oustanding commissions.  One of which is this portait of a greyhound:
Whist I love black dogs in reality, painting or drawing them is a nightmare - it's easy for the black to dominate and look like a gaping hole!  Luckily, this handsome dog is very shiny, so I can ensure there is plenty of contrast.  I am painting this using Derwent Drawing pencils with white acrylic and black ink to help with definition.  I am hoping to get some time today to carry on but have the suspicion I will be called upon to assist digging a pond.....

Friday, 27 December 2013

Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit......

I just love some of the odder commissions I get because they make me go off into directions I woun't normally take.  Here is a rabbit head trophy....
...he looks a bit glum, but then, wouldn't you?
I used the cleverest pattern I have ever come across to make his head - it is so clever that I am now making the entire rabbit and will give a link to it when that is complete.  This entire head was made in one piece, even the ears, leaving just a small hole between the ears for stitching - it was genius!

I am also ploughing away at a miniature knitted duvet cover, which is proving not to be as miniature as I first thought...
It's been a long time since I fed my fabric obsession - found these little beauties on eBay just before Christms and they arrived yesterday.  What am I going to use them for?  Who knows, but aren't they just nice to look at!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Dinner's in the oven, presents have been opened and much appreciated, pre-dinner aperitif has been drunk and all is calm.  May your day be just as peaceful and happy - thank you for visiting my blog throughout the past year; without you all to spur me on, I wouldn't achieve half as much.  Here's to a very Happy New Year for us all.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

They Call Him Mr. Pig...

......nah, I haven't a clue either!  This is something that was commissioned recently... turned out rather well.
I have two more to make, one easy, the other very complicated.  Not sure I want to be making tiny trophies in any great number, but they sure are fun.  I have an idea for a future one that might be very cute indeed - decapitated unicorn anyone?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

The tree is finally up, the presents have been bought and there is a goose in the freezer.  The workload is still heavy but all the Christmas commissions are finished and sent.  Today is my last morning at the day job, so as from tomorrow, I can start to feel a little more festive and less like I want to crawl into a corner and cry!

For those of you who like to play Christmas Chicken and you live in the UK, there is still a tiny opportunity left to buy something from my Etsy shop and have it sent tomorrow in time for Christmas....

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Utter Chaos....

I got up at 6 a.m. this morning and made spinach pie for the pot luck Christmas lunch at work today.  Ever stood in your kitchen wondering just what on earth you are doing?  It had to be made today rather than a day beforehand for the filo pastry to remain crispy and delicious - I know that my work colleagues will fall on this like a swarm of locusts and it will all be gone in abut ten minutes.  In fact it has become expected of me to bring this simple Greek dish to any pot luck lunch - at least it's easy to make!

When you read certain craft blogs and see the photos of people's beautifully tidy homes and work areas, are you envious?  Do you wonder why your own living space just doesn't seem to match up?  Yes, me too!  I'm going to make you feel a whole lot better about yourself...
This is my kitchen table at the moment.  It's been that way for a few days, covered in half wrapped Christmas presents, boxes, and what I am not showing, a large container of clean laundry to be sorted and ironed.

Here is the space next to the sofa where I have varius craft supplies and works in progress.  Sadly, everything has been pretty much thrown there over the past couple of weeks as I have not had time to keep it in order.  No, I don't know why there is a small plush elephant in the middle either....
Further to the left, more mess and a pile of some of my birthday presents from yesterday.  I am hoping to get the time to read the books over the holidays!

At some point ths week, I have to gain control - but with the tree to put up, cake to ice, presents to wrap and general every day chores, it's doubtful that will happen!  There now, don't you feel a whole lot better?

Friday, 13 December 2013

...And Relax....

When I took on this commission, I was sure I had a pattern for a tiny tiger head squirrelled away in one of my notebooks.  But of course, this was one time I hadn't, so it was back to the drawing board.  You wouldn't think such a small thing would cause quite so many problems!
Perhaps it was just me being over-tired and over-worked...
This could do with a few tweaks here and there next time I make it - oh yes, there will be a next time, just not before Christmas.
Just don't ask me for a pattern - the basic head shape is written down, but the rest of it was embroidery and a lot of pushing and pulling when stuffing and sewing.  By the way, this trophy is only 4 inches square.

I still have three more of this set to make - I think the next one will be one of the easier animals.  I'm going to save the giraffe until last....

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Note To Self....

Caroline, next time you design something reeeaallly complicated, even if you think you will never make it again, WRITE THE PATTERN DOWN!!!

Spent half the week trying to recreate a tiny tiger's head - it's not the same but I think it will do - pictures to follow when it's done, probably tomorrow. In the meantime, I am sore from all the 'kicking myself' that has gone on.  What a twit......

Monday, 9 December 2013

A Hat For Extroverts!

This is a last minute Christmas commission - made all the more seat-of-your-pants by having to order the yarn first and wait for it to arrive. Luckily the e-Bay seller was briliant and the yarn arrived very quickly.

I love this Jester yarn - the bobbles look so cute and I like how they just turn up randomly as you knit.  I think it is no longer in production, so it is tempting to stock up on it - I'm refrainiing from doing so just yet, as I am pretty sure the demand for crazily bobbled hats is limited!
This hat has been made as a gift for a man - I do hope it gets worn.  At least you'd never lose him in a crowd!

If you fancy a version of ths hat, do get in touch - not for Christmas though, I have too much on my plate at the moment.

Very annoyed with myself - I have to make a tiny hunting trophy of a tiger's head and although I made something similar a while back for the animnated film, it would appear I didn't write the pattern down....argh!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Bobbles & Black Friday Booty

I like a good sale - who doesn't - but I'm not the kind of person that would queue outside a shop overnight or fight my way through crowds in order to snag a bargain.  However, I did spend a fun week watching the Black Friday bargains on Amazon although I had no intention of buying anything just for the sake of it.  However, when I saw this set of Inktense blocks going for a third of the retail price, I was very interested.  And it happened that I was actually home and on the internet when the listing came up, so quickly pressed 'buy now' - good job I did, as they were sold out in just about one minute.  I got my hot sticky hands on them yesterday - look at those colours!!  I can't wait until I get a minute to have a play - although with the amount of work I have plus Christmas preparations, goodness knows when that will be!
This is one of the things I am working on before Christmas - a hat using the wonderful Jester yarn.  Waiting for the bobbles to turn up in your knitting and wondering where they will place themselves seems to make the knitting go faster for some reason.

There was a day of gales force winds last week, which brought down most of the remaining leaves from the trees and deposited 90% of them in our garden.  We bought a leaf blower/vacuum yesterday and I spent a happy hour pretending to be a Ghostbuster while clearing up the leaves - it didn't feel like work at all.  Not so much fun when you discover a hidden dog poo on the lawn though - thank goodness the appliance was set on blow not suck!!!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Santa's Slay.....

Looks like Christmas might be in jeopardy - someone has culled Santa's team of reindeer!  Yes, including Rudolph!
These are what I have been working on this week, despite all sorts of distractions.  I could have done without having to help build a shed or the evening brown out two days ago.  Knitting by candlelight is NOT fun!
Don't know why I didn't think of it but adding a red nose to a hunting trophy is the icing on the cake - maybe next Christmas I will make some more like this.  This one is on it's way to NY.

It's been a busy week - I had a stall at my school's Christmas fair on Saturday which was a complete waste of time as I sold one item.  I guess I just cannot compete with a tombola and a lucky dip!  Consequently, I have some things left over that were made especially, so they are up for sale here now.
A nice festive zombie?
Who comes apart in your hands?  If you would like one of these, do get in touch - they are going for £25 plus postage.
Here's the other one - slightly smaller and with different coloured clothes.
Still with the tear-and-share option!
This little guy will be in my Etsy shop later today - not time to list him this morning, I have to go to the day job!

One a brighter note, I four paintings inthe local exhibition last weekend and sold three.  Amazing result!  Not only that, I won Best in Show as voted for by the public with this picture:

Brilliant, that made my week!

Monday, 2 December 2013

I Need Help....

I've got a small production line going - I shall be an expert in miniature knitted taxidermy at the end of this....

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

If You Go Down To The Woods Today...

If you are an avid knitter, you will have seen this hat on the cover of the brilliant book Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen.  I just had to find the time to make this and was not disappointed - it was very simple to follow and looks great when finsihed.  Someone is going to enjoy opening their Christmas present this year!

I'm not sure I would wear it on my travels though - this week I have been dodging a small herd of deer while walking the dog.  Salukis are hunting dogs and mine can spot a deer at fifty paces - I wouldn't want him mistaking me for one!

Pair Of Cheeky Chops....

This was a fun little commission!  A pair of tiny felt pugs with their very own sofa and rug to jump about on, together with some bones in bowls.  I do enjoy making things from felt but have not had the time to do so for far too long - I must make time once the Christmas rush is over.
As these are based on a couple of real dogs, I was asked to make these piratical bandanas for them - I am guessing they really are cheeky boys!

Talking of Christmas, can someone stop the clock for a while, I am struggling!  Too much work and far too many presents to be bought with no idea of what to get.  One year I would like to be ready in October - but I don't think that will ever happen!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Dogs & Foxes...

I've been working on this for the past week, amongst other things. A word of advice, think carefully before making a miniature black dog, sewing it together with black thread is nigh on impossible to see!  However, it was worth it, he is very cute.  He now needs his companion - a lighter coloured pug - before disappearing off into someone's Christmas stocking.
This little knitted whippet has also been on the go for a while, slowly whenever I had a spare minute.  He just needs his toy and bowl and then will be ready to be sold in my Etsy shop.

Watch out over the coming weeks - I have been commissioned to make a series of tiny knitted animal head trophies along the lines of the stag that I already make.  This involves a fair bit of design work, but I think I can handle it - very exciting to be doing something a little different.

While watching television the other night, we suddenly realised we were being watched ourselves.  This cheeky fox came right up to the patio door and spent ages looking in at us before taking a tour of the garden.  He then returned for another peep, by which time we had a camera ready.  Not too sure I like the way he is licking his chops....

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Upholstery For Borrowers...

I may moan a lot, but actually I do love it when someone asks me to make something different.  I've made knitted sofas in the past, plus other knitted furniture for the animated film, but this is the first time I have been asked to make a felt sofa.  Initially, I was thinking to make it in the same way as a knitted one, all soft, no inner structure, more of a soft toy.  However, after thinking about it and considering that this is part of a set for a grown woman, not a child, I decided to use foambard as the base.  So the lighter purple part is made from pieces of foamboard stuck together and then covered with felt, also stuck, and then sewn around the seams with embroidery silk.  The cushions are made from just felt and stuffing - I added the buttons to not only look cute, but also to keep the shape.  The knitted rug is also part of the set.

Now I have to make the pair of cheeky pugs that will sit on it!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Ploughing Through...

Here is the completed felt saluki.  Funny how each time the toy just seems to develop it's own personality.
I'm slowly catching up with the current rush - must admit as I sat at work yesterday having to watch the worst panto for a long time, it did cross my mind that my time could be so much better employed...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Where Did That Week Go?

I guess it must be the run up to Christmas, but I have been incredibly busy over the past week.  I had a rush job painting commission to complete - which I am afraid I cannot show, but it was a toucan that I had to paint using only 8 watercolour pencils - grear fun!  Then there was this little stag's head to be knitted - all done and ready to go now.
I am in the middle of sewing this little felt saluki - he is based upon an actual dog that lives in Canada.  I have had to adapt an existing pattern and construct grey patches to  match his markings.  The real dog has had his ears cut off while he was living in Qatar - barbaric practice, and I am glad he was rescued!  This dog has both ears...
I have another commission to make 2 felt pugs, but also had to find the time to use the last of the apples from our tree to make some chutney. 

It's all go - I wouldn't have it any other way!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Poppy Day...

When I was a child, we always referred to Remembrance Day as 'Poppy Day'.  Quite by chance,  I had to make this yesterday - it seemed kind of fitting.  This wreath is just over 2 inches wide, crocheted with tiny buttons for the centres.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Soggy Saturday...

 After making a cactus for the animated film, I thought it might be nice to make some variations for sale.  This is the first one so far.  I plan on using all sorts of tiny pots that I have accumulated, so the sizes should alter as well.
The flower is made from looped embroidery silk and sewn on the top.
I had a go at crocheting a snowflake from a pattern in the Christmas edition of Making magazine.  The photo does not do it justice - I am very pleased with the way this looks, especially after using fabric stiffener.  I can imagine several of these hanging on a mobile and twirling in the air.
Iam just about drying out after a morning trip to Alton and the craft/farmers' market.  It was pouring with rain so we didn't want to browse for too long, just bought various local made cheese, venison and vegetables.  I couldn't leave without visiting my new favourite yarn store.  This beautiful Lima alpaca/wool mix yarn is being sold for £2 a ball, and the larger teal balls were £3 each.  I have no idea what will be made with them, but just had to have some! It's a serious addiction y'know...