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...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

No Stopping...

I completed this dog portrait yesterday - spurred on by the fact that I received another comission which is a bit of a rush job.  This turned into a bit of a mixed media painting rather than just pure pencil, but when doing these portraits, none of them are the same and I have to follow what the image demands.  I'm very pleased with how this has turned out and am hoping the receipient will be too. This has been executed using Derwent Drawing pencils, watercolour, and acrylic white, on pastel paper.

My next commission is of a toucan - about as far removed from a pet portrait as you can get, lots of colour to be used although I am only allowed to use the 8 pencils Derwent are sending me.  This could go either way, be enormous fun or a complete nightmare!
Another rush job was a tiny knitted feather duster....luckily it was quite easy to manage.  I had an hour or so to spare after that to get on with this, my lovely woad cowl.  It's an interesting pattern, free with this month's The Knitter magazine, looks very lumpy in the early stages so I am hoping when I have progressed a bit further it will all come together.  The yarn is beautiful, and must be rich with lanolin as my fingers are so soft after knitting with it!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Nearly There...

Whilst I always thoroughly enjoy painting and drawing dogs, this one has been a bit of a trial.  As it is a surprise Christmas present for someone, the photos I have been given are all I have access to, and the only one with the perfect pose is not only small, but very over-exposed which has bleached out all colour. I have enough other pictures for colour reference, but am also struggling with the colour of the paper.

I would normally have chosen a soft grey/blue background for a painting like this, but the local shop I used to buy my Canson pastel paper from has shut down due to the current financial climate.  So I made a trip to a local town that I know has a well-stocked art supply shop - but for once they didn't have a great selection of colours, and I bought some much lighter blue/grey which seemed a good idea at the time.  Trouble is, I was then having difficulty in getting the lights to show up and the neutrals to get any depth to them.  It looked OK, but a little washed out.

So after working a little while yesterday, I then decided to take a chance and get the watercolours out to give the fur a bit of a burnt sienna wash in order to add some warmth.  It seems to have done the trick and I am a lot happier with how this is going.  All that is left to do is the fur around the neck and then the final tittivating where necessary.

On the needles:  just finished making a park bin, next up a drainhole - exciting stuff!  Although I am sneaking some time to knit a fancy cowl for myself from some fab Blue Face Leicester yarn coloured with woad.

Sunday, 3 November 2013


I had time this weekend to knock up another couple of these little bracelets.  They are such fun - I wear mine quite often.
They are both up for sale in my Etsy shop - I'm sure someone you know would like a gnome for Christmas...

Half term is over, so it's back to the day job today - how I wish I could be home crafting instead!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Surmounting Problems...

This is an interesting one - the photos I am working from are not very good for portrait reference.  The main pose is an over-exposed picture, printed off a computer.  The other pictures I have show the dog's colour and character but the poses are pretty bad.  So I am having to combine them all in order to get the finsihed painting.  While I am working on it, I feel that it is pretty dreadful and that I really am not achieving much.  However, when I put it back on the easel and look at it from afar, I am so pleased with how it is coming along.  So I will just have to bite the bullet and keep on doing what I am doing and hope for the best!
With Halloween over, it is now time to start making preparations for Christmas (I can hear you all groaning, I did too!)  I traditionally make my Christmas cake at the end of October/beginning November and then 'feed' it with brandy on a weekly basis until just before Christmas.  By that time, it's probably not a good idea to drive if you've eaten a slice!
These little wall lights look deceptively simple don't they...don't be fooled!  They have given me a headache this week - knitting them was fine, but then I had to find something to go inside the shades to keep the shape.  After days of wondering if I could justify spending far too much money on a bulk pack of sauce pots  (what would I do with the 246 left over???) I finally found some plastic shot glasses locally which cost pence.  Then I had the problem of assembling it all so that the shades remained horizontal - there were tantrums last night as my theory of sewing a button to the wire and then to the shades collapsed in failure, with glue and tape not helping.  I slept on it and had a bit of an epiphany - so simple it's laughable, a couple of disks of thick double sided tape stuck either side of the centre and job done.  Phew!