Counting them out

Craft | Tuesday March 22 2011 | 12:43 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: , , , |

 

The next stages of the Crochet Club patterns involve adding beads to crochet stitches.  I’ve never done this before and I’m quite enjoying it and I love the finished look.

However, I really hate counting out the beads, in the same was I hate counting foundation chains! Grrrrrrrrrr!

I had to find a way to reduce the risk of errors so I came up with the solution in the picture above.  I counted the beads in 10s into an ice cube tray before threading them onto the yarn and BINGO, it all worked out just fine!  Highly recommended if you’re doing similar, and a pink flower shaped ice cube tray makes it a much more pleasant experience too!

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The Blanket Revealed

Craft | Tuesday January 19 2010 | 9:29 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , , , , |

I am so excited about sharing these pictures of my finished baby blanket because I am delighted with the result. 

The ripple pattern was really easy once I got started and got a few rows into it and it’s really easy to remember.  Its basically in 4 stages each of 4 stitches: 4 uphill, 2 increasing to 4 over the top of the hill, 4 downhill and 4 decreasing  to 2 in the valley!  Simple as that (do refer to Attic 24 for the full version – you won’t get far on my shorthand alone – that’s just what I said in my head as I went along). 

The blanket measures 60cm x 80cm (24 x 32 inches) and used just under 8 balls of the Patons Fairytale DK; 4 each in blue and pastel multi.  I changed yarn colour every 3 rows so that the stripes weren’t too close together and so that the ends / yarn changes were not all on the same edge of the blanket, as I do find they an add a little bulk.  I didn’t sew in any of the ends until I was finished so that was rather a chore, but I’m rubbish at doing things as I go along.  When all the stripes were finished and the ends sewn in I felt the edges were not as smooth as I’d like so I finished all the way round with double crochet in the blue yarn.  I feel this kind of tied all the stripes together too and gave it a ‘finished’ sort of look too.

It’s another month before baby Jimmy, who will receive this blanket, is due to arrive so I will wrap it up nicely and keep it carefully for him.  I don’t think his Mummy reads this site, but if she does she will be in for a lovely surprise if she sees this here.  I think I should make her a lovely treat too as she’s doing all the hard work, isn’t she!

Here is the finished blanket:

Baby blanket folded

Baby blanket edges

baby blanket close up

Baby blanket open

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The long and narrow of it

Craft | Thursday October 15 2009 | 9:24 pm | Comments (4) | Tags: , , |

string bag with shoppingYay… the string bag which I have been crocheting the last few days is finished! And its FAB!!  About half way through the same 9 stitches over and over and over again I thought ‘this isn’t worth it’ but as I got nearer the end I was spurred on.

I don’t think you can see it very easily in the pictures but I really like the way the handles are formed, by doing a couple of rounds along the top of the bag, then making chains the length of the handle and attaching them a little distance along the top.  You then do a few more rounds, going over the length of the handles.  Cool, eh?String bag stretched 2

Of course when it was finished I just had to put some shopping in it to show it off.  And doesn’t it look great, until you do one thing…

When it’s got things in it and you pick it up it is sooooooooooo stretchy!  It is substantially stretchier lengthways than widthways and becomes very long.  Not quite to the ground, but nto far off it.  I don’t know if that’s because of the thickness of yarn and hook I used or something so I might try slightly different proportions next time.

But I do think its great.  Did I say I was going to give it away?  Wondering if I can go back on that if the intended recipient is unaware…

BTW, I was going to make soup with those yummy leeks but just couldn’t be bothered tonight so maybe tomorrow.

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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

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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!

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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.

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