Crochet Podcast Episode 10. There’s a Giveaway too!

Hellooo!! Episode 10 already, where has the time gone?! Anyway, I talk enough in the video, so I won’t do it here too! Below are the links to the things I’ve talked about. As usual, click on the pic above to travel over to YouTube. Thanks so much. X

Links:

The Spider Tutorial on YouTube is here. And this is the written pattern here.

Granny Beach Bag pattern

Zeens and Roger on Ravelry. You’ll find the thread for Episode 10!

Urban Stripe Shawl

Connie’s Blanket

Fluffy Chevron Cowl Pattern

Viking Hand dyed Yarns

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How to Make a Granny Square Bag. Free Crochet Pattern

I had no idea that I was going to make a bag last week, no idea at all! I was dashing off somewhere and felt I could do with taking a little crochet project with me. Hurriedly, random balls of yarn were grabbed and off out I went. Thus, a granny square bag was made! Yay!

I’ve had a few new friends come and join in the fun here recently, so I thought it’d be nice to share the pattern with you guys as a thank you. Thank you!

I didn’t have enough yarn to make a blanket, which made me wonder what else I could turn the squares into. I considered making a cushion, but what got me really excited was the idea of a bag! It’s a tricky thing to take a picture of, the bright colours were shouting loudly. I used leftover Paintbox aran and joined as I went (I’m fairly sure I used the Attic 24 method)

If you’d like to make a crochet granny bag you will need the following:

-Colourful yarn (I used aran weight but any yarn is fine)

-4.5mm hook

-Bag handles (search”bag handles” on ebay to find some, that’s what I did!)

-Lining fabric (something measuring a couple of inches bigger than your finished crochet piece)

-Sewing needle for yarn, pins, sewing needle and thread.

The main body of the bag is a bog standard gang of grannies; super quick and easy to do! Rounds of three, joined together in 8 rows of 5 (you’ll either need more rows or more rounds for each square if you’re using DK yarn). Every now and again all you need to do is check to see that the spread of colour is even! My piece measured 15.5×27″ (40x68cm)

Once the main body is complete,  the handles need to be shaped. It’s not as tricky as it looks and luckily, accuracy is not paramount. I don’t mind a project that needs a bit of bodging and crochet is usually very forgiving when it comes to bodging! Not that you need to bodge it, I’m just saying!!

UK terms are used (a treble is a US dc)

  1. At one end of the main body, (right side facing) make a strip of granny clusters starting with a ch3 and 1tr in the first st and ending with 2tr on the last stitch of the row. Straddle the square joins with 1tr, 2trtgr, 1tr.  You can see what I’ve done on the picture above.
  2. Turn the work. Ch2,  1htr in each st along to the end. Turn.
  3. Ch1, slip stitch along approximately 10 stitches (you want the narrow section to be the same width as the handle slot). Ch2, 1htr in each stitch along, missing the last (approx) 10st. Turn
  4. Ch2, 1htr in each st of last row. To widen the work again, ch13, Turn.
  5. 1htr in 3rd ch from hk. 1 htr in each st along to the end. Continue by adding 10 more stitches using a chainless foundation half double stitch. This is actually easy, I promise. I’ve found a good video that shows you how:  The half double chainless stitch. Skip the first minute of the video, the informative bit starts just after! Turn.
  6. Ch2, htr all the way along. Turn
  7. Repeat row 6. Fasten off. Repeat 1-7 on the other end of the bag.

Next, with right side facing, evenly stitch dc’s (sc’s) all the way down the edge of both lengths. Don’t fasten off yet…

Fold the bag in half and using the yarn still on the hook, slip stitch the sides together. Repeat on the other side.

Tuck the handle bits through the bag handles, fold down to the inside and pin ready for sewing closed.

The stitches don’t have to be neat, if you use matching yarn, you won’t see if you’re making a dog’s dinner of it! Try not to come through to the right side though, or if you do, make the stitches small so they’re not staring at you. Don’t forget the top bits at the ends.

Next you need to add the lining. It’s not 100% necessary but I think it looks better and you won’t have your stuff escaping through granny holes! Fold your length of fabric in half, right sides together. Place the bag on top and mark/draw where you need to sew. Also mark where you want the fold of your top hem to go. Sew down both sides to make the bag cavity. Next, iron the seams nice and flat, at the same time fold down the top hem and press. I went back to the sewing machine and top stitched the hem.

Tuck the lining into you bag, pin it in place and hand sew the top of the lining to the top of the crochet!

I think I need a course in how to photograph bright colours!!

I would absolutely love to hear if you make one of my designs, please do give me a shout. I’d love it if you said Hi! Don’t forget that I’m on Ravelry, so your makes can be added there. Oh, and I almost forgot Instagram! #zeensandroger

Thank you. X

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The Autumn Vintage Collection: Out Now!!

cosy-autumn-crochet-collectionI’ve done it! All finished. Woot!! I’m so pleased with it. Truly, I love this cosy set. It’s taken a while because I’ve been busy with other things too. The more I do this sort of thing, the quicker I’m surely going to get. And it’s technically still autumn too, so it didn’t take six months afterall! Please pop over to Ravelry or Etsy to buy your PDF copy. And because I’ve worked out how to do it, I’m offering a splendid 20% discount up until 9pm on Sunday (18thdec)!! You’ll need this code: xmastreat  The code also gets you a discount on all other items in my Etsy store!! Woohoo.

modelinNo silly faces like my last blog post (it’s the pic at the end)! I have very serious, yet… what? wistful? expressions for the real deal. It took a million pictures to get these. I scrutinize every last one to make sure I don’t look like too much of a freak and that the pompom is showing or I’ve got my hand in the right place. It’s possible I need a helper.

autumn-scarf mitts scarf-roll hat-with-pompomI took loads of pictures of it all. I wanted them to be informative as well as good looking. In the patterns themselves there are step-by-step photo’s for any tricky bits. I’ve focussed on the making of the mitts as they have elements where more detail is needed. But there aren’t many tricky bits because the patterns are super easy.

cosy-collectionPlease do let me know what you think.  I’d absolutely love to hear if anyone makes a set. At some point I’ll do some different colour combinations too.I think there are loads of options where the colours will make it look completely different.

Any way, that’s all for this week. I’m going back to present making!

A Crafty Trip Down Memory Lane.

Nanna's handmade blankets

The first week of the summer holidays was a trip to Southampton. In between the obligatory trips to Toys R Us and Ikea there are the visits to family. I always go and see Nanna and Grandad. They both turned 90 in January and are still surprisingly independent (to be honest, I’m always expecting them to pop their clogs). On this visit we went through some of Nanna’s crafty gubbins and it triggered a nostalgic twinge.

nanna embroidery

Look at this! She embroidered this table cloth in 1945 and she said that she’d like to pass it on to me. I’m quite chuffed about that. It’s really very pretty. It needs a bit of cleaning (anyone got any advice on how I do that?). She stitched it whilst her brother-in-law was in hospital (he’d had his face torn apart by shrapnel).

Vintage flower embroidery

Who doesn’t love a bit of vintage embroidery?!

Nanna's flower embroidery.  table n flowers

Now that it’s the holidays I won’t have much time but I would love to try something like this. I do tinker with embroidery but don’t do masses of it. It’s another thing to add to the list.

knitting needles

She also decided she didn’t want her spare knitting needles anymore. This is daft because I’m sure she’ll want some of them back. Also, I am terrible at knitting.

She hasn’t given me the ones she regularly uses. I think these are all surplus. In amongst them is a tunisian crochet hook. I got quite excited about this as it coincides with the growing fancy that I want to learn a bit of that.

Old bag

Then there’s this awesome bag. It needs repairing but I think it’s pretty cool. I think she said a friend gave it to her, I’m not sure. My guess is 1970’s.

Madeira Madeira bag

I’ve got no clue how to fix the broken bits. To be honest I haven’t checked out how broken it really is. I can just see that the fabric is coming away from the baskety bit.

Nanna's patchwork blanket.

Upon returning home to Devon I went and rummaged in my own cupboards and dug out a few things.

Patchwork blanket

Nanna made this patchwork blanket for my 18th. For a good couple of years leading up to that birthday I’d see hexagons here and there and ask what they were for. She was always evasive and I wouldn’t get a straight answer, hah! I have to be careful with it, I think there might still be a pin lodged in the layers somewhere. I found about three when I got it and managed to get a couple out. I use it regardless, pins be damned. It is not quite twenty years of age.

Having made a patchwork bag using english paper piecing, I know how this sort of thing is a proper labour of love. And her hexies are smaller than mine!

nanna's crochet blanket.

This is the crochet blanket she made for my eldest boy just over seven years ago00000 when he was born. It’s a classic Granny and it is this blanket that made me go to my local wool shop and buy my first crochet hook!

My first bit of crochet

Rewind to some point in the 1980’s… This tatty looking thing above is the first piece of crochet I ever attempted. I made this foundation chain and decided that crochet was rubbish. I don’t think it helped that I was told that I must hold the hook a certain way (me n Nanna don’t agree on hook hold). Knitting was easier; I could make squares and scarves and things. This crochet failure was tied to the middle of a Nanna made crochet blanket that I had as a little girl. (I threw it away last year. It was stinky and holey. The foundation chain is the only bit that remains).

Nanna knitted baby blanket

She knitted this one, for Eldest boy also.

Marceline tortoiseshell

And as usual, the cat wanted in on it so she clambered on Nanna’s blankets and went to sleep.

I’m still feeling funny about old things (not Nanna and Grandad. The other stuff). I’ve been sorting through my old work from when I first started school. I blame going back to Southampton.

school work.

aeroplane museum This was when I went to the Hall of Aviation in Southampton (now called Solent Sky). I took my boys last week. Still awesome.

dolls wedding outfit

I don’t know if I blame Southampton that much. It might also have been before that because I asked my sister to dig stuff out a few weeks ago. I was watching the Sewing Bee and had begun to wonder when I first started sewing.

I used to sit for hours, hand sewing outfits and accessories for my Sindy. After a while I graduated to the sewing machine. I was around ten when I made this wedding outfit from the leftovers of my other sister’s christening gown. My step mum helped me do this as I don’t think I could have managed those sleeves alone. I think I need to ask Sister to go back in the loft to see if she has the red cordoury dress I made her for Christmas when I was twelve… I was dead proud of myself!

Handknitted dolls clothes.

What Sindy/Barbie wouldn’t want knitted clothes?! Some Nanna specials.

hand knitted dolls coat.

I particularly love this coat and I actually think my mum knitted this. It wasn’t passed on to my sisters, it was the only one I kept.

HAnd knitted baby blanket.

Speaking of my Mum. I’m fairly certain she made this one and the one below. One knitted, one crocheted. Both in the seventies, for my brother.  I’m sure she’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

Crochet baby blanket

She said this one wasn’t suitable in the end. Too many holes for baby fingers.

Anyway, I’m gonna go. I didn’t realise there was so much from the past that still exists. What the blazes am I gonna do with it all?! Hope there’re no ghostly cooties clingling on to all the dust.

How to Successfully Create a Blog Post Full of Random Things.

stuff

The title is a lie. I have no idea. I’m just going to share photographs that have no business being in a blog post of their own.

plastic elk

I don’t know where I’d been but I arrived in the hallway a few days ago to find a load of plastic animals everywhere. They looked kind of good, so I took pictures.

lining up

I bought them from a charity shop last Saturday, all bundled up in a plastic bag . They were placed all the way to the top of the stairs.

plastic animals on the stairsEvery now and then, one would clatter down to the bottom, having been batted about by a predatory feline.

block colour crochet ripple

In a break from making lots of small things for next weekend’s school summer fete, I’ve been making yet another crochet blanket. A crochet ripple blanket, to be precise. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it as I’ve not experimented with block colours before. I can’t remember why I chose the colours I did. I think it’s a mix of trying to be cheerfully bright and trying to use what stash is still hiding in the cupboard under the stairs.

felt butterflies and stuff

Speaking of school fete stuff… I’ve been making butterflies. I’m not sure how these will turn out once they’ve been stitched together. I don’t think they’ll be terrible but again, I’m veering away from my comfort zone.

pussy times three

I got a positive response over on Instagram from one kitty I made, so I decided to make a few more.

helpful boy

I’ve had help too. He needs more training.

inside panasonic

And I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times before about a “spider” who became trapped inside my little camera. This is the sort of thing that Husband seems to think is unacceptable. Whilst it was annoying that a smudgy, leggy looking blob kept interfering with my snap shots, I had sort of become accustomed to the idea of an eight legged friend living on the lens.

fixy fix

One YouTube video later and the screw drivers were out. I don’t think I know anyone else who would take the time to attempt such operations.

inside a camera

And yeah, it wasn’t a spider at all. I am gutted. A friend had even advised I name him. He became known as Roger. I shall mourn him. Roger the miniscule speck of dust. 😦

Yarn GiveAway!

Well, I’ve got to share this haven’t I?! What a great Giveaway from The Messy Brunette.

The Messy Brunette

Hi everyone!

I have decided to do a giveaway. I was planning on doing this when I reached 1000 followers on Instagram, but it’s now reached 2000 – yah. Gotta love Instagram.

So here’s what you will win, it’s a yarn related one so maybe next time I’ll do a stitch or crafty one.

4 balls of Stylecraft DK in Raspberry, Plum, Petrol & Lobelia
2 balls of Sidar Faroe Super Chunky

Giveaway

To enter & have a chance of winning …..

  1. please follow me on Instagram
  2. Comment where in the world you live, I love finding out this stuff so please share either here on the blog or on Instagram
  3. use the hashtag #themessybrunettegiveaway

For an extra entry, please follow me on Twitter @messymauraORrepost onInstagram

Winner will be picked Friday 27th May and announced that night. Sorry its only opened to EU peeps. Private accounts please comment so…

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Patchwork knitting bag.

After many years I've finally finished my patchwork knitting bag.

I’m gobsmacked that this is actually a finished item. My skewed memory tells me I started this three years ago but it may be even longer than that.

Finished! Patchwork knitting bag.

I am properly happy that it’s all done and in use. It looks so much better than I thought it would too. I was getting bored of seeing lots of little unstitched hexagons.

My finished patchwork knitting bag!

Lots of indivdually tacked hexies sat in a paper bag for over three years. Every now and again I’d get them out of the bag to look at them and that was about it. Back in they’d go and I’d do something else instead. Eventually I found that it was time to start.

planning

I laid them out and took a picture to work from so I knew the “random” order that they’d go in.

Pieced together.

Eventually I began the slowish process of stitching them together and I was happy to discover that it wasn’t really that slow to do afterall.

Hexies stitched.

With a couple of weeks of sewing little and often, I was finished with stage two.

What it looks like from the back.

I liked the crinkle of the paper as I had it on my lap, I don’t know why. With stage two finished, it dawned on me that I’d have to actually put in some effort to move on to stage three. I knew I had to do it immediately because it would otherwise sit in the cupboard for another three years.

The pattern for this is from Cath Kidston’s book, Sew!. The book has so many lovely looking things but I have to be honest, I think the instructions are rubbish! For this particular pattern it wouldn’t have hurt to have a couple of illustrations demonstrating how to insert the lining, would it?! I had a look online but only found other bloggers or reviewers who were frustrated with it too. Nothing that helped unfortunately. With that in mind, I decided to take photos of what I did. Maybe it’ll help someone else. Or maybe it’ll just remind me how I did it, in case I fancy having another go.

And I haven’t even mentioned that the instructions were just plain wrong! It said to fold the lining fabric lengthways. They don’t mean that, they mean the other way. Who wrote that?! That wasn’t the first mistake either. The other error was to do with sewing the hexies together. When joining the outer sides together it told me to sew three rather four of the hexie strips together. If I’d done that, my bag would have had a massive gaping hole at one of the sides! Jeez! Anyway, moving on…

Making the lining for a patchwork knitting bag

Here are a few pictures showing what I did. Hopefully they’ll do the trick. Do I need some words to go with them? Already feel like I’ve written loads… I suppose I ought to.

Step1: Fold lining fabric widthways.

Step2: Measure 25cm from the bottom fold and mark with a pencil. Or line up the bottom seam of the hexie fabric with the bottom fold of the lining and mark where opening near the top sits (which should work out as approx 25cm).

Step3: Sew that bit on both sides. Then press, continuing the fold to the top of the fabric. Press a seam across the top bits too.

Step by step pictures to lining a patchwork knitting bag

Step4: I snipped the corners to avoid bulk. The instructions don’t tell you to do this but the seams are bigguns.

Step5: Put the lining inside the bag, wrong side out.

Step6: Pin stuff.

Pinning the edges. Patchwork knitting bag.

Pinning stuff.

Getting out the sewing machine. Patchwork knitting bag.

Machine stitch the lining to the top of the hexies. Do this on both sides. I think I did this after slip stitching the open sides… I can’t recall. Sorry. Mind you, on that picture above, I can’t see the any stitches. I was drinking Cava at this point so it’s a bit foggy (it was the weekend!). Not sure that bit matters, it’d probably work either way.

Attaching the handle onto the patchwork knitting bag

This was a fun bit. I managed to catch the end of Adventures in Babysitting, so I sat and watched that whilst pinning the handles in place.

Slip stitches. Patchwork knitting bag.

By the time I got round to sewing the hem down I was watching Alien. I haven’t seen it in years, it is such a good film. A proper film (not like Prometheus, ugh, terrible).

A patchwork knitting bag from Cath Kidston's Sew! book.

I’ve impressed myself by finishing it, I still can’t quite believe it. It’s good, isn’t it!?! I took the pictures of the completed article at Grandma’s house.

The only thing I might change is the green fabric at the top. It’s a bit deep and makes the bag slightly too long.

A patchwork knitting bag.

Would it be that much of a bother to unstitch it and do it again? I could take the time to shorten it but I think I’m nitpicking, it’s probably OK.

Interruptions during sewing

And I did it with many interruptions. I took many photos with a child sat on my head (see odd middle picture) and the cat kept sitting on it at any given opportunity!

 

I was asked via Instagram if I would like to link up with Me, You and Magoo for Crafting is My Therapy. I’ve not done a Link up before but I think I just share this lovely badge and everyone can share a bit of creativity! Is that right?

Me You and Magoo

Nothing much on a Friday.

ends

I’ve been mostly rushing to finish a blanket in time for the weekend. It needs to be done for Sunday. I’ve just finished sewing in all the ends. Such a rubbish job. Does anyone actually enjoy it?!

ends sewn in.

Just the border to go. I’ll make a start tonight and see how I go.

circular needles

Quite excited about the arrival of circular knitting needles in the post. I also bought some normal ones this week. I reminded myself a couple of weeks ago about the knit stitch. Very early days.

And that is it for this week. However, before I go off for the weekend I want to say a Thank You to:

Maura from The Messy Brunette,

Erin from Erin andSky

Bessie from Shell and Bobbles,

All of these fabulous people nominated me for a One Lovely Blog award.

I ran out of time this week and haven’t been able to do it. I can’t even think of seven facts that people might find interesting. Is liking lots wine a fact? Sitting on the sofa? Hopefully, I’ll get some inspiration next week. Also thinking about whom to nominate is making me fret. There really are some lovely blogs out there and some are on my Blog Roll (on the right). It is not limited to those, there are loads that I think are great. Anyway, I’m off. Running out of time for everything…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn shenanigans in a Devon town.

You are here at your own risk.

There’s a little bit of pagan in the air and I love it. I was especially looking forward to last Thursday for a good old pagan fix. In the morning I popped into town to take photographs of all the signs that were being put up for shenanigans happening later in the day.

Warning Flaming Tar Barrels.

However, before the day could really begin, a poorly toddler threw up in my lap and I knew that the evening, for our family, had been written off. For everyone else, the roads close and at four o’clock Ottery St Mary becomes a land of awesomeness.

The Volly

The first time I went to the Tar Barrels was in the year 2000. I was coaxed onto a coach from Exeter without knowing what I was heading toward. I had the best and scariest night ever. Thousands of people arrive every November 5th to stand too close to burning barrels of hot flaming tar. How great is that?

shutting up shop

All the shops are boarded up to keep them safe from the hoards of visitors. There’s a risk of the glass smashing due to the massive volume of people potentially being squashed against the buildings. Such fun!

crushing crowds

That first time I went I was petrified and spent most of the evening running for my life. Well, not really but that’s how it felt. In subsequent years I’ve found myself running towards the flames, trying to get as close as possible. I flippin love it! I’m not sure you’re supposed to do that. The key is to be respectful and responsible.

Tar barrels in the streets

Sadly, this year, because of a pukey boy I was disappointed. I could hear all the cheers and shouts from home. The smell of bonfire wafted all over town and it felt ridiculously magical. I took eldest boy out for an hour, so I could say we’d given our support.

terrible photo's of tar barrels

These were the only pictures I could get. I had a six year old balanced on my hip and I forgot to turn on my flash. I didn’t want to get too close because the boy gets scared. It’s funny because next year it’ll be his classmates taking part. Kids from Ottery families start “rolling” barrels from the age of seven. There are kid’s, women’s and men’s barrels and they take place all over town.  The barrels start small and get bigger thoughout the night culminating with the enormous Midnight barrel. I like the picture on the bottom right. It’s of our walk home but the trees form a circle and the lights reflecting on the road surface look like flames. It’s an upside down barrel! Sort of.

smallish tar barrel from 2011

I took this picture in 2011. I can’t be sure but I reckon this is one of the kids barrels. It isn’t big enough to belong to one of the men. A lit barrel is lifted onto the shoulders and the carrier runs up and down the street, giving a little spin to keep the flames going. Hessian mitts are worn to keep hands from getting crispy and then many layers of what are usually rugby shirts are worn to protect the body. Awesome!

Ottery Bonfire 2011

There is also a huge bonfire, which gets built during preceeding weeks. I love the ritualistic lighting of the fire, it’s amazing to watch. It is seriously the biggest bonfire I have ever seen and the heat that emanates from it is super intense. I always expect it to still be going the next day but it has always burned to the ground.

I seem to have written an awful lot for someone who spent less than an hour there this year.

Any way, 2016 is going to be an amazing year. It’ll be on a Saturday, so the crowds will be huge. This adds to the atmosphere and noise. Great stuff.

Upcycling those old books, a quick project.

Vintage illustrations. Little bit of upcycling.

I cut up a lot of books. Usually they’re ones that have been scribbled on, which puts a stop to any guilty feels. This is most of what I’ve got shoved in my crafty drawer, some may have fallen down the back.

I’ve got a lot of birthdays in October and my collection comes in handy when I haven’t got the time to draw a card design. You upcycle those old pictures into something new like a card!That’s another thing to feel bad about; If you make a birthday card just by sticking a picture onto some card, is that cheating? Well, it’s what I do when time is an issue.

My favourite pens and pencils and things!

Here is my favourite box of pens and things. I have a scalpel in there wrapped in a tatty masking taped protective thing (Husband made it a long time ago and I have stolen it along with the blade), it’s the dirty thing on the left, next to the brown pencil. We’ve tried to find those Stylo pens but they don’t make them any more. This one is used sparingly, it is lovely to draw with.

making birthday cards

Anyway, I use that scalpel to slice up my old pictures and then just bung them on some card with a bit of glue. Easy!

leftover scraps

Leftovers.

handmade birthday cards using vintage pictures.

See? Easy! A bit more slicing and done.

handmade birthday cards using vintage images.

Lazy, or what? I regret not having made the effort to do some drawing but I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to think of ideas. I really don’t like drawing something if the idea doesn’t please me greatly. Which reminds me, it is another birthday tomorrow…. Husband’s… I have lost my thinking cap. (The fabric in the background is for a project I did at the beginning of the week. I’ve taken pictures, so it will deffo become a blog post soon.)

Gotta sign your work.

Not forgetting to sign “your work” after. Sorry to everyone who gets these. I do try to match the picture to the person but it isn’t always possible.