30 July 2015

One Finished Summer Hat

Hello! So, early last month, I posted about a summer hat I had wanted to make for a while. I posted an update a couple of weeks later, and then stopped blogging about the hat altogether. But the truth is, the hat has been finished for quite a while now, I just wasn't happy with the pictures I'd taken of it, as it looked too floppy in them.

So, after inserting a metal wire all around the outer edge (no mean feat!), I decided - when I actually remembered about it - that it was time for another round of pics. So here we go!

The hat is worked in rounds of UK dcs (US scs), loosely inspired by Anne Egan's pattern, but with quite a lot of adjustments needed, as the yarn I used had overall a smaller tension. The yarn was all cotton DK from various brands such as Rico, Schoeller+Stahl, Wendy and Patons. I used a 4mm hook for the head and a 3.5mm hook for the brim.

The final round was worked in crabstitch, a firm favourite of mine used on the Blanket and a couple of other projects, here and here. I was originally going to go for a picot/shell edging similar to Anne Egan's creation, but after trying it over a few inches, I felt it was too busy, especially with that riot of colours going on, so I settled for crabstitch instead.

And in the end, I decided against adorning the hat with beads of any kind, feeling again that it is busy enough with all of its glorious colours...

I love those candy stripes, they make me feel slightly giddy, as if perpetual summer holidays were just around the corner. Unfortunately I finished it after the heat wave had hit the UK, but I'll be sure to take it with me to the South of France in September! :)

Thanks for reading, everyone, I'll be back soon with more!

29 July 2015

Mandala Bag Update

Hello! It's Wednesday and time for a dose of granny squares! Back in May, I posted an update about the Mandala Bag I am currently making. I ended up NOT frogging the whole thing after all, and have finally managed to complete the flip side. This is definitely turning into a long-winded WIP...

Anyway, here goes:

I slip stitched around the side edges in the same colour as the top and bottom. All that is left to do now is weave all those ends...

...and attach the panel to the main one...

Relatively straightforward. But as I have a ton of other WIPs, it might take some time :D

Thanks for reading, everyone, and don't forget to go see the others' work at Jijihook's!

23 July 2015

The Injured Flip-Flop

Hello, my dears! The story today - again, not crochet related - is that of a beloved pair of flip-flops which I have had for a couple of years. Here are said flip-flops:

But, o horror, can you see? Some of the beads have got detached from the strap on the left foot! Unspeakable tragedy! Look!


So what to do? The missing beads were nowhere to be found, by now probably buried deep within the carpet, only to be unearthed again in half a century by an unsuspecting tenant (that being said, I hope the landlord doesn't wait half a century to change the carpet...).

Anyway, in a previous life, I most likely would have discarded my injured flip-flops, heading straight to the shops to get myself a new pair, and glad to have the excuse for another shopping spree. But these days, I'm not that much into shopping anymore, unless it's for yarn, fabric and other crafty trinkets like beads. And I have quite a lot of beads...

So I chose three at first - it ended up being four to fill up the whole empty space - in a similar colour scheme as the flip-flops' straps...

...strung them on a bit of thread...

...and sewed them onto the empty strap section with a regular sewing needle. I did quite a few back-and-forths, as well as sewed between the beads themselves to make sure they were extra secure. And there you have it, the injured flip-flop is repaired. Granted, they are non-matching beads, but I think that gives it personality!

Thanks for reading, folks! :)

18 July 2015

Sewing Adventures - My First Garment

Hello, how is everyone? I am so glad it's the weekend! It has been one hectic week, and I am in desperate need of 'doing absolutely nothing' time!

But just before I get into full weekend mode, I wanted to share with you a recent crafty adventure of mine, which unusually did NOT feature any crochet.

A few months ago, I happened to be browsing the patterns' section at my local John Lewis, and I came across this lovely number:

I instantly fell in love with the gathered front and the empire waistline. So, on a whim, I bought it, even though I had never sewn from a pattern before. I chose to make view C, left below, which is also the view shown on the cover of the pattern.

Reader, it was epic. From freaking out on sizes (yes, pattern sizes are completely different from high street sizes) to adjusting the pattern to my pear-shaped body (who's ever heard of a one-sized woman anyway?) to battling with uneven selvedges, and even getting my scissors wedged between two kitchen tiles, I had it all.

Eventually, I ended up with cut up pattern pieces (a gross mistake, as I learnt a few weeks later in a sewing class I took AFTER I finished this top), ready for the fabric to be pinned to it.

I followed the pattern's instructions to lay out the paper pieces on the fabric, and cut away, with more or less joy.

I ended up with most of the pieces below, save a few that were meant for other views:

Then started the long process of assembling the puzzle, trying to make sense of the pattern's illustrations.

Funnily enough, I did not find the sewing that difficult. Of course, I had to unpick a couple of things, but all in all it went relatively smoothly. The real challenge, however, was to pin everything together and into something that actually resembled something. Oh, and applying the bias binding around the inside of the sleeves was no mean feat either. The worst bit was carefully trimming the newly sewn in bias binding and my scissors accidentally slicing into the back panel. Oh dear, I tell you, the state I got into when that happened was not a pretty sight. Fortunately, some iron fusible fabric repair took care of the problem, although it took me several weeks to muster the courage to get back to the project...

And finally, the last stitches were sewn. My lovely mum, who was visiting at the time, very kindly oversewed the raw edges inside the top, and it was DONE.

Here is the result!

And the back view:

I can't quite believe I have managed to make this pretty much with my own hands. It's an amazing feeling. I've had loads of compliments on this tunic since completing it, but I have to say the best of all came from a complete stranger, a young woman who made a beeline towards me in a department store and exclaimed: "Oh my God, I love your top!". I had the biggest grin on my face. :))

Thanks for reading, guys, and see you soon for more!

15 July 2015

Green Granny Square Bag - Another Update

Hello everybody! Happy Wednesday! For Granny Square Day, here's a little more on the Green Bag front. All ends have now been woven in (yay!), and handles attached as you saw last week. About that, some of you have asked about the tension of the handles on the crochet loops I attached them to and if the loops might not get stretched over time. That's a good question. I suppose some stretch is inevitable, but the loops might be strengthened thanks to a bit of yarn woven through the stitches. I'll let you know how this works out.

Today's focus is on buttons and buttonholes. I forgot to mention it last week, but when I joined the squares with the pink yarn, I made a simple buttonhole with six chains.

So the next logical step, obviously, was that of button sewing. I went for cute and pink, with contrasting green yarn to keep with the general look:

I love these flowery wooden buttons. I've got a small collection of them and have used them as props for blog photos. I was actually almost sad that I finally used one. No more pretty pictures with this one!

And finally for this week, I managed to cut the fabric for the lining and a pocket:

This lovely fabric has a bit of a history which I intend to share with you in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, go have a look at Jijihook's for a whole lot more of grannies.

Thanks for reading and take care!

08 July 2015

Green Granny Square Bag - An Update

Hello, everyone! It's time for granny squares again! Today, I'm giving you a little update on the green granny square bag I blogged about a few weeks ago. Well, the joining is now done and two handles have been crocheted and added, as you can see below:

The handles are made exactly as on this bag from last year, that is cords worked amigurumi-style until the desired length is reached. The difference is they are not braided together and are attached to crochet loops rather than wooden rings.

All that is left to do now is to add a button and sew a lining. I'll keep you posted :)

Thanks for reading, folks!

02 July 2015

Crochet Clutch

Hi everyone, today I would like to share with you a project I embarked on so I could save on outfit accessories for two upcoming weddings I am attending this month. I needed a clutch bag that would go with a dress in a light pinkish flowery print. The only clutch bag I have is a stark - albeit very cute - black affair, which was a definite no-no with the aforementioned dress. Soooo, that meant I had to make one, right?

It took me a while and a couple of attempts to figure out what the bag would look like. One of those attempts is this little number, which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. It ended up looking a little more casual than I liked, and so I moved on - although I fully intend to finish it at some point. Then I found the stitch I wanted to use for my bag: this one! Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?

There were a few practical issues with that stitch: one of them was how to work it in the round when the original stitch is worked in back and forth rows. It's not that bad, actually, you just join each row to its beginning and turn your work, so you alternatively work on the outside and on the inside of the bag. I figured that out in my second attempt, which unfortunately I had to frog, as the bag was too small and looked slightly awkward. Here's a quick detail pic for you guys:

For the third attempt, I decided to ditch the brown and go for a pink ombre effect, to be completed with a cream colour at the top, like so:

Note the silver chain, which was simply added by working a couple of chain stitches over it at either end of the bag. The pic above shows the bag unlined. Ideally, I would have loved to line it with some kind of cream satin-like fabric. But my aim was to make this bag using only bits and pieces from my stash (yes, I did have a silver chain in my stash). So off I went, with one piece of felt, one of interfacing and one of cotton fabric. The process was similar to the lining of this granny square bag I made last year, except it was much easier, because, a) this clutch bag doesn't have any depth, and b) I have been to sewing classes lately, which has given me loads of confidence (more on this in a subsequent post).

So after I had to talk sense into my sewing machine who wasn't so happy about all those thick layers I was feeding into it, I managed to complete my lining:

One thing I'll remember for next time is to make the top edges of the fabric slightly wider than the felt and interfacing when measuring out, as it was a bit of a challenge to fold the fabric around the other components.

Then came the hand sewing of the snap fasteners (and some unintentional fabric ripping, as well, which called for an emergency repair...) after which I moved on to attaching the lining onto the inside of the crochet clutch, following the method I learned from this amazing tutorial,

Aaaaand... Ta-daaaah!

So, what do you think? Personally, I love it, and I have to say it's probably one of my favourite makes yet. Of course, much of it is due to the beauty of the original stitch, which I simply replicated from MyPicot. Just look how delicate!

So, bring on the weddings, I am ready! ;)

Thanks for reading, everyone, see you soon! x