Friday, 6 December 2013
I have to admit I don't go a bundle on fruit cake -but the rest of the house do, and even though my mum is 'doing Christmas' this year, it's still nice to have one on the side board.
There is absolutely no need to start this thing in August, harbour it in your dresser drawers, feed it lovingly and then spend 8 hours icing the thing...unless you really want to.
I pinched a quick fruit cake recipe off the internet (pretty much an all in one job), bunged it in the oven for an hour and a half and then waited until it was nearly cool to whack a load of icing and kids toys on the top. Mary Berry helped me out with the snowy type icing, the Farmer's Guardian Livestock Market pages made effective ribbon and in the absence of bailer twine, some brown parcel string finished the look. Take that Heston Blumenwhatsit.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
I know, you shouldn't keep chocolate warm....but if the weather reports are anything to go by, we're expecting an Arctic winter and therefore you Terry's Chocolate Orange (or real fruit if you're a health conscious type) might need to snuggle up to. I view most objects as crochet-able and this was a request from a friend...and why the hell not?!
Usual bodged pattern disclaimer: I am not a pro-pattern writer, you may need to bodge a bit here and there, but I won't tell if you don't xx
You will need:
A size 3mm hook,
A small amount of dark brown, white, red and green yarn;
A little button;
A darning needle;
A round, preferably chocolate sphere.
Row 1: ch2, 5dc in 2nd ch from hook. Jn in circle with a ss (Join in this method at the end of every row unless specified);
Row 2: Ch1, 2dc in every dc;
Row 3: Ch1, [dc, 2dc in same stitch] around;
Row 4: Ch1, [2dc, 2dc in same stitch] around;
Row 5: Ch1, dc around;
Rows 6-8: Ch1, [2dc, 2dc in same stitch] around (if you need to do a sneaky couple of dc's at the end at this point that's cool, we'll keep it between ourselves);
Rows 9-11: Ch1, dc around;
Row 12: Start of the decreases. Ch1 [2dc, 2dctog] around;
Row 13: Ch1, dc around. At end of the row join with a ss in WHITE.
Row 14: Ch1, [2dc, 2dctog] around;
Row 15: Ch1, dc around, join with a ss then TURN your work (your making a gap to get the cosy on, with a button loop);
Row 16: Ch1, dc to end of the row and turn;
Row 17: Ch1, [2dc, 2dctog] to end and turn;
Row 18-19: Ch1, dc around. At end of Row 19, ch6 and make a loop by securing at the base of the first chain.
Fasten off and sew in ends. Add button to opposite side.
Holly leaf in green -Make two (or loads if very kitschy)
Stage 1: Ch7, miss one ch, *dc, htr, 2tr in same stitch, htr, dc**;
Stage 2: Ch3, miss1, ss, dc, join into the main leaf with a ss;
Stage 3: Repeat * ** up the other side of the leaf and ss at base.
Spikes: [Ch3, miss 1, ss, dc, ss into the next chain along on the main leaf] three times up one side. Cut off yarn.
Rejoin the other side, and repeat.
Fasten in ends, leaving one to secure to main pudding.
Berries: After affixing the leaves, make three chunky french knots in the centre of leaves. Tidy in ends.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Christmas is expensive -and I love the giving, but not the bills. No-one should get themselves into a penny-pickle over something that should be fun for everyone. I could go on about my loathing of spoiling kids with brightly coloured plastic, but I'll restrain myself...
I don't have the answer for everyone's festive-austerity measures, but if all the family-based 'get back to what's important' Christmas ads are to be believed perhaps we should raid the cupboards, learn or practise a new skill and make a proper gift. I can help with that.
Festive mug cosies:
These would be great gifts for teachers filled with chocolate or posh coffee, or lovely pencil crayons...maybe that's just me...
You will need:
A plain mug -these were less than a pound from a supermarket. Straight sided is best for beginners;
A small amount of yarn in a Christmassy colour;
A size 4mm hook;
A found button and a scrap of ribbon;
A darning & sewing needle.
The number of stitches you need to start (your foundation chains) depends on the size of your mug. I usually measure enough to go around and then drop two to ensure a snug fit.
Foundation Row: Chain (ch) enough to go around and drop two. Join (jn) with a slip stitch (ss);
Round 1: Ch1, double crochet (dc) around and jn to the top of the ch1 with a ss;
Round 2 & 3:(making sure you turn at the end of the row as if you are now working a flat piece -this is your handle hole!) Ch3, treble crochet (tr) around, turn at the end of the row and repeat;
Round 4 & 5: Ch1, dc around, turn at the end of the row and repeat;
Round 6: Ch3, tr around, turn at the end of the row;
Round 7: (This is the scallop top) Ch1 *half-treble (htr), 2tr in the same st, her, ss* Repeat ** to the end;
Button loop: Ch7, then ss into the first of the ch7 to form a loop. Fasten off.
Finishing: thread ribbon through on of the treble rows and stitch in place on the inside. Add button.
More festive ideas can be found by clicking the links below!
|Christmas Pudding Crochet|
|Sparkly crochet baubles|
|Mince Pie Ravioli|
Saturday, 16 November 2013
Contrary to popular opinion (that of my soon-to-be 5yr old) I have a little difficulty growing a moustache and can't join in with the fun and lamb-chop games of Movember...Until...
This morning! I twiddled up this -principle is the same as the Poppy Appeal (thanks to those who used the pattern, ordered some and shared, a good £10 went to the Royal British Legion) -If you make it, take a little time to donate to this month's cause.
You will need:
Small amount black dk wool
2.50mm hook (you can use larger, you'll just get a bigger rash...not always a bad thing!)
Leave LONG ends!!
Row 1: Chain 26.
Row 2: Starting in second chain from hook: [6sc, 3dc, 2htr, 2tr in same stitch], dc, repeat  in reverse to the end;
Row 3: Ch1. [5sc, 2dc, her, 2htr in same stitch, 2tr in same stitch, 2 tr in same stitch, htr] ss in centre stitch, repeat  in reverse until end and fasten off.
Using the lovely long tails, fasten off by weaving through the thinner ends and pulling slightly to get the curl of the Tash. Then STEAM to heck with an iron, adding a squirt of spray starch or hairspray afterwards to set. Add brooch back and voila!!
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Like Apple but not the generic plastic covers? Or don't have the budget for a super-swanky leather effort (even though we'd all love one really?) At the end of the day I needed something to protect my new laptop from scratches, dust and damage, so I headed to Craftdays in Saffron Walden to pick up some supplies.
You will need:
(To cover one 11" MacBook Air)
100g Chunky Wool (grey)
100g chunky Wool (pink)
Large sheet THICK craft felt (I used lime green as a contrast)
Size 5mm & Size 7mm crochet hooks
Sewing machine (you can hand sew)
10cm contrast ribbon.
Note: the number of stitches required depends on the weight of your wool and your tension. I had some wool left over from both balls from this make so 200g should do it!
Step 1: Using a rotary cutter and mat, trim down the felt to fit your laptop. You should be able to wrap it around both sides, with a generous front flap. Leave a 1/2 cm seam allowance at either side -Your laptop should fit snuggly, but will loosen over time so don't leave too much.
Step 2: In your first colour yarn, chain enough stitches to cover the width of your laptop and then reduce by 3 or 4. This is to ensure you get a snug fit over the felt inner as the crochet with stretch. It also allows for some give with use.
Step 3: Work in double crochet throughout in stripes. I'm not a fan of super even colour stripes, so some were two rows, some 4 and some six, just to create a chunky effect. If you need to work out how to change colour neatly, you can click here for a tutorial. (Note: It's an American lady and US 'single crochet' is the same as UK 'double crochet'). Keep going until your work is just under the length of your felt and will wrap around your laptop. Fasten off and tidy in the loose ends.
Step 4: Tack the crochet to the felt, stretching it to fit. Then 'block' with a steam iron and leave to cool. This will set it in place.
Step 5: Using your machine, sew a row at the top and bottom edge of the crochet, and through the two fold points. This keeps the crochet work in place and will stop sagging. Make sure at the top and bottom edge you sew at least one row in as you will need to be able to work these rows when neatening up.
Step 6: Fold up the main flap that your laptop will sit in, and (FIDDLY BIT!!) pulling back the crochet, machine stitch the felt up the two sides.
Step 7: In some of the remaining yarn (pick either colour), starting at one of the bottom corners, double crochet the two sides together.
Step 8: When you reach the flap, you will need to hand sew a running stitch around the two sides and across the top, to provide a base for the crochet to work into (see photo). Then keep double crocheting all the way up, across and down the flap section, and down the remaining side. Fasten off and work in loose ends.
Step 9: Add your button and sew in ribbon loop.
Want to adapt this? This principle would make an iPad cover, or in a lighter yarn, lighter felt and smaller hooks a smartphone case. If it were smaller but still with the width, it could also make a clutch bag...Let me know what you make with it xx