Little sockies

Tonight I finished my first ever pair of knitted socks, woo hoo!
Well, I guess they’re more like slipper sock type things as they come just over the heel.

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The tension is much neater on the second one (on the left) than the first as I’m not really used to knitting on double pointed needles but I wanted to have another go. The only other thing I’ve made on dpn’s was a pair of cabled wrist warmers a few years ago which were too baggy, too big, never got worn and eventually got pulled back and I used the wool for something else.

No chance of the same thing happening with these beauties! I love them, though they are far from perfect.

I had some Rowan cocoon left over from the teddy project I did in the summer and really wanted to use it for something cosy for myself! I wanted to do socks and I basically just searched Ravelry for sock patterns in chunky wool that used the amount I had our less and this is what I found!

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I love them, they’re so cosy and comfy and the fit is perfect – as they’re home made! They were pretty easy to make considering how long I’d wanted to try socks and put it off. For a first go I recommend using a pattern in chunky yarn though because they make up quickly so you don’t get bored and give up – I did each one in two evenings.

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Too many WIP’s!

At work yesterday one of my colleagues asked if I could make her some little crochet woodland characters for her child’s bedroom. I’d love to help but I explained I’ve got so much on at the moment that it might take me a while (plus, no patterns in my collection immediately sprang to mind). Later, she asked what I was working on? When I started to reel off a list I realised that I might have to start finishing some projects before I start any new ones…

Crochet butterfly motifs to decorate home-made cushion,
needlepoint cushion, (plus I need to make up the matching one I made last year)
knitted/crochet patchwork blanket (now a whole year in the making),
tea cosy, toaster cover and food mixer cover to match kitchen blind,
re-cover old footstool in fabric with a fox on (and a cushion to match),
crochet skirt that I have just received the yarn I’d ordered for…

and this morning I had an idea for a crochet cushion in country-inspired yarn/colours…

and a pair of socks I started last night!

So much crafting, so little time! There seemed to be even more when I was talking through them. I just can’t seem to help myself at the moment – all I want to do is crafts and I’m forever having more ideas for things I’d like to do and I feel like I have to seize the moment or it might just stay an idea! Maybe I should try to get better at drawing and start sketching my project ideas? That way I’d get them out of my head (it seems very cluttered in there at the moment) and into a book or something so I could come back to the idea later and remember the details rather than constantly starting new things? Or maybe I just like to have lots going on so I can choose what I feel like doing that day…?

Would you like to see a few of my wips/recent FO’s?

Image My hat that was the first think I’d knitted on a circular needle

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Christmas bunting I made at a sewing workshop

ImageMy part-finished blanket and a selection of as yet un-joined squares (bit of a rubbish picture, sorry)

Image My first “sockette”

Image A little amigurumi fox toy for a friend from work who’s having a baby

Image Handle covers for my boyfriend’s ugly old drinks cabinet

Image And here’s the fox fabric I bought for a cushion and footstool.

I think that’s enough for now… I’d better go and get on with something!

Crochet t-shirt rug

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and that 2014 has got off to a good start for you. I’ve only worked two days so far and the weather’s been pretty rubbish so it’s been a good time to work on some of my works in progress! I’ve finally managed to finish my crocheted t-shirt rug that I’ve been working on sporadically for quite a few months now.

Ta Da - The finished rug
Ta Da – The finished rug

So I started with a post I found on Pintrest here and a pile of my boyfriend’s only t-shirts that he didn’t wear anymore. It’s a pretty easy thing to do once you get the hang of it although it is a bit time consuming. I used this free pattern as a starting point. Here’s my quick guide how it works…

My boyfriend's old t-shirts
My boyfriend’s old t-shirts
Cut the hems off, fold twice but leave 1 inch margin at far side
Cut the hems off, fold twice but leave 1 inch margin at far side
Cut the fabric into strips, stopping at the margin. Cut all the way across only when you reach the sleeves.
Cut the fabric into strips, stopping at the margin. Cut all the way across only when you reach the sleeves.
Open out the fabric and join into one long string by cutting across the margin from one strip to the next.
Open out the fabric and join into one long string by cutting across the margin from one strip to the next.
Pull the fabric into one long string
Pull the fabric into one long string
A big pile of t-shirt spaghetti!
A big pile of t-shirt spaghetti!
Make into a ball
Make into a ball
My different colours of t-shirt yarn ready to crochet
My different colours of t-shirt yarn ready to crochet

The rug is worked in double crochet (UK) throughout in a continuous spiral, increasing where necessary to keep the oval shape and to keep the work flat. I did have to find some extra t-shirts when I realised it was going to end up smaller than I’d wanted. I put the call out to my friends at work and I was offered 3 white t-shirts that had belonged to of one of their husbands and were in the bag to go to the charity shop! I started off using a plastic 12mm hook that I bought on ebay but then for Christmas I was given a set of bamboo hooks and I found it much easier for some reason with the bamboo hook of the same size – it didn’t make my hand hurt so much.

Starting chain
Starting chain
Colour change
Colour change
Finished article!
Finished article!
Up-close
Up-close

I used each ball of yarn until it was nearly finished then tied on the new ball with a figure of eight knot. As I continued on with the new colour I’d catch the knotted ends in the next stitch so they don’t show too much. For the last coloured section at the outside I ended up going back to the bits of left-over t-shirt – the neck and sleeves. To get the most out of these I cut them into short strips, pulled them into string and tied them together as before. This results in a yarn with lots of knots but they can be hidden in the work in the same way as before. When I’d finally almost run out of yarn I finished off and darned the end in the reverse side of the rug. I also made sure that any tails from the knots that were still sticking out were pulled through the stitches on the back to neaten it up. I’m pretty pleased with my finished product which is a great way of up cycling old t-shirts otherwise destined for the charity shop or the bin, into something new and useful for the home! I’m sure you could make other things with this t-shirt yarn, like maybe a pouffe for your sitting room. I’d love to hear your comments and if anyone else has had a go at this sort of method?

Finally some baking!

Hello again. Hope everyone’s had a good weekend. We watched Sunday Brunch this morning and Lorraine Pascale was on, who’s latest book, “lighter way to bake” we got a few weeks ago. It made us feel like having a go at something. My boyfriend made the plum frangipane tarts last weekend which we had warm with vanilla ice cream and they were lovely, really light and very tasty.
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Sorry for the rubbish photo!

Today we leafed through the book and both really liked the look of the blueberry and lemoncello drizzle cake, despite the fact that blueberries are so not in season! We didn’t have any lemoncello either so just used the juice from one of the lemons we had to zest for the recipe. Also, I don’t think we’ve quite got used to the oven yet. That or there’s a miss print in the book as we found we had to cook it twice as long as stated in tge recipe – I must have checked on it 5 times! Sadly I have to apologise for the photo again – I have to admit it was a bit of an after-thought as we were so eagre to dive in!
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It is a very yummy cake so I would certainly recommend it. Very light too. I searched the internet to see if the recipe was available and it turns out it has been published in a Mail online food special here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2432092/Food-special-Blueberry–limoncello-drizzle-cake.html
Has anyone else tried it, or done any other baking this weekend?

In other news – we’ve finished the dining table so look out for a post about that soon!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Until next time…

Set of crochet home accessories

Just a quick post to show a set of accessories I’ve made for the bedroom.

Firstly there’s a cover for a table I painted to protect it from getting scratched by the TV and DVD player sat on it. I made it from granny hexagons which I based on this pattern from Polka Dot Cottage, and used the join as you go technique.

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Next I made a set of nesting bowls from a pattern by Tracey Todhunter in the Autumn 2013 issue of Love Crochet magazine.

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I then adapted the base part of the pattern to make a pair of coasters. Here’s the whole set:

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And here’s a selection of them in action on my bedside table…

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The yarn is King Cole Bamboo cotton, which I just love as it has such a lovely feel and finish when made up.

This was a quick project just to add a few flashes of colour to the room in a useful way. I still have plenty of yarn left. I wonder what else I could make to match?

 

Dining table and chairs – 9 days on!

We started the table and chairs project a little over a week ago when we had a few days off work. By the end of the weekend we’d got the base finished with two coats of primer and THREE of topcoat to get a nice finish. Painstaking but worth it as it looks lovely. I still think I might wax over the top to help protect it but this will have to wait for now. I got the first chair primed and the first coat of colour on. And finally R got a coat of varnish on the table top.

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I’m proud of bits like this where I’ve managed to sand and fill the damaged areas and make them look much nicer…Image

Like this…

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The base is painted in Lamp Room Grey by Farrow and Ball which is just a beautiful colour. I still have over half a tin left so I’m sure it won’t be long until I find something else to use it on. Perhaps the new desk I picked up yesterday?

Anyway since going back to work I have to report that progress has been agonisingly slow unfortunately! The first couple of days met with traffic disasters and so it was dark when I got home so not the best time to paint. Combine this with a little socialising, other things that needed doing, working this weekend and just life in general I’ve not got much done. And now the clocks have gone back, which is not going to help either! The second coat of blue’s gone on the chair though and it looks so much better. I think it still needs another coat though!

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The colour looks darker in the daylight without the flash (and much more sophisticated I like to think!). It was meant to be Drawing Roon Blue by Farrow and Ball but we couldn’t get hold of any without ordering it and just wanted to get on with it so we had the best match possible made up in Dulux eggshell instead. We got more paint for less money and the colour is a pretty good match to be fair!

In the end I’ve come to the conclusion that this project is going to take a long time to complete! I know it’s going to be worth it though in the end and I’m enjoying the process. Most of the time! The chairs are hard work though – I’m definitely going to do them one at a time! When it’s finished I’ll have to make some new covers for the chair cushions. Any ideas what colour I should choose?

If you’re enjoying reading about my furniture transformation you could follow my blog so you won’t miss my next update!

If you’re working on any upcycling projects, I’d love to hear about it, and I hope you’re enjoying it!

Dining table and chairs upcycle – day 2

Haven’t got so much done today as each step takes ages. Also there’s drying time to consider. Firstly I used wood filler around the new feet to tidy them up a little, which has to dry before you can sand it. I then added a second coat of primer to the first chair and have managed to do two coats on the table base. Not bad progress I guess!

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Can’t wait to get it finished but it’s going to take a while!

In other news, my order arrived for some wool to make a baby blanket for a friend – very exciting! My favourite yarn supplier at the moment is Love Knitting for their great range of yarn and very quick delivery!

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We have a birthday celebration to attend tonight so won’t get anything else done today but I hope we can get some more done tomorrow.

Dining table and chairs upcycle – day 1!

So my boyfriend and I have a few days off work and have decided to start working on our dining table and chairs. To set the scene, when we moved house we were looking for a farmhouse style dining table and chairs on ebay and were getting ready to spend a fair bit on it, which we shouldn’t really be doing as we need to save a deposit for a place of our own. It turns out my dad had one that we could have for nothing but the cost of getting it couriered to ours. There were two matching chairs and I knew I could find more on ebay to make a set of 6. “What’s the catch” I hear you cry?

Well, dad had been given it by a neighbour who was going to throw it in a skip. That was 10 years ago and dad has been using it for potting plants on in his greenhouse ever since! To make matters worse, the family’s dog had been rather fond of chewing on the table and chairs! As you can imagine it was in a bit of a state, but not irreparable and ultimately almost free. We gave it a good clean and transported it to our house. I bought 4 matching chairs cheaply and I got a pink spotty pvc cloth to cover the table with. It has been serving us very well for a few months now.

These pictures show how it looked when we “rediscovered” the table…

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And this is an example of the dog damage on one of the chairs.

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We’ve now decided it’s time to tackle the makeover! A very lovely friend of mine has lent us her two electric sanders and we’ve collected together lots of sand paper, wood filler, primer and our paint colours – more about those on a future instalment!

Today has been seriously hard work. This project is going to be a real labour of love! Still, I think we’ve made great progress. The base is fully sanded and the holes are filled. My long-suffering other half chipped off the old rotten feet and fashioned some new ones and now it’s ready for the primer. We also managed to get two chairs sanded and one primed (what a job that was) and we’ve started sanding the table top – more on that another time.

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A very exhausting but satisfying day. Now for a massive bowl of prawn and courgette pasta to celebrate!

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