Monday, 19 August 2013

Pattern Designing

This is my first go at writing a proper pattern. I took a lot of time over it and have worked with the design of the PDF to make it pretty - I hope you all agree!

I decided to write this pattern for simple little booties after having not quite found any that I was perfectly happy with. I wanted them to work up quickly and easily, without separate parts which have to be stitched together so that they can be crocheted with colour changes all the way to the end.

Gumdrop booties are designed for teeny tiny babies aged 0-3 months and they make me go "Awwww" every time I look at them! I named them for the little drop shape the opening at the top makes. They work really well for both boys and for girls and are really easy to work up without lots of complicated stitches. They only tricky stitch has been written out in a really detailed way and it is a lot easier than you would first think.

Here is the first page of instructions as a little taster of the layout. It is the first page of instructions so you could test them out to make sure you get on with the layout and style.

I have given it lots of space and images as it is a digital download so there is no need to worry about paper and ink. I also thought that patterns written with comma separated instructions are easy to get lost with when you are looking back and forth from your work. I have gone instead for numbered instructions for each step of each round. As space is not a concern I thought I might aswell!

I would really welcome any feedback you would like to offer about this pattern. Layout, design, instructions etc. The pattern is just £1 from my Etsy shop. I am running this like a test. There are lots more ideas brewing and I would like to create a series of patterns but the design process is time consuming so lets see how this goes first.

Happy hooking everyone!

Anna x

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Craft Room Renovations

Since moving into our new home replete with the man-cave for MrD and the dinky third bedroom for my crafting endeavours, I have been acquiring furniture; painting said furniture; arranging yarn onto new shelving (lovingly put together by MrD in said man cave) and generally making myself at home in my new creative space.

Here is a series of photos showing how I did up an old bureau bought through Gumtree. I love that site now! It is slightly addictive, scrolling through all the old junk and imagining what it would look like with a bit of tlc. I just have to make sure I don't buy things which won't fit in the house!

To renovate this item I first took all the handles off and separated out all the internal parts. Then I borrowed a sander and took off a layer of varnish, filled a few holes and painted over a layer of white primer. Next, I applied two coats of a dulux eggshell for wood in a lovely bright turquoise on the outside and a chalk white on the inside of the hutch and drawers, masking off the leather inlay in the desk. Finally, once completely dry, I buffed over a coat of dark oak Briwax which dulled it down slightly and gave it a slightly aged look. It also stained the new wood handles and got into the details of the mouldings, making them stand out nicely.

I am so happy with my bureau. It is the right size to write at, make jewellery, package up orders and sometimes I just love to sit at it and feel inspired, thinking happy, crafty thoughts...

I wanted a stool to sit on at my desk so I went hunting in the thrift shops and found this one for a fiver. It was upholstered in the latest linoleum of all things! I removed the lino and there was some good, firm foam underneath.

I then found this lovely pattern on Solvieg's blog. I have mentioned her before here - she is one clever mama! Although the pattern is for a cushion I adapted it to make a long piece to fit over the seat and created two striped panels for the sides. Amazingly, with only one drama when my staple gun broke and I had to borrow my Grandma's (seriously, that woman has everything!) it all came together really nicely and here is the finished item.

Next, a lovely thing happened to me. A brilliant lady at my work - Debbie, Gave me a massive spool of Hoooked Zpaghetti yarn (a kind of t-shirt yarn) in hot pink to play with.

I had a wander through blogland and found this great pattern from the talented young Wink of for her Mandala Floor rug. I adapted it slightly as I have a small space and only had one ball of the yarn. Still, I was really happy with the result and I may just have enough room for another one when I get more yarn. I recommend the t-shirt yarn to anyone and reckon it would be great for beginners. I used a 15mm hook and it was great working on such a giant scale after all the double knit I normally use!

I really enjoyed stashing all my yarn into the massive shelves MrD put up for me. Here are a few sections - I couldn't get back far enough to fit it all into one shot!

I decided with my acrylic yarns to organise them by colour onto the larger shelves, but I kept my posher, cotton yarns in their weight categories. They make me so happy, sitting together so harmoniously on the shelves!

The last thing I made for my craft room was a door stop. During these warm, Summer months we have had nearly all the windows in open and this had created a few crosswinds at times! My door kept slamming shut so I thought about making something I could prop it open with.

I decided on a cute little toadstool, making it up as I went along. I filled the base with pebbles and gravel inside some old tights, and the cap with stuffing. I attached crocheted circles and pale buttons to make the spots. I love how cute it looks!

So you can see that a great creative space is coming together. I am so very nearly there! The only problem now is that I really need a chair, a comfy one with arms for hooky time, but one which is small enough not to take up the whole room. Once I have this final item I can really start using the space as I intended. Until then, my hooky time will be spent on the sofa downstairs, although I have a great jewellery making station and desk to sit and type my blog posts at!

I think that's enough for now but I'll be back soon with news of a craft group I am working to form -  our first social is next week!