Saturday, 31 December 2016

Crochet Pokeball

Just time to share one last make this year!

As a little birthday present for my nephew, I made him a fun little Pokeball...

It's just a small one, as you can see!

I made it by crocheting one half of a ball in red, finishing with a row of black.  Then another half of a ball in white, finishing with a row of black.  The two halves were sewn together with black yarn, and stuffed as I went.

I can't quite remember how I did the middle circle!  I think it was twelve dc or hdc (US) / twelve tr or htr (UK) into a magic ring, in white.  Then two sc (US) / dc (UK) into each stitch in black.  Then I sewed it to the ball.  Sorry to be a bit vague on that - I made it as I went along and didn't make notes!

Anyway, happy new year!  I hope 2017 is a craft-filled year for us all!

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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Crochet Gary the Snail

This project has been a long time coming!  I started it back in the summer as a little gift for my nephew.  Well, I only finished it just in time for it to be a Christmas present!

Crochet Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants

Remember a while back, I made this snail for my sister-in-law?  She suggested one in the colours of Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants for my nephew, as he loves Gary.  She sent me a picture, as I didn't know the character, but I decided that the shape of the other crochet snail just wasn't right for Gary.

I thought there was bound to be a pattern online for him, but I really struggled to find one so in the end I made it up as I went along.  Hence why it took me so long as I had a fair few struggles and ripping it back along the way!  But now he's finally done, I think he looks quite like the image my sister-in-law sent me, don't you think?

Crochet Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants

It wasn't feasible to make the eye stalks as thin as the cartoon version, not with crocheting them and wanting them to stand up.  I actually crocheted around a turquoise pipe cleaner to make them, which means they can be bent and moved around which is a good feature.

Crochet Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants

Crochet Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants

Crochet Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants

Now he's finally done, I'm quite pleased with him.  He's a little wonky I think, and not perfect, but I hope he looks like Gary!

What do you think - do you like him?!

Crochet Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants

Crochet Gary the Snail from SpongeBob SquarePants

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Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Gift Can

Merry Christmas!  I hope you're all having a lovely festive time!

Here is a little Christmassy make to show you.  I've had this idea pinned for ages, but I finally got round to having a go this Christmas.

It's such a fun idea!

You use a tab-top tin can - in my case, this was a chopped tomatoes tin - and you open it with a tin opener from the bottom, leaving it slightly attached.  This means that the top with the tab opener remains intact.  I used the contents to make my dinner and washed and dried the can thoroughly.

I took the label off as neatly as possible, so that I could use it as a template to cut out my Christmassy paper for the new festive covering.

Very simple to do - cut out your paper and stick one edge to the tin with double-sided tape.  Wrap the paper round and stick the other edge down in the same way.

I used a strip of sparkly fabric tape that matched the paper, to cover the seam.

I cut a circle of coordinating paper and cut a wedge out of it, so that I could slip it under the tab and secure it to the lid.  (I slipped more paper under the wedge at the top of the tab so that you can't really notice the missing wedge.)

My favourite bit was using pink and alphabet beads to make the message - "pull my tab" - which I attached to the tab, followed by ribbon tied in a bow.

Then I filled it with a little gift for my sister-in-law for Christmas.  You could put sweets in, or other small goodies.

The tricky part was re-attaching the bottom of the tin using a hot glue gun.  Where I'd opened it with a tin-opener, it was now smaller than the tin circumference.  I managed to get it to stick, but it was a bit of a gluey mess, so I covered it in a circle of felt and another circle of paper matching the top.  That neatened it all up at the bottom, and my Christmas gift can was done!

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Saturday, 24 December 2016

A Crochet Hook-Up - Part 2

Back in October, I took part in another Crochet Hook-Up on Instagram, organised by Lazy Daisy Jones using #ldjcrchethookup.  You can follow me on Instagram here.

As with the last one, I like to share the images here too, for those of my readers who don't use Instagram, but might like to see the pretty pictures!  I'll split them into two posts, as there are quite a lot of images - this is the second post, find the first one here.

A photo posted by Maria (@dinki_dots) on

A photo posted by Maria (@dinki_dots) on

Sorry it took me so long to show them here on the blog.  I hope you all have a lovely Christmas - I have a couple of crafty makes to show you once they have been given to their recipients, so watch this space!

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Friday, 23 December 2016

A Crochet Hook-Up - Part 1

Back in October, I took part in another Crochet Hook-Up on Instagram, organised by Lazy Daisy Jones using #ldjcrchethookup.  You can follow me on Instagram here.

As with the last one, I like to share the images here too, for those of my readers who don't use Instagram, but might like to see the pretty pictures!  I'll split them into two posts, as there are quite a lot of images.

I hope you enjoy them.  Look out for Part 2 tomorrow!

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Crochet Santa Cushion

I have now made my santa corner-to-corner crochet panel into a festive cushion...

I bordered the square with a round of half double crochet (UK half treble) in white and then a round of double crochet (uk treble) in red.

The back is all grey C2C crochet with the same two additional rounds as the front, but all in red.

I then joined the front and back with a round of single crochet.

I'm going to give him to my little nephew, as I'm hoping he'll like a cheery santa cushion!

For all details on pattern, yarn, and tips used to make the santa square, see this post.

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Crochet Bauble - Free Pattern

I've become hooked on crocheting Christmas baubles!

These are so much fun to make!  As soon as I finish one I want to try another in a new colour combination!

There are a lot of these springing up on the blogs and Instagram - these and these got me the most inspired to give it a go myself!  I thought I'd give you the pattern I came up with for mine.  Nothing particularly ground-breaking and I'm sure there are lots of similar bauble patterns out there, but here goes...

You will need:
- 7cm diameter polystyrene balls (mine were ordered from ebay and they actually seem to be 7.5cm in diameter when I measure them)
- DK yarn in colours of your choice
- Gold or silver yarn - I used Anchor Artiste Metallic yarn from Hobbycraft in gold and silver
- (If you want added sparkle, a couple of my baubles used Anchor Artiste Metallic yarn in red)

Tension and Bauble Size
Everyone has different crochet tensions (I'm quite a tight crocheter) and the polystyrene ball sizes can vary, so it's important to try your crochet on your ball as you go, to check it seems to be creating a snug fit.  Nobody wants a baggy bauble!  If it seems to be too loose, then adjust the pattern accordingly - maybe get rid of the chain spaces between clusters of stitches.  You might also find you need to do one less row if it seems to be too big.  You want to have to pull the two halves to get them to meet for sewing together so that it creates a nice tight fit.

tr: treble crochet (UK)
dc: double crochet (US)
htr: half treble crochet (UK)
hdc: half double crochet (US)
ch: chain
st: stitch

To make the standard bauble with only one silver or gold metallic:

Note - I start each row with a standing crochet stitch and I end each row with an invisible join.  However, you can start each row with chains to count as the first stitch and end with a slip stitch if you prefer.

Rnd 1: 12 tr (dc US) into magic ring (12 st)
Rnd 2: [In silver or gold] htr (hdc US) ch 1 into gaps between stitches of previous row (12 st 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 3: 2 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 2 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 4: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 5: [In silver or gold] 3 tr (dc US) ch 2 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 2 spaces)
Rnd 6: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 2 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 7: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 8: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)

Make this twice, place over your bauble and sew together in silver or gold.

To sew the two halves together, I lined up the last row on each side so that the middle of the cluster of three tr (dc US) on one side lined up with the ch 1 on the other side as you can see above.  I used metallic yarn to sew through the outer loop of the top of each crochet stitch of the final row on both sides, which creates a slanted stitch around the bauble.  I then reversed and sewed back round, giving an oppositely slanted stitch, hence making the metallic crosses you can see.  It sounds a lot more complicated than it is - with crochet stitches being what they are, by sewing through the loops and matching up on both halves, this naturally happens by itself.  Leave enough yarn at the start and end of the stitching to tie into a hanging loop for your bauble.

To make the more sparkly bauble with additional metallic yarn:

These follow the same pattern, and rounds 2 and 5 (the silver/gold rounds in the above pattern) are left as they are, with metallic yarn.

As the metallic yarn is thinner than standard DK, if you change any of the other rounds to metallic then this was my method:

2 tr (dc US) becomes 3 tr (dc US)
3 tr (dc US) becomes 5 tr (dc US)

I haven't tried the initial round in metallic, but I would keep that the same, with 12 stitches into the magic ring.

Everything else remains the same.  I also like to end each half with a non-metallic yarn, as I think it give a more stable final round to grip around the polystyrene ball and to sew together.  It would probably be fine with metallic too, really, but I've not tried it.

You don't need to follow this pattern rigidly, though - this is just what I did to make mine.  There are so many ways to do it, try different ideas and see what happens!

If you do use this pattern, please let me know as I'd love to see what you made!

Check out my crochet items here and my other patterns and tutorials here.

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Crochet Snowflakes

I've been well into the Christmassy and wintery crafting lately!  I've been a bit slow at getting items finished and on the blog - but on Instagram (@dinki_dots) you can see more frequent snaps of what I've been working on.

A friend of my Mum's gave her some very thin crochet cotton to pass on to me, as she knows I crochet.  It is a size 20 - which is sooo very thin!  I wasn't sure what to make at first, as I usually crochet with DK at the thinnest, so this was a big change.  Then it hit me... a couple of the colours would be perfect for delicate icy snowflakes!

My lovely friend Anna had previously given me the book 100 Snowflakes to Crochet* by Caitlin Sainio, and I thought that I'd have a go at a few designs from the book. (*affiliate link)

I think the delicate thread and these colours works really well for snowflakes.  I'm planning to make more and turn them into a pretty snowfall along the lines of this beautiful one!

I used a 2.5mm hook for these.  The thin thread calls for even smaller, but I found it far too tricky!  I'm a tight crocheter anyway, so I think this does the job.

They come out quite crinkly when first made, so this is one project that definitely needs blocking.  Blocking transforms them.  Here is a snap from my Instagram which shows how one of the snowflakes looked before blocking.

A photo posted by Maria (@dinki_dots) on

Once blocked I also sprayed hairspray on the snowflakes to give them a bit of firmness and stability.  As the cotton is very thin and delicate it doesn't take much.  With thicker yarn, perhaps other more robust methods might be better.

These are the patterns I've used from the book, in case it is of any use:

18: Ice Flower

17: Kossava

6: Polar Glacier

I'd better get a move on and make more if I want my snowfall before winter is over!

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Sunday, 2 October 2016

Santa Corner-to-Corner Crochet

Now, I'm not sure if it's too early to show Christmassy makes?!  But I figure that in the crafting world thoughts of Christmas need to start earlier, as handmade takes time... so if this it to prove as inspiration, it would help to get it now!

I'd been seeing lots of corner-to-corner (C2C) crochet blankets popping up here and there on blogs and instagram, and thought it was something I'd like to try.

I'd also seen and saved this pin to my Christmas Pinterest board.  (Actually, after I've finished this post I'll have to have a good look through and see what else I've pinned and forgotten about!)

This santa square pattern is by Repeat Crafter Me, and can be found here.  It is designed to be one part of an amazing Christmas blanket - which is so clever and fun!  You can see that here.  Looking at it now, I kind of wish I had the patience to make the whole thing - it is excellent!

But... I think (for now) I'm just sticking with the one square - and I have plans for it which I will reveal to you as soon as I have completed them.

Not sure if it's just my eyes, but the white looks grubby here - it is actually nice and white, I think it's the light!

The square looks very wobbly - it probably needs a good blocking!  Once I've finished with it, it should straighten up.

So... how did I find the whole C2C experience?  It is great easy fun crocheting as it stands... although adding the colourwork adds a bit of complication to it.  Having a few different coloured balls of yarn on the go certainly made for some tangled messes!

I used this post from One Dog Woof - aptly titled 'Learn C2C Crochet: Everything You Need to Know'.  It was very helpful, and I wish I'd followed the advice on bobbins to separate the yarn.  I was impatient, though, and just went with the tangled mess approach instead!  Ah well, it all worked out in the end...

Yarn Details:
Stylecraft Special DK in Grey, White, Lipstick and Candy Floss.  I had all these colours in my stash, which is very satisfying - no purchases required!  I'm not sure the make of the black yarn, it was left over from the zebra hat I made.

Now I have the challenge of turning this into something - watch this space!

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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Amigurumi Crochet Elephant

Well, following on from my last post... I've ended up making another amigurumi animal!  This is a birthday present for my Mum.  She loves elephants and lilac, so I decided to combine the two!

A little lilac crochet elephant!  With some pretty tilda fabric on the ears...

I used this pattern which is a translation into English of a Japanese pattern.  I liked the cute design, and also the minimal sewing on of limbs appealed greatly to me!  The way the legs are crocheted onto the body is a method I've never seen or tried before, but I love the seamless finish it gives.  It also means there is no having to try to line and match them up evenly, which you'd have to do if sewing on.  As it was, sewing the tail and ears onto the elephant gave me enough trouble - I do hate that bit!!

I found it a bit fiddly in places, and I don't deny some cursing and angry words towards the end!  But, as is most often the case, I'm glad I made it (now it's done)!

Now I'm just off for my Mum's birthday celebration... I hope she likes her little elephant!

[Edited to add: My Mum loved it - makes it all worthwhile!!]

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Friday, 9 September 2016

Five on Friday: Crochet Amigurumi

I thought I'd share five things with you today... five crochet amigurumi projects I've made.  Amigurumi is not my favourite form of crochet at all, and yet I always love what I make when I do give it a go!

1)  Penguin - I made this when I first started crocheting, a few years ago now, once I'd mastered the granny square.  It was the first time it clicked how to crochet into stitches (with the granny you crochet into the gaps) and it was surprising how long it took me to figure it out - hard to imagine now!

The pattern I used for this was actually a crochet egg pattern, which I then embellished with felt and a couple of beads to create the penguin.

2)  Owl - This came shortly after, using the same egg pattern and same idea...

I love these little guys - so cute and dinky!

3)  Pink Monkey - This was a little more tricky and a definite favourite of mine.  I just had to have a pink monkey!

You can find the pattern here.

4)  Blue Monkey - Fast forward a couple of years and I made one for my nephew, in a top with his initial on...

5)  Snail - Then more recently, you will have seen the crochet snail I made for my sister-in-law...

More details and pattern here.

The last two are with their new owners, but the first three hang out with me at home...

What do you think?  Is amigurumi something you enjoy?

I'm linking up with Love Made My Home's Five on Friday - thanks to Amy for hosting it!

Check out my other crochet items here.

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