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DIY Crochet Garments

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Hi everyone,

Those of you who follow me will know that I have a somewhat…different…taste when it comes to clothing. I don’t go out of my way to dress outrageously (which is not what I consider to be my style) but I do have a habit of not always following the crowd.

My wardrobe is absolutely stuffed with knitwear, and heaven help me when it gets to summer – I’m going to have to go on a serious shopping  spree!

I was in a lecture the other day with guest speaker Teresa Collenette who was wearing the most AMAZING granny square jumper. She was discussing how charities like Oxfam had turned the traditional ‘Granny Square’ into a money making machine, and utilised the idea of craft to pursue activism.

It’s what sparked the idea for my recent essay that examined the correlation between the popularity of knitwear in conjunction with the popularity of feminism.

It’s safe to say that this lecture really inspired me to say the least.

 

 

As a result of this, I couldn’t resist trying to make something similar myself.

Alongside the blue free-form crochet corset that I shared with you in the previous post, it’s been my other Work in Progress.

Being able to sit and mindlessly crochet granny squares whilst watching Poldark really helps me to relax. (Aidan Turner may also play a part in this…but obviously it’s mostly the crochet!)

 

 

Once I’d built up a fair stash of granny squares, I started pinning them on to my mannequin, and trying to figure out how I could turn them (successfully) into a garment.

Like the corset, this piece is still a WIP, but I’m really pleased with how it’s coming along.

 

 

Working with granny squares reminds me of working with pixels. Building up all of those different squares to be able to create a finished shape that moulds to the body and doesn’t make you just like you’re wearing a blanket that you’ve picked up from a charity shop! – Just a side note – there’s nothing wrong with charity shop blankets, but it wasn’t the look I was going for.

I love having the ability to make my own garments. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as when somebody asks you where you got something and you’re able to say “I made it myself actually.”

It gives me a real buzz, especially when I’ve created it free-hand without a pattern, it makes the garments I create one of a kind, which is something that really appeals to me. Except when I forget to write the pattern down thinking I’ll remember it, and then wake up the next day and have to try and decrypt the stitches I’ve used – learn from my mistakes!

Until next time

Bex

xxx

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 http://www.deramores.com for more details.

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April

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Bloomin’ heck – if someone could tell me where April went, that would be lovely, I seemed to blink and it vanished!

As promised, here’s my monthly catch up with you all, so you can see what I’ve been up to at University, and with the rest of my life!

Starting from where I left you last time…

Those of you who haven’t seen my recently won’t know that I’ve had a change of hair colour. I got fed up with blonde – so as a result, I’m now orange/red!

 

 

I’ve dyed it again since this photo, so it’s actually gone a darker orange now, but I LOVE it.

It also means I stand out in a crowd – which is particularly helpful at work I must say. I had a company manager coming to find me this weekend to discuss selling programmes, and he’d been told “look for the short girl with orange hair.”

There’s not many of those around, especially in Winchester!

A few days after I dyed my hair, me and my friend Sally from Uni went on a little excursion to Oxford. Sally knows Oxford really well, so it was great to explore the city without getting completely lost!

She took me to this amazing little shop

 

 

Where I obviously couldn’t help but treat myself to some yarn – I’m a knitwear student, it was research!

 

@pittriversmuseum #pittrivers #oxford #pittriversmuseum #dayout #museum

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We also visited the Pitt Rivers Museum, which I’ll definitely be going back to, as it’s like one of those Victorian curiosity cabinets, there’s just SO much to see.

I then spent the next week drooling over the yarn I bought in Oxford, I’m about 3/4 of my way through what I’m knitting, but I’ve run out of wool, *queue dramatic music* so I’m going to have to take a trip back there, but I’m going to wait until my deadlines are out of the way on the 11th of May, and then I’ll be FREE!

 

 

Something else I’ve been doing a lot of this month is exploring Winchester.

 

Yesterday's market #winchester #market #bluesky #highstreet

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Not only has the weather been perfect for a spot of exploring, but I’ve been working on a really exciting project as part of the Winchester Hat Fair this year, which, all I can share at the moment, has had me wandering around the city looking at trees!

Watch this space.

 

Pretty Winchester #winchester #beautifulday #bluesky

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Hello sunshine! #sunshine #winchester #cathedral #winchestercathedral #beautifulday

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#tree #paint #inspiration #university #artstudent #blue #pink

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One of the main reasons that I seemed to lose the end of April, was that I had an essay deadline on the 30th, which took up an awful lot of my time to say the least.

I only had to write one essay this semester, so I obviously wanted to make it the best that it could be, even if that meant staying up until 4am on the day of the deadline!

 

#essay #ugh #help #artstudent #feminism #knitwear #feminist

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I won’t go into massive detail and bore you all, but I chose to examine the correlation between the popularity of knitwear in conjunction with the popularity of feminism. It was a pretty exciting and interesting essay to write, you never know, I may share some of it with you when it’s been marked. (providing it’s not a complete failure that is!)

Now up to the present day…

 

Theatre love #theatre #auditorium #curtains #red

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I’ve spent this weekend working at the theatre, which I absolutely love. It’s such a gorgeous venue, and I’m flattered that I can be a part of running it!

As previously mentioned, my final deadline for EVERYTHING is the 11th of May, so currently, I’m lying in bed, making the most of the bank holiday, and working on one of my many sketchbooks.

I’ve had a few ideas for a couple of extra blogs this month, so don’t be surprised if there’s a few more heading your way. Likewise, don’t hold me to anything, because my life seems to currently revolve around uni, work, food and naps!

It’s pretty hectic, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

 

 

Until next time

 

Bex

xxx

January

Evening all,

This month I’ve been working seriously hard at uni…(definitely haven’t had 3 weeks off…) Ok, so technically not AT uni, but I’ve been working on a ‘research’ project whilst our work was being assessed which has involved me being able to drool over vast quantities of knitwear, whilst trying to mentally deconstruct it to figure out how it’s made.

This has been a really exciting project, the tutorial for which I had on Tuesday, and received really positive feedback – so that’s a bonus!

I thought I’d share a couple of photos with you of what I’ve been doing – because as it is universally acknowledged, a picture speaks a thousand words…and doing an arts based course, it’s a bit difficult to explain thing without showing you them

Punch card research #knitwear #productisking #wsa #punchcard #knittingmachine #pattern

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These 2 alpaca garments, a jacket and a waistcoat, were very kindly bought for me by the Godmother.

I love the punch card detailing, so spent rather a lot of time breaking down the patterns and figuring out how I can recreate aspects of them (obviously not directly copying them!)

 

 

I’ve also been making use of a copy of ‘Good Housekeeping – Knitting’ that I picked up in a charity shop for 50p years ago, which is a fantastic reference for hundreds of different types of stitches.

I’ve been developing my watercolour skills, and finally, I think I can say I’ve moved on from the ‘5 year old let loose for the first time’, to ‘pretentious art student who is fulfilling all stereotypes except wearing a beret’. haha. So this was me looking at stitch structures, and how they can be adapted to whatever effect I’m trying to achieve.

 

It’s all great fun! 😀

 

Oh Winchester, you so preeeetty #winchester #sunset #nofilter

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On a slightly more bizarre note –  there was an earthquake in Winchester!

I have to admit, I was in the middle of painting a purple sheep at the time, and my desk shook at a rather inconvenient moment, prompting plenty of expletives and tutting, because I honestly thought that it was one of my housemates slamming a door! Apparently not judging by this news article…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-31009707

That’s really my month in a nutshell. Whilst it feels like a lot has happened (some of which I can’t share with you yet unfortunately), when I actually put pen to paper (you know what I mean), it seems like not a lot has happened at all!

What I can tell you though, it that 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year…watch this space.

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

 

We’re all going on a…

Summer holiday!

Oi oi and Bonjour,

Any guesses to where I am at this current moment in time?

For those of you who guessed correctly, yes I am indeed sitting in a bar on a campsite in France!

I’m at a little place called Le Moulin Fort, in the heart of the Loire valley. So basically the last 6 days have consisted of sitting on a river bank doing very little and working my way through the pile of ‘must read’ books that has been growing since last year.

Sleepy baby #della #dog #cute #animal #yorkie #yorkshireterrier

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Euro Tunnel cancelled our train on the way out here, meaning that our journey took longer than we planned – some of us felt the strain more than others though it would appear. Poor little thing eh? You wouldn’t suspect she’s spent all day barking at the neighbours would you?

#hotairballoon #balloon #france #chenonceau #chenonceaux

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We’re surrounded by beautiful countryside, spitting distance from châteaux de chenonceau, which is a stunning example of French gothic and renaissance architecture, built in 1514-1522.

#chenonceaux #holiday #france #chateaux #stunning #loire #cher

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Who can complain at a view like that?

The weather is brightening up, having rained for the first few days that we were here – it’s safe to say that wasn’t much fun for any of us, being stuck in a tin can in the pouring rain, but it looks set to be rather sunny for the next week, so hallelujah!

Whilst I’ve been reading (I’ll get back to knitting soon…but even I have to rest sometimes!) Dad’s been fishing.

I love this photo – I can just imagine Sadie’s confusion at the fact Dad has been using her dog food as bait – she wasn’t very impressed…

Sorry it’s short and sweet today.

I visited the local zoo yesterday, but instead of bombarding you with photos, I thought I’d share that with you next time 🙂 Therefore,

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

 

 

Alpaca Annie

Good evening everyone!

For those of you who are regular followers of my little blog, you’ll be aware that I normally try and post once a week, and most recently this has been on a Thursday.

So this week, I thought I’d shake things up a little bit, because I’ve had a relaxing day – doing very little, and spending some time concentrating on myself rather than the chaos that has been surrounding me recently (results day is looming!) – and sit and tell you about something rather exciting that I did the other day…

 

This is Haguelands farm.

A friend of mine brought it to my attention when they were over for dinner, and we were discussing (or it might have just been me ranting) about the fact that I really wanted to meet alpacas, because I find working with their wool, absolutely divine.

‘Alpaca Annie’ is based is New Romney, Kent, and are one of the few places in the country that are not only a working alpaca farm, but also offer the opportunity to meet and learn about alpacas.

http://www.alpacaannie.com/

After much deliberation, we decided to book ourselves onto an alpaca ‘trek’ at 10 am on a Friday morning.

So, armed with walking boots, and a sense of apprehension as to what we’d got ourselves into, we headed off to find ourselves some alpacas!

When we arrived at Haguelands, we were greeted by a lovely lady in the ‘Alpaca Annie’ shop, where we waited until the rest of the group (there were 8 of us in total) joined us. Once everyone had arrived, a lady called Lara came and met us, and after a quick introduction, took us to meet the alpacas that we’d be walking with that day.

I’ve only ever seen alpacas from a distance, normally in a field whilst driving, so to get up-close and personal with them was a really amazing experience.

As we walked through the fields, we were greeted by a mass of ‘pacas of all different shapes and sizes…

After a briefing and health & safety talk, we were allocated our alpacas. I was given the ‘gentle giant’, Fennell, and we were taught that as much as you want to just give them a cuddle, the best way to approach an alpaca, is with the back of your hand facing them, because that way they feel more at ease, and then to only touch their necks, because otherwise they may feel threatened.

I made a new friend today. #alpaca #alpacaannie #wool #yarn #knitting #crochet #friend #love #cute #animal

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Walking an alpaca was completely different to anything I’ve ever experienced…I spent plenty of time down at the local stables when I was younger, but an alpaca ain’t nothin’ like a horse – let me tell you!

I saw a lot of my own personality traits in Fennell…good looks, charm, strong willed, stubborn… 😉  meaning that a walk with an alpaca, is more of a gentle stroll, with plenty of grazing in between, and a carrot break half way through…what a life eh?

I love this photo – I was attempting to get Fennell to smile, but instead it just looks like we’re in the middle of a heated debate – I told him not to mention politics!!

Whilst we walked, Lara – the herdsperson – answered all of our questions about the alpacas, and it was a really educational and fun experience – and I even topped up my tan 🙂

When we got back to the farm, we were given a certificate to prove that “We’ve trekked at Haguelands Farm”, and after a few more questions, we went for lunch at the bistro which is situated on site. Lunch was delicious and reasonably priced (you receive a discount if you’ve been on an alpaca trek), which meant that it was a really lovely end to the experience.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who fancies doing something different and trying something new. The staff were so friendly and informative, and most importantly, the alpacas are just so cute!

On a separate note – I know I promised that I’d share what I’ve been making with that blue cotton with you in my next blog, but I think I’ve told you enough to keep you going until later in the week, when I PROMISE I’ll show you some knitting and/or crochet!

I hope you like my little alpaca report – I promise I’m not completely insane…well…no more than usual anyway 😉

Take care and see ya soon

Bex

xxx

OH! P.S – I’ve received some really positive feedback about Granny Willis recently in the form of emails/comments – please do feel free to get in touch at grannywillis@hotmail.co.uk  I don’t bite! I may be a teenager, but I can converse in a language other than grunts and unamused facial expressions…(although possibly not before 9 am)

 

 

I keep having dreams…

Of pioneers, and pirate ships and…Bob Dylan!

This time I don’t expect you guys (well, very few of you) to know the song. For those of you who are interested, ‘I am Disappeared’ by Frank Turner is seriously my favourite song of the moment. Good gracious it’s a sightly addictive song to have on repeat 😀

But what I actually wanted to share with you this week , was this little beauty.

 

 

I’ve never really thought about dream catchers. It’s not something that’s particuarly impacted or inspired my life in any way, shape or form, however…

One night when I was browsing through instagram, I came across a few photographs and BAM! I just HAD to have one.

Although me being me, I refuse to pay silly amounts of money to buy one that has no meaning to me, so with the help of Google, I mad one for myself.

What do you think?

For my first ever attempt, I really don’t think it’s too awful…

Not long after making this, I paid a visit to Maidstone Museum because they had a textiles/fashion exhibition that looked quite interesting (I’ll put a link below for those of you who want to have a look).

 

 

Whilst browsing the other areas of the museum, I came across these African pieces of jewellery, made of bone and shell. The attention to detail amazed me, especially when you think that these would have been made with nothing but the makers hands and a few home-made/improvised tools.

 

#crochet #mandala #inspiration #maidstonemuseum #museum #shell #africanart #detail #knitting #lace

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#crochet #mandala #inspiration #maidstonemuseum #museum #shell #africanart #detail #knitting #lace

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As well as reminding me of my dream catcher, they also gave me inspiration for future crochet projects, because they look a great deal like crochet mandalas or doilies – I just love finding unexpected inspiration!

Anyway. It’s quite a short one this week I’m afraid! Although next week I’ll be able to reveal to you what I’ve been making with that blue cotton, because I’m sure you’re all absolutely desperate to see my next creation 🙂

So for this week, I’ll leave you with the song mentioned above – seriously, it’s a bloody good song. 🙂

Enjoy

Bex

xxxx

Maidstone Museum – http://www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk/

Fashion!

Turn to the left…

Turn to the right…

Please tell me you understood that song reference? Otherwise I’ve just made myself look a little bit silly haven’t I? Oh well!

For those of you wondering, the photograph above was taken at my end of year fashion show at school…sadly I was actually in Malta on the evening, but I’ve seen lots of great photographs that I’m sure will work their way onto here at some point in time!

Now my work has been moderated, I don’t think I have to fear sharing the pieces that I’ve literally put blood sweat and tears into over the last year…

Lets start at the beginning…

My first A2 piece, which I named ‘Annus Mirabilis‘ – translated from Latin as ‘Year of Miracles’ –  is the name of a poem by Philip Larkin, which I was studying in English Literature at the time.

Basically, my project was based around the 1960s, and I’ll now share with you the poem which in theory, should cause it all to make sense…

 

Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) –
Between the end of the “Chatterley” ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

Up to then there’d only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) –
Between the end of the “Chatterley” ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

So following on from that, this is what I created!

This is the back of the dress – the front can be seen in the photo above – it’s inspired by Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe (in case you hadn’t guessed)…

My second A2 piece, was based around the theme of ‘Issues’.

I started by keeping a sketchbook of various newspaper cuttings that I found inspiring/interesting/bizarre, and then progressed to experimenting by combining different types of yarns (such as cottons and acrylics) with different types of printing techniques.

#knittingmachine #knitwear #knitting #printing #green #issues #student #yarn

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This was the result…

I was really really REALLY pleased with this piece. It’s made up of different printed layers, and is entirely machine knitted. Proud is an understatement.

The final title I decided on (which I think aptly summed up how I felt by the end of the year) was…

‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, But I can promise you it wont be boring.’

– David Bowie

Which may seem pretty long winded, but hey! I’m an artist OK 🙂

Well there we go. What more can I say? These are the main reasons why I’ve been rather absent over the last few months, and I’m sure you all appreciate the work that I’ve had to put in, and the pressure I’ve been under!

I’m getting back into the swing of this blogging now – I’ve found it rather beneficial being able to combine my photographs from instagram into wordpress – but I always appreciate feedback, so what do you guys think?? Do you like my most recent blog posts?

Well, until next time!

Bex
xxxx