freedom crafting

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Citrus Blossom Bag
100% cotton, crochet.

Remember back here and that ugly unpicking session?

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Well, after that session I ended up with a few spare citrus blossom squares…. so I decided to turn them into a handle for a bag… silver linings!

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I made the bag pattern up as I went. But I have made similar bags before back here, here and here. These bags were adapted from a pattern on Purl Soho here. But this time I wanted to wing it on my own. A bit of freedom crafting.

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Forget Me Not Bag
100% cotton, crochet.

This bag was made with somebody very special in mind and was gifted to that someone special on mother’s day. Hi mum x

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I absolutely love forget me not flowers, and mum likes them too, and her mum (my grandma) loved them too… so the whole theme kinda worked well for a mother’s day bag I thought. I think once you’ve made a couple of bags with the pattern, it’s rather easy to whip up a bag freestyle. And when I say whip it up, don’t be mislead, as easy as these guys are to make, they take ages… So. many. chain. stitches.

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Pretty Belle Bag.
100% Cotton Pink, 100% Wool Blue, Cotton / Bamboo Blend other colours.

I started to experiment a bit more with the colours, yarn, shape and base of this bag. I really love the bell shape that evolved and the extra little ridges near the base.

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And I thought a long handle with puffy stitches would make it lovely and soft on the shoulder and look a bit cute too! The bags that I made a few years back get thrashed. I use them all the time and am always amazed by just how much you can stuff in them. Once you’ve made one you’ll surely want try some freedom crafting with them and play around with the shapes and sizes. And I think they are a rather granny chic style of bringing home your groceries.

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I’m still crocheting my Kiwi Coast Blanket too. I’m loving the mix of colours and the freedom in picking stitches and row colours. But alas there is some serious edging issues going on. The sides kinda move in and out. I’m telling myself it’s just like the waves on the beaches and it’s ok. But I sense a big chunky edging cover up in the future. This blanket is for me so I don’t feel like it has to be perfect. It’s quite liberating actually as I’m ridiculously pedantic for things that I make for other people or the shop. It’s become my freedom crafting blanket in a different way I guess. Which is a perfect match to the meditation sessions I do whilst crocheting it. Kate’s #motifmayday has been a great reminder to me about being really present and quiet and calm whilst I crochet.

Do you loosen up on the perfection when it’s just something for yourself? Wishing you happy freedom crafting and pretty bags to carry your groceries in.

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meditations on the kiwi coast

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So the ever inspirational Kate from Foxs Lane is doing this thing called ‘A Motif a Day for May‘. The idea is you select a craft, most are crocheting a motif, and you meditate whilst you make. Because creating, for most of us, is a form of meditation. It’s that time when you are in the zone and not much else matters.

I think that’s what meditation is at it’s heart… to slow down and get into the zone of something where you are not thinking about what’s for dinner, if the cats been feed yet and if it’s going to rain on your washing! We have so much going on in our lives, it’s not very often when you are thinking or concentrating on just one thing. Whether that’s your breathing in ‘traditional’ meditation, or ripping out that next weed you can reach, or painting or drawing, or cooking up a batch of muffins, or walking in the mountains or along a beach… I think ALL those things are forms of meditation if they are something that you just love to do.

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I’ve been playing along with lots of others on Instagram using the hashtag #motifdaymay, but instead of crocheting a motif I’m doing a row (or three or four) of my Kiwi Coast Blanket. I spend the time thinking about what part of the Kiwi Coast I’m crocheting represents, and I reminisce about our recent roadtrip around the North Island.

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As I crocheted the colours of the Napier shoreline, I thought about its huge waves that crash so close into its shore of shiny black pebbles… of falling asleep to sound of those waves… of the gorgeous jade green beaches…

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As I crocheted the choppy waves of Lake Taupo, I smiled remembering eating a $10 half crayfish we brought from Napier, whilst the Lake Gulls hovered above us waiting for scraps… the blues and whitecaps on the water… the chilly breeze that blew through us as we licked our crayfish fingers overlooking the lake…

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I’m crocheting the Hot Water Beach rows at the moment and it’s sooo lovely to remember that blissful feeling of sitting in steaming hot water, watching the waves roll in… the pretty reflections on the sand as the tide rolled out…. steam rising from the sand looking other wordly yet calm and peaceful…

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I love selecting the next colour I’ll use, and thinking about what stitch I might use with it to conjure up the particular coast, beach, bay, lake I’m thinking about. It’s really helping to slow down my mind whilst I crochet.

You see I’m consistently inconsistent… crochet is many things to me. Sometimes crochet will be my mental escape where I’ll think of nothing else but the stitches and get into a lovely peaceful rhythm. But sometimes crochet will be my mental checklist like I must remember to get potatoes tomorrow and get that load of washing out of the washing machine. Yet with the #motifdaymay awareness, and my Kiwi Coast Blanket theme, I have been relaxing into a peaceful world of sweet holiday memories and colours and stitches. How can it not be restful to the mind to think about relaxing beachy holidays?!

I do feel really relaxed and calm when I crochet this blanket. I think this vibe mostly comes through in the blanket… although… it’s a bit like me in that it has a few tension issues too! I’m hoping, for the blanket, they’ll wash out in the blocking process… and for me, they’ll fade a little as I keep crocheting it.

Are you playing along with the #motifdaymay? It’s not too late join… Just pop over to Kate’s blog to find out more…

Wishing you peaceful in the zone moments…

kiwi cups & the kiwi coast

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Kiwi Cups… just little container thingys really, but I like the sound of Kiwi Cups.

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Named so as I made them up on our recent roadtrip around the North Island of New Zealand… and I thought they looked a bit like kiwi fruit colours… before I added the grey one.

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I’m using them for business card holders, pens, froggy buttons, crochet hooks and I’ve just started using one to pop all those endy bits of yarn you snip off whilst crocheting. I often just have a big ol stack of them on the coffee table, but now they will look neat and organised tucked away in my Kiwi Cups… for a little while at least!

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The kiwi cups were born from my hoarding ways… You see I bought a stack of this yarn, and the balls of this particular cotton/bamboo blend came wrapped around these cardboard cylinders. They were too good to throw out, I knew ‘one day’ I would make something of them.

The idea came to me as I was tidying up my craft room and I started popping pens in the cardboard containers that were sitting around. I suddenly realised I could make them look a whole lot prettier if I crocheted around them, and If I added a base they would actually be practical. I packed a couple in my luggage along with some random lime green yarn hanging nearby, and somewhere between Lake Taupo and Wellington ‘one day‘ finally came.

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Remember my kiwi yarn purchase? It started in Napier and was added to in Rotorua. Inspired by the gorgeous colours of the North Island East Coast, I wanted to crochet a big blanket with all the lovely greens, aqua, turquoise and blues I kept seeing in the oceans, bays and beaches. It would be my Kiwi Coast Blanket. And even better, I had the perfect excuse to find yarn shops and buy more yarn. Serendipity!

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When I got home I realised I also had some colours in my stash from Bendigo Woollen Mills that would really set it off.

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I looked for an inky blue yarn in NZ but luckily I didn’t find any, as I had some already. I just love these colours together and have totally got my crochet mojo on making this blanket. You know, that feeling when you can wait to finish the row just to see how it’s coming along?

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And it’s a big long row… I want a big blanket… this baby is 242 stitches wide! I’m using this pattern as a guide. Huge thanks to Hannah from Not your average Crochet, for the fantastic pattern and great tutorial with loads of photos! From what I read Hannah’s pattern is inspired by Little Woolie’s pattern. Jules from Little Woolies has a great link on her blog with lots of pictures and patterns that can be used in a blanket like this. A big thanks to you too Jules!

I will be changing colours and stitches in my Kiwi Coast Blanket, but I’m also plan on doing larger blocks of colour with the different stitches to add some subtle texture to the blanket. Like the ripples, white caps and waves of the ocean… at least that how it appears in my crochet imagination anyway!

As I’m finishing one row I’m thinking about the next stitch and colour combination… this blanket is going to evolve. I don’t like to plan things too hard or, as you know, stick to a pattern. I’m too fickle, indecisive and disorganised to do that! I’ll either run out of yarn or change my mind before I get the to end of a complete pattern. I LOVE to use a pattern as a guide, but I like to let the blanket and yarn and my mood take me where I feel like I’m meant to go… that’s just the way I crochet.

How do you crochet, knit, craft? Do you kinda make it up on the way or do you plan it?

Whatever works and gives you your craft mojo is the right way in my books.

Wishing you happy mojo moments…

citrus blossom icing

It sounds delicious doesn’t? But it’s not food for the body… it’s nourishing… but in a different way… Meet Citrus Blossom…
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Citrus Blossom Blanket.
100% Pure Cotton, Crochet.

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It’s fresh and full of citrus colours… it looks cheery and happy… much of this blanket was crocheted either on the way to, on way back from or in New Zealand. I think it has the light carefree vibe that our holiday had.

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I love the three dimensional aspect of these flowers. I was originally going to have more of them… but it didn’t quite work… now I’m glad it didn’t. I think nine flowers is perfect. Besides, it works with my OCD about numbers… nine is a great number in numerology and it’s one of my faves.

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I wrote about the patterns I’ve used in this blanket here. And I found a lovely subtle little edge pattern on pinterest here. I love the fresh burst of sunshine I feel with this blanket, it will be going into the shop soon to join a heap of others… all with their own vibe and personality.

I have such a stash blankets that I’ve made… sometimes I wonder if I will ever sell them all… sometimes I wonder if it’s wise I put so much of my time, love and energy into making stuff… but then, out of the blue, I’ll get an email that makes me realise something very important. I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.

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I was thrilled to receive this lovely photo of one my blankets with it’s gorgeous new owner. This dear sweet little baby girl has had a tough start to life, but is finding a smidge of comfort in her blankie. Her mum and dad cuddle her during the day in this blanket, and keep the blanket with them during the day so it has their scent, then when bubs is tucked in at night, she’s wrapped in the blanket to comfort her.
I love to craft for so many reasons, but this… this is the very sweet heartwarming icing on the nourishing cake. I feel like in my own little way, I am putting out a teeny tiny incy wincy bit of goodness in the world. I know it’s only a crocheted baby blanket, but I am humbled and honoured by this story. Humbled to be a teeny part of it, and honoured to have had this story shared with me. How can this not warm your heart? How could you ever want to stop crafting babies blankets after hearing this? So I shall continue to follow my heart and craft, not just because I love it so much that I couldn’t stop if I tried, but because somehow, somewhere deep down, I really believe I am meant to.

Sending healing thoughts out to all little bubs that need it.

May goodness find you on this cloudy but very good Good Friday.

I’ve been doing a bit of this lately…

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Crocheting this… and it hasn’t been all straight forward.

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There was a bit of this involved… it included scissors! Doesn’t that just feel wrong to have unpick something with scissors?

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It was my own fault, I thought I was being a smartypants darning my ends in as I went. But that only works if you are totally sure you love what you are making… I thought I did. It was probably the first and last time I’ll darn as I go… Darn it! (sorry, lame puns are my specialty)

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This is take two. I’m going with the granny stitch in the granny stripe pattern… obviously without the stripes. You can find the granny stripe pattern here in amongst some other lovely crochet and colourful goodness by Lucy at Attic 24. You can find the Puffy Flower Granny Square pattern here, and there’s a very easy tutorial on youtube here by the lovely Clare Sullivan of Bobwilson 123.

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I’ve been doing my bestest to move to the slow, and this crochet in the park session was a big leap in that direction. It was only for half an hour or so but geez it was heaven.

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Remember I showed you a picture of hubbys new natural hide? Ha ha… just made myself laugh at that sentence… for first time readers I should probably include the word leather hey? Leather hide that is. Kangaroo leather to be specific. Anyway, I’ve had these ombre fimo beads for a while now, I made them back here. They’ve been strung on a single piece of leather, waiting for hubby to plait me one of his signature necklaces.

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I really love how the natural colour doesn’t detract from the pop of colour in the beads. And I love that you can adjust the length of the necklaces to suit your outfit. And just look at how fine that plaiting is! He’s a smartypants isn’t he? I think you might see more of these. I’ll just add it to my ever growing crafty to do list.

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My overflowing craft basket, with its two bags of yarny goodness had a clean out recently, motivated by the recently gifted new basket. How cute is it? I absolutely adore the birdies on the handle.

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And lately my inner-nanna has stepped aside for my inner-rockchick. Well maybe not rock, more like country-folk-chick. The Stray Sisters are the two sisters from The Waifs and boy are they amazing. And boy can they hold a tune. And lets face it, who doesn’t love a gal who can rock out the harmonica? It was a two coffee morning this morning thanks to this gig last night. It was great, a fab night out with some very special peeps but I’m feeling a little worse for wear this morning, possibly due to getting to bed at 1 a.m. and maybe thanks to a Mojito too many.

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I also managed to catch the incredible Neko Case recently. Wow wow wow! You can’t walk out of a Neko gig without being blown away by her majestic voice and tight as band. There were goosebumps during the acapella song! So so good. Neko is probably one of my all time favourite artists and this was the second time I’ve seen her… It won’t be the last.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. How about you? Doing any ugly unpicking? Getting to any gigs? Crafted in a park lately?
I’m going to leave you with a couple of links to some songs by the The Waifs and Neko Case… happy listening and happy days to you!

this one

this one

this one

this one

from crazy to slow and a link-a-long

comfort plus love pile
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Comfort + Love Blankie.
Cream: Bamboo & Cotton. Grey: Wool.

This was my comfort crochet project. It’s finished and been given, with love, to somebody very special. There was much comfort taken in making this simple little granny square blanket. It’s the kind of crochet that needs no counting or concentrating, I could just drift into a gentle soft cloud of creating.

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And drifting into gentle clouds of creating is exactly what I needed to do lately…Is Summer crazy or is it me? I mean I do love the amazing fruits of summer…

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And I love to celebrate the birthdays of loved ones whose special days fall into the crazy that is Summer… Even if it is with a slightly failed ‘could be greater crater cake’ … (I say slightly because although it looked like the surface of the moon, it tasted delicious… surprisingly!)

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And I love the flowers of Summer… Despite the extreme heat we’ve experienced, and most of my garden looking like it survived heatwave after heatwave, with little to no watering (ahem cos that’s kinda what happened!), I still managed to find some vase worthy stems… I’m not fussy and I’ll use just about anything in a vase… This one includes olive tree branches, parsley seed heads (again), bougainvillea, plumbago and the odd tough old reliable rose.

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But Autumn, I’m so ready for you and your quieter days and slower pace… I’m ready for the chilly mornings and evenings, and the mild days in between. I’m ready for the beautiful misty mornings… I’m ready for the trees to lose their leaves and show me their strong pretty trunks… that bend and sway with whatever life throws at them… their strength in their flexibility… I’m craving that flexibility to help me move through life’s crazy and slow seasons… tho’ it’s the slow I embrace wholeheartedly with ease…

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I’m starting the slow already though. I’ve passed this old trestle bridge a few times now, but this time… we had time to stop… time to walk the trestle bridge… and time to take some pictures. It was so nice. I’m amazed how these old bridges were built without the modern-day help and technology. Such craftsmanship.

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Good craftsmanship is worth acknowledging… whether it be in building, creating, crafting, or writing. Sometimes it’s not a drive out to the country to walk on an old bridge… sometimes it’s just a click away! I love a little link love in blogs, and I enjoyed visiting some new places the other day after seeing Pip from Meet me at Mikes Link-a-Long post. I’m probably a little late to the Link-A-Long party, but if you’re looking for a dose of being real with a healthy serve of humour and wit on the side, then please do go visit Kate Forster’s blog What Party? … I had the pleasure of seeing Kate speak at a Voices of 2013 event last year. I was so impressed, when I got home I started following her blog… and I never fail to leave it without a little smile on my face.

And if you haven’t heard of Voices of 2013 then you really must visit here, where you’ll find all the winners who were voted then judged to have the best blogs in Australia. SO many great links here… And, you can vote for your favourite Aussie blog here if you want? I have… one of my votes went to Lamb loves Fox and it’s not just because I love the name! The photography here inspires me to want to understand what all those buttons on my camera do… it’s just beautiful!

I hope Summer (or Winter!) hasn’t been too crazy for you? Do you have any links you’d like to share in the spirit of a link-a-long?

May you stumble upon good craftsmanship often.