Search This Blog

Sunday, 30 March 2014


Definitely still feeling springy so I went in search of a pattern for something fairly small, colourful and fun to make.  I have always wanted to have a cottage with a little plot of land somewhere in the rolling countryside, with a vegetable patch, chickens clucking about the yard and peace and tranquility. Unfortunately, in reality, I live in a town about quarter of a mile from the M62, I can dream!

Lately I have also had a fascination with old vintage lacy crochet patterns, you know, the little squares of super fine, precise lace that you would need a microscope to be able to make. I am in awe of people that have such good eyesight they are able to make these things, some of them are really quite wonderful. But my appalling eyesight was not going to stop me from having a go - OK so I wouldn't be able to use a half mm hook and fine lace cotton, but I can still follow a pattern. So I had short-listed the patterns to several 2D flowery panels when I stumbled upon this rooster!

Perfect, just what I was looking for.

I really didn't want to make him all in one colour, I had visions of something to hang in my kitchen that would be nice and cheerful, so it would need a fair amount of improvisation.

The pattern said he would be about two and a half inches across when finished, yes, mine is considerably larger than that, about ten inches. So I sat beavering away this morning trying to work out where to make the colour changes and which colours to use. Isn't the internet wonderful for inspiration like that? So many beautiful pictures of roosters:

I knew that I really wanted mine to have a big bright tail, even if the body would just be plain (it was far too difficult to work out how to change the colours on the body, but if I do make another one I will have a better idea next time).

The pattern  is well written, perhaps not great for a beginner as there as some bits which are a bit confusing but with a bit of perseverence and trial and error I'm sure most people who know their way around a crochet hook could work it out.

I got there in the end, lots of ends sewn in neatly and stood back to admire my handiwork:

Hmmm. This chap would definitely need some blocking and not just a light steam with the iron, some heavy duty pinning and PVA glue treatment.

40 minutes later, with an old tea-towel on the ironing board I had him pinned and every loop in place:

So many pins! Top tip, it's worth having a separate pin cushion and pins for blocking as they are horrible to use for anything else once they have been painted with glue.

So there I go merrily painting my rooster with glue until I had nearly finished when I realised I had pinned and painted the wrong side! Too late to worry about that now, it would either look awful or failing that, the back was pretty neat anyway and only I (and now you) would know about it :)

Turns out that the glue soaked right in and it really didn't matter, phew.

I love him! 

I have tried stringing him up with a hanging loop but he is just too big and weighty for that so i need to find him a frame. For now he can sit between a couple of heavy books on the shelf to keep him nice and flat. Well worth the effort, the endless counting, pinning and ruining a tea-towel for, I think :)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

So I did make a bag :)

What a busy week so far! I am currently a lady of leisure and it has been extremely easy to get into a routine of getting up when I like, sticking something on the TV and spending a few hours every morning with my crochet and lots of tea. So it has been a bit of a shock to the system having places to be and things to do. Nothing exciting mind you, just more structure to my days than usual. I have still managed to fit in plenty of hooky time at the expense of less important things like cleaning and ironing... priorities!

So after my disaster of an attempt at the bag on Monday I have had another bash with much more satisfying results:

 Bright isn't it?!

I used some left over Sirdar Supersoft aran, a great yarn to work with and they make some lovely bright colours, I just wish they did more as I would love to make a giant flowery blanket out of it.

I had a rummage through my fabric scraps and found a fat quarter of a pink flower print to line it with. Nice neat edges done with the machine and then a not-so-neat hand sewn running stitch to hold it in the place:

The bag itself didn't take too long to make at all, but as with most things the finishing touches took longer (the strap, the edging, the lining). The strap is just a row of doubles then a row in pink on either side with a picot every third stitch, quite effective I think:

 If you would like to make one of these (and why wouldn't you want some of this prettiness in your life?) then the pattern can be found here. Google translate doesn't do a bad job of getting it into English but some of the finer points are lost and in a couple of places just plain wrong, good luck!

I best get on and tackle the kitchen before I choose my next project, oh go on then, a little browse first :)


Monday, 24 March 2014

A frog if ever I saw one.

I wanted to make something today that would take a couple of hours and be totally finished. I searched through all the saved patterns that I have in my favourites and found a lovely little purse/bag. It is the same idea as this pot holder I made a while ago.

I think that turned out well so I would use the same hook and yarn (my ever dwindling supply of Rico Creative Cotton) and make a little bag. I made both sides of the bag and got to the sewing up bit and realised it's all wrong. The yarn is just to heavy to hold any shape, the straight lines between the petals won't go straight because the yarn is also too flimsy and I'm not sure I like the colours much either.

 Definitely all wrong. 

So I will try again tomorrow and hopefully the next one will be better, if not I might just adapt the pot holder pattern - or scrap the idea altogether (do I really need another bag?) and make another happypotamus!

Let me introduce you to Tulip, my second of these beauties.

I have been trying to stick to 2D projects recently as housing large hippo-type creations is getting difficult, (they take up so much room!) hence all the wall hangings and frills - but I really do love making toys :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Wall Clock

Having a great Friday, the weather has been hit and miss all morning, bright sunshine then a few showers then sunshine again. I've been pottering in and out of the house all day and it really does feel like spring is in the air.

I have been visited three times by a huge great bumblebee - I have no idea how it is getting in, it suddenly appears in the kitchen where all the windows and doors are shut. I do like bumblebees and I'm not scared of bugs in general but in an enclosed space, trying to shoo it out, it seems massive and wants to fly straight at my face!

Anyway, back to the point of my post... I have put the finishing touches to my wall clock! It took some doing, sewing it onto the cardboard that I've used to back it with and then working out how the clock mechanism went together as sadly the instructions were in Korean. I'm still not sure it is finished, I may add more to it and I might buy some larger wooden numbers as I think in 3D they would show up much better, but all in all I am very pleased with it.

Sometimes when you make something you can't help but grin at how damn cute it is, this butterfly and little daisy chain just sort of happened but I love it.

The two-tone flower also works really well:

I wish I had thought of doing that before for the other flowers, still they look good too. 

not sure what to do with what's left of the afternoon, I might drag myself away from the crocheting and do something thrilling, like the ironing! Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Got any spare merino?

This week I have been struggling for inspiration. I realised that it isn't ideas that I need, it's yarn! I have so much but none of it's right. It's all miss-matched bits-and-pieces of this-and-that, ideal for a scrap blanket I suppose but I don't want to make scrap blankets. I like to make blankets that are pretty and well thought out where every row is a pleasure to hook.

Coming on isn't it?!

So granny stripes aside, a sulk thrown (because all the yarn I want is far too expensive), I decided it would be a good opportunity to finish some bits that I have neglected since before the mad Christmas rush on stockings, wreaths and bunting.

My clock! An idea I had thought was all mine, 100% original until a google half way through it found some amazing (and very similar) clocks. It will be pretty useless actually, I have no where to put it - but like so many things,  I just wanted to make it.

All that is left are a few details to crochet and a fair bit of sewing. That's my Thursday afternoon taken care of then :)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

For My Daffodils

Ah spring flowers! One of the best things about this time of year are the super cheap bunches of tulips and daffs that you can get. I got a large bunch of daffs from the market at the weekend and they have been happily sat on the side since then. Unfortunately I have yet to find a pretty jug that I like for my flowers so they have been stuck in a plain glass one and every time I look at it (even though the flowers are pretty) I have wanted to yarn it up a bit.
So this morning, I had a look through my Crochet Borders book and decided to make something to give it a wooly finish.

This is a variation on one of the patterns I have made before, with just a few extra rows of DCs to make it chunkier. Pretty isn't it? it really needed some blocking to get the pointy bits pointy but it only took a few minutes with an iron and a tin of spray starch.

I had measured around the jug several times and thought it was a perfect fit but when trying it all finished I had to squeeze the button right on to the edge to make it do up. It doesn't matter though, it's out of sight at the back.

 Of course I couldn't leave it like that, it needed more! Beads it is:

A bit rough and ready with the sewing of the beads but still, I would rather have it with than without.

A bit of sunshine in my house to make up for the complete lack of sunshine outside.
Very happy hour of hooky today :)

Sunday, 16 March 2014


Morning! Up with the lark again and tried out a brighter version of the hearts I made yesterday

I am so pleased with it! The embellishments were my idea, or rather elements that I borrowed from the happy flowers by Lucy of Attic 24 that I have made.

So I am calling this a Happy-Heart and I might keep this one for myself :)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Some Ideas

I was up bright and early this morning for the start of the Formula 1 season, I know, you either love it or hate it and I love it! So at 5am I was on the sofa with a large cuppa and hooked up a few more rows on my granny stripe blanket while the cars whizzed around. There is only so much granny-striping I can do before I want to be a bit more creative though so when qualifying was finished I had a good mooch through Ravelry and found this pattern and had to have a go!

I purposefully chose pastely colours as I thought it would be a nice little mother's day present, so I thought I had best make one for the mother-in-law too:

It is such a pretty pattern, I am itching to make some more in brighter colours

Also making these was an excuse to look through my button box, I adore buttons and can spend half an hour picking out one button, trying to get it just right, then changing my mind again and again and again.

I'm not sure how I am going to hang them yet, I found these painted pegs that I bought ages ago and I think they look sweet like that, or I might make hangy loop things and thread some beads on too.

Now back to some stripes before an early night and another early start tomorrow, happy weekend x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


I have really been struggling to finish the second baby ripple blanket that I had on the go and I'm not sure why. It could be because it was the second one that I had made back-to-back and the novelty was wearing off a bit, or it could be because I didn't quite like the yarn as much, or maybe because I made this one in straight double stripes rather than the interlocking stripes I did on the first one. Nevertheless, I have finished - with the last end (argh all those ends!) sewn in this morning.

I used DK yarn with a 5mm hook, my tension is usually on the tight side so I use a bigger hook than is called for but this was still a large hook for the yarn, I really liked the way it worked up the fabric though giving it a much softer finish than with a smaller hook.

So both finished and ready to be shipped off to two mums-to-be, hope they like them!

I do like to have big projects on the go, something I can always pick up and  do a bit on that don't really require any concentration or fiddly bits. As I have nothing else to make at the moment and battling with many ideas as to what I want to try next, I have dug out my crumpled granny stripe from the bottom of my huge 'project bag' and fallen in love with it all over again, aren't the colours just so pretty?

Before I get on and start granny-ing this up, one small matter to take care of ...

The ends! Leaving them until I've finished is really not a good idea or they may never get done.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Lazy day

Hello and happy Friday! I have had a lazy day, felt slightly fragile this morning after one too many glasses of wine last night while out catching up with a friend. My morning was spent sofa-camping to see off the remnants of my hangover, fully equipped with lots of tea, a good book and my big ripple blanket.

Feeling fully recovered and up for something a little (a very little) bit more taxing I dragged my bag of Rico Creative cotton out with the aim of finally sorting it out.

What a mess!

I really love this yarn, it comes in so many colours and is fairly cheap too. I tend to use it for anything ornamental, which is a bit of a faff as it does have a tendency to split, a lot! The bag is full of bits of things, little hearts, flowers, bunting pennants and that big stripy thing is the face of a clock which I still need to finish off (it's only been about 6 months since I started it). But oh how easily I get sidetracked, I remembered this spring mandala pattern that I had seen on Ravelry and really wanted to make one, so I did.

A great pattern and very satisfying to make. It goes very well with a free-form paisley thing and another mandala that I have made with this yarn.

These usually sit on my mantlepiece and brighten up my living room nicely. When I have fresh flowers I put one of these under the vase to stop it marking the wood, although now I have three of them it might be a doily too far for my dear husband!

All in all it has been a good day, nice and peaceful with happy hooky. The bag of yarn has been shoved back on my shelves, I'll sort it tomorrow, or maybe not :)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Circle-Square tutorial

Having my first bash at a tutorial for the motif I used to make my Circle-Square cushion, so please forgive any blurry pictures and my old battered red 4mm hook (it's my favourite hook and has been used a lot!)

Now I am not claiming to have invented this motif - I have seen pictures of very similar patterns - however in the creation of my circle-square cushion I didn’t use any patterns or pictures for reference so thought I should write it down in the form of a tutorial should anyone else like to have a go and also before I forget how I did it!

This is an easy pattern that a beginner should be able to pick up quite easily. These circle-square motifs could be used to make all sorts of things, use your imagination!

I used a cheap DK yarn and a 4mm hook and each square measures about 4 and a half inches.

This pattern is written using UK crochet terms (UK Double-Crochet = US Single-Crochet, UK Treble-Crochet = US Double-Crochet, UK Half-Treble = US Half-Double, UK Double-Treble = US Triple)

So, to start - create a magic circle (if you are not sure how to do this there are some great tutorials on youtube, or you can simple chain 6 and join to make a ring). Chain 3 (counts as one Treble) 


and then crochet 11 Trebles into the ring. 

Now if you pull the tail of the ring it should all gather up to make it so your last stitch comes around to meet the initial Chain 3, like so:

Join with a slip stitch into the top of the initial Chain 3, where my needle is showing in the picture below:

Give yourself a pat on the back, your first round is made!

Round 2
Chain 3 and then crochet 1 Treble into the very base of this Chain 3, your hook will be going into the little space where my needle is showing below:

  and should look something like this when you have done that Treble:

Carry on crocheting 2 Trebles into each stitch around so that by the end of the round you have 24 stitches in total.  Again, join with a slip stitch to the top of the initial Chain 3 at the start of the round, where my needle is in the picture below:

Another pat on the back, Round 2 is finished!

Round 3

Chain 3 and again do a Treble into the base of this chain 3 (as in the previous round). 

Crochet 1 Treble into the next stitch then 2 Trebles into the next stitch.

Keep repeating this all the way around, 1 Treble into the next stitch, 2 Trebles into the next stitch. 

At the end of the round, you guessed it, slip stitch into the top of the initial Chain 3 at the start of the round. You should have 36 stitches in total.

The circle is nearly finished, just one more round to go.

(Remember, if the hole in the middle starts to gape a bit you can always pull it shut by gently pulling on the tail from the magic circle).

Round 4

Chain 3 and crochet 1 Treble into the base of the chain 3, the same as at the beginning of the previous two rounds. 

Crochet 1 Treble into each of the next two stitches then 2 Trebles into the next stitch.

Repeat this around, 1 Treble into each of the next two stitches, 2 Trebles into the next stitch:

Join with a slip stitch to the top of the initial chain 3 and fasten off:

The circle bit is made! You should have 48 stitches in total - If you have, give yourself another pat on the back you have made a coaster :)

Now the squaring bit. 

Put your hook in the top of the chain where you did your last slip stitch to join the round and pull a loop of your new colour through:

Chain 1:

At this point it is worth remembering to crochet over the tail ends of both yarns (the green and pink) for the next few stitches, to save tiresome sewing in later.

Crochet one Double-Crochet (DC) stitch into the same space you have just done your chain stitch, it should look like this:

 For the rest of this round we are working out of BACK LOOPS ONLY. This gives the circle a nice definite shape. 

Next crochet another 4 DC, one into each of the next 4 stitches, starting where my needle is showing in the picture below:

 you should now have this:

We will be working a Half-Treble Crochet stitch into each of the next 2 stitches. If you are not sure how to do this stitch, I hope this explains it for you:

You start making the stitch the same as you would with a normal Treble, yarn over, put your hook in the next stitch (back loop only), yarn over and pull through to the front so it looks like this:

Now yarn over and pull through all three loops on your hook. That's it, simple!

Do another one of these Half-Trebles into the next stitch and a normal Treble into the next stitch:

You can probably tell from the slope that these stitches are making that we are coming up to the first corner.

The corner is made by crocheting 2 Double-Treble stitches - do you know how to do these? Here is a quick demonstration.

The principal is the same as a normal Treble but we wrap the yarn around the hook twice before we put it in the next stitch, like this:

Now yarn over and pull it back through to the front:

Yarn over and pull it through the first two loops on your hook:

Yarn over and pull it through the next two loops on your hook:

Yarn over and pull it through the last two loops on your hook:

You can see in the picture above I have carried on and made the second Double-Treble stitch into the same space. 

Chain 1 and work 2 more Double-Trebles into the same space as the previous two stitches. It might be a bit of a squeeze but should be OK as when you work in back loops only they tend to have more give:

That is the first edge and corner made of the 'squaring'. The pattern from here is the same as we have just done but in reverse, so: 1 Treble into the next stitch, 1 Half-Treble into each of the next 2 stitches:

1 DC into each of the next 5 stitches

1 Half-Treble into each of the next 2 stitches
1 Treble into the next stitch
2 Double-Trebles into the next stitch, chain 1 and then 2 more Double-Trebles into the same stitch
1 Treble into the next stitch
1 Half-Treble into each of the next 2 stitches

1 DC into each of the next 5 stitches
1 Half-Treble into each of the next 2 stitches
1 Treble into the next stitch
2 Double-Trebles into the next stitch, chain 1 and then 2 more Double-Trebles into the same stitch
1 Treble into the next stitch
1 Half-Treble into each of the next 2 stitches

3 corners made.

1 DC into each of the next 5 stitches
1 Half-Treble into each of the next 2 stitches
1 Treble into the next stitch
2 Double-Trebles into the next stitch, chain 1 and then 2 more Double-Trebles into the same stitch
1 Treble into the next stitch
1 Half-Treble into each of the next 2 stitches

that should bring you back around to the start, slip stitch into the first DC of the round to finish the squaring:

Phew, that's the complicated bit done, the rest is just straightforward Trebles and chains.

To start your last row chain 3 and then work 1 Treble into each of the next 9 stitches, working through both loops:

Working out of the chain space in the corner of the square work 2 Trebles, chain 1, 2 Trebles:

Starting where my needle is showing in the picture below, crochet a Treble in each stitch along the row:

Like so:

Back to the corner, 2 Trebles, Chain 1, 2 Trebles.

Carry on like this all the way around your square, slip stitch into the top of the initial chain 3 at the start of the round and fasten off, your circle square has been made!

I think that deserves and extra large pat on the back, a cup of tea and a biscuit :)

To cover and 18 inch cushion pad I made 16 of these motifs for the front and a large granny square for the back but you could make both sides with these circle-squares or turn them into anything else you like! I can't really say how much yarn it took to make, the main colour (the green in this example) including all the sewing together took about a full 100g ball but as for the other colours I really couldn't say but it is a great way to use up scraps.

I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial, if you have spotted any problems with it or would like to give any feedback please post a comment.

© abijamtastic 2014. Please respect my copyright and do not resell, publish, or distribute this pattern.  However, you are free to use the final items you make from the pattern for charity, gifting, or selling in limited numbers. A link back to my webpage is greatly appreciated :)