Monday, 30 July 2012

The Force is with you!

Long long ago, in a galaxy far far away.... well, a garden in East Sussex to be precise...the Star Wars Meerkat Empire has grown! Using the Force, I've knitted Luke, Leia, Han Solo, and the remarkably cute Darth Vader. Boba Fett has also been meerkatted, and just to cover all options Luke is also available as a ferret (rumour has it, some people actually don't adore meerkats...can it be so?) Can you imagine how much fun I've had role-playing?

 "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi"

"I am your father, Luke"

Han Solo:You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.
 Leia: I happen to like nice men.
 Han Solo: I'm a nice man.

All available from Folksy and Etsy or Zibbet (just ask and I'll add them there)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Yarn competition: What did I make?

Remember the competition I told you about? Homecrafts sent me a box of yarn with the challenge to design and make something. I wasn't allowed to use any additional resources except for stuffing and I've been busily working.

I knew that the mottled wool would work as a meerkat, but because it was much thicker than the yarn I generally use I tweaked my pattern and made a new size, shown below with my big 11" kat and the normal 7" size:

I rather like the natural fur effect of the new yarn. I used the black for ears and eyes and tail end, and the plain cream for the highlight in his eyes.

Next I had to decide how to use the other yarns to dress him. I had pirates on my mind - did you see I was part of the Guinness Book of Records Challenge for most pirates on Hastings Beach? So I thought the black red and green would work well as a pirate's outfit. No additional resources - so no earring! 

I liked how the scarf turned out. I wasn't entirely sure how he'd want to wear it, so made a row of ear-sized holes all along the top edge. Once he'd decided where his ears would go, the end of the scarf could pull through one of the other holes and hold it fast. See the jagged edges of his trousers? 

I was very pleased to find I only used half the fur yarn, so of course had to make another meerkat! 

The multi-coloured sari yarn had screamed "coat of many colours" from the start, so here is Joseph Kat:

His coat is quite heavy, sari yarn isn't at all what I'd imagined it to be. It's really quite thick and solid, so I needed quite large needles. The colour blocks are random, some much bigger than others, but I think it works well as Joseph's technicolour dreamcoat!

Now all I have to do is wait to see what the other competitors have created with the same yarns, and discover how the winner will be chosen! 

Thanks for the challenge to Homecrafts!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Hastings Pirate Day

On Sunday, Hastings beach was the site for a Guinness Book of Records Challenge for the largest gathering of pirates and Mr Nifty and I were there! Early of course, I can never be late...that explains why it looks as if it's a pretty poor challenge in this pic. I'd just put my trusty cutlass down, which is just as well. I realised later that I'd been holding it as if it was a cup of tea, by the "handle" - which turned out to not be the correct way.

the beach slowly starting to fill up...

and more...

and more...

 The finale was a display by the Red Arrows 

but we escaped the madding crowds and went home to watch from our own (slightly less crowded) beach!

Thanks for a great day out - and well done to each and every one of the 14,231 pirates - we're back as the record holders!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Olympic scarecrows

My satnav died on my last week. I thought I was ok, thought I could remember the rest of the route...and then a road was closed!

All turned out for the best though, as I wouldn't otherwise have gone through Battle, and I'd never have known about their Olympic Scarecrow Festival - aren't they fab?

I liked the way this first one is made with tennis and tabletennis bats for limbs

Some fo the shops had joined in, this was in the window of an opticians. The figure is completely made of old spectacles (but not prescription lenses, they're sent to the third world)

This is my favourite!

Very smart sailor!

Even a pole vaulter!

Horse and rider

Swimmer - now there's a challenge!

The fencer looks perfect in front of Battle Abbey.

See the mileages on the torch?

Wonder what they'll do next year?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

After all these years, I'm a dog lover!

...and it's all thanks to my friend Amy from TheGreedyCrocodile!

My mother was in hospital recently and was not enjoying it much. I knew she was desperately missing her dog, so I took loads of photos, sent them to Amy and *drum roll* she made a felted portrait. It's incredibly accurate, I don't know how she does it!

Go on then - I defy you to tell the difference...well, I suppose Amy's thumb gives it away a bit.

After seeing Archie, I had to ask Amy to make my favourite dog, Whisper. She belongs to my aunt, who is a lifelong dog trainer. She qualified for Crufts Obedience Trials once, but sadly the dog was ill so she didn't get there. My aunt used to do regular dog displays at fetes. When I was a child I was often roped in as a dog jump! I'd stand there in the middle of the field, hands on knees, and dogs would hurdle me. Wouldn't happen these days.

Anyway - Whisper, her current dog, is very clever. She's taught herself to tidy up her toys (shame children don't learn so quickly) and carries her ball-on-a-string by hooking it over a tooth. She's worked out that means she can still pant!

Here she is:

And here's the new version (the grass is too wet to put her down!)

Thanks Amy! If you'd like your pet immortalised by Amy, here's the link for dog portraits. She doesn't only do dogs though, oh no - there are mad scientists, cats, ponies, dragons, bears - even a dismembered FOOT! Check out TheGreedyCrocodile today :-)

Monday, 16 July 2012

A new challenge!

Last week I was invited to take part in a competition with 9 other craft bloggers.

I agreed, and a few days later a parcel of mixed yarns from Homecrafts  arrived!

Exciting! First yarn looks like it has possibilities as the base of my design.

Two quite fine yarns - I like the sparkly green, they'll be good for accents.

Cream and black - hmm, think I know what I'm going to do.

And finally - "WOW!" This is sari silk. According to my friend MrGoogle, it's recycled from leftover sari ends and then respun by hand. The colours are as vibrant as you'd imagine, lots of texture, all different thicknesses throughout the hank. This will be the defining feature of the design.

Now all I have to decide is which of my ideas to choose, and get knitting!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A night out for the camera


Most days we walk on the beach at low tide, we like scrambling amongst the rock pools. Friday, though, we  got the timings wrong and walked at high tide when it looks like this.

On Saturday, I couldn't find the camera. We looked in all the usual places, and the silly ones too (how many of you have found unlikely lost objects in the fridge?)

Eventually we realised it must have fallen from my pocket the evening before - after which it had rained virtually all night, not to mention the tide turning. Nonetheless we decided to retrace our steps - and found it!

Who'd have thought? I opened the very soggy case to find a fair bit of sand which must have been washed in by the waves, but to my surprise the camera turned on and showed me the photos on the card. A night drying out on paper towels, and it is pretty much back to normal - as shown by the photo above, taken Sunday morning from the clifftop path.

Hurray for living out in the sticks! 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Meerkats meet the stars!

It's convention time again, and MeerkatFriend Barry has taken some new kats to meet their human counterparts. I'll add the new ones here, but you can see the whole lot at once on the Meerkat Fan Photo page

Michael Winslow, Sgt Larvell Jones from Police Academy:

Star of Primeval, Hannah Spearritt. I remember her from SClub7 too! 

Oh my - Jeri Ryan! I'm thrilled that she remembered that I'd sent her a Meerkat 7of9 some while back - she even remembered that her own kat doesn't have hair. I added hair to the design when I heard Barry would be meeting her.

Nichelle Nicols is as lovely now as she was as Uhura in the original Star Trek. I added hair to her design too. I didn't like my meerkats with hair at first, but the ladies do need it I think!

Worf - Michel Dorn - one of the few stars who are taller than Barry!

Thanks Barry! There is a mega convention coming up in the Autumn when Barry will meet all 5 Captains. We've designed each of them as "big" meerkats and Barry is training as a quick-change-meerkat wrangler!

Big Captains available from Etsy and Folksy

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Guitars of one sort or another!

I've been knitting guitarists recently, both acoustic ...

and electric...

so when I caught a glimpse of an advert on TV recently I rushed straight to youtube because it is FABULOUS!

I have watched it over and over, the detail is great - did you see the kids doing the "Shadows walk" on the balcony? I hadn't realised anyone younger than me had even heard of Hank and his legendary guitar playing with Cliff and the Shadows.