Crochet Bunting

Hot on the heels of the Giant Granny Square blanket I’m crocheting for our new bedroom, I decided to add another project to my list and quickly whipped up some crochet bunting for Missy’s new bedroom.

A few weeks ago, Missy and I were at our local garden centre having a mooch around on a Sunday and as usual we wandered into the craft department. They’ve had an overhaul recently and there’s now a much better selection of wool on offer. They also had an amazing sale so I came home with these…

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After in depth discussion (believe me, aged 5 and 1/2, Missy has very strong opinions about what will and won’t be appearing on her bedroom walls…) we decided on the green, blue and pink skeins for some coloured bunting.

As usual, I trawled Ravelry and Pinterest looking for inspiration and found Lucy at Attic 24’s brilliant bunting tutorial http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2012/01/jolly-festive-bunting-ta-dah.html. After a bit of tweaking and playing, I came up with the right size bunting, colour combos and off we went. It was a really quick project to work up, one flag took around 30 mins to complete so it was a lovely quick project to pick up and put down during the week.

I’m really pleased with the finished result;

Crochet bunting

To join the bunting together I used a simple DC, hooking into the back stitch of the little ‘V’ on the top of the bunting. I think it looks great! Apologies for the terrible pictures. We’ve hung this up under Missy’s window so it’s almost impossible to get a good picture.

crochet bunting1

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Busy!

Apologies, I have neglected my blog for a while…I’ve been a bit busy!

Busy

Still knitting a cardigan for Ava and started and a new giant granny square blanket for my new bedroom…

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Crocheting some bunting for Missy’s new bedroom and shopping for nick nacks at the local car boot sale…

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Collecting treasures on the beaches in North Devon, as we went for a lovely long weekend with friends. And packing. We STILL haven’t moved but hoping to get our completion date through next week.

Finished! Retro Rainbow Granny Square Blanket

It’s finished! My first ever crochet project. The brief from my sister was a bright, retro inspired granny square blanket for a baby girl. After some searching around for inspiration we came across these blankets on Etsy.

rainbowblanketsetsy

Here’s the finished result. The blanket comprises of 30 squares and with the boarder measures 83 x 93cm. I used a great boarder tutorial from Sandra Cherry over at her blog http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/grannie-patches-border-tutorial.html and modified it slightly.

Just the right size to throw over your knees on the sofa or perfect for a baby to roll around on!

RetroRainbowGrannyBlanket

Crochet and I are now friends…

It’s taken four-ish months, one workshop, umpteen You Tube videos, lots of practice and some ripping out and starting again but I finally feel like crochet and I are friends. In fact (whisper) I think I like it more than knitting. I love the intricacies and delicate details you can create with a crochet hook and some yarn. It’s a great stash buster too.

Have a look at my journey from never-held-a-hook before beginner to now-I-kind-of-know-what-I’m-doing amateur…

Crochet

The pink and green messy squashed square was my first ever attempt at a granny, back in November,  followed by the little orange and green number below. The multi-coloured granny on the left is my current project. It’s great to be able to see an improvement. I’ve made 21 of these crochet squares so far…only another 9 to go to craft my first ever crochet granny square blanket.

Valentine’s Day

We don’t really go in for Valentine’s Day in our house.

“Too commercial” is Hubby’s opinion and I tend to agree. We exchange cards (a bit begrudgingly on his part) but other than that it goes unmarked and sometimes un-noticed!
However, another seasonal event means another excuse to trawl blogs and Pinterest for crafty inspiration! I’m determined to crack crochet and really want to make some beautiful heart themed gifts I’ve seen on favourite blogs Attic24 and Cherry Heart.

So last night, whilst Hubby was out on his usual Wednesday night football and pub night, I set up the iPad and arranged my hooks and wool, determined to finish at least one teeny, tiny heart. Starting with Lucy at Attic 24’s pattern I completed a little heart in no time! I made a second to check the first hasn’t been a fluke and a third to check I really could make them. And I could! Here’s my attempt. Cute eh?

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So, full of confidence I moved onto Sandra at Cherry Heart’s pattern for a granny heart (granny as in granny square for those not so au fait with crochet terms). This was quite tricky for a novice like me but with a bit of a wiggle, a wing and a prayer I finished a granny heart!! Here it is…

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Bit wonky, but with Sandra’s clear instructions and photos I was able to make it. I’m so pleased and am walking around with a big smile on my face now. So, what did I do with my cute crochet hearts? Final piece of inspiration came from Meredith over at http://onesheepishgirl.blogspot.co.uk/

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Here’s hoping this special Valentine’s Day card with find a place in Hubby’s heart. Happy Valentine’s Day x

Simply Crochet Magazine Review

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As if I haven’t got enough to read, buy, make and download (!) there is now a new craft magazine out there – Simply Crochet.

Published by the makers of Mollies Makes, Simply Crochet has been launched this month and is aimed at all of us crochet lovers out there; newbies, old hands and everyone in between. As you’d expect from a magazine from the same publishing house as Mollie Makes, the magazine has beautiful styling and photography. The layout is clean and uncluttered and makes for easy, leisurely reading.

This first issue had two free crochet hooks in bright fluro colours which I’ve added to my growing hook collection.

The best thing about the mag is the sheer amount of patterns on offer. At £4.99, this represents great value for money – 36 patterns ranging from classic granny squares and baby blankets through to a beautiful collar to jush up your wardrobe and cute amigurumi (cute teeney crochet animals) creatures.

On my ‘to make list’ from the magazine are;

1. Crochet bunting – am already thinking about this for Missy’s bedroom

2. Padded coat hanger – great gift

3. Pretty crochet collar –  seems really simple to make and looks great

4. Amigurumi dragon – of course for Missy

5. Heart sachets – great gift again

Patterns are both written and charted, next step for my crochet learning is to get my head around the charts. One thing I’d like to see more of is some guidance as to whether the patterns are best for beginners or advanced crocheters and also some more advice or tip led content – perhaps a workshop section tackling common mistakes, tricky stitches or just holding us newbies hands whilst we try to pick up the basics.

Other than the patterns, I love the NoteBook section – a double page spread of notes, musings and thoughts on crochet. It’s like having a nosey into someone elses to do list. I’d love to see more content like this. Who are the people and artists who are driving the world of crochet craft? Who are the ones to watch? Bloggers to follow?

Overall I love it! It’s made its way onto my list of must buys each month. I’ve taken out a trial subscription which is £5 for three issues, so really looking forward to issue two, out Thursday 7th February. Log onto www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk for more info.

A cosy crochet chat with Sandra Cherry of Cherry Heart

In my on-going quest to master crochet, I’ve been browsing blogs and on-line pattern banks (Ravelry being my number one fav.) to help understand the mysterious art of hook and yarn. One of the blogs which inspired my crochet journey was http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/ and in particular this picture and post;

http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/giant-granny-patches.html

So, I asked Sandra if she’d share her wisdom with me and here it is. Read on fellow crochet wannabees!

1.       When did you take up crochet? Are you self taught or did someone (like mum or Grandma) teach you?

I’m pretty much self taught, which is why I crochet in such a cack-handed way today.  Basically, as soon as I started knitting as an adult I started so see these gorgeous patterns which I was dying to make only to discover they were not knitted, but crocheted.  Unlike knitting I’d never crocheted as a child and didn’t know where to start but I only lasted about a month before I gave in a decided I would have to learn.  My sister and I brought a book and sat down one evening to master the art.  Things did not go well, not for me at least.  Frustratingly, my sister had done some crochet previously and was able to get into the swing of it a lot quicker than I did.  After convincing me to stop pouting like a baby and just keep at it, I did persevere and got there in the end. 

2.       Why do you like this crafty medium so much?

I think the best thing about crochet, despite what I said above, is that once you have learnt it, it’s so much easier and quicker than knitting.  You need less equipment, it’s easy to experiment with, best of all it’s so easy to have as many wonderful colours as you want.

3.       What did you find the trickiest thing to master with crochet?

The hardest thing for me was holding the yarn in my left hand and keeping the tension on it.  My hand just didn’t want to co-operate at all.  It seemed such a strange an unnatural position for it to be in.  It just took time and repeated practise for my hand to get used to it and feel comfortable.  To this day I still hold my yarn in my own slightly weird way.  Probably a down-side of being self taught, but hey, it works!

4.       What’s your favourite thing to make?

Blankets.  Without a doubt, it’s blankets.  I can’t go too long before I want to make another one.  I want to make one now in fact.  The endless possibilities of colours and patterns will always mean there’s something new and exciting to make.

5.       What inspires you to keep crocheting?

Everywhere I look I see something else I want to make.  There’s Pinterest and all manner of gorgeous blogs that show me something else I could try every day.  I look though a book of crochet stitches and see so many I haven’t tried yet and then there’s always a new yarn or a slightly different colour that cries out to be used.

6.       What blogs do you follow and why?

Well, there’s the obvious ones I guess, Attic24, because if you are connected to the internet and you crochet, why wouldn’t you follow Lucy’s blog?  Then Dottie Angel, because of the gorgeous colour combinations she chooses and Little Cotton Rabbits for the gorgeous yarn.  Then there’s Country Rose, she makes beautiful things and has the sweetest blog about her crafting and her family.  I also like C’est Facile avec Cecile  and Petite Pimprenelle, being French I can’t really understand much of what they write, but the pictures alone tell a pretty fabulous story.  Finally, she doesn’t crochet, but Annie at Knitsofacto could write about pretty much anything and I’d read it, I love her blog and always find it interesting.

Sandra’s three top crochet tips…

1.  When you make your foundation chain, use a larger hook that you plan to use for the project you’re making, a good couple of sizes  larger in fact.  That makes the chain much looser and easier to work your first row of stitches into.

2.  If you need a huge foundation chain for a blanket or something, instead of making 200 (or more) chains and then counting them a hundred times just to make sure you’ve got the exact right number, try this:   Make a lose slip knot and then count them as you go, placing stitch markers every 50 stitches, just in case you lose your place.  Then when you’ve got the number you want, chain a few extra stitches, 2 or 3 more for something small, maybe 10 more for a big blanket.  Then work your first row, if you do have chains left over, carefully unpick your original slip knot and undo the chains you don’t need one at a time!

3.  Take time to get to know some yarns by visiting real life shops.  Acrylic yarn is a great place to start, and in my opinion, not just when you’re a beginner.  But, some are nicer than others and it helps a lot to have a look and feel so you know what you’ll be dealing with.  You can also look at pure wool, cash merino, cotton, and blends.  Once you know what sorts of yarn you like to work with it’s much easier to order online.

Thanks Sandra.

Right everyone pick up that hook, grab your yarn and let’s crochet!

Cracking Crochet

On Saturday I faced my fear and spent three hours in the presence of crochet hooks…

Determined to master the art of crochet and with no one I knew of to sit by my side and talk me through this mysterious craft, I booked myself onto a course with the Bristol School of Sewing and Textiles. Housed in the old City of Bristol College, the sewing school is just one of the many activities you can now take part in, in this urban, reclaimed community space.

My fellow hookers were a nice mix of young and old, some who had some crochet experience but wanted to be reminded of the basics and others, like me, who were confident knitters but crochet had alluded us. With the kettle on constant boil and a selection of chocolate biscuits on standby, we were ready to begin.

Out teacher Laura was brilliant. She was able to whizz through the basics – casting on with a chain, single crochet and double crochet – with us all very quickly and was on hand to help out – so much better than trying to learn from You Tube or books (as most of us had been doing previously). Laura was able to walk around the group as we worked, pointing out mistakes, praising good work and generally being able to help us understand what the stitches are supposed to look like. I found this bit particularly useful. On my previous attempts to teach myself crochet, I was never quite sure what a double crochet even looked like, so didn’t know if I’d got something right or wrong.

Once the basics were out of the way and we were all fairly confident we launched into a granny square – which should look something like this;

But mine actually looked like this…And this was after unravelling it two or three times to start again;

Very wonky, holes where their shouldn’t be holes…rubbish. So I didn’t end my session with a beautiful square (or two as we supposed to!!) but I did leave with the following top tips;

  1. Work loose – tight chains are a crochet hookers nightmare
  2. Cheap acrylic wool works better for beginners than fancy schmancy merino wool…too many fibres to get stuck in those pesky hooks
  3. Counting counts. Learning crochet isn’t something to be done with one eye on the TV, particularly if you’re trying to make a granny square. Unlike knitting where a missed stitch or decrease/increase isn’t the end of the world, in crochet it matters! I really struggled to concentrate in the group situation and kept loosing my place in the pattern

I also left with the basic knowledge of how to read a crochet pattern. All the 2dc’s and DC2tog now make sense. With my new sense of optimism I went home and dug out this beautiful book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cute-Easy-Crochet-Nicki-Trench/dp/1907563067/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353331861&sr=1-1 and decided to have a go at the bunting, labelled as perfect for beginners. And do you know what? I did it!! Here’s my version of the first flag and a close up;

My mission now is to keep practicing (in between knitting baby blankets, stitching Christmas decorations and generally getting ready for my favourite time of year!) to make sure the stitches become second nature. Maybe then I’ll be able to attempt another granny square or a beautiful ripple blanket like this;

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http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/neat-ripple-pattern.html

 

 

Halloween Crafting

I don’t really go in for seasonal crafting (apart from Christmas of course) but have been tempted by some super cute pumpkin related crafty goodness I’ve been reading about this year, on some of my favourite blogs. What with bridesmaid shrugs, baby blankets and Christmas presents, I’ve no time to make anything for this year but here’s a quick round up of my favourites;

Over at One Sheepish Girl http://onesheepishgirl.blogspot.co.uk/ crochet pumpkin treat holders are the order of the day. Gorgeous! Just need to crack my crochet phobia;

Feeling Stitchy http://www.feelingstitchy.com/ are running a Halloween stitch along this October, with a kitsch witch pattern. Not quite sure how i’d use this (for me, my crafty makes usually need to have a practical use) but I like it all the same;

more witchy detail

Totally breaking my practical rule, Mack and Mabel http://mackandmabel.blogspot.co.uk/ have kindly written up a pattern for these super sweet mini knitted pumpkins. Ideal for a mantel piece decoration or perhaps as gifts for trick or treaters?

And finally, a new addition to my blogroll is Sandra, who blogs at http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/ and creates the most beautiful crochet creations. Again, I MUST conquer my irrational fear of crochet so I can make things like this;

Learning to knit socks and other things…

I am the queen of the stash – ribbons, buttons, wool, fabric, magazines, books…you name it I’ve probably got it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not necessarily because i think i’m going to use it anytime soon but, well, why not? I’m a particular sucker for wool and embroidery thread – it’s the colour, the texture, the thoughts of what it might become. Knitting and cross stitch are by far my favourite crafts and thus make up most of my stash…And the reason for all of this? There are sooo many crafty things I’d like to do but haven’t ventured into just yet. This is just the shortlist. Believe me, there is a long list!!

Things that I want to make but haven’t quite gotten around to it yet include;