Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Stress, Crochet and Graffiti

I can't believe that it's been over eight weeks since I've posted and that it's April already, but I've been so stressed and busy that (sadly) the last thing I was thinking about was my blog. 

Over the last year or so EC has been quite unwell and was finally diagnosed with Crohns Disease just before Christmas. Unfortunately (and really horribly) she developed serious complications and ended up having major surgery in March. She has written about her experience on her blog Cats, Crochet, Cooking and Crohns if you'd like to know more about it and if you'd like to see pictures of The Best Crochet Hoodie in The World!

As I'm sure you can imagine, much of my time was spent worrying about her, visiting her in hospital and looking after her three cats. Or it would have been if I hadn't had to spend so much time travelling from one place to another! I feel I like I wasted so-ooooo much time on buses when I could have been actually doing something productive to help. It was super-frustrating and at times the boredom was almost overwhelming. I felt like I was going slowly mad.

But then I started noticing things on my journeys. Some things made me smile, like seeing these crocuses peeking through the grass in the park... 

...and the forsythias brightening up the the gardens and hedgerows with their distinctive yellow flowers.

I saw some interesting graffiti which made me stop and think - like this presumably Rousseau-Anarchist inspired slogan which appeared overnight on a local wall...(the photo is slightly edited just in case you're easily offended).

...and this one which made me wonder if I do know whatever it is I'm supposed to be knowing(!)

I also saw this carefully- crafted masterpiece on a tenfoot wall.

Despite looking rather random, it's actually a very well-thought out piece of artwork with subtle layers of meaning. It includes quotes by Descartes, an anarchist movement and references to the Dutch Revolt lead by William of Orange. There is also an image of revolutionary Che Guevara as well as a icon from Vendetta, a classic graphic novel. In some ways the local references to Dead Bod and Settee of Culture make it feel like a bit of an 'in-joke' too - you can read about Dead Bod here and Settee of Culture here.

I think that seeing all of these things stopped me from going completely bonkers by giving me something else to focus on, especially as I haven't had much time to devote to crochet (which is my usual go-to if I'm stressed or anxious). Do you use creative things to chill like I do?

I have managed to do a little bit of work on my crochet scarfI finished the remaining two of the four granny flower squares which means I finally finished part 1 (Yay!)

I then moved onto part 2 and managed to complete two big flowers

Two scalloped flower circles

Four solid squares

and two long petal flowers

which means that I have also finished part 2!

It also means that I have finished all of the motifs for the scarf and can move onto constructing the scarf in part 3.

I'm really happy with the colours for this and hope it ends up being as lovely as Joanita's did. Hopefully next time I'll be showing you the finished scarf! x

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Scarf Project and Freeform Crochet Heart

The last couple of weeks have involved a lot of sitting about in waiting rooms again. As this is likely to be the case for a while, I decided to start a new crochet project to stop me from getting too anxious while I’m waiting around and also to counteract the boredom which I’m inevitably going to experience.

After what seemed like five minutes spent browsing through the patterns on Ravelry (but which was in reality many happy hours) I eventually settled on this scarf pattern from Joanita at Creative Crochet Workshop. Her blog is really lovely, full of modern, bright and colourful crochet patterns along with lots of inventive ideas.The scarf was specifically designed for using up those scrappy oddments of yarn which are left over from other projects and was offered as a short crochet- a-long between 20th January 2016- 10th February 2016. It is still available on her blog and she even has a PDF of the pattern if you'd like to buy one.The pattern itself appeals to me on a number of different levels but there were three main reasons why I chose it:

  1. I wanted a super-portable project which wasn’t too big or heavy and which could quickly and easily be swept out of the way into my bag.
  2. It’s a fairly straightforward pattern which I don’t have to concentrate on too much.
  3. I wanted to do something creative based on the idea of ‘Love’ as it is this month’s theme for the ‘Creative Every Day Challenge’ and this pattern incorporates many of the elements of crochet which I am totally passionate about.
I've got on reasonably quickly with it so far and have completed:

Eight crochet rings

Four flower wheels

Six small solid flowers

Two of the four granny flower squares

This means that I've almost finished Part 1

I'm really happy with my colour choice for these as they remind me a bit of Easter and look very Spring-like. I don't know about you but I am definitely ready for Spring to arrive now!

One of the things I adore about crochet is that even the simplest motifs can be given a whole new look just by by changing your yarn, so I know that this scarf would look equally as good in a variety of different colour schemes and textures. In fact, one of the things which I liked about this pattern is that it is pretty much freeform crochet. And I really love freeform crochet!

Freeform Scumble 1.

I haven't done as much freeform as I would have liked to, mainly because I got sidetracked for a long time (also known as obsessed) with making blankets. But the few things which I have made are rather fun. I'm particularly proud of this Freeform Crochet Heart.

.Front of Freeform Crochet Heart

Back of Freeform Crochet Heart

Detail of Freeform Crochet Heart

It's made from a variety of different yarns including DK, Aran and Chunky. Some of the yarn also came from a beautiful scarf from Accessorize which I'd worn until it was falling apart but which I couldn't bear to part with. I carefully frogged it so that I could reuse the yarn for this project. 

It's funny what you fall in love with isn't it? X

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Watercolour Pencils

This week, I managed to find some time to practice with my new watercolour pencils. I began by doodling with them over a watercolour background (more as a mark making exercise than anything else) as I hoped it would help me to get a feel for the pencils and what I could achieve with them. I'm heavily influenced by textiles so I not only wanted the marks I made to reflect this but I also wanted them to mimic the random effect created by the stitched mark in crazy patchwork. Sadly, the results weren’t quite as successful as I’d hoped they would be. I suspect this was more to do with my lack of technique than anything else as I really couldn’t get to grips with them at all. Now I’m left wondering if I will ever use them again!  I tried to fix it by overworking some of the marks with sharpies to highlight certain areas and to blend others together, as I was at EC's and didn't have my acrylics with me. 

I think that this worked quite well and I'm a lot happier with the finished piece. 

I also started with a watercolour page as the background for my next attempt

I got seriously carried away on this one though and really overworked it. It's not what I wanted at all. 

Half of the problem is that once I crack open the sharpies my love of graffiti spills out and I feel the need to cover every available surface with doodles and scribbles. The other day, EC suggested out that sharpies are 'just glorified felt-tip pens' (shock horror) but I keep trying to explain that no, they are so, so, so much more than that. They do vaguely remind me of my childhood though, so perhaps my love of sharpies and doodles are just me hankering for the past, as if I'm trying to recreate the youth I misspent scrawling my name on school desks. Who knows? X