Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I have recently accumulated some interesting bits of 'treasure' (please note that my idea of treasure differs greatly from most people's).

First up - things I have been given. Daz, my main contributor of unusual junk has excelled himself recently. My favourite objects are the transparent electronic switch thingies (at least I think that's what they are - they came from an old 'plant room control board' apparently...) at the top left - perfect for monster technology! He has also brought home some little lightbulbs, the insides of an Xbox 360 (not pictured) and some kind of dial and switch arrangement (from the same plant room I think). I can't imagine many women get so excited by being given salvaged building site junk!
I also just rediscovered a jug full of crystal dangly things (removed from a hideous lamp) which my Mum kindly brought me from my late grandparents' house a few months ago, along with some vintage buttons.
I have also had a number of great pound shop finds recently. I'd been looking for something that I could turn into speakers for the alarm system in my technological set for ages, when I came across some fridge magnets with a black wire mesh front. I think the square ones or the round ones will work great with the stylized retro-industrial feel of the set.
I also managed to pick up a huge haul of iridescent semi-transparent glass beads from the pound shop, which I'm sure will come in useful for something. The necklaces are about 4ft long, so that's a heck of a lot of beads! There are so many that I can't get the lid onto the big plastic tub I put them in.

I also made another trip to Fairfield Yarns and got some wool/angora blend 2ply yarn for miniature crocheting in lilac, a burgundy purple colour and dark turquoise. I also got some lovely speckled pure wool DK yarn in blue and dark navy.

Getting the new yarns allowed me to finish off my mini-blanket too. I think I will give it to the samurai puppet that John Hankins made me when I finally get round to doing the animation with it that I've been planning for ages.

Coming soon: The long delayed photos of my completed alien technology set and lots and lots of house-plant props...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Phyllis Pamplemousse

I can now reveal my most recent woolly monster toy, as it is now safely with its new owner Helen Gibbons (aka Shine). Helen is a incredibly talented fibre-artist and was a fellow 'intellectual rebel' when we were at high school together ('intellectual rebel' sounds better than trying to explain the chaos that was TEKAYL... eh Helen!). I made her a monster in exchange for a fantastic pair of hand-knitted socks she made for me, which are currently keeping my feet toasty warm.

Her special monster requests were:

Colours you can see from space
Lots of legs/tentacles
Lots of eyes

The result is the very toothy, seven-legged monster, Phyllis Pamplemousse:

Phyllis is pretty big (I forgot to measure her before I put her in the post, but I'd guess she's about 14" diameter) and her main body is made of crimson acrylic doubleknit yarn crocheted together with bright scarlet mohair to make a thick fuzzy fabric. The rest of her is made of acrylic doubleknit in dark purple, light violet, a golden yellow colour and black. The eye buttons are just a selection of buttons I already had in my button boxes, but finding the perfect buttons for teeth was a bigger challenge!

I knew I needed some big toothy looking toggles for optimum fierceness and set about trying to find some of those shark-tooth shaped toggles that you used to find on duffle coats, only to find that they must be the most out of fashion buttons in the world. After trips to Bury, Chorley and Bolton markets, numerous habedashery shops and lots of internet button suppliers, I could only find some ugly dark grey ones - not toothy at all. In the end, ebay came to my rescue and I found some flat bottomed white toggles that were even more perfect for Phyllis than the shark-tooth ones I had originally imagined!

Here is Phyllis' story: