A Roald Dahl Quilt

I’ve made a few quilts before…the very simple, all squares the same size, then sewn together types…which are lovely but I always felt like I was muddling through it a bit, and wanted to learn how to do it properly. Well luckily after dropping (not so subtle) hints to the husband, he bought me a place on a Patchwork Quilting course! Ten Thursday evenings of learning how to make a proper quilt step-by-step, learning different quilt blocks and producing my first sampler quilt – I loved every second, and think I’ve caught the quilting bug! Check out the quilt course here run by Butterfly Bright in Sherborne, Dorset.

Here’s a couple of pics of my sampler quilt using Dashwood fabrics.


Anyway so after finishing this quilt, I wanted to get started on another one to keep those skills fresh in my mind…and with Pip’s birthday approaching I set about planning a quilt for her. She is a little  bookworm and we often find her in the morning curled up in bed with a pile of books she’s been reading after waking up too early. She’s got a real passion for it and despite just turning 4 this week she’s now at the stage where she can read children’s books to herself. We also listen to audio books in the car (we’ve had some long journeys back and forth to Dorset in the last year and the CDs have been a god send!) Through these she’s discovered the magic of Roald Dahl – I think we’ve actually read/listened to all of them now and she adores them – particularly Matilda who seems to have become a bit of a hero to her (well they’re the same age and both love books!) So when I discovered Ashley Wilde’s Fantabulous Roald Dahl range that was my mind up – they’ve captured all the classic stories we grew up with into a gorgeous range of fabrics – go take a peek! There are various stockists in the UK but I found most were only selling it by the metre, and as I only wanted to do one block per story it would have proved pricey…however I found sellers on eBay who while mainly selling it by the metre, also sold A4 size samples – perfect! Now it is a bit risky as you don’t know what part of the fabric you’ll get, but I only had to reorder one extra sample to get the centre piece I wanted.


Each story has a main fabric and a corresponding fabric e.g. James and the Giant Peach has a main fabric featuring James and the various insects and then a corresponding fabric of peaches. I wanted to use both so opted to use Churn Dash blocks for my quilt. I used a transparent 4.5″ square to fussy cut the centre piece for each block which made it really easy to line up and frame the picture. The stories I picked were

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • The BFG
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Esio Trot
  • Matilda
  • The Enormous Crocodile
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • George’s Marvellous Medicine
  • The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me


There’s also The Witches, The Twits and Dirty Beasts in the range but I only needed 9 for my 3×3 quilt (and they weren’t quite as pretty as the other fabrics). I added in pastel fabric to frame the churn dash blocks – pale yellow, lilac and pale green. And then for the sashing I chose Lewis & Irene Vintage Circus stars (I love the circus range and am now very tempted to make a circus quilt next!)


For the backing fabric Pip chose a gorgeous tropical floral print after visiting Butterfly Bright’s shop. Coincidentally also from Lewis and Irene, but from their Tropicana range.

For the quilting I outlined the centre of each block and the churn dash frame with a zigzag stitch in pale blue thread, before using Dashwood Studio’s Twist fabric in Honey yellow for the binding.


Despite moving house in the middle of all this I’m thrilled I got this finished in time for her birthday (with 5 hours to spare!) – her little face lit up when she opened it on Thursday and it makes the late nights of sewing all worthwhile. I see many years of it being used to curl up in with a good book…and I can’t think of anything better.

Anyway thanks for reading and look out for another post coming soon where I’ll be reviewing a brand new crochet book, and they’ve also given me an extra copy to give away – watch this space!

X

A pastel Sunburst blanket for my new baby niece!

Making blankets for babies is probably my favourite thing to crochet – in fact it was the first thing I ever crocheted, a giant granny square blanket for my future baby before I was even pregnant! There’s just something lovely about making a blanket to keep them warm and cosy after their arrival into the world, and I love giving them as presents to friends and family.  So when I found out I was going to be an Aunty again I think one of the first questions I had for my sister was ‘Have you got a colour scheme in mind? What kind of blanket would you like?’


Soft pastels of cream, yellow, pink and blue were decided on, and I had been itching to make a blanket in Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn so this was the perfect opportunity! The yarn is 70% cotton, 30% acrylic – it’s lovely and soft whilst also being durable and perfect for babies.  I opted for the XL weight (Aran I believe) – thicker yarn equals larger squares and that means you don’t have to make quite as many 😉 The colours I chose were Moonstone for the main background colour, then Citrine (yellow), Rose Quartz (pink) and Amazonite (blue). The stonewashed effect of this yarn is lovely and gives it a soft, almost vintage look.  I used a 5mm hook and the quantities I used were:

Moonstone: 11 balls

Citrine, Rose Quarts and Amazonite: 2 balls of each


The three colours meant as I was using 2 colours per Sunburst (the inner circle and adjacent round) that I could make six colour combinations e.g. Pink middle with yellow, yellow middle with blue, blue middle with pink etc. I then made 8 of each of these colourways giving me 48 squares, making a blanket 6×8 squares.


I also tried out my new blocking board for the first time with great success- it just makes them a bit more pointed and gives a slightly neater finish.


To join them I used SC (or DC in U.K. terms) with the right sides together, it gives a nearly invisible join on the front, with a ridge on the back which I quite like. I joined them all in strips horizontally and then vertically as well.  I wanted a fairly simple border, so first of all I did a round of SC in Moonstone, and where the squares met I made a hdc instead as I find there’s sometimes a bit of a dip and this bring it into line for a nice straight edge. I followed this with a hdc round in Rose Quartz before adding a shell border in yellow.



The measurements of my finished product blanket were 75cm x 98cm (including the border) with each square being approx 11 x 11cm.


And I couldn’t resist making a little toy to go with it…unicorn pattern by Kornflake Stew, made in Stylecraft Special DK, with Debbie Bliss Odin for the hair!✨🦄


I hope you like them little Kovah Willow, love Aunty Holly xxx

Crochet Watermelon Cushion – pattern

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Watermelons seem to be everywhere this summer, and my lovely friend Jane from Tea & Crafting is watermelon-mad! Since last summer I know she’s been intending to make some watermelon bunting, but with two small children and her own business she (understandably) hasn’t had the time! So when a special birthday for her was coming up this year I couldn’t resist crocheting her something watermelon-related.

Here’s a really simple crochet pattern I’ve written down in case you want to make your own watermelon cushion.

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Materials:

Round 16″ cushion insert

King Cole Big Value Chunky – 1x ball each of Bright Pink, Moss and Green

6mm hook

Black toggle buttons (I used 19mm buttons)\

Black embroidery thread (to sew on buttons)

Green buttons (if you want an opening for your cushion insert so it’s removable – this is optional)

Needle for sewing in ends

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Pattern: (US terms)

Front of watermelon:

[This is worked in rounds, not a continuous spiral, so we slip stitch join at the end of each round to where we began the round]

  • Round 1: Using your pink yarn, ch3 (counts as a stitch) and then HDC into the 3rd chain from your hook.  Do this 6 more times (into the same chain) which will give you 8 stitches in total. Join with a slip stitch to the chain at the start of the round (Do this at the end of each round).
  • Round 2: Ch2, HDC into same stitch.  2HDC into each stitch, and join with a slip stitch to the 2ch at the start. (16 stitches)
  • Round 3: Ch2 (counts as HDC), HDC in same stitch. 1 HDC in next stitch, *2HDC, 1 HDC* until end (24 stitches)
  • Round 4: Ch2, HDC in next stitch, 2HDC in next stitch, *HDC in the next 2 stitches, 2xHDC in the next stitch* until end (32 stitches)
  • Round 5: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 3 stitches, *2xHDC, HDC in next 3 stitches* until end (40 stitches)
  • Round 6: Ch2 (counts as a HDC), HDC in next 3 stitches, 2HDC, *HDC in next 4 stitches, 2HDC* until end (48 stitches)
  • Round 7: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 5 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 5 stitches* until end (56 stitches)
  • Round 8: Ch2, HDC in next 2 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 6 stitches*, (until last 4 stitches) 2HDC, HDC in last 3 stitches (64 stitches)
  • Round 9: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 7 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 7 stitches* until end (72 stitches)
  • Round 10: Ch2, HDC in next 3 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 8 stitches* until last 5 stitches, 2HDC, HDC in last 4 stitches (80 stitches)
  • Round 11: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 9 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 9 stitches* until end (88 stitches)
  • Round 12: Ch2, HDC in next 4 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 10 stitches* (until last 6 stitches), 2HDC, HDC in last 5 stitches (96 stitches)
  • Round 13: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 11 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 11 stitches* until end (104 stitches)
  • Round 14: Ch2, HDC in next 5 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 12 stitches*, (until last 7 stitches), 2HDC, HDC in the last 6 stitches (112) Change to light green (moss) yarn
  • Round 15: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 13 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 13 stitches* until end (120 stitches)
  • Round 16: Ch2, HDC in next 6 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 14 stitches* HDC in last 7 stitches (128 stitches)   Change to dark green (Green) yarn
  • Round 17: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 15 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 15 stitches*

Reverse/Back of watermelon:

Using the same pattern above, use light green yarn for Round 1, then change to dark green for rounds 2-17.

IMG_2618

You will have two circles of the same size (check that they reach the seams of your cushion insert when you lay them over it – they should reach if you stretch them a bit.  If they are too small, add another round of dark green)

To add the pattern to the back of the watermelon (light green lines, as in picture above) insert your hook into the hole at the centre of the circle and pull up a loop of light green yarn.  You are then going to chain stitch to the edge, so insert your hook again a couple of rounds up and pull up a loop and go through the loop on your hook.  Keep the yarn under cushion while you work and finish off when you get to the end, but don’t pull too tight as it will pinch the edge of the circle in.  Leave an end to weave in.  I did this 6 times to make the lines radiating out from the centre as above.

At this point stitch your black toggles onto the front of the cushion using black embroidery thread.  I’ve used 5 but you can add as many as you like, alternatively large black sequins would look good.

IMG_2622
Weave in ends.

 

Joining the sides together:

The sides of your cushion are joined by single crocheting them together (or DC in UK terms).  You can either join all the way round, or if you want the cushion pad to be removable, join 3/4 of the way round and then create buttonholes on one side only (see pic below).  Space these according to how many buttons you want to use.

IMG_2621

I wanted a neat finish so joined all the way round mine.  With the wrong sides together, join your dark green yarn, ch1 and then SC through both loops of both the front and back pieces of your cushion (going under 4 loops in total – see picture below), continue to SC all the way round, join with a slip stitch, finish off and weave in ends.

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And voila! One very cute, bright and tropical watermelon cushion!

Happy Birthday Jane and I hope you like your cushion!xxx

Crochet Easter Basket

I love Easter – I’m not religious, but for our family it’s an opportunity to do lots of craft activities with Pip, and means that Spring is on it’s way and the weather will soon be a bit warmer – fingers crossed….no sign of it yet!

This year we don’t have any major plans but we will be joining some of our friends for a walk around Greenwich Park.  Pip loves the idea of the Easter Bunny so this year she’s going to don some bunny ears and give out some eggs to our friends…giving me the perfect excuse to make her a little Easter basket! 

I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to t-shirt yarn, it’s fantastic for bowls and baskets, I’ve even used it to make a rug. Zpaghetti is one of my favourite brands but I couldn’t resist buying some Scheepjes Noodle Print yarn recently.  They have some great designs but their floral ones are perfect for spring and Easter.  

So here’s a picture of the Easter basket I’ve created, I wanted it to have a rounded bottom (all the better for storing more eggs) and not be too large as Pip is only little, so it has to be manageable to carry.

  

Here is my free pattern in case anyone wants to make a similar one 🙂 

Crochet Easter Basket Pattern:

Yarn:

Colour 1: I used a blue shade of Hoooked Zpaghetti

Colour 2: Scheepjes Noodle Print (floral)

I used a 10mm hook.
(US terms, if you are using UK terms do a double crochet instead of what I’ve called single crochet here)

Make a magic ring using colour 1, 6 single crochet into the ring and tighten (6 stitches)

  1. 2sc into each stitch – make sure you place a stitch marker in your first stitch (12)
  2. Sc in first stitch, then 2sc in the next. Repeat *sc, 2sc* around. (18)
  3. Sc in each stitch (18)
  4. Sc in each of the first two stitches, then do 2sc in the next. Repeat around (24)
  5. Sc in each of the next three stitches, then 2sc in the next stitch – repeat around (30)
  6. Sc in each stitch around (30)
  7. Sc in first four stitches then 2sc in the next, repeat around. (36)
  8. Sc in first five stitches then 2sc in the next, repeat around (42)
  9. Sc in each stitch around (42)
  10. Sc in each stitch around – do not complete final stitch, instead after pulling up a loop, finish the stitch using your other colour yarn (this is the point of colour change)
  11. Sc in first five stitches, then sc two together (sc2tog) – repeat around (36)
  12. Sc in first four stitches, then sc2tog, repeat around (30)
  13. Sc in each stitch (30)

To make the handle:

From where you are on the round, Ch 20 (if you want a longer or shorter handle then just adjust the chain length), slip stitch to join in the 15th stitch around from where you currently are (it will be opposite where the chain started).

Once joined, continue to sc around the basket until you get to where the chain started. Then 20sc around the chain you previously made (this thickens and strengthens the handle). Once done, continue around the other side of the bowl with sc.

Finish off and weave in your ends.
I hope this is straight forward to follow but any questions please do leave me a comment below, and if you do make one using this pattern I would love to see it, so do send me a picture or tag me on Instagram (@holly_pips)

Xx

Crochet Sunflower Pincushion

Well it feels like summer is on it’s way….well a British summer anyway….and I personally can’t wait.  I love seeing the garden burst into colour and one of my favourite flowers are sunflowers.  We grow them ever year next to our little blue shed and my husband always complains they grow too tall but I love them, and so does Pip.

I’d been mulling this idea over in my head for a while and I recently got the time to sit down and figure out how the pattern would work and how I could construct it.  I haven’t written many patterns so be patient with me!

Ok here’s what you’ll need:

  
– Rico Essentials Cotton (DK) in Grass Green, Nougat and Banana (one ball of each would make 3-4 of these pincushions)

-3mm crochet hook

– Wool needle for sewing in ends

– a stitch marker

– Toy stuffing

– Bumblebee button for  decoration (optional)

[NB I’m using US stitch terms]

Now getting started…I’ve done this slightly different to the normal circle increases as that gives a bit of a hexagonal look.  So I’ve staggered the increases so they’re not always in the same place which gives a nicer circle shape.

1. Make a magc loop with the brown cotton and do 6sc into the loop (6st)

2. Do 2sc into each of the stitches making sure to put a stitch marker in your first stitch of the round (12st)

3. 2sc (increase) in the first stitch, sc in the next, *2sc, sc* repeat all the way round (18st)

4.  sc, *2sc, sc, sc*, repeat all the way round, sc in last stitch (24st)

5. *2sc, sc in the next 3 stitches* repeat all the way round (30st)

6. sc in first 3 stitches, *2sc, sc in the next 4* repeat, ending with sc in last stitch (36st)

7. *2sc, sc in next 5* repeat all the way round (42st)

8. sc in first 4 stitches, *2sc, sc in next 6 stitches* repeat, sc into last 2 stitches (48st)

9. *2sc, sc in next 7 stitches* repeat all the way round (54st)

10. sc in first 5 stitches, *2sc, sc in next 8 stitches* repeat, sc in the last 3 stitches (60st)

  
Then do 3 rounds of sc in every stitch (so rows 11,12 and 13 – no increases, just sc all the way round).  This will make it start to curl upwards into a kind of half ball shape.

  
Fasten off the brown yarn and weave in the ends.

I then turned this inside out as I felt what was the inside of my work looked better for the middle of a sunflower than the other side (other side pictured below)

 So here it is turned inside out (below).  Now attach the yellow yarn and I’ll show you how to make the petals…

To make a petal chain 9 stitches.

Slip stitch into the 2nd chain from the hook, then slip stitch into the next chain down as well.  Sc in the next chain, hdc in the next chain, dc in the next two chains, and then treble into the last two chains.

To summarise: skip 1st ch, sl st, sl st, sc, hdc, dc, dc, tr, tr.

(or if you want the UK terms: skip 1st ch, sl st, sl st, dc, htr, tr, tr, dtr, dtr)

It should look like this:

  Then skip 3 stitches completely around the edge of the brown circle and slip stitch into the 4th stitch along to join….like so:

  Then we start on the next petal, so ch9 again and repeat the petal pattern.

  Repeat all the way around the circle and you’ll end up with 15 petals.  Don’t worry if they curl up, we’ll fix that at the end.  Fasten off the yellow yarn and weave in your ends.
  
Now you need to repeat the pattern for the brown circle (flower inner) using the green yarn.  This will be the base of the pincushion.  Work exactly the same but don’t turn it inside out this time.

  
Then add petals in the same way as we did to the brown part of the flower.  As we haven’t turned this part inside out, when we put the two sides together all the petals will curl upwards – like a real sunflower.

  
Again weave in your ends. You should have 2 pieces now that look like this….

  
Now I’ll show you how to sew them together.

Position the green base under the brown so that the petals are offset in the gaps, like this….

  
Then using a length of the brown cotton and your needle we will sew around the edge of the circles using a simple running stitch.  If you tie a knot in the end of your cotton make sure you start from inside the flower (this is going to be stuffed anyway but it’ll hide your end).  Make sure the petals are offset as you work around.

  
When you are about 3 inches from getting all the way around, stop and stuff the flower.  Use small pieces of stuffing to ensure it is stuffed evenly, and you want to pack it in quite firmly so you have a nice solid pincushion for your pins.  Once you’re happy with the stuffing, sew up the remaining edge, fasten off and weave in.

I added a little bee button for decoration but this is optional.  If the  petals are a bit curled, gently manipulate them into shape – this worked fine for mine.  You could always steam them if you wish.

And voila! It’s finished! Photos below 🙂

I hope that all made sense, any questions just let me know!x
Please note:

Crochet Sunflower Pincushion Pattern and Tutorial – Copyright, Holly George 2015.

This is a free pattern for personal use only – you can not sell the finished items without my permission (you can make them as gifts).  Do not publish this pattern (or any part of it) without my permisson but feel free to link to my blog if you wish.

   
   

Reversible Rainbow Crochet Cushion – Tutorial

So I’ve been crocheting for more than three years now….I’ve made endless blankets, toys, coasters, socks, baskets….you name it! But for some reason I’ve never made a crochet cushion.  The other day I looked at our sofa and thought it was in need of a bit of a facelift, and inspired by @sweet_sharna on Instagram (who has the BEST collection of crochet cushions I’ve seen – if you’re not already following her you should be!) I decided to get cracking.  Maybe it’s because of all the grey cloudy weather, and my impatience for summer, that I knew this had to be a happy, bright, colourful cushion. 

I love using cotton – it’s durable and gives great stitch definition, so I opted for  Rico Creative Cotton.  The colours are fantastic and it’s Aran weight which I think is perfect for this cushion.   Here’s a list of what you will need if you want to have a go at making this cushion:

– Rico Creative Cotton (50g balls)  in the following shades:

White (x2), Turquoise, Light Green, Candy Pink, Light Yellow and Cherry.

– 4x buttons (I used 20mm sized ones from John Lewis)

– a 3.5mm crochet hook (I used a Clover Amour)

– cushion pad – this cover fits a 45cm x 35cm size cushion

– a wool needle for sewing in your ends

– a needle and thread for sewing on your buttons

One side of my cushion is made up of mini granny squares in the 5 colours (not white).  These are so quick and easy to make as you’re only making one round.  If you’re not familiar with how to make these here’s a brief explanation.

  

Ch 5, and slip stitch into first chain stitch to join which makes your foundation ring.

Ch 3, then do two treble crochet stitches (UK terms) into the middle of the ring. *Ch3, then 3tc into the ring* Repeat between ‘*’ twice more – this will give you four ‘clusters’ which will be the sides of your square.  Then Ch3 and slip stitch join to the 3rd chain of your first cluster (the Ch3 youmade after your foundation ring).  

Cut a tail, and pull it through the last loop on your hook to fasten off.

You will need 56 of these mini squares (it will be 8 wide and 7 down) so make 11 of each and 1 extra in any colour (I had an extra green one).

The second round of the squares is done in white and is also how the squares are joined, using the Join As You Go method – if you’ve not done this before it’s worth learning as it saves a lot of time, Attic 24 has a great tutorial here. Here’s a picture of the layout I used – I didn’t want any colours too close together so there is an order to it but without it looking too planned (I hope!)

  

It’s worth checking at this point that it’s looking the right size for your cushion pad.  On a 3.5mm hook my squares were 5cm square once the white round was added.  If yours are slightly smaller you could always add a border of double crochet (or two rows if it needs it) to get to the required size.  If you place it on top of your cushion it should just reach the seams on the sides.

The back of my cushion I decided to do in Granny Stripes.  There was a few reasons for this…I was a little bored of making granny squares by now….I’d used up all my white yarn joining the squares together, but had loads of the coloured cotton left…and why not have a different pattern on the other side?! it makes it reversible and you get two different looks!

My chain for my stripes was 84ch +2 (in all honesty if I did it again I’d make it 81+2 or maybe even 78 +2 as my back was a teeny bit bigger than the front).  Again if you need a good tutorial for granny stripes Attic 24 is fantastic (can you tell I’m a fan!?) – here’s a link to her version. If you’ve been doing them for ages just crack on!  Here’s the colour order for my stripes…

  

My cushion back was 31 rows (not inc the chain and DC first row). But check the size as you go along and compare it to the size of your cushion front made of granny squares.

Then of course you have the fun of sewing in the ends….all those ends……

   

 

Once all the ends are sewn in we can then join the cushion parts together.  You’ll need to join them on three sides – if you’re looking at the cushion the right way up, we’ll join the right hand side, then the top, then the left hand side.  

I used some leftover white cotton from another project but you could use one of the colours -there should be enough left.  Positioning the cushion parts wrong sides together, and starting at the bottom right hand side of the cushion, double crochet the two pieces together.  You need to crochet under the two loops of the front and two loops of the back part of the cushion. This is easy for the top of the cushion where the stitches will line up easily.  For the sides it can be trickier as the you’ll be working into the sides of the granny stripes.  Just keep the pieces lined up and space the stitches out evenly using the front of the cushion stitches as a guide.

Once the three sides are joined, move on to the 4th side – the bottom of the cushion.  Work a row of dc across the front side of the cushion only – this will strengthen the edge of the front of  the cushion.  When you get to the end turn your work.  I didn’t need to add any more to the size of my cushion so I slipped stitched my way back along to make buttonholes.  I spaced them one square in from each end and then 2 squares in again on each side, making 4 in total.  To make the button holes, I chained 4 and missed 3 stitches along then joined it back on and kept slip stitching along.  Here’s a close up which hopefully helps show how they look.

  

Once done, sew in your ends. Then position your buttons to line them up with your buttoholes – you’ll sew them to the edge of your cushion back.  Like this…

  

And voila! One completed reversible crochet cushion!

  

  

  

This is the first tutorial I’ve written on here so I hope you’ve found it useful/interesting! If there’s anything I’ve missed out or if you have any questions please do leave me  a comment and I’ll try and answer as best as I can 🙂

xx