Cracking Crochet

Since working for Sew Crafty I’ve tried my hand at a couple of different crafts. I’ve gone a bit nutty for card crafts over the last year or so, and more recently found my love for crochet! If you’ve had a go yourself you’ll know how addictive it is. If not, but always fancied a go, maybe you’ll get some inspiration from my journey and try your hand.

I picked it up because I thought it looked easier, and funkier, than knitting. And though I’ve still not tried knitting – as an adult – I do believe I am correct! So here’s my story…

I first picked up a crochet hook around February time when I was making a Valentine’s Day card for the other half, and wanted something cute to add to the front. I decided I needed a crochet heart, looked it up, and never looked back. I was determined to get a good heart, and definitely had a few guffs, but I caught the bug for sure!

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TOP TIP #1: The thing I realised after looking for the perfect heart is there are such things as British crochet and American crochet! They have the same result but the “knots” have different names. I still do this day do not know which I learned with. But most patterns have a cheat sheet at the top. Or if you’re unsure what that particular knot might mean, check to see if you’re on a UK or US pattern and do a quick Google.

The best heart pattern I’ve found [this is great as it translates for US readers] – Teeny Tiny Hearts

TOP TIP #2 I also realised it was a bit easier to follow a pattern if I was watching it on video first. After the first few follows it was easier to read a pattern. There are tons of great tutorials on YouTube, and more and more are popping up each day.

This isn’t the video I used back then but it’s great. The pause button is a god send though. Crochet Heart Tutorial.

TOP TIP #3 In hindsight I wish I’d looking into a things a bit more and realised starting with a granny square would have been the perfect introduction to crochet. I went kind of backwards, but I learned a lot throwing myself into the deep end for sure!

I started with this pattern and made a couple of simple granny squares. Basic Granny Square Pattern.

I then grabbed some black yarn, made a granny square, then just kept going round and round and round. It’s so addictive. I now have a nice throw for my green armchair 🙂

TOP TIP #4 Tons of patterns bang on about a “Magic Circle.” The basic circle you start with and work from. I still haven’t really got to grips with this. Sometimes it happens to me by accident and I go with it, more often than not I’ve just made a loop knot and it’s worked.

Once you’re “hooked” haha, here is a great article with what to do with the granny squares you can’t stop making! Mollie Makes – Granny Square Makes

TOP TIP #5 Crochet really is the most forgiving craft out there. If you make a mistake, it can be pulled out and redone so easily. If you notice the mistake later you can grab a darning needle and do some surgery! Especially if you’ve made some amigurumi.

When I got to the “Okay what ELSE” stage I discovered Amigurumi – the Japanese crochet art of creating animals from crochet. My other half loves penguins so I went there first. This was an experience, but maybe easier to pick up than the heart! I also invested in some stuffing to stuff him. This was definitely the most satisfying part. You must try stuffing at your first opportunity!!

Untitled-8 copyOh the bag was a free gift from my Mollie Makes subscription by the way. Its like those 90s jelly shoes. I love it!

If you’d like to try making this little guy, get this .pdf. Tiny Penguin Pattern

I then decided to go big or go home and make something for my mother’s birthday. She loves those little grey bears you get from card shops, and she always cries when I make her stuff, so I thought I’d put those ideas together and made her this bear! I harked back to YouTube for this and found this amazing woman called Sharon Ojala. She is really easy to follow and makes the cutest little critters. For most of her makes she has a basic body shape, then adds different ears, noses and embellishments for different animals. Check her out and recreate this bear here. Sharon Ojala’s Channel

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It wasn’t long after that that my mothers birthday came along, and by this time I’d got her completely addicted to crochet, woops! So I knew something else crocheted would be a good present choice. After doing a ton of granny squares by this point I found the image above on Pinterest.

I needed to make this! I just googled and saved any flower patterns I could find and make a TON. Some didn’t make the cut. Most did, and I created this:

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Pretty proud of that I must say. I made too many that worked but didn’t fit in, so make a card out of the biggest!

And this is what I’m working on at the moment, skull bunting! I love the yarn, it’s like nothing I’ve worked with before. It’s more of a string, but not as tough. If you’d like to try it, its the James C Brett Craft Cotton.

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This is the pattern I’m following. Crochet Skulls. But there are tons of variations online.

All of them are coming out differently and I have no idea why, but I sort of like that!

And just for fun, here are a few of my favourite patterns:

Cupcake Granny Square – Trick or Treat Bag –  Lots of granny squares

If you try any of these please let us know! Take a photo and send it to us at carly@sewcraftyonline.co.uk or on our Facebook page – always add the hashtag #showcrafty and we’ll see it!

Have fun!

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LBD Halloween Costumes

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We’ve all got one, that Little Black Dress, that “go to” safety net when we need something chic but simple to wear, it may even be in the “well loved” stage by now, but we’ve all got one. We thought it might be fun, considering the season, to see what we can do with this old favourite, adding a couple of low cost touches, and maybe help with some costume inspiration!

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– The Witch – maybe an obvious choice considering the colour, but it’s incredibly simple to create. A simple felt hat (cone and circle), sewn or glued together, bright coloured tights, some black boots, and a comedy broom! You could even carry around a cuddly black cat toy for extra comedic value. Or leave it out for a classier look 😉 Don’t forget the dark make up, purples and greys, and a nice dark lippy. Check out this awesome spiderweb cape tutorial for that final touch >>> http://www.deliacreates.com/no-sew-halloween-spiderweb-cape-tutorial/ 

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– The Cat – How about becoming the witch’s companion itself. Grab an alice band, bend couple of pieces of wire into ear shapes, or some stiff black felt, stuff a leg of some black tights for a tail, bit of kitty make up and you’re done.

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– Flapper – This is a cool one. Just add a super long necklace, beaded if you’ve got it; wrap a bit of black ribbon with a feather sewn on, round your head; get a black straw as a cigarette holder, and a shawl or a feather boa to wrap around you! Easy!

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– Flamenco Dancer – something a bit different! Sew a layer of bright red fabric under the hem, tie a bit around your waist, make a fan from some card, slick your hair back into a tight bun and add a bright red rose, maybe made out of the same material to tie it all together.

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– Audrey Hepburn – here’s a classy one, and it’s all about the hair. Once you’ve got that down grab those false eye lashes, all your sparkly jewellery, those over sized sunglasses, a black straw for a cigarette holder, and if you’ve got them, some black silk gloves. Unmistakably Audrey.

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