Crochet

Christmas stockings

Now that the Christmas season is over and everybody has received their presents, I can show you what was my main crochet project of the month of December without spoiling the surprise anymore: I made Christmas stockings!

My three first Christmas stockings. Aren’t they cute?

I should start by mentioning that the Christmas stockings is a tradition I grew up with. When my sister and I were young enough, we believed in Santa Claus – or better Saint Basil that brings the presents in Greece in the night between the 31st December and the 1st January. So on the morning of the 1st January, we used to wake up and then try to feel at the edge of our beds, because if Saint Basil had passed, then we would find a stocking there hanging full of sweets and stuff! It was the very first indication of his passing by and the reason to get up and run to the Christmas tree to find our presents! Well, we found out early enough that Saint Basil is really our parents, but they continued filling up our stockings and hanging them on our beds during that night for quite a few years more.

Now we are lucky to have six children around us: two nieces and a nephew, as well as my godchild and her two siblings. We are giving presents to all six, so this year I decided to make Christmas stocking for them, in an effort to transfer to them a bit of what Christmas meant to me when I was a child.

The bear Christmas stocking

Already in September I saw some really nice patterns in the Swiss facebook group of Knitting and Crocheting that I follow and in the discussion with the owner of the patterns I found out that the original one was not in German (I am not so used to the German terms) but in Dutch. I was so happy, since I learnt crocheting in the Netherlands!

The patterns are for free and they belong to Carine Meessen and her facebook group De Haakkamer. They consist of the basic stocking and several variations of decorations: a reindeer, a snowman, a bear, a Santa, a dog and a cat. I personally liked most the first three, so I decided to make these two times each, as I needed six stockings in total.

The reindeer Christmas stocking

The original pattern suggests to use a yarn appropriate for 2.50 mm hook, but most of my yarns are for 3.00 mm hook, which is my favourite size. I always use my Clover Amour 3.00 mm hook when I crochet and once again I used my favourite acrylic yarns: Stylecraft Special DK.

The snowman Christmas stocking

For the each stocking, two colours are needed: one lighter and one darker shade. Initially, I decided to make some stockings in blue and some in red. For the red ones I used Burgundy (1035) for the dark shade and Lipstick (1246) for the lighter shade, while for the blue ones Turquoise (1068) for the light and Royal (1117) for the dark shade. In the end and for variation, I did one in green shades as well, using Green Grass (1821) for the light and Green (1116) for the dark shade.

The pattern results in a bit of a bulky shaped stocking, so I decided to make the upper part after the heel a bit smaller. According to the pattern, at that point there should be 60 stitches, while I had 50. This way it looked cuter.

For the decorations I used appropriate colours and I tried to consume some of my leftovers. They were perfect for small things, such as the present the snowman is holding and its bow-knot.

In the second batch of christmas stockings I created, I made small variations compared to the first. For example, in the case of the bear, I did not sew the hat, although i made it, as I thought that it looks nicer without.

The three stockings of the second batch.

I hope all six children enjoyed our small presents that were handmade with love! At least they seemed to! And maybe the stockings will be useful for a few years to come!

UPDATE!!! In case you are interested in the pattern, Carine Meessen gave me permission to share it. It is available in dutch, german and english. I will need an email address to send it to you though. So please either leave a comment with it further down, or follow my blog, leave a comment that you want it and I will send it to the email address you have provided me with.

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!

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And my third basket!

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

Crochet

Crocheted girl’s coat

I have a beautiful godchild, Zafeiria, who is now about 2.5 years old. Unfortunately, I do not get the chance to see her too often, but she is always on my mind. In June she was celebrating her nameday and in May, I thought of making something nice for her. By luck, a really good friend was visiting me about the time I was looking for something and we both agreed that a particular pattern by Majovel crochet, named Girl’s coat, was so cute!

The pattern of Girl’s coat is for free. Majovel crochet has everything in Spanish and unfortunately it is a language I haven’t learnt yet, but she has several videos in Youtube, probably machine translated to english. The girl’s coat can be found in the this link.

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A picture from Majovel’s girl coat

Three colours are used for the coat. The original example is white, dark purple and black as you can see in the photo above, but I decided that white is not a good choice for a 2.5- year old child. Besides, personally I like vibrant and happy colours, so I decided instead of white to use my absolutely favourite Stylecraft Special DK – Matador (1010). I combined that with Stylecraft Special DK – Burgund (1035) and Stylecraft Special DK – Black (1002).

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The three Stylecraft Special DK colours I used

Stylecraft Special DK is a soft and of good quality acrylic yarn, that is not very expensive, but has proved to me that it behaves well when washed, without losing colour or deteriorating. My example is Lukas, who is as old as my godchild and has travelled all around the world with us.

The hook I used in order to achieve the measurements I wanted was size 3.50 mm. I used my also absolutely favourite Clover Amour (3.50 mm) . I have explained which hooks I used in a previous post.

Concerning the girl’s coat, it was the first time I had to follow a youtube video instead of a written pattern. I have to admit that I prefer written patterns, even if videos are more explanatory. I had to have my tablet always within reach and turn the video back and forth all the time. All these made working a bit uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, Majovel has done a brilliant work of explaining everything clearly and nicely, so following her pattern was not difficult at all. Most of the pattern consists of double crochets. The coat consists of four pieces: a hood, two sleeves and the body of the coat. Additionally, it has two ears and a bow knot. The body of the coat is worked from top to bottom.

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The coat I made from the back!

Being a bit more experienced in crochet, I rarely follow the counting of the stitches that the pattern suggests. What is important for me, is the length and width I should achieve. Majovel suggests that for a 3-year old the initial chain should be 32 cm, the first part 16 cm long and the skirt 27 cm long. The equivalent for a 4-year old is initial chain 33 cm, first part 18 cm long and skirt 30 cm long.  I wanted to make a coat somewhere in between these measurements, so that Zafeiria would wear it for two autumns.

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The coat from the front

In total, in my case, the body of the coat was 20 rows the top part before the skirt and the skirt itself 20 rows red, 8 burgundy and 5 black. The sleeves were 14 rows red, 8 burgundy and 5 black, and the hood 25 rows. The ears and bow knot were two incredibly sweet details, that I enjoyed adding to the coat! And to make it a bit more special, I searched a bit for the buttons I would use and I found some really funny purplish elephants!

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Detail from the coat

I finished the coat on time for Zafeiria’s nameday that is on the 11th June. But by then we had entered the turmoil of moving houses and I neglected sending it a bit. I hope my godchild was still happy to receive it even with a bit of a delay! She looks nice in it, no?

Zafiria