Here we are: Jackdaw

So I left last time with plans to bring along some summer this week, but I got a little bit sidetracked (and also forgot it was actually summer for much of this dull skied week)

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I have a little soft spot for this one though as he features in one of Rose’s favourite stories. And it brightened up a long wait for a driver-over-time-ban-reduced-service train to realise that the funny hobbling birds on the platform at Lewes were jackdaws. And I then enjoyed passing some time working out how I would crochet one… I liked looking closely and seeing how some of their feathers shine blue.

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My jackdaw looks a bit gloomy, but he is friendly. I am pleased to have worked out a good pattern for a larger bird too. For a little while he looked a bit like a penguin but now I am pleased.

This one was a tricky one for dark room crocheting, I kept finding many extra stitches appearing. Hopefully Albert will start to enjoy some lone sleeping again very soon. He has started crawling this week so wish me luck keeping my wool and hooks away from tiny hands.

And next time – summer!

Bird this week: Nuthatch

Have you ever heard of this one? I never had but would love to spot one now – little gem. When I saw his picture in my book I thought he must be made. Such great colour combination! There are quite a few varieties of nuthatch too which made my job a little bit confusing, but this one is based on the one you’d be most likely to see in Britain… (I think)

Nuthatch crochet bird of the weekNuthatch crochet bird of the week

Albert is going through some sort of wonder week (month), developmental, clingy phase at the moment, so I am back to mostly crocheting in the dark. So this was a bit of a triumph. I think I probably made about five nuthatches with all the trial and error and unpicking and redoing – phewee.

Nuthatch crochet bird of the weekNuthatch crochet bird of the week

Nuthatch has a lovely peach tummy and white cheeks and an amazing black eye stripe.

Now I am scanning my book (and the trees and skies) for more colourful specimens…

This week: Goldfinch

After my little chaffinch bird make last week, we actually saw a pair of goldfinches outside playgroup and I was very excited because I recognised them from my book and because they were really beautiful.

So in tribute to those sweet ones who brightened up our morning I decided to make goldfinch next!

Goldfinch

Goldfinch has a funny little red face and gold wings – I love his colour combination even though I normally prefer pastels. I am really hoping to see some more birds on my travels now.

Goldfinch

Back here with bird

hello!

I’m here and  it’s nearly July and Albert is 7 months old and growing like a champ (chimp) and I now have my evenings free from holding the baby as he is quite happy to go into his bed. Well done small Albert. This is good progress.

It feels like such a faraway time when I blogged and sewed and crocheted. Ah lovely time. I had decided that being on maternity leave would include all my endeavours but the time feels right to start turning my mind back to other things a little bit (scarily I am technically back at work from next friday – but thankfully I don’t have to do anything until September!)

Before Albert arrived I had been enjoying creating some little woodland creatures and friendly faces. So to help me get back into creating in the evenings and hopefully a little bit of blogging too, I decided to pick up again with something small and here now is a little chaffinch!

Crocheted chaffinch

Unfortunately he doesn’t yet have a tail as I’m just not sure how that should go, but once he’s complete I’ll be sure to share his pattern for you.

Field guide to birds of BritainA page of finches

I really got into this project of turning a bird into crochet. I found a lovely field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe in Oxfam while I was making him which I couldn’t resist – it felt like a gift. It has so many birds in it and has sparked my imagination. I think next I will have a try of another one on the Finch page.

Crocheted chaffinch

heart to heart

Our lovely baby now is three months and although I don’t dare actually try putting him down in the evenings, he sleeps very well on my lap in the dark and I have become a little more confident to stay up a bit later. I recently invested in a headtorch and decided to pick up my crochet hook for these holding baby in the bedroom times. A nice quiet pastime.

In honour of the occasion of the last week I decided to make some little hearts and they are sweet. I missed my Valentine’s Day deadline mostly because I got confused about which day it was, and mainly also because crocheting by torchlight is not so speedy and the torch makes my forehead itch a bit after a little while. But look, I got there in the end and have even written the pattern. They have taken up residence on Rose’s wall and look very lovely there (even though i didn’t line them up with the mirror very well, bit keen with the hammer)

Here’s how to make your own if you like:

Heart to heart crochet garland

U S E F U L  T O  K N O W

Y o u  w i l l  n e e d

DK yarn in three colours. I have used sirdar snuggly DK in colours 419 choo choo train, 344 oatmeal and 456 pretty coral. You could really use anything for this project, try lighter yarn for delicate hearts or chunky for a bigger bolder garland.

A 3.5mm hook

A tapestry needle for sewing in your ends

A b b r e v i a t i o n s

dc        =      double crochet (US single crochet) insert hook into stitch, yarn over hook and draw through, yarn over hook and draw through both loops.

st         =      stitch

sts      =       stitches

slst      =      slip stitch – insert hook into stitch, yarn over hook, draw through stitch and loop

ch        =      chain

dc2tog  =    decrease by crocheting two stitches together – insert hook into first stitch, yarn over hook and draw through, insert hook into next stitch, yarn over hook and draw through,  yarn over hook and draw through all three loops.

(10) – numbers in brackets tell you how many stitches you should have at the end of each round

M e t h o d s  a n d  t e c h n i q u e s

Magic ring  –  to form a magic ring, wrap your yarn twice around your four fingers on your non-hook hand to create two loops. Using your hook, pull the second loop (the one attached to your ball of wool) under the first, grip where they cross and slip your fingers out, then yarn over hook and draw through and pull tight to secure. Continue working into the ring for your first round as per pattern. (YouTube has some good videos which might be easier to follow – this is very difficult to explain in words!.)

This pattern is worked in rounds rather than rows so at the beginning of your round simply continue into the next st.

Also I am left handed if some of my work in progress pictures look a bit backwards!

Heart to heart crochet garland

T H E  P A T T E R N

P o i n t  a n d  b o d y

To begin, 6dc into a magic ring, pull end tight to close the ring and continue working in continuous rounds as follows:

  1. 2 dc into next st, 1 dc into next st, 2 dc into next 2 sts, 1 dc into next st, 2 dc into last st (10)
  2. 1 dc into every st (10)
  3. 2 dc into next st, 1 dc into next 3 sts, 2 dc into next 2 sts, 1 dc into next 3 sts, 2 dc into final st  (14)
  4. 1 dc into every st  (14)
  5. 2 dc into next st, 1 dc into next 5 sts, 2 dc into next 2 sts, 1 dc into next 5 sts, 2 dc into final st  (18)
  6. 1 dc into every st (18)
  7. 2 dc into next st, 1 dc into next 7 sts, 2 dc into next 2 sts, 1 dc into next 7 sts, 2 dc into final st  (22)
  8. 1 dc into every st (22)
  9. 2 dc into next st, 1 dc into next 9 sts, 2 dc into next 2 sts, 1 dc into next 9 sts, 2 dc into final st  (26)
  10. 1 dc into every st (26)

B u m p s

(please note that these rounds blend together as the last stitch of the previous round and first stitch on the next round are crocheted together to shape the edge so although I have numbered the rounds they are not quite so separate)

Crochet heart in progressCrochet heart in progress

  1. 1 dc into next 7 sts, miss the following 13 sts, 1 dc into following 5 sts, dc2tog (12 in this small round)
  2. 1 dc into next 11 sts, dc2tog (11)
  3. dc2tog a further 5 times (6)

Slst to finish. Break yarn and sew in end to close the opening at the top.

Crochet heart in progressCrochet heart in progress

Rejoin yarn at the opposite outer edge, dc into next 11 sts, dc2tog (12)

Repeat rows 2 and 3 once more and finish in the same way.

Press heart flat with your fingers so that your shaping falls at the outer edges. Sew in your loose ends.

To create a garland like mine you will need 7 hearts and simply thread a length of wool through. You could also use some for a mobile or sew a pin on the back of one to make a brooch, or maybe just leave one on your boyfriend/girlfriend’s pillow, or through their letterbox if they are only your boyfriend/ girlfriend in your imagination.

Heart to heart crochet garland

If you make some hearts please let me know, I’d love to see them.

Woollen friends

So here I am – getting very fat, but at last on maternity leave! I have had a bit of a tiring few weeks of work, doing a few more hours than I was used to, and really struggling to keep on top of my life – but am pleased to be at home again now, and although Rose and I are not really doing any blog-worthy activities (our favourite pastimes at the moment are making ‘just add an egg’ cakes and ‘shout singing’ to Frozen!) we are enjoying this new pace of life and the new routine the autumn brings (I am sure she agrees!)

After Rose has gone to sleep though, I have really re-discovered my crochet hook and it is proving to be the perfect activity to relax with. I am mostly making woodland creatures. It’s nice to make some things just for fun. And I like the faces and taking pictures of them for instagram and seeing the other gems posted there. I have been trying to write up the patterns too, but this is a little bit more brain work than I can really manage at the moment, but maybe a project for the future.

Here are some pictures of some foxes – Felix and Sylvia… little friends…

IMG_4409 IMG_4407IMG_4387 IMG_4386IMG_4384 IMG_4380

Happy woolly faces!

A little crochet wall hanging

One of my new year’s resolutions was to do a few more crafts to help brighten up our home.  I moved around a lot in my twenties and I developed a bit of a phobia of owning unnecessary things. And for me purely decorative items were definitely in the category of unnecessary. But now we are settled in our home and able to hammer nails into the wall, I am feeling much more like I want to cosy up  our home a little and there is good reason to have decorative and unnecessary bits and bops.

Recently I have seen some wonderful ideas using textiles to brighten up walls. Not just tapestry and embroidery, but also weavings and applique banners, and crochet hangings.

flower power granny square wall hanging by woolappleflower power granny square wall hanging by woolappleflower power granny square wall hanging by woolapple

This week I had a little go myself at a crochet wall hanging. I found a lovely free pattern online for this square motif – the flower power granny square. I thought this was a pretty design and a good one to introduce different colour combinations to. I’d like to use this pattern again changing the number of colours used to see how it effects the way the pattern is picked out.

To turn my square into a hanging for the wall, I just added some pom poms to give it a bit of weight to hang (and I like pom poms. Although I have not spaced them very well so might need to revisit those!) and a little chain stitch handle to the top. I’ve got it taped up at the moment until I have made it a partner.

Lovely stuff!

Baubles of wool

I came across this really nice pattern and couldn’t resist a little more festive crocheting. Our tree is going to look so grand (when we get round to putting it up!)

pastel peach cream and mint crocheted christmas baubles

Free pattern can be found here (i am making the most of it!)

my crochet christmas baubles

There are a lot of projects in progress around here at the moment, but i am feeling confident that everything will come together in the (st.) nick of time (ho ho). It’s nice to be so busy with making at this time of year.

Happy festive crocheting!

little crocheted christmas wreath decorations

Good wreath

I have been getting into a festive mood this last week and turning my crochet efforts to help me decorate our little tree (‘crisps tree’ as Rose says – our task for the weekend – a happy chore)

These little crocheted Christmas wreaths are so cute, and so quick and enjoyable to make.

little crocheted christmas wreath decorations

Here’s what i did in case you want to make some too:
(notes.  abbreviation: sc = (american) single crochet. I used DK weight wool and a 3.5mm crochet hook)

In green chain 16 and join last chain to first with a slip stitch to form a ring.

row 1: 25 sc into the chain ring (enclosing the chain row inside the stitches)

row 2: sc into every stitch around (25sts)

row 3: **sc, 2 chain, sc again into the same stitch; sc into next stitch. repeat from ** 11 more times. sc into final stitch and pull through the final loop to create a long loop (to hang from tree) Break your wool here and with the loop and remaining length tie a double knot to secure.

little crocheted christmas wreath decorations work in progress

For the bow – in red, chain 40. weave in ends and tie in a small bow as evenly as you can.

Sew little bow to the bottom of your wreath. and tah dah!

Have you started decorating yet? i am excited to get going now.

Crocheting beads

I found a nice little project this week – crocheting beads (not to be confused with bead crocheting which is something completely different – but something I might have to give a go…)
I really love the trend for painted wooden beaded necklaces – they are so bright and cheery, and just so cool! I found the idea for crocheting beads from a baby teething toy, which is probably not really so cool, but I really wanted to have a go at it.

I bought a few wooden beads in different sizes, but the ones which worked best for me were the big 25mm ones.

Here is how I crocheted my beads:

I used:

4 x 25mm wooden beads
a 3mm crochet hook
DK yarns in off white, bright orange, mustard and turquoise

My abbreviations:

SC = single crochet (in American terminology. This is a double crochet in UK terminology)
2SC = working 2 single crochet stitches into the same space
SC2TOG = single crochet decrease – single crocheting the next two stitches together.

(you might need to experiment to get the right tension – I found some of my DK yarn was slightly thinner and this made quite a big difference so if your yarn is thin you might need a slightly bigger hook)

Row 0:  6 single crochets into a magic ring.

Row 1 – 2sc into every previous row sc. (12sts)

Row 2 – working into the previous row, **1 sc into the next space, 2sc into the following space** repeat ** to ** to end of row (18sts)

Work 5 rows straight. If you want to make a half and half coloured bead, change colour after the third row. I have found a neat way of changing colour is to do the final yarn over and pull through of the last single crochet stitch with the new colour, rather than changing colour in a new stitch (hope that makes sense) 

Row 8 –  **sc2tog, sc1 into the next space** .Repeat ** to ** to the end of the row (12 stitches)

Row 9, sc2tog the entire way around the row (6 stitches).

Finish by breaking your thread and threading through the final row to draw it in and neaten it up.

and ta-dah!

I really enjoyed this project also because it was so quick. My necklace just took me an evening. And it’s just to bright and lovely. One of my winter wardrobe staples are black thermal vest style tops, and this little accessory is just the ticket to brighten that up a bit on a gloomy day.

I would love to see if you have a go.