Saturday, 28 February 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #7 Admin mania

New projects = I'll be changing the yarn in my basket this week!
There's a lot of behind the scenes 'stuff' is going on this weekend, including sorting return address labels (for me personally & Nayu's Crochet Dreams), labels with my name on for each item; this will be Nayu's Reading Colour in rainbow letters; and vaguely temporary business cards. Why vaguely temporary? I hear you ask. It's vaguely temporary because while I would love to have everything bespoke with my unique logo ...
...price wise it's not a practical option yet. I'm waiting until my shop a) is open & b) starts selling items before I'll start making sure my brand is the same for everything I use. Until then I'll use 'vaguely temporary' designs - these are designs offered by the company. I happen to be using Vistaprint UK, I'm not receiving anything by mentioning them, I simply like the look of them, they seem cheaper than the popular Moo business card, and currently have 25% off everything (I think) which is a very good deal for me right now! I am getting the item labels elsewhere, but they are still a bargain price. 

Thankfully this is not me! I'm conquering the yarn, not being attacked by it. Thought it was a fun pic ^o^
 This weekend I'm continuing to work on my paw print pet blanket prototype (try saying that fast 10 times!), as well as starting a spring coloured baby blanket. It's all go!

Next update will be Tuesday. Be sure to enter the current competition that's running to win a blanket made by me! 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #6 A guide for when something goes wrong

Step 1) Hide yourself from the horror of failing...

Step 2) Take a break if you can. You'll get a fresh perspective when you come back to the task, and be calmer too.
Step 3) Try again with extra determination!

The quote I'm thinking of is 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.'  I've no clue of the quote's origin, but if you're really eager you can always Google it. 

I personally like my 3 step version which makes sense in the next paragraph. ^o^  This week I haven't done a lot of craft work because I've been ill and off work for some of it. I was in the minus category of energy levels, so it was anime, light shows & reading which saw me through it. 

I'm on the mend and this afternoon will be back to working on my 3rd attempt at figuring out how to get a paw print on my upcoming pet blanket range. I will do a more comprehensive post once I'm successful with it which will include the failed first attempts, but for now let's just say the first attempt wasn't at all right. The second attempt was nearly there, but was rather fiddly and would put me off making more than 1 of them, which defeats the point of the blankets. The current 3rd attempt so far makes sense to me, in theory should work, and has sparked off other ideas for other blankets like it. I'll let you all know when a prototype is ready to show you. 
There will be paw prints somewhere on the blanket! Picture source

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #5 Best crochet hook ever!

Read on for why this set of Clover Amour crochet hooks is my dream buy!
I'm a firm believer in buying the highest quality craft tools that you can afford without needing to empty the entire contents of your bank account. This is particularly true to crochet. All thoughts in this post are entirely my own opinion, and are by no means set in stone or specific rules which others must follow. It's entirely personal which knitting needle/crochet hook you prefer, so try out a few before deciding which is your favourite.

Crochet hooks come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Google them and you'll come up with zillions of results. Thankfully I didn't need a zillion to find what I liked. Thanks to my background in knitting, I knew I didn't want an all metal hook. 
I run in terror from a sight like this.
 I used bamboo knitting needles because for some reason I detest the feel of metal knitting needles. The same goes for metal crochet hooks. Oddly I can cope with metal sewing needles no matter the weather - where I have used metal knitting needles in the past, knitting in summer wasn't a comfortable experience. 

I already prefer thicker than the average biro because I find it easier to write with. My pen holding technique is far from so called proper ways because I tire fast and can't write lots. It makes sense that I need a slightly thicker grip on crochet hooks.

Now, I did try this Clover plastic hook, because it claims it is designed to be perfect for your hands, comfy,  to be easier on the hands, something which is important since my hands and arms are weak. It drove me nuts within minutes. The rubber bit is only for your thumb. It's not comfy, it doesn't provide a good grip, and I shortly reached for my laptop and looked for other hooks. 

Isn't she pretty? Nabbed photo online since I was too cosy to get up & take one of my own hook - ditto previous hook.
Tada! Here's the Clover Amour 4mm size beauty that I use for all my projects. I don't benefit by mentioning Clover in any way, shape or form.  It works as good as it looks. It's a decent size to grip with my fingers, the entire handle is a rubber material, but not too hard when using for a long time. Plus it's purple, one of the coolest colours around! 

I did buy an inexpensive set of hooks in different sizes when I went through a phase of thinking about using a size of hook which is recommended for different yarn types, so that I could try the size out, then think about buying more of the Clover range of hooks. I didn't think there would be that much difference in how easy it is to crochet, but there is. It wasn't as smooth as I was used to, and I soon picked my Magnificent Purple Hook back up. Because of the work I do, for now I don't (yes, go on, gasp with shock) change my needled to suit the type of yarn I'm using. This 4mm hook works fine on everything!!! 

Pretty! Photo source.
I do suspect in time I will eventually progress to changing hook sizes more often, and yes I would quite like to try a fancy coloured wooden hook, if it's thick enough. 

For now 1 size fits all of my needs. Although this particular hook costs on average £7 including postage, it is entirely worth it for a comfortable crochet session. I'll let you know if I find superior hook, but for now this will stay firmly in my crochet bag, ready for action 24/7.
You can see my hook poking out the top, and read why this bag is so special to me.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #4 Blog schedule

I wish I had this weekly planner! May have to print it & use it when my current one is finished ^o^
I'm not quite yet Empress of Schedules, but I'm definitely Princess of Schedules. Life without a schedule is super scary, and thus not something I like to do. Now, while I have enjoyed making sure Nayu's Crochet Dreams has a daily post this week, and would love to continue to do so, due to my day job, my daily review blog (which has a routine of its own), and the need for scheduled down time to recharge my severely lacking in energy body, I'm only going to post 3 times a week. This does give me extra time to make things for you to buy & win! My posting days will be...

...Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays! 

For now I won't set a specific topic for the posts, as that can be too limiting. That & I like to surprise you ^o^ 

In case you miss the fairly big picture to the right of this post, there's still plenty of time to enter my international competition for this pretty blanket!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #3 My crochet kit

This is where the crochet magic happens! The basket, not the table.
Today I thought I'd show you my crochet tools. I got this basket as a present from some friends nearly 2 years ago. The cute ballerina koala which has a bell that chimes whenever I move is it from when some of my family visited other family who live in Sydney, Australia. 

I will chat about my crochet hook another time, as that information is for a full post and I'm trying to keep this brief as although I went to work today after being off sick yesterday, I'm still feeling peaky & need rest. The problem with this weekend it's time to take my extra strong pain meds which make life rather interesting until Sunday. You can find out more on this post at my other blog Nayu's Reading Corner.

The yellow ribbon which you can see in the main picture is from this!
A keepsake from my childhood
This little bag is from my childhood. I had a matching outfit which may have been a dress. I must have kept this because of how cute it is. I can't remember when I started using it for craft, but I keep my scissors, hook & sewing in needles in there, and I put any ends which I cut off in there too. I do periodically chuck them in the bin, but usually only when it's too full to use ^o^

I plan on working on my idea for pet blankets tonight, while listening to audiobooks and maybe watching some anime. 
I hope that whatever you're doing tonight you enjoy it!

Thursday, 19 February 2015


Welcome to the Nayu's Crochet Dreams shop area! This is where I'll keep you updated on everything that's available for you to buy, including links to purchase on my Etsy store when it is open. Until then you are welcome to buy any items here using Paypal - just contact me with the item you're interested in and I'll be in touch within 48 hours to sort out payment and shipping.

Leaf & pumpkin themed Autumn collection!
I've already put up one post under the shop category, the Autumn Collection 2014 but if you click on the shop below the blog title and you'll get all the currently on sale products! Yes I'm a rusty on setting up a blog since I've not needed one since 2009, so bear with me as I do things a little higgledy piggledy as I think of them.

Coming soon #2 Gallery

 I'm putting this blog together step by step, so something that's coming soon is the Gallery! This is where you'll see every crochet item I make. Some will be for sale, some won't as they are presents or made for some other reason. This blanket made for a young boy in my family. 

I'll include pictures of my cross stitch projects, which will never be for sale but are always pretty, like this cute owl kit which I've just started

That's all for now - see you with new projects very soon! 
I'm off to get crafting!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #2 Bits & bobs

I actually Googled 'anime bits & bobs' & this was one of the first items to appear. I love it! You can find it here
I know the title is a bit generic, but bits and bobs is the most accurate description of both what the post is about, as well as what I'm doing with the blog. I'm slowly adding features as I think of them, trying out new ideas & layouts, so please bear with me. This blog is in the early stage of construction, and like with all blogs will always need elements changed, but I'm well on the way to having it how I want it. 

This is my main at a glance diary as it's really small. I note down various book review events, & now I'll write down what I'll schedule in for my craft blog too! This weekend I hope to sort out my bio & about page.
Today I've pre-scheduled Thursday's and Friday's posts for you - go me! As you can see in the picture above I'm thinking about what I'll be adding next to the site. I'm planning to have a permanent image on the right which will change daily, taking you to my other blog, Nayu's Reading Corner. I want all the posts here on Nayu's Crochet Dreams to be mostly craft based, rather than have lots of linking posts about reviews & anime as they will clog it up a fair amount since I post daily there. It will be updated daily too. That is just the tip of the iceburg of what what will be added here! 
This iceburg is a penguin theme park!
I'm off to relax with cross stitch and reading, as my day off is a day to rest & relax so I vaguely have enough energy for the rest of the working week. I hope to write and crochet later on today. I'll be sure to update you on my latest projects, the ones which I can show you. Some are a secret in case the people involved look at my blog. I'd rather not spoil the surprise ^o^ 
Here's some random cuteness! Bye!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Coming Soon #1 A new range of blankets!

A colleague at work today had a brilliant idea for another range on Nayu's Crochet Dreams - pet blankets! She helps out with a cat charity, and has dogs of her own so know how useful blankets can be. My cat was a rescue cat, who was found by builders in a shed emaciated, with a broken leg and a broken pelvis. She spent months in recovery after surgery, and I know blankets were used to keep her comfy. Blankets not only provide extra warmth when it's colder, but they can be a great comfort to our four legged friends. 
Belle just happened to be near my competition blanket when I took photos of it - I couldn't have got a better pose if I'd tried! She's 7, and very funny. The blanket will be washed before sending on ^o^

I'm not revealing my full plan for the pet blankets, but I promise it is something very cool if I can figure out how to do it. I'd love to hear if there are any particular colours you would/wouldn't like for your furry friend. My cat has an attitude the size of an elephant, so much so last year she refused to sleep in her bed for over 6 months because we changed the blanket. Thankfully I know many cats and a few dogs who aren't as fussy, and with the cute idea I've got your animal will love the forthcoming blankets as much as I do! 

Now tonight was going to be spent reading, but what with having to get groceries for both me, my cat, and my birds, I'm going to settle with anime and...crochet! I may be able to finish the Desert Dewdrop Dreams blanket which you can see in the right menu -> Whoohoo!
Little beats a purr filled hug!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #1 How I fell in love with crochet

I found this cute pic online a while ago ^o^
 On the way home from work today (yes I'm actually writing this on the day I'm posting it, rather than pre-scheduling which I love especially on a work day), I began thinking of all the topics I will make future posts about. This topic, however, is totally spur of the moment and, to use a favourite phrase of mine, I'm winging it! 

I learnt to knit when I was little...but sadly didn't learn from a cute penguin!
Originally I'm a knitter. I promise to go into more depth about my knitting beginnings but for now it's enough that you know I could knit before I could crochet. I've knitted since I was a child, ditto sewing cross stitch, but, due to health reasons which meant my hands and arms didn't do quite what I wanted when I wanted, I've had to give both up for a few years on at least 2 occasions. It's never enjoyable to give up what you love but I didn't have a choice. The plus side is I discovered video gaming, which eventually brought about my anime passion, which is finding its way into my crochet projects!
There will be a full post explaining how this blanket has an Aikatsu theme soon
My memory is a bit vague but I started crochet only a few years ago. I've always wanted to be able to quilt, especially since I love learning about the Amish way of life, and the Amish are the quilt mistresses of the world! 
Since I love leaves this would be a perfect quilt for me! I got it here.
 Well, they are in my eyes, and I'm pretty sure in lots of others too. I have a lovely computerised sewing machine waiting for me to be well enough to use it. 
My ideal self can do a lot of sewing  ^o^
 Unfortunately sewing with a machine uses a lot of mental energy which these days I don't have. I hope that one day I'll go back to it, which may be possible by the end of the year, but until then my machine will gather dust. Poor machine. She's called Rinoa, after the character in the video game Final Fantasy 7. 
Rinoa is quite a rebel - and look, wears knitted clothes!

I promise all this is related to crochet! When I started going back to my local craft shop (I've since had to stop due to health reasons as I need my midweekly rest more than I need to chat about everything including craft), I can't remember exactly what started my interest but I wanted to learn to crochet granny squares. 
This is a cotton dishcloth, made by me, soon to be on sale here
I'd seen them around a lot. Because a lot of the time when I suffer fatigue I can watch shows/listen to audio books, I like to be doing something with my hands. Although now doing cross stitch is easy when tired, pre-crochet it wasn't, and there are times now I don't want to keep looking at a pattern and counting, which takes far too much mental energy. That's mostly why although I knitted a bit, I wanted to learn crochet because a granny square is essentially the same pattern row after row, after row. I don't have to count, and believe me counting to simply 10 can be tricky when I'm worn out. I don't have to worry about tension - I keep a relatively even tension, and for the projects I do I don't need to make sure my stitches fit within certain measurements. I can just crochet. Plus it's not so heavy to hold up as knitting is, also a factor in doing crochet.

I've no idea which anime this is from, but I love that the girls are knitting together at school ^o^
Like all beginners my first square wasn't exactly a square, but with persistance I slowly grew in confidence and can now proudly crochet granny squares even when I'm falling half asleep. I've taught a close friend to crochet, who in turn taught her sister and a friend. I've taught one member of my family who has similar health issues to me and she finds it easier than knitting. Later on this year I'll be teaching another family member who is a knitting pro, but a total crochet newbie. Crochet - in fact any craft - is a sociable skill. It's more than possible to chat away while doing crochet, whether you stick to simple granny squares like me, go for more complex versions, or even, gasp, crochet in rows! Something I can't yet do, but the friend who I taught can. I'm so proud of her and a bit jealous but one day I'll get on to rows...if I want to. I adore my granny squares! 
They look stylish however they are folded. This was for a relatively young boy in my family.
  That's pretty much how I fell in love with crochet. When extra tired I crochet while listening to audiobooks because it's easy for me to zone out, and makes me feel like I'm achieving something even when I can't physically do very much. Crochet makes me feel like I'm one step closer to quilting, because if you use lots of different colour granny squares and put them together they look a bit like a patchwork quilt!
My very first (& so far only) granny square 'quilt' - you only see half because my crochet skills were extremely new, and lets just say that some squares have come undone - this is not how my work is now!
 I have grand plans for my anime themed blankets which will involve plain squares and other squares with different colours in. 

I hope you've enjoyed this first of many Nayu's Craft Time. Please feel free to share how you fell in love with your hobby, be it a yarn/thread/fabric craft or something non-crafty!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Welcome to Nayu's Crochet Dreams! + International Competition

I want to share my dreams with all of you!
It is with great joy and excitement that I welcome you to the dedicated blog of my soon to be open crochet shop, Nayu's Crochet Dreams. It started out on my other blog, Nayu's Reading Corner late 2014

Nayu's Crochet Dreams is about me sharing my dreams with the world through crochet. Each item is handmade by me, filled with happy, positive thoughts, letting the user of each item know they are loved and cared for, even when life throws a lot of curve balls. With every stitch comes the hope you will be encouraged to reach for your dreams, whatever they may be! 
People can't always be with you to give a hug, but blankets can be the filling in hugs until you see someone again
Dreams and compassion are what makes the world go round. Sometimes it's hard to remember that when life gets a bit grim. Nayu's Crochet Dreams items are a reminder of the happier side to life found in the colourful coasters, lap blankets, baby blankets, and fingerless gloves. (The last two items are being made for future collections) 

Each collection will have a theme, and each theme may have several sub-themes. For example my current Autumn Collection 2014's theme is Autumn, and the sub-themes are Autumn Leaf Dreams and Pumpkin Patch Dreams - there will be more on these in another post, to separate this welcome post from the shopping post.

The main reason why Nayu's Crochet Dreams is unique to me, Nayu, is that I'll be doing anime themed collections! These will incorporate colours used for anime characters from their hair and their outfits. Each collection may contain any of the following: coasters, fingerless gloves, blankets. I'm super excited about these because ideas are bouncing about my head for anime including

    I'm currently thinking over ideas for Ichigo's Swing Rock outfit to include the cat ears!

I adore the colour combination of the never named heroine's outfit.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic 
Ideas for character coasters are racing around almost as fast as Lightning Dash can fly! (She's the blue winged pony)

Strawberry Shortcake most recent version
The girls' individual outfit colours are something I'm eager to play around with in yarn form

(Season 6: Bloom, Daphne, Stella, and Musa in the background) What can I say? It's one of my favourite anime shows to watch, so obviously I'm getting ideas on how to include my favourite fairies into my craft work!

I did tweet a few hints before the original release of NCDs,  today, blogged about them, and included them in my 'Today I'm....' picture on the right hand menu of Nayu's Crochet Dreams about this announcement being related to craft by mentioning Sora from the anime Aikatsu.
Sora makes her debut in the fun anime when she launches her own Aikatsu brand, becoming the first design student from Dream Academy to make it with the other major Aikatsu brands which the girls use for all their shows. I'm not designing entire outfits, as I'm not skilled in dressmaking at all, but I am using the simple crochet skills that I do have to bring happiness to others.
Rewatching the episode where Sora's dream takes off seemed to give me the encouragement I needed to launch Nayu's Crochet Dreams. Life is for living, so that's what I'm doing!
I know Sora would agree with me on this!
To all newcomers, be warned that I have a love of cute anime pictures, although here on NCD I'll be posting more item photos than anime pictures. In theory! 
A few are craft related, like this one

I will launch various collections and other items in individual posts in due course. Full details of each item will be given, such as type of yarn, size, price, etc as well as the relevant Etsy link. This welcome post is to say hi, and give you an idea of what to expect here. 

Hi, this is me, Nayu. Well, not actually me - I don't have hair super long or green, but this is the picture I use for my Avatar online.

I'll be giving full explanations on the inspiration for my designs, my experiments with creating my own crochet borders, occasional insight into my yarn stash, and random competitions. 

You can find me on Twitter @Nayuleska and Facebook as Nayu Pitcairn.

I'm in the process of setting up an Etsy shop where you can by my gorgeous lap blankets and more. I'll link to it once it is live, which will be by the end of March 2015. Hopefully it will be live sooner but there's quite a lot of technical 'stuff' which is going to take me a while. For those who don't know me, I suffer from both severe chronic pain and a permanent chronic illness which includes a lot of fatigue. Resting lots means staying off my laptop, and thus no NCD shop work, but it does mean watching anime which gives me inspiration for my crochet, which I also do while resting, often listening to audiobooks or watching human drama as opposed to anime. 
When it suits her I can be found with my cat, who is actually tabby but I can use this picture a lot!
I'd hoped to get the Etsy shop up and running today, but I need to rest soon, so you'll have to be patient. You are more than welcome to buy the items currently for sale on this site in the Shop area by getting in touch with me via the online form in the right hand menu and sorting payment through Paypal - I'm a verified Paypal account holder. I do understand that some of you may prefer to wait for official Etsy shop for security, and I understand that. 

 Competition Time!

To make the wait worthwhile and as part of launching this dedicated Nayu's Crochet Dreams blog I've got a competition for you! 
A colourful dream!
I made this square lap blanket, which measures 71 cm/18 inches specifically for this competition. It's made from a variety of yarn including cotton (white parts) and sock yarn for the other parts. At least I think its sock yarn - all the yarn used was without a label, which is why I can't sell it as I don't know the origins. 

It uses all the colours of the rainbow, reflecting the diversity of both my own dreams, and my crochet dreams which hopefully will be endless. It is a worldwide competition, so even if you live with the penguins and polar bears in the North/South poles I'll send it to you.

Entering is easy, simply fill in the form below before 12pm GMT 31st March. I'll announce the winner after 3pm that day. Please do spread the word wherever you go, so that Nayu's Crochet Dreams can travel across the world and reach everyone's hearts. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by, I hope to see you again soon!