Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pinned it, made it: tea wreath

I love giving presents. I especially love giving homemade ones. The challenge of what to give/make for the person who has everything can be a fun one.  This is especially true when it comes to grandmas.  I mean, they are old enough to have everything they need and more and yet we don't want to overlook them at Christmas.  I found a tea wreath on Pinterest (from Kojo Designs).  I thought the wreath was a good fit because it's consumable, so it doesn't sit on a shelf and take up space. Practical, pretty, crafty...everything I look for in a simple gift. :)

Here is the version from Pinterest...

...and here is my interpretation!

The photo is a little blurry.  It was a quick snap with my iphone before we headed out the door to family Christmas.
I used two file folders wrapped in washi tape as the base of my wreath.  It has 16 clothespins holding in the tea bags (2 bags per clothespin) and I wrapped a bit of Christmas tree tinsel in and around them for colour, texture and sparkle.  The snowman is an oversized gift tag that I found in my Christmas giftwrap bin. :)

What the photo doesn't share is just how great this project smells.  A multisensory gift for sure.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hand-crafted gift in an hour or less!

Check out this beautiful brooch!

I found the pattern for the Ruffled Rose Pin in Redheart Yarn's "In The St-Nick of Time" post of quick gift ideas.  Not only is it quick, but it's fun and doesn't look anything like your typical crocheted craft.

Working with a new kind of fibre is always a challenge.  The Sassy Fabric yarn is actually a slightly gauzy, slightly crepe-y fabric that comes pre-cut with a ruffled edge and evenly punched holes.  It kind of looks like little café curtains.

I did find some challenges with the pattern, but I had already sunk $40 into the materials, so I didn't turn back!  (Crafters are so cheap!  Frugal.  Crafters are frugal.  It sounds much classier that way.)

Perhaps it's because I crochet left-handed, but I had some trouble with the special stitch for this project (the "ruffled single crochet").  The instructions in the Red Heart pattern would not work for me, so I modified the "ruffled single crochet" like this:

(modified) Ruffled Single Crochet:  Insert hook into the desired stitch of yarn A.  The insert hook from back to front through 4 of the holes in yarn B.  (Yarn B will naturally pleat and bunch together as you go.)  Draw Yarn A over the hook and pull through all of the loops of Yarn B.  When all you have left on the hook is your 2 loops of Yarn A, then yarn over again with Yarn A and pull through both loops on the hook.

I wouldn't go so far as to call this an easy pattern.  In fact, the title of this post might be a bit misleading.  This craft can be completed in 45 minutes or less, once you work all the kinks out.  I think it might have taken me 2 hours to complete the first one.  Once I had a method that worked for me, I was sailing through.

I also think there's an error in the posted pattern.  The pattern states that you'll need 1/2 a skein to complete one flower (15 yards).  I think it's actually much less than that.  Maybe 15 feet?  You should be able to get 5 to 6 flower pins out of one skein of fabric.

Holiday Crochet

We're iced in today after a pretty harsh ice storm.  Luckily, we're iced in with power.  We've been warm, cozy and pretty much in hibernation since we woke up.  It's been a great day for lounging, crafting, and organizing photos off my camera.

This basket is one of my recent crochet projects.

I used leftover yarn and followed the same basic pattern I guessed at for a previous set of baskets.  These stretchy and soft-sided baskets are great for stashing craft projects.  The turquoise project inside is a lacy beanie I'm working at making without a pattern.   ("Without a pattern" seems to be a theme, lately!)

If the bad weather continues tomorrow, hopefully I have some more time to post some more photos of the day's accomplishments.  I do love holidays!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Blanket Complete!

A sick day on the couch gave me time to finish up our Christmas afghan.  A Digital Photography 101 course on the weekend gave me time to learn how to use some of the settings on my camera.  Here are the Holly Jolly results:

Now that this bit of selfish crochet is done, I just need to get started on (or get back to) all the stuff I planned as Christmas presents this year!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

WIP day late!

Why finish one project when I could start another? While working through my last workplace training video tonight, I'm also working on a granny stripe scrap-ghan. It's gobbling up all my leftovers of everything in the white, brown and grey families.

I started this on the weekend when Dan and I began our Madmen binge. I can get almost through two stripes in one episode, so that gives a pretty good idea of how many episodes we've already watched!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How I Spent My Extra Hour

It's Fall Back Day! We've gained an hour. Not only does that mean that I won't be driving to work in the dark this week, it also means that I gained an hour today to do something I want to do.

So, with the washing machine chugging away, I sat down on the couch for an hour of uninterrupted crochet.

At the start of the hour, I had 26 rows completed.

After 60 minutes of non-stop crocheting, I was at 30.5 rows.

So...doing the math, it's going to take me about 6 to 7 more hours to finish this blanket.  Wish there were a few more daylight savings days.... :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pumpkin Hat - Visual Step-by-Step

Two years ago I had some fun making a pumpkin hat for my niece, a colleague's new baby and a few other fun people I know.  I'm back at it this fall because I have a 10-month-old nephew who needs a pumpkin hat of his own...and because they're just so fun to make.

I basically follow a really great pattern I found for free online, just adding more chains at the beginning and additional rows of hdc to "grow" the pumpkin to the size I need.  The thing that I love about this pattern is its simplicity.  It's hard to get an idea from the pattern of exactly how this hat comes together, so here is each step in picture form to show you just how brilliant the design really is.  (I kept returning to this hat over the course of the day last Saturday.  Notice the shift in daylight from picture to picture?)

1.  Create a ribbed rectangle by crocheting rows of hdc in the back loop only.  Fasten off.

2.  Whip stitch the rectangle together to create a cylinder.

3.  Add a row of evenly-spaced sc's around one end of the cylinder.

4.  Once one row has been completed, continue to sc2tog around and around until you have just 5-6 sc's remaining.  Then sc for a few rounds to make the stem.

5.  Create a little sprig.  Fasten it on.  Work in/hide the ends.  Flip the brim.  DONE!
I have 3 skeins of orange yarn in my stash.  I'd like to use them up.  I think I can make a dozen hats.
I'm hoping to sell them in my etsy store and use the money towards some things for my classroom.
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