Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Hope you are all getting into the Halloween spirit, I've got to go and decorate Tea Towers but I thought you might like to see the little pumpkins that I made to add to my decorations this year.

These little cuties are from the free pumpkin pattern available from PlanetJune and are so quick and easy to make that you'll have a stack of them in no time!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crocheting with wire

One of the challenges that I set myself this year was to see if I could make some crochet jewellery by crocheting using fine wire.

While on a rare shopping trip to a pretty craft shop in Yorkshire back in July I came across some suitable looking wire (34 gauge) as well as some seed beads that were on offer and I've had them in my stash ever since, just waiting for me to take the plunge and have a go.

After a bit of playing around with the wire I decided that a 2.5mm hook would be best and threaded a load of beads ready to start making my bracelet. I used the lovely futuregirl's beaded bracelet pattern as a starting point and made a start.

My first attempt ended up being frogged as I hadn't threaded enough beads on to start with. Trying to pull out crochet that has been done using wire is very, very tricky but I did manage it in the end and I even managed to re-crochet the much kinked wire into one of my finished bracelets. After this I found the crochet to be quite easy going and enjoyed seeing the bracelets come together. Some of the beads in my bracelets have moved about a bit during crocheting due to the nature of the wire leaving a looser finish but even so I think they are very pretty and I'll definitely be trying more crochet wire jewellery soon!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Patchwork progress

Some of you may remember my post back in September about trying a bit of patchwork at my weekly craft group.

Well I thought it was time that I showed you how it was getting on. As you can see I've joined all the little hexagons together now (using something called the "English method") and I'm almost finished sewing it down to the backing fabric.

It looks a bit of a strange shape doesn't it - can any of you guess what it is going to be?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finished at last!

Just thought I would show you quickly how my finished baby booties came out. After a suggestion from one of my followers (thanks Never Knew!) I added a crochet flower to the toe of each bootie in the contrasting colour from the other bootie and now they look much more like a pair

These flowers are very quick to make up and would be useful for so many different projects that need a little extra finishing touch. As I came up with the pattern for these flowers myself I've quickly written up the pattern so that some of you might have a go at making a few too:

Pretty little flowers


This pattern uses American crochet terms. The following abbreviations used are

ch - chain
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
sl st - slip stitch

Row 1: Make a magic ring, work 10 sc into the ring and then pull the loose end to close the ring.
Row 2: *3 sc into next sc, sl st into next sc* x 5
Row 3: *hdc in next sc, 3 dc in next sc, hdc into next sc, sl st into previous sl st* x 5

Finish off and weave in loose ends

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday magazine reviews

Sorry for the delay in my usual biweekly reviews - there has been a lot of crafting going on here at Tea Towers which has distracted me a little from writing up my usual blog posts. I'll try to drag myself away from all the crafting excitement to get my 'to blog about' pile under control.

"Sew Hip" issue 21
October 2010

 Not much in this month's issue of Sew Hip managed to hold my attention for very long. The smaller, quicker projects didn't really appeal to me as they were either too simple to really merit the instructions (like the coasters which were just wool beads threaded together) or far too advanced/time consuming for me to want to start. The duffle coat on the cover is very cute - but definitely beyond my beginner skills. I also liked the pretty patchwork throw but sadly I just don't have enough free time at the moment to start anything that large.

The articles were quite interesting but more aimed towards the experienced sewer as there was a focus on tailoring and adjusting patterns to fit. I enjoyed the interview with founder of Craftsville which is a new craft website based in the UK that has recently been started. Craftsville is definitely worth taking a look at especially if you are a UK based crafter as they have up to date details of upcoming events.

"Sew Hip" issue 22
November 2010

Ah - much better! This issue of Sew Hip had quite a lot more in it that I enjoyed including a good few projects that I would like to try my hand at making. For me my favourites were the very cute little egg cosies that look so fun and quick to make, the pretty ruffled shoe clips that I could see being used on a number of different projects, the lovely fabric hampery baskets that would look so good with a pile of yarn in. 

The articles in this month's issue were also more enjoyable. The interview was with the Felt Mistress who makes some truly fantastic softies which are so unusual and full of character that they really don't fit in with traditional softies. There was also a piece on the curator of the UK edition of the Etsy blog which highlighted a few fantastic UK crafters which made for lots of drooling over photos of beautiful crafty goodies.

Maybe I'll have had a go at one or two project from Sew Hip by the time I next do a magazine review...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jayne Cobb hat - revisited

Two years ago I had a go at making up my own crochet version of the Jayne Cobb hat in response to a hat making request from Kim Werker at Crochet Me. For those of you who don't know who the heck Jayne Cobb is then I highly recommend that you go out and borrow a copy of the Firefly series or the film Serenity.

Now two years later on I've had a request to publish the pattern I wrote for this hat so I'm going back to my roughly scrawled notes to try and piece a basic pattern together for them and anyone else who is interested. However, there are a few other much better crochet patterns out there as well as a good number of knitted patterns too so be sure to do a Ravelry search to help you decide which pattern you want to use.

Now on to the pattern!

Jayne Cobb hat


DK yarn in 3 colours or more. For a true Jayne hat you need red, orange & yellow
3.5 crochet hook
yarn needle for working in loose ends

Finished size:

I forgot to measure my hat before I sent it off to my sister but as it fitted me it was probably a size small. You may need to adjust the number of increase rows you work in the crown to get a perfect fit.


This pattern uses American crochet terms. The following abbreviations used are

ch - chain
hdc - half double crochet
sl st - slip stitch
tog - together (decreasing)

At the end of each row sl st to the first hdc worked in the previous row

- Starting yellow yarn -

Row 1: ch 3, join with a sl st to form a circle, ch 2 then work 8 hdc into circle
Row 2: ch 2, *2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (16 hdc)
Row 3: ch 2, *hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (24 hdc)
Row 4: ch 2, *2 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (32 hdc)
Row 5: ch 2, *3 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (40 hdc)
Row 6: ch 2  *4 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (48 hdc)
Row 7: ch 2  *5 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (56 hdc)
Row 8: ch 2  *6 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (64 hdc)
Row 9: ch 2  *7 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (72 hdc) 

- Change to orange yarn -

Row 10: ch 2  *8 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (80 hdc)
Row 11: ch 2  *9 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (88 hdc)
Row 12: ch 2  *10 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (96 hdc)
Row 13: ch 2  *11 hdc, 2 hdc in each stitch* rep around (104 hdc)

if you want a smaller or larger hat then either work a row or two less or do a row or two more of the increase rows.

Row 14- 21: ch 2, hdc around (104 hdc)

- Change to red yarn -

Row 22- 24: ch 2, hdc around
Row 25: ch 2, 65 hdc, turn
Row 26: ch 2, hdc across, 1 hdc in top of 2nd ch (66 hdc)
Row 27: ch 2, hdc across (66 hdc)
Row 28: ch 2, 21 hdc, hdc 2 tog, 20 hdc, hdc 2 tog, 21 hdc (64 hdc)

First ear flap

Row 29 - 35: ch 2, 18 hdc, turn
Row 36: ch 2, 2 hdc tog, 14 hdc, 2 hdc tog (16 hdc)
Row 37: ch 2, 2 hdc tog, 12 hdc, 2 hdc tog (14 hdc)
Row 38: ch 2, 3 hdc tog, 8 hdc, 3 hdc tog (10 hdc)
Row 39: ch 2, 3 hdc tog, 4 hdc, 3 hdc tog (6 hdc)

- Finish off and repeat ear flap on other side of the hat - 

Make up a nice big pompom for the top using all three of the yarn colours and stitch it on to the top of the hat. Sew in any loose ends and you're done!

Monday, October 11, 2010

First attempt at blocking

Before blocking
You may be surprised to learn that in 18 years of crocheting I have yet to give blocking a go. I've heard good things about the results you get from it so always thought that it may be worth a try. However until now I had always ended up avoiding doing it as it seemed to be far too much like hard work. Now I'm at the stage where I would like my crochet to look a little more professional so I've been doing a bit of background reading on the subject and have been looking for a suitable project to try it out on.

Well after deciding it was high time I gave it a go I started working on some "branching leaves" scarves which were turning out quite wrinkly and so I thought that these would really benefit from a good blocking out and steaming. I finished working up these scarves quite some time ago and then hid them in my crochet work bag while I put off spending the time to laboriously pin them both out on my bedroom floor.

Go steam iron!
After two months of feeling a little guilty about them I pulled them out and went at them with a pile of pins. After a good few pins and some very sore fingers I had them all arranged nicely and looking a lot flatter. As I wasn't too sure just how taunt I should pull the stitches on these scarves I just settled for trying to get them straight with the leaves lying mostly flat. Then I turned my steam iron on full and blasted away at them with the steam which turned my bedroom into a bit of a sauna but seemed to be doing the trick.

Then I closed the bedroom door and ignored them for a good few hours while I enjoyed a well earned cup of tea.

All pinned out
After roughly 7 hours I went back to release my scarves from all those pins. It was a little bit of a let down seeing that they looked just how I had left them (I'm not too sure what I was expecting to happen behind my closed bedroom door) but after taking all the pins out they did keep their flatter shape and looked much straighter and neater than they did before.

Though I'm happy with the result that I got with my first blocking experiment I'm still not convinced the end result was worth all that effort. Oh well - at least that's two more presents to add to the Christmas box.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So many projects...

...and so little time. There has been some manic crafting going on here at Tea Towers and I've got about 5 different projects on the go right now, but getting anything finished seems to be causing problems.

Take this beautiful baby dress (pattern from Inside Crochet issue 9), making this up was so quick and easy that it fooled me into thinking that I would get through my to-do list in no time. However, trying to make up a pair of matching booties has been a real struggle and has taken me over a week to do - which is quite shocking really when you consider that the dress took me only 4 days to crochet!

To start with I tried out a lovely free pattern that used 4 ply yarn and a size 5mm hook. But using such a large hook with the finer yarn felt very strange to me and I didn't like the loose fabric it created. So I decided that adjusting my 'Simple booties' pattern would be the best option. The adjustments to the original pattern were pretty easy so that isn't what took me the time - no that would be trying to keep a consistent gauge. For some reason recently this has become a bit of a problem for me, not sure why though but I really hope it sorts itself out!

So now I finally have two slightly mismatched booties (due to the colour changes in the Wendy Happy yarn I ended up with two booties in two different colours - well at least they go with the dress!) and though they are very cute I don't feel that they are quite 'finished'. I want to add some sort of extra decoration to make them look more of a pair - any suggestions?