Sunday, 17 May 2015

Criss Cross Puff Crochet Headband

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Try as I might, Sunday's don't tend to be the lazy days I'd like them to be,  While I'd love to get up late and lounge about the house all day, perhaps baking the occasional cake or finishing off a work in progress that's been hanging around far too long, invariably what happens is we get up early, head to the pool, come home and try and get organised for the week ahead <sigh>

Amid the hustle and bustle though, it's very rewarding to be able to choose a project and have it completed within an hour.

What you'll need:

5.5 mm crochet hook
8 ply yarn (we've used Bendigo Woollen Mills "Classic" in "Lipstick Rose" )

The stitch is Criss Cross Puff Stitch and the pattern and video is available at New Stitch a Day

Pattern:

Chain 64 (if you want to increase or decrease the size, add or subtract chains in multiples of two)

Foundation Row:
Single Crochet the entire chain.  When complete, slip stitch into the first Single Crochet to form circle being careful not to twist the work.

Row 2:
Crochet row using  Criss Cross Puff Stitch until 6 single crochets from the previous row remain. Single crochet six times into previous row.

Row 3:
Complete entire row using Criss Cross Puff Stitch.

Row 4:
As per Row 2

Row 5:  Reverse work and single crochet the entire row - this ensures the foundation chain matches the finishing chain.  Finish work and weave in ends.

Don't feel the need to stick to a five row headband, I think this would be very effective with a couple more rows of puffs, particularly if you're planning to make it for cooler weather.

Happy crocheting

Deb

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sharp-as-a-tack Pin Cushion

Pin It By far, the best accessory for my pins is a magnetic pin tray that I use ALL the time. It is so handy to quickly take out the pins and almost throw them in the direction of the tray without missing a beat when I am sewing.   The menfolk in my house are a bit paranoid about pins on the floor and welcomed this purchase eagerly (especially when I accidentally dragged all my pins off the table when I was manoeuvring a quilt - a quick swipe of the tray and they were all collected .. I just love it!)

However, I discovered the other day that nearly all my pins are blunt.  Not just a little bit blunt but very blunt - one even buckled as I tried to force it into my pin cushion.  I had read that if the inside of your pin cushion is steel wool, it will sharpen them every time you put one in or out.  The time had very obviously come to make one.

Materials

  • small packet of steel wool (available from hardware stores - just don't get the steel wool embedded with soap)
  • Fabric for the top
  • small piece of batting the same size as the fabric
  • container to house your cushion (I had an oversized tea cup that had originally contained soaps from 'The Body Shop')
  • Selection of blunt pins
The fabric I chose was a small square left over from my 'Going 'Round in Circles' quilt.

Construction

1 & 2  Gather together everything you will need.  I also chose to make a little espresso cup size cushion for my daughter.

3.  Sandwich the fabric top and batting together and baste a running stitch around the edges to gather it in.  Place your steel wool in the centre of the gather and then pull tight and secure.  You can secure it with pins or with a few running stitches - the choice is yours.

4.  Squeeze the cushion into the container.  I chose not to glue or attached the cushion so I can re-use the cup at a later date.  If you have a glue gun, a few dabs of glue in the bottom will hold it in place.

I must admit, it's a nice feeling knowing that my pins are now being sharpened AND I have been able to find a great use for a Christmas present.




Happy Sewing,
Louise.


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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Home Spun Up-Cycled Cowl

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Crochet & Leather - an interesting combination
My spinning wheel has been a bit quiet of late so I decided that it needed a bit of a work out.

A few months ago, I spent a wonderful afternoon dyeing some roving for future use. If you have always wanted to do some dyeing but wasn't sure how it was done, I happened upon a microwave method which I love - plus it's quick and relatively mess free (the use of the word 'relative' is deliberate).  Our blog posts on how it's done can be found here.

Once it was spun, I wanted to do something quite different.  Re-fashioning and up-cycling are very popular at the moment and I had a leather belt that I didn't use.  It came free with a skirt I bought but it didn't really suit the skirt and so I used another one instead.
This belt had little slits all the way along and I thought it could very easily be attached to a piece of knitting or crochet.

I grabbed my brand new ball of hand dyed-home spun and started to double crochet a long band.  The size can be anything you want.  I chose to chain 32, then double crochet into every second stitch (16 in total), chain 2, turn and double crochet into each gap.

My ball of homespun measured 256 metres and I crocheted until I had very little left.

Then the fun began - how do I put it all together?

Firstly, I ran a large running stitch along the middle of the scarf and gently gathered it until it was the same length of the belt.  Then, using the slits in the belt I ran another running stitch through it.  I then secured the ends tightly, weaved in any loose threads and did up the buckle.  
The denim look of the wool and the brown of the leather means I can't wait to wear it with some jeans and brown boots.  I will have to wait a few more months until it cools down though - it's still a bit too warm here in Western Australia.


How to spin and make your own up-cycled cowl.
Happy crocheting,
Louise
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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hexagon Patchwork Pin Cushion

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I love nothing more than a little trip to the country and the recent Summer holidays saw us trek around sublime little towns and villages in Victoria's High Country.  Besides the promise of wonderful bush walks, antique shops and divine morning teas, I'm always hopeful of finding a craft shop to add a little shopping to the mix of holiday activities.  




I was pretty happy in Bright to stumble across Sew Bright Alpine Quilting in between lunch  and a wander around the local charity shop (where I picked up some fabulous fabric to make a skirt for the princely sum of $3.00).  While I'm not usually one to quilt and generally avoid hand sewing at all costs, the lovely bits and bobs on in the shop ended up being far too tempting.

They had a fabulous pin cushion on display in the shop and I loved the idea of making something so useful out of my holiday haul.  

I used "Vintage Sunshine" charm pack by Ellen Crimi-Trent with white linen for the plainer sections.


The pin cushion is made with:

Twelve  patterned 1" hexagons
Eight plain 1"hexagons
Six plain 1' squares.
Filling of your choice
Cotton thread for sewing




It has been a very long time since I'd done English Paper Piecing and if it's something you've never done before I'd recommend the tutorial from Connecting Threads to get you on your way.


I started by making two hexagonal "wheels" which consist of 6 patterned hexagon with a plain hexagon in the centre.  These form the top and bottom of the pin cushion.  

The sides of the pin cushion are made with alternating square and hexagonal pieces sewn in place on one of the hexagons.  This will give you a little fabric bowl shape.  To join the top to the base (the bowl shaped piece will be the top) work inside out until only one or two seams remain. Before turning right way out, ensure that any paper and tacking stitches are removed prior to this point.



Once turned the right way you should have a little opening to add filling and from there the pin cushion is finished by sewing the last seam closed and adding a button for embellishment.









I had forgotten how relaxing sewing hexagons could be.  I can't help but think I may just have to have a little hexagon sewing project on the go at all times for when things get a bit stressful!

Happy patch working

Deb


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Sunday, 12 April 2015

It's Payback Time .. (Just don't mention the line ..)

Pin It Regular readers of our blog would know that our Dad is a very crafty individual.  The list of things that he has made us seems to go on and on .. and we couldn't be more grateful.  Some of his wonderful creations can be found herehere and even here.

A few months ago, About a year ago my Mum ordered some wool online but the colour wasn't quite right. She wanted brick red and this had a bit of terracotta in it.  Lovely wool (from Bendigo Woollen Mills) but not what she had in mind.  She asked us all if we wanted it.  I believe that I have a highly developed reflex action where wool is concerned as it was up at my place and waiting for a project before I could say 'Sure, I'll have it if no-one else wants it .. '
It's a jacket - not a cardigan.

I had been thinking for some time that I would like to knit my Dad something.  He's a hard one to knit for though - he doesn't feel the cold.  I remember watching him walk across our lawn when I was a child.  It was freezing - minus 2 or something like that, and as he walked, he snapped the grass as it was frozen solid.  Nothing remarkable you might say, but he had bare feet.  He never wore shoes if he could possibly help it.  I guess he was in hot work boots all day and relished not having to wear them.  If this man has bare feet in the middle of winter - what is it going to take to get him to wear a jumper?

Anyway, I thought this new wool would make a perfect jacket (NOT a cardigan .. ) and came across a fantastic pattern by Jared Flood on Ravelry.  It's called 'Ranger' and surprisingly, Dad was quite agreeable to a hand knitted jacket.  I felt as though he deserved something after all the things he has made us.

It knitted up quite well, but then I was given a sewing machine and well, the jacket was put on hold for a while .. When I say a while, I actually mean a year - oops.

Mum and Dad are coming up for Easter and it's a perfect opportunity to get the jacket back out and finish it once and for all.


Dad noticing the offending 'line'
It was all coming together reasonably OK.  I had a few problems understanding how the sleeves were meant to be joined but finally got the hang of it.  However, after knitting for a considerable while, I noticed that there was a funny little line of knitting on one of the sleeves.  What was this?  I couldn't figure it out.  I thought, incorrectly it now seems, that this 'line' would disappear with blocking.  It didn't. 

Perhaps Dad wouldn't notice - he did.

He's very gracious though.  Mentioned it once or twice (three times really but that's OK) and then allowed himself to be photographed - albeit with no head shots or anything that might identify him.  However, if you are walking down the street in a small country town in Western Australia and you notice a man wearing a jacket that to all intents and purposes is well made except for a line along the arm, that will be our Dad.  

Line or no line, I am sure that in the depths of a freezing cold winter morning he may just wear it.

Happy Knitting,

Louise
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