More granny squares

Today I’ve made more granny squares. They work up pretty quickly, which is good as I’ve made silly mistakes in several of them and ended up unravelling one or more rounds of crochet. I was going to write this blog once i’d completed the 8th square, but right at the end i realised I’d only done 15 petal seconds in the second and third colours, so as i came up to the last corner on the final round i realised i didn’t have enough gaps to crochet into. Now that square is back to this…! 

I’m too tired to redo it now, and figure is probably make a silly mistake on it again anyway, so I’ll save it for tomorrow. I also spent time wondering why one of the squares was so much bigger than the others (2nd from left on the bottom row) as my tension is usually fairly even. I think i accidentally added too many chains between sections as i thought i remembered what i was doing. I think that then altered the overall size. I’m hoping it won’t notice too much once i join them together, but I’m probably wrong, and will end up needing to remake that one too! 

On a positive note, i really enjoy doing the final round when the design turns from a circle into a square. I love how each section increases or decreases in size in what feels like a very satisfying pattern. It’s really cool when the corners start appearing and it feels a bit magical. I’ve also enjoyed learning some new stitches, with treble clusters (though i found another pattern that uses this term but means something different! Thank goodness for patterns that include step by step photos and instructions to make things clear!), and a double treble stitch where you wrap the wool round twice before starting the stitch. 

And finally i love how each square is a finished product on  its own, but will be part of something bigger in the end. Oh, and also, i love how they make me feel like I’m not so lazy when I’m sitting watching box sets on tv! 

Crochet rabbit and rosie posie granny squares

Here’s my completed rabbit! I think she’s cute and hope my friend’s little girl likes her. I didn’t follow the pattern exactly as i just pulled the bottom part tight rather than folding the  corner up to the neck. 

I realised that a benefit of using variegated wool is that you can’t see the stitching so much, so i didn’t have to worry how neat  i was being with my sewing! 

I made the pompom by winding wool around two of my fingers and then wrapping wool round the middle to hold it tight. I then sewed it on before cutting the loopy bits so i didn’t unintentionally catch up any of the ends. 

Then i went on the hunt for a new project. One that wouldn’t involve continually looking at a pattern or counting stitches, that i could do while chatting to people or watching tv. I found these rosie posie granny squares by cherry heart. I thought they looked really pretty, and i loved the name. My god daughter is called rosie, as is one of our guinea pigs (she came to us with that name) and i often call her rosie posie. 

Previously the only granny square i’d ever made was a ridiculously loose one that was my first ever attempt at crochet. Somehow it was so loose you could  see individual strands of wool rather than stitches! I guess it goes to show that you definitely can improve with practice! 

This is the first one i made, which i was a bit tentative with. The navy wool doesn’t behave very nicely either and doesn’t always crochet up very neatly. 

The second one i did a little bit tighter, and it all looks a bit neater. They’re strangely addictive and fun to make, so I’m going to keep going with these for a while and see how far i get. Then I’ll figure out what to turn them into! 

Crochet rabbit

After work today i met with my friend hannah in a local cafe to chat and crochet. So i sat with a yummy cheese and apple scone, chocolate guiness cake and an apple and cinnamon drink and decided that would do for my tea! 

Another friend of mine had requested that i make a crochet rabbit for her daughter, which you can make from a square of knitting or crochet, so i started that there. 

Normally i hate the first row of crochet, going into the chain, but today i concentrated on not making it too tight, and it was way easier. 

What was trickier was remembering to stop crocheting to eat my scone and drink my drink before it got cold! I really enjoy chatting and working on crochet that i don’t have to think about. This was just rows of double crochet, so i didn’t have to concentrate on it too much. It was great to catch up with hannah, and get started on the rabbit square. 

This evening i carried on with it at liz’s birthday pudding evening. We sat  around chatting and laughing, and eating cakes and puddings! I’d made peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies earlier in the evening  to take with me… A recipe I’d  got from another friend but that I’d  not made before. They worked pretty well even though i had to extend the cooking  time because i made them bigger than they were meant to be (12 cookies from a recipe that should make 24!).

By the end of the evening the square was finished and I’d caught up with lots of friends! 

Sewing and stuffing the rabbit will definitely have to wait for another day as it’s bedtime now! 

Paper cut foxes part 3 (and final!) 

Another half an hour and they were done! I’m really pleased with how they look. 

Sorry the photo’s the wrong way round, i can’t work out how to rotate it! 

I’m really pleased that they also look quite neat on the cut side, where you cut away the black parts. I know a couple of my branches are a bit thicker or thinner than they should be, but I’m glad i’ve mainly manged to cut along the lines! 

I experimented a bit with different  blades. The paper panda book recommends a number 11 swann morton surgical blade. I started with that and quite liked it. It felt sturdy, but bends so you can do nice things on curves. They also suggested you could try a 10a or a 15. In my original order i ordered several of each. I’ve discovered i really do not like the 10a at all, and won’t even use them just to finish the packet up. They’re too hard and they sit wonky in the handle i have which makes them very awkward to use. I quite like the 15 as it has a much shorter blade. I’ll try that out a bit more before deciding which I’ll order more of! 

The final decision with my foxes is which colour to mount them on. I wanted to do orange as that’s the colour of foxes, but i don’t think it shows up the design as nicely as it could. Would love to get your opinions on which of the colours look best (while realising the photo doesn’t necessarily show the colour exactly as i can see it!) 

Red
Blue
Green

Flowers

Today i actually did all my jobs before doing anything creative: cleaning out the guinea pigs and letting them have a good run around our living room, french homework writing sentences using different tenses, and reading lots of a school textbook that belonged to a relative of my tutor and was written in 1879 (amazing!), booking a day at a conference, booking a bed and breakfast for the start of our holiday at Easter, and cooking  dinner and getting stuff ready for work tomorrow. After all that it was evening and i decided not to paper cut. I was needing to relax and didn’t want to end up rushing the foxes just to get them finished. I decided to draw instead. 

Obviously i chickened out at the idea of a window box full of petunias, and just decided to draw one! Before each picture i draw i look up potential images online. I loved the pictures of individual petunias, but freaked out at the idea of a whole window box where i’d lose  the beautiful details on the individual flower. I could imagine myself just doing lots of dots of colour that probably wouldn’t even really look like flowers,so thought I’d focus on one instead. I love the process of looking at detail in something you would often glance over, and taking the time to really notice it. 

I’m not so happy with the next picture i did,  though i enjoyed doing it. I wondered how i was going to do an essentially white flower without drawing the outline in black but then i thought about what i’d read on shadowcatcher’s blog about using negative spaces. So i put the daisies against  a sunny blue sky and i had my white  flowers. I used a pinky colour to show where petals overlapped and were shadowy as i didn’t have a grey pen. I then experimented with using the black pen to highlight edges, and was not happy with what i did. I envisaged it all rather differently and it just didn’t transfer onto paper!

Still,i enjoyed the process if  not the outcome, but then had to motivate myself to share not very good drawings on here. Here’s hoping they improve over time, but it seems they are getting worse each time i try something new at the moment!  

Pastels and prayer

After a morning in church where people shared testimonies of how God had worked in their lives this past year and over longer periods, my husband and I went to Gloucester Cathedral to meet with a group of people for communuion, prayer and afternoon tea. 

We were running late and the group were already gathered in the Thomas Chapel, which is my favourite part of the cathedral (other than the cloisters), with abstract-looking predominantly blue stained glass windows. The group were singing the first Noel together. There were only maybe 8 adults and 7 children there but as we walked round we could hear their voices echoing through the cathedral and it sounded beautiful. At first i wondered if it was the choristers practising, but it was a group of ordinary people singing unaccompanied. I wonder whether some of the things we say and do have a greater impact than we could imagine, or appear more beautiful to others than we can believe? 

Anyway, as part of our time together we had a few prayer stations. I chose to colour the celtic knot, and decided on pastels which I’ve never really used before. I wanted to make each section a different colour of the rainbow and i planned it out in terms of how many sections there were, but part way through filling  them in i realised the flaw in my plan as there were no blues! I played with blending the lilac colour with other colours to make them look different. 

It’s not my greatest piece of artwork, not least because i was doing it in a faintly candle lit area, but i enjoyed the process of putting colour down and smoothing/blending it with my finger. Sometimes i need to remember that the end product is not so important as the process or journey of getting there (in life as well as in art). Things  can have a  valid purpose even if they don’t end up looking how  we’d like them to. 

And finally i added my prayer for this year. Words from a hymn that we sang this morning (crown him with many crowns) :awake my soul and sing. Right now I’m not sure where i am in my journey with God but my prayer is that my soul will ‘wake up’ and connect with Him.

Colouring

Well this is not exactly my normal thing but i figure it was creative, so I’ll include it here. 

It’s not all my colouring! I spent a happy half hour this afternoon with a lovely 3 year old called Benjamin, and together we decided on colours for different things. I loved how he decided that we should colour the tractor in purple and orange so that it was both our favourite colours! 

What i found creative and i guess educational for me was playing around with colours. He wasn’t bound by what colours things ‘should’ be, but what colours he liked, or what colours we hadn’t used yet from the selection of crayons we had. I loved the multicoloured effect we ended up with, and i loved the collaborative effect, especially when we drew lines down the middle of some things so we could colour  half each in our colour. Maybe I’ll try playing around with colours in the next thing i draw…. We’ll see! 

Introduction to my blog!

This is the post excerpt.

Well, here goes….my first ever blog, at the suggestion of my husband!  My name is Julia, and I turned 40 last year, and decided it would be a good time to try new things.  I’ve always enjoyed arts and crafts, and this year I have decided that I would like to explore different ways of being creative.  At the end of last year I did some wet felting, and I’ve done bits of crochet for a while.  Then I’ve just bought a couple of needle felting kits, and paper cutting things.  I’ve also bought a book called ‘draw every day, draw every way’, and think it would be good to have a way of sharing what I have done each time I do something on a creative project.  So here is my record of this attempt at being more creative over the course of a year (but which hopefully may continue longer).  I know already that it would be a crazy target to try to do something every day, so I’m not going to attempt that, despite the title of the book!  I just want to take opportunities where I can to develop new skills, and relax, and hopefully develop my creativity along the way.  I’m hoping that having a blog will motivate me to keep going, and be a nice record of the things I do, even if no-one ends up reading it!