Thursday, December 22, 2011

To you and yours from me and mine

Hi everybody!

It’s that time of year again – my last day at work until 4th January! Yippee!

However, the downside of no work is absolutely minimal internet time, so I very much doubt I’ll be blogging again until the New Year.

However, on the plus side, a mysterious box has appeared in our house containing a wireless router, so we may shortly be wireless at home! Yippee again! But on the down side, although my ipod has largely been behaving itself, the backlight has now died completely, so that I can scarcely use it other than to listen to music.

I’m hoping to use the some of the time over the holiday to photograph all the things I’ve been having fun making over the last few weeks, and starting to think about writing up some patterns. I’ll certainly have to make some notes on Cedric as he’ll be off to live in Manchester early next week.

Cedric, Viktor and Fleur - the Tri-Wizard Tournament never saw champions like these!

So, until 2012, I’d like to wish you all the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years,
to you and your families,
from me and mine.

Friday, December 16, 2011

When is a design mine?

I suppose this one of those old chestnuts that comes up every so often. I’ve been madly crocheting away, every spare moment I can get, to make Christmas presents for the Children in my family. Often, I start from a pattern written by someone else and wander off on my own doing what I think will work better, or making it into the thing I want to make. Sometimes, I’ve seen a photo online and tried to make something that looks like the photo. But when do these designs become my own?

I suppose, of course, there’s no simple answer. It all comes down to when an item becomes substantially different from the original design, and the crossover isn’t clear.

For example, say I want to make an amigurumi doll. I already have books with patterns for several which I will look at before I decide exactly what I want to do. The end doll that I make may have elements from several designs from my books, none of which include all the features I want in my doll, and there will also be elements that I’ve thought up from scratch. There may be a significant amount of trial and error involved in putting all this together. The overall doll may be my own ‘vision’, but individual components may be copied from elsewhere. When does it become my own design?

And what if something’s copied from a photo? Cedric is the perfect example here – he is based on this photo, but I have no idea what the pattern for it is like, although I suspect I have one ‘significant’ difference.


I would like to start writing up and selling patterns but I’m just struggling a bit with this cut-off point. To date, I’ve been thinking more of publishing the patterns here on my blog with reference to my sources of inspiration, but if my pattern is based on someone else’s what right do I have to publish the directions for the bits I’ve copied?

And anyway, how many different ways are there of making amigurumi heads, arms, legs or bodies? If you want something roughly the same size, you’re likely to end up with a very similar pattern.

And where does Petal fit into all this? Her pattern is a translation with one or two tweaks.

I have a doll I’m making for Iona (and I’ll have to make one for Niamh sometime too), it’s based on a pattern by someone else, but I’ve done some of the basic body parts slightly differently. However, I’ve gone completely off at a tangent, influenced by someone completely different, in embellishing the doll and in the techniques I’ve used to do so. I’m really excited about her (Iona will LOVE her) and I’d love to write it up as a pattern, but I don’t know that it’s sufficiently different to count as my own design.

Anyone know any answers or advice?

Spot the cute monkey! Too busy crocheting to get decent photos these days!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The 7th day of advent

Today I’m joining in with Jo’s advent calendar – a wonderful idea to feature some wonderful stitchers and Christmas stitching in the days up to Christmas – thanks Jo for organising it!

For Christmas stitching, I’m going to share my Celtic Christmas, stitched many years ago (probably late 1990s) well before my blogging days!

Celtic Christmas

I do love this design, and all the Celtic Ladies, although this is the only one of these designs I’ve stitched. I love Celtic designs – the swirls and knots.

I think this design represents a number of firsts for me – first time on evenweave, first time with beads, and first time I made changes to my version of the design, swapping the word Noel for some made-up patterned squares so that I could have it out all year round without it being a specifically Christmas thing. And it was the first time I had framed something so big myself! Phew!

I dug her out recently to show Iona, as Iona is a typically pink girly girl obsessed with princesses – she loves it! Even Niamh took one look and called her Cinderella! Now she has pride of place on Iona’s bedroom wall.

At Christmas, I also think of my Granny – my maternal grandmother. Her birthday was 27th December – she would have been 110 this year, had she not died in 2000! She was a strong character who was widowed in 1942 with a 3 year old son and a 4 month old baby. The last time I spoke to her was to tell her I was pregnant with Alexander. I made her this cushion as a Christmas present one year, and when she died, it came back to me.

Granny's cushion

Christmas was also very special to me as a child – I have very fond memories of rushing home from church on the Sunday around 10 – 14 days before Christmas and then heading along to a local farm to choose a Christmas tree. It was a family event – we all went and marched around the farmyard and round a field to pick the perfect Christmas tree! Then home again to get the box of decorations from the loft.

Decorating the Christmas tree is still something special I love to do, although these days, it involves a lot more negotiation with certain small people! We haven’t done it yet this year, but I’m looking forward to heading up to the loft next weekend!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My favourite yarn


Oh, I really love this time of year, the few weeks up to Christmas (the fun ends after the kids have opened their presents!), I love all the anticipation and excitement. I felt like a little kid myself this morning as I rushed downstairs with Iona to help her find no. 1 on her advent calendar!

This year, I'm particularly loving all the fun I'm having making presents for the children in my extended family. Partly stash-busting, partly money-saving! And over the last week, I've been particularly loving working with this yarn!

I 'made' it myself from a whole load of colours of roughly DK weight yarn in my yarn stash! I cut a whole lot of lengths, roughly around 2 feet long, knotted them together in a randomish order and then wound it all up into a ball. They're mainly just solid acrylics, but there are some different textures in there too!

When it's worked up, it looks something like this -

And I did a version with baby yarn too -

And together, these add up to a little something for my own littlest monster!

I can see many more monsters coming along with this yarn, maybe a dragon too?

See you next time!