Friday, 12 October 2007

Happy smiley faces!

Finally got a moving date - monday 15th for the keys and the van on wednesday! Lots of packing to do!!! So, Smiley faces all round!

This will be me when all the packing and shifting is done......

This will be me in the new house with boxes piled high.....

And this will be me when everything is done and we're settled......aaaahhh, that's better! I think this one has a fixed grin look that says "coping, yes, fine, yes, keeping going, just a bit frazzled really...."

Keep well till then, will post when I can before the internet is cut off!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Hand in glove

Back again! Didn't mean to be so long away - that's what happens when I start experimenting with constructing patterns! I have a desk full of started projects, all with potential that I haven't got round to finishing. So yesterday and today, I have tried to get some of these UFO's finished and online for you to see.

I started working on bag shapes in crochet, playing with shaping, borders and handles - I think this looks too much like a flowerpot, personally, so losing the fur would be a good start and possibly introduce a fastening. A nice funky or chunky button would be nice, I think! It's crocheted on size 4mm and seems a little flimsy to me.

Some close-up details...

I also started on some knitting! Yes, the crochet has been eclipsed - only for the moment - by the five pointy needles of the fingerless glove! When my partner started suffering from the dreaded computer 'cold-hand-on the-mouse-for-hours' syndrome, I decided some manly fingerless gloves were needed! It's a long time since I knitted some of these and it reminded me just how much I prefer circular needles!! I have knitted one so far on the double ended needles but I think I will try two circulars instead for the second one.

Pics so far...

Thank you John for modelling! I promise I'll get to the other one quickly..... Where are those circular needles?!

Blowing away the cobwebs and dust.....

Thursday, 27 September 2007


Hasn't time just flown! I was full of good intentions, ready to tell you all about the Angie Lewin exhibition and didn't manage until now - so here goes!


Angie Lewin produces lovely prints and collage work that has such a retro feel in both colour palette and choice of subject. The stylised flower heads and seed pods are extremely detailed and complex to print - and absolutely stunning to see for real. It did surprise me how small some of the prints were and I must admit the bigger prints did make more of an impression, for me anyway. 'Alliums' is my favourite at the moment - possibly because it is larger and makes a bigger impact in a gallery setting.

All printed designs are limited editions of 40 prints only and the small collage pieces are one off originals.

More pics....

'Speypath III'

'Island with Teasels'

If you are interested in seeing her work and are near Cornwall, you will find her present exhibition at 'Artonomy' at Green Street Truro - link to their site here:
This exhibition runs until the 20th October 2007.

There is also a list of current and future exhibitions on Angie Lewin's website, as well as a gallery of all past and present prints to peruse - lovely stuff and worth a visit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Hats and Holidays

After a busy week so far, there are now more things on the website. Please feel free to have a gander! My new camera has been a godsend for sharp photos - shame the light isn't quite so good now that summer has definitely left us. But on the good side, all the beaches in Cornwall are now relately empty which means I can wander about with my camera snapping away, testing all the buttons.

This is Crantock beach, near Newquay - the tide is way out and has left lots of rippling sand patterns to photograph.

I did try out the new macro lens on my camera and got some good close-ups of the madly coloured seaweed/moss washed onto the beach.

I thought these offered interesting colour combinations, possibly for dip dyeing yarns or fabric for new projects. The colours are subtle but still manage to retain a bright pink element - I like that. Nature is very clever in her colour choices - can't beat it!

Of course, we couldn't go to the beach without some drawing on the best free canvas!

A photo heavy post today - back soon hopefully with more progress and some images from the Angie Lewin exhibition I visited today.

Caio for now,

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Post and pressies!

Look what arrived in the post! Lovely bamboo crochet hooks from China - all ready to go! I have never used wooden crochet hooks before and have just stuck to my good 'ol metal ones. But I was looking for a craft pressie and came across these. They look nice, they look as if they would feel nice to work with too. So, I decided to get two packs instead of one - just to try them out - of course!

My first concern was that they were strong enough - I really don't want to snap these when I've just got them. But they feel quite resistant and after a few minutes you forget that was even a worry. Then you realise that there is no groove in your finger from the metal numbers on your 'ol metal ones - bonus! These ones have printed sizes - love the look of these!

Longer hours can now be spent on the ripple blanket - yey! (which has been sadly neglected of late - due to crocheted aprons and websites!)

So of course, I put these lovely new crochet hooks to the test - something quick to see the results. I also got to test my new double knit undyed lambswool to see how it works up.

Not convinced about the undyed lambswool but I like the picot edging on the bootie.

Also in the post came todays special pressie - my new camera! I had to reduce these pictures they were so good - but BIG! It's a Finepix s5700 and I love it. It is so easy to use and you can just start clicking away. it has 7.1 megapixels and 10x optical zoom and mega close up. You can use auto or work manually, but I must admit, I haven't read through the whole manual yet - too impatient to get going! If you are looking for a decent digital camera then do have a look at the specs - the cheapest deal I found was at and super speedy delivery too.
Will have to take some pics of the new camera with the old!

Well, have to crochet a matching bootie now...... till next time.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Website up and running!!

At last the website is up and running! All your needs catered for with unique decorative textile gifts for every occassion! There isn't much to buy yet but lots to look at. I will be trying to get more on it in the coming few weeks.

So feel free to browse....

Click on the picture or this link to visit La Belle Helene

caio for now - very tired, it's been a long day.............zzzzz.....

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Slide Show!


As promised, pics of the apron - both sides. You can imagine lots of pictures were taken before I was even marginally happy with the results. (Although, I'm still not really. Anything that has me in it will not be a good photo). Thank you John for taking the pictures and having the patience!!!

I like how you can wear this both ways round. Although I think the wide red stripe is meant to be the main front, I quite like having the overlap/wrap side front so I can see the buttons!

And as I was dressing for the occassion.....

Had to match the daisies now, didn't I?

PS. I was trying out a link to my flickr slide show. If you want to see it, just click on the top picture of this post and it will take you straight there. If the 'i' is in the middle of the picture, you can click and it gives you information on each picture. (If you want it out the way, just move the cursor off the picture.)

Friday, 31 August 2007


At last my buttons have arrived from Ebay! Now I can finish the apron properly. A trip to the fabric shop did render up some nice buttons - the strawberry ones, the green, white and small red simple flower shapes and the hand painted wooden ones at the top of the picture, but none of them seemed right on the dress.

So I resorted to hunting on ebay. There I found the big plastic ones, the daisies and twelve red flowers with white centres. The new ones all looked nice BUT still didn't look right. They didn't have enough presence, even the lovely daisies. Because the button size has to be no bigger than 2cm wide to fit through the crochet stitches, the button looks too small and floats on the background. Then I thought, "Do I really need to unbutton this anyway? I can pull it over my head." So maybe I can use the bigger size for just decoration purposes.

So that's what I've done. Big daisies, it holds everything together and it looks right!

If you are really lucky, you might get photos of me wearing it - but as I don't really like modelling, it might well be the tailors dummy!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007


Celtic dreamscapes, ruins, past merging with the present, not quite reality. If you walked through the arch, what would you discover and where or 'when' would you be? Would you walk into a distant, mysterious past full of unknown places and cultures? Would you be as real as the people around you or are you a ghost, unable to interact and only observe? Would this be a logical world or be more transient and fragmented, illogical - like dreams......
What kind of characters would you meet and what kind of conversations would you have? Is this a place of magic and power, where impossible dreams are possible?

If your subconscious chose to portray you as your true self, who are you? 10 years younger? Are you wearing your favourite clothes? But maybe you are now a different you, that you feel you are inside - in dreams - the person that doesn't function or fit quite so well in the harsh reality of the 'real' world.

What is real? the 9-5 job or the true inner self?

'every day the choice is presented to us, to live up to the spirit that is in us, or deny it' - Henry Miller

The beginnings of a series of layered images evoking thoughts, feelings, past, places to escape- dreamscapes. More to come - dream on..............

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A Perfect Gift

Do you ever find that the books and authors you've been reading and thinking quite good suddenly get blown out of the water with a new find? Ages ago, I read all there was available of this author - Guy Gavriel Kay - and then quietly seemed to drift away from him, for some reason. I'm not sure how. Maybe he moved onto a series of books that didn't sound as interesting or maybe the library chose not to stock him anymore. Whatever the reason, I have now redicovered him and it is like being given a perfect gift.

'Ysabel' is one of those books that you keep reading and reading, although you know you will regret it the next morning when you're running on a few hours sleep! For me, it combined mystery, fantasy and the history -or depth - of a place. It never quite gives you all the answers and retains that element of unworldliness throughout.

But now I have finished, I feel there should be more. I want to explore the mysterious places and times in history he paints so vividly. Maybe he has written more or a series? Worth further investigation - there may be other hidden jewels out there, waiting to be discovered!

Monday, 27 August 2007


At last! The red apron is finished! Well, it was finished at 1am this morning but it was a bit too dark for photos! I'm really pleased with it and the colours are lovely. The red is a bit over bright in this photo but not by much!! I added the darker red stripes on each edge at the back and made the top band darker too. Now I'm thinking, maybe I should have put a dark border on the bottom to balance it out - give it a more finished feel? What do you think?

I'm thinking yes at the moment...

I also want to change the buttons as they don't stand out at all but I didn't have any funky ones to hand and wanted to try it out! Something with more definition - I did try white ones but they looked too tacky and cheap. Flower shaped ones would be good but quite hard to button through the crochet stitches I'd imagine! I'll have a look in the shops tomorrow and see what I can find. If not, I'll try ebay -you never know!

Now I've finished this one, I'll have to find another project to do. I have the ongoing ripple blanket - which has been neglected of late - but it is getting a bit heavy now and I like the feel of getting something made in a shorter time span! I'm thinking of a more fitted crochet top or a small 3/4 length sleeve knitted cardi/wrap/shrug - any ideas or links to patterns?

While I'm in town tomorrow, I'll have to get some rechargeable batteries for the MP3 player... yes, already! Too much listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack whilst crocheting, I think! (good motivator for fast crocheting!)

This week, I have to go back to work as the colleges are back for the new term. So, from wednesday, I will have to hoard my spare time for creative endeavours, whatever they will be. I'm intending to work on some new cards and do some sampling for new ideas - I'll let you know how I get on. But first I have to think of a taster session for my new textiles class on wednesday....

Back soon, hopefully with some new buttons and some cards to show you.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Aprons and MP3's

All of a sudden the weekend is rolling around and I'm wondering just what I've done with this week. It's more a feeling that I have nothing tangible or very creative to show for it. So here's a little run down of the ongoing things that are eating up the time...

I have been working on the apron dress - it took me ages just to decide just what colour to use and unusually for me I chose reds (instead of pinks!). The next trouble was "do I have enough yarn to complete the project?" The pattern says 9 x 100gm balls of the main colour and 1 x 100gm ball of contrast. Well, that seems a lot to me but I haven't made anything garment wise for a while so what do I know?

So, off I go. I have now got to 3/4's of the way through this really clear and easy to follow pattern but the yarn is lasting and lasting...... I'm thinking maybe the pattern should have said 50gms instead of 100gms?

I decided I wanted to use red chenille with the strong red wool colour and I have kept the stripe in the middle of the dress but also added two darker chenille edge stripes at both ends. It is a bit of a tester garment and I will work my way up to more complex crochet patterns. I have found this one very easy to visualise and follow, so that's promising!!

I have also been making some cards - the fact that this month has a plethora of birthdays in it, may have something to do with this! I intended to put them in my website shop but most of them have been used! They are posted on Flickr though if you want to have a look.

Talking of Flickr, I have just found a nifty link to They have all kinds of toys to manipulate your images: calendars, wallpaper, warholiser.... The one I tried was the mosaic maker. You get your photos from Flickr and literally place them into a grid of your choosing. Then you can upload it back to Flickr or save the image. You can edit, change, whatever! Here's my mosaic, you can see a better quality image on my flickr site.

Doing this made me realise that I need to take more photos!

Another thing that has been eating up the time is downloading music! Having just got a small MP3 player yesterday, I suddenly felt the need for new music and old music I don't have on cd. So I have been searching and downloading for two days - while crocheting - and realised just how slowwww the whole process is. I have been using some open source free sites so maybe if I paid it would be quicker?! Apparently it has been sunny outside while I have been lost in the gloom of downloading land! Tomorrow it's off to the beach, or something.... Being a sunny bank holiday weekend, I don't know if I will find any space on the beach in Cornwall!

Anyway, another evening or three of crochet and the apron should be done and now I have just the right music to listen to while I work.....

Enjoy your bank holiday whatever you decide to do!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

More than an apron....

Just wanted to share this new free pattern from Monica at Crochet me! Okay, you're thinking "crocheted apron? What on earth?" but just look....

Isn't that lovely? And a simple but clever idea to cross at the back. Thank you Monica for the freebie! That's my weekend sorted. There is also a new crochet book coming out that you will find on the Interweave site - It is full of designs that actually consider the figure and look fashionable.

You can look inside the book and there are links to contact the individual designers too. I really like the '5 o'clock tank' designed by Megan Granholm - but maybe that's just because its pink! Go and have a look!

It's really got me thinking about the shaping in garments and how we have this mental image of crochet=granny. Okay, I do like the irony of deliberately crocheting a granny afghan but I'm glad there are new designs out there that are considered, modern and fashionable. Makes you think about the design and shape of what you wear or create - knit or crochet - and how the basic elements are put together. I feel some experimentation coming on.......

Let you know how it goes!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Rippling along

I've been crocheting away on my ripple blanket for a while now. It's a bit of a mammoth project - a wavy chevrons crochet pattern to fit a king sized bed! I used a random stripe generator for the pattern and change colour every two rows. If you want someone to do all the hard work for you, it's an excellent way to make a stripey pattern. You can choose your colour palette and the thicknesses of the stripes. The permutations are endless and it is addictive! - you'll wonder where the night has gone once you start playing!

I usually like the randomness of choosing colours as I go along, but its a new gadget - and has to be tried! I do find myself saying"I wouldn't have put those colours next to each other" and "the pink came around again fast..." BUT I do like the way it makes you push that safety zone a little. It would be a good project to use up the small balls left in your stash but I felt since I was investing so much time in this project, it deserved a bit more effort on my part as I will look at it when its done and think "I should have just got another ball of magenta. That one odd stripe stands out like a sore thumb!" And it will bug me every time I look at it. I know it. It's happened before....

The pattern is adapted from Soft Waves by Jan Eaton. If you want a direct link to the book at amazon click on the book cover.I've linked to the  page as you can see inside the book on this one - a certain soft waves pattern is featured so you can have a good look if you're thinking of trying this pattern out yourself.

So, my blanket is now over halfway and climbing slowly towards the pillows! Once you get going, you can watch tv and depending how fast - and confident - you are, you can get about 3 or 4 rows done during a film. I average about 30 - 45mins per row but I do end up making a few mistakes when I'm not concentrating. This may seem painstaking but it is my 'doing something when I'm watching tv ' project so I don't mind. And each row does have over 500 stitches - I lost count but the repeat is there so -hey! I'm not the perfectionist I once was. Now it's "can I be bothered ripping back two rows? Nah! no-one will notice that little mistake!! 
If it's for me, then 'no'. If I were to sell it? Rip, rip, rip. rip..........

Getting there....

Any visual progress on the ripple can be seen on my flickr page. You can also click on the flickr link on the top right of the page if you like. There is  a group 'ripplealong' if you want to see other ripples or if you want to take part in a group. There is also a group set of photos on flickr which you can access from the ripplealong site.

Anyway, the ripple is calling and I feel another few rows needing to be crocheted. "Are you sitting comfortably? (munchies, good film, yarn at the ready), then we'll begin........." 


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