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Dastardly Crafty

Craft, Crochet and Cthulhu.

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crochet

THE most useful magazine freebie!

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In this month’s Simply Crochet magazine, not only are there some great patterns this time round (check out that cute teddy on the front) but this month’s freebie is one of the most useful.

 I usually end up defacing my magazines with pen as I tick off the rows I’ve completed but this handy gadget means that you can easily keep track.  It’s such a simple idea.  I don’t know why I’ve not seen these anywhere else before.

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OMG Crochet AND video games??!!! Yoshi’s Wooly World

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Copyright Nintendo

One of my other interests aside from crocheting is playing video games.  (As you can see here, I have combined the two before with my Link figure.)

Imagine my delight upon discovering that this year Nintendo are releasing Yoshi’s Wooly World on the wii u. This game not only has a knitted theme to it but also includes a Amiibo that is…made of yarn.

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Copyright Nintendo

To see the gameplay and amiibo in action check out the video below.

I can’t wait to preorder this!

Penguins in sweaters!!

So, I’ve been off work for a couple of days with a horrendous throat infection.  But here’s something that cheered the little cockles o’ me heart.

Behold, a row of adorable penguins in handmade sweaters.

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The sweaters were knitted by a man called Alfred Date (who is 109 btw) to help the charity ‘Penguin Foundation.’  I’m sure you’ll agree, they look pretty darn cute.

The full story is here: http://www.boredpanda.com/oldest-man-australia-knits-penguin-sweaters-alfred-date/

Before you whip out your yarn to make a penguin sweater, the charity behind the drive have been inundated and have said they do not need any more.  So to help The Penguin Foundation you can adopt a penguin here: http://www.penguinfoundation.org.au/

New Year Resolutions: Crafty’s 12 Month Craft Challenge #12monthcraftchallenge

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So 2015 is finally here and this year instead of promising myself I’ll exercise more and eat less junk food (which I never keep to) I’ve decided to try a different sort of resolution.

For 2015 I’m going to try a new craft every month and hopefully share with you something that I’ve created using those skills.

January’s Craft Challenge will be… *drum roll*…PAPER MACHE SCULPTURE!

Why I love Japanese crochet books!

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I was very fortunate to visit Japan this year (which was amazing btw!) and whilst in Tokyo I picked up some fantastic amigurumi books.  When I returned home and showed my friends my fabulous new books, the first question they asked was ‘How can you understand these books when you cannot read or speak fluent Japanese?’

A fair question.

Firstly, in Japan, it feels as though everything is pictorial.  Food menus are shown through large photographs (they even have plastic models of food on display so you know exactly what you are getting!), there are drawings on street signs and rail tickets.  So it follows that Japanese amigurumi patterns are also pictorial.

I actually learned to crochet using an English translation of a Japanese book: Ami Ami Dogs.

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What I love about this book, and what made learning crochet a doddle, were the step by step pictures, showing you what each stage should look like.  I can’t count the times I have tried to follow an English pattern and had to start again because it was only near the end that I realised it didn’t look the way it should!

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The other visual aid that Japanese books have that English books rarely use is a visual pattern.

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One of the problems with written patterns is that each author may have a different way of explaining how to make something.  Having written patterns myself, I know how difficult it is to telepathically send your instructions to someone else but the lack of consistency across patterns does complicate things. For example, some patterns add the ‘turning stitch’ at the end of a row, others ‘just expect people to know’ that that is a standard way to end a row.  Japanese visual diagrams remove this issue because you can *see* if a pattern requires a turning stitch.

The Japanese love of consistency also means that the symbols used for the stitches are the same no matter which book you pick up. In English patterns, there is even a different between an American double crochet stitch and a British double crochet stitch.  No wonder it gets confusing sometimes!

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In the photo above taken from one of my Japanese books, you can see it is easy to follow the pattern because it uses the same symbols and circular diagram as Ami Ami Dogs and there is a diagram showing what each piece should look like. I wish more English publications used this visual method.

If anyone has found a good way of producing visual patterns, please let me know what you use to create them.

Easter Project #2: Free Pattern for Minion and Ninja Egg Cozies

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This project came from looking for a way to liven up the bag of chocolate eggs I had gathered up for my nephews for Easter.  The little one *loves* the minions from Despicable Me, whereas I needed something different for the older one, hence the ninja.

Both are made up from this simple pattern:

Row1: 4 dc in a magic ring, sl st to join row, ch1

Row2: 2dc inc in each stitch all around (8 stitches), sl st, ch1

Row 3: *1dc, 1dc, 2 dc inc* all around

Row4: *1dc, 2dc* all around

Row 5 -7:  1dc all around

Repeat until desired length then fasten off.

The googles for the minion were made from grey, black and white felt and were stitched on.  His cheeky smile is embroidered with black yarn.

The ninja’s eyes are embroidered onto white felt which was then stitched on.

The tie around his head is made as follows:

Row 1: ch 2, 1dc in 2nd chain from hook, 1 dc in same stitch,

Row 2: ch3, 1 dc in 2nd chain from hook, fasten off.

Sew to side of ninja’s head.

HAPPY EASTER! x

Video Game Crochet #1: Link

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My partner is obsessed with video games and one cute character in particular…Link from the Legend Of Zelda games. This little guy was his request when I was stuck for a new project to make.

There are lots of patterns for Link available online but I couldn’t find any that I particularly liked.  Link has also had several incarnations so eventually I opted for Link from Wind Waker.  I learned a few new techniques but my favourite thing was using felt to make his hair and accessories.  I’ve always shied away from using felt extras as I’ve always felt it was somehow ‘cheating’ but thinking about how video game graphics look, in actual fact it helps to make them look more defined.

I also decided I wanted accessories that you can ‘pose’ and move around.  The shield has a little felt loop which enables you to do this.

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I’ve enjoyed making him so much that I’m looking forward to designing and making plenty of other video game characters.  Watch this space…

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5 Creepy Crochet Projects For Halloween

I am always surprised that whenever I mention crochet, people still think of granny squares and ill fitting jumpers. So in celebration of Halloween and of my love of all things macabre, here are my favourite creepy crochet projects.

1) Exorcist Play Set

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Every time I look at this it makes me smile.  I think it is the way the priest looks so pissed off at having been barfed on.  Made by the very talented Croshame, you can check out other projects here at http://croshame.com/

2) Sugar Skull Winter Mask

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I think that we British are too afraid of death. I love the Mexican way of celebrating death through the Day Of The Dead, but this mask just gives me the creeps. I love that this was designed to keep her warm whilst she was out cycling in the winter! You can find the pattern by Kourtney Moon here at Sugar Skull Pattern

3) Creepy Cute Pyramid Head

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When my boyfriend was playing Silent Hill late at night, the sound of Pyramid Head’s sword scraping along the corridors scared the crap out of me.  Violent, inhuman and a rapist, he is a truly terrifying character.  Here Needle Noodles has added this pattern to the rest of her awesome creepy cute creations.  You can find it here: http://needlenoodles.com  You need to have bought her book Creepy Cute Crochet first (which I highly recommend).

4) Frankenweenie

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I’m a huge fan of Tim Burton and I’m really looking forward to seeing the animated version of his early short film Frankenweenie.  This is my favourite crochet version by Manualidades.  

5) Cthulhu Mask

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Well there had to be something Cthulhu related here somewhere! Designed by Nancy B Nutt, this full mask is pretty terrifying.  You can find her page through Ravelry or at her site here.

Have a Happy Halloween!

My quest to join the Marmarati!

Loving Marmite sometimes feels like having a guilty secret.  If you dare to come out of the closet about your love of the brown stuff, you can guarantee that at least one person, if not more, will gasp in horror and recoil as though you were some sort of pervert.

Well, fellow Marmite devotees,  that there is no need to feel like a social leper anymore!  The secret society of the Marmarati will indulge your every Marmite fantasy…but like every secret society, there is an initiation test, well, several actually.  No surprise that I’ve taken up the craft challenge and having bought more jewellery supplies, came up with this…

I’m really pleased with it and have been proudly wearing it everywhere I go.  What better way to come out of the Marmite closet?

P.S. The Marmarati is not so secret, if you want to vote for my creation or join the Marmarati yourself, you can find them here: http://www.marmarati.org/list-submissions/?cid=1010  There are some pretty amazing creations on there: a Marmite fascinator and an awesome cross stitch.

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