T-shirt Prettification

 

Like lots of people I’ve been enjoying the Easter weekend spending time with family, going for walks in between rain showers, scoffing chocolate and planning egg hunts for my kids.

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Yesterday I found myself unexpectedly free for  an afternoon as my eldest was out at the cinema and my youngest had an impromptu nap.  I’ve been thinking about attempting a re-fashion project for a while so, inspired by some very pretty pillowcases I’ve seen online with crochet edging, I decided to give it a go.
 This cheap green T-shirt shrank in the wash and wasn’t really long enough. As you can see, the hem was also starting to unravel. I love bright, contrasting colours so I chose to add a crocheted edge in Stylecraft Classique Cotton in Mauve, Azure and Tropical Jade, complementing the bright green fabric.
I began by sewing a round of blanket stitch which I could then crochet into and which sorted out that unraveling hem.

 Next I crocheted a round of double crochet in Mauve (US single crochet) followed by trebles in Tropical Jade then half trebles in Azure.

I was rather pleased with how my experiment was going and decided to add some frillyness with a final round of shells (*dc skip 1 htr 5tr cluster in next htr skip 1 htr* repeat ** to end).
 Hey presto! One new, longer, repaired, colourfully embellished T-shirt, completed in an afternoon for very little cost. Just in time to wear on Easter Sunday. Next job, to make fairy cakes for the annual egg hunt. Happy Easter!

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Time for Crochet

Things have been super busy round here just lately, being a working parent leaves little “me” time at the moment. This week, though, I’ve had two actual days to myself, off work with my kids in school and nursery. Very rare indeed!  

I’ve been having a great time working on some new scarf ideas, trying a few stitches out. And ignoring all the boring jobs I should be doing, like clearing out the cupboard under the stairs. The spring flowers are looking rather lovely out in the garden and my son’s yellow blanket is making some progress now.

  
He’s on the case checking its progress daily and also reminding me to write my blog.  

As much as I enjoy getting stuck in to making blankets, I’ve always favoured smaller projects, like baby blankets and scarves.  They’re portable for one thing and so quick to finish. Plus I can afford the really nice yarn if it’s in small quantities. Not the really, really nice yarn but still, the less synthetic the better if its going to be worn on a bare neck or snuggled  round a tiny baby.

  I tried some shells and v stitches, nice for a summer baby blanket maybe.

  I think these v stitches interspersed with colourful doubles would work nicely on a scarf, or a tank top.

  I wasn’t as keen on these open chevrons, they got frogged, because I kept being a stitch out on each successive row.

  I also started work on a one ball scarf, very simple, quick and chunky using the Sirdar Indie I bought the other week. I like the idea of designing very easy, affordable projects for beginner crocheters, to help encourage more people to give it a try. More on that to follow.    

As a newbie crochet blogger I’ve been inspired by lots of crochet blogs these last few weeks and learning a lot. There really is some amazing work out there and a very supportive, encouraging community of crafters. I’ve been following lots of them on Twitter. Do say hi if you’re one, I’m @crochetcaptain

Happy Yarn Day

So I’ve taken the plunge and posted my first pattern here on my blog. It’s a simple but colourful scarf, I hope you like it!  I’ve been crocheting for a very long time now and found I preferred making up my own projects to following written patterns. In recent years I’ve got the hang of pattern reading, after much practise, but I still really enjoy experimenting.

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There’s nothing like a trip to the yarn shop for inspiration.  Just look at that lot for a colourful haul! With my kids at their grandparents house for a couple of hours I high-tailed it to the Black Sheep Wools craft barn for a wonderful long, unfettered browse. Firstly I chose some soft, chunky Sirdar Indie to experiment with. I’d like to make a cowl using very basic stitches, maybe a one ball, very affordable beginners project.  I couldn’t decide which colour I liked better so went for it and got both my faves, they were in the bargain corner after all.

Then I chose several balls of Stylecraft Classique cotton in some stunning bright shades. I’ve got two projects in mind for this yarn, some kind of jumper or tank top (depending how far I can stretch the yarn supply!) and a go at designing some bright mandalas.

 Lastly, I raided the oddments basket and got two balls of beautiful Noro in different colours, for the absolute bargain price of £2.50 each. Resisting a bargain in a wool shop is futile, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I couldn’t wait to get started so headed to the Three Bags Full cafe for a luxury hot chocolate and made a start on my next make. Hurray for yarny goodness (and babysitters)!

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Got a bit further on with new project this afternoon, yay!

Crafty Friends

 

 

Last night my friends came over for our regular craft night. Lots of blankets were worked on and we also had a good browse through a stack of craft magazines. All accompanied by a big pot of earl grey, chocolate cake with cream and banana & white chocolate muffins.

We meet at each other’s houses and sometimes in cafes, although there aren’t many which stay open late enough in the evening where we live. Over the years we have tried meeting in pubs (too sticky with beer when your yarn falls on the floor) and bars (too much thumping music) and most recently raised an eyebrow or two with our hooks out at an Italian restaurant (we all ate dinner first of course).

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Over the years we have experimented with many different crafts, including felting, jewellery making, screen printing, sewing, making toiletries, up-cycling clothes and painting furniture. We will try anything once and have found some of us have a particular talent for each new craft. There is the odd disaster too, my cake pops were entirely forgettable, each one sliding lumpenly down the lolly stick in a globby mess, while others in the group made great ones. It’s all part of the fun though and lately we have all been making crochet blankets, a longer term project with less planning and preparation needed.

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Chunky, warm blanket in progress

One of our happy group took the lead on organising, which helped enormously to make it a success. We all chip in though, taking turns to host and help source materials and ideas. Over time we have all got busier, with work and/ or growing families so we have become less focused on trying new crafts and more on enjoying a good old catch up. I love the craft group, it always lifts my spirits seeing good friends and we have our own traditions, like a meal out at Christmas and a fantastic hand made version of Secret Santa.

 

Rainy Day, City Craft Fun

 

A rainy grey lunch hour in Manchester City centre can mean only one thing. A quick trip to the Northern Quarter for craft based cheer.

Firstly I needed a yarn fix, so headed up Tib Street, leaping across a few puddles, to craft giant Abakhan.
Check out this huge wall of woolly joyfulness:

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Browsing the books I found one about arm knitting, which is now on my list of things to try, along with finger crochet and leg weaving (okay I made that last one up).

Now I’m not sure what these poor little fellas had done to deserve this fate…

 … but they were beautifully made. Meanwhile, this prettiness caught my eye:


I do like a variegated yarn, but what colour to choose?  I went for this one:

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Not another YONKU  but purchased for the purpose of designing a mandala, a sort of psychedelic doily for the modern era.

After achieving woolly purchase buzz, I headed round the corner to lovely Manchester Arts and Crafts Centre for a mooch.

Where I found some gorgeous hand crafted delights. Amazing paper sculptures by Kate Kelly:

You can see more of her work here . Lots of fabulous jewellery and some nice knitted and crocheted items made me wish I had some spends.

Fully re-fuelled on crafty happiness I traipsed back through the wind and rain to my office.