Archive for category Crochet Projects

Tight Lipped Tuesday #3

An occasional (can’t manage more than that) series of posts where I say not much at all.

Remember my stained piece of gorgeousness picked up in the junk/charity shop?

Thank you for all your suggestions.

Here it is now

I decided to trust the oxygenating stuff (known as Vanish here and in the U.K. at least) and soaked it overnight.  Then I sprayed with a dilute white vinegar solution and laid it out in the sun.  Then repeated both actions before hand washing in mild soap and rinsing thoroughly followed by another bout in the sun.

I am as chuffed as whatever a chuffed thing is. **

Here’s the final result of my project using leftover yarn.

💖

💙

One or two people might be getting a blanket for Christmas.

 

**

English dialect chuff pleased, puffed with fat

Thanks for that Merriam-Webster, sometimes it’s best to live in ignorance.

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Big Scraps, Little Scraps And Some In Between

Can a person get addicted to a crochet pattern?  If so, I’m on my way to rehab.  Remember these two Little River Blankets? (pattern designed by Emma Varnam )

The one on the right is made with Scheepjes yarn from the original kit and, to be honest, is still my favourite due to the softer feel of the cotton/acrylic mix and the more carefully planned out colour scheme which the pattern provides.  The one on the left is made with 100% cotton yarn and I made the colours up as I went along.

All the yarn came in cute little 10g balls and, in the original, only one row is crocheted with each ball.  Even so, I still had some leftovers from both projects

Perfect for yet another version using the scraps and enabling me to participate in ScrapHappy day this month.

I am breaking the rules with this one due to the limitations of using scraps and am having to change colour part way through a lot of the rows.  I’m just trying to keep some sort of blending going.

This is it so far,  unwoven in ends and all.  The blue I’m using to create the unifying ripple every 7th row and the eventual edging is the only new yarn I bought for this version.  The 7th row should have been the 5th row but I forgot and didn’t want to frog it so decided to keep it at every 7th – who will know?  Or care?

I think the reason I’m addicted is the pattern is easy, though not totally mindless, so perfect for getting something useful done when I’m Netflix bingeing in the evening. It also keeps me from having a glass of wine or falling asleep – the two usually go together.

A double whammy from the scrap department this month.  I made these two blocks for Kate’s newest quilt project for Ovarian Cancer Australia.  Their colours are teal and cream and Kate likes to indulge her love of puns when naming the quilts.  We’ve had ‘Tealed With A Kiss’, ‘Signed, Tealed, Delivered’ amongst others in the past and this one will be called ‘Go Teal It On The Mountains’.  So, Kate and some of her readers of the patchwork persuasion are making blocks with a mountain theme.  For some time now I’ve had a stash of of teal blues (and similar) kept specially for these projects.  The blocks are assembled, quilted and finished by Kate and then auctioned to raise funds. You can read a bit more about it on Kate’s blog here.

This first block of mine was just a case of joining strips really.

I found the original idea online here

My second block was foundation paper pieced, a method I have come to love.

Free pattern found on Craftsy here 

Kate asks for 12 inch finished blocks and this one was only 7 inches but I found this useful guide on how to enlarge and reduce paper pieced patterns here

Here’s another little scrap

Yuki hunting grass

Joining in this month with Kate and Gun’s Scraphappy Day for some inventive uses of scraps and interesting blogs. If you want to use up some scraps and show what you’ve done with them – could be paper, yarn, fabric, leather, wood, whatever, just let Kate know here and she can add you to the list of participants even if you don’t want to do something every month.   Find more details on Kate’s blog here

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An Experimental Gift

In my efforts to make gifts for people rather than buy stuff, I decided to make something for a friend’s ‘special’ (aka ‘scary’) birthday recently.

She is quite fussy so I wanted to make something she’d like and use and that wouldn’t clash with anything in her lovely house.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen her then for my first attempt at crocheting Moroccan Tile stitch and raid my stash for the necessary super chunky wool no matter what colour. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, here is the result of my well meaning endeavours……..

a lined basket – with handles no less – using the aforementioned stitch.

This is quite a large basket measuring around 8 inches in diameter and about 7 inches high.  It’s made with super chunky yarn and is also lined with yarn of the same weight so it’s substantial enough to stand up on its own.  I used a free pattern which, reading the comments, appears to have caused a few problems with getting the size of the lining right in relation to the exterior.

I went down half a hook size for the outside (I used a 5.5mm) and a whole size and a half for the lining – a 4.5mm (won’t do that again!)

Blocking wasn’t mentioned and the jury seems to be out on whether it works on acrylic anyway but the lining was just a teensy bit small so I had to pull it tighter than it was possibly meant to be pulled in order to join it to the exterior.  It became obvious that this had caused some narrowing at the handle level so I tried to make it as neat as possible and used a large glass circular vase to hold it open and pegs (pinging off now and then) to hold the handle section up.

That’s not the lining you see through the glass but face cloths to pad the sides out a bit around the vase.

Then I gave it all a squirt with the steam iron and left it for a while.

You can see that the basket goes narrower just before the handle section starts which it shouldn’t plus it isn’t entirely symmetrical which is all due to my overcompensating for other people saying their lining came out too big.

 I wondered about giving it to her for her birthday after all because it’s not 100% perfect and I was, therefore, not 100% happy with it.  In the end I bought some pretty hand towels to put in it, wrapped it in cellophane with a big bow and hoped she’d appreciate the fact I’d made her something even if she only uses it to let the cat jump in and out of.

I am definitely going to make another of these – they are large and very useful.  I love the effect of the stitch which took a bit of getting used to but the free pattern I used had written and video tutorials which I followed avidly.  You can find Tamara Kelly’s pattern on Ravelry and  here

…..and this is how the experts do it.

Next time I will see if I have something in plain colours I can double up to super chunky thickness – I have lots of aran and dk weight wools in my stash – as I think I prefer the original version in the plain colours.  Although I think the two different variegated yarns I used also create quite an interesting effect.  This was a really fun project – a bit of a challenge but that never hurts once in a while does it?

 

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Hot Crochet

Hot yoga is a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions.  I prefer doing the cobra and down dog in an ambient temperature so I thought I’d indulge in a bit of Hot Crochet instead – I might patent the name ; ).

I did use my yoga mat to block a blanket though – does that count?

This is the second version I’ve made of Emma Varnam’s Little River Blanket which I originally made with a lovely collection of 10g balls of Scheepjes River and Stone Washed yarn, bought as a kit from Black Sheep Wools.

It was fast and enjoyable to make so when I saw these little packs of  8 x 10g cotton yarn for 1.75 euros each in our local discount store, I thought I’d make it again.  I had some Rowan cotton yarn in my stash which I’ve had for years so used that for the ‘every 5th row’ colour and the border.

Being 100% cotton it wasn’t too uncomfortable a Summer make and I laid out all the colours I sourced in order to make the same sort of graded effect achieved in the original.

If I’m honest, the feel and texture of the Scheepjes blanket is softer and more luxurious because it has some acrylic mixed in with the cotton but the cost of the 100% cotton blanket was significantly less so…….

Here they are both together – the original Scheepjes one on the right.  I think they are both rather nice.

When I read other people’s blogs and see something I like, I tend to go off on a tangent and get enthused about a project even when I’m already knee deep in others.  So, when I read Pauline’s (aka The Contented Crafter) about large crocheted mandalas as wall art, some white metal hoops were only a few clicks away.

We have a long, blank corridor and I thought a selection of 45cm and 35cm colourful mandalas would look good against the plain wall.

Before the ends were weaved in and a light steam press.

I used Lucy at Attic 24’s pattern called ‘Positivity Mandala’ but added a couple of extra rounds to get it up to the required size for the hoops I bought. (free Mandala pattern here

As you can imagine, I have lots of cotton yarn scraps left from the stripey blankets above – you might remember I recently asked for ideas about how to use them.  The mandalas provide an excellent way of using up those 10g balls of cotton – at least in the centres.  The rest of the yarn is from the range by Paintbox DK of which I have a vast quantity having bought a huge pack of the entire colour range some time ago when it was on sale at a bargain price.

The jury – aka Mr. Tialys – is still out on whether he wants these as wall art in the corridor and, anyway, I wouldn’t have used these colours for there but I did a practise run in the bedroom where the colours go very nicely and I’ve since hung it in the entrance to my workroom.

I’ll keep you posted if I’m allowed to make any more.

Remember my crochet dogs, taken from Kerry Lord’s book?

I can’t recall whether I showed you this little chap.  He’s supposed to be an English Bull Terrier which, if I were to ever actually go to a breeder and buy a dog (which I won’t) this would be the breed I would probably choose – that or a German Shepherd (although, sadly the latter are generally two a penny in the refuges).

I found the patch a little difficult and I’m not sure whether it’s possible to blend black and white a little more efficiently than I have but I think he’s cute anyway.

My sister has a West Highland Terrier called Harvey and this is my rendition which will be posted in the next few days as a gift for her birthday.

I had never done loop stitch before so the head has been waiting to be finished until I had time to sit, hook in hand, in front of a YouTube tutorial.  I was worried I might not have made the loops long enough but she keeps him fairly well clipped anyway as she lives in Spain so I think it will be O.K.

Seems a shame to separate them really.

Right, now the yoga mat is freed up, I suppose I could do a few planks, shoulder stands and warrior poses.  On the other hand, it’s a bit too hot.

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Crochet

As a contrast to my last post which was all about neutrals, here’s one to make your eyes bleed.

Do you remember this box of 50 gorgeous little 10g balls of yarn – a mix of Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed in all the colours of the range?  They looked so pretty in their box that I wanted to hang it on the wall like a picture.

Still, I managed to get a grip, opened the box and, mixing the little 10g balls with three full sized ones in the colour Moonstone, made a cheerful little blanket designed by Emma Varnam.

The finished measurement is just 90 x 100 cm which is fine for a lap blanket, a baby blanket or something to throw artfully over the arm of a sofa or across the back of a chair.

Mine is a bit smaller as I missed out one of the widthwise repeats and, once I realised, couldn’t bear to undo what I’d already done for the sake of an extra few centimetres but, no matter, I like it muchly.

So much so, in fact, I’ve started another in some more mini 10g balls of yarn I have found locally.  The Scheepjes yarn is a cotton acrylic mix and is lovely and soft to the touch and a dream to work with.  The new stuff I’ve bought is all cotton and so doesn’t feel as soft.  The texture and drape is different and I made up my own mix of colours but, actually, it’s very light (so far) and therefore a comfortable project to work on in these hot evenings.  Also, the yarn was about a third of the price of the Scheepjes so I can put up with it being a little less pleasant to work with.  A quick pattern that can easily be done in front of your favourite Netflix binge.

I bought the original yarn and pattern as a kit from Black Sheep Wools in the U.K.

Then I must master Loop Stitch and complete the Westie dog I’m supposed to be making for my sister’s birthday in August.  I only need the stitch for the head piece – I’ve already got the body, legs and ears made so I should stop procrastinating and get on with it or her birthday will have been and gone.

DSC_0003 (3)

Yes, I finished this one but that’s an English Bull Terrier and she’s got a Westie so that’s no good.

I know some of you are still managing to brandish hook or needles in the Summer heat but have some of you put them away until it cools down a bit? I used to give up yarn related activity in the Summer but now I’ve discovered crochet I find it more doable than knitting in the hot weather.  Can you tell?

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There’s A Mouse In The House

Among the many books I bought when I took up the crochet hook was one featuring animal trophy heads.  A strange choice I think you’ll agree but one can only have so many blankets around the place and I thought they might be fun.

I started with the smallest animal in the book – a mouse – which may have been a mistake as I’m not used to using 4-ply yarn and a 2mm hook so it was a bit fiddly but it is done.

Mr. T. made me a little wooden shield out of some scrap wood he had lying about.

Now the cats have the first of what might well be several trophies for ‘their room’ aka our conservatory.  Maybe it will discourage them from bringing any more real ones in but I doubt it.

I think I’ll do the hare next but I won’t hang that in the cats’ room in case it gives them ideas.

I know they don’t look very dangerous but, trust me, I wouldn’t want to be a mouse (or mole!) in the vicinity (plus there are four others lurking out of shot!)

To think I used to say ‘life’s too short to stuff a mushroom’.

As I used some scrap yarn – albeit Jaegar alpaca no less – and the wood was scrap too, I’m linking up with Kate and Gun’s Scraphappy Day for which we attempt to make something using scraps every month – or just when we have something to show.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn (me),  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlys, Kerry and Claire

Now, enough with the animal crochet – I have a half finished dress draped over two mannequins that won’t finish itself.

 

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I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face

Remember the super sized amigurumi dog I made from the ‘Edward’s Menagerie Dogs’ book?

Well, I’ve made her a baby.

Actually, this is the ‘standard sized’ dog – there is a smaller one which I might attempt one day although I suspect it might be a bit fiddly and, anyway, I quite like this size.

This time I didn’t take any chances with the placement and used things to mark where I wanted to put the eyes and nose.  I used a piece of felt to mark where the nose should go and then  sewed it on anyway because it looked just right to me.

I gave him some eyebrows because I love dog’s eyebrows – they make me laugh.

I also gave him a rakish grin and a pretend collar and bell so the rabbits will hear him coming.

I know I asked for advice about his Mum’s features because they are nowhere near perfect and  I was going to change them but, as Professor Higgins said, ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face’.  She will henceforth be known as Eliza – if anybody should ask.

Anyway, I have two dogs under my belt now – things can only get better – I’m going for the English Bull Terrier next.

As you know, I recently finished the divine Eastern Jewels blanket.  I’ve worked out that I probably have enough yarn left in some of the colours to make another one with the purchase of just 5 or 6 more balls.  Hooray!

But not yet.

Firstly, I have another project up my sleeve.  I was tempted by my favourite wool shop who sent me the object of my  desire in their lovely tote bag.

The pattern is by Emma Varnam in Scheepjes River Washed and Stone Washed yarns and came as a kit.

A small photo of my instructions which came with the yarn but you can see the whole beautiful, ripply blanket on Emma’s blog here.

It’s very lovely but what really tipped me over the edge tempted me were the teeny balls of wool in their own box which, together with three 50g  balls of cream coloured Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn included in the kit, will make the blanket.

Be still my heart.

Fifty fabulous little 10g balls of wool.  Trouble is, they look so cute in their box, I don’t want to open it.  I might have to buy another one and hang it on the wall but that would be the work of a crazy woman.  Wouldn’t it?

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The Eastern Jewels Finish – An End to the Ends

After all the octagons

and all the squares, the large triangles and the small triangles,

and the seemingly endless ends to be sewn in.

After going maverick and doing a slightly different border in different colours,

taking a deep breath, hand washing it and spinning it for a short time tied in a pillow case with a couple of bath sheets to prevent too much agitation, as recommended,

blocking it out to a 45 inch square on several yoga mats

it’s finished!

I started this in late October when I was in the U.K. looking after my Mum with my sisters.

Finished in April just before going back over to the U.K. to see my daughter in her new flat for the first time.

I’ve loved every minute of making this – well, apart from sewing in the ends that is but, if you do them as you go along it’s not so bad.

I would never have put all these colours together myself but it’s been so cleverly worked out that the overall effect is really stunning  and just goes to prove that going outside your comfort colour zone now and then can be a revelation.

So – we put the flags out – or the patchwork flag up – something I’ve been nagging reminding Mr. T. to help me with for some time now and, as you can see, it didn’t end up in the long, empty corridor as discussed in my earlier post but in the lovely old rickety wooden stairway leading up to the top floor.

Now, what’s next?

Actually, I won’t lie, I’ve already ordered another kit – a different one this time and it should be here by the time I get back from my U.K. trip so I’ll show you then but I am definitely going to make this one again in the future.

Well, I’ve got the pattern now, it would be silly not to.

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Animal Faces

Remember my ‘butternut squash’ dog that I was making using the ‘Edwards Menagerie Dogs’ Book?

He was looking a bit sad, which isn’t surprising as he hadn’t been sewn together yet and had a knitting needle through his head to hold it on to his body for photo shoot purposes which I don’t think would be anybody’s position of choice.  I say he was looking sad but, not having a face, we could only guess at his emotions although I think the body language was clear.

Anyway, the reason I don’t usually make toys of any description – or one of the many reasons – is that I can’t get those features right.  I’m not at all skilled with embroidery threads of any sort .  However, having ‘rediscovered’ crochet fairly recently, I wanted to try my hand at amigurumi because there are lots of cute ones out there and I haven’t done much crochet in the round so thought it would be a challenge.  Impatient to start, I only had this very chunky wool available in a vaguely suitable ‘dog colour’ and that’s why I went for the large size to start instead of the standard.  I think that is what scared me most about adding the nose and eyes so I asked my friend Sandra – who has made quite a few toys and is also au fait with the embroidery side of things – to do the nose for me.

She was a bit disappointed with the result but I pretended to be happy and brought him home.  She doesn’t read my blog (I hope) so I’m going to unpick it and try it myself.  I don’t like the eyes either.

Any tips would be appreciated but, firstly, I think the features should maybe be chocolate coloured instead of black.  Secondly, I think the nose might be too big (as well as being a bit on the wonk) and, thirdly the eyes are probably too high up.

What do you think?

Other than that, I think he’s kind of cute – I say ‘he’ but I think this might be a girly dog for some reason – I’m getting a feminine vibe off this particular arrangement of yarn which is not something you hear me say every day.

 

Leon is unimpressed.

Mac thinks it’s hilarious

and I think we can all tell what Yuki thinks of it.

Sorry about that last bit but, the post is called ‘Animal Faces’ and any excuse to put photos of my lovely cats on the blog, especially when they’ve obliged me with such ‘appropriate’ expressions, is not to be ignored.

Seriously though – if you can offer any advice on getting features looking just right, I’d be very grateful.

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Is It Woolly Going To Be A Dog?

Having honed my crochet skills on blankets – an ongoing process by the way – I’ve never tried amigurumi.  Difficult enough to say the word, I’d always intended to give this sort of crochet a go and even bought a couple of pattern books but, when the Dog one came out it was a ‘had to have’.

Not that I need more dogs in my life but I thought, if they were quick and easy enough, they might be a good thing to sell in aid of Twilight, the home for old and disabled dogs I support.

It will be a while before I get to the long haired varieties like this.

Photo from Book

So I thought I’d start with a beginner pattern – a little labrador

Photo from Book

Searching through my yarn stash, it became clear that I had no ‘neutral colours’  i.e. black, grey, white, cream in the required thickness.  However, I did have some oatmeal coloured yarn in ‘Chunky’ which meant, if I wanted to make a start straight away, I’d have to do the large sized dog – there are three sizes to choose from for each dog – it’s just the size of the crochet hook and the thickness of the yarn that changes.   So that’s what I’m doing – not a little labrador but a large labrador.

Any resemblance to a big butternut squash is purely coincidental.

For scale see the vintage wig stand behind which is, more or less, about the size of an actual human head.

I wouldn’t mind but the dog’s head is a slightly smaller butternut squash which I will attempt to balance atop the body once I’ve got the legs on for stability.  I’ll let you know how that goes :/

The Twilight Easter Fair fundraiser is next Saturday where we are raising money to make life more comfortable for the for old and disabled dogs who have been abandoned or who have been separated from their owners for one reason or another.    I don’t think I’ll be churning these out quickly enough to be able to put them up for sale by then – certainly not at this size – but I’ll have to buy in some neutral colours in double knitting  yarn in order to make some smaller ones which – looking into the future – might be ready for the Christmas Fair and, by that time, I might have progressed to the shaggier versions.

Meanwhile, I have another nine Twilight tea towels to turn into aprons before next Saturday so I’d better leave ears, legs and tail until after then.

The weather here continues to be complete pants and the real dogs are bored.

Flo couldn’t even be bothered to choose which woolly doggy she wants me to crochet for her to play with.

 

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