Thursday, June 20, 2013

Crocheted dolls and toys by FancyKnittles

I've recently came across amazing and super cute crocheted dolls and toys by FancyKnittles. Each doll looks different and unique with every detail thought out and nicely crafted. I had a chance to talk to the artist behind FancyKnittles whose name is Irina.

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Perm, Russia. I'm a professional architect and a very creative person by nature. A few years ago we moved to Sauthend on Sea in Great Britain. I started crocheting when my son was about two years old. He is 16 now.

Visiting one of the local Perm art shows many years ago I got fascinated by all the beautiful art pieces created by local artists. That was like a awakening for me. I realized I had an urge to start making my very own art. Crocheting looked like a relatively easy skill to learn. I figured out that I could keep crocheting and taking care of my little son at the same time. All one needs is a hook and a thread. Crocheting offers a relative flexibility as one can crochet and still play, draw or be on a playground with a child. Besides I was always much into dolls. Thus, my first crocheted dolls were born.

My first dolls were rather dull and plain I should admit. But within time I learned the skill and before I knew it people started buying my tiny crocheted creatures. I have a son and he never expressed much interest in my crocheted dolls which was probably a good thing. I could concentrate on making dolls for my customers and, thus, earn some money. Life in Russia back then was rather tough. I remember making whole "Doll houses" full of different doll personalities, furniture, etc. Once I started working I had less and less time to devote to crocheting and eventually I took a break from making my crocheted dolls. My break lasted for about 10 years.

These days I'm crocheting again. My dolls are somewhat similar to ones I used to crochet and yet a bit different. Everything changes! I'm continuing to be a mom of a big big family of crocheted creatures and all my "babies" have the same last name - FancyKnittles.

I wish I could tell you how I come up with a new design for a new doll. Honestly I don't know. I get inspired by a lot of things I see around me or events that occur in my life. All visual and sensual information turns into a new creation that has its own character, looks unique and different.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

DIY how to refresh an old necklace

I've recently bought an old necklace in a vintage store. It looked pretty dull and uninspiring but I somehow liked the beads and thought I could remake it into something fresh and new.

I first disassembled the necklace and separated all the beads into three piles. I washed all the beads thoroughly in a soapy water to remove all the dust. I dried the beads on a piece of paper.

I decided not to use red beads this time as I didn't really like the original combination of charcoal grey, golden and red. I put them aside for the next project. Instead I decided to go with gray and golden beads.

I threaded all the beads in a particular pattern with two gray beads followed by one golden bead. With a regular crocheting hook I crocheted beads one by one into a necklace.

The necklace is about 40 in. long and I can wear it as one or two strings depending on my mood and my dress:).

Since the necklace is rather long I can wear it as a bracelet or a head accessory. Its neutral colors go with pretty much any dress and it works ideal with a business casual or an office outfit.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Refunkit repurposed upcycled recycled gifts and goodies store in Ashland

I've been today to a totally great store with a fresh idea behind it. Refunkit ( sells upcycled, recycled and repurposed handmade items created by local artists. Each item in the store was created out of treasures found in thrift stores, neighbors' backyards, family attics and grannies' jewelry boxes. All of the beautiful jewelry art, home decor creations, furniture pieces and accessories are unique. Most of them look pretty funky, fresh and different! Such a lovely and inspirational place!

Cashmere pieces made of upcycled cashmere by Irina Baranova and felted scarf handmade of repurposed silk and merino wool by TonyaUtkina.

Flowers and plant arrangements.

Necklaces hand crocheted of reused wooden beads and stones.

Metal chandeliers and light fixtures.

Brooches hand felted of wool.

Wooden toys.

Scarves hand felted in nuno felting technique.

Hand crocheted mobiles.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How to make a new upcycled necklace from an old one

I've recently bought a vintage necklace that looked rather old style and dusty. However, the beads were of high quality and of a very pretty color. They reminded me cranberries of all sizes and shades of red. I decided to upcycle the vintage necklace and turn it into something more contemporary and hip.

First of all I cut the necklace with a help of regular scissors to free up beads. I was lucky that the base of the necklace was a regular cotton thread and not a metal wire.
Beads looked very nice but were a bit dusty. I washed them with soap and left them to dry.

Once dry I put my beads in a glass jar. They looked so pretty with light coming through the jar and making beads shine. Beads are of all shades of red and of different sizes. I decided I won't use metal beads that were originally a part of the necklace. I'll to save them for a later project.

To crochet a new and hip necklace I used a crocheting hook and a super thin light blue thread. The combination of bright red and light blue looked super pretty! For a start I threaded all the beads mixing up sizes and colors. It saved me time and made the process of crocheting a necklace easier.

Having so many beads I was able to crochet a long necklace. It's really great as I'll be able to wear it not only as a necklace but as a bracelet, a belt or a head accessory. I crocheted a simple foundation chain adding red beads about every inch. The necklace crocheting took about 15 minutes. When the necklace was ready I attached a toggle clasp to complete the work.

It looks bright, hip, and very different from the original vintage necklace I bought. The new necklace is a perfect summer accessory! I'm especially happy I could reuse something I already had and turn it into something new.