Happy Easter!

 

I made an Easter egg tree with a crocheted egg pattern and branches from the garden.

Here’s how:

Picked up a glass vase from the dollar store and thought I’d glam it up with some stripes. All you need is some masking tape and spray paint. I used the masking tape to make stripes, then spray painted over it. Once dry, I peeled off the masking tape and was left with a really cute vase.Spray painted some branches the same colour as the vase.

Filled the vase with some Arborio rice that had been sitting at the back of my cupboard for the past two years, then set the branches in it.
Used Bernat Handicrafter yarn in different colours to crochet some easter eggs. Here’s a great free pattern at the wonderful Petals To Picots blog:

https://www.petalstopicots.com/2012/03/crocheted-easter-eggs-pattern/
I altered the egg pattern a bit to make two spring chicks (see photos), just for fun. I pasted google eyes on them and cut beaks from some orange felt.
I attached thin ribbon to all the eggs and chicks, then tied them onto the branches. And there you have it. An Easter egg tree to brighten up the holiday weekend!

Otis is very curious!

 

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Easy Crocheted Checkerboard Cowl Scarf

I was aiming for a checkerboard look with this pattern. It was pure experimentation that turned out looking better than expected, with its interesting texture. It’s as easy as crocheting 5 single crochets, then chaining 5, and alternating your 5 sc and ch-5 back and forth for the entire length of your piece, turning, and then repeating the same steps for another 4 rows (to make 5 rows). Then you simply reverse the process over the next 5 rows by starting with ch-5 followed by 5 sc and continuing across the length of your piece. Switching back and forth for 5 rows gives you the checkerboard effect.

You can make the piece larger by using multiples of five. It’s crocheted in one piece, with the ends later seamed together to form the cowl.

So, here we go:

CHECKERBOARD COWL SCARF

MATERIALS
Worsted weight yarn (14 oz / 400g / 867 yds / 792m) one ball Burgundy
6.5 mm crochet hook
Yarn needle for weaving in ends

ABBREVIATIONS: sc (single crochet); sp (space); sk (skip); rep (repeat); ch-sp (chain space)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Chain (ch) 115 + 2.

Row 1: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in each ch across. (115 sc) Turn.

THE FIRST 5 ROWS

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in each of next 4 sc, ch 5 and sk next 5 sc, *sc in next 5 sc, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across and end row with sc in each of last 5 sc. Turn.

Row 3 to Row 5: Rep Row 2.

Row 6: Ch 6 (5 + 1 extra), sk next 4 sc, *sc in first ch-sp of ch-5 (from Row 5) and in each of the next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across to last remaining ch-5, sc in each of the 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc to join. Turn.

Row 7 to Row 10: Ch 6, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5, rep from * across, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc.

Row 11: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk 5 sc, *sc in each of next 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk 5 sc, rep from * across and end row with sc in each of last 5 ch-sps. Turn.

Row 12 to Row 15: Ch 1, sc in same sp and in next 4 sc, ch 5, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5, rep from * across to last 5 sc, sc in each of last 5 sc. Turn.

Row 16: Ch 6, sk next 4 sc, *sc in first ch-sp of ch-5 (from Row 15) and in each of the next 4 ch-sps, ch 5, sk next 5 sc, rep from * across to last remaining ch-5, sc in each of the 5 ch-sps, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last sc to join. Turn.

Row 17 to Row 20: Ch 6, *sc in each of next 5 sc, ch 5; rep from * across, ch 5, sk last 4 sc and sl st in last (5th) sc.

Continue alternating pattern every 5 rows until your piece is desired length. Mine measured approx. 27″ wide x 10″ deep. Once finished, seam ends together by slip stitching on the wrong side. I also did a final row of sc around both top and bottom openings for a nice, clean finish. I never bothered blocking, but you may want to.

Calling all beginning crocheters: Make your first throw with this easy pattern!

afghan_vanilla-throw1This pretty crocheted throw with soft, fluffy border is wonderful to throw around your shoulders while relaxing on the couch. It would also make a lovely baby blanket gift. This is an easy pattern that allows beginners to practice working with v-stitches, as well as combining a chunky yarn with worsted weight. 

VANILLA VEE THROW

Materials:

  • Lion Brand’s Pound of Love yarn in Antique White (A);
    one ball of Loops & Threads Country Loom yarn in Warm Cream (B)
  • 9 mm hook

V-stitch (v-st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in same space

How to HDC (half double crochet): http://www.redheart.com/learn/articles/how-half-double-crochet

How to DC (double crochet): http://www.redheart.com/learn/articles/how-double-crochet

How to attach a different colour of yarn: http://www.redheart.com/learn/articles/how-join-new-yarn-crochet

afghan_vanilla-throw2Throw Pattern:

Starting with yarn (A), ch 101.

Row 1: dc in 5th ch from hook, ch 1, dc again in same ch (beginning v-st made); *sk next 2 ch; (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch; repeat from * across to last 2 ch; sk next ch; dc in last ch. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc); (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 space of each v-st across; dc in top of turning chain.

Row 3-58: Repeat Row 2. Fasten off.

Row 59: Attach yarn (B); create a border around entire piece with 1 hdc in each sp around and 3 hdc in each of the four corners. Fasten off.

Row 60: Attach yarn (A), dc in each hdc around, with 3 dc in each of the four corners; turn.

Row 61-63: Repeat Row 60. Fasten off.

Row 64-67: Attach yarn (B), hdc in each dc around, with 3 hdc in each of the four corners; turn.

Row 68: To finish off, sc in each hdc around. Fasten off and weave in ends.

(To make this throw larger, just add more rows to each (A) and (B) section.)

Beginners can check out the Red Heart site for everything you want to know about How To Crochet: http://www.redheart.com/learn-to-crochet

 

Getting crafty with eggshells

I have been totally negligent with my blog posts. Time flies by far too quickly for my liking.

My daughter and I are leaving next Sunday for a week of sun and fun in Cabo San Lucas, so I thought I’d get a post up before I leave. Since my last post, I’ve dabbled in a variety of different creative projects, and I’d like to share one of them with you today.

The next time you make an omelette, don’t just crack those eggshells in two—blow them out instead and try making Egghead People to decorate your fireplace mantel this winter.egghead3

(Here’s an easy step-by-step on how to blow out the contents without damaging the shell: http://www.firstpalette.com/tool_box/quick_how_to/blowingoutanegg/blowingoutanegg.html)

First, I painted the eggshells a skin-tone shade. After allowing them to dry, I used a pencil to do a rough facial features sketch for placement. Then I painted in the details, using acrylic paints and a thin brush. After allowing them to dry overnight, I then coated them with a clear preservative.egghead1

We all know how easy it is to crack an egg, so keep this in mind while you’re working with your shells. I had just finished the second egghead when it slipped from my (butter)fingers to land on my desk, breaking a chunk from the top of the skull. Fortunately, the entire thing wasn’t smashed, and I was able to cover up the missing chunk with the hat. 🙂 Because I am SO clumsy (patience is NOT one of my virtues), my fingers should never touch anything so delicate. But what the heck—I’m having fun, so I’ll take my chances.

I bought some plain white plastic eggcups from the Buck store for them to sit in (nice and safe away from my hands!)egghead2

Next, I made Barbie doll-sized hats and scarves for them. I used colourful cotton yarn and just crocheted a few rounds with increases for the hat. For the scarf, I made a chain long enough to wrap around the eggcup, then single-crocheted rows until it was the width I wanted. I finished the ends with some fringe. If you don’t knit or crochet, you could also use pieces of felt or fleece to make cute hats and scarves.

And that’s it. Aren’t they… interesting?egghead4

I plan to experiment with future eggheads—making different styles of hats, experimenting with yarn hairstyles, painting the egg cups instead of just leaving them plain, and perhaps even making some animal eggheads.

Too many ideas, never enough time!

 

How to crochet a cute rolled-brim summer hat with inexpensive jute string

hat_jute brimmed1I wanted to try my hand at crocheting a unique “straw” hat, so I picked up a couple rolls of jute string from the hardware store. There are different kinds—some are stiffer than others, so I recommend that you choose the most pliable type you can find. I found working with such a coarse fiber a little rough on the fingers at times, so it’s not the type of project you want to attempt to finish in one sitting.

I created a hat band and added embellishments using jute ribbon, buttons and beads that I found at the dollar store. As you’ll see in the photos, part of the embellishment includes a pair of miniature crocheted doilies that I had stashed away in my craft cupboard, not knowing what to hat_jute brimmed2do with them. Feel free to experiment with your embellishments—you could also use some velvet ribbon and fabric flowers. I also picked up a cheap dollar store straw hat in a similar colour, and sewed it inside the finished jute hat to create a more comfortable barrier between my head and the roughness of the string.

At first, the string carried a strong, fuel-like smell, and I wondered if wearing that hat was going to give me a headache! But fortunately, the odour has pretty much disappeared over the past couple of weeks.

Once the hat was completed, I was really pleased with the results. Yes, I could have gone out and bought myself any one of the gazillion summer hats currently in malls all over the city, but it wouldn’t be my very own, one-of-a-kind jute hat, designed by moi!

hat_jute brimmed3Rolled-Brim Summer Jute Hat
Fits an average adult head.

Materials:
2 rolls of jute string (I used one full roll plus a quarter of a roll for this project)
5.5 mm hook
Yarn needle for weaving in ends
Sewing needle and jute-coloured thread for sewing on embellishments
Scissors

Hat instructions:

Chain (ch) 8. Turn.

Round 1: Ch 3 and dc in same space (sp); 2 double crochet (dc) in each stitch (st) around; slip stitch (sl st) in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.

Round 2: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; 2 dc in each st around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.

Round 3: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; 1 dc in next st; *2 dc in next st; 1 dc in next st;
repeat from * around, ending with 1 dc; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.

Round 4: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; 1 dc in each st around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.

Round 5: Ch 1 and single crochet (sc) in same sp; 1 sc in each st around; sl st in top of ch-1 to close. Turn.

Round 6-8: Repeat Round 4.

Round 9: Ch 1; 1 sc in back loop only (BLO) of each st around; sl st in top of ch-1 to close. Turn.

Round 10: Ch 3; *dc in each of next 4 sts; 2 dc in next st; repeat from * around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.

Round 11-12: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; *1 dc in each of next 6 sts; 2 dc in next st; repeat from * around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Fasten off and weave in ends.

hat_jute brimmed4I sewed 1-1/2” wide jute ribbon around the hat to make a band, then I used the same jute ribbon to form a couple of big flowers, and sewed them on too. Then I embellished the flowers with the miniature doilies as well as some shell buttons and glass beads.

Then, I trimmed the brim on the dollar store hat so it would fit neatly inside my jute hat as a barrier, and I used my needle and thread to sew it securely in there.

Enjoy!

Crocheted Jingle Bells Tablet Clutch

Yes, I know that summer’s barely over and here I am talking about jingle bells! But I felt like working on something quick and easy and I thought I’d make something fun to use during the here-before-you-know-it Christmas season.

bag_clutch jingle bells1I just used a basic ripple pattern, alternating red and white yarn. Instead of using buttons, I sewed on little jingle bells and made crocheted loops to fasten over them.

Très festive, oui?

Here’s the pattern I used, along with a 5.5 mm hook, one ball each of red worsted weight and white worsted weight yarns.

Using red yarn, chain 28 (or whatever the width of your tablet)

Row 1: 2 single crochet (sc) in second chain from hook; *sc in each of the next 7 chains (ch); skip 1 ch; sc in each of the next 7 ch; 3 sc in next ch; repeat from * across to the end. In the last ch, work 2 sc.

Row 2: Ch 1; 2 sc in first st; *sc in each of next 7 sts; skip 2 sc; sc in each of next 7 sts; 3 sc in next st; repeat from * across to the end. In the last st, work 2 sc.

Repeat Row 2, changing colours after every 3 rows.

bag_clutch jingle bells2Once you have a block that’s large enough to fold and contain your tablet, sc right around all edges to finish it neatly. Then fold it into a clutch shape, and on wrong side, stitch together side seams. Sew 3 little jingle bells in place as shown in photo, then use sc to make 3 loops (see photo for placement) for fastening over bells.

I’m never certain that my instructions are clear enough, so as back up, here’s a great free pattern for a crochet clutch in the same ripple pattern at a wonderful crochet site called Fiber Flux; here’s the link: http://www.fiberfluxblog.com/2014/01/free-crochet-patterngraphic-chevron.html

I can’t believe how easy this was to make!

top & skirt1I made this two-piece dress by crocheting the top first and then making a long, fabric skirt with an elastic waist to pair it with. I made this project up as I went along, but I swear to you, it was so easy that a beginner in both sewing and crocheting will find it a breeze. Because of my impatient nature, I am very clumsy with a sewing machine, so if I can produce these results, a chimpanzee could probaby do just as well!

As usual, I got so caught up in my project, I forgot to take photos of each step as I went along, so I did step-by-step drawings on paper. Hopefully, they’re clear enough to understand. As I describe the process, keep in mind that I’ve measured everything to my own size, which is medium. Take your measurements ahead, and make sure you try on the pieces as you go along to make sure you are custom fitting to your own measurements.

topAs is the case with many of my projects, I hadn’t intended on making a dress. It just sort of happened as things evolved. I began with the intention of crocheting a simple tank top. I decided to start with a plain, bandeau-style piece that I would later add two shoulder straps to. Really, a bandeau top is nothing more than a wide rectangle (along the same lines as a scarf).

Using a 6 mm hook and navy blue worsted weight yarn, I chained a row that measured approximately 10 inches. Then I chose a very simple stitch pattern that would produce a tight enough stitch to negate the need to wear a camisole underneath. As I said earlier, the finished top is a medium size. To make it smaller or larger, just measure around your chest and adjust the sizing so that it’s smaller or larger than 10 inches. Here is the stitch pattern I used to make a medium-sized top:

Chain (ch) an even number of stitches to make a 10-inch-long row, plus ch 2. Turn.

Row 1: (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into 3rd chain from hook. *Skip next ch, (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into next chain, repeat from * to the last chain; 1 sc into the last ch; ch 2 and turn.

Row 2: *(1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into ch-1 space, repeat from * to the end; 1 sc into last sc, ch 2 and turn.

Repeat Row 2 until desired length.

1I repeated rows until the bandeau was long enough to wrap around my chest with both ends meeting. Then I used a yarn needle to seam both ends together so that the piece became a tube top shape.

2Next, I carefully measured and used stitch markers to mark where I wanted the two straps to be. I wanted wide straps, so I made each one a 3 inch width, using the same stitch pattern as above.

Once the top was completed, I single-crocheted around all the top 3edges, including the straps, just to give the entire thing an evenly finished look. I chose a scalloped edge for the bottom (any 5 sc shell pattern will work), and it was done.

For the skirt, I measured the widest part of my hips, and bought a square of silky fabric that would wrap around my hips, also allowing for a quarter-inch seam. At the top (which is the waist), I 4folded over a “hem” a little wider than the elastic that I’d be using for the waist. (Keep in mind that all sewing is done on the wrong side.) Then I just straight stitched the hemmed section across on my machine. What you end up with looks just like the sort of “pocket” you would have at the top of a curtain, with both ends open where the rod slides in.

5Next, I pinned the back seam of the skirt together and sewed it with a ¼ inch seam from just below the waist openings where the elastic will run through, right down to the bottom of the skirt. The hem will be the last thing you focus on.

Cut your piece of elastic just a smidge smaller than your waist. Hook a safety pin onto one end of your elastic, and use the safety pin to push it along through the waist 6“pocket.” The skirt waist will gather as you run the elastic through, and that’s how it should work.

7Once you have both ends of the elastic poking out of either end of the pocket, sew the elastic ends together. Once secure, you can sew together the rest of the back seam of your skirt.8

All you have left is to trim the bottom of the skirt to whatever length you desire (I elastic waistwanted a long, ankle-length skirt) and then hem it.

When you put the top and skirt on together, the top edging will cover the elastic waist of the skirt and it appears as if it’s one piece.skirt with elastic waist

The skirt took me all of 20 minutes to make, from start to finish. I made the crocheted top within a week of on/off crocheting at night in front of the TV. Easy peasy.

I can’t wait to make another one!top & skirt2

Now, wouldn’t Miss Piggy just adore this hat?

I love all the animal-themed children’s hats I see on the Web these days. They’re not only fun to make, I’m sure any kid will tell you that they’re also fun to wear.

I fell in love with the Piggy Hat crochet pattern at http://kandjdolls.blogspot.com/2011/10/free-piggy-hat-crochet-pattern.html and so I made one. But I did change it up a little by using plain pink worsted weight yarn, and edging it in a simple single crochet stitch instead of using the recommended crab stitch. I also added a pink ribbon to each ear to make it clear that she’s a little girl piggy!
baby_hat piggy copy

I had so much fun making the piggy hat that I ended up making a bunch of different hats for the children of my nieces and nephews. I handed them out at the family picnic and you can see pictures below of everyone wearing their hats.

Check out my favourite site, ALLFREECROCHET at http://www.allfreecrochet.com/HatsforChildren/Adorable-Animal-Hats-Free-Crochet-Hat-Patterns-for-Kids to discover loads of patterns for some adorable animal hats!
brady in owl hat group shot 2nd cousinsbrooklyn in chick hat

brooklyn spencer weston

Crochet yourself the best sun hat ever!

In my quest to put off looking like an apple doll for as long as is possible, I always wear a brimmed hat (along with sunblock) when I’m out in the sun.

hat_floppy brim cream & brown1bA couple of years ago, I made my first attempt at crocheting a brimmed hat and it turned out to be the best hat I’ve ever owned—better than any hat I’ve ever purchased! I’m about to wear it for my third summer and it doesn’t look any worse for wear. It does a fantastic job of keeping the sun off my face.

To find the pattern (free!), I first visited my favourite site http://www.allfreecrochet.com/Caps-With-Brims/Natural-Colored-Floppy-Brim-Hat which led me to this printable PDF pattern:

http://www.vogueknitting.com/Portals/VK/patterns/allfreepatterns/floppy-brim-hat.pdf

hat_floppy brim cream & brown1aThe instructions were very easy to follow, even for a beginner. I used a worsted-weight cream yarn and edged it with a brown worsted. I also crocheted a few matching flowers just to fancy it up a bit.

Once the hat was completed, the brim was floppy, so here’s how I stiffened it: I purchased a plain straw hat with a brim a bit narrower than my crocheted hat for just a buck at my local dollar store. Then I fit it into my crocheted hat and hand-stitched them together. The straw hat not only adds the stiff support that the crocheted hat needs, it also doubles up on helping to block the UV rays that I want to keep away from my skin.

hat_floppy brim cream & brown1cI thought that this cream colour would be difficult to keep clean, but it wears extremely well and still looks as new as the day I made it. I wear it out on my boat every weekend in the summer, as well as out and about in the yard and I take it with me on vacations down south, so it gets a lot of wear!

Try making one. I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

What to do with nine crocheted squares? Hmmm…

Sometimes, you just want to play around with a couple of colours to see what evolves, so you decide to crochet some squares with no real project in mind.

By the time you’re on your ninth square, you begin to feel bored. You’re not in the mood to continue making squares until you have enough for a big old afghan because summer’s almost here and afghans remind you of long winter nights and that’s the last thing you want to be reminded of right now.

You stare at your nine lovely squares. You line them up into one big square and stare at them some more. They do look pretty together. But a block of nine 5” squares makes…what? It’s either a massive washcloth for Shaquille O’Neil or a bath mat for one of the Little People.

Suddenly you get a brainstorm. You recall seeing pictures on Pinterest of the cutest lovey blankets for babies, which are about that size, that have a teddy or dolly or puppy head sewn into the middle square, that a baby can cuddle up with during her nap.baby_blanket lovey bear1

Your nine squares would make the perfect lovey blanket! All you need to make is a cute softie head for the center square.

And that’s how I came up with my Teddy Bear Lovey Blankee.

You can use any square design of choice to make this project. To make my squares, I used a 6 mm hook, and chose a variegated yarn in Neopolitan ice-cream colours (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate) for the first two rounds and a mocha yarn for the rest of the square. Here’s the pattern:sample circle in a square1

R1: Chain (ch) 3; 12 double crochet (dc) in third ch from hook. Slip stitch (sl st) to join. (12 dc)

R2: Ch 2; 2 dc in each dc around. Sl st in top of ch-2 to join. (24 dc)

sample circle in a square2R3: In same space, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc). *Ch 1; skip (sk) next 2 dc; 3 dc in next dc. Ch 1, sk next 2 dc, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next dc. Repeat from * two more times. Ch 1; sk next 2 dc, 3 dc in next dc. Ch 1; sl st to top of ch-3 to close.

R4: Sl st over to the first ch-2 space. (Ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in space. *(Ch 1; 3 dc in next ch-1 space) two times. Ch 1; (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in corner ch-2 space. Repeat from * two more times. (Ch 1; 3 dc in next ch-1 space) two times. Ch 1; sl st to top of ch-3 to close.

To attach my squares, I first laid them out then hooked them all together with markers (or you can also use safety pins). Then I chose a matching pink yarn, and I used single crochet to seam them together on the right side so the pink would act as a border around each square, as well as a border around the entire blanket.baby_blanket lovey bear2

For the softie head you can use pretty much any animal or doll pattern of your preference, following just the head instructions in the pattern. Just make sure the size of the head is compatible with the size of your blanket—you wouldn’t want to use a tiny two-inch amigurumi animal head, but if you want to make the head from an amigurumi pattern, just increase the size of your crochet hook to one that’s a few sizes bigger than the hook that the pattern calls for.

Once you’ve made your softie animal head and stuffed it as per your pattern instructions, just use a yarn needle and matching yarn to sew it to the center square of your blanket.

For my teddy head I used mocha/vanilla variegated yarn and worked single crochet in rounds (increasing and then decreasing) to make a ball that I stuffed with Poly-Fil. Then I crocheted two triangular shapes in the same yarn to make the ears, and stitched them onto the ball. Then I crocheted a couple of rounds in vanilla yarn twice to make the eyes (and sewed a brown button in the center of each eye). Then I did a few rounds of vanilla to make a big circle for the muzzle. Then I used the pink border yarn to make a small pink triangle for the nose, and when everything was sewn into place on the head, I used a bit of pink yarn to stitch a mouth onto the muzzle under the nose. As a finishing touch, I weaved a few baby_hat pink brim1strands of yarn into the top of the head to look like a bit of hair and tied a piece of pink yarn around them into a bow.

Voila! A teddy blankee that any baby (or stuffed bear) would love to cuddle with.

Of course I got so excited about the blankee, I just had to make a littlebaby_hat pink brim2 hat to go with it. I just made it up as I went along and forgot to write down what I was doing, so I’ll try to figure out what I did and then share it in a future blog post.

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