Black Letter Day

Craft | Wednesday October 14 2009 | 4:53 pm | No Comments | Tags: , , |

There are several kids in my life (none of which are my own I will add) and kids love things with their names on then. I am sure its a way of having a little control and identity in your life when so much of it is governed by others, or maybe that was just me. 

Anyway, back to my point!  To date when I’ve wanted to make peronalised things I have drawn letters in a haphazard way which turned out kind of OK, as shown on this bag I made for Lucy, but not the prettiest.  I can make, sew, knit, glue, crochet, hammer, felt etc but don’t ask me to draw or write anything by hand.  So I needed a plan!

Lucy lettersLucy denim bag

I decided to choose an appropriate font, blow it up, laminate it and cut out the letters to use as templates.  It wasn’t ideal for two reasons 1) the letters took  a g e s to cut out so my hands hurt really badly and 2) even laminated, the letters are quite thin so not the easiest to draw round as templates. 

However, I love this curvy, chunky font, which is Cooper Black in 200pt so each letter is around 5cm / 2 inches tall.  I think it will look great in felt and bright colours for kids, or even on a laundry bag for us grown ups saying ‘smelly socks’.

letter templates


Stringing it out

Craft | Tuesday October 13 2009 | 6:22 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , , |

string bag reducedI love string shopping bags, hate paying for carrier bags and never remember to take reusable bags with me to the supermarket.  So here’s something I thought I’d try and, hey, its working!

I looked at a few patterns for crocheting string shopping bags and decided to try this one from The Purl Bee.   I had already bought some Patons 100% Cotton 4 ply for this job, as  previously posted  when I had a bit of a crochet shopping binge, and it’s finally time to give it a go.

Lo and behold, this bag is so easy!  Its quite a marathon task because after the first 6 rounds it is a completely repetitive pattern, but sometimes that’s just what I need and enjoy – no thought required.  So far I think I am about a third of the way through. 

I haven’t changed the pattern as such, but I am using a slightly finer yarn weight and hook size, so I think it’s coming out a bit smaller.  Next time I may change to 9 or 10 chains in every link (instead of 8 in the pattern) or use a larger hook, but I’ll see how the finished size turns out.  Also a little reminder – this pattern is from USA so single crochet is double crochet in the UK.

Unfortunately, I may not reap the benefits of my own work because I may generously give it to my friend Andy, who I am meeting this weekend, as he is a proper dippy hippy (his own words!) and loves all things homemade.  I am sure it will be appreciated, and I’d always be forgetting to take it to the shops anyway!


Hooked Up

Craft | Saturday September 26 2009 | 12:32 am | 1 Comment | Tags: , , , |

Well its ages since I got my delivery of new crochet hooks, but here at last is what I think of them, and the other ones I have tried.  Before I even write a word on the Clover plastic hook you’ll see in hte picture below what the main problem was!!!

3 crochet hooks

So, here we go:

Clover Reflections

Clover 4mm crochet hook broken

When I first got this hook, in a Clover Reflections set of 3 in a tube case (you’ll soon realise I LOVE things that come in their own holders) I was really impressed.  3 hooks, in 4mm, 5mm and 6mm, great colours, case, soft handles, ergonomic design – what could be wrong with that?  Well, after only about one week of use the damage shown above happened.  I have a very standard and even crochet tension and was using double knit yarn so there was really no excessive pressure on the end of the hook.  This set cost approximately £15.00, so not the cheapest hooks either.  I was really disappointed this one broke as it was comfy and colourful to use and the 4mm is size I most commonly use.

Traditional Aluminium

Traditional 4mm steel crochet hook

This is the type of hook that is most commonly known in crochet hooks, and probably the most traditional type.  It’s strong and everlasting and just goes on and on doing a good job.  What more could you ask for?  Well, this type is now available in a coloured finish which adds a bit more pleasure to their use.  I have found that the embossed size and brand name on the shank to be a bit irritating on my fingertips, but then I am a sensitive gal and the little things in life tend to annoy me.  All in all a great crochet hook, reliable and a great price at around £1.20 for 4mm.

Prym Soft Handle

Prym 4mm soft handle crochet hook

I’ll admit it up front that I saved my favourite til last!  When my Clover hook broke I set about finding an alternative and bought a set of Prym Soft Handle hooks from PurpleLinda Crafts.  I am really delighted with these hooks and the 4mm has been in constant use since they arrived.  The handle has a soft, non slip finish.  The metal hook is smooth and strong and easy to use – and I particularly like the shame of the actual hook.  I do find it can get a little sticky depending on the yarn I am using but I give the end a quick rinse with a little washing up liquid and I’m off again.  I have been careful to keep the handle dry as not sure how it would cope.  I have a set of 8 of these hooks, in 2mm-6mm, for £12.99 which is great value, and they are also available individually for around £2.00 for 4mm.

I’d love to hear what your favourite hooks or needles are and why.  Feel free to leave a comment below.


Cate’s ‘Blanket’

Craft | Friday September 25 2009 | 12:30 am | Comments (3) | Tags: |
Crochet Dress

Picture by Getty Images on

Is this a new fashion we will all be wearing by Christmas?  Personally, I doubt it but I do think Cate Blanchett looks fab in this crochet dress!  It’s a statement that’s for sure and it’s in a whole new league on the red carpet.

So we’re more used to seeing granny squares in blankets and cushions, but they are very versatile – as you can see!

Maybe this is upcycling at its best?

Orders taken for anything you fancy in granny squares!


Labour of love

Craft | Wednesday September 2 2009 | 10:53 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: , , , , , |

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Dr Who Tom Baker scarf I knitted for Caveman.  We met 2 years ago next month and I knitted it for our first Christmas together.  As you can imagine from the timescales of October to Christmas I started knitting it pretty soon after we met to get it finished in time!  In hindsight that was a pretty tall order and perhaps just a bit presumptuous in a new relationship!  But here we are still so I can tell the story with a smile!


Anyway, I wanted to share the pattern I developed for the scarf.  Caveman is a massive fan of Dr Who and Tom Baker was his favourite.  I did lots and lots of research, looking at pictures, colours, film etc and developed this pattern.  I used Sirdar Country Style yarn which I have found in the past to be a very standard double knit and stable and easy to knit with, using 4mm needles.  I also have a very standard and even tension, which does help.

Here are the colours and rows you will need to knit.  (Note that the inch / cm measurements vary slightly from each other just because of rounding)

frou-frou’s Tom Baker Dr Who Scarf

Width 11inches / 28cm

CO 50 stitches Knit every row

4mm needles





Purple 8 1 2.5
Camel 52 8.25 22
Bronze 10 3 7.5
Mustard 10 2 5
Rust 20 3.5 9
Purple 8 1.5 3.5
Olive 20 3.5 9
Mustard 8 1.5 3.5
Camel 32 5.75 14
Rust 16 3 7.5
Bronze 8 2 5
Purple 12 2 5
Olive 42 7 18
Mustard 10 1.75 4
Blue grey 18 3 7.5
Rust 10 1.75 4
Camel 54 9 23
Purple 10 1.75 4
Olive 22 3.5 9
Blue grey 14 2.5 6
Mustard 8 1.5 3.5
Rust 20 3.25 8
Purple 8 1.5 3.5
Bronze 40 6 15
Camel 12 2 5
Blue grey 8 1.5 3.5
Rust 42 6.5 16.5
Mustard 16 2.75 7
Olive 20 3.5 9
Purple 8 1.25 3
Camel 44 7 18
Bronze 12 1.75 4
Blue grey 22 3.5 9
Rust 8 1 2.5
Purple 14 2 5
Camel 8 1.25 3
Mustard 16 2.75 6.5
Olive 56 10.25 26
Rust 16 3 7.5
Blue grey 14 2.5 6
Mustard 10 1.5 3.5
Bronze 20 3.25 8
Purple 10 1.75 4
Camel 12 1.75 4
Green grey 36 5.25 13
Rust 8 1 2.5
Mustard 12 1.5 3.5
TOTALS 884rows 148inches 369cm

Changing colour every few rows became a bit of a pain at times so I’d recommend you sew in ends as you go along.  Needless to say I didn’t!!

dr-who-scarf-middleWhen all the knitting is done make tassels in each shade to finish about 6inches long each.

I have tried to find the ball bands from the yarn I used to give details of shades but just can’t track them down, although I am sure I kept them.  If they turn up I will blog details.  I’ve given the rough type of colour above and the pictures may help.




My final tip: if you are knitting this in secret for your beloved find a good excuse for the amount of time you will need to spend at home knitting.  They may become suspicious if you say you spent the evening knitting and have nothing to show for it until you present them with the fruits of your labour.


Shiny stuff

Craft | Sunday August 30 2009 | 9:31 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , |

This week I got a parcel of shiny new crochet goodies I had ordered from PurpleLinda Crafts  (highly recomended for huge stock, quick shipping and only £1.99 postage for the whole order). 

As I only had a couple of  crochet hooks (including a broken one!) I bought a set of Prym soft handle hooks, 2mm-6mm, along with a couple of larger plastic hooks, 8mm and 10mm.


I also got a few balls of Patons 4ply 100% cotton.  I hope to crochet some string shopping bags and delicate bracelets and pendants and thought this would not be too fine or difficult for a relative beginner to work with.


As usual I picked my usual favourite types of colours, in strong earth tones.  With my new selection of hooks, lovely coloured yarn and lots of ideas, I’m certainly not losing my new passion for crochet any time soon!

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