Monday, February 28, 2011

Kindle Cover

I got a kindle for Christmas and I decided to put my skills to good use and create a cover for it.  It gave me a great excuse to try out some cable stitches I've been wanting to crochet.

I created it using Anchor Style Creativa100% cotton yarn, its DK weight.  This yarn comes in wonderfully vibrant colours, I've done the front side in bright red and the back in lime green.

For the front I worked drunken cables, they wander back and forward across the work.

Crochet Kindle Cover

And for the back I worked some linked bobbles.

Crochet Kindle Cover

The back needed to be worked a little longer so that it creates a flap to cover the top of my kindle, it also has a couple of little button holes worked near the top edge.

I very rarely block my work, but as you can see from the pictures above I needed to this time.  The drunken cables tends to pull the sides in and out along with the wondering of the cables.

I blocked them by soaking in cold water for around 20 minutes, then rolling them in a towel to remove excess water.  Then I pin them out to the shape and size I wanted and leave them to dry naturally and completely.

In my case because these are relatively small pieces of work I pinned them out on my ironing board.

Once they were completely dry I backed them with felt.  I sew them using a bobbin thread that matches the yarn colour and a sewing thread that matches the felt.

Crochet Kindle Cover

I also sew around the button holes and cut through the felt. 

Crochet Kindle Cover

The last things to do is sew the front and back together

Crochet Kindle Cover

...... and add the buttons.  I added a couple of little flower buttons with crystal centers just for a little glam.

Crochet Kindle Cover

Now my kindle has a cosy new home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pattern books - I have so many!

I can never go into a book shop with out somehow ending up in the craft section .... I can't pass it by without having a quick rummage - even though the selection of books is pretty poor for Crochet (usually 1 to every 4 or 5 knitting books) I still have to have a look, just in case there might be a new one.

I also get those wonderful Amazon suggests emails, and quite often there is a nice shiny array of crochet books - that I've never seen before !!! 

Its not as if I only buy "pattern" books, I love to get stitch and motif books.  They are a great inspiration for coming up with my own designs.

I thought I'd share a couple of books that I have particularly liked or found useful.

201 Crochet Motifs by Melody Griffiths.

My copy of this book is seriously dog-eared, I have referred back to it so many times when I am looking for a little inspiration.

Basic Crochet Stitches (250 to crochet) from the Harmony Guides series.

Although this book does give a great guide to the most basic crochet stitches it also has much more.  It has detailed stitch diagrams that are invaluable.  Sometimes it is very difficult to express in just pattern language what is required to create the stitch and that is when the stitch diagrams come into their own.

If you are looking for something a bit different then Loop 'd Loop by Teva Durham is a good choice

This book has the works, it even has a pattern for a hammock !!!

For baby, I really like Lois Daykins Baby Crochet: 20 Hand Crochet Designs for Babies 0-24 Months

This has a nice collection of toys and accessories, it isn't as hot on the clothing side of things, just 2 patterns of the 20. 

For clothing I think Cute crochet for Tiny Tots by Helen Eaton is better

This book has a nice selection of clothing for babies and toddlers.  It also has a pretty decent set of patterns for the nursery, blankets and accessories.

I have many many more books (its a bit of an obsession) so I am sure I will be posting more recommendations another time

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baby's Stacker toy

I love to make little toys, I always try to make them baby friendly - by that I mean, no hard eyes or sharp bits that can be bitten off or chewed or cause injury.

I saw this pattern and decided to make this little stacker toy which is available in my Etsy shop

Crochet Toy Stacker

It is made this using Sirdar Snuggly DK yarn, which is a baby yarn and - as the name would suggest - very soft.

The whole toy is the post to stack the rings on, which I think looks like a turtle

Crochet Toy Stacker

And then three rings of decreasing size.  The largest is a bumble bee - which I made in yellow and black with white wings.

Crochet Toy Stacker

The next ring is a ladybird/ladybug and then the smallest is a dragonfly

Crochet Toy Stacker

The ladybird is created all in red with individually made and sewn on.  The Dragonfly is made with purple yarn for the body and tail and yellow for the wings.

Finally the base is decorated with little pink flowers and green leaves.

Crochet Toy Stacker

Monday, February 14, 2011

Made it ....

I made my Oyster/Credit card holder and I am quite pleased with it really

I made it with 100% cotton yarn and made a little heart design on the front.
Crochet Oyster card/credit card holder

The whole inside is lined with red felt

Crochet Oyster card/credit card holder

And to make it a bit more secure I added a little popper to keep it closed

Crochet Oyster card/credit card holder

I think it turned out quite nicely :) Now all I need to do is write up the pattern and I'm done.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oyster card/Credit card holder

My Oyster card holder is getting really quite tatty - which is to be expected since its the same one I had when I lived in London more than 6 years ago.  So I thought I'd put my hook to good use and create a new holder .

For those who don't know and Oyster card is a contact-less card used for accessing the underground network (Tube) and buses in London.

Its about the size of a credit card so I thought that the holder I am making would double as either an Oyster holder or a credit card holder.

Ideally I want to have a pocket for my Oyster card and one to hold my tube map too.  The original wallet that came with my card has 2 interior pockets, one for the Oyster card and one for the photo ID card itself and then 1 external pocket for the tube map.  Since no one ever asks for the photo card I was thinking of just the 2 interior pockets - but I'll see how it evolves.

So far I've made three-quarters of it and then ripped it back to try again, I thought I'd put a heart design on it to "pretty it up".

I plan to line the inside with felt and put a popper closure onto the finished wallet. 

Once I get some daylight I'll take some photos of progress and let you see what I've created and how things are going.

Monday, February 7, 2011

So frustrated !

One of my "to do" projects is a wonderful shawl by Kristin Omdahl from her Crochet So Fine book

I decided that I would make this shawl for my mother-in-law, thankfully I didn't mention I was doing it so there is no pressure to finish.

The shawl calls for No10 crochet cotton and 3.5mm hook.  Well I'm really struggling, my crochet is coming up really loopy and messy looking - not at all like the photographs in the book.  I have been half tempted to go for a smaller hook and just keep crocheting until the size looks right

To make matters worse, when I made up the swatch to measure the gauge it came up small !!  I really can't go for a bigger hook since its already so loopy with a 3.5mm one.  So I've ripped it back and started again - I can't say it looks much better this time but I don't really know what else to do with it.

I'm so frustrated with it right now, I've put it to one side and started making something else until I have some inspiration on how to make this look better.

Any hints or tips will be extremely welcome !! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

.... Think I got the right yarn ....

I tried out making my swatch last night with my new yarn and the 3.5mm hook.  It honestly looked to me like it was working up too big, but when I measured it, it was still 1/2 cm too small !!!

Tried again with a 4mm hook and it came out just about bob-on.  I think I must crochet really tight.

I decided that I didn't really like the colour of yarn I had so I've ordered a couple more colours.  Its so hard to tell what the colours will turn out like when you can't really see the yarn texture and the colours are dependant on the quality of your monitor.

So in the end I've ordered up one each of numbers 5, 9, 19, 33, 58 & 95.  I'd previously got a 48 and 20.  The 48 is a little bit "school jumper" and 20 is quite nice but I think it might be a bit dark for the cardigan I am making.

I will always find a use for the various yarns, so I don't feel too guilty about ordering such a selection of colours.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Trying to get the right yarn...

This is kind of proving a point, I mentioned in my last post that I had found a couple of projects in the Crochet so Fine book.  One of them is a hooded cardigan that I really like the look of (lets see if I can do it justice!).

The pattern calls for "lace weight" yarn, and names the variety used in the photos - unfortunatly it is a brand that is not available in the UK so I have set about trying to find something that will do.

So lace weight yarn is 0 - 3ply - so I thought I'd start with 1ply yarn.  I found some at Buttercup Miniatures

So I got myself 1 skein to see if it would do the job.  The hook size called for is 3.5 mm.

I created the swatch required for measuring the guage and it was WAY too small - so I tried again and used a 4 mm hook, better but still too small.

So I have just bought a 3ply yarn to try it out and see if the size is right, the colours aren't as good but I'll worry about that if the guage is OK.

I think we should start laying bets now on me acutally needing 2ply yarn !!!