A steampunk event in Leeds called for a new outfit (yes I know, any excuse for new items…..) It was my first venture into the world of Steampunk so I wasn’t quite sure how I should dress. I went for a grey ruffled shirt with a black bustle pencil skirt and black boots (all from my usual wardrobe). I decided the cheapest way to make this more Steampunky was to add a few accessories (crocheted of course) to make my look a little bit more antique. The first accessory was my flower headband (pattern here). Followed by a crochet gothic necklace (one I had made and photographed previously)
Gothic crochet necklace
I finished the outfit off by making a new corsage from black lace, a sparkly button and a grey flower I had crocheted. I think it turned out rather well and its really simple to do (instructions below). I’ve discovered the beauty of combining different textures in my art. Crochet and lace just go so well together like chocolate and caramel….
Whilst at the event I discovered a wonderful Steampunk short-story book – Tales from the Asylum and got a signed copy. It’s produced by an independent UK publisher (I think) that describes itself as “by Steampunks, for Steampunks”. This really appealed to my love of dark gothic horror with the bonus of supporting local writers. The short tales that dip into different themes and visions seemed a fun intro to Steampunk novels as I could read snipets from different authors viewpoints without committing to reading a lengthily novel. It is set within the dark decaying walls of an old fashioned asylum. Each of the story’s tells a tale of one of the special inmates and they are linked together by the wardens footsteps and laminations as he journeys from cell to cell through the asylum. This all makes great bedtime reading. Available from the publisher or in the UK via Amazon link.
What you need: Lace Fabric Crochet flower Sewing thread
Sewing needle Button Safety Pin
Cut the lace and fabric so that it is a little larger in size than your crochet flower and scrunch/fold to form a flower shape then add a few stitches to hold the shape.
Place the crochet flower over the lace.
Sew on the button to hold all the layers together.
Push the safety pin through the back to turn this into a brooch.
Corsage – I think it looked quite Steampunk from what I know of the style!
I needed an easy project to do that would only take a few hours as a break from crochet necklaces. A “quick” look at Ravelry (quick meaning I didn’t spend the whole afternoon browsing the wonderful creations on there but only an hour or so) and I found a pattern for a beautiful large corsage. I skimmed the pattern notes and saw it looked simple enough. But there were no other completed projects to see how others had faired. I just love browsing through what others have done to see yarn and colour combinations and to read any hiccups and modifications in their project notes. However I decided the lack of projects must be put right immediately and dived head first into my yarn stash. I came out grasping 2 shades of blue which looked so complementary together. One a bright turquoise and the other a paler minty blue both Woolcraft New Fashion Double Knitting. This is a cheap and cheerful yarn perfect for mini projects/testing new patterns.
The pattern was very straightforward with just one (130+) row in each colour. But I kept loosing track when counting to 8 for each petal set whilst trying to keep in my head which part of the stitch pattern I was on. It was just a little too much information for my brain to hold on a warm afternoon whilst I indulged with tea and homemade tea loaf. Next time a pen and paper will be utilised to keep track of where I am up to in the pattern. However, happily as I’m sure I messed up in a couple of places, it is very forgiving if you miss/duplicate stitches so any mistakes don’t really matter. I made a couple of changes to the finishing off of the pattern. Crocheted the corsage onto the back piece rather than sewing and made it more ruffled up and on top of itself so it wasn’t as large a diameter. I found a flowery pale blue button which I attached into the centre to set it off as a statement piece.
Good fun project for beginners as mistakes really don’t seem to matter too much at all. The pattern is available on Ravelry by Jane Crowe.
Home made Tea loaf:
Half eaten loaf
This makes a rich tea-loaf perfect to spread with butter and have with your favourite cuppa.
As wheat is my enemy I bake my own cakes and bread so I can achieve gluten free on a reasonable budget. To aid me in this I have a wonderful breadmaker which allows me to chuck in a bunch of ingredients and return a few hours later to delicious baked goods, magic. This is a recipe I’ve adapted from several recipes online which I find makes a good slightly moist loaf in my breadmaker. You can bake this substituting normal flour for the gluten free variety if you don’t have a wheat sensitivity. If you don’t have a breadmaker you can mix this all together, beat in the egg and put into a lined bread tin and bake in the oven at Gas Mark 4 for about 45 minutes.
1 cup of tea (I used Tetley decaf but any tea you like would be fine)
1 cup of sultanas (or any mixed dried fruit)
2 cups of plain gluten free flour
2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp oil (I used Sunflower but any mild flavoured cooking oil would be fine)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Boil kettle and make up one cup of black tea. Stir in one teaspoon of honey.
Put sultanas in a bowl and pour over the tea and honey mix. Leave to soak for around 1 hour until it goes cold.
Meanwhile, pour yourself another cup of tea, add milk/sugar as desired and sit and browse through Crochet magazines and online patterns to find your next must have item.
Once the tea is cold and the sultanas are nicely plumped. Measure all other ingredients into the bread-maker. Pour over the black tea and sultana mix.
Set the breadmaker to “cake”.
Sit and crochet your chosen “must have” accessory and go back to get your rewards from the breadmaker after 2 1/2 hours.
In my impatience to eat I didn’t cut it very straight!