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!