Felting a blue tit

Before Christmas i went to a couple of felting workshops at Gloucester art and craft centre with the lovely Sue. First she helped me to make a brightly coloured bowl as a present for my sister (over two sessions and about 5 hours) 

I loved the process of taking different colours of unspun wool, pulling them apart and layering them up. I also loved how often the colours appeared more vibrant once felted. 

After the bowl i decided to try making a wall hanging with 3D effects. If seen sue’s creations of bird wall hangings, especially her barn owl one (scroll down about 3 photos on the link to see it).  I knew i couldn’t make anything as amazing as that but I fancied trying a blue tit as  it would be really colourful. I chose to work with an image from my childhood where they used to perch on milk bottles, peck through the silver top and steal the cream from the top. I made the base layer, then made a brown and red piece of felt that i cut into bricks to felt on top. After that i built up layers of felt in decreasing sizes to make the milk bottle and blue tit. Then i brought home a piece of green felt that i cut into ivy leaf shapes and felted on. 

Today i went back to see Sue as i had not got enough green felt to finish off the leaves, and she was going to show me how to needle felt on the hanging to further bring out the 3D parts and add definition. After  an hour i had a piece of green felt to bring home 

And my blue tit was already looking more defined, and had a gorgeous white stripe on his wing. Sue has kindly lent me more needles, a large piece of foam, and some  pieces of different coloured wools to add details to the leaves. So i have lots of work to do on it over the next few days or so, but it was exciting to use the needle to add definition and see just how much that changes the overall effect. 

Next i need to sort his beak, eye and eye-stripe out, sort things out around his tail, and add legs and feet. And i need to work on defining the milk bottle more. 

Also i want to add more definition to the leaves. I already put some insulating material down in between the leaves and the base, so parts would remain free to curl out from the picture, but look at the difference between these leaves once i’d used the needle to create the line down the middle of the leaf

I’m excited about the prospect of bringing this picture to life during the next week or so. I’ll try to take more close up before  and after photos and hope that they show the effects well. 

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No way! I programmed a computer game! 

I’m not quite sure how to write the words in my head…. Something like hahahaaaaaaa! Or ooooooooh! I’ve just used scratch to programme a computer game where a fish tries to catch starfish while avoiding killer octopusses (octopii?). 

Mark does programming for his job, and has  wanted to introduce me to it for a while. He was researching coding books as a birthday present for our niece and we decided it would be cool if i had one too! She’s gonna be 7,I’m 40,but never mind ! So this afternoon I followed the instructions in carol vorderman’s computer coding games for kids, which wasn’t particularly creative in a sense,  but helped me to learn about giving instructions for each character or object on the screen. But i got a bit more creative when i decided to change the colour of the octopeee(!) before she suggested that as an afterthought. Then the computer wouldn’t play the sounds that i told it to, so i got more creative and made the fish say yippee! when he got a starfish, and ow! when he hit an octopus and died. 

I look forward to being more creative with it in the future! 

As I’m tempted to feel very clever and intellectual as a result of doing this i just have to compare my book with the coding book mark was reading alongside me! 

But actually, i like the fact that my book has pictures! 

And finally… The ‘turn it off and on again’ mantra worked, and now the computer plays my sounds-hope you can hear them in this video. 

Hope you like the post, even though it’s a bit different from drawing, crochet and paper cutting! 

Fingerless gloves

Woohoo! I’m so excited about this one! And i feel really proud of myself. I stumbled across a pattern for granny square gloves and fancied trying it out. But i wanted to include a hole for my thumb to go through, and not just have a long tube as the pattern showed. 

I chose my colours and got started 

I did a bit more another day 

I really enjoyed the process of deciding on colours of rows as i got to them, and deciding if i would do one or two rows of that colour. 

Yesterday i blitzed it and ended up finishing them! I did the bit for the thumb hole a couple of times as i was working it out as i went along, so had to undo it and remedy bits that weren’t working, but in the end i got  it so my thumb fits comfortably and it looks pretty neat…. I’m so chuffed with myself for doing that. Not only that, i remembered what I’d  done  and replicated it on  the other glove too! 

Then i followed the pattern to add the gorgeous top age bottom edges, and was left with THIS:

An hour later, after carefully threading (and  re-threading the ends i’d cut too short) each end, and finding ways to weave them in so they stay secure (a process i found unexpectedly therapeutic) i was left with this 

And a lovely new pair of gloves to wear. I’m off now for an evening walk to try them out! 

Completed foxes

Here they are! After a helpful prompt from my mum I got on with finishing this project! I liked the idea of backing  them with green, like a field, but i also took inspiration from our displays in school and decided to double back it. I chose the blue as i think it goes nicely, and also to follow  the symbolism and represent the sky. 

My spray adhesive had arrived so i opened the windows and sprayed away! It seemed a lot easier and safer than trying to apply pritt stick to each little part with the end of a cocktail stick! I knew I’d rip bits  if  i tried to do that. 

I love the finished effect, and now just need to figure out what to do with it! I think next time i might need to get a frame in advance, and then back it to the right size. This one will have to remain unframed i think. 

Remedying mistakes

Today i remade the square i unravelled yesterday, which was a bit unnerving given that I’d already cut the ends, but the wool lasted just the right amount! 

Then i unravelled the oversized square back to the centre circle, and reused that wool to make a square that is now the right size. It’s funny that given that I’d added an extra 17 stitches to the second coloured round i still had only just enough wool to complete the round. The next round was the same. But then the final, outside round had tons of wool left over. I expected that, given that the square had  started bigger, it’s just weird that the other rounds were presumably smaller but didn’t use less wool. 

Anyway, i feel happier knowing I’ve completed the set of 8 and they’re all even now. I may need a different project for a bit of variety! 

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!