Saturday, 30 May 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #33 Sources of my inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere
Hi all! Since I'm having coffee with a friend this morning I'm not able to post up a picture of my latest projects as part of a post since I won't be going online until sometime this afternoon. Instead I'd like to introduce where what I call cute 'charms'/borders are taken from - crochet books! I mentioned them in passing in this post, but now I can show pretty pictures to you! 

I've already blogged about 500 Crochet Blocks by Hannah Elgie and Kath Webber, since I've learnt how to create cute flowers which I'll be making lots for my current vase coasters projects. 
Here's what the inside looks like - lovely colour photos of the item and then the flower itself.
My first attempt! I'll be using the flower but not the square for my current project.

Flowers certainly are something I want to make more of, especially since I bought Cute and Easy Crochet With Flowers by Nicki Trench. 
There's a bag made entirely from flowers in here! I do have a few ideas zipping around my head, which I'll keep mulling over to see what flower power crochet work I can come up with. 

As some of you know I'm an anime fan, which extends to anything kawaii aka cute & Japanese. It's hardly a surprise I was drawn to this trio of books: they are by a Japanese designer, but since the English editions were ridiculously expensive I went for the French ones, since I can understand French. I will need to use a dictionary to translate the technical terms, but it will be more than worth it - don't they look cute? 
100 borders and something - cute things is my translation! The rainbows and clouds border is perfect for the novel I'm currently writing with both rainbow and cloud magic.

Hearts, hearts, and more hearts! Who doesn't love hearts? Some of the designs are deconstructed hearts, which are still cute ^o^

Aren't the bows adorable? I'm thinking of putting them on baby blankets.
There are rainbows, flowers, cakes, sweets, coffee cups, keys and ever so much more! I do need to get a bit more experienced at reading a picture crochet pattern, which is necessary for each design but my creative self is bouncing off the walls. I'm looking forward to sharing all my attempts with you, the successful ones of course will go for sale on my Nayu's Crochet Dreams Etsy store. Whenever I need a pick me up I simply open one of these books and it's not long before I'm content again! Do let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to see in my blankets, at the moment I'm saying yes to requests!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #32 1st sale and yarn galore!

Sold!
This week I'm awaiting yarn for my first sale on my Etsy store. Before you look too puzzled, I'll explain why I need more yarn for the blanket Autumn Leaf Dreams which has now disappeared off my Etsy site. A family member spotted it and loved it, but would like it to fit a 4 foot bed, so I'm making another square the same size then crocheting around the two squares so I have a suitable sized oblong blanket. I promise to show you the finished results! I know it's family but I'm super exited as they are the person who wants a commissioned blanket. They want one like Pumpkin Patch Dreams which is still available on Etsy.
Pumpkin Patch Dreams blanket folded in quarters
Once July comes around I may consider offering pick your own colour for that style of blanket which is easy to make, and maybe even do custom sizes.Watch this space!

Yesterday I sorted through what yarn I have, as my yarn stash is spread about my room. I'm not showing all the photos but here are a couple so you can see what might be coming to my store soon.
This cotton yarn is destined for a cute blanket!

I have more baby yarn than I thought Which is nice, since I want to do some more blankets for that collection. I will consider using some of the cotton range I have, the yarn which is super soft and perfect for those new to this world.

As you can see it's all go for me. I haven't done much crochet this week yet - been on a reading mission while I recovered from germs. After a few usual chores I plan on an evening full of crochet and audiobooks! Plus some anime too ^o^
As much as prefer putting yarn on the floor when I crochet, my cat would attack it too much!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #31 Irresistable Yarn


Yarn. Beautiful yarn! It's kind of hard to resist when it's on special offer ^o^ This gorgeous yarn which as you can see I've started making a blanket already shouted "It's
 
at the top of its lungs to me, so it jumped into my online basket and soon found my house!

I have to make the point that summer is a season, although associated with hot weather (oh please let us have multiple heat waves this year so I don't need a hated blanket during the day) summer for me is more the months of June/July/August, when it can rain and be quite cold, but the general feeling of summer is about if you look for it.

Naturally it being a bank holiday weekend here in England (aka random national holiday on Monday) there are yarn sales galore! I've got the spec for my first commissioned blanket, so will get some deals on that yarn, and after a long time looking at all the yarn on offer (someone has to look at the shiny yarn with money off, so it may as well be me since I'm the one buying & using it) I'm grabbing a few balls of makes I haven't used before for future projects. I love playing with crochet! Just like cats do...
"It's mine!!!"

Oh, other big news, my competition blanket is now ready to be made to order for you! Check it all out on my Etsy store.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #30 Experimenting with a new project

My life has been all over the place, just like this cute kitten's paws!
This week has been a bit crazy which is why yet again I've missed Tuesday's post out - I was ill Monday, so really tired after work on Tuesday. I wasn't entirely idle when I crashed out on the sofa with dvds - I made this! 
It's a sample square for my 2015 Summer collection Tutti Fruitti blanket. I tried both alternate colours for the border, and using the opposite colours to the big square where the small squares touch its sides. I've gone for the latter, as alternate colours don't look quite right. I know it's a bit hard to see the difference, as the colours are subtle, but hopefully you get the idea of what the blanket will be like. I plan on making several of these 'blocks' so it's kind of like a patchwork quilt. I've begun the first block, but I haven't got a picture yet for you. 

In time I'll make little blankets using any trial blocks which I crochet, as they are pretty in their own right and deserve to be used. Until then, watch this space!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #29 Having a rest

My current work in progress has grown to 3 rows since this picture was taken on Friday night
I'm sorry for not posting anything this week, work has been rather busy, I ended up needing extra rest, then had a brush with a migraine Thursday afternoon. I could have done with staying home on Friday but I went to work, which might be why I'm rather worn out today. So the post I'd planned to put up will have to wait! Nearly 5 weeks until I finish work, and then I'll be focusing on crochet and writing! Until then it might be a bit hit and miss, but hopefully having a quiet weekend will set me back on track. There are several cold germs going around at work so doing my utmost to avoid them. I am getting a lot of crochet in! Since when I'm tired I like zoning out with audiobooks and crochet.
Naturally my cat joins me a lot!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #28 Flower power!

These are my African violes in full bloom when I first got them. No flowers a the moment, hence the older picture. Which makes me amazed at how long they've lasted, as I don't have the greenest of fingers
I don't know about you but I love flowers. They are uplifting, cheerful and always make me smile no matter what kind of mood I'm in. As part of expanding my crochet skills I've eyed up making flowers, but thought I'd wait until I have more time in July to focus on them. Last night, however, I was a bit overtired from being up since 3.30am which was offset by my 5 weekly dose of mega strong pain meds which make me hyper & loopy the following day, so I got into the mindset that I'd try flowers last night, since that's exactly what I do after a busy day of work (not!). 

I picked a pattern that sounded easy from this cute book which was a bargain at £4. I appreciate some of what I'm saying next might not make much sense but I'm including it as it's important. To start the flower in the centre of the ordinary granny square I did the usual single chain plus slip stitch to make a ring. Then I nearly gave up as I had to do 11 double crochet stitches around the ring. 

I was determined to succeed!
I'm guessing you may be thinking the double crochet (dc) stumped me. I don't usually do dc, but with a quick refresher I was fine. I got a bit stuck at 11 stitches. The reason I currently don't follow patterns and stick with my beloved simple granny squares is because by the end of the day (and, to be fair, most of the day) my ability to concentrate is usually hampered by what is called brain fog - I lack the energy to concentrated and think straight. Counting to 11 can be hard to remember. That's why I nearly gave up, as the first time I lost count. 

Meow? Why have you stopped?
Thankfully the second time of trying I didn't lose count - yay! As I formed the petals I became super happy that it was relatively easy. I'm sure that I haven't quite sussed out how to create the final four loops at the back of the flower which will be the start of the granny squares, as my flower isn't quite lifting up (that's the only way I can think of describing it) as the one in the picture but I'm thrilled it ressembles a flower - check it out! 
Mine is on the right, you can see the sample on the left.

Doing the granny square part of the pattern was easy...although I discovered something new as this pattern used 3 instead of 2 chain stitches at the corners. Here's my first finished granny square with flower! 
Not bad ^u^

Since it was nearly time for bed I knew doing another flower wasn't the wisest choice, so I made two small squares, one using 2 chain stitches at the corner and one using 3. The difference is subtle, it makes it a bit more defined so I'm going to use 3 stitches from now on! 
2 chain granny square on the left, 3 chain cranny square on the right

Today I need to work on my final Spring Collection blanket (yes I know it's late but summer doesn't exactly come fast here in England), but since I'm going to be up until 3am Sunday (I have to since my medication makes me hyper and if I don't do it then I'll sleep too badly on Sunday night to be able to go to work Monday) I'm going to get some flower making practice! I'm going to try one part of the flower pattern differently, putting the stitches in the centre of the petals rather than at the centre of the edge to see if that makes my flower 'lift up'. I'll keep you posted on Facebook and Twitter, and report back here later in the week. I'd love to know what you think of flowers and how you incorporate them into your life!
Being a florist remains a dream job due to hayfever & my not entirely reliable way of looking after flowers. I know a friend who is one and who loves it! Check out her work on Blooming Marvellous Flowers

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Deramores 2015 Competition entry

I love how it doesn't matter how experienced you are with yarn craft to enter!

I'm so dreaming of this!

 This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit www.deramores.com for more details

*grins* There's a good reason why I've skipped a few blog posts over the past week. Besides having a close call with a migraine, I've been beavering away on my entry for the Deramores 2015 Competition! The actual competition is revealed further down the page, after my reasoning behind it and the process which I took to make it.

Theme
Rainbows are magical!
First I want to talk about the theme I chose to follow, Rainbow colours. The craft blogger who thought up this theme is Heather Leal of The Patchwork Heart. I suspected I'd like the theme when I saw the top image on her blog, which is super cute. Rainbow colours have always appealed to me - I use a mixture of colours in the Nayu's Crochet Dreams' logo, and frequently see cute ones in anime.
One of my current favourites, PriPara is bursting with colour in every episode as the girls sing and dance their hearts out.
I was inspired when Heather said rainbows don't have to be the traditional one of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, especially considering I can struggle to figure out what colour indigo is without looking it up. 

Colours 
First I had to decide on colours. That was a little hard, but once I decided on the yarn type (acrylic as I want to explore less expensive yarns for my crochet shop) I had a look at the pinks, purples, and blues in several yarn options and settled for this lot! 
 I chose the cream and brown to separate the colours (which didn't happen) I ended up not using the light brown.
 
Attempt #1  
When I first put my thinking cap on, I was going to debut my crochet emoticon blanket.
 
However, not having made it before (or thought to design it on squared paper) it I hadn't got the proportions right, and without explaining a friend didn't know what it was. Since time was a factor I set it aside and opted for a pattern I'm used: rows and squares

More tweaking
Colours and pattern decided, you'd think there's nothing more to be changed, right? Well there was. I tried alternating cream with the colours but it didn't look right to me.
I refuse to enter something I'm not 100% happy with, so I ditched the cream and tried putting the colours one after another - you can see from the smaller square on the right that it worked! 

And so the blanket grows
When starting out my (one of many) crochet bags looked bursting with colour. 
It was a joy to work on because the colours made me happy, and reminded me a bit of an outfit from one of my favourite anime, PriPara
 

Slowly the blanket grew. 
Here it is just as I started attached the border. I didn't take pictures as it grew! Not sure why.
The square border
I'd put squares together to form blankets previously, and thought having small squares using the colours of this competition blanket (minus the brown and cream) would look cute. It took a fair bit of time sewing in all the ends of the colours, making sure I was making them in the right colour combinations (I had to restart several times when I used the wrong colours together - paying attention was important!) 
Here are almost all the squares ready to be sewn up & on
To keep them from getting muddled up I stacked them and tied them with an eleastic band. I then restacked them in the order they would be sewn.
However, it was so much fun! I was excited every time I got my needle and hook out. Here's a glimpse of what the squares look like: 
 If you click on the picture I think you can zoom in and sew that the stitches I used to join them to the main blanket are showing. I quite like this as a feature on the blanket which is why I kept it and why joined the squares the way I did. 

The outer border
More trial and error ensued with the border. I was going to do a few rows of some of the colours, but it didn't look right. I then added a row of brown, and tried coloured rows again, but it still didn't look right. 
 You can see I stuck with the cream which I'd ditched as row spacers earlier. Now, I can't yet read a crochet pattern, and since I get confused with written patterns when I'm tired (which is all the time) I did my usual thing and made it up. There's probably a name for this stitch, but I think it looks like mini fans ^o^ 
Here's Sakura from another favourite anime of mine, Aikatsu, also a music themed one - she's using fans in her song, as well as lots of colour!

The big reveal

Now you know all about my blanket it's time to reveal it in all its glory! 


Scroll down! 



Keep scrolling! 



TA-DA! 

I'm absolutely thrilled with it - I hope you like it! I'm keeping it for myself, but will be creating more in both the same colour scheme and different ones to sell in my crochet shop. 

Looks good folded up
even the back looks gorgeous!


Also good looking in what I call the 'in use' photo ^o^
This is my first ever crochet competition, it has taught me so much about designing, working with colours, how nothing is set in stone especially if it doesn't look right, my love of crochet blankets has grown and so too have ideas for my crochet store! Even if I don't win any prizes I've benefitted from creating my competition entry piece!