Friday, 30 January 2015

Red, pink and purple crochet valentine hearts

Valentine crochet hearts in red pink and purple

I've been using up some of the leftover colours from my rainbow spiral blanket crotcheting these simple little valentine hearts in red, pink and purple.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, I had it in mind to make enough to yarn bomb one of the trees in my garden but I may have to scale things down a bit. Maybe a little wall hanging instead although it has to be said I am eyeing up a houseplant with bad intent! I don't know yet, depends on how much time I get, all will be revealed on Valentine's Day!

For anyone who wants to make some themselves, they're really easy, here's how I did it using a 4.0mm hook and double knitting yarn, they came out at 3inches tall and 3 inches wide.

Abbreviations (UK terms)
ch - chain
ss - slip stitch
dc - double crochet
htr - half treble
tr - treble crochet
st(s) - stitch(es)

Ch 4, join with a ss into a ring

Row 1: Ch 1 to count as first dc, 12 dc into ring (13 stitches)

Row 2: Ch 3 to count as 1 tr, work 1 tr into the same st, 2 tr into each st all the way around (26 sts)

Row 3: Ch 3, 1 htr in next st, dc into each of next 3 sts, htr into next st, skip next 3 sts, work 12 dtr into next st, skip next 3 sts (the first of which will be hidden by so many dtr worked into one st, so be sure to check), ss into next st, skip 3 sts, 12 dtr into next st, skip next 3 sts, 1 htr into next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 1 htr, 1 tr in same st as 3 ch, ss into top of 3 ch, fasten off.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Rainbow spiral blanket (or afghan) finished

Crocheted rainbow spiral blanket or afghan

My rainbow spiral blanket is finished! 

I had to undo the first border I did, as you can see below, the original edging is all curling up on itself. As I was working it, I was telling myself not to worry, that blocking would soon straighten it out but by the penultimate row, it was clear that nothing short of steamrollering it would make it lay flat. 

This time, I worked up a design on a small scale rather than just "diving in", the swatch I made laid flat and so here is a close up of the new border it as it was being blocked. On the previous version I'd gone round the post of the row underneath to give some interest. This time I just used a double crochet (UK terminology) spike stitch into an intermediary black row.

Here's another photo of the blanket being blocked on my dining room floor laid out on towels.

If you're interested in me writing up the pattern explaining how I did it, contact me through my Ravelry account (SoozJewels) or leave a comment below. If there's demand, I'd be happy to do so!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Rainbow spiral crochet blanket update ... nearly finished!

Edging for rainbow spiral crochet blanket

You may remember my rainbow spiral crochet blanket. Well, all the motifs are all made, they've even been stitched together. I've turned them into squares instead of hexagons. I'm still going to do a hexagon version (because I've already worked out how to do that and don't want to waste the knowledge) in a different colour-way. All I have to do is the edging, as you can see from the photograph. I have started. There are three colours in the border, same as the spiral and the edging colours change according to the spiral closest to it. 

Today I have had so many things keeping me from making beads (which is my proper work really). Very cold again, icy steps, not as bad as last time but I have developed a tickly cough and cold. I just had a cold at the same time as my leg got hurt (DH bought it home from his office). I thought there was some kind of immunity that you build up, when you've had a cold, you don't catch another one for three months (or something). Well, anyway, this is obviously a different bug. Every time I go outside in the cold air, it makes the cough worse.

On top of that, my little dog, Missy isn't very well at the moment. She's very prone to stomach upsets. She got me up in the night to let her out to go eat grass (which she does when she's feeling off). And then she had to go out again to be sick (how lovely!) I wanted to keep an eye on her and it's too cold in the studio for her to go out beadmaking with me. Then there was a bit of mess she made in the lounge to be cleaned up (I will spare you the details!). She's feeling better now, after this afternoon's walk, it seemed to give her an appetite, she's eaten her dinner and looking much happier in front of the fire. 

If I'm honest, all I wanted to do was get on with finishing this blanket's edging, it's sooooo nearly finished! DH was at a training course in Birmingham which meant him leaving the house at a really early hour and he won't be home til late tonight. I can't really sit and crochet today whilst he's working hard at something he REALLY didn't want to go and do. I make money from beadmaking so even though I enjoy that very much, I don't feel guilty when I'm making beads (I'm "working"!) but crochet is just a lovely self-indulgence. So today I have been catching up with the housework so I don't feel guilty about enjoying myself (I definitely don't enjoy housework!) Spent the weekend glossing up the bookcases in the dining room so I am a bit behind with everything.

Tonight is another matter, dinner is all ready, just the pasta to put on when DH gets home, fire blazing away in the grate, dog happy. I will be crocheting ALL evening - happy happy happy! 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Washing machine felted crochet jellyfish pin cushion

washing machine felted crochet jellyfish pin cushion

I've been doing quite a bit of sewing lately, I made the curtains for the kitchen here at The Old Forge and for the new dining room (piccies soon, not quite finished in there yet!) I have also acquired some proper blocking pins for my crochet and I need some pin cushions.

I had a look round and came across these dinky crocheted jar toppers on one of the blogs I check in with from time to time. I wanted to do something a bit different rather than just copying. Mine are crocheted too but they've been washing machine felted. to make a denser surface to stick pins in Originally they were going to be octopus pin cushions but somehow they evolved into jellyfish!

Here's how I made them. Crochet instructions use standard UK crochet abbreviations throughout

  • One 50g ball of SMC Wash+Fitz-it in Fine weight (I bought mine from allsewyarns on Ebay). I only used about half of the ball.
  • 4mm crochet hook (or equivalent to achieve gauge noted below)
  • One empty 360g Sharwoods Mango Chutney jar and lid (thoroughly washed and dried)
  • A quantity of oddments of yarn and ribbons to match and contrast the SMC yarn either from your own stash or a creative yarn pack from somewhere like SixSkeins
  • Small quantity of soft wadding to stuff jellyfish body with (I used some left over quilting wadding but clean old duvet, pillow or cushion filling would do just as well
  • Small quantity of sewing thread for sewing machine
  • PVA Glue
Abbreviations (UK)

tr - treble
dc - double crochet
ss - slip stitch
ch - chain
st - stitch
sts - stitches
sp - space
marker - stitch marker


18 sts and 22 rows worked in dc equals 4"


First we're making the main body part of the jellyfish.

Ch 4, join with a ss into the first ch to form a ring. We'll be working this in a spiral so there are no further joins at the end of any rows.

Row 1: Ch 1, 8 dc into ring (9 sts) Place marker into last dc.

Row 2: dc into ch at start of last round *(2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st) repeat from * up to and including the st with the marker (13 sts). Remove marker from previous row and place it in last dc worked.

Row 3: dc in next st *(2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st) repeat from * up to and including the st with the marker. (19 sts). Remove marker from previous row and place it in last dc worked. (NB, at the end of all subsequent rows you need to move the marker from the end of the previous row and place it in the last st worked. From now on, as you've got the hang of it now, I won't continue to repeat this instruction.

Row 4: 2 dc in next st *(1 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st) repeat from * up to and including the st with the marker (29 sts).

Row 5: 1 dc in every st all round up to and including the st with the marker.

Row 6: 1 dc in each of next 2 sts *(2 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st) repeat from * up to and including the st with the marker (38 sts).

Rows 7 and 8: 1 dc in every st all round up to and including the st with the marker.

Row 9: *(1 dc in each of next 9 sts, 2 dc in next st) repeat from * twice more. 1 dc in each of next 8 sts (41 sts).

Rows 10, 11 and 12: 1 dc in every st all round up to and including the st with the marker.

Row 13: 2 ch, 3 tr into each st all round, this time omitting the marker st., 2 tr in marker st.

Row 14: Dc into top of 2 ch, dc in each st all the way round up to and including marker st. Remove marker. ss into next dc. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

Once made, I put it in the washing machine with my jeans on a long Cotton wash at 60 degrees. This is what it looked like when it came out, shrunken and the stitches have almost disappeared into the felting. I could've washed it again and probably lost all the stitch definition but this was close enough to what I wanted.


This item isn't felted and so didn't need to put into the washing machine.

Ch 4, join with a ss to form a ring

Row 1: 3 ch, 15 tr into ring, join with ss into top of 3 ch (16 sts)

Row 2: 4 ch *(1 tr in next st, 1 ch) repeat from * all round, join with ss into 3rd ch of 4 ch (16 spokes and 16 spaces).

Row 3: 1 ch, dc into sp *(dc into tr, dc into sp) repeat all round, ss into 1 ch. Fasten off leaving a long tail to sew up with.

NB As I said above, this item remains unfelted.


Next I made the jellyfish fronds hanging down. I cut two 2" squares of Soluweb from Ribbons and Buttons Amazon shop.

I then placed one of the square on a flat surface and and arranged 15" lengths of the yarn and ribbon so that they cross over each other with the centre of the crossover place being the  first squares. 40 lengths was plenty but if you decide to make one it's up to you how many you add, I'm thinking as I'm typing this, you could also crochet corkscrews in fine yarn which would look amazing (mental note made to do another one like that...!)

If you don't have enough different types of yarn for this, you can buy ready made bundles for purposes such as this from various Etsy shops. I have used SixSkeins in the past and found them reliable and their products lovely.

When you've got enough, place the other square on top ...

... and then pin through the top square of Soluweb, through the yarn oddments and catching the bottom square in five or six places to keep it secure.

The pins are just to hold it all together whilst you transport it to the sewing machine.

Sew a random pattern of lines all over the Soluweb, removing pins as you go til all the oddments of yarn are secured. If you don't have a sewing machine, you could hand stitch this with a series of running stitches, it would obviously take longer and you'd need to make sure your stitches are small.

Rinse away the Soluweb in warm water (this should only take a minute or two). It's totally magic the way it just disappears! Blot on a towel and then leave the whole thing in a warm place to dry.

Once it's dry, place the little wheel on top and then draw the 2-3 oddments of yarn through each of the spoke holes using a crochet hook.

Try to get them even all the way around.

I added some red curling ribbon left over from christmas present wrapping. I obviously had to do this after the wet stage as it's just made out of paper.

Fill the main body with stuffing material up to the level of the ripple edge.

Stitch the wheel and fronds in place carefully and securely just inside (about a centimetre) the ripple edge. You can leave the end to dangle in with the rest of the fronds, just trim it to length.

Cover the lid of the jar with PVA glue and place carefully in the middle of the wheel. Add a book or something heavy on top to weight it down whilst it dries.

Put the lid on the jar keeping the fronds outside the jar itself. Stick some pins in the top (excess ones can be kept in the jar) and you're all finished!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Icy Steps

My wonderful DH has put chicken wire on the decking to make sure I don't slip on it again when going to my studio. This worked wonderfully yesterday when it was very damp and I was able to make beads all day. No slippiness whatsoever! After the non-beadmaking-ness of virutally the whole of December, I really need to build my business back up again.

When we got up today, there was a sprinkling of snow that has frozen. Here I am, it's nearly noon and the landscape is still an unthawed out whiteness everywhere. The new concrete steps going down haven't got a handrail (yet); call me a coward but I am really nervous of that ice, I am so worried about falling down again without anything to hang onto. Come springtime and some decent weather, the steps will be finished, handrail installed, the gap will be filled and it will all be much safer.

So with discretion being the better part of valour,  instead of beadmaking, today, I am cleaning yesterday's beads, making up renegade sets from my extensive stash of leftover beads. This afternoon, I'll be photographing and listing them on my Etsy shop.

Wherever you are and if you've got the snow worse than we have - stay safe everyone. xx

Friday, 9 January 2015

New Year Sale - 15% off at Sooz Beads

Just a quick posting to let my bead customers know that I'm having a sale in my Sooz Beads Etsy shop, there's 15% off for two or more bead sets. Use voucher NEWYEAR15 at check out to get your discount.

It's only for this weekend though, the offer expires on Monday so you need to be quick!

A Happy New Year to all my blog readers, I wish you, peace, health, happiness and prosperity.