Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Mountain hat : a free knitting pattern

I wanted to make a present for a male friend's birthday, who likes to go trekking.
I decided to design my own hat, and also wanted to have a go at designing in excel:

So this was the final result.

stylecraft special aran in Denim, Graphite and White, which I purchased from 
(I thoroughly recommend this website, the service is amazing!) I bought one ball of each colour and had loads left over.
4.5 mm circular needles.

I haven't included any instructions for shaping, but it's just decrease as necessary on each side of the panel.
An adult hat requires 4 panels, so start with casting on 96 stitches, knit in the round following pattern. the p represents purl stitches.
If it doesn't make sense, this is the basic pattern that the hat is based on, which should explain everything.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

crochet teddy lovey

I can't believe it's so long since I blogged. I made this "lovey" yesterday. I've been seeing them around on the internet for a while but this is the first one that I have made. They are a cross between a security blanket and a cuddly toy. The yarn was left over from a knitted double side blanket and I thought was  a good teddy colour.

I didn't have a pattern, I just made it up as I went along.

The edging creates a lovely feeling texture, for baby. The ribbon is also a touchy feely feature, and is sewn securely into place, with no fraying ends. All the features are embroidered for safety.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crochet Tulip-edged Baby Blanket

I've seen this Tulip pattern all over Pinterest in one form or another and wanted to see if it would work as an edging.

I think it does!

The main part of the blanket is made with 2x100g balls of Stylecraft life DK in Cream. I used a linen stitch and 4mm hook.
The edging is done in the same brand (in rose and fern - I think) and then finished with two rounds of double crochet (british) and a round of rope stitch, using a third ball of cream. There is plenty of yarn leftover in all colours.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Herdwick Handbag - Crochet

Do you like my new handbag?

I was recently on holiday in Patterdale in the Lake district and was greeted by this very tempting sign opposite the cottage where we were staying.

This led me to this wonderful little treasure trove where I purchased this little beauty.

Now Herdwick wool isn't soft. But it's tough and comes in the gorgeous natural colours of the herdwick sheep.

I decided that this made it just perfect to make a handbag. Now I didn't expect a 100g ball to go that far so I decided to make a small bag. As it turned out I could have gone bigger as I had 22g left.

But I like the size, it's just perfect for the essentials (Phone, glasses, purse, keys and lipstick!)

It's crocheted with a 4mm hook. I plan on writing instructions if anyone is interested?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CASEing the DT again!

I needed to make another card this week. I had really enjoyed using the design that Anne showed us on Less Is More, and decided to use it again. I really love this layout for small focal images and I think that I'll be using it again!

Add caption
This time I went for a much more feminine card. I felt that the ribbon was calling out to have something dangling from it and went for a tag. This seemed appropriate as this card was for my "shopping buddy".
The ribbon is added using the immovable knot technique. This has been a favourite technique of mine ever since I saw it here.

I've used glitter on the dress spots as well as a gem.

This is the card it's based on (again)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

less is more : CASEing the DT

It's been a while since I took part in Less is More, but I needed to make a card and was lacking inspiration so popped on to have a look at the theme.

The theme is to CASE (copy and steal everything) one of the offerings from the Design Team.

This is my card, I used waxed cotton cord (the kind you use for making jewellery) as I felt it was more masculine than ribbon or twine.

And a close up to show the glitter on the cake and the gems in the corner.

This is the card that Anne made that I chose to CASE.

Thanks Anne!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tunisian crochet with double ended hook: Hat instructions.

 I've recently become intrigued by tunisian crochet with a double ended hook. So far I've got the hang of two techniques.
1) basic simple stitch

and 2) in the round

 I felt that I could put these together to make a hat design:

The real beauty of these stitches is that they are double sided, thus resulting in a reversible hat.

I wanted to share my instructions on how to do this, but didn't want to write out detailed instructions so bear with me! This can be used with any thickness of yarn (provided you have the right hook) for any size of head.

To start, chain the number of stitches which give you the depth of brim that you require. (I suggest about 10)

Use the basic stitch, until the brim is the length you require (these were baby hats and about 14inch long). Join to form a circle, using whatever method of joining your prefer. Play around with crochet methods until you find one that you are happy with.

Now start the main body, using the crochet in the round method picking up stitches as though the edge of the band was a row of chain.

Continue working in the round. At some point count how many stitches you have.

You now need to do a little calculation to work out the decreases. Divide the number of stitches by six. If it goes exactly then great if not then average it out.

For example one of my hats had 56 stitches which I averaged out as 2 lots of 10 and 4 lots of 9 (I hope that makes sense)

From this you can also approximate the number of decrease rows you will have, it will be one less than the lower number, in this case 8.

So continue in the round until it is the length you require allowing for the number of decrease rows.

To decrease: On the pick up part ("forward pass") of the stitch put your hook through two vertical bars instead of one and pull the yarn up through both.

for the first decrease row. decrease one stitch, then pick up (the number of loops calculated above minus 2), continue to end of round.

for example with my 56 stitches.
pick up two together, pick up 8, pick up two together, pick up 7, pick up two together pick up 7, pick up two together pick up 8, pick up two together pick up 7, pick up two together pick up 7.

for the following rounds, you don't need to count, just do a decrease everywhere it appears on the row before.

continue until you are left with a buttonhole sized hole and finish off.

sew in all ends invisibly.

finish with a pom-pom but make it detachable by attaching it to a button.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Quick Crochet Gifts: His 'n' Hers Linen Stitch Scarf with Contrast Ends ( Plus one for the dog!)

Wouldn't this be the perfect christmas gift for a couple with a dog?

However that's not what I made them for! The scarves are going to a couple, but the dog scarf is a separate gift for a friend's dog.

This whole set came about quite by accident. I decided to make stripy scarves for a couple, and then decided these colours would be nice. The light grey is the same for each scarf, but I've team it with charcoal for the "His" and Oatmeal for the "Hers".

I really wanted to make these with just 200g for each scarf, but was concerned that it wouldn't be enough so erred on the short side. However it turned out that there was much more yarn than I thought and decided to use the leftovers to make contrast ends.

There was STILL some leftover so I decided to make the dog scarf in all three colours, and there was STILL a little bit leftover!!

I thought I'd include basic instructions in case anyone was interested.

Yarn: 2 x100g StyleCraft Life DK in two different colours (you could use other yarn of course, but I know that there is enough with this yarn)

hook: 4mm


Chain approx 255 in colour A (or more if you want less contrast edge - up to about 350 for no contrast).

The whole scarf is made with Linen Stitch
Which is basically 1dc -british (or 1sc american) then one chain.

here's a great youtube video that will explain it better


-after finising your chain, 1dc (all my instructions are british) into 3nd chain, chain 1, skip next chain in chain row, dc into next chain. continue accross to end. finishing with a dc.

Change to colour B
-turn, chain 2, *1 dc into first chain space, chain 1, continue to end from *. 1 dc into turning chain.
-repeat this row.
(so all stripes except first and last, are made up of two rows)

Change to colour A and repeat last two rows.

Continue in this way, carrying  yarn up the side, until you have 21 stripes. (40 rows). The first and last stripes only have one row.

Contrast Stripes:

Do not cut yarn.

Take the colour you have used last, and chain two, turn work sideways and work linen stitch along end, stitching 1 dc into each stripe, finishing with a dc as close to edge as you can.
Continue in one colour linen stitch until the contrast end is the length you require.

Fasten off

Go to other end of work and pick up othe colour which is still attached and do the same to form contrast end.

Sew in ends.

The Doggy Scarf. (modelled by the gorgeous Hugo)
PLEASE NOTE: I have had the following comment on my blog
"I don't want to be a party pooper, but while the doggy scarf is cute it could potentially be deadly to the poor pooch. All it would take is for the loose end to get caught on something (or grabbed by another over enthusiastic dog) and it would tighten. Perhaps it could be reworked to not be adjustable, or to have a breakaway part somewhere."

This is certainly something to bear in mind. So Please use this pattern with caution. Maybe only use it as a photo prop. 
For this I did a linen stich in three colours, changing colours after each row. You will always know which colour is next as it will be right there waiting for you at the beginning of the row.

Chain the desired length.

Do a 3 colour linen stitch until desired width.

Turn as for contrast edge and linen stitch accross. (I pulled mine in a bit and doubled up some of the stitches so that the contrast edge is narrower than the scarf). Linen stitch in one colour until desired length when folded, and sew in half.

Finish by doing a single row of linen stitch in same colour along other edge (this covers all of the carrying threads)

Fasten off and sew in ends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chutney Tuesday: Christmas Chutney 2014

 I thought it was about time that I cracked on with a chutney for christmas. I made one last year that was nice but I decided to refine it a bit, and make a much larger quantity.

6 tbls veg oil
1kg white onions - diced
4 Bramley Apples - peeled and diced
2 Parsnips - peeled and very finely diced
5 fresh figs - base and stalk removed and diced
zest and juice of one large orange
400g frozen cranberries (I would have used fresh if they had any)
500g dried mixed fruit
500g dark soft brown sugar
375 ml sherry vinegar
125 cider vinegar
10 cloves- I just pinched of the heads and crush them with my fingers and dispose of the stalks
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mustard seeds (whole)
1/2 grated nutmeg

optional - a large slug of brandy

Heat oil, add onions and spices and cook until soft.
Remove from heat and add all of the other ingredients (except brandy).
Stir well and return to heat. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for approx 40 mins or until parsnip softened. Stir regularly.
Uncover, add brandy and simmer for approx 20 mins until reduced to a chutney consistency.
Spoon into sterilied jars and seal. Makes approx 3 to 3.5 litres.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chutney Tuesday: plum and apricot

Today's plum chutney is again based heavily on a chutney on bbc good food. However I wanted to bulk it out so I've added a lot more onions. I've also changed a few other bits and bobs.

5 tbls veg oil
1200g plum. chopped finely (leave skins on)
4 medium red onions (sliced finely)
1 kg white onions (diced finely)
250g dried apricot (roughly chopped using oiled knife)
350ml red wine vinegar
100ml sherry vinegar
500g dark soft brown sugar
1.5 tblsp ground ginger
1.5 tblsp mustard seeds
1.5 tblsp ground cumin
1.5 tblsp smoked paprika
1.5 tblsp crushed chillies
large pinch salt

heat oil and add red onions and cook until soft.
add diced white onions and spices and cook until soft.
add all other ingredients, stir well. bring to boil and simmer with lid on for 10 mins.
uncover and simmer until colour becomes deep red and consistency is jammy.
stir frequently during cooking.

spoon into sterilised jars while hot and seal.
makes 16-17 190ml jars (about 3.25 litres)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Chutney Tuesday: Spicy Pear and Fig Chutney

It's been a while since I did a Chutney Tuesday, but I really fancied making some today. I was going for massive quantity, as it's really useful to have these in for christmas gifts, etc. If you want to make it in smaller quantities it will work just as well.

4tbls veg oil
approx 2.5 kg pears (before prepararation)
1 kg onions
4 fresh figs
2 large red chillis (just use one if you don't want it so spicy)
4 cloves garlic
3tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground ginger
1 pinch salt
500g dark soft brown sugar
350ml cider vinegar

Peel pears and chop into very small pieces. Finely dice onions. Slice chillis finely, crush garlic. Chop fig- remove stem and base and chop into small pieces/

Heat oil, add ginger, coriander, garlic and chilli. Cook for a minute. Add onion and cook until softened stirring regularly.
Add pear and fig, stir well and cook for a few minutes.
Add vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 30 mins, then uncover and simmer until jammy in appearance (about 25mins)
Whilst still hot spoon into hot sterilised jars and seal.

makes 13x190ml jars (about 2.5 litres)

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Autumn birthday card.

I love the colours of autumn and they are so easy to use in crafting. I was so pleased then that two of my favourite challenges were takinf autumn as their themes.
Less is more has a colour challenge : "Autumns's bounty" and One Layer Simplicity Challenge has the theme "turn to fall"

I also needed a birthday card for a friend that loves autumn colours so the timing was perfect.

The card was made with an old set of "see-Ds" stamps (I don't even know if they still make these, but if they do the set is whimsical garden) and then, of course the colours are distress inks: vintage photo, spiced marmalade, barn door and mustard seed. I just used post-it notes for masking and randomly stamped.

Monday, August 25, 2014

beach hut wedding post box

A very good friend of mine had a beach themed wedding reception and asked me if I would make her a post box for cards. Of course it had to be a beach hut!

This was made from cardboard boxes, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. One side of the roof lifts up in order to access the cards inside.

wacky stripes baby jumper and hat

 I decided to have a play about with some fun colours and made this cute little baby set for a little baby that is due any day now.

The jumper is based on my favourite pattern  (Teddy yarns 717) that I use all of the time.

 It has buttons on the back, so the neck goes over the head easily.

My favourite bit is the single green stripe, it really lifts the colour scheme.

The hat is really simple. I knit it on straight needles as I felt that joining up stripes was less hassle than trying to knit jogless stripes.
The yarn is a cheap dk yarn. I cast on 70 stitches (3.25mm needles0, 2x2 rib for six rows, switch to 4mm needles, until hat is 3.75inches. then a simple decrease.
row 1 k4 k2tog accross
row 2 purl
row 3 k3 k2tog accross
row 4 purl
row 5 k2 k2tog accross
row 6 purl
row 7 k1 k2tog accross
row 8 purl
row 9 k2tog accross
row 10 p2tog accross
pull up remaining stitches.

sew up seam, add a pompom and it's done.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

PaperArtsy Guest Post: Kraft and Black

Yesterday, I had another guest spot on the Paperartsy Blog. Pop over and have a look at what I've been up to.

And don't forget to take part in the challenge too, to win stamps!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Clean and Simple Fathers day Card

Leaving it until the last minute as usual, I needed a fathers day card for the boys to give to their dad tomorrow.

My Stampotique stamps haven't been out of the box much recently, but I remembered these owl stamps (designed by Jo Capper-Sandon) and thought that they would be perfect with this silly sentiment (which I did with individual letters.
The images are coloured with pencils