Tuesday 30 September 2014

Hats, hats and more hats!

I have been making hats lately ... lots of hats! It started with the bags of lovely wool that my friend Carole very kindly passed on to me, she was having a major destash! As I was sorting through it my mind was racing with the possibilities of what I could make with it all! I had bought Kat Goldin's new book 'Hook, Stitch and Give' that weekend so my new yarn stash could not have arrived at a better time! Kat has a quirky blog with lots of information and free crochet patterns which is worth looking at if you like crochet  http://www.slugsontherefrigerator.com/ . I loved the slouch and bobble hat on the front cover of her book and decided to give it a go.            

my first Kat Goldin slouch and bobble hat

The first thing I had to learn was how to do foundation treble stitches. Up until then I had only used the traditional foundation chain to begin crocheting and I struggled a little with this new technique at first. The trebles are worked into the chain stitch of the previous treble, combining the foundation chain and the first row in one step. The book explained it clearly with diagrams in the opening chapter which was good. Once the foundation trebles were done I quickly progressed through the rounds and the hat was finished within a couple of hours! I immediately began the second hat ...

2nd hat, green with 2 different blues

This time I decided to add a third colour to the alternate rows giving it a slightly different look. The effect makes me think of tartan, which I love!

back of 2nd hat

After the green hat I had enough wool of the same type to make one more hat. This one was another three colour hat, with an edgy contrast in the colours which reminded me of sunny autumn days.

3rd hat, dark red with ochre and bright blue

From here I moved on to much chunkier wool! Rowan Big wool - perfect for making a hat in just over half an hour! I decided to take the foundation treble stitch I had learnt form Kat Goldin and apply it a hat design of my own. The advantage of the foundation treble is that the finished item has much more stretch than a foundation chain beginning, which can sometimes be tight and restrictive, This makes it perfect for hats, gloves, socks etc. 

my wave pattern beanie hat 

I was happy with the result because it made my hat more stretchy and gave the edge a wavy border. I also added a pompom which is not in the original design. Whilst I was busy making all these hats my husband was busy making me a hat! He is a loom knitterand has recently started his own blog http://loomknitterdude.blogspot.co.uk/ . During the summer I had chosen some pink Drops Andes for him to knit me a hat and I was excited that he was making something especially for me.

the hat my husband made me

Once he had finished I decided to add a pompom because all the hats I had made had pompoms and I was adding pompoms to everything! I made this one extra large and I am really happy with the overall look and can not wait for cooler days so that I can wear it. 

Tuesday 9 September 2014

African Flowers Blanket

In my last blog post I shared a couple of photos of my finished african flowers blanket and I thought that this special blanket deserved a blog post of its own. 

 close up of finished blanket, showing the border

I had always been captivated by crocheted african flower motifs I had seen on Instagram and decided to look up the pattern and give it a go. Many instagrammers were following Heidi Bears pattern, so this seemed like a good place to start! The following link takes you to Heidi's tutorial (please note it uses US crochet terms)  http://heidibearscreative.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/african-flower-hexagon-crochet-tutorial.html

 making a start

I joined the hexagons together with slip stitch on the reverse (placing right sides together). This is the first blanket I have made using the join as you go method. Usually I make all the necessary squares and then lay them out the way I want them before labelling and joining together. This new method gave instant satisfaction because I could see the blanket grow!

I was instantly addicted to making these hexagons!

I loved looking into my stash of odds and ends and choosing colours for these hexagons.  As long as the 4 colours in each hexagon went together I was happy. When choosing where to place each hexagon I sometimes put complimentary colours together, sometimes clashing colours to give it a random look.

 my blanket grew very quickly!

 summery colours

Most of the wool came from charity shops or kind donations from friends. I also loved picking up a ball of wool or two if I was passing by a wool shop! 

 there was only just enough of this colour to go around

 another close up

the finished blanket

I am really happy with the finished blanket and it is definitely one that is staying in our house! I hope you have enjoyed reading more about my blanket's progress and looking at my photos. Have you made an african flowers blanket? Please share if you have!

Thursday 4 September 2014

I'm back! (and sorry I've been away so long)

I seem to have taken a rather a long break over the summer - ooops! The school holidays were full of long sunny days, trips to the beach, picnics and of course lots of crafty days with the boys!

Rather than typing thousands of words about what I have been up to over the last few months I will use photographs to tell my story. If you would like to know more about anything you see please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

 the youngest and I learning how to use double pointed needles

 a giraffe I crocheted for the middle boy and an elephant for a friend's baby

 a new style of brooch which I have designed and started selling in my folksy shop

 the youngest drew this monster and I recreated it in crochet!

 middle boy wanted the same, of course!

 youngest showing off his finished hat in Fluph wool shop, Dundee

 anniversary day out with the hubby! He takes his loom knitting everywhere!!

 a friend commissioned me to make this sweet little mouse

middle boy designed and made a den for his crocodile and a water bowl

 eldest sprayed and painted his Nerf gun

 my latest yarn bomb in Dundee, Blackness Road area

 I finished the african flowers blanket which I had been working on for a long time

 detail of finished blanket

I have taken up quilting using the english paper piecing technique

Well, that's a snapshot of my summer! School has been back for a month now and I will get back into blogging and restocking my folksy shop https://folksy.com/shops/martasecocrafts

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