Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Crochet hats and hat stands in love.

I suspect that every family has a relative that gives unsuitable presents at Christmas. I know we did and I remember what fun we had guessing at the contents of her gifts before opening them. So I have endeavored to become that person for my brothers family. This year all the adult men are getting character hats like these.

There is one more to come and I havn't decided whether it is shark, wizard or owl. The point of telling you this is that these hats are sitting on my home made hat stand.

This is made using a cone from the inside of yarn with a soft crochet ball on top but I made two grey ones and.........

I first noticed it when I walked into the bedroom so I started to watch. Every time I put them down they end up like this and I am sure that they get closer. I can only conclude they are in love.
I suppose all this proves I don't have to try,  I really am the eccentric aunt!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Christmas table. Santa's pants to Fairy's frock and Gnome's napkin rings

The interest in Santa's pants ( stop it!) got me thinking about the rest of the Christmas table so here are a few ideas - not to be taken too seriously I think.

This startd as another cutlery holder  and was to be called the fairies vest but I got carried away with the decoration and then messing about in the kitchen I found that the frock fited our pepper grinder perfectly so .........

A kind friend who knows that I like to recycle and re-purpose things had given me a set of curtain rings. I was thinking of covering them to make into tree decorations but then I thought of napkin rings ( as you do ).

Take off the hook - in some it just pulls off in others you will need a pair of pliers to unscrew an eyelet.
I used a scrap of white sparkly acryllic double knitting to cover the ring by doing double crochet through the ring. Always push the stitches up so that you really fill the space or you will get gaps when you do the next bit.The green bit is a tiny bit of tinsel yarn - all I did was a dc. in every oyher stitch. I am going to play with this idea maybe using buttons or beads or tiny holly leaves.

I am pleased with the result but as you will see we are not a napkin sort of family (more a sort of pass the kitchen roll please family) so I have struggled to find a napkin to show the ring working.

All together.

I then remembered Vicky's bottle cover - it is actually for wrapping your bottle present but I thought it looked nice here and wine is a very important part of our Christmas meal. I find it very strange that the person who made the bottle cosy is the only non-drinker in the family, that is apart from those who are underage but even they would like to try it!

 PS. I forgot this - my granny would be proud of me making a traditional doily but in the shape of a star for Christmas.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Santas pants cutlery holder free pattern

These cutlery holders are on sale at the moment and several people have expressed interest in a crochet version. So we have made a pattern for the bottom half of Santa and we will work on making a pattern for the top half as soon as we can.

You will need:
double knitting yarn in red black and white
a little gold thread for a buckle.
a 3.50mm hook.
a yarn needle

row 1. ch 14
row 2. htr in third chain from hook one htr in each ch to end break yarn and join red (12 htr)
row 3. 1ch 1dc in each stitch to end ( 12 dc)
rows 4. to 10 repeat row three.
row 11. 1ch then 2dc in the first stitch 1dc in each stitch across  (13 dc)
row 12. repeat row 11                                                              ( 14 dc)
row 13. 1ch then 1dc in each stitch to the end.   Break yarn and fasten off.  (14 dc)

Make another leg in exactly the same way but do not break yarn at the end of row 13.
row 14 turn 1ch 1dc in each stitch to end and then carry on across the top of the second leg so you will have 28 dc,

Working on these 28 stitches starting each row with 1ch and making 1dc in each stitch:
2 rows of red, 2 rows of black, 4 rows of red

The next two rows will make holes for the tie.
next row: 1ch, 1dc, ( 2ch, 2dc ) repeat 5 times more. 2ch 1dc in the last stitch. (7 x 2ch spaces )
next row: 1ch, 1dc, (2dc in 2chain space 1dc in next 2 stitches) repeat 5 times more 2dc in last 2ch space 1dc in last stitch. Fasten off leaving a long end for sewing up.

leaving a long end ch 50 and fasten off leaving another long end to make the tassels.

use the long end of red yarn to stitch the two sides together to the point shown by the pin which is 4 rows below the black belt.
Then sew down each leg to the point where the white starts fasten off the red . Sew up the ends of the legs using white. Turn the pants right side out.

Thread the white tie through the holes in the top of the pants

To make the tassels: thread one of the long white ends into a blunt needle. Then wind the yarn around your finger like this.
Use the remaining thread to anchor the finger loops to the end of the chain. Try not to stab your self

Cut through the loops and and tidy the tassel. Repeat for the other end of the chain.

Embroider a buckle onto the front and your silver holder is complete.

Now you can make one for each peson who is coming to Christmas dinner. If your Christmas dinner is anything like ours this could take you until roughly August next year.
As usual let us know if there are errors and share anything you make using the pattern.
Lynn and Victoria.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Preparing for Christmas Craft Fairs. A Beginners Guide.

Tis the season to be craft fairing? The newest boom in craft has meant that there are lots more fairs than usual. We have done quite a few over the years so we thought we would share  the things that we wish someone had told us when we started. If some of this is obvious please don't be offended.

Before the Fair
Long before the fair you will be making stock but also check old stock if you have any- we make a 50p box of things that didn't sell last year which is extremely popular with children looking for cheap presents for Mummy, grandad etc.

50p box just visible at child height.

Find out how big the space is if you can, if not assume 2m long, with room for you to stand behind a table.
Do you need to provide your own table? We use pasting tables from B and Q but we regret not spending a bit more on something more sturdy.
Are you provided with chairs - a day is a long time to stand up.

Prepare a float so you have coins and notes for change. Make sure you have a means of keeping your money safe - we use a bum bag. Some people may ask for a receipt so a cheap receipt book might come in handy.

Label boxes of stock so you can find things easily. Hopefully you will be very rushed
Think about pricing and then make sure your customers know the prices - you could use labels tied on the goods or notices that are easy to see. This is always the most difficult thing for Vicky and I, but if you don't sell very much, even though lots of people look at your crafts, then have an end of fair sale and reduce your prices.
Everyones' display will be different and depends on what you are selling but it is worth trying it out at home and making a list of what you used.

trying things out at home.
This made me realise that we needed to get the red cloth straight.

Note these collapsible wooden shelves look good but fall over very easily.

Setting up
Get there as early as you are allowed - easier to park - have time to ask for adjustments to your space/place. There may have been a cancellation and a better place may be available to the early bird.

You will need a table cover, we use double bed sheets because they hang down and you can shove all your boxes etc. under the table and out of sight.

This is the part where I stand back and let Vicky set out our crochet because she has an eye for making things attractive.

When you are ready sit down and have a cuppa before the rush!!!

 Out Doors
We do one or two Christmas fairs that are out doors. They have a lovely atmosphere on a crisp cold day and they are usually the best atended and the best takings, but you need to legislate for the weather.
Wrap yourself up warm, wear boots with thick soles or take cardboard (or something insulating) to stand on, there is nothing more distracting than cold feet.

The gazebo should be the first thing you unload, then the tables and lastly the stock.
The wind is our worst enemy so we have weights for the gazebo feet and we have crocheted around stones so that we can weigh down our work.
Take plastic sheeting to cover your things in case of rain. You can invite people to come into your stall if it rains, they then get a close look at your stock.
You will also need lights and torches if this type of fair goes on into the dark.

Really useful stuff
Paper and pen for those orders you get on the day. A pair of scissors.
Pegs and clips to hold things in place
Spare labels
Carrier bags - although we don't need to we are going to try asking for a small donation and give the proceeds to charity.
Paper bags
Sellotape and string
S shaped hooks to hang things on to the gazebo.
Business cards

This is really obvious but - don't look as if you are not interested in your customers by looking at your mobile phone constantly.
Do take something to do in case there are not many customers - one of our first fairs we took £4 in a whole day - but be prepared to put down what you are doing if people want to talk about or buy your craft. The people who want to talk are usually those who do the same thing or who are interested in learning so it should be easy to share your passion.
Above all enjoy what you are doing, show off, your things are beautiful and you are talented.


PS. The dates and venues of fairs we are attending are on the facebook page

Still want more?  A couple of years back when we were still fudging our way through things I wrote 2 posts under the joint title "Lessons Learned".  Here are the links:

1 - Being Ruthless (That scarf became Persephone one of our best sellers at fairs and one of our best selling patterns!)
2 - Audience Participation

Victoria x

Monday, 19 October 2015

Free pattern for a bag which can be adjusted to different sizes (using algebra if you want)

One pattern lots of sizes.

Since this pattern is adjustable you can use any yarn with an appropriate hook. The brown one is 8 strands of a 3ply yarn the blue one, is using 2 strands of a yarn that Graham has plied for me, each is approximately double knitting. So as long as you have some big hooks you can make the yarn as thick as you like.

Base of the Bag
make a magic circle.
row 1: 3ch, counts as first treble, 10 tr in magic circle. ss in top of 3ch. (11 stitches)
row 2: 3ch, 1tr in base of ch, 2 tr in each stitch to end, ss in top of 3ch. ( 22 stitches )
row 3: 3ch,  2tr in next stitch, (1tr in next stitch, 2tr in next stitch ) repeat 10 times, ss in top of 3ch
(33 stitches.)
row 4: 3ch, 1tr, 2 tr in next stitch, (2tr, 2 tr in next stitch ) repeat 10 times, ss in top of 3ch (44 stitches.)
row 5: 3ch, 2tr, 2tr in next stitch ( 3tr, 2 tr in next stitch ) repeat 10 times, ss in top of 3ch
(55 stitches)

These 5 rows form the base of the bag and determine the diameter of the bag. If you want a bigger bag you can make more increase rows and adding one to the number of trebles between increases in each. This is shown highlighted in yellow. So row 6 would be 4 trebles, row 7 would be 5tr etc.

Sides of the bag
This part is worked in a spiral so after row 1 you will not need the 3ch at the start of the row, and you never need to join with a ss.

round 1: 2ch ( yes I do mean 2ch and mark this with a stitch marker ), using the back loops only, work one tr in each stitch until you reach your stitch marker. move stitch marker up
round 2: work one tr in the gap between the 2ch and the first tr of the previous row, then work a tr between the trebles of the row below all round.

Hook between 2ch and the first treble

rounds 3 to 15: work one treble in each gap between the trebles of the previous row,

To make the bag taller just keep going round and round until it is how you like it.

Round 16: 1dc in each treble
Round 17 : If you have made the bag according to the pattern insert a stitch marker at the beginning of this round: (9dc, dc 2tog) x 5 you should now have 50 stitches.If you changed the diameter of the base by having fewer or more increase rounds you will need to do a bit of arithmetic which is explained later.
Round 18 : dc in each stitch
Round 19:  ( ch 12, miss 10dc, work 15 dc ) x 2 - this is the start of the bag handles. Note these numbers will be different if you changed the number of rows in the base.

Round 20:
(work one dc in each dc and work 12 dc around the 12ch) x 2

Round 21: work one dc in each dc and work 14 over the top and around  the dc of the handle. break yarn and hide ends.

The Science bit or how to change the size of the bag: you can ignore this entirely if you are following the pattern as it is.

In round 17 if you made 6 rows in the base (9dc, dc 2tog) x 5 this becomes x 6, if you only did 4 rows then it is x 4 etc. In each case you will reduce the number of stitches by the number of rows you did in the base. So if you did 6 rows you start with 66 and will have 60 stitches left after this row. If you only did 4 rows you start with 44 stitches and will have 40 after this row.
In round 19: (ch 12, miss 10 dc, work [half the number of stitches - 10] dc). repeat once. Example : if you did 6 rows you should now have 60 stitches half of this = 30 take away 10 =20 so you would work 20 dc between the 12 ch loops.
Continue as per pattern.

It is really much easier if you use algebra but I know this word sends many people into fear and revulsion so I have explained as best I can in words - but for those of you who find algebra exciting and useful ...

Look away now if you find algebra disturbing.
let n be the number of rows in the base
round 17:  (9dc, dc 2tog) x n you should now have n x 10 stitches
round 19: ( ch 12, miss 10dc, work [10n/2 -10 ]dc ) x 2 - this is the start of the bag handles.
Continue as per pattern.

The flower on the brown bag is from the book 'Crochet Bouquet' by Suzann Thompson.

If you try this pattern please let us know if there are mistakes or if you could do with a clearer explanation.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


Graham and I visited West Yorkshire for a week. It was my birthday treat so it was timed to coincide with Yarndale.
Bolton Abbey beautiful and fun.

 These mad people are crossing the stepping stones - I took the picture from the bridge.

The abbey itself.

The festival of yarn is held in the cattle auction building at Skipton so it is all right to bring your friends. These two have obviously sacrificed their coats to a very good cause.
Here is one example of the cause!

He is made of unspun wool/fleece. You really need to stand back to see how amazing this is.
This lady was the only one I noticed who was selling ready made crochet things. She was even wearing a coat that you could buy off her back. Just love the colours
The most amazing rag rugs.

Rainbows of donated flowers!

And bunting.

 And more flowers

All over the town people were celebrating yarn and the animals that produce it ( there was some acrylic too). These pictures were taken in the town hall! I thoroughly recommend a visit to next years festival

If it is ever possible to go on a boat trip Graham and I grab the chance. So here we are on the canal on a trip that goes past Skipton castle - the boatman even sells duck food - I really love feeding the ducks.

Not a duck but a trifle too brave, I wonder if you can make yarn from feathers.