29 October 2014

A Granny Square Bag

Well, hello there! Today is Wednesday and is Granny Square Day! Woohoo! The skirt is progressing steadily, but I thought for the sake of variety that I would present you with another project of mine, which has recently gone from WIP to FO... A granny square bag!

This one has been long in the making (nearly a year and a half, to be precise) and has a little bit of a sentimental history to it. It is in fact made out of the first granny square I successfully hooked up... this one below, started en route to a music festival in Belgium and finished in a half torn tent that nearly got blown away by stormy winds, just before we retreated to the safety of a hotel in Bruges. Ah, the memories! ;) Anyway, here is it:

Once it was made and I decided it was going to be a bag, I made four smaller squares in the same variegated yarn for the other side of the bag, and crocheted the sides and bottom in a different variegated yarn in rows of UK double crochets.

Fast forward a year, and I finally got round to joining all pieces together to make up the actual bag, and added wooden rings (upcycled from a curtain rod, by the way!) for a future strap.

I had known very early on what I wanted the aforementioned strap to look like: it was going to be a braid of cotton cords in solid colours matching hues from the body of the bag. I then proceeded to crochet said cords amigurumi-style, ending up with this:

Which I then braided...

...and pinned around the wooden rings:

I then sewed them securely and wrapped grey yarn around all of them for a neater finish. See pics below for that detail, I forgot to take any during the making process, sorry!

So once the outside of bag was finished, it was time to think about the lining. I'll be honest, that part was a little bit of a nightmare. The main thing was that I wanted the bag to retain its square shape, so interfacing was definitely needed. So after I cut my fabric of choice...

...to which I added a little pocket...

(aren't those birdies super cute, by the way? I love them!) ...I pinned the interfacing onto the lining fabric:

I also made a little flap for the snap fastener and inserted a small piece of interfacing into it:

Then, much to my chagrin, I realised the interfacing was going to show through the stitches of the granny squares, so I played around with pieces of black felt...

...unpinned everything and repinned all three layers together, with many a choice expletive and even the odd flood of tears...

When they were finally sewn together, I pinned the lining into the bag (of which I am sorry to say, I don't have any good enough photo...) and left it for a few months, so taking that whole assembling had been.

However, this week, I thought enough was enough, and tackled the final sewing bit. It went relatively smoothly and I am very happy to say that I now have a finished bag to show you! Shall we have a look?

So what do you think? Do you like it? I have to say I am quite a bit in love with it and very proud I managed to make it with my own little hands! It was originally to sell, but I may find it difficult to part with it.

Thanks for reading guys, and for other granny square goodness, go to Jijihook's website, this way.

Ta-ra! :)

26 October 2014

Autumn Vibes

I don't know how it is in your part of the world, but here in England, Autumn is definitely here. As much as it pains me every year to say goodbye to Summer, I can't help enjoying the beautiful warm hues this chilly season has to offer. It's almost as if Nature is trying to compensate for the lack of sun by sporting vibrant, sunny colours everywhere. Plus, the increasing chilliness of the air is a perfect excuse to snuggle up indoors in a cosy environment with a cuppa and a bit of crochet. I love it.

Last weekend, I was in Hertfordshire for a short visit, and Autumn was already in full swing everywhere, from this favourite special tree of mine, planted in memory of a loved one...

...to this lovely old building, a local music school, decked with the most beautiful ivy.

But Autumn has also graced my door step in South West London...

...and of course, the nearby Richmond Park, which I never tire of visiting:

This morning, we saw a few parakeet feathers. Richmond Park is home to scores of those birds - probably escaped or released from captivity -, and their bright green plumage makes them much easier to spot in Autumn than Summer. I am quite fascinated with them, as they are such an exotic sight in our latitudes, yet looking very much at home in their adopted environment.

And of course, another highly noticeable resident of Richmond Park is the magnificent deer, which can sometimes turn up on you unexpectedly and make you feel very small and vulnerable indeed, as well as in awe with such a beautiful force of Nature.

The Autumn feeling has also crept in at home, both visually...

...and in the kitchen, as we crave warmer, more comforting food. This weekend, I tried my hand at puff pastry and (mini) croissants for the first time. The result wasn't bad at all, considering I forgot to put in the yeast and the sugar! They still rose satisfactorily and were perfectly edible and dare I say moreish. The whole batch is now gone. Definitely one to make again.

Is it the colder air? The shorter days? It seems that the Cat has overcome his loathing of crochet makes, as I found him snuggled up on the Blanket, looking as if he owned the thing. I try not to wince every time his claws get stuck in the stitches. Oh dear.

And finally the season calls for warmer, chunkier crochet makes, which reflects in the yarn I have been buying lately. Oh yes, I am still buying yarn, even though I am supposed to rest my injured wrist. But I can't help it, yarn has a way of screaming at me from shelves, and I'm sure you can understand if you're into crafts yourself!

That's it for today, peeps. I hope you enjoyed this post and wish you a happy Autumn if that applies to your latitude.

Thanks for reading and see you soon! :)

22 October 2014

Granny Wednesday - The Growing Skirt

Hello! It's been a slow week crochet-wise... I am taking it easy with the hook because of my injured wrist, which I really hope can heal fully soon.

Anyway, I still managed to do a little bit on my granny square skirt - just two rows, no more, but hey that's better than none!

Shall we have a look?

You can see the last two rows: one green row of treble clusters, and one black row of double crochets. I was itching to do more, but I must be reasonable if I want my wrist to recover.

Here's a folded view. You can really start seeing the skirty shape, can't you?


And here's a close-up of all those lovely colours and textures. I love how those are yarn leftovers from the Blanket stash - as in, there is enough in there for at least another blanket! -, yet they look completely different when associated with black.

And here's the fully spread out, aerial view...

There you have it, the latest progress on the Granny Square Miniskirt. I'll see you next week with hopefully a few more rows!

In the meantime, take care and thanks for reading!

15 October 2014

Granny Wednesday - A Brand New Project

Hiya! Happy Wednesday, everyone! Since the Blanket is now finished, I have a new granny square project to present to you.

It actually started not at all as a granny square, but more like a ribbed circle:

This was not random. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. So, after quite a few false starts and quite a lot of frogging, I then started crocheting granny clusters around it...

...making sure I did increases in four equidistant places...

Granny clusters? Increases? You've guessed it: I was making the beginning of one big granny square, as you can see in the picture below.

The black row in the middle is made of double crochet stitches (US sc). It will crop up every three rows of granny clusters, as a way to make the colours pop. This is where I'm at right now, and there's quite a few more rounds to go...

So any idea what it could be? Go on, here's a massive clue, by Starrbeads. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make a similar one.

Now, here's the snag... With the cold and rainy season returning, my wrist tendinitis is back with a vengeance, and I am forbidden any crochet activities for the time being, so there's a good chance this project will remain at a standstill for a while, unless I am a bit naughty and sneak in the odd crochet round here and there... We'll see.

The good news is I have a backlog of granny projects, which I can easily blog about while my wrist hopefully recovers, so definitely keep watching this space!

In the meantime, take care and don't forget to go and have a look at what the others have been up to this week at Jijihook's.

Ta-ra! :)

12 October 2014

And yet another little gift bag!

Hello! As I told you in a recent post, I've been making little gift bags like there's no tomorrow. They're relatively quick to work up, and make perfect gifts, and I absolutely love giving each their own personality, depending on who they're going to.

So here's the latest one.

For this one, which went to a friend as a birthday gift, I used a variety of Phildar cotton yarn, brought back from one of my French travels. It is a scrumptious orange colour with patches of lighter orange and pink. Just by looking at it, I get the tangy taste of orange boiled sweets in my mouth. Yummy!

Anyway, this one was to be a mini scrubbies' bag, inspired by this one. I also decorated the pads with a row of contrasting surface crochet in the Phildar yarn.

Since the scrubbies are made entirely of puff stitches, they're quite thick, so I thought a wider base was in order. You can see it in the photo below:

I basically worked a few rows until I had a rectangle wide enough to contain the scrubbies put together, then started crocheting around it for the body of the bag.

The top was the usual row of alternated half trebles (US hdc), and then three or four rows of ruffling, which I think might have used up more yarn alone than the body of the bag itself. It is a very yarn-hungry technique indeed, but the result is so worth it:

I threaded the row of half trebles with a string of white cotton made of simple chains and decorated with a puff stitch flower at each end, so as to echo the stitch used in the pads.

There you have it, yet another little gift bag. As you can tell, I'm on a roll with these, they are such a joy to make! The next one is actually very nearly finished, and for once will be for myself :D As soon as the ends are woven in and the trimmings added, you'll be the first to know!

In the meantime, have a good week, everyone! :)

08 October 2014

Granny Wednesday - The Official Blanket Reveal

Hello my lovelies! So that's it, the ends are woven in, and the Blanket is officially ready to debut in the world - or at least in my bedroom.

So here it is in all its glory (after I had to repair a couple of squares that had started to unravel):

It's already a much loved item in the house, except by the cat, whose delicate paws are above crochet frivolities. But I love seeing it on our bed and it literally brings sunshine to my heart, much needed in these gloomy early days of autumn.

I still can't quite believe I made this, but I sure like the idea! :D

In any case, I would like to thank all those of you who have been patiently following the progression of my work and who have left lovely comments of appreciation and encouragement on this blog. It's made the project even more enjoyable!

So I'll see you next week with an entirely new granny project. In the meantime, as usual, go have a gander at Jijihook's website for what the others have done this week granny-wise.