31 January 2013

Crocheted African Flower Pincushion Tutorial

 - Improver

I love these African Flower pincushions.  They are very handy around the home and they make an excellent little gift which you can whip up quickly.

What you'll need...

Some left over yarn (I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino)
Appropriate hook for your yarn (I used 3.5mm - E USA)
Some stuffing to fill the pincushion
Yarn needle to sew in your ends

Pattern Links...

The African Flower motif is not my own pattern.  It is by Lounette Fourie & Anita Rossouw and the Ravelry page including links to the pattern and other translations and tutorials can be found here.

If you wish to download just the written directions for this pincushion you will need:

African Flower Motif pattern, which is listed on this Flickr page (scroll down for pattern). Be aware that this pattern is written in US crochet terms.
My pattern download to turn the motif into a pincushion, which can be found here. My pattern is written in UK crochet terms.


German Translation - Provided by Jessica Nitsch

The Tutorial...

If you'd like a photo tutorial to explain all this for you, then read on!

All crochet terms refer to UK crochet stitches.  (See end of post for US terms)*


Start by making a slip knot and 4 chains.

Make a slip stitch into the first chain to form a circle.


Chain 3.

Make a treble stitch into the center of the circle and then chain 1.

Continuing to work into the center of the circle, make 2 more treble stitches and then chain 1.

Continue making sets of 2 treble stitches and then 1 chain around the circle, until you have 6 sets of treble stitches (12tr's in total) and 5 chain spaces, then make a slip stitch into the top of the first chain of three to complete the circle.  You'll now have 6 chain spaces.


Cut the first colour yarn and attach the new colour into one of the chain spaces, then chain 3.

Make a treble (tr) stitch into the same chain space and chain 1.

Make a further 2 trebles into the same chain space.

Next we're going to work into the next chain space.  You need to make 2 trebles, chain 1 and then make another 2 trebles into the space.

Carry on around the circle, making 2 trebles, chaining 1 and then 2 more trebles into each space around the circle, then make a slip stitch into the top of the first chain of 3 that you made at the beginning of the round.


If you'd like to, break off the yarn and attach a new colour into a chain space at this point.  (Some people prefer to keep the same colour for this round to make more of a petal shape.)  Then chain 3.

The chain of 3 stitches you've made will count as one treble.  Now make 6 more treble stitches into the same chain space.  This is called a cluster.

Then make 7 treble stitches (cluster)  into the next chain space.

Carry on around the circle, make 7 treble stitches into each of the chain spaces of the row below, then make a slip stitch into the top of your starting chain of 3.


Break off the yarn and attach a new colour.

Chain 1 and then make a double crochet into the same stitch.

Then make a double crochet into each treble of the row below, until you have reached the end of the first cluster of trebles.

Now we're going to make another double crochet, but instead of going into the stitch of the row below like normal, we're going to put the hook into the chain space of Round Three.  I've put my hook into the space to show you where to go.

So, put your hook into that space and pull the yarn through and up to your row of stitches.  Then grab more your yarn to pull through the two loops on your hook (to finish the stitch off like normal).

Here's the completed double crochet, see how crocheting into Round Three has made a long 'stem' to the stitch.  This makes the nice petal shape that looks so good on the African Flower motif.

Continue around the circle in the same way, making a double crochet into each treble and a double crochet into Round Three, between each cluster.

Once you get around to the beginning, make a slip stitch into the first double crochet of the round and break off the yarn.


Now we finished the African Flower pattern as linked above and are going to start to turn it into a pincushion.

Attach a new colour.  (I like to start the colour I'm going to use for the sides and the base here, but there's no rule that they all have to be the same.)

Chain 1 and then make a double crochet (dc)  into each dc of the round below, until you get the the long stemmed dc.

Into this stitch we're going to make 2 double crochet stitches.

Continue around the circle like this, making 1 dc into each dc of the row below and making 2 dc's into the long stemmed stitch (between clusters).  Then make a slip stitch into the first dc of the round to complete the circle.


In order to make the sides of the pincushion, we're now going to make a round of dc stitches into the back loops only of the round before.  Have a look closely at the picture above.  See how my hook is only under one loop of the stitch, as not two as normal?  You want your hook to be going under the back part of the stitch only, not the front part.

So chain 1 and then start making 1 dc into each dc of the round below.  If you're crocheting into the back loops of the stitch only, you should see a little ridge forming between the rounds, like in this picture.

Continue around the circle, just making 1 dc into each dc of the round below and then making a slip stitch into the first dc to complete the round.

Making stitches into the back loop like that should help the sides start to form.

If you're happy with what you've got so far, now is a very good time to sew in all your ends, before the sides get higher and it gets a bit awkward.

Now we're ready to start the next round, and we're back to crocheting into the stitch as normal again.  So chain 1 and make a dc into each dc of the round below.

Do this all the way around the circle and make a slip stitch (ss) into the first dc to complete the round.

Repeat this last round four more times.  This should give you 6 rows of crochet to complete the sides.


Now we're going to repeat exactly what we did to start the sides.  Crochet into the back loop only.
Chain 1 and make a dc into each dc of the round below, using the back loop fo the stitch only.  Again, you should get that little ridge between the rows.

Carry on around the circle, making 1 dc into each dc of the round below and finish with a ss into the first dc.


Now we're going to start to decrease the number of stitches, to create the underneath of the pincushion.

Chain 1 and make 1 dc into each dc of the round below, until you have 8 dc's.

Next we're going to skip one of the stitches in the row below.  Our next stitch will be in the dc after that, where I have my hook in the picture.  Make a dc into the the stitch indicated, then carry on making dc stitches until you have made 8 again, then skip a stitch again.

Carry on around the circle, making 8 dc's then skipping a stitch, until you are round to the beginning.  You should be left with 1 stitch, which we will skip and make a slip stitch into the first dc of the round.

For the next round we do exactly the same thing, except this time we'll make 7 dc's and then skip one stitch.  Repeat this around the circle as you did before and then make a ss to finish the round.

See how our decreases and starting to bring the bottom inwards now?

Complete the next round as we have done before, this time making 6 dc's then skipping a stitch.  Then another round, making just 5 dc's then skipping a stitch.

Once we get to this stage, it's a good idea to stuff the cushion.  Get your toy stuffing or what ever you're using and pop it into the cushion.

You want to get it stuffed pretty much how you want it to be when finished at this stage so take your time and have a squash to see if it feels right.  I like to have it reasonably firm to keep a nice shape, but still with a nice amount of squishy.

Once you're happy with the stuffing, continue making decreasing rounds:
Next round - 4dc's then skip a stitch
Next round - 3dc's then skip a stitch
Next round - 2dc's then skip a stitch
Next round - 1 dc, then skip a stitch
This last round if kind of fiddly, but you don't need to worry about making the last slip stitch to finish it, which helps a bit.

Cut your yarn and leave a tail to sew up and then, using a yarn needle, thread through one loop of each of the stitches of that last fiddly round.

Pull the thread up tightly to close the little hole and weave the yarn in a bit to secure it.

To finish off and hide the end, push the needle from the underside of the cushion, through to the top.

Pull the thread tight and snip it off nice and close the the cushion.  The end should then disappear back to into the body of the cushion.

There you have it, one fabulous pincushion!

Remember if you just want the written instructions for easy reference next time, the links are at the top of the page.

I hope you enjoyed making your little pincushion and if you have any questions or spot any boo-boo's, do let me know.

S x

*For reference, 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)

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!

29 January 2013

Reminiscent Blanket

I'm late to the party.  The vintage sheet party that is.

Like me, you've probably seen plenty of these beauties floating around blogland.  Perfect for recycling, reusing and reinventing, these lovely old sheets have been made into many a pretty project.  Although I've admired from afar for a long time, I've now felt the need to dabble myself.

Until now.

I blame lovely Jessie, of the wonderful blog  Messy Jesse and the oh so tempting shop,  Sew & Quilt.  She was kind enough to include a little pack of 5" squares of vintage sheets with the first five orders from her new shop and I was one of the lucky people who received a pack.  

I've pondered on and off what I should make with these floral little patches, not be able to settle on quite the right thing.  So when the idea of making a dolly blanket for Little Miss was in the offing, everything slotted into place.

I decided to add in some plain patches to help the aged sheeting go a little further and for some reason, rounded corners seemed to me to be a necessity, so I rounded them.  If nothing else it gave me a good reason to use bias binding again.

I'm actually secretly quite pleased with my accuracy all round on this little project.  My squares lined up beautifully, my quilting is nice and straight and the binding worked out well too.  It looks like quite a professional job, even if I do say so myself!

I couldn't bear to waste any of my little offcuts, so I put them to good use adding a decorative element to the underside of the blanket.  Little M can wrap dolly which ever way up she pleases now and the blanket will still look good.

Sweet dreams, Dolly...

As for me, I've been sold on vintage sheets.  completely.
Ever since I worked on this little blanket, my head has been whirring and new ideas are forming.  The only thing is, I've used up all my squares.  Don't worry though, I'm going to remedy that situation and then there will be no stopping me.

S x


23 January 2013


The votes have been counted and verified and I can now announce that the winner in the 'Votes for Patterns' contest was the wonderfully colourful and delightfully simple to make, stripy scarf.  Otherwise known as Riot.

It was a very close run race though, and the scarf only won by the narrowest of margins.  Hot on it's heels was a request for the little crocheted pincushion that I made from the African Flower motif.

Fret not, if your vote was for this useful little cushion, for I have been busy beavering and a tutorial will be following along very shortly.  Hopefully as soon as next week.

As those two were so far ahead of the rest of the runners, I've been concentrating my efforts on those.  But, don't worry if your favourite is yet another.  I shall be opening up a poll for those and other tempting morsels for you to pick and choose between very soon.

In the meantime though, I'm very pleased to say that I have today released the pattern for my scarf, Riot.

It's a nice easy pattern and should present no problems for the beginner.  It could be full of colours like my original or just pick your two favourites and use those.  It's entirely up to you and you can customise as much as you like.  Best of all, there's none of those horrible old ends to weave in.
Just tassels you can swish around as you walk down the road.

You can find the download link on my 'Freebies' Page as usual, or if you prefer it you can check out further details of the pattern and also download via Ravelry.

I hope you enjoy the pattern, all those who wish to try it.

S x

21 January 2013

Weekend Quickies

If you're reading from the UK, these pictures will probably look familiar.  An awful lot of of places have been covered in snow and it's no different here.  So this weekend has been a lovely lazy one, curled up nice and cozy under blankets.  But of course, snow has to be played in.  If only for the joy of coming in and getting warm with a hot chocolate afterwards, so this weekend we played.

Weekends have been a good time for some quick crochet gratification lately.  I have a bit of a slow project on the go at the moment, which I'll share with you soon, but I've been procrastinating terribly on it, preferring instead to whip up other quick and more instantly satisfying makes.

These headbands for example are just perfect for that 'quickie' urge.

 I found the pattern for these little beautieson Ana's blog Lanas de Ana, do you know it?  I've been following Ana ever since we met through my PCH project last year and she's a  very talented lady from a talented family.  Her site is full of beautiful crocheted makes from herself and her Mother .  Plenty of blankets, shawls, hats and other delights to feast your eyes upon.

I love her ingenious construction for this baby headband, using a hairband to give a bit of extra stretch is really clever and helps you get a really great fit.  I loved it so much, after I made one for my little niece, I sized up her babies pattern to make one for me too.

 Another spur of the moment make was inspired when I saw this cute as a button picture on Pinterest.  The pin I originally found (but can't find now) linked to a Chinese site which I couldn't make head nor tail of, so I set about making my own version.

It was a great little stash buster as I used 4 different yarns held together, 2 aran weight and 2 dk weight.  They were odd balls that had been kicking around for ages so it was nice to finally get them used up out of the way.  Stanley, my pestilential cat and the intended recipient, was keen to be involved in the process.

It only took two days to make, the advantage of that big chunky amount of yarn, and the moment I had finished, naturally, I found the actual pattern.  Always the way, but although mine is not as neat as the original, I thought it would suffice.

 It was a good job too, that I snapped these pics of him on the night that I proudly placed it down as finished and ready for inspection because, despite settling down and spending a happy evening snuggled in his little cubby, he's not dained to come near it since.  Cats!

S x

16 January 2013

A Polar Hug

It's a lovely thing, and quite unusual for me, to buy yarn and get stuck into it right away.

I often see yarn I like and buy it, knowing it'll be good for something, eventually.  Or I buy yarn because I have a plan to use it for some future project, which may or may not materialise.  What I don't often do, is buy yarn, take it home, makes plans for it and then just do it.  It makes a very pleasant change I can tell you.

 I've had my eye on this shawl for a while and with my recently acquired sale bargins just begging to be used, it's moment had decidedly arrived.

It wasn't really that cold when I started making this very pure, plain and polar white shawl, but I knew that the mild weather couldn't possibly last.  How right I was.  When the snow started coming down I dashed out to snap some shots.  You can see the snowflakes falling in the one above.  It seemed like the perfect background for an absolutely simple almost white shawl.

 I enjoyed working on that shawl very much.  The yarn is a delight to work with, soft as soft, glides over the hook with the greatest of ease and not a single knot or other disturbance in any of the balls I used.  Maybe making it worth it's original high price?  Definitely worth every penny of the half-price I paid though.

I enjoyed working on it so much, that 7 balls later, at the end of the shawl, I hadn't had enough.  I decided a matching pair of wrist warmers was in order.  (Yes, I know, another pair!)

 The inspiration for these warmers came not from me but directly from another.  The darling Coco Rose in fact.  She posted this picture on Instagram and I was in love.  What a perfect companion they would make I thought.  Strangely,  despite apparently being for DK yarn, this worked up in my aran weight beautifully and I didn't need any size modifications at all.

I fear though, you'll all probably be champing at the bit for more details?
'Yes, this is fine but what yarn?  Which patterns do you speak of?'
You require the full in's and out's and of course, you shall have them...

Polar Shawl
Yarn: Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran
Pattern: Crescent Shawl (a)
Unfortunately the pattern book is now out of print,
but I have just discovered this written version of the pattern: Mezzaluna
More Information:  On my Ravelry Project Page

Polar Warmers
Yarn: Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran
Pattern: Crochet Shell Wrist Warmers
Modifications inspired by: Coco Rose's 'Snow Queen' Wrist Warmers
More information:  On my Ravelry Project Page

I'm very very happy with my clean and pure set of snuggly garments to keep me toasty in these chill days.  They are like a big hug from a friendly polar bear!

S x

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