Some Christmas presents

I wanted to show you some presents I made this year, and I realized that this is basically my year review post as well, because I’ve barely finished anything that I didn’t end up giving away πŸ™‚


A knitted scarf for my mother. The pattern is called Trillian, bought from Ravelry πŸ™‚


A crocheted and felted purple gnome girl for a cousin’s kid who’s wild about purple and sparkles.

Beaded stars πŸ™‚ These were really fun to do. I bought the wire stars and just added beads! I bought one little box of beads, the rest is from my stash.

And I’ve been tatting again! I think it’s been like three or for years since last time… I found this angel on Pinterest, and of course the blog it was pinned from is dead, so there’s no pattern and I’ve no idea who to credit. I basically counted the stitches from the pictures. Kind of impressed with myself πŸ˜›
imageΒ  image

A crocheted Jawa for a friend who gave us tickets to the Star Wars premiere in December πŸ™‚


Summary of 2010…

Let’s see… What happened, and what did I do last year? I’ll start with the crafting and patterns I’ve made. There are quite a lot… I’ve made six sets of Cute Little Dudes!
Forest Dwellers vol. 1
Forest Dwellers vol. 2
Forest Dwellers vol. 3
Happy Pets vol. 1
Christmas Dudes vol. 1
Christmas Dudes vol. 2
Then there are the Great Big Bugs, which – as someone correctly pointed out in a comment last night – aren’t really bugs at all! True bugs belong to another order of insects than the ones I’ve made; Bumblebee, Ladybug, Dragonfly, Dung Beetle and Fly:
And then there are two arachnids; Spider and Scorpion:
I’ve also made a few free crochet patterns, plus I’ve participated in a number of fun amigurumi CALs during the year πŸ™‚ I’ve learned a new craft: tatting. I’ve become totally hooked and have even made a new blog for it! I’ve even got a new tattoo to celebrate two very important things in my life – crafting and Bollan:
During the spring term I decided to quit the university for a while, partly because IΒ  didn’t feel like keep trying to get an expensive education that had no real job opportunities for me, and partly because I realized that I’d lost my motivation and wasn’t really good at it anymore. So I only took two exams of the four I’d originally signed up for, and I didn’t bother to sign up for any more for the fall semester.
This summer I had a taste of work life, and I found out (again) that I’m not made for working in social occupations. The cleaning job I had for four weeks suit me just fine πŸ™‚ I then decided to start studying again, but something completely different – biology! I honestly think that it’s something I’ll be happy & comfortable working with later. I just have to get through a few mandatory math courses first (eek!)…
As for my personal life, well, I guess it has been as usual. Since I dropped the university I haven’t had the study support that I normally get, and my boyfriend hasn’t had a steady income either, so the lack of money has been quite straining. Hopefully that changes when I start studying again! Don’t know if everyone supports my choice though, I feel like my boyfriend still wants me to finish my bachelor in linguistics, and he doesn’t really believe that I’ll get through the biology either. He says I quit on everything that doesn’t go my way right away. Blah :/ I’m not the most optimistic person, but his attitude sure doesn’t help.
Anything else? Can’t remember, so probably nothing important πŸ˜›

Happiness is a new tatting shuttle – or seven :)

My mother has been visiting us since Sunday. Today we went shopping together – among other things for more yarn for a new Great Big Bug πŸ™‚ Just because we had time we stopped by another little yarn store to look at fancy yarns. I have no money right now and had no plans of buying anything, but when I suddenly came across tatting shuttles, I just had to get them! There were even two kinds, and I naturally had to get both πŸ™‚
The shuttle on the right is a pretty blue Milward with a crochet hook on the front and a removable bobbin. It came with an extra bobbin, but I’m not sure if you can buy more bobbins separately like you can with many other brands. The post sticking out the back is originally for putting the bobbin on when winding thread on it, but – as with many other Aero copies – the bobbins don’t fit on there… So it’s pretty useless and only in the way when tatting. I think I’ll try to “neuter” it, i.e. cutting off the post and filing the end smooth. Maybe I’ll even decorate the shuttle with decoupage, I’ve seen people do it and it looks really cool πŸ™‚
The one on the left is a very plain purple shuttle by Prym. It’s just about 2 inches long, fairly narrow and very thin. And you can actually take it apart, something I don’t really see the point in, except maybe to remove thread easily when you’re done using it. It tends to make the two sides slide apart, though, and the tips aren’t very tight anymore. Plus it is difficult to wind because you have nowhere to hold :/ I’ve seen somewhere that these are recommended for beginners, but I don’t know why. Perhaps they are good for practicing adding new threads to your work, because the post is so short you can only load it with a little thread at a time…
If I were to recommend any shuttles to a beginner, it would have to be the Clovers, of which I got five in the mail yesterday πŸ™‚
You can get them both with and without points. They are pretty small, just a little more than two inches long. They definitely hold more thread than the Prym πŸ™‚ The only “problem” with the Clovers is that those points are seriously pointy! I’ve almost drawn blood more than once since yesterday :p However, the points are great for joins and or unpicking stitches.
Other shuttles for beginners would in my opinion be the Sew Mates.Β 
They are just like the Clovers, only bigger and therefore holds more thread. They also come both with and without points. Here is a picture comparing the two brands:

I’ve sort of become used to the size of the Sew Mates, but they are still a little big for my hands. Plus the tips are a little uneven (cheaper plastic, perhaps), which makes them unsuitable for picking out mistakes as it tends to frizzle the thread. However, it makes them better for joins. You could easily fix them by filing them with a nail file or something πŸ™‚

Now I’m waiting for a few more shuttles and a couple of books in the mail, so fingers crossed that the mailman (mailwoman in this case) brings me goodies tomorrow πŸ™‚

I’m still here

Just thought I’d post a little something to let you all know that I’m still alive πŸ™‚ I just finished taking notes from a really long chapter about eukaryotic cells, and I thought I’d take a small break before I start doing the exercises. *sigh* I read through the chapter last week, but for some reason I didn’t take notes. Don’t ask why… Next week I plan to start on the math. I haven’t done it sooner because I need to borrow a fancy calculator from a friend who won’t arrive in town before Sunday :/ Hope I have time to do it all. I figure that if I don’t spend more than two weeks on each chapter, I’ll get through the whole book by the end of November. Fingers crossed πŸ™‚
Though I really need to focus on my studying this fall, I hope I’ll be able to get some crafting done as well (I have to do something, or I’ll probably go insane). I’m almost done with a new Great Big Bug – a firefly – and I have another one started. Plus I’d like to make another firefly as a mate to the first one. I have only four legs left to make! I’ll do my best to finish it by this week πŸ™‚ For the body I’ve used glow-in-the-dark yarn (yellow Bernat) for the first time! I ordered it from here, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to people ouside of US or Canada, the shipping cost was insane compared to the price of the yarn :/ I tried ordering another brand (white Nightlights) from another site, but they had problems with overseas shipping, so I didn’t really have a choice. Of course I could have waited until they had their issues fixed, but you know me :p Anyway, here’s a sneak peek at the firefly:

She’s quite large, and the back end really does glow! I’m pretty pleased with this one πŸ™‚

Oh, another thing… I’ve managed to get tangled up in a craft project with a deadline ofΒ  August 31st, so that naturally has priority right now. Not sure how much I can talk about it yet, so if you feel like I haven’t posted much craftyness lately it’s not because I haven’t done anything πŸ™‚ I promise I’ll tell you more about it when I know how it turns out!

And then there’s the tatting πŸ™‚ I’m hooked! On the bus here I started a new project, and during the next two or three days I finished my first “big” item, a crocodile bookmark πŸ™‚ Thought it would be cool to put in my biology book. The pattern is called “Alligator bookmark” from the book Animal Bookmarks – A Tatted Zoo by Dianna Stevens, but I think it looks more like a crocodile than an alligator. I like crocodiles better πŸ™‚

Bookmarks are both practical and fun to make, and I think it’s becoming a new obsession πŸ™‚ I’m not at all a fast tatter, so I can only make a few rings and chains every night, but I’ve just finished a thistle bookmark from this pattern. It doesn’t say how many colors to use, but I made mine in green and pink. Pictures will probably be up on Flickr and Facebook tonight or tomorrow πŸ™‚

Long time & a new hobby :)

Feels like it’s been ages since I last posted on this blog… Two weeks! I have lots of things to post about, but I’ll start with the most recent news: I’m learning to tat! Like I need another hobby :pΒ 
It started last weekend (I think – I’ve been a little lost in time lately), when I was searching my grandmother’s house for a pair of hand carders both she and my mother insisted she had. (Another story, I’ll tell you later!) Anyway, I didn’t find the carders, but I did find a whole lot of other things, and among them were two tatting shuttles. One old and one newer plastic thingy. I remembered that my mother learned to tat when I was younger, and she had bought the new shuttle. The old one looks like it’s home made, carved from bone or something, and we think it has belonged to my great grandmother. She lived from about 1890 to 1966, so the shuttle could be pretty old πŸ™‚
So naturally I had to learn tatting πŸ˜€ My mother sat down and showed me one evening (last Thursday, I think), and the next day I had finished my first tatted item! The pattern is Flower Bookmark by Yarnplayer (you should check our her blog, she makes awsome things and she has just published her second pattern book!). Since I don’t have threads in any fancy colors (at least not in the same size) I made the bookmark in one color and added some beads for a little sparkle πŸ™‚
Now I just need to learn to do the split chain and split ring, and I should be able to make most of the simpler patterns πŸ™‚ But the split thing is complicated, and the best thing would be to get it explained by a person. Pictures and text just isn’t the same :/ Also the picots are still a pain to do, I can never get them the same size! I guess it just takes practice. And then some more practice! :p
A lot of the patterns I want to try requires use of two shuttles, which I didn’t have (since my mother was using the other one), so I fairly quickly went online and ordered some more shuttles and a few books, both for learning and patterns. And the best part is, I didn’t have to pay much for it, since I’m splitting the “loot” with my mother and mostly used her money πŸ˜€ But then yesterday I got tired of waiting for the new shuttles and decided I’d try and make some myself! I posted the tutorial on my pattern blog if anyone should be interested in trying without spending money on new shuttles πŸ™‚ And the shuttles work, too!Β 
Turned out I really didn’t have to go through all that trouble yesterday, because today I got three new shuttles in the mail! Yay πŸ™‚ They are so pretty and comfortable! One plated brass filigree shuttle bought on eBay, and two Peter Cua shuttles bought from this site. The latter shuttles are both 2 inches long and made from horn, and one is etched with a phoenix motif. It’s so beautiful! There is a dragon shuttle I’d like as well, but it was sold out. Maybe later πŸ™‚

I tested the filigree shuttle earlier today, and it’s great to work with! I made a really tiny bug from this pattern.Β 
The metal shuttle is probably a bit heavy for some, but I think both the weight and size is perfect for me πŸ™‚ I felt that the old shuttle I was using was just a little bit too long for me. It will be interesting to try the cheap plastic ones we’ve ordered, I suspect they are very long (especially the ones with the pick on one end) and very light. I like to feel the weight of the tools I’m working with, otherwise they very often just fly out of my hands… Well, now it’s on to practice some more with my new shuttles πŸ˜€