Monday, April 30, 2012

Small flower with leaf

I made this purple beanie for a newborn back in March, and yesterday managed to find some time to make a flower appliqué for it. I think it's just what it needed to be extra cute!
For this beanie and flower I used classic wool from the Bendigo Woollen Mill. Now I've started using just luxury wool for beanies because its softer and not much more expensive. But I had a little of this left so I could do the flower and leaf.

I haven't crochet a leaf before, so now was the time to try it. The crochet leaf I liked the most was at  a blog called Easy Makes Me Happy. I rather like how it turned out. Go to that blog if you want to see the tutorial on how to make it.

For the smallest pink flower I started with a magic circle, (ch 2, dc, ch 2 sl st) into the magic circle 5 times, fasten off. For the larger purple flower I also started with a magic circle, (ch 3, 2 trbl, ch 3, sl st) into magic circle 5 times, fasten off.

This newborn sized beanie is homeless, I will try and sell it in my new shop! I'm seriously considering buying a newborn sized doll to model it!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beginning to Spiral

I've wondered for what seems ages if you could spiral crochet, then months and months ago I saw a spiral on crochet spot. I recently started a spiral bunny rug and am in the process of finalising my own pattern.
my first crochet spiral incomplete
Last week when I was ready to start a spiral I looked on pinterest for some saved images of spirals.  The most useful one I found was at sew ritzy titzy. Pictures of crochet spirals at another site were also helpful, but it was in another language, which is ok for me as I usually just look at the pictures! Still another useful one I found was also in another language.
closeup of crochet spiral
I started one and got quite a way into it when I decided that I should leave a marker in my work at every increase, like a ch 1 sp. This way I wouldn't have to count every stitch, and as the rug gets bigger this becomes more and more tedious.

I have started a 2nd spiral, this time with the ch 1 sp, but I'm not quite happy with it. Yet another W.I.P. to keep practising on!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Toddler's Autumn Cardigan

Its Autumn here in Australia at the moment, so its perfect timing to finish this cardigan that has been a work in progress for quite a long time! This cardigan is so very special to me, because I started the granny squares while I was in hospital after my son was born.
Autumn Cardigan
I was so very sick when Thomas was born, which is why he had to come 9 weeks early. He was in the baby nursery for nearly 8 weeks, and I was in hospital for 2 weeks. I chose this beautiful 4 ply baby yarn when I was pregnant before I knew I was having a boy. I now wish I chose dark blue instead of the orange, but at the time I thought these colours would be good for either a girl or boy, but now I don't like the orange.
Autumn Cardigan
I wanted to crochet when I was in hospital but couldn't do anything too complicated as it was too hard for me to concentrate. My husband brought in some yarn from home and I chose the most expensive yarn I have bought which I was saving for a nice cardigan. But when I was sick I simply started making granny squares thinking I would make a rug! Some of the granny squares are not even simple granny squares like most of them are. Some squares start with an attempt at a circle but I didn't know how to do them properly at that stage so the circles are wonky! I did do some strange things when I was sick.
the granny squares I made while I was sick in hospital
As summer was drawing to a close and the promises of a chill in the air could be felt, I went back to these granny squares. The thought of this very expensive yarn going to waste bothered me. I didn't want to waste it in another bunny rug, the yarn is so soft it should be worn. Thomas did need a cardigan, so I started increasing the rounds on some of the squares so they were all one of two sizes. I started to plan how I would put the squares into a granny square jacket. It was all I could do with these squares.
Doing a spot of autumn gardening
 I ran out of yarn towards the end and started unravelling a few of the tiny ones that were left over. I only just had enough to make this cardigan, but was determined not to buy any more of this wool. Its more than twice the price of the Australian wool I now buy from Bendigo in Victoria. With this 4 ply baby wool I used a 3.5mm hook.
checking out the baby cherry tomatoes
This cardigan took me a long time to finish, even though in the end the design is very simple and straight forward. I learnt a lot from making this one. I've now decided the best way to join granny squares is with a yarn needle to create an invisible join. I now also join yarn using a Russian join instead of knotting. These methods reduce the ends eventually showing through after wash and wear. And because I've made it for my own son I'll be able to see first hand how it wears. I expect the joins I made with these new methods will persevere longer than the old knotting and weaving methods I used to use.
"Hello" from Thomas
All in all I'm relieved and pleased how this turned out. This has been bothering me for quite a while, and I thought I would just have to end up making something not very good with the squares I started when I was sick. In the end, its turned out rather nice after all. Thomas seems happy with it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monster Beanies with contrasting tails

Here are the next three monster beanies I've completed for orders in my little online shop.
toddler sized purple beanie with green tail and blue eyes
Because each one of my monster beanies are unique, I won't be making any two the same, I have many options to make each one different. These ones have contrasting coloured tails! Maybe one day I will need to make monster beanies with a missing tooth, but we shall see if I ever make that many!
faulty child sized green beanie with red tail and blue eyes
When I had just finished the second eye of the child sized green monster beanie, I snipped a little too close and accidentally cut part of the yarn. After a close inspection I saw that the yarn was not completely severed, but with wear and washing this might unravel slightly. I'm not sure what it will do so I can not sell this beanie just in case it does unravel. I'll keep it for Thomas to wear when he's older, I think this size will fit 5 to 10 year olds.

I still have two more orders for monster beanies, but they'd prefer colours I don't have at the moment, so I've ordered more wool. I also have a baby sized beanie that's started, but I'll wait until I get better choice for colours before I do the eyes. I've ordered two shades each of pink, purple, green and blue. I think these colours go really well together and I think this will make a nice colour scheme for my shop.
child sized purple beanie with red tail and green eyes
The eyes are turning out to be quite fiddly, but the more I do the happier I am with them as I get better at it. My anxiety means that if any beanie is not perfect I'll worry that the customer will be very unhappy with me, so every beanie must be just perfect!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monster Beanies with double tails

The first orders for my online shop have been for monster beanies, so last week I was hard at work making a bunch. I plan to make each one of my monster beanies unique, no two will be the same.
baby sized green monster beanie with green tail and purple eyes
The double tails are my own design. I first came up with the idea to hide the seam along the back of the hat which was bugging me. Then I realised the single tail wasn't symmetrical so I mirrored it to come up with the double tail design. I hope to find the time soon to write the pattern down, and perhaps try selling it on craftsy and ravelry.
toddler sized purple monster beanie with purple tail and red eyes
child sized red monster beanie with red tail and blue eyes
The first 3 monster beanies are for my mother in law. I won't be charging her for those though, as she and her husband give us so much and I'm happy to make them for her. Every time we visit them, they give us a box of fresh veggies from the garden, including heaps of tomatoes, and beautiful home-made pickles which I love. Grandpa has even promised to make Thomas a little table with chairs! I can't wait, because I just love the wooden blocks and train he made for Christmas.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pink Butterfly Birthday Card

pink butterfly birthday card

pink butterflies envelop
I really liked this beautiful pink butterfly card my mum made.

It has a special message inside "the world got a present the day you were born", I think its so sweet. On the front is the message "the time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here", so true!

This card comes with a lovely matching envelop that is embellished with pink butterflies. Perfect for a special little girl on her first birthday!

Please check out all the pretty pinks at my favourite blog party Pink Saturday hosted by How Sweet the Sound!

No crochet from me today, but there are some excellent examples of crochet at today's Pink Saturday party, so check them out!

A gorgeous pink crochet tea cup and saucer @ Her Resplendent Lair
A finished granny square rug and African flowers @ Howling at the moon
Linen edged with some lovely pink crochet @ Protector of Vintage
How to fold crochet doilies with napkins for a pretty table scaping effect @ Nancy's Daily Dish
<3 <3 <3

Friday, April 20, 2012

I finally did it!

After a lot of encouragement, I've finally taken the leap and opened a modest online store to sell some of my crochet items.
the cover photo for my new online shop on Facebook
I was tossing up whether or not to make an Etsy store, and to also try selling on ebay, but I've decided the best way for me is to simply go with a facebook page because so far all my customers are friends and family. Facebook seems like the most sensible option, and there are no fees involved. I've seen others sell crochet this way, so maybe I can too?

For the last 2 years I've been making crochet items to give to family members for birthdays and Christmas presents. Some people have asked for more and have offered to pay. I've been very nervous about accepting these offers for work, as my anxiety is holding me back. I worry that someone might be very unhappy with my work once they pay for it. Giving crochet as gifts has been a very safe option for me.

So (gulp) here goes a try at making some work for myself. Wish me luck, please <3

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Another Green Basket

This was made with the same yarn as the first basket I did, but the bottom circle was different so its sides are straighter.
2nd green basket
The bottom circle starts with a round of 6 sc, followed by a second round of 12 sc. Although it has 8 rounds, 2 more than the other basket, it should have end up larger but it didn't. I think that might be because the first basket has a bottom circle that is not flat, instead it is a bit hyperbolic because it started with too many stitches. For this one, I used the same 3 strands of acrylic as the last basket, white, aqua and dark green, and a 7mm hook.

This basket might come in handy holding socks for Thomas. They have been turning out to be hard to find in a hurry!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Small Scallop Edged Basket

While I was putting my baby to sleep tonight (last Friday night), I thought about what I didn't do quite right with the last basket. So I whipped up this one quickly after he was asleep to see if I had it right yet.
small scallop edge basket

This basket was inspired by a small scalloped edged basket I saw on pinterest, which comes from a blog called Mountain Mama. I didn't follow her pattern, but she does have a free one there on her site. Instead I did the basket with sc like the last one I did, but this time I used a 6.5mm hook. Again I used 3 pieces of acrylic yarn, this time a purple and an apricot coloured one my mum gave me, along with the nice aqua acrylic I used in the last basket.
inside small scallop edge basket
I started with 6 sc in the first round, then 12 in the 2nd. The 3rd round has 18 sc and the 4th round has 24 sc. Then I started up the sides no longer increasing, I spiral so there is no seam. There's only about 3 rounds up the sides, then I put the scallops along the top. Because I had counted ahead I had planned to be able to do this. With 24 stitches in the round, I could do 6 scallops. Each scallop is 5 hdc.
side view of small scallop edge basket
This is a very simple little basket I will use myself to put my hair ties into on my dresser. This little project took me about 20 minutes to whip up. I really enjoy making a useful item with my crochet skill, its very handy and satisfying!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mottled Green Acrylic Basket

I was inspired by a photo I saw of a basket made from yarn, so I made one myself this morning!
crochet basket made with acrylic yarn
The photo I saw was on a blog called Crochet in Color, I know she spelt colour wrong, didn't she? (lol, just kidding, we spell it differently in Australia). She suggested 3 to 4 pieces of yarn held together and a 7 or 8mm hook. As suggested by Liz, I spiralled up the sides instead of sl st each row, so there is no seam to see. I also crochet the last round of the base so that the loops show on the outside, as suggested.
mottled green crochet basket
I used a 7mm hook and 3 yarns held together to make this basket. I used white, dark green and aqua acrylic my mother-in-law gave me at Easter. I really like how the colours came together like this. I found this a lot easier than making a basket out of plarn, which I have tried. That's quite hard on your hands. This is too, but not as much. I also found using T-yarn hard on your hands. I think I'd must rather make baskets out of acrylic if I have enough to use, like this great stash I scored from my MIL.
handle detail of green basket
This basket will become my 'indulge' basket on my dresser. You probably know what's like with a small child, you just don't get a moment spare for yourself. I had to go through my dresser yesterday to make room for a vaporiser as we're all really sick with flu at the moment. I realised I have a bunch of beauty treatments that I'm not using, so they will go into this nice basket. When I get a moment to myself, I hope to quickly grab something and slap it on!

Monday, April 16, 2012

White Cotton Card Pocket

I have a bunch of business cards in my wallet that keep falling out, so I made them a pocket to put them in. I've kept my first draft as well!
white cotton business card pocket
When I looked for crochet business cards on google images and pinterest, almost all I saw were very simple pockets made with thick yarn. But I wanted to use a finer cotton. I found one image of a vintage card holder, but that was all I did find. So I made this pattern up, I used the butterfly stitch idea from corchetspot. I didn't read it though, I just looked at the picture as I don't think its a difficult concept.
the card pockets inside my wallet where they belong
The first one I did ended up being the rough draft, which I kept anyway to hold some cards in my wallet. I did that one like a bag, then did the scallops around the edge but then realised I wouldn't be able to do the pillow slip bit at the end. So the second one I did was a rectangle, I made it 22 rows longs, 9 rows for each side, plus an extra 4 rows for the pillow slip type fold to hold the cards in place. To get the cards in and out of the pocket, you simply turn the pillow slip fold inside out.
first draft business card pocket
This was a very quick project I did for myself to make life a little easier. Now my cards won't fall out all over the place any more!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why I Need a Pretty Purse

For years I had an alarming amount of black accessories. All my shoes were black, I still have way too many black shoes. My handbags were black, my wallets used to always be black. Whenever I needed a new wallet, I would always choose a black one. I used to be far too concerned with making my accessories 'go together'. Heaven forbid if anything should clash!
no more black wallets for me!
Then a light went off in my head about 5 years ago. Why the hell does my wallet have to match? It's always tucked away inside my handbag, it doesn't even matter what colour it is! Why be so depressingly dark unnecessarily? This occurred when I was looking at a lovely green snake print wallet, and for some reason it really caught my eye. I reassured myself it was quite alright to have a wallet that was pretty just for the sake of being pretty, so I bought it! That was the first pretty wallet I ever remember owning.

A little while ago the latch on my favourite green wallet started to give way, and it was time to get a new one. My husband asked me what I would like for Valentine's Day, and well, I did need a new wallet. So he chose this pretty pink wallet, and I love it! I think it's especially nice because he chose it for me, I only asked if it could be 'pretty and not black'. It's a bright pink, with a very pretty print.

No more black wallets for me!

Today I'm linking in with my favourite blog party Pink Saturday hosted by How Sweet the Sound. I didn't manage to follow last week as I was in Stanthorpe for an Easter holiday. Be sure to check out all the cute pink things at this blog party!

No crochet from me today, but there are some very cool African Flowers under construction at Howling at the Moon today, check it out to see them and her recently completed cushion cover made from granny squares.

Also, there's an awesome vintage Ginny doll collection at Daydream World, including a very pretty crochet doll's dress.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yoga Mat Carry Sling

It turns out just about all my original ideas have already been thought of by someone else! I needed something to help me carry my yoga mat to the gym I'm thinking of joining. I was so awkward going there for my trial, carrying not only by yoga mat and bag, but a baby to take to the babysitter as well.
yoga mat strap with flower
I saw that some of the other ladies at the gym had straps to tie around their yoga mats so they could carry them. I figured I could crochet something like that, and this is what I came up with. I decorated it with a bright pink flower, I was going to do two flowers, but decided one was plenty! After I started this project, I checked google images to see if anyone else had made these, and they had, but I didn't see any like mine. I was going to call this a strap, but the other ones are called slings.
yoga mat strap flower detail
I used some bright pink and aqua blue yarn my mum gave me. I haven't tested it, but my guess is its acrylic. I then edged the blue with some aqua green acrylic my MIL gave me last weekend. I used a 4mm hook for this, and found some odd buttons to add with yellow cotton my mum gave me.
yoga mat strap button detail
Hopefully this will do the job! I might have to make another one day ...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Royal Garden Tea Cosy finds a new home

Last time I wrote about this tea cosy, it was homeless. Well, now I'm happy to report it has a new home, it now lives at my mother-in-law's house.
skirt added to tea cosy, ready for it's new home
It was a tight fit on the MIL's teapot, so I added an extra layer to the bottom. Now it has a skirt and will do it's job well!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Red Monster Beanie with tail

I've been planning to make more of these monster beanies for the coming winter, and here is one I finished on the Easter weekend. This is the second one I've made, the first monster beanie I made was finished in January. Quite a few people have asked me to make some for them, but I'm now thinking I probably won't manage to get them all finished in time!
red wonky-eyed monster beanie
For this beanie, I used the luxury wool from the Bendigo Mill and a 4mm hook. This beanie fits a baby up to the age of 12 months, as its a tight fit on my 16 month old son. I was fairly happy with the beanie except for the seam at the back. This flaw was really bugging me as it was an otherwise perfect beanie, so I added a scaled ridge along the seam. I figured this would be fine for a monster beanie, and it worked out quite well!
my first monster beanie tail
After finishing the beanie, I simply work my way back up the seam with these scales. I start with sk 1 (3 dc 2 ch 3 dc) sc, repeated 5 times for this small beanie. Then the 2nd last scale is a bit smaller (3 hdc 2 ch 3hdc) sl st, and the last scale is the smallest (2 hdc 2 ch 2 hdc) sl st. I worked out a better way to attach the eyes too. I simply added them with sl st along the edge, which I think makes a neater finish. I have to cut the white wool and thread it through the beanie to be able to do that. I make the cut end about 8 times the diameter of the 2 round white part of the eye so there is enough yarn to edge the eye onto the beanie. Finally, the white teeth are similar to the scales sk 1 (2 dc 2 ch 2 dc) sl st, repeated. I tried doing 6 teeth, but in the end I decided it definitely looks better with just the 4 teeth!
wonky eyes and goofy teeth
I left this beanie with my mother-in-law, whom we stayed with over Easter, to give to one of her other grandchildren. I hope it fits and they really like it! Now onto the next beanie, which shall be ... purple!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Draft Winter Moccasins

I worked on these winter moccasins for quite a bit last week, but they've been proven to be more difficult than I expected, so these are not looking so great at the moment! These are a draft while I learn more about how to make them better.
draft winter moccasins
Obviously the boots don't match because there is not the exact same number of blanket stitches in the sole. I should have realised that from the start, of course! In the end I went with the 2nd and 6th attempts.
boot sole in progress
2nd & 3rd attempt

I hope to one day work out an easy way of making these boots. For now my son can wear these draft ones so I can learn how well they will wear.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Brightly Coloured Easter Egg Cosies

Here are four brightly coloured Easter egg cosies for some chicken egg shells I blew and dyed a couple of weeks ago. I used a 1.5mm hook and some fine bright cotton my mother gave me. Making each cosy didn't take long, maybe about 40 minutes.
Four brightly coloured Easter egg cosies
Four bright egg cosies all in a row
One morning when David decided to make scrambled eggs for breakfast, I decided to hollow out the egg shells first. I remembered how to hollow out the egg shells from when I was a kid. You gently pierce a hole in one end of the egg, and then another hole in the other end. I used a long metal skewer with a very pointy end so I could gently grind it through the shell. Most of the holes are tiny, but some cracked a little so are a bit larger. I covered those with crochet. When you have two holes in the egg, you gently blow on one hole so the egg will squeeze out through the other hole. This is perfectly fine if you are making scrambled eggs, you don't want to waste them!
dying hollow egg shells with food dye
I didn't research the best way to dye the eggs, which is probably why the colour isn't very strong. Although I don't mind the pale shades. I just soaked the egg shells all day in containers of water coloured with food dye.
dyed hollow egg shells
I then practised making crochet cosies for some plastic eggs I bought, before making these brightly coloured ones. I'm keeping these eggs until next Easter, when I will see how they last. Maybe the shells will have to be removed? I don't know, but we will have to wait and see ...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pretty Easter Egg Cosies

As promised, here are some more pretty Easter eggs cosies. There are more to come tomorrow! I've made a total of eight this year, here are the first four.
crisp white cosy for a pink Easter egg
Four pretty Easter egg cosies
four tiny egg cosies
These were heaps of fun to make, and didn't take too long. I used a 1.5mm hook and some cotton, I think its 2 ply or maybe 3 ply, because its finer than the 4 ply I have.
a pair of citrus coloured Easter egg cosies

Friday, April 6, 2012

Toddler's Blue & White Easter Jacket

This jacket is based on the granny hexagon idea, but the shape is modified by lengthening some of the sides for a better fit. I've made this jacket for my son to wear during Easter when we visit his grandparents in Stanthorpe, which is going to be a lot more colder than it is here now!
toddler's blue & white jacket for Easter
For this jacket, I used a 4mm hook and 8 ply luxury wool from Bendigo Woollen Mill. I used up most of the 200g ball of blue. I haven't put buttons on it yet, I'm going to wait and see if it needs it. It's the same size as a little jacket Thomas wears to bed, so this one might end up being a winter sleeping jacket, we shall see!

My plan is to share this pattern for free on this blog in the near future, but I want to do some more product testing first to see how this jacket wears and if there is anything wrong with it. Watch this space!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Purple Jar Candle Cosy

I must have seen something like this on google images at some point, because the idea came to me when I recently finished a great big jar of coffee. I then found heaps of pictures of these on the internet, even the stitch I chose is very common, because its quite pretty.
large jar candle cosy
I think this large empty coffee jar would make a great gift. We're hoping to make some cookies to go inside, and I'll pop the tea light candle into the lid to wait while the cookies get eaten! I wonder if the person I'm thinking of giving this to will like it? I certainly hope so, otherwise I might keep it for myself!
My first attempt was with a 3mm hook and I just did a circle that didn't end up flat! That's very weird, I should be able to do a simple flat circle by now!  So I looked at a dishcloth pattern I liked and did that, I switched to the 2mm hook and it looked much better. For the sides, I did a (2 dc 1 ch 2 dc) 2 ch pattern, then a drawstring at the top. I did decrease a little at the top too, but I couldn't too much, otherwise the cosy would not go onto the jar. I want the cosy to be removable so it can get washed.
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