African Flower Blanket 🌸

I love crocheting African Flowers – they’re such a pretty design, and I’ve made a whole host of Heidi Bears designs using them – they’re also quick and easy to make in batches. 

My latest blanket is destined for a new baby girl, and they wanted something in pale grey, pink and white – we added in a pale yellow too as I find this design works best with four colours.

I used Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran yarn in Stormy Grey (4 balls), Blush Pink, Banana Cream, and Paper White (1.5 balls of each).

As the blanket is 6×6 squares I made them in batches of 6 at a time, with each group having a different colour combo in the middle/petals. By doing them in batches I managed to get this whole blanket completed in 2 weeks – a good job too as the baby has arrived!


If you’re looking for a good pattern to square off your African Flowers I can recommend this Made in K-Town blog post.

I didn’t get time to measure it before it was collected but it came out roughly 1 metre square and was lovely and cosy due to the Aran thickness.


For the joining I used a flat slip stitch join which have a nice neat finish. I went down a hook size to do the border (I used 5mm for the squares and then a 4.5mm for the border) which was made up of a row of double crochet (sc if you’re using US terms) but making htr’s (hdc) into the point where the squares join. I then followed this with a round of htr in the back loops only, of white, then yellow, then pink.

Anyway here’s hoping it is very loved in its new home, and keeps baby V all warm and snuggly….

Advertisements

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

IMG_3003

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.

————————————————————————–

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

————————————————————————-

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.

IMG_2619

IMG_3005

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 Christmas Stockings

A few weeks ago my lovely sister-in-law gave me a bag of various yarn that her neighbour had passed onto her.  In return I wanted to make something for her using some of the yarn, and after I remarked that some of it was very Christmassy in colour I suggested I make her two boys a Christmas stocking each.

There’s a lot of crochet stocking patterns out there, many of them free (just take a look on Pinterest!) but once I saw this Granny Square Christmas Stocking Pattern by Maggie Wheldon on http://www.bestfreecrochet.com I knew I wanted to try it!

  
I wanted the stockings to be fairly big so I made 6-round squares (as opposed to the 3-rounds in Maggie’s pattern), doing 2x rounds in each colour (I used just less than 100g of red and green yarn, and less than half a ball of white).  It was also easier to sew the squares together than crochet them. It’s a very straight-forward pattern and the only slightly more complicated bit is fitting the heel – you’re essentially sewing the last square into a hole with three sides.  I sewed the top of the square flat with the rest of the stocking and that then meant 1.5 sides to sew on each of the down side of the squares (if that makes sense!).  This seemed strange to me initially but it gives a bit of bagginess to the heel of the stocking which looks really nice, and a bit more ‘sock-like’ than if the stocking was totally flat.

The white cuff at the top is very simple as well – as I was making a much larger version I did 12 rounds for the cuff to keep it in proportion.

  
The finishing touch for me was adding a couple of pom-poms dangling from the cuff – one medium and one small.  If you’ve not used them before I can really recommend Clover Pompom makers- they make the whole process a lot easier!

  
And tada! Two finished stockings in alternate colour-ways for my two nephews! Pip has been dropping (not at all subtle) hints that she’d like one too, so these might not be the last of these I make!

  
X

Winter Sunshine Blanket

As you may know there’s exciting news in our house – we’re expecting an addition to the family….a little brother for Pip! So this summer has been spent on DIY, moving rooms around and very little blogging!

I did manage to get a weekend to myself and booked myself on to a crochet retreat – a whole weekend of crochet with fellow crocheters…bliss! And as part of the weekend there was ALOT of yarn supplied.  I have to admit this was part of the attraction, and it was also great to try out different brands which I haven’t used before.  Which is how my latest blanket came about.

Baby boy is due New Years Day (yep….really) and while it’s a nice and festive time of year, here in the UK it can also mean lots of wet, windy, cold grey days.  So I decided to make a bright, happy blanket for the little guy, to bring a bit of sunshine to those grey days when we’re out walking with the pram.

I’ve also ways loved the Sunburst pattern, and when I saw the Paton’s yarn at the retreat I knew these were the colours for me.  

The yarn is Paton’s Merino Extrafine Aran. It’s gorgeous and squishy and I love the bright colours.  Using the three blue shades I alternated the order to make six different sunburst rounds, and made six of each, for a blanket of 6×6.  I then did the final round in the bright sunshine yellow to square them off, before joining them with a pale grey.  This join is done by SC (US term) the rows together with wrong sides facing which gives a ridge effect on the front of the blanket.  I joined them all horizontally and then vertically to keep the process simple.

  

  
Onto the border….I wanted to add some size to it and use the existing colours – here’s the border order:

HDC round in grey, DC light blue, DC turquoise, DC royal blue, DC yellow and then finished off by going round one final time this time with crab stitch (also known as reverse SC) in yellow, which gives a nice solid edge.

  
This finished dimensions are  27″x 27″ and I used a 4.5mm hook.  

  

   
   

I’m so pleased with the finished blanket and I can’t wait to wrap the little guy up in it this winter!

X

A handmade Dinosaur birthday party….*roar*

I’ve now had a couple of weeks to recover from Pip’s birthday party – it’s hard to believe my little girl is two already! Since February she’s been adamant she wanted a dinosaur birthday party (and I was secretly very relieved she didn’t choose Frozen) so I had plenty of time to get planning.

Dinosaur egg party bags

Early on I knew I wanted to make some cool party bags, and inspired by Pinterest I decided on making paper mache dinosaur eggs. This was by no means a quick process and after I’d make a couple I found myself quietly cursing Pinterest! Here’s a quick tutorial:

– using regular balloons, blow up to a size that will fit your party bag bits in (the tallest thing in Pip’s party bags was a pencil so the balloons had to be big enough to fit those in). Don’t make them too big as it will take longer to do the paper mache!

– using newspaper cut it into strips. Mix pva glue and water (2 parts glue to 1 part water) and glue the strips onto the balloon.  You can do a couple of layer before leaving to dry.  Once dry do a couple more layers and leave to dry – the newspaper should then feel pretty sturdy and you can then stick a pin in the side and pop the balloon.  I found it helpful to stand the balloon in a bowl while doing the paper mache to stop it rolling around all over the place.

  
-once you’ve popped the balloon, you can cut a slit at the top (where the balloon knot was).  I cut a couple of slits  of about 7cm coming out from the top at wider than a right angle.  I found I could then get all the goodies in the egg without creating a big hole (You can also try and remove the popped balloon from the middle at this stage if you can). You then need to do a couple more layers of paper mache to seal it up.

– then it’s on to painting! I got hold of some bright crayola paint – it took a couple of coats to cover up the newsprint but I think they turned out pretty well, and I added a few spots to make them look a bit more ‘dinosaury’ 

  
  

NB. I would not recommend these for a large party – I made 10 and it took a fortnight!! Also warn parents of small children that there may be bits of popped balloon inside! I’m sure the kids will need a hand opening them – though one child successfully managed to rip his open on the car ride him 😉

Dinosaur garlands

As Pip is pretty active these days I wanted to get her involved in making the decorations for the party. A really simple activity was making a dinosaur garland.

With the help of my lovely friends we drew some dino outlines on bright coloured card and cut them out. We then let Pip and my little god-daughter Izzy decorate them with googly eyes and sticker spots.  Really simple and fun, the girls loved it and I think they did a great job!

  

Whilst I had my little helpers to hand we also set about making some jungle leaves garlands to decorate the living room.  I stuck some green card to our easel and the girls did some hand painting with orange, yellow and green onto the sheets of card.

 
I then cut them into leaf shapes and punched holes in the top.  They would have been a bit tricky to tie onto a garland individually so I crocheted a chain of chain stitch (slip stitching into the leaf holes to join them).

  

Dinosaur cape

Well it wouldn’t be a proper dinosaur party without a costume would it! 

Having looked around for dino costumes I just couldn’t find any cute ones, but I did find a great tutorial here to sew a dinosaur cape.  I adapted it a bit as it suggests using fleece and as this was a summer party I thought cotton might be better, but not much of a difference, I just added a few hems.  I used some stick-on Velcro at the front as a fastening (I didn’t want it to be a choke hazard!) and tada!

  
 

 
 Photo collage

We made Pip a large ‘1’ last year made out of photos from her first year, and we had so many nice comments that I wanted to do another this year – it’s nice to reflect on the last year.  It’s very simple to do – just get a large sheet of rigid cardboard and a stack of printed photos – I used pics from age 1-2 this time.  A bit of arranging, cutting and glueing and voila! It was also a nice activity for me and hubby to do one evening after Pip had gone to bed (no he didn’t manage to escape the crafting!)

  


Present

And of course the birthday girl needed a suitably dinosaur-themed present.  I’m a huge fan of Heidibears patterns and have made the Happypotamus and Owl designs previously.  But the stegosaurus pattern is adorable! You can see all her patterns here .

These are not quick but once you get the hang of the African Flower pattern the motifs aren’t difficult.  I started this in February to give me plenty of time (and with all those dinosaur eggs I’m glad I did!).  I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn and a lot of toy stuffing! The finished dino is 90cm long, nearly as big as Pip- but she loved it and that’s all I can ask for 🙂

 
  

Anyway if you’ve got to the end of my dinosaur ramble thank you for reading! At this rate I should start planning now for Pip’s 3rd birthday! 😉

Xx

   

 

 

Hello Deer – a super cute baby blanket using tapestry crochet

This project has been ongoing for a while.  I first fell in love with the Hello Deer Baby Blanket pattern by Little Doolally when I saw my lovely Instagram friend @littlecosythings (if you haven’t already followed her, you should – she’s so talented!) making one.  I’d been itching to try tapestry crochet but hadn’t found a project which captured my imagination until spotting this one – it’s just adorable! My best friend had recently announced her second pregnancy so I decided this would be the perfect new baby gift.

I opted to use Caron Simply Soft yarn for the blanket – it’s Aran weight as recommended in the pattern but also hard wearing and I love their colour range.  I used the following:

Chartreuse (green), Chocolate for the body, Light Country Blue for the main background colour, and small amounts of Off White and Victorian Rose.  I also used some DK yarn for the nose, eyes and flower.

The chart in Little Doolally’s pattern is great and really easy to read and it was definitely one of those projects I couldn’t put down!







A few people have asked me to share how I did the fabric backing for this so here are my thoughts…though I think it would vary depending on the project and weight of yarn etc.

This pattern involved stranding the yarn across the back of the work as you work with the different colours – you can’t crochet over them as there’s often 2-3 colours in a row and it would  end up being very thick and uneven in places.  So while stranding is the best solution, the result is the wrong-side of the blanket needs covering – hence the fabric backing.

I’d been holding off doing this bit until I found out what my friend was having – and she had a little boy! So I opted for a white cotton fabric with blue stars.  There are instructions included in Little Doolally’s pdf and I don’t want to give away her pattern but you need to fold over a hem and iron some sharp corners before pinning the fabric into place.  I made mine bigger than recommended as I wanted it to sit closer to the border.  I used a simple hand sewing stitch (technically overcast stitch) to attach it.  Make sure you don’t pull the fabric taut – it will cause the blanket to pucker on the other side! I made this mistake and had to re-do it! Make sure the blanket and fabric are both lying flat when you’re pinning it into place.

Edit

I’ve used cotton but you could use flannel or fleece if you wanted – this blanket was quite thick already so I didn’t want to add bulk, which is why the cotton is perfect.  I also pre-washed it to avoid future shrinkage.

And below is the finished blanket! It measures 22.5″x 19.5″ – the perfect size for a pram blanket or it could be used as a little playmat!







Happy Rainbow Squares Blanket

With all this grey weather we’ve been having in London lately I’ve been itching for some colour….so on a whim I started a new baby blanket.  After raiding my Stylecraft Special DK stash I decided on a a rainbow of colours! Lipstick, Shrimp, Sunshine, Aspen, Cloud Blue, Turquoise and Magenta.



To make the most of these bright shades I opted for solid granny squares.  Just three rounds big and with no colour change these were so quick and easy to make! If you haven’t made a solid granny square before there’s a great tutorial over on Little Tin Bird.

As this is only a baby blanket (perfect size for a moses basket or car seat) it only needed 49 squares (7×7), meaning 7 of each colour.  



These are honestly so quick that it only took a couple of days to make the squares. To make the colours pop I decided on cream as a joining colour, and by using the flat slip stitch join technique I got a nice, neat finish.  The trickiest bit was probably deciding on what border to put on it.



I bought this book a while ago after seeing it recommended on Instagram- ‘Around the Corner – Crochet Borders’ by Edie Eckman.  It’s got a lot of variety but I would say I found most of them a bit fussy for my taste. But I persevered and found one in there I liked (#20 if you’re interested!)

This has been a really quick, fun blanket to make – 4 days in total! With the border included it measures 23″ square (using a 4mm hook).  And here it is…..tada!