Tag Archive | handmade

Scarves or Freeform yarn, colour, stitch and texture experimentations

Don’t you just love scarves?  So versatile and perfect for accessorising any outfit.  They can add a touch of glamor, fun, urban warmth or sophistication.  I can wear them in any weather, light silky neckties in the summer and chunky warm snugglable scarves in the winter.  Recently I’ve become addicted to making them.   Stash busting whilst experimenting with colour mixing, stitch sampling and texture  to create unique wearable pieces.

Two were made as Xmas gifts.  A pink and black, lacy free-form crochet scarf “this is what makes us girls” for my sister.  A glamorous purple chunky wool and velvet knitted scarf  “deep purple”  for my mum.

Two I made for myself as a fantastic way to practice knitting and to sample a couple of Jane Thornley’s fabulous patterns.  I’m really loving the free-range, no mistakes only design features style that Jane advocates.  Perfect for learning to knit without the pressure of nothing turning out right.   I added crochet borders to my scarves adding my own freeform touch.   The scarf recipes are available free through Ravelry or Jane’s website. 


thisiswhatmakesusgirlsscarf

Pink, butterflies, black lace, tassels, sequins, animal print beads, lacy crochet, feather boa fluff – this is what makes us girls. Freeform crochet scarf made with a multitude of pink, black and purple yarns then decorated with beads, butterfly’s and tassels.  Xmas 2012 gift for my wonderful sister.

Deep Purple Scarf. I used the holiday scarf recipe by Jane Thornley as a start point to the scarf. Such fun to knit with thick, fancy yarns.  Following this “recipe”. I used a range of different purple/pink yarns including chunky wool, mohair, velvety ribbon and DK. I differed from the recipe by including strips of crochet as well as knitting in the main long center piece. I also added a crochet border then decorated with a velvet flower.

Blue Stary Scarf – Blue knitted scarf inspired by Jane Thornley’s creations.  With a crochet border and star beads to add a bit of dazzle.

Will She Trick or Treat?  Knit and crochet scarf.  Adapted from Jane Thornley’s ‘Fresh-Baked Squash’ scarf recipe.  I used orange and black yarns in a mixture of DK, sparkley, mohair, boulce.  A very Halloween feeling scarf 🙂 

As I was working with DK weight yarns rather than aaran I added to the middle, 1 row drop stitch (k2 wrap 2), then 1 row knit the k2. Followed by 1 row sead stitch. This was then reversed before again following Jane’s pattern. I used similar toned yarns for the reverse section. I added a row of single crochet to tidy up the scarf edges and make it ruffle a bit more.

Fragments Freeform Hat

I can’t believe its over a month since I last posted.  I’ve been so busy making Xmas pressies for people.  Which I’ll wait until I’ve given them out to post on here so not to spoil any surprises.  There’s even some knitting sprinkled through my creations 🙂 This month has been spent  learning to knit and I’m finding it rather relaxing.  I just love my big red plastic needles, very funky and comfortable to use with chunky wool that means I can progress quite quickly.  I tried a bit of my fingering (2ply) yarn but that was far too fiddley so I think I’ll leave the lacey look for crochet whilst I practice knitting with the big soft fluffy stuff.

I had a bit of a splash out and purchased a copy of Jenny Dowde’s Freeform Knitting and Crochet so I could venture more into free-form and get ideas and techniques for “taking your yarn for a walk”.  Its an ace introduction to freeform for newbies like me which gives an overview of all the different parts of the process of creating items from yarn filled with gorgeous inspirational pictures.   Jenny encourages you to experiment with design, try out new things and create your own beautiful piecves of fibre art.  I have several favourite bits of the book already and still haven’t finished reading it all!!. She gives some instructions on creating scrumbles/fragments, taking you through the process stitch by stitch.  It’s great to have some scrumble templates  to use as a start point for creating my own.  One chapter covers details of some funky fx and different stitches she uses in her freeform creations and another details connecting pieces together and different techniques.  Again this is really good for reference and to get a good grip on the how-to’s of freeform. There’s also a selection of projects with how-to’s which I think are a great base point for creating your own freeform marvels.   They are different from patterns as no detailed instructions are given rather these give an overview of how each project was made and ideas for making your  own. These are lovely pieces that agive ideas for where you can go with freeform.  I’d highly recommend the book to people new to freeform, asit really breaks free-form down into managable chunks showing you how to create your own.  Perfect for if you are thinking of giving  freeform a go and would like a bit of guidance on where to start.   Some of the pics from the book can also be seen on Jenny Dowde’s blog.

My Fragment Beret


My hat obsession was fed by the how-to for the  fragments beret in Freeform Knitting and Crochet.   So I decided  this would be my first creation inspired by the book.  I used a  variety of black and blue/green/turquoise yarns.  About 10 different textures I think which included DK, eyelash, lurex metal threaded yarn, chunky and 2-ply.    Instructions from Fragment 2 were used as a start point for creating my scrumbles using a mix of knitting and crochet but I varied with the stitches used from the template given.  I prefered to start with a knitted fragment then add on crochet around it.    Each scrumble contained a mix of the yarns and I tried to balance out colour and texture through the overall piece.  I used a crochet hat I had made previously as my template and safety pinned fragments/scrumbles onto it. I added a bead to each scrumble – 7 in total.  Then joined them together using sc on either inside to hide the join or outside when I wanted a ridge.  Holes were filled in using dc/tc.  Finally I used 4 types of black yarn and made a band to fit it onto my head.  As I crocheted the band I checked it fit by trying on every row.  I’m really pleased with how its turned out.  Its lovely and warm and great for covering the ears against the bitterly cold weather.

Fruits Hat

I had such fun making a lovely warm hat for my head.  And the bonus is it doubles as a teacosy 🙂 It’s perfect for walking Jasmine out on the windy hills, really snug and wooly.

This hat is inspired by the absolutely beautiful freeform hats Renate Kirkpatrick makes – check them out on her blog Rensfibreart.

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I started off with a bunch of basic circular and spiral scrumbles in shades of red and pink.

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I made a hat shaped mesh and attached the scrumbles onto it using single crochet. The pink area was made to flop over the top like a pixie hat.

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Then I hit the really fun part.  Decorating the hat and letting my imagination run wild. This is also the part that takes the most time! I filled in the gaps with more crochet, buttons and beads and added a funky tassel. Building up a range of textures and adding surface crochet to areas of interest.  The hardest part is knowing when to stop……

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Grey Skies Freeform crochet scarf – how I made it

Grey skies freeform scarf

I’ve been having such fun doing the UK freeformers challenges over on Ravelry.   The group is great for inspiration, tips on how to do things, support and generally drooling over the beautiful items members create.  I thought I’d share here how I made my scarf for the CAL.  But as its free-form it’s not a tutorial as such but more a guide of what I did so you can make your own individual version if you wish.

The latest challenge was to create a freeform scarf or cowl.  Instructions for the challenge: “With winter approaching, our next cal is a scarf or cowl. The choice of colour, yarn, and stitch patterns is yours, but only trebles (US double crochet) and chains can be used.”  You can see the beautiful designs other Ravelry members made as part of the CAL in the UK Freeformers Scarf/cowl CAL-thread.  (You may need to join Ravelry to be able to view their forums, but its free to join and full of inspiration and tips for crochet and knitting).

I started off by looking through my stitch pattern books for tc (US dc) and chain only patterns.  One I found especially useful was The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs.  This book shows pictures of each pattern with both charts and instructions on how to create them.   Perfect for when you are making your own patterns up.  I found some good stitch patterns that are dc/chain only in the dc and chain, shell, x-stitch and puff stitch chapters and bookmarked them so I could easily flip from one pattern to the next as I crocheted along.

My floor was then hidden beneath a huge yarn pile of black and grey yarns that would be suitable for this project.  My initial inspiration for the scarf was the grey winter evening skies that flow from black through the grey of the clouds.   I wanted a neutral scarf that would go with any outfit so chose a grey to black colour scheme. I needed a variety of textures and shades as I wanted the scarf to be very tactile.    Therefore the yarn weights varied from thin 2-ply up to chunky weight.  I especially love King Coles Galaxy sequins yarn it adds such glamour to a project and I also added in a couple of yarns which had silver thread running through them for a bit of sparkle.   Winter is so dull a girl needs plenty of sparkle to brighten the days up.  But any yarns that you have on hand can be used to create a freeform scarf.

I made the first “fish” scrumble using treble pattern stitches and the range of black and grey yarns.  I was drawn to creating a gradient moving from the darker to the lighter yarns.   I worked in rows and each time I changed yarn I altered the stitch pattern that I was using.  I increased and decreased randomly as well to give the scrumble a wavy effect.   I varied the stitch patterns using shell stitches, X-stitches, puff-stitches, dcs and chains.

First scrumble

Its really easy to create a scarf in this fashion. Just change the the yarn every few rows.  And each time you change the yarn you use a differnt stitch pattern.   If you find a pattern you really like the look of you can use it again further down the scarf.  There’s no set structure, just follow what feels right for the next section.
An example of how I did this:  The nose of the scrumble was created by chaining 1 then adding 2  treble crochets (US double crochets) in sequin yarn.  Each row I increased at the edges of each row  adding 2 tcs to expand it outwards. After about 5 rows I changed the yarn to a plain black dk then  added a simple mesh pattern of tc, chain 2, tc for 3 rows.    I continued addng more rows of  yarn using different tc stitch patterns.  E.g. When I switched to a grey chunky yarn I changed to using a X-stich and decreased the number of stitches per row to make the scrumble curve back in.    I added a  slightly fluffy grey yarn (King Cole haze) to make 2 rows of tc puff stitches  separated by 2 chains.   The eyelash yarn at the end is weaved in then dcs used to secure it in place.   This scrumble measured 36cm long and 16cm at widest part.  Its a  big scrumble that ended up being a 3rd of the scarf!!

The next scrumble I moved from grey to black  but varied the sequence of the colour change so it wasn’t identical to the first piece.  I used different stitch patterns from the first scrumble   which gives it a distinct wavey shape, but again it is all in treble and chains.  The change in stitch patterns and colour order I hope means it doesn’t look too organised when the two are together. This piece measured 40cm long and 18cm wide max and I nicknamed it “the squid”

2nd scrumble

For the 3rd scrumble I worked from black to grey again altering the order of the yarns and the stitch patterns that I used.

3rd scrumble

All 3 scrumbles were attached together with safety pins so I could see how the scarf flowed and draped.   As some of the thinner parts stretched too much for my liking.  I worked around these sections of the scarf adding horizontal mesh to make the scarf wider in parts and to help it drape well.  I used a simple mesh pattern of tc, chain 2, tc.  I then used dcs to attach the 3 scrumbles together and removed the pins. Ta-dah one finished scarf.

scarf detail

I’m really pleased with how this turned out. Its great for this cold weather and was such fun to make.  Although it takes longer to complete an item I find freeform much more enjoyable than repeating the same pattern over and over.    Its suprisingly easy once you get started and as the stitch patterns and yarns vary each item is wonderfully unique.  Which really appeals to my individualistic, eclectic tastes.

And here I am modelling the finished item, looking immensely pleased with making the scarf. 🙂

Modeling the grey skies freeform crochet scarf

Meshed-up Crochet Headband Pattern

A girl can never have to many hair accessories.  These headbands quickly work up into a stretchy mesh perfect for keeping fly-away strands out of the face.  Changing the colour, yarn thickness and adding decorative elements such as flowers gives a wide variation on the basic pattern.   Gauge is not important for this project. The headband can be created using any combination of yarn and hook you like to create your desired thickness. As it only uses a small amount of yarn its a good stash buster for using up those little ends left over from larger projects.

Blue headband was crocheted using 3ply blue acrylic yarn and a 2.5 hook using the wide meshed-up  Headband pattern.

Grey headband was crocheting using King Cole Haze dk in grey and a 2.5 hook using the narrow meshed-up Headband pattern.

 

Instructions are written in american crochet terms.  ( Ch = chain, dc = double crochet, sc = single crochet, tc = triple crochet)

Wide Meshed-up headband

Shown in blue in the pictures.

Chain 17

Row 1:  Ch 5  into 10th chain from hook do 1  tc, *ch  3 and miss 3 ch , 1 tc* repeat x3 to end of chain.

Row 2 : Ch5 (counts as 1dc and 2 ch),  1 sc into  3-chain-space, 2ch  1dc into tc, *2ch 1sc into 3 ch, 2 ch 1 dc into  tr* repeat to end.

Row 3: Ch6 (counts as 1 tr and 3 ch) , 1 tr into 2nd dc, *Ch3 1tc into dc, *  repeat to end.

Row 4: Repeat row 3.

Row 5: Ch  2 (counts as first dc) *3 dc into 3-chain-space, 1 dc into tr,* repeat to end.

Row 6:   Ch6 (counts as 1 tr and 3 ch) 1 treble into 5th dc, *ch 3 skip 3 dc, 1trc into dc* repeat to end.

Row 7: Repeat row 3.

Continue repeating rows 2 to 7  until you have a headband long enough to wrap around your head.

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 Narrow Meshed-up Headband

Shown in grey in the pictures.

Chain 9

Row 1: ch 6, into the 5th chain from the end do 1 tc, 3ch, miss 3 ch. 1tc into last ch.

Row 2: 5 ch, miss 1 ch, 1 sc into 2nd ch, 2ch miss 1 ch, 1dc into tc, 2ch miss 1 ch, 1sc into ch, 2 ch miss 1 ch, 1 dc into next ch.

Row 3: 6 ch, 1 tr into centre dc, chain 3, 1 tr into end dc.

Row 4 onwards. Repeat alternating rows 2 and 3 until the headband is the desired length.

Without twisting the chain sc the ends together.

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Me modelling the headbands (ignore the roots!)

I love to see any items that you make from these patterns for yourself, gifts for friends and family and charity so please do post links or add your projects to Ravelry. This pattern can be found in Ravelry here .

Feather necktie

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Capturing  leaves falling through the wind, decorated with  berries cascading and glistening  in the first drops of rain.

I wanted a scarf that was light and airy for the sunny first days of autumn where a chunky scarf is just too warm.  I hoped to capture the beauty of fall so looked for a delicate crochet pattern.  The feathers looked like fragile skeletal leaves,  so I used a light golden brown 2ply yarn to crochet the tie with.   To add a touch more  luxury I entwined exquisite beads onto the ends of the feathers/leaves and to decorate the edging.   I’ve only lightly blocked this to bring out the design, however for more definition a fuller block/starch would be beneficial (see the pattern for how it looks blocked).    But as I tend to twine scarves around my neck/head/waist I have left it a bit crumply.

I just love how versatile it is.  I’ve already worn it a number of ways, tied tightly around the neck like a necklace, worn loose as a scarf, tied around a hairband to create a jeweled headdress and  wrapped around the waist as a loose decorative belt.  It adds a wonderful hint of glamour to any outfit.
 This beautiful pattern is available on Ravelry: Feather Stole by Elizabeth Myers.  It was  easy to crochet following the chart  (just took me a couple of attempts whilst I got my head around what I was meant to be doing).  The original pattern creates a stole but is easily adapted to make thinner and wider designs, instructions on how to do this are even included in the pattern.  I used 3 copies of the feather to create a thin lacey scarf.  I also altered the edging to turn mine into a beaded delight.
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Sweetpea Crochet Hook Case Pattern

I’ve been collecting a number of crochet hooks lately and always seem to be loosing them. I get a small collection back every time I tidy from ones that have escaped under the sofa, behind the cushions, and they always tumble out of the wool bags I hide behind the sofa. So I definitely needed a safe place to store some. I also wanted a method that would allow me to transport hooks and the essentials like needle, thread, scissors and safety pins around with me as I travel back and forth to my mums. After glancing through a few images of hook cases I decided to make up my own. This meant I could try out the Sweetpea stitch I had seen in one of my crochet stitch directories.

This case is very adaptable and you can add pockets or hook holders where you need to fit in your crocheting goodies. It could also be adapted easily into a pencil case or jewelry pouch. I’m considering making another to store my crochet necklaces in, replacing the surface crochet with more pockets.

As always feedback is welcomed. If you do run into any problems let me know so I can amend the pattern to make it clearer! Feel free to use my designs for gifts etc and please do link back here to the pattern so I can see what beautiful items you have made.

007

chookcasefront11

I haven’t blocked my case yet, but this would make the case more squared and less likely to curl up at the corners. I’m not sure it needs it though as most of the time it is rolled up to store the hooks.

Stash Buster – Sweetpea Crochet Hook Case

This pattern is written in American crochet terms conversions and abbreviations are given at the bottom of the pattern.
As you can use up the ends of yarns and mix and match to create stripes etc. this is a great stash buster or way to try out a new yarn without committing to a large project.

What you need:
4.00 mm crochet hook
Double knitting weight yarn Colour A and Colour B
I used less than one skein of red Woolcraft New Fashion Double Knitting and a small amount of Black King Cole Haze DK.
One button, needle and sewing thread

Case:
Chain 37 (increase or decrease this chain depending on wool and hook so that the chain is about a couple of inches longer than the height of crochet hooks. Just ensure that your chain number is a multiple of 7 plus 2 extra – e.g. 7*5 = 35 + 2 ch = 37 chains)

ROW 1 ch 3, 1 dc into 4th ch from hook, dc along into each chain to end of row.
015

Row 2 ch 3 (counts as first dc) 1 dc into 2nd chain of hook, *miss 2 dc, 5 dc into next dc (shell), sk 2 dc, 2 dc into next 2 dc*,
repeat from * to end of row.
016

Row 3: ch 3, 1 dc between first 2 dc, *1 dc between 3rd and 4th of shell, 5 dc between the 2 single dc,*
repeat from * to end of row with 2 dc between last 2 dc.

Row 4: Ch3, 1 dc between first 2 dc, *5 dc between the 2 single dc, 1 dc between 3rd and 4th of shell, *
repeat from * to end of row with 2 dc between last 2 dc.

Repeat by alternating row 3 and row 4 until crochet case is desired width. I used 18 rows.

036

Pocket:
Chain 12
Row 1: Ch3 tc in 4th ch from hook, tc in each chain
Row 2: Ch3, turn, tc into back loop only of 2nd tc and tc in each tc to end
Row 3: Ch3, turn, tc into front loop only of 2nd tc and tc in each to end.
Row 4 + repeat alternating row 2 and 3 until piece measures high enough to hold your scissors or other items.
Attach to the case using sc along sides and bottom.

033

Hook inserts
These are worked using straight lines of single crochet surface crochet. I added 2 lines to hold my hooks (see picture for positioning)
Join the yarn and hold on the side with the pocket.
Insert the hook under the row to be worked and out to the front again, yrh and draw loop through, yrh and draw through 2 loops on hook. (One surface crochet is now completed).
Work a line of surface crochet until about 1 inch from the edge of the case.

If you are unfamiliar with surface crochet it is demonstrated in this video by CraftyAndy:

058

Border and button – worked in Colour B
Row 1: With Colour B sc around edge of case.
Row 2: Ch3, (dc, ch1, 2dc) in same stitch, * sk 3 sc, (2dc, ch1, 2dc) in same stitch, * repeat from * all around the case.
Finish by adding a button to fasten the case into a roll.

buttonchookcase

Abbreviations and Conversions

ch = chain
dc = double crochet (American dc is equivalent to treble crochet in English crochet).
sc = single crochet (American sc is equivalent to double crochet in English crochet).
shell = 5dc into one dc.
sk = skip
tc = treble crochet (American tc is equivalent to double treble crochet in English crochet)
yrh = yarn around hook

041
My little crochet helper cuddling up to the work in progress. She loves to curl up on my lap whilst I crochet which unfortunatly adds a few dog hairs into the stitches!

I love to see what people make so please do link your creations to me. This pattern can also be found/linked to via Ravelry: