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Diploma Catch up

 

set of four potholders

Oh you’ve got to love those colours together.. reminds me of spring and summer and fresh air and sunshine.   These were the colours I used for a set of Pot Holders as one of my final projects for the homewares section of the International Diploma in Crochet Part 1.  Made in 100% cotton and same two colours for the set but in different textured patterns throughout.2

The inspiration for these hotpads/potholders came from a few different sources, I am sure you can tell this one was the start of the Elements CAL blanket available on  Raverly  I just loved the texture of this one, and one day I will progress to a whole blanket!  The other potholders include a Tunisian checked pattern, a mitred two colour square and another of my favourites is the one that looks like hearts, (well I think they do)  crocheted with two yarns at the same time.  A great video tutorial by simply daisy is available on YouTube and was the inspiration for this one. I really like them all but they are way too nice to use in the kitchen so at the moment , just for show !

These all passed the assessment with flying colours  I am glad to say.  I made a poncho for another of the projects and included a few rows of broomstick lace . I love how the graduation of colour enhances the whole design too.   The pattern was by Drops yarns available free on their website, pattern 168-13.  The yarn I purchased was a budget yarn, but again so lovely to work with and so soft and chunky. The pattern is also charted which I much prefer.  So  here is my lovely daughter modelling it for me (after several bribes aka Proseccos’ of course) .poncho

Finally I submitted a design of my own using a fashion yarn called Superwool by Universal Yarn Inc.  Its is super stretchy and very thick, so I designed this chunky triangle cushion with lots of yarn twiddly bits to add a quirky element .  I used three colours and an 8mm hook, with a crab stitch to join the segments.

 

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So that’s all my final projects done, I just have to knuckle down and do the written work now, which includes some multichoice questions and a report to write.   Time to really focus and nail this part 1 of the diploma.  I have learned so much already doing the diploma and so much has happened in my life since I started it but I really will be glad to get it finished and hopefully pass the final hurdle.   Thank you for reading about my diploma makes and thanks too for your encouragement along the way!

Till next time – Happy Crafting!

 

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Crochet for Stress Therapy

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Its been a little while since my last blog post .  Over the last few years and these last few months especially life has been very stressful . For those of you who have lost loved ones ie your parents you know how stressful and difficult life can become, it certainly makes you all growd’ up all of a sudden.  Well thats how I feel, but I have had a few constants in my world  to help me deal with this new life transition, my wonderful O.H. my beautiful Children and Granddaughter, my lovely Sister and of course my Crochet and other creative passions which help me look to the future.

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My Crochet Hook has had a fair workout, and has kept my mind occupied and busy and is wonderful for Stress Therapy.  March saw the arrival of the ‘Beast from the East’ so it was a perfect opportunity to show the Ladies who come to my crochet class how to be creative with their granny squares and make some lovely mits.

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We should make mits more often beacause by the time we had nearly finished them to wear and show off, the weather turned into full blown Spring with glorius sunshine and a mini heat wave!  It did’nt last long before we were plunged back into winter but a nice welcome break maybe we should be hats next!

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At the beginning of March I joined in the the Casual Granny Cal over on instagram, hosted by Mandy of crochetbtyredagape, a lovely pace with squares being released every month or so, enough time for you to whip up 8 (I’ve only managed 3) in any colourway you see fit.  I also started the Seaside Stash Busting Blanket by the talented Elenora of Coastal Crochet,  available on her blog or instagram account, another nice pace and great to use up your stash of yarn with two pattern rows being released one on a Monday and one on a Friday, I must admit to falling slightly behind with this one, but enjoying all the same.

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Did you notice I seem to have a bit of an orange crush at the moment? Why not, its a great colour to slip in there between those blue’s for a cheeky splash of cheerful colour.

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Of course we could’nt let April pass by with out an Easter Bunny.  This little cutie was presented to my Grandaughter for Easter, she’s only 8 Months old and not surprisingly was more interested with the packaging!  This is one of many wonderful patterns by BubblesAndBongo from their fab Etsy shop, I could have bought them all, so many cute things to make.

Next time I will give you a quick update on my Diploma in Crochet progress. Its all going well and I am coming close to the end of Part 1.   Its lovely to be back sharing my makes and the crafters that inspire me with you and hope like me, if you need a helping hand dealing with lifes challenges, you take the opportunity to let Crochet or any Crafts that you love, fill you with creative comfort.

Buttons Braids and Edgings

Braids

I have been a bit lax of late with my International Diploma in Crochet work! So many other projects on the go and so little time.  I know that sounds very familar to a lot of you!   The Diploma is a great way to learn and stretch your abilities, to help advance your work and for me, help me to design more of my own patterns, a goal I have had for a very long time.

So the photo above shows 5 different Braids which I submitted for assessment along with 3 crochet edgings and 7 crochet buttons.   I was slightly confused by Braids and Edgings, but the course tutor explained the difference – Braids are decorative and designed to be added to your projects like applique whereas ‘Edgings’ are for (yes you guessed it) suitable for say edge to edge jackets or garments, sort of a decorative finish to a project .  Sounds so obvious when I read that back!

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I used a combinations of very fine crochet thread with a size 1mm hook right up to 4ply yarn and 3.5mm hook to complete these swatches, and was happy to receive ‘Excellent’ when returned from assessment.  I loved doing these as they made me think a little more about  not only how to make them and assess the type of yarn etc. but how they could be applied to my projects, so I got a lot out of this exercise.

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Buttons

These were my selecton of buttons, again loved making these!  Some are stuffed with cotton, others are crocheted around other buttons and all using my favourte yarns and lots of inspiration from YouTube.  The only one that I had a bit of a “hmmm not sure about that one” moment was the large mustard button, maybe just because I probably wouldnt use that in one of my projects and as the assessor said could have been made with a smaller hook to make it more durable with wear, which I agree with, but all passed again with flying colours. Yay (Happy Dance!).

Did you notice my little tea pot mat in the background?   Well, I had a little go at the Elements Cal  designed by Sandra from Hooks and Yarn  with super video tutorials from Esther ‘Its all in a Nutshell’ .  What a wonderful pattern, all that texture, love it!   The little tea pot mat is all I have made so far though because I would need to buy yarn for the CAL (Crochet Along) which ends up being a large Blanket but I am having an innner discussion with myself trying to justify buying more when I have so much already!  Of course the stash I have is the wrong colour, the wrong weight, not quite the colours I want… sound familiar? 😀 Still debating that one but for now a tea pot mat is all I have and I love it!

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Finally a little splash of colour using my button making skills (as an excuse ) to make this fun little cushion and also stash busting in the process.  Pattern is by the talented  designer Lucy from Attic 24, Blooming Flower Cushion , I may have to make more of these as it really did’nt use up much of my stash.  Any excuse eh!

Till next time happy hooking!

Christmas Crochet and Free Pattern

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Well, my hook has been super busy with Christmas crochet projects this year, the first one being the adorable Christmas Santa Gonk.  A lovely amigurumi pattern designed by Ling Ryan for Hooked on Patterns, I can’t remember where I bought this one, may have been Ravelry.  So cute!

I used acrylic DK yarn for my trial run and then 100% cotton yarn by Drops, for the finished version.  If you visit  www.hookedonpatterns.com, there is a host of extras available as long as you have purchased the original pattern.

Tapestry Crochet

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This is my first attempt at designing and swatching a small tapestry crochet piece.  I have always loved how this looks in knitted work and really wanted to see if I could achieve a decent crisp look.   Still working on that! haha, but the interesting thing about this technique is that you never turn your work, and the second colour is carried along the back of the swatch as you crochet.  The stitches used are all dc (UK terms) and through the back loops only. Note to self ‘ I must spend more time on this technique in the future’.

Christmas Baubles – Free Pattern

There are many lovely free patterns out there for colourful Christmas Baubles but I wanted to try something different, something more open and lacy but quick to makeup and a great stash buster too.

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These baubles are made using 100% cotton from my stash and used less than 10gms to make.  I designed them to be made in two halves and joined around the centre to finish, you will need a balloon and some fabric stiffener to finish but all the instructions and details on how to make are included in my Free Pattern available to download Here.

They really brightened up my tree, especially in the daylight when the lights are not twinkling, they just added that splash of colour I needed.  I hope you try them, please let me know if you find any problems with my pattern, I would love to see your makes if you want to send me a link.

More Christmas Tree Ornaments

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Are you a hoarder like me?  I keep everything that I think will come in useful for ‘something crafty’.  Well, this hoard was a blessing and was used as the centre circle for these little crochet wreath tree ornaments.  Can you guess what they were originally? – Curtain pole rings!  complete with their own little hook ready to add the tiesto hang on  the tree.

I made these to give as little thank you gifts to the ladies who come to my crochet classes and support a worthy charity.  We have raised over £1000 for Velindre Cancer Fundraising to date and have had some great fun with our makes.  These are made using DK acrylic yarn and again great stash busters.

Watercolour Doodle

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Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without some home made cards, so my watercolours came out for a little play and I doodled a bit to get some ideas for cards for the special people in my life.  Let’s hope I get time to finish them.  Even if I don’t, it’s so relaxing and such a stress buster when I paint, definitely right up there with crochet!

Wishing you a Happy Healthy and Creative Christmas and New Year!

Crochet Catch Up and Free Pattern

Well, I am sorry to say I have neglected my blog for a little while, on the positive side I have completed so many projects, Yay! also started new ones and added lots of inspirational makes to my To-Do list – I just can’t keep up!
I have also managed to write up a pattern for a cute Christmas make.
So firstly, a quick round-up of the finished projects. ( Is’nt it a great feeling when you get a project finished, nothing like it!) in my last post I mentioned a poncho I was making for my sons Birthday in December, this was a lovely make, a free pattern from Two of Wands,  Ravelry shop twoofwands.  I adapted slightly so that the neckline was not quite so low and used my sons’ favourite colours. So many ends to sew in!  But it’s so him, I don’t think he will take it off once he gets it!

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Have you ever tried making crochet baskets?, I am totally smitten with them after finding a lovely pattern by Mijocrochet called doubledouble baskets.  I made up a few to show the ladies at the crochet class I teach and then made a square one just for the fun of it.  The way this pattern is designed, means you don’t have to stiffen them as the double outer wall helps them retain their shape beautifully.

A few Stashbuster projects

Looking at the amount of yarn I have accumulated I have been focusing on projects to stash bust, that was the theory behind the poncho I made, although it didn’t actually use as much as I thought it would. The next stash buster project I tackled was this bright cushion, which hubby has already claimed as his own.  Make lots of triangles and join together, with a few rounds of Linked Treble (UK Terms) stitches to complete, easy peasy and so satisfying as really quick to make up.

What do you do with all those little leftover last dregs of yarn? not quite enough for a full project but if you’re like me, you just cannot bear to throw away.   Another great find from Pinterest this time, for a bright wall hanging, more for a little bit of fun than a serious make. I am still trying to find the ideal place to hang this one so that I can look at it and let it brighten my day when I do.

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Tea Light Candle Holder Pattern

I finally put pen to paper and wrote up this simple candle holder pattern available here as a free PDF download if you would like to give it a go.   The candle holders are ideal for the festive season, shown here with glass inserts.

 

They also look lovely without the glass,  using the imitation battery operated candles (much safer and advisable if not using glass inserts).  I made mine using 100% cotton yarn and stiffened them with PVA glue and water by covering the glass first with cling film and using a foam brush to apply the stiffener.  Leave in a warm place to dry completely.

Let me know how you get on with the pattern, I have tested it a few times so hopefully no errors! Until next Time Happy Crafting!

 

Finishing Up WIP’s and Hello Autumn

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So where did September go!  Someone is definitely speeding up the monthly calendar, the nights are getting darker (more crochet), Christmas will soon be upon us (more crochet) do I sound happy about the changing seasons? You bet, more crochet time snuggled up with some cosy slippers on, fire roaring and crochet in hand, sounds great 😀

Finished WIP’s  

So I was very disciplined and made sure I finished the WIP’s I had on the go before letting myself start the Autumnal Projects I am inspired to make.  Firstly I finished my cotton sweater in pretty dusky pink 100% cotton by Drops Yarn.  It only took 6 x 50gram balls and to my surprise fitted me perfectly.

Look at me grinning!  Sorry about that cheesy grin! I don’t normally do selfies, now I know why haha.  This was a free pattern from a great website I found called http://www.knitsi.com.  They have both knitting and crochet patterns available, worth taking a look if like me you want something a little different.

Granny Square Summer Cotton Top

During one of my crochet classes, I encouraged my ladies to think outside the box and re-visit the good old granny square with some projects that would stretch them.  This is one project I was helping them with, so of course had to make one myself as their teacher!

This is the Sailmaker Top featured in Crochet Now magazine, issue 15, designed by the very talented designer, Lena Fedotova.  I made this again in Drops 100% cotton ( I do have a large stash as bought a lot in a recent sale). So this is another one that was sitting in my WIP’s for far too long.

Now I have finished it, the weather has changed, so guess it will be next season before I can get any wear out of it.  Another reminder to myself to get a move on and finish more WIP’s  before starting another!

Round up of September Makes

As some of you know, I recently became a grandmother to an adorable baby girl, so obviously, baby crochet is high on my priority list.

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Lots of pinks, with cute little buttons… I love crocheting baby clothes, no WIP’s there as they work up soooo quickly. 😀

Hello Autumn

I’ve started my first autumnal project, worked up a colour swatch in those lovely rich autumnal colours…. oh so rich, I am loving this colour combo!

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A simple stitch pattern using (UK Terms) Treble crochet, its the type of project that I can pick up and put down whilst watching TV, we all need one of those projects, don’t we!  This is going to be a poncho/Blanket for my son.   I’ve already got a few other things on the go which will hopefully inspire the ladies at the crochet class I teach,  I am sure they like them as much as I do… show and tell next time.

Hope you all have a very creative Autumn, looking forward to seeing your makes. 😀

Wall Art Mandala’s and Dubrovnik

IMG_0872We recently enjoyed a little holiday to Croatia.  I’ve never visited this country before, wow it is really beautiful. On one of our days, we visited old town Dubrovnik and walked all the way around the outer wall surrounding the old town taking in the amazing views.  A fabulous day but it was so busy there, so many cruise ships visit the old town, apparently, we went on a quiet day, would hate to be there on a busy day!

IMG_0882For those of you who are Game of Thrones fans, they did quite a bit of the filming in the old town,  so it has brought a lot of tourism interest since the program was aired. Not that is the reason we visited, but it was cerainly strange to see all the merchandise in the gift shops.  Here we are, sitting on the wall for a little rest overlooking the red-tiled rooftops after about an hour into our walk it was soooo hot that day!

As you can see from the pictures below, we certainly had some pretty changeable weather! Is’nt it handy I took my Crochet hook and some Cotton in my suitcase. 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised to see my colour choice of yarn perfectly matched the hotel decor, and my two little mandala makes, looked totally at home in the hotel room.

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I made these one afternoon when the only thing to do was to stay in our room and wait out the thunder and lightning storm.  It was so relaxing, listening to the rain on the balcony and hear the sea in the distance with a crochet hook in hand, who needs the sun eh!

#NotaCal

Before I went on holidays I took part in a new sort of Crochet Cal (Crochet Along) on Instagram,  called #notacal by Dedri Uys. It was a photo tutorial of Mandala 21 by designer John Kelly who gave Dedri permission to share his lovely pattern.  It consisted of 15 rounds with each round being posted at different times on Instagram.  I thoroughly enjoyed making this mandala and as usual Dedri’s instructions were easy to follow and very informative, fingers crossed she will do another for all her IG fans.

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I had some lovely Yarn and Colours 100% cotton mini balls in my stash and decided they would be perfect for this mandala, although I did run out of the raspberry colour just a little way off finishing my round! Aghh…

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I was just going to frog the last round and choose a different colour when I heard a loud ‘NO…..’ from the seat next to me!  It was my dear OH, he said “you cant do that just order more cotton! ”  Music to my ears!  haha, so of course I had to order a few other colours just to make the order worthwhile.

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This is the finished Mandala.  I loved the bright colours and decided to make it into a wall hanging which would be perfect for my new Home Office/Craft room (which is still in the decorating stage).   So,  I found some lovely metal plates in our local Ikea Store, I think they are meant for candles but are perfect for what I had in mind.   Using the last round colour of raspberry, I attached the mandala to the plate using a darning needle weaving in between the holes of the plate and  Ta-Dah! Perfect.

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I can’t wait to put this up on the wall but of course, I will need to do a few more, just to balance the look of it you understand and not because I love making them  😉

Crochet Wall Art

Talking of wall art, I was most surprised to see the huge glass cabinet displays in the bar of the Hotel in Dubrovnik, some beautifully crocheted red mandalas.

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Both Mandalas were of a different design but both had sort of like ‘bite-size’ pieces left out of the finished rounds.  They were perfectly finished, so like me they had definitely not just run out of yarn.

I sat for a very long time sipping my cocktail, just looking at these and wondering why they had that section missing and if I am honest thinking how much nicer they would have looked with complete rounds. Eventually, I found someone to ask who worked at the bar, but she had no idea and was obviously not as interested in them as I was, I think hubby was getting a little tired of my vocal theories as to why the looked like that and was desperately trying to hurry me to dinner.

Eventually, I found someone to ask who worked at the bar, but she had no idea and was obviously not as interested in them as I was, I think hubby was getting a little tired of my vocal theories as to why the looked like that and was desperately trying to hurry me to dinner.

I do have a theory which until advised otherwise I am sticking with… All around the local area, shops and gift shops we visited they had many pieces of red jewellery, which I found out was made from local coral – also a traditional Mediterranean ornament, a symbol of vitality and a protective charm.  So I am thinking the mandalas represented the red coral of the area.  What do you think, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings… I’m on a mission to finish all my WIP’s so I can start on my Autumnal projects, I will share them with you soon.

Happy Crafting!