Sunday, 25 February 2018

My Beanie Pom Pom Hat

The last project in the Introduction to Tunisian Crochet I have been following on Craftsy was to learn how to knit and purl and in doing so produce a Beanie Hat with a Pom Pom.

The feedback from the students was that the pattern provided for the hat was a small one so I played around until I had enough stitches to make a comfortable fit for myself.

As the cast of chains was originally 58 stitches I increased mine to 72 for a 22" diameter. It was important to increase in multiples of 4 because of the pattern which consisted of a 2 pearl and two knit repeat.   

I used the same yarn that I used for the cowl so that I had a matching hat.  This was a caron cake and the colour label is Cake Pop.  It is a hand wash only yarn and 80% Acrylic and 20% Wool.  It is quite a thick yarn and perfect for a hat. I used a Tunisian Crochet Hook size 6. 

I started off the project Friday evening and it took a few false starts before I was producing the stitches correctly. I started a fresh the next day and had the project finished before midday on Sunday so it is quite a quick project to work up once you get going.  

I altered the pattern as I neared the end by starting to decrease  on the last 8 rows in order to have less bulk when gathering up the edge.  I am glad I did as it not only gave it some shape but I also have a hat shaped to fit my own head.

The finale was to sew up the side seams and gather up the long edge to pull it in.  I then made a pom pom using one of my largest pom pom makers and sewed this onto the top.

So here is the hat I made in a weekend!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Granny Square Blanket

Here is a grannie square blanket I started crocheting over the Christmas break and finished in the first couple weeks of February.  

Image result for diagram joining crochet squaresI used Stylecraft Special DK yarn in black, red, white and pink.  Each square was made individually and then crocheted together in rows using the join as you go technique.  Bella Coco has a great video on YouTube you can follow here

When joining, start by laying out your first row of squares all facing up.  Start by taking the first square of the row (to your left) and crochet a border completely around it and then sew in your ends.  From this point on you are now going to join each new square to the one to its immediate left.  Bella will show you how to join the corners together in her video so be show to watch this.

Take the next square which will sit to the right of the first square you have just completed the border for and start crocheting around the side, top and then join the third edge to the first square along one side.  This leaves the bottom edge to crochet before you begin again.  Work like this to the end of this row and then lay out your second row making sure all squares are the correct way up.  Keep repeating the above until all the squares are joined.

I finished off sewing in all my loose ends before edging the blanket with three rows of double crochet and here is the end result.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Valentine Cards

It doesn't bother me that Valentine's Day is commercially driven as I like the fact it is a way of celebrating the love we hold for someone special in our life.  I therefore take pleasure in making Valentine Cards for this occasion and this year is without exception.

The dust cover of the Cameo Silhouette came off during the week and I spend an evening playing with my software and then cutting out my designs for this year's cards. 

After a couple of evenings work these are the cards I made:

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Cushion Cover in Tunisian Simple Stitch

Now that I am confident crocheting the Simple Tunisian Stitch I got going on a project to replace a cushion cover in my favourite colour, turquoise. 

The cushion itself was an 18th inch cushion  and I started off with enough chains to match the width of this cushion.  I didn't allow more than 1cm of overlap as the cushion wasn't particularly dense so making it a tight fit would mean no sag and help plump up the pillow.

I designed this with ease in mind as I didn't want to have a zip or buttons as a closure.  I created the back panel larger than the front so that it overlapped the front.  I then sewed the overlap down onto the side seams.  At this point I had already joined all the other seams together with a crochet stitch.  I found it better to join the bottom seam first and then worked from the bottom edges up.  This way I knew it would be a perfect fit.

I spent the morning thinking how I could add a nice trim to the edge of the overlap and experimented with chains and clusters but wasn't happy with the outcome so ripping this out, I then added chains that I joined at intervals.  I then made some pompoms to tie onto the chains.  My smallest pompom maker by Clover made pompoms that were too large so I made use of my multipom  pompom maker and this produced much smaller pompoms for me which were the size I needed.

I have now finished my cushion and here it is.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Cowl made using the Tunisian Full Stitch

As I am working my way through the Tunisian Crotchet for Beginners course on Craftsy I am learning new stitches and a lot more besides.  

I am picking up the terminology used, forward pass, reverse pass etc.  You work on the right side of the work all the time so this means you work right to left and then left to right so no turning the work like in normal crochet.   It is recommended to work with a larger Tunisian hook than you would when using a normal crochet hook, and to keep counting your stitches as this helps to pick up mistakes sooner rather than later.

I have moved onto learning the Full Stitch which I found simple to remember but takes a while to master.

On the forward pass (working right to left) you put your hook through the spaces that sit between each vertical bar and bring up a loop on the hook.  

As I am staggering my stitches it makes a difference as to placement of the stitches I am picking up.  So let's first explain that a completed row is when you work the forward then reverse pass (a row is now complete).  So for each row I alternate whether I work in the first stitch space or the second stitch space when doing the forward pass. If I started in the first stitch space I skip the last stitch space but if I started in the second stitch space then I work the last stitch space.  Regardless, I must always work the final stitch in the chain at the very end of the row before I do a chain stitch. 

In this image I am about to work in the last space before I do the final stitch in the chain on the edge.

Once you have completed the forward pass you need to start the reverse pass with a chain stitch to give you height then you work the reverse pass which is a case of dropping off the stitches.  I have illustrated this in a short video.

Having completed the reverse pass of dropping of the stitches I am now ready to begin a new row.  In this next image I have worked in the first stitch space so I will skip the last one and then add the final stitch in the actual chain at the end of the row.  

Notice how the work curls at the bottom.  This is because unlike normal crochet where you turn the work, with Tunisian Crochet you don't.  If I block the work afterward it will be fine.

I found on many occasion that my stitch placement was wrong or I didn't do enough stitches and ended up unpicking my work but in the end it came together nicely.  It's advisable to do a stitch count before you do your reverse pass whilst getting used to the process.  

My biggest challenge was getting a really tidy left edge so if you are struggling just check you have the right number of stitches and you are working that last one in the chain from the previous row. 
Recap for staggering this stitch:  At the end of the forward pass you either work a stitch into the last space or not depending on the row below and then you put a final stitch into the chain stitch created from the row below.  

Having mastered the Tunisian Full Stitch here is the cowl that I have made.  I made it long enough to fold in half so as to make a really lovely warm wrap around my neck.

Here are the lovely stitches.  I used a Caron Cake yarn from Deramores and a size 6mm Tunisian hook.  The work is just as nice on reverse side so it doesn't matter that the scarf shows the underside.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Shaped Headband with Tunisian Simple Stitch

In one of the editions of the Crochet Now magazine I received a free Tunisian Crochet Hook.  Tunisian Crochet was completely unfamiliar to me at that point.  Since then I have made a few sample squares with the basic stitch known as the "Simple Stitch" but not progressed my skill beyond this and actually made something!  Thinking it was high time I did something about that, I signed up for a course on Tunisian Crochet for beginners which is an online course offered by Craftsy.  

With this course I get the opportunity to make three winter accessories: a headband, cowl and Beanie hat.  I have already made the headband using the Simple Stitch and have learned how to increase and decrease.  Now I can't wait to move onto making the cowl as my next project.

Here is my first completed project.

The yarn I chose was Life Aran by  Stylecraft which is slightly thicker than the DK Yarn I am used to working with and perfect for this project.  Although I used a 6mm tunisian crochet hook, in this instance, due to the small number of stitches on the hook, you could get away with using an ordinary crochet hook.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Paddington Bear

Last week I promised you a crocheted Paddington Bear and who am I to not deliver on my promises!

Paddington arrived yesterday and is just getting settled into his "forever home".

He is a big lad and has taken me about 10 days to crochet using Stylecraft Special DK yarn.  I had just about finished him on Saturday but re-did his hat a couple more times until I had a good fit.  This required a 4.5 size hook.  Each attempt took a couple of hours and I think his jacket took 5 or 6 hours.  I like the little pockets on the front and the hoody at the back.

His body was crocheted in Styecraft DK yarn colour Sandstone.  I wasn't a great fan of it.  The spin was quite loose and although I went down to 2.8 crochet hook, to compensate for this, I think I could have gone smaller to get a tighter finish.  Maybe it is something I consider next time or just when it comes to decreasing.  I am not sure when would be a next time as my next project to start is cushion covers so look out for my next blog about these.

Anyway, if you fancy crocheting your own Paddington Bear the pattern was a free gift in December's edition of Crochet Now magazine.  It perfectly coincided with the film release of Paddington 2 and if hope over to Crochet Now's Facebook page you will catch a glimpse of everyone's makes so far.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Brian the Bear

Happy New Year!

I realise it has been a while since I last posted on my blog.  Christmas time is a busy time for me and I usually have prepared items lined up but for some reason this went awry this year.  So starting afresh, I am going to tell you what I have been up to over the last few weeks and what there is to look forward to in the year ahead.

I subscribe to Crochet Now Magazine and finding this a really great way to try new techniques and make things I wouldn't have imagined all thanks to the free gifts that come each month!

In Issue 22 readers received a free yarn kit and pattern to make Brian the Bear.  Brian is made head down in the amigurumi style, in a spiral without slip stitching or turning chains at the start of each row.  There were some other free festive makes that could have been made from this free yarn including Rufus the Reindeer, a beaded Christmas Bauble and Christmas Tree, but perhaps another time!

Here is Brian all finished.  I have him for sale on Etsy where I have set up a store for my crochet makes.

You can visit Brian here at my store.

Also, from an earlier edition of the magazine, I received 9 patterns based on a woodland theme that also came with a free kit of yarn and from that I made this rather lovely little hedgehog.  I have named her Harriet the Hedgehog and she is also for sale in my Etsy Store.

You can visit Harriet here on my Etsy Store. 

Now for the exciting news!  The latest edition (Issue 23) of the Crochet Now Magazine has a free pattern to make a very special bear and its "Paddington Bear".  The good news is that I have started making this and I can't wait to see him finished in his hat and duffle coat.  Of course I will share him with you when he is complete and hopefully will be posting him here very soon!  

Sunday, 10 December 2017

12 Days of Christmas

I loved everything about the 12 days of Christmas Collection from Docrafts but it has taken me an age to decide how I was going to use it so it has been in my crafty stash for some time waiting for divine inspiration. In the collection were stamps, washi tape, 8x8 cards and inserts. I also had some dies and an embossing folder that went with the theme.

In the 12x12 paper pad where a number of 6x6 toppers which I realized fitted exactly on the Diesire fancy fold cards so an idea was formulated.  

I had a 12 days of Christmas embossing folder that I brought from Tattered Lace to use as a background on these cards.  The stamps came in handy too as I wanted something quite light as the background on the front cover.  I used my clear Sparkle pen to color in my stamped backgrounds.

and used some dies from XCut add more interest.

I added a Diesire Die for the back of the card to indicate that this would be a good place to sign the card.

Here are some more I made:

I used peeloff strips to edge the card.

 It was important to me that the inside was as beautiful as the outside.

I had just brought these little penguin dies and I think they work perfectly on this card.

These were the inserts that came with the paper collection.

I put a mix of stamps on my card background.

and used a die on the inside to cut out my french hens.

These were the cards that came with the paper collection. I couldn't decide how to use them.  The first time I put card stock behind and cut out the aperture so you could see through the center.

This time I kept the center in and quite liked it.

I decorated the inside like this and decided this was going to be from me to my husband.

I put one of the toppers behind but didn't like it that much as it looks very busy.

The best effect of all was using acetate behind like this one.

As the paper pad had large scale printing I wanted to do something quite simple so I used some Kraft Card to make the next batch of cards.  I covered the Kraft card with the paper but left a border around the edge.  Then I used a large bird stamp and stamped onto the paper and then cut this out.  I also stamped the card so that when I stuck down the bird, the legs were visible so I didn't have to cut them out, genius!

This is what they looked like:

This is my favourite bird stamp.

And here are a few cards made up with the assortment of pieces that came with the paper craft kit.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Hunkydory - Stylish Sihouettes - A White Christmas

Over a year ago I published cards I had made using Stylish Silhouttes from Hunkydory  but like so many crafters, when we run out of ideas we tend to move onto something else and inevitably have some leftovers waiting for another day.

Well another eventually came and this is what I was inspired to make.

The first was inspired by the background that I made with Spectrum Noir watercolour inks.  These inks are very easy to use as quick washes for backgrounds.

The next few cards were made using the leftover pieces of acetate I had created with tissue paper and Pixie Powders.  I just love this technique.

And finally, a box set of cards were made.  This pretty card used for the box came from Crafters Companion.

This was really a day of crafting with leftovers!