Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Crochet Christmas Tree Decoration

Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of three crocheted Christmas trees
Can't believe it's time to start thinking of some festive hooky creations - where has the time gone!. At the end of each Summer and Xmas school term I like to make a little gift for my daughter's teachers...something home-made, simple and cost effective. At the end of the Summer term I made Lavender bath melts, which were a great success. This time though I wanted a crocheted Christmas creation.

I had the idea for these simple Christmas tree decorations about a month ago. They tick all the boxes - they're very quick, simple, and economical to make, and they are also small enough to go on the front of a home made Xmas card, which the teacher's can then remove and hang on their tree - a card and present in one. Ideal!

This is a great beginners project or one for the kiddies to have a go at as part of their Xmas crafts session. I'm sharing the basic pattern with you, but you can easily adapt it to suit your own needs - you could make them smaller, larger, sew two together with a little stuffing inside, or decorate in any other way you like. I chose to add some sparkly yarn to give a glistening snowy border to the tree, and some multi-coloured metallic bells for baubles.

The pattern is worked from the top point of the tree down to the base. The top section is a basic triangle shape with increases at the beginning and end of every row. Each row will increase by two stitches. Each segment of the tree has 7 rows, with a small square section at the base to represent a pot. You can use any type of yarn just remember the thicker the yarn the bigger the motif will be. It's always a good idea to count your stitches at the end of every row. There should always be an even number of stitches - if there isn't then you've probably forgotten to increase at the beginning or end of the row.  Here's the pattern...enjoy!

Crochet Christmas Tree Pattern

(written in U.K. crochet terms).

Abbreviations:   
ch - chain. 
sl st - slip stitch
dc - double crochet (U.S. terms sc - single crochet).

Top Section

Row 1. To begin Ch 2, work 2 dc into the 2nd ch from hook, ch 1 turn. (2)
Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of first row of crochet xmas tree
                                (pull the tail end to tighten and neaten the slip knot)

Row 2. Work 2 dc into each of the dc st from previous row , ch 1 turn   (4)
Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of second row worked of xmas tree

Row 3. Work 2 dc into the first st, dc, dc, 2 dc in the last st, ch 1 turn    (6)
Rows 4 - 7. Work 2 dc into the first and last sts, and a single dc in each st along the row until you have 14 sts, ch 1 turn. Work 5 sl sts along, ch 1.
Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of top section of crochet tree complete

Middle Section

Row 1. Work a dc in each of the next 4 sts, ch 1 turn. (4)
Rows 2 - 7. Always work 2 dc in first and last sts, with single dc sts in between them. Each row will increase by two sts, until you end up with 16 sts on the 7th row, ch 1 turn, work 5 sl sts along, ch 1.
Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of middle section of crochet xmas tree complete

Third Section

Row 1. Work a dc in the next 6 sts, ch 1 turn. (6)

Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of 2 dc increase

Rows 2 - 7 Same as the middle section work 2 dc in the first and last sts, with 1 dc worked in each st along. You will end up with 18 sts on Row 7, ch 1 turn, work 7 sl sts along, ch 1.
Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of complete crochet tree, starting to work the pot/base section

Base

*Work 1 dc into the next 4 sts, ch 1 turn*. Work * to * another 3 times. Fasten off.

Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of crocheted Xmas tree section complete

Decorative Edging

Thread six metallic balls onto the yarn, then attach the yarn to the hook with a slip knot. (I had to cut my yarn to size for this part, and thread them all the way to the end - the metallic bells kept snagging and fraying the yarn whilst they were on the thread waiting to be worked in.  I was really surprised at how much yarn I used to outline the tree. I measured the yarn from my fingers to my elbow then worked this length another eight times before I snipped the yarn - it measured about 125 inches/ 317.5 cms - so do it this way if you have the same problem).

With right side facing you make a sl st just underneath the point of the bottom section of the tree, position the first bell right up to the hook, but out of the way whilst you make a dc in next st (see below)
Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of crocheted snowy like border and first bauble worked onto tree

Always work 2 dc in the same st at each corner (this is a little tricky on some of the points - just work the corner where your hook can squeeze into). Work 1 dc in each space along till you get to the turning point to start the next section of the tree (see photo below).
Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of crocheted snowy border being worked and baubles added
I found that working a sl st before starting the next section of the tree reduced the bulk of yarn between each section - it just looked better on mine. It's not exact so try this with yours and see if it makes any difference.

Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of positioning the bauble before crocheting the next stitch
The picture above shows where I've positioned the 'bauble' before making the next stitch. I found the best place to work them is just under the pointed section. If you attach them on the point of the tree they stick out horizontally from the branch, and don't dangle properly.

When you get to the top point of the tree work a dc, tr, ch 15 (for the hanging loop) sl st into top of tr to secure loop, dc all in the same stitch. (You may need to reduce or increase the amount of chains according to the thickness of your yarn for the hanging loop). Continue in the same way down for the other side of the tree. Finish with a sl st after the final bauble has been added. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Block

Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of crochet xmas trees being blocked

With the wrong side facing you, pin the motif  onto a foam pad covered with an old towel. Pin and stretch each point into place, then with a brush spread some PVA glue all over the main tree and pot sections, making sure you work the glue all the way to the points to stiffen and strengthen the motif. Make sure they are completely dry before you unpin them.

Crochet Christmas tree pattern and tutorial: image of completed crochet xmas tree
You could pop them on a home-made Xmas card, decorate the Xmas tree, string them together to make a Xmas garland, or stitch one onto a stocking - just a few suggestions! I'm going to make a larger one to hang from the rear view mirror in the car which I'll share with you soon.

If you do decide to incorporate them into your own designs then I would really appreciate that you link them back to me as the original designer.

I really hope you have lots of festive fun making these. I'd love to hear your feedback on this - your comments are very much appreciated.

Have a Tree-mendous Christmas!!!
XXXXX


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Crochet Bobble Hat

image of luxury Angora yarn 
This is the luxury yarn I bought at Yarndale a few months ago. I couldn't resist it's super-soft charm and got very tactile with it on the day... there was plenty of squishing and stroking and debating whether to buy it or not (an eye watering £7.50 each). 

Bigwigs stall was jam packed with like-wise minded people, and the yarn was literally flying off the shelves. I've never bought yarn as expensive as this but I knew exactly what I wanted it for so I decided to part with the cash, and I'm so glad I did. I'm all for supporting small, local artisan products. You can tell this is a passion for Sarah, the rabbits looked very healthy and well cared for - just look at these Angora cuties...

image of  Angora Rabbits

Loved this dappled brown one with gorgeous tufty ears.

Want to see my first ever crocheted hat?

Here it is....

image of slouchy crochet bobble hat
Can you see how fluffy it is!? I finished this about two weeks ago. Although it would have been finished a lot sooner, but there was a bit of a problem with the pattern. I followed the pattern to the letter but it didn't slouch properly. It turned out more like a beanie hat. So I had the soul destroying job of taking it all out and started all over again. I knew the gauge wouldn't be correct because of the different yarn I was using, but the number of stitches given for the medium sized hat fitted perfectly so I just kept with that. The pattern says to crochet into the front loops for the initial band but I didn't like the effect, so I crocheted into the back loops instead which gave a better ribbed effect. Then there was the problem of the rows between the bobble rows being too short, so I crocheted two extra rows of trebles to give it the length it needed to slouch.

Once I'd sorted the initial problems out it really was an easy hat to make. It took me the best part of two nights to complete. I love it! I think it's worth every pretty penny. Don't let me put you off though - you can purchase the pattern through Ravelry or Vogueknitting. I've worn it a few times now...it's snug, soft and warm, and best of all it doesn't itch - or tickle for that matter! I did worry about this at one point though - I could see individual bunny hairs sticking out (with an added bit of straw for authenticity!). Thankfully I had enough yarn to finish it - that little ball of wool is all that's left, so I'm wondering whether to add a small pom-pom style bobble at the back. Here's a view of the back...

image of crocheted slouchy style bobble hat
I could then re-name it to my double-bobble hat or nobbly-bobbly hat or bobbly-bobble hat or bobbly bunny hat. (sorry!). 

I love my selection of hats though they are great to slap on when you're having a bad-hair day, or too- much-grey-popping through-need-to-go-the-hairdressers-day. I normally buy my hats (of which I have plenty) from T. K. Maxx. They have such a great selection of ski/snowboarders hats, but this bunny hat is my favourite by a mile. I want to make this one next from playinhookydesigns. I'll probably end up making one for each member of the family. The added bonus is it's a free pattern too...thanks so much Liz.

Looks like I'll get plenty of chances to wear it this week as we're in for a cold snap here in the U.K. Bring it on!

image of Autumn sunrise with red bushes
This was the view from my garden this morning just as the sun was rising over the hills. The bushes were glowing so much they looked like they were on fire. Stunning. Autumn certainly has the WOW factor for me this year.

I'm now working on my Christmas projects (yes you've guessed- bunting is in there somewhere!). I bought some lovely spangly yarns from a recent trip to Abakhan in Liverpool. I love this place - could easily spend hours and lots of cash there. Here's a sneaky peek of what I bought...

image of Christmas coloured yarn

I haven't bought one Christmas present yet. So much to do - so little time. I'll see you soon with a free Christmas pattern. TTFN XXXXX




Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Crochet Autumn Bunting


image of autumn coloured yarn
Just pootling past to say a big hello, and share a quick crochet Ta-dah with you. The Kidlings are back in school now so the normal routine has resumed, and I have so much to catch up on. First there's the housework - Oh My Goodness it's such a mess round here! We had lots of half term fun, I said a big fat NO to proper Get Stuck In housework. So now I'm ploughing my way through the heaps of teeny tiny toys scattered everywhere and the tumbleweeds of dog hairs in every nook and cranny of my home. It's going to take me all week...I'm not joking!

Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my crochet Autumn wreath. It was a really quick project to put together. However I can't say the same for my bunting - it just grew and grew and ideas evolved along the way with many unplanned additions. It all started with this idea...

image of crochet spider web bunting and spider
These bunting triangles can be used for Halloween decorations or like I've done I've used it as part of my Autumn bunting so it can stay up longer. I've written a free pattern for the spider web bunting and tiny spider if you fancy having a go yourself.  Just going to go right on and show you so...

Here is my finished Autumn bunting...
image of crochet Autumn inspired bunting
For something that I didn't really know how it was all going to turn out -  I'm chuffed to bits with it. I didn't think anything could top my lovely summery crochet beach hut bunting, which I'd become quite attached to.

It consists of a twiggy branch holding seven bunting triangles. Two Autumnal suns with iridescent discs for raindrops. Five leaves of varying sizes (and more raindrops). Spider webs and spiders. Berries. Four flowers. Three acorns, Two pumpkins and a partridge in a pear tree...if I could have added flying geese, pine-cones, sycamore seeds and more leaves I would have, but I simply ran out of time (and space).

Here's some close up pics...
image of crochet autumnal bunting

image of crochet Autumn bunting
Drat! Will have to add window cleaning to my long list of chores, Blah.
image of crochet autumnal bunting

image of crochet autumnal bunting
This last one isn't in focus properly but its such a bright one and shows off all the Autumn colours at their best. It was so difficult to take a decent steady shot of this and capture the colour quality too. 

image of box of fireworks

Have a great Bonfire Night! We are staying home and will be entertained by Pops who'll be in the garden (on his own - we will be watching from a lovely warm kitchen) lighting these lovelies. Hope the weather will be kind. Fingers crossed! XX

P.s If you love all things cottony and colourful go and take a look at Ada Bea's lovely blog. She has a smashing giveaway which ends this Friday. Quick hurry! x