knitted easter display on hshandcrafts

Crackin’ Crafters

 

Insect EggsAfter my research the other week into knitted egg cosies I was fully prepared to get going on our work Easter project to decorate some eggs along the theme of the type of work we do.

For those that don’t know I am an agriculture PhD student in an agroecology department of a research institute. This means that the type of work we do, the theme around which the eggs should be decorated, is anything to do with agroecology. Essentially this is everything that is found in a wheat field, except the wheat. Not a simple task.

 

Together with some of my colleagues (also very crafty people!) we set to work to create a display on the theme of farmland biodiversity so we had a knitted soil together with colourful bacteria and fungi sewn on, crochet wheat and weeds and then for the main event we knitted egg cosy insects and sewed them on to the eggs so they could be suspended from above to create a 3D scene! I knitted an egg cosy to look like a greenfly or aphid. We also had a ladybird, a bee and a moth.AgEgg

We also had to come up with a team name and as egg-related puns seemed to be the theme of the day we decided to go with “Crackin’ Crafters” and created an embroidery stitch sampler to showcase our team name!

crackin crafters

We were all so proud of our display, despite its Blue Peter like appearance – and given the difficulty of the theme I thought we did really well. There were loads of amazing entries, no other knitted ones though!! It was a really fun day and a great way to make us all think differently about our work and get a it crafty!to create an egg themed display around the type of work we do.

If you want to find out more about what its like to work as a PhD student in my department you should definitely check out my friends blog about the trials and tribulations of an agriculture PhD (she’s the one who made that amazing ladybird!!)

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textured phone cosy

Phone Cosy (aka Secret WIP reveal #1)

So, you might remember last week I mentioned I couldn’t really reveal too much of what I am working on at the moment as it is all for presents. Well, the first gift has been received (Happy Birthday for last week Mum) and so now I can reveal what it was.

crochet Phone Cosy

My mum wanted a new phone cover as hers had got stained a yellowish colour from the material inside her handbag. So I decided to make one from this yellow yarn I had in my stash so that if the same were to happen again it would not be too noticeable.

I decided to follow this pattern over on Ravelry to make a lovely texture using a mixture of single and double crochet stitches.

textured phone cosy I really like the stitch patterns it makes as it looks really intricate but at the same time was quite simple to make.

phone cosy

Hopefully it fits my mum’s phone nicely and if I get a move on with making more presents I will have some more things to show you very soon!

H.

Amazing crochet designs

Dont you just love it when you find an amazing new designer! Well, this is what happenend to me today! As you do I was just browsing Ravelry, not because I needed to find a new project (I definitely dont – I have way to many WIPs on the go at the moment!) but just because its so easy to get absorbed in all the loveliness.

Any way I stumbled across a gorgeous blanket pattern and got lost in a rabbit warren of looking at all the projects associated with it!

This was the blanket that cost me a few hours of my life…but I think it was worth it!

Julie Yeager blanket

Looking through everyones projects you begin to see what an amazing pattern it is and so versatile when done in different colours. I think if I were to make it I would stick with white (or maybe cream) as the main colour and then maybe some richer colours than those used here for the rest…perhaps some lovely jewel tones.

So after having spent quite a lot of time admiring this pattern I decided to investigate the designer. Her website provides a haven of beautiful crochet patterns.

Now I just need to find the time to make some of them. Perhaps these could end up as cushion covers?

Have you found a new designer recently I would love to here about them – after all I cant possibly have seen half of the great patterns on Ravelry yet!

H.

The Rise and Rise of Crochet

Whilst having a mess around on Google I came across a tool called Google Trends.

This allows you to look at the number of Google searches for particular keywords across the last 10 years.

Obviously I decided to search for crafty words and typed in “knitting” and “crochet”. There was the predictable yearly increase in searches over winter and a decrease in the summer for each term. However, what surprised me is the gradual change over time. 10 years ago “knitting” was more commonly searched for than “crochet” but now this seems to be reversed.

Google trends for knitting and crochet

Not only has the number of searches for “knitting” decreased gradually over time, but the searches for “crochet” have seen a sharp increase in the last 5 years.

I wanted to check this wasn’t just a weird artefact of this particular comparison. So, I also searched for “knitting needles” and “crochet hook”. This is assuming that if more people were becoming interested in crochet they would also be searching for supplies. The same trend rears its head again! Whilst knitting needles were much more popular than crochet hooks 10 years ago they are now on pretty much an even footing!

Google trends for knitting needles and crochet hook

Can anyone explain this sudden surge in the number of people googling crochet? Maybe soon everyone will be doing it!

H.

Knitting and Crochet blog week

I’ve decided to take part in the knitting and crochet blog week run by EskimiMakes. This sounds like a great opportunity to expand the way I approach blogging and also a chance to focus on creating some new and exciting blog posts to fill a whole week.

Knitting-And-crochet-Blog-Week-6-Eskimimi-Makes

For those of you who have not heard about this before. It will take place from the 11th til the 17th May 2015 and invites knitters and crocheters from all over the world to take part in a community blog week. There are a number of topics to blog about over 7 day period:

  • Day One (Monday 11th May): If You Were Yarn.
  • Day Two (Tuesday 12th May): It’s All About You.
  • Day Three (Wednesday 13th May): Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers.
  • Day Four (Thursday 14th May): Bags Of Fun.
  • Day Five (Friday 15th May): Something A Bit Different.
  • Day Six (Saturday 16th May): Polls Apart.
  • Day Seven (Sunday 17th May): Your Time, Your Place.

For more information about what these topics might entail check out this recent post explaining them in more detail!

I’m really excitied for this opportunity and am already beginning to think about my posts.

H.

beginnings of knitted cowl

Bank Holiday Weekend WIPs

I hope everyone had a nice relaxing bank holiday weekend. With 4 days off work there was plenty time to fit in lots of crafting around all the housework. On Friday I decided to give myself a whole day without chores. I mainly spent that time sewing as I have been working on a skirt for some time now and progress has been slow. So I set my mind to it and by the end of the day the skirt was finished! I wont show you it now as I want to take some better pictures and give it the full post it deserves seeing as I have spent nearly two months on it!

On Saturday we went on a little trip out to the shops to sort out some bits and pieces and as we just happened to be driving past Hobbycraft it would have been rude not to go in, especially as I had a voucher that I had received for my birthday. I decided to buy the rest of the wool for my sunburst blanket so that I could start on the final round of the individual grannies. I decided to stick to the plan and bought a dark blue. When I got home I was eager to check out my purchase in combination with the other colours already in my blanket so quickly completed a few squares and I’m really happy with the result.

completed granny squares for sunburst blanket

completed granny squares for sunburst blanket

I also decided to buy an embroidery ring as this is something I have always thought about trying but not really known where to start. However, a couple of weeks ago I got the new “Simply sewing” magazine and there was a section on embroidery and a simple design to practice simple backstitches so I thought I would give it a go.

On Sunday we went out for the day so unfortunately not much crafting took place and then on Monday I managed to squeeze in a bit of knitting around the housework. I am currently working on a cowl, that is knitted in the round so it seems to be taking forever as each round is 320 stitches and so I am only on round 11 despite feeling like I should be making a lot more progress!

beginnings of knitted cowl

beginnings of knitted cowl

 

How have you been getting on over the bank holiday? I cant wait to see all the progress everyone has made.

H.

Mothers Day African Flower Keyring on hshandcrafts

African Flower Keyring

Happy Mothers Day!

I hope everyone has had a great day treating their mums (or being treated to lovely things). Unfortunately I live a long way away from my mum and so have been unable to do so but will get to see her in a couple of weeks so I am very excited for that.

As I didn’t get to see her today I sent her a little treat in the post which is why I have held back this post until today rather than publish it as soon as I had finished making it last week! I made an African flower keyring

I really like the African flower crochet motif but have not really been sure what to use it for. I often see them made up with double knitting, which despite looking lovely always seems to be too big a design for anything I would like to make.

So I decided instead to try making one out of embroidery floss and it worked a treat! African Flower Keyring

The finished hex is about 2inches across

African flower keyring

To make your own…

you will need:

  • embroidery floss in 5 colours
  • a keyring
  • 2 beads in colours of your choice
  • some wadding (1.5inches square)
  • a 2mm crochet hook
  • scissors

1. Crochet your African flowers

To start off you need to make 2xAfrican flower hexes or any other crochet hex would be great. I followed this picture tutorial

http://heidibearscreative.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/african-flower-hexagon-crochet-tutorial.html

but…most importantly you need to use embroidery floss and a 2mm crochet hook to end up with your hex small enough to use as a key ring.

2. Begin to join the African flowers together

Place your two African flowers together with all the loose ends pointing inwards

Join your embroidery floss in a colour of your choosing (I used dark blue here) to one of the corners making sure to join the 2 African flowers together

Chain 1 and then single crochet in each gap between the double crochets from the previous round around three edges of your hex. At each corner put 3 single crochet into the chain space from the previous round.

3. Stuff the keyring

To make sure the key ring holds its shape you need to stuff it with some wadding or any kind of stiff fabric.

Cut this to a hexagon that will easily fit inside your crocheted hexes. (Mine was approximately 1 inch across)

Place your cut out shape in the gap between your 2 African flowers.

4. Continue joining the African flowers

Continue to single crochet all the way around the hexes with three single crochet in the chain space at each corner.

5. Join the round

Once you have crocheted all the way around and your 2 hexes are joined together complete the round with a slip stitch into the first single crochet.

6. Cut the embroidery floss

Be sure to leave a long tail to attach to your key ring

7. Add beads

Thread your beads onto the embroidery floss tail

8. Attach keyring

Thread the end of the embroidery floss through the loop on the keyring and tie it as close as possible to the beads.

9. Cut the embroidery floss

Leave enough of a tail so that the knot wont come untied but so that it still looks tidy.

Voila…your very own African flower keyring!

Have you made anything with the African flower motif recently? i would love to see your designs

H.

Sunburst Grannies in progress

WIP: Sunburst Blanket

There seem to be plenty of Sunburst Blankets on-the-go at the moment and I am no exception. I have been working on mine slowly for almost a year now. It is a really great project to pick up and complete granny whenever you are feeling disheartened with your current project or only have 10 minutes to spare.

I really love this pattern. It seems to be so versatile and looks good in pretty much every colour combination I have seen it. The most popular by far seems to be colourful circles on a white background but I think some of my favourite examples are those that mix it up a bit.

My aim with this blanket is to incorporate some of my favourite bright shades of blue, green and yellow with a couple of pinks and purples thrown in. I will then add a dark blue square to provide the main body of the blanket.

I currently have about 30 circles completed and another 30 in progress. I hope to have around 100 in total for the blanket. Although, reading some of the other blanket posts out there I fear I may have grossly underestimated this! Only time will tell.

2015-03-03 18.35.07 edit

Sunburst Grannies in progress

Sunburst Grannies in progress

To see some of my favourite examples of others using this pattern why not check out the links below

Coco Rose Diaies – A lovely mixture of pastels and brights on a grey background

Color n Cream – Brights on a white background

Massive brights on white background

Autumn colours on dark blue

and I’m not going to lie my initial inspiration for the blanket…Amy’s very own granny blanket in the Big Bang Theory!

Front post double crochet (fpdc) and back post double crochet (bpdc)

After sharing with you my geometric crochet cowl I thought it might be quite nice to include a tutorial on how to do front- and back- post double crochets (abbreviated to fpdc/bpdc in patterns). These stitches are great ones for adding texture to crochet projects and can add a lot of depth to the finished project making it chunky and giving it some stretch.

I have added the tutorial with lots of photos to help guide you through but if anything is unclear feel free to pop a question in the comments section and i will try to clarify.

So there you have it front- and back-post double crochet. These stitches look great as they are and can help give your work some added depth and texture, or can be used to create some fantastic effects such as ribbing, basket-weave and cabling!

H.

Turquoise Crochet cowl

Geometric Crochet Cowl

So I thought I would introduce you to the geometric cowl I crocheted just before Christmas.

After a trip to Hobbycraft to purchase some Christmassy wool I returned with two 400g balls of aran-wool blend for just £6 each and only because the paper band was missing. However, there were other balls on the shelf so I wrote down all the information I needed and started planning what to do with my new found treasure!

turquoise red wool

2 balls of Aran on clearance at hobbycraft

Obviously the red wool was put to good use for the Christmas decorations I had planned but what to do with that lovely turquoise?

i turned to my new found favourite feature on Ravelry, the yarn search. You simply type in the brand of yarn and then find the type you have. It then allows you to search through the projects other people have made with that yarn as well Aston look at pictures of how they turned out.

I spotted this Twist ‘n Shout Cowl and immediately fell in love with the geometric pattern. I had to make it!

It is quite a simple pattern really, you create a chain 90 stitches long and the work in the round using just front- and back-post double crochet to create the two different stitches you see here.

geometric pattern using fpdc and bpdc

front- and back- post double crochets make the 2 different stitches seen here which look like they run in opposite directions

As I had to look these up I will be posting a short tutorial on how to do these soon!

The whole thing was completed in three crochet sessions as the chunky wool made up so quickly and now I never take it off as it is perfect for this sudden winter spell we have been having.

I hope you like it.

H.