Tag Archives: crochet

It really is the Blog Hop!

As promised, and alas somewhat belatedly, I’m carrying on the Blog Hop from Claire of Mrs Brown Makes.  Being asked particular questions really concentrates the mind, none of my usual waffling!

So here goes…

What am I working on?

This is a hard one because I’m a butterfly brain by nature, and I’ve always got a bit of a conflict going on between all the things I want to do.  At the moment I know I really need to work on some new ideas for the Planet Penny cotton yarn to add interest to my Etsy shop, but I’m also planning a fresh project for my next needlefelt workshop.  I’m also in charge of social media and the website for our local community shop…, and the window displays. Oh, and I’m also designing leaflets and flyers for Arts Desire, which is where I hold needlefelt workshops.  And there’s a book review…   Hmm, sometimes I feel I need to clone myself!

So the latest pattern for the cottons is for a hat and bag based on the granny square…

Granny square hat and bag in Planet Penny Cotton Colours

And the experiments in flat needlefelt and embroidery will culminate in a workshop on making a sketchbook cover…

needlefelt felt flowers for workshop

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Gosh, that’s a hard one.  We all like to imagine we are unique, don’t we and then when you do compare yourself to someone else, it’s generally unfavourable!  I suppose with the cotton and the patterns I accidently struck a chord somewhere.  People love rainbows, and managing to source the yarn and colours that people love was serendipitous.  The Rainbow mice too.

Rainbow mice knitted in Planet Penny Cotton Colours

I’m not very good at being serious, (it got me into a lot of trouble when I was at school) and the things I create generally end up making people smile.  When I was at Art School I was told I would ‘grow out’ of wanting to make happy stuff, I’m so glad I didn’t!

With needlefelting I do compare myself with others.  There are some amazing artists out there who make wonderfully realistic things with needlefelt and if I think about it too much I feel rather inadequate. However, I don’t actually want to make things like that myself!  I do love the process, I like turning soft fluff into firm sculpture.  When people talk to me about what I do during Open Studios the main emotions seem to be surprise… and laughter.  Nothing wrong with that!

This is the Green Man I created for this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios and you can see how he came into being on the Two Rivers Trail Blog...

Needlefelt sculpture - Green Man - English Folklore
Why do I write/create what I do?

Well, I create because I’m alive, it’s just part of me.  I’ve done it since I was old enough to hold a crayon, snip with scissors.  And as for writing, I started writing the blog when I was at a low ebb and writing about what I was doing meant I had to do something to write about.  (It was very good therapy, I recommend it!)  Now it’s second nature and it really bothers me when life gets in the way and time passes and I haven’t written anything.  And I love being part of the Blogosphere with all the interaction with the rest of the World Wide Web.

How does your writing/creating process work?

Because I’ve been writing the blog for so long I have a sort of virtual filing cabinet in the back of my head where things to write about are noted and kept, and I usually have my camera or phone with me so I can capture images which inspire me to write. I don’t usually struggle to find material to use for a blog post, it’s more the other way around, there so much stuff stored in there I can’t decide what to write about first!

As for creating, it’s really hard to say.  Sometimes when I’m needlefelting things sort of arrive when I’m not expecting them, I suppose my subconscious is working out what’s going on  because it doesn’t trust the conscious me to get it right!

And now to send you hopping off in another direction…

First up is Gina, a very talented lady who writes the ‘Fan My Flame’ blog.  You might remember the beautiful little Alice in Wonderland I bought from Gina a couple of years ago…

Alice-in-Wonderland

Gina describes herself as ‘a textile artist, machine embroiderer, teacher, passionate baker and blogger’, which is very modest considering all she does.  You’ll find out when you visit ‘Fan My Flame’, I recommend it!

Secondly is Sue, aka Mrs Micawber…

“My name is Sue Perez – alias Mrs. Micawber – and I live and crochet in Wisconsin. When not crocheting, I read, blog, cycle, take photos when cycling (for the blog), cook, and occasionally clean the house. In winter I walk (though not as often as I ought), and grumble about the weather. I’ve been known to knit, sew, bead, and quilt, but crochet is far and away my favourite craft. These agreeable activities are financed by a job outside the home, but why talk about work when there are so many more pleasant things to discuss? :)

My blog, Mr. Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness, was started to while away the time when my work hours were severely cut. Through blogging, I’ve made friends all around the world, and now I can’t imagine life without it.”

Sue writes the most beautiful crochet patterns, again, well worth a visit!

I hope you enjoy hopping about in Blogland.  It’s worth working backwards too if you are looking for interesting new crafty blogs to follow…

And I’ll be back soon…x 

Hooray for the Little Red Hen!

Little Red Hen Ladybird Book

click for the story

This is the version of the Little Red Hen story I remember from way back in primary school, how we loved our Ladybird books!

We got to talking about it the other day because my friend Kit was reminiscing about her mum, sadly long gone, who used to quote the Little Red Hen when she had failed to get anyone else to do the necessary thing, whatever it was.

‘ ”Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did.’

I have been chuntering for ages about the overgrown state of my vegetable patch.  It always needs the most attention when I’m tied up with the run up to Open Studios and it’s got more and more overgrown, weedy and wild every season.  However, over the past two weeks I have channelled my inner Little Red Hen and I DID IT MYSELF!

It looks great….I’m exhausted!  I’ve filled a skip bag with rubbish, the beds are topped up with fresh compost and my little mini cold frame cum green house is crammed full of seed trays and seedlings.

Higgins has tried very hard to help.

Miniature Dachshund

Taking the little fences away from the raised beds has meant he could do lots in the way of turning over the soil, and then firming it down afterwards.dachshund in raised bed

He’s carried the trowel about helpfully (and put it away tidily where it couldn’t be lost)veg patch

More little fences have turned into a priority if any of the seedlings are going to make it to maturity once they have been planted out.  Higgins has history, remember the Mixed Greens?

Did you spot the laburnum tree?  This year it’s being completely wonderful – it alternates – and it’s very special as it was a seedling from the one in my parents’ garden.laburnum

And the bees LOVE it! For the last week or so, ever since the very first buds opened the air around the tree has been throbbing with the sound of very happy little bees…listen to this…

So this is why it’s been a little quiet here over the past week, and now there’s a lot of catching up to do.

While all this was going on the Green Man went off to the Forum in Norwich for the Open Studios Taster Exhibition – you can just see him dangling next to the patchwork…

Forum, Norwich NNOS taster exhibition

Taster Exhibition – setting up

Now it’s all systems go for the main event, which starts on May 24th.

You might like to see a glimpse of the other exhibition which was running at the same time, the most amazing knitted and crochet pergola which was made to raise funds for a local charity…

knitted pergola - John Grooms Court

knitted pergola detail

Just amazing, isn’t it?  There’s an interesting post on The Mercerie blog which will tell you more about it.

My next challenge is turning the studio into an exhibition space…eek!  I’ve just got so much STUFF.

And I haven’t forgotten about those extra little Boxes of Delight.…  2014-04-28 21.37.50

The challenge now is seeing just what I can squeeze inside, so watch this space, I’ll be back soon…x

Planet Penny Cotton Colours – A New Look

I mentioned recently news about the Planet Penny Cotton, it’s got a new look!

Planet Penny Cotton Colours 12 pack

I’ve been deliberating for a long time about the colour range.  I love it still, and didn’t want to change something which works so well, but from the feedback I’ve been getting it needed a slight tweak.   The pack now consists of 12 colours.  It looks more vibrant without the two pastel shades, and of course it’s now cheaper!

From the administrative point of view it solves a couple of niggles too, so I hope everyone is happy with it.  (Anyone mid-project relying on purchasing a second 14 ball pack please contact me for help)

What helped me take the final step was seeing this gorgeous blanket made by Alison, one of my customers…

Ripple Blanket - Planet Penny  Cotton - Attic 24 pattern

Attic 24 pattern - Planet Penny Cotton - Ripple BlanketThis what Alison said about her method of making the blanket:

“This was a Lucy ripple and I believe I did 196 stitches plus the extra 3.(or whatever was divisible by 3, I think I had a few more on the start chain and unpicked from the start when I had done my first row as I wanted).  I have done three rows of each of the colours  Apple, Lime, Buttercup, Marigold, Peach, RoseBud, Gerbera, Aubretia, Cornflower, Delphinium, Aqua and Jade. We have ended up with 4 sets of 12 colours, the finished blanket is about 96cm x 152cm.    I have a small amount of each ball left, so a ball did six rows.”

As Alison said, it’s an Attic 24 Ripple pattern which you will find here.

I hope that’s inspired you!  It’s always nice to have a little Rainbow colour infusion…

I’m off into the sunshine now.  I have grandsons visiting for a few days.  They’ve been off to the North Norfolk coast today but I’ve promised them a spot of Granny style crafting when they come back so I shall have a few minutes rest in the garden before they get home.

See you soon…x

Filling the Box of Delights

It’s just a little bit scary how the time gallops away, isn’t it?  I’ve got a camera full of photos and so much to say, and yet every day this week I’ve failed to get the necessary time at the keyboard to write a post.

Never mind, I shall tackle one thing at a time and this is very overdue news about the Box of Delights that I have been putting together for the 500 posts giveaway which I wrote about here.  I have felt overwhelmed by the lovely comments which have been left, I do thank you so much.  And I have been particularly touched by people who say that they haven’t been following for long but have read their way all the way back to the beginning.  Whenever I have a blogging lack of confidence I shall go back and read those posts to motivate myself to keep going!

Because I have readers from all over the world I wanted to make the Box of Delights of a size which would make it possible to post it to anywhere with a reliable postal service so I have customised a box especially.  It’s been so long since I exercised these particular crafting muscles that I was a little unsure of myself, but I have painted and lined and glued and created a little repository for all manner of small things.

The inside looks like this.

lined boxI’ve lined it with may favourite of the Planet Penny Cotton fabrics.

And in it I’ve put a butterfly…

Crochet butterfly for Box of Delights…crocheted with the PP cotton yarn.  A mini needlefelt sheep…

needlefelt sheep -Box of Delights…because sheep are a bit special on Planet Penny!  There’s a reminder of the Dolly Peg Dolls with this length of vintage lace…

Dolly Peg and vintage lace…A fat quarter of the cotton fabric…

fat quarter Planet Penny Cotton Fabric… a string of the beads I love to use…

beads…and some vintage Mother of Pearl buttons…Mother of Pearl buttonsI’ve had a fascination over the last couple of weeks for covering match boxes (more of that in another post) so here’s one with some covered thumb tacks for your pin board…

thumb tacks…and this one which I had a lovely time painting.  If you are wondering what’s inside, I’m not saying!  It’s a secret…

Secret Garden Matchbox - Flow…and finally there’s a crochet heart, as a reminder of the Hearts and Flowers Mobile

crochet heart…and if you would like some flowers there’s a length of Planet Penny Cotton in every one of the rainbow shades so you can crochet your own!

Box of Delights Planet Penny CottonSo everything fits in perfectly…Box of Delights filled..and it just requires a lid…

Box of Delights with lidAll it needs is a home. Would you like it?  There is still time to enter the Giveaway by leaving a comment on this post, it’s running till next weekend.

I’m off now to do some cooking.  I have my chum Kit coming round for supper and I’ve been delving through my cook books to find something delicious and fuss free, Nigella has come up trumps with a roasting tin filled with chicken, chorizo and other yummy things.   I’ll let you know if I manage to channel my inner ‘domestic goddess’!

See you soon…x

A Funny Old Week…

It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I’ve taken two steps forward and one and a half steps back, do you have those?  The main calamity was the disappearance of Planet Penny into a virtual black hole a couple of days ago.  Many apologies if this affected you in anyway, it was not your computer!  The technical term according to the help desk was the ‘White Screen of Death’ which was very scary, but I was really smug when I worked through the long list of instructions they sent and sorted it out…All On My Own!

It’s quite horrible outside, the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down, so I do hope you are keeping warm and dry.  My heart goes out to everyone suffering in the floods, it must be horrendous…

It seem very odd that if a disaster happens abroad all manner of aid, both financial and physical is supplied, but when people are suffering hardship from extreme weather conditions in our own country it seems such a struggle for them to get any help.  (If you are not in the UK, you might not be aware of the flooding in some areas in the west of the country, but you can find out here.)

Anyway, back home with a cheerful picture of the bike which I found outside our Community Shop this week.  It’s owner was probably only about eight years old, but what style…  I’m quite envious!

Flowery Bicycle

I had great plans to share a new pattern, but what with one thing and another, it’s not quite there.  I found some crochet bunting on Pinterest, but not finding a pattern decided to work it out for myself.  I wanted something a bit plainer than the more usual ‘granny’ bunting, and I’m very pleased with this.  It’s really quick and easy…

crochet bunting - Planet Penny Cotton

Hopefully I’ll finish off the pattern very soon, and there will be more photos when the light is a bit brighter!

I’ve had my ‘window-dresser hat on this week in our Community shop and with Valentine’s Day on the horizon I made this Valentine Tree for the window display…(although I’d actually quite like to keep it on my dresser!

Valentine tree

I’m now going to desert you for a comfy chair by the fire with the baby knitting, where hopefully the sound of the howling wind and lashing rain won’t be quite as loud as it is here in the studio!

I’ve amalgamated two of the patterns from the Debbie Bliss pattern book from my last post, so I’ve got a stripy tank top on the needles…

Debbie Bliss tank topI’ll be back soon…x

Has Anybody Seen My Mojo…?

Norfolk SkyI’m feeling like I’m a bit of blogging dead loss at the moment, I do apologise!

I built up quite a head of steam during December with my daily Christmas Countdown posts, and had lots of plans for January but as you know, 2014 did not get off to a good start for Team Planet Penny…

And annoyingly I’m just generally not very well.  Nothing alarming, but two separate things which necessitate visits to different clinics at the hospital the other side of Norwich  for tests and consultations and so far I’m averaging two trips a week!

So the energy levels are low, and my get up and go really has got up and gone!

There are only two choices in this situation.  I can sit and fume about not being able to do the things I want to do and make myself feel even worse, or step back and let things drift a little while I administer a little TLC to myself.

I’m my own worst enemy when I’m busy anyway.  Eating standing up, being too tired to bother to cook for one in the evening when Tim is away, cheese and crackers and a glass of wine (or two!) is SO easy… Saying ‘yes’ too often when asked to do something I don’t actually have time to do…I don’t need to go on, I’m sure you’ve been there too.

So I’m switching off the computer in the evenings, and trying to ignore all but the most urgent emails and texts which arrive via my phone.  I’m eating meals at mealtimes, simple stuff but fresh and not filling up on biscuits and tea to keep going.  And while I’m waiting for my inspiration to return I’m going to make some little things for my forthcoming grandson, due to arrive of Valentine’s Day.

I’ve had a baby blanket on the hook for ages revisiting my old favourite, the Ripple stitch and made what my Dad would have referred to as a ‘Bobby-Dazzler’!

crochet ripple blanket - Planet Penny Cotton

Planet PEnny Cotton - Ripple stitch blanket

Ripple Stitch baby blanket - Planet Penny cotton

pram blanket - Planet PEnny cotton

And I bought a magazine after Christmas which I hoped would inspire me…

Handmade Gifts for Girls and  Boys

Don’t you love the dinosaurs?  I thought they would be perfect for the Planet Penny Cotton and planned to make all three.  This is the Diplodocus…

crochet diplodocus - Planet Penny CottonHe’s very cute, but alas I can’t recommend the pattern to anyone who isn’t a fairly practised crocheter. It was quite tricky to keep track of the stitches because there was no indication at the end of each increase or decrease row as to how many stitches there should actually be.  Such a shame, and silly really because there are so many other places to find patterns with picture explanations or even videos. You need a bit more when you’ve paid out £7.99 for a magazine.

crochet dinosaur - Planet Penny Cotton

dinosaur - crochet in Planet Penny CottonI have another project too, thanks to the power of serendipity!  It’s all about making time to read, and linking up with other readers.

I’ll be back soon to tell you all about it, and in the meantime I’ll leave you with the promised photo of my knitted square for the Age UK Campaign from this post.  It’ll be on it’s way to Norman Lamb MP this very week!

warm homesd now Age UK Campaign 2014

Have you made yours yet?!

See you soon…x