WhooHoo! Summer Sunshine Bag

sunnybag1As mentioned in the November round-up last week, I finally finished the Summer Sunshine bag!  I started crocheting this waaaay back during my June glamping trip to the Usk Valley, and it languished on the ‘Project: Stalled‘ shelf for quite some time.  Conversations with other crafters (stand up, P. and Mum!) tell me that sewing everything together at the end is often the HARDEST part of any project so at least I know I’m not alone! 🙂sunnybag3

This is my second bag based on Lucy’s original Attic24 bag pattern, and I love the way it’s turned out.  These bags are easy to crochet, good and sturdy and they hold MASSES of stuff!  As before I made a lining for both the bag and the handles, and I’m particularly proud of my improved handle-attaching technique.  Here’s the first one I ever did:sewstraptobag

and here are my latest ones:sunnybaginnerquite a difference, I think you’ll agree!  Also very chuffed with my double-petalled flowers, making these is just so much fun.  I resisted the urge to smother the entire bag with them:sunnybagflowers1

I have one more of these bags to finish, and I really really will try to take some photos of how to make the linings so I can share a tutorial on that with you sometime soon.

And if you’re thinking that this bag is NEON bright, all I can say is that IT’S EVEN BRIGHTER in real life!!  See, I knew when I picked up that piece of pumpkin-orange fabric in the charity shop years ago that I’d find the perfect use for it one day…sunnybag2

Wishing you all a very bright and colourful weekend!

My Mexican Sunset mandala in Simply Crochet magazine!

mexicansunset2Something very exciting (for me, anyway!) happened recently! – Remember the Mexican Sunset mandala I made back in June for Yarndale?  Well as you know, I am a worshipper at the Temple of Attic 24, so I put a link to my tutorial in the Mandala page comments on Lucy’s website.

I only just got my mandala in the post before the deadline, and it took a while before it appeared on the Pinterest board.  But in the meantime, I opened my inbox and found…Lucysemail2OOOOOHWOW!!!  Can I even say how BEYOND THRILLED I was!?!  An email from Lucy! Wanting to use MY mandala in Simply Crochet??  How emphatically can one say YES in an email??

So that was three months ago, and behold, I am reliably informed that the September issue does indeed feature the Mexican sunset mandala (along with others, obviously!).

Thank you so much, Lucy!  I’m chuffed to bits 🙂

xx

Mandala Madness! Mexican Sunset mandala tutorial

all4mandalas

The Yarndale Mandala challenge has had me hooking up all kinds of colourful wheels!  These things really are addictive.  Clockwise L-R, Attic24 Mandala, Mexican Sunset version1, Sunny flower mandala, and – TahDah! – the Mexican Sunset Mandala!  This is a mash-up of my Mexican Sunset granny square, all the above, and some bits and bobs from other mandala patterns out there.  I’m not claiming it’s totally original, but if I have inadvertently come up with an exact copy of someone else’s pattern, I promise it’s entirely by accident.mexicansunset1

To make the Mexican Sunset mandala, I used a US size F hook (UK equivalent is 3.75mm) and Rico Creative Cotton Aran in the same colours as the cushion: Tangerine, Fuchsia, Cherry, Orange, Turquoise and Cardinal.

(NB: This tutorial uses US crochet terms as this is what I’m used to using!  For conversion see http://www.yarnfwd.com/main/crochet.html)

The first two rounds are worked in the same way as the Mexican Sunset granny square.  To begin, ch6 and join to make a loop, or use a magic ring.

tutorial1

Rnd 1: ch3 (counts as first dc);

tutorial2

Then work 15 dc into loop,  join with a sl-st into top of initial ch3 and fasten off.  Try to remember to work your stitches over the ‘tail’,

tutorial3

so that you can pull this in at the end of the round to cinch up the centre.

tutorial4

Rnd 2: Insert hook between two dcs from previous round and pull up a loop to join new colour

tutorial5

ch4 (counts as 1 dc, ch1).  Insert hook into next sp between dcs; *1dc, ch1*: tutorial6

rpt from * to * around into each sp.  Join with sl-st into 3rd ch of original ch4 and fasten offtutorial7

Rnd 3: Join a new colour in any ch1 space from previous round.tutorial8

Ch3 (counts as 1 dc), 1dc into same sp, ch1.  tutorial9

*2dc into next sp, ch1* , rpt from *to* around into each sp.  Join with sl-st into top of initial ch3.tutorial10

Rnd 4: This round is worked into the stitches of the previous round, so join a new colour by pulling up a loop through any stitch.tutorial11

Ch2 (counts as 1sc), then 1sc into every stitch and ch1 sp of previous round  tutorial12

Join with sl-st into top of initial ch2 and fasten offtutorial13

Rnd 5: OK here’s where we start to get seriously sunset-y now!  Again this is worked into the stitches of the previous round, so pull up a loop through any stitch to join a new colour.  Ch5 (counts as 1dc, ch2)tutorial14

*skip next st, 1dc, ch2 into next st* tutorial15

rpt from *to* to final st; join with sl-st into 3rd ch of initial ch5tutorial16

Rnd 6: This time you’re working into the ch2 spaces of the previous round, so join a new colour into any ch2 space.  Ch3 (counts as 1dc), 2dc into same sp.tutorial17

Work 3dc into each ch2 sp all around; join with sl-st into top of initial ch3tutorial18

Round 7: Back to working into the stitches, join a new colour into the middle st of any 3dc cluster from the previous roundtutorial19

Ch3 (counts as 1sc, ch1) *sk next st, 1sc into nxt st, ch1*.  (I know it does look a bit like I’ve done a ch2 between these first stitches, that’s just my initial chain gone a bit wonky – It is ch1, honest!)tutorial20rpt from *to* to final st, join with sl-st into 2nd ch of initial ch3tutorial21

Rnd 8: Join a new colour into any ch1 sp from the previous round. tutorial22

Ch2 (counts as 1sc), 2sc; then work 3sc into each ch1 sp all aroundtutorial23

join with sl-st into top of initial ch2tutorial24

Rnd 9: Join a new colour into the middle st of any 3sc cluster from the previous round; ch4 (counts as 1sc, ch2)tutorial25

*sk nxt st, 1sc, ch2*tutorial26

rpt from *to* to last st; join with sl-st into 2nd chain of initial ch4tutorial27

Rnd 10: Join a new colour by pulling up a loop into any ch2 sp from previous round: ch2 (counts as 1sc)tutorial28

2sc into same ch2 sp;tutorial29

then work 3sc into each ch2 sp all around.   When you come to the final stitch, you can either finish in the usual way by joining with a sl-st into the top of the initial chain, or you can use the invisible join method.  Lucy’s Attic24 mandala tutorial explains this far better than I can, so I won’t bother trying to describe what’s going on here :-0tutorial31

except that when you’re done, you should have a nice neat join, like this!tutorial32

And now allow yourself to leap around the room yelling ‘WhooHoo’, or whatever expression of delight appeals to you!mexicansunset2

 

Did I mention, these mandalas seriously are addictive?  You have been warned!

Happy hooking 🙂

 

WhooHoo! Yarnbomb lampshade!

yarnbomblampshade1Oh, TWO ‘whoohoo’s in a month, can you believe it?!!  As mentioned last time, now that I have my gorgeous Mexican Sunset cushion, what better way to co-ordinate one’s crazy interior décor scheme than to make a matching lampshade?

This little project was entirely inspired by Lucy at Attic 24’s funky lampshade yarnbomb post.  I just loved this so much and knew I wanted to make one of my own!  I followed her pattern fairly closely, except for starting and finishing with sc/dc/sc border (that’s dc/tr/dc in UK).  I thought I could resist adding bobbles, but once I’d finished the scallop edge the whole thing had a kind of circusy feel about it that demanded bobbles to complete the look!yarnbomblamplitupOh, this is SO much better than my boring, old, slightly cracked and discoloured white lampshade that I’ve had for a million years!  Go on, get your hook out, you know you want one…

 

It Started with a Granny Square…

Back at the beginning of 2012, there was a nasty flu going round our neck of the woods.  My friend Alison at work was ill with this all over Xmas, and whilst she’d been laid up on the sofa she’d taught herself to crochet.

Now, I’ve always loved crochet.  Not the lacy-doily kind, but the funky, 1970s kind, and in particular, those mad colourful granny squares that got made into everything from tank-tops and cardigans to far-out home décor.  Like this blanket – it just makes me think of some cult technicolour B-movie with a psychedelic soundtrack!multicoloured crochet afghan blanket from 1970sOnce on the mend Al started bringing her creations into work – a lovely bag, flowers, and of course, beautiful little granny squares.  I admired them so much I plied her for information, and she pointed me in the direction of her (and now my) Crochet Guru, Lucy at Attic 24.

So when I too succumbed to the dreaded lurgie, I found myself looking at all those bright, wonderful things on Lucy’s blog and was totally inspired.  I wanted to make things like that!  And I wanted to be able to do it right now!

But where to start? – I found one “beginner’s” book in our local library, with plenty of diagrams on how to make stitches in rows, and lots of complicated-looking pattern charts.  But, oh dear… how do you hold the hook?  How do you keep the yarn between your fingers?  How do you even make a chain in the first place??  Lucy’s “summer garden” blanket seemed so very far beyond reach…Small colourful crochet granny squares

I searched YouTube with my stuttering, go-slow internet connection and after much staring at the little blue circle I eventually found a friendly, easy-to-follow tutorial that I downloaded and played again and again, fumbling along with some bits of old acrylic DK from the bottom of my knitting bag until I eventually made something that looked like a square.  Oh, how chuffed I was with that first square!  Then I made another.  And another.  I tried a second colour!  The more I made, the more they began to resemble the ones in the video.first squaresBy this time I was fully flu’d-up, and unable to leave the house for supplies.  But I was hooked!  I worked my way through the remnants in my knitting bag (which were few as I’m not that much of a knitter), even using scraps from an old craft kit  that was intended for making fairies’ hair (the mauve-pink square in the top corner)!  Before I’d finished the box of Lemsip, I had enough squares to make my very first cushion cover:multicoloured crochet cushion coverA couple of weeks later, I bought some cheapie wool and made another:blue and brown crocheted granny square cushion slightly more accomplished than the first oneAnd THEN, feeling ambitious, I embarked on my own version of the “Summer Garden” blanket, using multi-coloured cotton yarn for the ‘flowers’ as I wasn’t yet confident enough to keep changing colour on every round.  That took several months, as I moved house and had more health problems in the meanwhile, but it was finally finished last autumn:corner detail of crochet afghan blanket mutlicoloured squares with brown border and multi-coloured edgingBut like most crafty folk, I’m always finding inspiration for new projects, and when I saw this pattern on Etsy, I couldn’t resist!gtat frontI’ve just finished making all the squares for this mad cardigan and laying them out ready to join together,rows of colourful crochet squaresbut of course whilst making it, I came up with an idea for another cushion cover!hot cushion squaresand now I’ve gone and bought a book full of new patterns….