Friday, 23 September 2016

Amigurumi Owl

What a fun way to use up left over scraps of yarn. If you know basic crochet stitches you can make a super cute amigurumi owl! 
Amigurumi crocheted owl

Back in June I shared my Owl Post, a collection of 18 different owl crafts by lots of very talented bloggers from all over the world.
I thought the amigurumi owl from Kristi Tullus was just so sweet and I finally got round to giving her pattern a go.
It was pretty simple to follow, Kristi's pattern is in US crochet terms so that's just something to watch if you are used to UK terminology.
I confess, I got a little lost with my increases on the main owl body, mainly because I was watching some very exciting TV at the time, so in the end I just winged it and aimed for something with the right sort of shape, using the number of stitches at the end of each row as a guide. Looking at the photos I think my owl maybe just a tiny bit taller than she is supposed to be.
Amigurumi crocheted owl

My little amigurumi owl is made from left overs from the crochet flower garland and gift wrapping from earlier this summer. I also used a little bit of the orange from the heart sachet back in June.

The yarn is DMC Natura Just Cotton Medium and I used a 3mm crochet hook for the owl. I also substituted the safety eye Kristi used for her owl for a small black button (just using what I have) but then I'm not giving this owl to a small child. If you were, then obviously the safety eye is a better choice.
Amigurumi crocheted owl
I find amigurumi is a bit more difficult than regular crochet, the stitches are simple but it's just smaller and tighter so a bit more fiddly. As I'm making something I'm thinking "never again" but then the results are just so darn cute that after a short break I am tempted to have another go! 
If you are tempted to have a go at this sweet little owl then pop on over to get the pattern here (and Kristi Tullus has lots more patterns both free and to buy on her site as well as some tutorials on how to crochet too so it's well worth a look around)
You might also be interested in:
Rainbow Heart Garland
Rainbow Heart Garland
12 Ideas for Novelty Yarns
12 ideas for novelty yarns
Mini Minion, Tiny Ted and Beautiful Bows
Mini Minion, Tiny Ted and Beautiful Bows
Grey and Bright Crochet Flowers
Grey and Bright Crochet Flowers
I'll be linking up at these great link parties

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Crochet Flower Garland

Flowers and crochet, that magic combination again.
crocheted flower garland
Back in August I shared the gift wrap using crocheted flowers that I'd done for a wedding present for one of the weddings in our "Summer of Weddings" 
crochet flower gift wrap
Using the flowers for the gift wrap was a slight detour project as I was actually working on this flower garland from the lovely Anne Marie's HaakBlog and now finally I have found my way back to that and actually finished it.

These flowers are so quick and easy to make and best of all Annemarie has done photos for each step so you can see what you are aiming for, I love that!
crocheted flower garland
Anne Marie's site is in Dutch with an English translation, reading it again it appears she uses US terminology in her English translation so on reflection I made all my flowers with the wrong stitch * I used UK trebles instead of US trebles (in the UK we call them double trebles) The flowers are pretty so I'm not too bothered about that, I guess they would just be a little bit bigger if I had read all the instructions properly before I got stuck in!
  • My yarn is DMC's Natura Just cotton, medium

The orange was a gift from DMC when I went to the CHSI stitches show back in February. I used it for the flower on the Crochet Heart Sachet I made too & I've still got quite a bit left.
  • I used a 4mm crochet hook
  • My flowers have come out 5.5cm in diameter, that's just over 2" (but bear in mind I did use a smaller stitch by mistake see above*)
I made 4 flowers in each of 5 colours, so I had 20 altogether.
To join them AnneMarie used a very simple method and just threaded them onto yarn as you can see in her photo below.
Mine are on a chain, I just thought the whole thing would be more substantial this way, this is going to be a gift and I think this way will be easier for the recipient.
I chained about 30cm (12") then started joining the flowers.
crocheted flower garland
I just slip stitched through a stitch on the back of a petal, chain 2 then slip stitched the back of the next petal. I wasn't very scientific about this, hopefully this photo show what I mean.
crocheted flower garland
I did 8 chain between each flower then repeated. Once all the flowers were joined I finished with another 30cm (12") chain for hanging.
crocheted flower garland
My finished garland measures just under 2m or about 76" 
crocheted flower garland
You know what I learnt doing this? Long garlands are REALLY difficult to photograph!
crocheted flower garland
I guess I also learnt that you should check which version of crochet terminology your pattern is using before you start but as this turned out fine I'm not loosing any sleep over it!
crocheted flower garland
These lovely little flowers could become brooches or hair clips, be added to a wreath, mug cozy or scented sachet, top a birthday card .... have I tempted you into have a go? Remember the pattern is from Anne Marie's HaakBlog - Enjoy!
I'll be sharing over at these Link Parties
You might also be interested in:
Rainbow Heart Garland
Rainbow Heart Garland
12 Ideas for Novelty Yarns
12 ideas for novelty yarns
Bright and Grey Crochet Flowers
Bright and Grey Crochet Flowers
Bakers Twine Effect Crochet
Bakers Twine Effect Crochet

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fabric Trimmed Cardigan Refashion

A really quick and easy way to give a plain cardigan a new look.
cardigan refashion fabric edge
This poor old plain black cardigan was a useful but boring staple of my wardrobe.
It looks a little bit grey here but that is just the light.
I saw a lovely jumper to cardigan refashion from Jo at Three Stories High back in March, a gorgeous mix of plain knit and pattered fabric edging and so I totally ripped of her idea was totally inspired by her to give my old cardie a new lease of life.
I found an old scarf in my rag bag, I used to wear this over my long woollen coat, shawl style back in the 80's (that was a thing then, honest!), it was a bit holey along one edge but the pattern is just lovely.

First I took the old buttons off the cardigan, it is a narrow fit so I never do it up anyway.

Next I cut 2 long strips of the scarf fabric from the non holey side both about 2" (5cm) wide.
I folded and pressed them in half, then half again, to make a fat bias binding.
I pinned it in place over the button and button hole bands on the cardigan.
I used loads of pins as my scarf fabric is pretty floppy.
I stitched mine by hand using a fairly small slip stitch. I chose to hand stitch because my scarf fabric is so floppy and I didn't trust myself not to pull the knit edge out of shape, if you feel confident you could whizz this on the machine in no time.
Fabric trimmed cardigan refashion

Hand stitching did mean I stitched all the way round on the outside of the cardigan, then all the way round again on the inside. Twice as much stitching but I felt worth it, I feel sure I would have the front edge twisting if I had tried a short cut. 
I did this whilst watching TV and took about an hour.
I actually did this little refashion way back in the spring but by the time I was ready with photos etc the weather was warm and it seemed a bit unseasonal. There was a sneak peek of this on Instagram back in May: 
Fabric trimmed cardigan refashion
It was when I wore it for Me Made May. What I love most about my new look cardie is that it still goes with everything, the multi coloured scarf fabric means it is still a really useful wardrobe basic, just a tiny bit less boring now!
Fabric edged cardigan refashion

The weather here in the UK is always a bit unpredictable so a cardigan is an essential pretty much all year round. To be fair it's been pretty nice the last few weeks but I have a feeling cardigan weather will be with us again really soon!
Fabric trimmed cardigan refashion

You might also be interested in:
Another Lace Top Refashion
Another Lace Top Refashion
Stripe T Shirt with Floral Trim
Stripe T Shirt with Floral Trim
Evening Cardigan Makeover
Evening Cardigan makeover
Too tight at the top hem fix
Too tight at the hem top fix
I'll be linking up to all these great link parties, why not go and have a look!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Simple Cross Stitch Mural

A simple cross stitch design painted on the wall as a mural.
Cross stitch mural
Whoop whoop - saw it, pinned it, did it! 
Like a million other people I pinned an absolutely beautiful cross stitch mural from the uber talented Eline Pellinkhof .
I found the pin from a feature in Country Living, it gets a little bit complicated from there, the Country living feature takes me to Eline's blog but from there I can't find anything on the mural, I think it is featured in her 1st book. She has done 3 books apparently and they look amazing. But it's all in Dutch so I'm not absolutely sure. 
So to cut a long story short, I pinned this idea a couple of years ago and last weekend our daughter and I created our own very simplified version for her room. This is the before:

Warning, we were so excited to do this project there are only a few slightly rubbish phone photos of the process (and it was a very grey rainy day, so the light was awful!)

To do the same you will need:
Tester pots of paint - emulsion/regular paint for walls
A meter/yarn stick and spirit level
a pencil and rubber
paint brush - we used size 10
scrap paper
A simple cross stitch design

Choosing a design:
First you need to be sure your design will fit.
All our crosses were 2 inch square, that seems like a good size for this kind of thing to me, it's bold but not to huge. Count how many squares your chosen design takes, both up and across then times by 2. This is approximately how many inches of wall space your design will take up.
I sketched a couple of different designs and our daughter chose the one she wanted.


You can use these (just right click on the image then save so you can print it), design your own or just go online, there are hundreds of lovely cross stitch designs out there.
Our chosen design was 12 squares x 13 squares so the finished design is just over 24" x 26". 

To mark it on the wall:
It was going centrally over her bed so we measured the half way point, then drew a pencil line straight up using a spirit level.
We then drew a horizontal line, again in pencil, centrally on the wall space above the bed.
So basically there was a big cross, nice and straight, centrally over the bed. Keep the pencil lines faint, that way they are easier to rub out afterwards.

I marked the middle lines on the cross stitch design too, in bold (you can see that in the image above of the cross stitch chart)

Originally I thought we could just do the crosses free hand, along the centre lines, then just building the design up and out from there. When it came to it though that just seemed to be leaving too much to chance so we decided to mark it out a little more thoroughly. I didn't fancy drawing dozens of straight lines to make a full grid - that would be a lot of rubbing out afterwards. We considered decorating tape, but didn't have any so instead I made a template.
As we had decided each cross should be about 2 inches square, I took a bit of scrap paper, folded it in half and half again, then cut a 1 inch square from the corner, when opened up this gave me a 2 inch square "window".
Cross stitch mural tutorial
I simply held the window up to the lines and drew a cross, then moved it along. That way I only marked the crosses we needed for the design.
Just work your way out from those centre lines, count, count and count again. How many crosses in each row, horizontally and vertically? Just keep counting and checking.

Painting:
These were the paints we used, just inexpensive tester pots of emulsion.

It was just a case of filling in the crosses, using the chart. Again - count, count and count again.
Cross stitch mural tutorial
Keep checking the chart, count each cross from the centre, from the edge, from the crosses you have already painted. I think it would be hard to go over the darker colours with light ones if you made a mistake. Best not to make a mistake, then you don't have to worry about it!
Cross stitch mural tutorial
It was easiest to do the main colours first, they were mostly around the edge and right along those central lines so counting them was easy.
We actually bought a green, dark pink and light pink paint tester pots. We already had white paint. The light pink was way to light and we had to mix it with the darker paint to get a good medium shade. On reflection we could probably got away with just mixing the dark pink with white paint and saved £1.49 but never mind.
Cross stitch mural tutorial
It was pretty easy to do in the end, took us about 3 hours start to finish. I think a more complicated design would look amazing, but take much longer to do and have much more room for error. I'm glad we kept it simple.
Cross stitch mural tutorial
Some of the crosses had a 2nd coat of paint then we left it to dry for 24 hours before rubbing out the pencil lines with a good quality soft eraser.

This project was quite a long time in the "yes, yes, we'll do that mural one day" stage but now it is finished we keep high fiving each other - I'd call that a rainy day well spent!
Cross stitch mural tutorial

You might also be interested in:
Floating Photo Frame
Floating photo frame
IKEA Cactus Gift Wrap
IKEA Cactus Gift Wrap
Share a Coke With Picture
Share a Coke With Picture
Gold Heart Pot
Gold Heart Pot
I'll be sharing this project at these link parties