Sunday, 6 April 2014

Micro Kylie Part 2; The Voice UK Final

OK, well I knew it was going to be a tough challenge trying to micro crochet whatever Kylie was wearing last night within the 2 hours I had before The Voice finished, not least because I was enjoying the immense amount of talent so much.  It was fun though and I'm glad I set myself the goal...which I managed to acheive...finishing my microscopic version of her dress just as the programme ended :D
It may seem surprising that something so tiny could take so long to make but it is painstaking work...have you ever used a 0.5mm crochet hook?
I never thought I would since my usual weapon of choice is an 8mm Bamboo hook, which works so well with my favourite sari yarns I love how quickly your work grows on a hook that size; perfect for impatient people like me. The biggest hook I currently have is 25mm but I plan to whittle myself some even bigger ones from branches when i break up from uni for the summer.

BUT...there's just something so rewarding about micro-crochet; watching something so tiny come to life right in your fingertips, and the looks on people's faces when they see the pictures.

Then the looks on people's faces when they see it in real life and say "Wow! I didn't realise it was THAT tiny!!!"
(because even though you've seen her next to a penny your brain just can't quite seem to compute the extreme tininess)

Anyway, here's a visual reference on hook size for all you non-crocheters out there

That's the 25mm on the right in the top left photo, with the 0.5mm on the left and the 8mm in between.
Wow, I hadn't actually thought about how insanely small the half-millimetre hook IS til I looked at it against my FINGERPRINT!!!!!

To be honest I was kind of wishing I had a smaller one as there was just no way I could recreate the details of Kylie's gorgeous Stella McCartney dress but on reflection I doubt it's feasible.

So here's my best effort at recreating that dress for a 1 inch tall doll in 2 hours:
 I'm not convinced I've done it justice but I'm pretty happy with it, and micro-Kylie seems to enjoy posing in it, especially in her Big Red Chair

I admit I could have made life easier for myself by modifying the dress I originally made for her but that would be cheating, and as anyone who knows me will tell you I have a very low opinion of cheating, but that's another story...

I may have another crack at it when I have a bit more time on my hands because I really believe I could do better, but for now I need to get back to the essays I have open in another tab awaiting my attention ;)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Micro Kylie

Wow, it's been a long time since I've done any yarnbombing folks. I guess you could say life's been getting in the way of frivolity a bit since I started my OT degree. But to be fair there is always a degree of frivolity in my life (boom boom!) It just varies according to other priorities.

So anyway this week I got the worst cold I've had for a very very long time, I can't remember a cold ever wiping me out for a week solid but this one did. So I've had some time to think about things other than Occupational Therapy and eating.....
things like twitter and half-finished crochet projects and Kylie.

Yes, that's right, I said Kylie. Not that I'm a crazy obsessed fan or anything but I've always had a solid admiration for her; for a start she's an Aussie which wins anybody points in my book, but then there are so many other great things about her, like her general aura of fun and twinkle and mischief, her determination, the way she constantly reinvents herself and always look FAB. Oh yeah, and she can belt out a decent tune!

A combination which I find compelling in a person, which is why I decided to watch The Voice for the first time this year, I wanted to get me a slice of Kylie
(I ended up getting a lot more actually, there's some serious talent out there!)

This could perhaps be the reason I randomly dreamt the other night that I was on Team Kylie and needed to get her a birthday present.
When I woke up I told my husband about it, saying
'I don't know why I was looking round the charity shops, I would obviously crochet her a dress!'

I must admit I have been looking at the gold crochet dress she wears on the cover of Into the Blue and wondering what the rest of it looks like/how I could crochet myself one like it.

Not that I have a snowball's chance in hell of looking as hot as Kylie in it but a girl can dream.

So I thought it would be fun to tweet her about it, although in hindsight she probably just thinks I'm a wierdo now.

Which is a shame because if that is the case then this will only make it worse......

I crocheted a Micro-Kylie!!!

This is what happens when I'm in bed for 5 days, my creative mind goes into overdrive and I start to micro-crochet.

I had a bit of a craze on micro crocheting a while back which resulted in a full english breakfast, some forget-me-nots and a tiny flower fairy but I've managed to go even smaller this time; micro-Kylie is only 32mm tall!!!

I made her using single strands of embroidery cotton and a 0.5mm crochet hook. Yes, it's very fiddly...I was super glad I haven't cut my nails for a while as I needed them to hold her as I worked.

 So next up I want to make her a little big red chair and another outfit. Whether I can achieve this by the end of the final next saturday night remains to be seen; I'll work on the chair over the coming week but obviously I won't know what she's wearing for the final until the show starts so I might have a fun challenge on my hands!

Getting her to pose a la 'Into the Blue' was tricky but I gave it a red hot go.....

  So there you have it, an insight into the workings of a micro crocheters mind.
A bit like a recipe really, just add dreams, ideas, inspirational people, a 0.5mm crochet hook and embroidery cottons and hey presto you have possibly the smallest homage to Kylie ever :)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

International YarnBomb Day 2013

OK, it's been a few months now since I illuminated the streets with a colourful crocheted installation, so what better to get me going again than some sunshine (finally!!!), the livestreaming of TEDxBrum, and INTERNATIONAL YARNBOMB DAY!!!!!!!!!

My friend Odilia was organizing the livestream event and asked me if I'd like to yarnbomb it since the theme was 'marking the map' and I jumped at the chance. Crochet for me really has been a wonderful journey and I wish I could convey to you just how amazing it's actually been. I'll have a go anyway;
I've always loved making things, so when I bought myself a gorgeous pair of turquoise suede boots and fancied a poncho to go with them I didn't think I would have any trouble as ponchos were in fashion at the time. WRONG!
Have you ever tried to match a turquoise item to make the perfect outfit? It's surely the most ambiguous colour out there and I just couldn't find ANYTHING that went with them. Or even that I liked very much actually. I had a picture of a lovely poncho in pink (bleurgh) which i carried around with me in the hope it would draw something to me. No luck so, not being someone who graciously accepts defeat, I asked my Mum to teach me to crochet so I could make my own poncho. Hah! Take THAT world-I'll have a poncho whether you like it or not.
Again the turquoise matching problem; no yarn in the right colour anywhere either!
So I went for purple instead and a big hairy poncho was born, along with a parasitic twin-my ongoing obsession with crochet!
I have never looked back and always love to challenge myself to try new and more elaborate things with crochet-I tried amigurumi fairly early on and that brought out the beautiful 'porno monkey', a gift for a friend which was only ever meant to be a monkey but when i added a little banana to her hand and tried to copy the mouth from the pattern she took on the persona of a sex doll and one thing led to another........
I do have pictures of her but I'm apprehensive about sharing them in case I should offend anybody's sensibilities.

So then we went to Australia and I felt the urge to produce Aussie wildlife amigurumis which were a big hit (especially the galah I made for my brother which i embellished with real galah feathers we had found on our travels) We were WWOOFing at the time and our hosts asked me to make them a bunch to give to friends and family when they went to Europe visiting, so that was quite a significant pin in my crocheting map!

They happened to be goat farmers and one of our jobs was feeding baby goats-when you have more than one baby goat to feed it can be tricky keeping the milk warm enough for the other babies who are
*patiently waiting*
for their turn (if you know anything about goats you will know this is a physical impossibility for them) So I made these handy bottle cozies with topical appliques of milk bottles and udders on them.
A couple of years later (and far too many crochet projects to mention-I'm trying to just add the most significant ones for you) I spotted a pattern online for a scarf that was a string of sausages-Brilliant! so i made that and then thought it should really have a matching hat. The famous brekkie hat then slowly emerged from my hook...

I only have these pics of it half assembled on a polystyrene head I'm afraid, but you get the idea. Also can you spot the problem with wearing the scarf and the hat together? (It has to do with them touching each other...)

When we got back to the UK and people saw these pics they were amazed and someone suggested I open an Etsy shop-I'd never heard of Etsy so I looked it up and thought that it would be a good way to offer my talents to the world. So I opened Berthas Bizarre Bazaar in february 2012, not long before my Mum was diagnosed with cancer as it turned out. So it actually became a handy outlet for all the things I was madly crocheting (did you know crochet is a very meditative activity-I don't know how I'd have got through the last year without it!)
So one of the last things I made before we sadly lost Mum in October was the bumbomb of my last post-a mandala pattern I tested for a fellow etsian and which I now use as a saddle cover for my bike.
This is a heavily abridged version of my crochet journey but I hope it gives you a little idea of how I came to be at this point in my life-You can pick up the story of how I came to be a yarnbomber if you go to the start of this blog.
So the only thing left to do is show you the pictures of what I did yesterday to celebrate TEDxBrum: Marking the Map and International YarnBomb Day :D
You might notice some significant items along the rainbow pathway I made to wrap around the railings.
The other items were donated by wonderful friends and I used them to mark a trail from the car park to the livestreaming event location

So, what did you to to celebrate International YarnBomb Day? I'd love to see anyone else's yarnbombs :D

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Ok, so I haven't had much time for yarnbombing recently, and I don't know if covering your own bike saddle technically counts but I'd like to think so.
It will bring a touch of colour to the streets as I cycle around anyway, so I'm gonna call it my BumBomb
This eventuated through the fact that I recently discovered the joy of pattern testing.
Having not touched a pattern with a barge pole for a long time I decided to have a go at pattern testing through a team on Etsy, so that I would know what I was asking of people when i write patterns and want them tested.
I immediately found a totally amazing mandala pattern for lovely Susan of  felted button which she wanted tested and it was so gorgeous I just couldn't wait to hook it up in my favourite colours.
Well I was really impressed with it (the pattern AND my interpretation of it) and after wondering what to do with it for a little while I found that with a little tinkering around the edges and the addition of some ties it fitted my bike seat PERFECTLY!

I'm absolutely over the moon with it, because not only is it comfy and fabulous-looking,
if I fall off my bike again (OUCH!!!) I won't graze the saddle this time :D

If you want to try the pattern yourself you'll find it in Susan's Etsy shop, and very reasonably priced
just go right here: fabulous mandala crochet pattern 
She made hers in about ten colours and it's beautiful-the pattern also includes instructions to make it into a stool cover but don't be afraid to think outside the box like I did,
once you've made the mandala part the world's your oyster baby

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Fat Free, Sugar Free, High Fibre Cake Recipe (Free Crochet Pattern)

Interesting fact: The Norwegian word 'oppskrift' means both recipe and pattern!
Makes sense to me; list of what you need and some instructions, same diff
But before we get on to how to crochet a piece of cake it's spot the difference time.
At a glance can you tell which are the crocheted yummies?

Obviously when you look closer you can see that three of them are on top of the cake dome, but I like to think they look pretty realistic.
 Leave me a comment and let me know whether I'm just completely deluding myself LOL

These are of course the cakes I made for my local coffee shop after they saw me crocheting a Union Jack at make and mend one friday morning. They thought it was so wonderful that we would put so much love into something and then just gift it to the general public, so they invited me to bomb their cafe with something topical.
They are part of a group of shops run for the benefit of a fantastic local hospice, and creating this yarnbomb for them made me think more about how I could support them and I love paying it forward,
so I thought I'd offer free patterns for these.

In the style of any good day let's start with chocolate :)

I personally don't like stuffing crocheted toys as I think you can always see the stuffing a little bit
(unless perhaps you crochet insanely tight stitches, but as a previous sufferer of repetitive strain injury who has since trained in natural therapies I have learned in two ways that holding your tools too tightly is the first step on pain street) so I came up with the idea of making 3-D crocheted items from solid yarn.
By far the simplest way of doing it IMO, and for the chocolate cake I was using a super chunky yarn so it didn't take much longer than if I'd stuffed it anyway.
 Crikey, I don't even like weaving in ends as it offends me to have to do something other than crocheting to complete a crocheted piece, so if you're anything like me you will prefer this method to stuffing. And this pattern really is a piece of cake (sorry-never can resist an old joke)
 I do NOT recommend printing it, unless you particularly like buying ink cartridges, as it's full of pictures- I wanted to make it as easy as possible for anyone to have a go

I like to reduce paper wastage and seldom print anything myself- with crochet patterns I usually copy it out in my own super shart shorthand but if you try this method I would recommend writing somewhere on it what it actually is!
 I have so many old envelopes lying around with patterns written on them that could be for just about anything it's not funny any more.
 If you would like a version with no pics so you can print it then just let me know and I'll do it.
I would really really appreciate any feedback on how easy the pattern was to follow (or not) and how your cake turned out.
Also please feel free to send me pictures of your finished articles (preferably installed in your local coffee house!) Enjoy the pattern, and I look forward to hearing from you

Free Pattern-How to Crochet a Piece of Cake


WOW!!! I can't believe it. Our BandStand yarnbomb is still there and commanding MASSIVE respect from the general public! To be honest, after the rapid thievery of the Lion Passage installation we weren't convinced that this one would last very long as we had placed it within easy reach. So imagine our amazement upon returning to amend it on Monday night with our paralympic medal tally and finding that the medal bunting had snapped..... and somebody had climbed up and tied it back up! Our faith in humanity is restored :) I am SOOOOOOOO glad we weren't discouraged by the total lack of respect for our previous bomb-and I feel so inspired by the paralympic athletes, they clearly don't let little setbacks put them off so why should we?! Anyway, here is the amendment we made to reflect our ENORMOUS respect for Paralympics GB-we had thought we would do the same as we did for the olympic athletes and replicate all the medals we won, but the initial 65 we did for the olympians had used up nearly all our gold, silver and bronze yarn. So when our paralympians won 120(!!!) medals we had to think again.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

BOOM! Goes the Bandstand

WooHoo!!! We finally managed to get our olympic medal bunting and flags of encouragement up :)

For those of you who don't live in Stourbridge,
this is the BandStand; 
an Iconic Structure in an Iconic Park.
We had thought it might be a good place for this YarnBomb but were open to attaching it to trees or whatever took our fancy when we got there
(I wonder if other yarnbombers are A LOT more organised than us? hahaha)
Well, the BandStand took our fancy late last night and, with the help of our fabulous menfolk 
(we really are the two luckiest girls in the world!!)
 we installed this tribute to the Superhuman Efforts of our Olympic and Paralympic Athletes.

It was quite funny going back this morning, milling around amongst the parkgoing public and hearing their reactions. 
I'm afraid I did tell a small fib when somebody saw me taking pics and asked if I knew who did it.....
I just love the mystery it creates! She said it was just a shame that nobody knew who it was so they could thank them or tell them how great it was-why would anybody go to all that effort and not want recognition?
We don't do it for thanks or recognition though (lovely as those things are), we just like to brighten up people's days, and I firnly believe that any gratitude people feel for our efforts will come to us in some form, some day. 
You know, karma and all that :)

I worked on parts of this YarnBomb at the local 'make and mend' group in the cafe above the Mary Stevens Hospice charity shop, and when they asked about what I was making and I explained the staff there were so impressed that they invited me to yarnbomb the cafe!!!
So I made them some cafe themed items which I shall show you in the next post,
along with a free pattern for a quick and easy no-stuff slice of chocolate cake.

The cafe is run for the benefit of the Mary Stevens Hospice too, and the charity shop sells a variety of yarns, so I am hoping people will see and enjoy the crocheted cakes and be inspired to make some themselves, hopefully buying some yarn on their way out!