Green, and blue, and purple too

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So, today has been productive. Actually, the last 48 hours has been productive. I’m feeling really good as this week comes to an end.

Lilia is finished!Lilia

She stands about 20cm tall (just shy of 8″). I’m planning to make her some more clothes, although not all of them will be seperate from her body like this dress and shoes. Trousers would be almost impossible to get on over the feet, the same can be said of sleeves and the hands. That’s not to say I’m not going to try it at some point…

Anyway, I am delighted with how she has turned out. I’m going to try the pattern with larger yarn and needles to see if it scales well then I plan to release this pattern. I think I am going to make some pirates with this basic pattern so feel free to prod me in the comments occasionally.

I have 3 nieces. The eldest is in her 20’s. She is a writer, and a photographer, and an artist. You can find some of her work in the Australian Geographic – photos and articles (the link is to 1 article on the website).  She’s very awesome.

She has begun drawing again and today shared a stylised feather she had done.

I got to colour it! I’m very pleased with this too.

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I limited myself to a red, an orange and all the greens, blues and purples in my pencil box. There were many.

It was really refreshing actually. I haven’t done any colouring for a few days. It was nice to return to it.

Now for the best part!

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Do you see that?! It says we’ve raised £500 for Macmillan!!!!! Thank you again to everyone who has donated.

If you can, please share the page address. They fill an ever growing need in our society and need as much help as we can give them.

Now to return to my pencils, but this time to put them away….

antipodean feather pencils

Designing woman

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I love designing my own dolls, even when it’s just deciding what clothes to put on it but as you saw in my last post, my humanoid dolls are mostly the same.

A friend posted a pic of an aviator doll she was looking at for her daughter and I was intrigued by it. It’s a long and thin limbed doll and quite different to my previous designs so I volunteered to give it a go. I think I’ve got a rough guide to sizing from photos and while I am aiming to make something similar, it will not be the same.

Also, I don’t have the thin crochet thread this designer uses so I’m using a modified DK yarn – modified in that I’ve removed 1 of the 3 strands to make it thinner. I will look for a better option once I’ve got a pattern mocked up and to do that, I need to make it. I can write out what I think will work because I’ve had a lot of practice but to line the hips and shoulders up I need to make it. It’s also a way to make sure that what I’m envisioning is actually possible – sometimes the yarn just doesn’t want to cooperate. Sometimes my hands don’t.

I’m excited to be getting back into designing and maybe if I work this out, I will finally finish the pirate dolls I’ve had half done for 3+ years now.

No photos yet. I’ve only just finished basic body sketches and a rough plan for the pattern.

Don’t forget though, that my existing patterns are currently on sale on Ravelry.

Also, thank you again to all who’ve donated to Macmillan. The website is still taking donations even though I’ve already shaved my noggin. We only need £5 more to take the total to £500!!! I am so delighted!

I hope to have some doll pictures for tomorrow. I work quite quickly with these dolls – I can get a girl with big hair and a dress done in a day – so there ought to be something to show soon.

My week in review

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So I had an idea for what I wanted to blog about today but it skitters away every time I go to write it. So let’s have some shameless self-promotion and a recap of some of my week.

Firstly, you may know that I crochet but did you know that I also design crochet toys?

‘Cause I do. And today I finally got around to sorting out some things with my Ravelry pattern store, so I’m celebrating with a week-long sale.

crochetdolls

No coupon codes needed, just buy one individual pattern and get one free. (There are 3 pattern collections which are not included.)

There’s even some patterns that are always free!

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So, go and download a freebie and if you like it, snag a couple of patterns cheaper than they usually are!

An update on the Brave the Shave campaign – I set my goal low to avoid disappointment and have been astounded by the response!

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I would love to see the amount raised reach £500. If you are able to donate, please do so. I am not able to touch that money and Macmillan are a genuine organisation. Please share the link if you are able to.

We all know someone who has had to deal with a cancer diagnosis – whether they were diagnosed or someone they are related to is diagnosed. Macmillan picks up where medicine leaves off whether the patient is still in hospital or at home, whether they will live or the cancer will take them from the living world.

Since my post on Tuesday, I received 3 new colouring books and determined, after looking through the stack of books that I already own, that I need to finish a few pages before I start anything new. I only made this determination on Friday but it means that I have added 6 finished pieces to my gallery this week alone.

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These are up on my Deviant Art gallery if you want a better look at them. If you haven’t been over there, I also have a zentangle gallery.

Lastly, I discovered an incredible series of mandalas for colouring on a website called Black & White Mustard. The best part, other than the mandalas themselves, is that they are free! So far there are 37 and yes, I have downloaded them all. The artist is Helsinki-based Maria Ljungeld. The first sentence on her ‘About’ page is ‘Drawing is my meditation, let colouring be yours!’ Her designs were a major factor in my seeking out better printer paper for colouring on and I hope to have a completed picture from her designs next week.

So, overall, I would say that I have had a good and positive week. It’s been a week since I shaved my head and I still love it. I even got to add to my colouring book and pencil collections!

By the way, this is what 300 pencils looks like…

300 pencils

(Yes, that is one of my dogs acting as a prop. She was mostly gracious about it but she can turning grumpy sighing into an Olympic sport!)

All The Things!!! or I am a Collector of Crafts.

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I obsess. It is something I do unwillingly. I obsess over my family. I obsess over my thoughts. I obsess over actors and movies. I obsess over crafts. I think even my anxiety could be deemed obsessing in some ways.

It happens when I am mentally well. Sometimes it causes the lows. Sometimes I can exert some sensibility over my behaviour and thoughts. Other times I have to ride it out.

For example, I will watch a movie I like until I never even what to look at some of the actors again (or friends and family want to choke me with the dvd). After the 3 months in hospital last year, I obsess over what certain pain means. When I take up a new craft I must have ALL THE THINGS!!!!!

You saw the spinning fibre, the pencils, the colouring books. You haven’t seen the yarn stash yet. When it comes to crafts, I am a collector.

Though I didn’t need the additions, I got three new colouring books this week and they’re lovely but I am trying to finish some incomplete pages before I start on anything new but I have collected a lot of downloaded pages and will be printing them out soon so really, it’s moot.

The thing is, I do eventually get through these obsessions. The heat of obsession will cool off and the new crafting collection will slot itself into the ever expanding rotation – beading, cross-stitch, knitting, crochet, loom bands, colouring, bobbin lace, spinning, sewing, etc. (You’d be surprised how often the materials for these crafts cross boundaries.)

The downside to this personality trait is that I go through extended periods of not wanting to do any of them, which is accompanied by a weighty feeling of dissatisfaction because I have all these things, and I’m good at them, and I don’t want any of them but I don’t know what I want. I just know that I don’t want to do the things I’ve done before and I don’t want to seek out something new.

It’s a whirlpool of irritation. I don’t like these feelings. I don’t like being unhappy and I don’t understand why it happens.

Maybe it’s a control thing. I don’t know.

Right now, I have some knitting and crochet need to finish and I don’t even want to look at my yarn; my electric spinner is finished and I’d rather use my handmade (chopstick and bathroom sink stopper) handspindle; I want to colour but there are too many lines on the page to make sense them.

I’m planning to go into town tomorrow (for heavier printer paper), maybe that will help get this under control a little. Sometimes it’s just restlessness.

I don’t really know where I was going with this. Sorry.

All the colours! I must have them.

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idlikemycrayonsbackplease

I have never understood why I had to give up my crayons. In fact, most people who know me will tell you that I didn’t. I knit, crochet, cut, glue, pin, sew, colour, and glitter, because it is within me to create. It always has been. My mother tells of how easy I was to occupy with paper, pencils, glue and scissors.

I haven’t gone far really but I suppose that when you find the thing that sings in your heart, you hold onto it no matter what. Or maybe we don’t because the voices of ‘others’ tell us the things we’re supposed to want. I think that is one of the roots of depression – no one wants to be wrong or strange or peculiar so we put away the things we love to fit our round peg into the square hole of social acceptance.

I’ve never been very good at staying with the proverbial pack. I never saw the point. Obviously this does not silence their voices or stop my own insecurities but it does give me something to come back to, and time and again I have seen society learn what I already knew – arts and crafts are good for the soul!

books

You have no idea how much I love that colouring for grown-ups has become so popular. So many books and no one thinks it’s weird when I buy the biggest box of Crayola colouring pencils I can find then buy a second, smaller set for my son.

ALL THE PENCILS

I have a lot of pencils. No, really. I even dug out the Duct tape and old cardboard boxes to make a container to sort them into colours. I think I hit the 500 mark this week though I have thinned out the ones I keep in my box to just the ones that I use (the ones that produce good colour and coverage) so there’s only about 200 in the box. But with this many colours I needed to catalogue them.

bigbookofcolour

Yes, I am this OCD.

And just like with my yarn, I think I have more colouring books than I have years enough to complete but that’s ok. Some of the pages are too ‘busy’ and just looking at them makes me feel tense so those don’t get coloured. Other pages I just don’t like. The vast majority of the pages in each book will get coloured but I have so many for a reason.

handbagbooks

There’s even a couple just for my handbag.

So far, I use coloured pencils exclusively though I do have some markers/pens. I’m still experimenting with them though.

Psychologists and psychiatrists recommend colouring as therapy. Even Carl Jung, one of the founders of modern psychology, recommended it.

An npr.org article titled ‘For Adults, coloring invites creativity and brings comfort‘ quotes clinical psychologist Kimberley Wulfert (everydayhealth.com):

“In coloring, you’ve got this physical sensation of the tool you’re using touching on the paper. You also have the feeling in your hands and fingers holding this tool, and moving in different rhythms as you fill in the space,” she says, adding that “you’re being mindful, and when you move in a rhythmic fashion for an extended period of time, that becomes a meditation.” 

To fill in the space, you have to think about it even if you treat the lines as optional. While you’re thinking about it – the individual colours, the overall look – you can’t be thinking about something else. Colouring takes you away from yourself for a little while and when you’re done, you’ve got something to show for it.

butterfly maze

In the last few months I have created a gallery I like well enough to want to put some of them up in my house. Find my virtual gallery is at deviantart.

It is done.

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On Thursday, I signed up to participate in the ‘Brave the Shave‘ fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support with a goal of raising a very modest £150. The point of the campaign is to stand with cancer patients who have to shave their heads because of treatment. When I saw the ad for ‘Brave The Shave’, it really struck a chord with me.

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When I was 20, my mother was diagnosed with leukaemia and given 2 weeks to live. She beat the odds and is still with us 17 years later. I am so very grateful to the doctors, nurses, scientists; everyone who contributes to the treatment of those who have to go through cancer but I also know that the effects of cancer reach beyond medical treatment. Cancer patients – current and past – need emotional support, legal support, specialist nurses, work related advice, an advocate. Here in the UK, Macmillan specialises in this but they receive no government funding. With 2 in 3 people being effected by cancer either with a personal diagnosis or a family member being diagnosed, Macmillan are a vital part of treatment.

I set my goal low to avoid a renewed bout of depression if the goal wasn’t reached. I know that charity isn’t about the self but I also know my triggers and I can’t put my family through the bad feelings when I can avoid it.

The goal was reached on the day and continues to grow. Thank you to all the donators! And though I set my shave date for the 8th, reaching the goal made me impatient.

Guess what I did on Saturday.

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And I love it! As much as I loved brushing my hair, colouring it etc etc, I think I love this fuzziness even more.

I still have the hair though. I divided it up and put it in elastic bands to make cutting it off easier but I haven’t decided if I will just throw it away or spin it into yarn. The Victorians made an industry out of turning hair into keepsakes – making doll hair, keeping it in lockets, making jewellry, embroidery – and human hair is actually quite similar to some types of sheeps wool (google ‘Wensleydale locks’).

If you are able to, donations would be greatly appreciated. Even if you choose another charity, if you are able to, please give something if you can.

The Great Cataloguing Adventure 2015 – spinning edition

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Fibre-East happens once a year. It is my favouritest yarn related event EVER! It’s only been going 5 years but I have been every year and been delighted to see it’s growth. What started out as a couple of large marquee’s in a field is now being held in a community college and 3 larger marquee’s. It’s fantastic. I think that the best part is the community – knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, and dyers all love to chat and we love to share our experiences and our knowledge. It’s also nice to watch the colour trends and how each dyer interprets those onto yarn and roving.

Being a regular attenders means that some sellers are starting to recognise me. Of course, being that I am very chatty certainly doesn’t hurt.

I was on a budget this year but I still brought home an excellent haul.

FibreEast 2015

Starting in the top left and going clockwise, the fibres are from – Sara’s Texture Crafts, Willo Fibres, Taylor Made Yarns, Yarns From The Plains, and Little Owl Crafts. I have bought from Sara’s, Willo and Little Owl at Fibre-East previously.

These additions led to something of an organisational crisis because I obsess over this sort of thing.

Some of you will be familiar with the brilliance that is Ravelry. For those that aren’t, it is a site dedicated to fibre crafts, specifically knitting and crocheting. It has discussion forums, groups, pattern database of printed and online patterns and ways to organise your equipment. I catalogue my yarn, needles, books, patterns and even my unspun fibres and handspun yarns. I am not particularly fussy with most of these – I have a lot of stuff to catalogue – but I was nearly finished with my current spinning project and couldn’t decide what to spin next.

After looking at my handspun and fibre stash pages on Ravelry, I realised there were places where I had entries for handspun yarn but not for the fibre I made it from and there were fibres I knew I had bought that were in neither place. There was even one that I started spinning and have no entry for and can’t find anywhere and it’s driving me mad trying to remember when I last saw it and where I might have put it.

Anyway, I started with making sure that exisiting fibre and handspun yarns had corresponding and linked entries. From there I dug out the bag of my handspun yarns and made sure they were entered as completed handspun yarns and had fibre entries too. Then I started on the bag of unspun fibre.

It’s a big bag. And I was kinda drowned by its contents…

20150730_130009This was the best photo I could get – under all of that are my legs and most of my torso. My son laughed at how little of me was visible. I carefully made sure each braid of yarn-in-potentia was in a closed ziplock bag then dumped all of it on the floor!

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The blue bag is mostly filled with handspun but you can see why I wanted to get the e-spinner working properly.

41 new entries came from this bag and while most of them are single 100g braids of spinnable fibre, some are more. In my defense, I started spinning in 2009 and sometimes knitting and crocheting distract me from spinning. Sometimes spinning distracts me from knitting or crocheting.

I can work through 100g within a week so this is about a years worth if I actually get through a 100g each week. Not sure if I want to make this a goal. I do a lot of crafts because I have to go where the muse takes me and making something into a goal is a good way for my contrariness to rear its head and decide that I don’t want to do that thing any more for a while. Any thoughts?

I’m still collecting donations for Macmillan Cancer Support as part of their Brave The Shave event. I am planning to shave my head on the 8th. You can still donate after that but donations before it will be extra fabulous. Please give if you can.