Selasa, 23 Juni 2009

Wicket the Ewok

A few years ago I made my Star Wars mad son an Ewok amigurumi, Wicket to be precise. I posted it up on Craftster, and even managed to write a tutorial on how to make it. It was fairly rough, so in an attempt to practice my pattern-writing skills and try out making PDFs (in the hope that I will be able to put some of my patterns on Etsy) I now present the latest updated version:

Download PDF

**Edited to add**

I know the link above can be a bit unreliable, so I've now also put up a recently updated version of the pattern as a download in my Ravelry store:

Strawberry Picking

We picked strawberries this morning with friends. We didn't have to drive too far, just far enough that we, maybe especially Tommy, could appreciate the shift in the landscape, the sense of country that, fortunately, is not all that far from us.

Senin, 22 Juni 2009

The Raft

Last weekend my dad and Tom built a raft. Tom is nine, so this summer it's time to light out for the territory...

Selasa, 16 Juni 2009

Wandering Poet

We had a quick trip to Charlevoix last weekend, and I wandered around Esperance looking at nuts and tea and wine and chocolate and cheese. I was tempted to get this bottle of sake, but didn't.

Senin, 15 Juni 2009


Last Friday, I had a picnic with a friend who told me about letterboxing. It sounds like a low-tech, artful version of geocaching. I googled it, told Tommy about it, and am now thinking about our own stamp-making project. Here is the summary, as I understand it: you carve your own stamp (ideally...though you could purchase one too), get a notebook, and find clues online. These clues will direct you to woods or gardens or parks, with specific clues about where to find a hidden "letterbox." In that letterbox, you will find a stamp and a notebook. You use that stamp to imprint a new image in your notebook, and you use your own stamp to share your inked carving in the hidden notebook, which you return to the hidden waterproof container for someone else to find. I'm excited to do this but skeptical about my stamp-making skills.

Sabtu, 13 Juni 2009

Party Time!

It was my son's 9th birthday not too long ago, and although he was only having a few friends round he wanted me to decorate a bit. I've been making decorations for his and his brother's parties all their lives - in fact I think that was the first thing that got me into being more crafty. That or the fact that I'm cheap, I hate paying for rubbish party stuff that won't last.

I've made rockets out of toilet rolls, a crocodile out of egg boxes, and a Dalek pinata that I liked so much I made sure only the bottom half got destroyed, and I made a Dalek costume later with the top half.

This year my son wanted a medieval theme - he was getting Little King's Story for the Wii so it seemed to fit. I painted lots of coats of arms a few years ago for a Knights and Princesses party, so I stuck those up, but I thought it would be nice to make something that could be put up for any birthday. So I crocheted some bunting (I'm not sure what else to call it). I already did this for Christmas in green and red, so I made this one multicoloured. It's pretty easy to make, so here's the pattern:

Crochet Bunting

You will need:

Yarn (cheap acrylic is fine) in whatever colour or colours you want. How much you'll need will depend on how long you make it, but if you use two colours, 100g ball of each should get you quite a long way.
6mm hook (US J/10)

Method (using US notation):

Using just two colours is the simplest way to do this.
Work 2 strands together to start.
Ch 48
* Using only 1 strand ch 16, turn.
Miss 1st ch, [sc, hdc in next ch], [2 dc in next ch] 13 times, [hdc, sc in last ch].
Join back into the double strand by working a slipstitch with both strands.
Ch 15 *
Work from * to *, alternating which colour you use to form the spiral, as many times as necessary to fit your room.
Ch 48, Fasten off.

The lengths of chain at the beginning and end are long enough to make loops to go round the end of curtain poles (which is how I secure them), or tie around whatever is handy.

For multicoloured bunting, I changed one yarn after every 4 spirals and simply knotted the new colour to the old, crocheting over the ends.

I also decided, the day before his birthday, that it would be cool for my son to have a crown, so he could be king for a day. I didn't think I had time to make anything so I went along to a toyshop to get a plastic one. Unfortunately it was just a bit too small, so instead I grabbed some yellow felt, sew-on jewels and gold braid and made one. I just folded the felt over three times, cut some points and glued those together, to make them a bit stiffer. I sewed on the braid and the jewels, and put a bit of elastic in the back so it would fit him for longer (and fit his little brother who has a bigger head!). I will sew the points together to make them a bit stronger, but I haven't had time yet.

He loved it and wore it all day, and has worn it several times since, so I was really pleased with my last minute crown.

Jumat, 12 Juni 2009

Dandelion Dragon

I've been thinking vaguely about making some kind of Chinese dragon for a while now. I like their sinuous bodies and the fact that they're usually seen as good-natured rather than fierce. I decided I wanted to make one that was sitting up, so it would seem curious and not so active. This is what I came up with.
I gave him a ruff, which, particularly with addition of horns, gave the impression of venerable white hair and a beard. That made me think of him as a very old, peaceful dragon. I imagine that he moves slowly about the garden, bending his long neck to peer at all the plants and contemplating the world.

I like that Chinese dragons often seem furry rather than scaly, so I gave him a soft, fuzzy mohair spine frill.

I'm very fond of his face and pleased at how it came out, it seems quite youthful and innocent (maybe it's those big blue eyes), but I still feel he's been around for a long time.

Kamis, 11 Juni 2009

My claim to fame

I never know how to start the first post of a blog, and this is my first proper blog, so I don't have much experience. Why have I started this? Well, I like making things, and whilst I already post photos up on Flickr and show things off on Craftster (as Angry Angel), I thought it would be nice to have one place where I could keep everything together.

I have a few projects that I've been working on - I'm re-writing my free patterns and will post them here, I've recently finished a new crochet creature ready to go into my Etsy shop, and I'm busy designing cute little Star Wars amigurumis - but for my first post I thought I'd share my geeky crochet claim to fame.

Nearly two years ago I was contacted by a television production company asking if they could use a photo of Wicket the Ewok that I had crocheted. I said yes, but never heard anything else from them.

Then, last autumn an eagle-eyed crafter contacted me and said she'd seen him on a Channel 4 programme, Bring Back.... Star Wars, with Justin Lee Collins. I checked out the repeat, and there he was! The show has Justin contacting the various actors from Star Wars and trying to get them back together. He had a big board with photos with all the actors, generally publicity shots from their agents. But bizarrely, for Warwick Davies they had a copy of my picture! Anyway, I was very excited to see my Ewok on telly. Here it is on YouTube, you can see the picture after 4m 30s :

However, this was just the beginning. Not long after that I had an email from Hat Trick Productions, asking if they could use my photo of a crocheted Dalek and Doctor Who for an episode of Have I Got News For You with Tom Baker as the guest host. Of course, I said yes (they paid me too, which was even better!), and since HIGNFY is filmed only a day before it's shown, I soon got to see my creations up on screen. Having advance notice was good because I got to tell a few friends and family so they could watch too.
Here's the clip on YouTube: - my photo turns up 1m 20s in. I was rather pleased that none of the panellists were rude, it even got a couple of jokes!
So, that's got me started. If anyone would like to make their own Wicket the Ewok watch this space. I originally put up a simplified tutorial on Craftster, but I've written into a more conventional format and as soon as I've given it a test, I'll be posting my pattern here.

Better than a Backpack

This new bike accessory has already carried 11 books to the library and seven books home. I really like it! The books are good too. Among them: Jim Harrison's In Search of Small Gods, which I am savoring.

Senin, 08 Juni 2009

These city walls

I have begun a new blog over at to chart the work in progress of my latest Mr Maximo and Rabbit adventure, where they investigate the history of the Derry city walls....Why not have a look?


School is out, frogs are out, poppies are out, and we are out.

Rabu, 03 Juni 2009

Quick Trip

A quick trip to Nordhouse Dunes for one night of camping seemed to cure the aches that were left in me. I drove over on Saturday afternoon and met Thad and Tommy and friends Erik and Emma. Tommy had a birthday party to get to at 3:30 on Sunday, so we didn't have much time to linger, but we did have coffee by the fire and a chance to use pie irons. We got on the road at about 12:30. I learned, later, that a room at the Ludington Area Arts Center was dedicated to poet Judith Minty at 3 p.m. It would have been nice to attend that ceremony.

Erik and Emma

Emma: a delightful and confident young aviator, without goggles. Or a plane.

Tommy: Tree Dweller.

Me, Thad, and Tommy