13 November 2017

The Weekender Bag - A Sewing Project

Hello! It has been forever since I last updated the blog, and as I haven't been twiddling my thumbs in the meantime, I have a ton of projects to share with you.

So I'll start with a sewing project from last year. It was a gift for a dear friend which took me a whole year to finish, due to a mixture of life happening and so-so confidence in my sewing skills. So, sometime in 2015, I bought this issue of Simply Sewing and fell in love with the Cath Kidston weekender bag pattern. As nearly always with sewing patterns, I wanted to change a few things, such as using several coordinated fabrics instead of just one, adding inner pockets and insert a top zip, as I am not a fan of bags you can't close securely. I also wanted the bag to be more rigid and to have metal feet.

It wasn't easy or straightforward, but otherwise where would have been the fun in making it? The result I was very proud of, and very nearly kept as a changing bag for my then upcoming baby. But I did manage to part with it and I am so glad I did, since my friend seems to absolutely love it and tells me she gets all manners of praise for it. Yay!

So, let's have a look at the finished object. Here's a left side and front view, respectively with one and three pockets...


The back view and its two pockets...


The top zip, with a peek of the lining contrasting fabric inside the middle front pocket (blue with white dots), and inside the main bag (beige with brown dots). The original pattern does not include a zip, so I used a tutorial from The Bag Making Bible, by Lisa Lam. I highly recommend it to you, though there are excellent free tutorials online as well, like this one.


 Another view of the top zip, with its end tag...


And inside the bag, with one blue-lined patch pocket and one blue-zipped flush pocket (the first ever I made, which got me very nervous indeed)...


A closer view of the zipped flushed pocket with its contrasting fabric. I have a thing for zips in contrasting colours opening onto matching fabric. It's such a lovely pop of colour which never fails to delight me.


 Below is a close-up of the boxed stitch on one of the straps.


And finally, a bottom view of the bag with the inserted metal feet. The bottom of the bag was reinforced with repurposed plastic place mats, and I used a seam ripper to cut small slits for the holding flaps of the bag feet. I also reinforced all panels with heavyweight interfacing and felt.


It was a labour of love, I'm telling you. From time to time, I itch to make another one in a different colour scheme, but I still feel daunted by the mammoth task this was the first time round. That being said, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I made it again? We'll see...

In any case, thank you very much for reading! :)




05 March 2017

Granny Square Skirt - The Pattern

Hello everyone! This post has been a long time coming (two years, to be exact!) but it's finally here--the pattern of my granny square skirt...


...which can also be worn as a poncho!



Please note that I have used UK crochet terminology throughout.

So here we go...

The skirt is made of a waistband consisting of rows of back loop double crochet (bldc) in black yarn, joined at the ends and edged with a round of double crochets (dc), as shown in the graph below, where the X symbol stands for 'bldc'.

Below is a pic of the finished waistband: as you can see, working in the back loops of the double crochets creates a ribbed piece which has the added advantage of being quite stretchy.


Then the body of the skirt is crocheted from the waist down, creating four corners as you go along...



...and working in the following order: three rounds of treble clusters in various colours, one round of double crochets in black, and repeat...


...until desired length is reached, finishing with a round of crabstitch in black.


A simple crochet chain in black is finally threaded through the base of the waistband.



Materials needed:
1 100g ball of black DK yarn (referred to below as "yarn A")
1 100g ball of DK yarn for each desired colour. I used 9 different colours for my skirt, worked randomly, the only rule being that no colour should be repeated twice in a row (but by all means, do break the rule if you so wish!).
1 4mm crochet hook
1 tapestry needle to weave ends in.

Stitches and abbreviations used (UK terminology):
ch: chain
dc: double crochet
bldc: back loop double crochet
tr: treble
cr-st: crabstitch



PATTERN:

Waistband:

Tension: 10x10cm= 20 bldc x 16 rows with a 4mm hook
Size measurements at waist, approx. 70cm. To adjust to your size, increase or decrease number or rows, making sure you always have a multiple of 4.

With yarn A, Ch11, turn.
Row 1: dc in 2nd ch from hook, dc in each ch to end, ch1, turn.
Row 2: bldc to end, ch1, turn.
Rows 3-112: repeat row 2, do NOT fasten off

Fold piece in half, aligning first and last rows together, and join them with a row of slip stitches to make a ring. Fasten off and turn piece inside out. The side now facing you will be the right side of the waistband.

Rejoin yarn A into one edge of ring, ch2, dc in each row end around the edge, closing round with slip stitch. Fasten off. Repeat for other edge.


Skirt:

Round 1:
Change colour, rejoin yarn into any dc in either edge of waistband. Ch3 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr, ch2, 3tr in same dc (corner made), **skip 3dc, 3tr in next dc, *skip 2dc, 3tr in next dc*, repeat *to* 6 times (if making a different size, divide number of waistband rows by 4, then divide result by 3, and substract 3 to find how many repeats you need. In this case: 112/4=28; 28/3= 9.33; 9-3=6), skip 2dc, 3tr, ch2, 3tr in next dc (corner made)**, repeat **to** twice, repeat **to** once, omitting the corner stitches, slip stitch to beginning. Fasten off.

Round 2:
Change colour, rejoin yarn into ch2 space of any corner of the previous round. Ch3 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr, ch2, 3tr in ch2 space of corner from previous round, *3tr in next space between tr from previous round*, repeat *to* until next corner, **3tr, ch2, 3tr in corner, repeat *to* until next corner**, repeat **to** twice, slip stitch to beginning. Fasten off.

Round 3:
Change colour, repeat round 2.

Round 4:
Change back to yarn A, rejoin into any corner, ch1 (does not count as a stitch), *1dc, ch2, 1dc in corner, 1dc in each tr till next corner*, repeat *to* 3 times, slip stitch into 1st dc.

Round 5:
Change colour, rejoin yarn into any corner. Ch3 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr, ch2, 3tr in corner, **skip 4dc, 3tr in next dc, *skip 3dc, 3tr in next dc*, repeat *to* until 3dc before next corner, skip 3dc, work 3tr, ch2, 3tr in next corner**, repeat **to** twice, repeat **to** once more, omitting the corner stitches, slip stitch to beginning. Fasten off.

Rounds 6-7:
Repeat round 2.

Round 8:
Repeat round 4.

Rounds 9-x:
Repeat rounds 5, 2, 2, 4, finishing on a round 4, until desired length is reached. Do not fasten off.

Final round:
Ch1, 1 cr-st in each dc until corner, 3 cr-st in corner, repeat 3 times, slip stitch to beginning. Fasten off. Weave ends in. Block if necessary.

Tie:
Chain until you have enough length to wrap around your waist and tie a bow knot. Thread through every other dc at base of waistband.


And there you have it. I realise it may look a bit daunting at first, but I think once you've got past round 2, it gets much easier to see what you are doing. If anything is unclear or you spot a mistake, please let me know. Oh, and do share pics of your makes! :)

19 February 2017

Double Pom Pom Baby Hat

Hello everyone! A quick post today to share with you a baby hat I made a couple of months ago, adapted from this free pattern. I used remnants of a most likely now discontinued shade of Lang Yarns Mille Colori.




Yummy scrummy colours! Anyway, it was intended as a gift, but as I was making it, I tried it on Baby L to make sure it was a suitable baby size. Well, Baby L looked so impossibly cute in it that I very nearly decided not to part with the hat :-D 

I mean, look how cute, even without a baby in sight:


Anyway, I managed to give it up eventually... and went on to make another one straight away for Baby L. I'll dedicate a post to it very soon, and will share the pattern as well.

In the meantime, thank you for reading! :-)

09 February 2017

Granny Square Shawl

Hello, my lovelies, long time no see, isn't it?

First, I would like to thank everyone who has sent me lovely comments for my wedding and the birth of my son. They have been very much appreciated!

Second, I have had quite a few requests for a pattern for my granny square skirt. I am working on a pattern at the moment, but it has proved a little more difficult than I expected, so please bear with me, I will eventually post it on here!

Today, though, I'd like to share with you a shawl I managed to finish a few months ago. I am trying to finish most of my WIPs before starting new ones, but I have to say I am often tempted to embark on new yarny ventures!

A while ago, I happened across this gorgeous variegated yarn... Do feast your eyes :-)


It is Superba Poems by Rico, in Candy shade. Isn't it simply scrummy? It wasn't the first time I'd succumbed for the range, by the way. This other shawl was made in the Tropic shade.

For this new shawl, after much pondering, I decided on a simple half granny square (as in triangle). If you're unsure of how to make one, have a gander on Pinterest, there are loads of graphs. Here's one. I used two balls of yarn (I had only used one for the Tropic shade shawl). I found it made for a more generous shawl size, and a warmer piece.

A few dozens of rows in, the fledgling shawl looked as scrummy as the original yarn cake...


And the result? Oh my, am I in love with it! My first idea was to sell this shawl, but once I had completed the final stitch, I knew I could not part with it.


The edging is in a DK cotton yarn, specifically Rico Essentials Cotton in Dark Teal. It's a succession of double treble shells topped and interspersed with picots. It is relatively simple to work and in my mind looks quite effective. I have written a graph for it, which I'll post on the blog as soon as I've cleaned it up a little bit :-)


There you have it, a half granny square shawl in vivid, joyful colours. What more could you ask for on a dull, grey winter day?


Thank you for reading, and see you soon! :)

17 October 2016

My DIY Wedding

Hello my lovelies! It's been nearly six months since my wedding, so I think it's high time I dedicated a blog post to it now that I'm finding my feet with Little L!

True to form, this wedding was massively DIY-oriented, not only because we were on a budget but also and mostly because, as you may have gathered, I love handmade stuff. I am hugely indebted to many of my amazing friends and relatives who helped in various ways, and so I'll take advantage of this post to renew my thanks to them for their invaluable contributions.

Let's have a gander...

I had a great time with the "Paris Girls" whipping up those end-of-row decorations the day before the ceremony:


"Super Nurse", "Kingston Maman" and I had a blast making over 80 candle holders out of empty jam jars, decorating them with lace, ribbon and other trinkets:


They doubled up as favours, as we told guests to take some home if they wished. The whole effect in the venue - a 16th century barn converted into a village hall - was simply amazing!


As part of the French tradition, we gave guests little bags filled with sugar-coated almonds (or dragées). My lovely Mum sewed all of those bags herself (over 100!) out of scrumptious scraps of fabric. Look at those beauties:




You may remember the little flowers I crocheted for weeks on end before the big day. I managed 130 before I couldn't stand the sight of them anymore :-D We scattered them strategically on the tables, along with ready-made lace flowers...


...and the "Paris Girls" came up with the genius idea of sticking the rest up on the wall above the glasses, which cleverly made it look as if colourful bubbles were floating in the air!


My lovely MIL made cupcakes and Viennese fingers, which went so quickly I never got round to having any :-D The guests raved about them, though, so I know they were good!


"Super Nurse" got this gorgeous handmade bunting from a friend of hers, and I am so glad she did, as it quite perfectly completed the country touch of the whole thing:


"Mum-in-Love" made the wedding cake, giving it a naked look which I loved, and the cake topper was made by a friend of hers who also gifted us the cup and saucers as a wedding present. Just look how gorgeous:


I also made my own bridal bouquet, as we decided not to have flowers. I ordered floral butterflies and bunched them together following this tutorial. It's really quite simple and I love the result :)


Which brings me nicely to my pièce de résistance, my wedding dress! I crocheted it over many weeks from this vintage pattern, although I had to adapt it to the thread I was using, and most importantly, to my then-6-month-old bump (I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks after starting the dress!). I also altered the neckline as I found the one from the pattern did not particularly flatter me. This is what I came up with:


I finished the look with a handmade choker, a little lace bolero (not handmade, boo!), a ribbon tied at the waist, this crochet clutch and a pair of killer pink shoes generously gifted by "Sister-in-Love". Oh, and a husband in blue waistcoat and tie, of course! ;-)


So much has happened since then (ie. the arrival of our little man!) that I can hardly believe it was only 5.5 months ago, but I will forever cherish the memories of this fabulous day. Thank you so much for reading! :)


Note: all photos by Debbie Simister of Momentous Photography.





02 September 2016

Gift Wrap Idea

Remember the little gift case I sewed for a friend some time ago? Well, when the time came to give it away, I didn't have any fancy gift wrapping paper handy, only some plain wrinkled white paper from an Ikea box!

However, if there is something I am NEVER short of, it's yarn, and so I got a bit creative:


Three different colours of cotton yarn, wrapped 5 or 6 times around the plain paper and secured with a tight double knot (and loose ends cut) at the back, and presto! you have a lovely, original gift wrap that shows some thought as well.


I hope you like the idea and it makes you want to use it in the future, unless you have already come up with something similar for your gifts? Let me know! :)

31 August 2016

A granny square update... and an announcement

Hello, dear readers!

Where has the year gone, I have no idea! Well, the reason I have been away for so long is actually twofold.

First, I got married in May, for which I was making crochet flowers earlier this year. The wedding was fabulous, and I hope to soon be able to share pictures of its amazing DIY vibe.

As for the second reason... well, you may remember my last granny square challenge post about a mysterious project. The squares have now turned into this:



stalled

A crocheted building block! :) And said crocheted building block now belongs to...


Little L, a sweet little boy who arrived into the Little Crochet household last month! So as you can probably guess I have been very busy of late taking care of my new little bundle of joy, and have had little time for anything else. This has meant quite a few stalled WIPs (especially as Little L arrived slightly early) and no blogging, of course.

But I am slowly finding my feet again and I hope to be able to get back to crocheting and blogging more often, so watch this space! :)

Head over to Dane et le crochet for more granny squareness :)