Crochet Dinosaur Baby Gifts

A while a go I found out one of my good friends is expecting her third boy and knowing she doesn’t need anything (she has it all from her previous two) I decided I wanted to make something unique that she wouldn’t already have.   I started thinking about the things that my children used the most and blankets, comforters and rattles were among my top ideas.  I also have children that are mad on dinosaurs and I decided it was a good starting point.   I found myself in hobbycraft (as I often do) in the wool section and fell in love with the bright blue and green from the new Caron Simply Soft range.  They were on 3 for 2 at the time and so I also got one in white.  It was at this point I realised the comforter was what I was going to make.

I sat down to create my dinosaur comforter and being a fan of no sewing all the parts are attached as you go and the whole comforter is created in one long pieces, so only ends need weaving in.   He was surprisingly quick to create, completing him in a day I also had a go at using short row shaping for the first time without following a pattern.  I was really pleased with my dinosaur comforter, he has bright colours and is really soft and I am hoping is something that the new baby will enjoy playing with.  He didn’t really use much of the wool I had bought though and so I decided to try and have a go at a c2c (corner to corner) graph blanket using the same colours (so they match) again with a dinosaur theme.

Crochet Dinosaur Collage
Crochet Dinosaur Baby Gifts, Blanket and Comforter

So I got the graph paper out and sat and drew an outline of a dinosaur and egg on the paper as a guide to follow.  After a few attempts I found a design I was happy with and started to create my blanket.  It is not as hard to work a graph design in c2c as I was anticipating, however, I very quickly learnt the value of bobbins as constantly cutting the wool every colour change resulted in a lot of weaving in of ends, not something I enjoy at all!   About 1/3 of the way in, I started to separate the wool in to various smaller balls so I didn’t have so much cutting and the result is definitly a lot better.  Not only are there many less ends to weave in, but I think the design looks better, and in the long run will also make it far less likely to fall apart.   Next time, I think I will mentally run through a design and figure out what I need and separate the wool before I even start!

I was very pleased with the finished blanket, although it will slightly annoy me that the picture is not completely centered.   I finished it off with a simple border consisting of a sc and ch2 in between every block, followed by 3sc across each ch2, then a row of dc, a row of sc and finally a crab stitch finish.  Using each of the colours in the blanket really finishes it off in a simple and easy way.   I have added the graph of the dinosaur blanket below incase you want to try and make it yourself, although the dinosaur is a little more centered in it than in my blanket.   The dinosaur comforter pattern can be found here.

c2c Dinosaur Blanket Graph
c2c Dinosaur Blanket Graph

I hope you have enjoyed my crochet dinosaur baby gifts as much as I enjoyed creating them, and my friend and her baby will enjoy using them.   See you all next week.

Vicky x

My Top 10 Crochet Stitches

We have been experiencing some lovely weather here in my part of Britain this week and as a result we have been outdoors having picnics, feeding ducks and going to the park.   All great fun, especially for the children, but not overly productive for crochet!   So this week, as I haven’t got any finished projects to show you (I am still working on the dragonfly stitch project I shared last week on social media) I would like to share with you my top 10 crochet stitches. (All stitches are referred to in american terms)

  1.  Single Crochet – I know this is a really basic stitch and something that is pretty much something everyone starts off learning, but it really is a stitch I couldn’t do without.   It is great for making all sorts of other stitches and I use it as an alternative to sewing clothing and blankets together (I really don’t like sewing!)   But even more than that I love how it can be used to make toys and with good tight tension prevents stuffing from showing through.
  2. Shell Stitch – This was one of the first stitches that I learnt to crochet and I loved how easy it was.   I have made lots of items with this stitch, cardigans, skirts, tops, jackets, blankets I love it.   I love how it can be adapted so easily to create different sized shells and to make it stretch across the edges of blankets.   This is definitely a stitch I would recommend you learn.
  3. Dragonfly Stitch – This is a stitch I have been wanting to try for ages, but I have only just gotten around to it.   It look me a while to get the hang of spacing it easily as the dragonflies are made over a couple of rows, but I absolutely love this stitch.   It is so pretty and I have so many ideas for what I can do with it, so keep a look out for future dragonfly projects on this blog!
  4. Popcorn stitch – When I was extending Lily’s baby blanket I learnt many new stitches but one of the ones I have used again since is the popcorn stitch.  I love the raised texture it gives and the fact that you can adapt it from the polka dot effect to being a strawberry (or any other round fruit if you changed the colour) to a ball or anything else you feel like.  This is a stitch I know I will continue to use in future projects.
  5. C2C (corner to corner) Stitch – this is a stitch I have only learnt this year and it is a stitch that I really love.  I really like how it can be used for stripes, plain or even a picture graph.  It is easy and quick to work up and I will continue to use this stitch for many projects in the future.
  6. V Stitch – This was a stitch I have used a few times.  I learnt it when making my wedding shawl and transferred it into part of my Lacey jacket pattern.  It also made an appearance in Lily’s blanket and it is a stitch that is really easy to replicate.  It gives an open Lacey feel and looks really nice, a real summery stitch and one I will use a lot.
  7. Granny Stitch – This is the classic crochet stitch and makes amazing squares.  I have been using the granny stitch for a while now, having made a poncho and a patchwork blanket I know this is a stitch I will a lot more in the future – in fact I have a few projects in the pipeline with this stitch when I have some more time!
  8. Backpost / Frontpost stitches – technically these are two different stitches, but I love putting them together in an alternating pattern to create a similar look to the knitting RIB stitch.  I find this is great for sleeve cuffs and edging on clothing particularly, it really finished a piece off.   These stitches also work really well to create cable patterns, something I want to work with more this winter!
  9. Mesh stitch – I love the simplicity of this stitch and used it to create the toy hammocks for the children, and think it would also look fab incorporated into a summer top.   It would also make great shopping bags made in a good sturdy cotton and probably loads of other projects it would work up great for too.
  10. Chevron/wave Stitch – This is perhaps the stitch that I struggled with the most.   I learnt it quite early on to create Oliver’s blanket and I had many issues with the counting of rows which has resulted in a wonky blanket.  Despite this, I love the look of it and it is a stitch I fully intend to work on some more in the future and I would love to use it in rainbow colours to create a rainbow wave effect.
Top 10 Crochet Stitches
Top 10 Crochet Stitches

These are my current top 10 crochet stitches at the moment, but there are literally hundreds more out there I would love to try.   I have an idea for a stitch a week square to make a patchwork blanket up over a year or so and is something I might do to use up the wool ends next year from this year.  It may be something I will do as a mini weekly blog crochet a long starting after the summer.   I would love anyone to let me know if this is something they would be interested in joining in with.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my top 10 crochet stitches this week, I will see you next week with hopefully a finished project!

Vicky x

Crochet Toys – Mermaid Doll and Snake

This week I finally got around to working on a couple of smaller crochet toys I had been wanting to make for the children.  Lily loves watching mermaids on TV and I had wanted to make her a proper mermaid.  Earlier on in the year I had noticed a pattern released by Featherby and Friends for a mermaid doll and after taking part in their birthday celebrations I had been given a coupon for money off one of their patterns and so I purchased the mermaid pattern.   I didn’t have access to the wool used for the hair so I asked my sister to bring me some home from America and the pattern was set aside.   This week I finally had time, the wool had arrived and I had the pattern so I started to make the mermaid.   She didn’t take me long at all, even considering I took her apart as I wasn’t happy with the effect using the 8mm hook recommended, her gaps were way to big in the stitches.

She’s larger than I expected although she is made using chunky blanket wool, but she was super easy and quick to make and she is very soft and cuddly.   Her hair took the longest to add on but it was totally worth it.  Her hair is so soft and the colours are perfect for a mermaid.  Since Lily is still young I had tied her hair up so it doesn’t get completely knotted and a mess but when she’s older we can take it out.   Lily loves her and she now lives on her bed when she isn’t being dragged around!   The pattern is a paid one,  but she’s definitely worth paying for.  If you want to make your own mermaid then you can find the pattern at this link.

Mermaid Collage

 

Also this week I was able to make Oliver the snake he has been after for ages.  Whenever we go to a toy shop he loves the super long snakes, and he is always playing with the dog’s toy snake at his grandparents house.  So this week I decided it was time to make one for him.   He choose his colours of blue and green and I set out to make it.   It didn’t really take long, I just increased stitches in a magic circle until I got to 36 stitches in the round and then I tried out some tapestry crochet techniques using the green to create triangle patterns in the snakes skin.   It worked up really nicely, although it did take me a while to find a good rhythm where I wasn’t constantly tangling the two balls of wool up!   I used some left over Caron Simply Soft wool I had from another project and the colours are great.   Its not a super long snake but Oliver wanted it done immediately and he wasn’t patient enough to wait for me to make it any longer.   I stuffed him when I finished the length and that was a nightmare, I should have stuffed as I went along, but I finished with the tail in blue and added a yellow kinder egg filled with beads to give the snake a rattle sound.   So far he is holding up to the beatings of a 3 year old throwing it around!

Snake Collage
Snake Collage

I didn’t really use any kind of pattern to make him, and its not overly worth creating one as it was so simple to make, but if anyone is interested in creating their own snake, then I will add some directions below.  When working 2 colours, carry the colour you are not working with underneath each stitch and change colour on the final yarn over of the previous stitch.  Stuff the snake as you go and if you want to add a rattle, add it in the tail to make a rattle snake!  It only uses a couple of stitches, single crochet (sc), single crochet increase (sc inc), single crochet decrease (sc dec), ch (chain) and slip stitch (sl st) to make the snake and once you have gotten used to the changes of colour is easy to work up.   I am now looking forward to making something more detailed using the tapestry crochet.

Snake Pattern

Tonge in yellow

  • ch 9, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in every ch to end, ch5, sc in 2nd ch from hook and every ch to end, sl st into original st then ch 5 and sc in 2nd ch from hook and every ch to end of ch, sl st into starting st and cast off.  Attach to snake between rounds 10 and 11 in between the eyes underneath the snakes body.

Snake 

  • starting in blue, 6sc in magic circle (do not sl st in any round)
  • sc inc in every st (12)
  • (sc inc, sc) rep to end (18)
  • (sc inc, 2 sc) rep to end (24)
  • (sc inc, 3 sc) rep to end (30)
  • (sc inc, 4 sc) rep to end (36)
  •  for the next 6 rows – sc around (36)
  • insert eyes between rows 10 and 11
  • *(5sc in blue, sc in Green) rep to end
  • 2sc in green (3 sc in blue, 3sc in green) rep 5 times, 1sc in green
  • 3sc in green, 1sc in blue (5sc in green, 1 sc in blue) rep 5 times, 2sc in green
  • sc around in blue
  • 4sc in blue, 1sc in green (5sc in blue, 1sc in green) rep 5 times, 1sc in blue
  • (3 sc in blue, 3 sc in green) rep to end
  • 1 sc in green, 1sc in blue (5sc in green, 1 sc in blue) rep 5 times, 4sc in green
  • sc around in blue*
  • rep from * to * another 12 times
  • (4sc, sc dec ) rep to end (30)
  • sc around (30)
  • (3sc, sc dec) (24)
  • sc around (24)
  • (2sc, sc dec) (18)
  • sc around (18)
  • (sc, sc dec) (12)
  • sc around
  • sc dec around (6)
  • sew end shut and sew in ends.

Thanks for reading this weeks post, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my creations.  I would love to see any pictures of the snake if you decide to make it.  See you next week.

Vicky x

 

From 60’s Crochet Dress to Crochet Lace Vest Top

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the 60’s dress I was trying to create and since then I have shared a couple of updates as it was progressing.  Today, I am pleased to say, it is finished and I am able to share it all with you.   It is nothing like how I originally pictured it in my head when I started to design it, and it is not even a dress anymore, but I am very happy with my first adult top that I have fully designed myself.

As I stated above it is no longer a dress.  I got to a certain point and I just decided it wouldn’t look as good if I made it any longer, so I stopped.   I had intended it to have long sleeves, but they ended up as short sleeves, although having fiddled around with them a great deal, and not being able to get them quite how I wanted, I have decided to leave them off, creating the crochet Lace vest top.  It is made of two main motifs, throughout and a couple of modified motifs at the neckline.   Then I have just used simple half double crochets to finish all the edges.

It isn’t difficult to make any of the motifs for this top, however, it has been a pain putting them together and I have spent a great deal of time taking it apart, probably as much if not more than  making it!   Its a little loose on me and measures 19 inches across (38 inches around) and 23 inches from top of shoulder to the bottom of the top, but is easily adjusted to size by taking out or adding a row or rows of the top and it is probably best to try it on as you go and definitely not to sew in the millions of ends too soon incase you need to adjust as you make it.  I haven’t got a good picture of me wearing it yet, (I am no good at taking selfies) but as soon as I get one I will add it onto my social media pages.

Lacey Vest Top
Lacey Vest Top

I am just finalizing the pattern and typing it out, but I would love to hear from anyone who would like to pattern test this for me.   It required a 3mm hook and 4 ply wool (I used just under 4 100g balls).   I think it would look lovely in a single colour as well as the rainbow, but if you wanted to use the same I used the Womens Institute Soft and Silky Lilac Mix.   It is written in american crochet terms and will have pictures for reference.  I am not in any particular rush to get the pattern out, so if you are around this month or next and would like to test it then please send me a message, either here, via email or Facebook.   It would be helpful if you can open a PDF file and can chat  via Facebook chat, but I can also used email if needed.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks post about my crochet Lace vest top, and I would love to hear from anyone who would like to test the pattern for me.  See you next week.

Vicky x

Crochet Pattern Testing

A few weeks back I volunteered to be a part of a group of people crochet pattern testing some fingerless gloves and a hat.   UK term testers were required since everyone had been selected for US terms, and although I primarily use US terms, I do read UK terms (being based in the UK) definitely wanted to try pattern testing.   I was selected and a facebook chat group was set up.   I received the patterns later that day and began to test them almost immediately.   This was my first time pattern testing and I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.   If you haven’t pattern tested before, you are given a pattern to work up and then find any errors which might hinder someone from making the item.  Its a fairly simple process and it is nice having the designer available to directly discuss the patterns.   (There have been patterns I have made where this would have been useful!)    I really enjoyed the process of working through the designs.  They were quick to work up and the instructions easy to understand.  As a group we worked out a couple of issues and got the patterns perfect and ready for release.   Terri Stewart, the designer of these patterns was really helpful and it was great getting to know her as we tested the patterns.

The actual items we tested are based on the loveknot stitch, which I had never heard of before, but absolutely love, and I am planning on designing some of my own items in the future using this stitch.  The hat comes in 3 different slouchy levels, and although I have only worked up the smallest slouch, I am sure the others would look great too.   All the items are the perfect fit and  The suggested wool for these was a variegated one in worsted weight, however, I only had a plain dark red in a similar weight to use.   At first I didn’t think they would look as good, however, I am really pleased with how well the plain wool brings out the pattern.     In fact I loved the hat and gloves so much that I decided to make the matching cowl pattern that Terri had previous released.   My only disappointment was that it was out of season and I would have to wait half a year to properly wear them!  I was therefore delighted when I went with some friends to an open air cinema one evening and it was cold enough to use my new winter set!  They fitted perfectly and helped keep me warm!

Loveknot set
Love knot hat, cowl and fingerless gloves

The loveknot patterns are really simple and look effective, and although it is out of season for most people, I would definitely recommend these patterns, which you can find in Terri’s Ravelry store.  They would also make great gifts for Christmas, if anyone is thinking ahead already.   I enjoyed my first pattern testing experience and I can see the benefits of this for my future patterns (more about this next week).

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks post and definitely check out Terri’s patterns.   See you next week.

Vicky x