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!

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