Just an idea

I had this idea that tortured me for days till it finally saw the light of day.  Ideas float in my head begging and pleading to be implemented into something more tangible than just an idea in my head.

The idea behind this is so simple.  A starting chain, then rounds until it is as tall as you would like plus a little extra.  Then you fold the button and sew on some buttons and add handles.

How easy is that?

Pattern

Chain 51.

SC (Single Crochet) in the back ridges of the chain (50SC), slip stitch into first SC and turn.

SC in the front loops of the chain (50 SC)

The rounds start now.

Chain 3 and DC all around. (100DC)

You can make it a solid color or striped.  I was just using up leftover cotton yarn.

Keep going until the bag is high enough, add a couple of more rows because when you create the base it gets slightly shorter.  Add one last row of SC for a cleaner finish.  Finish off and weave in ends.

Lay the bag on a flat surface align the side seam with the starting chain so a triangle is formed.  Sew on a button to keep it in place.  This creates a base for the bag instead of just being a flat rectangular bag.  I saw the same method being used on canvas totes, that’s where I originally got the idea.

Do the same for the other side.

Handles

You can either add crochet handles ( like the one’s in Lucy’s Bag or Alice’s Starling)

I found the middle 24 stitches on each side and marked with stitch markers on either side.

Attached a new color and did 24 SCs then 4 rows of SCs.

I set the handles in their place by surface crocheting the bag and the little rectangle I just made for the handle.

Repeat for the other handle.

This really only took a couple of afternoons and I wasn’t really focused and using a 3.5 mm hook.  If you focus and use worsted weight it could easily only take a couple of hours.

If you want to add a rigid base check out this tutorial

Pencil, paper and ideas

Pencil And Square PaperI’ve been thinking about where this blog is going recently and I was doing a bit of blog-soul-searching.  When I started out back in August of 2006 I had no idea where I was going.  I grew older (and wiser)  and so has the blog.  It has evolved from a little bit of posting here and there to a place where I have a creative outlet.  I was considering starting a second blog for craft related posts only and after a lot of thought decided against it.  This is who I have become.  Trying to label my interests under different spaces would be the same as pretending to be two different people. I know what might interest me might not interest you but I can’t help it.  Part of the journey of growing up means learning self acceptance and understanding that sometimes even our closest friends will walk away when we change and grow apart.  It is not a sad thing but should be a beautiful thing, everyone has to move on sometime in their life.  I hope all of you who already enjoy and visit this blog stay even if what I write now is different than what I used to.

I am glad I got that off my chest.

My husband and I have an interesting habit.  We both love scribbling little notes, reminders and ideas on pieces of paper and notepads around the house.  Although his writings are different than mine and usually concern more serious things, rarely a caricature (he should have been an artist but he doesn’t really know it) and occasionally little notes he leaves for me.  I usually doodle ideas and inspirations.  I love writing down quotes I hear so I can look them up later.  I sometimes write down blog post ideas.  Sometimes even things I just randomly think I should know more about.

Needless to say we both love pencils, 2B old fashioned pencils.  When I was in school, I’d shave the paint off of them using a knife and either leave them bare or color them according to my own mood.

A couple of days ago I had this idea that I should make pencil toppers.

Let me correct that, I had this idea that kept popping up in my head driving everything else out.

So I drew a little kitty pencil topper.

Isn’t that cute?

Don’t you just love square paper?  I do.

After a little bit of experimenting and fiddling around I made a cat, bunny and a Chucky like pencil toppers.

Bunny and Cat crochet pencil toppers

Having decided to start selling the stuff that I design and make I thought to myself maybe I shouldn’t be sharing these patterns.  But my self answered back that that would be selfish and mean.  I mean at the end of the day I just do all this because I love doing it.

They also make really cute finger puppets if you have teeny tiny 2 year old fingers :-).

I have to be honest here.  I don’t like embroidering the eyes and faces on, because mainly I am really bad at it and need so much more practise.  But being someone who has decided to face all fears and obstacles even if that means embroidering cute smiles onto cute kitty cat pencil toppers then so be it.

Crafting really does bring out the fearless person in me.  :-))

Here is how you can make your own:

Things You will needYou will need:

  • A small amount of yarn  ( I used some sports yarn held in a double strand)
  • An appropriate hook (4.5 mm hook)
  • Tapestry needles
  • Scissors
  • A little bit of micro fill (I have a pillow that I steal from)

Notes: This is worked in a spiral, there will be no turning.  Also note that you have to repeat the stitches in between the asterisks.

There are two ways to start this off.

Round 1: Chain 2 and 6c in the second chain from the hook or by doing 6 sc in a magic circle.

First Row 6 sc

Round 2: *1 sc increase each sc *(12 scs)

Round 3: *1 sc increase next sc, 1sc in next sc* (18 scs)

Round 4 – 6 : *1 sc in each sc* (18 sc)

After row 6Round 7 : *1 invisible decrease, 1 sc in next stitch* (12 scs)

After row 9Round 8: 6 invisible decreases. You should now be left with six scs

Insert micro fill

Fill it up with the micro fill and sew it shut using the back loops only.

Round 9:  6 sc in the front loops.  This is the first round in the kneckSew shut through the back loops only

Round 7 and 8. 6 scs

Finish off and weave ends

3 More rows and you have a kneck

Embroider the face.Add the face

Make two ears.

Chain 2, 3sc in the second chain from the hook.  Turn and chain one.

*1 sc increase in each stitch* 12 stitches

Finish off and weave in ends

Sew on the ears

Make the ears

And voila! You have yourself a pencil topper.And we're done

For the bunny ears chain 6, turn and sc 5 in the chains.

And now I have some very cute companions for my pencils.  Who knows? They might even boost my creativity.

Coasters always remind me of Monica from Friends

IMG_0292 Whenever I see coasters I remember Monica from Friends.  I can’t help it.

I like coasters.

They are like accessories for the table, plus they are useful too.

I like pretty things that are functional.

Can’t help it.

Make yourself some coasters.

I like to call these my Flower Bud coasters.

Pattern

IMG_0293Chain 4 {count as 1 chain and 1 dc}. 11 dc in fourth chain from the hook. [12 dc]

Slip stitch into top chain in first dc.

Turn, chain 3, 1 dc in same stitch, 2 dc in next 11 stitches [24 dc]

Slip stitch into top chain in first dc.

Turn, chain 3, 1 dc in same stitch, 1 dc in next stitch, *2 dc in next stitch, 1 dc in next stitch* [36 dc].

Turn so that it is wrong side facing, chain 1.

*Dc in next stitch, slip stitch in same stitch* Slip stitch into the chain 1.

Finish off and weave ends.

I added felt to the back to keep them sturdy.

IMG_0294

Five months in the making

Back in December of 09′ I said I wanted to learn crochet. One of the reasons was to make a laptop sleeve.  Five months later, I actually made one.  Literally five months later I picked up the yarn and a hook and started to crochet.  I didn’t want to make the exact one.  I wanted something personal, something simple and something me.

So without further ado ;  *drum roll please* TaDaaaaaa!

IMG_0332

Are you jealous?

Don’t you just love those big brown wooden buttons.  I love buttons, I love wood buttons, I love huge over sized buttons, not only am I a yarn lover, I am a button lover.  I need button therapy.  Do you want to make one?

Keep reading.

This isn’t really a pattern but more of a tutorial.

Step 1:  Supplies

Get your supplies ready.  For this you will need:

  • Yarn
  • Appropriate crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Laptop (you could always use the measurements but I think measuring against the thing itself is easier)
  • Buttons
  • Felt for the lining  (this is optional but it gives added protection against any falls, it also gives the sleeve some structure)

Step 2:  Starting

IMG_0247 Start chaining until the chain is as long as your laptop is wide.  Count your chains, if they are an odd number chain one more to make them even.

Chain one more, turn and sc all the way back to the first chain.  Keep going until the fabric measures half the height of the laptop.  You could go all the way but I wanted the seam to be in the middle because I originally had a totally different design in mind.

Step 3: Making the textured fabric

IMG_0257If you look closely you will notice that the stitch is not a plain single crochet one.  It’s a textured one.  It is easy, make sure your piece is right side facing then make a row of double crochets,  now turn, the fabric should be wrong side facing.  Chain one, dc in next stitch, slip stitch in next stitch, keep going until the end.  You should finish on a slip stitch into the top chain of the chain 3 (first dc).

IMG_0298

Keep alternating between a row of double crochets and a row of (slip stitch – dc)s until  the textured part can cover your laptop.

IMG_0303

If you only worked half the height in single crochet go ahead and work another half.

When you are done sc around the whole thing once for a cleaner finish.

Step 4:  Adding the lining

IMG_0314 Place the fabric flat on the table with the felt underneath it.  Mark the rectangle on the felt using a ruler, cut and pin the felt to the crochet.  Now sew them together.

IMG_0318 Fold the whole thing and sew it together long sides together.  I only sewed the crochet together, I am not sure why but at the time I thought it would be easier and cleaner.  You now have a tube like thing.  Congratulations, you are almost there.

Step 4: Make a gusset ( the bottom closing bit)

IMG_0322

Insert your laptop in the tube and count the number of stitches on the bottom.  Make a chain that long, chain 1, turn and sc back and forth until the gusset is big enough to close the sleeve at the bottom.

IMG_0323 Sew the gusset to the rest of the sleeve.

Step 5: Making the flap

IMG_0325 Make a slip stitch into the first stitch on the back side of the sleeve.  Kind of difficult to explain but I hope the picture makes it easy to understand.  This should be the firs sc after the textured bit.  Sc all the way until the textured bit starts again, turn.

You have several options here.  You can either work it in only single crochet or you can repeat the textured bit.  I wanted the textured bit so I kept working until it was long enough to close over the laptop and there was an extra bit more, I switch back to single crochet so I could make the button holes.  Then I just did another two rows of single crochets then a row of double crochets and finished with a row of (slips stitches and dcs)  I liked the bobbly edge.

Step 6:  Finish up.

IMG_0335 Weave in any ends, sew in the buttons and enjoy your handiwork

Step 7: Take it out for a spin

And if anyone asks you where you got the amazing sleeve, feel good about yourself.

IMG_0334 IMG_0340

Peachy Summers

Peachy Summer Crochet Bag[Skip to pattern]

It all started when I went to the local yarn stores in Alexandria.  I could have camped there all vacation.  The first time I only bought some so I could try it out and see how it would feel to work with the stuff.  You buy it by weight and it comes in these humongous cones.  No ball band to tell you what hook to use or what weight this yarn is.

So I sat down to test it with different hooks.

I finally settled on a 4 mm hook.

Am I boring you?

At first I started making a market tote.  A simple rectangular shaped bag but it just didn’t feel right.

I ripped it all out although I was almost half way done.

And started making a circle.

I was sitting in my mom’s living room.

Oh my that living room has the most awesome balcony.  The balcony actually sucks, it is so tiny that my mom closed it years ago but if you open the window, the slightest breeze is like a tornado.  There was a cool breeze making the curtain dance.  It’s a white chiffon curtain that just dances wildly when there’s a wind blowing.

My mom’s living room is yellow.

Seriously!

Many many years ago she decided to paint the rooms and the living room is yellow, her room is a palish pink, my sister’s room is pink and my room is baby blue.

Color is nice, but I am painting all the walls in my house off white and if I ever feel the need for color I will use stick on decals or paintings or posters or whatever.

I stopped working and did a bit more the next day at my grandparent’s farm.

Think of a farm.  Whatever you imagined is nothing like my grandparent’s farm.

It’s more like a villa with a huge garden where my grandparents used to play farmers.  They are both too old and not exactly as healthy as they used to be.

It is where the whole family used to go spend Thursday nights and stay till Friday’s lunch.  With a couple of us married and the rest of us grown up and busy with their own lives it is not as lively as it used to be.

I sat for a while thinking about all of the years that went by.  The events and everything else.  Just like the rows working themselves out in the bag, everything worked itself out in our lives.

I am being really sentimental here.

A couple of days later it was finished and the next time we were at the farm my sister took our my grandma’s sewing machine and made the lining.

It stayed unfinished until this morning when I decided it was time to sew the lining to the bag.

Life is a lot like making bags.  It is OK to realize you want to go back and do something else.  It is OK to ask someone to help you.  It is OK to let life take its time and work itself out on its own.  Nothing stays the same.  People move on.  Life goes on.

I read a quote today from the movie The Incredibles “I don’t look back darling, it distracts me from the now”.  So the next time you sit down to do something, focus on that thing but don’t forget to be grateful for that summery breeze coming through the balcony that became a window.

Lined Bag

Pattern:

Base:

Round 1 Chain 4 (counts as 1 dc and 1 chain), 11 dc in the 4th chain from the hook. [12 dc]

Slip stitch to the top of the 1st dc (top of chain 3 ), turn and chain 3

Repeat stitches in between ** until the end of each round.

Round 2 1 dc in same stitch as  chain 3 *2 dc in each sc.*  Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ) , turn and chain 3. [24 dc]

Round 3 1 dc in same stitch as  chain 3, 1 dc in next stitch *2 dc in first stitch, 1 dc in next stitch .* Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ) , turn and chain 3. [36 dc]

Round 4 1 dc in same stitch as  chain 3, 1 dc in next 2 stitches *2 dcin first stitch, 1 dc in next 2 stitches .* Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ) , turn and chain 3. [48 dc]

Round 5 1 dc in same stitch as  chain 3, 1 dc in next 3 stitches *2 dc in first stitch, 1 dc in next 3 stitches .* Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ) , turn and chain 3. [60 dc]

Round 6 1 dc in same stitch as  chain 3, 1 dc in next 4  stitches *2 dc in first stitch, 1 dc in next 4 stitches .* Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ), turn and chain 3. [72 dc]

Round 7 1 dc in same stitch as  chain 3, 1 dc in next 5  stitches *2 dc in first stitch, 1 dc in next 5 stitches .* Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ), turn and chain 3. [84 dc]

Round 8 1 dc in same stitch as  chain 3, 1 dc in next 6 stitches  *2 dc in first stitch, 1 dc in next 6 stitches .* Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ), turn and chain 3. [96 dc]

If you want a bigger base keep working more rounds, adding one stitch between each increase.

Body

Round 9 – 24 1 dc in each stitch.  Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ) , turn and chain 3 [96 dc]

If you want a taller bag add more rows of even dc stitches before doing round 25.

In the next two rounds you will be decreasing to give close the top opening a bit, I was too lazy to count so just decided on decreasing every 5 stitches then every 4 stitches so the stitches aren’t even.

There decreases aren’t even.

Round 25 1 dc in next 4 stitches, 1 dc decrese *1 dc in next 5  stitches, 1 dc decrease. *  1 dc in last 4 stitches.  Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ) , turn and chain 3

Round 26 1 dc in next 3 stitches, 1 dc decrese *1 dc in next 4 stitches, 1 dc decrease. * 1  dc in last 4 stitches.  Slip stitch into first dc (top of chain 3 ) , turn and chain 1

Round 27 1 sc in each stitch [70 stitches]

Handles

Round 28 1 sc in next 12  stitches, chain 34, sc in next 24 stitches, chain 34, sc in next 12 stitches. Slip stitch into first sc, not in the slip stitch turn and chain 1.

If you want a longer handle then chain more than 34, a shorter one then chain less than 34.  Simple right?

Round 29 1 sc in all scs and chain.  Slip stitch to first sc, turn and chain 1.  When working in the chains I prefer to flip it over and work in the back ridges, it gives a nicer cleaner finish.

Round 30 – 31 1 sc in next sc.  Slip stitch to first sc turn and chain 1.

Round 32 1 sc in next sc.  Slip stitch to first sc, finish off and weave in ends.

And we’re done here.

If you want to add a rigid base check out this tutorial

Framed!

Scrap Yarn

What do you do when you have lots of scrap yarn that can’t really be used to make anything but you still can’t really throw away?  You can throw them around and create a tangled mess?  You can put them in a bag and wait for something to come up.  You can use them to make colorful headbands, but having only one head that many headbands isn’t really useful.  You could make baby headbands so your 2 year old daughter can wear them for 2 minutes then throw them in the trash.

-OR-

You make magnetic photo frames!  And then you make more photo frames.  And then you think about posting about it because you are a crazy yarn obsessed chic who also happens to love blogging.  Then you decide to post about it AND write up a tutorial.

Crochet Magnet Photo Frames

Yes, I blurred the photos because I wouldn’t want other people posting pictures of my daughter without telling me first, but trust me they were sooooo cute. :-)

Materials NeededYou are going to need:

  • Scrap yarn (you can always use a new skein but then it wouldn’t be a stash busting project).  I used DK Acrylic yarn in green.
  • A pair of siscors
  • 3.5mm hook.
  • A tapestry needle
  • Magnets ( I have the kind that just stick on but you might need glue too if you just have regular magnets)
  • And some felt

How to make them:

The pattern is for a standard photo size 15 x 10 cms.  You can customize it to fit any size photo.

Make a slip knot and chain 86.  I got to 86 by chaining until the chain was 8.5 cm long and that was my first side and it took 17 chains, then I chained until it got to 13.5 cm and that took 26 chains (86 = 17 + 26 + 17 + 26).   You want the frame overlap the picture a bit because there is no plastic to keep the photo from falling out.  If you want to  change the size or if you are using a different sized hook or yarn weight just figure our your own starting chain length, just keep in mind the number of chains it took for the lengths to be right.

Round 1: Join to the first chain with a slip stitch, chain 1, single crochet in the next 16 stitches (this creates your first side), single crochet 3 in the next stitch (this creates your first corner), single crochet in the next 25 stitches (this creates your second side), single crochet 3 in the next stitch (this creates your second corner), single crochet in the next 16 stitches (this creates your third side), single crochet 3 in the next stitch (this creates your third corner), single crochet in the next 25  stitches (this creates your final side), single crochet 3 in the next stitch (this creates your final corner). [94 stitches in total]

Round 2: Join to the first single crochet with a slip stitch, chain 1, single crochet in the next 17 stitches, single crochet 3 in the next stitch , single crochet in the next 27 stitches , single crochet 3 in the next stitch , single crochet in the next 18 stitches, single crochet 3 in the next stitch , single crochet in the next 27  stitches  single crochet 3 in the next stitch, single crochet 1. [102 stitches in total]

Round 3: Join to the first single crochet with a slip stitch, chain 1, single crochet in the next 18 stitches, single crochet 3 in the next stitch , single crochet in the next 29 stitches , single crochet 3 in the next stitch , single crochet in the next 20 stitches, single crochet 3 in the next stitch , single crochet in the next 29  stitches  single crochet 3 in the next stitch, single crochet 2. [110 stitches in total]

Slip stitch into the first sc to join.

Now you have yourself a nice rectangular frame.

You can finish off and weave in ends or you can go on to add a picot edge or a bobble edge.

To make the bobble edge:

Lucy at Attic24 has this really amazing tutorial on how to make bobble edging.  Just slip stitch 10 between each bobble, you will end up with 10 bobbles along your edge.

To make the picot edge:

*Chain 3 then slip stitch into the sing crochet where the chain comes out from, slip stitch 3*.  Repeat what is between the ** until you reach the very first slip stitch, finish off and weave ends.

Make the back:

Cut out a rectangular felt piece 18 x 12.5 cm. I snip off the corners to give it a cleaner finish.   Using the tapestry needle and the same yarn you used to make your frame whip stitch the felt to the crochet.  Make sure that the felt is straight. If for any reason the felt is a bit larger than your crochet piece you can trim it.  Sew only three sides leaving one of the wider sides open so you can insert pictures easily.  Stick the magnets on.  I used five because 3 were not enough.  Voila!  Insert photo, stick on your fridge and enjoy.

Other tips:

  • You can use iron on interfacing to make the back sturdier, I tried one that way but decided it was not worth the hassle.
  • If you have stronger magnets you can use two pieces of felt and glue the magnets inside for a cleaner finish, unfortunately my magnets did not work underneath the felt.
  • You can sew on a loop and hang these on a nail on the wall or use paper backing instead of felt and use blue tac on the wall.
  • Experiment with different edges and color combinations.

Bucket of Seashells

I’ve been busy busy busy.  Making things and stuff.

I would like you to meet the bucket of seashells.  It is shaped like a bucket and is shell stitched in the round, hence the name.  It is the perfect size for me at the moment,it measures 7 inches wide at the bottom and 8.5 inches tall without the handles. My own design.  If you are interested you can download the pattern here or click on the pdf thumbnail image. It is a pdf file with clear instructions.

If you want to add a rigid base check out this tutorial

A trip into designing the perfect ipod case

I am a procrastinating perfectionist. That is a weird thing to say right?
Anyways, Chikapappi (check out her blog, she’s very interesting but not blogging as regularly as she used to or as I would like her to) said she wanted an ipod case. To be honest so did I. I throw my ipod in my bag, sometimes I am a good girl and put it in the zippered part so it won’t get scratched. Designing something isn’t easy. I wanted something I could use without having to take the ipod out of so that ruled out sock style case thingies. I tried crocheting it and leaving a circle open. Do you have any idea how hard that is? Didn’t think so. After a gazillion attempts I decided not to do it that way.
I came up with three ideas and tested them out.
I am still not 100% satisfied.
I like the idea of a flap for easy access, and I also like the felt because I feel that Mr. Ipod is safe and cozy.
But there is something missing.

So it is back to the drawing board for me.

The Budget Clutch

Old way of doing things

I use the old fashioned tried and tested envelope method to keep our monthly finances in order.  Only problem was that the envelopes get pretty scruffy pretty fast and they kept getting caught on the zipper and I had to fold the money so they fit in the small pouch I had.  Standing at the checkout counter trying to get money out and getting everything on the zipper happened once too often so I decided to do something about it.

I crocheted my own clutch and cut out card tabbed dividers and labeled them.

The clutch is very simple.  I didn’t line it because I thought it would be too bulky.

The tabs make it much easier to get to things and because it is wide I don’t have to fold or unfold anything and have easy access to the bills at any time.  It also makes saving receipts in the right place easier.

You can also use it for coupon organization, receipts, or anything you would like to organize in an easy to carry clutch.

Budget Organizing Clutch

The New Cute Way of Doing things

How to make one

This isn’t really a pattern but more of a simple how to.

Chain 30.

Single Crochet on both sides of the chain to start a round (60 sc)

At the end of each round slip stitch into the first sc, chain one and turn.

Keep going until the height of the clutch is right for your currency plus the height of the tabbed dividers.

To make the fold over part sc 30 then chain 1 and turn.

Work another 10 or 12 rows with 1 decrease at the beginning of the row.  If you are going to use a button leave a button hole in row 8 or whatever looks right for you.

Finally sc all round to give it a cleaner look.

The tab dividers can be downloaded here.

I used the Sweet Butterfly from  Ravelry

Monkey Business

Mr Monkey was reason number 3 for wanting to learn crochet.  I am glad I waited till I felt confident enough to make him, I didn’t want to have to take him apart a hundred times until I got him right.  Mr Monkey was sitting quietly when he found a banana, ate it and then went crazy doing headstands.  The only question now, who is naughtier; Mr Monkey or Lulu?

Monkeying Around