Crochet Christmas

It’s December already!! How did that happen?! Fear not, there is still plenty of time to sort out a crochet Christmas if that’s what you want to do. In the past I’ve bust a gut trying to make something for everyone and to be perfectly honest, this year I just can’t be bothered! I’m still going to have a crochet Christmas though. ‘Course I am!!

First of all I’ve signed up to a couple of Secret Santa thingummies. One is for bloggy crafters (Stitching Santa) and the other is over on Instagram. Part of the deal for signing up is that you make handmade stuff.  The great thing is, is that I know that the participants will be as enthusiastic as me about handmade (whereas, who knows what friends and family think when I’m palming off handmade stuff on them?!).

Sooo first up I thought I’d make some wrist warmers. Quick, easy and very wearable. This year I’ve made a pair for myself and I’m making a pair each for my secret Santa peeps (the pair in the above pic are destined to be sent out). I used my own design from the Vintage Autumn set that I’ve got on Ravelry. I made the larger size as I want them to fit and whilst the small size fits me, I do have wrists like twigs. [In my last vlogcast I might have mentioned that wearing two lots of crochet at the same time was a bit like doing double denim, ie don’t do it! Therefore, the above picture amuses me as I manage three items whilst sitting on a crochet blanket!].

If making crochet presents is too stressy then you can always dec your halls instead. I’ve talked about these crochet baubles on the blog already and they have a post of their own Here. A brilliant use of scraps!

Some of my other favourite crochet decorations are some gorgeous Xmas puds from Planet June (you must check out all the other free patterns, including some more festive makes). I also found a toadstool decoration, I can’t remember if this is the pattern I’ve used but it looks like a good one. Toadstools look lovely on my tree!

I’m also doing a swap. I’m swapping some of my old makes with someone else’s, which is a brilliant way of getting something new and exciting for Christmas. Er, what else?… Well, there’s shopping! Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday. Find someone/something on Etsy, Folksy or check out local craft fairs to find independent makes that other people have worked so hard to create. I’m endeavouring to do a bit more of this this year. So far I’ve only managed to buy things  for myself though…

What are you doing for your crafty Christmas? Have you been super organised, or have you left it to the last minute like me?!

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How to Crochet a Little Bag

bear-in-bagSo this is crochet video tutorial number 4! They’re trickier to put together than just my usual chats but there’s still a casual approach, which I prefer.

I decided to make a small version of my crochet beach bag for two reasons: one, I was curious about how it would turn out, and two, it would take an eternity to make and film the big version for a tutorial! I love what happened!! It’s such a cute little bag. Perfect for kids and perfect for those wondering what to do with that colour change yarn cake they’ve got stashed away.

Please take a trip to YouTube via this picture! Go on, give it a click!

I made the bag and poms poms and have just over 20grams left. The cake I used was Bernat Pop (140g) in Paisley Pop. My hook size was a 4.5mm but you might want to go down to a 4mm if you have loose tension.

There are some changes. The bigger bag used two 200g Caron cakes and has another increase round. The handles are also slightly different. Check out my blog post about that one here.

The PDF pattern is here: Crochet Beach Bag_zeens and roger

The changes? Well, this one only works up to Round 6 and then Round 6 is repeated 13 times. The next row after is half trebles. The handle has a couple of changes too: chain 71, and only work one row of treble clusters after the dc row. (remember that these are UK terms).

This bag measures approximately 28cm/11inches across and is 23cm/9inches deep. The handles (including the ends tucked inside) are about 47cm/18.5inches long.

Fancy making one? Let me know! And don’t forget to use #zeensandroger over on Instagram!

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A Farm up North. Holiday Part 2

It’s been just over a week since we got back from holiday but it already feels like it was a million years ago. Part 1 of my holiday adventures lives Here. It’s full of pretty pictures about what we got up to when we ventured away from the farm we stayed at. This post is all about our accommodation and why it was right up my street!

Imagine stumbling upon a farm house where the owner spins, dyes, and knits yarn that’s from the fleece of their very own sheep?! I couldn’t believe my luck.

A long lane takes you to Higher Gills farm in Clitheroe, Lancashire.  The sheep and surrounding fields you can see are all part of the farm and the hill in the distance is every witch’s and Quaker’s favourite: Pendle (see post 1 for that). The easiest thing for me to do is link to the farm’s website so you can read in more detail about the farm/accommodation/yarn shop. Freda and Darrell run the woolly/yarny side of things as well as the holiday lets, with other family members in charge of the farm management. In previous years they’ve had a stall at Yarndale as well as other yarn festivals but are now winding down. They’re still selling online and the holiday lets will continue but they’re retiring from the yarn events. I liked Freda and Darrell very much. They were both chatty and friendly but also knew when to leave us to it. Our accommodation was  one of two apartments converted from an old stable. It was described as rustic, which I’d agree with and pretty much had every thing we needed (I was fully prepared for sub-par wifi but we streamed Game of Thrones with no glitches –  super important in my book). My biggest gripe of the week was the too small frying pan that wasn’t non-stick. I let that go.

Views were pretty good. Directly in front of us was this. Not bad. And there’s a public right of way through the farm so you can walk through the fields and find more beautiful views.

The farm has sheep and cows, some rarebreed. I didn’t see many cows, just these cute babies. To be honest, I was more enamoured with the stone walls. I was supposed to ask what the jutty-out stones were but didn’t get round to it. Whatever, none of this was the biggest attraction for me, oh no. Before we’d even fully unpacked I was in there with the wool questions. Freda invited me over to her farm house on the Monday morning so I could get answers.

I absolutely loved Freda’s home. It was cosy with an eclectic mix of Stuff. I had a little tour and ended up in her craft room where we stayed chatting for about an hour and a half. I was allowed to have a rummage through countless tubs of yarn skeins, all of which were made from Freda’s Teeswater sheep fleece.  I bought a few too because I’ve learned over the last few holidays that yarn makes a great souvenir.

Freda’s craft room was full of experiments and projects. There was a loom next to a spinning wheel next to a table of trinkets and works in progress. What’s not to like?! I could have rifled through it all for ages. It was wonderful to see another person’s creative processes, it made me feel better about my own little corner of crochet “shame”. Non-crafty people tend to think we’re messy. It’s not mess, it’s art!

Here’s the fleece in its raw form. I don’t know how Darrell does it but he sat there for hours, painstakingly separating the very best tendrils from the unsalvageable. You can buy it like this too, they send it all over the world. The long tendrils are one of the reasons the yarn is so soft. No short poky strands to itch you. Apparently, being worsted spun as opposed to woollen spun is also the reason it’s a lot softer than other pure wools (or something like that). Mostly they send away fleece to mills to get spun and don’t make it into skeins themselves. Freda dyes it once it has returned home.

Here are my souvenirs! I haven’t decided what to do with them yet but I’d love to design a shawl with three of them. I think I’d like the red one to be a cowl with lacy stitches, like one I saw Freda knitting in the same colour. It was almost enough to tempt me into learning more advanced knitting but I’m wondering if I can come up with some pretty crochet stitches instead.

What a wonderful discovery for a yarn enthusiast! I learned new things and experienced a very different kind of yarn to what I’m used to. This is the real deal as far as I’m concerned and it’s fascinating. I can’t wait to use it.

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Blooming Marvellous – A Knit & Crochet Garden.

I love the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, it’s always welcoming and they have a really eclectic mix of exhibitions. A couple of years ago I went and saw a collection of Matisse paper cut-outs, which was great for a small town gallery (the Thelma Hulbert is in Honiton, East Devon). Sometimes we go just to use their fully stocked art and craft room. The kids love grabbing glue and making collages, or drawing the biggest pictures they can on massive sheets of paper.

I left it really late to visit their latest exhibition, the last day is this coming Saturday (24th June). I can’t believe I didn’t see that it was on until now.

Blooming Marvellous is right up my street because it is a knitting and crochet exhibition! It’s a garden of all things yarn. People from all ages, from all walks of life, hand stitched every item on display. I wasn’t sure if it’d be a bit cutesy but I was delighted to see it all! We also contributed by adding a few rows to some knitting that was there. Can you believe that there weren’t any crochet hooks?! I forgot to take crochet flowers with me. Annoyingly, I have some at home that would have been perfect to donate.

I went with my friend and our two youngest children. The boys had a great time finding things on a list they were given. A mole in a hole, tick! A ladybird wearing a lace collar, tick! A plate of prawns, tick! (The boys were also really pleased to find plug sockets hidden in the floor. But they are only four years old). After the exhibition one of the people working there told us to go and explore the gardens. There were plenty of strawberries to find and eat, she told us. It’s little things like that, that make me like the place so much.

Blooming Marvellous has been touring the UK for the past six years and I wish I could tell you where it’ll be next so that you might get to go. Sadly, I have no idea. Hopefully it’ll be on somewhere else soon. I did take pictures though…

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Crafting is My Therapy – A Creative Community

(A glimpse from April – Nicola’s collage with some of April’s contributors.)

About a year ago I stumbled upon a crafty link up called Crafting is My Therapy. It’s run by two crafters: Nicola of Me, You & Magoo and Jennifer of Jennifer’s World whose ethos is pretty self explanatory: it’s about craft as therapy! The link up has now moved to Instagram. More and more people are connecting through their varied crafting and we’re all in agreement that making and creating is definitely an oasis of calm in continually hectic lives.

Last month it was my blogging friend Maura of The Messy Brunette who co-hosted the Instagram hashtag. Read Maura’s thoughts here. This month it’s my turn. I’ll be checking out the hashtags as often as I can and choosing my favourites to post here and over on IG.

If you’re an Instagram user then make sure to tag your crafty projects with #craftingismytherapy_june

We’d love to see your work there!

What Nicola says: “The focus of our hashtag is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too.”

This collage is from May and pinched from Maura’s post (whilst I work out how to do collages from other IG users….) starting from top left and its @ crafticland, top right @ yarnandblarney. Bottom left @shirleyrainbow_tb and bottom right is @knottyhoops .

How to Crochet a Beach Bag. Free pattern

At the very beginning of April I had an email from Hobbycraft asking if I’d be interested in designing a crochet project for them. It was really exciting to be asked and really exciting to learn that I could pick any materials from stuff they sold in their stores! Caron Cakes took my fancy, it’s self striping so no colour changes!! The brief was “summer” and what’s more summery than a bag for the beach?! The pattern pretty much uses two entire “cakes” including plenty for pompoms. Honestly, it’s a super easy crochet pattern and pretty fast to work up too.

Hobbycraft have an Instagram account and blog page especially for knitters and crocheters. The bag pattern is up and ready to grab over on Hobbycraft (see below). The best thing of all is that it’s totally free!! They’re asking lots of IGers to come up with patterns. It’s a lovely idea to include crafters who are already connecting in a virtual community. There are some fabulous patterns available and they’ve all been designed by us!

Crochet Beach Bag PDF : Crochet Beach Bag_zeens and roger

Or pop to Hobbycraft, here.

And if you spot my error, please keep schtum!! 😀  It was very late at night, I was tired and mistakes happen. I kicked myself for not noticing until it was beyond changing. What a silly sausage. Ah, you’re gonna seek it out now. Psshh.

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Episode 6. Crochet Vlog/Podcast

Hello there! The above screen shot will take you to YouTube for a crochet podcast /video web log experience you’ll never forget!!  Please do pop along and watch; it would make me super happy!  Anyway, what have you been up to? This vlog is pretty much what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. I always have really good intentions about structure, format, order etc. As soon as the record button gets pressed, that all goes out the window! It’s just supposed to be a chat, not a presented programme. That’s what I tell myself.

Here are the links to stuff in episode 6. If there’s anything else you’re interested in please do ask. Cheers.

This week’s bluebell blog post

Japanese crochet books (and other various craft books) can be found here

Nanna Nostalgia. A blog post I wrote last year about my crafty heritage.

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn Podcast

Crochet Cakes Podcast

Crochet Luna Podcast

And here is some of the stuff I talked about this time round…

The Crochet Elephant Ripple Blanket

Hello! Happy May! Love May, May makes me happy. Proper spring you see, it’s magic! Plus it’s my birthday in a couple of days and that always gets me giddy (I can’t believe I still get excited about my birthday). It’s been a while since I wrote a post about crochet. They’ve all been videos haven’t they?! I’m starting to see a divide between blogging and vlogging, that I had no idea about. It’s not a problem but I’d like to not neglect anyone.

Anyway… blanket. At the beginning of April a friend got in touch with me and asked very nicely if I would make a baby blanket for her friend. I liked the ideas she had and fancied having a go at something different. It was nice that I could do a brainless ripple but there was also going to be something interesting in the mix as well.

I know that the baby in question is having a safari themed nursery and because grey was to feature in the blanket’s colour palette, it was elephants that sprang to mind. I did a quick search online and came up with these cuties. The pattern is from Repeat Crafter Me and it’s exactly the sort of thing I wanted.

I like how the secret elephants are hidden inside when it’s folded up. You might think it’s a boring blanket. But tumble it open and the cuteness is revealed!

They had to go trunk to tail, that’s something I definitely wanted. I hadn’t thought much about how they’d be attached. I’m glad it dawned on me not to merrily stitch through to the other side. I paid lots of attention to making the stitches only on one side. I had to forgo safety eyes for the same reason (they’d poke right through to the other side). I forgot to take pics of the other side to prove that there’s nothing on show. Watch my latest vlog, the evidence is there!

I used Stylecraft Special dk as it’s perfect for baby blankets. I ordered the yarn at the same time as the release of the new shades so I knew Buttermilk had to be part of it. It’s like someone has added mayonnaise to the Mustard. They go very nicely together. Also in the mix are Teal, Sage and Grey. It looks quite nice on my fabulous(ly cheap) sofa too!

And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Neat Ripple! I have no idea how many times I’ve made Attic 24’s Neat Ripple! So many! I did 8 pattern repeats and 64 rows before adding the grey. At each end I added a ripply row of grey and then a straightening row. You can straighten it off by following this useful guide from Little Tin Bird. Then it was just a case of making a couple of rounds of UK trebles before going back to Attic24 for the edging, which was pilfered from Lucy’s original Granny Stripe. Phew! What do you think? I like it! Anything with grey and mustard floats my boat though. Grellow they call it.

Anyway, I’m late for an evening walk that I must do. I’ve been very lazy recently and done no proper exercise. And I need to go to the shop for bread and milk…

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Stuff from Episode 5!

Hey! Welcome to Episode 5 where I talk about crochet. It’s a crochet podcast or vlog, I still haven’t decided what to call it. Technically it’s a vlog but podcast is the word that has caught on… The pedant in me is finding the situation very hard to deal with.

Click on the pic above to take you to YouTube!

Here, you’ll find links to all the things I’ve talked about, along with some photos. So even if you don’t want to watch, you can at least see what I’ve been up to recently.

Links:

The Neat Ripple by Lucy of Attic24

A simple blanket edging (the one from Attic24’s original granny stripe).

Cute elephants from Repeat Craft Me.

Straighten out your ripples, here.

My little purse tutorial.

The Cleckheaton colour block jumper that I so desperately want to make!

What my garden looked like a fortnight ago (it’s much more bloomy now-will take pics).

Instagram RavelryPinterestFacebookEtsy

I think this blanket deserves its own blog post! I’ll get on to that next week.

All my sewing projects are in full use, I’ve got a couple of other things on the go and yep, that’s it really! Let me know what you think! Have a fab weekend. X

How to Crochet a Purse and add Zip and Lining

Hi guys! How is everyone?! I’ve finally made another tutorial for YouTube! Phew. This one is for a cute little crochet purse. I wanted to show how to sew in a zip and then at the last minute I decided to go all the way and whack in a demo for the fabric lining too! The response from the crochet Easter egg (my first tutorial) was amazing, absolutely amazing! Thank you so so much. It has definitely spurred me on to make more video tutorials.

Anyway, if you crochet but have always wondered how to attach a zip to your project or want to know how to go about lining it too, this is the tutorial for you.

Things you’ll need:

-Cotton aran yarn (or another yarn of your choice). I used Drops Paris.

-4.5mm hook.

-Zip in the length of the purse you want.

-Fabric for lining.

-Needle for darning in end.

-Needle and threads for sewing zip and lining.

-Scissors!

Here are a few pics of the starting process… Don’t forget, you can chain as many as you like. Make sure your foundation chain is a couple of stitches longer than the actual zip. The work shrinks down slightly smaller than the foundation chain. The piece is worked from the bottom up and in the round. To get the full how to, please hop over to YouTube. Cheers.

Please do let me know how you get on. If you make a purse I’d love to see, you can #zeensandroger and I’ll see it on Instagram or Ravelry it! Or just come and say hi!

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