Lee Mac. Twenty-nine year old fibre artist. Crochet portraits = Obsession. I am surgically attached to my Ipod and crochet hook. Pop culture addict. M&ms are as important as oxygen. Einstein hit the nail on the head with "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
Welcome to the launch of the second Totallee.net Mystery CAL !!
For those who have yet to particiapte in a CAL or 'Crochet-Along', never fear !
If you would like to try out a little swatch/pattern first to get into the swing of things first, feel free to check out the UNION JACK BEGINNERS CAL!
Now, without wanting to give too much away, this mystery cal would be a great one to participate in if you are.....
..( an animal lover!)
*GASP* have I said too much?!
Okay time to reveal the 5 colours you will need!!!
So you will need to choose a colour, let's say brown! And find 4 shades of brown from DARK to LIGHT and white!
I tried to cut the amount of colours needed down as much as possible! It is a simple picture, however VERY effective with very few colours
As far as how much yarn you will need, I tend to buy 100gm balls to be on the safe side! You probably won't use it all, however different people have different crocheting tension and some may leave longer tied-ends than others, so I think 100gms in each colour is the safest way to go!
As far as how big the final piece will be goes... I have absolutely no idea!
Helpful Lee, helpful.
However for those who have made any of my patterns that are 100 rows across, that is the width of this baby. So I guess you're looking at roughly 60-70cms depending on your tension, for the width of the piece. Height, I guess would be roughly 60-70cms?!?
Really tricky to say as I haven't made this one myself yet
So I guess we'll all find out together !
Okay! Time to rock and roll kids !!!
Below you will find the pattern for the Mystery CAL, which measures 100 x 142 rows!
Just a couple of quick pointers and a general heads up... Go at your own pace - this project is meant to be a bit of fun and therefore has no time limits or expectations! Go at your own pace, pick it up, put it down whenever you like Spoilers - I'll be doing my best to limit spoilers on Totallee.net, however I can't say the same for the forum on Ravelry.com Need help?! - if you find yourself completely confuzzled by the whole thing, don't hesitate to get in touch either on the tagboard, via e-mail or on the Rav board! Too scared to give it a go?! - Pick up the hook and have a go!!!
Stitches used = Chain & single crochet stitch.
For tutorials, practice swatches and questions surrounding the technique used to bring this pattern to life, be sure to check out the Union Jack Cal page for "how-to" videos to get you started!
You will need:
4.5mm crochet hook
100gms (Australian 8ply) of the following colours: *See colour key
Coffee, dozens of packets of M&m's and 1 comfy arse chair!
First line (RS) is RightSide, second line (WS) is WrongSide.
This pattern is RIGHT HANDED and starts from the bottom.
The first stitch on the first row is the bottom right hand corner of the final piece.
Tie off's must be pulled through after completing a WS row.
♥ ♥ ♥
REMEMBER!! You can choose any colour you like, as long as you have a 'Dark' and a 'Light' shade in the same colour, eg. blues, greens, purples, yellows, whatevers!
Cast on 100 stitches // or 102 if you use 2 turning stitches either end like me, and away you go!!
100%!! Feel free to send a progress photo to Via my e-mail to be added to the progress photos gallery!
♥ Mystery CAL #2 Gallery!
This will be the place to come and see all the fabulous finished mystery cals!!! !! HOWEVER! if you don't want the surprise ruined, stay away from this section until you're finished!! However, if you want a sneaky peak to see what the mystery cal was, then by all means Clickity Clickity!! - just as soon as I get some sent in
Frequently Asked Questions
This is the place to come to ask your burning questions !!
I get asked a LOT of questions about my work and whilst most can be answered with one sentence, I really would like to help peopple out as much as I can !
Before submitting a question please be sure to have a quick scroll down to see if it has been answered.
If you have a question relating to the kind of crochet I do (because quite frankly I SUCK at any other kind !), please feel free to send your questions to
How do you make your patterns?
I first began crocheting portraits when I discovered Todd Paschall and his incredible CBN technique in late 2008. I was gobsmacked (and continue to be) by his outstanding work and did not hesitate in paying for his services in creating patterns for a few special pictures I had until I figured out a way to generate my own patterns.
The last thing I would want to do is take business away from Todd's website CROCHET BY NUMBERS, where he has worked so hard to get CBN off the ground. Which is why I won't go into step-by-step instructions about how I convert my pictures. I figure that if folks are that desperate to figure it out, they can do it on their own like I did, then I won't feel like i'm intruding on Todd's hard work.
Todd has been nothing but kind and supportive of my work, so I think it is the least I can do to support him.
Do you back your pieces?
I have made a lot of attempts at backing my pieces. I say attempts, because i'm still yet to find the perfect way, however I think it comes down to what the piece will be used for as far as choosing the right method goes.
In backing the Hogwarts Bunch Blanket, I hand-sewed black jersey (or stretchy t-shirt material) onto the back of each panel. It was tricky to keep the fabric flat, however I didn't want to add fleece or another bulky material to the back as I wanted to avoid adding weight to the final blanket. Thing thing already ways 6000 tons.
In the case of the pieces that were featured in my first public exhibition, I needed to back them onto solid boards in order to suit the needs of the hanging system in place at the cafe.
Here's cold-ridden me with a naughty labrador to try and explain how I went about it
I recently made my first commissioned pillow, which was backed differently again!
For this piece, I made the front panel, aka. the pretty 'Erika' panel, then crocheted a backing piece for it, using the same number of stitches and rows. I then hand stitched this onto the back of the pretty panel. The effect it had on the front was FANTASTIC!!!
It smoothed and stretched it out perfectly!
In the past, including the pieces featured in the exhibition, I had attatched the jersey material to the backs of the pieces before wrapping and stappling them to the mdf boards. Crocheting a back produces MUCH better results!
After attatching the crocheted back to the front, I then crocheted a third piece to be the BACK of the pillow. Attatching it on three sides, before filling with polyfill, before stitching up the final side!
I think THIS will be the way I back my pieces in the future! Whether they are intended to be hung on the wall, used as cushions, blankets, etc. if they have a crocheted back attatched to them first, you will get a flat, flawless frontage!
Naturally I would have preffered to of professionally framed most of my pieces, but having already shelled out to frame my Freddie Mercury piece ($500 Smackers!!), short of winning the lotto or putting everything I own up for sale on Ebay, including the house and possibly a kidney, I wouldn't be able to afford it! Therefore, D-I-Y Lee to the rescue!!
Can I have a copy of your patterns?
As you've proabably noticed, most of my pieces center around Musicians/Actors/Actresses/Film and Television. I am a pop culture Freak . I do not sell any patterns or pieces I have made that fit into these genre's as in most cases I do not know if the image I have used is under copywright. Any pieces I have made, I have NOT profitted from. Any patterns I have made I have NOT profitted from. Therefore any patterns I generate will not be made available to buy.
However, if you take a stroll over to the Pattern Archive on the left-hand side menu, you will find a selection of my patterns that I have popped up for free!
How many colours do you use in your pieces?
I have used as little as 4 and as many as 15
The more colours you use the more definition and detail the piece has. However it is a good idea to have a good look about at the colour range available to you in your local area before falling in love with the idea of doing a piece all in greens, only to find that there are only really 3 shades that go well together! (I have learnt this lesson the hard way people!! lol).
What yarn do you use in your pieces?!
The wonderful Kate has put forward a question I get asked quite a lot, so I thought I would make it numero uno! Cheers Kate !!
QUESTION: "What brand/type of yarn do you use??"
The MOST IMPORTANT aspect of yarn choice when it comes to colourwork is the colour !
The CBN technique relies on you choosing progressive shades in the colour palette of your choice, be it greys, blues, pinks, etc...
Typically a pattern will instruct which brand of yarn to use, and for those folks who find it frustrating or get a little overwhelmed when it comes to choosing colours, Todd has A LIST of blue and brown shades that work in the Red Heart range which may make life easier for you !
As for my yarn choices - they do tend to change with every piece!
After much browsing I have found a palette of greys that I am very happy with, however it does vary depending on whether i'd like the piece to have a black & white feel or a slight blue tinge running through it. It really does come down to trial and error for me!
I have never made a piece using the same brand of yarn for all colours. I always use many different kinds!
I get yarn from craft supply stores, discount stores, Kmart, Woolworths, my Mum's accumulated stash over the past 30 years, freebies from friends old stashes, etc...
Then it really is a case of mixing and matching to get the right degree of shading
The size of the ply I use also varies! For instance, in my GWTW piece, one of the lighter blues I really really wanted to use only came in 5 ply, much thinner than all the other colours that were 8 ply. So I bought 2 balls and worked two strands of the colour every time I used it, in order to balance the thickness. The important thing was that it was the RIGHT COLOUR for the job
Hence the reason as to why I cannot give brand names of the yarn I use in each pattern as it really is an eclectic ever-changing mix!
I guess the biggest barrier a lot of people have in giving work like this a go is the risky business of choosing colours and being afraid that they won't work as well as they want them too. Trust me, i've had my fair share of disasters! Exhibit A
I thought I was on a winner with my choices for a piece featuring Danny Jones from McFly I attempted a while ago...
So far so good...decided to keep going...
Yup! Loving that shine on the retro microphone! Kept going...
WAY TOO DARK!!! BIGGEST BUMMER!!!
So the best advice I can give is to take your time in comparing and contrasting your shades! Sometimes projects will fail, sometimes you may have to put a project on hold until the right shade turns up in stock, sometimes you may have to change your entire palette depending on the colours you have available to you. Ply size you can work around, brands you can mix and match, but it's the colour choices that will be the difference between a good piece and one that POPS!
Aching Hands and Wrists?!?!?
The lovely Donna sent in a question!
QUESTION: " You work on so many different projects and seem to get them
out uber quick, do your hands hurt? The muscle around my thumb hurts
and I'm actually noticing rub marks from my hook on my fingers. What do you do for your
Ah yes! The dreaded hand cramps ! When I first started crocheting properly at the end of 2008, I noticed that my hands started to cramp up quite quickly! I searched every forum you can imagine to get some tips on how to prevent my fingers seizing up after only half an hour of crocheting, so quickly tried them out. Some worked for me, some didn't. Some made perfect sense, others were perfectly ridiculous !
Here are some tips that help me BUCKETLOADS when it comes to hand cramps!
Take a break ! Over time I have learnt to rest my fingers before going overboard. I start to get tingly sensations in my fingers and my wrists start to click, which is my flashing warning sign to give it a rest The worst thing you could do is try to push through the pain, even if you only have one row left! I was so eager to finish my AC/DC piece, I remember pushing through the clicks and cracks to knock off the last 12 rows and by god, I could hardly bend my fingers without searing pain for the next week, rendering me useless!! Pretzel-finger syndrome!!!
I now crochet in 15 minute blocks. After 15 mins, I stop, stand up, and do some basic hand exercises
Hand Exercises - after a quick search for "finger stretches, hand stretches, etc," I compiled a series of finger, hand and wrist stretches that I do in between 15 minute blocks of crocheting. First I tend to splay my fingers out, stretching them as far as they can go, before then curling them up to form a fist (repeat x 10), I then gently massage the palms of my hands, working from the middle of the palm out to the end of each finger. That usually takes about 5 mins for both hands. I then bend my wrists backwards and then forwards using my other hand like this...
Funnily enough, I don't tend to get too much pain in my crocheting hand. I actually get the most pain in the index finger of my left hand ! I tend to stick out my index finger as I hold my working yarn, which leaves it a bit stiff and sore! Which leads me to think that maybe trying a different grip on your hook may alleviate any pain your experienceing in your crocheting hand.
I've also noticed that MY NECK gets extremely stiff!! After I complete a row i'm finding that I have to do a few simple neck exercises (which make me look like a pidgeon...so attractive...)
I must get into the crocheting zone and look like a bloody statue sitting there cause my neck is completely set in stone sometimes! Very strange!
So as long as you don't push yourself too hard and you take lots of little breaks, hopefully some simple exercises should help ease the pain and it'll be smooth sailing from here on in !
Totallee Vlog Archive
This is the place to watch old vlogs!
Proceed with caution - as they're bloody awful!
♥ Vlog #20 [1st May, 2012]
♥ Vlog #19 [12th Mar, 2012]
♥ Vlog #18 [2nd Jan, 2012]
♥ Vlog #17 [28th Oct, 2011]
♥ Vlog #16 [22nd Aug, 2011]
♥ Vlog #15 [17th Aug, 2011]
♥ Vlog #14 [30th July, 2011]
♥ Vlog #13 [18th June, 2011]
♥ Vlog #12 [30th Mar, 2011]
♥ Vlog #11 [29th Mar, 2011]
♥ Vlog #10 [20th Feb, 2011]
♥ Vlog #9 [25th Jan, 2011]
♥ Vlog #8 [15th Dec, 2010]
♥ Vlog #7 [10th Nov, 2010]
♥ Vlog #6 [17th July, 2010]
♥ Vlog #5 [9th July, 2010]
♥ Vlog #4 [8th June, 2010]
♥ Vlog #3 [8th May, 2010]
♥ Vlog #2 [9th Feb, 2010]
♥ Vlog #1 [2nd Feb, 2010]
Hogwarts Bunch Blanket
It's only now as I come to write this that I realise the first time I picked up a copy of 'The Philosopher's Stone' was in 1999. It's only now that I realise that that was 13 YEARS AGO. By God. I could really use that time-turning hourglass of Hermione's right now....
Anywayz! Mid way through 2009, I decided to have a crack at making my own crochet patterns and guess who I decided to do first?!? Young Mister. Potter
As far as first impressions go I was pretty chuffed! At least it looked like him and of course the bigger plus - it only used 4 colours (which therefore made it cheap as chips to make!)
At first I thought it would make a cute cushion for the lounge but then inspiration reared it's beautiful head! Why not make lonely Harry a couple of friends to accompany him on said couch?!?
It wasn't until I had them all lined up on the floor that I thought 'this screams Brady Bunch...'
So taking inspiration from the opening and closing credit's of "Here's the story, of a lovely lady..", I went about choosing 9 characters for a Hogwarts Bunch Blanket! NOT AN EASY TASK!!!!!
SOO many too choose from! So many faves! But as of December 2010, I managed to whittle the selection down to 9 and complete them!
The next step was to border and back them all individually before the daunting task of Hand Sewing (blurgh. )
I bordered each one with about 4 rows of black before sewing some cheap black jersey material to the backs. I then joined the panels together with black yarn by going in and out of the holes conveniently made by the single crochet stitches. This produced a lovely flat join that can hardly be seen ! (on the right side up of course -_^!)
The blanket has received an enormous amount of love so i'd just like to send vitual hugs , kisses and high fives to EVERYONE who has followed and supported me though the making of this project via the many places i've posted my progress! Major kudos to you guys
Our New Celebrity
Earlier this year I awoke to a little opportunity sitting patiently in my inbox. Adrienne the deputy editor of Let's Knit UK magazine had asked if they could feature the Hogwarts Bunch Blanket in an upcoming issue!!
I preceeded to freak-the-shiz out and accepted immediately!!!
Published in a magazine!!!!! From the other side of the freaking planet!!!!! AGGHHHH!!!
As you can see I handled the whole propsal extremely professionally....
Adrienne sent along some questions and I sent her some pictures and you can imagine my surprise when I first laid eyes on issue #44.....
I scored an ENTIRE PAGE!!!
I'd like to extend another massive thank you to Adrienne and her team for this opportunity! TOO TOO AWESOME!!
For those wanting different characters, if you're a member of Ravelry, have a search for a raveller named 'Candice' She has a BUNCH of character graphs for free in her patterns section Please note- I do not produce patterns on request. For reasons why, please see the Frequently Asked Questions Section
If you do have a crack at a character, please feel free to send me pictures to be featured here on Totallee.net! Like the beautiful angels below!!!
poprocker [@] totallee [.] net !
♥ Your Potter Panels!
Get ready to get your applause on whilst browsing this section!!
This section is to show off the incredible crocheting magic of those who have had a crack at the Potter Panels and have beyond succeeded !!
If you have sent me a picture of your potter panel and don't see it featured, first, please forgive me and secondly, please resend it! I'm a fully qualified scatterbrain and have clearly misplaced it!
Again if you would like to have your finished piece featured, please pop a couple of images into an e-mail and send it to poprocker [@] totallee [.] net!