Back on the crochet bike

Crochet granny squareTo say I was feeling a little crochet fatigued after my July wedding would be an understatement.  Producing 60 crochet flowers as dual wedding favours / name place adornments, even with my mother and sister’s help, was enough to put me off hooky for well, about six months as it turns out.

But then thankfully I’ve started again, and in fact gone right back to square one. Literally returning to the first granny square blanket I began, and then of course soon abandoned for more seductive projects.  It’s a pretty little pattern, one I found on a tutorial on youtube and the yarn I’ve used  is the freebie stuff which came with the UK crochet magazine series.  The colours are wonderfully muted.

One day it will be a blanket for one of my daughters, but even with my fresh enthusiasm I’m conscious that this creation is a long way from completion and will most likely return in to storage again, waiting to tempt me out of my next bout of crochet hibernation!

 

Crochet bunting mania

Actually, I’m mad for all kinds of bunting at the moment, not just crochet bunting.  It’s so incredibly joyful, and crochet bunting is such a pleasing contradiction…woolly and yet summery at the same time.  I have the notion that it will be strung up for every family birthday and celebration for years to come, starting with our wedding in July.

There’s loads of crochet bunting patterns online, and granny square (or triangle) bunting does appeal, but it was the simplicity of the single-crochet increasing variety that piqued my interest most, and none finer than Pink Milk’s easy-to-follow-tutorial.  I worked up 16 of these triangles, two in each colour to create two chains of eight.

crochet bunting

I considered using pastel and muted colours, something classy and understated.  But I must admit, I’m a bit of a colour magpie and couldn’t resist the rainbow option, going full tilt for the whole spectrum…with only a little variation by replacing the red with two shades of pink instead.   Again, despite my desire for keeping it simple, the temptation to use this project to spring-board my start with creating crochet motifs was too much to resist!  I worked on hearts and flowers and used them to applique on to every other triangle.

crochet heart bunting crochet flower bunting crochet heart bunting IMG_0859

My 9-year-old daughter Kitty, who has been dabbling with crochet too (kid crochet), decided to start creating her own flowers, and after a little instruction to get her started, went off and came back with the darling lilac flower above, with bobble centre, chain-stitch stalk and leaf all sewn together.  It was my pleasure to be able to include it in this project, and it makes the family bunting all the more pleasurable.

Clearly not being able to call it a day, beads were the next ingredient to push impact to the max.  These little wooden ones were a bargain find, and although they were a bit tricky to attach to the bottom of each crochet triangle as the holes were so large, they help by weighing the bunting down and keep it hanging well.

crochet bunting

So what more is there to say about crochet bunting?  I suspect that is about it, and now I can indulgently add a bunch more photos!

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Crochet granny square baby blanket, of course…

Crochet baby blanketI guess no crocheter has done their time without creating a granny square baby blanket.  There’s something almost meditative about working round and round, changing colours at will, or in my more ordered way, every two rounds.  You start off completing a round in less than a minute, but before long getting round the blanket can take a big chunk of tv time, at least an episode of Greys Anatomy.  Plus snack breaks.

Unlike the majority of granny square blankets, this one is rectangular rather than round.  It just felt more practical to use in a cot or pushchair.  And the little one-year-old-to-be, the beneficiary of this project, would be too big for a tiny little newborn blanket, so it had to be on the bigger side…much easier to do for a rectangle rather than a square.  You’d be surprised how hard it is to find help online to get a rectangular start-up, but thanks to youtube I got there in the end.

I’m really into the whole pink/green combo thing.  Perhaps because my sister’s granny square blanket, and my first ever crochet inspiration was just those colours, it just feels right.  I was really learning on the job with this one too, not knowing at the time how to finish it off, or exactly how big to make it.  In the end I did a few rows of single crochet and a really cute green shell on the border (pattern at end of this blog).  I did debate about whether to leave the edge straight, and if pushed I think perhaps it had a more modern feel before the frill went on, but I was keen to do a new stitch, and hopefully I didn’t overwork it in the end.

I am yet to make a blanket for any of my three daughters, I am full of ideas but can’t seem to commit to any one project in particular.   A good crochet blanket should be around for years, and inspiration is yet to strike, not least because of so many distractions along the way in the form of projects I hadn’t planned but just HAVE to be done straight away!

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You want to make a shell border?…

  • Make your base row out of single crochets
  • Make 1ch
  • 1sc into first st
  • * miss 2, 5 double crochets into next stitch, miss 2 then 1 single crochet into next stitch **
  • Repeat from * to **

Crochet Greeting Cards

Crochet heart greeting card

I don’t know where I first saw a crochet greeting card, perhaps somewhere online whilst clicking randomly through the numerous colouful and impressive mumsblogs I now aspire to emulate.

It stuck in my imagination, and when I started to play around with little crochet motifs of hearts and flowers, it was a short hop to Hobby Craft to stock up on blank note cards.  It was my first ever visit to the doyen of middle-England creativity, and I count myself lucky that I left  having spent even less than IKEA usually swindles out of me.    That said, I did end up with a mini-sewing machine that has yet to come out of its box.

Much easier for me to crochet, and then stick the crochet to card.  My choice of note card is one with an embossed dotty texture, it seems to give much more interest to the finished card.  I considered sticking some interesting fabric or printed paper behind the crochet work, but at the moment I prefer the simplicity of little wool shapes on dotty white.

My first effort, and enduring favorite, is the double heart card made for my sweetheart on valentine’s day.  I have always made the Other Half home-made cards, but in the past it’s usually been based around photographs.   The hearts are in each of our favourite colours, something significant to him, and it has been the only handmade missive that went straight on display on his office shelf instead of in his filing cabinet.  Of all the heart patterns I’ve come across, none are as perfect as this one done ‘in the round’, which can be found on PlanetJune.

crochet star card

Gaining confidence, I’ve tried to create personal crochet cards a few times since.  First for my sister Roni’s birthday, I forgot to photograph it before sending it to her in Vietnam, which is handy as it’s not her birthday yet at the time of blogging.  Then my other far-flung sister in New Zealand landed her first teaching post.  I’m super proud of her, being a full-time mum for nearly eleven years then gaining her teaching qualification and stepping back to the world of work.  So I created a star card, looking a bit too much like a sheriff’s badge in retrospect, but that might be just what a newly qualified teacher needs!  I had bought a little letter stamping kit a while ago, which has sat gathering dust, so I used it to print the word ‘star’ on the front, a little wobbly but I think it enhances rather than detracts from the intention of the card.   Annoyingly, I can’t find which star pattern I used, but this one on Suzies Stuff is pretty perfect if you are looking for something similar.

Crochet house greeting card

Then I got bold.  Instead of using motif patterns others have created, I realised that I could work out a simple little design for myself for the ‘new home’ card I wanted to send to my friends who recently overhauled their old house beyond recognition.  The triangle shape I was familiar with doing countless bunting flags, and a little single crochet square is within any beginner’s capabilities.  I had a little fun bordering the roof with green, as well as crocheting the front door on top of the crochet square (I’m sure there must be a technical name for that, but no idea what it is until I hit the books one day).

I was tempted to stamp the word ‘home’ on the card, but faced with the probability of getting it wobbly or smudged on my last Hobby Craft card, instead I went for the simplicity of the house alone.  My friend, upon receiving the card, actually suggested that it might be good enough to sell, so maybe I’ll be elevated from ebay to etsy one of these days.

crochet house greeting card detail

Until then, I’m rather enjoying these super-short, but totally appreciated fusions of wool and paper.  And it’s just occurred to me that I should maybe write up the pattern for this little house…I’ve never written a pattern before.  That’s what people do on these blogs isn’t it, so I promise to get with the personal pattern program pronto.

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Sisterly Crochet Love

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This week the crochet is done entirely by my lil’ sister Roni who seems to throw her every little crochet number together in her sleep they come to life so easily.

Living and teaching in Vietnam, Roni took on board my ‘suggestion’ of crocheting my three girls, her treasured nieces, gorgeous little crochet beanies with flowers on the side, and a while later (Vietnam post is slooooow!), through the door popped these beauties, modeled by their chuffed owners in this photo.

Half the battle with success at crochet is having a knack for following patterns, and although I can hook with haste, reading patterns is still a bit of a struggle for me.  Not so for Roni though, and that I envy.  Lots more practice for me so I can also create at super-speed, and not labour too long on deciphering any one project.   Big thanks Ronz for these playful little hats, and now it’s blinking freezing in London AGAIN, at least we get lots of wear out of them this winter!

If you like this pattern, you can find it here: candy-puffs-beanie

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Spring has sprung, crochet style

crochet jam jar coverIn the spirit of spring, a bit of indoor colour has seemed to be the order of the day recently; and crochet lends itself so nicely to jazzing up a little corner of the house.  

Unlike some of my other efforts, this quick little project actually got a big thumbs up from my other half, and consequently daffs seem to be far more frequent visitors to our home than before the rainbow jam jar cover emerged.

Hidden beneath the woolly exterior lies a Mrs Elswood pickle cucumber jar – a bit bigger than your average jam jar (and the contents far more tasty, if you are pickle kind of gal like me).  It was super-simple, even for a novice hooker (is that an accepted slang for a person who crochets?!).  Pattern included below if you fancy giving it a whirl yourself.

So on to this cute little flower garland, which was actually only a temporary IMG_06171guest at our house, barely long enough to photograph, until it was gifted to a friend for her birthday.  I’m loving this home-made gift thang…and if any beneficiaries disagree, at least they are too tactful to say!  

The little flowers are based on the simple pattern I posted a few weeks ago, you can get on this link here: ‘playing with flowers’.  Then I simply sewed a wooden bead in the centre of each one, which gave the garland a little weight and helped it hang well, in addition to jazzing it up.  The green cord is a run of crochet chains, hooking in a petal of each flower along the way.  

Loving the spring-like feeling these two quick projects give me, and wondering a little how crochet can possibly work in the summer, it just seems too woolly!  Will have to wait and see…

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Crochet Jam Jar Cover Pattern:

  • crochet a chain the right length for wrapping around the jar tightly, then join with a slip stitch, taking care not to twist the chain
  • chain one and then work around in a circle doing half double crochet (USA) or half treble crochet (UK)
  • keep crocheting in rows, changing colour as you wish, and being careful to join the end of each row and chaining up each time to start a new row
  • When you get near the top of your jar, decrease 4 times evenly around the row.  I did this a few times as my jar tapered off at the top
  • Last row do single crochet (USA) or double crochet (UK) the whole way round then slip the jacket on the jar!

 

1970’s Crochet Revival…

My amused other half described it as a paintball target top.  My sister said it would look best ‘on a teddy’.  One of my twin daughters refused to even try it on.  Step forward today’s bolder twin, brave Elia, our psychedelic model for my latest crochet foray.

For some reason I cannot recall, I needed to make a 1970’s tank top a la toddler.  So having found an original pattern from the era, off I went, having chosen perhaps the most garish colour scheme known to yarn.  Nope, I have no idea what made me want to try neon either.  But it’s not ALL bad…on the plus side, I followed my first clothing pattern and actually made something for my child to wear.  Repeat: I MADE something to wear!  That’s a big first around here, and if only I’d chosen a pattern and colour-scheme worthy of the effort, it would have truly been something to keep for the next generation.  As it is, looks like Teddy is going to get a rather natty vest in which to attend his next picnic…

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