Laldie Haans Craft Festival

Orkney is getting a new craft festival! Laldie Haans will take place in the last week of April this year, and will be hosted throughout the islands. Events and workshops on crafts ranging from ceramics to origami are in the line up, and I will be running two on crochet! Namely, they will be on amigurumi. For those unfamiliar with the term, it's a Japanese word that literally translates into "knitted toy", and is most often associated with a cute style of crochet toy that is made by continuously crocheting in the round. In the first workshop, I'll be teaching an introduction to amigurumi where you'll learn how to read a crochet pattern, crochet in the round and put everything together to make this little Selkie:

The second workshop will be for more advanced crocheters that are already familiar with the amigurumi process, or are skilled in standard crochet enough to translate their existing skills to making amigurumi dolls. It will be more theory based, and will focus on how to design your own amigurumi. The Selkie in the first workshop shows the basic concepts of amigurumi, but there is so much more to making amigurumi that can make your dolls even more special and unique. It will involve looking at the range of materials you can incorporate into amigurumi (threads, beading, movable limbs, hair, painted eyes, using fabric paints), how to combine different shapes to achieve your design ambitions, and even how to sketch out an idea for a doll and translate it into crochet.

More details on my two workshops, and the festival in general, are to follow. This is the first year Laldie Haans is running; support for it at this stage is vital to ensure it grows year on year, and Orkney is home to a wonderful and talented base of crafters so check in often to see what everyone is up to!

Quick Roundup

I've been so busy over the past few weeks that I've not had much time to blog. There's sooooo much reading to do now that I'm in the final year of my degree that it's taking up most of my time, but I haven't neglected my crafts.

I made this little guy as a sample for workshops on amigurumi that I'll be leading later this year. I'll post more details about it when they're available, but for now, enjoy this cute little guy. His ears and tail are finished with eyelash yarn, which is normally a pain to crochet with, but using it for trim worked well this time.

I've also been knitting a lot of gloves. This pair is made from wool from one of the islands here on Orkney - Papa Westray. It's been sitting in my stash since October, a victim of my "you're so lovely that I don't want to do anything with you so I'll just stare at how pretty you are" syndrome that affects me whenever I get my hands on some yarn that's available in finite quantities.

I've moved onto knitting some Fair Isle gloves using 3ply Shetland wool yarn, and I'm ridiculously happy with how they've turned out. They do, however, need blocked and trying to find glove boards with individual fingers has been a nightmare. I ended up contacting a woodworker on Shetland that I found through the Shetland Arts and Crafts that makes them; I've ordered a pair and they should be with me by the end of the week.

Finally, here's a little preview of a pattern that I'm almost finished writing the complete size-set for. A simple tunic in chunky yarn that's a great introduction to crocheting clothes. It will be available to buy from my Ravelry store in the next couple of weeks!

Amigurumi Design Contest Entry

So graceful...

Well, here she is at last - Annaliese the Amazing Acrobat! At least she tries to be an acrobat, but she usually ends up tripping over her own legs and tumbles into a heap on the floor...

The competition theme for this year was "circus", and my contribution is a colourful ostrich character. I had plans to do a couple of other ami's, but in the end other work took precedence. There's been so many entries this year - all of them are wonderful - but even if Annaliese doesn't win a place, I'll more than likely still write the pattern up and release it myself.

Good luck everyone! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the entries!

Skeletons and Sneak Peeks

I've had my Merlin Tree Hitchhiker spinning wheel for a few months now, but I hadn't gotten 'round to customising it despite sketching out a few ideas. The space on the wheel was like a new sketchbook - I never want to make the first mark in case I hate it and then I feel like the entire sketchbook needs to be written off. Only, a wheel isn't a sketchbook. You can't just rip a page out if you don't like it.

Last week I finally dismantled it and started working on decorating the wheel. Initially I wanted to do a Danse Macabre design, with skeletons spinning on wheels and drop spindles, but I went for a skeletal goat that runs around when I treadle. It's a good indicator for knowing if I'm treadling clockwise or anti-clockwise!

I used a Posca marker pen to outline the pencil work. Because I didn't seal the wood first, it's bled a little, but overall it's turned out pretty well. The subject is probably a little morbid for spinning but hey, it's a goat so it's kind of relevant. Not that I've spun any goat yet, but it's on my wishlist.

Two other things I want so share; first is a sneak peek of one of my entries for the design contest over at Amigurumi Patterns. I've still to set up a proper photo shoot for it, so for now all you're getting is a shot of its fluffy butt. The second is my Little Wave Purse pattern in print! The latest issue of Inside Crochet came out yesterday and the photos of my purse look fantastic.