Monday, 28 October 2013

Christmas Crafting

I've embarked on some Christmassy crafting... this was an idea I had for last Christmas, but never got round to it.  Hence I've started early this year or it'll probably never get done again!

Little crochet stars.  This is just the start - they are being turned into something which I will show you next time!

Thanks as always to all commenters and followers/readers!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Stripy Tea Cosy - Including Tutorial!

It's my brother's birthday today - Happy Birthday Brother Numpsie!  (If you've watched The Golden Child (from back when we were kids), you'll know where that nickname came from! - this bit of the film)

Anyway... last year he acquired this fancy teapot - and I've been meaning to make him a tea cosy ever since (whether he wants one or not!)  I decided his birthday was a good time.

Check out the reflection for a view of my living room!

I needed the teapot with me to work out how to make the cosy fit, so my sister-in-law sneaked it out.  He'd not used it recently, and it was away in the cupboard, so she thought it would be fine.  That very day, he suggested they have a pot of tea... then continued to for the next few days!  She had to put him off each time while I frantically made the cosy and got the teapot back to her!

He's a big Southampton Football Club supporter - hence the red and white stripes!

My favourite part of this tea cosy project is... minimal ends to sew in!!  See below to find out how!  It's also pretty easy...

Tea Cosy Tutorial

What you need:
Yarn in the colours of your choice
Crochet hook of the appropriate size to match your yarn
Tapestry needle
A button or two

Stitches used:
(I use US terms (for some reason - even though I'm British!) but the conversions are shown below)
ch - chain
sc - single crochet (conversion for UK: double crochet)
dc - double crochet (conversion for UK: treble crochet)

This is more of a method tutorial, than a full-on detailed pattern.

Measure from the base of your teapot to the top of your teapot lid, and create a foundation row of that length, making sure that you check against your teapot that it is the right size as you go.  Keep your initial tail of yarn long, as you will use that to sew parts of the tea cosy together later.

Keep track of the number of stitches you use, as you will need to repeat this for the other side.

The foundation row can either be a row of chains, into which you dc your first row, or it can be a chainless dc foundation.  (If you go for the chainless dc foundation, that will count as the first row of dc).

dc two rows for each stripe, change colour and repeat - keeping a decent sized tail of yarn for the start and end of each colour and DO NOT sew the ends in (they will become the funky tuft at the top of your tea cosy!)  Your ends should all be on the same edge of the crochet, as shown above.

Measure from the handle to the spout/front of your teapot and keep going with your stripes until your crochet piece is the right size.  Again, I would wrap it around the teapot as you go, to make sure it reaches across the width of the teapot (from handle to spout).  Leave your final yarn tail long for sewing the teapot together.

Then make another piece the same size,in the same way, as shown above.

Making sure you keep all the yarn tails at the top, put the two pieces on top of each other and start to sew them together along the two edges - down the stripes.

The pieces have been opened out (not on top of each other) to show you the stitching

Use one of the long end yarn tails, and sew neatly through the back loops of the end rows of crochet, as shown above.  From the front the stitches should not be noticeable:

The pieces have been opened out (not on top of each other) to show you the stitching

Just sew down for a short distance - as your cosy will need to be open for the handle and spout.  Leave the ends of the yarn loose, so that you can add more stitches/undo stitches as appropriate, when you start fitting the tea cosy to the teapot.

Now that the top part of the cosy is sewn together, you should be able to gather all your yarn ends and tie them together in a big knot at the top.  To keep the ends secure, I firstly tied them together in pairs of two, with a little  knot.  Then gathered them into the big knot.  Try to make this nice and tight and secure.  I pulled each end individually to get the knot nice and tight.  When the cosy is finished you will trim the ends down to make the tuft, but it's best to leave that to the end.

You can now put your tea cosy over your teapot to work out exactly where the spout and handle gaps should be.  You'll be taking it on and off from now on!

Work on the spout side first.  Adjust the stitches you made by adding more, or undoing some, until the tea cosy is sewn to the right point for the spout to poke out neatly.  Do a couple of extra stitches in the same place at that point to make it a bit more secure, then run your yarn down to the bottom of the spout by sewing a running stitch neatly at the back of one of the crochet edges until you reach the point where you need to join the two edges together again.  Continue joining them to the bottom.

On the handle side, just join to the top of the handle - the bottom will be secured with a button and loop.

You then need to add a bit of shaping to help pull the cosy tighter at the bottom of the teapot.  This is two simple rows of sc at the bottom of the cosy.

Start by joining your yarn at one end and creating your first row of sc across the bottom of the cosy.  To pull the cosy in at that point, as shown above, you need to do only three sc stitches per colour (that's per two rows of dc).  Space them evenly across the two rows of dc and keep going to the end of the row.

When you reach the end, do a series of ch stitches  - I did 10 - then bring your hook back to the last sc of the row and sc all the way back again.  This will turn your ch stitches into a loop for a button and will finish off the second row of sc.  You can make the loop as big as you like, depending on where you want to put the button on the other side of your tea cosy.  This will join your cosy underneath the teapot handle.

You can see above that the cosy is starting to take shape now!

Position your cosy on your teapot to work out where to sew the button to join the cosy beneath the handle.

Sew the button on.

You should now be able to fit your tea cosy to your teapot.

The handle on this teapot is massive - so there is only a small space at the bottom to squeeze the button fastening on before the base of the teapot.  I also felt that it would keep the tea warmer if I added another button in the middle of that huge handle, just to keep it a bit cosier and wrapped up!  I crocheted a 10 ch loop on one side, and sewed a button on the other.  Depending on the style of your teapot, you may want to adapt the button fastening/s to work better for the shape you are fitting to.

Sew in any leftover ends, trim off the yarn at the top to create a good tuft, and your tea cosy is made!

I hope this makes sense - let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to help.

If anyone makes this, please let me know as it will make me very excited!

(My starting inspiration to use two stripy rectangles was from this gorgeous pattern. The stitches I used and most of the rest is altered to suit the look I wanted for my Southampton FC tea cosy!)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Weekend Bits...

This weekend...

There has been some crochet...

Coming along nicely!

[EDITED TO ADD: You can find out more about this blanket here - yarn details, stitch and size information given.  Also, check out my other finished crochet projects in my Crochet tab]

Quite a bit of DIY (building chairs, putting up shelves) and some knitting...

This is something I've been working on for the Lumberjack, if it actually works out.  I started it before we moved, and it was in hibernation for a few months - but I'm making myself do a few rows here and there.  The colour doesn't exactly inspire me!  More about that in another post at some point.  (That is a GIANT ball of yarn by the way - not a tiny little drill!)

And a nice bit of baking...

These are homemade scones, that we had with rhubarb and ginger jam.  The jam was a gift from my lovely sister-in-law - a friend of hers had made it to sell for charity.  It was delicious!!

I've also been working on a tutorial for a little something that I will share later in the week.

Until then..

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Stripy Blanket Colours - The Results!

You voted, I counted!  Then..... I ignored you (eeek, sorry!)  Let me explain.....

Firstly... the results from the blog post were:

Option 1 (with the cherry): 10 votes
Option 2 (just blues): 4 votes

That was the 11 votes on the post, plus two more votes for the cherry from my Sister-In-Law and the Lumberjack, and one for the blues from my Mum.

The red was a clear winner!!  But... they sell the yarn I wanted (King Cole Cotton Soft) in a shop in town, so I went down to have a proper look and make my purchase.  When I looked at the cherry in real life, I wasn't keen on the colour - it didn't look like the colour I used in my post, that I'd found online.  It was more of a red-red than a cherry-red if you see what I mean - almost a cold red, if that's possible.  I wanted that warmth and depth of a cherry red, a deep slightly pinkish red maybe - but that was just not available in this yarn.  Anyway, I just couldn't buy the red they had - it wasn't right.  But, I spotted a jade colour which added a bit of depth and slight darkness to the mix.  So, these are the colours I bought:

When the Lumberjack saw them, he indignantly enquired where the red was, and was not happy with this turn of events!  Ah well...

The blanket is going to be made of double (US) / treble (UK) crochet stripes in varying widths.  I started off with a chainless foundation row.  Let me tell you, the chainless foundation is AMAZING!!  I'd read about it before, I might have even tried it once or twice, but this time I finally GOT IT.  I will never go back!  How I hate crocheting that stupid chain, and then trying to get the first row into those chain loops... not anymore - the chainless foundation is a joy!  (There are many tutorials online - I used a combination of a random number of them until I got it)

Look at it - chain and first row of double (US) crochet in one go - it's a dream!

So... I'm sorry I have defied most of you!  I hope it works out in the end, and doesn't look too cold...

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Pretty Presents!

I mentioned my friends coming round last week.  It was a great evening, and it was also the first time they'd been to see the new house so I was the happy recipient of a few lovely gifts!

Check out this gorgeous needle felted heart Anna made for me:

Absolutely love it - spot on!  Go and have a read of her blog, she posts in English as well as Swedish now!

Isn't it perfect?!

She also gave me this book, Boutique Baking:

Even if you never made anything from it, just looking at the pictures alone is good enough - it's got such gorgeous photographs in it!

That's just a taster for you... to get your mouths watering!

Thanks again Anna... love them.

My crochet hook has been busy lately - so the next post will include some crochet news!!

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