Saturday, 28 March 2015

Birds nests and a posh washcloth!

Spring is well and truly springing round here..blossom is bursting, sunny daffodils are beginning to bloom and the crocuses have been and gone! 
The birds are in fine voice - particularly first thing in the morning!! 
Interestingly during the solar eclipse, the blackbird's evening melody was well tuned!

One day last week I saw two seasonal methods for using short ends to provide some material for nesting birds.
As I had the equipment for one of them at my fingertips I hurriedly hooked a version and it was out waiting for the birds the next morning!


 The easy pattern, which I modified slightly (I thought the birds wouldn't mind some stitch counting anomalies!)   can be found here on the amazing String Theory Crochet blog, where a very creative mother and daughter hook an incredible mix of inspirational, colourful and quirky crochet, well worth exploring..


 A week later and the ball of strands is still there - the squirrels have not squandered it, yet!


The base yarn, a Rowan cotton acrylic mix, was given to me by a friend who works in a charity shop...she has passed on some amazing finds in the past few weeks, for which I am very grateful.



I used some more to make this posh dishcloth for my friend!  
It is hooked with Back Raised Treble from Sarah Hazell's  200 Crochet Stitches...


 and has the most amazing ridged texture..



.... finished with crab stitch.


I have been freeforming too - and creating other birthday makes, so will have plenty more to share soon!
Hope you are finding some of the joys of  Spring!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Listed...

Birmingham has many assets, one being its almighty array of awesome architecture. 
Always moving forward, there are fantastic building styles from every era.
 However there is one monumental flavour that is rapidly disappearing due to its crumbling concrete structure. 
One recent casualty, the iconic brutalist, and in my eyes beautiful, Central Library will be bulldozed soon and others are threatened..
However, I stumbled upon a small snippet of good news about the listing of a piece of concrete architecture quite close to home.
It is something that caught my eye more than 20 years ago, and every time I drive past I marvel at its tenacity to survive in the open urban environment.
During half term, on a bright but blustery day I braved the elements to explore



The play sculpture has some relatively recent modern artistic additions...


 





There is an image of the original painted sculpture, could these be remnants of the original paint?



Showing signs of age...





Imagine torrential rain channelled through here!



There is so much graceful movement in something so concrete:



and many angles and points!






How many faces can you see?




That newly etched eye is perfectly placed...as are the shark like fangs!


Fish...and chips?!


I will continue to appreciate from afar, and hopefully visit the fabulous fish more often, as it glides silently in its ever changing, brutally busy and climate challenging landscape, protected by a covering of tree lace...


 

Bit of a departure from wooliness...opposites attract!
Hope you find  hidden treasure in your local area to appreciate!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Covering Up!

Several years ago a fabulous and thoughtful friend gave me a Book Journal.
It has been a brilliant resource for recording all those details from most recent reading material that are replaced or confused when new novel excitement kicks in! 
Also it extends the thinking processes whilst recording the raw emotions as the end of a brilliant book is reached.
(This must have started at an early age as I have a childhood copy of Watership Down with an annotated list of rabbit names!)
My mum often makes notes during the books she reads - she had a list of interesting characters from Harry Potter to keep her feet on the ground in the plot! 
For Christmas we gave her a Book Journal in which to keep her notes. Using a hardback spiral bound notebook covered in some handmade felt.

A wet photo! 

Front....


 ...and back


Attached with a loose crochet strap..


 ...and some dodgy stitching...


 the cover is detachable


 ...and intentionally very thin felt to keep the bulkiness to a minimum ..
the silver elastic is an original feature of the book


...its a bit delicate for a cover, but I know it will be well cared for!


Full of memories from crafty projects!




Both Angela and Zed create the most amazing felt book and diary covers, Zed's stitching is beautiful...and there are a wide range of photo tutorials on both blogs....which I am off to check out...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Flower Power

Prudence Mapstone, a truly colourful inspiration to all freeformers, is generously giving an exciting opportunity for creative crocheters and knitters  to be part of a huge piece of unique wall art.
Its all explained in this post on her 50 years of Flower Power blog.
Flowers and freeform - I couldn't wait to get started!
In true stashbusting style I gathered some bright and textured yarns and raided one of the boxes I have stuffed full of oddments.
Oddments is my positive term for all those bits of  crochet that didn't quite make the grade, they may have been prototypes, experiments or the motifs that didn't look just right (in the days 'before freeform'  when this mattered!)....stitch count awry, uneven petals, lumpy bits...we all have them - don't we?!....and I keep them!!
Several were chosen, at random, and the freeforming flower began to blossom!








 A back view....


....secret pocket....intentional of course!!


 ...a  familiar needlefelted middle..


fluffy bits...


 multi-coloured cotton threads....


 shiny threads....


 knobbly spirally bits....


Before photographing, it was perched on Mr RWs reading matter...so I hunted around for a more colourful background...and uncovered a favourite childhood book:


'A Child's Garden of Verses' by Robert Louis Stevenson


with the most vibrant illustrations by the very talented Brian Wildsmith


...first published in 1966....
a welcome chance to reconnect with the wonderful words and incredible illustrations..


...having been surrounded by Brian Wildsmith's  beautiful, colourful, zingy books as a child
 no wonder I love colour and texture...and freeform!


I loved this project - it has fertilised my passion for freeform, colour and illustration.
Thank you to Prudence...
I'm so looking forward to be part of an international piece of art,
and to viewing all the other colourful, creative contributions as they arrive in Australia!
There's still time if you'd like to join me!
Off to pop the petals in the post!!