Thursday 14 February 2013

Valentine be Mine

Happy Valentine's Day to my lovely readers!  I bought Margaret Bloom's delightful book Making Peg Dolls recently and these two little people are a straight copy of her Valentine's Day project.  The only alteration I made was to use some pretty flowery braid I've had in my stash for years instead of the tiny paper stars she glued on separately for the girl doll's headdress.  And as I'm all for short cuts, I die cut the felt hearts instead of the more characterful hand cutting on Margaret's dolls.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Nutscene Twine Flower Pots

More crocheting with twine!  I discovered some gorgeously coloured jute twine by Nutscene recently and couldn't wait to make something with it.  I came up with these simple little crochet pots which make perfect containers for spring flowers or anything else you can think of.  What about one on the kitchen windowsill for pan scrubbers or your washing up liquid?  They'd be useful in the bathroom too I think.

Although the twine is of course waterproof as its meant for use in the garden, I've lined my little containers with recycled yogurt pots.  This helps them keep their shape and will stop the bottoms getting soggy if your plant pot leaks or your dishcloth is wet.  Only because I'm thinking I might sell these at my next craft fair, I managed to remove the printing on the plastic pot with fine sandpaper but there is no need to do that.  I also cut the rim of the pot with a pair of scalloped scissors meant for paper or card to make it look a bit prettier (it doesn't seem to have harmed the scissors either). 

These little pots are very quick and easy to make and in case you'd like to have a go I'm going to try to tell you how I made them.  Its not a very rigid pattern as it doesn't really matter what size you make them.  I do hope you can follow my instructions - if you have any questions please do let me know.  I've used UK crochet terms - ie, double crochet is a single crochet in the US.

I used a 5.5mm plastic hook.  I started with 5 chain joined into a circle with a slip stitch.

Next round:  double crochet (dc) in same chain as slip stitch and then 2dc in each chain (10dc). Do not join the round but put a thread marker at the beginning of the round if you like and carry on in a spiral.   This produces a much neater finished project with no nasty round joins visible.

Next round: from now on hook into the back loop only of the stitch.  This gives a nice woven look and also as the twine is quite stiff, its much easier on the fingers.  *2dc in next stitch; 1dc in next stitch - repeat from * round.

Next round: *2dc in next stitch; 1dc in each of next 2 stitches (remember just the back loop only); repeat from * around. This finishes the base of your container but if you want to make it bigger repeat the last round once more.  

Next round:  Now to make the sides - 1dc in each stitch repeating around.  As you are not joining the rounds but carrying on in a spiral, continue with 1dc in each stitch until you are happy with the height of your container.  When you get to the top you will find the rim might look a bit wonky (technical term!) so I slip stitched into a few stitches (about 5 stitches) until the rim looked fairly level.  

Next round:  To make the decorative scalloped edge, *chain 3, miss one dc, slip stitch into next dc.  Repeat from * around and join with a slip stitch into the first chain.

That's it!  If you can find the right size, pushing a yogurt pot (or any other sort of pot/container) into the container will stretch the twine a bit and make a nice even shape. 

Remember this lovely twine is a garden product and I have to admit I've found it rather tough on the fingers and wrists.   Make sure you use a comfortable hook and I think I would only make one or two of these at a time to ensure my wrists don't get too sore. 

There are other lovely colours on offer from Nutscene and I've already got another three gorgeous shades on their way to me.  I think I could probably get three pots out of each spool.  As you can see above, I also treated myself to one of the special Nutscene twine tins and as well as being very
decorative it stops the twine twisting up when I crochet.


Of course you can use any twine for your pot but as a keen supporter of "buy local" I like the idea that Nutscene is a traditional British company that produces their string and twine in Scotland on machinery they have been using since 1922.  The above spread is by photographer Andrew Montgomery and I think from one of my old Country Living magazines.  There are US stockists too listed here, and just for Baukje, here's a link for France.  (They have gorgeous raffia too that will be next on my crochet experiments list.)

Please do let me know of my instructions aren't clear.  Its my first attempt at writing a pattern out. 

Thursday 7 February 2013

String, twine and yarn

As always time slips by all to quickly and the Vintage in the Vale fair I'm so looking forward to is approaching at a rate of knots.  Lately I've been experimenting with crochet string and twine to create pampering gift sets for my stall.  I saw Alexandra's crochet bathroom bowl and decided to have a go at my own version.  I used rather thinner string with some lovely bakers twine to crochet a cylinder shape and added a scalloped rim.  Then I wanted something to put in the bowl and crocheted a simple facecloth and some spiral scrubbies.  I'm hoping to add small locally made soaps to finish off the sets.

I first saw these spiral scrubbies on pinterest and following the link came to Natalie's excellent instructions.  It seems these have been around for a long time but it was the first time I'd seen them.  I really like look of the spiral and they are quick and easy to make.  They make sweet small gifts on their own and when I was trying to work out some packaging found two scrubbies and a small soap fitted neatly into Papertrey Ink's Favor It Box 2.

I think I'll be making more of these.  I used 4ply natural cotton yarn that is lovely and soft but will stand up to bathtime well.  I also tried some Rowan Handknit Cotton dk which also crocheted up nicely but made a rather more substantial scrubbie good for exfoliating.  Here's the set using the chocolate Rowan yarn.

Lots of bloggers very generously put patterns and tutorials on their blogs so that we can all have a go at making lovely things.  Now, I've never written a crochet pattern before but if there is any interest in these bowls (can't think of a better word for them at the moment) I like to write instructions for the pink one.  Please leave a comment on this post if you'd like me to have a go.

Friday 1 February 2013

January Snapped!

Well I had decided not to carry on with the monthly review pages this year but as I was so pleased with them printed in book form I changed my mind.  I searched for another 365 template kit at my favourite digital store Oscraps and went for Maya de Grout's nice and simple templates Snap: The Monthly Shots

You might notice a fair amount of crocheting has been going on this month.  Its definitely the craft of the moment and Pinterest is peppered with lovely inspiration and patterns.  I've a couple of projects in the pipeline for blogging and hope I can find time to post this weekend.  If you have crafty or any other plans for the weekend, have a great time and as "Brucie" says, keep dancing...... oh, no, I mean crafting of course! 


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