Crochet Inspiration Hits with Force!

A few days ago I was hit with such inspiration to crochet a fine white lace doilie! I’ve wanted to crochet this pattern for quite a while but never got round to it. I miss working with super fine cotton because it produces fine and delicate pieces that I love! I’ve been so busy crocheting items in thick DK wool and making big quick pieces, it’s really good to do something different.

I have an entire collection of crochet magazines and books that I generate inspiration from. Majority of them have been inherited from my mother – the Phildar books are at least 30 years old, if not more, and although the patterns are a little “old” for me there are quite a few gems. The little Anna Creatief and Diana Extra books are all from my travels overseas in Belgium and Italy. I love that Europe still produces monthly crochet magazines! And, I have one in Flemish/Dutch, one in French, and one in Italian! Luckily they all come with diagrams with universal symbols 🙂

 

Magazine Collection

I used a pattern from the Diana Extra book for a 6-pointed star and used white cotton #30 (super fine!) and a 0.75mm hook.

A doilie is traditionally a round piece of crochet created round by round using a variety of stitches. The finished size of the piece is dictated by the number of rounds and the pattern dependent on the placement of stitches in a particular area.

Some doilies look really frilly and over the top. I much rather prefer geometric patterns and no hearts or flowers or depictions of trees or whatever.

They can also be placemats and be any shape and in any material you want – very thick cotton or wool even!. They also do not need to be big – they can be as small as coasters or as big as tablecloths! The possibilities are endless, and you get to choose what you like most.

Magazine Cover

Magazine Pic of Doilie

I had bought thin cotton last year in Belgium in the Veritas store (www.veritas.be) which is part-haberdashery-part-accessories store. So of course I’m going to love it. I bought #20 and #30 cotton balls to try out, and I was in for a surprise!

 

Doilie Start

Since this cotton is so thin, the item made is much smaller than with #10 or #5 cotton, and decidedly more finicky to handle in the beginning. My fingers get quite sore try to hold and crochet the tiny stitches. But what’s so wonderful about it is that it produces very fine and delicate pieces that feel divine! Patterns also stand out wonderfully with the small stitches.

 

In progress 3 panel

The middle photo shows how far I’ve progressed, only 6 more rounds to go! Almost there!

At times it can get tedious doing round after round after round after round…it doesn’t seem to end! And the bigger the doilie, the longer each round takes.

But, after persevering this week I finished it!

 

Finished Doilie

It is beautiful to say the least! And the filet pattern inside the “star arms” makes me want to crochet more pieces with this #30 cotton, even if it’s a mission to work with at times.

It still needs to be washed and blocked – blocking refers to pinning it to a flat surface to even out the shape of the item and have it dry flat. While crocheting the stitches may not always lie exactly flat and washing helps with this. So my pins and the ironing board need to come out soon!

 Absolutely happy as a chappy with my crochet doilie!

 

 

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The Minion Documentaries – Bath Time!

The Minions like to start their day early so that there are plenty hours to explore. So, a visit to the bathroom is in order!

Clean teeth means healthy teeth, means happy teeth for chomping bananas. Mike has brushing teeth down to an art form as is evident by his big smile 🙂

 

Mike with Toothbrush

Frank has also just mastered the toothbrush, though still struggles with using the toothpaste. We haven’t shown you a photo of this because Frank doesn’t want people to know he’s still not able to put the toothpaste on the brush properly, but he was absolutely filled with pride that he could use a toothbrush for the first time!

 

Frank with Toothbrush

Next up was Stein and…oh dear. This did not start out well. Even holding the toothbrush seemed tough. As for the placement, we will need to work on that.

 

Stein with Toothbrush 1

Stein gave it a second try, with a little assistance, but he still preferred his tried and tested manner of letting out a loud roar and putting things in his hair. And then walking off, with said toothbrush still in his hair.

 

Stein with Toothbrush 2

We may have to remove the toothpaste from his vicinity until he’s capable, as toothpaste + hair = not something I want to deal with!

After all the commotion and rinsing mouths, it’s time to say good morning to our other inhabitants: the Duckies!

The Duckies have been around for quite some time and enjoyed their little home on the windowsill in the bathroom. They get beautiful warm sun on their backs in the morning and a great bath in the evening with loads of bubble bath! Great Grandma duck herself used to feature in her own Duckumentary, who knows if these duckies shall follow in her footsteps?

 

The Duckies

The Minions say hello to the duckies every morning with a big hug and spend some time with their feathered friends. Stein loves chatting to the duckies and apparently can speak the language of Quack!

 

Frank with Duckies

The big ducks are quite the crowd in the bathroom! There’s Cow duck, Pirate Duck, Rock ‘n Roll duck, Angel duck, Ninja duck and Doctor duck.

 

Big Duckies

Stein, however nice he tries to be, tends to scare the duckies away with his loud roar. But he’s known to terrorise most living creatures, so we shall have to see how this turns out.

 

Stein with Duckies

There are also quite a number of small duckies residing in the bathroom, and they tend to get lost. Nonetheless, they all have their unique personalities and tend to create a lot of drama at dress up parties!

There’s Nurse duck, Red Valentine duck, Batman duck, Black Valentine duck, Count Duckula and King duck. You can just imagine the chaos when these little duckies put on a Shakespearean play, especially with Count Duckula trying to bite everyone and Batman duck trying to be heroic!

 

Small Duckies

So now that the Minions have brushed their teeth and said hello to their feathered friends, it’s time for some exploring!

Stay tuned to find out what next Mike, Frank and Stein the Minions get up to!

Until next time!

Bobbled Pencil Case

For a while now I’ve been storing my crochet hooks and needle box and other small sewing goodies in a nondescript black pencil case. But it looks …so….drab…and boring 😦

Since I inherited my mother’s wool I thought it would be a great little project to use up some of the weird colours but to also try out a new stitch – the Bobble stitch.

Starting Chain

I started with chains and a row of single crochet stitches. It took a while to get the length right as I was creating a long rectangle piece that would fold along the upright left. Later I could sew the bottom closed and the side to create the pencil case. Luckily, the pencil case has a zip, so no need to buy a separate zip and attach it!

I’ve been interested in the bobble stitch ever since I saw the photos on a few blogs. The texture is just amazing and I had to try it! So, that involved spending many hours on youtube finding the best way to make them. In the end, picking up the hook and wool and trying it out for myself was the best method 🙂

Bobble pattern: make 4 trebles together and go immediately back to single crochet in the next stitch. For the next row of bobbles, put bobbles in between the other bobbles so that they layer. This is what gives the bobble a 3D look – you create stitches taller than your row and then you sort of squash them = bobble 😛

My pattern consists of staring with a row of single crochet, and then on the next row doing the bobble stitch, with the third row being another single crochet row. You can see this in the 2nd photo of this post, and it allows the bobble to line up and face the same way.

Technically speaking: Work bobbles on the right side of fabric and single crochet on the wrong side.

First two rows of bobble in green and pink, with the back shown.

First two rows of bobble in green and pink, with the back shown.

Now, the colours I used would normally not find their way into my basket. I’m quite fond of rainbow colours but not garish baby pink and light green. Well, the light green is alright. But still.

So this project was more of a test run for a stitch, and I said to myself “if it works out, then I have a good example to refer to for later projects”. And besides, what else was I going to do with the wool? I have previously used it to make test swatches of stitches and to work out patterns – good idea if you have wool that’s not the most appealing.

 

Pink and Green Wool

And as I went along the bobbles came together to form such a lovely textured pattern!!!

Bobble Spiral 1

Because it was such a small piece with lightweight wool, it tended to curl up as I worked (maybe my tension was too tight?). But I kind of liked this as it looked like a bobbled DNA strand 🙂

Bobble Spiral 2

I continued until I had reached the desired height and added an extra row of single crochet to provide slightly more support for when I attach the wool to the pencil case.

Half way Pink

Then I sewed up one of the sides and closed the bottom. I left the ends of the wool as is instead of sewing them in. Creates a cool fringe!

Outer Cover

I used a sharp sewing needle and a simple under-over-under-over stitch to attach it to the pencil case. Here you can see the pencil case was just very ordinary and boring. In dire need of some colour!

Uncovered Pencil Case

Once I had been all the way around, I checked that it felt secure and sewed off. And then it was finished!!!

Finished Pencil Case

So here’s a nifty little idea for you if you have scraps of wool, or really odd coloured wool that you have no idea what to do with!. I now have a funky pencil case to hold all my crochet goodies, and the texture is lovely to look at and lovely to hold!

Happy hooking!

 

Minion Monday Blues

All that can be heard is a grunt and a scrap of feet…dragging across the floor…into the kitchen…and a bleary-eyed purple minion making a cup of coffee.

Monday Blues Coffee 2

It is Monday morning, and in Stein’s world, this is not a fun morning. He had such a busy weekend terrorising the other minions, the cats, the dogs, the birds and even the trees. No energy is left after such a fun weekend. Stein wishes Monday morning would not exist.

He drags himself to the laptop, but can barely stand, so decides to take a nap. Minions need naps. Well, purple terrorising Minions do – terrorising is hard work!

Monday Blues Head Laptop

Caffeine is slooooowly starting to kick in, so Stein makes his way to the front of the laptop so he can work and plan his next weekend of terrorisation. But alas! The coffee has not kicked in enough!

Monday Blues Lying on Laptop

Monday morning is clearly getting off to a slow start, so a second cup of coffee is in order!

Monday Blues Coffee 1 Flipped

Now the planning begins in earnest! Two cups of coffee down, eyes open, and many many many ideas to terrorize unsuspecting victims with. Stein is now happy, this is how Mondays should start. 🙂

ZigZag Purple Pillow Case

Ever since I crocheted my first pillowcase (see Blue Pillow Case) I’ve wanted to experiment with various stitches and colours and anything that will look great with crochet. This is one of the few ideas on my “to-do” list and I’m so glad it works well with my obsession with colour!

A Purple ZigZag Pillow Case!

Collage

I chose my favourite colour PURPLE and decided to use 3 shades creating a zigzag pattern. I used the colours in such a way so that from afar they blend in to each other. And they just look awesome 😛

Side note: If you’re interested in the pattern, do a google search and you’ll find hundreds of tutorials and images explaining how to create zigzags – it is really simple to learn and quick to master!

ZigZag 1

The zigzag stitch is creating peaks and troughs by increasing and decreasing stitches. You can lengthen and shorten your zigzags by adding or removing stitches in the middle straight sections of the zigzag.

The problem with the zigzag pattern is deciding how large/wide you need your item to be, and for my pillowcase I would create a tubular shape to fit around a pillow.

ZigZag Stitch

I must have pulled out my work at least 7 times (after having done many rounds) just to get the size right. The zigzags don’t translate into a similar size as you would have with a straight piece. Even worse, it’s not just a matter of decreasing slightly here or there to get the shape right – you have to change the zigzag pattern and change all of them.

Luckily after a few days of fretting about whether this project would materialize I managed to get the size just right and now it fits around my pillow. Steep learning curve that one!

ZigZag Pillow Case in progress 1

The colourful stitch markers were added to help me figure out where each zigzag needed to be and to count them.

So I’m slowly but surely adding rows of wonderful PURPLE colour and it’s turning out to be a very soft pillowcase :-). The rows also take quite a lot of wool (more than 10 meters per row! EEEK!) so I hope I have enough of all the colours to finish the project! I’ll update this post with the progress made and when it’s finished.

We shall have to crochet and see!

 

Update (14 March 2014)

After much ado, and figuring out that these zigzags are A LOT of work (almost drove me to tears!), the Purple ZigZag Pillow Case is also finished!

The zigzag take a lot of wool and it was frustrating to see how slowly each round went, which meant it took super long to get to the desired size! But I think next time I do a zigzag stitch I won’t use the same colour scheme – I used my medium purple much more than the light and dark purple. I went light/medium/dark/medium/light – the medium purple gets used twice as often. If I ever want to do another pillowcase or blanket like this I’ll have to stick to a straightforward light/medium/dark scheme so that I don’t run out of wool! I almost did!

 

ZigZag Pattern

 

To finish off the pillow case I had to crochet a straight edge, so I used a combination of stitches.

Start on the top part of the zigzag: slip stitch, single crochet, single crochet, half treble, treble, treble, half treble, single crochet, single crochet, slip stitch.

That creates your straight edge. Then do a last round of half trebles and fasten off.

Top

I then sewed a purple zip in et voila! Finito! And it looks great 🙂

 

Finished

Not only is it super soft the colour scheme with the zigzags are divine!

I’m definitely making more pillow cases in the near future with different designs and textures – such as this Ruffle pillow from Redheart or an Owl Pillow from Jo’s Crocheteria – such wonderful ideas! What do you think?!

 

Mini Minions!

Frank and Stein Intro

The madness of crocheted Minions continues! I’ve been playing around with different minion sizes and colours, et voila! Mini minions!

I use Elle Natural 100% Cotton DK because it’s such wonderful cotton to crochet with.

I started out with this sweet little minion in yellow and blue, and gave him a wonderful smile.

Meet Frank!

Meet Frank

Isn’t he such a handsome chap?! And he’s tiny – barely 15 cm tall!

I managed to find an easier and faster way of putting everything together and having less ends to sew in. I crochet half of the body from the head down and include the goggles strap, and then crochet the pants bottom up. I then sew them together like two halves of an egg and just before I close and fill with stuffing. I eliminate the loose ends by crocheting directly over them with the next row, so it saves me countless hours with a needle painstakingly sewing each end in.

I’ve also decided not to sew the eyes on until the last minute – it’s very easy to put them on skew, and create a slightly odd-looking minion.

However, I just HAD to try to crochet a purple minion! It took me a loooong time to create his hair but he looks awesome and devilish!

Meet Stein!

Meet Stein

He looks just like the purple minion in Despicable Me 2! And apparently has the same attitude…but still very cute!

I created a half circle for his mouth and sewed the teeth on haphazardly as I went a long and they turned out perfect! 🙂

Stein Teeth

Stein is also about the same size as Frank, and has long droopy arms. I wanted to make one eye bigger and puffed out to give him a really crazy look, but maybe that’s another idea for the next minion.

You can also see how Stein loves his hair styles and ensure that his hair matches his emotions!

Stein Hairstyles

The introduction of the two minions was a bit troubling at first, with Stein starring Frank down and giving the evil eye. I had hoped they would get along quicker and made sure to monitor their interactions closely!

Frank and Stein Meeting

But after eyeing each other out and Frank being his usual happy self they came to an agreement to tolerate each other.

And they fit in so nicely with the whole family too, and Mike is quite pleased with extra siblings 🙂

Minion Family

So, I’m glad to have introduced you to Frank and Stein. FrankenStein. Haha! I couldn’t resist the names 🙂

 

 

Rainbow Pencil Case

All this rainbow coloured cotton is making me want to crochet the world full of colour! In my previous post Think bright colours!  I mentioned I might be busy with another RAINBOW themed crochet project.

Purse and Pencil Case

And indeed it was a rainbow pencil case! Rainbow item number 2!

Two Pencil Cases

I’ve crocheted this pencil case specifically for my art pencils and items as they’re always lying all over the place or in irritating plastic holders. I want to keep my things together, and with a pencil case this bright I won’t lose them!

So I started with a rectangle piece in single crochet and worked 10 rows. On the last row, instead of finishing off I continued around the corner with single crochet. Here I used 1 single crochet stitch per row, and immediately started to work upwards to create a box. So no increasing around the corneres to make a flat curve. The rectangular piece serves as a base for the pencil case.

Pencil Case Start 2

You can see that I started with the darkest colour first – PURPLE – and worked my way through the colours.

Even this 4-colour combo of PURPLEDARK BLUEAQUAMARINE BLUE looks amazing! I’m sure I’ll be crocheting a few items just in these 4 colours in the future.

Pencil Case Start

I kept on going with the colours, going from dark blue to light blue with 3 rows per colour (2 treble rows and 1 half treble row). As you can see from the photo, while my small rainbow pencil case is not in use, I lay it flat and it becomes quite a nice coaster for my coffee 🙂 Aha! Another idea in the making!

Pencil Case

I kept on going until I reached my desired height with the pencil case, although I must admit I did make the green, yellow and orange only 2 rows of trebles and didn’t do the third row of half trebles. Then with red instead of the half treble row I did a single crochet row so that I’d have enough security to sew in a zip and lining. I was happy with the size and decided to leave it at that.

And OH WOW did it turn out pretty!!!

Pencil Case 2

The colours are SO vibrant!!! When I finished crocheting this pencil case I couldn’t stop looking at it because it was so bright! Not to mention, Elle’s Premier Natural Cotton feels divine too :-). In the photo you can see how even my Alphons Mucha Moleskine journal can fit into the pencil case (I have a soft spot for Art Nouveau and couldn’t keep my hands off the journal the moment I saw it). So now all my pencils and pens for drawing have a colourful home, handmade just for them.

I must still find a zip and lining, but that will be at a later stage and I will update all my posts once all the items are complete in the sewing department.

I might end up making a zigzagged mug warmer as well as I’ve just found so many easy patterns and loads of inspiration! Watch this space!

For now, I’m over the moon with my RAINBOWinspired crochet!!!