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
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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
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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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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
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New Christmas Traditions – Satsuma Thrifty Christmas Campaign

Last year I decided to start a new tradition for Christmas. I was fed up of buying the same cheap little chocolate advent calendars year on year, and while my daughter liked them, I could never find anywhere to put them and they just didn’t seem to be very Christmassy. So I started to crochet some little stockings and made them into a perpeptual advent calendar.

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It looked lovely up in the hall last year as a Christmas garland as well as being my daughter’s favourite part of the run up to Christmas. I filled it with individual wrapped chocolates, so it didn’t cost a fortune to fill either.

This year I’m looking round for inexpensive little gifts to fill it with again. At seven (almost eight), my daughter is becoming a little more difficult to please with sweets and chocolates. I’ve bought a couple of selection boxes and will add those to the stockings. I think it’s always nice to see something peeking out of the top of the stocking. But I also want to add something other than sugar loaded treats. The stockings aren’t very big so I can’t go mad with gifts, but I think a couple of packs of her favourite (My Little Pony) Stickers and perhaps one of the mystery bags as a treat for Christmas Eve. She also loves to draw, so I’m going to get a pack of pens and split them up putting a different one in each stocking.

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It’s great to think that this will be a tradition that we can carry on and hopefully she will enjoy the individuality of her calendar. I know I certainly enjoyed making it and have great fun thinking of things to fill it with. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot either. I’m going to stick to a budget of £10 maximum to fill it. Who knows I might even find some of the stocking fillers I put away last year and forgot about!

Now I just need to hang it up high enough that the meddlesome cats don’t attack it!

Not long to go.
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See mine and other ideas for a savvy Christmas here

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More Crochet Snowmen

Last Christmas, I had a rush on little crochet snowmen. They are very cute, and they were so popular with the dance mums, that I had orders for five more for this Christmas.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been crocheting parts of little snowmen. It has really started to get me in the mood for Christmas. I hope we get a spell of cold weather though. It does seem a bit odd making snowmen when it’s still well above 10 degrees outside!

My first set of snowmen are a for a lovely family with two little girls.  Their favourite colours are pink and purple.  I haven’t come up with any good names for these two yet, but I’m sure the girls will!p1250303

This trio are for two brothers and their younger sister.  One brother’s a Manchester United fan, the other is a Manchester City fan (I don’t fancy being there for football arguments in the future) and their sister is a dancer.

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I love how each one ends up different although the pattern is the same throughout.  It just goes to show how different yarns make things very individual.

I think the most fun I had though was with my jar of buttons while waiting for Alice in her dance class.  Looking for just the right shade of each colour is very important.  I was counting on any of the other Mums loving the buttons too, so we had buttons everywhere and I had to promise to bring them again!

Happy Crafting
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Change of Pace

It’s been a while since I found myself in a coffee shop on my own for an hour, but that’s where I find myself today. Such luxury. But I feel I should be doing something, so after a root round I have managed to put pen to paper (so to speak). I’m pleased to say that for once, the sun is shining and I am slowly munching my way through a bag of fruit and nuts along with a lovely cup of tea.

The reason for my luxurious bit of ‘me’ time is that I am waiting for Alice, who is at an extra study class. This is the prize she won from the Rock Easter Egg Hunt. So we have a whole month of tuition to look forward to. And so far so good, she loves it! I think the combination of a different type of learning – she’s concentrating on creative writing and working on her writing speed – being somewhere new and meeting new people, is a real hit with her. Plus we seem to have the added benefit of a growth in her self-confidence too. So long may it continue.

I, on the other hand, now find myself with some time to spare. So today I have come ladened with crochet hook, yarn, pattern and phone, in the hope that I will achieve something from my ever growing ‘to do’ list. I am working on a number of crochet projects at the moment, the main one being orders for little snowmen. It does feel wrong crocheting snowmen just when it’s starting to get warm again outside, but they were popular amongst the dance Mums and I have orders for five more ready for next Christmas!

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So I’m trying to get ahead and make a few more so I’m ready for the Ramsbottom craft fair at the end of October. I’m trying not to think too far ahead but I know it’ll be here before I know it. I’m hoping to put together a collection in a rainbow of colours. So fingers crossed and I might actually have them ready in time. They will look quite cute alongside my little lavender chicks.

Time to finish my cuppa and collect Alice now, so

Happy crafting
x

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The snowmen have landed

I was amazed how popular my little crochet snowman was when I took it to the dance school waiting room recently.

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So popular in fact that I was asked to make some more for Christmas decorations and keepsakes. These are my last Christmas orders for this year so I hit the hooks with some lovely soft white baby yarn and a raid on my stash for the accent colours. I was asked for pink and blue, as one was for a girl and the other for a boy! These have taken a little while to finish as I wanted them to be perfect, so the faces have had several changes. I’ve found that the best eyes have been made with black beads, sewn in tightly. I love the little crochet carrot nose too, and the earmuffs (or headphones depending on how cool you are) are very cute additions. The pattern was in an old issue of LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine and can hopefully still be found in their free patterns.

I’ve named these two Sid and Sally and they fancied having their photos taken before they got ready to go out in the cold. It was difficult choosing which buttons they would wear.

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After they had decided on their outdoor attire, they were ready to go to their new homes. I hope they have a lovely Christmas and get to see some snow!

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Happy crafting
x

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Advent Calendar

A few months back I started out with a mission to make an advent calendar for my daughter. I love the look of the little crochet stockings that I’ve been making for tree decorations, so thought they would make a great garland to fill with little treats. It would certainly make a change from a cheap bought calendar and could be re-used for years to come.

Making 24 little stockings proved more difficult that I had imagined. I originally planned for all the stockings to be a deep red with white tops, however, I fairly quickly ran out of the red! So the plan changed to include some dark green stockings with white tops. Here are a few of the first ones I made.

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I had to make sure I kept enough of the red and green to be able to add numbers on to the stockings, so I adapted my plan again to include some white stockings, with red / green tops.

Well after a few weeks thinking there was no way I would get it finished in time for Christmas, I am pleased to say I have finally finished it and we all love it.

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We’ve filled it with celebrations this year, and Alice is thrilled. It’s up in the hall, our first Christmas decoration and it looks lovely. The colours have worked well together and the stockings should fit in small gifts too, so there’s room for different gifts next year!

Well, it’s back to the Christmas makes for me,

Happy crafting
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A new crochet project

While reading a recent issue of craftseller magazine, I was drawn to have a look at another craft blog, by the lovely lady at moji-moji designs. As I am still addicted to crochet and learning new stitches and skills with it, I have found this blog really interesting. I have to say my daughter also loves all the creations on there.

So I decided to have a go at one of the free patterns published on the site. As I have been making owls for my cards recently, they are somehow taken over my crafting! These little coin purses looked ideal for my daughter and her friends for taking a little pocket money out on their adventures, or for keeping little treasures close.

I decided to use some of my king cole dollymix dk yarns for these as the colours are so bright and vibrant. The basic purse shape was fairly straightforward to make, although I did have several attempts at the row that makes the flap bend over the purse! The eye patches and beak were a bit fiddly as they are quite small. But I think the hardest part for me is sewing them all together. It was quite tricky to keep the point of the flap inside the beak while sewing it. I then struggled with finding buttons the right size for the eyes. Typical! I have thousands of buttons in my craft stash and hardly any tiny black ones! So I compromised and found some purple and orange ones instead.

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I couldn’t find anything suitable for the blue owl, so had to raid Mum’s button jar! (Any excuse for a visit with her and the cats) Fortunately I also had a sewing box still at Mums which has plenty of press-studs in, so I was able to finish of the purses when I got home. So here are the finished articles, complete with chain handles.

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I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. My daughter loves her little blue one and her friends have loved theirs too.

I think I will try them in a thicker yarn and larger hook size next time.

I can’t wait to have a go at some of the other patterns off this blog too. My daughter has already asked for some of the little owls and a nest. Well that should keep me busy for a while!!

Happy crafting
x

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