ScrapHappy September

This month’s use of scraps is small, but long-awaited.

May I introduce Arthur C. Vaark, companion to Mr Snail.

He is a scientific vaark with an interest in writing and teleportation, so I’m told.

He was made from one of my old socks and some small felt scraps. Who knows what adventures he will get up to…IMGP4057If you’d like to make your own vaark, the booklet containing the pattern, designed by my friend Danielle, is available for download from here. What better use can you think of for an old sock?

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.


Getting creative

As the ramifications of last week’s referendum become apparent and a large number of our elected representatives exhibit the leadership, statesmanship and charisma of a stale welshcake, it’s hard not to feel completely at sea. I really don’t like uncertainty and so the current situation is not a happy one for me.

So, I’ve decided to take control of of things that I can have an influence on… I’m working on patterns to sell and doing a spot of needle felting with a view to future sales. The state of the pound means that the rest of the world should be clamouring for our exports, so what better time to get some more items in my etsy shop?


Trialling my own work

For a long time I have been planning to write up some of my patterns to sell. Yesterday I finally got round to finding some software to create knitting charts, and so I now have a draft chart for my dancing skeleton (a design I originally created for my masterpiece blanket). Hopefully I’ll have this fully tested and turned into a hat pattern very soon. Ages ago I found some fabulous beads for this project so I am planning, in the near future, to have kits for sale including everything necessary to make one in time for Halloween. I’m currently working up a panel from the chart to check it. In addition yesterday, I packed up the pattern/yarn for another kit that I plan to sell and sent that off for testing, so hopefully that should be finalised soon too.


A variety of ‘vaarks

As I have mentioned before, recently I’ve been having fun making little critters called Mousevaarks from old socks. They were designed by my friend Danielle Lowy (you can buy her booklet, How to Make Monsters & Monkeys, which contains the pattern for them here) and I was inspired to make a crochet/knitted version with a snail shell (snailvaark). The basic shape is so versatile that I decided it would be fun to have a go at creating a tiny mousevaark by needle-felting. So, yesterday, I spent a bit of time honing my skills and creating a little chap whom I have named Lazlo (because his nose tip is a piece of lapis lazuli). Needle felting always starts off looking so unpromising, but it doesn’t take long to create the form you want (as long as it isn’t too big – Lazlo is only 4cm tall).

So, that was me being creative. I just hope I can maintain momentum!

Vaarks on parade

Fed up being back at work after a long weekend? Let me make you smile…

To celebrate the coming of spring, there has been much silliness in Vaark Land. These are the contributions from Chez Snail to the Twitter Vaark Spring/Easter/Oestra bonnet parade:


First we have Arnoldo in his top hat


Next, Iolanthe in a more traditional bonnet


Then Rosalind in a fascinator inspired by Alexander McQueen’s 2008 spring collection (really)


Snailvaark in a classic


And, finally, Tali as a daffodil

And the group together:

You can check out more wonderful creations from my fellow vaark owners on our Pinterest board. Oh, and if you want to make your own mousevaark, Danielle’s pattern is available to buy here.

Did you do anything silly over the weekend?

Busy hands

Somehow, I haven’t managed to put fingers to keyboard for nearly three weeks. Although I haven’t been writing, I have been “doing”. So as a gentle return to blog posting, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been up to…

I’ve finished the hoodie – several times! First, I decided it was too short. So, I put a stripy border on it, but it looked like an afterthought (which, to be fair, it was). I unravelled that and worked a new border in the mixed yarn to match. All done and worn a couple of times before Sam decided to eat the wooden toggles off it when I left it on the bed. New glass toggles bought, and attached and I’m hoping that’s the last time I need to finish it! Of course, as soon as it was completed it for the final time the weather warmed up and it’s been in a cupboard since!

With the warmer weather and all the lovely space in the limery, I have been busy with seed sowing. The peppers, chillies and tomatoes planted earlier in the year are growing, but now there’s lots of pots and trays that we’re watching with avid interest for the first signs of green shoots. Amongst other things, I’ve planted melons, broad beans, coriander, oregano, parsley, courgettes, lettuces and mizuna. There are potatoes chitting and the perennials, including the passion fruit, are growing well. The sunny days have been accompanied by frosty nights, so only a little salad has been sown outside for the time being.

On the craft front, I’ve learned how to crochet star stitch and made a dishcloth to practise; I’m working on a pair of stripy socks; I’ve made another crochet snailvaark; I’ve made several mousevaarks from old socks and given several of them away as gifts; I’ve tested out a crochet pattern from my new friend, Danielle, at The Make It Shop; I’ve sourced jute for my crochet bird roosting pouch kits (on sale soon); and I continue to add a row here and there to the crochet sofa cover.

And then, I’ve also carried on with my letter writing – using real pen and paper. If you’d like a real letter from me, send me your postal address and I will write to you (can’t promise how soon though).

And then, I’ve been doing the laundry, because I’ve finally started sorting the vintage linen hankies and other bits and bobs I’ve been given. I’ve washed and ironed some of the handkerchiefs and I’m currently in the process of describing them and photographing them ready for listing on etsy. It’s very time-consuming, but I really want them to find homes where they will be treasured.

So what with all that and the swimming and working (yes, I still do that too!), the last few weeks have just slipped away…

However, more regular blogging will now resume!

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