Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A Paisley Bag

Hi folks,

I have had so many compliments on the Paisley cushion I made back in 2015 that last year I decided to use the same motif again, only this time for a bag.



Out of all the different colours I had used to make sample motifs for my cushion my Mum really liked the turquoise and yellow motif, so this time I chose those colours for the motifs worked in DK yarn. The bag was a surprise birthday gift for my Mum back in January.



I started off making 24 turquoise and yellow Paisley motifs, this time weaving in the ends as I went along to make sure I actually finished the bag in time for Mum's birthday and didn't leave the motifs lying forlornly in a bag.



The turquoise and yellow are such strong colours there weren't many shades which would go with them to fill the background so after much consideration I went with a bright red background and lining. I had to rework the motif background to create a more solid shape than on the Paisley cushion. There were a lot of rainy days while I was making these so I'm sorry the photo is so dull, the light was really bad.




I knew I wanted this bag to be a statement but didn't want the red to overpower the other colours so instead of sewing these motifs together I decided to double crochet them together with the turquoise yarn to balance out the red while the yellow gives a pop of colour in the middle.



Continuing with the blue yarn I worked the ends, base and handles also in blue. The photo shows the bag before I added the lining fabric.




The sides and base were worked in one long piece in double crochet. I started from the top of one corner on the first side of the bag, working back and forth until the base and sides reached the ideal width, then joined to the second side. I then worked in dc around the top of the bag for several rows before working a chain in the middle of each side on the next round to make a handle space. Continuing in the round, I double crocheted over the chain in the following round then finished by doing several more rounds of double crochet to complete the handles. I know Mum will be using this bag to carry books so I wanted to make it as strong as possible. I thought working these parts all in one piece would make it stronger than working a separate base and sides to sew together, and how could I resist less sewing??



Finally I added a lining in the same shade of red as the background yarn so those little odds and ends from the shops don't fall through. I was so lucky to find a fat quarter in exactly the same shade of red at Allison's shop, it's a treasure trove of goodies. I wouldn't have picked the turquoise and yellow motif myself but I like this bag so much I'm tempted to make one of my own.

Til next time,
Hx

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Ooh Shoes!

Hello folks, recently someone asked me if I could make them a couple of pairs of baby shoes to be given as gifts, one for a boy and one for a girl. There are gorgeous baby bootees and shoes all over the internet but as the first pair were needed in a bit of a hurry I turned to my tried and trusted Nicki Trench book Cute and Easy Crochet to make these little shoes.




The original pattern was for slippers made using two colours on the upper however I wanted to change it up a little so I changed it to using one colour for the sole and a denim blue for the upper. The yarn is Sirdar Flirt, a bamboo and merino mix which is now discontinued but luckily I had a little left which I could use for a pair of baby shoes.




I added two crocheted laces to make them a little more fitted on the baby's feet and change the look of the shoes before nestling them in teddy bear printed tissue paper ready to go.

Just as I was thinking of starting a pair of Mary Janes for the baby girl, on a day out with N I spotted the Super Cute Crochet For Little Feet book by Vita Apala.




How could I resist? Once I saw the baby point shoes I just had to have this book so off home with me it went and I headed straight to my stash to find out what I could use.




I didn't have any pink cotton but did have some cream Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton 4 ply yarn left over from a previous project.




I found the pattern clear and easy to follow and they worked up quickly. I'm not sure I don't prefer them in pink as they are so pretty, the cream contrasts nicely with the pink tissue paper though and the person who asked for them loved them.




So here they are, ballet point shoes for the tiniest of ballerinas, a girl is never too young to put on her dancing shoes is she? I think I'll be making more of the little shoes from this book, they are ideal for using up odds and ends of yarn left over from other projects.

Til next time,

Hx

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Finishing Old Projects

Hello folks, it's been such a long time since I last blogged I thought I'd start again with the finished projects I had on the go at the start of the year.


I actually started this back in autumn last year, hooking the odd few rows here and there through the winter. I have shown this yarn before but as it was destined to be a gift for a friend in the southern hemisphere, as it took shape I could no longer show it to ensure it was a surprise. I had to wait impatiently until it reached it's destination in the now wintry southern hemisphere.




It's a Tunisian cowl, I've posted about the yarn and stitch before here. The stitch is a lace stitch and the pure merino yarn was so soft and squishy it was a real pleasure to make. As Tunisian crochet uses a long hook similar to a knitting needle it was made as a scarf and then joined before I finished it with a picot edging. This was my first attempt at Tunisian crochet and I was pleased with how it turned out, I hope it will help keep my friend cosy over the winter.


Back in February I showed the start of these cotton socks. I didn't know then that I wouldn't be crafting for so long or that I was overly optimistic about getting back to crochet and blogging at Easter. The pattern is Lemon Drops from Garn Studio and the socks are made using a cotton sock yarn from my stash and a 2mm hook.




The yarn makes the finished socks look quite different to the photo on the pattern as the pattern used a solid main colour and a contrast but I think I like it. Even though they don't look very summery they should be cool.



I found this pattern hard to follow to begin with and had to resort to the online video on the Garn Studio site, I'm still not sure if it was the pattern which was difficult to understand or my brain not working properly. I made the feet a little shorter to ensure a good fit for a small foot and I was really pleased when I finally finished them. They are now ready to be used inside a pair of wellies by my sister for dog walking through soggy fields and muddy woods. I finished them just as we got wonderfully hot sunny weather so they weren't needed until now. 


I'm now playing about with some lacy thread crochet and Paisley motifs again and hope to show you some soon.


Til next time.

Hx


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Half Term Treats

Hello there,

Isn't is lovely to feel Spring on it's way? Cold, frosty nights followed by bright, clear days, I love them. This week has been half term here so today I'd like to share some half term treats with you. It's been a little strange this year as the schools are off at different times so it was unusually quiet around here as the kids in this area have just started their half term today.

My first treat was hooking up some of these sweet little hearts for no other reason than they are so pretty, though I can use them to decorate the house as a nod to Valentine's Day too.



This is from a pattern in one of my favourite crochet books, 75 Lace Crochet Motifs and I used size 10 crochet cotton with a 2mm hook. If you fancy making some hearts too there are lots of gorgeous patterns about. I like this one which I think would be pretty worked in pink instead of red.


My second treat was this magazine, I couldn't resist the cheerful cover of primroses and the article on the gorgeous crocheted blankets by Amanda Perkins "Capturing a rainbow in wool".



I love the bright colours and Spring beauty running through the pages. If you haven't seen this magazine before it has articles about nature, the British countryside and crafts as well as food, just about everything I love. I enjoyed flicking through it while enjoying my next treat with a mug of tea.
 


Stem ginger biscuits. I used a shortbread recipe and added finely chopped preserved stem ginger. Making these little biscuits is almost too easy. We really like ginger so I used quite a bit in the biscuits. This is my recipe if you would like to try them.

175g plain flour
115g butter
60g caster sugar
2 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped
Extra sugar to sprinkle

Sieve flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Cube the butter and rub it into the flour and sugar to form a dough. Add in the chopped ginger., roll it out and then cut out rounds. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake until firm and lightly coloured, about 30 mins. Transfer to a cooling rack, sprinkle with sugar and store in an air tight tin, if they don't all disappear before they are cold that is!
 
Unfortunately our planned half term trip to Perthshire was cancelled when N came home with a nasty virus last weekend. After a couple of days of staying in bed (for him) and lots of exercise running up and down the stairs fetching drinks etc (for me), he was better in time for the sun coming out so we managed some time pottering in the garden in the sunshine which was lovely, I really appreciate the happiness in these moments of simple pleasure. The garden is really too waterlogged to do much so we contented ourselves with a tidy up before it got too cold again. There have been more bright days this week which have made it a joy to potter about and spend time crafting in good light. I've done more of my cross-stitch project and sticking to a theme of small projects here is a little peek of my newest project. Can you guess what I'm making from this small piece?




Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while might recognise this yarn, it's the same one I used for the tunic I was making last year. I got all the way to the end then decided I didn't like it on me and unravelled it, making for hours of frogging. Do you ever finish something then change your mind and rip it all out again or it that just me?

I hope there are lovely Spring/Autumn days and holidays to enjoy where you are too.

Til next time,

Hx







Saturday, 16 January 2016

HAPPY

Hello there, mid January already, where does the time go? I do hope you all had a lovely festive season and have much to look forward to throughout 2016. I've been absent from blogland for quite a few weeks thanks to a neck problem which curtailed both my crochet and computer time, thankfully it's on the mend now and I can once again pick up my hook and catch up with people.




Small projects are what I need for the moment, something I can pick up and put down easily, so crocheted alphabet letters like the ones above are just perfect. Happy. What makes you happy? It's the little things that make me happy so I thought I'd share a few of the simple pleasures making me feel happy this January including these letters.





Pale pink flowers coming out on the Viburnum in our back garden. I love this plant, when there is nothing else out in the garden, including the snowdrops, I can rely on these little pink flowers for cheer. It brightens up the view from our dining table during the dull days at this time of year and I thoroughly enjoy seeing them. I snapped this photo from the window during a brief break from all the heavy rain there has been recently.





Another simple pleasure brightening my days is tea and cake. Earl Grey and Dundee cake anyone? Is there anything prettier than fine china teacups and saucers? I love pretty teacups and found these in a thrift shop a while ago. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to find them as the pink roses match the ones on my Maxwell & Williams cake stand very well, even though this china is decades old.

Although some things are out of our control, I often find happiness in taking the time to notice the small, simple things in life. As I returned home yesterday I stopped and took a moment to look and see if the shoots of the snowdrops had come up yet in my neighbours garden, and they have! I'm enjoying these short, dark, cold days of January, watching the birds feast on berries in the garden and feeling lucky to have a warm and dry home when so many others haven't. Spring, my favourite season, will soon be here, but not just yet and in the meantime there is tea, cake and crochet, what more could a girl want?

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2016.


Hx


Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Christmas Star

Well it's finally Christmas Eve, the presents are wrapped, the crafting is finished, the Christmas crafting that is and it's time to show you my final Christmas make of the year, Christmas stars.



I made a clutch of these stars a little while ago and finally got around to blocking them.
 


I'm not sure where I got the pattern from, it may have been from a magazine but as I have it jotted down in a notebook with no reference I can't trace it.




I wanted to make a garland but I don't really have anywhere to hang garlands or bunting. No fireplaces mean no mantels.So I crocheted a long braid, attached the stars and hung it at the small window looking out onto our back garden. Red stars against the background of white curtains, they look better in real life as the photo doesn't do them justice.

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Hx

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Stockings


Hello there, do you like to hang a stocking up for Christmas? We usually don't as there are no children in the house, however a couple of weeks ago N dropped a bit of a bombshell on me when he suggested we make each other something this year. I often make gifts for people but I don't usually make them for N as he has quite definite tastes so I had to put my thinking cap on and fast. He didn't want any of the usual crocheted garments so I felt stumped until I came up with one of these.




I've made crocheted stockings before for our niece and nephews which they loved, each one had their names either embroidered or appliqued with tatted lace letters and decorated with Christmas buttons. Why not make N a stocking and fill it with little (bought) gifts as a compromise? Yes, that might work but one lonely stocking hanging up? Wouldn't two look better? Perhaps more? Before I could change my mind (or have N find out) I was crocheting two stockings along with another decoration this week.

I chose this free Waiting For Santa Stocking pattern from Red Heart. I've used this pattern before and as it is a beginners level pattern it is very easy and quick if you have a couple of hours to spare. It uses a 5.5mm hook and I chose dark green DK acrylic yarn from my stash for N's stocking and purple DK for the second one.  The stocking doesn't need a lot of yarn, I had just under 100g each of the purple and green yarns and still have some left after finishing the stockings. I've only used the purple for photos as it shows up better than the very dark green.





The pattern is worked from the top down and is written in American terms but is easy to follow as it only uses double crochet throughout (written as sc on the pattern). It is a great pattern for a first attempt at a crocheted stocking or if you need to make something in a hurry. The pattern uses two colours of yarn for the stripes however I worked the stocking all in one colour instead of stripes, only using a contrast for the heel, toe and a band at the top. I chose cream as the contrast colour for both stockings and took photos as I worked the heel and toe in case it helps anyone new to crochet wanting to make a stocking.



The heel is worked by joining the contrast colour yarn in the stitch indicated on the pattern for the chosen size and double crocheted to the end.


The dc is then continued along the opposite edge to join the two sides.



The heel is shaped by decreasing,



and then increasing before moving on to the foot.



The main colour is joined to the heel in the relevant stitch and a row of dc is worked to the end of the heel where it then joins to the bottom of the leg.



The pattern continues in dc to the end of the row. The foot is worked by continuing in dc until the desired length is reached before joining the contrast colour to work the toe.



The toe is worked in one section at a time and shaped by decreasing, then the foot is folded and all the seams are sewn together to finish the stocking.

I tweaked the pattern by making the leg slightly shorter and finished it by joining the contrast yarn to the top of the leg, working in the round to create the cream band at the top. Before fastening off I made the loop by crocheting a 3 chain strap and attaching at the bottom of the contrast band. If you leave long yarn ends they can be used to sew the seams and reduce the amount of weaving in when you finish the stocking. All the stockings need now is to be decorated. Buttons, motifs, felt, whatever you fancy could be used for decoration.

I enjoy the whole of December leading up to Christmas but this weekend before Christmas is especially nice as I always decorate the house this week and finish with putting the tree up. I make mulled apple juice and mince pies and with some carols playing will enjoy decorating the tree with N. I've also been making a Christmas garland this week which has just been blocked, starched and is now drying, more on that soon.


Til next time,

Hx

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Let it Snow....

Hello folks,

for once, I am not talking about the weather but Christmas traditions. I love this time of year, keeping and making new traditions as we move through the short December days towards Christmas. I don't like to start too early so wait until December, starting with the lighting of the advent candle on the 1st. I love my Christmas traditions and am always interested in other peoples' traditions too so I thought I'd start my first Christmas themed post with a tradition I started a few years ago and that is popping a little crocheted or tatted surprise in some of my Christmas cards.



Snowflake cards anyone? Big or small, glittery or pure white, beaded or plain, I don't know anyone who doesn't like these little surprises in their cards. In the past I've made tatted icicles and stars, this year I decided to make snowflakes, the one above is a pattern by Caitlin Sainio from the book 75 Lace Crochet Motifs which I reviewed earlier this year.



While the wind howled round the house and the rain hammered down over the last few days I sat with my hook and cotton making a variety of snowflakes, from small to large, for various recipients. The one on the right I embellished using a Pinflair Pearl Wand after I added the red crocheted loop to turn it into a tree decoration. The small snowflakes could be used to decorate plain gift tags or napkin rings for the Christmas dinner table however I tend to use them all for tree decorations. It helps to know which friends like large trees and which have smaller ones so I can tailor each decoration to it's intended recipient.

Once all the snowflakes were made and blocked, I stiffened them with a can of spray starch. They could also have been stiffened by painting with a weak glue solution but as I wasn't using glitter I used the starch instead. Once dry they were almost ready to go.



The snowflakes can have a crocheted loop like the one in the picture, narrow ribbon threaded through the top picots or even a loop made from a length of pearl bead ribbon, anything you wish to use really.

Although I don't make my own cards the motifs could be used for card making, turning them into a card and small gift in one by attaching the ribbon loop to the inside of the front of a card so it can be removed after Christmas and kept to use as a decoration the following year.

Whilst the pattern for the large snowflake is not mine, I made up the simple smaller snowflakes myself and you are welcome to use the pattern if you like this idea or there are lots of snowflake patterns about on the internet. I used size 10 crochet cotton in white and red and a 2mm hook.

Small Snowflake 

Working in the round and using UK terms:

1. Make 4 ch, join in a ring with a sl st.

2. 1 ch, 5dc in ring, sl st to 1st ch.

3. 5 ch, sl st in next dc of ring, repeat 5 times ending with a sl st at base of 1st ch.
 



4. Sl st to 3rd ch of 5 ch loop on previous round, *3 ch,  1 picot (3ch, sl st in 3rd ch from hook),






3ch, sl st to 3rd ch of next loop* repeat from * to*



ending with last sl st at the start of the 1st loop.




For small snowflake fasten off here, block and starch, for medium continue as below.

Medium Snowflake

Follow pattern for small snowflake then work 5th row.

5. Sl st in each ch to and including picot, *4 ch, 1 picot, 4ch, sl st to picot at point of loop on previous round* repeat from * to * ending with sl st at the start of the 1st loop as in row 4.


Weave in ends and block. Stiffen with starch or paint with a solution of 2 teaspoons PVA glue and 1 teaspoon water and leave to dry on waxed paper. If you want to add glitter use the glue method and add the glitter before the motif drys.


I'm sorry the photos aren't very good, unfortunately the light has been very poor over the last few days making it difficult to get good pictures. I hope you like this and it may give you inspiration for a new tradition of your own. The end of the first week of advent also means baking the first batch of mince pies and making spiced hot chocolate for me and gingerbread latte for N. This year I also made a plum and marzipan tart. What traditions do you keep? I'd love to know if you would like to share them with me.

Til next time.

Hx


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Winter WIPs

Hello, it's time for a quick catch up post before starting on Christmas makes. Winter is well and truly here now in this part of the world so it's time to enjoy making the house cosy and welcoming as the temperature drops and we move through the shorter days. Living in a modern house we don't have an open fire so for us this means turning up the heating and using the cosy glow of soft lamps and candles to create that warm, welcoming ambiance. Winter also heralds a return to casseroles and crumbles, home made soups and steamed puddings. Curling up on the sofa, sometimes with a book and a hot chocolate or mulled drink, more often with seasonal crochet projects which I can't bring myself to work on at other times of the year and so it is that I have returned to a project I didn't finish last winter.



This will be a cosy tunic to layer up with when it is finished. The pattern is one which was passed to me from a magazine a few years ago, friends and family often pull out and pass patterns to me from magazines if they think I will like them. The pattern used Sirdar Luxury Cotton 4-ply yarn however I had this sock yarn already in my stash so used it instead.



The bottom half of the tunic is worked in a mix of trebles and puff stitch with the top half worked in trebles only. I do need to concentrate when I am working on this top as whilst the body of the top fits if I work to the pattern the shoulders are too big so I have to adapt it which makes for difficult interesting progress.

Do you find yourself changing the types of projects you work on as the days draw in? I haven't started making anything for Christmas yet as I'm not making any gifts this year, I do plan to start making little bits and pieces this week though and will post them as I make them. Have you been making gifts for Christmas yet?

Til next time,
Hx

Monday, 16 November 2015

Autumn Projects

Hello, I haven't been around much lately and even crochet has had to take a back seat a little. Last month, inspired by Anne at Crochet Between Worlds , I started a teddy for a refugee child before my break from blogland occurred so I thought you would like to see him finished.



 I called him Bertie. With a lot of dull days and rain lately I had to take the photo quickly during a brighter spell so he didn't have his red heart stitched on at this point. I hope he brings some comfort and a little happiness to a little person somewhere. If you want to join in check out Anne's pattern on the blog and the teddies she and Michelle have created for vulnerable children.


My second autumn project was a chunky cowl in a variegated yarn I bought earlier this year just because it made me think of autumn.



This is Patons Colour Works Aran in shade 106 India Colour. I already had a scarf pattern in mind from an old magazine which I wanted to use.




This yarn is so soft and squishy, with such happy colours I enjoyed doing a few rows each evening until it was finished and of course it worked up really quickly making it an ideal project for a busy time.


I'm really going to enjoy wearing this through the winter season.




Til next time,
Hx