Thursday, 27 February 2014

Chunky crochet: my first basket

Hi everyone. More crochet update from me :) I have been so keen to try out my new Boodles textile yarns so on the day I came back from my crafty shopping, I sat right down to make my first planned "chunky" project: a crocheted storage basket :) This is a proper xxl crochet and I used size 10.0 mm crochet hook on it. It felt so much different to crocheting with a small size hook. Less precision, more bulk. The texture, the hardness, the thickness of the crochet made me feel a bit surprised but nicely surprised. It also feels heavier in your hands when you hold your work while crocheting. And it grows fast!

Here's a storage idea :)

The basket was crocheted with half treble all the way through. The finishing white edging is double crochet. The basket is about 20 cm in diameter, 10 cm in height and 66 cm in circumference. 

I've used about 3/4 of the Boodles spool to make this basket.

My original inspiration was this project: Storage basket from Ros Badger's book: Hook, Yarn and Crochet. I only used a slightly chunkier yarn and a bigger crochet hook than it's recommended in the book.

Due to its "chunkiness" the basket was coming on very fast. I didn't want it to be too high so I deliberately skipped 3 rounds of crochet :) Overall, not bad for the first time, eh? I'm pleased with myself and I'm going to create some more of these baskets.

My cotton Lerke yarn looks so nice when stored this way. But like I said, I need another basket for storing my sewing bits and bobs and another one for some embroidery cotton yarns too! Oh! And I need one for my knitted Easter eggs too! So more baskets coming soon! I'm having fun with this noodle'y yarn! 

Thank you for your visits and feedback you leave. I really enjoy reading your messages. :)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Oodles of Boodles and other shopping trivia

Hi all. A quick update, mostly on the shopping theme ;) A recent (half-term!!!) trip to HobbyCraft in Chester resulted in bringing home this chunky textile yarn  - Boodles. If you don't know this type of chunky yarn, for your information this is ecological, economical and upcycled yarn made from soft textile offcuts in the fashion industry. A similar sort of noodle-type yarn to Hoooked Zpagetti which is also already well known on the market.

I've choosen my first 3 colours - mint green, white and plum accompanied by a 12.00 mm Bamboodle crochet hook :) 

Recently I've had a crafty urge to try my hand at chunky crocheting and my plan is to crochet some chunky storage bowls and baskets. I get to see lots of these projects in crafty magazines. They are easy to make, perfect to practise my crochet skills and I'd love to store some of my yarns and threads in them.

Cookie is clearly jealous of me taking the photos of my noodle'y yarns so he decided to place himself right in front of my camera. As soon as he hears something is going on on the windowsill, he is there! He's already discovered that the Boodles are good to catch and play with and the wooden crochet hook is something good to chew on. 

A few more shopping treasures :) Magnetic window cross stitch markers - something I've wanted for months for myself. I'm always on the look out for convenient ways of cross stitching. How do you mark your patterns? With highlighters? Magnetic gadgets? Pencil? I hope these will work well for me.

In preparation for Easter cross stitch projects, I got myself a piece of black aida. It can be a bit of a nightmare to stitch on but the folky patterns look so good on the black background :)

And the last but not least, I bought these two small lovely books with crochet and knitting projects:

This should keep me occupied for a while! ;)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Spring Sampler (2) Yarn shopping.

Hi all. Spring is coming on nicely... well at least on my cross stitching frame :) Here's is my progress. I'd say it's about 1/3 done by now. I'm going to stitch the upper part now and then finish with the bottom of the project. I'm really enjoying stitching this sampler and I'm lovin' how the font came out too. 

In 3 days Welsh schools break up for a weekly half-term break. This means the whole week and actually 9 consecutive days of crafting bliss :) I'm soooo looking forward to this free time and I'm hoping to make even more progress with my sampler. In the meantime I ordered another Riverdrift House sampler to stitch. I've kept my eye on this Easter sampler for a while now. I've missed stitching with some pastel colours. 

With the Valentine's Day last Friday and all things nice to celebrate, last Saturday I treated myself to a big crafty shopping :-)))) Finally this gorgeous set of circus font stamps is mine, mine, mine!!! :D

This set can be teamed with a complementary set of cutting dies, which arrived at my place today! :D I can't wait to lay my hands on this set. Naturally, I couldn't miss the shelves with yarn:
Some mercerized cotton in energizing colours: Wendy Supreme:

Sirdar Simply Recycled yarn

 more of Freedom Sincere organic cotton:

Some Sublime Egyptian cotton - never had one so wanted to have a go at this type of yarn:

and all the yarn "loot" together :)

in Lidl, again, I found the remaining orange cotton yarn and a set of dpn:

All these vibrant spring colours inspire me to try some projects for home like coasters, mug hugs, mats, Easter chicks, floral garlands etc. Hopefully I'll find some time to have a go at them. 

Now a good news for all nutty knitters who love all sorts of fonts and words: This gorgeous new book Knit the Alphabet by Claire Garland is hitting the shops at the end of March. I've already pre-ordered my copy on Amazon and I'm awaiting it impatiently :) I have a feeling it will be a big hit in the world of crafty books, just like Knit 55 Christmas Balls by Arne & Carlos.

And to finish off, a few photos of my little furry not-so-patient model - Cookie. I was trying to photograph him on the windowsill but he kept catching the strap of my camera and chewing on it. His attitude towards the cat modelling didn't help at all! Just see for yourselves :)

He can be naughty but he's a totally sweet and adorable little bugger <3

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Crochet jar covers (WIP) and planning Easter projects

With the recent flooding and awful weather sweeping through the British Isles in recent days, I hope you all are ok over there, especially those of you living in the flooded areas of Britain. Here in North Wales, we have had some of that wild wind and driving rain. Some trees fell obstructing roads and impeding traffic, there's been a landslide of a water-sodden hill in my village but apart from that and the excess of rain water we are pretty much safe over here as compared to those whose households have been destroyed by flooding. My heart and thoughts go to those in trouble and distress. I hope this horrible weather stops soon.

In the meantime I've got another project running along. This is my work-in-progress piece: recycled jars covered with colourful crochet sleeves. Simple, easy and quick to make and also a nice idea for crafty storage :) I'm going to store my pens, crochet hooks and some of my knitting needles in them. 

This weekend I'm going to work some more on my spring sampler and possibly grab a crochet hook too! I'm also planning to look through my new and archival issues of cross stitch magazines and choose some Easter projects and order more DMC cotton. 
Yesterday I ordered another Riverdrift House sampler I've kept my eye on:

Clearly I'm longing for some eggs and pastels :) And here's something to make you smile:

Have a nice weekend! X x X

Monday, 10 February 2014

Spring Sampler (1)

Hi. Hope you all had a good weekend. It was quiet and quite cosy here. The dreariness and the coldness of the February days have made me long for something warmer, cheery, full of life. Now that Christmas season is gone, I am looking forward to spring. So alongside with my crochet, I've started cross stitching a spring sampler from Riverdrift House.
What I like about this kit is the compilation of various springy elements in cheery colours, the stitches are only full and there's no backstitch so the sampler should be pretty quick to stitch. 

A close-up of how it should turn out.

With a glass of wine next to me, I was stitching all Saturday and Sunday evening and this is what it looks like right now:

I love working on the fonts in this sampler and stitching every little character featured in the sampler is a single little joy too :) The finished piece should measure about 25 cm x 25 cm.

The rainy Saturday was all about being cosy and warm. We had a long lie-in in bed and my little furry buddy, Cookie, was enjoying that lazy morning with me :))) He's such a lovely fella (Oh, by the way, have I mentioned that initially SHE turned out eventually to be HE? A real tomcat boy! The name - Cookie -  remained.)

"He is soooo your cat", my bf often says. He hangs around me most of the time. He always seeks for me to play with him, he waits for me on the stairs when I get back in from work and he is my personal morning wake-up call assistant hovering over me when it's time to get up for work. He talks to me, he meows back and absolutely adores being in the centre of attention. He is always full of beans.

So we both enjoyed that morning together. Purring kitty on your lap is such a calming moment of the day. I always treasure it.
Currently on my reading shelf is this novel: Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell. I just started reading it and already I'm finding it whimsical, even sensuous as the author is good at creating moods through the description of the simple everyday things. There's some sort of illusive peace and serenity in this book alongside with a scorching heatwave that makes people behave a little bit strangely...

I don't know how the book will develop. I'm dying to find out soon! :) Now back to my cross stitch sampler.

Joining up Hand-made Monday no.154 tonight. Do join in!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Star Garland (1)

I think I'm already in a full crochet swing :) Here is an update on my crocheted stars:
I'm planning to crochet a garland made of 15 stars but I may decide on a longer one if it comes out too short to my liking.  If it goes on the mantlepiece, 15 stars should do but if it goes on my Christmas tree, it needs to be much longer. I'll see about that :) So far I've crocheted 13 complete stars.

I crochet them using only 3 colours, cream and brown are organic cotton yarn called Sincere and since there's no red colour in the Sincere colour palette, I went for the red Lerke from Dale of Norway, half merino, half cotton mixture.

The yarn naturally curls up when it's knit or crocheted so when I've finished them, I'll have to do some steaming / ironing and blocking. It will be a new thing for me as Ive never blocked any knit or crocheted items before. I must read some theory about it.
My dear crocheting friends, if you happen to have any suggestions as for blocking, I'm all ears listening out there for you. 

Some shopping goodies: this is my recent buy from Lidl - a continental German supermarket. It made me really happy. They were selling these cotton yarns at about £3.49 per pack while it's usually a price for only one 50g yarn ball! It was a great bargain and I couldn't resist those Easter'y colours.  I hope the yarn will be pleasure to knit.

Also the knitting needles and crochet hooks were on offer for only £1.49 a piece! I took a piece of circular needles (something to try out in the future), 2 sets of cable needles (also something on my to-do-in-the-very-near-future list) and some nice girly crochet hooks of a very small size. Lovely! 
Thank you Lidle! :D

Somewhere between the stacks of my craft books I found this:

a crochet diary for 2014, freebie from one of the mags - not sure what I'm going to put in it yet - perhaps some urls to crochet tutorials or something :)

And finally, the books I've been in love recently:

I have mentioned buying Mollie Makes Crochet book before but some later after that I got myself another lovely book Hook, yarn and crochet by Ros Badger and Crochet step by step by Sally Harding from DK publishing house. I love all crafty books from DK! - they are always good books full of content and good advice as opposed to many with just waffling and pretty pictures. Oh! and I love this dotty cover - supa cute and just matches the whole girly-crochety-hand-made theme. All these 3 books give me a good crochet theory as well as some easy crochet projects. The star garland comes from Ros Badger's book.

A full weekend ahead. Yipeee! What are your (crafty) plans? Hope you all have a nice chillout.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Crochet practice

Just a quick hello. This is what I have been up to recently :) Crocheting self-training sessions each night :) I am getting THERE!!!

More completed crochet soon! x X x

Monday, 3 February 2014

Christmas Cards 2013 (19) Leftovers: 5 commissioned cards with reindeer

Finally, the last post about my Christmas cards from the previous year :)  These cards were made as a last minute commission from my colleague. She wanted some reindeer so to make it more varied I went for reindeer in different styles. 

Below my favourite combination: punched snowflakes in red and white on brown kraft card :) I love the simplicity of this card. 

A sampler-type of card with stamped images, including reindeer :) These were small cute stamps I managed to collect over time and it's a compilation of motifs.

Heat-embossed reindeer in red on a "jumper" background :)

Vintage reindeer with a cute Scandinavian girl ;)

And the last card - reindeer stamped, stitched, die-cut and glued :) Voila!

That's it! Finito! Thank you for your patience :-))))