Saturday, 24 January 2015

Green sproutings!

All over the garden the first signs of spring growth are sprouting!
The green shoots reminded me of the freeform vessel made for my mums birthday in November, that escaped the photo stage.
Mum kindly brought it back to have its picture taken!

The spiral is hooked with three very different yarns, a slender multi-coloured wool, a silky cotton, and the wonderfully woolly Wheeldale Woolcrafts variegated green also seen in the Christmas trees.

The varying thicknesses and finishes produce a naturally occurring knobbly wibbly undulating terrain....

...and lacy cobwebby holes!

Hope you are finding plenty of green shoots in the wintry bumpy earth!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Christmas Cowls

After a few successful cowls last Christmas,
every time a suitable bargain ball of wool was spotted
 it was purchased with a cowl in mind!
Some have been winter birthday presents, and others given for Christmas!
I was given an amazing detailed and inspirational book for my wedding anniversary earlier in the year:
It has fab photos of all sorts of stitch designs, instructions and charts for each one, and suggestions of suitable yarns. 
 It will be a really useful reference as I continue to explore the art of crochet.
Before embarking on my winter cowl-a-thon I made a list of scarf-y stitches from the book,
swatched a few,
and with the intention of using a different stitch for each project,
promptly fell in love with Rope stitch
so most of my makes wound up with that one!
This acrylic is my favourite colourway!
Its from a huge vibrant squidgy ball of Robin Candyfloss
and has so far made two tall neckwarmers in rope stitch.

 Some zingy My Boshi wool and chunky yarns which were generously donated by Tracey came in handy too!

Unfortunately in the winter gloom the colours do not zing on screen as much,
the one below is a mint green!

This cowl with a twist can be worn in three colour ways

These two chunky cowls from gifted yarn were donated to charity:

HTRs in BLO  above
Rope stitch below!

Another twisted navy cowl (HTRs in BLO) was hooked for my nephew to keep him warm on chilly mornings down by the river.
However, it was presented to its new owner without being photographed!

As Sherlock stitch was well received last year,
 and therapeutic to hook, it was used again:

 for a long skinny infinity!

This was a very relaxing background project, for a friend's birthday, when events were getting hectic!

A twisted combination of Candyfloss and Sherlock evaded detection by the camera....

A friend knitted me this delicious, colourful, soft and warm vintage neckwarmer for Christmas...which is being well used!

I have learned that its never too early to start woollies....and maybe friends with summer birthdays are missing out on winter chunky hooking may become an August occupation!

Oh, and I kept one cowl to wear...wonder if you can guess which one it is?!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

O Christmas Tree....

... it has become a family tradition for our tree to be covered in just lights on the first and last night it stands in the house. 
It helps to gradually ease the senses into the shimmer of shiny bright festivities, and
towards twelfth night enables some quiet reflection as the season closes.
  As I type there is a strong pine scent and there are twinkles of coloured lights like warm house windows, winding up an earthy velvet dark green hillscape.

Christmas trees have featured more prominently this year as crocheted trees were given as gifts to local friends and family.
With an idea in my head, there were plenty of prototypes, ranging from three dimensional, top heavy, saggy bottomed, uneven, to unrecognisable!
Having wrestled with the tree idea for several weeks, and ready to drop it in needled frustration,  a calm suggestion from Mr RW made everything fall into place and the simple design was created.

An even strip of crochet, simply sewn up the middle!

Some with embellishments!

some with fancy stitching, many with two or more strands

and a fuzzy one!

Front and back!

These elegant evergreens are hooked from the most wonderful hand dyed British wool from  Wheeldale Woolcrafts, given to me by my fellow woolly wonder, Tracey!
It has an amazingly rustic rough texture and smells deliciously of.....wool!

In contrast, the base for the other green conifers is a softer nubbly British blend bought on summer holiday, specifically for this purpose, from Woolmouse in Barnard Castle.

The one on the far right with the red strip is the first, very experimental, sapling. It has an abundance of short rows (the others have two long rows)  and a variety of stitch combinations!
We pruned it a little, displayed it and have grown to love its earthiness, even if it didn't make the group forest shot!

Wishing you a treemendous start to 2015 with lots of hapPINEss!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Granny Pocket Christmas Hearts

One of the joys of Christmas festivities is catching up with friends and family, in person or through cards, letters, phone calls, texts, facetime, blogs, e-mails, twitter or facebook...

These granny pocket hearts with a Christmas twist have been hooked and sent with love to friends and family through the post...

 a special surprise in their pocket!

 Each unique - just like the recipient!

Wishing you peace and happiness too!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Coasting towards Christmas!

There has been lots going on at RW HQ!
Most of it has been designing, planning, prototyping and tweaking!
So much cogitation that the poor camera has been forgotten.
One birthday present escaped without its portrait, it will be snapped in-situ over the Christmas holidays and make an appearance in the New Year!

Much of the making is still top secret, 
although a recent commission, for mum to air-mail to her friend, can brighten the long evenings here:

A couple of coasters, the same pattern as these
 made in the warmth from the fire rather than the sun!
They are chunky, to cope with warmer winter beverages,
 and hooked with two strands of cottons used in these.
This one was my prototype, a little lightweight for the purpose...

They are currently coasting to the States!
Hope you have many bright moments this Advent.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Scrumble Swapping!

Have I told you how much I am enjoying freeform crochet?!
  - the freedom of taking wool for a wander, 
randomeandering with several threads, textures, and wiggles!
When Ali of crazy dazy, a fabulously creative knitter, expressed interest in freeform we hatched a collaborative idea of a scrumble swap!

Ali to knit a scrumble and the other Ali (me!) to hook one,
*pop it in the post, for it to cross the waves,  the other Ali to add to it* 
repeat from *to* 
until we feel it is time to stop!

This is the crochet one posted from Brum:

It will be soooo interesting to see what happens next!

I was really excited to receive Ali's parcel
a deliciously bright green and pink beaded scrumble, which reminded her of green cabbages! 

Its so much more random than I thought it could be, and so much better for it!
It looks like crochet..

I really enjoy exploring its shape and holeyness, 
Ali has deliberately made spaces for me to hook into...

 ...I am hesitant to add to it... I propose to view it,
and savour it for a while...then have a go...
as that was its purpose -
to be one ingredient in a feeform collage!
I have been practising some new techniques...

Its so exciting to share creative ideas and I'm enjoying the thrill of the next stage.
Many thanks to Ali for another fun and inspiring adventure in scrumbleland!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Watching Paint Dry..

...a whole new exciting experience!
At the beginning of September we indulged in a feast for all the senses!
The loud throb of pumping music and witty lyrics of rappers; delicious taste of street food; textures of rough brick and cold steel, sweet scent of spray paint and the most incredible varied vibrant street art....
City of Colours....Birmingham's Street Art Festival

Here's a minute selection of the camera full of photos taken as we sauntered round the changing venues, bathed in warm sun, watching in awe as the walls, arches, buildings, doors and boards were transformed by over a hundred fabulously talented graffiti artists....

Love the details, some identify the artists....


Art over Art...

...even the plants are sprayed!

We watched many hand held sketches come to life and stencils sprayed...

 This colourfully camouflaged multi-padlocked door was photographed a couple of weeks before the event... it is

As we were there for a couple of hours we witnessed progress...

Love how the old industrial red bricked landscape is revitalised..

 and mirrored

 Whilst viewing a completed mural, several bursts of paint came over the wall from an artist on the other side, sailing freely through the barbed wire, an unphotographed but powerful image!

 Amongst all the giant colourful monumental wall sized art there were stickers, flyers,
 and tiny sketches...the light and shade of the white lines of this door jamb painting, just a few centimetres tall...

I was instantly captivated by this just completed wall....

and its interaction with the scaffolding!

 We arrived just in time to see the artist spray his missed his technique of flicking the spray paint...

 Mr RW spotted the discarded masking tape peppered with spray....which resulted in a chat with the artist, and purchase of a fabulously splattered canvas in firey colours (I had to borrow the money from RW Jnr as I had already spent mine!!)

A small strip of this amazingly coloured ball of  rainbows also came home with the smell of the paint on our return.

At home, using the event map we tried to identify the artists  - and in the following week many social network venues burst with beautiful images...
I think most of them are captured here, here, here, and here,
with the added bonus of tagged artists...
well worth a look - to see some of the works in progress in their completed glory!
 We have re-visited some of the walls since,
many are still there, some on display, hidden gems behind shutters, doors and gates....or even behind another layer of paint!
As much of the area is bisected by railway arches, jewels of vibrant walls can be glimpsed from the train...and there's a huge sprayed wall we missed by the coach station...

I have said it before, but I will say it again
we are so privileged to live in such a diverse, colourful, vibrant and inspiring city!