Sharing the crochet love. And some robots.

Archive for November, 2013

De-stressing with Yarn

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I had to make several phone calls today that I had been dreading for a while. The worst was to my ex partner, to explain that our daughter did not want to speak to him on the phone at the minute, and did not want to see him in person either. I had to do that as it was what my daughter wanted, she is suffering from terrible anxiety  and is awaiting a referral for counselling. Naturally he is accusing me of filling her head with lies and turning her against him. I was left with a sense of deep unease afterwards, and a nagging fear that one day he will turn up on our doorstep and do something terrible. 

 

On the plus side; the phone calls are out of the way, my daughter heard me on the phone and came in afterwards to thank me and to tell me that she feels safe now, and together we will heal from this ordeal and come out stronger. Every difficult step that we take is one less that we have to face tomorrow. 

 

Plus, all that stress sure got that cardigan finished in no time 🙂

Do I Rip the WIP with the Blip?

 

 

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Here it is, the latest work in progress. Sorry about the title, I couldn’t help myself!

 

This is an order I am working on for a lady who saw the “Accidental Cardigan” from an earlier post, and wanted something similar for a Christening present. I thought I would try it in a different colour, something that would be more of a contrast to the white sleeves.

 

The “blip” in question isn’t the variation in colour, that is a feature of the yarn I am using – called “Marble” or something similar – I’ve lost the ballband.

The blip is to do with the size of the cardigan. I think it might be coming out too big. This is often a problem when working from a “head-pattern,” as you really do have to make a guess and then wait and see how it turns out. 

 

The question now is, do I rip it out and try again, or do I give the lady a slightly larger cardigan, knowing that the wee tot will probably grow into it in no time? I am leaning towards carrying on…can’t figure out whether that is my laziness coming out though! 

 

Oh well, I will let you know what I decide, and hopefully share a pic of the cardigan when it is finished. Have a lovely Friday everyone xxx

Saving Money on Twinkly Yarn

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I love love LOVE all those gorgeous yarns with the sparkly sequins, beads, and other bits of shiny happiness dotted along the whole way through the ball. But they are so expensive! Great for a gift for someone special, but not so great if you have a stack of gifts to make and not a lot of cash in the kitty. 

 

So here is what I do; in the hoodie above, the sleeves, button bands and hood (sorry you can’t see that, I only have a snip of these pics saved!) are made with a lovely soft dk in a natural colour that is in the same colour range as the fancy yarn of the front panels. I only had to buy one small ball of the sequin yarn, but I still got the lovely effect in the hoodie. Some buttons to match the sequin colours tied the whole thing together. This was a really popular project, I wish I had a better photo! (This hoodie was toddler-sized, I’m not sure if sparkly bits are a great idea for the very young.)

 

Here is a snip of a larger cardigan, that cost even less to make

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Again, I used some twinkly sequin yarn, but striped it randomly with different greys that I had in my stash, and added sleeves and collar in a lovely soft dark grey. This was for a child of about 7, who loved it. I liked that the sparkle was there without being totally in-your-face sequin overload. 

 

With the scraps and ends that I had left over, I was able to make a few hats, each of them different, and each with just a little glinty shiny catch-your-eye loveliness. (Magpie genes in the family tree? Possibly.) 

 

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So there you go. It is possible to splash out on one or two lovely super-special yarns and stretch them out to create several projects – and use up some of the stash at the same time, yippee! 

 

The only two things you really need to keep in mind;

Gauge of yarn – some of the fancy ones look like dk/worsted weight but can surprise you when you start to work with them. Make sure the yarns you have chosen to match the fancy-pants one all work up to the same tension. (You could use different sized hooks if it is just a little off.)

 

Washing/care instructions – many of the fancy yarns are handwash only, or need a cool setting. Make sure the person you give the garment to knows that! (Another reason not to use them on a baby – no new parent needs a handwash only cardigan as a gift!) 

 

I know a lot of people, like me, are on a yarn diet at the minute, so I am sorry if this is putting temptation in your way. But on the bright side, next time you do have a yarn splurge, look how much further it will go! 🙂

Bunny Slippers Pattern!

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These are so easy, super quick to make, and very easily adjusted to whatever size you need. If, like me, you hate the making-up and the weaving-in part of a project, then you will love this very simple pattern, as it has very little of either!

I find it hard to get my “head patterns” into readable, written form, so if you find a huge mistake or have a problem following my directions, then let me know and I can re-jig things to make them clearer.

A medium sized adult pair requires less than 200g chunky yarn – If you are making the soles in different colours to the upper part, you will need roughly half and half of the 2 colours (just under 100g of each for the pair in the photograph.)

I used a 5.5mm hook. The crochet terms used here will be US terms, but don’t worry, the only stitches used are SC (DC in UK terms) and HDC (HTR in UK terms) as well as SL ST (slip stitching for joining pieces together.)

First, make the soles. Make 4 pieces, as soles will be doubled up.

1. Make 6 ch. SC into 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn.(5 SC)

2.  Ch 1, 2 SC in first stitch, SC in each stitch across to last stitch, 2 SC in last stitch, turn. (7 SC)

3. Repeat row 2 (9 SC.)

4. Now work 20 rows of SC without shaping, turning at the end of each row.

Here is where you can adjust the fit of the slipper. Measure the sole to the foot and add or subtract rows until it is about 1/2cm shorter than the foot – when the final shaping rows are worked, the sole should be just longer than the foot. Make a note of the number of rows worked to ensure your 4 soles will be the same size!

5. Ch 1, SC first 2 stitches together, SC to last 2 stitches, SC last 2 stitches together, turn. (7 SC)

6.  Ch 1, SC first 2 stitches together, SC to last 2 stitches, SC last 2 stitches together, do not turn. (5 SC)

7. Ch1, work a row of SC evenly down the side of the sole, across the bottom, up the other side of the sole, and back across the top. Slip stitch to first SC, and fasten off. (The exact number of SC will vary according to the size you have made the sole, but you could make a note of how many SC are in this round as this will help you in the making-up stage. )

Now make the uppers;

1. Ch 8. SC in 2nd stitch from hook, SC in each ch across, turn. (7 SC)

2. Ch 1, SC in each stitch across, turn. (7 SC)

Repeat Row 2 until 28 rows in total have been worked.

3. Now for the “joining” row. This photo should help.

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First of all, ch 1 and work 7 SC across in the same way as the last 28 rows. Instead of turning your work, bring the foundation row up to where you hook is now situated; you are going to work into the underneath of the chain stitches that you made at the start, to give you a row of 14 SC. Your work should look like this

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Important; before working any further, make sure the opening will fit around your foot. If the opening is too tight, undo the joining row and work another few rows of 7 SC until the correct fit is achieved. If the opening is very loose, undo the joining row and rip back a row or two. As before, make a note of how many rows gave a good fit so that you can work the second slipper to match. 

4. CH 1, SC in each SC to end, turn. (14 SC)

5. Repeat  Step 4 until 10 rows have been worked on these 14 SC. ***

***Note  –  If you have adjusted the size of the soles to match your feet, you will need to adjust the number of rows worked here also. Simply measure the upper against the sole, and continue to work straight without shaping until the upper is about 3 rows shorter than the sole. Again, make a note of the number of rows you need to to work in the second slipper at this point. 

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Hopefully, your work should look like this when you lay the upper over the sole.

6.  Ch1, SC 2 together over first 2 stitches, SC in each stitch to last 2 stitches, SC 2 together, turn. (12 SC)

7. Repeat step 6 once more (10 SC)

8. Ch 1, SC in first SC, SC 2 together over next 2 stitches, SC in next stitch, SC 2 together over next 2 stitches, SC in next stitch, SC 2 together over next 2 stitches, SC in last stitch. Do not turn.

9. Ch 1, then work a row of SC evenly all around the edges of the upper. (It would help a lot with the making up if you could work the same number of SC as you have worked around the sole pieces, but if you find you have a few more stitches or a few less, it doesn’t matter.) Slip stitch to the first SC and do not fasten off.

Joining the soles to the uppers;

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Place 2 sole pieces together. Working through all three pieces, work a row of slip stitches all around the SC that you have just worked at the edge of the upper. Fasten off yarn and weave in loose end.

Now attach the yarn to the upper edge of the slipper, at the foot opening, and neaten the edges by working a row of SC along the row edges. Join with slip stitch to first SC, fasten off yarn and weave in end.

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Repeat for the second slipper, and you are ready to put on the ears, face and tail!

For the ears – Make 4

Ch 10, SC into second chain from hook, HDC into 3rd chain, HDC into each remaining chain, turn. (9 stitches)

Work a row of slip stitches across the tops of the stitches just made to the end of the row, ch 1, then work a row of slip stitches down the opposite side of the stitches, working into the underneath of the foundation chain. Leaving a long end, fasten off the yarn, and use the end to sew the ears to the front of the slippers.

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For the tail – I made 2 pompoms by winding a length of white yarn around a kitchen fork before tying at the middle and snipping around with scissors, and then stitched securely in place.

For the face – Here you can use the photo as a guide to embroider eyes and nose, or you could attach buttons or googly eyes, zombify them, whatever you like – they are your slippers, you decide! If you do change it up a little, I would love to see a picture.

Just a little warning – well, a big warning! The soles of these slippers are great fun for sliding around polished floors, but if you like to take corners at speed, or run up and down the stairs, I would urge you to treat the soles with silicone or fabric glue, or attach non-slip soles, to avoid doing yourself an injury. If you are making these as a gift then you should definitely consider non-slipping them first, as you don’t want to be responsible for someone having a fall in their new bunny slippers.

Enjoy, everyone – and do let me know how you get on!

Ideas Wish List

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Looking over my blog, it appears that I have been using a very limited range of colours lately – everything has been brown, black, white and grey. 

This is partly due to the projects that I have chosen; a robot or two, panda shoes, little grey bunnies. I don’t mind using these colours, but to brighten this grey day I am posting a snap of a stash-busting blanket that I was very happy with. Not only did it use up all the odds and ends of yarn that were tangling themselves up in my yarn cupboard, but it also had a really nice retro feel when it was done. I was retro before retro was cool – that makes me super-cool, although my teenage niece refuses to believe me on that one. 

 

I have just finished my daughters bunny slippers, and I cannot wait to see her face when she comes home from school and sees them sitting ready for her on the stairs. Isn’t that one of the pleasures of crafting that just can’t be measured? 

 

The plan for tomorrow is to write up the bunny pattern so that I can share it with you all – and it works up so quickly in chunky yarn that you could even whip up a few pairs as Christmas presents. (A lot of my own family members might be having their feet measured while they sleep over the next few days 🙂 ) 

 

Then it will be on to the next project. This is the part I find the most difficult. So many ideas. Does everyone have a wish list of ideas they wish they had the time to create? 

Image  I am toying with the idea of doing something in filet again. This is a Celtic Knot Christening shawl that I made as a present for a friend…I promise you, it is a knot, not a swastika as the computer is trying to make it appear. That would be a dreadful Christening shawl! 

I love birds, so possibly a filet bird pattern. Then again, by tomorrow I might have moved on to something completely different! 

Hope everyone is having a great day 🙂

 

Adult Bunny Slippers! I love!

Image  Okay, it’s been mainly bunny shoes here for the last few days, but these are the first I have ever done in an adult size…and they are mine, yippee!

 

I hardly ever make anything for myself, but  a little inspiration from a fellow blogger (thank you so much Anabbloggin!) and I was scrambling to the yarn cupboard to get hooking up a little Monday treat just for me.

Image I am delighted with how they turned out, and my daughter has even put in an order for a pair of her own – so I had better get busy 🙂

 

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Staying out of the fridge..

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Some people lose their appetite in times of stress, but I am not one of those people. I develop an insatiable craving for junk, and could happily graze my way through the days until the “threat” has passed. The worst time is the evening, after the kids are in bed, as I have free rein then to go and raid the kitchen cupboards and the fridge, piling up my plate with the fattiest, sugariest, saltiest rubbish that I can get my hands on.

 

 

    Of course, I am well aware that this is not a healthy coping strategy. I am aware that this is not very grown-up behaviour, and I am horribly aware that my kids need a better example than this. But in my darkest moments, food has always been a friend to me. My weight reflects my relationship with food; I have been obese, and I have been skinny, and I have been every size in between. At the minute I am hovering around the “running out of jeans that fit and don’t want to buy more in a bigger size” kind of mark, and need to find a better way to deal with life’s issues.

 

   Enter crochet. I have been a crocheter for several years now, and it is the perfect distraction in the evenings. My hands are busy, my brain is working, and at the end of two or three hours, I have something pretty to look at and share with someone. Out of darkness comes something with a fluffy tail, or googly eyes. It works for me.

 

   I know it isn’t the answer to everything that we are having to deal with right now. I know there will be some very hard times ahead; and I know things will probably be worse before they are better. (Abusive ex, traumatised daughter, child counselling appointments looming, ex partner accusing me of poisoning her against him, daily texts and phone calls, fear, anger, guilt, etc etc etc.) 

 

   It seems impossible that a hook and a bit of yarn can offer an escape from so much worry and heartache, but it does, and it is much less damaging than trying to eat my cares away.

 

We will get through this time, my children and me, and come out the other side smiling, healthy, and happy. And with a whole mountain of woolly bunny slippers to boot. Yay for us 🙂

 

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If this strikes a chord with anyone; never be afraid to ask for help. The people who care the most about you are probably just waiting for you to ask... 🙂

 

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