Sunday, 30 December 2012

Monstuh roundup

This week is a week of Roundups. I have been so useless at posting this year, so I'm doing everything at once, just think of it as spring cleaning, purging all the dregs out of my photo albums before I start the new year with some wizard new ideas.

Here are some monsters I made ages ago, for Sara. I think it was a wedding present, and the couple are called Anita and Peter, if I'm remembering right!

Complicated stripy top/zebra print scarf combo. She is drinking a glass of wine that I clumsily made out of felt.

I think Peter was supposed to look like a vampire monkey, hence the teeth and ears. Check out the beaded bubbles in the pint, I am so inventive!!! Maybe they're droplets of condensation since they're on the outside of the glass.

Lookee here, it's Sarah and Bondy's wedding monsters.

Sarah is an old fine art buddy of mine from back in the Hudd. I was excited to be part of her happy day in a most minor way.

He's got a star tattoo. I am so OBSERVANT!!! :)

Okay this is Kate and Matt, I made them for Ana. I think these might have been a wedding present too.

Apparently they both like to wear onesies, so the monsters are in onesies too. Here I decided to attempt crocheting the pint instead. Why my monsters drink so much, I'll never know. 

Kate is from Florida and a fan of the Gators (American football! exotic). This is what their logo looks like.

This is my effort.


Okay NEXT. I didn't do anything for months and have just had a flurry of activity before Christmas. First up this is Ann.

She was cute and fun to make. All sparkly shoes and nice colours. Check out her butterfly jumper.

Next up I made the whole family of Danielle, who runs Rubbish Revamped in Chorlton and makes loads of crafty bits out of recycled materials. This is Danielle and her husband Bruce, a runner and Leeds United fan.

Here is a photo Danielle sent me of her and Bruce with their Monc-sters

Their two sons Sam and Joe both support Man City so I gave them City shirts with their names on the back. Sam loves cooking and Joe is into his Blackberry.

Added a plastic blackberry bead to make the Blackberry more Blackberryish, but wondered afterwards if it might actually be a bunch of grapes? Never mind.

And this is one of their cats. I made two, but didn't take proper photos because I'm an idiot.

This is turning into such a mammoth post, I had no idea I had so many. Anyhoo last ones for now - this is Trudie and her dog Marty. 

These ones were ace fun, I just love doing people with red hair. Do you like my new backdrop, it is an old A-Z of Birmingham.

Phew, well that'll do for now, I'm tired and monstered out. Hope you liked them. I got them all done to deadline! I'm SO PRODUCTIVE etc.

Well goodbye and happy new year again

bye, I love you xxx

Friday, 28 December 2012

sock roundup 2012

Hey guys

Sure soon enough I'll be able to show you all the monsters I've made in the run-up to Christmas, now that it's all over and it won't give the game away. Right now though I thought I'd show you all the socks I've made, because it's exciting and shutup.

First ones were the Longpigs socks, which you will find here. They look crap now that I've got the hang of it, but I still love them.

Second I made #mousebiro ones for Maddern for Christmas. If you follow the work of Salle Pierre Lamy you might know what the mouse biro thing is about, and I will discuss it in more detail later, but here is Maddern on Christmas day opening his pressies with his fancy new socks on.

As you will note, they look a bit insane and it is unlikely that they will ever get worn much. They took me FOUR DAYS to make, dude. but what's more Christmassy than novelty crap and simmering resentment?


a job well done.

Finally I made these socks over Christmas at the Maddern residence, it was pretty much all I did while I was there besides eat things and look at the telly. My mum asked for nice wool socks but she wanted ones that she could wear under normal shoes, not big chunky ones. So I used needles a size down and 4-ply wool, I found some in my stash that has actual wool content (gasp)

I like to call this colour scheme 'Metrolink'

I wouldn't necessarily have used yellow and grey together, but those were the colours I had in the yarn I needed and I think it actually looks nice. Funnily enough, I ran into my bro Gav on the train from Flint who said that the first time he went on a plane, the carrier was Lufthansa and he thought air travel was hugely glamorous. So he associates yellow and grey with luxury, the colours of pure luxury.

So there you go, I do have other socks on the go but they're not finished so I can't tell you. I'm a sock fiend!

Well goodbye, I hope you've all had fulfilling and beauteous Christmasses, and that you have wonderful new years and keep all your outlandish resolutions.

Buh bye xxx

Saturday, 8 December 2012

and very important: DO NOT do your homework without wearing headphones

Ey up

Today I have been tidying up some photos, my folders were all cock-eyed before and I couldn't find anything. I have had a little trip down a lot of memory lanes. Memories lane. Anyway, I forgot about these, I made them a while ago for someone at work: Bill and Ted teddies, from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

Obviously as I'm sure you can tell I didn't make the actual teddies, I made the costumes. I was pleased with them, I didn't have much time to do it otherwise I would have made some humongous 90s trainers to hide the fact that the teddies have FACES on the bottom of their feet. 
You can just about see that on this picture, weird.

Anyway let's see some backs. Bill.

quite nice interpretation of a flannel shirt I thought. and Ted ted:

Smiley face that was VERY important. PLEASE let me have got those outfits the right way round, I did check but I keep forgetting, how uncool of me.

Anyway that was a fun project which inspired some monsters that STILL aren't finished. Keep an eye out for some nostalgic 90s stuff which I will be doing soon, I promise. I'll do it later mum! stop going on about it.

see ya xxx

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Longpig socks


So I'm in the midst of Christmas monster making frenzy, which is cool but it means I can't post any photos of anything I make until after Christmas unless it gives the game away somehow. I wanted to show you these though.

I made my first ever pair of socks!

Hand-knitted socks always look so cosy and nice, and I always wanted to learn how to knit them, but double-pointed needles have always foxed me. If I can avoid using them, I would always rather use straight needles and just sew a seam, I don't care if it's not as nice-looking. I WILL learn one day but so far: nope.

So I was excited to find a pattern for socks knitted on straight needles and sewn up at the end. I couldn't figure out how to convert a DPN pattern, because the heels looked confusing (they aren't). I got the pattern from a book called Fab Feet and Cosy Toes by Anna Tillman, available from your nearest discount bookshop. Most of the patterns are stupid, like socks with a little pocket you can put a teddy bear in, but there's only so much mileage you can get out of ordinary socks I suppose. Anyway I thought this pattern with the pigs was cute and it was a pattern I could understand: jackpot!

Can I just say that this is the first ever pattern I've followed to the end without deviating at all, I even used the same colours and everything. I didn't use the right yarn though and they turned out kind of enormous, but they are cosy and nice which is what I wanted.

Here look, the pigs go all around the back of the sock so you get little pigs parading over the bottom of your feet as well:

I'd like to try out this weird pose where my body looks a funny shape, yeah!

That's why I want the socks to be Longpigs. The name of the pattern in the book is something like 'the whole hog', sigh. Here have some nice 90s crap, you're welcome. I used to love the Longpigs.

Anyway well done me, I have warm feet.

Bye! xxx

Saturday, 24 November 2012

ames likes toast

Hi guys

another several hundred months have gone by and I still haven't done anything good I can show you. I keep sticking snippets on twitter but nothing I can write a big meaty post about.

don't know if you noticed but my monsters have been on the radio lately: Adam Buxton and Edith Bowman are using them in a feature on their new show. Quite excited about that but it would have been nice to maybe make Edith her own monster instead of Baaaddad in a wig, but whatevs, maybe the BBC doesn't have the budget for that kind of thing any more. Here are this morning's photos: they're v cool.

Anyway seeing as I have nothing new to show you I thought I'd do one of my crafty buds a favour and talk about them for a bit. Me and Ames have known each other for ages and ages, and she's just venturing into the craft business world. So far she doesn't have any online outlets but I have been begging her to get sorted because, as you will see in a min, her work is mega lovely.

Okay photo time. I took some photos today from Ames' stall at the Horse and Jockey in Chorlton, here we go.

big boggle eyes, still struggling with focus on the new camera

christmas balls

owly hatz

rainbow octopuses


more hats for tiny heads

lovely crocheted tree ornaments

Ames' stuff is colourful and cute, and she makes a lot of cool stuff for babies, SO much nicer than shit from Toys R Us or whatever. You can email her on, although as I say she's currently kind of elusive. She is doing a lot of Christmas fairs around South Manchester so keep an eye out and say hi.

More soon ducks xx 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

weird science do do, OOOO do do do do do

we join our heroine as she tries to force herself to do something.

In August I wrote a post about how I was depressed and struggling to do anything interesting any more. Then I had a sudden burst of creativity and then stopped again. then I went on pills and nothing happened for two months.

Last night I went to the Manchester Geek Girl dinner at Kro as part of Manchester Science Festival. Recently (for ages) I have had the urge to add something different and new to my practice, make things move or light up or something. I haven’t the faintest idea where to begin so I’m just going to every workshop going and gazing vacantly at the Maplin website in my spare time. It was a nice evening and I felt properly humbled at the number of superclever, interesting women doing their science in Manchester. I felt inspired and terrified because they are neuroscientists and engineers and chemists and mathematicians, and I fart about with crochet hooks and still can’t do long division.

The first part of the evening was a talk by Ashley Kent, manager of the Cheltenham Science Festival and science communicator. Her job is to get people all fired up. It worked. The Q&A afterwards was full of genuine clever people asking genuine, clever questions, and being interested in the answers rather than trying to impress their drunk mates with stupid shit (I hate Q&As). A lot of it seemed to centre around accessibility and provision of science for women and girls. It’s a problem, said Ashley. There just aren’t that many women in science yet. She deliberately goes after women to take part in her festival, which struck me as a bit of a Mitt Romney way of going about it, but the difference here is that she is trying to get MORE women involved. I suppose we are more inclined to do things if we see that it IS for people like us, and not just ‘a load of stuffy men in lab coats who don’t like women’ (I’m paraphrasing, I wrote down ‘@ashleykent’ and then stopped writing notes almost instantly). Similarly when she said that she didn’t mind science kits for little girls being pink and sparkly and princessy, because she was happy if ANYTHING got them involved, I thought NO but then hang on. It’s shit that little girls are conditioned to only like pink and glitter, yeah yeah but they ARE, and I guess we may as well use it as a tool if we have to. It’s not their fault. They’re only little.

Now anyway this is interesting to me because where I come from is CRAFT, which is of course a GIRL’S game, and not many boys want to do sewing and knitting and stuff. We all know this. It’s only been one or two generations since that was pretty much the RULE, though. Girls weren’t supposed to do science and boys weren’t supposed to do crafts. It doesn’t mean that one is instrinsically better than the other or anything. It might just take a while for things to spread out more evenly, but that’s okay. When I started going to knit club there were two boys there, and one of them is a scientist as well so there you go. EQUALITY

Anyway I just wanted to write something about science and art, like. That old turnip. I am an artist. When I was at uni I wrote my dissertation on digital art, but I don't think I called it that at the time. The internet was quite new to me at the time (it was 2003, but I am a bit backward – I felt like a big dumbo tweeting from the science gig by text from my stupidphone) and I wrote things like ‘Ebay is a website which you can AUCTION your stuff and people will BUY it off you and they don’t even have to live near you!!’ although hopefully in better English. I was probably still calling it ‘the information super-highway’. I just thought it was fantastic how people could use this new (no Helen) crazy network to make and share work and you didn’t even have to leave the house or talk to anyone at all!! (I think that was the main draw). Why didn’t I learn to code or something then? Probably because I am an idiot and have no idea what is happening ever.

So to sum up I have got excited but still not done anything. Well that’s not true. I went a workshop at Madlab and made a robot with a motor and googly eyes and a pipe-cleaner, but the wire that I painstakingly soldered on fell off after ten mins and I couldn’t get it back in the hole because I’d filled it with glue by accident.

It doesn't do anything.

Maddern's one is called Bruce Willis.

There is no end to this ramble. I’m stopping it here now because I am sick of it now and have a headache.

Bye x

Saturday, 18 August 2012

creative urges

Hey guys. a ruminative post today, I am feeling introspective. Please excuse. I wanted to note, to myself more than anything, that today I have been gripped by the urge to KNIT.

Nothing new about that. But for the past couple of months I have been feeling very rubbish and the spark of creativity has pretty much gone out. one of the most debilitating things about depression for me is the way it makes me hate everything I make, until I don't want to make anything any more. After I finished Maddern's cardigan I declared, a bit dramatically, that I was not going to knit EVER AGAIN. I'm done with this shit, I hate it, picking up the needles makes me feel sick and I don't want to make shitty pointless pieces of useless crap any more. This turns out to be cyclic because another thing is that I don't want to see anyone, and I'm not interested in doing anything much. So I stare at the wall and despair. Then I don't want to do anything even more. Finally, I am going to bed at 8pm because I can't face my own stupid thoughts any more and then waking up 17 times a night in a panic. It's a fucking nightmare.

Making things is one of the things that got me out of massive, major, hideous depression last time. I went to Chorlton Knits and met nice people and started feeling better. Before that I used to lie on the couch 16 hours a day and cry at the thought of going to the shop for teabags. I am nowhere near that bad now but I am still pretty ropey. Helen Doesn't Make.

Anyway in a desperate bid to shut the noise in my head up I have started doing yoga and I needed a bag to put my yoga mat in so I can cart it around all over the place. I thought, oh I can crochet one. So I started doing that. It's pretty boring. However, some switch must have flicked in my brain and made me think about making things again. This morning I woke up with some splooshy ideas for interesting things. So I thought I would write about it. Making things is a nice way to calm your brain but you can't force it. If the very notion of making something makes you want to fall down a hole, don't bother. One day it will happen naturally. Wu Wei.

Well there you go, that was sort of cathartic I guess, I have not talked about depression on here before. I am nowhere near better but maybe this is a good sign. We'll see if I actually finish anything, bye bye.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


How do guys, just popping in to tell you I finished making a cardigan that Maddern has been dreaming of for 4 years or something apparently. I am pretty proud of it because I'm not a super-measurer or anything, and I just made it up as I went along, including a sleeve that could barely fit a spider's arm through it. I finished it on Saturday, tried it on and went, meh. THEN I gave it to Maddern, he put it on and POW! It was like it was made for him! Which it totally was! I'm a genius.

Here you can see that the stripes don't line up at the front, which was ABSOLUTELY part of my mega-plan and not an accident caused by lackadaisical counting. It looks blimmin' wonderful and Maddern's dream has come true at last, what more could we all ask for, really.

This is Maddern looking at some art at the MMU show earlier today. Well done all you degree show guys! Really impressive work, very exciting. A lucrative career in temping awaits you (j/k!). 

Anyhoo that's me for now. I have a lot to do and may never knit again, but I'm sure something will be worth wittering about for five minutes in the near future. See you soon dudes x

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Purl-ple rain

I hope you enjoy my pun, but I should tell you at this point that it's inaccurate because monsters are crocheted and there's no purling in crochet. Sorry! I couldn't think of a better Prince/crochet pun, apart from maybe 'U Got the Hook' which is rubbish. If you can think of one tell me and I'll gladly share it. I thought of another knitting one: Diamonds and Purls. There are a lot of purl puns.

Oh yeah! I crocheted a Prince monster.

This was a fun project. I just love it. He's so spangly. After some deliberation, I decided to go with the signature Purple Rain outfit, because it's just so iconic and wonderful. I really wish my monsters had hips and crotches at this point, so I could have given him the high waisted slinky trousers with a million fly buttons, but  never mind. He just has legs fused to the bottom of his big domey torso like the rest of them. Anyway I think I did a pretty good job of this, it looks wicked.

A story for you. I was wondering what to do about the studs/sequins/whatever they are stuck to Prince's right shoulder in the film, and had a brief wander around Fred Aldous on my dinner, but nothing seemed suitable. I was glumly rooting through my supplies, and whoa! I found a pair of fancy dangly earrings from back when I was a fancy dangly earring-type of lady.

Perfect, right? I couldn't believe my blimmin' luck! So here he is with his snazzy shoulder.


I'm going to start doing a somewhat arbitrary celebrity range and stick them in my Folksy shop, so keep your eye on it. There are already some somewhat arbitrary celebrities in there, but I am going to do more. MORE.

Anyway that's like, all the time we have for now, so here's Prince doing some dance movements. Goodbye. xxx

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Man monster and cat monster

Hey friends. I have not updated my blog in so long that Blogger has changed its interface and now I don't understand how to use anything. Gulp! Well here goes, if it all publishes upside down or whatever, you will know why.

 So I have been really busy in the last few months and that, and I've made tons of stuff, but I have either not taken photos of it or been sworn to secrecy. So I now have TWO monsters to show you. You lahcky people! Number one: this is Maddern. He turned thirty in February and I made him a monster to commemorate this wondrous time-passing. He makes a wicked monster because he is so very knitted anyway (he wears a lot of cardigans) and fuzzy-faced that I felt half my work was done for me, by NATURE.

 Here he is.

I had a hard time thinking of something to put on his t shirt, because 1) he wears a lot of cool graphicky t shirts anyway 2) he loves a zillion things and I couldn't decide which would be best. For a while I was trying to construct a tiny felt Green Lantern, because Maddern really hates Ryan Reynolds and I thought it might be fun, but the microscopic scale proved too difficult for me on this occasion (normally I am WELL all over the tiny work, honest mum!) so I went with the easy cover-all BANDS. Maddern sure likes a lot of bands.

So finally yesterday we managed to do a photo shoot of sorts, just before it started tipping down.


Outside. We had fun doing this. Just after we finished up, Maddern's neighbour came over to ask if we were doing a 'sun dance'. We said yes.

Okay so second up, this is not the first knitosity made in the image of someone's pet, but I think it might be the first monster I actually made of somebody of a non-human persuasion.

Hello Fudge!

Fudge is Sarah's cat. He's the biggest, roundest cat I have ever seen, and he is beautiful. He's a bit temperamental though and doesn't like me much, he tends to bite me more than anything else, but maybe I just smell funny. 

Ages ago I made lots and lots of maneki neko(s?) in the middle of the night because I couldn't sleep and randomly developed an obsession with them. I thought Fudge would make a special one, because he's so round and handsome. Fudge has a special relationship with a big blanket, and so I thought it would make a good talisman for him. He just loves that blanket!

I did a photo shoot with Fudgy yesterday as well, and he was unusually friendly, possibly because I was putting food in his bowl. Just look at that face. He's a dreamboat.

I tried to take more pictures but he either had his head firmly jammed in the food bowl, or he was wandering around the place entirely refusing to co-operate. Cats eh! Well, I like this photo, the look on his face is pretty good. 

So that's just a mere taster of what I have been doing for the past seventy months, how do you like it? I am starting a new job soon which may render me too busy to update again for ages, but I will try my damn hardest.

love you, xxx