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!

 

 

Hair – from TV to online tutorials

I don’t blog often about my BBC day job, but recently I was involved in something pretty special that you all need to check out. A new BBC Three show called Hair starts on Tuesday 25th Feb, at 9pm, which you should all watch a) because it’s hair-tastic, and b) I guarantee you’ll be inspired to be more creative with your beautiful tassels. And if you are… there are some pretty special online hair tutorials videos which you can watch to get some tips and tricks. I lent my blonde barnet to the crew and was filmed as hair model for one of the YouTube videos.

Hair model

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The tutorial I was in was the backwards plait & bun, made by the lovely Katie, which looks gorge. The great thing about my tutorial is that you can also do yourself it at home. Yes… REALLY! Look, I’ve just done it on myself, messy style.

Upside down plait bun

I’m also really liking modern beehive and the fishtail plait tutorials, I’m going to give those a whirl next party time. I’d love to hear if the videos (or the show) inspired you to re-create the styles at home, drop me a comment if so!

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!

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

 

Crochet flower pattern

flowerblog

Is it a Violet? Is it a Pansy? Or is it a Waterflower? I came across this beautiful flower crochet pattern and was a little perplexed, not only about what kind of flower it was, but also about the instructions, which were half in Spanish. But after falling in love with the pattern, I decided to take it on, and when I found the spanglish a little confusing, so I’ve decided to re-write the pattern with alterations. Now you can learn the best way that I learn… with lots and lots of pictures. flowerblog (2 of 48)

1) Make an adjustable ring – make a loop with the end of the yarn over the main wool. flowerblog (3 of 48) Insert the hook into the loop, pull the main wool line and twist under the loop.

Round 1 – Yellow

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2) Chain 3, and then 15 Triple Crochet stitches (TC), so that you have 16 stitches in total on your first round.

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3) Pull the loose end on the adjustable ring and join the rounds with a slip stitch.

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Round 2 – Purple

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4) In the first stitch, Chain 3 then in the make 3TC in the same stitch. 

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5) Skip the next stitch, and 4TC in the next one.

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6) Repeat 6 more times. Join with a slip stitch. This will then be the beginning of your petals.

Round 3 – Blue

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flowerblog (18 of 48)

7) Make a loop in the first stitch, and then insert into the adjacent remaining stitch on round 1, and pull the yarn through the top. Pull the yarn through both loops (kind of like a single crochet stitch)

flowerblog (21 of 48)

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8) In the next stitch make a Double Crochet (DC). In the next stitch 2 TC 2 chains(C) and 2TC, all in the same stitch! In the next stitch, a Single crochet (SC). This will make a scallop for your petal..

flowerblog (25 of 48)

9) Make a SC by inserting the yarn into the spare stich on the first round – like in step 7.

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10) Repeat steps 7/8 on the rest of the round so that you have 8 petals. Finish with a slip stitch.

Now you could stop there if you wanted to. But if you want to go the whole hog and add petals… l

Round 4 – Leaf stem

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11) Holding the front of the work towards you, insert the hook into the larger loop on the back of your work you created between the 1st and 3rd rounds. 6C.

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12) Turn around and do 5 Slip stitches back along your chains, and then 1 more on the loop between your 1/3rd round to secure the stem.

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13) Chain 4 to the next 1/3 round loop.

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14) Repeat steps 11 to 13 until you have 8 leaf stems.

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Round 5 – The Leaves

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15) With a lighter green and holding the front of the flower towards you, works from right to left at the base of the leaf stems, 3 TC, 1DC, 1SC, and then a 2 chain picot stitch at the tip.

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16) Work back along the leaf with a 1SC, 1 DC, 3TC to the leaf base and do a slip stitch at the base.

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17) Moving to the next stem, do a slip stitch halfway round the connecting stem and repeat steps 15/16 on the rest of the 7 leaves.

flowerblog (47 of 48)

And that’s it! Ta-da! You have a very pretty finished flower, complete with leaves. You can experiment with the colours with these flowers – I’ve gone for a multicoloured vibe with these.

Check back soon for a great way to connect these flowers and make something very useful…