Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Crocheting like crazy!

I learnt to crochet many moons ago as a child but that was all I did, just learnt how to do it. Then in my mid-twenties I fancied it again when the surge of kitch and retro inspired blankets hit the shops and made stores like Cath Kidston. I was smitten. So, I embarked on my own blanket... that never quite made it into a blanket... or anything... I still have the squares in a bag... somewhere... Ok, so I'm not painting a great picture of my crochet skills and motivation this far.

However, something inside me has now clicked and I am loving the crochet! I had to re-teach myself and it took me a few attempts to produce something worthy of display but I got there and I love it! My first project was earlier this year and this was the crocheted hot water bottle cover:


I was then fired up for more crochet and a good friend of mine was expecting a baby so out came the hook and off I went. Result? A crocheted baby blanket :) I loved doing this. I used Sirdar Snuggly 4-ply in green and lemon with a 2.5mm hook (this was the only one I owned at the time):

baby blanket3 baby blanket4

By then I was an official crochet addict so I was looking for projects! My next project was a hot water bottle cover ready for the colder nights which are now upon us. This wrked up really quickly and in two short evenings of crochet, it was complete. I used Sirdar Calico DK in muslin, linen and pink with a 4mm hook:


To my delight another friend announced they were expecting, this meant more crochet! :) I am a nightmare for wanting to try new things. I had done a stripy blanket and now I wanted to try something else. I came across a pattern online (I am afraid I have forgotten where) for a simple sqauare with holes in the diagonals. I mocked up a plan in my head of how big I would have these squares and how I would do the edging. I was away :) The only stumbling point was which colours to choose?? I had a choice of four: white, cream (but very yellowy), green and fawn. Oh the deliberations! My partner was subjected to many conversations of 'what do you think about these two?' 'or these two?' 'or these two?'... Here were the colour choices:


Interestingly, I would choose the cream and fawn from this picture, but the cream really is very yellowy in real life and that whole warm and cold colour mix just looked wrong to me. In the end I went for a simple fawn and white and I am really pleased with how it turned out. I went for a simple double crochet/treble crochet/double crochet edging which I think looks simple and smart. I used Sirdar Calico DK in linen and cotton white with a 4mm hook:

baby blanket2 baby blanket1

Using the same Sirdar Calico yarn (but in pink) with the same 4mm hook I crocheted a premature baby jacket for a friend's granddaughter who was born too soon. This will be winging it's way to her very soon :) I managed this in two short evenings too. I do enjoy these quick projects :)

prem jacket

Could I stop there? I think not. I was still on a roll with the crochet. My next completed project was a (dare I say it in October?!) Christmas stocking. Hopefully to redeem myself from my premature excitement of all things festive, you will appreciate the cute factor in this reveal :) I used some cheap (no longer labelled) acrylic yarn that has been in my stash for over five years with a 5mm hook (oh yes, I have lots of hooks now!!):

christmas stocking

So, what's on the hook now? A couple of things... firstly, I am crocheting a blanket for us to keep. I found an awesome pattern over at Lucy's from Attic24 and I was smitten at first glance! Hexagons! Oh how to satisfy a craft loving maths teacher, crocheted symmetry and tessalation, full of mathsy goodness :) My other half is a mathsy-sciencey type so he loves it too. Excellent! I took myself off to the LYS which is in Wells and bought some really lovely yarn and haven't looked back since :) I am using Wendy Norse Chunky in porpoise, eider, fjord, bergen and aurora:

hexagon blanket

So you may have noticed this is only a four colour hexagon, and you'd be right. The five colours I have chosen lend themselves to creating 120 different colour combinations of hexagons! Bring it on. Yes, ok, in true maths teacher fashion, I already have a spreadsheet for the colour combinations... ok, yes I do also have a diagram in publisher of what that looks like visually too... If anyone wants copies of these let me know in a comment and I'll email these on to you.

So the question is, after all of that am I still really loving crochet? Oh yes! In fact I love it so much I am wondering what else I can crochet already :) If you've always mainly been a knitter and not ever really given crochet a go, my recommendation is try it, I did and I haven't picked up my knitting needles in months! I know I will again but for now I definitely have the crochet bug :)

Until next time,


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Boomerang Blogger!

It has been a while, a long while... A lot of crafting has happened since I last posted here (beyond knitting too!) but also, a concert in Brussels, a huge road trip to the highlands of Scotland, a new job and a new business venture! I hope this feebly hopes to explain my lack of blogging.

So crafting and my blog. I have thought a lot about blogging, why I blog, what I like about reading other people's blogs and if I should change what I write, how I write or whether I should write at all. We're taking nearly five months of deliberations here so for your sake I shall summarise my warblings:

Why do I blog?
To share my crafty progress and any other 'interesting' things I've been up to. I also blog to keep in the blogging community as I think it is only fair that if I am reading and enjoying something someone else has taken the time to plan, write and publish then I should put something back into that community for others.

What do I like about reading other people's blogs?
Pictures! I love seeing pictures, especially of other people's crafty projects. I have been completely inspired by some other bloggers who have single handedly got me into other crafts beyond knitting like crochet and sewing.

Should I change what I write?
I am not sure, possibly yes. If I like the craftiness of other people's blogs then I am sure that is what other people are most interested in too. Am I right? My blog title suggests you're going to find a whole load of knitting here and errr... hmm...

Should I change how I write?
Maybe - perhaps a little and often is better than one huuuuuge post in a blue moon. Posting a little and often may also seem less of an onerous task and might enable me to blog more reqularly.

Should I write at all?
This is the ultimate blogger's conundrum... I think at the moment, yes. When I blog I do enjoy it. I love receiving comments. It is like receiving something exciting in the post. I know this is linked to blogging more regularly too.

I'd be really grateful to hear your thoughts on this conundrum and what keeps you blogging.

Hmm, lots of thoughts! As I am hoping to blog more regularly I am going to chunk up my news in different posts so that you don't have to read loads and loads in one go.

So, today's post is about my new... sewing machine!! (When we say new, it's new to the blog!) I love it! I wish I was better at it, had more experience with it, knew what projects to play with and all of that but I still love it. My own shiny new sewing machine :)

sewing machine1

The only project I have tackled so far is revamping my late Nan's sewing box which had certainly seen better days... a long time ago. We need to remember that, apart from you, it is only for my eyes so no-one else will need to be exposed to my rather interesting fabric choice. In truth, I was so excited to have a little project, err... 'little' only in size! It took me a whole day of pinning, tacking, ironing, sewing, ironing, pinning, tacking, ironing, sewing... you get the idea :D


sewing box before1 sewing box before2


sewing box1 sewing box inside1 sewing box inside fabric1 fabric2

Did I mention that the lining doesn't quite fit? Guess I omitted to share that. I like to think of it as a labour of love, a project only its creator could love ;) I am just pleased to have completed something.

How cute is this little heirloom? It is a minutely crocheted mexican hat that houses a thimble and the brim serves as a handy little needle store :)

sewing mexican hat

More inspiration has followed since this project and that was largely down to a recent trip to Millie Moon, a new sewing shop that has opened in Wells (a beautiful cathedral market town in Somerset). I walked in to the newly opened store and I felt like a child in a sweet shop! Everything was beautiful and waiting to be picked up, looked at, touched. The shop is crisp and ordered and full of fabricy goodness. I can't wait to go back with a project in mind and purchase my supplies :) They have another shop in Frome, Somerset and they have a sewing school there! I have been oggling over the list of classes, I am looking forward to taking the plunge. Meet this little dude who came home with me from my visit:

measuring tape owl1 measuring tape owl2

Oh yes, something seemingly just cute and of no purpose actually has a purpose for every crafter! :)

Keeping on the sewing theme, I must tell you about my blogging buddy from Australia. Check out her Frazzy Dazzles blog and have a read - it is full of sew-y delights. It is extra specially exciting at the moment though as she has recently had a crafty article published in a magazine! There is a give away on her blog at the moment to celebrate her crafty/writing success :) I am sure she won't mind me reposting one of her pictures to get you in the mood for a visit to her blog :)

frazzy dazzles

So, until next time...