Wednesday, 22 May 2019

A cute little finish :D

This is such a cute little character. This is a little design by Joan Elliott.

It's from an oriental design magazine I bought YEARS ago.


I love how this turned out and I'm trying to work out how exactly I'm going to finish this design. Maybe a Flat finish.... I haven't done one of them for a while?? 

What do you think would suit this little character? 

Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin

Monday, 13 May 2019

Book Review: War of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

If you have spent any time around me you would know that one of my big book weaknesses is fantasy. Especially epic fantasy. I enjoy a great romance, I love a great cozy mystery/crime novel but my heart just LOVES a great epic fantasy. I think it is because of the worlds. I love to disappear into these worlds and imagine the people and the way they live. My partner finds it fascinating that when I read a book that truly grips me I just disappear into it and you won't see me for days. On so many things I will flit from one item to the next without spending ages on it, but for books I will remain enthralled until I turn that last page. So why is that so important? Well I embarked on an epic novel last week. I started by listening to the audiobook which I had got with my audible credit. That was about Wednesday I think at work. I then proceeded to listen to it for about 6 hrs each day at work until my headphones ran out of battery and then I would charge them ready for the next go. I could barely put my phone down when I was in a situation that I could just listen to it by myself. This meant hiding in the bedroom with the book going.

Then on Sunday I managed to pick up the second half of the book from the Library. Oh gosh! Then it was on for young and old! To understand the size of this task, this book is 1000 pages long. 70 something chapters! It is often sold in 2 separate volumes because it is such a big book. Now I'm going through book withdrawal... I want to get onto the next book in the series but at the same time I really can't as I don't currently have a copy of it. I am scouring the Libraries at the moment and I think I can get ahold of one soon :D

Anyway I have included my spoiler free review from goodreads below. But if you haven't work it out yet I LOVED this book. If you like epic fantasy then you will like this one.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started off by reading it on audio book and then managed to get to the Library and binge read the rest of it last night. I loved the audio book it was easy to listen to and got me over the start which apparently is hard to read for some people. This is the 7th book of his I have read and every time I read one I am drawn in by the detail he puts in his stories. There is so much that happens at the beginning of the book that you realise is really important to the end. I liked that fact that all the stories are slowly drawing themselves closer and closer and you have an inkling of where it might end up. Though if it follows the way the first mistborn trilogy went there will be so many twists and turns you won't be able to predict it!

I am really excited to see where this series goes though I'm nervous too because I really dislike waiting between books in big series.

My favourite character was Kalladin and I really look forward to seeing what else happens with him in future books.




View all my reviews

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

New Knitting Project

This has been in the wings since July last year when my sister came home from visiting Tasmania with 4 skeins of yarn for me. I still don't know exactly what I'm going to do with the other ones though I think the red one is slated to be a beanie/hat of some kind for my sister since she bought me this wool.

Found this screenshot of when I posted this on instagram.... oops it has been a while.  But I'm working with the second yarn at the moment.



 Here I am using the chair to wrap the skein into a ball... I didn't keep using it like this, ended up just having it over one side and then going from there. One of the reasons it has taken me so long to deal with this yarn is that I have never balled yarn from a skein before by myself so it was a bit intimidating. So hopefully the ball works..... You can't really go wrong can you?


Now I'm sure you're nodding your head going ohk so you have a ball of yarn now what?

I'm planning to make the close to you shawl by Justyna Lorkowska. It's such a simple pattern but I think it will sing in this yarn.

Here is a photo from the designer of the shawl. Photo taken from the ravelry link just above :D


I have over 400m of yarn here so it should be a decent size and the colour will just pop!

Have you got a new project you're working on?

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Friday, 19 April 2019

Friday Finds: Edwards Crochet Imaginarium

I 'had' to visit spotlight to pick up some needles and black thread (which they didn't have! who runs out of 310??) But black thread aside I got distracted by the books and magazines and this book caught my eye.


I was intrigued by all the different patterns on the cover and interested to see what the inside showed. I was not disappointed. This book is set up like the monster books/activities I used to do as a kid with alternating flipcards for the head arms and legs.



You pick from a variety of ear shapes, arms and legs and work out what you want your monster to look like. This one is one I want to make. You then start by making the same head/body shape then adding on all the extras. The different colour backgrounds actually indicate how difficult the pattern is though they do claim that even the hardest pattern can be done by an intermediate beginner.

But the second half of the book is where this book is really great. Instead of just giving the information for all the different patterns it goes into sizing and how to make different colour patterns and features to really make your monster unique. You can copy the ones shown in the book exactly or you can make them your own.


It tells you how to get different effects with stripes either wide or thin. Also how to add spots or gradients.


So many options and you could do so much with just this basic body form. You could stitch for years and never truly repeat a character.


I love the one with the fluffy hands and I may have to try that one as well.


This book ended up being $30 AUD from spotlight here but I definitely think it is value for money as I can see many years of use out of it as it is so versatile and changeable. You could even use this basic form to make more conventional looking creatures. It is written in UK terminology so that could be a factor for someone but because it's the same stitch repeated it is easy to follow.

I have actually started working on one of the creatures but I didn't think about just how much thread is required and I was using some cheap cross stitch thread I had lying around and ran out. So I will have to restart I think with a thread I actually have a decent amount of! But that is my mistake and I should have known that because I have made enough stuff with crochet to know how much thread I will need! The pattern so far is really easy to follow and is something I'm excited to keep going on.

So I am really happy with this book purchase and you can look forward to seeing some characters appearing at some point (time being a factor here :D )

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Crafting Update: some progress but no finishes


I am in love with working on this jumper :D I LOVE the steller yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills.It just slides through your fingers beautifully when working on it.


 I'm shaping this one in so it should be a lot more fitted and flatter my waist more. It's still going to be loose but it is a little more smooth I hope!



It's working up a lot slower than the first one for two reasons. It's 8ply vs 10ply which changes the size but the main reason is that it's into crunch time at uni. I have had an assignment due each fortnight and this will be continuing until the end of April. Then the last week I've been sick as a dog! Actually I don't know how sick that is but I haven't been well, I spent most of the week on the couch barely moving so as much as I had 'time' to stitch I didn't have any energy. Unfortunately it seems to have hit my partner now and he's not well either.


 I actually started a new cross stitch when I was feeling sick though again didn't get much done. It's from my oriental cross stitch magazine. It's a little panda but you can see I've only done a tiny bit of white so far.


Once I actually have time I think I will be finished with this little panda quickly. It looks like a simple little stitch I just need the time to devote to it which isn't happening quickly.

Happy Stitching,
Caitliin







Friday, 5 April 2019

A Comprehensive Guide to Cross Stitch Designers

ETA: I have now created a page as it will be easier to update and for everyone to find the link is here

Ohk maybe a bit pretentious on the title! But I was perusing facebook, as you do, and in one of the groups there was someone making a comment about etsy patterns. A beginner who really didn't know that there was so much more out there outside etsy. THEN the fun began as more and more people commented about not knowing a lot of other designers. Some knew some, but there were so many that weren't known by many.

So this is nowhere near a comprehensive list as I don't know every designer out there and I will ask for people to PLEASE post in the comments and share ones not on this list and I'll come back and add them in when I get a chance.

I have tried to link to the designer's page/blog where possible so it may not be the best place to buy the patterns but it is the best place to find out more and see a comprehensive list of the available patterns I hope! In no particular order and no particular theme (I may come back and edit this but want to get this list out there)

IF YOU HAVE ANY DESIGNERS I HAVEN'T SHARED HERE PLEASE COMMENT AND I WILL ADD!

Designers


 Magazines

 Websites

Books

I've run out of time right now to post anything more as my lunch break is over but please if you see any glaring holes or I've forgotten your favourite designer (and there is a high chance) please post a link below and I'll get it in ASAP.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Oops my finger slipped...

Happy Yarn Face
So happy with my new yarn :D
 
So you guys would know I've been making a homebody sweater and I should have a review of the pattern and the changes I made up. But I made it in Acrylic, a fairly cheap one at that. It was tester and a lot of fun and I will wear that jumper until it dies :D... But a couple of problems with it. I used 10ply worsted weight acrylic, the USA style spot saver from spotlight and it worked up beautifully soft.  However, it is quite a heavy yarn and I used a 5.5mm hook so the resulting fabric is quite solid.

Soo my finger slipped last week and I ordered some Bendigo Woollen Mills Steller 8ply. This yarn is beautiful :D and I am looking forward to making a jumper in it. I love the wool/bamboo blend and the colour is just delicious!! I ordered 5 balls in the Amethyst colourway and as you can see here I didn't manage to take photos before starting my project with it!


This yarn is so beautifully squishy and feels just gorgeous to touch! I am so excited to be working with it!


This is me at band during rehearsal working away on the band for my sweater! I got it that day and started working with it that night... that never happens!


Have you had an oops moment recently and received so pretty happy mail?

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin







Friday, 29 March 2019

Friday Finds: Origami Dragon

Oh my when I was looking through my youtube feed looking for something to watch this caught my eye. I just knew it was awesome and I had to share it with you.




I don't think I have this level of skill but I'm willing to give it a try some time.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Monday, 25 March 2019

Homebody Sweater: Pattern Review

So I never expected to say that within 4 weeks of starting this sweater that it would be finished and able to be used. I started this expecting to MAYBE get it done by this winter. But it ended up being such a quick make. It's the Homebody Sweater pattern by Meg Made With Love.


 I used Spot Saver yarn from Spotlight in the purple and donkey. I had bought the purple last year thinking of maybe making a shawl but I wanted to start a project and this one was calling me. The spot saver is a 10 ply or worsted weight yarn like the red heart super saver (at least that is my understanding). I made a size medium with a 5.5mm hook so it made quite a heavy thick fabric. Next time I will use 8ply yarn and a larger hook to make a softer fabric.

It's a very boxy sweater designed to be worn off the shoulders. With arms that are meant to be cuffed.


I love how it looks on me. Though you were really lucky to get any photos with me modelling this as it was REALLY hot over the weekend. You wouldn't think that it is now autumn but the temperature is still over 30 degrees celcius most days.

Now being me and being a little laxy I did make some significant changes to the pattern.

I worked the main body of the sweater in the round. Instead of working the front then the back and then seaming I didn't want to have to seam it at all so I did the two bottom rib sections and then joined them in the round when I did the first row of the body.

 I did have one problem with this as you can see by the photo above my seam moved. I managed to fix that for the arms by turning every row but forgot about it for the main body.

Now the pattern calls for you to seam up to row 33 or something (check the pattern for your size if you want to make these changes.) So I worked in the round until then and then worked across the front the 72 stitches (in my case) and just worked the front up to the top. Then I came back in and joined the back on and worked it up to the top. I'm sorry I don't have any photos of this process because it was all done in the middle of lectures at uni and I felt very self conscious trying the take photos. But if you want to know more I am actually waiting for yarn to make a second one so .... photos will be coming I hope! Also send me a message and I'll try to explain it a different way if you want.

I then did a single crochet seam across the shoulder points. I did debate doing a join as you go thing but I wanted a very solid shoulder point. To add some structure.

I then joined the arms on as the pattern stated and went from there.


As you can see from the photo above I did some research in to how to stop the travelling seam (diagonal seam shown on the body above) and the best solution seemed to be to turn your work every row. This also gave the piece the ridges that the top half is showing but the bottom isn't because the work there wasn't turned (difference between rows and working in the round)

But because of the green stripe it isn't noticeable as it could be.









So my final thoughts:

Will I make this pattern again? Hell yes and I already have yarn on the way, but this is time I will do it differently.

What would I change? I would work the body in the round again but this time turning every row to create a seam up the side and also I would work it in a yarn other than acrylic. I am also tempted to try shaping the sleeves to come in more on my next one so that they're sitting tighter around my arms instead of just hanging but I may not do that if I can manage a drapier fabric overall.
 
But for now, I will leave you with this awesome photo of me attempting to do some fancy modelling and having a lot of fun :D


Have you attempted this pattern? How did it go for you?

Happy stitching,

Caitlin



Friday, 22 March 2019

Friday Finds: 3D printed chainmail

I generally watch a lot of art videos on youtube, I just enjoy the style of entertainment and there are two artist I follow a lot. One is Bailey Jae and the other is Draw with Jazza.

Jazza is an Australian based artist who does everything from traditional drawing through to some odd stuff like sculpting with hot glue. He is a talented artist so quite capable of some amazing feats with some pretty basic supplies.

But this one just came out recently and it took MONTHS! He 3D printed his own chainmail and sword and then proceeded to fight with it against a real sword.



This second video is on his brother's channel where he actually fights against real steal :D Not the best choice.
Hope you enjoy these two guys they have the right balance of silly and informative!

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Friday, 15 March 2019

Friday Finds: Doll Repainting!

Oh my, oh my!

I stumbled across this lady on youtube a couple of years ago but this video came through my feed in the last couple of weeks and I just had to share.

This lady makes some beautiful dolls considering the state of the doll she starts with. She is quite a stunning artist and puts a lot of time into her craft.

I'm not tempted to start doing this as it is a bit too much time and effort on another craft but I do admire her abilities and wish I did have all the time in the world!

Happy Crafting,
Caitlin

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Holding Tension in Crochet

If you have been around my blog for a number of years you may have already heard some of these stories but it's always worth sharing again. My mother started teaching me to crochet when I was 9 years old. I had some little Barbie/Kelly dolls that I loved but they needed blankets and clothes. Instead of mum just making the stuff for us (my sister and me) she handed me a crochet hook and some 8ply Acrylic yarn. Then mum taught me the basics, chain stitch, double crochet and all that. Since then I have forgotten and retaught myself a couple of times.

Amongst all that my grandma got a hold of me, meaning that she handed me some knitting needles (fairly certain it was at my request) and taught me to knit. When knitting my grandma focused a lot on the tension and making sure it is being kept even. I was also taught the English method meaning the tension is being held in the right hand not the left.

Cue me falling back into crochet again because I always go round in circles with these two crafts and I just work with what I have. I fell hard into making toys (all those cute little amigurumi!) The little characters that you have to keep VERY tight tension with. I fell into very bad habits, though I didn't realise it at the time. I would make the stitch and pull the yarn down to make it very tight. This worked with toys but I'm realising now it really really really doesn't work as I start to move into clothes and stuff.

These past couple of weeks something just clicked. I knew I had this habit of pulling down but I was watching a YouTube tutorial and watching her hold her tension and something just hit me. I watched the way she pulled the thread through and how she didn't pull the thread down and for once I could see the way she was holding the thread steady in her left hand and holding the tension the whole way. See the video just below.



I don't know how I couldn't work that out but finally it clicked. Also I just managed to do it. No fuss it just made sense. I hold my yarn differently to her, I hold it in my left hand in the exact same way my grandma taught me to hold my yarn for knitting in my right hand. But how I hold it was never the problem I just wasn't holding the tension the whole way through the stitch. DUH! It seems like such a simple thing to say but it really does make a difference and I am actually making a crochet fabric that is much looser and just sits nicer all around.


 
Isn't it funny how you can do something for years and then something just hits and you realise where you've been going wrong this whole time. Oh well... I hope you enjoy this realisation as it's been a great thing for me to realise.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin


p.s. amigurumi wants to be spell corrected to fumigator ... apparently that's not a word :)




Friday, 8 March 2019

Friday finds: Homebody Sweater

Ohk I did say back when I started this last year that this was going to become a regular thing but it just didn't work out like that. However, I have found that the more regularly I write and post the better I feel about writing and posting. The words come easier the more I write and I figure that's a good thing to keep practicing as I have two big 1000 word assignments this semester.

So onto my Friday find for this week! Not a video, I am currently obsessed with this pattern.

The Homebody Sweater

Photo courtesy of MegMadeWithLove
So obsessed actually that I have started making it for myself! Yes I am actually CROCHETING an item of clothing that isn't a shawl or beanie! I really found myself liking this style of clothing last winter and enjoying the sort of lazy jumpers that you just throw on at home and lounge around in.

Now being me of course I am not doing it in boring grey... no I'm doing it in purple. I have three skeins of Value Spot Saver yarn from Spotlight and we shall see if it is enough. Actually thinking of heading to spotlight and getting either another skein or another colour to create a contrasting stripe.


My Homebody Sweater in purple

The colour is really not accurate but it's such a deep purple that getting an accurate shot is going to take time. But here is the start of my homebody sweater. Who else is tempted by this pattern or one of the other ones on her website? They are all free as well so really easy to access.

Hope you enjoyed this Friday Finds.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin




Thursday, 7 March 2019

New gym

A lot has changed personally in the last month and I'm not really going into details as a lot is still being worked out. BUT one thing that has truly changed for the better is I joined a new gym.

I loved the bootcamp that I was doing and it was fantastic to get me up and moving and you've heard me go on about that. But circumstances changed and I found myself needing to find a gym closer to work rather than home. I decided to join my sister's gym and organised to work with her Personal Trainer as well. I was finding that I wasn't getting as much from the bootcamp anymore and I wasn't making the gains that I really wanted to make. So I have now started strength training. Meaning I'm learning how to squat with a bar and how to do a bench press. I'm 7 weeks in and I go one morning a week with my PT and then try and get another morning with my sister. 

 This is me with 45kg on the bar :D I'm getting ready to go down so breathing in carefully.


 This is me going down I'm concentrating really hard ...


up up up we go. I've learnt that looking up makes you feel up! 

Don't you just love my tough mudder shirt? I'm hoping to get another this year if everything works out I'm planning on doing the full course! 

I am loving this new workout program I'm on because I feel great and I'm feeling stronger. I woke up this morning feeling Meh, but I had a standing appointment with my sister and once I was at the gym I felt so much better.

This is me at the end of my workout. I was tired and a little sore but feeling great. I don't always look amazing when I'm finished and in this case I was looking forward to my shower BUT the feeling of having worked out was amazing.


Does anyone else do weights? If you don't what do you do for exercise?

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin










Sunday, 24 February 2019

Crafting update 24.2.19

So I start uni in a days time so I wanted to give everyone an update on how my crafts are currently tracking.

I've bought myself a cross stitch frame but haven't had a large chance to use it as I have been stitching in hand more. But I'm excited to see what will become of my large pieces when using this frame as it should make it easier.

Here it is with my snow white biscornu displayed. It does hold it nicely solid and it means I can sit more comfortably. But the real test is with my big frames and I just haven't had a chance.

I've been stitching mainly on little pieces. I managed a small finish of a kit my mum got me from Ireland when they visited. It's a key ring and I've already passed the finished piece onto my brother-in-law to be.

I've started my next piece it's a Celtic bookmark. The reason for so many little starts is that these pieces live in my purse for doing while I'm out and about. I enjoy having a project available all the time.

Then I've been working seriously on beacon at daybreak. I'm hoping to get this finished in the next couple of months but we shall see.... plans of mice and all. But for the moment I'm really enjoying working on it as it just makes me happy. It's all about the happy.
 This is where it was a couple of weeks ago.  This left corner didn't have a lot in there yet....
Significantly more on this piece. It's truly getting closer and closer. 


I have also been drawing... I did this little character one day at work but I wasn't entirely happy with the pose but didn't know how to fix it as I'd drawn it in pen. You can see the legs are very out of proportion to everything else. 



Thankfully the other day I got introduced to a program on my phone called Autodesk sketchbook. This little app is full of sooo much useability. The biggest thing is the ability to create layers and pull in pictures. So I did and I pulled in this little picture and fixed up to pose then coloured it in. So cute! I am so proud of this little character and I'm in the process of turning it into a cross stitch pattern so please stay tuned I'm about half way through at the moment. 
I'm going to leave this update here and I hope to get the pattern done in the next couple of weeks. But we shall see as time always gets away from me! 

Happy stitching, 
Caitlin

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Drawing Characters: Goals

I always have wonderful crafting goals and all sorts of plans for what I'm going to accomplish, and then often fail to achieve them as the year takes it out of me.

So I am not putting any particular goals on myself, but there is one thing I would like to accomplish that is not unreasonable to do. I bought myself over the last couple of years a whole pile of art courses through a couple of mediums. I have about 5 art courses I bought through the platform Udemy.com (I recommend only buying from there during a sale) and I have some courses I bought from craftsy of pen and ink drawing. The very simple and I think quite reasonable goal is to work my way through the courses. This just means taking the time to watch the videos and start drawing more often. I have a couple of character art drawing stuff and figure drawing classes. I also have a chibi book that I started working my way through and got about half way through before I just stopped.

The other day while on the phone I was drawing in my book while listening to the instructions and this little character is what I came up with.


I love the face of this little character but I messed up the portions of the body. Although it's a chibi, therefore the body is deliberately out of portion with the head, the body needs to be in proportion with itself and I want to get better at that!

So this is my drawing goal... watch the classes that I spent money buying and practice and improve so I can draw better when I want to. I like just sitting and drawing small little things and enjoying creating characters, they're simple and easy and look so cute. I don't think this is an unreasonable goal or one that I can't do on a regular basis even once uni starts back up.

Thank you,
Caitlin
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