Friday, 2 October 2015

Free Pattern for a Crochet Carrier Bag

I expect you are all aware that here in the UK from Monday 5th October 2015 carrier bags will be subject to a compulsory charge of at least 5p each.  As a very small trader we don't have to charge but I support the attempt to reduce the number of carrier bags in circulation for two reasons: first, naturally, the hoped positive impact on landfill, litter etc and second, the excuse to make more crochet bags!!!

So, fellow crocheters, let's spend the weekend making some crochet carriers to create bag-envy in other shoppers.

I've started a Pinterest board for crochet bags.  Come and see and please let me know if you have a bag I should include.  

Here is a very rushed, out of my head carrier meant for quick dashes to the high street.  Hope it inspires you to make.

I used Textere's Warp Cotton, which works like DK, and a 4mm hook.  

Rounds 1 - 9:  make a granny square of 9 rounds.  

In this case I used 1ch across each cluster on the sides and 3ch to turn the corners.  There are thousands of 'how to' videos and tutorials for grannies online if you're unsure about how to make one.
Rounds 10 - 15: make 1 cluster followed by 1ch in each ch space including the corners, join and start a new row as for your granny square.

I added a splash of colour with some beautiful Natura Just Cotton in Turquoise.  It is too thin and so I held it double.  Be creative.  If you love colour add loads!  Anything you've got in your stash that will work as DK or be fudged so that it does ;-)

I just put one round of turquoise in at round 14.
Rounds 16 - 33:  If you like the granny look you can just continue repeating the same round until the bag is big enough.  I've made 33 rounds so skip to round 34 if this is your preference.  Or ...
Rounds 16 - 33 alternative:  I've added some stretchier rounds so I can fit more in my bag and to add a bit of variety.  Here goes if this is your preference:

Round 16:  Slip st into the nearest chain space, *ch1, dc in same chain space, [5ch, 2dc in next chain space]repeat until last space, 2ch and tr into first dc to join so that you start the next round at the centre of a chain space*

Rounds 17 - 21: Repeat round 16 from * to *
Round 22:  As round 16 but ch6 instead of each ch5 and 2ch, dbtr to join
Round 23:  As round 16 but ch7 instead of each ch5 and 3ch, dbtr to join
Round 24:  As round 16 but ch8 instead of each ch5 and 3ch, trtr to join
Round 25:  As round 16 but ch9 instead of each ch5 and 4ch, trtr to join
Round 26:  As round 16 but ch10 instead of each ch5 and 4ch, trtr to join
Round 27:  As round 24
Round 28:  As round 22
Round 29 - 30:  As round 16
Round 31: Ch3, 2tr to make beginning cluster in first chain space, [1ch and 3tr] in each chain space around.  You should be working in the granny stitch again.  Join to 3rd chain of chain 3.
Round 32 and 33: Granny stitch around
Round 34: Ch3, 1 tr in each tr and each chain space around

Find and mark the side of your bag.  This should correspond to the centre of one side of your granny square base.  You can trace this up from the bottom but I find this leaves the bag slightly twisted and I just eyeball it ... Live dangerously!!  Then count round half your stitches (you should have 144 so half would be 72 if my maths is ok) and mark the 73rd st. 
Round 35: Ch3, tr in each tr until you are 10 sts before your first marker, *ch21, miss 21*, continue tr until you are 10st before your second marker and repeat * to *, tr to the end of the round and join to top of ch 3.   

You should have started your handle like this.
Round 36: ch2, htr in each st and 21 htr in each chain space, join to top of chain 2

You can leave it here if you like.  I bolstered my handle with row 37, though.

Round 37: ch1, make a long dc OVER each htr of the row below, join to ch 1, Cut yarn and finish.   Run your ends in a long way to make sure everything is really secure.  You don't want to watch your shopping rolling off down the road.

I've also added some flowers because ... flowers!!

Shopping completed!! 

As I said.  This is very rushed and out of my head.  Please let me know if you need any clarification or you spot any mistakes.

Usual pattern rules apply.  Feel free to use, gift, sell ... what you make from pattern.  Please don't sell the pattern itself but it is fine to share it, or, even better, link to it, with proper credit.  Pattern rules also apply to photos.

Have fun!

Victoria x

Monday, 28 September 2015

Crochet Christmas prep is underway!

Mum would usually be writing about her crochet week but it's me this week because mum's gone away.  A lovely trip to Yorkshire to visit my aunt and, oh, is Yarndale on?  Yes, she went to Yarndale without me.  Let's not talk about it.  I'm very bitter.  All I can say is I'd better get a really good yarny present.

Anyway, Crochet Cinders couldn't go to the ball but I have been busy.  Mostly this week has been a fight with the light to get some decent product photos taken for our Christmas stock.  As mum has mentioned photography is our nemesis and, as you can see below, we have varying degrees of success.  We sell very successfully when people can see our makes in front of them but our photos don't do them justice and we simply don't sell as well online.  I'm thinking of saving up for a proper photo session ... if I can dismiss the control freak within.

So here are just two of our Christmassy bits.  More to come as I take more pics :-)

Wine bottle sacks - Santa style.  The only way to give the gift of alcohol!

Aren't their hats cute?  I'll share the secret of the ruffle soon and might even type up the whole pattern if you're interested.

Penguins are the first of many designs for this make - all by my brilliant mum!  We love our penguins.  Every single one we make (choc cosie, ornament, toy ...) always looks slightly deranged.

Each of the following beauties hides an ambassador's chocky.

These are my absolute favourites.  They are so delicate and beautiful.  The picture really doesn't do them justice.

We never have enough chocolate cosies and always end up making more after the first couple of fairs.  We have people who buy dozens as part of their table decorations for Chrissy dinner.

They make brilliant stocking fillers and advent gifts too.  

The snowman and Santa are new designs for this year.

Like the penguins and puddings, our cute little robins are really popular.

Again, new for this year - sparkly cracker. 


Woolly hats 
Not a chocolate cosy or a wine bottle sack.  This is a sneak peak of something else I've been doing.  I just love this photo of a forest of pins ... blocking snowflakes is hard work.
Hope you're either avoiding all thought of Christmas or you're well-prepared ... whichever is your preferred approach.   More of our prep coming soon.

Victoria x

Monday, 21 September 2015

How green is my Crochet? II

I am constntly amazed by the ingenuity of my fellow crocheters ( crocheteers?). in particular I have noticed the amount of re-purposing that goes on in our crochet world. Instead of throwing things away we cover them in crochet and make them into beautiful and useful objects. Here are a few examples.

What else would you do with spent light bulbs? They are now lovely Christmas baubles.

I think , apart from my crochet hooks, plastic pop bottles are the most useful things in the world.
This is  my personal favourite and I am already saving bottles to build one of my own.

Really clever idea and so pretty. Lots of other lovely things to see here

I have lots of old knitting needles that have somehow lost their partner - here is a way of extending their useful life. Thanks to Nancy's Knots. This will be incredibly useful 

And what about all those scratched old discs 
How to Crochet Around a CD

We crocheters make our yarn out of old plastic bags, there are some free patterns here

What can you make with your old t-shirts. Lots of ideas here but not all of them crochet

A video tutorial for making this  basket can be found here.

There are many more examples such as using a tea pot instead of an expensive yarn bowl.

Once, long ago I wrote about Graham and I buying old knitted garments and unravelling to make into crochet blankets it is good to know that spirit is still thriving among crafters and crocheters in particular.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Very quick, very easy crochet hat pattern (bobble optional)

I promised I would share the hat pattern I use as a teaching tool.  It is ideal for beginners as it involves just chain, slip stitch and half-treble (half-double in US terms).

I use Stylecraft Special Chunky.  A perfect  yarn for a speedy project, cosy hat and happy newbies.  It is good value, comes in a range of colours and is not very splitty.  It is nice for a first crochet project to grow fast and a big hook with big stitches make teaching and learning much easier, too.  Right, enough of the advert (no affiliation I promise - other chunky yarns are available and more experienced crocheters might want to choose something with more natural fibre for real luxury).

If you teach crochet by all means use this pattern with your students if it is helpful.
If you sell crochet by all means make to sell if you think your customers will like it.
Please don't sell the pattern itself, though, and, if you share it, please credit String Theory Crochet.

I call this a 24 hour hat but I can make one in a few hours.  I am quite speedy now but it should be a super-fast project for anyone.  

Pom-pom optional.   I'm sure you know how to make one so I've left out the instruction.

Pattern makes a medium hat (approx 53cm/21 inches).  


6mm hook
2 colours Stylecraft Special Chunky (I use a neutral colour and a bright)
Made in the round starting at the top of the head

Start with neutral yarn

Increase rounds:
Round 1 -  4ch, join into a circle with a sl st  (or Magic Circle/Adjustable Loop)
Round 2 - 1ch, 10htr into circle, join with a sl st  (10sts)
Round 3 - 1ch, 2htr into each st, join with a sl st (20sts)
Round 4 - 1ch, [1htr in the next st, 2htr in the next] repeat around, join with a sl st (30sts)
Round 5 - 1ch, [1htr in each of the next 2 sts, 2htr in the next] repeat around, join with a sl st (40sts)
Round 6 - 1ch, 1htr in each st around, join with a sl st (40sts)
Round 7 - 1ch, [1htr in each of the next 3 sts, 2htr in the next] repeat around, join with a sl st (50sts)
Round 8 - 1ch, [1htr in each of the next 4 sts, 2htr in the next] repeat around, join with a sl st (60sts)

Straight rounds:
Rounds 9 to 21 - Thirteen rounds with no increase: 1ch, 1htr in each, join with sl st.   
For stripe pattern work 2 rounds neutral then 2 rounds bright four times, then work 4 rounds in neutral and 1 rounds in bright.  Continue in bright colour for cuff.

Round 22 - 1ch, work in back loops only, 1htr in each st around, join with sl st
Rounds 23 and 24, 1ch, 1htr in each, join with a sl st
Cut yarn and finish

Want to change the size?
For a bigger hat add more increase rounds.  For eg:  [1htr in each of next 5sts, 2htr in next] increasing the number of htr in the first half of the instruction for each round you add.  5 then 6 then 7 ...
For very big hats you might want to add rounds of straight crochet to the rounds 9-21 section too.

For a smaller hat miss out increase rounds starting with round 8, then round 7 etc depending how small you need the hat to be.
For very small hats you might need to take out some of the straight crochet rounds 9-21 as well.

The science bit:  Measure your head  Eg 54cm.  Divide by 3 = 18cm.  Make increase rounds until your crochet circle measures about 18cm across and then start the straight crochet rounds.  Measure from the top of your head (where your pom-pom will sit) to where you want your cuff to sit at the back or front of your head (eg about 17cm).  Work straight crochet rounds for this length (eg 17cm) and then move onto the cuff.  You will also need to think about your stripes if you add  or remove straight rounds.

Have fun!  Let me know if you spot any mistakes and don't forget to pop over to our Facebook page and share your makes.  

Monday, 7 September 2015

Tablet cosy, basket, shawl and intertwined crochet circles.

Vicky and I went to the Artesano yarn open day this week. Had a lovely time playing with the yarn, drinking coffee and talking to other knitters and crocheters. One of the many ideas that Vicky has passed on to me is that there are millions of audio books on youtube. So I now crochet and listen to a story on wet days- perfect bliss when accompanied by Cadburys dairy milk. Anyway I passed this on to a lady at the Artesano open day and she was so delighted that she is going to pas it on to her disabled father as well as use it herself. So what I was wondering is are there other things we could share that are not necessarily crochet but which make our hobby more fun? Please share any ideas.

Yarn bought at Fibre East by Fleabubs & Lala - there are also some lovely hooks here - I wish I had bought more yarn. Crochets beautifully and really lends itself to the linen stitch ( one dc one chain and then one dc in the one chain space on the next row then one chain.)
Add a home made Dorset button and my tablet has a new home.

This is my other fascination of the moment.
There are pictorial instructions here and by searching for intertwined crochet circles there are lots of other interesting examples.

 Graham has plied some very fine yarn and includes a subtle sparkle - result a useful basket. Pattern to follow.

Add caption
 Photographic mistake including my shadow but I do look as if I have grown wings.

Still desperately trying to take a picture that does justice to my latest shawl. This is the best

My lovely and much younger neighbour has offered to model it for me - the trouble is it will still be the same photographer!

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Coast and Crochet Coasters

Back from beautiful Wales. The scenery and the beaches are unequaled anywhere and the people. with one notable exception, are helpful and pleasant. Having had a fairly active holiday and with quizzes and conversation in the evening I have had a whole week without any crochet (apart from watching Vicky make part of a gecko -honestly). I really am getting withdrawal symptoms and I thought there would be nothing to share but as usual .........

 Does anyone else have a grandson that builds solar systems instead of sand castles?

 Ben is running away from one of the life size dinosaurs at the Dan yr ogoff caves- absolutely amazing and worth a visit, the caves that is.
Brave Danny making friends with a huge horse.
And Now for the crochet.

This is a set of six coasters that I started before going to Wales. Made using Rico Essentials DK.
 In order to keep them tidy, they are held in an apple shaped container. The button was a lucky find in my enormous collection.

    Inside are apple slice coasters
they have felt bases half red and half green because I didn't have enough of either colour.
Failed attempt at an arty picture
Christmas head bands - carry your                                                                                                       own mistletoe

 The flowes/stars are all made with embroidery thread.

Finally I have started to follow this person She shares albums of her own and others work. I don't speak her language but she includes pattern diagrams which are universal if you know what each symbol means. This is what I am trying from one of her pattern diagrams.

The yarn is a 4ply by Dennis Brunton that just happened to be in my stash. I will share it when it is complete but I am not sure what it will be because it is limited by the amount of yarn -could be a cowl, could be a shawl or even a head scarf.

Vicky and I were rather disappointed not to get to the Wool Museum of Wales so these are for you Victoria.