Sunday, 31 October 2010

Cushion Success!

Well, it all worked out in the end - better than I expected!

I added a couple of extra rounds to the back (daisy) side, and then I blocked both cushions.

So now I'm a blocking convert - it makes such a difference!

I also did this amazing concept called... wait for it... counting stitches. I know! Crazy, huh?, but it just might work!

It turned out that my squares were now almost identical in stitches - one side was about 4 stitches smaller than the other.

So, taking the advice from some of my lovely comments, I just made sure that as I went along, I did a stitch that sort of squished two crochet stitches from one side into one stitch from the other side. It looked like it was going to be noticeable, but just two little stitches stitched into one didn't show up in the end. I made sure that it was done about 4 times for each side, and that I kept these spaced apart, fairly evenly, across the side.

I hope this is what Jacquie from Bunny Mummy meant by:
"join the two halves by putting them right sides together and over sewing in outer loops only"!?

Then when I reached the end of the side, the stitches lined up and I could sew to the corner with ease. Whoo Hoo!

Something else wonderful happened through all this blocking and extra-round-ing - the cover got bigger! So much bigger, in fact, that I thought it might, just might, make it around this cushion that came with a blue cover.

A little hard to judge at this stage!

This cushion (cover + insert) was $7 at Big W. And a white insert, same size? $5. Silly, hey?

(Also silly - who's making crochet cushion covers when she could just buy a perfectly fine cushion and cover for $7?? ;-) Hmmm.....)

This cushion is 40cm x 40cm - a standard size that I thought I wouldn't be able to cover... before blocking and adding those extra rounds. But now... it was going to be snug but it just might work! And with the blue cover - much nicer than a white filling thing.

(I know I could always sew my own covers, to any size I liked, but I really, REALLY dislike sewing. I have a sewing machine, up in the cupboard, I know how to sew, but I will avoid it whenever possible - including with this cushion!)

ANYWAY... I sewed it up... I used Bunny Mummy's button closure method... I didn't have enough buttons so my opening is pretty small... and I had a moment of panic because I thought NO WAY is that cushion going to fit through that opening!

Then I decided I would MAKE IT FIT! So I squished and pushed and squashed and punched and shoved... and ...

I got it in! Sewed on the buttons (yes, I only did that at this moment!), and ...

It was done!


Voila! I think we can call this: Cushion Success!

That said, I doubt I will be doing another cushion any time soon! It all took a lot longer than I thought, a lot more yarn than I thought, and a lot of fiddly-sewing drama which is SOOOO not to my liking!

Back to blankets, methinks!

And a few other projects I've been dabbling with...

Will share it all as soon as I can.

By the way, I haven't forgotten about that bunting pattern. It's going well, I've been taking photos and all... just haven't gotten it all finalised yet. That pesky Paid Work is getting in the way big time at the moment - this is one of the busiest times of the year for me. :-(

And when that's all out of the way, I will be able to blog a lot more. Looking forward to that. :-)

See you all soon, I hope,
Caz :)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Cushion Confusion

I know, no-one should be confused by a cushion, should they?

I thought it would all be rather simple.

But I'm having a devil-of-a-time trying to sew up this thing! Well, not sew it up, per se, but:
a) work out how big to make it! You want it to be firm and snug - not floppy and ripply - but it also has to actually fit over the insert
b) get both sides the same size!

Problem "b" is proving quite difficult because the front and the back are quite different. The front is made up of granny squares... here it is... I mentioned it in another post, here.

And the back is (mostly) a solid granny... it's the one that I made from the Charity Daisy that I wrote about here.

I know I should have blocked them. It would have made everything clearer. But I thought - since it would all be stretching over a pillow eventually, anyway - that I could get away without doing it.

So I just tugged and pulled at them a bit, lay them flat on top of each other... thought to myself: yeah, that looks about right...

And then I started sewing them up... and this happened:


Hmmm.... so... back to enlarging the daisy side.

And then we can try again.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Caz :)

P.S. I still don't know how to solve problem "a". I'm just hoping it will somehow magically be the perfect fit?

P.P.S. Can any more experienced, wiser crochet-ers help me out with any of this?? Would love to hear from you if you have any advice (or even if you don't - comments are always welcome :-) !).

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Cushion Creation

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last post about my Christmas bunting. I'm so pleased that you all like it, and it is clear from the comments I received that there are people out there who would, indeed, like me to write up the pattern I kind-of invented.

Well, I said if you wanted me to do it, that I would. So I will. (Did that make sense?) :-)

I am happy (but a little surprised) that I have made something that others are so interested in that they might want to try it for themselves. That's really cool, actually, now that I think about it. Awesome! I'm very happy to share, so I will.

I just have to get around to typing it up. That pesky Paid Work is getting in the way of Life again, but I will have a go at the pattern this weekend. I've never written down a pattern before - I'm sure I can manage it - but I suspect it will take a bit of time.

So, bear with me, if you can?

In the meantime, I have another project I'd like to share with you, if you'd like to see?

Some time ago (before I went on my bunting frenzy!) I wrote about a Charity Daisy pattern that I was using for a cushion cover.

Well, here it is again:

And, while on holidays, I also made the other side for this cushion:

Pretty, hey?

This side is made using a groovy flower pattern from the talented Elizabeth Cat.

The pattern is not on her blog (but please check out her blog anyway - it's very beautiful and interesting!). The pattern is instead written in the comments under a picture on Flickr.

This picture, actually. Click here to go to the pic and read the pattern.

My Andy Warhol Cushion, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Cat.

Now the pattern is a little confusing - at least for a beginner like me. I also found it quite fiddly and it took me a few goes to work it out. I
think I've got it right, now, but I'm still not entirely sure!

This is what my version looks like:

After the flower is made, a granny square is wrapped around it. Now, some of you may know that I've not always been a fan of the granny square (as I wrote about here), but I must say they are growing on me, especially ones that are a little bit different and interesting - like this one.

I looked at a lot of different ways to join squares before deciding on trying a join called Flat Braid Joining. I found out about it at Marie Anne's blog, Every Day Crochet - you can read about it in this post, here.

Marie Anne really loves this join and uses it all the time. Her blog gave some links to video tutorials and these explained it really well. It looks tricky, but it's actually not too hard after a few goes. I really like the lacy-braided look it gives and thought that went well with the granny squares. (Well, I thought it made them look less like granny squares, actually, and more like an all-in-one, interesting, lacy creation.)

So, thank you, Marie Anne, for those great links and all the info on the join. I am very happy with the result.

I then added a few rounds of double crochet (UK trebles) in the "solid" granny style around the whole thing because I thought that would match the back nicely.

I only hope that the tension is all okay and that when it is a finished cushion it isn't too ripply. I guess I should probably block it but I never seem to get around to blocking - it all seems like too much of a hassle to me!

I think (I
think) it is going to fit a 36x36 cm cushion insert and I have now bought one. I was thinking about buying a blue pillow because that would look better (I don't like the white insert peeking through the holes of the grannies) but I couldn't find one small enough. So at the moment, it's just the white insert that I'm using. Whether or not I fix that later might depend on how "over" the project I am by then! :-P

So now I'm ready to attempt to sew the two sides together! By wonderful, happy co-incidence, Jacquie over at Bunny Mummy recently posted some info on sewing cushion sides together - showing how she adds buttons down one side. I am so thrilled because it's all perfect timing for me and her method looks really easy!

I'll let you know how I go.

And, no, I won't forget about the bunting pattern. :-)

Till next time,
Have a happy, hooky day,
Caz :)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Another idea!

Okay, I had another idea....

I was working on my Christmas Bunting, doing UK Trebles in groups of four, as per the Grandma Tree Pattern from The Royal Sisters (like I explained in my last post, and in the one before). And I was thinking to myself "Why does this pattern have stitches in groups of four, rather than the traditional three? What does that do to the pattern?"

And then I got my idea:

Do ALL the sides need to have the same number of stitches in their clusters/groups?

What if - what IF - I did groups of four on the two long sides of my bunting, but just groups of THREE on the shorter side??

Would it go all wonky? Or would it work?

Well, I tried it ... AND IT WORKED!

Yes, yes, alright, all you clever people who already knew that would work. I've only been crocheting for a year, remember? This is all amazing to me! I Never Knew that you could DO that!

And the result? A more isosceles-ish triangle! Perfect for my bunting!


Alright, I'll leave you in peace now. Please excuse my frequent postings this week. I'm back at work after the holidays, you see, so, of course, that means I'm avoiding said work whenever possible. Hence the increase in crochet and in blogging. ;-)

I better get back to it, though. The (paid) work, I mean.

But before I do, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been stopping by this week, checking out my bunting and leaving me lovely comments. It was so great to read them all! I loved that you loved my bunting, and that you thought the Christmas pattern-combo bunting was groovy. That was great to hear because I've been so excited about it.

I was particularly pleased to see that the consensus seems to be that I have actually, kind-of, made up my very own pattern here! Even Michelle herself (from The Royal Sisters) stopped by to say that she loves my new idea! And she even suggested that I provide a tutorial about it! Wow. I really admire Michelle's beautiful and clever crochet, so I do indeed feel very chuffed to get that "seal of approval" from her.

So, what do you all think? Would you like this pattern-of-sorts written out on here? With photos or some-such? That would be a big thing for me - heading into new territory there. Never Knew I'd end up in such a spot. Never Knew I'd end up inventing something!

Well, I'll do it if you want. I will. But I feel a bit daunted by it. So I won't if you don't need it. Like I said, you can easily pop over to Michelle's blog for an excellent photo-tutorial of her hexagons. Do you really want my help, too?

Please let me know.

Anyway, back to that paid work I mentioned. If only crochet could pay the bills. *sigh*

Thanks again for stopping by!
Happy hooking,
Caz :)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Christmas Bunting! A (sort-of) pattern!

Well, after yesterday's bunting post, I found I couldn't be stopped! It's Crochet Bunting City here!

I feel so excited and on such a high of creativity - want to know what I've gone and done now?

I've invented a new kind of bunting! Christmas Bunting!

What do you think?

Again, this is not actually my own invention - I can only take credit for the clever-combination. :-) It's a mix of clever patterns and ideas from other clever blogsters.

In fact, it's the same lovely ladies that I mentioned yesterday - Michelle from The Royal Sisters
and Alice from Crochet with Raymond!

The star is from The Royal Sisters - it's from the "Granny Star Hexagon" tutorial.

I was making some of these a few weeks ago with the idea of joining them into a ... I don't know... maybe a table runner?... something. Just trying things out, really. I made the star part in this amazing gold thread that I found in Spotlight, and then I tried adding the extra rounds in a cheerful Christmas red.

Anyway, last night, I was looking at those stars and thinking... if they are six-sided, couldn't they be turned into something three-sided?

Then I was looking at Alice's blog (Crochet with Raymond) and I saw, on her new bunting pattern, what has she done? Started with a centre made from six clusters! And then she made that into a three-sided triangle!

So, yes, it can be done! Thanks, Alice! :-)

So I took my lovely gold star, and started creating granny-triangle rounds.

Following the Granny Tree pattern on the Royal Sisters, I used groups of four double-crochets (UK trebles), not the traditional three. This actually worked well because that covered the gold chains around the star better than a group of three, as those chains are rather long (5 chains stitches, from memory).

Then when I was happy with the number of rounds, I edged them following the Granny Tree pattern again. But at the tip I added a little picot again. (This is an idea that I got from Crochet with Raymond and I mentioned this in my last post - apologies for the repetition!).

And suddenly, there before me, was this very fancy, very special-looking Christmas-y bunting! Well, it looked fancy and special and Christmas-y to me, at least! :-P

Yes, I do feel rather proud of my special Christmas bunting and I couldn't wait to share it with you.

So if you want to make one of your own, pop over to The Royal Sisters and have a look at her Grandma Star Hexagon tutorial, and then combine that with her Grandma Tree tutorial. If you're not sure how to turn six clusters into a triangle, have a look at Alice's bunting pattern on Crochet with Raymond - her photos make it nice and clear. And before you know it, you'll have yourself some Chrissy bunting like mine!

(I don't feel that I can put the pattern here, can I? Since it's not really my own - it's a combination of others... you know what I mean? But these blogs are just a click away - just follow my links. They are great blogs with lots of great ideas and the photo-tutorials make everything super-easy.)

And, if you try this, please let me know how you get on! What else did you make that was similar? The possibilities are ENDLESS! Cool, hey? I Never Knew. ;-)

Have fun and happy hooking!
Caz :)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Geometry and inspiration... and bunting

I love looking at crochet blogs and web-sites for ideas, reading what people have done and how or why... seeing the amazing things people can make. And these ideas all mull around in my head...

And sometimes - not often, but every now and again - some ideas merge. Combine into something new.

And tonight something came together in a way that surprised me. My easily distracted and wandering mind put two things together and any other day I wouldn't have seen them as similar.

Let me explain the wanderings of my mind... if you could humour me...

First, I was admiring bunting. Yes, bunting. In my last post I explained that I really quite like bunting, and I recently received some as a little gift in the post from Sue at The Quince Tree, and this cheerful bunting had gotten me all inspired about making my own.

So I was looking at granny-bunting, which is basically a granny triangle. And thinking about how it is so very... even-sided. Equilateral, if you want to get technical! :-P And the thing is, I'd like to make my bunting a little more long-sided... a little more ... isosceles!

But how could this be done? Can it be done with a granny triangle?

I love the bunting that Alice created over at Crochet with Raymond. She has two bunting patterns, and I really like her first one. The frilly sides make her bunting quite pretty and also a little more isosceles-like. (I'm not sure they really
are isosceles triangles, but they just look more longer-sided.) And the picot stitch at the bottom of each triangle stretches it all out just a little more. Very clever indeed.

Lovely bunting from Crochet with Raymond!

Anyway, then I put my love of bunting aside, and started browsing for Christmas ideas.

I was thinking of maybe making some Christmas Granny Trees following the pattern on The Royal Sisters, maybe making a garland or some-such. And that was when it happened. I was looking at the (very clear and helpful) photo-tutorial that Michelle has for her trees and suddenly I saw it.

Grandma Tree from The Royal Sisters

Her trees, with their bumpy sides but straight bases, were rather isosceles-looking! In truth, they were very similar to Alice's bunting triangles - just with four-treble groups instead of 3. And the bumpy sides were similar, but just a slightly different way of doing them. Hmmm... I thought to myself, I quite like these tree-y triangles!

What if - what IF - I made Michelle's tree, but didn't add the stump? And what if I added Alice's picot droplet at the tip of the triangle? Could this become the ultimate bunting pattern - the shape I was looking for?

I tried it - and I LOVE it!

So basically, what you do (would you like me to explain how I combined them?) is: follow Michelle's tree pattern (at the Royal Sisters) until the last round, BUT when you reach the tip of the "tree" (or the bottom tip of the bunting flag), do the four trebles as you start the corner, then chain four and make a picot by slip-stitching into the fourth chain from the hook (that's the idea I got from Crochet with Raymond), then do four more trebles to finish that corner, then continue on as per The Royal Sisters' pattern. And stop at the end of that round - before you make the tree stump. Obviously. :-)

Did that make sense? Visit their websites - I'm sure it will make more sense once you do! :-)

And that's it! Like I said, not that clever really, but, boy, does it feel good when something in my mind just "clicks". I have looked at The Royal Sisters' Granny Trees so many, many times, but never before saw a bunting triangle.

Many people say I have a strange mind ;-) but sometimes it just WORKS. Hee hee. :-)

I'm off to make some more bunting now! And, um, then get back to those other projects! :-)

Happy hooking,
Caz :)

Editor's note: Since writing all this, I have come to the realisation that there are many ways to make long, thin, crochet bunting flags. Simply doing stripes of single (double) crochet with decreases at the end of each row, something like that would probably work, wouldn't it? And no doubt there are patterns out there following that idea. But I was looking at granny-triangle bunting, and that's why they were equal-sided, and that's where my thinking started. I may or may not go and look for other options, but this Granny-tree-triangle combo has left me feeling so pleased that I think it will do, for now, in my quest for the perfect bunting. :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Good to get away... and good to come home!

I have two things to share today.

First of all, we've been away on holidays. Down to Brissy (Brisbane) to catch up with family. And a lovely time was had by all - t'was fun enough for the kids and relaxing enough for me. :-)

While we were down there, I was able to visit my little sister's new townhouse apartment. I'd seen it in pictures but it really was great to actually
be there. She is very proud of it, of course (it's the first home she's purchased), and loved having us over and showing us around.

And what did I see as I climbed the stairs to the living room? What was waiting for me, draped across the couch, looking comfy and welcoming?

My (I mean,
her) Event Plaid blanket!

I did say I'd share a photo of it
in situ, didn't I?

Well, here it is! Looks fabulous, if I do say so myself!

My sister says she loves curling up under it at night, in front of the telly. Checks email on her laptop, on the couch, blankie over her legs. It is actually getting USED, which I think is awesome. I would hate to think of it being kept in the linen cupboard because "it is too special for every day" - NO! - that would be a big, big WASTE! So good on you for using it, Sis! Spill coffee and cookie crumbs on it! It is washable, after all.

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, but I think you can see that I was so pleased to see it in its rightful home, being used and loved. It felt really good to see that.

My sister was happy to pose with the blankie, but then she got a little camera shy! :-)

Anyway, after all the fun and relaxing of our trip down south, it was time to head back to the tropics and get ready for the new school term (groan!). Was feeling a bit un-excited at the thought of holidays ending and chaos resuming, so I must say it was very nice indeed to arrive home to a parcel from the U.K.

A parcel from the U.K.? Ooooohhhh! I know what that is: it's a parcel of goodies from Sue at The Quince Tree!

I won a give-away, you see. It was most exciting as I almost never win anything! And what a lovely lot of goodies Sue was giving away - all to celebrate the 100th post on her blog. (It really is such a lovely blog by the way, full of colourful crochet and lovely food ideas and recipes. If you haven't stopped by her way, I thoroughly recommend that you check it out.)

So I opened the parcel and found it full of little wrapped items. My kids found this sooooo exciting, so I was able to act all excited with them (which was good because I actually WAS really excited).

And in the parcels we found these:

Lovely smelly soap, chocolate from Cornwall that is just DIVINE, a bundle of Sue's beautiful mini-cards (which were made from a collection of her stunning photography), and - best of all - a lovely string of rainbow, crochet BUNTING!

I'm not normally a frills'n'fancies home decorator - I don't fill my home with ornaments and excess cushions and frills and trims, I'm far too practical for all that - but I do make an exception for bunting. (And paper chains, when children are involved.) Bunting is just so cheerful and festive, don't you think? I made some paper bunting for one of the children's bedrooms, but this string of crochet triangles will be perfect in the other bedroom. In that bedroom my little girl has quite a wide window, and - what do you know! - it fits across it beautifully!

I'm finding that I turn my head every time I pass her room; I can't help but look through her open door at that cheerful string of flags and smile to myself as I walk by...

So, thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear friend, Sue! I think it is so kind and generous and wonderful that you would send me such lovely things half-way around the world. And congratulations on 100 posts - here's to many, many more.

It was a lovely, cheerful thing to come home to.

Now it's got me thinking about making some crochet bunting of my own...

Just as soon as I finish the half-a-dozen projects I'm working on at the moment! :-P

Or maybe I could just dabble a little bit with the idea tonight... ;-)

*sigh*... I like starting projects so much more than finishing them!

See you soon with more news on all those projects,
In the meantime, happy hooking,
Caz :)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

This time last year...

It was at the very beginning of October last year, right at the end of the Spring school holidays, that I sat down beside my mum (who was visiting at the time), and I uttered those fateful words:

"How do you DO that?"

My mum was doing some crochet. It took some persistence, but - after after convincing her that I really wanted to know - she showed me how to do it.

I Never Knew what that would lead to. Never Knew that a year later I would have a blog about my crochet, and some finished items of which I am so, so, proud. And a box, a basket, and a bag-or-three filled with WIPs and UFOs, and lovely, lovely yarn!

As I wrote about here, I Never Knew this was coming. Never Knew I would find this amazing LOVE of crochet, Never Knew I would get such a THRILL from creating something with hook and yarn.

And if you'd told me, I would have laughed.

The thing I like most about it is that it seems to have awoken a creative side in me, a side that had laid dormant for far too long. I saw a wonderful quote on Handmaid Liset's blog, a quote from Charles Dickens. It said:

The whole difference between construction and creation is this; that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.

And I understand that now. I Never Knew, but now I do. :-)

Just goes to show everyone show try something new once in a while.

You just Never Know what it might do to your life and your well-being. You Never Know where it might take you.

My crochet has taken me here so far, and I'm loving the journey I'm on.

Thanks for sharing it with me as you visit my blog, and view my pictures on Flickr. I'm so glad that as I move into my second year of crochet discovery and creativity, I can share my revelations with you. :-)

Caz xxxxxxxxxxxxx