30 June 2011

Thursday's Child

Just a real quickie this time as it's busy today.  School sport events, late clubs, visitors and all sorts going on!

Here is the other decorative, hanger/garlandy type of thing I wanted to show you.  This is the one I'm happier with.

It's a little more simple, maybe it could do with a few more bells and whistles but overall, I'm pretty pleased. 

S x

29 June 2011

Wednesday's Child... full of woe.  Well, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement but I'm not really happy about the way this one turned out.  It's the first of two decorative type hanging things I've made.  The other one, which I'll show you tomorrow, came out a little better I think than this one.  I'm really not too sure about this one.

I'll show you and allow you to make your own judgements.

Not entirely happy with the colours I've used, the shape of the house, the type of yarn I used.  It needs blocking really and felt backing probably but I've lost the heart for it at the moment.  It didn't come together in the way I'd imagined at all.  I imagined a sweet and adorable little thing and this just isn't it.

Ah well, better luck next time I guess.  That's the trouble with my mind's little ideas, they do sometimes come out a bit wonky.  Often that's ok.  Wonky can work and I can adjust the vision in the mind to accept and incorporate this new reality.  Other times, the reality is just too far from the original notion for my mind to be at all satisfied.  Like today.  

I'm thinking maybe felt would work better, or maybe material and appliqué?  "It's a work in progress, Mind.  We'll try again another day, ok?"

"Ohh, I like the felt idea.  With nice stitching?"

"That's it Mind, now you're thinking again!"

"I did quite like the crochet butterfly though..."

"Me too.  Maybe we'll keep him."

S x

28 June 2011

Tuesday's Child

It's hard to believe that was so beautifully hot and sunny this weekend and even as recently as yesterday when today all I can see from my window is this.

But it's quite nice to have a slightly cooler day and we did have a lovely weekend.  We did the only thing you can do when you get a sudden heatwave, had a water fight!


On to today's project though.  Only a little one, but it adds a big burst of colour!  The pattern for these cute jar, or tin in my case, jackets can be found here at the home of colourful crochet inspiration by the wonderfully talented Lucy.  This is my attempt.

I think the vintage needle colours complement them quite well.

More tomorrow...

S x

27 June 2011

Monday's Child

Before we get down to the main business of the post, first I'd like to do a little 'bloggy' housekeeping (blogkeeping?) and say welcome to my new followers, nearly 100 of you now and more subscribing by other methods, how very exciting!   Thank you all so much for joining me and also thank you so much to all of you who have been kind enough to comment.  It's a joy to read them all and you have all been so kind, helpful and all round fabulous.  A big mwah to every one of you for making my squishy inside places feel all warm and wonderful!

Now then, on to the other business of the day.  Since I finished my last blanket, I have been working on and finishing up a few smaller projects and have a few of them queueing up, eagerly waiting for their moment in the bloggy limelight.  So I've decided to have 'A Week of Ta-Dahs', so they each have their chance, one project for each day. 

So, first up we have Monday's Child, The Stripy Legwarmers...

These were made at the request of Little Miss herself, who after wearing my green and grey arm warmers around the house on her legs for the day, declared them be the perfect size for her, but if only they could be in better colours Mummy?  So, we went off to the stash, colour selections were made, knitting needles click clacked and there we are.  One happy child with some leg warmers and one happy Mummy with some rescued arm warmers!

It's a lovely little pattern, if you'd like to try it you can find it here.  I modified it ever so slightly to make the leg warmers, I just started with 36 stitches and left out the first decrease, then followed the pattern exactly.

Til tomorrow then...

S x

23 June 2011

A Very Dottie Ta-Dah!

You might remember a little while ago, I shared with you my little Roses and Daisies blankie, for my little one to have in my car to warm chilly knees and the like.  Well, the intention was always to make another blankie for Daddy's car.

For a little while now, I have been harbouring the notion of making a ripple blanket and for some reason, whenever I think of this rippling idea, I always think of a 50's colour palette.  I'm not sure why this should be, but if the idea fits, why not use it?  I already had a few ideas of the colours I wanted, just from yarns happily nestling next to yarns in my work basket in a random kind of way and making what I felt to be 50's type collaborations all on their ownsome.  Before I got out the stash to play with though, I found this delightful paper that was the very perfect inspiration for this project.

It's wrapping paper from John Lewis but I don't know if I'll ever be able to use it.  How could I soil it with folds, creases and tape and how, just how on earth, could I give it away?  No, best I keep it here and admire it for a while and ponder what it's eventual purpose should be!

With this wonderful starting point, I decided if there were any other images that might add a little authentic weight to my colour choices.  Here's some of my favourites.

Who knew that garage doors could be so inspiring and exciting?  Well, armed with this scant historical research, I skipped joyfully off to my stash.  Is there anything better then sitting surrounded with lovely yarny colours, making a beautiful pile of colourful yumminess?  I think not.

I can't tell you how much I adored making this blanket.  Sometimes colours come together happily with little or no effort and other times they seem awkward and unwilling.  I usually have a good few points in a project when indecision, uncertainty and doubt fill my mind and sometimes these doubts are resolved or forgotten or indeed turn out to be unfounded and others, well sometimes, they stay.  This time though, there was almost none of it.  Almost every colour seemed most comfortable next to every other and they lined themselves up happily with me barely thinking about it.  What joy!  Only once in the entire blanket do I think I may have made an error and maybe I should have righted it but I prefer to think of it as one of those imperfections that makes the finished object no less perfect.

Without any further ado, I think we should have pictures.

I haven't quite got around to letting this blankie out of my sight and into the car to do the job it was made for yet, I'm not quite ready to let it go.  I just need a few more days savouring it's pretty colours then, maybe...

The Hard Facts:

If you're interested in some more practical information, here goes:

The pattern I used was the Neat Ripple Pattern
For the edging I used a variation on the Bobble Shell Edging
I used 14 colours altogether, 13 for the blanket and 1 for the border
I used a mixture of stashed dk (or nearly dk) yarns: Stylecraft, Hayfield Bonus, Jarol Heritage, Rico Merino Essentials, Patons UK Fairytime, Sirdar Balmoral and Bergere de France Ideal
The blanket measures 98 x 82 cm (38 x 33")
I hooked a total of 44 stripes (plus 2 end 'filler' rows/half stripes)
I hooked a total of 90 rows
I used a total of 1,464 yards (1,350 for blanket, 114 for border)

S x

15 June 2011

Something Old, Something New...

I'm afraid I may have misled you a little with my title today, for the subject of this post is not going to be weddings.  It's actually going to centre around my recent acquisitions, some of the spanking brand new variety and some of the pre-loved, thrifty variety!

But before I go any further, I must show you these wonderfully colourful and uplifting little numbers that I got just the other day.  An ebay find...

Aren't they yummy!  I've put them on the craft room window sill for maximum light catching, colourful cheeriness.  Something to take my mind of our dreadful English weather.  My first something old!

You see, I have two very different sides to my spending personality.  Which, when I think about it can be easily traced back to my Grandmothers, or as we have it in my family, Nannies.  One of my Nannies, we shall call her 'Nana Spendalot', does just that.  Her greatest joy and pleasure is from shopping and buying things.  Her special weakness is for clothes.  She has brought many, many clothes.  But, it must be said, many go straight back to be refunded, exchanged, re-tried and exchanged again.  One assumes it keeps her happy.  However, the essence of the thing is, if she wanted something, she brought it. 

Which brings me to my first something new.  New shoes!

I must admit, the orange was a bit of a departure and even now I'm not sure how many things I have in my wardrobe that will work.  But, I do love them to pieces, I will wear them a lot and I do have several things that will work and jeans go with everything, right?

Back to the tale of two Nanas...

My other Nan, who we shall call 'Nana Thrifty' is, as you may well imagine, just the opposite.  I think that war time rationing and shortages made a great impression on her and how she lives her life.  She throws nothing away (including stale cake), wears her clothes until they are practically thread bare and then will still make them into something else or at the very least cut them up the use as cleaning cloths.  To this day it is very difficult to get her to buy anything new, despite being living on a reasonably comfortable pension.  Of course, with this attitude she is very much the modern girl again now-a-days, a paragon of recycling, up-cycling, thrift and waste-not, want-not thinking.

A good time for my next something old, I think...

A fantastic find from my local antique and vintage shop.  I got this the same day I got the shoes.  I must have been in an orange mood.

Well, I think you begin to see how these two influences may have effected me.  I see things, beautiful things, I crave them, I want to spend, spend.  Yet, my thrifty side battles against this, it's hates waste, it hates to throw things out that could be useful and it loves the character of the old and careworn. 

I am learning to marry these two forces, I hope I am anyway.  I try to be careful with my 'new' finds.  I want value and I want it to be needed or beautiful.  Something I think I will treasure for a long time, or that I really need.  Like these cute dotty bowls...

I've been looking for shallow breakfast bowls for the longest time.  They seem to be out of fashion at the moment, most places favour the steep sides type.  These were a snip at £1.98 from Homebase and will be used every day.  Loved, needed and good value, that's three for three!

I'm trying to look for more ways to re-use, re-invent or renovate what I have and don't like into something I do like.  Or, instead of buying something new and expensive, why not buy something old and take the time to make it unique, special and something I'll love for a long time?  With that in mind, I've been having a close look at my house and wardrobe.  I'm making plans to cut, stitch, paint, adapt, renew and generally thrift my little socks off.

Here's two of my projects, an excellent charity shop find, for a barginous £4...

and a even more barginous freebie from my Nana Spendalot, who reckons she no longer has any use for this footstool...

I reckon I'll use her plenty though, especially once she's been dressed all nice.

I invested in some new fabrics and trims for wardrobe re-vamping

and also some vintage bits and bobs

A very heart warming addition to the crafty shelves I feel.

And, to honour both of my Nana's I have something that combines old and new perfectly.  A very old fashionedy, but very newly made by me, tea cozy.

Of course, this does mean I should probably start making tea in my teapot and not in my cup!  Well, I love it and it's pretty even if I don't technically need it.  Two out of three's not too bad...

I shall go now as my Little Miss has requested I make her some leg warmers (after marching around the house in my arm warmers, which fit her perfectly) and she asks for things so infrequently, so who am I to deny such a request?

I'll leave you with one last photo, a sneak peak of my latest completed project.  I'm hoping for a camera friendly day tomorrow for some glorious 'look what I made' shots to show next time...

S x

07 June 2011

Granny Heart Bunting

You will no doubt have seen, as I have, the many, beautiful and varied styles of crocheted bunting there are out and about in Blogland.  I've seen many in the traditional triangular shape but the first one that really set my heart racing was this

pretty little heart version on Lucy's Attic 24 site.  But after searching around for various patterns, I also found this

very wonderful granny square style bunting by Loretta from a shoebox full of photographs which I also adore.

I continued the search but I couldn't find exactly the thing I was looking for.  I wanted cutsey pie hearts but also I wanted the granny look.  So, in the end I decided the set about making my own version.  It took a few trials and quite a few errors but in the end I got something I was very happy with.  This dinky little shape here...

...isn't it?  Don't you think?  It's all that I hoped it would be, full of granny holes and charmingly hearty in shape, plus I needed the picots for a extra cutey cute touch.

At last I was in business and production could begin!  I set to work and made myself a little stack to be strung together.  Originally that was going to be that, pretty hearts on a string but while making them it came to me that they should have a little decoration.  So I broke out the buttons, ribbon and beads and let the fun commence!

I whiled away a good few hours placing, arranging, re-arranging and eventually sewing into place my decorative oddments until I was happy with the results.  And how happy with the results I was!  Do you want to see?  Sure you do, let's look...

And here it is in my creative and crafty little den.  Not the best photo on a dull day, but you get the idea, it's working it's cheerful magic and I makes me smile like a simpleton every time I go upstairs and get a beautiful glimpse.  

Now, let's get done to business.  Lets imagine that you quite liked the idea of having your own bunting and you too wanted a granny-ish, heart-ish type shape.  Well, if that scenario does come about then you'll be very pleased to know that I have written up the pattern for your delight and bunting-creating needs!  You'll find the download link at the bottom of this post.

I'm also providing a tutorial (my first one - wow!) to show, step by step, how to make the hearts.  You'll find that in the post below this one by scrolling down a little lower.  Or, in case you're not reading chronologically and you came to this post through some other link or while browsing or whatever, then you can use this link to jump straight to it now.

I'm going to leave you with some slightly closer pictures so you can see the decorative what-nots, in case you'd like any ideas.

Super!  So now, you've got practically no excuse not to make any!

Visit the Cherry Heart Boutique the download the pattern, it's in the crochet section.

I hope you enjoy the pattern and if I have made a tremendous foul-up anywhere, feel free to contact me!

S x

Grannie Heart Tutorial

Following my post and pattern for the Grannie Heart Bunting, I thought the hearts would make an excellent starting subject for my first tutorial.

So, here we go.  My Grannie Heart Tutorial...

★★☆ - Improver

A few notes before we begin:

Yarn:  I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and a 3.5mm (E) hook, but you can use whatever yarn you like, just use the recommended hook size for your yarn.

Terms: I've used British crochet terms throughout, so I must apologise in advance to anyone who is used to using the American terms.

To clarify, the British terms that I have used are below in black and the American terms are given in green in brackets:

British (American)
Slip Stitch (Slip Stitch)
Chain (Chain)
Double (Single)
Treble (Double)
Double Treble (Treble)

WRITTEN PATTERN - If you'd like the written directions only, please visit the Cherry Heart Boutique and download the Granny Heart Bunting pattern, which contains the heart instructions.

☆ French instructions for the tutorial are now available - with many kind thanks to Katty at Sur Le Blog de Mes Loisirs for providing the translation.

Each step is numbered and corresponds to the picture numbers and you should (fingers crossed) be able to make the pictures even larger by clicking on them.

Foundation ring:

1.  Make a slip knot

2.  Chain 6

3.  Insert the hook into the first chain you made, an join the chain with a slip stitch

4.  Which will make a loop like this

Round 1:

5.  Chain 5 (this will count as 1 treble and 2 chains).  Then make 3 trebles into your foundation loop and then chain 2, we will need to repeat this twice more, so go ahead and do another 3 trebles and 2 chains, then another 3 trebles and 2 chains

6.  To finish off this round, you need to do a further 2 trebles into the foundation loop and then join to the beginning of the round, by making a slip stitch into the 3rd chain of the chain of 5 that you made at the start of this round.

7. You should have something that looks like this.  You have 4 'clusters' made up of the 3 trebles and 4 'corner spaces' where we chained 2.

Round 2:

8.  Make a slip stitch into the chain space in the corner and then chain 3

9.  Make 2 trebles, chain 2, make a further 3 trebles, all into the corner space (this has made the first corner of round 2.

10.  To make the rest of the corners first *chain 1, then into the corner space make 3 trebles, chain 2 and 3 more trebles.  We'll need another two corners, so repeat the instructions from where I made the * mark two more times.  Once you've done this, chain 1 and join to the beginning of the round, using a slip stitch into the 3rd chain of the original 3 chain.

This time we have made a 'corner space' in each corner with our 2 chains and also a 'chain space' where we chained 1 between clusters of trebles.

Round 3:

11.  Chain 4 (this will count as a treble and 1 chain) and make your corners as we did before, 3 trebles, 2 chain, 3 more trebles all into the corner space of the round below

12.  Chain 1, then make 3 trebles into the chain space of the round below, then chain 1.  We need to repeat these last two steps around the square to finish the round, so *make another corner: (3 trebles, chain 2, make 3 trebles all into the corner space), then chain 1 and make 3 trebles into the chain space and then chain 1.  You now need to repeat all the instructions from the * again to get around to the last side.  To complete the round, make one last corner, then into the chain space you started in, make 2tr's and then make a slip stitch into the 3rd chain of the beginning chain of 4.

Row 4:
So the first thing to notice is that we are not going to be working in rounds for a little while.  So, we'll be turning our work over soon!

13. We need to be a little further along the square to start this row, so the first thing we need to do is slip stitch into the chain space and then make two more slip stitches into the next two trebles.  This should leave you in the middle of the last cluster (as in the pic)!

14.  Now make 1 chain and turn the work over.  See we've got the bumpy back (wrong) side of the work in the pic now?

15.  Now we are going to make the first of the 'bump shapes' that are going to form our heart.  So, we need to make 2 double trebles into the middle treble, of the middle cluster of the row below, check the picture to see where I mean.  Then chain 1.

16.  You should have something that looks like this.

17.  We need to repeat this so, *make another 2 double trebles and 1 chain and then repeat from the * twice more, so you have 4 sets of the double trebles all together.  You then need to join this to the row below by making a slip stitch into the middle treble of the last cluster of the row below (see the pic).

18.  Now we need to slip stitch round to the next position.  Make a slip stitch into the next treble and then you'll need to make two more slip stitches, one into each of the corner chain.

19.  These can be a little awkward to get your hook into, I use the pointing end first and it normally goes in after a wiggle!  (Pic shows me hooking into one of the corner chains).

20.  One final slip stitch into the first treble after the corner and then we are ready to make another heart shaped bump on this side of the square.

21.  Go back to step 15 and follow the instructions for step 15, 16 and 17 through again, to make the second bump.  The picture shows the last slip stitch to attach the second bump to the row below.

22.  We need to get into position for the next row now, so slip stitch into the last treble of the cluster and then slip stitch once more into the corner space.

23. So this is what we have so far, it's starting to look a little bit heart shaped.

24.  Now we need to turn the work back over, so the square is the right side up.

Row 5:

25.  Make 2 trebles into the first chain space of the heart bump, then chain 1.

26.  Now make 3 trebles into the second chain space on the heart bump, then chain 1.  Then repeat this step two more times.  Finally, make 2 trebles into the last chain space.

27.  To finish, make a slip stitch into the corner space.

28.  Repeat step 25 around the second heart bump.

29.  Repeat steps 26 and 27 to finish the second bump.

30.  When you're done, it should look like this.  A heart shape!

Picot Edging:

We're almost there now, but to finish the thing of nicely, we're going to give it a picot edging.

31.  Chain 1 and then to begin the picot, make a double crochet into the chain space, then chain 3.

32.  To finish the picot, make another double crochet into the same chain space.

33.  We now need to make 1 double into each of the trebles of the row below, you need to push that picot over a bit to fit into the first one.

34.  Now you'll have made 1 picot and 3 doubles and you are ready to do the next picot into the next chain space.  Repeat this around the heart, making a picot in each chain space and a double crochet in each treble.

35.  There are a couple of parts where this is tricky.  The first you'll come to is where the heart bump joins the square.  I make a picot in the chain space before the join as usual.

36.  Now you have to make a double into each treble, but as there is only two trebles at this point, your first double will need to be in the turning chain, look closely at the picture to see where to put you hook. (Don't fret too much over this part though, just shove it in as best you can!)

37.  Having done that, it can sometimes close the 2nd treble up a little, so give it a wiggle to push your hook through, like in this pic and then your back on track to continue with your last double and your next picot. 

38.  The next tricky part is the center of the top of the heart.  The point where the two points join.  We're not going to do a picot into this space beccause it'd look strange.

39. Instead, just make a slip stitch into the the slip stitch below and continue make double crochet's into the trebles, until you reach the next chain space.

40.  One you've made it back round to the beginning we just need to finish off by joining to the original picot.  Here I've made my last picot and have made a double into two of the trebles below.  Just one more to go.

41.  Again, you may need a bit of force to fit that last double into that last treble,  the picture shows where it should be going.

42.  Finally, end the round by making a slip stitch into the first double crochet of your first picot, like this.

Break off the yarn, weaving in the ends..... and, ta da da da!!  You should have one of these...

Isn't it wonderful?  Aren't you pleased with yourself?  I know I am!

So, now you've made one and it'll only ever be easier from here on in, why not make some more of them.....

Until you have so many of them that you can mess around arranging them

into daft patterns

or maybe

into some lovely bunting!

I hope you enjoy yourselves with this tutorial and making these hearts and I really hope that it's clear, easy to understand and I haven't made some dreadful mistake somewhere!  Let me know if you think I have or if you have any other comments or suggestions, as this is my first, I'm sure I have a lot to learn.

Why not come and share your creations with us in Cherry Heart's Cozy Corner, my Ravelry group.  It's a great place to go if you've got any questions too!

S x

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