Back to School Crochet

Back to school and all the extra-curricular activities are back on again as well.  So it’s back to dancing class both for Alice and for me, but I’ve decided to carry on working through my draw full of knitting and crochet kits.

As it’s dancing on Saturdays, the next make I’ve chosen is a little ballerina cat from an old issue of LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine.  I am still loving practicing my crochet and I feel like I am beginning to speed up a bit.  Alice is completely cat mad and it was her that really pushed me into making this cat.  I think it might go down quite well with her dancing friends too!

I find that crochet is a great activity for long car journeys, and we had a run down to Bristol to visit the in-laws, so this was the perfect accompaniment. I managed quite a lot on the way down as it was a very bright fine day (for a change).  The kit contains a lovely collection of yarn and I love the combination of pinks with the bright purple.  It’s a lovely weight yarn too and it’s been easy to crochet with.

The kit also came with a white fluffy yarn which I added to the end of the tutu with a double crochet stitch.  The ballet slippers were finished using a strand of light pink yarn and tying them to resemble ribbons.

This has been a fairly simple pattern to work through and I’ve loved adding in my own take on the facial features.  I’ve made the eyes using an embroidered chain stitch which I think matches the other embroidered features.

This little one has now joined my other summer creations.  My shelf is filling up quite nicely now.  I think I’m going to enter the Toymaker of the year competition in LGC magazine too, but my problem now is deciding what to make!  Time to get my thinking cap on!!

Happy crafting
x

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A little knitted kitty!

With only a few days left until we are back at school, I’ve finally got around to making something for my daughter and her friend. They are both mad on cats (we have two and her friend has one) and whenever they have got together this holiday at least one of them has been wearing cat ears on a hairband! It’s very cute and I hope it continues for some time yet, as they are growing up far too quickly.

Anyway, as they are off to Blackpool Zoo at the weekend, I thought I’d make them a little cat bag each from the last issue of LGC Knitting and Crochet, to carry their little bits and pieces in.

I stuck to the pattern colours for my daughter’s bag, although she insisted on a change to the handle colour as her favourite colour at the moment is white!  It’s a really simple pattern mostly in garter stitch, so very quick to make. Her friend asked for a black one with pink and purple features!

They certainly liked them before I finished them, so fingers crossed they will like the fully finished articles.  I think they will be purrfect for carrying around a little mouse purse and a few sweets each!

Happy crafting
x

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Here comes the Chameleon

I’ve continued to be hooked on crochet this week and having finished the lion I wanted to make something else to ad to my now growing menagerie of summer animal makes. I found a lovely pattern for a colourful chameleon in another back issue of Let’s Get Crafting magazine and he looked too cheerful not to make.

He was designed by the lovely and very talented lady over at Moji Moji Designs. I’ve made a couple of her patterns before (owl purse) but never attempted one of her animal creations. So this was a real test of my improving crochet skills.

I put this over on my facebook page to see if anyone could hazard a guess at what it was going to be, but no-one guessed correctly. Mind you, with just the body to go on, it really could have been anything!!

The yarn colours in the magazine kit are really bright and cheerful but it was a real test for me to keep changing colours every round. I think I managed it ok in the end but there were a couple of times when I had to undo a round or two and start again! It’s not easy changing colour all the time and keeping the yarns from tangling up! As with most of the toy patterns I’ve followed, it is mostly made from double crochet

I’m really enjoying crochet for toy making as it makes a much stronger and thicker fabric than knitting does. This means I am finding the toys much easier to stuff as the stitches are more rigid. Over stuffing is too easy in a knitted toy, so I usually use smaller needles than the pattern suggests.

The official name for this little man is Karma, but I’m not sure he looks very serene. He seems a bit angry to me, but I love him and he looks great on my shelf with his new friends lion and unicorn! I hope I get the chance to make some more friends for them all before we go back to school.

Happy crafting
x

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Summer crochet

After all the baking, I’ve moved back into the realms of toy making.  This time I decided to get the crochet hooks out and found a rather cute little lion project in an old issue of Lets Get Crafting magazine.

My daughter is obsessed with all things feline at the moment, so this seemed like the ideal project for her.

It hasn’t taken me very long to make up, but the stuffing and sewing together of the limbs was a bit fiddly.  I love the mane though and I am going to try and incorporate this new stitch style into some of my other projects in the future.

I love this magazine for all the hints and tips when knitting but particularly for crochet.  I still consider myself a novice crocheter, so any help with new stitches is always welcome.  The patterns in this magazine have helped me learn and practice.

After finishing the lion, I decided to put together all the toys I’ve made using patterns from the LGC magazines.  This is my little selection that I’ve made for Alice over the last couple of years.

It’s nice to see them all together and to compare how I have improved with my amigurumi crochet animals too.  The little blue bird (chirp) was my first ever try at amigurumi and when he sits next to the lion, the difference is quite striking – well I think so.  So much so, that I have sent a copy of this picture to the magazine!.  Fingers crossed it might make it into the next issue.

Not long to go now until the end of the summer break, and I’m now working on a couple more projects to use up some of the yarn stash in the craft room!

Happy crafting
x

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Summer Baking

It really wouldn’t be a holiday from school without a spot of baking, and with the disappointment of not being ale to finish my dancing hippo, we needed some cake to cheer us up a bit!

We started off with some all-in-one vanilla sponge.  Alice was given a fabulous junior baking set for her birthday, all good quality utensils, not the usual kids plastic stuff.  It’s all silicon and stainless steel, just scaled down a bit for smaller hands – ideal for me too!  So we made some vanilla sponge mix, and made it into a victoria sandwich and 6 cupcakes.  The fun was definitely in the decorating (and licking the bowl).

The kit had an icing set with three different nozzles too, so we had a practice making some rosettes.

After the cake, we moved on to some cookies.  We’ve never really done cookies before, we’ve always stuck to pretty basic butter biscuits, but we fancied a change.  I had a look around the internet and found a couple of recipes that looked simple for us to have a go at.  We started with some peanut butter cookies, which were incredibly simple to make and very tasty too.

We finished with some chocolate chip cookies. This had a few more ingredients, but again it’s pretty simple to follow. We enjoyed making it, and it was great practice for Alice with measuring out. The really great part is not having to roll out a dough and use cutters, just taking a teaspoonful of the mixture and putting it on the baking paper means less washing up and it’s a lot simpler for smaller hands.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the finished cookies, but suffice it to say they tasted delicious and we had plenty to share with family and friends.

Happy baking
x

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A Dancing Hippo!

After the completion of my knitted unicorn last week, this week I’ve been working on another of the knitting kits I have been meaning to make for ages. It’s quite appropriate for many of our friends and their children, as it’s a dancing hippo!

This was a gift from Let’s Knit magazine and included two balls of grey and one ball of pink yarn. I set about following the pattern , but I decided to use slightly smaller needles as I wanted a tighter knit fabric.  I love this hippo and the addition of the ballet tutu and little bows are so sweet, I can see this being popular at dance class next term!

It’s another knitted toy and I was doing quite well with all the pieces for a while and managed to get the little hippo to this position

but I have now run out of yarn to make the nose, arms and legs!!  So I have spent the last few days looking for a match.  No luck so far, but I shall keep on trying.  I think I will also contact the magazine and see if they can provide me with another ball of the grey.  I think I have enough pink for the ballet shoes and bows.

Wish me luck.  Hopefully |I will be able to find some more yarn as the poor hippo is looking very forlorn in my knitting basket.

In the meantime I’m going to get out another kit and see what else I can add to the menagerie this Summer!!

Happy crafting
x

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First Week of Summer Makes!

Well the first week of the school holidays has flown by.  We’ve been pretty busy catching up with my parents, some friends and generally having some home chilling time.  Both me and the not-so-little-one have been doing some crafting too, while we sheltered from the rain!

I have moved into the craft room and had a good sort out too.  It’s looking much tidier and I feel like I can find things again – only time will tell though.  During my epic tidy up, I put all my knitting and crochet kits from magazines in one drawer, so my aim this holiday is to get some of them made into things.  So this week I have made a start on a knitted unicorn.

This kit was a gift with Let’s Knit magazine, not that long ago, and I think it will make a nice companion for the little crochet unicorn, Meadow, I made a couple of years ago.  Here’s the pattern picture, which has been very helpful when putting all the pieces together.

It’s taken a little while this week to get all the pieces together, and then I, of course, ran out of toy stuffing, typical! I haven’t used safety eyes either as I like to try and embroider the eyes on, just in case the animals fall into very tiny hands.  I don’t think this one will though as Alice has claimed it already.

So here is my finished unicorn, it has already had several hair styles and has claimed a place on the shelf in my craft room, just to make sure I do actually finish some more animals to keep her company.  I don’t have a name yet though. although Rainbow does seem to be a contender.

She’s is a decent size too, which I was surprised at as I used smaller needles than those stated in the pattern.  Sat down she is about 25cm tall, so she makes a lovely addition to my tidy craft room, now to see if I can claim Meadow back to join her!  They have certainly enjoyed having their photo session and a good girly gossip!

Next I’m starting work on a dancing hippo!!

Happy summer crafting
x

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End of Term

This year has absolutely flown by and I can’t believe that my little one is finishing Year 3 already. (No longer a little one)  It only seems like moments that she was starting school at all!

Anyway with the end of term comes all the regular craziness, mostly around the school fair, which was a little different this year as it was arranged by the parent group instead of the school staff.  As such it was mainly lots of games for the children to play and a barbecue.  I didn’t have a craft stall of goodies this year, but I did manage to bake some biscuits (my third bake of the weekend) for the cake stall.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too favourable, so most things had to be brought inside.

I was roped in to run the craft table and spent a good couple of hours with a steady stream of under 7s making bee deely boppers, flip-flop keyrings and decorating pencil cases (all from Baker Ross).  I’d recommend the bees, very cute and the kits include everything you need.  They are great for little ones, although they will need adult help in attaching the springs to the headband.  I also struggled removing the papers from the back of the googly eyes, but the kids didn’t seem to have any problem at all!

We also had the obligatory ‘pot goody’ stall and Alice made her’s this year filled with homemade paper windmills and decorated with paper grass, bees and butterflies.  She didn’t win her class prize, the winner made a sandcastle out of hers!

The school fair always signals the end of term, so after we had helped pack everything away, it was time for getting end of term cards and presents sorted out for the class teacher and teaching assistants.  This year we’ve had two teachers and two teaching assistants as they had swimming lessons and one of the TAs is a trained swimming instructor.  I’ve tried to stick to the same sort of thing each year for the teachers , so I made some new apple thank you cards, this time using a new die set I bought a few weeks ago.  It’s an apple from the Market Fresh collection by Spellbinders.  It’s certainly taken the hard work out of cutting out individual apples!  I think I will have some fun with these over the summer.

I also made four little knitted apple keyrings.  These are so cute and pretty simple to make too, just a ball with embroidered details, a crochet chain stem and a small knitted leaf.  

My daughter then made a little tag for each one with her teacher’s name and a personal message from her.  Very cute.

Well, it’s another year over and six weeks now to fill up with lots of activities, and I’m hoping for a lie-in or two!

Happy Summer crafting
x

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Brownies

My daughter moved up to Brownies last year and with that move has come the need to cajole her into doing some badges.  Left to her own devices she’ll happily breeze through the three years running about and nothing else!  This year she has seen quite a few of her older Brownie chums move up to Guides, so she has had to take on some of the responsibility herself in showing the newer recruits what to do.  So we have started to make some efforts on a few of the simpler badges, to get her going!

First up we’ve done some wildlife watching and which has involved some birdwatching for the RSPB Garden Birdwatch, some bug hunting in the garden and keeping a diary of what she spotted.  To finish I found her a set of instructions on how to build her own bird feeder.  This one uses lolly sticks and string, all essential components in a kids craft stash!

She didn’t do too badly with it, although I think the birds were quite rough with it (either that or the wind was particularly strong) as it only lasted a few weeks.

Having successfully completed one badge, she moved quite swiftly on to a number of sporty and artistic ones and has had her swimming, agility, sports, artist and craft badges signed off too. She was also rewarded with being made a sixer!

The school council ran a talent show just before the Easter break and completely out of the blue, Alice wanted to enter, singing with her friend.  She asked if I would help her make some props and costumes.  Of course, they chose to sing something very simple and child-friendly – “The Yellow Submarine”.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get everything ready for the school show, but they decided to do it for their Entertainer badge at Brownies instead.

So for what seems like forever, I’ve been adding finishing touches to this huge monstrosity!  Hubby cut out the main submarine while the girls did the main painting and drew the faces for the portholes.  It’s massive and almost fills one wall of our little house.  It looks quite good though, if I do say so myself, although I don’t think I want to take up a career in prop-design, just yet.

Now it’s fingers crossed that they get the rest of their show planned and rehearsed in time before the end of the term.  I can’t wait to get rid of this out of  my living room!

Happy crafting
x

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Hearts Everywhere

This year the heart has never seemed more appropriate to send to someone.  I think we all need to show a bit more love.  I’ve had a few wedding cards to make for and it always restores my faith in humanity when I’m asked to make a special card.

I’ve made a couple fairy recently for a lovely lady who wanted the colours to tie in with the colours on the wedding invitation she had received.  This first one was a classic cream and navy scheme.  I still love this style with the dangler heart on acetate.

The second one was a much more colourful affair.  I was a bit unsure at first, but I rather like the overall effect of the nesting hearts and borders.

I also had a wedding of my own to go to, as my cousin was tying the knot, with my daughter as her little bridesmaid.  Her scheme was very pastel colours, so I went for a pale pink with floral foiling and added pearls.

Last month was so sad with all the terrible events in Manchester and London.  I was at a complete loss after the Manchester Arena  bombing, I knew several people at the concert and we lost two young lives in the town.  I wanted to do something to help so I joined a group #aheart4mcr making hearts to distribute around Manchester city centre.  It was a wonderful way to show support and care for those that had lost loved ones or sustained terrible injuries.

I sent off 27 knitted and crochet hearts in total and they joined over 26,000 others from all over the world, displayed and then taken home by people coming into the city centre.  I was struck just after the first heart drop to find this lovely heart on my lawn.

Sometimes is pays not to mow the lawn every week!

I thought I@d end today with one of the cards I sent in my order to Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom, a red button heart for an engagement.  I was asked to make a few new engagement cards and the heart just seemed to fit the bill.  I haven’t done a button based card for quite a while and I really enjoyed emptying my ever-growing button stash onto the table to find the right size and colours.

I’m afraid I’m not very organised with my buttons and ribbons.  I wish I was, but I don’t have very much space really, or maybe it’s not having the inclination to sort them out!  I’ve taken over the box room so I’m squashed in with everything else that hasn’t found a home elsewhere in the house.  I really do need to get cracking on sorting it out though, but I always get so distracted whenever I start.

Oh, well, back to finding some more love and make some more hearts.

Happy crafting
x

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