29 June 2012


I'm not much of an amigurumi kind of girl.  So much so in fact, I didn't even know how to spell it.  But, every once in a while, something so cute comes along, I just have to make it.

That's why I didn't hesitate to join in Sarah's Crochet A-Long (CAL) to make a pretty little dolly at her lovely blog, Annaboo's House.

The CAL also shows you how to make your amigurumi creation into a monkey, cat and other animals, but I had my heart set on a dolly, it was the little dress that really sold it to me, it looked so cute

I decided to use up my left-over supplies of Rico Creative Cotton for this little girl.  Which is the only explanation I can offer for her rather vivid hair.  Perhaps a little brighter than I would have naturally chosen, but the yellow colours just didn't hold out.  But her little dress, which I was looking forward to making the most, I do love.

Such a fun to make and a great gift for little ones.  I left her waiting on her new owner's bed today, as a surprise for when she came home.  So now dolly has a name.

She's called Poppy.  It seemed appropriate.

S x

26 June 2012

A collaboration

Usually when I come to make things I only have to please myself.  Not this time though.  This time I had a Little Helper who had some ideas of her own.

Before I ever had the idea for the flowery dresden placemats, I'd been mulling over the idea of a fabric placemat for my Little Miss.  It was one of those times where the idea of how it should actually look was slow in coming.  I knew I wanted some patchwork, some embroidery, some appliqué, but how exactly?

Eventually the picture in my mind started to take shape and so I asked LM what she thought of the placemat plan.  She wanted to know if hers would be a flower too?  No, I explained, I was thinking of something different, a little more special, just for her... possibly with a picture of her favourite animal, a cat on it?  She seemed to like the idea but I could see she wasn't really feeling it yet.

No doubt she couldn't imagine what I had in mind, so she asked what colours did I think it would be?  "Well", I said, "I was thinking some pink?", because she likes pink.  "And purple?" she piped up, quick as a flash.  "Yes, we could have some purple too" I agreed.  "How would it be?" I asked, thinking this would clinch the deal, "If you picked all the fabrics out that you like and I'll put them all together for you?"  I was right, it worked like a charm. So, after a joyful twenty minutes of choosing, discussion, suggestion and counter suggestion, we arrived at our selection.

I must admit to being a little dubious of some of her choices.  But although some of my suggestions were well received, she seemed like a customer who knew her own mind, so I happily ran with it.

In the end, I think she got it pretty spot on.  She certainly paired some things I wouldn't have.  (Bright purple and bright yellow, for example.) But, I have to say, I do love them all together now.

And what does my Little Helper think of it?  Well, I'm glad to say that she is thrilled to bits and we've used it at every dinner time since.  There appeared to be only one problem.  When I revealed it for the first time, after much 'oh wow-ing' she looked at it for a moment and said "There's one thing though Mum... cats aren't red in real life you know."

Ah, I hadn't thought of that.

S x

21 June 2012

Mix and Match Flowers Tutorial

As promised last week, here's my tutorial for my Mix and Match flowers.  I'm calling it that because there's a few variations of these flowers that you can make using the same basic idea. They are great for decorating all kinds of things and they are the same ones I used on my Eclectic Grannie Bag.

This tutorial will show you how to make the Single Flower, the Double Flower and a Little Flower.

★★☆ - Improver

If you already know what you're doing you can download the written pattern and get started straight away.

As usual, I've written in UK terms, but here's the translation for American terms:

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

Stage One - Magic Loop

Hold your yarn in the usual way, with the yarn end trailing over your finger loose.

 Wrap the yarn around your finger so that the yarn makes a loop.

Hold the yarn tail in place with your thumb.

Pick up your crochet hook and slide it under the loop and grab the yarn coming from the ball.

Pull the yarn through the loop.

Keep the crochet hook in place and still holding the loop and yarn tail, ease the loop off your finger.

You are now ready to begin your first row!

Stage Two - The first row

Keep hold of that yarn tail and loop and make one chain.

Then make 6 double crochets required for the first row into the loop.

Now comes the magic part.

Hold your crochet hook and work with you right hand and with your left hand, grab the yarn tail and pull it so that the loop gets smaller and smaller.

As you pull, the dc’s you’ve made with curl up into a circle.  When the first and last dc meet, you can make a slip stitch into the first dc to close the circle.

If you still have a hole in the middle of your circle, give that yarn tail another tug and the hole will close up altogether.

See, no more middle holes - magic!

Stage Three - Finishing the middle

Now we’re onto the second row.  Chain 2 and then make 2 dc’s into the first stitch of the circle.

Continue you making 2 dc’s into each stitch of the first row right round the circle.  Once you are back to the beginning, make a ss into the first dc.

You should have 12 dc’s and you can break off this colour yarn now.

Stage Four - The Inner Petals

This is row three of the pattern. We need to join the new colour yarn to start, but as this row is working into the front of the two crochet loops that make up the stitch, you just want the join the new yarn to the front loop too.  See in the picture that I have only picked up one loop with my hook?

Once you’ve got the new colour attached, chain 2

Make 4 trebles into the next stitch.

Chain 2 and ss to next stitch.

Chain 2, and make 4 trebles into the next stitch again.

The stitches can get pulled a little tight as you work so make sure you pull the petals out the way each time so you’re always picking up the next stitch and not missing one out.  It’s easy to do.

Chain 2, and ss to next stitch again.

Work your way right around the flower in the same way until you’re right back at the beginning.  (You should have 6 petals now.  If not, you might have missed out one of those pesky stitches somewhere along the way!)

Chain 2 and make a slip stitch into the same stitch where the yarn was attached.

Cut your yarn and pull the yarn right through with your hook so the tail is coming out the front of the flower.

Grab your yarn needle and thread the yarn back through the same stitch you just used for your slip stitch.  This makes a nice neat finish at the front.

We have a flower.  If you just want to make a Single Flower, you can stop now.

If you want to make a Double Flower, stick with me...

Stage Five - The outer petals

Ok, here we are at row four.  The last row.  Turn your flower over and you should see all your back loops sitting there, waiting to be used.

Attach the new yarn colour to one of the back loops, any will do as long as it is in the middle of one of the inner petals, like in the picture.

Chain 3, then we’re going to make 4 double trebles into the next stitch (back loops  only of course).  The double treble is the one where you have to wrap the yarn round the hook twice before you push it through the loop.

There’s the four dtrs, see how they’re longer that regular treble stitch.

Then chain 3, and make a slip stitch into the next back loop.

If all has gone to plan so far, this outer petal should show nicely between the inner petals, like so.

Repeat this same method around the circle, chain 3, make 4 double trebles into the next back loop, chain 3 and slip stitch into the next back loop.

You should finish by making your last ss into the same stitch you attached the new yarn to.

Cut the yarn and use the hook to pull the ss loop, until the yarn tail comes through to the front again.

Grab the yarn needle and thread the yarn tail back through the same stitch that you made the slip stitch in.

And that’s it.  You’ve just made a Double Flower.  Well done you.

If you'd also like to know how to make the teeny, tiny flowers here's how...

Little Flower

Start with a magic loop again.  If you've forgotten how, just scroll up to 'Stage One' of this post.

Chain one.

Make  6 double crochets into the loop.

Pull the yarn end so that the first and last stitches come together, just like we did before and make a ss into the first stitch to close the circle.

Pull the circle nice and firmly so the hole in the middle closes and cut your yarn.

Join the new colour yarn in your usual way and chain two.

Make 2 half treble crochets into the same stitch, then chain two.

(If you're not too sure on half trebles, it's the one where you yarn over, insert the hook through the stitch, yarn over again, then pull the hook back out of the stitch, yarn over again and then pull the yarn through all three loops on the hook.)

Make a slip stitch into the same stitch to finish the petal.

Slip stitch into the next stitch.

Then repeat the process again for the second petal:  Chain two, make two half treble crochets, then chain two and slip stitch into the same stitch.

Repeat this process to make a petal into each stitch around the circle.  Make a slip stitch into your starting stitch and cut yarn.

Pull the loop like you did before so that the cut end comes through to the front.

Then use your needle to thread the yarn through to the back again.

There you go, an easy peasy Little Flower.

Now you can make as many as you like in any variation you like and go flower decorating crazy!

S x

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!

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