How do you find calm? When you have busy mind and a busy life, it can often seem pretty distant. Relaxation and taking 'time away' can often feel a little naughty. The guilt that can creep in when you aren't addressing something in your infinite list of things to do - when you let purpose lie - can keep you 'doing', but rest is crazy important. Finding a way to restore and to reenergise so often leads to clarity and growth. Calm is a little harder - though there is calm in confidence and purpose and the belief you have in your direction (which is fostered by that clarity and growth).
I have to say, I am a pessimist at heart - and the sermons at yoga (not dissimilar to the above) are more likely to have me rolling my eyes and giggling than being open to a better self - but craft and exercise do both give me moments of calm and of meditation, if they are going right.
In August, I'll be holding a stall and hosting several workshops at the Exhale Festival in Sussex. An independent wellness festival on Fairoaks Farm for open hearted creative souls looking for new ideas good feelings and lasting community and as usual, I sought some products to sell and workshops to host in keeping with the theme and community attending. So, meditation masks!
These are masks that you can use during meditation, relaxation and Savasana. Filled with weighty natural delights, it rests heavy on the face and smells lovely, providing comfort and blocking out light to give the maximum chance of calm.
For mine, I have put together an inner mask pouch and outer cover - to provide a little more flexibility for the cover and allow for workshops with embroidery, but you can make it as one if you prefer. The beans etc. have been measure in 1/2 cups, which is a touch American, but a mug would do as well.
Inner Mask Pouch:
25 x 25cm calico square
1/2 cup linseeds
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup of either dried camomile or lavender
1. Overlock your edges
2. Hem one side
3. Fold, press and sew the other two sides
4. Cut across the corners and invert
5. Fill with ingredients
6. Sew hemmed side closed
This is similar, though you create a bigger fold on the hemmed side so that the cover will hold the inner pouch in neatly like a pillow. By making a case, you can be free to use whatever fabrics and decorations you like. Go wild. I have been using up some silk I splurged on in a Liberty sale a few years ago to make a few covers which are on sale below and over the weekend at Exhale.
As February approaches, so do many many hearts all over the place. The 14th has long been Valentines Day - a day for lovers to express their affections and for secret admiration to be chanced at with anonymous cards. A day of hope that weeks or months of flirtatious advances might be mutual and one of the only days that you sort of hope to have a stalker.
In my last relationship, I long pretended that I did not care for the day, for - and it is true - there shouldn't be just one day to share affections, particularly in a relationship, agreeing it was purely commercial garbage. But, in other truths, having grown up with Disney fairy tales and always ready to throw myself at any special occasion going - I do care! As ever, it's uplifting to make someone else feel good and rather lovely to be made to feel good yourself and to be thought of (bar any awkward moments where you are the party adored and need to side step advances gracefully). I'll admit though, to date, the majority of my valentines cards have been from my father - but even those have stopped, very much appropriately so! So, I shall not be expecting any this year.
And alas, for the singletons out there, it can often be a sad day of self reflection (woo!). When you don't have a stalker, or the affection hasn't been mutual. You can try and channel Bridget Jones, walking across London Bridge with the wind in your hair, but now - there is an extra commercial opportunity for us! Gal-entines Day - 13th Feb. The celebration of friendships between strong independent women - because that's all we should need right?!
Anyhow, as always, I have diverted. Let's get to business.
These hearts can be crocheted from anything chunky with 12mm hooks. I've done some in Stitch and Story's chunky merino and Hoooked's Zpagetti. To keep the shape, I've threaded some craft wire around the edge. You can find some on the link here. I think I'm going to stick them onto blank gift cards and flog them at the market. You could make a few and chain them together for bunting or little bauble type things or start with this heart, and keep on going and see what you end up with!
Before we get confused with US/EU crochet terms, this is what I'll be meaning:-
SC - Single Crochet - hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, wrap, pull through 2 stitches
DC - Double Crochet - wrap, hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, 2* (wrap, pull through 2 stitch)
HTC - Half Triple Crochet - wrap twice, hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, pull through 1 stitch, 2* (wrap, pull through 2 stitch)
TC - Triple Crochet - wrap twice, hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, 3* (wrap, pull through 2 stitch)
I believe this is US notation, but I prefer it - as single, double and triple wrapping once you've pulled through makes sense to me.
Row 1: Slip knot, chain 4, connect ring by joining in the first chain. (4)
Row 2: Chain 1, 2 SC in each stitch, connect ring by joining with the first stitch (8)
Row 3: Chain 1, 2 SC in each stitch, connect ring by joining with the first stitch (16)
(- = move to next stitch)
Chain 2 DC - HTC TC - TC - TC TC - HTC - DC SC - SC - DC chain 2
- DC - SC - SC DC - HTC - TC TC - TC - TC HTC - DC Chain 2
connect ring by joining into first stitch and secure off.
Your completed hearts will be about 13cm in diameter.
Go spread them through-out the world, drop them into the bags of frowning strangers and send them to all your friends with packets of chocolate buttons and all the reasons why they're super great!
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!
It is with a heavy heart that I report on this guy. I was exceptionally proud of this knit, perhaps in part because I had knitted an amazing jumper to go with it already (and being matching is both ridiculous and ridiculously satisfying) and because it only took 2 hours. None of those things leave one heavy, but the fact that two days after this picture was taken, proudly wearing my hat out for a civilised dinner and a few wines with my favourite ladies it was sadly mislaid, does. Fare the well my gorgeous, we had good times.
Luckily - I probably still have enough wool to make another one, once I'm finished mourning, because it's knitted from Wool and the Gangs Crazy Sexy Wool which comes in luscious 200g balls and this pom pom was made from jumper remains, so fingers crossed!
The thing I was keen to try with this knit was bobbles. I've been seeing lot of chunky knits on the instagram lately with beautiful baffling bobbly bits - and so I decided to unbaffle them. I'm not sure the extent to which I succeeded, but I loved this guy when he was finished, so happy times all round.
To 'bobble' I essentially I:-
0) got to the stitch in question (1)
1) increased the given stitch by 2 (3)
2) turned the work around to purl back across those 3 stitches (3)
(you only purl these 3, you don't go to the end of the row or complete anything else (don't pass go, don't collect £200)
- this is all contained and focussed on creating the one stitch into a bobble)
3) turned the work around again to knit back across those 3 stitches (3)
4) pulled the further 2 stitches over the closest 1 (essentially decreasing/casting off 2 to leave you with one again) (1)
To make a bigger bobble, increase by more, or do more rows in the step - and for smaller, do less.
To make your own bobbly beanie, you'll need a ball of the Crazy Sexy Wool, 12mm needles and a yarn needle. It went a little something like this:-
Cast on 40 stitches
Row 1-5: rib stitch - *knit 1, purl 1* (knitting again, I'd increase this to 7 if you're hoping for the folded over version) (40)
Row 6-9: stocking stitch - *knit 1 row, purl 1 row* (40)
Row 10: knit 4, bobble 1, *knit 7, bobble 1*, knit 3 (40)
Row 11 - 13: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (40)
Row 14: knit 7, bobble 1, *knit 7, bobble 1*, knit 6 (40)
Row 15 - 17: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (40)
Row 18: knit 2, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2),
*knit 5, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2)*, knit 4 (30)
Row 19 - 21: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (30)
Row 22: knit 3, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2),
*knit 3, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2)* (20)
Row 23: purl 1 row (20)
Row 24: decrease (knit 2 into 1) (10)
Row 25: purl 1 row (10)
Finishing: Cut a long tail, thread onto a yarn needle. Take the stitches off the needle and thread through starting with the furthest stitch from the tail, creating a loop which pulls the stitches together in a circles. Sew down the side of the hat and fasten off.
I added a big pom pom too. I was at my mum's house without pom pom makers and had a pile of left over little bits from my jumper, so I simply wrapped these all around my hand, pulled them off my hand carefully, tied the middle with the thinner piece of string nice and tight, cut the two ends where necessary, rolled the pom pom in my hands and pruned until even (Google hand pompoms for better youtube explanations!)
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!
And so, we're booked in at The Doodle Bar in Bermondsey to hold a knit workshop on the 17th of November where I'll be teaching how to knit hats or these super comfy slipper socks - check the events page for a link to book!
These are knitted on straight needles, rather than crocheted like the last ones - so the workshop will be a knit-for-all - and with contrast colours (which you'll be able to pick) and a combination of stitches which makes them look like they have a sole, they're really quite lovely for yourself or as a gift for someone else!
As usual, I've created these for me - I'm a size 6 (39) and they fit very well, but given Hoooked is stretchy (and you should also be cautious of the difference from Hoooked to Hoooked, different batches of different types and thicknesses of t-shirts make for slightly different results), it's best to measure as you go along. The Clarks Shoe Size Guide provides the cm length of UK and EU shoes sizes - remember when the foot goes in the slipper will stretch outward too, so they may look long, but that's ok!
12mm Knitting Needles
Hoooked Zpagetti Yarn (2 x medium bundles)
1 Yarn Needle
cast on 14 stitches in colour 1
row 1: k (knit) 4, p (purl) 6, k4 (you have 14 stitches)
row 2: p4, k6, p4 (14)
row 3: colour 2 - k4, p6, k4 (14)
row 4: p4, k6, p3 (pass colour 1 to the other side of the knit*) p1 (14)
row 5: colour 1 - k4 p6 k4 (14)
row 6: p4, k6, p3 (pass colour 2 to the other side of the knit*) p1 (14)
row 7-8: repeat 3-4 (14)
row 9: colour 1 - k1, increase in k2, k2, p6, k2, increase in k3, k1 (16)
row 10: p5, k6, p4 (pass colour 2 to other side of the knit*) p1 (16)
row 11: colour 2 - k5, p6, k5
row 12: p5, k6, p4 (pass colour 1 to other side of the knit*) p1 (16)
rows 13-26: -repeat row 11-12, switching colours as before (16)
row 27: decrease the first 4 stitches into two by knitting 2 stitches together twice, k1, decrease the 6 purls into 3 by purling 2 stitches together three time, k1, decrease the remaining 4 stitches together by knitting 2 together twice (9)
row 28: p3, k3, p3
to finish: cut the colour off with a long tail, and thread into a yarn needle. Thread the tail through the remaining stitches from the furthest away from the edge of the needle and pull tight (creating a loop through the stitches that pulls together to create the toe shape), the stitch the edges together until you get to where the shape decreases to form the foot of the slipper. Separately, bring the corners of the back together and sew the fold together to create the heel.
*passing colour 1 through before the last stitch, will keep the knit tidy and ensure you're ready to start with it again
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!
Along with hats and fingerless gloves, I've been seeking more ideas for people to give ago at the Winter Warmers Company of Crafters evening - so slippers!!
As well as keeping your feet toasty, these would make great gifts to cold footed friends - and because of the cotton jersey that Hoooked yarns are recycled from, can be chucked into the washing machine when needed.
I based these on this pattern I found online and have adjusted for the larger yarn. Once you've got the head around the shape, you can go mad with patterns and colours. I have size 6 feet, you can add or reduce row for smaller/larger feet - measure as you go along!
For these, all you'll need is:-
12mm Crochet Hook
Hoooked Zpagetti Yarn
Starting with the toe:
row 1: chain 2 stitches and hook 5 HDC (US half double crochet) into the first chain, SL ST (slip stitch) into the first HDC to complete the loop
row 2: chain 1, 2 HDC into each stitch, SL ST into the first HDC to complete the loop - (now you have 10 stitches)
row 3: chain 1, *1 HDC into the first, then 2 HDC into the second stitch* *=repeat - (15)
(switch colours on every row from here on out if you want to go two-tone)
row 4: chain 1, *SC (US single crochet) into first stitch, DC (US double crochet) into second stitch* (15)
row 5-7: repeat 4, SC into DC from the last row to create the pattern (15)
row 8: chain 1, *SC (US single crochet) into first stitch, DC (US double crochet) into second stitch* but only for 11 stitches (11)
row 9: turn, chain 1, going back along the row *SC (US single crochet) into first stitch, DC (US double crochet) into second stitch* but only for 11 stitches (11)
row 10-14: repeat row 9
to finish: fold the knit and bring the corners of the last row together. Sewn, this will create a seam and the back of the slipper. I slip stitched the 4 adjacent stitches before fastening off, but you can also cast off and sew separately with a yarn needle if you prefer. Then SL ST around the opening and tidy away all the loose ends.
If you're feeling fancy you can further embellish with pom poms or buttons or anything your heart desires!
As a solar-powered individual, it's always with a heavy heart that I acknowledge that the colder season is approaching. There's no denying the evenings have started to close in, the cars are a little frosty looking in the early mornings and a coat is near essential. But there are upsides! Cosy nights under the duvet on the sofa, mulled beverages and brisk walks after Sunday roasts to name a few, but it is also knitting season!
In preparation for the first 'The Company of Crafters' event on the 15th October, I've started to put together some simple patterns that beginners will be able to tackle and here are the first. A lovely contrast beanie hat and mittens using Hoooked's Zpagetti yarn - and it's super quick to complete.
For these, all you'll need are:
12mm knitting needles
Hoooked Zpagetti Yarn
Hoooked Yarn Needle
Both knits are similar and simple.
For the Mittens:-
Cast on 16 stitches.
5 rows of rib stitch: *1 knit, 1 purl* (* = repeat)
Alternate a row of knitting and a row of purling for 10 more rows
Cast Off - Leave a 30-40cm tail of the green yarn and use it to sew together edges to create mitten.
For the Hat:-
Cast on 40 stitches.
5 rows of rib stitch: *1 knit, 1 purl* (* = repeat)
Alternate a row of knitting and a row of purling for 18 more rows
row 19: knit together 2 stitches at a time, so you finish with 20 stitches
row 20: purl
row 21: knit together 2 stitches at a time, so you finish with 10 stitches
row 22: purl
Cast Off - Cut yarn with 30-40 cm tail, thread onto yarn needle and thread the needle through the 10 stitches starting from the stitch furthest away from the edge of the knitting needle (so you create a loop). Pull tight and then sew down the edge to create the hat shape.