So, you may have guessed by now, that I'm willing to give any yarn-based craft a try. Whether it's knitting, crochet, weaving or felting (which I am yet to try...), they all have their place and where possible if they can be completed within a short period of time, whilst leaving you with something impressive looking, all the better!
At Depop - where I work - we had a line up of crafty workshops for colleagues in the evenings during May for Mental Health Month, so I stepped up and offered to teach Macrame! Had I done macrame before? No!.. but, I stock the fab kits from Hoooked (Only £9) and have a lot of their beautiful t-shirt and cotton yarns, so I got to learning.
All you need is a wooden ring, some beads and about 18-21m of a thick rope or yarn.
There are 3 main knots of macrame - all easy to google and thankfully one is half of the other - so really there's only 2! The loop knot, square knot and half-square knot is all you need to cover. Then it's up to you to get creative and combine them to develop a beautiful plant hanger!
Within an hour or so, you'll have something beautiful, functional and the platting and knotting will send you to a serene and lovely place of meditation.
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?!
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!
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!
On the stall, I am often asked how much one bundle of Hoooked Zpagetti yarn will knit. It's always a hard answer. Given the recycled nature of the yarn, it can vary from bundle to bundle in thickness and stretchiness - but Hoooked estimate the average bundle will produce 50 x 50cm (2500 sqcm) of knitting/crocheting/good fun. So, what else have I to do other than put this to the test?
Now, one disclaimer, this bundle did not knit the snood alone, yesterday I used some of if for the slippers, so I started with a little less than one ball of the Hoooked Zpagetti in Yellow Dream.
For the snood, I used 14mm knitting needles (for a slightly looser knit, to balance the thickness of the yarn - I'd say you could also use slightly large ones too, but 12mm and below creates a tight knit which may be a little rigid, particularly for this width of scarf), cast on 15 stitches and only used the knit stitch for all the rows to get the waffly texture. I haven't counted how many rows this was, but with all the yarn used up, I got a swatch 88cm x 20cm (1,760 sqcm). Without the slippers, for the average ball, it could have been up to 125cm x 20cm (2,500 sqcm) which would be sufficient for a scarf.
As you can see, the 88cm wasn't quite enough for a scarf, though there's sufficient overlap for a neat chest warming snood and with two/three buttons attached (the stretch nature of Hoooked means you don't need to worry about button holes), you can have a range of different styles within the one piece. It's definitely functional and again, wide enough to cover the shoulders too - so if you prefer something thinner, then just cast on fewer stitches.
So you can see compared with a usual ball of yarn, a ball of Hoooked really goes quite far! This would make a couple of place mats, a lovely table runner, or with 3-4 bundles you can make a 1m x 1m rug or a jumper and with 6, a 1m x 1.5m blanket. I've just put this into the washing machine, so I'll report later as to how it survived!
In August, I had my flat refloored throughout with engineered wooden floors. Since I bought the flat five years ago, it had had the same cream carpets (which with all the crafting that goes on had become a sewing needle infested disaster waiting to happen.. and not really cream anymore!). Anyhow! I missed the feel of carpets under my feet instantly and started rug shopping. It turns out nice rugs are pretty expensive - especially when you have a particular taste... so I started on the pursuit of ways to make one.
This is how I originally discovered Hoooked and rekindled my love of knitting. At £8 a giant bundle, it goes far and is quick to work with and because it's cotton, it wears and washes well. With 3 colours and a pattern from Stitch and Story you can find here (I made it a little bigger, casting on to 30 instead of 25 stitches) I made a sunshine for my bedroom in about 12 hours. At £24 of yarn and £7 for the needles - and the inspiration for the knit shop - it's really rather a bargain!
I recently painted the room in white and deep dark blue and painted some of the furniture a bright yellow. It started as classy adult room (I promise) - but has since become a whimsical kid-ult fandango, with cloud lights (inspired by a Magritte poster, I'd like to add) a few brightly coloured touches, a shoe-place - and now, a sunshine rug - because the best thing about being an adult, is the being able to do exactly what we want and be exactly as we wish (and trying not to care what others think!).
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!