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By Hook By Hand amazing dolls

I’ve loved Beths dolls for a long time, but only recently I decided to sit down and made some.

If you’ve not seen her blog google it and go there… By Hook By Hand.

She has written several doll patterns each with sets of clothing. The patterns are easy to understand and amazing, plus she has updates for making joints including little wrist joints.

There are 5 dolls that I’ve made so far…

5 Dolls

Starting with the tallest, Bleuette, based on a vintage french doll. Then the 4 spirit dolls in size order, Spirit Doll (black and pink hair, Pocket Spirit (Green hair at back), Mini Spirit (Purple hair) and Teacup (green hair at front).

I love the smallest one, the teacup doll. She has a limited amount of clothing, but they can Beth includes tips on how to change the patterns. The Mini and Pocket dolls are similar in size, the Pocket doll has knee and elbow joints and a lot of clothing whilst the Mini doll has an additional pattern to change the doll into an Elf, Mermaid or Centaur.

The great thing is the patterns are FREE, Yep, it turns out the best things in life really are free.

If you can crochet, even if you’re a beginner have a go at the patterns and you’ll be hooked.

A Mini Spirit doll

 

 

 

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Salvation Army Yarn and Beanie pattern

I’ve been thinking for ages that I should raise some money for the Salvation Army by creating a yarn for them. So using the colours on the Army’s flag (yellow, red and blue) I came up with a yarn using blends of the three colours in 100% merino wool from New Zealand.

Here’s the result.Salvation Army wool

It’s already available on my Etsy shop at £5 for a 20g skein. Does that sound a lot? Well, the wool being 100% wool, from small farmers and shipped to the UK doesn’t come cheap. It’s sorted in Huddersfield by a small family business, then hand spun by me on an Ashford traditional spinning wheel. When you think about it, the price for wool like this isn’t too bad.

You’re not only supporting a worldwide charity in doing some amazing stuff, but helping local businesses survive.

Alongside the yarn I’ve made a little pattern for a simple knitted beanie. It’s got the words Salvationist or Salvation Army written across it and is just the thing for those cold nights caroling.

Salvationist

The chart that comes with the pattern has a complete alphabet and space for you to write your own phrases, I might make one for Brian with the words Band Master on it… then one for Colin with the word Major… Thankfully my corps is small so I’ll be done by caroling 2014.

Anyway, here’s the pattern… Salvation Army Beanie

Hope it’s just what you need for the coming winter months. A 20g skein should do 2 hats at least.

Even if you don’t knit, you might know a Salvationist who does, what a great Christmas present.

If you need more than 20g or can’t see any on Etsy, just email me at bettyvirago@gmail.com

 

 

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Beetle Felt – Course Review

So, following on from recent disappointments I signed up for a one-day course at Beetle Felt in Manchester.

This is actually my third workshop here and I’ve many more planned.

It’s a small place, run in the back garden of their home, but in a purpose built room and a lovely garden created for natural dyeing.

There is also a wider variety of workshops than I realised and new stuff constantly being offered.

I’ve done 2 felt workshops elsewhere, the first left me wondering what had just happened and the little piece of felt I came home with went in the bin.

Every workshop I’ve done at Beetle felt left me confident I could have a go at home. The first course I did was designer yarns, advanced spinning techniques. I went with a list of things I wanted to learn and the list was filled with more besides.

I’ve also done two wet felting courses, and came home today confident enough to have a go on my own.

Some thoughts come to mind…

Nice, value for money, friendly, easy to get to, go at your own pace, know what they’re talking about, Nice (needed to be said twice), relaxed pace.

The website link is below, check them out.

http://www.beetlefelt.co.uk/

Image

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Booby Coozy Pattern Review

I have a new church that I visit religiously, it has two locations, one called Pinterest and the other Ravelry!

Okay, so that’s not entirely true, but it feels like it sometimes.

For those knitters and crocheters that don’t know, Ravelry is the site where all the patterns are, free and paid-for. I’ve been going there for ages now and have a lot of patterns downloaded on my kindle in the belief that one day i will make them.

I’ve promised myself that I will sort them out (I have well over 400) and was looking through them Wednesday when I came across one I’ve been wanting to do for ages.

It’s called the Booby Coozy, made by Keesha Arthur and can be found here (It takes you to another link for the pattern)…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/booby-coozy

I made one at the knitting group on Wednesday (see calendar on the left side for the knitting groups) and donated it to one of the bar staff who thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here’s another one.

booby coozy

The pattern is easy enough, but I made a few alterations which are below.

I used Hayfield bonus chunky yarn, which is a budget acrylic yarn and some scraps of DK for the nipples and bikini.

When making the body the pattern says finish off at round 8. You’ll need more rounds for the coozy to be tall enough, I added 4 more.

When making the nipples I used a 3.5mm hook and made 6 sc (dc in UK) in a magic circle, finished off and pulled closed, I stitched this onto the boobies. That’s up to you, a knot as mentioned in the pattern will give you what we used to call ‘headlights’!

When attaching the bikini, I made the two cup pieces but crocheted my straps.

For bust strap: Ch 40, then join to the first stitch on one edge of the cup, sc across.

continue by sc across second cup edge, then ch 40. FO.

For the Neck strap: Ch 40, join at the top corner of first cup, sc along the middle V of the two cups ending at the top corner of second cup,ch 40, FO,

tie on the bikini.

Any questions, email me.

That is truly one great can cozy, thanks to Keesha for writing the pattern.

One pattern down, still 400+ to go I think.

Do you want your own Booby coozy?

If you want the cozy email your details to me (bettyvirago@gmail.com) with the subject title September giveaway. At the end of the month I’ll pick a name out of the hat and the lucky person can have the cozy plus anything else I giveaway this month.

I won’t keep your details after the draw, or give them out, or add them to any list. I promise.

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The Story of the Roundhay Park Fairies

I live next door to Middleton park and often think how great it would be to leave clay fairies around for people. But I always think of a reason not to go out.

until now…

last Thursday I took some of my latest creations to Roundhay Park for a little photo shoot.

I’m a wee bit nervous about getting the camera out in public so went off-track to a quiet spot. I found a little tree stump and snapped what I wanted, then packed everything away.

Then I noticed this little girl. She’d seen me with my camera and had come over to see what I was taking photos of. By the time she arrived there was nothing but a tree stump.

Her gran followed behind her and then an even smaller little boy. I just couldn’t resist.

I told them about the fairies that live in the woods, how you have to be quiet and look carefully for them and then said I’d caught some and would share them. They each got a little fairy or gnome. Their little faces were a picture and it made my day after a disastrous let down the day before.

It was so nice, not scaring kids for once (I hope).

Anyway, I’ll share some of the photos with you.

Witch in the woodsJust having a restABout to get a new home!!!

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Bradford Art college big let down

A few months ago I got an email telling me about a course at Bradford school of arts and media. It was a 2 year course in constructed textiles and from the email it sounded perfect for me. The main part of the course was in weaving and knitting, designing knitwear is just up my street.

I replied straight away and was redirected to another email address of the course tutor, eventually I managed to speak to her and was told I had to choose between knitting and weaving, (although the original email didn’t say that).

I chose knitting and was told she was about to go on holiday but would send me out an application pack before she went.

Several weeks past, nothing.

I contacted the college and eventually spoke to someone who said the course tutor was on holiday and wouldn’t be back until the end of August. She’d obviously not sent out the application forms so this person would find one and post it to me.

Application arrived, I filled it in and returned it straight away.

I also applied for a student loan – a massive task on it’s own.

I had to prove who I was for the loan, but the only proof they accepted was a current UK passport or a full birth certificate. I had neither, so paid the £10 or so for a birth certificate. Then I found out I also had to have someone sign to say they knew me.

This person needed to be a professional, a UK passport holder, know me for 2 years, not related.

I know people who have a passport, but they’re not UK. Found one guy who had the UK passport, but not a professional. people who were professionals, but hadn’t known me for 2 years. After days of searching I found one person.

Student loan applied for.

Today, after 4 phone calls to the college I got through to the course tutor. Here’s the jist of what she said…

Well I haven’t got your application form, it takes a few days to get from the main office to my office. I forgot to advertise the course in time, so not enough people have applied, and the knitting teacher retired and I haven’t got around to replacing her yet. We’ll have to postpone the course at least till January, maybe even make it a summer course…

Oh and I’m off on holiday from next week.

I’m not all that clued up on colleges, most of my skills have been self taught or through youtube, but I expected a lot more than that.

What do they do with all that funding? Obviously not paperwork.

So, because they didn’t get around to advertising and hiring, and had a jolly good holiday, I have chased around for months for nothing.

Not only that, it’s the idea that I’m just going to accept that it’s too late to be chasing around for an alternative course and have nothing to aim at this year. I’m expected to just accept their bad organisation skills because it’s not affecting their lives, just mine (and I’m not worth their apology).

Bad day.

Moan over.

 

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Did I do that?

A few days ago I sat down with some polymer clay and started making something.

Several hours later I found this on my work desk…

Stan

My clay making is OK, I used to do loads but stopped a while back to do some other stuff. I had been making clay jewellery, which never sells, and I was starting to feel uninspired. I also burnt a few things in the new clay oven I got for Christmas so decided to stay away from it.

Anyway, this little man was on my desk.

I made him, I MADE HIM!!!!

I’ve never heard anyone say this before, but I wonder. Is there a point in an artists life when they are so impressed with what was made that they don’t quite believe it?

This morning I decided to have another go with the clay. Eight hours later I found this…

Vivien the WitchI’m going to have to lie down for a while.

I’ve been going through a strange time recently. So many crafts to learn, so little time.

There’s a long list in my head of things I want to learn, nuno felting, felt hats, Waldorf dolls, bobbin lace…

Not forgetting the drawing and painting I wouldn’t mind having a go at.

I recently got my teaching qualification, and am doing some workshops at Inkwell, all great. I’ve done many weeks now of felt doll making, and my mind is thinking what to do next. I feel like I’m constantly looking for the next craft. I don’t have a business card because I don’t know what to call myself.

I’m a Jack of all trades, Master of none. My home i filled to the brim of craft stuff I want to start, unfinished and untried stuff. I have a list as long as my arm of courses I want to do.

I tried to make a Waldorf doll the other day, it was a disaster. I’m not very good with a sewing machine, prefer sewing by hand. I panic, worried what would happen if I died not knowing how to do this skill.

And then, I made Vivien.

I’m sitting here, thinking I could be good at this, really good. I could persevere with the Waldorf thing, do an okay job and I’d probably think, yeah I made that, what’s next. Or I could accept that I might not know everything. There’s some aisles in Hobby craft I won’t go down because I’m aiming to be a master of something.

I’ll not stick at one skill, I love my spinning wheel and my crochet hooks far too much, but maybe it’s OK to have a few things that you’re great at rather than many that you do fine in.

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Free Pattern, Pepper Pot Doll raincoat

What a busy but great day.

The Pepper pot doll pattern is finished and on Etsy.

One problem I’ve had is not having a scanner. Every time I draw something I have to take it all the way to Inkwell or a local stationary shop (who seem to charge a lot for the service) but perhaps I’ve found a solution.

I found an app for my phone, an HD scanner. Skeptic me thinks how on earth can my phone camera work as a scanner? How will it know the size of my documents?Pepper pot raincoat

I downloaded two apps, Handyscan (free) which turns out is only free to scan, you have to pay $2.99 to get the pictures after they’ve been scanned. The second one HD Scanner cost around the same but at least they were up front about the cost. It’s very simple, didn’t need instructions and has a choice of ways to access the documents.

Anyway, techie talk over.

It does mean that I can get this out today…

Pepper pot doll Raincoat

I’ve not attached a pdf file before so hopefully it works. If it doesn’t email me and I’ll send it to you till I fix the problem.

Hope you enjoy it.

Betty

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Pepperpot Dolls

Pepperpot DollsI am about a week away from finishing the pepperpot doll pattern and am just so excited about it.

The pepperpot dolls is inspired by Gingermelon and the girls from my felt sewing class.

They’re 6 inches tall (the size of a pepperpot!) and have a variety of styles to make each doll just as you want it.

Change the hair style, dress/trouser length, shoe styles and more variety coming soon.

I’ll be posting new pattern ideas, hair styles, clothing, individuality ideas here on the blog for free…

Plus, a wardrobe for the doll is already available on the Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/bettyvirago

What's coming
What’s coming

AND… Additional patterns will be available on Etsy. Turn your dolls into your favourite animals… build a house. Opps!! The house is a BIG SECRET!

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Say What? Badges

I finally got my stuff together enough to start the blog… Hurrah!!!
So here’s the first of hopefully many free makes.

Say What badges.

Really the most important things you need are the polymer clay, brooch pins, pen and oven (and something to put them on in the oven)

What you need
What you need

Next you cut them into shape, I used a rose cutter that had a pointed bit because I didn’t have a circle shape the right size.

Say What? 2

Work the clay into  speech bubble, if you’re really good you might be able to make thought bubbles as well.

Say What? 3

You need a thin piece of clay to stick the pin onto the clay.

Say What? 4

Secure the clay square so it joins the two bits of clay together. In the oven they will set to each other so you don’t need to use glue.

Say What? 5

The clay I used was from Hobbycraft. It’s the cheapest clay (their own brand) and only £1 for a block but I got 13 out of that one block. It’s a bit sticky when worked for a long time, but for this project it works well.

Say What? 6

And here’s the final product. Put anything you want on the badge or sell them blank so people can write their own message.

Say What?

Hope you enjoyed that little crafty bit.

Find me on Etsy (Betty Virago) and see the wonderful things I have for sale, like my page on Facebook, follow me on Twitter or Pinterest or keep che

cking back to see what other makey makes I have.

English: Logo for the UK business Hobbycraft
English: Logo for the UK business Hobbycraft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)