A present for me

This isn’t something I made, but I just had to share it! My friend at work is just as crafty as I am and she made this for my birthday party (private hire of an archery range).

It says “I don’t wear bows, I shoot ’em”, with an arrow underlining them. She was sad because the ink ran a little so it’s not as crisp as she planned, but I just love it!

xXx

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FO Friday 18.08.17

I’m slowly but surely knocking some entries off my WIP list!

The star garland for my sister is finished, and all packed up ready to be posted. It’s wrapped in cellophane and really difficult to photograph, so no photos I’m afraid! Hopefully there will be some when it’s hung up in its new home. 

I managed to finish my tabby cat Lost In Time scarf at last.  I mean, there are a few ends that could do with sewing in, but it’s only for me so I’m counting it as done anyway. 

You may remember I was hoping to finish on a popcorn row. Well the yarn ran out on the row after a popcorn row, which I was initially miffed about. But looking at the finished item I can see it’s actually perfect.

The Scottish summer being what it is, I can start wearing this immediately. It’s so comfy.

And this peculiar lump is my first attempt at the granny square gift bag:

It’s just a prototype so there are lots of mistakes and I couldn’t be bothered sewing any ends in (are you noticing a theme?), but it’s a starting point.  

I can see that my idea will work, which is the most important point. Now it just needs tidying up a bit!

I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere with all my projects at last ūüôā

Who else has an FO to share? I’ve seen some gorgeous FOs on other people’s blogs. Any thoughts on the granny gift bag? Let me know in the comments! 

Hannah 

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A cure for insomnia 

I’m not a brilliant sleeper. It usually takes me over an hour and 15 different positions before I finally get to sleep, and the slightest noise can have me wide awake in a second. But generally I still manage to get the 7.5 hours sleep I need to not bite everyone’s head off the next day.

Then there are the nights like last night. 2:00am was the last time I checked the clock, and then I stopped looking.

You may as well do something useful while you’re not sleeping, right? My initial plan was to get my existing cards listed, but as you can see from these photos the light was not even close to good enough for photographing stock.  Maybe I should invest in some spotlights for next time insomnia hits!

Birthday bird cages

Emma from Puddleside Musings introduced me to Jess Crafts and her “1 paper pack, x cards” youtube videos (go check them out, she got 27 cards out of one paper pack!), and that was my inspiration.

Octagons

Obviously I didn’t make it to 27 cards, but then I don’t like making multiples of the same design so it took me a little longer.

Birthday leaves

This one if my favourite of the batch:

ILY

I also made these three earlier in the day

 

 

Including previous makes (the butterfly cards), that’s 11 I’ve made from this pack so far and I’m nowhere near finished. I’m enjoying the challenge of using the same elements in different ways.

What do you think of the cards? Not bad for a sleep-deprived and cranky crafter, right! What’s the highest number of cards you’ve managed to make from one paper pack? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

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New stitches: puff stitch 

And also WIP Wednesday. I love a twofer!

I’m making a Puff Scarf, which uses a TON of puff stitches, as the name suggests. ¬†These are the squishiest stitches I have ever squished! I loves them!

Here’s how to make your own squishy goodness (am I saying squish too much??)

Yarn over, go into the space, and pull up a loop to the height of a stitch (dc in this case)

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yarn over again

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go into the same stitch and pull up another loop

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Do it again

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And again

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Now there are 9 loops on the hook. One final yarn over, and pull through all 9 loops

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Then it’s just a chain to secure it, and you’re done!

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Do it enough times and you’ll end up with a super squishy (I just can’t stop saying it!), beautiful scarf. I’m using a Mixed Berry Caron Cake and so far it looks like this

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I’m probably very late to the puff stitch party, what have other people made with it? What do you think of my scarf? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

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My first octopus

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Photo from My Nomad Home

You may have seen or heard about these preemie octopi. Octopods. Octopussies. Whatever the plural is.

They started off in Denmark, where a study found that babies in incubators did a lot better with an octopus friend –¬† the tentacles remind them of the umbilical cord, and baby can grab onto them instead of pulling at any vital wires. They also help lower baby’s heart rate, provide companionship, and all sorts of other good things.

Of course I wanted to join in straight away. Combining crafts with helping people is one of my favourite things in the world! But at the time there were no UK hospitals accepting the octopoms, so I filed the idea away for later and got on with other things.

Fast forward to this week, and an email went round saying the wife of one of my colleagues had given birth 8 weeks early. Baby was okay, but would be living in an incubator for a wee while.

Ding! went the lightbulb above my head.

Enough time has passed that some Scottish hospitals will now allow an octopus in with incu-babies, and (I figured) even if this particular hospital won’t allow it, baby can still have it when he gets out.¬† So here we have my first ever preemie octopus, Oliver:

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Isn’t he the cutest!

I had a brief look over¬†this pattern, decided I didn’t quite like the¬†shape of the body, and¬†went off and did my own thing. I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

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Making friends

Oliver will be handed over to his new family next week, so I’ll have to wait and see what they think of him. In the meantime…. I’ve had a thought.

There are a few Etsy shops I like that offer a charity matching option, for example you buy a blanket for yourself and the shop donates a blanket to a hospice.

What do you all think of Quiet Water offering this with preemie octopodes (obviously I will learn the correct plural term before setting it up)? You get a cute little curly wurly octopus and I send one to a hospital that will accept them, to help a little baby feel better.

What do you think? Would you go for Oliver with an added bonus? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

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Out of stock

I remember now why it took me so long to open up my shop in the first place.

Yesterday I decided to add my zentangle cards to stock, as I’ve got a few made up ready to go, so I opened etsy and signed in.

Wait, I need photos of the cards first.

I set them up and took a few photos – rubbish photos because it was starting to get dark, but I figured they would do as placeholders until I could take better ones.

But wait, if somebody actually buys one it might get damaged in the post.

Over to Amazon, where I lost half an hour comparing various plastic wallets and board-backed envelopes, and trying to decide which size(s) would be best to get. That’s another ¬£20 closer to just not tracking how much I’ve spent on this shop with no return because it’s becoming too much to think about.

Right. Those should arrive tomorrow so let’s get the cards listed at last.

Oh wait, I wanted to take proper photos of them so I can get a run printed instead of them just being one-offs. But now it’s dark and there’s no hope of getting quality pictures.

You know what, never mind. I’ll just go to bed.

So my little shop is still sitting there with only 4 items in stock and not a thing sold.¬† But at least I thought about the board-backed envelopes now, and I’ll have some ready when I finally sell my first card. That’s quite organised for me!

Hannah

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Tangle of the week – B’Twined

This is another tangle that I love, love, LOVE, but still haven’t quite perfected yet. My lines always come out a little wobbly, and getting them to meet up is difficult!

Instructions (click on the photo to see it clearly) can be found here.

There are a few different ways I do this tangle. For the card up at the top of this post,¬†I left in the basic grid lines that start it off. I didn’t draw in the diagonal guide lines for that one and I think it shows; most of the ‘arms’ are more curved on one side than the other.

Obviously you can also leave in the diagonal lines if you like

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But that looks pretty messy to me, so I never do.

You can also remove all of the guidelines if you draw them in pencil rather than pen.

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A more subtle difference, which might be difficult to explain, is the way the arms overlap each other. In the instruction photo you can see that Pegi draws every arm facing one direction first

Diagonals

And then every arm going the other way

Diagonal 2

Which produces a B’Twined that looks like this:

See how each cross has 2 arms that are on top and 2 that go underneath others.

But an alternative is to draw them in a zig zag pattern

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Which produces this:

Now it looks like there is one upper layer of crosses with all arms on top, and one lower layer with all arms running underneath. It’s a subtle difference that probably nobody would notice unless it was pointed out to them, but I love the fact that I can produce more than one thing from a single tangle.

What do you think of B’Twined? Have I inspired anyone to give tangling a go yet? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

FO Tuesday 

I couldn’t wait til Friday!

Over the weekend I finished my chevron blanket and baby star blanket. 

The star border only took about 20 minutes so I’m not really sure why I’d been avoiding it for so long. ¬†

After 2 weeks of almost entirely working with chunky yarn, it felt very strange to go back to baby DK yarn. A bit like working with dental floss!

I also finished the chevron afghan, after only two weeks. That was quite a bit quicker than I expected so I’m really pleased, I’ll be able to hand it over to my friend this week. I really hope he likes it.

So about the blanket. I love stats, so if you don’t then just admire the photos ūüėČ

This afghan weighs juuust over 1.5 kg (1517g if you want to be accurate)

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It measures¬†142cm x 181cm¬†(it’s taller than me!)

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The yarn is Painbox Simply Chunky in Vanilla Cream, Soft Fudge, Slate Grey, and Coffee Bean

It consists of 101 rows double crochet, and 2 rows single crochet with picots at the points

Measuring chevrons

Each cream section is 8 rows of straight dc

Each section of contrast colour is back loop only dc, alternating 6 and 9 rows.

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The side of each chevron is made of 13 stitches (my favourite number)

Each dc row contains 180 stitches

The total stitch count for the whole thing is 18,544 stitches.

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I can’t believe I just made nearly 20,000 stitches….

Chevrons on a sofa

I was planning to calculate the number of hours I spent on this, but after having to restart it 5 times to get the chevrons to actually chevron, I decided not to.¬† Let’s just say every spare hour I had over the last 2 weeks.

So, does anyone have any tips for folding/rolling a mahoosive blanket so I can wrap it up before giving it to my friend? Or how to take good photos of something so large? Because I’m struggling!

Hannah

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Tangle of the week – Sand Swirl

Here’s a super simple tangle, which just makes me happy to look at. I think it’s the little circles in the centre of the swirls, but who knows really.

How to instructions here, although you can probably figure this one out just by looking at it.

For my shop I’ve made some cards with Sand Swirl embellishments

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Some with it as a background

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And some with Sand Swirl corner decorations

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I’m considering scanning in my black and white cards and getting several printed, and then colouring some of them in. I do realise that not everyone likes the simplicity of black and white as I do!

Which do you like best? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

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New stitches: C2C crochet 

My Google game is weak.¬†¬† I read six or seven blog posts about “C2C” crochet before bothering to look up what it meant.

In my defense, I’m still without internet at home.¬†But this weekend it finally happened –¬†I discovered what C2C means (corner to corner) and even read up on how to do it. And then¬†saved it to my laptop so I could follow it when I got home, and not end up with another pic-not situation.

For the yarn: I had started to make a scarf with one of my Caron Cakes, but I was feeling entirely uninspired by it. A whole 200g of yarn in straight rows of single crochet? I don’t think so! So I frogged it and started my very first C2C attempt.

Now, I’m going to give you a very important pointer that would have saved me about an hour, and five re-starts if I had known it:

The first square in a new row might come out at this angle

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But no, you’re not building the item by connecting squares at the corner like that. You need to¬†pivot that square¬†so it’s lying next to the existing square, like this

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If this is really obvious to you and I’m just special, then carry on and we’ll pretend it never happened. But just on the off chance that someone out there thinks the same way I do (you poor thing!) I hope this helps when you try C2C for the first time.

So I eventually figured it out and got going, aiming for a square blanket.

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But at the exact point that photo was taken, I realised I wanted a scarf, not a blanket. Of course I’m not going to go for the standard square when making my very first C2C goodie!

So I frogged it some more (but thankfully didn’t have to go all the way back to the beginning) and started making it more rectangular.

It’s actually not that difficult making rectangles rather than squares. Just make sure you actually stop when you get to the end of a row rather than carrying blithely on and having to undo a square after every single row. Y’know, just a hypothetical situation.

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After just one weekend I had almost finished my scarf.

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And this is my finished beauty

Here’s my thoughts on C2C

Pros

  • It has that gorgeous ‘woven’ pattern from the alternating direction of the stitches.
  • It makes up pretty quick once you get into the rhythm.
  • It’s only chains, slip stitches and double crochet so a lot simpler than it looks.
  • There are these wee spaces between the squares, which are giving me all kinds of ideas about buttons and ribbons. Watch this space.

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Cons

  • This technique¬†eats yarn. I got halfway through and had to frog it again (almost back to the beginning. Sigh) to make it thinner, so it would actually be long enough to class as a scarf and not just an oversized table mat.
  • Somewhat related, you have to be absolutely sure how wide you want your object to be. By the time you realise it needs to be thinner/wider you might have a bajillion rows to undo so you can alter it.
  • It’s the same block of stitches repeated forever more. Kinda boring after a while.

 

Overall I absolutely love C2C, but wouldn’t want to make a king-sized afghan from it. I’ll definitely be making more, small-ish¬†C2C goodies for the shop at some point in the future.

Anyone else tried C2C? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: pic-not

I’m fully moved in to my new flat now, but unfortunately the internet is not, and earlier this week I used up my data allowance. So when the time came to crochet a picot border on my star blanket, I wasn’t able to Google ‘how to crochet picot stitch’.

But I’d read some instructions a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t actually try it out at the time, even though I’m definitely a kinaesthetic learner when it comes to crochet, but I was sure I would remember it anyway. It’s a simple enough¬†little stitch.

I mean, my memory never lets me down…right?

Wrong (of course). The only part I remembered accurately was that a picot usually involves 3 chain stitches. So here’s what I did:

Two single crochet

Slip stitch in the next stitch

Chain 3

Slip stitch in the same stitch as before

Which I think looks quite pretty, but is not a picot stitch.

Of course I made it almost halfway round the blanket before getting some internet access at the library and discovering that I was doing it wrong.¬† So now I’m dithering about what to do; rip it all back and do an actual picot border, or just carry on with my pretty, made up stitch.

What do you think? Picot or pic-not? And has anyone else ever accidentally made something up? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

What’s in a name

You may have noticed that I haven’t had a tangle of the week post for a couple of weeks. That’s because I’m moving to a new flat this weekend, and I just haven’t had time for tangling! I’m hoping to get back to it in April.¬†In the meantime have a post about my shop name.

***

I find names really interesting. Where they come from, what they mean both lexically and personally, whether people like their name¬†or not, what name they might have had. It’s just so interesting!

For example, my first name is from the Bible, and means ‘God has favoured me’. If I had been a boy I would have been called Samuel (from the same Bible story). One of my middle names is my Mum’s name, and the other is the name of a family friend so close we may as well be related. I love the stories and the ties created by all of my names.

I’m also a writer, and a good chunk of time before I start any story is spent working out the names of my characters. I find that if the name isn’t just right, the characters will not work with me.

So basically, names matter to me. A lot.

Now let me tell you a secret: Quiet Water Craft was not my first choice of shop name. In fact¬†I took a while¬†to be talked into it. What I really had my heart set on was ‘B√§sksele’.

Just look at it

Bäsksele

 

It’s a Swedish word that, aside from looking lovely,¬†is chock full of meaning for me. During my gap year I spent 4 months in Sweden helping a couple of missionaries from my home church. They lived in a teeny tiny village (99 people) called B√§sksele. The people were super friendly and welcoming, I learned so much and became strong in so many ways, it was really a pivotal point in my life. So it’s a word that’s important to me.

The word itself translates roughly as ‘quiet water between two rapids’. Being an introvert and suspected Highly Sensitive Person (wow you’re learning a lot about me today!) this idea of quietness in the midst of noise and busyness appeals to me in ways I can’t even explain. Silence is my nirvana.

Last of all, it reflects the way I feel when I’m crocheting or zentangling, or just creating in general. I have a full time day job in a busy open plan office; it’s all go, all noise, all the time.¬†After work¬†I go home and have choir or salsa or pole dancing, shopping, and¬†cleaning, and laundry, and cooking, and and and. Then I pick up my crochet hook or fine liner pen, and suddenly everything stops. The rapids are rushing by¬†on either side of me, but in my wee bubble of creativity the water is quiet and calm.

I really wanted Bäsksele for my shop name. But a wee focus group of people who have never met me (so hopefully unbiased) pointed out all the problems with it:

I’m based in the UK and will probably have mainly English and American customers, so a foreign word could put some of them off.

It makes it more difficult to remember, especially as people were not sure how to pronounce it (say ‘best seller’, but replace the ‘t’ with a ‘k’. That’s close enough).

It didn’t really give an idea of what I was selling. Even when I made it ‘B√§sksele Crafts’ they weren’t buying it.

So I admitted defeat and went for a somewhat watered down version of the name I super wanted. Thus Quiet Water Craft was born.

What do you think of the two names? Does your name have an interesting story behind it? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

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