Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Crafting :: Crochet Bobble Hats ::

Another speedy little handmade gift project.  This time bobble hats for little ones.

I love these little hats, destined for a pair of twins, I used Red Heart Soft that I had left over from my Rainbow Slipper Socks, which is fabulous for this sort of project, soft, washable and available in a great range of colours.

I made the pattern up as I went along, working top down in half treble stitch (possibly my favourite of the crochet stitches!) I worked in continuous rounds and then added a contrasting band of treble crochet as ribbing along the bottom.  And of course a pom pom on top!

To make my pompoms I just use my hand and then trim the up to make them even.

Quick and easy each hat took me an evening, but they're super cute and fun.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas Crafting :: Stamp Making ::

Last night was Craft Night In at Cafe Moochoo and for a bit of a change I thought I would leave the knitting/crochet to one side and work on something different.

Inspired by a picture I saw on pinterest of these lovely bauble stamps from etsy, I decided to try my hand at some of my own.

I purchased a set of engraving tools (I think from Hobbycraft but I can't see them on their website now) quite a while ago, to make some stamps for my etsy shop, so I took those, a newly purchased set of rubbers along with me and with a little creative inspiration from my friends this is what I produced.

I'm really quite pleased with my little festive stamps, they only took me a couple of hours and were so much fun to make.

Next job is to get Milo to adorn the wrapping paper using these and a some colourful ink!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas Crafting :: Magic Yarn Balls ::

As Christmas nears, far too quickly for my liking, it's becoming fairly apparent to me, there won't be as many handmade gifts under the tree this year as I would have liked. So I'm looking for quick ideas, that are just as thoughtful to fill in the gaps.

These magic yarn balls are wonderful, I made one for my sister a couple of years ago, but as my nieces are now both in to yarn crafts (one knits, one crochets) they seemed the perfect gift for them.

The premise is a simple one, take some yarn and wind it into a ball full of gifts! The gifts need to be fairly small, but you'll be surprised what you can hide in there.

I forgot to take photos before I started the first one, but I managed to wrap up, a lip balm, some hair chalk, a bath bomb, a few little owl shaped rubbers and some chocolate coins. I also made some macramé bracelets, using my skills learnt at the By The Yard workshop I attended and some of my loveheart beads.

I really think they'll love these, I know I would be utterly thrilled to receive one of these.

In fact I was thinking it would be really wonderful to organise some kind of Magic Yarn Ball swap, pop a comment below if you think this is a good idea/something you'd like to take part in and if there's enough interest, maybe I'll organise one in the new year.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Scrap Yarn as Stitch Marker ::

Inspired by Ruth of Rock and Purl's recent blog posts on teaching I'd thought I'd share a little bit of a simple, yet hopefully useful, tutorial here today.

A lot of my crochet patterns, including my newest sock pattern, are worked in the round, but even those that aren't often require you to pop a marker in at some point during the piece.  I always try and write the pattern as though you were using a removable stitch marker, because I know that's what a lot of people do, but you know something, I very very rarely do.  I much prefer a little bit of scrap yarn!  I think it works so much better, because a lot of the time, it's the space between the stitches I really need to mark, not the stitch itself and because for me, I learned a lot of my fibre techniques from knitting and that's the way you generally place a marker in knitting.  I also think it's a much more accurate way of keeping place and doesn't require reattaching every round, so I thought I'd share with you how I do it.

First choose your scrap of yarn carefully, this may sound a little silly, but you don't want something that will leave strands of fibre in your work and you certainly don't really want to use wool, which may felt into your work.  To be safe use some cotton or acrylic yarn, in a nice contrasting colour to your work, so that it's visible, but not something that may leak dye on your work, especially if you're working in lighter colours.  I tend to use acrylic and I carry a little selection of ends around with me in my notions bag.  You only really need about 2-3 inches of yarn.

Once you've got your scrap of yarn and you arrive at the point in your work you need to mark, simply lay your marker over the work, right up next to the stitch you've just worked.

Then just go ahead and work your next stitch, catching the yarn in between the two stitches and continue working on to the end of the round.

As you approach your marker, lift either end of the marker up and over your work, place next to the last stitch worked and work your next stitch.  You can now remove the marker from the round below, but I actually prefer to keep it in place, so I can see the progression I've made and keep a check on whether I'm being nice and even with my rounds.

The above assumes that you are working in continuous rounds, not turning or joining, but you can use the same method for any way you're working, including working in straight rows.

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Crochet Sock Collection #1 :: coming soon ::

You may already know, I've mentioned it in my newsletter, on my facebook page and I've shared a few pictures on instagram, but if you don't, I'm pleased to announce, I'm working on a crochet sock collection.
I'm very excited about this, over the past 12 months I've designed 7 different sock patterns, so I've learnt a whole lot about sock construction and what makes a great crochet sock.  I really wanted to take this knowledge and develop a collection of crochet sock patterns that are fun, functional and wonderfully quick to create.  Knitting may have the upper hand when it comes to creating stretchy fabric perfect for feet, but it sure isn't as quick as crochet.

I won't lie here, knitting is better at that aforementioned stretchiness, but that doesn't mean you can't make crochet socks, it just means considering the stitch type and looking at the kind of ease you want requires a bit more time.

I have 6 wonderful designs I cannot wait to share with you.  This first collection will be women's socks but I have plans for a men's and a children's collection in the future.

Inspired by Joanne Scrace's openness with her Suffolk collection, I'm happy to share my progress as I go.  There shall be no secret keeping until the big reveal here.  Besides I'm working with some unbelievably delicious yarns, I will simply not be able to keep quiet about!

I want to bring alive in crocheters a passion for sock making so many knitters already know so well. I'm using yarns sourced solely from UK indie dyers, because they are beautiful and your feet should quite simply be bathed in these gorgeous yarns.

If you want some sneaky peeks of the kind of socks I'll be creating you can see my pinterest board here.

The first pair to be finished will be these Mulled Wine Socks. Glamorous and sophisticated, perfect for the festive celebrations.  I picture them over sparkly tights inside a pair of gorgeous heels.

Worked toe up with a solid sole and lacy top, a reversed turned heel and lacy ankle, finished with a ribbed cuff.  The sample pair are worked in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply in Spiced Plum, a wonderfully bouncy yarn in a fabulous colour.

You can buy your copy here.  A second pattern will be available lat September 2015 and the full collection available by November 2015.

All patterns will be available singly at £3, if you purchase a single pattern you will receive a coupon code for £3 off the full collection once it has been released, because I'm really hoping you'll catch the crochet sock bug and want to only ever wear handmade socks on your feet!  The full collection will be priced at £12.

To keep up to date sign up to my list here.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

This Weekend :: Getting Festive ::

No tree yet unfortunately, but Christmas is starting creep it's way into our house, creating huge excitement in the boy.

Getting festive ::

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Behm-a-long ::

I recently discovered the Knitmore Girls podcast, and what a treat it was (well is in fact).  It is by far and away my most favourite of podcasts at present.  Fortunately my late coming means there are literally hundreds of episodes to catch up on.

As a result of this wonderful podcast listening, I decided to follow along with their current knit along, Behm-a-long, simply a knit along in which you knit any one of, the hugely talented, Martina Behm's patterns.

Though I had come across Martina's patterns before (I imagine it would be hard not to have come across her infamous hitchhiker scarf) I hadn't knit any, but I had a gorgeous skien of Fyberspates sock yarn and eagerness for some simple garter stitch knitting, so I purchased a copy of the ever popular hitchhiker and got going and well, I was blown away by this simple yet entirely addictive pattern!  It's absolutely perfect comfort knitting, simple but not boring, just perfect.

I finished my Hitchhiker a few weeks ago now and I wear it all the time, it's quite small in size which makes it nice for cool but not freezing days and also lovely to wear around the house.  I had in mind to knit another, maybe as a christmas gift, maybe for Milo, who loves it for the way the teeth look like dragon spikes, which would be highlighted, I'm sure, if knit in a yellow and green yarn, but then Martina released a new pattern!

Be My Angel, is just beautiful, worked in a similar fashion to the Hitchhiker, except you knit 2 pieces then join them together.  The result are these beautiful wings which wrap around you in what I imagine to be a very comforting way.  I purchased the pattern the moment I saw it and fortunately had just the right yarn in my stash, way back from when I crocheted my January Pullover.

I love the idea of these angel wings knitted up and wrapped around someone you love, my original plan was to gift this to my mum for christmas, but it's going to be oh so hard to part with.

I'm just over half way, but the way I'm going I expect I'll be finished soon, it's just much too addictive, there have been many late nights as a result!