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!

A Beginners Thoughts on Crochet (or How to Make a Giant Granny Blanket)

So, I have recently just blogged about a recent crochet project I have just completed, rainbow ripple crochet scarf for my lovely boyfriend. What I didn’t share however, was that the scarf wasn’t the first project that I completed. Oh no. My first learning of the dark art of crochet were first with the Amazings, where after covering the basic stitches I then tried to tackle the idea of making a granny square, which then developed into a giant blanket. Pretty standard beginner’s fare eh?

To begin with I did a lot of Pinterest research – If research counts as looking at other people’s gorgeous items and thinking “I wish I could make that”, until I finally settled on recreating a similar design to this one featured on the Little Tin Bird blog. It’s not in my nature to keep things small and square. With Rosie, life has to be big, bold and colourful. And even better for me, there was a tutorial to recreate the magic on the post, as well as plenty more tutorials to look through. Hurrah!

http://www.littletinbird.co.uk/basic-granny-square-pattern/

So. I had picked the pattern. Now to pick the yarn. I had discovered that my local sewing shop lives up to it’s name, Sew Amazing. It stocked lots of different varieties of the colorful Stylecraft Double knit DK, which was my yarn of choice, for cost (£2.50 a pop) and aesthetic reasons. Living room wise, we have a  red sofa, a green rug, and accents of different colours around the room, so I decided that the main colour of the blanket should be lime green, with each square having a different multicolored accent colours. In practice, some of the squares took a  rainbow and graduated turn rather than completely random. Armed with a 4mm crochet hook from amazon, I was ready to rock & wool!

I was going well… until I got stuck. I had forgotten all those wise words those amazings taught me! Thankfully Youtube came to my rescue. If you ever have a question, 9/10 there is a YouTube tutorial answering it. And for me, this was my gospel. Four months later I had completed all the squares, or so I first thought, thinking that 12 squares was going to be enough, bearing in mind it took me about 3 hours to make justvone square of 18 rounds. It wasn’t. I had to do 15, or else it wasn’t going to cover my toes. This was going to be a giant blanket…

9 giant granny squares     

Post assembly, joining and a few extra rounds around the whole blanket and I’m not just impressed with the result, I’m now properly addicted.

Giant Square Crochet Blanket

I’m already dreaming up new projects. tutorials, and homewares. I’m afraid by previous love of cross-stitch is now taking a bit of a back foot! But if I could do it all again, I would pass on the following tips:

  1. Do a test square first. You don’t have to use it in the final pattern, but it’s important that you get the pattern nailed before you carry on. Everyone makes makes mistakes in the beginning, and your first project is not going to be perfect. But the best bit about crochet is that you can unravel if you go wrong!
  2. Watch a master in action. They can teach you things about the craft that you can’t learn from a book. Like the best way to hold wool. Or crochet anecdotes. And if you are lucky, their skillz might be catching…
  3. Buy all your wool in advance – and then some.  I made the tragic mistake of not buy enough of my lime green wool to finish my lime green border. Unknown to me at the time, wool is dyed in batches, and once the whole batch has gone, the next batch might be the same shade, but not the same tone – which is silly of me not to realise that now thinking about it. I used 3 balls of the lime green, and still needed more. Next time, I’m buying bulk.
  4. Buy your wool in person if you can. Then you can really get a feel for the textures and qualities, as well as comparing those all important colours. You can always buy your favourite kinds online later on, but it’s important to support local traders!
  5. Absorb ideas everywhere. Read blogs. Make a Pinterest board. Like pictures on Instgram. Keep collecting visual examples of projects to inspire and challenge yourself ton the next project. The craft community is lovely too, be sure to share the love! Books are great, but the internet is your friend. Here’s a few blogs that have defiantly inspired me along the way: One Sheepish Girl, The Purl Bee and A Beautiful Mess.

So there are my thoughts and musings from a crochet beginner, even now I am no longer a novice. but it’s OK. Because I am making pretty things If anyone has any crochet thoughts, stories or musings as a beginner, be sure to let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

 

Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

Hanging up against my green wool coat

Last weekend, I completed not one, but two (yes TWO!) crochet projects. I have only recently taken up the craft, to take little break from my recent cross stitch embroidery, while I start to draw and come up with some of my own design ideas to work on. This scarf was my second yarn project, I started it when we took a trip away to stay at the Down Hall Country Hotel. I was grumbling that I couldn’t take my first project with me for the trip, so  my boyfriend requested that I started to make him a multi-coloured wool scarf instead.

Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

I began my search for the pattern by searching crochet images on pinterest and instagram, and asking the owners of interesting work where their stitch came from. I’m always big on bright colours (life is far too short to wear grey) and like me, Ross wanted the scarf to be as multi-colored as possible, almost rainbow. The finished scarf has a bit of a Tom Baker about it, and will defiantly brighten up any rainy day. It took me just under a month to make, on and off, growing to be over 6 foot long. In the end he was very chuffed – well I hope so anyway!

Close-up of Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

The crochet stitch itself a  ripple stitch, or wave stitch. I followed this AMAZING tutorial on Attic24 – this blog is an idea haven. The only tricky part was learning the tr2tog (treble two together), but if you have mastered the granny square, this pattern is a piece of cake. I started with a chain of 45, and did go a little wrong in the beginning as I didn’t follow the pattern as strictly as I should have, but it just made on of the ends a little uneven – but to be fair this stitch isn’t known for being straight!

Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

The thing that make this scarf so special is the mesmerising nature of the ripples, you are instantly drawn into the relaxing nature of this pattern – and I reminded me of my water ripple photographs from my trip to Spain. I have seen many blankets created in this pattern, and it truly does allow you to experiment with the colours as much as you like. You don’t need to use the same colours to again, or repeat the same ones again. But for me it was defiantly the graduated effects of the multi-coloured rainbow that I thought looked the best.

So there it is, my rainbow ripple scarf! And a very big recommendation to any crochet beginners!

Read the tutorial on Attic 24

Learning How to Crochet with The Amazings

Crochet Wool

“The trick is all in the holding of the wool and the needles. Once you have that right it’s easy.”

This was one of the many pearls of wisdom I learnt yesterday from Bernadette. She is an Amazing. The Amazings is a social enterprise with a brilliant idea at its core; getting retired people to teach their skills and wisdom in evening classes to those that wish to learn them. The class I dropped in on was my first in learning how to crochet, which was I wasn’t doing too well at. “You’re holding the needles wrong. Are you left handed?” No, just cack handed.

It was a small class of eager beginners, all as bimbly thumbed as myself. Learning the three basic stitches, a chain, a double crochet and a triple crochet, we were given the pattern for a granny square, with the idea in mind to finish the two-hour session with the finished piece. Our beginners techniques were humorously familiar to Bernadette, “You crochet just like my daughter, she pulls the needles closer and closer to her face until she is practically picking her nose with them.” Bernadette’s sense of humor makes this class. She teaches it with the warmth and familiarity of your own Grandma, helping you with the needles and showing her secret trick and tips. “Crocheting in the Summer is difficult as your hands get sweaty,” she tells us, “So I keep some talcum power handy.” A top tip right there.

Crochet is a skill that is a challenge to master, but once you have you can be stunningly creative with. We all gasp when Bernadette shows off her latest triple crochet weave which only took her an evening. We can all do that? The needles start cracking. The concentration in the room is fierce. One hour in and I wasn’t even able to complete a line or turn around on myself. Thankfully Bernadette was there to help me start again. “That’s the beauty of crochet, it’s easy to unravel if you make a mistake.” Except I ended up unravelling to the beginning. Twice. I’m still hopeful. I have had a dream of a Granny Square patchwork and I am going to make it.

I learnt three things last night. 1) The Amazings are amazing. 2) Bernadette is a crocheting legend, and probably has the coolest dressed grand-kids in the world thanks to herself. 3) Like Captain Hook and the Candyman, I can’t be left alone with a hook. I cause no end of hole-some terror. Maybe next time I will try making a hammock.

Image from the event provided by The Amazings.

Like this? You might also like these similar posts:

How to make a Giant Granny BlanketA Beginners Thoughts on Crochet

Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet ScarfRainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

A mini photo break in HelsinkiA photo mini break in Helsinki