I have set myself a challenge….

Every week for the last few months I have been downloading a free granny square pattern through the granny square app by Simply Crochet. I think they are brilliant – I cannot believe the variation you can get from just a granny square! I like them so much I have been thinking of something I could do using them, I have finally decided (after 28 patterns and counting) to make them all and join them up into one big quilt.

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I am going to aim to make the one granny square each week when I download the pattern, however, the downside is that I have quite a bit of catching up to do before I can get to doing this (only 28!!). I have just managed to get started and so far have made 3 of them: Granny Edna, Granny Pat, and Granny Doreen. I think they look great! I haven’t stuck to a colour scheme I am just going to make them with whatever wool leftovers I have.   I am going to make them all first and then set about joining them together as then I can lay them all out and decide the best layout for them before attaching together. I will put up the next ones as soon as I get them finished, 3 down and a long way to go…

They were supposed to have 6 petals, I have no idea where one went…

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As I have mentioned previously, this year is quickly becoming the year of the coasters and I have just put together yet another set for a gift (think we’re up to at least set 7 by now!). I saw a motif pattern for a flower I really liked – again from Simply Crochet Issue 22. In the magazine they used different shades of green to create a really nice flower within a shaped surround.

I had some leftover flecked wool which I really liked and I matched two of the colours out of the fleck to use and off I went. I made all 6 of the middle parts of the coasters (the flower part) first with the flecked wool. However, it was only once I had made these that I realised I may haven been a bit too keen with cracking on with them, and clearly hadn’t read the first part of the pattern properly – the flower was meant to have 6 petals, mine all had only 5! I have no idea how I managed to miss a petal off from all of them, but I still liked the look of the flower so decided to carry on with them with just the 5 petals and hoped they would still look good at the end!

Once I had completed the final few rounds I was really happy that I had carried on, as although different to the original pattern, I still think they look really good. I’m really pleased with how the colours have gone together and I hope the recipient is as happy with them as I was!

P.S. If completed using the six petals, they can be joined together to make a larger mat.

Squeak Squeak…

I have wanted a doorstop for my hall for a while and had not found the time to find a pattern I liked or get round to making it. Luckily, this weekend I managed to find some time to do one, so I set about looking for a pattern and came across one for a small mouse online from lion brand that I really liked. The pattern is freely available, but you do have to register with them to be able to access it. The good thing is there are thousands of other free patterns which they have available also.

 

It was perfect as it wasn’t too big and I had some left over wool in my stash that was perfect for it… The wool I had was a dark brown colour.

 

It didn’t take long to make at all as the body is one whole continuous piece and all that needs attaching are the ears and nose. I chose not to use the safety eyes that were suggested but instead sewed some on. I used sand in a sealed bag as the weight inside. Also, I decided to add some pink into the ears as once I’d finished the mouse; it looked like it needed something extra. To do this I chose light pink wool and completed the pattern provided below.

 

Magic ring ch1,

Row 1: 5 dc into ring (5dc),

Row 2: 2 dc into each stitch (10dc),

Row 3: 2 dc into next stitch 1dc, 5 times (15dc),

Row 4: 1 dc in each stitch (15dc),

Fasten off, and attach to the inside of the ears.

 

Once I had added this detail I was very happy and I think it really finished it off. It looks great sat in my hall, and even better, it is stopping the door from continually closing itself and driving us mad!

 

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Mini Christmas hats.

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I have a couple of wooden penguins and ducks that I wanted to decorate this Christmas, as normally they are left bare and I think its about time they received a bit of Christmas joy!

Obviously, these are made to measure for my own ornaments but they can easily be modified to fit any small item.

 

Penguin hat: 

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I chose purple and white for this hat and it is made up of dc (double crochet) stitches working in rounds.

4mm hook

Start with the purple.

  • Create a magic ring, ch1
  • 5 dc into ring (5dc)
  • 2 dc into each stitch (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 1 dc, repeat 5 times (15dc)
  • dc around (15dc)
  • dc around (15dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 2dc, 5 times (20dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 3dc, 5 times (25 dc)
  • dc around (25dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 4dc, 5 times

Change to white.

  • dc around
  • 2dc in next stitch 5 dc, 5 times (35dc)
  • dc around (35dc)
  • dc around (35dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 6dc, 5 times (40dc)

Fasten off

Pompom

  • Cut a long strand of white wool, attach to top of the hat
  • Sew loops into the top of the hat (20 in total)
  • Fasten off
  • Cut the top of each loop, and unravel the strands of wool to create a fluffy effect
  • Trim to shape

Turn up bottom of hat.

All finished.

Small duck elf hat:

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I choose a teal green and red colour for this hat, perfect for an elf!

4mm hook

Start with the teal green.

  • Create magic ring, ch1
  • 5 dc into ring (5dc)
  • dc around (5dc)
  • dc around (5dc)
  • dc around (5dc)
  • 2dc in each dc (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • dc around (10dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 1 dc, 5 times (15dc)
  • dc around (15dc)
  • dc around (15dc)
  • dc around (15dc)
  • dc around (15dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 2dc, 5 times (20dc)
  • dc around (20dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 3dc, 5 times (25dc)
  • dc around (25dc)
  • dc around (25dc)

Change to red.

  • dc around (25dc)
  • 2dc in next stitch 4dc, 5 times (30dc)
  • dc around (30dc)

Fasten off.

Pompom

  • Cut a long strand of red wool, attach to top of the hat
  • Sew loops into the top of the hat (20 in total)
  • Fasten off
  • Cut the top of each loop, and unravel the strands of wool to create a fluffy effect
  • Trim to shape
  • Fold over top of hat of the hat to create the floppy effect, loosely stitch into place to hold

Turn up bottom of hat.

All finished.

Small floppy hat:

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I chose purple (slightly darker shade) and white for this hat to match up with the penguin purple hat. This hat was completed used trb (trebles) rather than dc stitches.

4mm hook

Start with purple

  • Create a magic loop
  • 5 trb into loop (5trb)
  • 2trb into next stitch, 5 times (10trb)
  • trb around (10trb)
  • trb around (10trb)
  • 2trb into next stitch 1dc, 5 times (15trb)
  • trb around (15trb)
  • trb around (15trb)
  • trb around (15trb)

Change to white

  • 2trb into next stitch 2dc, 5 times (20trb)
  • trb around (20trb)

Fasten off

Pompom

  • Cut a long strand of white wool, attach to top of the hat
  • Sew loops into the top of the hat (20 in total)
  • Fasten off
  • Cut the top of each loop, and unravel the strands of wool to create a fluffy effect
  • Trim to shape
  • Fold over top of hat of the hat to create the floppy effect, loosely stitch into place to hold

Turn up bottom of hat.

All finished.

I think all three hats look really good and will look great once all the other Christmas decorations are up. I might even make some scarfs to go with their hats!

Lego Doorstop

One day while speaking to a friend of mine, she mentioned that she had been looking for a child’s themed doorstop for her son’s room, but hadn’t managed to find one anywhere that would be suitable.   So I said I would have a look and see if I could find any. Her little boy is absolutely obsessed with anything and everything to do with Lego, so I had the thought… what about a Lego brick doorstop!

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I decided to crochet the doorstop and chose bright yellow wool and a 4mm hook. I didn’t have a pattern, so had to put one together myself using inspiration from the knitting pattern here

 

End pieces (make 2)

 

Row 1: ch. 31

Row 2: dc into second stitch from the hook, dc to end (30dc)

Row 3: ch 1 (does not count as a stitch) dc to end (30dc)

Row 4: Repeat row 3, 17 more times (20 rows in total)

Row 5: Cast off

 

Top and bottom pieces (one for each)

 

Row 1: ch.50

Row 2: dc into second stitch from the hook, dc to end (49 dc)

Row 3: ch 1 (does not count as a stitch) dc to end (49 dc)

Row 4: Repeat row 3, 27 more times (30 rows in total)

Row 5: Cast off

 

Side pieces (make 2)

 

Row 1: ch.50

Row 2: dc into second stitch from the hook, dc to end (49 dc)

Row 3: ch 1 (does not count as a stitch) dc to end (49 dc)

Row 4: Repeat row 3, 17 more times (20 rows in total)

Row 5: Cast off

 

The studs (make 6)

 

Row 1: ch. 12

Row 2: dc into second stitch from the hook, dc to end (11 dc)

Row 3: ch 1 (does not count as a stitch) dc to end (11 dc)

Row 4: Repeat row 3, 13 more times (16 rows in total)

Row 5: cast off leaving a long end

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When I first made these, I tapered on rows 3,4 and 5 (increasing by 1 stitch each time) and on rows 14, 15, and 16 (decreasing by 1 each time) so the shape was more oval-like, but while actually putting it together, I don’t think it helped much with the gathering.

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Another option I thought of after finishing would be to work in rounds to get the size of top you need, increasing the size by the necessary amount stitches each round. Once the correct top size is reached you would then stop adding additional stitches and continue the rounds until the correct depth of the stud is reached.

 

Assembly

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To attach the brick pieces together I placed two pieces right side together and used a row of dc stitches down the seam. I repeated this until all the pieces had been joined together, except for one seam, which I left open for stuffing and inserting the bag of sand. As I had attached each piece to the brick with the right side together, it meant that the brick was inside out. I therefore turned the brick the correct way by pulling it out through the open seam.

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For the studs, I cut out round pieces of cardboard (4cm / 1 ½”) to act as the shape for the top and bottom of each stud (6 studs so 12 pieces in total). Next, I placed a cardboard round in the middle of one of the stud sections and using the long length of wool still attached, I wove it around the edge of the crochet piece. Wadding was then placed in the stud on top of the cardboard round with another cardboard round placed on top to enclose the wadding. The length of wool that had been woven round the stud previously was then pulled tight to gather together the crocheted stud around the cardboard round inners. This was then fastened off to complete the stud. Repeat another 5 times.

 

Once the brick was completed I then needed to stuff and weight the brick. It would have been possible to use a wadding wrapped actual brick for the inner part but as this was for a small child’s room I thought it might be more suitable filled with wadding and play sand (double plastic bagged to prevent any leaks!) You could also use gravel, dried lentils and pulses, or rice – anything that provides enough weight really.

 

The studs were then sewn to the top of the brick.

 

I was really pleased with how it turned out and the little boy was absolutely over the moon too – he now wants more in different colours!

Ribbit, ribbit…

One of my friend’s little ones absolutely loves frogs (especially the five little speckled frog song) and as soon as I saw this pattern I knew I had to make it for him. This pattern was again from ‘Crocheted Wild Animals’ by Vanessa Mooncie. I used two different shades of green to achieve a good contrast and the pattern was very simple and easy to follow. Compared to the pattern in the book, I changed the colour scheme slightly. Rather than only using a different colour for the underbelly of the frog, I decided to continue this colour to halfway down the legs, as I like how it looked with more of the lighter green.

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I chose to use a 4mm hook and quite chunky wool so it ended up slightly bigger than what was shown in the book, which suggested a 3mm hook. I wanted it to big, as the bigger and chunkier the better for little ones for cuddling into.

I can’t stop smiling at this make, it is just so cute, and I know it is going to make someone’s day when they open it!

A loooong Snake make… that could have been much longer!

During the summer holidays we visited a zoo with some family and during the visit one of the youngsters in our group got to do something they had wanted to do for a long time… hold a real live snake! They were over the moon with this so I had the idea to make them a snake for Christmas.

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Again the pattern is from the book ‘Crocheted Wild Animals’ by Vanessa Mooncie (I really do like this book!). For the colours I choose a yellow brown, creamy beige and blue for this (blue is their favourite colour). To get the snakeskin effect, on some rows the dc stitches are worked into stitches 1, 2 and then 3 rows down. This gave half of a diamond effect that was completed by doing the same using a different colour over the next few rows. It took a few rounds and goes at this to really get the hang of it, but once I had done, I was off and it came together really quickly. One thing to make sure you don’t forget… keep stuffing the snake as you go along! This is mentioned in the book but once engrossed in completing the rounds, I, at times, forgot to remember this. It then makes getting the stuffing down and evenly distributed into the body much more difficult

I didn’t want the snake to be too long so reduced the amount of rounds I did. The pattern is 1.6m long but I completed it at around 1 m long.

I did the inside of the mouth in the same blue that I used on the body and used the creamy beige for the tongue. I didn’t use beads for the eyes as didn’t want them coming loose whilst being played with.

Very very happy,  meet Sidney the Snake…

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The make I thought would never end…

It’s a momentous day in crafting here; I have finally managed to finish off a project that has been on going for the past year. It has taken me so long to do that I didn’t think I would ever get it finished!

I made my first patchwork quilt a few years ago as a gift for a friend’s little one, just using a square pattern in different shades of blue. I was very impressed with the end result, so impressed in fact, that I decided to embark on the task of making one for myself. I don’t think I fully realised the commitment I was taking on at the time! However this project was great for using up all my odd bits of fabric, something that was starting the take over the house!

As I had already done a quilt using squares I decided to try something different and use hexagons, with a different colour of fabric used on each full round of the quilt. I used a paper hexagon template and tack-stitched the fabric around it to retain the hexagonal shape until it was sewn into the quilt.

 

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Once I had enough to start sewing together the quilt I picked my centre hexagon and then stitched another hexagon one to each side, this time in a different colour to form the next round. I hand stitched them together by placing their right sides together and sewing down the seam.

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I would have needed hundreds of paper templates for the whole quilt; so instead, I attached a few rounds of hexagons together and then recycled the inner templates, keeping in mind to always leave the outer ring intact. I continued adding rounds to the quilt until at its widest point it was the width I was happy with. I then squared off the quilt by using hexagons to infill the corners.

Once I had stitched all the hexagons together, I needed to assemble the quilt front onto a backing fabric with some wadding in between. I used a king sized flat sheet as a backing sheet as this was the size of quilt I wanted. I then tack-stitched all three elements (quilt front, wadding and backing sheet) together so they wouldn’t move as I sewed them together. Next, I machine-sewed the three pieces together. I machined a straight line out from each edge of the inner 6 hexagons, which were attached to the initial central hexagon, to the edge of the quilt. This probably could have been completed by hand, but I found it just too big to manage in this way.

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Once the three elements were sewn together I hemmed around the edge by folding the plain backing sheet up on to the quilt so that there was a plain edge the whole way round.

Finally… The quilt was finished! I am so happy with it – it has come out even better than I initially thought it would. It’s perfect for the upcoming winter months and it will definitely brighten up a cold wintery evening.

Christmas tree decorations …

I really like felt tree decorations and found a few I wanted to make in some magazines I bought last Christmas. These were put on the list of things to make very early on and were one of the first things I made when the count down to Christmas started. Felt decorations are great little makes and these did not take long to make at all. I can’t wait to get them up on the tree although I have to keep an eye on them as often my visitors are keen to take them home! I think a few of the extras I have made will be going in with some gifts – they also look great with a nametag on presents.

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One of my favourites was the squirrel pattern that I found in a Nordic-inspired booklet that came with Sew Home & Style magazine (issue 53). I used ribbon instead of beads for the hanger, so it could go on the tree, and instead, attached a string of beads to the base of the decoration. I think it looks really cute.

The next three I took inspiration from some similar ones I saw in a magazine last Christmas. These had used buttons and stitching to decorate the felt heart, star and tree shapes, meaning that the decorations were not too plain. I also chose to use contrasting threads and buttons on them so that the detailing would stand out.

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