knits by sachi

Pencil portraits

This is a portrait done by my 16 year old son.

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My older son has started six form this autumn. He has chosen Maths, further maths, physics and art for his A levels.

I thought adding art was a good idea. It is great to be creative. But it turned out that the art is the most demanding subject of all, and he is always drawing, painting, taking photos and researching.

This summer, he spent a lot of time drawing what he pleases.
I think his favorite is portraits.

I see more and more girls’ portraits like the one in above.

He likes pencil drawing, but sometimes, he uses water colour.

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I think he is very talented.
He wants to experiment adding something more original to his work. There are hundreds of artists who do pencil portraits in similar style. You can turn your photos into drawings with photo editing tools these days. It cannot be done over night, but I want to establish my own style, he says.

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I am looking forward to seeing how his work develops from here.

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My poster!

There are a lot of trade shows in autumn. Last week, my publisher was one of the exhibitors at Craft, Hobby and Stitch International show in Excel, London. It is a Europe’s largest trade show for the creative industry

Here is the photo of the Search Press stall I saw on their Facebook.

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I instantly recognized the poster of my book. I cannot tell you how surprised and excited I was to see such a large poster of my book! I was over the moon!

Unfortunately, this is the only photo of the stall I have at this moment, but the Search Press sales team kindly sent me the image of the poster and here it is.
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I used to check out almost all the knitting and stitching shows, but recently, I have been a bit lazy. I need to catch up. There is a show coming up at Alexander Palace in London soon. This one is a customer show and anyone can participate. It is a bit of a way from us, but I may go see it this time. I have an ambition to have an exhibition. I would like to see if my work is suitable for the gallery space.

The gallery bookings for 2015 is already closed, but that is fine, I have more time to plan. I want to visualize this dream and work towards it just as I did for my first book. It will certainly keep me motivated.

The show will be held next weekend. If you would like to find more about the show, here is the link: Knitting and stitching show 2014.

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Almost ready

My second book is going through the final editing.

The writings has been checked by both the author (me) and the editors. The patterns are checked by a professional pattern checking expert. Now the photos.

I received the final proof sent from reproduction team.
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This one is printed on nice, shiny glossy paper. The proof is more than a inch in thickness.

With the help of my son, I checked each page carefully. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
We check the colours, unwanted dust and fibers in the photos.

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We had a lot of fun going through each page.

I have the cover page as well. My designer has done a fantastic job again. I really love the way it looks.
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Like it?

The book is already listed on Search Press website!
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Exciting!!!

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Knitted firefighters

I have started knitting a new series: people at work.

I started with creating little people in uniforms to start. My plan is to make human figures of different occupations. They can be enjoyed as toys. You can also create lookalikes for gifts.

Here is the fire fighter set.
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Depends on the regions, the uniforms are slightly different, but I found they are quite similar. They are either in black or khaki brown with reflective tapes. I made the UK fire fighters. I thought the side flaps on the helmet are distinctive to fire fighters, but it seems that they don’t wear these in our country.

But I think they look good enough. The one in black and yellow outfit may be looking like a bee, but never mind.
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I made some accessories to go with the set.
I made the hose for one of the firefighters and also, I made the water hydrant. I am quite please with this one. I think it looks cute on its own. You can attach a string and make it into a dangler charm.

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I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to add a large item to the set, but I just couldn’t resist. I made a fire truck.
I have ignore the scale issue here, but I think is all right.
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This one is the UK fire truck. For those who live outside Britain, this is how our fire truck look like, they have bright orange and yellow patterns on the sides.
I could have knitted without the pattern for a plain version of course. I just wanted to have a go.

My boys would have loved playing with the set 10 years ago.

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Weekend knits

So, I got myself a copy of Knit Now Issue 39.
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The magazine comes with a cute little teddy bear tape measure project kit. It contains a tape measure and yarn to knit the cover. I think it is a lovely idea and can be a nice gift for someone before or after you knit the cover.

I like the art work for the package. Gingham has been my favorite for many years. The first doll I made when I was 10 is dressed in the pink gingham checks just like this one and still sitting in the living room of my parents’ house.
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This issue has many nice designs for autumn with woodland theme. I very much admire these designers who can make up patterns for garments.

My favorites in this issue are
this amazing jumper with owl pattern
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and these cute fox slippers.
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Aren’t they cute?

The magazine has many patterns to make quick and easy weekend projects.IMG_6685

And my little witch girl, of course.
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Thank you very much to all who have already gotten the magazine. I hope you will enjoy it. And don’t forget to show me your creations, too!

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Knit Now Issue 39

Knit Now magazine issue 39 will be out on Thursday.

I have two of my original designs in this issue.
One is a little witch girl with a black cat.
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And the other one is the teddy bear tape measure cover.
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Remember this one? It has been ages since I submitted this pattern, and I was wondering what had happened to it.
It was a special request from the editor. They had a free tape measure gift for readers and wanted to offer yarn to knit a cover for it. Yes, it should be a knitting kit coming with this issue.

I have seen the photos added to my Ravelry page.
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I thought knitting a cover of circle shape might be difficult. I have seen a lot of tape measure covers crocheted, but not knitted. Actually, this turn out to be a simple and easy project, and I think it is easier and quicker than making a cover with crochet. A knitted bow is attached to the tape end.

My boys used to love self-retracting tape measures when they were little. They have broken many, and I am still using a broken one. I finally get to have a new tape measure!

I hope you will enjoy my patterns.

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Sweet potato and chestnut mini pie

IMG_1122We are the nation of pastry lovers.
I discovered there are three types of pastries only after we moved to England. My son learned how to make sausage rolls in food tech at secondary school, and he still enjoys making them at home.
When we are left with a bit of puff pastry, I make sweets with it. Quite often it ends up in Palmiers, you know the ones look like these if you do it right.
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This is one of our family favorite. It is nice that you can control the amount of sugar if you make them at home.

I also make sweet mini pies. Here is a quick, easy recipe with natural sweetness.

Sweet potato and chestnut mini pie
Recipe to make 4 mini pies
4 tinned chestnuts
100g cooked sweet potato
20cm x 20cm puff pastry
20g unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
1 egg yolk, beaten for graze

Steam or microwave the sweet potato until soft and mash it with fork while still hot. Add butter and honey. Pre heat the oven to 200c.

Roll out the pastry sheet and quarter the size. Place 1/4 of the sweet potato and place the chest nut in the middle. Bring four corners of the sheet to the centre and pinch to encase the filling.
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Brush with the egg yolk.
Bake the pies in the oven for 20 min. Done.

The sweetness comes from sweet potato and chestnut. I like using natural sweetness for baking.
It is so easy. Would you like to have a go? These may be nice for Christmas season, too.

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World Peace Art Exhibition

My mother-in-law is a fantastic Japanese calligrapher.
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She has been practicing and teaching Japanese brush calligraphy for years. She is very well known, and her work have been exhibited in many places all over the world. She has won hundreds of awards. Yes, she is utterly an amazing person.

In 2012, she came to London for an exhibition. Her work was displayed among many artists in a gallery. She was also awarded one of the top three prizes!

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I am afraid I do not know much about calligraphy, and I cannot read this piece which is written in the ancient style. But I noticed that it really stood out from all the rest in the room, and I was drawn to it. Her work certainly has the charismatic power.

She is 82 years old (although she looks 60) and tiny. You would not believe this powerful piece of art is created by this little lady.

I have recently spoken to her on the phone. She told me of the exhibition coming up in October in Paris. This time, her work will be in the World Peace Exhibition at UNESCO.

Usually, she travels to see her work exhibited. That is another amazing thing about her. She travels all over the world by herself.

She certainly gives me lots of inspirations and motivations to create.

Ever since I have spoken to her, I am thinking about my own future exhibition. That will be another milestone for me and, I would definitely want to make this dream come true some day.

Here is another photo of her amazing calligraphy.

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And here, I am enjoying her work together with my creation.
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The World Peace Art Exhibition will be held from 23 to 29 October in UNESCO, Paris.

I am so proud of my mother-in-law. I am very privileged to know her.

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Back to school

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The long summer holiday is finally over and kids are back to school last week.

My older son who just finished GCSE had three months holiday. He was quite happy returning to school. In six forms, he will be studying only his favorite subjects which are Maths, Further maths, Physics and Art. He is excited about having 10 hours of maths every week!

I cannot say I enjoyed school when I was young, and it was always hard to go back to school after a long holiday. But my children, especially the older son seems to enjoy learning. He is also teaching young children literacy and numeracy at a local tutoring centre as a volunteer staff. He wants to work part time and get paid one day, but he is getting precious experiences.

He is learning how to learn and how to teach.

I made this set to celebrate the arrival of new school year.

I have a lollipop lady (man),
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I have a male teacher,
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a PE teacher,
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Oh, I should have get the kids dressed in PE kits, but never mind.

I have a headteacher, too.IMG_6447

Here is the full cast. I have a dinner lady in the back.
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I heard that free dinner is available to all primary children in the UK. How amazing. My sons’ secondary school offers free breakfasts on the exam days. We are so so fortunate.

I am making people at work with knitting. I think you can make a look-alike and give someone as a gift.

Good idea?

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Sausage craft?

You might have seen the carving art with fruits and vegetables. I know there are many Asian chefs who are very good at this.

Recently, in a Japanese magazine, I saw an article on art using sausages.

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You can make these with mini frankfurters. Aren’t they cute?
My mum used to cut sausages into octopus shape when I was little. I have tried it myself, but I always end up losing one or two tentacles.
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I think this one is more simple and easy.
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There are more advanced ones.
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I think the eyes are made with black sesami seeds.

I heard this craft was created by a ham and sausage producer to increase their sale. Carving tools are also invented and sold in Japan.
I am not too keen on processed meat and do not buy much, but this craft is tempting.
I may practice a little and try to make some for Christmas to impress my guests.
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If you would like to have a go, there is a webpage with video tutorials. It is in Japanese, but I guess it can be translated: http://www.nipponham.co.jp/recipes/kazarigiri/

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