Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Crochet Bits n Bobs

image of crochet strawberries
The end of yet another school year draws nigh. My little lovelies don't finish till tomorrow (Thursday) so all of the last minute runaround preparations have taken their toll leaving minimal me-time to get any crafting done of late. Coupled with the Mediterranean weather we've been experiencing lately I haven't felt like picking up my crochet work or sitting at the computer - it's been so sticky hot here so while the sun has been shining I've been making the most of it by getting out and about. So I'm here now making the most of these cooler and quieter few hours to catch up with your good selves before the five weeks of the summer holiday shenanigans begin!

My Summer wreath has been hanging on my door for a good month now...
image of crochet summer wreath
Those plump juicy looking strawberries are my first attempt at intarsia crochet. They really caught my eye as I hadn't seen them made in this way before, so I just had to give it a go. The pdf pattern is free, and comes with very basic written instructions. I found it a bit tricky at first but after a few initial hiccups I couldn't believe how easy it was once I'd fathomed out how to alternate between the two colours. Although as you can see I could do with a bit more practise to perfect those higgledy-piggledy stitches. It's given me a few ideas for future projects which I'm itching to get started on...
image of a practise piece of intarsia crochet
 I need more practise !
Further intarsia inspiration came from watching Kaffe Fassett's series called 'Glorious Colour' on 4od. If you haven't seen it you must make time to watch it! It made me want to pick up my knitting needles straight away and start knitting again after seeing this. His colourful patterned work is amazing, and very inspirational. I'm feverishly collecting as many pics of his quilting and knitting work for my Pinterest board as I can. I'm so excited at the prospect of getting up close to Kaffe's work at his current exhibition in Bath this Summer. I'll be visiting it sometime in August with my husband so I'll be taking lots of pictures to share with you sometime in the not too distant future. Apparently there are also yarn bombed trees and lamp posts outside the building - I can't wait!!
image of crochet hexagon cushion cover
Next are my two hexagon cushion covers which initially did start out to be my very first proper-big blanket, but yet again I've been faced with the nasty problem of 'The Wrong Yarn'. I bought this ages ago to make my waistcoat, but yet again it has failed the snuggly-drapey factor which is absolutely necessary and quite categorically required of a proper-big blanket. The disappointment didn't last long, however, as these hexagons are now in the process of being made into cushion covers. Most of my existing cushion covers need replacing, repairing, and cleaning due to the abuse wear and tear they receive from my family.
image of sirdar wash n wear yarn
The Wrong/Right Yarn
The yarn I used was Sirdar Wash n' Wear which is a crepe dk yarn so has a rope like quality which makes it really easy to work with, and best of all it doesn't pill (my local yarn shop owner told me this) so it'll still look good even after many washes...which is why it's a popular choice for clothing (she told me this too). Which is why this robust yarn is perfect for cushions, it has a firmer texture when worked up and yet remains soft to the touch, also the colours I'd bought exactly matched the blanket I had seen and fell in love with on Flickr and Ravelry a while back. I loved the clever use of colour of the different colourful centres contained within the repetitive contrasting muted colours. When viewed from afar they look like circles in a sea of grey, and as you get closer the circles transform into flowers with white petals, and then once you get closer still you can then see the hexagons. I love the contemporary look of it, and is the ideal pattern in creating cushions for my natural coloured living room without adding too much in-yer-face candy colour and yet still having many pops of colour all over - clever! I am still going to make the blanket using these colours, but I'll probably wait till I can buy some Stylecraft dk from Yarndale...it'll work out a lot cheaper making it with this...win, win!

image of hexagon border
Oh those edges! I hadn't even thought about them until it came to joining the sides. Everything I did just did not work, so it was lashed into the basket where it stayed for the best part of a week. Eventually after a few attempts I managed to straighten the pointed edges to make it square-ish. No way was I going to crochet a matching hexagon panel for the reverse side and go through all that again! Luckily for me I had kept this...
image of fleece material
...it's a fleece baby sling which a friend gave to me over eight years ago. It's basically a large piece of good quality fleece material sewn down one side. I hadn't the foggiest idea how I was supposed to use it when I had my first baby girl so into my stash of fabrics it went. This will make the perfect soft and snuggly reverse side to my cushion. I can't decide whether to put a zip in (which makes me nervous as I haven't sewn one in before) or whether to overlap two pieces and then add buttons. So now it's all ground to a halt while I dither try to make a decision.

I am so looking forward to some lazy go with the flow play/craft days with my girls, and hopefully I'll be able to catch up on some of my crochet WIP's then...well that's what I'm hoping anyway.

One more day to go. One more day to go-o!!

17 comments:

  1. Hi Amanda, you've done well with your intarsia strawberries, they're very pretty. I also am an admirer of Kaffe Fassett and his beautiful colourful work - very clever person! Your summer wreath is looking very pretty and makes a lovely welcome at your front door, and I am admiring your lovely crochet work and looking forward to seeing it as a gorgeous cushion; I wish you happy times while you finish it :) xoJoy

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    1. Sorry I'm so late in replying! Thanks for your lovely comments as always Joy. I will be giving my willow wreath an autumnal makeover this week. Happy Spring-time to you :-) Hope you are keeping well.
      Amanda X

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  2. Your strawberries are beautiful!!!! They look gorgeous on your wreath, especially with the addition of the strawberry flowers. Your hexies are lovely too! I hope that you enjoy the summer. xx

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comments Amy. Yes the Summer was fabulous this year, but I'm not ready to give up my flip-flops just yet! Hope you enjoyed yours too. Looking forward to catching up with you soon
      Amanda X

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  3. I love the strawberries! A spring/summer wreath is a must for me to make in the next month or two, such inspiration, thank you!! xx Pat

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    1. Thanks Pat! Hope you got around to making your wreath, and that you are enjoying your Spring-time.
      Amanda X

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  4. Those strawberries are lovely! Nice one :)

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    1. Thanks Hawthorn! They are so simple to make.
      Amanda X

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  5. I hope you are all enjoying your first weekend of summer hols! I'm with you on the crochet - the hot weather has me doing more sewing and embroidery - but I'm loving your yarny projects! Thanks for sharing the strawberries, I'm keen to try intarsia, and those look so sweet! Perfect for the wreath...and we'll done for using the yarn to make cushion covers, I think a simple envelope back (don't even bother with buttons, just bigger overlap) with that fabric will be ideal! Chrissie x

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    1. Hi Chrissie, thanks for your lovely comments, and I hope you got around to trying intarsia, it's simple once you know how. I completed my cushion covers a while back, and yes you were right about the envelope back!
      Amanda X

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  6. I love your wreath! Really beautiful!!

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  7. I really like your cushion covers but my favourite has to be your wreath, your flowers are fabulous and those strawberries are just the cutest.

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    1. Thanks Lorna! The wreath will be getting it's Autumn makeover this week. I'll be quite sad to pack those strawberries away.
      Amanda X

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  8. HI AMANDA.
    CONGRATS, GREAT JOB.
    I LOVE YOU SUMMER WREATH!!
    THANKS FOR SHARING
    HAVE NICE DAY
    MIVA

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    1. Hi Miva. Thanks so much for your lovely comments
      Amanda X

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