Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Bow Ties and a trendy Mum

When your children ask that you make them something do you feel really proud that they want something made by you and jump to it straight away, forgetting everything else that needs doing? I don't get asked to make things very often now as my boys are both teenagers, and beyond the soft toys and dressing up costumes. So when my son asked me to make him a bow tie (thanks Dr Who!) I jumped at the chance to prove that I was not just the person who washes their clothes and puts dinner on the table, I too was once young and trendy and could do more than just homework supervision and taxi service.



This was my first attempt at making the bow tie.  I swear it took longer to learn to tie the thing than it did to make it.  Have you ever tried to tie a bow tie - we got so confused, but with the help of several diagrams and youtube videos, we managed it as you can see.



This is the second bow tie I made. I think I like this one better although it doesn't really show off the cartoon fabric very well, perhaps a smaller pattern would have looked better.  But my son was happy, and for once I was a trendy mum in life as well as my imagination.




Sunday, 29 June 2014

butterflies

Wow, that was a long break in posts! But I'm back now and hope to update this blog a little more often.

I have a new blog up and running, click here to visit. The aim of this new blog is to showcase my own patterns and designs, many of which have been published in magazines, and some of which will soon be for sale through my Etsy shop, so its more of an online portfolio than a blog, but if you're interested, then hop on over and have a look.

I thought I'd share a couple of the things I have been working on today. I found a pattern for 3d butterflies here and so decided to make some.


I made this one using 4ply cotton (dmc natura, my favourite cotton for crocheting, and no i'm not sponsored by them in any way!), and popped it on a hair slide for my daughter.

Then I decided to make a tiny one using thin crochet cotton. This time I made it into a necklace




My mind works in very mysterious ways, and while I had the crochet yarn and tiny hook out, it turned to jewellery. Nothing at all to do with the butterflies I'd been enjoying making, but this time I made a flower ring. It was a little plain so I decided to add a few seed beads into the centre, and this is what I ended up with.


A quick and pretty ring. I think I'm going to make a few more of these as they were so quick and easy to make.


Monday, 6 January 2014

Winter Yarn bomb

After the success of our September yarn bomb, when the weather was nice and sunny, we decided in our wisdom that it would be a good idea to create a yarn bomb at the start of the term after Christmas.  So after deciding on a theme (snowflakes & icicles) we set to work. Big mistake! We ended up decorating yesterday in the coldest, wildest weather the UK has had for years.  We soon learned to hold tightly to every snowflake as we tied them to the tree or the wind would whip them across the playground, resulting in us charging through the mud and puddles to retrieve them. Our poor fingers were so frozen we had difficulty sewing the tree sock to the tree, and we had to make sure everything was well secured, or we risked the tree being bare by the next morning.  Luckily we had a few extra hands to help, and we were done in less than an hour.  Overnight here the weather was even worse – the wind was howling and the rain was absolutely hammering down and all I could think about was how our poor snowflakes were faring.  So this morning I went up to the school with my fingers firmly crossed and yippee – the tree was still dressed
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and the quiet area still had its decorations too.
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Phew, what a relief. 
Just for your amusement, here is the difference a term has made:
September
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January
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Lessons learned from the latest yarn bomb – wait until summer!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Simple Crochet Scarf Tutorial


Scarves are one of the simplest things to make from crochet.  I’ve only used treble crochet and chains to make this one.  Like my granny square tutorial I am using a cotton yarn and a larger hook than recommended, both of these are just so that the stitches are easier for you to see.  I am also using different colours for each row so you can see it easier – you can either copy the colour changes or just work in a single colour.

Chain 25, this makes quite a narrow scarf, simply add more stitches if you want a wider scarf.

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Chain 3 extra stitches, this will count as the first treble in your row

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Treble into the fourth chain from the hook

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Treble into the next chain

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Treble into each stitch of the row

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Chain 3, and turn your work over, ready to work back down the row

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Have a quick look at the top of the stitches here, you should see a row of ‘V’ shapes all the way down. 

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When you are making the next row, be sure to put the hook under both sides of the ‘V’ shape.

Now you know what to look for, find the next treble in the row and make a treble into the top of it

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Continue to treble down the row until you reach the end. 

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Now the only tricky bit left is finding the last stitch to treble into. This is probably where you are going wrong if your rectangles start to get a little more triangle-shaped. At the start of the previous row you did 3 chains.  (the green stitch just above my thumb in this photo)

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Your last treble should be into the top of this chain, like this:

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If you’re not sure if you’ve done it or not, then count your stitches to make sure you have 25 (or more if your original chain row was longer)

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For the next row, as before, chain 3, turn your work over, and treble into each stitch of the row.
Keep going until your scarf is the length you want.  If you want to turn it into a snood/cowl then just sew the ends together.

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Hope that helps you get started.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Christmas Crochet in Simply Homemade


Christmas is coming – no matter how you try to deny the fact, and who should we see on the front cover of Simply Homemade this month – my little Rudolf.

Simply Homemade issue 35 - on sale now!

Sometimes it seems a bit odd to me to be making Christmas themed projects when I’ve just returned from my summer holiday, but I guess at least I have a head start on what will be hanging on my Christmas tree this year.

The ipad cover on the front of the magazine is also one of my projects and the magazine also has patterns for a couple of messenger bags I designed.

I’ll leave you with a photos of the other crochet projects that I made for this issue:

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Next time – a crochet scarf tutorial, are you excited yet?

Monday, 7 October 2013

How to Crochet a Granny Square

I thought today I’d add a post showing you how to make a granny square. The yarn I’ve used for this is a 100% cotton yarn which photographs nicely, and a 4mm hook (which is slightly larger than the yarn recommends) but which makes the stitches nice and clear to see.

I am assuming that you know how to make a slip stitch, and how to make chains and treble stitches (UK notation).

Round 1:  chain 6 stitches

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then place your hook through the first chain you made,

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and slip stitch (wrap the yarn around the hook and pull it through both loops on the hook)

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Chain 3 - this counts as a treble

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2 trebles into the centre ring - this is now your first group of trebles.  We will be making quite a few of these groups of trebles before the granny square is finished.

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Chain 3 - this leaves a gap or "chain space"

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3 trebles into the centre ring - yippee, the first corner is made.

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chain 3, 3 trebles into centre ring - you've now made 2 corners, you're half way.

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chain 3, 3 more trebles into centre ring

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3 chain, and then slip stitch through the top of the 3 chain you made at the start of this round

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Cast off this colour (if you are going to change colours), and admire your tiny little square.

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Round 2: join your second colour by holding the end of the yarn at the back of the square (make sure you leave about 5-10 cm of yarn at the back of the square otherwise you risk it coming undone later), and pull a loop of your new colour through the large gap in one of the corners of the square.

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Chain 3 - this counts as a treble

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Treble 3, chain 3

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Treble 3 more into the same space, and you have your first corner of this round.

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Chain 2, then (treble 3, chain 3, treble 3) into the next large chain space

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chain2, then (treble 3, chain 3, treble 3) into the next large chain space

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chain 2, (treble 3, chain 3, treble 3) into the final large chain space.  Finish this round with a slip stitch into the top of the first chain you made of this round.  Cast off.

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Round 3: Join new colour to one of the spaces on the middle of the sides, chain 3 and then complete 2 trebles in the same chain space.  As this is a side not a corner, we only need to make one group of trebles here.

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Chain 2, move to the next chain space and (treble 3, chain 3, treble 3) into the same space to make a corner.

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work around the edge of the square, in the same way.  Into each side space work 3 trebles followed by 2 chains to move to the next space, and into each corner chain space work (treble 3, chain 3, treble 3) followed by 2 chains to move to the next space.

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You can either continue working around the square to make it larger, or make lots of small squares & stitch them together.

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Make sure you run all of the ends in securely, as you don't want all of your hard work to unravel.

Hope that helps to unlock the mystery of the granny squares. Happy crocheting!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Spreading the Crochet Love

After the success of our school yarn bomb, and the interest we’d had from the other school mums, Sam, Andrea and I decided that we should arrange a crochet group.  A quick call on Facebook, and via the school network led to 15 of us meeting up last Wednesday in the function room of the local pub.
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Many of the ladies were complete beginners to crochet, so the time was spent with the experienced crochet-ers teaching the others to make chains and trebles.
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Look at those lovely bright colours of wool!
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It was a really lovely evening, of socialising and, for many, learning a new skill. 
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I’m already looking forward to next months meeting, and can’t wait to see what everyone has managed to make.