Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Cosy crochet slipper tutorial

I've been wanting to crochet a pair of slippers for absolutely YONKS. I tried and failed at making the beautiful slippers in my Japanese crochet book, and didn't fancy making thick, chunky boots. Just something simple to slip over bare feet or tights, in economical DK yarn. 

I spotted the ever-so-lovely Paula (@polly_pet) on Instagram had made her own pair inspired by some she had seen on Pinterest, and she kindly advised me on how she made hers. I just couldn't get them to work like that, either. Either too long, or too tight, or too wide. My feet are quite wide, you see. So after an evening or two of trial and error I finally came up with a workable design, and here it is. Hook them up to your heart's content! They'll make lovely (sorry) Christmas presents! 

They're ladies sizes, and crocheted in DK yarn so ideal if you have stash that needs using up. 

The pattern is worked in rounds until the piece measures the ideal length until you hit your ankle. I've written the pattern in three sizes- SMALL (size 36/37), MEDIUM (size 38/39) and LARGE (size 40/41). Size medium and large are in the brackets. If you need to adjust the length, just add extra rows or stop as you get to your ankle, basically. The the remaining piece is worked back and forth.

All terms are UK, if you're in the US please note this is all worked in hdc and sc :) 

You will need:

  • 100g DK Yarn (I used 2 x 50g balls of Drops Karisma bought at a bargain price from the shop where I teach), plus extra contrasting yarn for pom poms
  • 4mm hook
  • 2 stitch markers (free gift with issue 24 of Simply Crochet! more on that later...)
  • Some spare time (lucky you!)
  • A good film (I recommend I Capture the Castle, which is what I watched while I hooked these up)

To begin, Ch4, join with ss into ring.
  1. Ch2 (counts as htr), 11htr into ring, join with as into ch-2. [12 sts]
  2. Ch2 (counts as htr), 2htr into each st around, 1htr into last st. Join with ss into ch-2. [24 sts]
  3. Ch2 (counts as htr), *2htr into next st, 1htr into next, repeat from * to last st, 2htr into last st, join with ss into ch-2. [36 sts]
  4. Ch2 (counts as htr), 1htr into each st around, join with ss to ch-2. [36 sts]
  5. Repeat round 4 17 (19, 21 times more). Fasten off.                                                

Positioning the joining seam so that it sits at the sole of the slipper, place two stitch markers 7 sts apart at the top of the work, to indicate the 9 st space for the foot opening. Rejoin the yarn in the st next to the marker,

  1. Ch 2 (does not count as htr), 1htr into  same st as ch-2, work 1htr into each of the next 26 sts. Turn.
  2. With right sides facing place ends of slipper together and slip stitch to join together. Fasten off.
Assembly: With right sides facing place ends of slipper together and slip stitch to join together. Fasten off.

To finish: 
Rejoin yarn at seam and dc around edge, working 1dc into each row end and 1dc into each front st. Fasten off.

Make up 2 x 30mm Pom Poms in whichever manner your prefer (I use the clever Clover Pom Pom makers- so quick!) and attach. Weave in any remaining ends. Pop on feet and enjoy. 

Apologies for the rubbish pictures, I though I ought to quickly snap what I was doing but the light was poor and my lens is still scratched. 

But I sure do love these slippers! And so will you. Happy feet all around. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hooked on Simply Crochet!

I've been banging on for ages about being involved with Simply Crochet magazine. It's really exciting for me, as I'm delighted to be one of their regular designers! I think the mag is so fresh and fun, and although crochet tennis shorts aren't up everyone's street, I'm really honoured to share the pages of a magazine with some of my crochet heroes. Kat Goldin, Lara Messer and of course Lucy of Attic 24 are all regular contributors too. As well as affirmation for me as a designer and crochet lover, I'm really excited to be able to share my designs with such a big audience of crocheters. And working to different briefs often challenges me to go outside my usual comfort zone!

Here are some of my designs in the current issue 23...more from me in issue 24 out on Thursday! So get gettum while you can...

A nifty, quick ear warmer in my favouritest of favourite colours...

And a lovely geometric design including (you guessed it) MORE MUSTARD hurrahhhh! 

I absolutely LOVE the styling of this cushion, I would like to have it on an Ercol Windsor chair in my front room but I have neither the cushion nor the Ercol Windsor. Ha! 
I will share more from issue 24 next week. 

In the meantime, happy hooking!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Mollie Makes chevron cushion special appearance!

I'm so excited at the moment because as well as all the exciting work I've been doing for Simply Crochet lately, a pattern I designed for Mollie Makes last year has gained lots of new fans. If you remember, these were in issue 30 back in 2013, and I'm so excited to see them again. 

All photos by Eyeshine Photography

For those who missed it first time around, the tutorial is now online! Visit the Mollie Makes blog to find out how to crochet these zig-zag cushions. Tune in tomorrow for more cushion news...

Happy hooking!
Sunday, 12 October 2014

Back in the fold

It's taken me a while to get back on the 'blogging horse'. To be honest I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog again. I just sat and waited patiently for the muse to return, and finally, returned it has. I try to capture the beautiful moments in a busy, creative life. But my camera lens on my iPhone has scratched and really I need a new phone but can't afford it. so I'll soldier on with blurry photos instead ;-)

Life has changed so much lately, and sometimes it's hard to adapt, isn't it? My eldest started school in September, and his new routine has set a new routine for the rest of the family. George and I have our own 'home' routine, which involves: coffee, play, nap, work, lunch, play and then the school run again. It leaves little time for much else, and I've so been craving the downtime we spent together on weekdays. I've been very busy with work, too busy lately really. But it's exciting to be involved with more crochet work! 

I've made time for some creative projects, so here's a little picture diary of the last few months. I have so much more to share this week, but I thought I'd share this first, so I don't forget!
 New clogs
 Christmas (!) inspiration
 George's first Tunnock's teacake
 Styling up my clogs for the changing seasons
 We went up here...Anish Kapoor's Orbit at the the Olympic Park
 More stripes, more clogs
 RHS Hyde Hall- the most beautiful spot in Essex (and Monty Don was there filming for the BBC)
 I took my clogs out with my handmade skirt for a special friend's birthday
 Brotherly love; they miss each other's company now the big one is at school
 I became obsessed with knitting these bracelets from Mollie Makes
 Finishing old projects...
 ...and starting new ones
 A proud day as he set off for a big, new adventure
 and a proud day for me as my design is published in Simply Crochet
 My friend Hannah and I visited Hampton Court Palace for the Handmade Fair
 World Pomination!
 The beautiful festival site at the Handmade Fair
 An accidental green gathering...all my favourite shades
 A Frank and Olive dress I made for Flo
 Some knitting progress at last!
 These boys <3 p="">
 Autumn colour is so pure and lovely
 a scarf for my sister; never again will I crochet with black yarn! (I say that every time- but doesn't it look amazing?!)

So that's it. Not much crochet, and no sewing as my machine is broken. But I have borrowed my Nan's beautiful old Bernina which is dated 1964 on the guarantee! I have a basket full of promise and some really exciting projects to work on for Simply Crochet coming up. I can't wait to catch up with you all!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Blog hopping...

A lighter post today. It felt good to talk about something that's important to me- charity and empathy, and even just selflessness. I live in a modern Britain that seems to be all about image, the 'cult of self'... and not about helping others, educating our children in basic things like being polite and helpful and being happy. I am a happy person. And very happy to invited to join in with the current blog hop! The very lovely Kim from the colourful What Peggy Said blog invited me to join weeks ago (sorry, Kim) and last week Georgina who writes Crafting not Cleaning also nominated me. So how could I say 'no'? Kim's blog is bursting with colour, and I adore her beautiful illustrations. Like me she is a retro and vintage lover, and her instagram feed is full of inspiration, as are her photographs on What Peggy Said. I first met Georgina at A Crafty Day two years ago, and she writes TWO blogs in between her time teaching and crocheting, sewing and looking after her two daughters. Two very different blogs, but linked by a love of craft and learning. 

Like me! So, here's a small peek into my crafty mind...

1. What am I working on? 

I am coming to the end of a project I started randomly a couple of months ago. Those of you that follow me on Instagram will remember that I picked up some random odds and ends of Drops Paris Cotton and started hooking up this beauty...

Since then I've seen countless V-stitch blankets pop up, including a beautiful bright one that Kim has made for her Basset Hound, Peggy. I've been dragging this out, squeezing it in around commissions from Simply Crochet magazine, and making a lovely Mina dress for a IG friend's little girl. (I'll tell you more about that later this week). I found some abandoned projects in my ottoman the other day, so stuffed and stitched up some cloud cushions, and dug out some yarn for I-don't-know-what-yet. But I see many more V-stitch blankets on the horizon!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I don't know that it does, really. There is a limited number of crochet stitches, and there are certainly trends that I've seen come and go on Instagram. However, I think that any project is personal as it's handmade and chosen in very personal colour palettes. 
  I've enjoyed working with these brightly-coloured acrylic yarns for my crochet lately, but my best-loved projects are the ones that have cream as a dominant colour. I prefer using cotton yarns, and love vintage colours. In fact the V-stitch blanket is my favourite colour palette yet- the right mix of cream, scandi blues and greys, with vintage mustard, pale pink and brown. YUM. I am pretty sure that I'm the only crocheter that insists on using MUSTARD in EVERY project, ha ha!

In both my knitting and crochet I have definite ideas of what designer's patterns I like, and what my favourite yarns are. I guess these things make my work mine. But really, my original patterns both here and published in magazines and my book are what make my work differ. 

3. Why do I create what I do? 
I love to find a way of making something I'm inspired by, and love sharing my discoveries in this blog. I am so inspired and encouraged by blogs, and that's ultimately what my crafting is all about- encouraging, inspiring and sharing so that readers can go and adapt and create things for themselves. I've recently become obsessed with sewing- the idea of making something made-to-measure, in my style and in fabric I've chosen is really enticing. 

I also love having something to do with my hands. The bonus is that I have something unique and handmade- and you can't put a price on that. Well, you can, but I can't be bothered! 

4. How does your creating process work?
It starts with a seed. Usually a colour will sing to me, and tell me what it needs to be. I love Pinterest and magazines, so when I see something that inspires me I begin to think about what materials I'll need and start researching the perfect yarn or fabric. Then I wait, and think for a week or two- sometimes longer if it's an original idea for a pattern, for example. Then I'll collect and gather my materials, and refer back to the pin or magazine, and try to forget about it so I'm not too influenced- I don't want to just copy someone else. 
An original pattern idea is trial and error- sometimes it works out beautifully first time. But that's very rare. I'll start making a dummy version, before checking the pattern by re-making it in the final materials. Lots of frogging, cursing and frantic scribbling occurs. However, if I'm following a pattern or working on a longer-term project like a blanket, then I get stuck straight in and never look back! I rarely make the same pattern twice, unless I really love it. Then, finally, I share it on here! my little diary, so I don't forget what I made. ro how my house looks- it's in a constant state of flux!

Now, the idea next is for me to invite three other bloggers to join in the blog hop...so you can visit them and perhaps find new blogs and inspiration. However, I think all the people I would have invited have already taken part! So why don't you go visit them anyways? They are Lazy Daisy Jones, Bobo Bun, and Vintage Sheet Addict. Three inspirational women, all of whom are multi-crafters, and all of whom are totally different and unique.  And of course all the blogs right there in my sidebar still continue to inspire me each day. 

I hope you enjoyed that rather self-indulgent post! It was nice to sit and think about my creative process, it's inspiring in itself. So go ahead, I now invite YOU to join in the creative blog hop!