Saturday, 10 December 2011

Oh, knitting.

Hello. I am writing a post because I am supposed to be doing interview prep, but it's Saturday night and you can't make me, you're not my real mum. Also, I haven't got anything else to do. Hooray, I'm really cool.

So it's nearly Christmas, oh boy. I have done two craft fairs in the past couple of weeks, and by 'done' I mean I have sat behind tables and occasionally smiled at people. I'm really good at that, I've been a receptionist for ages now which gives me the practice. I was supposed to take photos of my craft stalls, but they always look the same. I did the Chorlton Arts Festival one, at St Clements Church, and I did actually take some pictures but they're useless. Look.

Sigh. Here's some pairs of mittens I made.

Forgot to put the flash on.

I didn't even bother to take any photos at the craft fair I was at today, at the Zion Arts Centre in Hulme (there's no place like Hulme). It was really fun though, I met some lovely craftspeople and there was all sorts going on for the kiddies, like screenprinting t-shirts and general chucking paint about and making a nice mess. So instead I'm going to show you some gloves that I found at my mum's house. You ready?

These are gloves me and my sister used to wear as littluns, fascinating. I have taken these photos Facebook style in the mirror, because there was no one else there apart from my dad and he didn't seem very interested. I don't know why.

I like the second one from the left with his bleeding eye. I wish these fitted me.


Second: interesting design here, they have a miniature glove in the same colours, attached to the back of the glove by a string. Why? Also, in this (crap) photo you can see how my massive hand won't fit in the glove at all.

Third: the best glove/mitten I have ever seen. You couldn't do anything with these on, and why should you? You've got LIONS for hands!! I pretended that the lion was going to bite the cat's face, but he wasn't scared. My mum's cats are hardcore.

Right well, I have done that now, so I best get back to whatever I was supposed to be doing. Eating everyone's Christmas presents in my pyjamas. Bye! Happy Christmas if I don't see you before! Bye! xx

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bugs and flowers

How do. Today I have old work to show you. VERY old work. This dates back to about 2007 when I lived in a horrible rancid flat in Whalley Range which had A LOT of problems. Among them were an assortment of bugs, or 'insects' as they are usually known in the UK. Specifically, cockroaches. Ughhhh. Are they even insects? I think I considered them to be a robot army of diseased vermin GIANTS, even though they were just going about their business. In my kitchen.

They made me cry. The only thing I could think of to do was to make some beautiful bugs (I'm just going to call them bugs ALL RIGHT) out of old carrier bags, sequins, wire and things. The beautiful bugs will win, I thought.

In actual fact they DID turn out rather beautiful, and I am proud of them. This was a time when I wasn't really up for showing my work to people, but I wish I had now.

I took these photos in my parents' back garden, with my old camera which had a wicked macro function. The cats kept getting in the way and I even had a visit from a butterfly who stuck around to have his picture taken! Sweet!

So I still have some of these bugs, I made zillions and gave a lot of them away. They are coming to the craft fair with me on Saturday, if you'd like to have a peep. Don't forget guys! St Clements Church in Chorlton, 10am til 4. Yayyyyyy! I am getting hysterical now because I'm in a hurry. Just COME, all right. I will see you there.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Some monsters what I forgot about

Oh hi there. I was just idly looking through some of my photo folders, marvelling at how disorganised they are, and I realised that I had NOT showed you some VITAL ITEMS. This is very important! I had better show you RIGHT NOW and CAPITALISE some words while I am AT it!


Well first up, this is Cara and Siobhan.

Cara wanted monsters to celebrate their 5th anniversary: the perfect present. They are very cute aren't they! I love making monsters with red hair, for some reason. I think it's because I can make it mega bright and that's my MO. Anyway, Cara advises me that they love them and that is that.


Okay, secondses: this is my sister Caroline.

Caroline is VERY beautiful and fancy. She enjoys being bedecked in jewels and lace and looks spiffing at all times. We are not very similar. Check out this real ruby that I got especially.

Swit swoo Caroline.

This next one is Gruff Rhys. I forgot I made this and actually don't know where it is.

I went to see Gruff Rhys ages ago and he DJed afterwards at Islington Mill where I would have had ample opportunity to freak out and not talk to him, but the last time I saw him there was no such opportunity. I guess I will stick it on Folksy, it's a pretty cool monster. The big mouths are such an integral part of the monster style, that when I make one without it looks really bonkers to me. I wanted to concentrate on his jumper, you see. The swirly pattern is supposed to resemble the patterns on Gruff's guitar.

Ohhh-kay. What else. Digging in old photo folders is fun!

Oh my gosh. This is a dreadful photo, but I will show you anyway. It's Roger, you guys!

Roger wanted a monster for his nephew, a Roger monster, so the baby could play with the monster and then meet Roger and be all like, WHHAAAAT. That's why all the eyes and glasses and everything are made out of felt. It's my attempt to make the monster baby-proof. I can't believe I never took a proper photo of this, he's got wicked DMs which are missing off this crap one. Roger, if you read this and you have any better photos, please email them to me? He did show me one photo of the baby laughing his head off at the monster which was MINT.

Okay, last one for now. This is Jim. He made my website, which if you haven't seen, you should totally go and look at in a minute. If you don't care about the monsters, you should go for the web design. Although, if you don't care about monsters, what are you doing here you daft toilet.

Anyway, Jim's girlfriend Alice requested this one to go with hers (red-haired, wicked bright) and apparently his favourite shirt is this checked orange one. Do you know how hard it is to knit a gingham pattern on a monster 4 inches high? I think I did an all right job of it but I gave up by the time I got to the collar.

Oh Jim made Alice's website too, it is here. She's like this completely amazing recyclist and craft workshopifier.

Well that'll do. I'm doing a couple of craft fairs in the South Manc area soon, come along. The next one is the Chorlton Arts Festival one, in St Clements Church, Manchester Road, Chorlton. 26th November, 11-4 I think. Tell your mates! It's gonna be CRAZY. I love you xx

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Fresh Prints

Hey hey. I have been printing. You may have already seen these if you follow me on Twitter, but here they are again with some more writing around them.

I had an urge to do some lino prints a while ago, I love them. I'm really drawn to things which have been made by hand, using some laborious process or other, and lino printing gives such a vibrant, clear result, it's perfect for making posters. A good printed poster is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. I guess screen printing might be a better method but I don't know too much about it to be honest. I will endeavour to find out because it's actually super. I mean, look at this one. Yeesh.

What better than to print some Helen Makes posters? Bear in mind I haven't done this since I was at sixth form college and I made a cut of a zebra so I would only have to use one colour.

This is Effort Number One.

Here I only HAD one colour, following a hasty impulse trip to Fred Aldous. You may note that I left my website off, that was an accident. It was supposed to be on the monster's shirt, but I started cutting it and then realised I had done the lettering the right way round, which is to say the WRONG way round. Total rookie mistake. I used my trusty rubber stamp to put the URL on afterwards.

This one is roughly A5 size so it has a bit more detail in it, particularly in the hair area. I really like this.

Numero Deux: voila!

This is in French because I decided to make flyers to send to Nic in France. I don't know what she's done with them. They're about A6 sized. I got another colour in between-whiles and even managed to get it to line up! Yeeoooww. I don't know if my French is correct either, can anyone actually tell me? I think it is. I hope so, I don't want to be Helen Makes Mistakes.

This is the English version, a bit different but also the same.

The lines are thicker, it looks bulkier and somehow simpler than the French one. I don't know which I like better. I will keep at it but I think these are pretty good for a self-taught novice.

Finally: this isn't all lino cut, but I LOVE it. I love Bob Ross. Ugh, I want to print EVERYTHING now.

Well there we go.

Monday, 31 October 2011

People I Like Numero Quatre

Ey up, how is it? It is fine here, thanks for asking. I have given up on the binary thing for a moment while I do a few monsters and stuff, and here comes one now.

So you know Adam and Joe? You know Baaaddad, he is Adam's dad who used to do singles reviews on the Adam and Joe Show and they used to send him to Ibiza and festivals and stuff, and he has made an appearance on the radio show at least once, doing this song. My favourite part is 'Yo, yo yo. Whose yo-yo is this?'

Anyway, also, I am quite entranced by Twitter, I love it actually. I would never talk to anyone if it wasn't for Twitter. I followed @baaaddad when he joined and he tweeted me to say my knitting looked ingenious. Aaaahhhh! I threw my laptop on the floor. Then I picked it up and replied that I had made Adam and Joe monsters and maybe I would make a Baaaddad one? He said generous idea. I got so excited about this tiny exchange, you would not believe it, I am so silly.

Right well: enough backstory, here is a picture.

I am calling this ensemble 'Holiday Nigel' since it is quite casual. I was thinking of maybe doing 'Hip Hop Nigel' which would comprise the outfit Coolio put him in that time, but I changed my mind.

Also Holiday Nigel is ready to go to a festival. He is a total raver so I put the smiley button on his hat to remind him.

The hat is meant to be one of those canvas fisherman type ones, that have eyelets in them and possibly pockets, but it looks a bit like a porkpie hat thanks to my penchant for making all hats tiny and crooked (see Adam's sailor hat). He looks like Alexei Sayle. That's okay though.

So just by coincidence, Adam Buxton was doing another BUG show in Manchester last week, so I got the monster ready in time for that. I couldn't actually make the show because I had to get up early and go to London for an Exciting Job Interview, and I was getting nervous by Wednesday night, so I gave it to Maddern to deliver, and he did a good job. I got a nice email from Adam saying thank you. What a gentleman. Hooray! I am pleased with every part of this story.

Right-o, those jobs aren't going to apply for themselves (have I said that before? It feels like it) so I mustache. Byeeeee xx

Friday, 14 October 2011

Some very simple binary knitting by an idiot

Hello. I have embarked on a new knitting project, which I think will take me forever and may in fact be a stupid idea. I don't normally do things like this, usually it's all 'hey look at this silly monster!' and 'I done a knitted drawing of an alien eating custard!!' and 'come to my craft stall and buy finger puppets!!!' and this week I have changed tack a bit. See what you think, see what you think.

So I am making lots and lots of nearly identical tiny knitted drawings, but none of them are identical, and none of them will look like anything. In fact I am making every possible permutation of two colours and nine stitches, which will be 512, won't it binary fans! When I was little, my dad taught me how to count in binary on my fingers and sometimes I do it to calm myself down when I can't sleep and feel mental. It's kind of like counting sheep but with fingers, and you can get up to 1023 on 10 fingers. Try it! It's not fun but it wastes some time. Anyway, I currently feel mental all the time and can't sleep ever, so I was doing this the other night, imagining my fingers in the dark (like you do) and I got it into my head to make a sort of knitted sequence, counting in binary. So using two colours to represent 1s and 0s, and just... count up to whatever.

The working title for this piece is Every Knitted Drawing Possible With Two Colours and Nine Stitches. It's not very succinct but I'll think of something else, so don't worry. I'm kind of stretching the term 'drawing' a bit here, but that's okay. I am using nine stitches because they make a nice square drawing. I will have 511 squares at the end, plus 0, so 512 in total. So far I have made 86. They're really small.

All terribly exciting, right? Definitely not dull as shit is it! Here, let me show you!

So this is 0, you see.



Three: one plus two, innit.


And skipping ahead a bit:

Twenty three.

And again.


I started off without the red frame at first and just tried to make squares with nine stitches, but it's impossible to make them look like anything worth looking at, you just end up with a mess like this:

Whaaaaat. It's not even square and you can't see where the green stitches are supposed to be. I stopped this after I'd made about fifteen (I know, I know, but I don't like giving up). Then I stuck some red stitches round the edge and never looked back.

So they look kind of boring at the moment and all I know is that I've got loads of them all over the place and am cataloguing them in little packets so they don't get too mixed up. I have a few ideas about how to finish it and display the squares, all of which completely disagree with one another, so I'm going to have a think, but right now I have to concentrate on making another 425 squares. And getting a job. I have to concentrate on getting a job.

Well I hope you like the beginning stages of my little project. I really like it, I think it'll be quite cool when it's finished, although they don't look very interesting at the moment. JUST BE PATIENT. Anyway that's me. Have a nice weekend. x

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Grace and Sean on a tour of drinking

Yeah, Grace and Sean got married and everything, you've all seen that. It was fun. Then they went on holiday to Dublin, and took their monsters with them and took some photos and sent me the photos. I am doing well with sentence structure tonight! Aw yes.

I asked Grace if it would be okay if I posted these beauteous photos here, but she didn't reply yet because I guess her dongle is playing up. So I'm just going to do it anyway. I don't think they're private, as far as I'm aware they're on Facebook anyway. So if you know the Galdos you have probably already seen these. If you don't, you're in luck! Here we go!

Okay so here they are with a shot of whiskey or tequila or something.

This exotic location is apparently Preston town centre. Monsters on tour! Woooooo!

Here they are sat in a load of... seeds? I don't know.

A kiss on the baps.

Right so we are definitely in Dublin now. I like the pose, guys. You are cute.

This one's super! Look at that spangle off Grace's sequins! I love this.

Now we are at the whiskey factory!

I don't know where this is but it's nice? I'm not doing too well with these here captions, I suppose I could have just ASKED.

More baps, or more probably, the same baps.

Jameson's time again! My favourite part of this is the little hands holding them up.

Oh that's nice.

So Galdos, you either spent a lot of the holiday in pubs, breweries, distilleries and bakeries, or you only took monstery photos in those places. I want to think the first one. Either way, I love this, I want more, MORE! Please send me monstery holiday snaps everyone. Unless you don't have any monsters in your life, in which case you should totally get one! PLUG.

Oh and Nic sent me a photo, and I don't think she will mind me showing you because it's oh so terribly pretty.

You will recognise Nic because she is all over the background of my blog. Here she is with her and Bob's monsters, and a load of her own knitting. Nic is a bloody good knitter. She can knock up a wicked jumper. She's better than me at clothes because I hate measuring and following patterns, which you can see if you look at the length of Bob's blimmin' legs in this photo. Anyway I like this photo, it's just about the loveliest thing ever and oh by the way they're in France. I think.

That's it for now, give us a shout if you do actually want a monster, because I meant everything I said and I mean EVERYTHING. x

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Big Sammy!

Hello. I have been doing another knitted drawing, a little one, for Catherine. She has a big silly dog called Sammy, and she wanted a knitted representation of him in lurid technicolour. Well, I added the technicolour bit, that's how I do things y'see. I have met Sammy twice. The first time he lolloped about and made me nervous. The second time he sat nicely and only tried to eat an entire cake once.

Here is beautiful Sammy, posing for his royal portrait.

His front feet and tail are missing off this photo but you can imagine what they look like.

So what I did next was draw Sammy onto some squared paper and then colour in all the squares methodically. I decided to go for blue and green, told Catherine I was going to knit it with dark blue and greys (so it wasn't all black), and then changed my mind afterwards. So here's that.

He's just such a fabulous model, I love it.

Then I knitted it. This turned out to be a harder task than I had anticipated, partly because I had accidentally coloured some squares half one colour and half another, so I had to kind of wing it in places. Came out all right though. I did it in four parts and sewed them together.

Looking at all the pictures together, it's kind of obvious that I forgot (again) that knit stitches are not square, they are wider than they are tall. So if you make a knitting pattern with square stitches, it will come out squatter and wider than it's supposed to. Luckily, this drawing is small enough that it doesn't really matter. It still looks like Majestic Sammy.

Just look at that face.

I haven't even showed this to Catherine yet but I hope she'll enjoy it. I hope Sammy feels that it is a flattering representation. I think it's quite funny to get a portrait of your pet made, especially a knitted one, but it's also kind of amazing. I might make a portrait of my parents' four cats sitting together like a nice family, and not running away from each other or smacking each other round the face like they do normally. Or all fighting to sit on my dad.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Two Monster Weddings

Hey friends. I have had the most mammoth weekend. I've been all over the shop and been lucky enough to see two sets of friends get hitched, yeah! Both weddings were so beautiful and special in their own ways, and I'm so happy for both couples! Hooray Rachel and Dave and Sean and Grace! You are ace. Oh that rhymes! I'm a poet and I didn't mean to be one.

One thing that both weddings had in common was that they had MONSTERS in them. You may remember me making these and these ages ago. Well get ready to see them again. Yes!

First up I went to Belfast on Thursday to the Rachel and Dave shindig. It was so good. So good. Rachel and Dave are well into their country music and everything, and all the men in the wedding had cowboy hats and bolo ties (I had to look that up) and stuff and it was all wicked. Here are Rach and Dave with the original monsteroos:

Beautiful! The big monsters sat up at the front while the wedding was going on and on the top table at the meal, they are awful sycophants. They had a good time, I could tell.

Now you know I made little cakey monsters too:

There they are on the cake. It was beautiful and simple so it looked well good. Just a simple white sparkly cake, plus cupcakes and biscuits, so pretty. That Calamity Jane poster had Rachel and Dave's faces superimposed on it, well good. They were all over the tables, my favourite was the Lone Ranger one with Rachel's pretty face and Tonto's big veiny man hands.

I'm ashamed to say I was pretty excited about seeing what the monsters would look like on the cake. Nearly as excited as I was about the actual wedding, if not more. No, not more. But excited anyway.

Moving on.

So I stayed in Belfast with my friends for a couple of nights and then pegged it home on Saturday morning, back to my flat for a shower, then straight out again to Preston for Sean and Grace's do. I was a bit demented with rushing around but I eventually managed to calm down and it was a really nice day. Here, have a picture:

Aren't they perfectly GORGEOUS. Couldn't you just dip them in your tea.

Those are little mini monsters for the cake by the way, which is here:

It's a cake of cheese, as in three or four wheels of cheese in tiers instead of cake. Fair enough, it makes no difference to me at all because I do not partake of the dairy produce anyway. Fruit salad all the way me. It's pretty though and I love the royal blue and bright orange combination. Bright colours are my faves, I don't know if you have ever noticed that.

So after the 'cake' had been cut and dished out, Sean put the monsters in his pocket where they remained for the rest of the night.

He also took some of my business cards and flyers and became my impromptu agent, on his blimmin' wedding day. What a guy. You are a guy, Sean. Ta very much.

Both couples will now be on holiday and not read this, but I wanted to get it up here because I'm proud to have played a tiny role in their days. I love them all, they are lucky and they deserve it. I'm totally weddinged out now. If any more people talk about how much they love each other I'm going to gip in their pocket. No, no, I don't mean that.

I do enjoy making the wedding monsters though, what do you think? I could add them to my repertoire. Monsters monsters monsters.