Sunday, 25 January 2015

Crochet Bags and Huge amounts of Yarn

One of the things I often mention here is how good our family are at helping Vicky and I in our craft endeavors. Here is yet another example:

Graham bought a 'little bit of yarn' - getting on for 400 balls - so I have been trying it out with a view to writing patterns for kits.

I am pleased with the hat, crocheted as a tube from the top down.

Smallish bag based on a circle of dc and then straight up using trebles.

Same yarn gives a completely different feel when each colour is separated by the cream. Interesting effect created by using half trebles. then using the back loop only and always going in the same direction.
 When I make things by going round and round I always seem to have an ugly seam or the colours don't line up so these flowers are a disguise for the join! The plastic handles were crocheted on.

 Rumour has it that soon shops will not be giving free plastic carrier bags (a move I approve of ), so I have started to make my own version of bags for life. They look quite good and hold quite a lot because of the stretchy nature of crochet. They really need a good firm bottom though ( don't we all?)

 This one is a really good way of using up yarn of all different thicknesses and types. I made it using 5 different balls of fairly fine yarn at once.

I think I might road test this one by taking it on holiday with me for the next few weeks.
Back soon bearing lots of Portuguese wool I expect.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Baby Hexagons CAL

Exciting news.  I am going to join  Crochet Ali with her yearly CAL.  If you haven't seen what she does pop over to her blog.  Over the last few years she's done 'A Granny-a-day', a flowery square and triangles to create beautiful blankets.  This year she is inspiring us to make a baby hexagon motif each day.

Now ... I have tried to join in before and I'm absolutely terrible at keeping up but this year I am determined to bust my stash down to virtually nothing (so that I have room to buy loads more yarn ... of course!) and this is the ideal project to make a dent in it all.

The pattern is here: BABY HEXAGON CAL

I've modified the pattern slightly for my hexagons (hope you don't mind, Ali).  I'm adding a final round:  1dc in each st and each space but 2dc in each corner.  This lets me join using my favourite whip stitch method and have a clean border.  I know Ali is a great advocate for join-as-you-go and her method will save you lots of sewing in ends and loads of time.

My design plans so far:  I'm not going to do a hexagon for every day.  I plan to do 22 rows of 16 motifs which is only 352 hexagons.  This will give me some leeway to be lazy ... I'm already behind :-(  but also gives a nice size blanket.

My stash is sorted by colour because I like to freeform and use it as if it were a paint pallette.  I'm going to use this to my advantage and pick a drawer at a time to create stripes.  I've started with reds.  I intend to alternate a colour with a neutral and, seeing as I've started with red, might make my colours into a rainbow ... we'll see.

Join me and challenge yourself to use up some of your scraps to make something beautiful?  I'll post progress ... irregularly probably... and would love to see yours.

These first photos were taken on day 8 when I was still on target.  It is day 22 now and I've got 18 motifs so far so some catching up to do this weekend.

Victoria x

Monday, 19 January 2015

Other peoples patterns - bracelets and flowers.

Most of the time I crochet by visualising a shape or a pattern and then trying to make it. Of course, I spend quite a bit of time undoing and trying again but I suppose this is why I like free form. However this week I have been using other peoples patterns and they are very good and easy to follow.

 We go to one summer fayre where there are lots of children who like to buy pretty things and so we try to make small things that they can afford. This is my first attempt at bracelets but they are stiff and difficult to block and what is more I can't get the beads to line up.
 So then I found an article on beading in 'Inside Crochet' magazine ( issue 21) accompanying the article is a pattern for turkish loveknot bracelets. They are lovely and light and flexible and very quick and easy to make, which will keep the costs down.

To be truthful they also use up some of my immense stash of beads which is another huge tick in their favour.

 Then with valentines day in mind I have been having fun making and decorating hearts from a free pattern .

Couldn't decide which picture, neither is of a very high quality.

 I think I have discovered why I like thee hearts - they look just like macarons ( macaroons? ) from the side. The examples below are made from much thicker yarn but the pattern works just as well.

Both of these patterns are excellent. For me, it is not as much fun as making it up as you go along but deciding how to decorate the hearts or which thread and which beads go together for the bracelets is almost as satisfying.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Free Crochet Pattern: Daffodil or Narcissus

Materials: Scraps of yellow and orange yarn, the thickness of the yarn is unimportant but choose a hook that is a size smaller than you would usually use so that you get a stiff fabric.. I have used dk and a 3.0mm
1. ch 8, turn, 1dc in second ch from the hook then htr, tr, hdtr, tr, htr, ss in last ch. one petal complete.

2. Repeat number one 5 more times to give 6 petals in total.
3. Sew the petals into a circle and weave in the ends.

1. make a magic ring, 1ch ( does not count as a stitch) then 6 dc in the ring join with a ss to the first dc

2.1ch ( does not count as a stitch), 1dc into same place as ch. 2dc in next st, (1dc in next stitch 2dc in next stitch ) repeat this once more so that there are 9 stitches. ss into first dc.
3. 1dc into each stitch all around cut yarn and needle join to the first dc (this gives a neat edge)

By turning the completed trumpet inside out you get a different shape this is shown in the  picture below.
Sew the trumpet to the petals to complete the flower.

If there is anything that is not clear then please let me know.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Three dimensional free form crochet and Ringo

I have more pictures of crochet than I do of my holidays or my grandchildren and one of my secret vices is to look through these pictures occasionally. This time the pictures reminded me of these that I haven't made for ages so I made some more.:

Giant blue bells?

Above cotton and acryllic yarns

Here green acryllic, fine multi-coloured for the flowers and some red buttons. Notice that the weather was so good that I could photograph outside.

Then cotton both fine and double knitting and pipe cleaners for the stems. I think this counts as free form because there is no pattern and because of the variety of materials used?

They are all made using one of those cardboard cones that you get in the middle of large amounts of yarn.

I have cut a slice of the cone using a serrated knife and then crocheted over it. I will show this in detail in a later blog, since the technique can also be used to make cup cakes.

I have also been trying to make a dog coat this week - the coat is not right yet but the dog is so cute I had to show off the pictures. So here is another member of the family patiently wearing one of the sweaters grandma has made for him. Well done Ringo.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Crochet covers, a Monet? In your Dreams

Every now and then I have an idea for a new note book cover, the idea then goes round in my head until I try it. This week ( very rare occurence) I had two ideas:

 My still life.It is mainly crochet flowers and leaves but there are a few buttons and beads.
 Then there is a valentines day gift of a heart
 on the sleeve of a book. The trouble is that sideways it looks like a pregnant heart.

Close up of the wooden buttons.

Then there was a customer who wanted another dream catcher, the result says something about me and my stash and is further proof that if left alone for any length of time things will turn pink.

 This is the completed piece - it is the photographer that leans!

 The rest are just details from the dream catcher.

I know it is hard to believe but nothing was specially bought it all came straight from tins, boxes,  drawers and cupboards in my house. I keep thinking it really is time to have a clear out and then I do something like this and realise that I need it all.

A few people have asked about sourcing piercing crochet hooks -Vicky thinks she bought them on Amazon.