Styna, Munchkin and Bones!

Styna, Munchkin and Bones!
Mischief Managed!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Purple Crocheted Scarf

Seeing as I had a whole month off to make things for Christmas this year, I decided to set myself a challenge: I've been getting back into crochet with some guidance from Styna, so I wanted to see if I could still design a pattern. I dug out a lovely, hand-dyed purple sock yarn from my stash and set to work on a present for my Mr's sister in law, Poom.

Since I hadn't done this in a while, I decided to reverse engineer a pattern from a picture, so I had a hunt for scarves I liked. I came up with this: Crochargosy, by Christie Pruitt. I downloaded the picture, but not the pattern, and (after several hours wrestling with maths) I came up with a reverse engineered recipe. It was a proper b*****d. I got so tangled up in the words that I had to make a diagram for it, which I've never done before. I won't publish my version, because it makes my eyes hurt (and I'm sure the original is much better), but I will put up the diagram if people want to see it.

The scarf turned out really well, though, which confirms my belief that most crochet and knitting is one part skill, two parts hope and two part magic. The yarn (the ball band of which I have misplaced) was very pleasant to work with, with a gradual variation of colour that gave the scarf a lovely mottled appearance. I made it relatively short, partly because of time constraints, but also because it looked quite nice as a sort of indoor scarf - and Poom loved it :D

I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew with this one.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Imbolc Swap 2012 - Munchkin

The Owl and the Pussycat

In the madness of the pre-Christmas crafting period, we decided that it would be a good idea to challenge ourselves to a craft swap (something that I suspect will occur with disturbing regularity). Imbolc was designated as a suitable sort of time to swap, and provided a suitable sort of theme: springtime.

The rules of the swap were as follows: one medium (or two small) items, taking no more than a day (total) to prepare, in such craft as presents itself at the time, along the theme of springtime. This being us, we decided to further complicate matters by making one for each of the other two participants. I love the swaps that I received from Bones and Styna, which were stunning and brilliant, but I'll let them tell you about those.

I decided to try my hand at a little freestyle embroidery, since most of my winter is taken up with knitting and crochet. It made a nice change. As usual, I left the planning to the last minute, and hoped fervently that inspiration would strike while I was away in London. It didn't, but on the way back I got to thinking about what spring means to me. Deciding that those deliciously sticky hawthorn buds that I used to see every morning on the way to school would be really hard to draw OR sew, I picked flowers. I love the way they come out in a riot of colour, brightening up the days as the sky turns from being murky and the sun finally starts to reappear.

To make it slightly more 'us' I added a figure to each of the two pieces: a cat for Bones and an owl for Styna (trust me, it makes total sense to us), along with an individual detail: a spider and a butterfly, respectively.

The thing that I love about freestyle is that any piece grows in an entirely organic way, which was sort of appropriate given the theme and the subject matter. I started with a brief sketch, straight onto the fabric (linen, which I left un-ironed because it kind of looked like wood and I liked it), and when I say brief, I mean brief. I drew around the insert for the frame to give me my design area, and sketched the outline of the figure (in this case the cat), along with a faint line for the soil, and another for the sky.

Then I broke out the fabric paints :) It took me right back to the Art GCSE I took all those years ago. I added rough layers of paint for the background, giving the impression of soil, various layers of vegetation, flowers and the sky. I also painted the figure of the cat black.

Once all this nonsense was dry (I waited overnight), I started adding flowers, using a variety of stitches including sating stitch, daisy stitch and what were supposed to be french knots (i'm not very good at them). The overall effect was great, particularly over the background splodges of colour that I'd added earlier. The thread I was using was variegated, which added another layer of interest. Finally, I used a dot-dash-dot stitch pattern to add streaks of colour to the sky (with yet more variegated thread) and picked out some beads for the cat's eyes and for the body of the spider.

I repeated the same process for Styna's piece, featuring the owl and the butterfly, and a different range of flowers and colours. That's the other thing I love about embroidery: it's such a versatile form of craft :)

It was only when they were framed and ready for wrapping that I realised I'd made the owl and the pussycat!

I can't wait for the next swap - or for you to see what the others made :) watch this space!

(Images: Rough sketch; Painting time!; It's 'rustic' art; Ready for framing; The owl and the pussycat)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Has it been quiet around here?

Hello fellow crafters! Bones here! I know, I know... Bones, you ask. Who's Bones?

Well, yes, I have been very, very, insanely quiet recently... but I have a good reason! And that reason is that I've been up to my eyebrows in crafting and networking and posting and selling my jewellery! Yep, that's right! In these times of economic difficulty and unemployment, I decided (with lots of help and good advice from good friends) to start Autumnal Skies, my jewellery persona, to start selling some of my crafting!


It's not been easy, and it's definitely been slow-going, but slowly and surely, I'm getting the word out there and people are looking at my work! I've been very lucky to meet some amazing people along the way too, and I'll be writing a 'Shop Spotlight' post every other week (in collaboration with Munchkin, who will be doing the other weeks!) about some of the fantastic people I've met so far!


You might also wonder, what's with all the photos?


Well, to make up for my lack of craft talk on here, I thought I would take the opportunity to bombard you with some of my work so far...


Most of which appears to be earrings...


Which is really bizarre as I don't wear earrings! But I seem to be able to make them more than anything else right now, so who says I can't!


I am trying to branch out more into necklaces and bracelets... slowly but surely, so watch this space!


I'm also hoping to do more work with semi-precious gemstones and sterling silver chain so that those of us that can't stand silver-plate because of the nasty reactions we have to it don't feel left out. But I do make sure that ALL of my earrings are on Sterling Silver earwires! No manky ears here please!


I've also recently gotten more interested in Polymer Clay jewellery and I'm currently experimenting with Millefiori cane techniques, so that's going to be another branch that I'll be getting into soon!


Other than that I've been promoting my work wherever I can...


All of my work is availiable for purchase on Etsy


You can also find me and my work on Facebook


I'm ALSO around on Twitter!

And if I've not scared you all off with all of that, then do feel free to swing by the website for Autumnal Skies here where I post updates every so often about my crafting and other items I want to share with people! Never fear, I'll still be around on here for general craftiness mischiefery though!

Goodness me! So... now you know why I've been so quiet! Is it any wonder...? Happy crafting!

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All images are copyright of Autumnal Skies and may not be copied without my (Bones) written permission.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


One of the things that we have decided to do this year is highlight the work of other crafty people, in terms of blogs, or projects, or shops.

The first of these is MauveMagpie, who turns out to be a very nice lady in Scotland who is also called Lauren (we're awesome, I'm telling you!). She has a very nice shop on Etsy, where she sells her custom handmade jewellery, which is how I found out about her.

You know that thing where you shouldn't go on Etsy if your only other companions for the evening are a bottle of wine and a debit card? Well in this case, it turned out to be a very good thing indeed. In my semi-drunken optimism, I stumbled across a stamped metal bookmark that made me smile, and immediately got sucked into the rest of the shop.

MauveMagpie has a really good eye for design, particularly when it comes to metal stamping (and I just love her Gummy Bear charms!) - her use of empty space to emphasise a design is really effective, and makes for some stunning jewellery. Her strong sense of humour is often at the forefront of her work, and I'd highly recommend her to anyone looking for a gift or treat :)

'Rawr!' Bookmark

Gummy Bears galore!

Dandelion and Fluff Earrings

'Eat Me' Fork

Marauders Bookmark (one of which I am now the proud and happy owner)

You can keep up to date with more of her marvelous creations on her website.

(Images: All images belong to MauveMagpie, no infringements of any kind intended!)

Luna Lovegood Scarf

One of the many things I put together for people for Christmas was this gorgeous crocheted scarf. I haven't crocheted for a long time, and I thought it high time that I re-learn the skill, particularly as I have Krystyna around to give me a hand when I get stuck on the whole US/English mis-translations.

It's one of the reasons that I haven't done any for a while - when I was teaching crochet to my fellow crafters at our University Craftiness Society I got entirely confused because the size of my projects never turned out right. Krystyna has since informed me that there's a completely different notation system for England compared to the US, so I'm re-reading all of my patterns carefully to see where I've been going wrong.

Anyway, Krystyna introduced me to a beautiful pattern for the Luna Lovegood scarf from Harry Potter, created by pinkleo. It's such a pretty scarf, and I thought it would be perfect for my friend Rowena, and for my Granny. I decided to make the scarf shorter than the original pattern, partly because of time constraints, and partly because my Granny prefers shorter scarves; pinkleo's pattern calls for a starting chain of 383, I used 290 for my shorter length version. In the end, I ended up making it from one 50g ball of King Cole Galaxy, which has sequins woven into the yarn for extra sparkles, and knits up as DK, with a size 4.5 hook. I used 'Mercury' since it fit so well with the original colour - though I'm considering trying it out in 'Venus' (black) or purple at some point.

It turned out to be beautifully soft - I was a little worried that the sequins might be scratchy, but they really weren't - and looked great! The pattern was easy to follow (once I'd translated it from US to UK), and one of pinkleo's friends, ariaya made up a chart for it, which was great to refer to when I got stuck. It's a pretty good pattern for beginners who are looking for a bit of a challenge. I'd very much recommend both the pattern and the yarn.

If you need a good hook size converter from US to UK or back again, try Yarn Forward's helpful guide; they also do a decent stitch converter, too.

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Happy New Year! (2012)

A brilliant and belated happy new year to the lot of you!

It's been a busy year, what with blogging and writing and looking for work, and not all of it good, but it never is, really. Still, it's been a reasonably good one, and hopefully this year can only get better :)

To business: the new year welcomes (or rather, welcomes back) the lovely Krystyna, who will be blogging with us on a more permanent basis (on the basis that she does more craft than us anyway ). So give her a warm, crafty welcome!

Many crafty things, are - as usual - afoot. You've got all the weird and wonderful things I made for friends and relatives over christmas to look forwards to, along with several new projects to add to the list. My wonderful Mum, JacAbsolute, sent me vouchers for Collinette, which were immediately put to good use in the form of a massive bag of ends for a scrap-blanket and the wherewithal to make a lovely perugino throw, but more about those later.

I wanted to kick the year off with a minor personal celebration (I finally finished one of my long-standing projects) but I appear to have temporarily mislaid said project, so that will have to wait. *facepalm*

Instead, I'm going to wow you with two amazing blogs that I've been following. These ladies are exceptionally talented (as you'll see) and are well worth a look, for inspiration and good humour.

The first blog is The Sunroom, which is run by a veritable goddess of crochet. I found the blog in November, and managed to lose most of a day simply gaping at her many and magnificent designs, many of which have very good how-tos. As an independent fibre artist, many of her patterns are for sale, and well worth the
price - though she very kindly includes a fair few for free on the blog (one of which I hope to be trying out this year), along with the odd tasty recipe (the toffee apples were amazing). I cannot recommend this blog enough. If you love crochet - and intelligent use of vibrant colour - then go right over there and have a nosey!

Here are just two of her creations:

The second blog I'd like to recommend is Kneurotic Knitter. I've been following Kneurotic for a year or so now, and I've seldom seen so much patience and ingenuity put into knitting. Every project that this lady produces seems to turn out perfectly - I am so jealous of her talent. If you want a look at how good knitting can get then I highly recommend that you pop over to see her. She seems to have tried her hand at every kind of knitting going, and is not afraid of a challenge, as her most recent post affirms. Definitely one to watch :)

Here are some beautifully put together items:

(Images: Granny Stripe Shawl and Tutti Frutti Blanket both belong to The Sunroom; Autumn Rose Pullower and Three Bridesmaid Shawls belong to Kneurotic Knitter. No infringement of anything intended)