Friday, January 02, 2015

Christmas crafts roundup 2014

Now that it's 2015 (happy new year!), it's safe to post all the images of my various present-making activities from the festive season.

First, cards. Here are some from this year, on white. I think the most successful ones were the ones on coloured metallic backgrounds but those don't come out so well in photos.

I made these by printing, just using black printing ink, and a block cut with lino-cutting tools. I didn't actually use lino, it's the rubber stuff that you can get. Here's the cut out designs, on top of the doodles used for planning purposes. Halfway through cutting the snowman, I went for a swim and while I was doing it I realised that even though I'd taken care to do it the right way round, I was still about to cut it so that the snowman would come out black. I rescued it, but it's not quite the way I wanted it to look. Lucky I went swimming just at that moment! 

Here's a scarf I made for a friend's birthday present (on Boxing Day), the same as a previous one but in two solid contrasting colours rather than with a colour-changing wool.

In the photo above you can also see the corner of a little crochet purse I put chocolates into for another friend, and here's one with earrings in for a Christmas present.

This wasn't exactly Christmas-related except that I did it recently: I used this washi tape to make my ipad cover prettier. It's easily removable so I can change it if I get bored with it.

This is a necklace made for my mother, a straightforward bead-stringing affair but quite effective, I think. They're glass in the centre, and then there's malachite chips interspersed with a few metal ones and some bamboo coral (ethical version of coral).

But this was the most time-consuming thing: stiffening crocheted snowflakes. Making them is fun to do because it's relatively quick (maybe 20 minutes for a small one and a couple of hours for a big, complicated one), but then they're all floppy. So you dip them in some kind of solution (I used good old PVA glue and water) and then pin them out to dry, like this.

You have to use pins that won't rust and you should be a bit more careful than me about pinning them out neatly - not all of mine were very even because I didn't spend the time doing it properly. But some of them came out really well, and those made it as Christmas presents (the one that's large in the photo above is on our tree though, as it was not quite perfect enough but I like the design).

Here's a successful one, demonstrating the stiffness by holding it up.

 That was fun. I got a kit to knit little animals for Xmas as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tiny hats for smoothie bottles

A friend invited me round the other night to make little hats for bottles of Innocent smoothies. They raise money for Age UK, so we made as many hats as we could in a couple of hours. Here are my crocheted efforts:

And all of them together:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Brightly coloured wrapped headphones

Ages ago now, I got some new headphones because mine broke, as they do now and again. My old ones were pretty pastel colours, and the cables were light blue with little hearts on them, and they were generally delightful. My new ones are black. This was a big disappointment to me, even though the quality of the headphones is good. But! I was looking at things on the internet the other day, and I saw someone had wrapped theirs, and I did the same.

It's a basic macrame/friendship bracelet knot, with the cord as the 'lazy' thread and embroidery thread or similar as the working thread. My stripy one was done with a colour-changing thread, though you could just as well do stripes the old-fashioned way. This was me doing it on the train (which intrigued my fellow passengers):

And here's the finished headphones:

Supposedly it also stops them from tangling, though I'm not sure that's actually true.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Long wavy stripes

I made some crochet things for my mother's birthday. (At the moment basically everyone gets crochet things for their birthday.) I did this long scarf with stripes along its length. I like doing stripes this way because it's something you can't do with knitting, unless you had super-long needles because you have to make it in just a few rows with a LOT of stitches. I can't remember how many stitches per row for this one but it's probably over a hundred. The wavy pattern is made by making different height stitches (double, half treble and treble) and doing the opposite on the next row so the peaks and troughs match up. The ends of the rows were a bit untidy so I double crocheted the ends to neaten them up.

Then I also did this little purse, which is a really cute pattern: you start in the middle working rows vertically, and work increases into the last stitch each time to make the round part. You go back and forth around the centre. Hard to explain but it's from this pattern.

And finally, Tony made a linocut card, inspired by a fossil ammonite after we visited the shell grotto in Margate.

Friday, August 22, 2014

iPad cosy

Here's another very simple thing that I crocheted: an iPad cosy. It's extremely simple, but I like the colours and the way the stitch looks. It's from that 200 stitches book I linked to, and the rows slant in alternate directions. Not difficult at all, but I love it, people comment on it, and it cost me a lot less than the boring old cases you can buy. (If I have one criticism of the iPad, it's that it doesn't come in bright colours. Well, I fixed that.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Silly printed face

I mentioned that Tony had been doing lino cutting. Here's my first attempt (it's not lino, but rather rubber, which is easier to carve than lino for beginners). Obviously I did the silly face that I draw. You can see the test prints here, but I used it to make my grandma's birthday card and she really liked it. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


We went for a meal and the place had markers in the toilets and encouraged graffiti. I drew this bird, which is inspired by (=copied from) birds that we saw graffitied all over the place when we were on holiday in Bologna years ago. Back then, these birds were so ubiquitous that they sold things with them on - I think my aunt had some plates. I wonder if the Bologna birds are still to be seen.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Loopy scarf

I can't claim any credit for this, because I just followed a pattern, but I do think it's the best thing I've made. I made it as a present, but I'm tempted to make another the same for myself. It's an infinity scarf (ie the kind without ends, that's a big loop) and the stitch is a really unusual one called 'broomstick lace'. I followed this youtube tutorial, which although it's long is very clear (I skipped ahead once I'd got the idea of a step).

You essentially make every other row much bigger by making the loops round something (I used a ruler) and then grouping them together to make the pattern.

I liked the colour-changing wool so I did similar, and got this:

The card in the second picture is a lino-cut printed card with the image by Tony (printed by moi). We made a few printed cards earlier this year, but I didn't get round to posting any. I'll have to locate the photos and put them on here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Granny hexagon

I wanted to make a different-shaped cushion, and I discovered/worked out that you can make hexagons in the same way you make squares. I found this pattern, but I didn't use it in the end as I wanted to see if you can do it in literally the same way as the squares, just changing the number of corners rather than doing different stitches. And it turns out you can, though it doesn't look quite as nice as the fiddlier ones at that link:

I had to unpick and redo a couple of rounds because it wasn't lying flat, but by experimenting I eventually got it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fancy scarf

I used one of the stitches I practised to make a long, light, open scarf for my grandma's birthday (it is summer, but the scarf is very light and will be nice when the evenings are cooler). I did it in a nice warm grey colour. Here it is in progress:

And here it is finished:

The book underneath the first photo, that I got the pattern from, is a really nice book called '200 crochet stitches'. It's got excellent clear instructions, diagrams and photos. I got mine with Christmas money last year: