Free Crochet Workshops at the Kington Show!

crochetworkshopadHelllooo!  As mentioned a while ago, I have some EXCITING NEWS about an upcoming event.  The event is the annual Kington Show on 10 September, and the news is that Cosmic Crochet has teamed up with TradRad Crafts and we will be launching our new partner venture, Phoenix Crafts, with some FREE beginner’s crochet workshops at the show!

Not only that: we will have a fabulous stall full of lovely yarny and crafty goodies for sale, some of which you can see on display here in my front window (there has to be some advantage to living on a busy street, right??).  The stall will be open all afternoon in the main marquee, and the workshop sessions begin at 1.30pm and 3pm.

We will be making simple granny squares, and there will be lots of yarn, hooks, and handouts available so you don’t need to bring anything but yourself!  Any squares you don’t want to keep will be worked up into blanket squares and donated to the African charity KAS (see this post).

So if you live in the Herefordshire/Powys/Marches area (or feel like visiting), do come along and have a go at some crochet, or just pop by and say hello.  We should be fairly easy to spot, providing I can get this little project finished in time!phoenixinprogressWishing you all a flamin’ good week 🙂

December Days

The last month of the year has come & gone already!  Don’t know about all of you, but the holidays always seem to be upon me before I’ve really gotten into my December groove, sitting by the fire working on my Purple Waves blanket… then, just when I’m really beginning to get the hang of this whole Visiting/Doing Nothing/Eating a Lot business, it’s all over!  But it’s been a lovely month, full of friends and family and lots of crafty goodness…

…kicking off with manic making in time for the Machynlleth Craft Fair on the first weekend.  Just look at all that funky stuff!  Our stall may not have been the most profitable, but it was definitely one of the most colourful…craftstallside.…I also got to play with my printing block again this month, making a hand-printed lining for my best ever yet crochet bag, which – hurray! – I did finally manage to photograph as I went along, so that much-promised tutorial is underway at last…blockprinting…then things got a bit frantic as I tried to finish making gifts in time for the last Xmas posting date!  These are mini versions of the cute owls I made last year, using Bunny Mummy’s brilliant tutorial (which you can find HERE).  I put little muslin bags of incense inside these and they smell gorgeous…Xmasowls

…and so, finally, the food and pressies were loaded into the car and my friend Ursula (of One Woman Walks Wales fame) and I shared the drive across Wales and on into England to visit our respective folks.  We waved goodbye at the motorway services and normal life ended for a couple of weeks as the holidays began…ursulawaving

...I hope you all had a wonderful end to 2014 and are feeling relaxed and ready for a colourful New Year!   🙂

 

Purple Waves Pt 1: Hot Water Bottle Cover

It’s WINTER!!  Remember I said at the end of last month that I was looking forward to a new winter crochet project?  Well, this isn’t it!  But THIS, my friends, is my test-run for a full double-bed-sized winter blanket!  Oh YEAH!!HWBC1

I’ve been inspired by all the lovely Ripple Blankets appearing on Lucy’s Attic24 blog (here and here) recently, and decided I’d like to make one for myself using lots of warm purples and pinks.  As it’s such a big project, I thought I’d better actually check my tension for once (because we know what happens when I don’t, right??).  And then I got the idea that it would be SO COSY to have a hot-water bottle cover to match my blanket!HWBC2

Doing a ‘try-out’ like this was also a great way to see how the colours worked together. Originally, I thought I’d repeat the same sequence of colours through the whole blanket, but once I started making the hottie cover I soon saw it would look much better (and be more fun to make!) if I varied them.

If you fancy making yourself a snuggly hot water bottle cover like this, all you need is the Attic24 Neat Ripple pattern.  I used a size G (UK 4mm) hook and StyleCraft special DK.  It’s basically one long piece (42 stitches x 36 rows) joined at the top & bottom to make a tube then sewn up at one end to hold the water bottle; then a rectangle (28 stitches x 16 rows) attatched to the back to make the top flap.  Obviously the size may vary depending on your tension and your hot water bottle!HWBCflap

I ‘filled in’ the top and bottom of the ripples on the rectangle-flap to make them straight (as per Lucy’s tutorial), then crocheted a border along each side as well.  I also did a border along the top edge of the main piece, then crocheted the flap to the back of this (not particularly centrally, as you can see!) and sewed a button on the front.

hwbcback

Simple and very snuggly!  I’ve now started on the blanket for real, and there is something SO very relaxing about the rhythm of hooking these lovely purple waves in the evenings, I just love sitting by the fire, wrapping myself up in these gorgeous colours…  Expect to see a ‘WhooHoo’ post on this sometime…er, next summer??

Wishing you all a very cosy weekend! 🙂

 

Mini-Tutorial: Magic Roundabout Flowers

Lp&flowers1OK, as promised – Zebedee has arrived with the mini-tutorial on how to make your very own Magic Roundabout flowers!

As mentioned previously, the flower itself is from Attic 24, so click here for Lucy’s brilliant tutorial on how to make this.  I used the single-petalled flower for this tutorial, but I’ve had a go with the double-petalled one as well (see the Glastonbury Thorn for evidence!) and it works just as nicely.

So, now you have your six-petalled flower, you will be working into the BACK of this.  Begin by pulling up a loop through the back of the ‘missed’ stitch from round one of your flower (the blue round on mine)flowertute0This is a bit hard to show – here’s how it looks from the front, so hopefully you can see where you’re going!flowertute1Ch1, 1sc into this spaceflowertute2Now you will be working into the back of the sc you made between each ch3 loop on round 2 of your flower (mauve on mine).  These might be a bit tight so you may need to wiggle your hook around here until you can pick up two strands to work intoflowertute3Work 3dc (UK tr), ch3, 3dc into this stitchflowertute4

1sc into the next ‘missed’ stitch from round oneflowertute5

and continue round until you have six funky pointed leaves!  Join with a sl-st into your initial ch1flowertute6 Fasten off, and WHOOHOO!  Time to go decorate your roundabout!

Lp&flowers3x

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 🙂

 

DIY decals: budget décor, 70s style

decalheaderpicDon’t you love looking through all those home decorating magazines that purport to be for ‘ordinary’ and ‘real’ folk?  You know, the ones that say things like “Sophie and Brett have a budget of just £10,000 to restyle their kitchen”.  And then do you, like me, snort and throw them across them room?!   Yes?  Well, then, this post is for you! (With apologies to any real Sophies & Bretts).

I had a budget of about £10 to restyle part of my kitchen – who remembers this horror-show pic from last month?kitchentilesThis was stage one of my kitchen tile makeover.  A tube of ready-mixed grouting cost £5, then two Dulux match pots in lime green, costing £2.30, were enough to do two coats of paint over the tiles.

Now the fun bit!  I wanted some funky, 70s-style decals to zing up the tiles, so I turned to my vintage wallpaper collection for inspirationwallpapersI chose a flower motif from the sheet in the middle, traced it onto A4 paper and scanned it into the computer.  I had to go over the pencil lines with a felt pen first though, to make them strong enough for my picture editor to be able to ‘grab’ them for a colour fill.  I could lie and say that I deliberately gave them a quirky, child’s-colouring-book look, but truth is I’m just not that good at drawing!decalprint2

I enlarged the original, printed out a batch on ordinary A4 paper, and cut them out.  I wanted quite a shiny finish, so I used glossy decopatch glue to stick them to the tiles and seal them down.  I only did every third tile so I probably used ⅓ of a bottle, about £2.decopatchgluesMeasure and mark the position of your decal on the tile, then apply glue to the back of the paper cut-out with a small flat paintbrush.  Stick the decal onto the tile and work fast, this glue dries QUICK!  Brush the decal into place with more glue, smoothing out wrinkles as you go.  Keep a jar of water handy to clean your brush after each decal, as the printer ink can run and a stained brush will mess up your lovely colours!  I put a layer of decopatch glue over each decorated tile to seal it, then once it had dried I went over the whole lot with a layer of ordinary PVA to seal the paint as well.  I used ¼ of a tube of PVA or less, so about £1.

So…..Woohooo!!!  Behold, my £10 kitchen makeover:finishedtiles1I have to say, I am LOVING my new-look kitchen!  OK, it’s not a big-budget affair, and yes, those wobbly edges do show when you get up close, but now it puts a smile on my face every day!finishedtiles2

 

Funky festive round up with gifts galore!

Well hello!  I hope everyone is enjoying the festive season and looking forward to the New Year!

It all got a bit busy for me the week before Winter Solstice and Christmas, what with making gifts to parcel up and send off in the post, and parties and gatherings to attend.  headwarmeronpurple2 First up are these funky chunky headwarmers, made for my best friend’s two daughters in chunky WOOL: yes, I have found a brand of sheep wool I’m not allergic to!!  I wanted to make these very thick, super-warm and snuggly, so I decided to try Drops Eskimo.headwarmeronpurple I’m VERY pleased with the way they turned out, the wool was lovely to work with and although ever so slightly itchy on my hands, no sign of a rash – hurray!  I made these from my own pattern so if I can remember it (!) I’ll put a tutorial up in the New Year sometime.

Next up is this little critter, made from a fab pattern by Little Muggles: shelley profileHow cute is he??!  Now, I have to confess that he was made with the intention of being given away as a gift, but you know how it is, when it came to it I just couldn’t bear to part with him…shelleyfrontAfter all that crochet I fancied a bit of a change, so out came my fabric stash, cutting mat, and good old Auntie Janis (that’s my old Singer sewing machine!).  What better excuse for rummaging through all your favourite buttons, ribbon and embroidery bits than making a special gift for a lovely friend?   This was my second go at making one of these journal covers, using the excellent tutorial posted on BySmallMeans.  You can have a look at my first attempt over on my Flickr page, which was a bit on the tight-fitting side!  The tutorial is for a paper-cover spiral notebook, but mine was for a hard-cover bound book.  This time round I found it works out fine if you add 1/4″ to your measurements to allow for the thickness of the cover.purple journal2All in all a very creative Christmas, but just to prove that I do get outdoors sometimes, this is what I did on the Solstice:Solstice Tree plantingMe and my friend Annie in 10 layers of clothing, planting the very first tree of her new woodlands on her land!  Only another 3,000 or so to go…

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

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…