I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy op Nicki Trench’s latest book Cute & Easy Crochet with Flowers. The book is filled with 35, count it, 35! beautiful crochet projects incorporating floral motifs. The 35 projects are divided into three chapters: Starting Out, Practice Makes Perfect and Confident Crocheting. Like any good crochet book it also contains a Crochet Know-How section which will guide novice crocheters and experts alike along their way, with stitches and techniques.
A very clever touch to this book is that the crochet stitch abbreviations are given for every pattern, and only the abbreviations that you would need for that project. This means no more flipping to the back or front to look up stitch abbreviations – you have it right there in the pattern. This also means that a novice crocheter isn’t intimidated by the long list of crazy crochet stitches, but can work their way through crochet stitches one at a time, and as needed.
The book really has the most beautiful projects. Best of all, you can mix and match the type of flowers for each pattern. If you’re Starting Out you can make an easy purse, a Kindle cover, egg cosies or a Hexagon Flower Throw. (The Hexagon Flower Throw is known on Ravelry and various blogs, as the African Flower Hexagon). Then move on to Practice Makes Perfect where there are projects for your home like placemats, shelf edging and a beautiful Buggy Blanket. Finally in the Confident Crochet section there’s the Gypsy Queen Throw which I predict is going to be a huge hit. (Of course I’m only listing my highlights for each section – there are many more projects for you to choose from.)
As you can see, the photography and styling for Cute & Easy Crochet with Flowers is stunning. It made me want to 1) move home and 2) crochet all 35 projects so that my new home would look like this.
So what was my project of choice? I immediately fell in love with the Vintage-style Vase Coasters from the Confident Crochet section. The pattern is very well written (as all of Nicki’s patterns are) and easy to memorize once you’ve made your first coaster. The handy tip to this pattern was a lifesaver. Nicki gives the colour options to make two versions of the vase coaster, but I made mine in shades of purple and white so that I can use it as a table decoration for the Crochet for Kidney Research UK day on the 9th of November. Great plan right?
I also didn’t stop here. I made two more in the colours I used for the Lacy Coasters guest blog on Patchwork Harmony. Nicky’s vase coaster is the perfect accompanying item for my lacy coasters. I left out the flowers along the edge, and in stead made a 3 chain picot so that the vase coasters would have the same edging as the lacy coasters.
I think Cute & Easy Crochet With Flowers is a fantastic crochet book. The patterns suit all levels of crochet skills. Every crocheter will find something they would want to make for themself, as a gift, for the home, or just for the love of crocheting flowers. The book is currently on sale on Amazon for £9.09. There’s a link to the Amazon listing for the book on the right of my blog under the “Books I recommend” section, or you can click on the photo of the cover at the top of this post.
If you buy Cute and Easy Crochet With Flowers, I would love to hear what you think of it and see which of the 35 projects you chose to crochet first.
*The book was sent to me by the publisher. I did not receive payment for doing the review. The opinions in this review are my own. There are affiliate links in this post, which help me run my blog.
The dreaded weaving away of tail ends. It’s a not a fun job, but has to be done right. Right?
I reckon if you have a yucky job to do, you may as well do it well so that you won’t have to do it again. Do it once, and do it right I say.
Below is a GIF (a series of photos in a loop) to show you how to weave away the tail ends in a way that they will stay stuck. The GIF may take a few seconds to jump to the next photo, so just give it time. It will loop back again to the first photo so you can watch the process again and again. For clarification, what you’re looking at is the back of a granny square.
The trick to keeping the tail neatly and tightly woven away is not so much the weaving action, but the change of direction. Try to change the direction of the weave as many times as you can. In a typical shell, like in the photos above, I manage to fit in three directional changes. I’ve never had a tail end come loose, so aim for at least three.
GIF Give your yarn tails a bit of love and they will stay hidden through the years of snuggling, stroking and cuddles.
No, I didn’t get the grammar wrong on the title of this blog. I really do have an Ideas: a digital copy of the April issue of the South African craft+decor+food+entertaining magazine, Ideas.
The fact that I have a magazine really isn’t blog worthy, so why am I telling you about this you may ask. It’s because…..
In their “Web Inspiration” article (giving tips on how to create a blog) they list 14 of their favourite websites and blogs, and crocheTime is one of those 14! See, there I am at the bottom right of the page:
I was blown away when I found out! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that a huge magazine like Ideas (they also publish the magazine in Afrikaans) would know about little ‘ole me, and not only know about me, but think my blog is worthy of a mention in their list of favourites!
Some of the other websites & blogs they like are Pinterest, The Pioneer Woman, Craftzine and Ravelry so I’m really amongst the Big Ones.
To any new readers from South Africa: thanks for looking me up and popping in! To the person in charge of deciding which blogs to include in the article: thank you so much!
So I have this thing for Boden A-line printed skirts, right. I already own three, yet every Winter I get a craving for another colourful, patterned skirt. It only happens in Winter, as Boden’s Winter A-line skirts are of a thicker cotton and the lining is silk (okay, probably a shiny polyester but it looks like silk) that doesn’t cling to tights. Their Summer skirts have a cotton lining that does not work well with tights (if you are as
white pasty as I am you need flesh coloured tights in Summer) so I only buy their Winter skirts.
This year, the craving was for the Navy Flower Power skirt. I loved it so much, I even pinned it one of my Pinterest boards the moment I saw it online.
It’s as if it was made for me. The colour, the design, the everything! Only problem is that it was a bit pricey at £45 so I waited for the Winter sales. And I waited, and I waited. Two months ago the little voice(s) in my head said “Go look on the Boden site. They might have a Sale on.” The voices were right. There it was. In my size for £24.50!
In real life it’s even more beautiful, but for some reason Boden decided to make the skirt about 2cm shorter than all their previous A-line printed skirts. That’s not a lot, but when you have ugly,
white pasty knees, a knee length skirt that hangs ON your knee is not good. It has to be at least below your knee. What is a hooker to do? Oh I know! Crochet a pretty edge along the hem of the lining !!!!!!! Problem solved, and skirt improved.
Out comes the Skip-Stitch rotary cutter and trusty Around the Corner Crochet Borders book (you can find a link to the book on the right of this page). I chose Border No. 45 and green Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo that I got on sale a while ago.
Here’s what I did:
1. I Used the Skip-Stitch blade to make the holes. One quick swipe by hubby while I keep the lining flat, and it’s done.
2. Next step is to make blanket stitches to give a base to crochet on. It’s perfectly all right to skip step. no. 1 if you use a sharp needle for the blanket stitches, but I wanted my holes to be evenly spaced, so I used the rotary cutter and then did the blanket stitches.
3. Then a row of sc. I managed to fit in two sc between each blanket stitch.(I blog in US crochet terms. For a guide to the difference between US and UK crochet stitches, see this handy cut-out by Freshstitches.)
4. As I need the edge to peek out below the hem of the skirt, and the lining is shorter than the skirt, I made 2 rows of *trebles, chain* to quickly make up the 2 cm difference between the lining and the hem.
5. One more row of sc, making one sc in the top of the treble and one in the space between two trebles.
By this stage the edge is already peeking out under the hem of the skirt.
6. Here’s where I started following the pattern for Border No. 45. It was at this point that I stopped for the skirt that I showed you last week.
7. This is the full edging, looking at the wrong side of the crochet. You can see where the edge of the skirt ends, which means I’ve added 4cm to the length, more than making up the 2cm it was too short!
You can use any edging / border pattern for your skirt. As long as you at least do steps no. 2 and 3, you can move on to any type of fancy frilly prettiness.
You can also do a crochet edge beautification of a skirt, straight onto the hem of the skirt if it doesn’t have a lining. I like the idea of the edge peeking out underneath, but I know most skirts don’t have linings. The only thing you will have to be aware of, is that your blanket stitching will be visible, so it’s important that those blanket stitches are evenly spaced.
In the first photo of this blogpost, I laid out two crochet hooks on the carpet. That’s because with the first skirt, I used two sizes of crochet hook. I used a 4mm hook up to step no. 5, and switched to a 5 mm hook for the edging. I was using Rowand Handknit cotton for that skirt, but seeing as the Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo is finer than the Handknit cotton, I didn’t need to switch crochet hooks for this skirt.
Speaking of Baby Bamboo. Can I just say: Oh My Goodness! It’s the softest, loveliest yarn ever! My brain can’t work out how bamboo fibers can be turned into yarn, much less into the baby snuggly softness of this yarn. I’ts bamboo! How is that possible?! Either way, I’m definitely going to use it again for something bigger. Definitely!
As you may have guessed, the skirt jazzing will not stop here. I have two more Boden skirts. Admittedly they are the right length, but a little crochet loving around the hemline is always welcome don’t you think? ;-)
It’s all about the s
ea “c” today in this Circular Coastal Colours Cushion blogpost. Sea See what I did there? You sea see, *okay, I’m stopping now* Lynn Holland asked me to make her a 12 inch round cushion in coastal colours after seeing *told you I’d stop* my square cushions.
I’ve always wanted to make a round cushion, but now that our home is full of crochet things I dont’ think my dear husband would survive another crochet cushion venture of our own… I therefore jumped at the opportunity to hook something round and cushiony, even if it is for someone else.
I sent Lynn a couple of photos and links to round cushion patterns, and she decided on the back of Lucy at Attic24’s Blooming Flower cushion. That’s exactly what I would have chosen if I had made the cushion for myself!
I already had yarn in coastal shades in my (huge) stash of Stylecraft Special DK that was left over from the Identity Crisis blanket. That meant all I had to buy was the duck feather inner. I bought a 14 inch inner (two inches bigger than the crochet so that it would be nice and puffy) from Design-a-Cushions. If you live in the UK, I highly recommend this company for cushion inners.
So here it is. Lynn’s circular coastal colours cushion! Ta-daaaaah!
From this GIF you can see that the front and the back is different. I did the side with the green stripes first, and then realised it looked a bit dark, so the other side has no green and more white and light blue. It’s amazing the difference one colour can make don’t you think?
Of course I had to put the cushion on our bed with the granny square cushions and Identity Crisis blanket. It looks soooo good!
As of 12:45 today the cushion is on its way to its new home. I really enjoyed our time together but I’m sure it will be very welcome and loved in its new home.
(There is a slight possibility that I may have the opportunity to make another one of these. My niece, the one for whom I made the Bayb Born jackets, is coming to visit at the end of March. Maybe, just maybe, she’d want a pink stripey round cushion to take home with her. Here’s hoping.)
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Can you see how time flies?
I thought my first GIF must show one of my ticking clocks – it just makes sense considering the theme of this blog don’t you think? But what clock should I choose for the GIF debut?
It’s got to be the biggest one I have – the 45cm Big Benny in shades of green. I don’t think people realise just how big it is! Big Benny is for sale in my Etsy shop for £40. Just click here.
As for GIF’s. Well, a GIF is the name of a file extention (like PDF, JPG or DOC). It stands for Graphics Interchange Format (geek speak to my ears) and basically means a file of moving images in a loop – not a video, but not a static photo either.
I was introduced to GIFs in blogs, by Christelle who told me about One Sheepish Girl’s blog. She has the cutest GIFs! I use a iPhone App to create mine but a quick Google search will produce many other GIF creating websites.
My GIFs are nothing compared to the amazing, fascinating, beautiful GIF-type images by fashion photographer, Jamie Beck. Honestly people, have a look at these photos – it’s not photos, and it’s not GIFs – it’s cinemagraphs.
The GIF possibilities are endless, so expect to see a lot more on my blog.