Friday, 28 March 2014

Stock Taking and Free Form Crochet.

We have some shows in a month or so, so I thought I had better check on our stock in case we needed to make new things.

First box was full of creatures: don't need mice do need more tiny horses. Definitely don't need any more giant chickens!

The second box was a mistake I should never have opened it - sooo many hats that I e-mailed Vicky to check if it was ok to get rid of some of them. As you know my latest passion is free form and as I sorted out the hats I had a brain wave why not add scrumbles to the plain hats?

This is a little  mottled pink beanie and here it is with a few bits added but I plan to add more. Of course now I can't get rid of the hats!

I have finished the srcumble rainbow. I am really pleased with it. It makes a lovely scarf - even the tassles ( or tassels?) are free form. If I make another one I will make it longer and thinner and perhaps use a smaller range of colours so that it can be worn with a particular outfit.

I have stopped stock taking for now for three reasons:

1. When I opened the the third box I discovered more creatures so I have to sort before I stock take.
2. I have a pile of stuff that I can't put into any particular category/box like these.

You would think I would have made at least a dozen

Perhaps this should be with the Christmas stuff or maybe the Valentines day stuff or then again it could be with the phone/bag charms - I don't think I was meant to be organised.

3. I need to go and scrumble some hats.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Freeform. Scumble or Scrumble Crochet or Where's Granny

I have a new addiction - free form. It suits my personality because I can make small motifs and shapes and it panders to my love of colour. For those new to crochet you can make any shapes and the edges don't even have to be straight, for those who have been crocheting for a long time, you will no doubt have a box full of bits you have made to try out a new technique or projects you have abandoned ( telling yourself you would get back to it later) now you can use them. Vicky even showed me a dress designer who is using these ideas in their latest fashion collection. So for the first time in my life I am on trend?

This is the lopsided owl made from lots of motifs sewn together. This is the scumble technique but I have now added him to a clip board. I found a clip board made from fairly stiff but not too thick plastic. Then using my trusty bead awl (any sharp pointed object would do), I made holes all round the edge of the plastic. Then having made a mesh roughly the shape of the board, I stitched it on using the holes. I could have made my life easier by using a clip board without the internal pocket but then I like a  challenge ( like getting this word to line up with the rest of the text)!!!!

It has taken me several days to complete this post because my computer has been used for other things like writing a best mans speech, but this is where I had got to with my latest project when I started the blog. You will see at the end that I have done a bit more since then.

This patch was made mostly, using motifs I had already with some added bits that I crocheted as I needed them to fill in gaps. Can you spot the tiny granny square?

I am not so happy with this one but I can't really explain why, possible because I needed some yellows at the red end of the spectrum ( does that make any sense?). There is also a granny square here. This is turning into wheres granny!

This is my favourite, lots of experiments resulting in a lovely three dimensional finish. I like the colours too.
This one is not attached yet but it was made after Vicky introduced me to the work of Prudence Mapstone. She has published booklets on how to do bullions and spirals and she is an absolute master of free form.

Finally here is th latest version with a blue patch added. You can certainly see that the yellow bit doesn't have the depth of the rest of the project. I think I will try adding some more surface decoration.

The blue bit didn't take long because I had most of the motifs already stashed away. The spiral on the extreme right has little dark iridescent beads sewn all round the dark part - an effect I am really pleased with.

Some things I have discovered: it might seem like a good idea to leave long ends for sewing up later but they really get in the way when you are trying to arrange the motifs before sewing them together. So weave in the ends as you go. Thing two is how useful a large cork board is for pinning the motifs in place so you can look at the effect before finally stitching them together. I have used map pins for this as drawing pins are not really long enough but if you are working on your knees do be careful not to end up as part of the project as the pins can go right through the board and into your leg - believe me I know.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Tiny Bunny Basket Free Pattern

In our last post I promised to publish the pattern for the bunny or chick basket. Have a look at the previous post to see the possibilities but here is the pattern.

Materials: a very small amount of yarn. I used cotton double knitting and a 3.00 mm hook.
If you change the yarn change the hook so that you get a fairly firm fabric.
I made the eyes using white felt and two small blue buttons but there are other methods in the previous post. You will also need a small pink bead for the nose and some black sewing thread.

 Make a magic circle and ch1 this does not count as a stitch.
Row 1: make 8 dc in the circle and join with a ss to first dc.

 Row 2: 1ch and 2dc in the same place as the join. 2dc in each stitch to end of row this should give you 16 dc.
Row 3: 1ch and 1dc in the same place. (2dc in next stitch 1dc in next stitch) repeat this 6 more times 2dc in the next stitch. NOTE join to first dc using only the back loop. (24 dc)
Row 4: 1ch and  using only the back loops throughout this row 1dc in same place 1dc in each stitch to the end ss into first dc
Row 5: 1ch and 1dc in the same place 1dc in each stitch to the end of the row join with a ss.

 Row 6: 1ch and 1dc in the same place 1 dc in next 6 stitches 2dc in next stitch. ( 1dc in next 7 stitches 2dc in next stitch ) repeat this once more and join with a ss. (27 dc)
Rows 7 and 8 repeat row 5
Row 9: 1ch and 1dc in the same place 1 dc in next 7 stitches 2dc in next stitch. ( 1dc in next 8 stitches 2dc in next stitch ) repeat this once more and join with a ss. (30 dc)
row 10 and 11: repeat row 5

Row 12: you can work either a row of slip stitches all round before fastening off or a row of crab stitch

This is what crab stitch looks like.

ch 4
Row 1: work 1dc in second ch from hook then 1dc in remaining two ch.
Rows 2 to 7: ch 1 work 1dc in each stitch (3 dc)

If you are making a chick ignore rows 8 on wards and just repeat row 2 another 10 times.

 Row 8: ch 1 dc two tog. 1dc  (2dc)
 Row 9: ch1 dc 2tog.                (1dc.)
     Row 10 to 16:  ch 1 1dc turn Fasten off
 To Make up.: Weave in loose ends. Stitch ears as shown in the photo and then stitch them to the inside of the basket NOTE try to have the seam of the basket at the opposite side to the ears.

Stitch the other end of the ears to the back of the basket and your basket is complete it is up to you how you decorate it and what you put in it.

If you are making a chick sew the handle on from side to side rather than front to back..

Chick wings: ( make two )
chain 5.
dc in second chain from the hook dc in each chain to end (4 dc)
ch 1 dc 2 tog dc in each stitch to end (3 dc) . Repeat this row twice more and fasten off. Stitch the wings about half way down the basket sides directly underneath the handle (on either side ).

Use the photographs in this blog and the previous one as a guide to how to make the faces
Or you could decorate with small flowers or beads.

As I keep saying I am out of my comfort zone when writing patterns so if you need any help please get in touch.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Birds, Crochet Bunny Basket and Chicks

This is another of my Christmas presents, from Matthew this time.

This is my bird tree, apart from seeds and nuts the orange thing is a crochet bag full of some of the bits of yarn that I have cut off in the last few weeks. I can't remember where I got the idea but I have done this for a few years now and the birds seem to love it for there nests. I keep imagining the nests lined with red acrylic, yellow cotton and purple wool - very cosy even if the colour scheme leaves a lot to be desired!

I sometimes think that Vicky and I share some kind of mind link. While she was putting the pattern together for her Easter baskets I was doing almost the same on a much smaller scale.

The first two pictures are me trying to make the photographs look better by means of a small clump of primroses and a wall. Not as successful as it could have been because the primroses are much prettier than the baskets. The third picture shows how the baskets evolved as I tried to get the face right. By the time I got to the white one they had stopped looking like an elderly man without his teeth so I decided to branch out and try a chick. I need to do something about the chicks beak so there will probably be another one of these next time.

 These are the best so far.
This was my plan all along. To make them just the right size for eggs. My particular favourite are the mini eggs but they have somehow disappeared - can't imagine how!

Then I thought what about a grown up version for a tiny Easter gift or the 'ring' or something. So here are some ideas.

With primrose brooch.

With violets brooch

With a tiny red flower which could be exchanged for a heart or a butterfly.

As usual I have a million ideas but not enough time to implement them all. I will publish the pattern for the bunny baskets next time.
It has just occurred to me that there is something a little strange about a chick carrying eggs - aren't they his brothers and sisters?

Friday, 14 March 2014

Adaptable Pattern for Tablet Cover One Pattern Fits All.

It is a funny thing the way life goes in circles. We have lived in the same house since Vicky and Matthew were very small and I can remember putting them both into a huge, heavy coach built pram and walking down to the village. There I did the weeks shopping and put this onto the pram and then cheerfully pushed the whole load back up the hill (about a mile perhaps more) . Then came work and going everywhere by car. Now I am retired I need the exercise so today I thought I would walk down to the village to post a parcel but as I came home I found myself thinking I am glad it is just me I have to get up this hill. Still enough about what we have to do and more about what we want to do

Graham bought me a nexus tablet for Christmas and a shop bought stiff cover with . I believe I have said before that once the tablet is in this stiff cover it is really hard to turn it on and to get it out of it's protection to take photographs. So I made myself a cover from really chunky yarn. I was going to write the pattern but it suddenly occurred to me that these tablets and readers are all different sizes, so I have been trying to make an adaptable pattern that is easy for anyone to use. See what you think:

Materials: For my tablet cover I used 50g of some really chunky yarn so that you get a nice thick fabric to protect the device. A small amount of a contrasting colour and two buttons. I used a 5.5mm hook but you can use whatever suits the yarn that you have.

Make a chain as long as your tablet.
Row 1: dc in second chain from the hook and a dc in each chain all the way across.
All the other rows: ch1 dc in each stitch.

Keep going until your work is twice the width of your device.

Change colours {1ch dc in each stitch as before}  repeat this row 7 times more.

Break off the second colour and rejoin the first. The next row forms the button holes. You can have one in the middle or two closer to each edge. For two button hol;es 1ch 1 dc in next 5 stitches ch 2 miss 2dc then 1dc in each stitch until you have 7 stitches left, 2ch miss 2 stitches and then 1dc in the last 5 stitches. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

Fold the work as shown with right sides together and over sew the sides. Turn the work so it is right side out.

I have put the hook and scissors into the part that will contain the tablet so that you can see what happens next.

Fold the flap (grey bit) backwards away from the scissors and oversew it to the red part.

This shows the other side when the flap is in the right position to sew.
 Then turn the flap inside out  so that it covers part of the red bit.
Position and sew on the buttons.

This is what the finished case looks like.

Or with one button, using trebles and variegated yarn

I know this is a very simple pattern but it  set me wondering if I can do this for more things. Then I realised that most patterns do this for different size clothes. The difference is that this one can be made to fit anything not just a few sizes - you could make a small version for your phone or a big version for your laptop. The other thing is you don't have to worry about tension . You could also make it so that it closes along a short edge.
Please look at what Vicky has said in the last blog about the conditions for using this pattern.
I am off to do the hoovering do you think that will be enough exercising for one day?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Easter Baskets Free Pattern!

This is a popular little pattern I wrote for a yarn company some time ago.   I thought I'd dig it out as a freebie for Easter.  These baskets look brilliant filled with chocolate eggs - especially if you crochet some pretty flowers to decorate them too.

Small Print:  Feel free to use the pattern ... and sell what you make from it if you like. I am happy for you to publish links to this pattern and this blog.  If you'd like to publish the pattern or the picture  you will need to contact me to ask permission and let me know where it will be published in advance - it's just polite.  Thanks.   

Little Basket - A very easy pattern

I use an 8mm hook but you may need move up to a larger size if your work is too solid or stiff.

You will need less than 1 cone/ball (approx. 50 -55m) of T-shirt yarn in a colour of your choice.  

In order to complete this project you will need to know how to create the following stitches.  

Chain stitch (ch)

Double crochet (dc)

Slip stitch (sl st)

Magic Circle or Magic Loop (MC)

This pattern is written with UK stitch notation.

The Base

1.      Start with EITHER 4 ch joined with a sl st to form a ring OR a MC

2.      Round 1:  1ch, 8dc into MC or ring, join with sl st to first st
3.      Round 2:  1ch, 2dc in each st around, join with sl st (16sts)

4.      Round 3:  1ch, [1dc in first st, 2dc in next] repeat around, join with sl st (24st)
5.      Round 4:  1ch, [2dc in 1st stitch, 1dc in next, 1dc in next] repeat around, join with sl st                       (32st)
6       Round 5:  1ch, [1dc in first, 1dc in second, 1dc in third, 2dc in fourth] repeat around,                         join with sl st (40 sts)

The Sides

7.     Round 6:   1ch, 1dc in the back loop of each st around, join to first st with sl st 

                 Stop working in the back loop and work in the whole stitch from this point 

8.     Round 7:   2ch, [Miss 1 st, dc in next st, ch 1] repeat around, join with sl st

9.     Round 8:   slip into the first chain space, ch2, [1dc into next chain space, 1ch, miss 1dc]                       repeat around, join with sl st

10.   Repeat round 8 until the basket is a depth you like.  I make 3 more rounds after this.

The Handle

11.      Ch 20
12.      Count 9 ch sp around top edge of basket and join with a sl st into the 10th
13.      1dc into next ch sp along edge of basket
14.      24 dc around the handle chain and join to the opposite edge of the basket with a sl st
15.      Sl st in the ch sp where your handle meets the edge of the basket again.  (The handle is        complete and you can cut your yarn and finish here if you like.  I like to balance my              handle as described in step 16. )    
16.      1ch to pass the handle, 1dc in the ch sp where the handle started
17.      Crochet along the handle making 1dc between each of the dc made in step 14 but on the      opposite side of the handle.

7.      Join with a sl st to the ch sp at the edge of the basket
8.      Finish off by cutting yarn and sewing in the tail end securely. Don’t forget to sew in the        beginning tail end very firmly too.