Friday, April 26, 2013

Sweet Thing competition extended!

Hiya Crafters!  I've decided to extend the running time of the Sweet Thing Stamp Set competition until 7th May so if you've been meaning to enter but haven't quite got around to it, now's you chance!  You can also now enter either by joining the blog and commenting on this post or this post OR you can follow us on Facebook and write a post mentioning your favourite stamp set.  Of course you can do both if you'd like :D
Make sure you tell your friends to enter too - the more followers, the bigger the prize!
Happy Crafting x

Monday, April 22, 2013

clamshell baby blankie

In an uber productive state of searching through new patterns on Ravelry (wink, wink), I came across this beautiful pattern for a clamshell blanket from Cherry Heart.  I was instantly in love.  Although I already have a chevron blanket for Bubs on the go, now that I know we are having a little girl, I really want to crochet a blanket in soft, earthy, girly colours - you know, beige, rose, dusky blues etc.  This pattern is the one.  I'm starting out small, making this the right sort of size to pop over Bubs in the car seat or pram as opposed to making a blanket for the cot - small expectations are much easier for me to cope with!  I started on this pattern yesterday and might I say, I consider myself pretty nifty at crochet, rather apt at mathematics and have an unhealthy dose of OCD to boot so I thought I'd have this pattern by the proverbial.  But alas!  It had me!  There are a couple of parts in the pattern which I found a really tricky, bits that just didn't add up, but until I have a grasp on the problem (is it the pattern? is it the way it's written? or is it me?), I will keep those quandaries to myself.
Here's where I'm at for the moment - 

I'm using a range of wool from Heirloom (tags removed so I don't know exactly what they are!) and some other wool from the stash (there's still a row of pale blue to go).  But this is prone to change as I may rip it all out and start again with a fresh head!
Anyhow, I think the pattern itself is just beautiful and it is very lovely of Cherry Heart to offer it up for free.  I intend to soldier on with it and hope to post a completed version soon!

cute tute: baby chevron blankie

I've been a little quiet lately - sorry 'bout that!  But do you know why?  It's because I've actually been DOING THINGS!  Not just thinking, not just Googling, not just procrastinating but actually DOING.  Ah, how I love productivity!  And this cold, wet,stay-inside-and-make-things kinda weather is just productivity-perfect!  There may also be a little nesting going on  - as long as it results in a clean house and happy family, I'm content :)  
So WHAT have I been doing exactly?  Contrary to my productivity rant above, I'm kinda couch-bound due to third-pregnancy-everything-hurts-to-move-itis.  So I've taken full advantage and have been crocheting like a crazy lady (and doing everything physical in short bursts at intervals in between)!  Before we knew that we were expecting a girl, I started a chevron blanket in bright, gender non-specific colours.  Although I got the beginnings of this pattern from a newly published pattern book, it was so badly written - in that it stops at Row 2 and gives no indication where to go from there - that I had to figure the rest out for myself, completely re-writing the pattern!  So I am posting my version here.  I figure if you are going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on designing, printing and advertising, you should at least make sure your pattern works!!!  No worky, no credit.  That being said, please let me know if for some reason my pattern doesn't quite work out - eek! - and I'll get right onto it!

Here's how my chevron blankie is looking -

And here is how I did it - 

Chevron Baby Blankie
US terms are used for this pattern.  The width of the blanket is roughly a metre but you can change this by using any size hook you like or increasing the foundation chain.
dc3tog - here's a great explanation of this stitch from 
Yarn over (YO) hook, insert hook in stitch (st), pull up a loop (lp), 3 lps on hook.  YO hook, pull through 2 lps.  YO hook insert in next st, pull up a lp, 4 lps on hook.  YO, pull through 2 lps, 3 lps on hook.  YO, insert hook in next st.  YO, pull up a lp, 5 lps on hook.  YO, draw through 2 lps, 4 lps left on hook. YO draw through all 4 lps left on hook.

Using a 4.5mm hook and 8 ply wool, ch136.

Row 1 - dc into 4th ch from hook, 1dc into next 9 sts, dc3tog, dc into next 9 sts, *3dc into next st, dc into next 9 sts, dc3tog, dc into next 9 sts*.  Repeat from * to * until end.  The last 2dc will both go into the very last st.
Row 2 - 3ch, 1dc into st at base of 3ch, dc into next 7 sts, dc3tog, dc into next 9sts, *3dc into next st, dc into next 9sts, dc3tog, dc into next 9sts*.  Repeat from * to *. 1dc into top of ch3.
Row 3 - 3ch, 1dc into st at base of ch, dc into next 8sts, dc3tog, dc into next 9sts, *3dc into next st, dc into next 9sts, dc3tog, dc into next 9sts*.  Repeat from * to * to end, making the last 2dc into top of ch3 from previous row.
Repeat rows 2 & 3 to maintain pattern.
Continue making rows until blanket reaches desired length.
- As a rule, your 3dc into next st will always go into the centre stitch of the 3dc into next st of the previous row.  It's a good idea to keep an eye on this so that if you miscalculate, you can pick it up quick instead of noticing 25 rows in that something's not quite right!
- To change colour, use the new colour to finish the very last part of any stitch.  For example, say you are currently on Row 2, using blue yarn and on the next row you want to start using red.  When you are doing your last stitch of Row 2 (1dc into top of ch3) in blue yarn, use the red yarn  for your final 'yarn over' and pull it through.  Drop the blue yarn and cut, leaving a tail for weaving in.  This will ensure a neat colour change.  If I come across a better way to explain this, I'll post it!
Happy Crafting x

Sunday, April 7, 2013

frosty mornings require Part II

Here's the promised slippers for Master Seven in blue and red stripes...

As I wanted horizontal stripes, I crocheted the foundation to the correct width of the foot then crocheted the stripes to the correct length rather than the other way around... does that make sense?

These were done on a 5mm hook using 8 ply wool with a foundation of ch41.

Next in line is a huge pair in alpaca and wool for the Big Bad Wolf!

Happy Sunday Everyone x

Friday, April 5, 2013

frosty mornings require...

slippers!  Like most kids, my kids rise in the early hours and after freezing themselves in front of the tv for a bit, they love to jump into my bed and warm their icy little feet against me!  It doesn't matter how many times I tell them to snuggle under a blanket or wear a dressing gown, the resilient little folk just don't listen *sigh*.  So I decided it was time to make some slippers to keep those cute little toes warm on the chilly Autumn mornings.  After scouring Ravelry, I came across this link for super simple slippers made from a rectangle.  After adjusting the sizing quite a bit, here is the result of Miss Five's new slippers:
I've included a few things I did differently here just in case you'd like to make a set yourself...
1. The pattern says for a foundation on a 5mm hook, you'll need to do 27ch for a ladies' US size 7.5 however I did 35ch for my little girl's feet!  Not sure what's going on there - I know I crochet tight but that seems a little odd.  So I learned that it definitely pays to make sound measurements!
2. I used a contrasting colour to hdc around the opening because I think it looks pretty.
3. As stated in the pattern, you can use any regular stitch but I stuck with the recommended hdc as I love a good half double crochet! It's quick and easy :)
4. Miss Five didn't like my initial pom pom decoration so I made up some little flowers instead.  Here's the super easy pattern: In Colour1, 2ch then 5hdc into first ch, tie off.  Attach Colour2 to any hdc, *3ch, 1dc, 1tr, 1dc, 2ch, sl st into same st, sl st into next st*, repeat 4 times then tie off.  

I'm really happy with the result and so is my wee one :D

Next on the list is a pair in navy & red stripes for Master Seven and I'll let you know the results!