I haven't posted pics on GetCrafty for ages because I've just been making the same sort of hats, but I thought I'd start posting the more experimental stuff here.
Not sure whether I like this one or not, as it didn't really come out the way I'd planned. It's too small for me too, but it's kinda cute with the fluffy and the wee ears :)
This is a scarf I made for someone who bought one of my hats on Etsy.com - I wasn't sure whether I would be able to find more of the yarn since it was a deleted shade of Paton's Caressa, but I managed to nab three of the remaining four balls in town!
This was an experiment, but I don't know that I like it much. You can see that I took this photo on a cold day, my arm is practically blue! Also, my digicam takes terrible close-ups.
I'm always inspired by yarn - I'm seriously addicted, and looking through oddment bins or auctioned scraps is like porn for me. It's not the quantity or the quality, but the diversity of colour and texture that gets me going: I love random bits of bright colour and knobbly boucle, speckled tweeds and fluffy mohair. I get excited by colour, and heaps of it: the more haphazard the better (strange for a person who has a reputation for wearing black all the time!) I also find that the more crochet I do, the more motivated I am to try new things: my head is constantly buzzing with new ideas and my hands have to work hard to try and keep up!
I also get enthused by what I see other artists and craftspeople coming up with. I love paging through the getcrafty.com blogs where people post photos of their recent crafty successes, and I also love seeing how some artists are pushing the boundaries of sculpture and creating amazing theoretically-based pieces. Two artists working in crochet who make me go "oooooh!" are Louise Weaver from Australia, and New Zealand Cook Islander Ani O'Neill. Louise crochets tight skins out of lurex and synthetic yarn for taxidermy models of native animals, and plays with ideas of identity and indigineity as well as creating amazingly groovy little creatures, and Ani draws on Pasifika traditions of handcrafting to make brightly coloured wall pieces in yarn. She also sets up wonderful interactive crochet installations, where visitors create the artwork and take it home with them, emphasizing the community-based nature of this type of craft.
Finally finished! I think I started this over a year ago and I've been working on it on and off - the sleeves took the longest. This was a bit of an experiment and I don't know whether I'm game to wear it out in public, but I'm pleased with the result. That's my wee kitty Calliope curled up in the top of the picture and you can just make out the striped hindquarters of our other tabby Tintin in the bottom right corner.
eeep! A busy weekend lined up. I want to finish all the hats I've been working on so that I can take photos either Saturday or Sunday, depending what the weather is like (I need lots of light for my crappyass digicam) and I also want to finish off the final few rows of the last sleeve of the Multicoloured Granny Square Hoodie O' Doom - I've been working on this for months, and I think it's looking pretty special. I'm not sure whether I'll be brave enough to wear it in public just because it's so full-on, but I'm still proud of it.
Amanda from Champion wants me to send her some stuff about my creative process and my inspirations for the Champion newsblog, so I thought I'd write some thoughts here that I might be able to draw on.
I started my love affair with yarn when I was about 16. I worked at a local supermarket in a minimall that also had a yarn shop, and during my breaks I'd cruise across there and raid their bargain bins - I still have scraps of yarn that date back to that time, we're talking nearly 20 years ago, people! My grandmother had shown me how to knit during my summer holidays and gave me all her leftover yarn, and I was further inspired by the rash of knitting and craft books that came out in the late 1980s (horrifying to look at today, unless you have a particular thing for brightly coloured boxy sweaters!) There was a British part-by-part series that I only ever bought the first issue of, called, I think, "Creative Needlecrafts", and it had small starter projects in patchwork, tapestry, crossstitch and crochet. I tried some patchwork and crochet, started a couple of things, but I didn't really get into crochet properly for another few years, when I decided that I was able to get stuff finished quicker and easier in crochet than with knitting - my needles started gathering dust from then on in...
I feel so bad for neglecting this blog - but I have been constructive, honest. I now have a shop up on Etsy.com: http://octopusgrrl.etsy.com, and I've sold 3 hats so far, w00t! I decided today that I would donate the payment for anything I sell in Sept to the hurricane relief fund, because I feel so helpless here in New Zealand in the face of such tragedy. I've also listed a couple of hats on the Crafters United site for their fundraising - check it out if you haven't already, there's some amazing things on there and all for a good cause. There's new stuff going up all the time, and they've already raised over $7500 - the crafty community makes me proud :)
I still haven't finished the website proper, but I think I will use that more as a showcase for possible commissions, so people can see the hats I've made previously and order the style in the yarn/colour they want. I really hate coding and such so I'd prefer not to have to constantly update the site when stuff sells or when I make new stock.
There's a new local weekend market day being organised for October, so hopefully that will get off the ground. I'd need to sort myself out a table and chairs, but I think I can pick them up pretty reasonably. They'll only be charging $20-30 a stand, so that's not too bad, and I don't have to do it every week, just when I've got heaps of hats to sell.
My "crochet" spreadsheet is finally showing a profit! Helps when I'm not spending all the proceeds on yarn ;) I have a couple of confirmed commissions for hats this week, and another possible one - all for friends, so they won't be full price, but still.
I put my hair into dreadlocks about 6 weeks ago, so I've been making tams and bands and such to tidy them into for work. The tams are more like snoods, but I think they're pretty cute. I've wanted to hang onto the ones I've made so far, but I might n
I've almost finally completed the "scary" granny square hoodie that I've been working on for about a year, off and on. I hope I have the guts to wear it when it's done - it's pretty full-on and not for the shy and retiring!
Been kinda down recently about my crochet. I'm still making lots of hats but it feels like no one wants them and I'm wasting my time. I managed to sell one on Trademe this week, so I suppose that's something. I went down to the uni quad markets before and there's at least 5-6 people selling hats, not exactly like mine but enough so it feels like there's a glut in the local market. I used to have high hopes of selling them on consignment in local shops, but now my self-esteem has dropped too low for me to be confident enough to approach them :( Plus I keep coming across these amazingly creative people who are really pushing artistic boundaries, and it makes what I do seem so mediocre and dull. I want to do something more creative with my crochet, but I'm scared of failure - I get a vivid picture of something in my head when I'm inspired, and I don't want to actually try to achieve it because I think I'm going to stuff it up. At least while it's in my head it's as perfect as I want it to be :/
Ah well, onwards and upwards. My darling husband told me that I have been listing them in the wrong category on Trademe - in "accessories/other" rather than "accessories/hats and caps" - so that's something I can fix once the auctions are up. DH is also going to help me create a website to sell the hats from as well. And I've just about finished a poncho in grey, blue, yellow and orange (a really funky mix of colours!) which I'm pretty sure I'll be able to sell quickly, and that will give me more confidence in my abilities.
I'm not sure how I'm going to solve the creative crisis - I know I should try starting something new and ambitious, but everytime I think about doing that, little voices in my head pipe up telling me all the things that are half-finished that I should do first. Or I feel too stressed and tired to even think about where to start, and end up back with my old familiar granny squares, which I can literally do with my eyes closed. I suspect some of this stress is caused by my essay due this week, and worrying about my boss going on holiday for a month, so I've just got to soldier on. And I guess there aren't any crochet police cracking a whip at me to make me be creative, are there?!
I know, I'm such a slacker not updating in so long...
Happy Robot Day for Monday, everyone!
(I'm cheeky, this is the robot I crocheted for my husband last year, but I haven't downloaded the photo of the robot-shaped scones I made this year yet!)
The Story of Robot Day
Anyway, so Peter (husband) and I were sick of the commercialisation of the sentiments behind Valentine's Day, and how uncomfortable the whole thing was making many of our single friends feel. Then last year Teacake suggested Robot Day as a replacement love day - everyone dresses up as robots and goes to get an ice cream, instead of the pressure of hearts and flowers. Well, we weren't too keen on the dressing-up bit, and we seem to forget the ice cream, but we decided to make Robot Day a new celebration of the love of robots, our love for each other and for our friends. He made me a robot-themed collage, and I crocheted him a robot.
This year, I thought we were giving it a miss, as both of us were unorganised and short of money, but he surprised me with another collage on Monday morning :) I ran around town looking for robotic-flavoured anything, but with no luck, so I made us robot scones and have given him a raincheck for some cool robot thing when I find one. I thought of maybe printing a robot picture onto a long-sleeved t-shirt for him, but I'll also scour the secondhand shops to find robot toys.
Anyway, craft-wise I've finished and despatched my hats and rose brooches to Champion online craft store, so go see! Now I desperately need to finish off the two ponchos I was working on and get them sold, probably through Trademe, because I'm really short of money with my tuition fees due next week along with bills for insurance and rates. If I can get $80 for both of them, it will definitely help.
Went through a bit of a dry patch ideas-wise, but they're starting to come back again. I want to try out some wristbands and maybe some necklet things, but it will involve some experimentation which scares me a bit. I like my safe little granny square things :)
Here's the hat with the flower pin I was talking about yesterday:
The photo is a bit blurry (that's what happens if you take pics just after you've woken up and before coffee!) but I think the details of the hat itself came out okay. I tried taking a close-up of the flower pin but my digicam doesn't take good short-range shots.
I've started another gallery just for my hats, but I can't decide whether to move the hat pics I've already posted (and lose people's nice comments) or just leave it as is. I might take down the old pics of the pink and red hats anyway.
Oh! Last night my copy of "Get Crafty" by Jean Railla arrived finally from overseas. I'm loving it so far. It's so cool to find people that feel like they're on the same wavelength:
- happily being domestic and settling down without feeling like you're compromising your feminist/political ideals
- anti-consumerist but still liking to be surrounded by pretty things
- DIYing into your thirties (and forties in some cases) and not feeling like you're the oldest riotgrrl in town :)
- not considered odd to have an advanced degree or an intellectual or challenging career but to also like to cook, sew and decorate your home. Or you might be a SAHM who likes to read post-modern theory for fun (or for that matter, reads Harry Potter or Patricia Cornwell - it doesn't really matter, as long as it challenges the preconception some people have that your brain falls out when you give up fulltime work outside the home!)
I think it's about being comfortable with who you are and what you like to do, and content in the choices that you're able to make.
I was so pleased with the little flower pin I made last night, I felt like running around yelling "It worked! It worked!" It's just an Irish crochet rose with a 1960s button in the middle and a pin on the back, nothing terribly exciting, but I just wasn't sure whether it would come out the way I'd imagined it. However, I think it looks most excellent on a plain square hat - I was going to take a photo this morning, but the light wasn't good enough. Now I'm looking forward to making matching pins for the other hats!
Still trying to decide what to use the other buttons for. I like the idea of crocheted wrist bands with buttons sewn all over them, but I'll have to try one first to see if it turns out okay. Since I have all my yarns sorted by colour, and all my buttons sorted into colours, I feel like I ought to combine them somehow :)
Projects currently on the go:
- blue fluffy yarn square hat (I love that yarn, I wish I had more of it), red and gold yarn square hat (both to be sent up to Champion at the end of the week)
- purple acrylic yarn hat with rosette, and a black yarn one the same, for my friend who suffered a bad haircut last week and needs emergency assistance
- finish fringing the denim, red and black yarn and the green mohair ponchos
- sew elastic into friend's baby's poncho (have the elastic now, just haven't had the time yet)
- sew lining into granny square bag
- sew polar fleece lining into multicoloured hair wraps/hats and attach press studs
ugh, sick of feeling sick - it's impinging on my crochet time :( It's just a boring old headcold, but it drains my energy and motivation and it just plain sucks.
No new work to show off just yet, but I'm crocheting as fast as I can for Champion's opening on the 1st Feb - I have just about finished another two hats and with any luck I'll have another two started and progressing well by the end of this weekend. Plus I have two gift hats to finish. I suspect I'm going to be so sick of making hats soon :)
I hope the aching in my thumbs is just from crocheting too fast for too long and not a symptom of anything worse. I think I've just been overdoing things recently. I'll be taking a bit of a break the week after next when I go to visit family, so hopefully that will give my body a chance to sort itself out a bit. I've also been aggravating my wrist injury by crocheting so much - I twisted it ripping out an old rose bush in the garden just after New Years - so that could definitely do with some time off as well. I wish I wanted to stop crocheting though :(