Crochet time!!

I’ve had a bit more time recently to do some bits of crochet, which i hadn’t for a month or two, so i’ve been making the most of it! Here are a couple of pretty shawls i’ve been making :)

IMG_2698 IMG_2705 IMG_2706

I’m really loving these autumnal russet colours at the moment. They’re so lush and warm!!

There are a couple of blue ones underway as well, no photos as yet. They are a simple granny square pattern, each square joined in to the whole as its final round is worked. I love this new way of joining the squares, something i’ve only figured out relatively recently. I used to just make all the squares then sew them together, which is fine, but this way is quicker and lets the shawl keep more of a lacy, soft, and less solid feel.

 

If you are interested in how to do this, it’s actually very simple. The first square is worked as a normal granny square – [3dc, 1ch] repeated along the side, and 3ch to turn at the corners. when working the final round of the second square, work as normal except on one side, which will be the joining side. on this side, when you come to turn the first corner, work 2ch, sl st into the 3ch at a corner of the first square, 1ch, then work 3dc into the corner space on your second square as you would normally to complete the corner. Ch1, sl st into the next space on your first square, ch1, work 3dc into the next space on your second square. Continue across the rest of the ‘joining side’. When you reach the next corner, work your 3dc into the corner space, ch1, sl st into the corner space of the first square, ch2, and then work 3dc into the corner space of your second square to complete that corner. Work the rest of your second square as normal.

 

It gets a little more complicated when you’re joining a square to other squares on two sides, but not much. Just work as above, but at a corner where you’re joining to 2 squares, work the 3dc into the corner space of your current square, ch1, sl st into the corner space of the first square to be joined, ch1, sl st into the corner of the next square, ch1, then work your 3dc to complete the corner of your current square. It may sounds complex, but it feels very logical once you’re doing it.

 

More shawls and woolly things to follow soon, i’ve been having an unseasonal blitz on jumpers and warm clothes that have been in my ‘do something with’ pile for far too long!

 

xx

 

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Thinking About Christmas!

I don’t know about you, but i like to plan ahead. Especially when it comes to Christmas presents! Mostly because i am so naturally disorganised that if i don’t start thinking about it months in advance i am left panicking at the last minute and so end up getting boring/generic gifts for people (not to mention spending loads more money and starting the new year poor – no fun!)

Plus, i love giving gifts and planning what i’m getting people for Christmas is fun :) So i like to write a list at the end of summer of everyone i want to give gifts to, and scribble down any ideas that i have for each person. If i have no idea what to get for someone i can keep my eyes and ears open over the next couple of months and try to find out if there’s anything they want/need. Starting early gives me plenty of time to make gifts if possible, or shop around to find the best version of something if it’s something i need to buy. I also keep my list in mind so that when i come across cool stuff in the shops and think ‘oooh, so and so would like this’, i know i can get it and pop it in the Christmas box!

The box is already accumulating a few bits and pieces – some books and a DVD, some pretty crocheted vines with multicoloured flowers, a couple of pairs of (handmade) gloves, and at least one crocheted scarf. There are more scarves currently underway and a couple of blankets in the offing – big projects that make me very glad i’m starting this early!

Here are some pictures of where i’ve got to so far…

looong green gloves

pretty turquoise ribbony gloves

Apologies for the awful blurry pictures, turns out it’s quite hard to take a photo with one hand while trying to get half your other arm in the shot!

Autumnal colours scarf

The blankets i’m thinking of so far are a granny squares blanket in rich reds, burnt oranges, tan/earth shades and dark brown; this one (or certainly something very similar – i’m not sure if i like the joining of the squares in the pattern and i might give them a thicker cream border which would also make the blanket bigger… decisions decisions!) and probably one of these in matching colours for the same people; and finally one like this which i like very much :)

I also followed a wonderfully simple tutorial (here) to make some pretty little Christmas decorations out of felt. These will probably be little extras to decorate the gift-wrapping for gifts like homemade cake or sweeties.

Some of the wrapping bits i’ve done already are wine bottle gift bags, made from patchworked scraps, old napkins and the remnants of a pashmina from another project…

…and some decorated paper (made from envelopes or shop paper bags decorated with paper scraps) and fabric (again from scraps) gift bags

These weren’t all made in the last few days – some were done just after last Christmas while i was in the holiday mood!

I’ve also been making some pieces to add to my Etsy shop, again thinking along the lines of cute Christmas presents –

These beautifully coloured bags were made from a half-finished knitted jumper i inherited from a friend. I didn’t have enough yarn or knitting expertise to finish the jumper, but desperately wanted to do something with the beautiful fabric she had created. I used the large back piece to make these two bags, and made the straps from the remnants of the jumper yarn braided with some in similar colours from my stash, stitched onto some trim i found in a charity shop. Possibly my favourite thing about these bags is the fastenings! one has a simple loop-and button fastening with a giant heart button, and the other is a dtrawstring fastening with chunky plastic beads including a red star one on each end. Extra cuteness :)

Another bag, this one upcycled from a gorgeous soft but quite thick pashmina and keeping the tassles at the end as part of the bag.

And finally, a long scarf in a fluffy teal yarn with flecks of copper in it which i absolutely LOVE. I made the scarf to test a pattern (made up from pictures of similar scarves – the original idea is definitely not mine though the pattern is)  for making a scarf in similar yarn for a friend’s birthday. It worked really well and i really enjoyed working with the yarn – i used a larger needle than recommended to give it a looser weave, making it more flexible and a bit more lacy. The yarn for my friend’s scarf is a bit finer so it looks even lacier and quite delicate. I hope she likes it! This one will be available shortly on my Etsy shop.

Another super long post! sorry! I’m sure i will be batting on about Christmas rather a lot over the next couple of months so i will leave it there for now, thanks for listening! xx

Pretty Doilies and Upcycled Embroidery Jeans (and top to match)

This is my last pair of ‘crazy pants’ as my boyfriend has taken to calling them. These do not look anywhere near as crazy as the more brightly coloured ones (here and here), though sometimes i think i must be crazy to commit myself to doing this much hand-sewing as it takes forever! Worth it though!

My most recent pair of embellished jeans are inspired by all the lovely vintage style i have seen recently, plus my newfound love of making, and decorating things with, crocheted doilies!

I started off with a comfortable but plain pair of jeans i think were originally from Matalan, again i’ve had them for a while but rarely wore them as i felt they lacked interest. I also had a much-loved and thoroughly worn out pair of jeans with beautiful machine embroidery of a peacock and flowers, but they had started to disintegrate a bit in some pretty important places (such as, ahem, the crotch seams). That’s what you get when you wear something nearly every day. I just couldn’t bear to let that lovely embroidery go, even though the jeans were now unwearable (i have since done a reasonable job of a kind of reverse-applique patch effort on some large holes in my boyfriend’s jeans, but i felt that because of where the holes were, with all the seams in the way, trying this on mine would just make them too stiff and uncomfortable). So:

Onto the comfy-but-plain jeans that embroidery went! Along with some pretty crocheted doilies too. I cut it out from the old jeans and hand-sewed it very carefully and very thoroughly (to make sure it wouldn’t fray) onto the new ones. I tacked it on before i sewed it properly to make sure it was lying flat (same with the doilies, especially the big ones) and used matching thread so it wouldn’t be too obvious. I also added a little red flower over one of the embroidered ones – i found a little bit of leftover red yarn while i was making the jeans and it decided it wanted to be involved :p) Some of the doilies were made by me – these are the ones in the chunky thread (what i had on hand)

the more delicate ones were given to me by a friend’s grandma, a lovely lady who had crocheted them herself years ago. She can’t crochet any more as her eyesight is not good enough, and she very kindly gave me some of her vintage patterns too. The doilies she gave me are incredibly fine and delicate and must have been very fiddly to do, i am in great admiration of her patience! Especially the one at the top here, look how delicate it is!

I also embellished a lovely strappy top i got from a charity shop to go with my ‘new’ jeans. It was a kind of dark beigey colour when i got it, but i loved the old-fashioned bobbin-lace trim and wooden buttons. in the end i just soaked it in a mixture of household bleach and water for about 4 days until it gave in and went this colour:

Then added some little doilies (some of which had also had to be bleached as they had darkened with age)

So i now have one lovely pale and summery top and some much more interesting jeans! I wear the jeans loads now :) happy days! xx

A Little Less Crazy Pants Refashion

OK, so i was going to post about some things i have made or worn for the first time in the last couple of days, but my camera is out of battery so while it charges i thought i’d add to the story of the Crazy Pants from the last post. I have made another two pairs (so far) of embellished jeans using bits of other, worn-out clothes as the basis for the embellishment. I’ll just talk about the first one here. UPDATE: The other pair are here.

This pair is actually the first set i made:

Back view

These were constructed from a pair of purple baggy pants and a pair of blue baggies in the same lightweight cord fabric. I’ve had both for years and both were my favourite trousers at one time of another, and as such got worn out fairly quickly. Both had already been trimmed at the bottom where the fabric was worn from rubbing on the floor; the blue ones were fastened with press studs i’d added when the zip broke (my sewing skills/patience at that point not extending to zip replacement!) and eventually relegated to messycrafting wear.

The purple ones were worn at the bottom but otherwise not too bad, until the fabric just under one back pocket started to go. I really didn’t fancy the idea of having holes in the bum area! The bottoms of each leg were also getting quite tatty, and to cut/hem them would have made them too short. So i chopped off the bottom portion of the blue baggies- leaving me with perfectly serviceable shorts for indoor crafting and messiness :)

The bottom portions had to be pieced together to fit onto the purple trousers as extensions – since the pants originally had roughly the same width of leg, in order to continue the ‘flare’ of the legs, i had to make the added portion wider by cutting up and piecing the blue fabric,. I also wanted to keep the ankle-level pocket from the blue pants, which was a feature i really loved. Massively impractical since you can’t really keep anything at all heavy in there, but it’s quirky and i like it. I basically just made a tube of blue fabric and kept fiddling with the width until it looked right. It needed a bit of a slant too in order to look flared (this would be much easier with straight pants!)

I sewed it all together and hemmed the bottom of the blue, topstitched the seam where the blue and purple joined to make it stay flat, and went over any raw edges with a zig zag stitch to protect against fraying. I pinned the pocket on where i wanted it to go and just topstitched on top of the original seam (i had just cut it out from the blue pants very close to the seam so it wouldn’t fray, rather than unpicking it all) Sorry i don’t have more pictures of the process, when i get into making something i tend to rush through it to find out if it will work! I need to get better at stopping to take pictures.

The bits of blue that weren’t used up in the actual construction were cut up into hearts of different sizes for the decoration, along with any salvageable bits of purple cut off the bottom. I hand-sewed each heart on with matching thread so it wouldn’t show, then decorated (and reinforced) each one with sparkly embroidery thread.

This would be a good way of making jeans longer, for a growing child for example, or simply edging them when they get a bit tattered at the bottom.

You could also make straight jeans into flares or too-small jeans a bit bigger by using the same or contrasting fabric to put an insert down the side, like i did with these:

 

 

 

Ice Cream Top Refashion

This was a top i rescued from a charity shop, looking all sad and plain with half of its original white fabric covered buttons missing and the others hanging by a thread. I saw it and immediately knew what it needed – nothing drastic, but a bit of colour and a lot of love! i am terrible at remembeing to take ‘before’ pictures, but i’m sure you can imagine what it will have looked like as it’s not too big a change:

The finished top

I just removed the original plain white buttons and added some sweet little ones from my button box in ‘ice-cream’ colours, then found some matching embroidery thread left over from some long-ago project and crocheted some delicate flowers for extra decoration. I sewed them on carefully with white cotton and ta-da! one pretty summer top ready to wear. It is a little bit big for me and i was thinking of putting it up for sale, but then i noticed how well it goes with my ice-cream skirt (also a charity shop find), and both my mum and my partner were already of the opinion that i should keep it, so i gave in :p Plus i’m sure a bit of extra room will just make it more comfortable in warm weather!

ice-cream top and ice-cream skirt! hoping that if i wear summery colours it might persuade the sun to come out…

i’ll stick a couple of close-ups in here so you can see more clearly what i’ve added-

Buttons!

and the crochet flowers –

I did not follow a specific pattern for the flowers, i just kind of made them up as i went along! They are probably very similar to other patterns you can find online – there are some lovely (and easy!) crochet flower patterns around, such as here and here. You could definitely make the small flowers i made for my top from these patterns. (If you would like instructions on learning how to crochet, try Crochet Geek which has some great instructional videos.)

To be totally honest, i’m not entirely sure i could write a pattern for the larger flowers since like i said i was making it up on the fly! if there is any interest though i will happily have a go.
xxx