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Friday, 27 February 2015

More Quirky Inspiration

 Just a quick reminder and a couple more cards, the first one is a Sweet Pea image called A Maiden and her Unicorn, by Concetta Kilmer. You know that thing - you spend hours colouring an image then your paperwhite pen blobs a huge blob all over it - yeah that! Tried to recover it but it can still be seen. I see a green nose, and I have no idea how that happened.
Coloured with Promarkers. Die cuts are Spellbinders and IO. Ribbon from Crafty Ribbons.
This is a Bugaboo image called Kidz Boy Puppy again coloured with Promarkers. DCWV paper and ribbon from stash. Die cut with Spellbinders.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Quirky cat

You know I have a thing about cute cat images don't you? Well this cat is so cute I had to show you, I don't think I have coloured it well, but I did my best. The cat image is from one of our great sponsors, for the challenge ending Saturday at Quirky Crafts,  Sweet Pea Stamps and it is called Happy Himalayan by Concetta Kilmer.
I coloured the cat with Promarkers and die cut it with Spellbinders long rectangles and long scalloped rectangles, the tail was a little outside the box. I added some perfect cat silhouette grosgrain ribbon which is exclusively available from Crafty Ribbons.

Hop on over to Quirky Crafts to play with us, show us your perfect pet, real or fantasy or the pet you want to own.
I have moved my printer from one side of the monitor and keyboard to the other, had to unplug it of course. Then I had to find a longer cable - now it won't print! If I get it sorted I could be back with another example - maybe!

My card has happily purred it's way into the following challenges:
Crafting from the Heart - Anything goes #48 (Mon)
Tuesday Throwdown - #24 anything goes
Passion for Promarkers - Letters of the alphabet C is for Cat (Tues)
Papertake Weekly - take your pick cool colours (Tues)
Creative Fingers - #68 anything goes (Fri)
TTCRD - anything goes ends March 2nd

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Our Quirky pets.


I should have made this card last week, apologies to Bugaboo who are one of our two sponsors this time. The images are from the brand new Mini Kit Kidz Clowns, such a cute set with lots of images and the sentiment, I haven't used all of them there is one very cute girl in a clown costume one too, great value for money - or you could win it!
I coloured the images with Promarkers, and added some white Prismacolor pencil to the girl's face afterwards for clown make up. I cut round the image and mounted it on red sparkly card. The badge is cut with Spellbinders circles and scalloped circles. The paper was free with a magazine, so happy I remembered it as it is perfect here. I added some grosgrain ribbon from Crafty Ribbons, eyelets. a star button, mini pom poms and bakers twine. I recently bought this cute ticket die by Trimcraft, (with one other really cute die) called Fun Fair,  which the wonderful Sam Hirst of Samaflora kindly got for her friends at the cost she bought them at (plus postage) they were a bargain and I really appreciate it, again this was perfect for this card and is one of the row of three tickets. I just kept thinking of these little bits to add to the card, I had so much fun making this, I regret there are some marks on the green card I didn't see - hand cream I think!

 I made a detachable pin brooch too, it was supposed to pin through two holes but the layers made it too thick to do properly, so I added twine through the holes and pinned the brooch to the twine. I worry about pins on cards for children, I am not sure what age they are safe but I would give this to an adult too.
Inside the card I used the same paper, and the other two die cut tickets, a die cut panel with a Spellbinders die, and the brooch is here again detached.


A flat view of the inside.

Back of the pin brooch, it's got a safety catch - I have a whole bag of these.

We are also sponsored by Sweet Pea Stamps and I hope to have another example or two later.

So if you want to join in and show us your pets, or a pet you would love - even a fantasy pet, then hop over to Quirky Crafts to play with us and see some more wonderful examples.

My card has tumbled into the following challenges - TA DA:
Papertake Weekly - bingo - ribbon, die cut, punches (Tues)
I love Promarkers - make us laugh (Wed)
Little Miss Muffet - anything goes (Thurs)
LOC - #66 dies or punches (Fri)
A Gem of a Challenge - children's playtime (Sat)
ABC - D is for die cuts (Sun)
Creative Fingers - #68 anything goes
Cards Galore - use a stamp or digi (Feb)
Crafty Boots - Sentiment (Feb?)
Creative Card Crew - Birthday with sentiment (3rd Mar)

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Our Quirky best friends.


The challenge set by Myriam at Quirky Crafts this fortnight is about your pets, either real or imagined. You can have cats, dogs, unicorns or owls, or any other animal on your project as long as it is a pet!
I chose The Kitty Collector by Rebecca Sinz from Sweet Pea Stamps, and she has taken me several hours to colour with Promarkers. Some crazy cat lady, isn't she great!
The papers are from a lovely stack by Me and My Big Ideas, and the swirly clips are HOTP. The brads are Papermania and the panels are cut out with Spellbinders Card maker dies in A2 and 5"x 7". I added some ribbon threaded lace too.
I'm late due to daily crisis calls from Mother in Law who came home on Wednesday - and I thought it would get easier! Ah well, give it time. I hope to get a good night's sleep tonight - really hope!
Please excuse the photo, we have visitors over and I couldn't set up the mini photo studio, and tomorrow we are going to a funeral.

We are so happy to have Sweet Pea Stamps sponsoring us for the first time, alongside our one of all time favourites Bugaboo and both have provided images to the team and prizes.

I hope to complete my Bugaboo project tomorrow night.

Hop on over to Quirky Crafts Challenge blog to see some more great examples and to play along and win prizes.

This card has purred into the following challenges:
Crafty Gal's Corner - #6 anything goes (Fri)
Crafting from the heart - anything goes #47 (Mon)
Creative Fingers - #67 anything goes (Fri?)
Graph'it markers - spring or green (27th Feb)


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Survey

I know a young lady who is at University and she needs people to fill out her  interesting short survey, so if you can spare a few minutes it will be appreciated. It is anonymous and lasts 10 to 15 minutes.

My Rosalind cardigan - at last! (and despite the pattern).

Some time ago I decided to make a jumper that featured in an Inside Crochet magazine, it was called the Torquay jumper and was a pretty lacy summer jumper worked in Sirdar Recycled Aran which is 50% cotton from recycled tee shirts, and 50% acrylic.

I purchased the yarn and worked a tension swatch, there was no way I could get the tension because the length was right but after many increases in size of hook the number of stitches still wasn't right. I contacted the magazine who insisted that there was no error and gave me some "helpful" advice by several of their "experts". Some was possibly useful, use a bigger hook was not - it would come down to my knees! Anyway it is possible using the measurements given of the finished garment and the number of stitches to prove the tension swatch is wrong - but I had gone off the idea of making it and decided to make the Rosalind cardigan from issue 47 Christmas 2013. Designed by American designer Rohn Strong, and worked in Rowan pure wool aran originally. I thought it would work in the recycled cotton yarn - and the tension swatch worked up perfectly with the given hook (also proving the Torquay tension must be wrong). I liked that this cardigan was more challenging and had cables. In cotton it could be a summer cardigan too.

I had to purchase more of the yarn, I researched the yarns and worked out the length per ball of each then ordered the extra. By now the originally inexpensive jumper had become a much more expensive cardigan! I am trying not to spend too much on clothes because I hope to lose at least as much weight as I have already - but seem to have got into a loop where I lost and gained but stayed the same overall in 2014, hopefully I can get stuck in and concentrate in 2015!

Now I am going to give you the whole story, this could be a long post, but this pattern is so full of errors and inconsistencies that it is amazing I ever managed to complete the cardigan - I was pretty determined though! I hope this helps someone else who has tried and given up, or wanted to try this pattern, which is a lot more challenging than the 4 stars given!

First of all I started the back, now I did make a silly error which I will come to, but the first problem I encountered was after completing the "ribbing" the instructions were given to begin the cables which also increased the stitches. After starting three cables there is an instruction to "4ftrf (centre cable made)" then another three cables, so you have a centre cable and three each side. Makes sense, but the centre cable is never referred to again, and not in special stitches where the 3 stitch cable is described.

I contacted the magazine, via email and Facebook messaging, but got no reply. I think that maybe a few things went wrong when the pattern was translated from US terms to British crochet terms, in addition the pattern testers found it too challenging and maybe made modifications - these are my thoughts, I guess I will never know the full story.

I left this over Christmas while I concentrated on other things, but sitting visiting mother in law in hospital then the home for all of January until tomorrow (she comes home on Wednesday) gave me the opportunity to work on it. There was a lot of frogging to her great amusement, and she is expecting to see me wear it in now!

Having studied the photo I decided that the centre cable is in fact two 2 stitch cables and the special stitches for this should read:

Centre cable, or 2 stitch cable times 2.
Miss first rtrf, rtrf round next st, rtrf round missed st, repeat once.

On the row that you work your cable crossing (special stitches) for the 3 stitch cables you also work the centre cable crossings (special stitches as above).

So my back was going well and completed, but my centre cable was not centred and I didn't notice this until after I had completed my first attempt at the fronts - then while taking a photo - EEEEK!
 Apologies for the packing boxes this is on, and the photo isn't that good. This is the back with correctly centred centre cable.

By this time I had got to the sleeves and found the pattern unworkable, so I assumed the non centred centre cable was also a pattern error - but it was me. I had started off making a smaller size on the basis I would lose the weight, and after completing the rib forgot that decision and worked the next size up - doh! So I had to frog it (unravel) and hook the back over again.

There is one other small error in the back instructions: after the armhole shaping, the pattern tells you to work until the back measures 51(23,55,57)cm. Clearly the second size should be 53 not 23 cm, but that is pretty obvious.

At the point of discovering the car crash that forms the sleeve instructions I attempted again to contact the magazine, leaving them messages on Facebook, and their website, and emailing them. I got nothing back until I messaged them one last time saying that it seems that the sleeve errors were beyond their capability to correct, so I was going to sit down and work it out myself.

The magazine photos didn't help here, the photos seem to be of two different garments to me - I could be wrong but the photo of the model on p[age 46 holding her Rowan berries doesn't seem to show a ribbed cuff at all, and the close up of the cuff on page 48 does show ribbing - and that matches the photo on the front cover!

THEN I got a most apologetic email from Charles Voss, who said that my messages had gone into some black hole and been overlooked, and clearly I was an experienced crocheter, and had spent much time and love on this cardigan so he would help. He later emailed me new sleeve instructions - I will talk about those later in this post. He promised me instructions for the centre cable as soon as the designer got back to him - I haven't heard a thing since although I did reiterate that I thought I knew how to do the centre cable.

So onto the fronts, pretty straight forward (or so I thought initially). I completed them and joined them to the back, well one of them because it was clear to me that there should be some sort of neck shaping and there isn't.

The other odd thing about the fronts, if you study the photos the cable on the sleeve side tapers off and vanishes, as do the cables at the sides of the sleeves. This tapering off is not mentioned and my front cables go all the way to the top without going near the sleeve shaping - I think this must be the smallest size shown as it is a model lol.

I had mentioned the lack of neck shaping as being a bit odd in one of my emails to Charles, which has received no response so far. The photos seem to show shaping, as does the crude diagram of the garment. I had three attempts at creating some shaping, the third attempt was a EUREKA moment after really studying the close up of the neck, and finally it clicked.

This photo shows the fronts attached, the one on the left of the photo was attempt number two, and the right is the final solution.

The shoulder shaping instruction tells you to 3ch then tr in each st across. This is what you do on the back, so I did it. But actually you need to either sl st across (if you start at the neck edge), or only work trs until you have left a number of stitches (if you started at the armhole edge), then turn and do your shoulder shaping htrs as described.
So how many sl sts or stitches to leave unworked if you have started from the armhole side? Well the photo shows them starting just before the second cable going from the neck side, and I think you should sl st (or leave) either 11 or 12, I think it is 11 for all sizes.

So onto the sleeves, the pattern gave the two "rib" rows and instructed you to work these two rows until "cuff measures 15cm or 6" from start". It then goes on to detail some increase rows and tells you to work until it measures 35cm or 13.75 from the beginning, but doesn't say if you continue the two ribbing rows.
If you attempt to do as described, you will have a total unshaped  tube measuring 15cm of ribbing, then more ribbing to above your elbow then a very small section of cabling which has to be increased then shaped right away, it sounded crazy.

I gave up and left it for ages, and as I mentioned, the magazine didn't reply to my pleas for help until I got the wonderfully apologetic email from the Technical Director - Charles Voss. Charles did try (and promised to get back to me further when he got hold of the designer), and he provided some new sleeve instructions however I was not convinced they were right either, partly because he repeated the two rows given and the instruction to work until 15cm, then he instructed what would have resulted in ribbing most of the way across but flattened near the seam with the increases but it then said to work until the piece measured 15cm (hang on - didn't I already get to 15cm???). The body of the sleeve instructions that followed could have been ok, there were three 3 st cables created.

I decided to try my own version, and this is what I did. I followed the pattern in the magazine (and the beginning of Charles' rewrite) and did the first two rib rows, then I increased on every 3rd
row three times, so on the 5th, 8th, and 11th rows while continuing in the rib pattern. I increased by working an extra rtft or rtrb in the last tft or trb of the increase rows. This sometimes resulted in three rtrf or rtrb in a stitch, and on the row following that I would work into the back of the 3rd stitch to turn it the other way.
I continued until the cuff measured 15cm then began the body of the sleeve.

The cables on the sleeves are where the increases happen, the pattern in the magazine tells me that after doing the cables I have increased by 4 stitches, and yet there are only 3 cables where you increase by one each time.

I wondered if the intention of the designer was to have a centre cable on the sleeves and I have done this on mine, which allowed me to do two increases at the centre cable, one each at the two flanking cables giving me the 4 stitches I wanted. If anyone needs more details on this let me know.

 Sleeve.
 Close up of sleeve.
Sleeve again, different angle.

 A year or so later and finally the cardigan is finished! I didn't need the 4 extra balls which were the most expensive ones I have purchased, and I have found I could have got some for nearly half the price online!

 Ermm, didn't have a Rowan branch, so grabbed some artificial flowers. Look back at the first photo, the model wears the cardigan with a gap down the middle and belt to hold it together - she is a lot thinner and more shapely than I am, I grabbed the nearest belt to try it, doesn't look great, oh well moving swiftly on...
Ouch, side view with no belt, looks even worse - go back to the previous shot immediately, or better still shut your eyes!

Anyway I hope this makes sense and maybe helps someone complete a Rosalind cardigan.








It's Quirky Lovely

I'm sneaking in so late, missed last week altogether - sorry about that. I have some pretty heavy family stuff going on right now. Anyway I used Love Birds together with Pussy Cat Luv and added a die cut branch and heart shaped leaves and flower petals and I found a heart shaped flat back pearl for the middle. I made the sentiments up and die cut them with an X Cut set, and the ribbon is from Crafty Ribbons, It has nearly run out so I much get more. I coloured the images mostly with Graphit markers and Promarkers and die cut them with Spellbinders card maker dies. The paper is by DCWV. White highlights are Sharpie paint pen.


The images are from Robyn's Fetish who are one of our sponsors at Quirky Crafts this time. You only have until Saturday to come and play!

This card has smooched it's way into the following challenges:

Addicted to Stamps - photo inspiration (Wed)
Cute Card Thursday - crazy in love 
Fussy and Fancy - #132 It's all about love (Fri)
Crafty Gals corner - Pinkylicious (Fri)
Allsorts - #297 love is all around (Sat)
ABC - C is for cupid (Sun) -10
In the Pink - Love is in the air (Thurs 19th)
Pan Pastels - love is in the air (Sun)
Craft Hoarders Anonymous -  How I Love Thee (Feb)
Crafty Cardmakers - Love Love Love (Feb)
Die Cut Diva's - words and sentiments (Feb)

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

WOYWW #296 After Craft4Crafters Westpoint


We took a really needed break and headed for Torquay at the weekend, via Craft4Crafters at Westpoint. We stopped at the Donkey Sanctuary for lunch before this but due to a certain someone wearing his nearly best watch and mine being in the repair shop we thought we had a lot less time than we did, due to said watch still being set to British Summertime, so didn't have time to go find my new donkey for the year who is called Teddy. Once at the show I found Ali Crafts, and the lovely Ali is giving up her crafting business to work in Tesco, so lots of bargains to be had and most of my retail therapy happened on her stall. Here are the stencils I bought, lovely lovely stencils.
 Then of course there were stamps, all sorts of lovely stamps, some were only £1 each.
I went back again and bought the Speedball brayer, and treasure gold, everything else was in the bargain bin.
 I could easily have bought a lot more on this stall, had to restrain myself a little!
 From Oyster Crafts I bought these dinky little jars full of pretties! I thought for £1 a pack they are a lot cheaper than the TH ones.
 I love these buttons found on a whole display of wooden buttons on a stall which maybe had beads too, but maybe I should have bought more than 3 of each in case I need them for a cardigan. 6 packs for £5.
 I found some yarn that is the yarn I am using for my cardigan, and worried I will run out I bought 4 balls even though it is a different dye lot and I can see the difference. I might not need it, the cardigan will get a whole post to itself but it has been growing (and shrinking as I unpick constantly to correct mistakes), and the latest problem is the total lace of neck shaping instructions so I will have to unravel the fronts a little and try and work out how to best shape the neckline. While on that stall I spotted ripple scarf yarn for £1 a ball and I want to try this so bought two. I also bought some stainless steel pins, long ones with beads. I am hoping they will be glue proof.
This was in the Ali Craft bargain bin for £1, I think it is a flower mould.

The embossing folder was an Ali Craft bargain, the die was offered to me at £9 by Spike the Punch Magician and it would have been rude to say no!

I had forgotten I ordered this before we left, how about that lighthouse then! I went to order EZ mount from Sticky Tiger only to find they had a sale on, and some stamps and the lighthouse fell into my basket along with some crackle paint. I have some crackle paint bought as unused, or hardly used which seems to have dried up so was a foolish purchase, and this is to make up for it! Oh I have plans for the lighthouse, it is so big! I have so many other things I should alter first....

Anyway most of this is photographed on the floor as the desk is full!
Mother in Law had a nightdress that she wanted shortened before she would wear it, and my "big" machine would not stitch correctly today. The more I adjusted the tension the worse it got, so I got the diddy pink one out and used that. Do you think I should buy a new "big" one? Mine is around 40 years old after all! (Now even the cheapest budget machine has more stitches than mine, even this diddy one has a stitch that the "big" one doesn't!).


I didn't take any photos the whole weekend, apart from a couple with my phone from the hotel lounge before we left. 
The sun was out but it was very cold.



 One of my main courses, a trio of fish. It was expensive, and incurred a supplement on top of the inclusive bill.
This was my scallop starter, which should have come with chicken wings but I asked not to have them, again this was a more expensive dish and incurred a supplement.


I haven't felt like making anything since Mother in Law went into hospital, and later the home where she waits to be released home. We are visiting nearly every day and sorting things out in between and everything seems dominated by the situation - why is it affecting me so badly? When we were away I slept really well, but I was suffering from an allergic reaction to a brand of prescription medication and taking antihistamine tablets which can make you sleepy.

Anyway it is that day when everyone goes for a nosy around other people's desks, and the fun all happens at The Stamping Ground!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

WOYWW #294 Tidier

It's that day again, the day of the week we go gaily tripping round everyone's desks and spaces and confessing about our own!
This is the other side of the desk, I have two or more packs of yarn waiting to be hooked, and that purple box underneath - yes more yarn! The boxes on the left contain things I am trying to get rid of, a lot has gone it was much bigger. Under the desk you can see boxes which contain Christmas paper and cards, some bagged and priced from when they were in the shop, some just finished cards, you can see purple and green crates, those are full of more yarn mostly machine knitting cones, as well as a length of material I was going to sew, I might make a skirt yet. Some of the yarn might be going to the charity shop where I bought it, it is horrible to work with.

More yarn, oh dear! The green tub is full, as are the bags including the pink, black and white one, some of it was to make lots of crochet hats which I hoped to sell - not got very far with that apart from hats for Kenny! The box - it's the ecraft which I sold, had to refund and pay carriage back again and it has sat there for at least a year because I don't have the heart to find out what damage the buyer has done to it, because if what she said is true it is in far worse condition than the working condition it left in. Not only do I not have the funds towards the new machine I wanted, I ended up out of pocket by £20 for carriage both ways.

Another corner of the room, by the exercise bike, and this photo made me tidy up here afterwards. I am working on the cardigan again, found I had made an error on the back so unpicked (or frogged it if you prefer) and started over. The white bag is toy stuffing. I have been taking my crochet to do while visiting mother in law, who came out of hospital into a home yesterday. This is short term as far as we know, but the home is not the right place for her as pretty much everyone else there has dementia and so she stays in her room and sees nobody but the staff. Her room seems clean, and quite big, she has a bathroom, there is a window but too high to see out of sitting down and there is no view, and she worries that it is open and anyone can walk in if they want. We took a TV over today, so I have no TV by me to watch but I thought her need was greater than mine, unfortunately we could get no signal but the maintenance guy is going to run a new cable down from the attic tomorrow morning for her. She hates it there so much and her obvious distress is distressing us both especially Shaun. I think we have to find her somewhere better soon, they didn't even help her dress and she only had half her clothes on.

So here is the desk, and I have tidied it up considerably since last week, there is a way to go. The paper pad is out for a project I want to start but I am so exhausted from making phone calls about MIL's situation, visiting, letting people know the latest etc and the days seem to run together with not a lot getting done. We have been getting back late and I haven't felt like cooking the meal I planned to cook so we have been grabbing something quicker.
I made myself a salad for lunch, it was nice and symmetrical on a round plate. It had tuna and cottage cheese on top. Anyway I put it on the dining room table, then remembered I was going to look for my oldest mobile phone to charge up and take in for MIL to try and use, and I found it and got it charging. Returned to the dining room to find Sooty and Alfie - Sooty was up at the table licking a cherry tomato off of the plate, a section all along one side of my salad was no longer round - there was a space on the plate and it was straight across! A couple of leaves were on the floor - dogs not keen on green leaves of the salad variety! I had to ditch some more of my salad, assuming that the straight edge had been licked all the way along! I ate the rest, on the same plate, I  have only just thought about that plate and the fact it might have had dog saliva on it too - I am too tired to think straight right now!
Oh and today the dishwasher broke down so I have had to do a lot of washing up!

Anyway I might not manage to get round many folks this week, and I probably owe a few from last week, but if you want to find out more and join in just hop on over to The Stamping Ground.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Quirky windows

The challenge at Quirky Crafts is all about apertures in cards, or any craft project, or in the card toppers or layers like mine. Our sponsor is The Cutting Cafe (who are generously providing all three prizes and files for the team to use) and I used three file sets on my card:
Everyday Card Toppers (Cutting files)
A bunch of monsters (printable files)
Birthday fun (printable files)

I printed Word Bubble Left from Everyday Card Toppers, onto Nitwit paper by LOTV, using the pdf files because I don't have a working cutting machine set up, and I cut the panel and bubble by hand. I changed the colour of the sentiment to green, printed it and cut it out before mounting it using foam tape to give it dimension behind the cut out speech bubble. Then I added some polka dot chiffon ribbon to the panel before it was mounted onto the card also using foam tape. I coloured my monster with Promarkers and fussy cut it, then adhered it to the panel.
Hop on over to Quirky Crafts to see more great examples and play along with us.

I have entered the following challenges:
Crafty Ribbons - sentimental (Thurs)
Creative Fingers - anything goes #63 (Fri?)
Glitter and Sparkle - cute (Sun)
Cards Galore - anything goes (Jan)