Sunday, 30 September 2012

Good grief...

Hullo and welcome to the lab!
Is there something on my feet?
(She won't take the bear hat off you know. I've tried.)
... huh... what's that? There's something on my feet?
Is there something on my feet?
(Bears, elephants and bunnies on one Makie? Surely some sort of record.)
Is there something on my feet?
(I'm a medical professional and everything. I'm getting too old for this. *sniffle*)
Oh yeah!

Oh help.

Today's Makie couture is brought to you from my bed, where I'm currently in the thrall of the dreaded lurgi of +5 snuffling.

The girls have decided to keep me company... I don't think the peace and quiet is going to be terribly peaceful or quiet, somehow.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fuzzy Grey Combo

We're going all Autumnal here at the Welsh Institute for Makie Sciences today. Whilst I'm indulging in a bit of nesting (soup, home made bread, gentle housework pootling, cups of tea and making up fresh beds), Plink decided it's time to show off her fuzzy grey combo set.
Fuzzy Grey Hat
Light's not bad at this time of year. 
Melchett's not a bad photographer, I have to say.
Fuzzy Grey Hat
O hai!
Oh, now that's just cheesy.

Don't fall off, Plink!
Fuzzy Grey Hat

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tutorial: Making the Fuzzy Grey Hat

Well, I've published one crochet pattern on the blog, so I might as well cement my descent into middle-age-ness by publishing this one too...

Fuzzy Grey Hat
A dodgy photo requiring changing to B+W? NEVAH! 

To make your very own Fuzzy Grey Hat, you will need:
  • 4.0mm crochet hook
  • Fuzzy Grey Yarn! I used a skein of Debbie Bliss Alpaca that Bagpuss the cat had decided to have a party with some time ago. He's not yet been forgiven. It took well under 1/2 a skein to make this hat. 
  • Scissors.
  • To know how to do a magic loop cast-on, single and double crochet.
Once again, I'm not going to be teaching you how to crochet. There are some excellent books out there on the subject (see Bear Hat post for details) or loads of videos on You Tube for you to peruse. I find crochet much easier to knitting and it was really, really fast to pick up. 

Here we go then... arm yourselves. Have a read through all of the instructions before you start... 

Create 6 single crochet stitches into a magic loop. Pull the loop tight. 
Increase [Inc] all six stitches using single crochet; this means you work two single stitches into every stitch, giving you a total of 12 stitches.
Single crochet 1 into the first stitch, then Increase 1 into the next stitch around the 12 stitches [Sc1, Inc 1]  

For the next round, you're first going to chain 3 stitches. Then work in double crochet in the increasing pattern of  [Dc 2, Inc 1]. Your first double crochet stitch will be into the 4th loop from the hook (i.e don't work into the chain you've just created). For the increases, simply work two double crochet stitches into the same loop of the stitch on the row below.

Next round, back to single crochet: [Sc 3, Inc 1]
Next round we're doubling! Remember to chain 3 to start, then [Dc 4, Inc 1] 
Next round! Singles again. [Sc 5, Inc 1]
Increasing done, phew! Chain 3 stitches and work a round of all double crochet, then a row of all singles to finish. Tie off and weave in ends.

You may find you want less height on the hat than this; if you do, leave out the last doubles and just work another single round.
For a more snug fit, you can take a decrease at a couple of points in the last two rounds. I did this in the double row at 2 opposite points.

Now have fun embellishing your hat. I think a cluster of beads would look great... or how about covering the whole darned lot in sequins? Rock and roll! 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fuzzy Grey Hat

It was clear that I wasn't going to get away with failing to provide the Plink a hat, given Melchett was posessed of a leet mad bear one.

The verdict was that something 'snuggly but classy' was required, and the fuzzy grey hat was born.
Fuzzy Grey Hat
Plink practices her Boden catalogue pose
Plink's elected to wear it for the moment with her crystal hair pins (originally designed to stick in floral buttonholes and scavenged from a wedding earlier this year) clustered for decoration, but she's eyeing up my bead collection. I don't think it'll be long before interchangeable embellishments are demanded!

I'm working on a matching scarf at the moment. Hopefully a snuggly ensemble perfect for A/W2012 will be complete by the weekend.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Plinkography; the Bugs and Beasties Edition

Hullo! And welcome to some more Plinkography!
Intrepid Plinkographer strikes again!
Last week, I left Melchett cleaning up after the giant squid and took a wander around my local nature reserve with my shiny new macro lens... amazing!
Newport Wetlands
Bzzzzzzzzzt.... mmm, tasty flowers... 
Newport Wetlands
Blue, flappy, skinny.
Newport Wetlands
Like a landed helicopter.
Newport Wetlands
This dude was nomming on a fly.
Newport Wetlands
Ahahaha, he's got his MILLION EYES ON ME.
More Plinkography soon!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Tutorial: Making the Bear Hat

No sooner was the Bear Hat posted on the Makie Forum than a pattern was demanded!
Wet Sunday
I'm not going to go into how you crochet here; bigger brains than mine have produced some really good books on the subject. The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller is how I taught myself, and Creepy Cute Crochet is a really good introduction to simple amigurumi techniques, which is how the Bear Hat was created.

You will need:
  • 4.0mm crochet hook
  • Aran weight yarn (I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, which is all fuzzy)
  • Scissors
  • Felt Scraps, co-ordinating thread to stitch them on with. 
  • Teddy bear eyes, these are 8mm ones
  •  Patience and the ability not to crochet yourself to your work. 
Pattern as follows: 

To make the hat:

Create 6 single crochet stitches into a magic loop. Pull the loop tight. 
Increase [Inc] all six stitches; this means you work two single stitches into every stitch = 12 st. 
Single crochet 1 into the first stitch, then Increase 1 into the next stitch around the 12 stitches [Sc1, Inc 1] 
For the next round [Sc 2, Inc 1] 
Next round [Sc 3, Inc 1]
Next round [Sc 4, Inc 1] 
Next round! [Sc 5, Inc 1]
Work around the brim 3 or so times until your hat is the depth you want.  Tie off and weave in ends. 

For the ears:

Decide where you want the ears to be placed, then working in the holes between the stitches of the hat, pick up 4 single crochet stitches for the base of each ear.
Work backwards and forwards as follows:
First row: Chain 1 [Sc 1, Inc 1, Inc 1, Sc 1] = 6 stitches
Next row: Chain 1, Sc all stitches. 
Next row: Chain 1 [decrease 1, Sc 2, decrease 1] = 4 stitches, tie off and weave in ends.

If you're not happy picking up stitches, then you could always work the ears separately off of a chain of 4 stitches, then sew 'em on afterwards. 

Wet Sunday
I can bear-ly believe it!
Once the ears are on, all you need to do is cut your nose shape and stitch it on, then push the eyes through the holes between the stitches. Have fun adding whiskers, changing ear shapes and experimenting with different colours!

It would be pretty easy to make ear flaps for these hats! You just pick up stitches along the brim, work back and forth for a few rows, then decrease at the edges to a point. Finish off by adding a doubled strand of contrasting colour wool and braid to a pretty pleat. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Wet Sunday

Take one thoroughly soggy Sunday afternoon, mix in a cup of tea, a flapjack, some wool scraps, a crochet hook and about 6 episodes of Spaced on Netflix...
Wet Sunday
The knitting needles are misleading. We didn't use them, precious.
And get yourself a thoroughly funky two-tone infinity scarf...
Wet Sunday
Snuggly jumpers are going to be the way forwards, I can tell. 
And a highly sophisticated BEAR HAT.
Wet Sunday
Oh yes. Rawr. 
Wet Sundays are my favourite.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Sewing for Humans: Stethoscope Cover

A bit of a digression from Makie-ness today, but I decided it's time to make something for myself again!

Us doctors are rather fond of our stethoscopes. They're an essential bit of kit for day-to-day work, and they get a fair bit of abuse.

Unfortunately, my previous model took rather too much abuse over the last 4 1/2 years, and has just ended up doing the above...
Yeah. Split. This means the acoustic is stuffed and I can't hear a thing. Not so good when you're trying to hear whether or not there's a pneumonia or heart murmur. It's happened because I tend to drape my tubes around my neck, where the lipids from my skin have reacted with the plastic and made it brittle.

So after a delve into the bank account for a new model (ouch), I've decided that a funky fabric solution is needed to avoid further splittage and financial distress.
If you've got a medic in your life, why not make them one of these? It's dead easy.

You will need:
  • Fabric strips 2.5" wide, 14" long. 
  • Needle and thread
  • Iron
  • Snap fasteners
A sewing machine is helpful.

First, gather your fabrics. These are from a Moda "Jelly Roll", which is a type of quilting collection. They're the perfect width for making stethoscope covers. 

With your trusty iron and without ironing your fingers, fold all the edges under 1/4" and press. 
Fold and iron.

Take a moment to get distracted by the squirrel attacking the bird feeder in the garden.
Naughty Squirrel
You are a squirrel, not a woodpecker. Note the bemused pigeon.

Sew around the edges. I find you get a neater finish if you do the long edges before the short edges. 
From sewing and snapping.

Grab a needle and thread, chuck something suitable on netflix and sew on your snaps. One on each end and one in the middle will do. 

Attach the cover to the stethoscope and go strut your stuff on the wards. When the fabric gets a bit grubby, just snap it off and sling it in the washing machine. 


I'm *assured* that this is a meme and not something grubby...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

We're all alive!

The human's having a rough time at work at the moment, so we're behaving ourselves and getting the lab fitted out for winter.

Here's us, looking glamorous!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cooking with Plink/Plinkography: Quicheything!

HULLO and welcome to a Plinkography/Cooking With Plink combo special! Yaaay!

The human is on night shifts this week, so I took over the kitchen in a rare fit of doing something nice for her to make a quichey-flan thing to take to work for lunch. See? It's not all explosions, trashing the study and leaving giant squid slime on the stairs.

This recipe makes a deliciously original* bacon, egg and vegetable flan, using filo pastry to avoid all those naughty, naughty calories.

So make sure you're ready to cook, lock the rampaging robots in the lab and gather your ingredients!
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
That's: 3 large eggs, 25g cornflour, a few cherry tomatoes, a handful of spinach, a medium leek, half a big red onion, 5 rashers of smoked bacon, 6 filo pastry sheets, a handful of tenderstem broccoli, 25g of mature cheddar. Not pictured: 300ml semi-skinned milk. 
First, prepare your vegetables. Get a human to set the oven to 200 degrees if it's a normal oven, 180 if there's a fan in there somewhere.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
The cherry tomatoes are just chopped into quarters. 
Then trim the fat off of the bacon. This is so your lardy human doesn't get lardier. Cut the bacon into 1cm strips.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
Aah, I love you, bacon. 
Chuck the broccoli into some boiling water for 2-3 minutes to tenderise.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
Hubble bubble toil and trouble.
Then shove it under a cold tap to think about what it's done. Chuck in a bowl.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
Gently fry the onion, leek and bacon in 1 tsp of olive oil until soft. Put in the bowl with the broccoli and toss together.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
Now prepare the filo. Extract the crumbling, disintegrating sheets from the packet and attempt to place one sheet on top of another at right-angles into the oiled flan dish, oiling the pastry layers lightly inbetween. Fold the edges down into the dish; this helps to make the delicious crusty crust bit.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
Misbehaving filo
Break 3 eggs into a jug, then measure 300ml of milk into the measuring cup that came with the breadmaker, because you've now got eggs in your only measuring jug.

In a non-stick pan, mix a little of the milk with the cornflour to make a smooth paste. Add all but 100ml of the rest of the milk and stir over a low heat until it suddenly turns into gloop! Take off the heat, add the cold milk to the gloop to thin and cool it, then stir in the eggs.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
Getting mah dairy on.
Add a handful of spinach to the veggies and bacon, then arrange half of the mixture in the dish. Pour over the eggymilkgloop before topping with the rest of the vegetables and the cherry tomatoes, making sure it looks reasonably pretty.
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
Delicious-looking before it's cooked!
Grate over the cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the ferocity of your oven. The pastry should be brown on the edges and the eggymix set in the middle.

Pull out and pose with your marvellous creation. This will create 6 to 8 human sized portions, 60-80 Makie-sized ones. Hoorah!
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything

*Stolen from the Hairy Biker's "Love food and lose weight" diet book and adapted to suit tastes.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


...for a Makie apron tutorial?
Cooking with Plink: Quicheything
It's got a heart. She wanted a skull and crossbones. 

On my list of things to do once this week is safely over!