Christmas Poinsettia

The other week I saw this gorgeous looking “3D” poinsettia that had been crocheted….someone had tagged me via Facebook.

It looked like something totally different to make from my usual blanket, so gave it a whirl.

Ta Daaaaa!

poinsettia-4

I got the pattern from a YouTube video by a Mary J Handmade.  It’s very cute, and stands on the wires that I used.

I used 3 ply cotton, but probably should have used 5ply.  I used 24 gauge wire that I bought from a local craft store, and some brown crepe paper for the stem.  The video shows how to make the stamens from crepe paper, but I made mine from glass (just cos I can).

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Large Blanket for the Lounge

large-lounge-blanket-2Back in 2013 I made a lovely blanket for our lounge, in rich red, browns and cream.  The colours suited our house perfectly.  One evening, in winter last year, we had friends over for dinner.  Afterwards we were relaxing and chatting on the sofa.  One of our friends said she was a little chilly and grabbed the blanket to put over her knee…and her husband took the opportunity to cuddle up.  Then ensued a raft of complaints that the blanket wasn’t anywhere near large enough to put over two people’s knees.  Crisis!  Or as I like to think of it….and opportunity to make another one.

So, over the course of this winter (no chance of course of me getting my act together over summer) I embarked on making a larger blanket.  I ended up using the same colours as the smaller blanket, with the addition of an oat colour.  This was somewhat driven by the limitation of wool available in little ole New Zealand.

I began in mid-May (the beginning of winter here) and have only just today finished it….in time for spring!  The pattern is a DROPS Design and was easy to follow (130-6 Like a Wildflower) which you can find easily on Ravelry.  The pattern calls for cotton, but as mentioned, we are somewhat limited here and I didn’t want to buy over the internet and risk the colours being wrong.  When I had “finished” crocheting all the squares together I thought that it looked too long and thin, so added an addition column.  I finished with a Treble Scallop edging.

I am very pleased with the final result, and love that the cream flowers are raised (I did steam iron flat to a certain extent as they were curled inwards).

And, the blanket is definitely large enough for two people to cuddle up together and keep warm with!

large-lounge-blanket-1

Long Crochet Vest

Long Vest 4I saw a really cool crochet vest on an online shopping site and thought to myself “no need to buy, I’ll make one for myself!”.  I had some chocolate brown 4ply cotton leftover from another project so decided to use that, and embarked what turned out to be a nearly 5 month project!

I have to say that one of the reasons it took so long was a certain element of disillusionment.  The “pattern” wasn’t really a pattern.  i.e. it was incomplete and was more of a guide that the lovely Natalia Kononovahad put together and shared online.  There were bits that I just couldn’t follow, and so there was an element of having to make it up as I went along.

Furthermore, I woefully underestimated the cotton required, so the ‘leftovers’ weren’t enough.  To add more pain to the issue, the additional cotton I bought was a different batch and a different colour…something that I hadn’t noticed until too far into the making.

I knew going into this project that there was a element of unknowns.  The lady who put together the guide fully disclosed that it was incomplete.  However all of the issues I had to deal with along the way, then compounded by the colour mismatch, meant that this was probably the most unenjoyable project I’ve done to date.  Oh, and I think I made it too long!

It’s also why I finished it in mid March this year, but only just blocked it and tried it on yesterday (in July).  Hopefully I’ll wear it when summer comes along.  I do think it looks ok, but would prefer it one granny square row shorter.

Oh well….onwards and upwards!  Lessons learnt!  🙂

If you want the pattern, try this link: http://www.outstandingcrochetblog.com/2014/06/freepatterncrochetlongvest.html

A number of the links I had no longer work, and of course I can’t share the copy of the pattern that I copied down at the time.  I see that the lady who put together the guide (Natalia Kononova) has now got a similar long vest pattern for sale on her site which looks amazing.   http://www.outstandingcrochet.com/.

 

Double Sided Crochet Blanket

Baby Blanket 2It’s been AGES since I’ve posted anything….months and months!  This is most for two reasons:  1:  I have been avoiding doing any baking due to my waistline and 2: I embarked on making a crocheted vest made up mostly of granny squares.  It took me months to make (seriously!) and I am still yet to sew on the tie ribbons so haven’t posted about it.

After spending so many month making one item, I decided to make a nice easy quick blanket…..and then picked the wrong patter to meet that criteria.  ie. it wasn’t quick!  I found this lovely looking “double sided” blanket, but this just meant that it too took ages to make.  Anyway, I have finally finished it!  Yaaaay!   I found the patter here.  As usual you’ll also find it on Ravelry.

Baby Blanket 1

I made up my own edging, which I think turned out ok.  And the blanket is super warm due to it’s thickness, so would definitely be good for those of us who live in cold climates (Auckland isn’t one of them!).  Needless to say, it takes quite a bit of wool.

Joining Granny Squares

I had some 4 ply merino wool that I wanted to use up.  The easiest way seemed to just make a bunch of granny squares.  Easy peasy.

Lounge Blanket 3Then it came to joining them.  In the past I have either sewn them together, or used a single crochet stitch.  Sewing them together gives a nice flat finish on both sides, whereas crocheting them together leaves a ridge on either the front or the back depending on which you choose.  On the blanket shown to the left, I used it as part of the detail of the blanket.  Both are nice, so it just depends on the look you are after.  Some say that it should be on the wrong side, but I figure it’s all about what you like the look of.

For this latest blanket I thought I’d try something new, since the squares themselves were pretty plain.  I had seen a lovely style in the past when looking on the internet, so after a little bit of Googling, I worked out it was called “Flat Braid Crochet Join”.  I found this really good tutorial that uses different coloured wool so it was easy to follow.  The link is here.  I used chains of 5 on the sides, and 7 on the corners because the 3/5 combo was a bit tight and I got curling of the corners.  I haven’t quite finished my blanket yet, but here is a photo of what I have done so far:

4 Ply Blanket 1

Whilst I was doing my investigation about what type of method I wanted to use, I also found this great tutorial on the “Zipper” method which is flat.  I will definitely give that a go in the future.

I also found this video for the “Grafting” method which also looks really interesting.

Of course the worst part of doing all of this internet searching is that my brain is now overloaded with so many inspirational ideas!  I’ll have to hurry up and finish the blanket I’m working on so that I can get onto the next project!!

Lace Cotton Cushion Take 2

Not too long after I’d started crocheting, I decided to make a ‘lace’ cushion for the living room.  In my mind it was a beautifully detailed pattern of brown yarn, with a red background.  Unfortunately I used 8ply wool, because that’s what I mostly crocheted with at that point.  Here is a photo of what I made.

Cushion 1Cushion 2

It is essentially eight different “granny rectangles” made using patterns that move side to side, rather than around a centre.  I edged them with rows of double crochet stitch, which was a mistake because it makes it look too chunky.

 

Two years later I realised that it was time to try re-making the cushion and see if I could make what I’d envision initially.  I was still happy with the colour choice of brown and red, since our living room is based on those two colours.  I decided to make it with Panda Regal 4 ply cotton, which would show the detail of the stiches a lot more than wool.  After a big search on what pattern to use, I decided to go ith what is called a Cotton Smile Motif that I found on Ravelry (Love that site!).  The only pattern I could find is on the Ravelry site, so you’d have to log into there to get it.

Below is a photo of the final result.  Again I used a plain red cotton fabric as the cushion, which I made and stuffed.  I joined the squares as I worked, and then just tied knots to join them on the sides.  I am much happier with Take Two!  It is definitely a lot closer to what I had envisioned two years ago.

Crochet Pillow