Tuesday, 30 December 2014

crochet basket - free crochet pattern


I’ve been working on this pattern for a number of months now, and my sister actually commissioned two of these crochet baskets as Christmas gifts (she filled them with wines and home-made jams and chutneys to make little hampers). I’ve made a few of them now and having had some great feedback I wanted to share a pattern with you! These baskets would make a great home-made touch to any room, plus they have the added bonus of being useful! As you need to use 3/4 yarns simultaneously to work up the basket this is also a great project to use up your stash. They work up reasonably small, and the ‘sturdiness’ of the basket depends on the material you use.

PATTERN

YOU WILL NEED
8 mm crochet hook
Either reasonably thin, malleable/soft rope (to make the larger white basket pictured, which will hold its own shape better) or 4 skeins of DK and/or Aran weight yarn which will be used simultaneously (to make the smaller blue basket pictured, which is a lot softer but ideal for storing soft items like wool or your current WIP). 3 skeins of chunky/super chunky yarn would also work well instead of rope.


BASKET 
Remember to use all yarns of choice at the same time, as pictured above

Round 1 - Sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in each sc* x6 (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in next* x6 (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in next 2* x6 (24)
Round 5 - *2sc in next, sc in next 3* x6 (30)
Round 6 - *2sc in next, sc in next 4* x6 (36)
Round 7 - *2sc in next, sc in next 5* x6 (42)
Round 8 - *2sc in next, sc in next 6* x6 (48)
Round 9 - *2sc in next, sc in next 7* x6 (54)
Rounds 10-16 – sc round (54)

shape basket handles 

Round 17 – *dc in next 3, ch 12 stitches, skip next 8 stitches of basket and join the chain in the 9th sc with a dc, dc in next 2, sc in next 13* twice. You should then have the shapes of your basket handles as pictured below

3dc followed by ch12
basket after round 17

Round 18 - *sl. stitch in next 3, dc in next 12 (basket handle), sl. stitch in next 16* twice

fasten off and weave in ends.



If you make this basket do share some pictures with me! I've also posted this pattern on Ravelry in case you want to save it for another day in your library :) 
 

Monday, 22 December 2014

making some pennies for christmas

You may remember that at the beginning of this month I mentioned that I had been busy knitting/crocheting up an increasing number of commissions. Today I actually delivered my final knitted order before Christmas and it feels like as good a time as any to let you know what I've been up to!


Following the craft fair that I tried last month I had a lot of things left over that I hadn't sold. K told me that she had been talking me, my blog, and the things that I make, up at her work and asked if she could take some of my left over items in to show some interested people - erm, of course yes please! And so she did and she did such a marvellous job!
 
I was so touched I never asked her to do this you must understand, but K took it to a whole new level and by the end of the week we had discussed prices, order taking, what I was willing to make and she had even taken upwards of £40 worth of orders/sales on my behalf! All this as well as asking in various places at work if she could leave my business cards. 

 
Although I have said I wouldn't be interested in doing a craft fair again, I have found it very satisfying to take commissions and to fill them. Because as a result I know that everything I make will guaranteed be sold! And I've been making all manner of things, mostly hats (using this pattern that I love, but modifying it according to orders), neck wraps and scarves (to my own patterns), a few of my own Totoro phone cases, and even some minion gloves using this pattern! Phew! And orders have come from K's work colleagues, my work colleagues, friends and even an Etsy order 


After a month of orders I made enough profit to buy a pair of UGG boots, pay for this blog's URL and even this blog redesign! It even got to the point where I had to ask K to stop taking orders. It's just been such a wonderful compliment and it is something I would be very happy to continue doing, particularly because it gives my crafting a lot of direction and motivation (not that I was necessarily lacking in that before - but it feels a little bit more 'constructive'[?]) and it is very very flattering. 
 
 
If you are interested in a commission do feel free to get in touch via one of the methods on the right there :) but I should say I am not thinking of knitting any more until after New Year at this point! Do you like to knit/crochet to sell?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

merry christmas kupo! moogle ornament free crochet pattern

merry christmas kupo!

I mentioned in my previous post that I had an idea for a Final Fantasy Christmas decoration floating around in my head and here it is - a moogle Christmas tree decoration! And I've written a free pattern to go with it should you wish to make one yourself. Truth be told the inspiration for this decoration came from a blog post from The Pryeflies blog. Jessica shared some amazing geek-themed Christmas items and as soon as I saw the moogle bauble I wanted one! Of course I wouldn't want to take away any sales from the person who originally painted a bauble to look like a moogle, so if you can't crochet and would like one yourself why not buy one from here.

PATTERN
YOU WILL NEED
4mm crochet hook
Aran weight yarn in cream or off-white and red 
Small amount of black yarn
Tapestry needle
Toy stuffing
Craft wire
Red pom poms
Sewing needle and thread (cream and red)
Optional - hot glue gun
Optional - pink felt tip pen

BAUBLE

with cream yarn
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next* round (12)
Round 3 - *2sc in next, sc in following* round (18)
Round 4 - *2sc in next, sc in following 2* round (24)
Round 5 - *2sc in next, sc in following 3* round (30)
Round 6 - *2sc in next, sc in following 4* round (36)
Rounds 7-13 - sc round (36)
Round 14 - *sc2tog, sc in following 4* round (30)
Round 15 - *sc2tog, sc in following 3* round (24)
Round 16 - *sc2tog, sc in following 2* round (18)
Round 17 - *sc2tog, sc in following* (12)
stuff shape firmly here, shaping into a ball
Round 18 - *sc2tog* round (6)
close opening, fasten off and weave in end

EARS (make 2)

with cream yarn
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - sc round (6)
Round 3 - *sc2tog* round (3)
Round 4 - sc3tog (1)
fasten off and weave in end

NOSE

with red yarn
Round 1 - sc6 in magic circle (6)
Round 2 - *2sc in next*round (12)
Rounds 3-4 - sc round (12)
Round 5 - *sc2tog* round (6)
stuff shape lightly, shaping into a little 'sausage' shape as you go (use the picture as a guide)
fasten off, sew the hole shut and also sew a stitch from the bottom of the nose through to the top (holding nose horizontally) in order to hold its sausage shape!

HANGING LOOP

with cream yarn, chain 24 and fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing

kupopopo kupo!
TO FINISH

using the pictures as guides
- Sew nose in the centre of the bauble
- Sew the ears to the top of the moogle's head, using the nose to help position them (they are quite high up and reasonably close together)
- Using the black yarn back stitch two little eyes just above the nose
- Using either the needle and thread or the hot glue gun, attach the pom pom to one end of the craft wire, then attach the other end of the wire to the top of the moogle's head, slightly set back between the two ears
- In front of the wire sew the chain to create a hanging loop
-Optional - using the pink felt tip pen, lightly colour in some cheeks to either side of the nose, rubbing the colour in lightly with your finger tip

You can also find this pattern on Ravelry

And there you have it! My moogle is currently sitting proudly next to the tardis Christmas tree decoration I made last month! The moogle will work up quite quickly and can be made using bits you already have lying around in your craft supplies - an ideal last minute gift for the Final Fantasy fan in your life. It also is just 'not Christmassy' enough that it can decorate any fan's room all year round!

If you want to add a little more sparkle why not invest in some tinsley pom poms to replace the plain red one, or even sew a mini-Christmas hat in between his ears?

This pattern is for personal use only, please do not sell items made from this pattern. Please do not republish this pattern as your own/without permission. Due to small parts items created from this pattern are NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN


Monday, 15 December 2014

have yourself a very geeky christmas


On Saturday I caught the train to Macclesfield to visit a geek themed craft fair – Have Yourself a Very Geeky Christmas (HYAVGC). HYAVGC followed me on Twitter a couple of months ago, and once I read their description and saw their location – just a train ride away for under £5 – I thought I would love to go! 

The fair was quite small and was held in the Senior Citizens hall in the town centre. Although small it was clear a lot of thought and effort had gone into the theme and planning of the fair, with excellent subtle decorations dotted round such as ‘Vote Saxon’ posters, renaming the little tuck shop ‘Madam Puddifoot’s’, and some obligatory Hogwart’s house posters too. They even had a geek ‘photo booth’ but as I went alone I didn’t fancy that!
 
excellent name for the tuck shop - don't think butter beer was on the menu though
Every stall had a geek theme to it. There was an independent comic artist (Marc Makes Comics!), a stall that made geeky sock monkeys (All Things Sock), another that made home accessories such as coasters and little shelves from comic book pages (Knot Like That), and a local owl sanctuary was even on hand to introduce you to some owls, though unfortunately I didn’t spot a snowy white. This is only a few of perhaps the dozen or so stalls on offer at the fair.

Knot Like That
Frustratingly enough I had already done pretty much all of my Christmas shopping (and had the bank account to prove it!) and couldn’t justify buying anymore gifts for people. I did however buy 2 cupcakes from The Secret Bakery's stall – one minion one for myself, one dalek one for my dad - as well as a jar with all the ingredients for gingerbread biscuits as a Christmas present. I also bought a Harry Potter themed notebook from Ignis Fatuus Books which I will admit was initially for me, but I have SOOO many notebooks that I will instead give this as a gift (though perhaps I will look them up on Etsy in a month or 2 and get another for myself) 

The Secret Bakery
Ignis Fatuus Books
All in all the craft fair was very interesting, and I was very sorry that I didn’t have more money to spend! It was good that it was around Christmas time as it was clear a lot of the foot traffic was there gift shopping, and truthfully a lot of the things on offer I was only considering as gifts (not being able to justify, nor necessarily desiring, any of the items for myself – but of course this is all down to personal taste and everything was beautiful!). But I am really happy that I went as I feel very inspired to make some crafty/geeky things of my own – though I will not be copying any ideas directly, instead why not check out all the links I’ve shared of people who were selling at the fair?  

Harribeads
I hope I find some time this week in between work and making Christmas presents to whip up a quick crocheted Christmas ornament to share with you with a certain Final Fantasy theme to it …

Saturday, 13 December 2014

crafty inspiration; my mum

mum!
As I aim to share as much knitting, crochet, and other crafts that I get up to on this blog it is only logical that I should also write something about my mum - the biggest inspiration for my crafting and the most avid and enthusiastic crafter/woman I've ever had the joy to know! This is a post that I’ve wanted to write for a long time, and I have so many things I want to tell you about her, but writing this hasn’t come as easily as I first thought, probably because I just want to make sure I get it as right as I possibly can.

You see, devastatingly, she passed away just over 4 years ago. I think about her every day but since starting this blog back in March about all the knitting and crochet I love to do I've been thinking about her even more. I like to imagine her enthusiasm for this which I know she would have shared with me. Perhaps she might have even written a contribution now and then. She was huge on all things crafty and liked to share her passion online in forums and emails. A particular favourite of hers was the beautifully named Green Sock on Left Foot on Tuesday online club - or GSOLFOT for short - for people who make miniature crafts, where every member was given a title and an imaginary tower to house their digital offices in - aren't crafty folk amazing?

a couple of mum's cheeky gnomes
Mum was always a smiling, patient, caring, warm, talented, beautiful woman who was unrelenting in her creativity. If only I could show you the back room in our house 4 years ago, with piles of craft supplies from floor to ceiling, and you could perhaps begin to grasp the edges of an idea of her love for crafting! This rubbed off on all of us kids in our various ways, but it was only since she has gone that I seem to have increased my passion tenfold for crafting, having discovered knitting and crochet. This, truthfully, does make me a little sad, because I can't help but feel that every time I learn a new technique, or make a sale, or even just write a particularly good blog post, that mum would have been so excited and proud. 

made for me by mum - based on Saphira (Eragon)
But mostly it makes me really happy. This blog, and everything I make, in its own way is a testament to my mum and the creativity that she has passed down to me, and also my sister (who recently learned to knit) and my two brothers. Dad too has always been very creative with his modelling and he enjoys reading my blog (I like that we are a creative family!), and I do make sure to show him things that I’m making/working on. It makes us all smile to say that mum would have liked something, like when we went to see the new Paddington film just the other day - she would have loved that!

I’m fairly certain that mum had at least sampled all the crafts you could possibly imagine (and we still almost have all of the tools to do them at home – at least 75% of my yarn stash used to be mums). She became extremely proficient in sewing delicate miniature bears/animals with mohair, and also attended a weekly adult sculpture class at the college near our house. You can see how marvellous she was in these pictures, again only the tip of the iceberg of the sorts of things she would make!

 
Everyone knows that their mum is the best mum in the world, and my mum was definitely the best mum in the world! I mean I’ve barely scratched the surface with how awesome she was! I will be heartbroken forever that she isn’t here any more, but I definitely think about her with more smiles as time goes on. And I know that she would be really impressed with everything that I’m doing at the moment. I’m sorry if you didn’t get to meet her but you definitely would have loved her :)

 
 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

#dicraftswap - woodland pt.2

Last month I wrote a post about half of my woodland#dicraftswap – a monthly craft swap organised by Hannah at Dainty and Ivory – detailing the items that I sent. I wasn’t able to blog about what I received because Charlotte – It started out with a stitch  – has unfortunately been quite poorlyand asked if it would be ok if she sent my craft swap closer to my birthday with something a little extra. I was so flattered that she wanted to send me a little birthday gift, its so thoughtful (though not necessary! I was happy to wait!)

Charlotte and I were already friends having spoken to each other through blogging and twitter for a few months prior, and she in fact got me onto the elephant pattern from All About Ami, having made at least a dozen herself! I was really happy that Charlotte ‘got me’ last month as everything I see her make on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog are so brilliant that I knew whatever she made would be perfect. 


When I opened my parcel and saw what was inside it was clear that a lot of thought and work went into this, and I‘m just so delighted with what Charlotte sent me! The crochet hook has come out and she made a gorgeous hood, with adorable ears, to keep me warm in the winter months. It’s a perfect size, will fit round my neck/shoulders even with another scarf on (for when it gets REALLY cold) and keeps my head warm but doesn’t rely on my hair being down as a hat would. And it is so full of character, and really sophisticated considering it looks to be modelled on a mouse or other cute woodland creature! Charlotte said she had seen this on my Pinterest (see my excellent crochet/knitted hats board)  and it was the absolute perfect thing to make, as I really wanted one but can’t justify making one for myself.

quick pre-work selfie to show you how it looks on!
She also included a lovely note about how she likes to read my blog (and I do yours too!!) and sent me a foxy notebook (for blog posts and pattern ideas) and a foxy mug (for all those hot drinks one requires while pondering). There was also a birthday card and a crocheted cupcake pin cushion which are some birthday gifts (another year older on Monday just gone) and I love the smile on the cupcake pin cushion.

Later this month I will be blogging about the Christmas #dicraftswap – I need to get my skates on and get on with it, along with 4 orders and a pile of Christmas presents….*deep breaths*

Sunday, 7 December 2014

crochet kingdom hearts

Kingdom Hearts is my absolute favourite series of games, with the first Playstation2 game being released in 2002 and I think I owned and played it not long after its initial European release. Since then there has been a string of sequels and spin-offs, growing the story of Sora and the keyblade in a world with interactions with Disney lands and Final Fantasy characters - basically a dream come true game wise (at least for me!). 
 
Of the 8 game titles, my favourites are easily Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and to my delight they announced last year that Square Enix would be releasing the HD Final Mix versions of these games this December as Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Final Mix (further to the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix last year - originally thought to be an exclusive Japanese release many years ago). Or in fact 2 days ago, and mine arrived in the post the very same day!
new game, new pin, and a heartless made by me
I've now got the game, with a free Kingdom Hearts pin too (wit woo) and before I hole myself up in my room with my PS3 for the foreseeable future I wanted to share with you some Kingdom Hearts crochet that I made not long after I learned to crochet for the first time just over 2 years ago. 
 
Heartless are the main enemies in the first game, and continue to be monsters you fight in the later games, and so even though you are supposed to dislike them some of them do have a cute look to them that transfers really well into crochet! After learning to crochet I wanted to get straight to making Pokemon, but couldn't afford to buy all the different colours at the time. However Heartless are all black with just yellow eyes, and so this guy was a lot cheaper to make.

 
If you fancy having a go at making this guy (be warned, crocheting exclusively in black is pretty difficult, but easy to hide mistakes) use this pattern which I managed to locate again, some years later, to share with you, and make sure you have some pipe cleaners for the heartless' anntenae!
 
Now excuse me, the PS3 is calling....