Wednesday, 29 July 2015

What to do with your wages and a free how to make tiny crochet purses guide

Nobody should have to follow those amazing animals that Vicky has designed and made for Virginia. But I have promises to keep and an exciting week to report on so I will soldier on.

Vicky and I went to Fibre East this weekend as lookers not sellers. I can thouroughly recommend Fibre East. Large enough to inspire with lots of yarn, tools for your craft and hands on demonstrations. But small enough that you don't end up with aching feet and that you can remember where you saw that beautiful yarn that you meant to go back for. Vicky has the pictures so I will leave the rest to her.

I got my first large pay for making the white bikini coverall and I bet you will never guess what I spent it on.

 A present for Graham for listening to me curse over the crochet.

 A present for Vicky because I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for her.

And oh what a surprise a crochet magazine and some yarn for me!

By the magic of crochet this has already been turned into rabbits and a pig.

HOW TO MAKE A TINY PURSE (as promised)

You will need  a 3.00 mm hook, a purse clasp this one is about 4.5cm from hinge to hinge, some dk yarn, I used a skein of sparkly embroidery thread because you can split it when it comes to sewing the purse clip to your crochet. A needle that will take the yarn but also pass through the holes in the purse clasp.

picture 1
picture 2
picture 3
The pattern is worked amigurumi style so just keep going in a spiral, there is no need to join one row to the next with a ss.
1.  work 8dc. into a magic circle.
2.  work 2dc in each stitch around (16 stitches )
3.  (1dc in next stitch and then 2dc in next) repeat this 7 more times (24 stitches)
4.  (1dc in each of next 2 stitches and then 2dc in next) repeat this 7 more times (32 stitches)
At this point you can adjust the pattern to fit bigger purse clasps by making more increase rows until the circle is about (a bit smaller is better than a bit bigger) the size of your clasp when opened out as in picture 2. To make the circle bigger just increase the number shown in pink by one in each round. 

5. work 8 rounds of 1dc. in each stitch (you will need more for a bigger purse ) fasten off and weave in the ends.

Assembling the purse.

 flatten the purse and mark the edges with a contrasting yarn like this.

 Tie the marker yarn to the clasp as shown. Notice that one is tied above the hinge and one below.

First (using only 2 strands of the embroidery thread) join the thread to the crochet using a couple of little stitches. make sure this is on the inside near to one of the marker yarns.
Now push the edge of the crochet into the slot of the clasp you may need to squash it together or stretch it a bit. It just depends on your tension.

Sew in the first side. This is a bit tricky the first few times you try it. I just use every other hole to hold the purse in place and then I go back and stitch it properly.

Sew in the other side and remove the marker yarns.
Note as you sew you need to angle the needle.


Finally put your fingers inside the purse to push it into shape and at last your purse is ready to fill with wealth beyond the dreams of avarice!
Any questions about this please ask and if you make one please show us the results.


Friday, 24 July 2015

Literary Crochet

Recently, we were lucky to meet Virginia Macgregor an author who lives locally to us.  She saw our cuddly pigs (do you remember Persephone?) and was inspired.  By coincidence she has a novel very soon to be released and in it there is a little black and white pig - Hamlet!  She asked if we could make a collection of animals to accompany her on her book signings and readings.  Each one can be found in one of her up-coming books.  

The cover of Virginia's Book.  Piggy ahoy!

Meet Hamlet the cutest pig in town

Mrs Fox

Houdini - don't know about you but he sounds like he might be a mischievous little goat!

And last but not least Louis.  I'm a dog person so he is my personal fav. 

I loved this project (only minimal swearing involved - the goat wanted very much to look like a lamb and it took while to figure out how to secure the fur on Louis).  I was an English teacher so it brings together two of my favourite things - literature and crochet.  Every book should have an animal buddy! 

Isn't it fantastic to find someone who appreciates crochet enough to flatter our craft by associating it so closely with her own art form?  I hope you're intrigued enough to at least read about her writing and maybe even buy a copy of her book.  I've put links to her website and "What Milo Saw" on Amazon.  If you're very lucky you might even catch one of her readings or book signings and get to meet my little creature creations in person.  If you do, send me a picture :-)

What Milo Saw on Amazon

Virginia's Blog

Virginia on Facebook

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Time Flies from Summer Waistcoat to Dragonflies to Christmas trees

I have spent so much time, over the past two weeks, on making this intricate waistcoat that I thought I would have nothing new to share but it seems I was wrong.

Each flower is made separately and then crocheted together as you go. The trouble is that there are then holes between each trio of flowers which have to be filled in with the Y shapes that then give the impression of  a (or should that be an?) hexagon around each flower. Each Y produces 2 ends to sew in, each flower produces one end (I managed to crochet in the other one ) but even though I like the effect I would never do one of these again I really hate ends!!!!!

So to more. Vicky has made this beautiful set of dragon flies, using fine cotton thread, beads, sequins and wire. As usual my photography does not do them justice - more of this later.

I love the fact that they appear to be flying on their springs and the tiny delicate flowers among the reeds are inspired.

Dancing in the sun

Take five cardboard or plastic cones and they become :------

These. They are quick and easy to make and then you can have endless fun decorating them if you want to.

 Made with leftover scraps of tinsel yarn. When you crochet, one side is much fluffier than the other. I wanted really fluffy so I turned this one inside out before putting it onto the cone.
 The green is chunky acrylic yarn, the garland is a string of tiny golden beads and then I raided my immense hoard of buttons ( no it is not a stash because I guard it like a dragon).
 White eyelash yarn with very hard to see crystal and silver beads.

These are my favourite made with a fine yarn that is slightly fluffy and has streaks of the other colours you can see, but it is worked together with a strand of gold fingering in green. Hard to see the green sparkle in the picture. One big advantage of using the shiny yarn is that it makes the stitches easy to see - often they are obscured when using fluffy or hairy yarn.

I suppose the rest would be called the out takes or my futile attempts at more interesting photography.

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas when even the photographer appears a little tipsy.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Tiny crochet purses revisited

We have started to think about Christmas. We have made a list of stock and worked out what we need to replenish but also we are considering some new and exciting things for this year - watch this space.
For me this week has been about completing a commission and some old favourites.

Little sparkly purses originally for the Christmas tree for tiny gifts or some money. But our ingenious customers have bought them in order to carry a plectrum for a musical instrument, to carry and be able to find small craft items like a thimble, or for the tooth fairy, in order to always have a small amount of money in an emergency.

 These ae even smaller but a £10 pound note fits really well!

You can also use them for your pills or your minions! I was actually looking for the thimble but I didn't have one of these so I can't find it!

I used to make purses like the one on the left but they can have a bit of a gap near the hinge - I will explain the new method when I have time.

The little purse clasps are easy to buy on line but examine them carefully before trying to sew them in. I have got almost to the end of the difficult process of sewing them in only to find one hole has not been properly punched or that the clasp doesn't work properly. The other thing is that you need a needle that will fit through the holes but such a needle may be too fine to take the thread you have used to make the purse. I have used sewing thread in the gold ones. For the bigger sparkly ones I have used stranded embroidery thread so that I can just use two of the strands for sewing in.

Here is another hazard. I don't approve of adorning ourselves with animal skins - at least when they have to die. But this has accidentally turned into a crocodile skin purse, as you can see he did not have to make the ultimate sacrifice but his legs still don't reach the ground.