I shall be brief-ish.
I have always had a strange fascination with eyes. For most of my teens, I had a necklace from a shop called Octopus, that was a weighted blinking dolls eye in a glittery casing on a chain. It made me happy beyond belief - and the fact it freaked a few people out was a little added extra joy.
They're the window to the soul and the bodies biggest mystery, they are all you need to see of a person to know how they are - and yet, they almost always look the same.
So, in the spirit of rug making, I've known for months an eye rug was on the agenda. As with my sunshine rug, I extensively googled for eye rugs, but they were either not to my liking, or far too expensive.
I'm not yet sure whether this is to my liking - and I can't tell you how I made it, because it was improvised, but I can tell you it was made from Hoooked Spesso, a chunky sustainably made cotton yarn with which I am smitten. It's about £12 a skein and there was less than 1 of each colour used here. The rug is about the size of a 32" TV.
What boggles me the most though, is how Eliot (my kitten) knows to cat-moflage himself in the middle. Does he just like the middle? Or does he know it makes him look adorable?!
So, brighter months approach (do I start every post with that?!) and I'm testing out ideas of summery, but crafty workshops. So this time - a rug!
This is made from Hoooked's Spesso Chunky Cotton, which is great for those 12mm crochet hooks. Hoooked say:-
'Our Spesso cotton yarn is very suitable for decoration and interior design. Tons of textile waste are generated during the textile manufacturing process. We purchase and collect this textile waste from companies that truly care about the proper destination of these materials. After being collected, the textile waste is sorted by colours, shredded into yarn fibre and spun again into this crafty cotton yarn. No chemical dyeing process is required. A new cycle begins, maximizing the use of natural resources. In this circular economy, you are able to transform yarn into art, making crafty creations of the lowest environmental impact and the highest ecological appeal.'
Which, in brief, give a little comfort around the fact that this beautiful rugged and rustic feeling yarn is sustainably sourced, using up waste and repurposing into something that can be used to make something else!
So - the rug - it's super simple. All you need to know is a chain stitch, single and a double crochet.
Row 1: slip knot, chain 4, complete the round by hooking into the first chain (4)
Row 2: 2 single crochets in each stitch (8)
Row 3: 2 single crochets in each stitch (16)
Row 4: alternating between a 1 single, then 1 double crochet, hook 1 crochet in the first stitch and 2 in the second (24)
Row 5 - how big you'd like it: continue Row 4, but each circle increase the number of 1s
so 5:- 1 in 1, 1 in 2, 2 in 3, repeat
6:- 1 in 1, 1 in 2, 1 in 3, 2 in 4, repeat
Essentially your circle is 8 1/8s - and each time your increasing the size of your 8th by 1 stitch.
Continue until your yarns have run out!
Unfortunately you can see below, I started part way through a skien of the blue, so I'm not quite sure exactly how big 3 would make. There was definitely still at least one round left in each of the pink and yellow - and with each hoop there's about 2cm added on every side. The rug below measures just over 50cm in diameter and therefore has definitely exceeded giant placemat territory!
1 skien of Spesso is about £12! - On the stall soon.
Thinking forward to knitting and crochet projects for the summer, bags instantly came to mind.
Everyone needs a bag, to picnic, to carry those essential items, for a night out - and why shouldn't you make it? I've seen a lot of circular bags recently which I've liked the look of and this was improvised on Greenwich Market the other day.
It uses Hoooked Zpagetti, but could as easily use a chunky wool or Hooked's Jute or cotton Spesso yarns for a more rustic feel and a 12mm crochet hook.
Main Bag (Make 2):-
Make a slip knot.
1: Chain 4 stitches and join the last with the first using a slip stitch. (4)
2: Chain 1, 2 DC in each stitch, join loop (8)
3: Chain 1, 2 DC in each stitch, join loop (16)
4: Chain 1, *1 DC, 2 DC*, join loop (24)
5: Chain 1, *1 DC, 1, DC 2 DC*, join loop (32)
6: Chain 1, *1 DC, 1, DC, 1DC 2 DC*, join loop (40)
7: Chain 1, *1 DC, 1, DC, 1DC, 1DC, 2 DC*, join loop (48)
8: Chain 1, *1 DC, 1, DC, 1DC, 1DC, 1DC, 2 DC*, join loop (54)
9: on the first go, fasten off, on the second, continue below
Lining up the 2 Main Sections:-
1: 1 TRC in piece 2, then TRC in the adjacent stitch of piece 1
2: repeat until you secured together 2/3rd of the circles - approximately 35 stitches on either side
1: Chain 60 stitches - 80 if you want a longer strap.
2: Secure with a slip stitch to the other side of the bag
3: TR along one side of the chain back to the other side of the opening
4: Turn and TR along the other side of the chain.
Follow instructions for the main section up to 5 and then fasten off.
Slip stitch the circle to the middle of one of the main sides.
Add tassels as required!
I used the scraps to make a lovely place mat too!
The Hoooked storage bag crochet kit is a best seller on the stall. For £13 you get the Zpagetti t-shirt yarn, a 12mm crochet hook and the pattern to complete it - which is little to ask for an evening or two of distraction that leaves you with a handy and rather beautiful storage bag. And because it uses Hoooked's Zpagetti, the big hook and only one crochet stitch you will be well away in no time, even if you've never done it before.
A few people often start by thinking they want the kit and then leave with a hook, the Hoooked book (which has the pattern in it) and Zpagetti in the colour of their choice. Either knowing they'll want to attack other patterns once they've started or feeling the need for a particular shade.
The only things you'll need to know are:-
A Slip Knot
Double Crochet Stitch
Give them a google and a youtube and you'll see that's really nothing at all.
And that's all there is to say really - easy peasy. Why not? Once you've got the hang of it, you'll easily be able to adjust the size and colours you choose and go to town!
I've been meaning to make a version with Triple stitches as a laundry basket for my bedroom, but it's in the making queue!
We're deep into November and Christmas approaches at speed, as it does every year. The christmas lights are up and twinkling on the main shopping streets and the waves of cinnamon that waft from the mulled wine vendors at Greenwich Market have started to embalm the stall - all small lovely things to compensate for dark cold nights and regular rainy showers.
The theme of November's 'The Company of Crafters' (29th, 7-10pm at Deptford Does Art) is 'Festive Delights', so I've been thinking up and practising some on-theme crafting. Pretty early on, I got fixated with stockings. There's so many things you can craft for christmas - baubles, wreaths, jumpers, gifts - but this seemed like a good place to start. And as ever, the thick sturdy Hoooked Zpagetti comes to the rescue again for a one-evening project and a simple place to start for beginners.
This stocking uses crochet, the pattern was based off of a Hobbycraft blog (here), which uses tiny wool and hooks to make up tiny stockings you can use to build up an advent calendar! As with any of these, once you've got the shape and the jist, you can resize and embellish till your heart is content! Do it in one colour and sew an initial on the front, add pom poms, go stripy - the options are endless.. I'll certainly be churning out a few in the next weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for inspiration.
All you'll need is:-
1) 12mm Crochet Hook
2) Hoooked Zpagetti (I've used Hoooked's Ribbon XL silvery lurex for some shimmer as my contrast colour)
I'll be using US notation here - where:
DC - Double Crochet (wrap the yarn once before entering the stitch)
TC - Triple Crochet (wrap the yarn twice before entering the stitch)
SLST - Slip Stitch
You start at the toe:-
row 1: magic loop, chain 1, work 6 DC into the first chain, SLST into the first stitch to complete the ring (6)
row 2: chain 1, 2 DC into every stitch, SLST into the first stitch to complete the ring (12)
row 3: chain 1, *1DC, 2DC* - increasing in every second stitch, SLST into the first stitch to complete the ring (18)
row 4-6: Chain 1, DC into all stitches, SLST into first to complete the ring (18)
remove hook and replace with a stitch marker (I use a giant safety pin), don't tie off or cut the yarn, we're coming back after the heel.
Now for the heel (switch colours if you like):-
starting 4 stitches on from the stitch marker
row 7:- SLST to join new yarn, for next 11 stitches: DC, HTC, HTC, TC, TC, TC, TC, TC, HTC, HTC, DC SLST
row 8-9:- chain 1 to turn, DC, HTC, HTC, TC, TC, TC, TC, TC, HTC, HTC, DC, SLST
Back to the body:-
row 10:- Chain 1, DC into all stitches, SLST into first to complete the ring (18)
(this will take you around the loop, across the heel section, bringing everything together)
row 11 - 13:- Chain 1, DC into all stitches, SLST into first to complete the ring (18)
row 14:- switch colours and Chain 1, DC into all stitches, SLST into first to complete the ring (18)
row 15:- SLST into all stitches, above the heel SLST, chain 10, SLST to create the loop, chain more for a bigger loop (18)
fasten off! Voila!
So I'm still working on lots of these winter warmer ideas for the first 'The Company of Crafters' at Deptford does Art on the 25th October. We have slippers and mittens and all the beautiful Stitch and Story kits and now a hat for all the crochet fiends! It's been very interested to hear on the stall how most people either favour crochet or knitting - which do you?
Again, this uses:
12mm Crochet Hook
And is super super simple, as follows:-
row 1: Chain 2 stitches and crochet 7 TR (triple crochets - loop the yarn twice round the hook before inserting into the stitch) into the first stitch in the chain, SL (slip stitch) into the first to create a ring.
row 2: Chain 2, crochet 2 TR into each stitch and SL into the first stitch (you now have 14 stitches)
row 3: Chain 2, *1 TR into first stitch, 2 TR into the second* *=repeat, SL into first stitch (21)
row 4: Chain 2, *1 TR into first stitch, 1 TR into the second stitch and 2 TR into the third* *=repeat, SL into first stitch (28)
row 5-6: Chain 2, 1 TR into each stitch, SL into first stitch (28)
row 7: Chain 1, DC or SC (double crochet or single crochet) into each stitch, SL into first stitch, tie off (28)
To finish: I created a pom pom and sewed it to the top of the hat. This blog has a few ways you can try making them!
With all the triple crochet's this is super fast to do and creates a lacy pattern. Add extra stitches into the rows if you prefer not to see the holes when the hat stretches or for bigger heads!