Christmas Crochet Wishlist

My brother told me recently that he went into a yarn shop and asked them what he could get his sister for her birthday as he wanted to get me something crochet related. They basically told him if she has hooks and yarn then there’s nothing else you really need for crochet! Bless him, he got me some sewing bits and pieces instead, but it got me thinking about what gifts you could get for keen crocheters.

The first thing that springs to mind is a magazine subscription – I love getting a magazine through the post each month and they are an endless source of inspiration. My current favourites are Simply Crochet (which I think has a more fun slant on crochet) and Inside Crochet (which is a bit more serious and features more clothing item patterns). A relatively new magazine is #Crochet – it’s quarterly but packed full of fun things to make.

Carrying on with the idea of inspiration, there are some fantastic crochet books out there. I’ve put together this collage of my favourites!
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So what about hooks? The basic aluminium ones are fine, but if you’re working on a big project it’s nice to have a really comfy hook. I’m a big fan of the Clover hooks and have them in mid-range sizes from 4-6mm. I’ll probably expand my collection over time but these are the sizes I mainly use. I stumbled upon these Cornerstone Crochet Lite Illuminated hooks the other day…

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I’ve not tried them but they look fun! I’m not sure I would crochet in the dark just using this but they do say it helps when using dark coloured yarns…and at £5.99 they make a fun little stocking filler!

I’ve also seen a few people on Instagram using these pretty Brittany birch crochet hooks:

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They look beautiful! I don’t know what they’re like to work with but I’m quite keen to find out!

Another wishlist suggestion, and I’ve been dying to play with one of these for ages, is a yarn winder! I’m pretty sure if I suggest one of these to my husband he’ll jump at the chance to get out of being the one that sits there with his arms out holding skeins of yarn while I manually wind a ball! A quick search on Amazon suggest this one has good reviews but I’d love to hear from people who’ve tried it or who have alternative suggestions!

And finally what about the ultimate crochet christmas present – well for me it would have to be a yarn bowl. If you haven’t already seen Earth, Wool, Fire’s creations on Etsy you definitely need to have a look! I know you can use a colinder to stop your yarn rolling all over the floor but these are just amazing! Here are a couple of pics (not mine – they are Earth, Wool, Fire’s)

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So what’s on your crochet christmas wish list? I’m sure there’s some brilliant items out there I haven’t heard of, and I’d love to hear everyone’s suggestions – especially as my husband is yet to organise my christmas present!!

Craft Day with DryNites

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to be invited to a craft event organised by DryNites. It was hosted by Tamara Melvin (from the Great British Sewing Bee) and was at Tea & Crafting’s beautiful studio in Camden.

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The event was organised to bring Mums together to discuss potty training particularly at night. Psychologist Emma Kenny was on hand with the DryNites team to provide a whole range of advice throughout the day (though not on the craft front as she was quick to point out!)

So to the craft bit! Tamara had come up with a couple of projects we could make to help our children feel safe and reassured during the night. First up was a lamp for their room. We’d all brought along some old plastic toys – in my case chickens (Pip is a little bit obsessed with farm animals at the moment). Using Annie Sloan chalk paint (which comes in a fantastic range of colours) we painted the lamp base and toys.

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The paint went on brilliantly and only took a couple of coats (we sanded the lamp first to help it stick better). While they were drying we started on our lampshades – made of card and which Tamara had helpfully cut to size in advance! Using a star template we drew stars along the length of the card, then cut them out with a craft knife, keeping the cut outs as some were used later. After they were cut out we used pretty coloured paper behind some of the holes, and then glued the card to the lampshade that came with the lamp. A slightly tricky process but rolling and sticking as you went seemed t work well.

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We then folded some of the cut out stars in half and glued them on, giving a nice 3D effect, and added some trim to the top and bottom of the shade. We then glued our painted toys onto the lamp base and ta-dah!

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After lunch when we had a good chance to chat to the other mums, it was back to Tea & Crafting for the afternoon session, where we made beautiful pinboards for our child’s room. We’d all brought in an old sheet/pillowcase to use, and by layering two layers of wadding onto a canvas frame, followed by our fabric, we could use a staple gun to quickly and effectively secure them to the back.

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Then we positioned pretty elastic diagonally across and used the staple gun to fix in place. We used butterfly pins to poke though where the lines of elastic met, and glued some buttons on top. Using some ribbon we then made a cute bow to use to hang it and voila – a fantastic, quick and easy project to make at home.

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It was a fantastic day out and a great opportunity to meet some fellow mums. Pippa is still a bit young for potty training but she is starting to tell me when she’s done a number 2, so it was really helpful to get some advice on how and when to start. My NCT mum friends and I are all equally clueless as we’re on our first children so it was great to hear from people who are tackling this currently or who had advice to share. I wasn’t even aware of DryNites pads for the bed, for when they are transitioning to making it through the night without accidents – such a good idea! It was very much a case of you don’t know what you don’t know, but I now feel pretty confident we’ll manage ok when we start potty training, and we’ve introduced a potty in the bathroom for pre-bathtime (when she’s running around in the nude!). We’ve also been and got some stickers to decorate it with as a little activity to do together.

All in all a brilliant event. It’s also got me thinking about ideas for what else I can upcycle for Pip’s room. I’ve kept some of our favourite baby clothes and I’m planning on turning these into a quilt, and I might use some old fabric to make a reading cushion as well (a cushion with a pocket on the front for a book). So many ideas so little time!…..

Big thanks to the DryNites team, Tamara, Jane from Tea & Crafting and Emma Kenny.

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V-stitch LoVe

After seeing all the amazing V-stitch blankets on Instagram, I finally caved and made one of my own. A big inspiration was the Patchwork Heart and she’s got a guide to the stitch on her site – my blanket used a foundation chain of 132 and turned out the perfect size for a pram blanket (or todder size if you have a rather petite child like me!).

I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the Caron Simply Soft yarn I’d been hearing about lately and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s acrylic but unbelievably soft and I’m a fan of the large ball size (170g). I love jewel colours so I picked: Grape, Blue Mint, Passion, Fuschia and Berry Blue.

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V-stitch is so easy once the first row is completed and works up incredibly quickly. I took it to Cornwall and it was the perfect holiday project.

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The whole thing was completed in a couple of weeks (probably because it was so addictive), and I finished it with a border of SC in Grape, followed by a HDC round in Blue Mint.

I haven’t decided yet whether to keep it (tempting but running out of space), gift it or sell it, so it’ll just have to sit looking pretty for a while.

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