Posts Tagged ‘Amigurumi’

Two hundred books and all’s well

Friday, 11 July 2008

A pretty satisfying day, all things considered.

I have nearly finished the body of Syd Rabbit, and I have begun his tummy cover. This was on the way home, when I didn’t have his stuffing with me, of course, so went on to another part without closing the body up. I meant to finish the body this evening, but other things came up, and it’s a bit late now, as I keep my toy stuffing materials in a drawer in my flatmate’s room. There are plenty of other bits for me to get on with while commuting tomorrow, so I amn’t troubled.

Talking of toys, I’ve just today signed up for TT#2 in the new Travelling Teddy group on Ravelry, and Teddy’s Travels are due to begin in just over a week, so we’ll see how long it takes him(?) to get to me, and then how long he’ll stay. I’ve never done anything like this before, so we’ll see how it goes. My group is all in North America or Australia apart from me, so if he gets here before any of my summer travels (presuming I ever get around to arranging them) he can come some of the way with me before going on.

And speaking of white bears (as apparently TT#2 is), it’s time for us to get to book 200 this year, which I think is cause for a very small celebration. A lot of them are fairly thin books, but I’ve actually read them, so I think they count. (I don’t count the ones I just skim, to get a general idea of the content with.) I amn’t convinced I’m awake enough to say very much in sense, so it might be worth checking back tomorrow if you think you’d want to know more about any of them.

194. Step-Up History: The Great Famine by Feargal Brougham and Caroline Farrell

The Great Famine in Ireland is an important topic, and this book addresses it well. The impact lasts. This book simply reinforced the shock and horror brought home to me last year, when we visited Kilmainham Gaol (which hadn’t been to in years). They have an exhibition about the history of the place, including a chart of the number of inmates every year. Up to the early 1840s in was a few hundred each year, during the famine it shot up to many thousands, and then after the famine it went right back down again. People were imprisoned for vagrancy and ‘minor’ theft of food, not just to get the immediate food, but because they knew they would be fed something in the prison and so put themselves in a position to be placed there.

195. Step-Up History: Children in Victorian Times by Jill Barber

Rich and poor children’s lives were very very different from each other. I can’t get over the idea of children climbing up and down chimneys as small as 23cm x 23cm to clean them. (That’s less than the size of an A4 page, while purposely bringing down soot on top of you.) The rich certainly didn’t live as we do nowadays, but in better off families children went to school all year, were looked after, had food, clothing, shelter and toys. Things did change for poorer people – working conditions were ameliorated, at least officially; education became more available, then free, then compulsory, at least at primary level, but would remain very hard for many.

196. Great Lives: Gandhi by Philip Wilkinson

This is mostly an overview, as it must be at this length, but there is some interesting detail I hadn’t known/thought about before. It is clearly laid out, with pictures that inform and are interesting. The book covers Gandhi‘s entire life, including the significant periods before the struggle for Home Rule/Independence for India.

197. Look Inside: A Victorian House by Richard Wood

In this one the children are practically invisible, but its interest continues. The book in many ways focusses on the servants, as the ones who actually keep the house going.

198. Animal Story: Gorilla Mountain by Dougal Dixon
199. Animal Story: Orang-Utan Rescue by Dougal Dixon
200. Animal Story: Polar Bear in the City by Dougal Dixon

A great but hard-hitting series for fairly young children and up. The Orang-utan book was the saddest by far, for me. Each follows the life of a particular young example of the species, born in the wild and growing up with its mother/family, including the natural growth and experiences experienced together, as well as various interactions with humanity, for both good and evil.

What I’ve been playing at

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Not all that much of interest, but I have got reinspired to make some amigurumi toys, largely because I’ve been sorting through stuff after the move, and found lots and lots of stuffing material that I really should use!

I’ve begun Syd Rabbit from Vintage Crochet, and have further ideas of what to do after him. I haven’t planned what to do with the toys once I’ve made them, but I’m quite sure homes will not be lacking. It’s not beyond a small bowl shape yet, so no pictures I’m afraid.

192. All For The Boss by Ruchoma Shain

This is just as good as people have been telling me for years it is; I amn’t really sure why I never got around to reading it before. Shain never pretends to be anyone other than a loving daughter writing about her revered father, but she writes very well, and gives a meaningful sense of what it was like to have such a father.

R’ Yaakov Yosef Herman led and supported the establishment of much of the infrastructure of Orthodox Jewish life in New York and elsewhere in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century (CE). He and his family worked to this end on both the communal and individual levels, and are inspiring figures. I strongly recommend the book in my turn.

193. The Danger Zone: Avoid Working in a Victorian Mill by John Malam

This book is excitingly laid out, and well researched, written and illustrated. I thought I would know most of the information, but I learned a lot.


Friday, 11 April 2008

I’ve now made just over one hundred posts to this blog, and I’m up to one hundred books read in this civil year.

99.The Cave of the Yellow Dog by Byambasuren Davaa & Lisa Reich

This is a very well written and intriguing book. It describes Davaa’s journey to making the film of the same name (which I haven’t seen, although after many many recommendations I did see her other film, The Story of the Weeping Camel, which was wonderful), some of her experiences during the making, and the story portrayed in the film.

What it doesn’t do, is to distinguish the real life of the family portrayed from the pre-planned story the directors set up. The book does make slightly clearer than the other film did that this isn’t an absolutely straight documentary, but is never explicit about it. There is, of course, a large amount of overlap, which I think is part of the point of the exercise, but a bit of me would like to know more precisely about the Batchuluuns’ real lives. On the other hand, perhaps this way gives them some privacy back, while giving some of us non-Mongolians a taste of how this vast (and beautiful, by the many photographs in the book) but unfamiliar country and people are like and unlike ourselves.

100. Pharaoh and the Fabulous Frog Invasion by Osher Werner

This is a cute kids’ book, retelling the Plague of Frogs in Egypt from the frogs’ perspective. I got it for the family I’m going to for the Sedarim, and I’m crocheting some frogs to go along with it. (I’m pretty sure they don’t read the blog, and if the parents were to chance upon it they wouldn’t tell the kids.)
The finished frog is from Lion Brand Yarns Free Patterns, and the unfinished one a pattern from the Amigurumi Girl blog.

Just editing to credit my housemate with embroidering the frog’s face, since my embroidery skills are non-existent. Some day when she’s less stressed I’ll get her to teach me. Or just to keep doing it for me, as she doesn’t craft enough!

A dog, next?

Friday, 4 April 2008

No, I amn’t thinking of getting one, but I am thinking of making one. That would be a bit more in the amigurumi line I’m working towards. For the time being I think I’ll try to keep some (possibly tangential) connection to Pesach, but we shall see.

I’m reading a book about dogs, which is where I found the one I want to try to make, but I haven’t finished reading it, and don’t have the details here, I’m afraid.

Anyway, I do like my comic dog bone (I kept the ‘wrong’ side out, as I thought the deep lines on the other would be distracting) and how well my marking and planning worked. Good practice for something non-symetrical!

April Showers

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

March was quite good for me, but April is falling a bit flat so far, what with NatCroMo finishing, taking on more stuff at work (good things I want to do, but that will take ever more of my time, which is already spoken for) and mostly disappointments I don’t really want to discuss.

It’s still Adar; I should be happy! Oh well, perhaps Nisan will be the time to free myself from the downturns.

I’ve been helping one of my crochet students with an amigurumi duck she is making as her first project, and now I want to make one too! She has the pattern book, however, so I’ll have to make something else. Something to cheer me up. Any suggestions? I have been wanting to try amigurumi toys.

93. The Good, The Bad and The Pugly: The Second Sheldon Collection by Dave Kellett

I finished it this morning, and began the third, and perhaps I should go read some more of that to bring back my smile. Sheldon has insightful humour that isn’t nasty.

94. Super-Simple Creative Costumes by Sue Astroth

You know I still haven’t learnt to sew from scratch, but there are lots and lots of great costume patterns and ideas in this book, that are well photographed and look clear to read. There are costumes for children and adults and discussion of how to size whatever you are trying to make, including talking about which parts need to change least/most.

Pages and Pages

Thursday, 6 March 2008

I’ve added another blog page giving the recipe (rather than a proper pattern) for the baby blanket I made last year. This was done now as a tutorial for the latest instruction on the NatCroMo CAL page.

And I went through more books at work today. I enjoyed poring over all of them, although none of them are overly wordy!

63. Amigurumi by Annie Obaachan

There, a crochet book I actually read! (And I fully intend using some of its patterns in the near future as well.) There is a nice (concise and colourful) introduction explaining amigurumi as a very Japanese phenomenon, instructions on basic crochet stitches, Japanese charting, and designing one’s own little animals, and then come the patterns, which are lots of fun and appear to be very clear, although I haven’t actually tried using them yet.

64. Beadwork by Robin Bellingham, Hana Glover & Jema Hewitt

Clear, well laid out instructions and photographs mean this book’s inspirational qualities may actually work on me and all those beads in my room that just sit around looking pretty (when they aren’t all over the floor or hidden away in a box). It’ll have to wait until after NatCroMo and Pesach, though.

65. Bikes of Burden by Hans Kemp

I really feel like I get a sense of the daily speed and ingenuity of Vietnam’s streets through this book. The impression given may or may not be correct in everyone’s eyes, but it’s definitely vivid, and makes for impressive photography. This isn’t one for an on-duty food safety officer, however!