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.

Wedding dressmaking 

I just wanted to share a little bit of dressmaking I did last month for my dear friends Lios and Phil’s wedding. I decided it would be nice for Rose and I to have something nice to wear to this occasion and found some really nice fabrics perfect for a summer wedding day.

As I currently have no waist, I decided to go for old faithful empire dress. I love this pattern even when not pregnant because it’s so comfortable and so perfect for any occasion that involves a meal!

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I really loved what I managed to achieve with Rose’s little dress pattern – especially how cute the easy fit design looked. So in a minor moment of madness – forgetting I am not a cute tiny toddler – I decided this time to alter my pattern slightly to give it a more easy fit feel too. I did this by sitting my pattern pieces away from the centre point of the fabric by about 15mm to make them a little wider. I then got a little nervous as realised this was overall quite a lot of extra width, and I panicked about the extra fabric and how it might fit under a cardigan, how much of a whale I might appear, etc etc, so I ended up trimming the same amount away from the outer edges. It was a bit of a wreckless risk as my fabric was quite a small piece really and there was no spares for recutting – but I very happily report that it came out so so well. I love it when that happens. I actually think I will make this alteration on all future versions of this dress – it really looks lovely.

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Rose’s dress was another version of the aforementioned easyfit empire style I made her previously. I added a little bit of lace trim to make it extra special though. And we were ready to go.

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The wedding was super fun. The evening party was on a boat which Rose loved – she really danced the night away and still talks about dancing on the boat. It was difficult for a while to explain we weren’t going on any more boats…

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Secret knitted mini cosy

I used to be able to do a lot of secret knitting for Rich – in fact I knitted him two cardigans secretly (there is a link to one of them – how much hair he has!). And a sock (I am impressed when I look through the ‘knitting’ tag on my emiliabird (R.I.P) blog ) SO (back to the present) when he asked me to make him a little tea cosy for his little tea pot, I thought ‘yeah! no problem’

So I remembered I had made a tea-cosy or two before and used this little pattern as a basis for this little version. The stitch I chose is called blanket rib stitch and it’s so dense and snug, it’s really perfect for this. I based my design on blue and white cornishware as Rich is a real fan of this in our kitchen.

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I started this little project one Monday when I was off work sick. It was quite lucky as it was actually quite close to Christmas by that time. I was really lucky that Rose was at nursery so I stayed in bed all day and watch films and wallowed in my blocked nose agony, and did a little knitting.

After this initial session though I did find it quite difficult to find secret opportunities for this project (I even did a little bit of Christmas holiday lunch break knitting at my desk at work)

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I was doing well and knew that Rich was going out the night before Christmas eve (Christmas eve eve) so I was feeling very happy all would be well.

BUT then disaster struck in the form of our bath pipe breaking and sending water through the ceiling of the 100 year old lady who lives in the flat below us (she really is 100 – she’s an amazing lady. Maybe I can ask her if she will do an interview for my blog one day). Rich went out as planned, but I spent a lot of time under the bath with a torch trying to work out what was wrong.

By the time I did manage to settle down to my knitting I knew I either had five minutes or one hour and five minutes depending on the train Rich decided to get home. But fifteen minutes passed and no sign of him… I knew it was going to be okay and managed to finish knitting and sewing and wrapping and it was just as the final piece of sellotape went on that I heard the key in the door. That is what we call cutting it fine! (although it would have been a bit more relaxed had I not stopped to take this photograph)

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I enjoyed this secret bit of knitting, it was quite exciting in the end. And Rich is really pleased with it too which is really the best thing. He says that his tea is much improved for being kept cosy. Hurruh!

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If you would like to make a mini cosy like this one, here is the pattern I made.

I used DK yarn doubled up, but chunky weight is the perfect weight. And i used 5.5mm needles (and remembered how much I like bamboo needles). My tension measured 12.5 stitches x 26 rows in this stitch (I know this sound like an impossible equation, but each alternate row is worked doubling your stitches, before coming back to the original number, so that 12.5 is the un-doubled number – I hope this will make sense when you read on…) The pot I made this for is a little two cup pot which measures about 33cm circumference. My finished cosy us about 18cm across when layed down flat.

In blue, cast on 21 sts.
row 1:in blue, kfb of every stitch (42sts)
row 2:in blue, k2tog, *p2tog, k2tog – repeat from * to end (21sts).
row 3:in cream as row 1
row 4:in cream as row 2

repeat these four rows 5 more times, then work rows 1 and 2 once more so that you have 13 stripes, ending with a blue one.

Change to cream and knit the next 2 rows straight (knit stitch every stitch).
next row: in cream you will want to cast off every other stitch: k 1, (s1k1psso)x 10
next row: in cream knit row straight (knit stitch every stitch)

repeat rows 1-4 once more

In blue, repeat row 1.
final row in blue, cast off two at a time purlwise.

This creates one half of your cosy so you will need to do all of that once more to make the other side.

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Once you have two identical pieces, you will need to put a few stitches in the sides to hold them together. The design of Rich’s teapot meant that I didn’t need very many stitches at all. I sewed up both sides identically so that it wouldn’t matter which way round the cosy went on.

I finished off with a little tassel through the cast off every other stitch row (I know that is not well explained, but I hope looking at the picture will help!) I made this by doubling up a length of wool until I had about twelve or fourteen strands together and, starting from the middle of the front of my cosy, threaded them through the little holes in and out all the way round until I was back to where I started. I then tied a loosish double knot, and then wrapped one of the strands round and round under this knot a few times to make a tassel! I tied up my ends and admired my good work!

I would love to see your cosy if you have a go. If you’re on ravelry I’ll pop this project on there. My name is woolapple there too.

 

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.

Magic plait knitted hairband

At the moment I am struggling with the trauma that is growing out my fringe (I think I am – I’m not sure – to fringe or not to fringe – all I know is that it’s getting long!) In my adult hair life I have switched between a short blunt fringe, to a deep fringe, to a side parted sweep a few times (as a child and teen it was fringe all the way!) I had my current fringe cut in when Rose was little to save me having to pluck my eyebrows, but now i have a bit more time for grooming (a little bit!) I think it’s a good time for a change.

But at the moment it is in that terrible, too long to wear as a fringe, but not long enough to clip, phase (my fringe hair seems to be very very straight and doesn’t sweep naturally at all until it is quite a bit longer)

Then it came to me – I need a head band!

Whilst pinteresting my evening away, i came across a really clever little pattern for a fake plaited headband and really wanted to give it a go. I couldn’t find any real instructions, but the picture was really clear and it was really a fun little project. I had some golden yellow wool to use and thought it might look like a lovely harvest festival corn crown.

I used DK weight yarn and 3.75mm needles for mine, but you could definitely experiment with heavier or lighter yarns, for different effects. I wanted my headband to be on the slim side and at first was worried my bars were going to be too short to thread through (you’ll see what I mean in a minute) but it all worked out grandly in the end. I think though if i were using a chunkier wool though, i would need to increase the number of stitches in my bars slightly.

To make a headband the same as mine, using DK weight yarn and 3.75mm needles, cast on 20 stitches

Row 1: Knit

Row 2:  Slip 1, K3, P12, K4 (i like to slip the first stitch in projects like this to keep the edges a little bit neater)

Row 3:  Slip 1 Knit to the end of the row

Row 4: as row 2

cast on gold knitting blue needles

**Row 5: Slip 1 K3, cast off 12 stitches in the middle of the row, K4

Row 6 Slip 1 K3, cast on 12 stitches (turning your work and use a cable cast on then turning back to complete the row works wonders), K4

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Row 7:  Slip 1 Knit to end of row

Row 8: Slip 1, K3, P12, K4

Row 9 as row 7

Row 10: as row 8**

Repeat ** to ** until headband reaches the desired length, and cast off on a row 10.

It was quite tricky to determine how many bars i would need as the final step draws the band up making it a bit shorter than you are led to believe during this ladder looking phase. I needed to work 35 bars, which was 6 bars more than i originally thought. These 35 bars created a band which measures about 51cm. Each extra bar adds about 1.5 – 2ish cm in length. I really advise making up the plait and measuring to check it’s long enough before casting off your final row (i speak from experience)

So at this point you may be wondering what on earth i have led you to make, but here comes the clever bit…

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Twist the first bar at the bottom of your knitting to create a loop. Take the next bar up and push it through the loop to create another loop. Take the next bar and thread through this loop and continue in this way all the way to the top

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To finish off i put a couple of stitches in the final loop to secure it, and sewed a button to the bottom so that this could be fastened on and off without having to drag it over my hairstyle.

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Yay! What a wonder. I am really pleased with this finished item (although i admit i do look very serious here) – it has been so nice to wear, like a little crown – especially nice with plaited hair. And I really enjoyed this little project. There might be a few more hair bands in the making in the near future – I especially think I need a black one for work wear and formal functions. What do you think?