Crochet · Diverse DIY

Lukas is getting ready for holidays!

This summer I am participating in a Crafts Marathon that In my closet, a greek friend of mine is organising. She is sending us a task every Friday and we have a week from Monday to complete it and post a photo of it. The second week just finished last night and its task was to think of a song that comes in our minds when we hear summer and get inspired by it so as to create something. The idea of the task came from Iwanna be xara, another interesting blogger.

I was discussing the task with my husband during the previous weekend and we agreed immediately to the song that means summer for us! It is the song “Ab in den Süden” from the german reggae group Seeed. At least, we thought that the song was from them. It seems that if I look for the song in youtube, it appears that it belongs to a guy called Buddy and has really really awful videoclips, so here you can hear the song without any videoclip.

Anyway, back to the Crafts Marathon, we have been discussing for maybe even a couple of years now, that Lukas (our mascot) needs to enrich his clothes. So this was a good opportunity, to prepare Lukas for his holidays to the south of Europe!

What is the first things you need when you go for holidays to a warm country? Of course swimming suit, flip-flops, shirt, hat and sunglasses.

Lukas waiting patiently while his swimming suit is being prepared!

The first addition that he got is a new pair of shorts (his swimming suit, as technically he is not really waterproof) and a new shirt. These were easy, as I created the patterns for his clothes three years ago, before our move from the Netherlands. This time I decided to make them a bit more colourful than his old set, For his shorts, I chose a bright and summery orange shade from King Cole Pricewise, called Sorbet (3102), and for his shirt the interesting reddish shade Claret (1123) by Stylecraft Special DK. I usually use Stylecraft Special DK, but as they are getting more difficult to find them in Switzerland, I am trying other brands too. I combined both of them with a bit of Black (1002) by Stylecraft.

His summer shirt and swimming suit

Then he needed some flip-flops. Well, this was a bit tricky. Lukas needs his shoes so as to stand. Already from the previous pair of shoes I did for him, I used a bit of reinforcement so as to make him a bit more stable. So I crocheted two identical soles which i sewed together after including an equal size of carton in between. Surpisingly, the carton is not destroyed yet, after three years of use, but I wanted an improvement in the material I used. So I used pieces of hardened plastic from a packaging and cut it at the size of his soles. The tricky part was how to make the bands of the flip-flops. Lukas can’t hold his shoes and it is a common problem that sooner or later he drops them and if we don’t pay attention he can lose them. With flip-flops the problem would be even more imminent, as they don’t hold on a big surface of the foot. I solved the problem by using hair bands! I crocheted around it while creating the upper part of the sole (I used Black (1002) by Stylecraft) and then attached it two point to the back of the flip-flops, while attaching the two parts of the soles with the plastic reinforcement in the middle.

The three parts that are needed for each flip flop: two identical soles, the top one of which has the hair band attached and an equal sized strong plastic piece

Lukas liked his new flip-flops! Unfortunately his toes are a bit small, so he has to wear them in the middle of his four toes and they can have two modes:

  • the safe mode. It is the mode that they hold a bit better on his foot and he doesn’t risk losing them, but it doesn’t look so nice.
  • the fancy mode. It is the normal way of wearing flip-flops or sandals and he likes this way more.

Now it was time to prepare his sunglasses. In Switzerland, we have a refreshment that comes in a brown PET bottle. What better first material! I got a bit of help in this task from my husband. We cut a round from the bottle and we tried several widths so as to fit around Lukas’ head. Then we shaped it, so as to fit over the nose and around the ears and we used a white marker to make it look like sunglasses. In the end we painted the white part with a watercolour that we liked. This was a really funny process! We were laughing quite a lot!

Lukas’ sunglasses

What else should he pack for his holidays? He already has a hat and a backpack and he needs a passport! In order to make a notebook, all you need is some pages, a piece of carton for the outside, a needle and some thread. I used a dark red coloured carton (close to the shade european passports have) and I cut pieces of paper at a size so that folded they would fit in Lukas’ backpack. I sewed the paper and the carton together and voila!

And now that all the components were ready, Lukas had to have a bath and do a bit of sunbathing. We can’t wear the new clothes without washing first, right?

And now he is ready!!! Doesn’t he look more summery than before?

P.S. Lukas is a bought pattern, but his clothes I am making alone with my own patterns. If somebody is interested in them, I can share them.

Crochet

Basel basilisk: an amigurumi

Sincel last July we are living really close to the city of Basel. The city is proud of its heraldic animal, the imaginary basilisk, and according to the legend, there was one living in a cave that used to exist in the Old town. If you want to find more about Basel and its basilisk check my blogpost about Basel.

It is not a really big animal. The fountain basilisk (shown in the photo below) in the actual size of the legendary basilisk.

A basilisk fountain in the centre of Basel

Do you remember my nice red dragon Temeraire? He is positioned on top of my library, guarding my books. But it has been quite some time now that he has been asking for a friend and what else than a basilisk. I did a bit of searching, but there was no pattern interesting enough for what I wanted. So I decided to make it myself, so as to fit Temeraire. I used as a base the dragon body of Temeraire from the Amigurumi to go pattern. But the head is not the same as a dragon’s; it rather resembles the one of a rooster. That part I created myself. and I am going to offer it to you for free.

The abbreviations I use in the pattern are:

ch: chain
sc: single crochet
hdc: half double crochet
dc: double crochet
inc: increase – make two in the same stitch
dec: decrease – combine two stitches to one
[…]: repeat this sequence

What you need is a hook 4.00mm. As I have explained in previous posts, I like the Clover Amour ergonomic hooks, so I used the CLOVER Amour 4.00 mm hook. I made Temeraire with Stylecraft Special DK 1010 – Matador and I decided to make my basilisk black, as the colour of the coat of arm of Basel, so I used Stylecraft Special DK 1002 – Black. for the body.

The coat of arms of the city of Basel

For the head of the basilisk use Stylecraft Special DK 1002 – Black:

  1. Start with a magic ring of 6 sc (6)
  2. [inc] x 6 (12)
  3. [sc, inc] x 6 (18)
  4. [2 sc, inc] x6 (24)
  5. [5 sc, inc] x 4 (28)
  6. [6 sc, inc] x 4 (32)
  7. 12 hdc, 20 sc (32)
  8. repeat row 7 (32)
  9. 1 hdc, 10 dc, 1 hdc, [4 sc, inc] x 4 (36)
  10. 1 hdc, 10 dc, 1 hdc, 24 sc (36)
  11. 12 hdc, 24 sc (36)
  12. repeat row 11 (36)
  13. [hdc, dec} x 4, [sc, dec] x 8 (24)
  14. [2 sc. dec] x 6 (18)
  15. 18 sc (18)
    Start filling the head and keep filling it till the end
  16. [sc, dec] x 6 (12)
  17. [dec] x 6 (6)
    bind off. It is not important to close the hole as the beak will be covering it.

In order to have a proper rooster, we need a beak, wattles and a comb. For these ones I used Stylecraft Special DK 1114 – Sunshine. It is a shade between yellow and orange and it felt more fitting than than either of the two other colours. And here is how I made them:

The beak consists of two parts, the upper and lower one.

The upper and lower parts of the beak, sewed on the head

Upper beak part

  1. start with a magic ring of 6 sc (6)
  2. sc, hdc, 2 dc, hdc, sc (6)
  3. [inc] x 6 using only sc (12)
  4. 2 sc, 2 hdc, 4 dc, 2 hdc, 2 sc (12)
  5. [sc, inc[ x 6 (18)
  6. 4 sc, 3 hdc, 4 dc. 3 hdc, 4 sc (18)
  7. 18 sc (18)
  8. 18 sc (18)
    fill it with a bit of cotton batting, bind off and leave string for sewing

Lower beak part

  1. start with a magic ring of 6 sc (6)
  2. [inc] x 6 (12)
  3. [sc, inc] x 6 (18)
  4. [2 sc, inc] x 6 (24)
    fold the circle in two and close it with 10 sc

Wattles

  1. ch 5, turn, 4 sc (4)
  2. inc, sc, sc, inc (6)
  3. sc, hdc, sc, sc, hdc, sc (6)
  4. 6 sc (6)
    Make two of these and sew them together leaving the bottom open
The comb, sewed on top of the head

Comb

  1. ch 9, 2 sc in the first one, 6 sc, 3sc in the last one, 7 sc from the other side (18)
  2. [2 sc, inc] x 6 (24)
  3. [sc, hdc, inc with 2 dc, hdc) x 6 (30)
  4. 30 sc (30)
    bind off and leave string for seweing

In order to assembly the head you need to see the individual parts on it. The head is rather egg shaped. The magic ring is the back of the head, while the part where the hdc and dc are is the top of it and the sc the bottom. The comb goes on the top of the head and the wattles, once the two parts are sewed together, are sewed on the botton part, opposite to the comb. The two parts of the beak are sewed approximately at the height of the 14th row. Sew first the upper part in such a way that it looks nicely at the front of the egg-shaped head and the bottom part just under the upper part. The bottom part is sewed with the folded side of the circle to the head.

The head of the basilisk

The wings, spikes and eyes are done according to the Amigurumi to go pattern, but there are a few changes compared to the dragon:

  • The spikes stop at the bottom of the head and they don’t continue on the head. I made them with Stylecraft Special DK 1114 – Sunshine too.
  • The head of the dragon is a bit too heavy, so it is better to use some wire for support. This is not a problem for the basilisk. Its head is less prolongated and its barycentre is more centred than in the case of the dragon.

Since I made a basilisk, I embroider a Basel coat of arm on his belly!

How do you like my basilisk? Doesn’t he fit nicely with Temeraire?

Temeraire and Basilisk together!

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.

Crochet

Lukas has his own pet!

I have talked to you about Lukas, our family mascot. In January he is going to be three years old! Well, last week we adopted two lovely kittens, Aria and Stella.

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Our kittens, Aria on the left and Stella on the right

Lukas first got excited about the pets, but soon got too scared. They are far too dangerous for him, as he thinks they are rather tigers than kittens. So I decided to make a pet for him rather at his size. The result was a cute little parrot.

The pattern is from my most favourite Dutch crocheter, Dendennis and his book Prettig gestoorde amigurumi’s (Pleasantly disturbed amigurumis) in dutch or DenDennis’ total verrückte Häkelfreunde: Die süßesten Antihelden aller Zeiten (Totally disturbed amigurumis: the sweetest antiheroes of all times) in german. I am not sure his books exist translated in English.

It is an easy and quite simple pattern. The parrot is made with cotton yarns in a combination of colours, such as green, red, orange, yellow . I used Schachenmayr Catania Apple green (Colour 205) for the body, Schachenmayr Catania Sun (Cl. 208) for the beak and the claws and Schachenmayr Catania Red (Cl. 115) , Catania Lionmouth (Cl. 280) for the additional colours of the wings.

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My small parrot

The pattern suggests using a 2.00 mm hook, but I used my favourite for amigurumis Clover Amour 3.00 mm hook. (In case you are wondering about the hooks I use, check my older post about the Crochet hooks that I have used.) I found the smaller hook a bit uncomfortable and anyway the yarns can be used for sizes 2.50 to 3.50 mm. The resulting parrot is about 13cm tall with his red beret.

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Well Lukas is so happy with his pet! You can see his happy face in the picture, no?

 

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.

Crochet

Crocheted baskets

As you might know from previous posts, we moved to a new apartment in the beginning of July. The past couple of months have been full of arranging the new house. How much time settling takes! One of the problems that came up was that I was in need of boxes and baskets to organise the small things. In most cases I used plastic or carton boxes, but there were some cases, that too much customising was needed, such as the bathroom mirror. Why do they make them so shallow and long!

Since I am quite comfortable with crocheting, I decided to solve a couple of tricky situations through my hobby.

When I started crocheting, I tried making a basket, so as to exercise. For my first basket, I followed the Chunky crocheted basket pattern, which is a free one. The pattern suggests to use a super bulky yarn, so I chose Katia Ushuaia -100 g / ca. 85 m, that fits the suggestion. It is a dégradé dyed yarn in several combinations of colours that consists of 53% Polyester and 47% Polyacrylic. The link above refers to colour 623, but I really used colour 603, a combination of green, turquoise, purple and pink. The size of the hook needed is 8.00 mm.

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My first basket

It was a quite easy project and a good exercise for my level of crochet, thanks to the size of the hook and the yarn. It turned out quite nice, no? I used it and I am still using it to store yarns and things. Nevertheless, it has some drawbacks, with the most important being that it is not sturdy. It is not a problem since I use it for yarns, as it adjusts to the shape of the contents, but for our toiletries I wanted something more robust.

I did a bit of searching in the internet for basket patterns and I came up with an interesting one: Crochet Rope Basket. The idea behind it is to crochet around a rope or string, so as to add stiffness and stability. It was exactly what I was looking for! The pattern is quite easy and nothing very special. The important about it is the foundation chain, which needs to be equal to the difference of the depth and the length you want your basket to be plus 2 chains, as the pattern says. In my case, I wanted a basket 15 cm long and 10.5 cm deep, so my foundation chain was 4.5 cm plus 2 chains long.

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My nicest basket!

For this box I used my favorite Stylecraft Special DK – Matador (1010), a bit of Stylecraft Special DK – Black (1002) and a small piece of Stylecraft Special DK – Turquoise (1068). The pattern I made myself, so as to give it a bit of a character! The yarns are crocheted around a common everyday rope we had at home. I used a 5.00 mm hook, but the size you need depends on the thickness of the rope you are using. It should be big enough so as to be able to create easily the stitches around the rope, but still be tight enough. My yarn was thick enough so as to make the rope I used almost invisible. I like the result quite a lot!

I even made another basket! For the third one I used scraps of the Katia Ushuaia yarn I used for the very first basket I made. This is a nice advantage of these projects: they are all done with scraps of yarns used for other projects. This yarn was also big enough, so as to cover the rope. You can’t really see it right? But you can notice how much nicer it stands compared to the first basket I made in 2016!

Basket_3
And my third basket!

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The rope or better string that hides inside the second and third basket

Bullet journal · Crochet

Keeping track of my projects in my Bullet Journal

I use my bullet journal for several things. I started it in order to track the organisation of my wedding and the million of appointments I had to arrange for that, while having a tight working schedule. Last year I used it as a travelling notebook. This year I use it for organising all the aspects of my strangely arranged life.

One of these aspects is the fact that I am a crafter: I like crocheting and from time to time I try other things too. With my skills by now, I am doing modifications in patterns I use, so as to fit my individual needs. But this means that if I don’t note down the modifications somewhere, I will probably never be able to reproduce the same thing I created. I was keeping a notebook with small patterns I have created myself, but when I was making modifications of an existing pattern, things were starting to get confusing.

I use pinterest for ideas and inspiration. And I saw a nice idea of a page that I could modify to use for my crochet creations (I am sorry I have no idea who created it first, so as to give credit to).

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Example of my notes for the scarf I made for myself

In the first photo you can see the notes I did for the scarf I created for myself. I don’t rewrite the pattern I use. I just note the changes that I made or things that I think would be essential to remember if I try to make it again.

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Another example of the notes for fingerless gloves

In the second example, it is my notes for the fingerless gloves I made. As you may have seen, I made two pairs. I kept notes only for the first pair and I used them when I made the second one. In case I had made further modifications I would have created a new page and make a note for linking it with this one.

I like this page template: it is simple and flexible. It summarises the basic materials and has plenty of space for notes. I can modify the spaces needed according to the project I am making. I have a more consistent way of keeping notes for my projects and this way I am able to understand my notes several months after I did them. Isn’t it amazing?

For the time being, I create the page for each project once I am starting it and I insert it as it comes in the flow of my bullet journal. I have to admit though, that probably this is not the best way of saving my projects for later. I will see how it goes with this year, but I keep it in the back of my mind, that I will probably have to create a second type of bullet journal for only my crafts. I have avoided keeping two or three bullet journals, but if my crafting becomes “more professional”, I think I will have to take this part out of my everyday bullet journal.

Crochet

Scarf with Tunisian crochet

During April I made a scarf using a different crochet technique: Tunisian crochet.

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Tunisian or Afghan crochet looks like a mixture of crochet and knitting. There are special hooks for it that are elongated or with long tails. For short projects (with few starting chains) even normal hooks can be used.

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My Tunisian crochet hooks

In Tunisian crochet we start as normal with as many chains as our project needs, but we continue not with single crochets but by putting the hook through the chain, chain over and hold the loop on the hook. At the end of the row, our hook looks the same way a knitting needle looks. To complete the row, at the end of the first pass we chain and then chain again and pass through the first loop on the hook, which is then released. This procedure is repeated until there is only one loop left on the hook. One row of tunisian crochet is completed this way.

20180502_100434_Enchanced
1. After creating the initial chain, we insert the hook, roll over and hold the chains created on the hook.

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2. This is how it looks at the end of the first row.

 

 

 

 

 

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3. Then we insert the hook not on top of the stitch but at the front side loop of it, we roll over and hold the chain created on our hook.

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4. This is how it looks when we have reached the other edge.

 

 

 

 

 

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5. The second row completed, according to the basic tunisian crochet stitch.

Tunisian crochet can create looks similar to knitting.

For my scarf I followed a pattern I found in the “Simply haken” magazine of December 2014/January 2015, a dutch magazine for crochet. It is a pattern using two ways of tunisian crochet: the basic stitch and the knit stitch. The neck part is done with the knit stitch and the rest with the basic stitch creating squares. The squares are growing in size gradually, by increasing the hook used from size 6.00mm up to 10.0mm. The total loops on the hook are not too many, as a result I did not always use my long tailed tunisian hooks, but I could use my normal aluminium hooks. The ergonomic ones I usually use for crocheting do not have enough space so as to hold the loops needed.

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The yarn I used is from the Siena line of Wolle Rödel in Kirsch (cherry) colour. It is a supersoft yarn of 100% virgin wool.

The created scarf has a nice dense texture especially at the neck part and a beautiful and elegant texture at the squares. As you can see in the first picture it is something between a scarf and an afghan, falling nicely over my shoulders.

Crochet

Fingerless gloves

Hopefully winter is over, but even in spring the weather can be cold, at least in Switzerland or the Netherlands I have been spending my last several springs. I have been looking for some nice thin gloves that I could use when I am crocheting outdoors or when I do not want to wear mittens or winter gloves. During last Christmas my husband and I had a thorough look in the Christmas Market of Zurich. We did see several nice pairs, but most of them had too long parts in the arms and I didn’t think I would enjoy that.

In the end, I decided to make fingerless gloves myself at exactly the size and the length I wanted. Looking in the internet, I found a really nice pattern for free from Crejjtion. So my problem was solved!

The original pattern suggests using a 3.0 mm hook and the finished gloves would be 21cm long and with a diameter of 18cm.

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For the first pair I made, I started with a 3.0mm hook and a Baby Supremo Super Merinos yarn of 100% pure wool in red colour, which I had received as a present in one of the yarns exchanges I am participating from time to time. I followed the written pattern and started with 50 stitches, but after a couple of lines, I decided that neither the pattern was nicely visible, nor the fit comfortable, so I used a 3.5 mm hook instead. Another choice would be to increase the starting stitches. The increase should be by 10 stitches, otherwise the pattern would not correspond to nice shells. The best fit can be achieved by changing both the stitches and the size of the hook.

In order to make my pair of gloves shorter than the pattern suggests, I just had to decrease the rows before the thumb. Instead of 21 rows before the thumb, as the pattern suggests, I did only 13. In case you change the number of rows as me, you have to pay attention that the total is an odd number. The shells look nice only when a pair of rows is done (one that the shells are created – such as rows 3 and 5 – and one where the difference in length is equalised – such as rows 2 and 4).

For the rest of the glove I followed the instructions of the pattern.

I liked my gloves a lot! They are soft and comfortable, as well as elegant. A couple of weeks ago it was the birthday of a friend of mine here in Switzerland and trying to think of something to give her. How about a pair of fingerless gloves?

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I made the second pair following my modifications for the first one and used a nice yarn from LANG Yarns Mille Colori Socks & Lace Luxe in shades of blue. It is a rather thin yarn of 73% wool, 25% nylon and 2% polyester, with grades of blue colour spun with a fashionable metallic thread, a characteristic that makes it look really nice. Don’t you agree?

The project did not take me long to complete. I could make a glove per day without a lot of haste.  Do try it if you want a pair of nice fingerless gloves!

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.