A Very Crochet Christmas – Christmas Wreath

I have always wanted a wreath on my door at Christmas, but have never bought one before.  This past year I have been much more involved with crochet facebook groups and have seen a whole load of wreaths made for all different times of the year.    Feeling inspired, I decided this year would be the year I would have a wreath on my door at Christmas.

To start off I bought a polystyrene wreath base from Hobbycraft for £4.00 and for the rest I used scraps of wool that I already had.   As I have been making all my Christmas presents this year, I haven’t had loads of spare time to make Christmas decorations so I wanted to make the wreath as quickly as possible.   As a result of this I decided not to crochet the part that goes around the wreath base, but decided instead to wrap the wool around the base and superglue the ends.  I used the Aldi baby wool I got a couple of months ago in blue and white to create the background.

Christmas Wreath
Christmas Wreath

The decorations I all made and glued on using scraps of paintbox aran yarns and silver crochet thread I already had at home.   The snowman and his hat I just made up as I went, using basic circles and single crochet increases and decreases to make his shape.   The snowflakes and Holly leaves I probably could have worked out but being as I didn’t have much time, I used the excellent patterns from Attic24.   The berries I used the embroidery technique French knots which also held all the leaves together.

Finally I made some small pompoms in white using my finger as the wrap around size.   All the decorations I simply glued onto the wreath, I much prefer to sew as little as possible as I’m not wonderful at it.   After everything dried, I attached a plaited loop to the top of the wreath, threading it through the back of the wrapped wool to hang the wreath up.

Christmas Wreath
Christmas Wreath

 

The whole wreath took around 2 to 3 hours to make, most of it was made whilst my daughter was napping so definitely easy to do and I love looking at it hanging on the inside of the front door every time

I come down the stairs, it really cheers up the hallway which doesn’t often see many Christmas decorations!

I’m definitely going to make more wreaths in the future as they are quick and fairly cheap to make.  Join me next week for more Christmas decorations.

Vicky x

 

Crochet Dreamcatcher

This week is my final week looking at Crochet Decorations for the home (at least for now).  I have always loved Dreamcatchers, they look so pretty and I love the idea behind them too.   However, until this week it has always been a project I wanted to try but have never quite gotten around to.

To begin with, I bought some embroidery hoops in two different sizes and removed the top hooks.   This gave me 2 larger and 2 smaller sizes to work with.   I also used some more of the new Women’s Institute cotton from Hobbycraft that I was using for last weeks Kitchen projects.   I googled a few designs and read through a few patterns and the basic principle seemed to be the same.   Essentially you work in the round from the middle until it is big enough and then crochet it to the hoop last before adding any decorations.

I began with a small dreamcatcher using the blue and white cotton and worked a simple circle design which turned into a 10 point star before being attached to the hoop.   I wanted to add a feather as is traditional and remembered seeing a pattern for Tunisian crochet feathers on Pinterest which I thought would fit in perfectly.   I actually haven’t tried Tunisian crochet before, (although it is something I have wanted to try) so it took a few attempts before I got the hang of it.   I initially just worked a plain feather and added some stitching decoration, but after the first try I braved working with 2 colours, which was not really that much more difficult, but definitely more effective.

The second dreamcatcher I made was the pink one, which was again free handed from a flower in the centre, although it has actually ended up looking more like a star in the end!   As I was working these sitting next to one of my cushions (from a couple of weeks back) I thought the centre of the Sophie’s Universe pattern would look great as a dreamcatcher.   Since I was making it one morning whilst the kids were playing, I actually managed to make more petals on the starting flower and as a result I ended up having to adapt the pattern as I went to make it work.  Despite this I am pleased with the final result.  My final dreamcatcher I worked the Granny spiral Dreamcatcher pattern, with 10 strands alternating in black and white.

Dreamcatchers
Dreamcatchers

I have put the smaller pink and blue dreamcatchers hanging over Oliver and Lily’s bed and the larger ones are hanging in my kitchen and living room windows and I am really pleased with the results.   Dreamcatchers are definitely something I want to make more of, and I am thinking I may even try with much thinner cotton next time to make something more delicate.

I hope that you have enjoyed this weeks post on dreamcatchers.   I hope to see you next week for the start of my new dinosaur series.

Vicky x

Kitchen Crochet Projects

Continuing on in the Home Decorations theme, this week I will look more specifically at Kitchen Crochet projects.   I think this room is often neglected from a crochet point of  view, and until recently, was not a room I considered crocheting anything for.

A few weeks ago, however, I received from a friend, a couple of dish cloths, which I thought were too pretty to use.   Once I finally decided to give them a go, I loved them.   They wash dishes great and can also easily be chucked in the washing machine.   We already used reusable dish cloths but the cotton actually makes washing the dishes even easier.

When I saw the new range of cotton by Women’s Institute in Hobbycraft on offer, I decided to get some.   They have some lovely colours (all those shown below, plus black and cream.   They feel lovely and are 85% cotton so I thought would be perfect to try making some of my own dish cloths.   I am also using this as an excuse to try out some new stitches and patterns I have been meaning to try but haven’t quite found the time yet.

I started with a waves and chevron pattern (from ‘200 Crochet stitches’ Book) and really love the design.   The colours in this particular cotton all look amazing in this design.   I didn’t stop with just the dish cloth.   I also decided to try and make a tea towel with the same pattern.   I figured if the cotton would work well enough to wash dishes, it should also work great to dry them.

After some testing in the kitchen, I really like how they work.   The dish cloth seems to lift tough stains easy, much easier than my previous dish cloths, plus it looks a whole lot better.   It is also super absorbent, so perfect for wiping up all the messes my kids seem to make when eating.   In fact, I think I will probably make a few more just solely for wiping the kids up after meal times.

The tea towel works great at drying the dishes too.   It doesn’t smear and is super absorbent which is great when there is lost to dry, I didn’t feel like I needed a new one out after drying up only a few items.  It also seems to be really soft and works great as a hand towel too, so maybe I could even make some for the bathroom with this cotton!  I also added a hanging hook in the corner of the tea towel as it annoys me they don’t usually have them.  Now they should never end up on the floor!

Finally I found a linking flower pattern and was going to make another tea towel with it, however, after looking at it I think it would actually make a much better place mat for the middle of the table.   I’ll probably experiment with it  and see where I like it.

Tea Towels, Dish Cloth and Placemat
Tea Towels, Dish Cloth and Place mat

I haven’t washed these particular makes yet, although I can’t imagine there would be a problem as long as they are washed on a cool wash and air dried.  Certainty the other cotton dish cloths have washed great, they may take a bit longer to dry though due to their great absorbency.

I hope that you have enjoyed looking at my Crochet Kitchen Projects, and that it may have inspired you to make some of your own.  I’ll definitely be making more of all of these for my kitchen (and bathroom too!)

See you next week,

Vicky x

 

Native American Crochet

This week I will focus on the second part of my Crochet Decorations for Home Series about Cushions.   This week I want to share my Native American Crochet Inspired Cushions.   I have always been fascinated by history and tribal societies and I love the artwork many of those societies have, especially Celtic and Native American art.  As I have browsed through various crochet patterns and stitches I often saw Native American patterns that I wanted to try and the cushions seemed the perfect time to do it.

I started with the Apache Tears pattern choosing purple as the edging colour I began by working out the starting chain needed for my cushions.   I had to make sure that it would be in multiples of 7 so the pattern would work and also long enough to cover the cushion properly.   Once I had figured it out I then worked a few rows of purple as a base before starting the Apache Tears stitch in rainbow colours starting at the end of the rainbow.   The pattern is actually not as complicated as it appears to be and is repetitive enough that once I had completed a few rows I didn’t need to refer to the pattern again.  The pattern requires you to mostly work in the back loops although the long stitches work in the front hoops and as long as you figure that out the rest falls into place.

For my 16″ cushion I ended up with a starting ch of 63 plus 1 to turn and 64 rows in single crochet (the long stitches go below the rows so don’t count).   I made two pieces, one for the back and one for the front, although the front piece had an additional 8 single crochet rows at the top to provide the flap.  The cushion was put together in the same manor as last weeks cushions, using single crochet to join the pieces and create the flap.   The major difference between this cushion and last weeks is the tassels.   Since every row in this cushion is cut at the end and you start with a new piece (you cannot do this pattern working both sides) you are left with a lot of ends.   The easiest thing for me to do with the ends was to tie them together to create side tassels and then trim them.   I think it adds to the tasseled effect you see in Native American clothing.

The second cushion I made was the Navajo Diamond Pattern.  Again I used the rainbow colours but rather than having a different colour per row I changed colours every 9 rows to give a different effect.   The pattern is worked in a similar way to the Apache Tears, cutting the wool at the end of every row rather than working the back, and so I also made tassels for this cushion.   You can clearly see the diamonds in the Navajo Pillow compared to the arrow effect on the Apache Tears and it was just as repetitive and easy to work up using the back loops for the single crochet stitches and the front loops for the longer stitches.

Native American Rainbow Cushions
Native American Rainbow Cushions

I love the look from both these pillows, and although they use rainbow colours rather than the traditional Native American colours, I think they look great and tie in with the other cushions I have made.   I definitely would like to make both these patterns again using more traditional Native American colours, although perhaps something different to cushions.

I hope that you have enjoyed the concluding part to my Crochet Decorations for Home – Cushions and maybe I have inspired you to use the Native American Crochet Patterns for something yourself.

See you next week.

Vicky x

 

Crochet Decorations for Home – Cushions

I have worked on lots of crochet projects in the last few years, most of which end up either given away or in my children’s bedroom.   I do have a couple of blankets I keep on the sofa’s in the winter, however nothing to show in our living room during the summer.    I wanted to brighten up the room a bit and I have decided to start making some crochet decorations for home in between other projects.   I have quite a few ideas of what to make but to start off with, I have been making cushions.

I went to my local Hobbycraft at the beginning of the month and bought 4 cushions pads and 8 100g balls of double knit wool in rainbow colours (red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple and black).   I had no idea if it would be enough at the time, but it turned out to be perfect.   I used more or less every ball up, leaving only odd bits left (which will be put in a scrap bag to use on something when I have collected enough).

This week, I want to share with you my first two cushion designs.   I wanted to go for stitches and patterns I had not yet tried and so after much searching I came across the Sophie’s Universe blanket.  I love this design, but don’t really have need of a full size blanket, (and being as the weather has been so warm lately, don’t really want to be crocheting something so large presently anyway!) so I decided to use just the centre motifs of this beautiful pattern to create my cushion front.  I was hoping I may have been able use the pattern up to the part where it turns into a square, however, even with the thinner DK wool and a 4mm hook it would have been way to large for the 16″ cushion pads I had puchased.   In the end I completed parts 1 to 19 and then used a couple of additional rows to make it into the square I needed.   I just used growing stitches to create a corner in each end and then finished with a row of double crochet to pull out the square a little more.   I just picked random colours out of the basked when creating it, however, I probably would have done the pattern more justice if I had thought more about the colour combinations (and I may well do the whole pattern with better thought to this in the winter).   Since this was the last cushion I made I was pretty low on some colours and that really dictated what I could use where.

The back of this cushion, I just went for a simple striped c2c (corner to corner) pattern using the colours in the order of how much was left.   At the end I added a single crochet row to make it easier to attach the the front of the pillow.  To put them together, I simply held them as I wanted the cushion to appear and then used single crochet through both sides of the cushion.  This creates a bit of a ridge around the edge, but I like that effect, sort of like piping around a fabric cushion.

I wanted to make the cushions washable, and I didn’t want to bother putting in zips as it takes a lot of time to do, so I made small flaps for the cushions and added buttons to close the gap.  It is just as well I did this as I have already had to wash one, thanks to my potty training daughter!  To make the flap I  put 4 rows of double crochet at one end of the cushion front and then folded it over between the front and back of the cushions.   When I used single crochet to join the front and back, I just made sure I went through the edges of the flaps at either end and didn’t single crochet the forth side (flap end) up.   I added buttons across the middle of the flap and they secure nicely in between the stitches at the back without needing button holes.

The second cushion design I want to share with you this week, is my Tetris inspired cushion.   I wanted to make something a bit more manly for my hubby so he wasn’t surrounded by flowery cushions all the time.   He is a gamer and so I thought about games that could be easily made into a cushions.   A search using Pinterest showed me a Tetris blanket and this gave me the idea.  I initially divided my 16″ cushion into 2″ squares and after realising each Tetris piece is made of 4 squares I decided to make 8 squares in each colour and 8 black pieces for the Tetris board.

It doesn’t really take that long to make a 2″ square, I just made 2 rounds of double crochet into a magic circle and used a double crochet, treble crochet, double crochet as a corner.   The squares were made quickly and I blocked them all as I went making them so much easier to put together.   The back of the cushion took a little longer, as that was a much larger square, but worked up in the same way as the 2″ squares.   This time, however, to make the back less ‘holey’, I used the joined double crochet method for the first time and this was really great!  Its worth noting that it loses its stretch using this method and will need more rows than it might otherwise have needed to get the required size using normal double crochets.

I had drawn a picture on graph paper of how I wanted my Tetris board to look so I didn’t make any mistakes putting the grid together.  I used single crochet in black to put them together which creates the raised look and makes it more grid like, I think.   Perhaps the longest part of creating this cushion was sewing all the many ends in once the cushion front was put together.

The rest of the cushion was made as the flower cushion above, creating the extra flap at the top of the cushion front and using the single crochet to put the front and back together.   I did the same again with the buttons to secure the cushion around the pad.

Flower and Tetris Cushions
Flower and Tetris Cushions

The picture above shows the cushions, front and back for the flower cushion and the Tetris cushion (The back isn’t very exciting so I didn’t take a picture of it).   I am pleased with how the cushions have turned out and my husband seems to like his Tetris cushion too (he would now like a gaming blanket for cold nights – maybe one for Christmas!).

I hope you enjoyed looking at my cushions this week.   Next week I will be looking at the next two cushions I have made, both the same rainbow colours as above, but with a Native American stitch design, you may have seen the previews as I was trying out the stitches on Facebook and Instagram.  Please feel free to share and cushion designs you have made with me, I love looking at other peoples projects.

See you next week,

Vicky x