Sunday, 27 May 2012

A stripe a day, keeps the grannies away!

Hello Lovelies!! Hope your all having a colourful weekend?!
Look at what the post man delivered earlier in the week!


17 scrummy balls of Stylecraft DK!! I ordered it from Masons last week and was very surprised to have it delivered three days later!!! VERY SPEEDY INDEED!!!
I love to order these Stylecraft assorted packs. Not only are they full of great colours, but they are also amazing value! This bundle of 17 different colours cost me only £25.50 (plus postage), If that isn't a bargain I don't know what is?!


Now I don't want to sound like a 'Yarn Snob', but I don't usually go for acrylic yarns.
My favourite yarns include a nice Cashmere or Merino, so soft and snuggly. The problem with always using fancy yarn.... is the price. It's soooo damn expensive.
So when the budget is a little tight, I find myself looking for cheaper alternatives. Acrylic yarn tends to tick the boxes in terms of price.
The problem I have with SOME acrylic yarns is that quite often  I find them to be just a little too plasticy for my liking. I want my yarn to feel luxuriously soft and not scrunchy and cheap.
For me Stylecraft fits the medium perfectly. Its great value but it doesn't feel like I've dropped down in quality. Its feels lovely and soft. There is such large selection of colours that you can't help but be drawn to it.
This is why I've used Stylecraft for many projects, Its acrylic that doesn't feel like acrylic. Look how wonderfully colourful it is when worked up!:




I ordered my Stylecraft with the intention of making another Granny Stripe Blanket (using the Attic24 pattern). A colleague of mine (Dani) had seen my crochet work and was so smitten with the Granny Stripe, that she asked me to make her one. I'm not usually so keen on making items for people when they know about it. I feel under pressure to get the project finished fast. Instead I like to make a project secretly and give it as a surprise, that way I'm under no obligation to get the project finished by a certain time.
This was different, It was for Dani!
Dani works at the theatre and is part of the wigs and make-up department. She is such a lovely woman! Always has a smile on her face and is so fun and crazy.
Dani and I help each other with our language learning. She speaks to me in English and I'll correct her when she gets stuck. Then she does the same for me in German, it's a win win Situation!
So of course when Dani asked me for a bright (like her personality) blanket, I got straight to work.

Dennis and I have both made granny stripes before. I made mine with Merino the first time around:


Dennis made his with the Stylecraft pack:


As I've just bought the Stylecraft pack, I'm going for a Granny Stripe similar to Dennis'.
Dani told me that there is no rush for the blanket so I'm making this a sideline project. A project that I'm always working on, but that doesn't always have to be my main focus. I hope that this way I won't get bored of it and will have time to work on other projects. :-)

With that in mind I've decided to do just one stripe a day. A stripe is taking only about 20 minutes to complete, so I should be able to fit easily one per day.
With the amount of stripes I'm hoping this blanket will be finished around early September. I'm thinking that's perfect! It will be finished in time for Autumn. So Dani will have a bright and gorgeous blanket to snuggle in during the cold Autumn and Winter months. I cant wait to give it to her!!


There we have it!! Day seven and I'm mid row on my 7th stripe. I'm giving the random colour approach a try, let's see how that turns out!

Have a glorious Sunday!!
Matt xxx

Monday, 21 May 2012

I'm going to the zoo, zooo, zoooo......you can come too, tooo, toooo...

I've had a full day today and my energy doesn't seem to be dwindling! I know I only have one thing to thank for my energy boost....SUNSHINE!!
The sun is well and truly out here in Hamburg and We've had two glorious days off it!!!! It's sooo revitalising having the bright warmth of a sunny day break what's been a mainly dull month. I am very thankful for it!!!
I've had some free time from work and have been making the most of  the glorious change in weather. I thought I would use the opportunity to get outside and see the sunny side of Hamburg.  Some time spent in the park "Planten en Blomen", plus a trip to the zoo doesn't sound like such a bad way to spend free time :-)
I'm not going to bore you with describing every picture, Instead I thought I'd just lay them here on the blog (Can you tell I want to go outside and enjoy the last of the evening sunshine?).  You can glance at them as you feel fit........or just skip to the end as there does seem so be a lot of pictures! :-)



I love that we have such a luscious green park here in the middle of the city. It almost feels like we could be in the country side.


I'm always mesmerized by the flowers in the park. Pretty pastel colours....


Or bold and striking statements!


Delicate and magical!....... Make a wish!!!!!!


I find it interesting to see the softness of nature up against the harsher man-made objects. Somehow they fit together.





I like to go to the park, but I LOVE to go to the zoo.............It's FREAKIN AWSOME!!!!!!

I got to feed the elephants! Look a that BIG smile!!!


Race?



Mummy Alpaca:


Baby Alpaca:




"Cluck Cluck!"


"Tweet Tweet"


I'm thinking of growing a goatee?



"ROAAAAAAAAAAR!"

 

Take the plunge?


One of my favourite ways to spend a free day!!!
I hope you are all having a lovely start to the week....make it a good one!

Matt xxx

Friday, 18 May 2012

Crochet O'clock Tutorial




Well... I kind of disappeared from Blogland for a tad longer than usual...but I'm back with a little something to share with you all.
I had an extremely positive response to the crocheted clock I made last month. Many questions were asked in regards to how I made it, so I decided to put together this tutorial.
This is not a pattern as such, as I've really not invented anything new here. It's simply a step by step guide/tutorial of how I pieced my clock together.
I hope that it's a tutorial that will inspire you to make your own design of crocheted clock......I can't wait to see what you will come up with!

Let's talk materials
Clocks
Obviously the most important thing you will require for this clock....... is an actual clock.
I bought mine from our local craft store. Its an MDF circle, with the clock mechanism already built in. My clock measures approximately 33cm in diameter.
I know it can be a little tricky to find theses craft clocks, so there are a couple of alternatives.
1. You could JAZZ up an old clock. Perhaps one you already own or a second hand one from Ebay?
2. You could purchase a clock mechanism (they seem to be much easier to get hold of than a complete crafting clock) and cut a clock face out of cardboard. Once the cardboard is decorated with creative crocheted loveliness, you'll never be able to guess if it's MDF or cardboard.
These clock mechanism are available in many craft stores and are easily available from online stores (Ebay, Amazon).

Yarn
Once again I've chosen to work with Universal Cotton by Wolle Rodel. I love to use this yarn as it comes in many many different colours. It's lovely and thick and is extremely durable.

There are many similar cottons on the market and alternatively this clock would work well as a stash busting project, pretty much any dk yarn would do the job!

Other Bits and Bobs
The crocheted clock face is just a small part in creating a happy and jolly clock.  The bulk of its fun appearance comes from the decorations. I decorated my clock with little wooden numbers, ladybugs, buttons and crocheted flowers. Pretty much anything will work! It's really the perfect chance to get CRAZY CREATIVE!

So let's get down to business!!!!!

The first step in creating my clock, was to prepare the clock.
I decided to paint the clock with a base colour. I thought that this was a good idea as I didn't want the brown MDF to show through the gaps of the crochet. This is not something you have to do, just something to make the finished product (maybe) a little neater.
I painted my clock face with blue acrylic/poster paint as this was the dominant colour to my crochet face.


I then got started with the round crocheted face of the clock.
I've made two different crocheted clocks so I'll share both designs with you. Both are based around a simple and standard crocheted circle pattern. The only difference is that we are adding some colour changes mid round.
The colour changes are probably the trickiest part of this pattern. I'll show you quickly how I did my mid round colour changes.  Hopefully when you get to it in the tutorial, you'll know exactly what your doing.

How to do a mid row colour change

As you can see in the picture below. I've just finished my last blue stitch and I now want to change colour.


I'm going to go ahead and place my yarn over my hook,  as if I was going to continue to make another stitch.


I insert my hook into the next stitch. (The stitch where I want my new colour to begin.)


Instead of pulling the blue yarn back through the stitch,  I pull my new colour of yarn through.



I then hook the new colour yarn (pink) and I pull it through the loops on my hook, as if I were completing a regular hdc or dc.



I then flip my work over. Take the tail ends of the old colour yarn (blue) and the tail end of the new colour yarn (pink)


I tie the ends in a secure knot. I then go ahead and cut the old yarn (blue yarn) free from my work.


I then flip my work over and continue the tutorial with my new colour yarn.


I hope that makes sense. It is a little tricky to explain, so I hope the pictures help out a little!?

Ladybug Clock!

Now the pattern is going to depend very much on how big your clock is. Below is a guide to how I made mine. It would be simple enough to add more rows for a larger clock, or to not complete all of the rows for a smaller one.
I've written this in US terms.

A little tip.....I would recommend sewing in the ends as you go along :-)

With the dark blue yarn,  ch 4 and join with a sl st to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch2 (counts as 1 hdc) 10 hdc into the ring. Join with a sl st into 2nd chain of initial ch2. Fasten off.

Rnd 2: (Change colour to light blue)  Ch2 (counts as 1 hdc) hdc into the same stitch. "2 hdc into next stitch". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 3: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next stitch. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the next stitch". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 4: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 2 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 2 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 5: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 3 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 3 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 6: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 4 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 4 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 7: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 5 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 5 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 8: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 6 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 6 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 9: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 7 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 7 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 10: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 8 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 8 next stitches". Repeat between " " 5 times. Change colour to red. *2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in the next 8 stitches*. Repeat between * *  3 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 11: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 9 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 9 next stitches". Repeat between " " 5 times. Change colour to orange. *2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in the next 9 stitches*. Repeat between * *  3 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 12: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 10 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 10 next stitches". Repeat between " " 5 times. Change colour to yellow. *2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in the next 10 stitches*. Repeat between * *  3 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 13: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 11 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 11 next stitches". Repeat between " " 5 times. Change colour to green. *2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in the next 11 stitches*. Repeat between * *  3 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 14: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 12 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 12 next stitches". Repeat between " " 5 times. Change colour to blue. *2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in the next 12 stitches*. Repeat between * *  3 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 15: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 13 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 13 next stitches". Repeat between " " 5 times. Change colour to indigo. *2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in the next 13 stitches*. Repeat between * *  3 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 16: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 14 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 14 next stitches". Repeat between " " 5 times. Change colour to violet. *2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in the next 14 stitches*. Repeat between * *  3 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 17: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 15 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 15 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 18: (Change colour to light blue) Ch1 (counts as 1sc) sc in every stitch. Fasten off

Rnd 19 - Border: (change colout to dark blue) sl st into next 2 stitches. (sc, ch3, sc) into next stitch. "sl st into the next 3 stitches. (sc,ch3, sc) into the next stitch". Repeat between " " around the whole circumference of the circle. Fasten off.
Sew in any remaining ends.



Bumble Bee Sunshine Clock


With the light orange yarn,  ch 4 and join with a sl st to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch2 (counts as 1 hdc) 10 hdc into the ring. Join with a sl st into 2nd chain of initial ch2.            Fasten off.

Rnd 2: (Change colour to dark orange)  Ch2 (counts as 1 hdc) hdc into the same stitch. "2 hdc into next stitch". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 3: (Change colour to light orange) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next stitch. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the next stitch". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.


Rnd 4: (Change colour to dark orange) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 2 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 2 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 5: (Change colour to light orange) This round is done by working through the front loops of the previous rounds stitches only! "sl st into the front loop of next 3 stitches. (sc, Ch2, sc) into the front loop of next stitch. Repeat between " " 10 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 6: (Change colour to dark blue) Working through the back loops of Rnd 4. Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 3 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 3 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 7: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 4 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 4 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 8: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 5 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 5 next stitches". Repeat between " " 4 times.
Change colour to red. *2hdc in next stitch, hdc into next 5 stitches*. Repeat between * * 4 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 9: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 6 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 6 next stitches". Repeat between " " 4 times.
Change colour to orange. *2hdc in next stitch, hdc into next 6 stitches*. Repeat between * * 4 times. Fasten off.


Rnd 10: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 7 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 7 next stitches". Repeat between " " 4 times.
Change colour to yellow. *2hdc in next stitch, hdc into next 7 stitches*. Repeat between * * 4 times. Fasten off.

 Rnd 11: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 8 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 8 next stitches". Repeat between " " 4 times.
Change colour to green. *2hdc in next stitch, hdc into next 8 stitches*. Repeat between * * 4 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 12: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 9 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 9 next stitches". Repeat between " " 4 times.
Change colour to blue. *2hdc in next stitch, hdc into next 9 stitches*. Repeat between * * 4 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 13: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 10 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 10 next stitches". Repeat between " " 4 times.
Change colour to indigo. *2hdc in next stitch, hdc into next 10 stitches*. Repeat between * * 4 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 14: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 11 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 11 next stitches". Repeat between " " 4 times.
Change colour to violet. *2hdc in next stitch, hdc into next 11 stitches*. Repeat between * * 4 times. Fasten off.

Rnd 15: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 12 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 12next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times.
Fasten off.

Rnd 16: (Change colour to dark blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 13 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 13 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times.
Fasten off.

Rnd 17: (Change colour to light blue) Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc into the same stitch. hdc into the next 14 stitches. "2 hdc into the next stitch, hdc into the 14 next stitches". Repeat between " " 9 times.  
Fasten off.

Rnd 18: (Change colour to dark blue Ch2 (counts as 1hdc) hdc in every remaining stitch. fasten off

Rd 19 -Border: (Change colour to light blue) "sl into next 3 stitches. (sc, ch3 sc) into nest stitch". Repeat between " "  43 times.
Fasten off.

Sew in any remaining ends.

Once you have finished your crochet circle and sewn in the ends, your ready to attach it to your clock. 
I simply did this by removing the hands from my clock and placing my crocheted clock face on top of the crafting clock. Make sure your clock is the correct way up before you glue the crochet to it.


If you have made the "Bumble Bee Sunshine Clock" design then you may also want to glue the sun beams down flat, so that they do not obstruct the hands of the clock.


Now for the fun decorating part!!!!!

Adding flowers, numbers and other glorious goodies!

As mentioned in my Crochet O'clock post a few weeks ago, I used two different patterns for the  pretty decorative flowers. The first being the Crochet flowers pattern found on the Mollie Makes website. I did find this pattern a little fiddly at first.  Once I got my head around it, it was plain sailing and it really makes a beautiful flower.
The other flower pattern I used was by Lucy at Attic24. Her patterns are explained with lovely pictures and are extremely easy to follow, not to mention the finished flowers are soooo cute.


I added bright and colourful button to the middle of each of my flowers. I'll let you in on a secret...I didn't actually sew the buttons on. Instead I used the help of my trusty glue gun!
I threaded the yarn through the button;
Then tied the yarn in a double knot.


I sniffed off the tailing ends of yarn.

Finally I glued each of the buttons to the flowers. Normally I wouldn't glue buttons to a project. I figured as the clock isn't being made to be touched and played around with, then I could get away with it. The glue works as a strong enough fastener and is much quicker than sewing every button by hand.
I added wooden numbers to my clock, in which I painted different colours. You could do the same or alternatively use felt numbers or cardboard numbers....maybe even try crocheting the numbers?


I took my time positioning the flowers and bugs. Once I was satisfied with the positioning I glued them on with the glue gun.



I really enjoyed hiding the bugs under leafs and on the numbers. At first you do not notice them. When you look a little longer and closer you suddenly see the happy faces of the lady bugs smiling back up at you. I think that's fun!


When positioning your flowers and bugs. Be aware of the clock hands. My clock hands lay quite high above the crocheted face, so there is room to put flowers near/or underneath. Just be careful that your decorations do not obstruct the path of the hands, as the clock will not work properly.
As you can see in the picture below, I've left a wide margin free of decorations, so the hands can function properly.


Other than that, your decorative options for the clock are endless! Try being original and let you crafty creativeness take over. I hope some of you will give making a crocheted clock a go. I am extremely intrigued to see what you clever and talented people will come up with!


I hope you have fun!!! As always if you have any questions or spot problems just drop me a line and I'll do my best to get back to you!
Matt xxx