The crafty side of me

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Of course, I’ve lured you, hoping you’ll buy my book but, on these pages, anyway, nothing will be for sale. This is the section for my other kinds of creativity. Patterns, I hope, will be displayed and all of them given away free. I can think of one right now. It’s the Spider’s Web waistcoat. I suppose it was 1968 when I first made this. You can find it and others and copy them after hovering over ‘The crafty side of me’ at the top of the page

Loads more patterns, mostly free, available on my pinterest boards, along with dressmaking, travel and books:

In 1991, I went into an Oxfam type shop and bought a black bin liner full of assorted wool for £2! My husband had recently died. I made a ‘nervous breakdown blanket.’ Here it is:

Nervous breakdown blanket

It’s King size and then some but it didn’t use up all that wool – oh no: I also made three biographical jumpers/cardigans. Here’s mine:

First, there’s the back of it, which is supposed to be roads, long and winding towards what looks like an octopus but is supposed to be a lotus. Then a pyramid with an eye on top of that. I was always fascinated by the Rosicrucians: this is their symbol. That’s in a background which represents Modernism, the style of my childhood. Next to that is a sleeve, the design of which was based on my friend Betty’s painting of a Thai dancer. What with the patching and the goo-goo eyes, however, mine looks more like Boadicea in black stockings!

“>Back of nervous breakdown cardiThai dancer sleeve and very patched front of cardi                                                                                      <a

I’ve still got lots of that wool, despite the more than twenty years in between. I use it to patch the cardigan. Check out the front of it, below left. The other sleeve represents my travels in India and depicts the Taj Mahal with peacocks and a flower. No; honestly!

Cardi front more patch than product     Sleeve supposed to be Taj Mahal with peacocks and flower

Incidentally, I hit on this idea of how to reinforce aged buttonholes – a crochet circle with a larger hole than usual in the middle to fit the button. Stitch the circular patch over the original, worn hole, as I’ve done in the pic. I’ve patched the front with various crochet flowers and other shapes.

Here’s a detail from the top of one sleeve and the front: an Asian blossom tree and a moon and stars. I don’t often work to a pattern. The jacket on the right is once when I did.Details from cardi with Asian blossom tree moon and stars                        Jacket made to a pattern

I’ve recently discovered an American company with nice downloadable patterns. I’ve bought a few for a rainy day. Here’s a link:

What I really like is to find bargain wool. Here’s a shawl I recently made in garter stitch using two kinds of wool I bought in a £1 shop: the wool was 5 balls for a £ and I used 10.

Shawl in wool from two kinds of wool from the £1 shop

I made one elongated triangle and then rejoined the wool to each of the long sides and added two more elongated triangles. Then I sewed the spare edges together.

I used to get commissions to make cable sweaters. Then the craze wore off. I made one cotton cardi for myself in cable with balls! Here it is, with a close-up of the balls.

Cotton cardi in Aran design with balls            Close view of Aran design with balls

I love the quick things, too, like socks and hats. Here are a few of those I’ve made over the years.

Crochet hatsAssorted hats and socks

Hats in charity shop chenille with flaps and a fancy trim and then various hats and socks.

The next bit is not knitting or crochet.

Betty's mask

Betty’s mask

Is it Aztec? Is it Tibetan? No; it’s the top of a white spirit container, cut round and decorated with acrylic paints. See? The mouth bit is where the screw cap went; the handle is the nose. I’ve made several of these as presents but this one was done by my friend, Betty, who taught me to crochet in the 60s. I learnt knitting from my mother.

April 19, 2013: This has been my week: posting book and craft stuff on Twitter and making skull motifs for a vest.

Gurning skull motif

Patterns I’ve bought from Craftsy:

Waistcoat adapted from an Etsy pattern

Source: Skull Mittens via fern1knits on Craftsy                            …and the waistcoat, adapted from an Etsy pattern

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