Seeing stripes in the laundry

A little while ago I was thinking out loud on this blog about how I should go about making my own washing basket, crochet style. After lots of research into patterns, craft techniques and the fabric materials I should use, I settled on a making a DIY rag rug style basket with a giant crochet hook and second hand sheets. I’m pretty pleased with the finished result as you can see here!

crochet washing basket

I couldn’t decide on a particularly intricate pattern especially as I’ll be moving and probably redecorating pretty soon, so I stuck to a simple yet striking design of purple and white stripes.  I used a size 12 crochet hook and 4 double bed sheets (2 white, 2 purple, bough cheaply from eBay), ripping the sheets into strips of fabric about 1 1/2 inches thick. 4 sheets sounds like a lot of fabric, but it gets used up very quickly! The finished basket was pretty stiff but not completely upright, if you wanted a more rigid structure I’d recommend making the strips 2 inches thick. 4 sheets makes a basket about 20 inches tall and 14 inches in diameter, which manages to squeeze well over a load of washing into the basket, with a little fabric left over to make a lid, or maybe some mini baskets.

The pattern was inspired by this basket pattern on the Crochet in Color blog, but a little simpler. I used double crochets throughout the pattern, but the line definition was created by only putting your fabric through one of the loops on every other row. Super easy for any crochet beginners looking for a new project, but a willing to put in a bit of muscle into a new project!

Crochet washing basket

I think this basket is definitely going to be the start of a new motto to stop buying things I don’t like, and keep making things I love instead.

Have you made any household crochet items with a giant crochet hook? Be sure to share in the comments, as I’ll need some more project inspiration soon!

 

 

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A Friendship Patch… How to Crochet a Clustered Spike Stitch or Leaf Stitch

When my friend Naomi called on her friends to make patches for a university project, naturally my inner craftster screamed and jumped at the opportunity. Her project was to make a portrait of herself, and on choosing to make a patchwork bedspread, asked her friends and family to all create 20x20cm square in a pattern of their choosing, but it had to represent the relationship and was made of materials that you already had.

I (obviously) had loads of spare wool, and am always looking for new opportunities to put new crochet patterns into practice. I had found this pattern on Pinterest some time ago, and thought it would be perfect to figure out how to make it. I could say that on a deeper level that I picked it because our friendship overlaps and is joined by all of our other shared friends (we met through a mutual best friend), but really I picked it because I loved the pattern and  it reminded me of lots of the patterns and beautiful retro things that Naomi wears and I gorge over in her room whenever I visit. There isn’t a name to the stitch, but I’m going to call it a leaf stitch – but if you know of the proper stitch name, let me know!

Crochet Leaf stitch

Crochet Leaf stitch

And here is my patch:

Crochet leaf pattern

Tackling the pattern was quite easy as the pin came with some visual instructions, but I’ve modified them a little. So I’m also going to include some helpful instructions to my recreation so you can also give it a go. My patch was created with Stylecarft DK wool and 4mm hook – but in hindsight I should have used a smaller hook. This is also my first attempt at writing a pattern, so here it goes!

Crochet Leaf Stitch

1) Do a foundation chain in multiples of 8 – for a 20cm square (with 2cm seam allowance) I did 56.

2) Ch 2, Tc 3, (Ch1, Tc1, Ch1, Tc in the next stitch, Ch 1, Tc3), repeat to the end, Tc1 in last stitch, turn.

3) Ch2, Tc 3, [ (Ch1, Tc next stitch)x3, Tc 2 ], repeat to the end, Tc in last stitch, turn.

4) *Change colour* Tc4, (Leaf Stitch, Tc 4 ), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

5) Ch 2, Tc 4, (Ch 1, Skip 1 stitch, Tc 5), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

6) Repeat steps 2-5

It’s quite difficult to explain the special leaf stitch, but hopefully the diagram below will explain… Basically you need to pull your wool twice through the five gaps you’ve made, and then pull through all the stitches at the end. It’s tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it, I promise.

templateFINAL6steps

And there you have it – a very special crochet pattern. Beware, it eats up your wool, but it’s very luxurious. Kinda looks a little like maple leaves too with the colours I’ve chosen. I can’t wait to see how the bedcover turns out too 🙂

crochet2

Comment below if you’ve tried this stitch, I’d love to hear from you!

08/03/14 Update: As Jyneffer rightly pointed out in the comments, this is a Clustered Spike Stitch – always good to know the right technical term! 🙂

Here’s to a crafty (and blogging) 2014!

It’s been a busy 2013, but one thing I haven’t been busy doing is blogging. This is my first post in 11 months. I know. I can hear you tutting from here. Blogging more was even one my 2013 new year resolutions. I could reel off a list of all very valid excuses, but instead I’m going to move on and look forward to start blogging again in 2014.

But what have I been doing over the last year? Well… a LOT of crafting, if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some of my creations, and below are just some of the beauties I’ve crafted in 2013. I’ve crocheted lots of presents, giving embroidery a try, had my first sewing machine class, and dipped my nails in a bit of nail art. I’d love to go back and blog my craftyness over the last year, and I might do on some of these projects over the next year, but I’m just going to start anew and start blogging from the now. I’ve got some more things to share in the next few weeks, so bring on a blogging 2014!

2013 in craft

Tri-colour Crochet Striped Scraps Snood

Tri-colour striped Snood

Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been modelling some new homemade knitwear on my twitter profile. What do you do with all of those colorful yarns ends that need using up? Those bits of scraps will forever be at the bottom of your wool bag, but here’s how to make a warm woolly accessory and crochet up all those loose ends.

Using up scraps by bad bad magpie on Flickr

This hat by bad bad magpie caught my eye on Flickr – as do most of my crochet projects, like the Manta Hueco Zig Zag Cushion cover. I really liked the colorful randomness of the pattern, which is made up of different coloured yarns, but each round has the constant dark green or sage strand running through it. It inspired me for my next project, a thick woolly snood.

Tri-colour striped Snood

I started making this snood while I was between projects, and had lots of yarn ends and scraps that needed using up. I use three colours in one yarn, my main constant colour was going to be purple (my favourite colour), and I decided to keep the colour scheme graduating from one colour to another, with each . For example;

Round 1 was green, black, purple,

Round 2 was red, black, purple,

Round 3 was dark red, red, purple…. and so on.

The wool used was mostly Stylecraft DK and I used a 8mm crochet hook. The pattern was also very simple:

Ch to the desired length of the snood – this one was at least Ch 120 and slip stitch the foundation chain without twisting it so you have a continuous loop. Round 1 is a continuous round of  double crochet stitches, and then round 2 is a continuous round of triple crochets in the same colour. Round 3 is a colour change, and then a repeat of the round of DC stitches and then DTR stitched. Easy peasy, but look tri-brilliant!

Tri-colour striped Snood

 

Manta Hueco Zig Zag Cushion Cover

rosie2 (13 of 18)

I’m quite chuffed with this pair. They don’t match, but this stripey wool twosome were the perfect crochet cushion covers for some Ikea cushions that we have had for yonks. It’s a really easy pattern, as long as you have already nailed the mighty Granny Square, and I’m going to show you how to make.

I had been eyeing up a Manta Hueco Zig Zag design on a photo on Flickr, and asked the maker who I could make my own amazing creation, and the reply was, just google it! The pattern is  traditionally made of small granny squares and the corners are stitched together, but then zig-zag stripes are made either side of the squares. A tutorial on this Spanish blog ‘buscando comienzos’ provided all the information that I needed to start this pattern off.

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

How To Make

To make the cover you need to make 3/4 granny squares that are the length of your cushion when arranged diagonally in a straight line. You make the stripes like making normal rounds on a granny square (3TC Ch1 or Ch2 if on a corner) , but when you go to attach the squares on the decent, you need to do this unusual stitch.

stitcheshowto

1) Begin a triple crochet stitch as normal – yarn over the hook, insert into the stitch, yarn over again, pull through two loops

2) Rather than finishing the stitch, you want to start making the next triple crochet. Do this twice more, so you have four loops on your hook, and three unfinished stitches.

2 ) Continue into the next square, by repeating the above process again, so there are three more unfinished stitches and 7 loops on your hook.

3) Yarn over and pull through all 7 of the stitches. Ch 1.

Once you have nailed that stitch (anyone have any ideas of it’s name?) then this pattern is your oyster! Continue with the rounds until the work wraps around the cushion and the points of the zig zags touch, and connect the work by doing reverse granny squares with the above stitch. Stitch one side together with a DC seam, and the other side sew 5 buttons.

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

Ta Ta! Now you have a super stylish stripy cushion cover. Who said granny squares are boring? Not when they are stripetastic! Have you made something with Manta Hueco pattern? Feel free to share your stripey wares in the comments below!