Faux taxidermy

Finally, some pictures of knitting related taxidermy. Having made a Christmas deer head, I decided that I would like a bigger all year round one. I mean, why have one when you can have two?  Here is the Christmas deer, although it hasn't been packed away with the Xmas decorations, so I guess this is an all round deer as well.

Knitted dear head - vegan taxidermy

Here is the every day deer head. Obviously, since this is in normal colours it looks so much more realistic. I did find that it was more difficult to mount onto the board because it is much heavier. In fact I had to take it down to redo the fixings because it was beginning to sag and peel away from the board when fastened with velcro, but I think that I've sussed it now with some screwed in eyelet hooks and picture wire.

Knitted dear head - vegan taxidermy

Faux taxidermy

A quick post about my recent knitting projects. I decided that is was really essential to have a knitted deer head for the wall. I found a fantastic free pattern  for a deer's head and it really does look as good as the pattern. I found the instructions really easy to follow, although there was quite a lot of counting so it meant that I couldn't knit and watch tv too! Fortunately our recent holiday in the Yorkshire Dales was so wet it was quite appropriate to be sitting knitting instead of out walking..........obviously.

I intend to mount my deer head on a sort of fabric padded plaque, so will update with a photo when it is finished. I've pretty much decided to use some Christmas coloured fabric so that my deer will just be a Christmas decoration. This is mainly because I've started making another one...........how could I resist? The second one will be bigger and deer coloured and will be an everyday, always on the wall piece of taxidermy.

Bakewell Wool Gathering

It's hard to believe that a year has passed since I went to the Bakewell woolly show last year, but it has come around again. This year I managed to get a place on a 'Freeform Crochet' workshop  with Pauline Fitzpatrick. I mostly follow patterns when I'm making anything, usually because I don't have time or ingenuity to make up my own. I have a few notable exceptions such as Wendy Wensleydale, but on the whole I tend to use or adapt someone else's pattern. I've wanted to have a go at freeform crochet for a while but have not made the time to play and research how to go about it so took the plunge when I saw that there was a place left on the workshop. It didn't disappoint. The pieces of work Pauline had brought were quite stunning and she was wearing a marvellous freeform crochet cardy. I'm not sure I will ever manage anything quite so detailed, but was quite pleased with my effort on the day. I took some photo's of Pauline's work at the workshop, but the photo's really didn't do them any  justice so haven't included them.


I have a bag of crochet motifs that I have been building up on a periodic basis. Most of them I've done when I've been away on holiday as it is really easy to just pick up a ball of wool and a hook and do a motif or two and then pack it all away after the holiday. I made a start joining them together to make a funky wrap or poncho, but there are some odd shaped gaps so thought that I might learn some techniques during the workshop to fit them together better. I've certainly got a few more ideas on how to finish it now. The only problem is that I haven't an excuse for not finishing my wrap thingy apart from the old lame excuse of lack of time!

freeform crochet

I have been very productive this week on the crochet and knitting front. I wanted to use up the left over super chunky wool from the fox cowl, plus a ball I bought on holiday, and I found a fab free pattern for a headband for using it up. It took a while to work out the pattern, but once I'd sussed it there was no stopping me. I found that I could easily make one an evening, and on Sunday I made two! The last two were in black and I don't have a photo of these as they have already been despatched as birthday presents. Anyway, it was really satisfying using up all the wool. I also made a pair of chunky mittens to match the fox cowl and these would have been made in an evening as well except that I inadvertently made two right mittens and had to re-do one as a left mitten! 

I'll finish with an absolutely stunning sunset. Our temporary accommodation might be bijou but it has a surprisingly lovely view. I say temporary, but we've been there a year now and it's beginning to feel quite permanent, somewhat disturbingly!


Ooh, I nearly forgot. We had a lovely walk at Carsington water last week. It's just stunning driving through the Derwent valley on the way to the reservoir, but it was equally beautiful there too.

I just can't stop........here are a couple of photo's from the barns. It's turning very autumnal everywhere. I really love autumn........ when the sun is shining, and absolutely hate it when it's foggy and dark.

Failynn Fox Cowl

failynn fox cowl

failynn fox cowl

I've actually finished something that I can show. I'm not really keen on commissions because they tie you to doing something that you might not particularly like and then it becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. I prefer going with the flow and making what I want to make.......and then giving it away! It's a case of like it or lump it with my gifts. So, when asked to make a fun fox cowl, I ooh'd  and  quickly changed the subject. I had a sneaky look afterwards and decided that since it was made with super chunky wool it would knit up really quickly, and was a really easy pattern. The trouble is that even something that is quick and easy to do, it can still end up costing quite a lot, and if you gift one child, you have to gift them all, and then it really becomes expensive. A compromise was reached and this ended up a paid for commission (cost price only!). The pattern was duly downloaded from ravellry and  the wool ordered from the internet and I got cracking.  It really only took a few evenings, although I ran out of foxy coloured wool and had to order some more, so that delayed it a bit. Now I have to find something to make to finish of the remnants of wool, although I've found that you can never use all the wool up. You think that you are and start something, but always run out and have to buy more.


I like to buy yarn locally if possible, but I more often than not end up ordering from the internet. This forces a bit of planning to take advantage of free postage and so I have made decisions on everyone's Christmas presents and ordered accordingly. I've now got a basket of woolly loveliness to convert into wearable woolly wonders.


Crochet and knitting gifts

I've been a bit lax about recording finished gifts. This is usually because I do most of my crochet and knitting in the evenings and like to take photo's in daylight. However, with the nights starting earlier and the weather at the weekends becoming more autumnal (or wet, windy, foggy, with the occasional beautiful sunshine...... well, what can you expect, this is England), I have decided to just take some photo's indoors and have done with it. So, the following are my recently completed crochet and knitting escapades. From the top are my fish and chip baby jumper and hat, a gift for the new owners of our house and a selection of shower scrubby mits (ssshhhh these are for Santa).

Fish and Chip Babies

Most days I find the necessary 9-5 gets in the way of the fun things in life. At the moment though we are spending an inordinate amount of time discussing casting on and 2x2 rib. It's marvelous. The reason for this is one of the work fund raising/community initiatives this year is to knit jumpers and hats for babies in Africa for the  "Fish and Chip Babies" scheme. You can find more about it and the pattern here, but is essentially knitting clothes for new born babies in Africa who's mothers are so poor that the babies come out of hospital wrapped in newspaper, hence fish and chip babies. When this was announced, my first thought was how we all take for granted that our newborn babies have everything they need and a lot of things they don't, and that it seems inconceivable that there are babies being born in the world that don't even have anything to keep them warm. My second thought was a much more banal "Oh no, I've packed all my knitting needles". I had intended that crochet would keep me sane over the next few months until I could unpack my sewing room, so I was knitting needle-less. Then, I had a light bulb moment. I was pretty sure I hadn't packed my Nana's needles and after a bit of rummaging in a partially packed box I found them. Hoorah! They are not really my cup of tea because they are mostly plastic needles - they were the new invention 30-40 odd years ago, and my Nana loved them. I much prefer bamboo needles both for crochet and knitting. Anyway, I was able to find 7 and half (!) pairs of 4mm needles (or old size 8), and a few balls of colourful acrylic yarn - of course there is never a shortage of left over yarn at my house even in these desperate packing times. So, I printed off a several patterns and persuaded 5 colleagues to have a go. Most had not knitted since being at school, but I cast on and gave a few quick reminder session and they were off.......this is how far we got last week, except for Maria who hadn't brought her's in. Mine is the bumble bee effort - it will make my son smile because he is a Hull City supporter and they are the Tigers, which is pretty much the reason for me having these colours in my knitting wool box.

The funny thing about my knitting wool box is that it is actually a leather foot stool. It's huge and it went this weekend to our temporary accommodation which is a little flat above some shops. Anyway, the footstool is really quite heavy and awkward to carry and I was saying "It's only got a bit of wool in it, and a couple of magazines........." until it was dropped after a bit of a struggle at the bottom of the stairs and I was rumbled. It's got lot's of wool in it, about 10 magazines and a few books. Oops.