Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Crochet Autumn Wreath

image of willow wreath
I wasn't looking forward to the arrival of Autumn at all. We had such a blissful summer - I wanted it to go on and on. So it took me to the beginning of October before I could really accept the seasonal change and was ready to pack away my beach hut bunting and summer wreath till next year- I loved having them around so much. That was when I knew I had to fill their places with something seasonally appropriate. 

I bought this willow wreath, and another heart shaped one from millieslunashop a long time ago. They are so natural, rustic and pretty looking that I just had to have them even though I didn't have a project in mind at the time. I had intended this one to be for Christmas with natural (not crocheted) holly leaves, berries, pine-cones and ribbons.

An Autumnal wreath hadn't even entered my head - until now that is. Found this beautiful Fall wreath over at the crafty sisters blog - very pretty, very inspiring, but of course it has to have some - not too much - yarny love added.
This wreath is ideal for tying crochet work to, it was so easy and quick, plus I didn't have to crochet a jacket like I did for my polystyrene summer wreath.

image of autumnal coloured yarn

I purchased different types of yarn in varying thicknesses, but this one pictured above is my absolute favourite. It contains all the Autumn colours in just one ball which gives a lovely variegated effect in one motif - so no pesky changing of yarn colours. It's a cotton yarn and is so lovely to work with...I'd love a scarf or cowl in this, it's super-soft. I positively pounced on it when I saw it in the bargain bin in my local yarn store. Unfortunately this was the last ball left, just darn typical!

image of same crochet leaves pattern but using different yarns
These leaves were so easy to do, and when worked with varying yarn thicknesses it created a nice variety of sizes. The pattern can be found at artthreads blog. There is a lot of inspiring projects going on over there - go take a look.

I didn't want to swamp the whole wreath with crochet work...I had to show off some of it's wicker splendour. Although it's pretty easy really in choosing what Autumn motifs to adorn it with - the problem was which ones and how many, and in what arrangement. 

image of amjaylou designed autumnal motifs
But then it took even longer to create some of these as I wanted to have a go at working them out for myself. (You may have met the spider on this post). 
You can see starting from the oak leaf on the left how I experimented and tweaked the pattern each time to create a new shape.

The flower I had originally made on this post but I needed to play around with the pattern so it would lay flat. It's pretty much a basic crochet flower, but the contrasting coloured edge gives it more definition.

I did look around at patterns for the acorns, but each one made the cap separate to the nut part which meant sewing the two parts together at the end - why? They can easily be crocheted together without the need for extra work at the end - I've got the pattern there if anyone would like to use it - just leave me a comment and I'll sort it out a.s.a.p. If not I'll probably add it to my Ravelry page as a free download sometime in the not too distant future.

The pumpkins  were really easy. I'd spent so long on getting the other shapes right that I sort of threw these together a bit last minute...didn't want to spend time working out an amigurumi pattern so worked up two using different stitch combinations but both are worked in the back loops. They could also pass as tangerines too I think!

I also made crochet berries which I forgot to include in the photo.

The advantage of working on this willow wreath is that I can remove any of the items by simply untying them at the back, and can then tie on the new work. (Sorry I didn't get to add your pinecones Gayle - I'll make sure I give myself more time next year).

So here's a close up of the finished wreath...

image of crochet autumn wreath

and here is where it is going to live for the next few months...

image of crochet autumn wreath on door
I photographed this on the outside of my front door because the light was better, but it will be living on the inside so it won't be exposed to the elements. Which means I can keep it there for longer as my Christmas wreath will be on the outside as usual...two wreaths on the one door - fab! It's colourful, simple and quite elegant I think. I'm so pleased with how it's turned out.

The green oak leaves, spider and the pumpkins never made it - in this instance I felt that less was definitely more, but that's definitely not the case with my Autumnal bunting! Can't wait to share that with you soon. Ttfn xxxxx


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Treasure...

image of beach and blue skies
                                ...a beautiful bright blue sky, and warm sunshine - in October!

image of children running to the sand dune
                             ...watching my girlies running and bounding for those sandy hills.

image of sand dune
...listening to their whoops of joy in reaching the top of the sand dune, followed by their squeals of delight as they hurtle down at full pelt.

image of dog in waves on the beach
...Luna joining in with all the fun. She's so good to have around. We all love this crazy hound so much.
image of children holding shells on the beach
  ...foraging on the sand to hunt for beautiful beach bounty.

image of home made ginger biscuits
...getting home, tired but with enough energy to make a fresh batch of ginger biscuits. So quick and easy to make - and super tasty (although I add an extra tsp of ginger for more flavour). Here is the recipe if you want to try them for yourself.

Wowsers What A Day!! - loved every minute of it. We had a blast. This is the first day of the half term break for us here, and oh so glad we got out to have fun in the sun. 

image of children and dog on the sand dunes
                                                                   ...happy memories.

                                        ...my lovely family - your Mumma loves you XXXXX

Friday, 18 October 2013

A Basket Case

image of wicker basket and material
I'm in the middle of a muddle. I need help! I bought this gorgeous large basket ages ago from this lovely place... a real treasure of a find as it was so cheap. I wanted it to carry my yarn in, but needs a smooth liner to stop it snagging my stash. This is the material that I've chosen, but the problem is I'm a complete novice at sewing and just to complicate things even more...

image of dress

it's a dress. I saw this on a mannequin in a charity shop window and fell in love with the material as soon as I clapped eyes on it - so I did the decent thing and ran straight in to buy it - yey another bargain! It's handmade, has quite a cute vintage style about it...unfortunately it didn't look cute on me - made me look and feel like a right frumpy-lump...aged me by ten years. Blah! Good job really as it was meant to be thrifted - not to be worn. Love these quirky flowers...

image of flowers

The arms, neckline and waist are elasticated so I need to work out which is the easiest way to cut the material, and make use of this elastic and ties. I want the elastic to go over the top of the basket... don't want the pesky problem of the material sagging into the basket when I plop the yarn in. I've only got one chance at this and don't want to make a pig's ear of it. Is it a square peg/round hole situation do you think? 

I soooo want to get this right! I'd love to take it to my local knit and natter instead of this one which I love too but it's just not as appealing as the basket. This was bought from Aldi and is a collapsible shopping basket, has mesh pockets inside and zipped ones on the outside...very handy for bits and bobs. It's ideal - for the moment.

image of shopping basket

I've been to knit and natter group a few times and have thoroughly enjoyed it - it's in the same fab place were I bought the basket. Within the complex there is a small but beautiful haberdashery shop. They offer all different types of sewing classes (future birthday present please if you're taking a sneaky peek hubs) so I may just take a wander in there to see if they can help. Fingers crossed!

Made this ginger lemon cake today - an all time family favourite. It's perfect if you're looking for tasty, scrumptious comfort food of the sweet variety. It's so easy to make, is packed full of calories flavour and is great warmed through with ice cream or custard -  or perfect with a coffee. I don't add the stem ginger because I never buy it in. Still good though. I make this every year at Christmas (we're not too fond of the traditional Xmas cake),  I top it with thicker icing for a snowy scene effect add some Xmas iced characters on top - it looks and tastes the biz.
You can find the recipe here if you fancy giving it a whirl. 


image of homemade ginger cake
Flippin' 'eck it's Friday again folks! Before I go I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to those of you who left such lovely comments on my last post. I love sharing my creations with you, and it makes me sooo happy that you take the time to respond to let me know what you think of it. I value your feedback - a lot!!

I'm off to (another) yarny gathering on Sunday. It's called Fibre Fest, and is organised by this lovely couple. So handy for me as it's only five minutes down the road. I'll let you know next week if I buy any goodies from there.

Have a wonderful weekend me lovelies, I'm off to eat a huge slab of cake. TTFN XXX

 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Crochet Spider Web Bunting and Spider Pattern

Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider and web bunting

Oh dear I think I've gone a bit bananas for bunting! I blame it on these and these which I've had the pleasure to make recently. These spider web triangles are part of my autumnal bunting which I'll reveal to you soon, but if you fancy making these as part of your Halloween decorations then here's the pattern for you to make them in time for the 31st.

I used a mixture of yarn types and thicknesses, (the green triangle is slightly larger than the brown). You can use any type of yarn. For the spider I used embroidery floss to keep it small.

Spider Web Bunting Pattern 

(written in U.K. crochet terms). 
Abbreviations:     
ch - chain.  
sl st - slip stitch
dc - double crochet (U.S. terms sc - single crochet).
Htr - half treble (U.S. hdc - half double crochet).  
tr - treble (U.S. dc - double crochet)
dbtr - double treble (U.S. -  treble crochet)
dc2tog - double crochet 2 together (decrease). (U.S. - sc2tog single crochet 2 tog (sc dec)

Beginning with your colour for the web - Ch 4, join with sl st into 1st ch made.

Round 1.  
Ch 3, work 7 tr's into ring. Sl st into 3rd ch. (8 sts)

Round 2
Ch 5, work (tr, ch 2) x7. (work the tr sts into the top of the tr st from the previous round). Sl st into 3rd ch (8).

Round 3.
Ch 7, work (tr, ch 4) x7. Sl st into 3rd ch.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider web

Round 4.
Ch 9, work (tr, ch 6) x7. Sl st into 3rd ch. (8 spokes).
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider web

Round 5. (creates the short spokes which attach to the border)
*Ch 5, turn and sl st along ch row (x4). Sl st into top of tr st from previous round to secure the spoke. Sl st (x6) along the ch row*. Work * to * till 8 spokes made. Sl st into tr st (see picture below). Fasten off.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider web

1st Round for Bunting Triangle.
With the chain row facing you work in the loops behind the chains (see photo below). It's a good idea to count them first so you can see where to start and finish - there should be 6 loops. Starting in a loop to the left of a spoke...
Ch 4, in the next 5 loops work 1 dbtr.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider web

Push the next spoke forward and in the next 6 loops work 1 dbtr.
*Next 6 loops work 1 dbtr, tr,tr,tr, htr, htr.
Work 1 dc in each of the next 6 loops.
Next 6 loops work 1 dc, htr, htr, 1 tr, dbtr, dbtr.^
Next 6 - dbtr, dbtr, 1tr, htr, htr, dc (this forms the bottom point of the triangle).
Now you need to work the pattern in reverse for the other side so start from ^ to * working from the dbtr's first. After the last st is made sl st through the back loop of the spoke from previous round to secure it to the bunting, and through the 4th ch of initial ch 4 of the round. It's easier to use the same colour for the next round so don't fasten off.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider web bunting

Round 2.
Sl st into next st, ch 3 and in the same space work 2 tr's, ch 2, 3 tr's - this is the first corner of the triangle made. In the next 3 sts work 1 tr, the next 3 work 1 htr (before working the 2nd htr, put yarn over hook then put hook through the loop at the back of the spoke, then hook through the st and when you pull up a loop sl st the spoke then work the htr to attach the spoke to the bunting), the next 3 sts work 1 tr. The next corner  is worked in the next st so work 3 tr's, ch 2, 3 tr's, pick up the back loop of the spoke when working the last tr.  In each st down the side work 1 of the following sts...
*tr (x2), htr (x4), dc (x9), htr (x2), tr,^ for the bottom point of triangle work 3 tr's, ch 2, 3 tr's in the same st - making sure you pick up the back loop of the spoke when working the 1st tr after the ch 2. Work pattern in reverse for the other side starting from ^ to *. Sl st into 3rd ch of start of round. I changed to a different  coloured yarn to add another row for the border. Fasten off.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of 2nd round complete

Round 3
Attach yarn to hook with a slip knot then sl st  into the right corner space (right side facing you), then Ch 3, 2 tr, ch 2, 3 tr to make the first corner. This is an easy round of 1 tr worked in each st.Work 3 tr, ch 2, 3 tr for next corner and bottom point of the triangle.

Round 4
(This gives a frilly border to the triangle and the remaining side spokes are attached on this round).
If you're using the same coloured yarn for the outside edge you need to sl st along to the corner ch space to start the round. If not just start in the same way for Round 3, then work -
Ch 4, tr, ch 1, tr, ch1, tr, ch 1 for the corner space - this is the pattern I used for the green border, because the yarn is thicker, and didn't need as many tr's because of the ch 1 spaces in between. Whereas I did a (tr, ch 1)x3, ch 2, (tr, ch 1)x3 for the corners of the brown edged triangle (see 1st photo at top of this post) because this yarn was a lot thinner. You'll have to see which one works for you according to the thickness of yarn you're using.
*Skip a st, htr ch1, skip a st, in the next st work (tr, ch 1) x3*. Work * to * to your next corner space. You should have 4 tr clusters and 5 htr's all with ch 1 spaces in between each st along the top of the triangle.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider web bunting

Keep working this pattern around the sides. Remember to pick up the back loops of the remaining spokes. I attached mine to the 3rd and 5th htr's down the sides - your's may look better in another st because of the type of yarn you're using. When you reach the bottom point of the triangle you'll have to skip 2 sts to make the bottom cluster. Continue around the other side - remember to skip 2 sts after the bottom cluster, and attach the last spokes along the way. Sl st into 3rd of initial ch 4. Fasten off.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet web bunting triangle

Now you need to make it look more of a spider's web than a ship's steering wheel! Attach the yarn to hook with a slip knot, and sl st into the base of the east pointing spoke, then make a row of chains (I did 8), and sl st into the top point of the spoke, make a row of chains to the chain space of the outer corner of the frilly edge, sl st here to secure, ch 1 turn and sl st back along the ch row, (I did 10), sl st into top of main spoke, then make another row of chains and sl st that into the base of the north spoke. Do the same for the other corner, and the bottom point or wherever you think they would look best on yours. Fasten off and weave in all those ends. It will benefit from being blocked. I stretched the web open, and the corners when I pinned it to give it a better shape, then sprayed it with water and left to dry overnight.
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of crochet spider web bunting

All it needs now is an eight legged friend, and here it is...
Web bunting and spider pattern and tutorial: image of small crochet spider

Tiny Amigurumi Spider Pattern.

(I used embroidery floss worked on a 1.5mm hook). You don't need a stitch marker - the ch 1 at the beginning of each round acts as your marker.

Round 1
Ch 2, in 2nd ch from hook make 4 dc, sl st into 1st dc made.

Round 2
Ch 1, 2 dc in each st around, sl st into 1st dc. (8 sts)

Round 3
Ch 1, 2 dc in each st around, sl st into 1st dc. (16)

Round 4
Ch 1, turn the work so the wrong side is facing you, work a dc in each st around, sl st into 1st dc.(16)

Round 5
Ch 1, *dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog*. Work * to * 3 more times, sl st into 1st dc. (12)

Round 6
Ch 1, * dc in next st, dc2 tog*. Work * to * 3 more times, sl st into 1st dc. (8)

Lightly stuff at this point, making sure you don't pack it so it becomes a ball - flatten it into a disc shape

Round 7
Ch 1, dc2tog (x4), sl st, don't fasten off. Surface crochet up until you get to edge of the spider where you think the head should be, ch 1, sl st around in a small circle till you get back to the beginning then dc in each sl st around to form a small head, finish with a sl st - don't fasten off!

Legs
Once the head has been made, sl st around the outside edge to where you think the 1st leg should be, ch 6, turn and sl st along the ch row (x5), sl st into body. Sl st (surface crochet) one more space to start the next leg. For the three remaining legs on this side ch 7, sl st along the ch row (x6). Sl st (surface crochet) around the back of the spider, and start a ch 7 row where you think the leg should be. Carry on around in this way till all legs have been made. I added iridescent sequins for the eyes, and used silver rayon thread to attach it to the bottom of the bunting triangle. 

There you go not so scary now are they ! 

(P.s. I'll be back soon to show you my autumnal bunting and wreath - TTFN x)



Thursday, 3 October 2013

Yarndale: A Grand Day Out.

image of Wallace and Gromit holding Yarndale tickets and programme

By 'eck it were grand at Yarndale! I'd arranged to go on Sunday with my mum which I'm now so glad about because sooo many had turned up on Saturday that they had to turn people away at one point and the roads into Skipton had come to a stand still (I don't think they realised how many of us yarnoholics there are out there!). So thinking it was going to be the same on Sunday we left early to make sure we didn't miss out - I needn't have worried as the whole day was a breeze. The weather was perfect. It was plain sailing all the way and we had a fabulous day. Here is some yarn eye candy for you...

image of crochet bunting at Yarndale
This is the view from the main doors.

image of crochet bunting at Yarndale
This is the view from the opposite end of the hallway - can you spot yours? This is only some of them! The rest where hanging inside the knit and natter lounge and others were hanging up outside decorating the fences, walls and trees. I was really disappointed I didn't spot mine anywhere. Oh well maybe I'll spot them at Yarndale 2014 as they're storing them away till then.
There were oodles and oodles of different types of eye-poppingly gorgeous yarns and goodies (sorry no pics). I could have spent LOTS of cash but I had to stick to a modest budget that day. Very modest unfortunately (sniff). It was lovely to see Nicola at her own stall there. I attended one of her felting workshops mentioned on this post. A very talented, enthusiastic designer. 

Next it was a visit to the knit and natter lounge for a coffee break and to see the lovely Lucy.

image of Attic 24 crochet work

I couldn't wait to take a picture of Lucy's crochet corner in the knit and natter lounge - especially of that lamp. I love it - it's bonkers. Apparently her husband absolutely hates it (as does mine!), so it's going into her studio. It was very busy in there...Lucy now you know what an A-list celebrity feels like! She didn't stop chatting (and smiling) the whole day through...so many people wanted to say hello, me included but didn't get the chance at that point so we decided to head off into Skipton on the Yarndale bus to see her studio

image of Lucy's workstation

Isn't it lovely! Her work space is festooned with some lovely little trinkets, pictures and of course her crochet work. Tracey was there and made us both feel very welcome - I forgot to take a picture of Tracey's workspace because we were happily chatting so much. Mum bought one of her mice and angels, they are adorable. Her work is sooo beautiful. So a huge thank you to both of you for opening your studio doors so we could take a sneaky-peek around.

Want to see what goodies I bought? Course you do!

image of items bought at Yarndale
I splashed out on some luxurious yarn from Bigwigs Angora, and will be used to make this. It'll be my knit and natter project every Tuesday - probably be finished in time for the summer. This is where the yarn originates... 

image of Angora rabbits

How gorgeous! I could have taken this brown/grey one home - just look at those ears! 
Mum hasn't knitted for many, many years now and was so inspired by her day there that she bought some yarn from Bigwigs and is now knitting herself a scarf. I really do hope she will become addicted to this wonderful craft again. This was a very popular stall, every time I passed she always had a queue of people buying her yarn.

I LOVE the colours in this cotton yarn - my all time favourite colour combination is turquoise and red, here's a close up...

image of colourful cotton yarn.

Haven't decided what to make with it yet, possibly some coasters, or a little purse, or phone cosy. Mmm what d'ya think?

I finally got to say hello to Lucy around 4pm before we headed home. I think she was just about ready to collapse into her chair - she looked shattered. Well done Lucy you were a trouper! It was lovely to see you in person. 

The Yarndale team did a super job of putting the whole event together. I hope it will happen again next year. We came away happy, inspired, and with bags full of yarny goodness. Thank you for a grand day out! XXX