Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Aching for creativity

I sometimes  wish that I was more creative. Or more talented. At least better at design. At times I long desperately for inspiration for something really beautiful, something that isso me and that I have designed. Unfortunately, I am really terrible at picturing things in my mind. The imagined object is really blurred and I have no idea gow to make it. But it almost aches, this craving for creativity. 

I love flowers. And I love making afghans. I want to get this brilliant idea of a flowery afghan that is all my design. And really pretty too. 

I got this idea that I could try c2c (corner to corner) crochet and make something pretty. I was all fired up, but forced myself to at least try the technique once before I got carried away. Well, it wasn't hard, and quite fun to make. But oh my, all those ends to fasten!

This is what I made. A simple flower, 4 colours and 10×10 pixels. And I got 14 ends to fasten. 14!!! I usually crochet over the ends as often as it's possible, since I hate weaving in those ends. And I can only imagine how many ends there would be on a big afghan. So I guess my mind will go on searching for the ultimate design idea. And the rest of me kind of longs for this mood to shift.

Friday, May 27, 2016

My Sophie's Universe

May I introduce Sophie's Universe CAL 2015

This, my friends, is the first crochet afghan I ever made. I saw it on Instagram, and it was love at first sight. I got started the same day! And I enjoyed it so much. I crocheted in an insane speed. It took me a month and a half to finish it.

I made it a year ago, but I never blogged during that period. I have more things to show you that might be new to you but not to me, so to say.

It is remarkably varied, there are new stitches and techniques the entire time. It's so hard to take a fair picture of it since you loose all the details.

I made mine in cotton, with a 3,5 mm hook if I remember it right. It's soft and cosy, and I use it almost every day.

 I didn't have a colour plan, just used what I had in my basket, and decided each round when I was there.

Take a look at some of the details! The squares to make it rectangular, the center flower, a flower shaping a corner and a row of tulips.

Another row of tulips, an amazing flower, another flower forming another corner, and a row of roses. Possibly my favourite part.

I keep it on our bed, and I spread it out so you can get a clue about the size. The bed is 1,8 m wide.

I always thought that I lacked the patience to crochet a afghan. Turns out you don't need all that patience, you just need to find the right pattern!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

African Flower blanket border

When I showed you my African Flower blanket, I stated that there was nothing much to say about it. Today I decided that I was wrong. I have more to say, that I hope might be helpful for someone. 

Maybe you are new to African Flower hexagons? You can find the pattern here.

We can also talk about the join. Sometimes I sew the hexagons together, but I don't have that patience with a big piece like this. So I joined on the go, as I was doing the last round on the hexagon. 

The first join takes place in a corner. Instead of just making that chain, I make a slip stitch through the corner of the hexagon I'm joining to. Then I make 3 hdc and I slip my hook from the loop. I stick the hook in between the 3rd and 4th stitches (on the left side from the joined corner) and pick up the loop and pull it through. I do this every 3rd stitch. When I join to a corner with two hexagons, I make on slip stitch in both corners.

This join isn't completely flat or invisible, but it is fast and easy. 

If you want to try this join but you don't understand my instructions, just let me know and I can show you.

The thing with hexagons is that you don't get even edges. If that is what you want, you have to fix it somehow.

Below, you can see the long side of my blanket. Between the peaks of the hexagons, you get a V that you might want to build up to an even (or almost, you can tell I don't like blocking, right?) edge.

This is how I  do it.

Round 1
Start in the top chain space, join the yarn and ch 1. This is your first sc. *Sc in next st, 3 hdc, 2 dc, make a dc cluster with first dc in the corner, second in the join between the hexagon, and third in the corner of the next hexagon. Continue with 2 dc (don't miss the stitch in the corner), 3 hdc, sc and sc in the corner.* Now you can repeat from * to *. When you reach the corner of your work, you make 3 sc in the corner space.

On the short side, make sc evenly across the entire side. Make 3 sc's in the corner space and repeat the pattern for the long side. Join with a slip stitch in the first sc when you have completed the round.

Round 2
Sc in the same stitch, *sc in the next 3 sts, 3 hdc, 2 dc, dc cluster in the next 3 sts, 2 dc, 3 hdc, sc*. Repeat from * to *. In the corner, make (hdc, ch 2, hdc) in the middle sc.

On the short side, hdc in each stitch. Repeat corner, long side and short side around your work. Join in first sc.

It might happen that you will have to add an extra sc or two around the corners. If you don't like my crooked style, you can always block.

I didn't mention this, but in order to get my short sides even, I made a half African Flower for each space. This gives a fairly straight edge to just work sc over.

Well then, let's move over to the actual border. I made mine in brown and beige, to calm down the blanket a bit. 

Round 1 - Brown
Sc in every st. (Sc, ch 2, sc) in corner space. Join with first st and cut yarn.

Round 2 - Beige
Hdc in every st. (Hdc, ch 2, hdc) in corner space. Join with first st.

Round 3 - Beige
Make sure that you will skip the last st before the corner. If not, make sl st into next st before you start this round.

Ch 4 (this is your first dc and ch 1). *Skip next st, dc in next st, ch 1* repeat to corner. In corner space make (dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1). Skip hidden st in corner and next st. Repeat * to * and corners. Join in 3rd ch in the beginning of the round. Cut yarn.

Round 4 - Brown
Join in dc with sl st and ch 3, or start with standing dc. Dc in same stitch. * Skip ch, 2 dc in dc*, repeat * to * until corner. In middle dc, make 6 dc. Repeat for every side. Join and cut yarn.

Round 5 - Beige
Dc in every st, in 4th dc in corner make (dc, ch 2, dc). Repeat for every side. Join but do not cut.

Round 6 - Beige
Ch 2 (first sc), sc in every st. 3 sc in corner space. Do not skip hidden st in corner. Repeat, join and cut yarn.

Round 7 - Brown
We will make a sc cross stitch.
Find the middle corner sc. Count two st away, join and ch 2 as your first sc. Now, go back and make a sc in the first st after the middle corner sc, over your first sc. Skip the 3rd st and sc in 4th st. Sc in 3rd st. Continue like this, skip one st, sc in next, sc in the st you skipped. When you reach the corner, 3 sc in the middle sc. Skip the next st, sc in next st, sc in the st you skipped.

It is not easy to explain without a lot of pictures, which I didn't have now. If you want a tutorial, just ask. Or search, I am sure there are videos and tutorials on this stitch out there.

Well, now I think I have said it all. Time to get some sleep, I guess.

Take care!

Friday, February 19, 2016

African Flower Blanket

I used to only start quick and simple projects. I shook my head at the bare idea of making a blanket in crochet. Well, I just finished my second! 

There is not much to say about it, really. I made African Flower hexagons, and a few half hexagons to make a straight edge. On the long sides I used the same technique I used on my African Flower bag pattern to make it straight, that is starting with sc on the top of the hexagon and increasing the height of the stutches by making hdc, dc as the "V" between the hexagons got deaper. Two rows is what it takes for me to straighten it up. But the corners tend to end up with too many stitches. However, what I make will never be perfect, so I'm still very happy about this blanket.

It's quite a heavy thing, it weighs 1,8 kg, made in Järbo soft cotton with a 4.5 mm hook. But I find the weight comforting, and it's soft and warm. A real winner if I may say so!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Towel crochet edging

In our downstairs bathroom, we can't use standard towels next to the basin. We need the smaller size, like a guest towel. However, when I went shopping for towels, I couldn't find anything in that size that I liked. So I bought the standard size and cut off the bottom part.

I used blanket stitch on the cut raw end, and I made crochet edgings using those stitches.

Short enough!

The patterns I used were simple ones, not building too much since I needed the towels to be short.

The left: ch 2, *skip one stitch, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2hdc) in the same stitch, skip one stitch* repeat from * to *

The middle: *sc, skip one stitch, 5 dc in the same stitch, skip one stitch* repeat

The right: front side facing you, make sc the entire row. Without turning the towel, use crab stitch the entire way back.

I am very happy with the outcome. Oh, and the rugs are brand new, that's why they look so clean.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Decoupage on fabric

I love decoupage. I wish I was a good painter, but I'm not. Decoupage lets me make beautiful decoration without being able to make pretty flowers by hand. Love it!

If you're not familiar with decoupage, it's a technique where you use a glue/varnish to stick the top layer of a paper napkin on a surface. Like on this canvas. The text is my making, but the flowers are decoupage.

I have used decoupage on multiple objects, but now also on fabric. It opens a world full of possibilities! I have made pillow cases for the couch (I made a green painting and the pillows didn't match) and decided to try decoupage when I ran out of green fabric.

I used one motif with stars and one with flowers, the one I used on the canvas. It turned out great! The glue feels a little plastic when it dries, but that's fine.

I tested to use the napkin as it was on one pillow.

Then I cut out the flowers and formed a bouquet on the front of the next pillow...

 ... and on the back I just spread them out.

I also made a new lamp shade for the window. It is a piece of fabric glued with hot glue to the wire frame. I love that I now have a matching canvas, lamp and pillows in this room!