Saturday, 31 March 2012

More New Things!

Suddenly, inspiration has struck!

I was walking around the city the other night after work, killing time while waiting to meet with someone, and I saw a lady with the most glorious scarf! I gasped; my heart started beating faster; my head span. I had to recreate this scarf! Without any input from my rational mind, my brain automatically calculated how far it was to the nearest wool store and how much time I had. Lincraft ... 650 metres ... 70 minutes. Yes!

Here is my haul:

The Halo is for the scarf. It was sort of a grid pattern with cream on one side and purple on the other, but intertwined. Tough, but I think I can visualise it. But of course I didn't stop there! The PomPom is to make a fairy-style scarf or capelet. The brown chenille is to make a forest-girl style flower brooch (and probably many other things too!). And the mint-green Fairy Floss, I bought because of this:

Yes, I bought the Spotlight pompom loom a while back, and tried it out for the first time the other day. The pink pompom is in the small size, and the blue one in the large size. I wrapped the yarn around them as many times as I humanly could, and still they came out looking, well ... limp and floppy. The pompoms I see in pictures are firm and abundant.
a la:

Mine are more like how sea anemones would look if you took them out of the water. Not happy!
I thought that using a fuzzy yarn might help to make them look plumper. That's why I bought the Fairy Floss (and I could try it with the Chenille as well.) In fact, chenille is going on my list of favourite words. =)

More updates as they happen...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Top Secret Project #2 is complete!

I am so excited about this project. Months of slogging ... and paid off with a very happy customer! Not to mention an item that turned out exactly how I imagined (which, lemme tell you, doesn't always happen!)

So without further ado, here it is! It's a Harry Potter scarf.


It's being modelled by Boy/Man. As you can see, it's insanely long! I just kept slogging away at it until I thought it was starting to get ridiculous. I used a slip stitch to create a tube so that both sides look nice and neat.


Isn't it glorious! The ends of the tube were automatically closed off by the casting-on/casting-off process. Then I had to weave in all of the ends. That's the job I hate the most. I cursed and moaned and self-medicated to get me through it, but finally all the ends were secured. Then I added the tassels. They came out even better than I'd hoped.
Here is a mega-close-up showing the stitching, cos I'm just so proud:


I calculated that it took me approx. 64 hours to make this scarf. As with all craft, it's a labour of love. I would only do it for a dear friend. And I need a bit of a rest after that!

Having said that, I'm planning Top Secret Project #3 now. Intriguing!

Monday, 26 March 2012

New Things!

There's been a sudden flurry of crafting activity over here at Casa de la Apartmentcat.
I've finished a big project and started 2 new ones! I won't tell you about the finished project just yet, as it's still a surprise, but I'm excited about the new ones.

Firstly though, I want to share the mini-haul I got on my trip to the country on Sunday. A relaxing train trip with some lovely friends to a pretty country town, and to my delight there was a Sunday market on! (Sure, there were only 3 stalls, but I was still excited!)
I hit up the little old lady in the middle, and got these:


Here we see a knitting bag (so retro!), 3 balls of wool (one came free with the knitting bag, the others are so retro!), 2 coathangers with knitted covers (so retro!), and a knitted jumper that the lady convinced me to buy even though I'd already told her that I was going to make my own projects for my friend's baby. It was so insanely cheap that I felt really guilty. But something like that would have taken me absolutely ages to make myself. And of course I'll divulge its not-made-by-me status.

The knitting bag promptly became the project bag for the Man-Hat:


Yes, I'm making another Jayne Cobb hat! This time it's for Man. I offered to make him one for this year's Serenity screening. I believe they're normally in August, so no pressure to finish it too soon. I want to make one for myself as well, but I might play around with the colour combination.

The second new project is a baby scarf in a nice pastel yellow. I thought I'd ease myself into my baby-themed project adventures with something nice and easy:


This picture is particularly bad, sorry, but you get the idea. I'm already pondering trimming it with some pompoms perhaps? Or I might stick with the traditional tassels. I'm completely obsessed with pompoms at the moment, and looking for any excuse to make some.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

What I Wore: to a Birthday Batman BBQ

It's been so long since I did a What I Wore (let alone anything, really!), in fact the last one was in December 2010. However, I wore an outfit that I liked so much on the weekend, that I was inspired to draw it. I've increasingly interested in Japanese fashion styles in the last few years, and I've been experimenting with adding an accessory here and there. Last weekend though, I finally got up the courage to try a whole ensemble.

My favourite style is Mori Kei ("Forest Look"), and this is what my outfit is based on. In a nutshell, it's what a girl wears when she's wandering around in the forest, taking pictures with a Holga camera and communing with nature. Or, if she lives in the city, she can be seen in a coffee shop writing in her journal, staring dreamily at the clouds from a street corner, or just watching the world go by.

There are many interpretations of the style, from "I'm a prairie girl about to build a barn", to "I'm an ethereal deer spirit who decided to wear every lace item I own today". Unlike many Japanese fashion styles (I'm mainly talking Lolita and Gyaru, here), there are really no rules, and you can pretty much interpret the aesthetic however you like. And guess what! Handmade items feature very heavily in the style, which sings to my need to crochet and sew little treasures to my heart's content.

Here's a description of Mori Girl attributes (both fashion and lifestyle), and the Mori tag on the rabbit hole that is Pinterest for visual reference.

I call this outfit 'Semi-Mori' because it would really need more layers and accessories for me to be entirely happy with it. In the end I had to rush out the door, so I didn't put as much effort into the finishing touches as I would have liked. But I think it isn't too bad for a first go!

I'm pretty happy with my drawing - considering I haven't drawn at all in over a year! I even had a go at drawing proper hands. I found quite a few half-finished sketches in my art journal (mainly other What I Wore pictures), which made me a little sad. But I felt so good after I finished my drawing, that I'm determined to take it up again regularly. Since I started my new job in January, I've been too tired to put any energy into creative pursuits, but it's time for that to change!

I'm excited to announce that I've almost finished Top Secret Project #2! It just needs the finishing touches and then I'm handing it in to its owner tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm going to go through all my projects, evaluate them and hopefully finish a few off. I want to clear the board in readyness for ... baby season! No, no NO ... I'm not the one having a baby, no fear there! But, to paraphrase the song, "All my friends are having babies".

Stay tuned for more crafty things!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

February Review / March Things

THEMES FOR 2012
CREATE....................MEDITATE....................MOVE....................MAINTAIN

February I was in recovery mode. Not much got done! The changes were subtle and hardly noticeable. But I can feel more coming up on the horizon.
So how did I do for my February Things To Do?:

* Finish the 2nd Top Secret Project. (CREATE)
This involved weaving in a huge number of ends, and I hate weaving in ends with a passion! I'm over half-way through that step now, so it won't be long to go. I'll definitely get this project finished by the deadline.
.... Part Done!

* Collate potential baby projects and start one. (CREATE)
It took quite a few nights in front of the TV, but I finally went through all my craft pattern books, booklets, pamphlets and sheets; and compiled a list of projects. I'm currently in the process of transcribing that list onto my Listography page so I can access it from either home or work. I have quite a few yarns that would be suitable, so I just need to match one up with a project and start it.
.... Part Done!

* Continue to meditate every weekday. (MEDITATE)
I continued my experimentation with meditation apps and podcasts. There are so many free resources out there - it's great! I didn't manage to meditate every single day. Probably about twice a week. I need to find a way of encouraging myself to do it more often, without it seeming like it's becoming a chore. I think I'm doing pretty well, though.
.... Part Done!

* Do exercise of choice once every 3 days. (MOVE)
I'm slowly building up to that one. My new job is still taking up the vast majority of my energy. But slowly, slowly, I'm clawing that energy back. Once that energy is divided up between exercise, craft and all my other interests, there isn't much to go around! I just need to be patient and let it all happen in its own time.
.... Try Harder Next Time ....

* Find previously cancelled projects and throw away/recycle them. (MAINTAIN)
I bit the bullet a couple of weeks ago, got into that craft room and just did it! I cancelled 6 projects, recycling the materials for most of them, and simply just chucking one in the bin as it just couldn't be redeemed. One - a sewn bag with a crocheted insert panel - I had forgotten how nice it was (kudos to me!), so I'm keeping it. Two, I want to finish in the long term, but not soon, so perhaps I need to create a new category for them? Either way, this Thing was done!
.... Done!

Autumn leaves -Yoshino OKUSENBON-

I love autumn! It's my favourite season!
Now for March's Things:

* Complete a small baby project. (CREATE)
* Finish body of Tomten Baby Jacket. (CREATE)
* Write in my Happiness Diary every night. (MEDITATE)
* Walk at lunch time, twice a week. (MOVE)
* Repair and/or alter all clothes that need it. (MAINTAIN)