Saturday, 20 March 2010

Well Hello!

These two beauties are my new favourites but, since I'm not keeping them I can't get too attached. I usually can't resist giving them names but once you have named them it's a bit tough to let them go.

This chap's destiny is to be an urban sock monster in London, or maybe he'll just sit in the post office depot for a few weeks before being returned to me. What an adventure.

I was so taken with the finished creature, especially the stripey spines and because he looks so good in the Airstream, that I decided to make another similar one. It turns out I had an ideal piece of orange and black sock left over from my very first attempt at one of John Murphy's Stupid Sock Creatures.

It seems a shame to split up these two.

Good luck in the big smoke, oh spiny one.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Crocheter's Block

Oh dear, I am stuck. I can't seem to make a decision about colours.

I have been thinking about making a throw, or blanket for the Airstream. I like the cosiness and familiarity of retro or traditional afghans, but our trailer has a modern interior with a fairly monochromatic colour scheme. I am happy to mix up contemporary and retro styles but I think the colours need to be just right. The granny square blankets lend themselves to fun colours but in this interior it could dominate. So I thought about sticking with the monochromatic scheme, or would that be too boring? What about adding splashes and flashes of colour?

I tried a few sample squares. They were too awful to even show here on the blog. Pete said they were a bit pearly king and queen, which is definitely not the look I'm going for. Maybe squares are too grannyish after all. Perhaps stripes would be better, or one big square radiating out from the centre.

Ooh I don't know. My indecision is making my head hurt. When we had our 1973 VW campervan we could just put in anything red, orange, rainbow-coloured, stripey, spotted and it would add to the grooviness. Mind you we didn't have to live in it.

As a reaction against the black and white disappointment I started a new project with as many random colours as I could muster. This piece is going to be felted and then cut into petal shapes and sewn together to make a flower. At least that's the theory. I'm following instructions from a Nicky Epstein book, except her colours are more restrained. I clearly need to get something out of my system.

Meanwhile I also continue to add to the monster menagerie.

I can't post pics of the finished wonders yet because they are destined for new homes and I don't want to dilute that first encounter.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Do You Really Need Those Socks?

The blame for my still-growing collection of buttons falls upon the sock creatures. Most of them have buttons for eyes, or noses. Previously the only buttons I had around were those spare ones that come attached to a new shirt or jacket. Now I am on the lookout for just the right button-eyes. Also, beads. Is there any hope for me? Is this a one-way slide into haberdashery delirium?

Last summer when we were touring the Highlands of Scotland and rain kept us indoors for a couple of days, I decided it was time to pluck up the courage to delve into "Stupid Sock Creatures" by John Murphy. It had been recommended by a Stitch And Bitch pal from our pre-nomadic days. I had been carrying it around, plus some stuffing and a rather worrying pair of orange and black striped socks for long enough. The time had come to bring these strangers together.

Anyway, John Murphy uses white buttons with a black centre for the eyes. I have never found them, yet. But I've grown used to, and even fond of the vacant look you get with a plain old button. And so far I like them to be quite traditional and buttony. Certain colours can also be a bit scary, which can be OK too.

Reactions to my little sock world vary between "Yes, but what is it?" to "Can you make me one, with a beard?"

More instructions and ideas can be found in "Stray Sock Sewing" by Daniel. The style is less bizarre but still quirky and sometimes cute. There are different techniques too. John Murphy's creatures are usually stitched together inside out then turned out the right way, stuffed and finished. The whole process is accompanied by a frisson of anticipation since you can't really know for sure how your creature will look until the later stages of construction.

Daniel's creations often start with stuffing the main body and head then attaching limbs. There's more embellishment too. So far I have found with this process I can see the creature evolving and can make adaptations as I go. The character of the thing reveals itself sooner and changes can be made if they will suit it better.

I think with both styles one of the most important things is that you can still see in the finished design that it's a pair of socks with some buttons sewn on.