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!

 

 

What shall I make next? A laundry basket project

The road to crafting glory is a tremulous one. You always start with the giddy excitement of a new project, fantasizing about how amazing the finished article is going to look. Soon after, you encounter the frustrations of trying to get your head around learning a new technique, going wrong and (often in my case) starting again. And again. And…. damn it not again! Time disappears. It will always take twice as long as you think it will take. You’ll get asked to make something else in between. But then the feeling of finally finishing and parading your new wares around the house/friends/internet, oh the smug joy! And then the joyus craft cycle begins again.

Usually I have about three projects on the go, but I’ve just finished all three within the last few weeks, all of which I’ll blog within due time. So now I have to decide on what to make next. And I just don’t know. One thing we really need in the flat is a washing basket, as we’re currently using a very unsightly plastic box for our dirty laundry, but that will mean buying some thicker rag style yarn. Why is it always the case that with a new project it always means buying more materials?

I’m thinking a basket like this on the Crochet in color blog would be perfect. But with a lid.

Crochet in color - Chunky crocheted basket

If I don’t want to shell out £££ for more yarn, so I could try ripping up old T-shirts to make a rag style basket as featured on valzcorner. But who has that many T-shirts? *Raids the boyfriend’s wardrobe*

valzcorner - crochet with old T-shirts

I love the colours and simple DC crochet pattern in this basket on Dknits. It could be a contender.

donaknits - Laundry basket

If the colours were plain, then putting a decorative motif would be a must, like on this rug featured on the Upcycle magazine blog.

Upcycle Magazine - How To: Make An Upcycled Crochet Rug

But why stop with one motif? Like this Pinterest pin, tapestry crochet could be the way forward! I could make an entire scene… or try and striking fair-isle knitting pattern. It’s time to raid my knitting patterns Pinterest board!

Crochet tapestry

I definitely need to have a think and a sleep on this. A basket is a for life, not just for laundry!

Have you got any new projects on the go? Or have you got a pattern for a laundry basket that you want to share? Let me know in the comments!

How to turn an old folder into a handy (and cute!) stationery organiser

geometric stationery folder

Letters. Bills. Bank statements. They all end up in piles littered across the flat, never-ending and never tidied. That is until now! I’ve always been a bit jealous of my boyfriend’s correspondence folder, with handy compartments to divide up all that essential filing. But I wanted one that was a bit snazzier.

folderorganiserlowres-1905

So when I came across this tutorial on the damask love blog, I knew I had to make one. But (as always) I didn’t have all the essential bits of craft kit to make it, but managed to do so with some old materials I already had in the flat. So here is my tutorial to make your own stationery folder, you’ll never be disorganised again!

YOULLNEED

 An old lever arch file with the metal arch removed (You can do this with a hammer)

Old A4 card file dividers, at least 15 (the more colours the better)

A3 wrapping or patterned paper (mine was from Ohh Deer)

Normal and double sided sellotape

Scissors

STEPS

Steps

1) Take 4-5 of your file dividers and fold them horizontally into zig-zag strips, about 2-3 cms wide. You can measure them with a ruler if you like to be super precise, (or you’re making this as a gift) but it’s not essential. Pick colours that will compliment the pattern of your paper, as these will be visible on the outside. Then cut your strips horizontally, so you are left with a folded V shape, a guillotine will help here if you have one. You’ll need two strips for each divider (minus 2 overall). So if you have 10 dividers, you’ll need 18 strips.

2) With the normal sellotape, start attaching the your V strips with the rest of the file dividers, so that the V is facing out rather than in. Your folder pocket should be bigger than A4 so there’s room for all your documents.

3) Put the double-sided tape on the outside of your folder and tape your patterned paper. Do each section at a time and not all at once, remembering to bend the folder when you start sticking to the spine. Make sure you leave about 3cm as a border and stick it down on inside of the folder. If you’re using an A3 sheet, save the excess paper, cut it in half and you’ll find those two sections is just enough to stick on the inside – just like magic!

4) Using the double and normal tape on the top, bottom and sides, attach your divider sleeve to each side of the inside folder, leaving a 1cm gap at the spine. The more tape, the better.

Geometric stationery folder

DONE! Mine took me 2-3 hours to make, so it’s a great evening project that costs nothing to make and no mess to clear up. You can use a ribbon to tie it up, or just put in all of your letters and stack it on a bookshelf, mine fits in perfectly next to my pink crepe paper roses. And no-one needs to ever know what horrors(or pretty things) might lurk inside… Thanks to Amber at Damask Love for the inspiration – check out her blog for more card crafts.

Let me know in the comments what you think of this project, or if you have any tips in sorting out your stationery!

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

The Perils of Writers Block (and How to Overcome it)

“You seem bored. Why don’t you go and write something?”

I want to write. I have ideas. I want to put some effort into something productive. But, when it comes down to it, I just don’t have the energy. This, is writers block. I have experienced this feeling many times before, such when it took a week for me to nail out 200 words out of 10,000 dissertation, or when I’ve been asked to write some nice words about something I took no pleasure in, or even when I started this blog three years ago. But this time, things are worse. I can’t even find solace in a duvet PSP Wipeout session, or back-to-back seasons of the American Office. From the corner of my eyes I can see the computer staring me out, saying; “FEED ME CONTENT. NOW.”

I blame this hanger-on of an Autumn. The flu is being passed around London like a spliff at a party, making everyone feel eternally groggy. Christmas is rearing its ugly tinsle covered head, party after dinner after party means December is an eternal hangover. I am conserving all creative energy to prevent future liver failure.

There’s several ways to get around writers block, but I seem to be taking the procrastination route. I’ve already re-arranged my kitchen. Walks are apparently good for clearing the mental air, but I would rather fester on the sofa. I have attempted to make some brain food, which turned into some dubious looking soup. My flat is also looking pretty damn clean.

Writing about the block is one way to over come it – hence this post. Writing about your frustrations gets the words flowing, and before too long your brain is ticking as creatively needed. And it works. Trying to think creatively in different ways helps too. I’ve been doing a bit more experimentation with my photography recently, thanks to new filters and bokeh cut outs that fit over the lens. As long as I’m making and creating, I shouldn’t feel too bad that it isn’t words. But overall, sometimes the best thing to do is just walk away, and clear your head until the words come back.

Stuck yourself? There’s also some great writing resources here in  The 99percentCreative Boom, Lifehack, and this cute little zine, Marbles, is also great source of block-speration.