Saturday, June 30, 2012

Earbuds Sleeve

I wasn't sure this would work, while I was making it I gave up on it at one point because I was certain the ear phone cord would not curl up with the crochet as neatly as it has.
draft prototype sleeve for ipod earbuds
I started with a long chain, as it turns out this first attempt in blue wasn't long enough. The blue section was long enough to see that the cord would indeed curl up neatly inside the crochet, the purple section was added later. After the start chain, I did 2 rows of dc into that chain. Then I folded it in half length ways and lay the cord along the fold, closed up the tube with a row of sc that joins the top row of dc with the starting chain. Then I did a row of (sc ch sk 1) to thread the drawstring through, which was added at the end.

I've been using this at the gym to see how well it works. When I get the chance I hope to make a little pouch to pop it in. Don't mind the colours too much, this is just a draft!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Toddler's Dark Blue Fingerless Gloves

I quickly made these up today for my 18 month old son to wear during the coldest time of winter, the design is such so they can be easily unravelled to extend when his hands grow bigger.
dark blue extendible fingerless gloves for a toddler
I really like the idea of being able to add extensions to my hand crafted items so they grow with the child. I chose the dark blue luxury wool from Bendigo for this project because I imagine these might get a little dirty. Also, the fingerless gloves I made for myself, and the gloves I made for my husband, are both dark blue, so baby has a matching pair!
For these toddler sized fingerless gloves I simply made a rectangle 20 dc wide (plus starting chain) and 10 rows deep. This way a side seam can be unravelled, making extensions possible, rather than working in rounds which is what I would normally do. I joined 5 rows at the side with sc, sc along one side only for 2 more rows to leave a gap for the thumb, and joined the last 3 rows with sc, finishing with a slip stitch. The starting chain needs to be at the fingertips because its tighter than the rest of the work. I did not sew in the end with a needle like I usually do, but to make extensions possible, its important to simply weave the end in with the hook. This way the seam can be easily unravelled, so the rectangle can be added to in time for next winter when my son will be a year older. To make the gloves mirror image, one glove has the thumb space sc on the back and the other on the front.
These fingerless gloves could be decorated with monster claws. Maybe someone else would like me to make a pair like that for them so I can show what I mean. Because for my son, I'd rather not dress him up like a monster just yet!

And can you see that cut on his lip? I was horrified last week when Thomas slipped in the shower, I got the fright of my life! My husband called the after hours doctor, and they came about an hour later. The lovely doctor glued up my baby's lip, he didn't make a sound but his eyes welled with tears. Thank goodness its starting to get better already, babies heal so quickly.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yes, they do fit!

Here is my 18 month old son Thomas modelling the monster beanie with ear flaps. It looked so cute on, I just had to share the extra photos!
18 month old Thomas models the toddler size monster beanie with ear flaps

tail view of the monster beanie worn by 18 month old Thomas

I think its better to see how my crochet can be worn, rather than just a flat photo on top of my blue desk!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Best Teacher Apple Brooch

I wanted to make a simple gift for Thomas's music teacher Miss Katie, as today was our last day. I thought to make a small apple brooch but I had trouble finding an apple pattern I liked so ended up making up my own!
apple appliqué by Teena Sutton Murphy
 I tried several different apple appliqués using different yarns, included 8 ply acrylic. In the end I decided the 4 ply red cotton was best. I used a 2mm hook and my own pattern. I learnt how to make apples from 'ing-things' blog, but then changed the pattern to suit the 4 ply. The apples I made using her pattern are the large ones with dark green leaves. T o find out how to make the ones with dark leaves please go to her blog.

a selection of different kinds of apple appliqués

Apple Applique Pattern by Teena Sutton Murphy in US crochet

(for UK crochet sc = dc, dc = trbl, trbl = dbl trbl)
1. 3 ch (counts as 1st dc), 11 dc into 1st ch (12 dc)
2. 3 ch (counts as 1st dc), 2 trb in next, 2 trbl in next, 2 dc each  in next 7 dc (14 dc), 2 trb in next, 2 trbl in next,  3 ch sl st into 1st ch (24 st)
3. sc in 2nd ch, sc in 3rd ch, sc in 1st trbl, 2 sc in next, 2 sc in next, 1 sc each in next 7 dc, 2 sc in next, 1 sc each in next 3 dc, 2 sc in next, 1 sc each in next 7 dc, 2 sc in 2nd last trbl, 2 sc in last trbl,  sc in 3rd last ch, sc in 2nd last ch, sl st to 1st sc
For the leaf and stem, I followed the pattern at ing-things.

I prefer to stitch on rather than use a glue gun

I don't like to use glue, so I don't own a glue gun. I don't know if they work better but as a rule I prefer not to use glue as in my experience it just falls apart. So I stitch the brooch pin onto the back of the applique, I think it stays on better that way.
apple brooch for best teacher
I think Miss Katie liked her special apple brooch that we gave to her today, I wonder if anyone else will want me to make this for them? I think I could make a few for an online shop when I get around to it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Delicate Cable Beanie

I was still looking for a nice beanie to make for my friend Karen, and thought I would try a beanie with a twisted cable design. But the pattern ended up being too bulky I thought, so then I decided to try my own design for a cable beanie using finer 4 ply yarn and a small 3mm hook. After many hours, I finally finished sewing in the ends yesterday morning.
delicate cable beanie by Teena Sutton Murphy
I did not follow anyone's pattern for this hat, I just made it up as I went along. I did a search for cable patterns but I wasn't happy with how they were going and unravelled them, I found it much more satisfying to just give it a go for myself. I like using cables because the starting chain for each row can be hidden behind a cable. I think that's perfect, because the start point bugs me when it obviously shows up. I experimented with twisting the cables, just crossing them over once or meeting them without crossing. I made each row slightly different so it wasn't a predicable pattern. I think that looks better.
delicate cable beanie by Teena Sutton Murphy
I had planned to end with a brim of camel stitch but that wasn't working out, so I did a brim of front posts instead and I think that worked out rather well. This is a one of a kind beanie that I think I will keep for myself. This took many hours to make so I don't think I'll be wanting to make many of these.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rainbow Bunting

I finished this easy, fun project on Thursday night, I've been working on it between other projects. Perhaps my friend will like it and want me to make her one?
Rainbow Bunting
Using a 4mm hook and some brightly coloured cheap acrylic made in China, I started by making the triangles with a starting row of 20 sc. Every 3rd row is a decreasing row, otherwise if you decrease every row the triangle is too stout, and straight on one side if you decrease every 2nd. The dark blue row on top is sc with a row of slip stitch to reinforce it, with loops at each end so its easy to hang. This was fairly simple to make up, although perhaps next time I might do all capital letters as I think the small letters don't look great. I attempted to block these first with a simple wash and pin to a foam board, which didn't work with this acrylic. I finally flattened it with steam blocking.
he doesn't sleep there, but oh well ...
I hope I get a chance to do a matching "Happy Birthday" bunting in time for Tom's birthday in December. For now, I'll hang this rainbow bunting over his cot. Which, mind you, he doesn't sleep in, he just plays with his toys in there while I have a shower ... oh yes, we have the toddler in our big bed. Fun times.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How to steam block acrylic

For some reason I assumed that I could block acrylic projects the same way I block those made from wool. But when I tried it, it didn't work! To my surprise I found the acrylic yarn holds it's unblocked shape.
curly acrylic bunting triangles before steam blocking
I did a search on how to block acrylic and found that you should steam block it. So I decided to practice on some rainbow bunting I've been making for Thomas. The bunting triangles were very curled, they will just not work as bunting like that. I had tried blocking them by washing and pinning to a large piece of foam, but when they were dry and I removed them, the triangles were still curled! So I then steam blocked them, or rather, I simply ironed and steamed them on a low heat. I put my iron on the very low synthetic heat and ironed the back side. I gently steamed them as was suggested and they flattened straight away.
acrylic bunting triangles after steam blocking
I did these before steam blocking the delicate spiral bunny rug I made for a custom order. I spent so much time on that, I couldn't bear for it to melt it, while these triangles were just a quick fun project for myself that I could risk. But after these triangles, I gently steam blocked the bunny rug and it turned out just fine. So now I know how to block acrylic!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Delicate Spiral Bunny Rug in Blue with White

I really like the look of spiral crochet, its a far cry from your simple granny square! In fact I've now decided I don't like the look of granny squares!
detail of spiral centre after blocking
I've been trying spirals since April, and I've learned a few things. Firstly, the multiple balls of yarn can easily get tangled, so you need some system to keep them in order. Also, its not a quick project like other rugs, where you can just pick it up and quickly continue from where you left off. Its takes a few moments to find your place and the yarn you are up to.
spiral bunny rug in progress
Another important lesson I learnt from my earliest attempt at a spiral is that the larger the spiral becomes, the more and more tedious the counting of increases become. So from then on I've decided all my spirals will have a chain space or a cable to indicate the increase. This way you don't have to count stitches. One other thing of course is that this is a project impossible to do while Thomas is around, I have to wait until he is asleep. 
delicate spiral bunny rug in blue with white

For this blue with white spiral bunny rug I've made for a friend, I used a 3.5mm hook and Australian made 4 ply acrylic yarn from Patons in blue, white and a variegated white with flecks of blue in it. Because I used the smaller hook and yarn, it took many hours to complete this almost 80cm diameter rug which weighs about 160 grams.
centre of acrylic spiral before steam blocking
Before blocking, this bunny rug had a buckle in the centre where it didn't sit flat. It might have been because of that first round of 6 sc, because to be flat it should start with 12 dc or 6 sc then a 2nd round of 12 sc. I was nervous about steam blocking it, I was worried I would melt the acrylic yarn. But I put my iron on low synthetic heat and ironed it on the back side. It blocked quite nicely, even after a cool wash it held its new shape.

This is one of the few things I've made for a custom order, its very exciting for me. I'm happy with how it turned out. I want to make more of these in different colours, I'm thinking merino wool will be nicer!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Edged fleece blanky

This is an old fleece blanket that I edged in 2010 with blanket stitch and blue cotton. But it really wasn't very good, so I undid it and gave it a crochet edge instead!
a fleece blanky edged with crochet
The first 3 rounds are the same as the pattern explained on hand crafting with love. For the first round I used a 1.5mm hook so I could pierce the fleece, then I switched to my 3mm hook. The final round of the edge I simply did clusters of 3 dc 2 ch 3 dc in next ch sp, sk 1 to form pointy peeks. The yarn I used for this is an Australian made acrylic baby yarn by Patons, its mostly white but is variegated with flecks of purple and yellow.
detail of crochet edge on a fleece blanky
I have another fleece blanket that needs edging, so I hope to find some time to do it, but next time it will be in a different colour!
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