Crochet friends forever

With Georgia off to the States in a couple of days I’ve decided to smuggle myself in her suitcase. I won’t take up much room, I promise…

Crochet Amigrumi Mini-Me
Now you can finally see what I look like -stunning hey?

And to stop me getting lonely I made a mini-Georgia too:

Crochet Amigurumi Mini Georgia
If only I could really clone her…

The pattern was from Crochet Is For Lovers and it’s definitely a pattern I will keep on using.

Lovely DH whittled the mini crochet hooks for me from wooden skewers.

Wooden crochet hook

And now Mini Dilly and Mini Georgia can happily crochet together for eternity *sniff*

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Flower to the people

So I said I would write up my yarn bombing properly, didn’t I? This one was planned (in the loosest sense of the word) a few months ago. Georgia is leaving in two days <sob> and this was to be our swan song. With about a week and a half to go I made a plea on this blog for donations of flowers (hmmm, organisation not my strong point – can I put it down to denial at Georgia leaving?). I got reply from Haekelmonster in Germany promising me some flowers but concerned they wouldn’t get here in time. I promised that if they didn’t I would add them to the yarn bomb anyway. Anyway, a few days later a box appeared at my door. Goodness knows how she did it but this wonderful lady (with a little help from her son) had made 100 flowers for my yarn bomb, as many as I had made in a few months! The power of the internet!

Donated crochet flowers
A box of blooms

HQ this time was the Exmouth Arms, and this time I had accrued a posse! Two people I knew from Twitter but have been bumping into at a local craft night (one of whom came to my yarn bombing workshop) were game enough to join in. Emma (who blogged about it here) and Ally. Also with us was trusty yarn bombing partner Stitch This. We furiously finished flowers and strung them on chains while supping on wine and cider.

Yarn bomb HQ
In our underground HQ. Well, at the pub.

In typical fashion we had picked a target but not really scouted it out. I we had decided that the hospital would be a worthy target, and on the night we rocked up to find the best place for our creations. It became immediately obvious that the pedestrian entrance would be our best bet and we set to work, cable ties and scissors aplenty.

Yarn bomb

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Hospital yarn bomb
No it’s not the same picture as above reversed – it’s the other side!

We were watched suspiciously by a car park attendant who looked like he wanted to intervene and we prepared our defense, the main argument being who could have a problem with flowers at a hospital? (It would totally stand up in court…)

Hospital yarn bomb
We were being watched from the porta cabin

As well as crochet flowers, Stitch This decided to mix it up a little bit with Gnome bunting, doily flower bunting and flower pots. Don’t they look awesome?

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Hospital yarn bomb
Haekelmonster’s sone made this so we had to make sure it had pride of place :)

Satisfied we our work we took our customary shoe photo (I don’t know why either – I was Stitch This who started it!). Emma was most disappointed that she hadn’t worn her favourite shoes for the photo so I made sure to get a snap when I saw her wearing them!

My posse
My posse – we’re a hard bunch, can you tell?
Lovely purple shoes!
Lovely purple shoes!

A couple of days later we made the local press! But fame, or even notoriety isn’t our goal, we just want to crochet, make people smile and have a laugh, all achieved with this one I think :)

 

Thanks to Georgia <sob>, Stitch This, Emma, Ally, and Hakelmonster for all being so game and good fun. I’m thinking of starting a yarn bombing mailing list so I can keep track of people who want to join in. So if you are in the Gloucestershire area want to have a go (no pressure to do so), or aren’t in the area but would like to see your creations adorning our fair county email me at dillytanteblog@gmail.com and I will keep you up to date.

Do you have flower power?

Crochet flower
Crochet flower from this month’s Simply Crochet Magazine

In July my lovely friend and partner in crime Georgia is returning to her native land. I am desperately sad that she is going. In the 2.5 years since we randomly latched on to each other at a local sling meet she has introduced me to the delights of mac’n’cheese and white cake, and I have taught her to crochet and introduced her to yarn bombing.

In honour of her departure and to mark our friendship we are of course planning a yarn bomb. Flowers are the theme. We are going to coat a nearby deserving location with as many flowers as we can hook. And we are hoping for input from others too. Whether you are local to the Gloucestershire area and fancy helping us tie hundreds of flowers to railings or just want to contribute your own knit or crochet flora and fauna we’d love to hear from you. Big, small, any colour, we want your flowers! If you do want to be part of this yarn bomb (estimated date 3rd July) then email me at dillytanteblog@gmail.com or @dillytante on Twitter.

There are loads of flower patterns online, and I posted about some here. Many such as this one are super quick to make. Or the above flower was one I made this morning from my new Simply Crochet Magazine.

I haven’t given much notice, in my usual disorganised way. In my defence I have been preparing for my college residential which was last week, and my stats exam (97%, thank you very much!). Anyway, we’ll be grateful to have anyone join in and will keep you updated.

My Future Listography: careers I’d like

Christmas before last I got a book called My Future Listography, basically a place to make lists about things you want to do in life. I thought it might help me figure out what I want to do. But if nothing else, it makes for good blog prompts.

I thought I’d start with careers I’d like, as that is one close to my heart. I am on a constant quest for the ideal career, but I think the reality is that, as the magazines oh so wisely are telling us, we shouldn’t expect one career (thank God, because if this is it I am doomed), but consider serial careers (one after the other) or portfolio careers (doing lots of things at once). As someone who is extremely indecisive this concept appeals to me. I’ve spent many years wanting to be this and that; a teacher, a criminologist, a Spanish interpreter, a journalist. However, these days I am more realistic about what I actually want to do. Sure I’d love to travel the world, but it can’t be much fun leaving young kids behind. And yes, I love the idea of being a journalist, but working freelance, having to tout yourself about writing about vacuous celebrities just to make ends meet, no guaranteed income <shudder> it’s not really for me. And while the idea of being Prime Minister seems attractive on the surface, but do I really want to go around knocking on doors in local elections, begging people for votes or money, preferably both. And then even if I did become PM I’d have to spend my time going to meeting on European Economic Policy, or the budget deficit. And I probably wouldn’t be able to do crochet on my lunch breaks. I’d have to spend my lunch breaks trying to keep the editor of the Sun on side to stop him printing articles about my political incompetence, or the fact that Iris drew on the walls of the cabinet meeting room.

Nope, I’m definitely clearer about what I’d actually like to do, so here is my plan:

Occupational Psychologist
This is what I hope my next career will be. For those who don’t know, I am studying for a Masters Degree in Occupational Psychology. It’s part time, distance learning, so I won’t finish for 2 years (only just started in January). I’ve no idea what it will lead on to career wise. Occupational Psychology is psychology in the workplace, covering topics such as recruitment, well being, ergonomics and leadership. What I don’t want to do is be a psychologist who goes into a business to help the business make more money. This might be rather naive, but I want to make the workplace, where many of us spend the majority of our time, a better place for people to be, with increased productivity being an added bonus. I thought long and hard before doing the degree, but actually I quite circumspect about how it pans out. Maybe I won’t end up as an Occupational Psychologist, but doing the course has reaffirmed for me that psychology is where it’s at!

Professional Yarn Bomber

Oh yes, if I could get paid to yarn bomb every day I would be very happy. There are people who do make a living out of it, but they are generally bona fide artists, and probably do loads of other stuff to supplement their income. But hey, that’s what a portfolio career is all about. Plus, I very nearly am a professional yarn bomber I ran a yarn bombing workshop for which I got paid proper cash money. And I’m going to be in a book, and I was on the radio. With a burgeoning media career, a professional contract is sure to follow, right?

Radio Presenter

I don’t mean a vacuous DJ type of presenter. I have in mind more a Radio 4 presenter, being asked to present a programme on which I am an acclaimed expert, perhaps my yarn bombing career, Occupational Psychology, or as a self help guru (have I not mentioned that one yet?). I would interview various contemporaries in my field, in a softly spoken and engaging manner, much like Kirsty Young, except less Scottish and more Home Counties, and less soft and more nasal (I’m sure it’s an adenoid problem). I love the BBC, and wish that I had joined it as a fledgling meeja type in the 70s or something (but obviously without the Jimmy Savile sex scandals and endemic sexism) to become one of the doyennes of the institution like Kirsty, or Sandi Tosvik or Jennie Murray.

Writer

Well, I am writing now, so technically I am a Writer. But I’m not getting paid for this. I’m not even getting free stuff to review. If I could get paid just to write my thoughts and opinions like the insufferable Jeremy Clarkson that would be great. Though rather than The Sun my publication of choice would be something like Psychologies Magazine, or the Observer Magazine. I’d be able to research and write about whatever takes my fancy, and then someone would probably offer me a book deal. It would start out as a collection of selected columns, but then soon I’ll be branching out into motivational, self-help books (based on empirical research obviously). I’d also like to try my hand at fiction, in fact I have the bare bones of a draft from when I did NaNoWriMo a few years ago. However, it is true what they say, it is harder than it looks to write fiction, even fluffy chick lit. But one day I’ll get round to it, I’m sure.

Member of Mumsnet HQ

I’d get paid to Mumsnet. Nuff said.

So, I’ve still got a good 35 years of working life ahead of me, enough to get all that done. And in the meantime I am thankful that tomorrow is my day off my current paid work, so I get to do my other part time job, Stay At Home Mum. The pay is pretty poor, and the non-salary benefits are non-existent. There is no training policy, and no promotion prospects. But there’s no commute, and the customers give good cuddles.

The Birds

I’m not usually one for making a fuss at Easter. The holiday usually passes me by. I’m grateful for the 2 days off, and for the chocolate eggs which I tend to buy cheaply after Easter when the supermarkets just want rid of them.

But having kids tends to make you see things in a new light, and Betty has cottoned onto all the supermarket crap and has embraced Easter as a holiday to be celebrated.

I must admit Easter brings a plethora of crafting opportunities, which this year I have actually taken advantage of. About time really, given this started out as a craft blog!

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First up is this Easter chick, scratching about on my bird table. I had visions of making these in all kinds of pretty pastel colours, but, well, it didn’t happen. This one’s pretty cute anyway, and if you want to make one the pattern is a simple free one from Lion Brand

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Next up are these chicken bean bags which I saw on Red Ted Art . They are so quick and easy to make, even by hand. One is destined for my mother in law (random, I know, but DH insisted she’d like one) and the other two are Easter gifts for Betty and Iris. Given that Iris is in a delightful throwing stage, hopefully this will be a pain free alternative to a plastic cup or the iPad.

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If you want more grown up craft, this lovely wreath was made for a pound by Mum of All Trades!

Happy Easter everyone!

Yarn bombs in the wild!

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I was very excited to have privilege of being taken to the Commissary on a nearby US manned RAF base. I say nearby, it was a 3 hour round trip (child free, thankfully) with my good friend and yarn bombing comrade Georgia. But it was worth it to stock up on all kinds of American snacks, mostly filled with high fructose corn syrup. I bought such delicacies as Cheetos, mac’n’cheese in a box, and Graham Crackers.

Anyhoo, the point of this post wasn’t to warn you of my impending massive weight gain as a result of eating to many Hershey’s Cookies’n’Cream eggs (the chocolate equivalent of crack by the way!). I wanted to share with you some yarn bombing that we spotted on our travels.

Chipping Norton is an Oxfordshire town better known for its association with David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks. I would like to see it more meritoriously reknowned for its yarn graffiti. Check out these lovely Valentine themed creations:

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This is the first time we’ve seen yarn bombs that aren’t our own in the wild. Very exciting! And if these Chipping Norton yarn bombers want to join forces with our Gloucestershire crew any time we’d love to cook something up!

The Hungry Caterpillar

A friend of mine was having a minor maternal crisis known to many of us: creating a costume for a fancy dress party. This party, for a one year old first child (oh the naiveity of the new parent) was themed The Hungry Caterpillar, and quite strictly enforced. Apparently supermarket sourced fairy or pirate wasn’t going to cut the mustard.

My friend turned to me for help and requested a hungry caterpillar style hat for her 2 year old son, with the intention of dressing him in green. She sent me a couple of pictures for inspiration and I duly obliged.

I had some chunky red yarn that meant I could whip up a beanie style hat pretty quickly. At the last minute I added ear flaps and some tassels but you can’t see them very well in this picture. Still, this is one cute looking caterpillar.

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Simply Crochet and a new hook

Loyal followers (do I have any?!) might have noticed that I was surprisingly quiet in the crafting arena before Christmas, contrary to last year when I was manically making things for presents as well as yarn bombing and making decorations. This year, despite feeling the unspoken pressure from other beautiful blogs and ideas on Pinterest, I asked myself who I was trying to impress and concluded that no one would think any the worst of me if I gave it all a miss this year. Obviously I love making things, but managing to do so with a stressful 4 day a week job, 2 young kids and other commitments was just too much.

I was far more relaxed over Christmas because of it. I’d had a rather tense few weeks during November where I had taken on too much. I did a yarn bombing workshop (haven’t I told you about that yet? Well, I promise to do so soon.) but since then I have done very little crafting.

It’s doubled edged though really, as while the break from making things gave me some time back, I’m sure the lack of crochet didn’t help as I so often find the process relaxing and meditative. Whilst I did pick up my hook a couple of times, I’m no good without an aim or a project, but with a project comes pressure. To be honest, I felt like I’d lost my crafting mojo.

My creative interest has now been rekindled however, with the advent of a new crochet magazine dropping through my door.

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Simply Crochet magazine comes from the publishers of Mollie Makes, but is pretty much just crochet, as you would expect from the title. It has a similar format to MM but is slightly less twee, after all, there are only so many knitted or sewn food stuffs one girl needs. At £4.99 a go I’m not sure it will be a regular purchase, these are austere times after all, and for all the make do and mend talk, crafting can be an expensive habit. But I managed to get a 3 for £5 intro offer which was hard to refuse.

I decided to make a simple one evening project from the magazine. At the same time I could test drive a new crochet hook.

At Mumsnet Blogfest last year I was introduced to a lovely lady called Helen who runs an online wool shop called Love Knitting. She asked if I would provide her with some feedback on the site, and also said that if I wanted to review anything to just let her know.

I needed to purchase some wool for my workshop so a bought a few bits which came promptly, and nicely wrapped in tissue paper. There is a range of yarn on the site to suit various budgets as well as plenty of accessories. I was drawn to the interesting crochet hooks she stocks so asked if I could try one, any one would do. I do love a nice hook!

A few days later I received a beautiful looking bamboo hook. Helen also sent me some lovely sparkly white yarn which I fully intended to make heaps of snowflakes with, but the pre-Christmas wobbly put paid to that – sorry Helen! I will put it to good use eventually.

The hook is a Knit-Pro Symfonie bamboo hook. I’ve never used a bamboo hook before. I like the weight of the old fashioned metal hooks, but this one is a beauty. It is light as a feather to use, and very smooth. I found the end of the hook very sharp which had a tendency to split the yarn, though I think a lot of that was down to the yarn anyway. Annoyingly after just a few uses the printed size on the hook has all but rubbed off (but no matter because next month’s Simply Crochet comes with a free hook gauge!). Other than that I really liked the hook and will invest in some more in different sizes. My only real concern is that the hook appears quite fragile, and I am concerned that I might one day sit on it (a highly likely prospect) and snap it. Plus I tend to be a kind of “stuff in the hand bag and go” kinda gal, so we’ll see if the hook stands the test of my slap dash ways. Other than that I really like the hook and will likely invest in some more in different sizes.

Anyhoo, after all that time to show you the goodies. No, not those! What I ^made^ from the magazine. Here it is, a lovely brooch, fresh with my re-found mojo :)

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