Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Marley the Cat

IMG_0732At the end of Summer my friend, Karyn,  honoured me with a custom design of her much loved and sadly departed cat, Marley. I myself have two cats, Nike and Artemis. That is them in the side picture. I work out of my home and my cats keep me company (and entertained) during the day. Being a cat lover, this project was very special to me. And because of that, I really procrastinated making this tabby. There were just so many options for shapes and poses!

 

IMG_0622Research was easy. Over the next few months I studied my cats to figure out what about them caught my eye – their faces. And that was where I began this project. The snout and face are disproportionally large compared to the body. Sort of similar to drawing eyes a bit larger in portraits. Next, I studied the eyes. Wow, cats are so expressive. How do they look when happy and content? They squint and close their eyes.

 

That left me with two final hurdles before I could began crocheting. Tabby cats are striped, but it is difficult to create, natural, random striping. I also wanted to give this cat a bit of fluffiness. Rarely do I create test swatches, but I don’t test new techniques on completed projects. I created a mottled fabric and brushed it out using a slicker pet brush to break some yarn fibres and creating fur. I ended up buying a second, smaller brush at my local PetValu. When I explained that I was using it for crafting, the employee offered a 25% discount! While the pet store is part of a larger chain, I support smaller stores whenever possible as they tend to give their employees more discretion.

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My final consideration was the pose. When they are not hyper and running around the house, cats are sleepers! Nike and Artemis when they are relaxed stretch out their front paws. I drew a few sketches and go started crocheting. 

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Thank you so much, Karyn, for trusting me with such a special request! She makes the best scones and peanut butter balls Saturdays at the Dartmouth Farmers’ Market

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Space-Time Crocheted Fabric

In January, I visited the Shenkman Arts Centre in the Orleans area of Ottawa to see Andrea Haltrich: Space-Time Fabrics. I was happy to see crochet in an art gallery but  would have loved to see a larger, more diverse exhibition. The fabric was made by crocheting a ribbon fibre with her fingers (rather than a hook) – something I may try sometime. My husband, who has a degrees in Math and Physics, described her works as gravity wells/wormholes.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winterlude and WIP (work in progress)

Winterlude

BRRrrrrr….but say it loudly while shivering. That is the sound of Winter in Ottawa and I heard it often last night during Winterlude -   3 week outdoor festival in the National Capital Region (Ottawa/Gatineau area). There is a snow park with forts, and skating on the Rideau Canal. Last night, Jason and I  went to Confederation Park to hear live music, admire delicate and lovely ice sculptures, and warm ourselves next to a campfire (a unexpected, pleasant surprise).

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WIP

WIP is a Work in Progress. I am currently working on a very special customer order for a very understanding friend. I’ve sort of been sitting on making this design for a long time (months). There have been sketches and lots of thought about the yarn details. Normally there is a lot of frogging when I am creating, so the finished project may look vastly different from these pictures, however I wanted to share with you a little of my creative process.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Introducing Declan Dragonfly

I introduce you to Declan. He is more shapely and even more cute than my other small dragonfly, Drew; The wings have a curving, raindrop shape and the body has sections creating added texture. And it will be easier for young children to grip.  I can also turn him into a rattle. I name all of my patterns. For example, I have recently named the newest version of my mermaids Maya, for my very first customer. Declan Dragonfly is named for my friend’s new baby.

Declan Dragonfly pattern is an easy crochet pattern is currently available in Canadian Dollars on Ravelry, and in USD in my Etsy shop. I have also started listing on a new website.  Craftsy (a newish website that sells online tutorials and lessons for mostly knitting and crocheting crafters) began selling patterns of  independent designers this month. 

Dragonfly AmigurumiCrochet Dragonfly

 

 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Creative Solutions: Transparent Envelopes

I am a problem solver. Over the weekend I had a bag of milk but no container to put it in. I use bags of milk for making yogurt but my husband and I prefer different types of drinking milk so I usually buy the cartons for drinking. I’m sure the container is still packed from our recent move. So I problem solved – I used an empty crackers box with the lining removed. Works surprisingly well.

I ran into another problem recently when I was preparing to mail an envelope. I realized that it was too translucent for my liking. Solution:  I improvised with a quick sketch of my cats. Now the question is who will be finding this envelope in their mailbox in a week’s time?

My question to you, what quick and creative methods have you used to solve a problem? Feel free to post your comments either here on my blog, or on my Facebook Page.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Busy Hands!

I have been very busy crocheting for Fiddleheads for the past couple of weeks. With an order of 30 toys, I am close to finishing with five more to go – but I left the most difficult to the end. Fiddleheads is a wonderful baby boutique in Dartmouth, NS, where my rattles are available for sale. However, some of my designs are not sized to fit the plastic rattle inserts. I am currently re-designing my dragonfly pattern with this in mind. I have made a  pair of prototypes into this project and I hope to finalize in a few days. The mermaid hair now is a bit shorter on the rattles to make them even more safe and  baby durable.
  Here are a few pictures of the order thus far.
Amigurumiamigurumi bunny  crochet mermaids
I have a few large orders on the go at the moment: a custom cat (I’ve been working on this project for months, sorry Karen for taking so long); a mermaid; and a large order headed North to Nunavut. Current wait times on custom orders is about 2 weeks. Ready to ship items are available at The Silver Hook: Etsy