Saturday, 31 October 2015

Elephants -- Halloween

And what is a more elephanty theme than Halloween!?! To be honest I'd prepared a whole different set of elephants for this month, but when I went to schedule the post and saw the last Saturday of October was Halloween, I knew I just had to have a look on Pinterest to see whether 'Halloween Elephants' threw up any search results.

And guess what, it did...

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Halloween, but if you're on Pinterest you can't help but get a glimpse of some very creative Halloween costumes and pumpkin art, which is what my selection below is made up from.

1. Take 6 pumpkins of different sizes and a knife and you can make yourself a pumpkin elephant
2. If you don't want a full on Halloween costume, try this arm puppet made using a couple of paper plates and a leg from a pair of grey tights
3. These felt masks are wonderfully detailed - there are loads of plain elephant masks on Pinterest but this is just beautiful
4. Who knew you could get yourself an elephant trick or treat caddy?
5. There are a few elephant costumes around, but this seemed the most sophisticated!
6. I'm not quite sure of the purpose of this, but hey it's an elephant with a Pumpkin head (for some reason this is giving me a bit of a flashback to watching this as a kid)
7. When you absolutely positively need to embarrass your kid in 20 years time
8. Very cute and intricate carving, but surely carving a pumpkin is supposed to produce something scary?
9. Dogs have to embrace Halloween too

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.

All links above are to Pinterest as a number of the items pictured are no longer available at their original link.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Bilbao inspiration

Our summer holiday was spent travelling from Biarritz to San Sebastian to Bilbao and finally Santillana del Mar and Santander. I've been wanting to go to Bilbao for ages to go to the Guggenheim and San Sebastian for the food both were inspiring.

Whenever I travel I get inspired by what I see. I have notebooks full from a round the world trip from spending hours in museums in Bilbao it was the architecture that inspired me.

The Guggenheim Bilbao reminded me of silver beading such as this piece that I started a couple of years ago.

This floral puppy sculpture by Jeff Koons at the Guggenheim Bilbao reminded me of a patchwork toy such as Abby Glassenberg's patchwork elephant. I do love the random nature of the colours and made me want to experiment further with the beaded patchwork design that you can see a glimpse of in the header for my blog.

This building is on the opposite river bank to the Guggenheim, a bit closer to the old town. The colourful windows were beautiful and the white stone a great contrast to the bright blue cloudless sky. It got me thinking about bright and colourful crochet blankets such as the one below from According to Matt.

Opposite the entrance to the funicular railway was this mish-mash of a building. Art Deco, Moorish and modern architecture all in one space. The art deco curves reminded me of the beading on 1920s flappers dresses such as the one shown below.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Knitted dresses

I like knitting (although I prefer crochet). And at this time of year, for the past few years, I've dusted off my knitting needles and started work on Christmas pressies for one or both nieces.

Last year I made this dress - Meredith knitting pattern (Ravelry link). I originally printed it off when it was a free pattern on Let's Knit Magazine website. It's now available as a paid for download from the author.

Beautiful (if I do say so myself). Very intricate lace pattern at the top and bottom of the dress makes it look very girly. But it took me several unravellings and re-starts to get that lace section.

My top tip for dealing with a complex lace pattern is to add a stitch marker between every repeat and studiously count each repeat on each row to ensure you keep the correct number of stitches.

This year I picked a much more clean, classic and straightforward design - the River Dress by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne (Ravelry link).

Photo: Nadia Crétin-Léchenne
The challenge with this pattern was the way it is written. Instructions were basic such as "After 19 raglan increases, there's 58 stitches for the front", but raglan increases with a pattern on the front isn't that easy, or at least it wasn't that easy for me.

My top tip for stitching a pattern with basic instructions is to translate it into instructions you can follow row by row. It takes time, but not as much time as restarting the project every time you identify that you've gone wrong. In the case of this pattern I wrote out row by row the number of stitches for the front, back and two sleeves. I also knitted a swatch of the wave pattern so I could practice it.

It's growing nicely.