Tag Archive | Wool

Fruits Hat

I had such fun making a lovely warm hat for my head.¬† And the bonus is it doubles as a teacosy ūüôā 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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First steps in Tunisian Crochet

Taking a deep breath this morning I took the plunge to try out my first bit of Tunisian crochet. This piece didn’t have to be perfect as it was serving as a sample stitch “rectangle shape” for my freeform crochet bag WIP scrumbles.

I’ve been fascinated by Tunisian crochet since I started reading Kim Guzman’s blog and seeing the beautiful patterns she has designed. I initially started trying to work from my Complete Photo Guide to Crochet book, and as wonderful as this book is for normal crochet stitches I didn’t get how where I should be inserting my hook etc from the pictures and description.¬†¬† Two cups of tea and several unpickings later I headed over to Kim’s blog to see if she had any guides.¬† I found Kim’s you tube videos and¬†¬† this video guide combined with the step by step written instructions helped it all fall into place.¬† I carefully followed what she did and I soon picked up the basic Tunisian simple stitch.¬† I’d highly recommend¬† the videos to anyone wanting to learn Tunisian crochet, they show clearly what you need to do.

I don’t have a proper Tunisian hook so kept the stitch length short (20 stitches) so it didn’t slide off the standard crochet hook. I started with DK yarn and a 3.00 mm hook but soon increased to 3.50 as I was finding the stitches too tight to work with easily. I might try an even larger hook next time.

I lost stitches, not just one, several…. this resulted in one side of my rectangle having a distinct incline at the bottom and straight at the top once I got the hang of picking up all the stitches. Just look how the toe kicks upwards, thankfully it fit in-between the two “flower shapes”. I decided this was an erm intentional toe effect, just what I needed to match in with my leaf shape, after all perfect rectangles are boring aren’t they, artistic toey bits are much more freeform.

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Artistic patch showing my first attempt at Tunisian simple stitch

I then went on to try out the¬†Tunisian Purl Stitch (wrapped) again watching Kim’s You-tube guide. ¬†¬† This one turned out a little better.¬† Although the going was slower with wrapping the yarn in front of each stitch. ¬†¬† I still lost stitches so had a bit of a inward curling edge.¬† But liked the pattern produced.

First attempt at Tunisian pearl stitch
Then I discovered my favourite stitch.  The Tunisian Double Stitch (TDS) which felt much more like crocheting along.   I also liked the looser fabric this created.  This was easily to manipulate into a nice leaf shape, which complements the flowers in my freeform scrumbles perfectly.  I made several more using this double-stitch done with single or knitted stitch.
I still need much, much, more practice doing Tunisian crochet.¬† But I enjoyed my first venture into using this technique.¬†¬†¬†¬† I’m looking forward to the next steps of a nice scarf¬† once I get a proper Tunisian hook.
Leaf formed from Tunisian double stitch.

Chocolate Lime Macaroons and Freeform crochet bag WIP

I had a lovely Saturday visiting my sister for coffee, chats and baking.  We made the most deliciously awesome chocolate lime macaroons.   Based on the yummy sweets from our childhood Рchocolate limes.    And I have to say these tasted even more scrumptious than we remembered the sweets.  The zing of lime, velvet chocolate and sweetness of sugary macaroons all perfectly compliment.   And these delicate little biscuit/sweets are gluten-free so I can  indulge all day (well lets forget about the waist-line).

These photo’s are a bit dark as it was early evening when we finished baking and none made it to the light of day, getting eagerly devoured by our family ūüôā .

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Brief  How-to recreate Chocolate Lime Macaroons:

To your favourite french-macaroon base add the zest of a lime and a few drops of green food colouring.   We followed a recipe similar to this one on the BBC to bake our macaroons.

For the filling melt the best dark chocolate you can afford (at least 70% cocoa) and add it to buttercream. This is a great recipe for chocolate buttercream:

Sandwich macaroons together and enjoy munching.

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Scrumilicious macaroon


Freeform Bag WIP

I finally have joined in a CAL on Ravelry after eyeing them for so long.¬† This one is for a free-form bag.¬† Something I have wanted to make for a while.¬† I’m hoping I can get lots of tips whilst I tackle this new challenge. ¬† It’s rather daunting to jump into a world full of scrumbles, randomness and independent crochet.

I’ve started by picking out my yarn.¬† A mix of ends left over from other projects in shades of pinks, purples and reds.¬†¬†¬† Following from the technique from the mod I’ve started by crocheting the same little crochet pieces in different yarn. ¬† I’d like it to be a mix of flower shapes. So far I have a circle flower shape (chain 5, R1 dc and R2 dc, 2dc, repeat)¬† a triangular flower, (magic loop, 10sc.¬† Row 1: dc and tc in same stitch, tc and dc in same stitch, sc, repeat),¬† a leaf shape (2 segments of Lazy J, from the complete photo guide to crochet p193), 1 spirally shape which has bullion stitches, and one rectangle sample (various stitches)¬† which I have done twice and joined together.¬† I had to pull out the joins a few times after realising I’d sewn stuff on backwards, got myself tangled in stitches and yarn and wondered what the heck I have got myself into with all the ends I need to weave in.¬†¬† But it’s a start!!!!

First selection of yarn.

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First 2 scrumble patches….I’ve already added in another ball of red and purple yarn to the selection.

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 .

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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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

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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:

Scrumbles Bracelet

Scrumbles are¬† my latest addiction.¬† I love the little pieces of crochet joined together to form freeform pieces of art.¬†¬† Mishmash of colours and textures make these pieces really unique. Such a brilliant way to use up ends of yarn or to just try a sample of new wool without committing to a huge project.¬†¬†¬† Each step of creating a part gives that little buzz of achievement…..no need to wait 10 hours for the finished shawl buzz.¬† And with my many and increasing WIPS getting a few mini pieces that I can class as finished is such a bonus ūüôā¬† I now have a little bag¬† filled with samples/flowers/embelshments crocheted in different yarns and shades, waiting for me at mums, all ready to be combined into artwork.

My first attempt at a “finished piece” was a scrumble bracelet made in blues and greys colours that evoked our summer rainy day sky’s in the UK.¬† The freedom of creating little crochet embellishments and then combining them and adding garnishes of gems and beads was very enjoyable.

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My inspiration ( a very small selection):

I just love all the blogs I follow they always give me  inspiration and motivation to further develop my crochet skills.   Wether its a wonderfully toned colour selection or the most adorable little motifs they get the brain whirling over what I could create myself.

stitchedupmama has some absolutely beautiful scrumble pieces that combine different textiles and I especially love the beautifully decorative and organic woodland artwork    This really opened my eyes to the versatility of crochet.

There’s a good selection of scrumble and freeform crochet on pininterst – I fell headfirst in love with the bags and scarves pinned¬† by taarna.

And of course Ravelry features wonderful examples of freeform scrumbles.

Of Crochet, Lace, and Steampunk

A steampunk event in Leeds called for a new outfit (yes I know, any excuse for new items…..)¬† It was my first venture into the world of Steampunk so I wasn’t quite sure how I should dress.¬† I went for a grey ruffled shirt with a black bustle pencil skirt and black boots (all from my usual wardrobe).¬†¬† I decided the cheapest way to make this more Steampunky was to add a few accessories (crocheted of course)¬† to make my look a little bit more antique.¬†¬†¬† ¬† The first accessory was my flower headband (pattern here).¬† Followed by a crochet gothic necklace (one I had made and photographed previously)

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Gothic crochet necklace

I finished the outfit off by making¬† a new corsage from black lace, a sparkly button and a grey flower I had crocheted.¬†I think it turned out rather well and its really simple to do (instructions below).¬† I’ve discovered the beauty of combining different textures in my art.¬† Crochet and lace just go so well together like chocolate and caramel….

Whilst at the event I discovered a wonderful Steampunk short-story book – Tales from the Asylum and got a signed copy.¬† It’s produced by an independent UK publisher (I think) that describes itself as “by Steampunks, for Steampunks”.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This really appealed to my love of¬† dark gothic horror with the bonus of supporting local writers.¬† The short tales that dip into different themes and visions seemed a fun intro to Steampunk novels as I could read snipets from different authors viewpoints without committing to reading a lengthily novel.¬† It is set within the dark decaying walls of an old fashioned asylum.¬† Each of the story’s¬† tells a tale of one of the special inmates and they are linked together by the wardens footsteps and laminations as he journeys from cell to cell through the asylum. This all makes great bedtime reading.¬† Available from the publisher or in the UK via¬† Amazon link.

Corsage:
What you need:
Lace
Fabric
Crochet flower
Sewing thread
Sewing needle

Button
Safety Pin

Cut the lace and fabric so that it is a little larger in size than your crochet flower and scrunch/fold to form a flower shape then add a few stitches to hold the shape.

Place the crochet flower over the lace.

Sew  on the button to hold all the layers together.

Push the safety pin through the back to turn this into a brooch.

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Corsage – I think it looked quite Steampunk from what I know of the style!