Friday, July 3, 2015

Handmade Gifts.

When I woke up on Christmas Day, (yes I know that was six months ago, but I've been busy), the first thing I heard was the DJ trying to get people to call in. His topic: Has anyone handmade a gift this year, and has anyone received a dodgy handmade gift? This topic pissed me off. It implied that handmade gifts are inferior and nobody likes getting them.

As a crafter this really annoys me. I agree not all handmade gifts are great, but they are usually made with love.  Plus the time taken to think about and make a handmade gift is usually much longer than it takes to go shopping for a gift.  Even if you are shopping during the busy Christmas season.  

I guess the real challenge is matching the gift to the recipient. The key is knowing what they like.

Do they have a favourite band?

My Brother-in-Law really likes Regurgitator, so I made him the band for Christmas. (Some of you might remember the Month they spent living in a dome at Federation Square) This is what I imagine they looked like.

Do they have a beloved pet?

My friend was moving overseas and had to leave her beloved cat behind.  So I made her a cat she could take in her pocket.

Do they have a favourite movie?

My work colleague really likes Star Wars in general and Lando Calrissian in particular.  When his birthday came around, there was only one thing I could make.

Do they have a favourite comic book character.

Another work colleague enjoys cos-play.  Her favourite character to dress as is Wonder Woman.  A little crochet Wonder Woman was just what she wanted.

Do they like chickens?


Mum has always liked chickens.  Her family had some in the garden when she was growing up.  When Mum and Dad moved to a new house I made this tea-cosy as a housewarming gift. 

Do they secretly want to be Batman?


One of my colleagues was leaving for a new job.  I knew he was a massive fan of Batman, so I made one for his toy collection.  As an extra surprise I made the cowl removable, and matched the hair colour to my friends hair.

This isn't to say that every handmade gift I've made is a winner.  I'm pretty sure there are some cross-stitch embroideries I've done that are hidden in spare rooms.   However if you put some thought into it, the time and effort of hand making a gift is often appreciated.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 Melbourne Show

This year for the Melbourne Show craft competition I got a bit more ambitious and entered three classes: Amigurumi, Homewares and of course, Doiley. 

I'm glad they've introduced the Amigurumi competition.  Now this little guy doesn't have to compete with tablecloths.

This is the first time an Amigurumi of mine has even placed. 

Speaking of tablecloths, I finally made this.  The convolvulus Supper Cloth (designed by Mary Card).

The edge is a huge amount of filet crochet (around three months.) Then it took about a week to get the fabric centre fitted. Of course I was rushing to do everything before it was due. Did you know that you can get blisters from hand sewing? 

It's all worth it in the end. Apart from finally crossing this off my craft-to-do list, I also have another blue ribbon.

The doiley took a lot less time to make, but was probably more annoying.  So many long chain loops and stitches into chains. I got lost more than once.  

Worse when I finally pinned it out for blocking, I found two mistakes.  One was fixable but only by cutting out a section and crocheting in a patch. The other is small enough that I got away with it.

It won first place in the Doiley Class and Best Exhibit Crochet.

For those of you counting that's three years in a row for Best Crochet.

(That is the same prize, I don't know why the ribbons are all so different.)

One step closer to world domination.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2013 Melbourne Show

The last 18 months have been kind of busy.  So busy that when I sat down to post my 2014 Show results, I realised I hadn't posted last years.  I almost didn't get anything made in time.

I planned on entering two pieces, a Round Doiley and a Star Wars Hankie.  Due to work commitments I didn't have time to actually make the Star Wars Hankie.  Fortunately I had a standby hankie to enter.

It's a little known fact that the Emperor had a specially trained squad of attack squirrels.  At least the judges didn't mind.

Now my sister is the proud owner of a prize winning hankie. 

I nearly didn't get the Round Doiley finished either.  I was up until midnight waiting for the starch to dry. Fortunately those big pointy spikes make pinning it out much easier.

The judges really liked this one. 

Not only did it win best doiley it also beat every other piece of crochet in the competition.

Of course I don't know what the competition was like.  I was too busy to actually get to the Show.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

50th Anniversary Doctors

Last year I went and saw the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. It was awesome! It had Daleks, explosions, aliens and heaps of little things just for the fans. Best of all, there was a new Doctor. So on f course I had to crochet him. 

 I present John Hurt the War Doctor (or 8.5 if you prefer) 

 It was also pointed out by Wondra, that I'd missed a Doctor. There was a movie version of Doctor Who staring Peter Cushing. In the interests of having a complete set, I made him too. 

 The Movie Doctor 

 I don't know where he comes in the official chronology, so I've chosen to place him between 3 and 4.  

With all the Doctors in one place time was bound to go a bit wibbly wobbly. 

 There is still one missing, but I'm waiting to see the new Doctor in action before I start crocheting.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2012 Show time.

As the next step in my poorly thought out plan for Crochet World Domination, I entered crochet in the Melbourne Show craft competition. It is my fiendish plan to stop the production of pastel baby blankets, boring lacy table cloths and freeform crochet bags of dubious quality. To this end I have entered such things as a crochet dalek and a dinosaur, hoping that someone will see them and realise that crochet isn't just about lace and grannie squares. This may be happening in the crowd, but so far the judges have remained unimpressed, (I can't believe the dalek was beaten by a tablecloth.)

That is until this year. Mwahahaha! I entered my Lace Invaders Handkerchief edging into the Own Design category. By using the traditional technique of filet crochet to create pixel art space invaders, I was able to convince the judges that this was just an ordinary hankie. It was awarded first place! Take that freeform crochet bag.

However there was a slight hitch in my plan. Although the hankie did win it's category it was beaten to the overall crochet prize by a doiley. Fortunately the doiley was made by yours truly, the Evil Crochet Genius. Another part of my plan for Crochet World Domination is to subvert the traditional art of doiley making. Instead of submitting another white lacy confection, I use colour in this case blue. (Okay so it's still a lacy confection, but at least it doesn't have ruffles.)

So my dastardly plan has quite a way to go. There are still more lacy old fashioned fripperies that interesting crochet pieces at the show. But I think there is a change coming. For one, there was a tractor covered in crochet in the centre of the Craft Pavilion. Yarn bombing at it's best.

And have a look at second and third placed doileys. (Not too closely because my camera is having trouble focussing.)

They may be old fashioned, but they are in colour. My dastardly plan is beginning to take effect Mwahahahaha!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


3 and a half years ago I got retrenched. Totally out of the blue, one minute I was working on an character design, the next I was called into the meeting room and told, "Don't come in Monday." It sucked.

I wasn't the only one fired that day. In all ten animators and designers lost their jobs. The lucky ones got told that day, the unlucky were still on holidays and didn't get told (via e-mail) until the day before they were due back at work.

To get through this I did the only thing I knew how to do. I crocheted. I made amigurumi for all the animators who got retrenched with me.

It turned out that the company was in massive financial difficulty and being retrenched was one of the luckiest things to have ever happened to me. Everyone who stayed ended up being stood down without pay about three months later.

By now the truth was starting to come out. Basically the company had not been paying any outside contractors, who were understandably angry and threatening to call in their debts. The program we had all worked on was critically panned and no overseas network wanted to touch it.

People were angry and venting their rage on Blog pages and Facebook. You won't find many of these left online, as threatening legal letters followed shortly after any comments were posted. When I found out my Superannuation hadn't been paid I decided to get my revenge. Quietly so as not to get sued.

This is what I made.

Disclaimer: This amigurumi bears absolutely no resemblance to anybody living, dead or animated. The fact that it looks a shady character in the animation industry is completely coincidental.

(This may have been the point where I became the Evil Crochet Genius.)

To cut a long story short our former employer was reported to the Australian Tax Office and they eventually re-united me and my colleagues with our missing money. The company is liquidation and our former boss is being pursued for 9 million dollars. Most of my colleagues have found work either in animation or unrelated fields. Occasionally we all catch up and reminisce about the good old days, when we all worked together as a team. And then we all stick pins into the doll.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Whole Lot of Hankies

One of my favorite things to crochet is hankie edges. They don't take very long and I get to try out some of the many hundreds of edge patterns I've collected over the years. Best of all the finished product makes a really good gift.

These are some of the edgings I've done over the years:

Alice Brooks Design 7283

You'll have to excuse the names. Sometimes if there are only a few edgings the each have a descriptive name, but mostly they just come with a number. Still the design is nice. I like the way it makes four pointed stars. Plus it is really quick to make.

Edging No. 2 Paragon 126 Learn to Crochet

This edging looks good, but it is really annoying to make. You have to get exactly the right number of loops to get the pattern to turn out right. (An odd number on each side for those of you stubborn enough to try.) This particular hankie took 2 years to make. Every time I messed it up it went back into the work basket for about 6 months.

Hankie Edging Crochet Fashion

Another common name for a hankie edging. This one is also good to make. I've made it a few times as is, and adapted it once for my brother's wedding.

Mystery Edging No. 1

This edging I copied from the internet, and I'm not sure which site I got it from. That's what happens when you're sneaking a look at the internet during work time. I think I've lost the pattern too. Which is a pity because I really like the way this one turned out.

Mystery Edging No. 2

This pattern is somewhere in my collection, I'm just not sure where. It was also one of the first hankies I crocheted. From memory it was fairly easy, but that was a long time ago.

Edging No. 2 Australian Home Journal

This one came out a little tight for my likeing. Still it is a simple edge to work and it looks okay from a distance.

Shell Hankie Edging Crochet to Treasure

Another nice flowery edging. Again it's really easy to work.

Shamrock Edging New Idea Book #1

All these shamrocks take a while to work. But then once their done, that's it the hankie is finished. I'm hoping that this hankie will be lucky for someone.

The Squirrel Edging

This one I made for my sister. She loves squirrels. It's a bit much for an hankie, so she may use it as a doiley.

Just in case you think that all this lace is a bit old fashioned. Here is something a bit more contemporary.

Lace Invaders

That's right - Space Invaders now comes in hankie form.