Friday, 28 June 2013

Etsy store opening!

Hurrah! Finally, my Etsy store is open! I only have one product at the moment, but will have more very very soon! But, get ready to meet...

Max and Rocky! The Fox and Raccoon duo!

I've had a really great time designing these two, and hope others will get as much joy from them as I do!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Mallorca Holiday!

On the 15th of June, my lovely boyfriend turned 21! And, because he's very lucky (and has amazing parents) he was surprised with a week's holiday in Mallorca - and the best part was I was invited too! So a few days later we flew from Bristol Airport and arrived about 2 and a bit hours later in Palma. We then travelled for an hour by coach to our hotel - Pollenca Park. The hotel was gorgeous, with a lovely pool and staff, and best of all a buffet for breakfast and tea!

Here's all of us sat by the pool (from left: Pete, Dan, Me and Jayne). Yes, I am wearing a jacket! I somehow managed to get a chill...

 A beautiful house in Port D'Pollenca just off the beach with this as their view!

 The view in Sa Calobra (we would later go round this mountain on a boat in the stifling heat!)

 One of our rare beach days in Alcudia

He sat like this all day! This was in Palma, and there were loads of different 'acts' to see, some a little scary too...

The cathedral in Palma with the famous stained glass window that forms petals on the floor. Unfortunately this only happens when the sun shines through, and as you can see that day was particularly cloudy.

 One of my favourite parts of the whole holiday - visiting the Caves of Drach! I highly recommend going if you go to Mallorca, it really is unmissable.

 This is inside the caves - can you make out the boat in the lower left hand corner? I won't spoil the surprise as to the main feature of the caves, but it is absolutely spectacular.

And here are some sillier/odd photo's from the trip;

Me with my very large (and moustache-producing) cappuccino, and Dan and I at the bottom of the 365 steps in the Old Town Pollenca.

For some reason I love how the sun has bleached everything apart from my towel in this photo!

 This isn't an entirely non-crochet related post! Look at all the lovely yarn goodness!

And now for my most photographed subject - flowers! I've limited the amount I'll post here, but there were so many lovely colours I couldn't help but add a few at the end...

Finally, this photo was taken as we waited for the coach to take us back to Palma for our flight home. I'm going to miss the warm nights and beautiful scenery, but it is nice to be back in my own bed!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Simple Tunisian Crochet Gloves

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that lately I've been pretty addicted to Tunisian crochet. This is a crochet technique that involves putting stitches on the hook in one row, and then removing them in the next. It's really simple, and although it takes a bit more time to work up than regular crochet, it produces such a lovely warm piece!

This pattern is great for beginners, and so I'll write it how a beginner would understand it. Writing things in this way was so helpful to me when I was learning, so I hope this will be easy to follow.

You will need:
- 4.5 Tunisian/Afghan crochet hook (as we are using DK weight yarn it is recommended to use a size or two above what you'd normally use. So, if you're using sock or chunky weight for your gloves, keep this in mind!)
- 100g DK weight wool (here I've used Stylecraft Special DK)
- Darning needle
- Ruler

Firstly, there are some measurements you'll need to make:

A = Your wrist span + 2cm. This will tell you roughly how many chain stitches to make at the beginning. This is only roughly, though, because once you've done a few rows you may find it will be too big/small for your wrist and go back and make adjustments.

B = How long you want the cuff to be.

C = The length from your wrist to where your thumb is joined to your palm. This will decide how long the widest part of the glove needs to be.

D = The entire length of your wrist to roughly the tops of your knuckles. This is flexible, and will depend on how you like your gloves to sit - I like mine just above my knuckles, but you may prefer yours below if you're going to be moving your fingers a lot in these.

Here are my measurements, for reference:
A = 8cm, B =10.5cm, C = 5.5cm, D = 8.5cm

So, in the pattern, where you see my measurements in this font, be sure to swap in your measurement! The measurement needed will be in brackets.

To start, I suggest watching these videos: how to start and the basic stitch, how to increase stitches, and how to decrease. Note there are two ways to decrease - you can do either! I use the second one that is demonstrated in this video.

In the case of increasing, you will need to use the increases described in the video at 0:38 and at 3:18.

Ready? Good!

Step 1: My (A) measured 8cm and I chained 32 to begin with. If your A is less than mine chain less, or if it's bigger than 8cm, chain a few more.

Step 2: Work the basic Tunisian stitch into each chain. Continue to do the forward (pulling up the loops) and reverse (removing the loops) rows until your piece measures (B) 10.5cm. End on a reverse.

Step 3: Now increase by 1 at the beginning of the row (shown here at 0:38), then pull up loops along the row as you would normally, and then increase by 1 at the end of the row (shown here at 3:18). Do the reverse row as normal.

Step 4: We're going to be increasing again, so: increase by 1 at the beginning of the row (shown here at 0:38), then pull up loops along the row as you would normally, and then increase by 1 at the end of the row (shown here at 3:18). Do the reverse row as normal.

Step 5: Increase one more time: increase by 1 at the beginning of the row (shown here at 0:38), then pull up loops along the row as you would normally, and then increase by 1 at the end of the row (shown here at 3:18). Do the reverse row as normal.

Step 6: Now work the basic Tunisian stitch until your piece measures (C) 5.5cm. End on a reverse.

Step 7: Now we are going to decrease by 2 stitches. To do this, decrease (shown here) by 1 stitch near the beginning of the row - in either the first or second stitch. Then pull up loops as normal until you reach near the end, and decrease by 1 stitch there too. Do the reverse row as normal.

Step 8: Now work the basic Tunisian stitch until the piece measures (D) 8.5cm from the very first increase row to the top, or if you like, until the whole piece measures (B + D) 19cm. End on a reverse.

(It is now up to you how you bind off - I like to leave the stitches how they are and just bind off as you would with normal crochet, but you could single crochet into each of the loops on the last row!)

Step 9: Now fold the piece in half and sew up, remembering to not to sew from the row in step 3 up to the row in step 7 as this will be the thumb hole!

And there you go! Make two of these and you'll have yourself a warm yet not restrictive pair of fingerless gloves :)

Of course, if you have any questions or would like a photo tutorial, please comment and I'd be happy to help!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Re-cycled jar project!

Yes, yes, another Pinterest-inspired project! Have you noticed all the spray painted mason jars that look so gorgeous? Inspired by these from She Knows and these lovely painted vases by Little Gray Fox and also these by la chica de la casa de caramelo (page in spanish) I dug out a used pasta sauce jar and set to work.

Re-cycled painted jars:

You will need:

  • An empty jar that has been washed and cleaned, and left to dry overnight.
  • Glue. I'd use ModPodge if I had any, but had to settle for PVA. This didn't seem to affect my results but I don't know how ModPodge would compare!
  • Acrylic paint
What to do:
  1. First mix up the colour you want to make your jar. You shouldn't need too much, because when you add the glue it should make the mixture enough to cover the jar. But it is always better to be over-prepared!
  2. Then add your glue to the paint mix and stir it in thoroughly.
  3. Now add the mix to the inside of jar a little at a time, swirling it around the jar as much as you can after each addition. This bit takes a lot of patience - I mean A LOT - but it's worth it to get a clean result.
  4. Keep going until the jar is covered at least 3/4 of the way up. If at any point you think you will run out of mixture, add more glue.
  5. Now get some old news paper or a plastic bag (something you can throw away after) and turn the jar upside down (so the opening is face down) onto it. You should see the paint run all the way down the jar to cover the last quarter. If not, add more of the mixture to the jar.
  6. You'll have to leave the jar stood like that as long as possible (I recommend a good 24hrs!). But to ensure it doesn't get stuck to the paper/bag try to lift it up every few hours and move it to another part of the paper. You'll be surprised at how much mixture is on the paper for the first few times!

And there you have it - a pretty painted jar all of your own making! Do try to leave it upside down for as long as possible, because if you turn it up too soon you'll get horrible streaks down the sides and a big pool at the bottom that won't dry (I'm speaking from experience here).

Bear in mind that if you used normal PVA glue like me your jar will NOT be waterproof! That means only fake flowers I'm afraid. I believe that if you use ModPodge, and give the inside of the jar a full coating of ModPodge after the paint mix has dried it will be waterproof, but I can't back this up!

I'd love to hear about your experience and see pictures - links to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are to the right!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Katie's Dolphin!

I created this lovely dolphin for my friend Katie, who is crazy about dolphins. The pattern is really easy to follow, and although it isn't free, it's not much to pay for a birthday/Christmas present!

I had a lot of fun making this, and can't wait to give it to her. :)