Monday, 28 October 2013

The Big Knit - Super Easy 10 Minute Crochet Pattern

If you are currently based in the UK and have access to a television set, it is highly likely that you would have seen the adverts for Innocent Smoothies "The Big Knit".

For those of you that have not seen or heard about this event, what is the Big Knit? Well, it is a huge charity event running throughout October in support of the fantastic work carried out by Age Concern UK. Age Concern UK are actively campaigning to promote awareness of the plight of thousands of pensioners at risk of fuel poverty throughout the cold winter months. With the rising price of energy bills and the relative deprivation of many elderly people, Age Concern and Innocent Smoothies have teamed together to raise money and provide information in order to help as many people as possible. This is where The Big Knit comes in.

This event consists of making an appeal to all crafters to knit mini woolly hats to be placed on the bottle tops of Innocent Smoothies. For each hat that is received and subsequently sold on atop its smoothie, a donation will be made by the makers of Innocent to Age Concern, to help the organisation carry out its useful and highly necessary work.

Now, the deadline for the submission of these mini woolly delights is fast approaching - the 31st October. Seeing as its for such a good cause, I thought I would provide people with an easy crochet pattern that works up super fast in order that people are still able to have the time to make and post little hats in to Innocent before the deadline. I chose to create a crochet pattern rather than knitting, as for many of us crochet works up a lot quicker and hence, time being of the essence, allows more hats to be made quickly! The pattern can be worked within ten minutes for those experienced with crochet. Beginners may take a little longer, but are still very likely to be finished in under an hour. I found the pom pom to be take the longest time - this is an optional extra rather than an integral part of the design - feel free to leave it out if you prefer.

The Pattern

This pattern requires two double knit yarns. I chose a red (Yarn A) and a white (Yarn B) as I have a lot of yarn in these colours and don't tend to use them very much - particularly the red, and the brightness lends itself well to bobble hat.

Hook - 5.00mm

With Yarn A, work a chain of 3 stitches. Slip stitch into the 3rd chain from the hook to form a loop.

Round 1 -
3-Ch (counts as 1dc). Work 12dc's into the loop. Slip stitch into the top of the 3-ch to join round. Fasten off Yarn A.

Round 2 -
Join Yarn B into any dc. 2-Ch (counts as 1hdc). Hdc in each stitch. Slip stitch into the top of 2-ch to join round. Fasten off Yarn B.

Round 3 -
Join Yarn A into any hdc. 3-Ch. *1dc in next stitch. 2dc's in next stitch. Repeat from * until end. Slip stitch into top of 3-ch. Fasten off Yarn A.

Round 4 -
Join Yarn B into any dc. 2-Ch. 2Hdc into each stitch until end. Slip stitch into top of 2-ch.

Round 5-
Chain 1. 2scdec in each pair of stitches around. (this involves working your hook into the next two stitches and then forming your single crochet causing the total number of stitches to be halved, and achieving a tightened hat brim by gathering the stitches of the former round.

Fasten off yarn B. Weave in loose ends
(NB. If you are carrying on to make a pom-pom, you may want to leave one long end on the inside of the hat close to the central top loop, to knot it on to).

Well done! Now you have created your basic hat, which should look something like this -

If you would like to carry on and add a pom-pom to the hat, please do - i think it finishes the hat and makes it look cuter and somehow more 'complete'. Either a single colour yarn can be used or you may like to do a combination as I chose to with mine. Or perhaps you may like to introduce a new yarn at this point :)
If you are unsure as to how to make a pom-pom/ fluffy bobble, please check out the following tutorial.

Please remember - the deadline is fast approaching, so once you have finished your hat/s you will need to get your skates on and post it through to Innocent. The organisers request that you add in a little note to your envelope stating your name and address, as well as the date and also the total number of hats you're including.

The address is -
the big knit 2013
innocent drinks
342 ladbroke grove
W10 5BU

The Pom-Pom Tutorial

Here is a quick tutorial showing how to make pom-poms / bobbles. There are a few ways of doing this and people tend to figure out the best way for themselves. I am just going to show you how I make mine - a method I learnt at Brownies when I was very small! It is a handy little skill, and comes in useful for many craft projects.

Materials -

* Piece of card twice as large as you propose your finished pom-pom to be.

* Pair of compass' or something to draw a circle with. I used a couple of coins for the big knit hat as I only required a small pom-pom. The circles do not have to be too precise, so if you're good at art and have a steady hand you can draw your own. If the shape is not as perfect as you wish, do not worry as you will have plenty of chance to correct this at a later stage and a few uneven strands of yarn in your finished pom-pom will not really show.

* A pencil / something to draw with.

* Scissors.

* Your yarn that you wish to make your pom-pom in.

Instructions -

1. Take your card and cut it in half so you have two even size pieces. On one piece of card draw your circle. You should make this as large as you want your finished pom-pom to be when measured edge to edge across the largest part (the diameter).

2. Place the piece of card on which you have drawn your circle on top of the blank piece. Take your scissors and cut through both pieces of card, around the circle. You will now have two card circles. Fold them across the diameter, in half. Draw a semi circle as shown in the photo. Cut out the semi circle, through both pieces of card.

3. Open up the two pieces. You will now have two circles of card, identical sizes. Again, put one on top of the other. Get a long length of your yarn and tie it onto the card, through the middle of both circles and round the edge. Leave a length of yarn approximately 3 inches at the side of the knot which will not be used.

4. Continue to wrap the yarn around the card until the circles are well covered and you are left with a tail of about 3 inches. To wrap the yarn you may find it easier to use a large needle to add some weight, which will make it more simple for the yarn to be threaded through the central hole. If you are adding a second colour, tie it on and repeat the process. Again, ensure that you have left a length of yarn. Add this stage you can add more yarn as you wish- the thicker you wrap the card, the fuller your pom-pom will be.

5. Take your scissors and cut the yarn between the two pieces of card. Continue to cut until you have worked your way around the entire circle. Be very careful at this stage to keep the pieces together whilst you continue to cut the pieces of yarn to ensure pieces do not fall out before they are secured.

6. Gather the long ends from the start and end of the yarn. Now wrap these between the two pieces of card in the centre of the pom-pom, differing the direction of each piece of yarn until they meet and secure tightly. This will be holding your pom-pom together so you will want to make sure you knot it well.

7. To finish, take out the pieces of cardboard by cutting down the length of the circles and ensure everything is tied tightly, leaving one long end. Cut off the ends of the knots and any long stray ends (except your one long end), making your pom-pom a nice even sphere of yarn. Congratulations - you have now finished your pom-pom!

To Attach The Pom-Pom To The Hat -

Thread the long end of your pom-pom onto a needle. Now sew down through the central loop at the top of the hat. You can either continue to sew into the underside of the hat, or knot it on to your long end from the crochet if you chose to leave one. Weave in the remaining ends. And that's it, all complete :) Congratulations, and think of the great work you have done for Age Concern UK!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Crochet Slouchy Beret Pattern and Tutorial

As promised, here is the tutorial for the crochet slouchy beret that was featured on the blog last week.

One of the things I love about learning the skills to make your own clothes and accessories, is finding items I adore in the shops and online, and then being able to make my own unique version at home for a fraction of the price. It was whilst browsing on these sites i found a lot featured metallic looks for the Autumn/Winter '13 season. I was very excited when I found this gorgeous metallic yarn - a fantastic bargain at 3 for 2 from Poundland. I thought it would lend itself nicely to a slouchy beret and this pattern was born. It took a few attempts to get the sizing right - there is a stage which involves decreasing your stitches whereby the head sizing is achieved. This can easily be altered to fit any size head, and can also be altered depending on how you would like to wear it. I wanted a hat that would fit loosely, quite far back on the head and this pattern will work up in this style if you wish to follow it verbatim rather than make your own sizing changes.

Here's a little pic so you can see how it looks from the front -

Mine measures 33cm at the largest diameter across the back of the hat.

The middle of the hat (the part which your head goes in!) is 15cm across.

(Please note this pattern is written is US terms).

This pattern uses a 5.00mm hook. You may prefer to use another size hook, but I found this a good size to use with this yarn in order to get a 'loose-ish' stitch which flattered the style. To begin the hat you will need to take your hook and work a chain of 3 stitches. Slip stitch into the first stitch in order to create a loop.

To begin the next row (technically the first row), chain 3. This will count as your first double crochet (treble in uk terms). You will now need to do a sequence of 16 double crochet stitches inside the loop that you have just created. It is important that you ensure that you have used the space created in the middle of your loop rather than using the inside of your stitches, to maintain an even tension and a 'balanced' circle at the base of your hat.

After your 16dc's, slip stitch into the top stitch of the 3 chain to form a circle.

Again, you will need to make a chain of 3 stitches to form your first double crochet of the round. You will now need to work two double crochet stitches in the top of each of the 17 stitches of the first round.
It may feel as though it is quite 'tight' to fit two doubles into each stitch, but please try and stick with it! Try and keep each as even as possible and remember to keep the tension balanced. You need the extra stitch in each stitch at this stage to create the width you will need as you work outwards. Work around the circle until you reach the initial chain of the round and slip stitch to join. You will now have 34 stitches around the circumference of your crochet circle.

For your next round, you will once again start with a chain of 3 stitches. This next round provides the basis for the rest of the hat, as you will be working a double in the next stitch, then two doubles in the next. Carry on this throughout the round. Repeat this pattern working an extra double crochet stitch in each seqeunce before adding two in one stitch and then repeating the sequence. That sounds a little 'wordy' but all it means is that in each round you will be working a sequence of one double crochet in each stitch, followed by a pair of doubles then repeated i.e. 1 double crochet in the next stitch, followed by two double crochets. The next round is one double crochet in each of the next two stitches, then a pair, repeated. Next would be a double crochet in each of the next three stitches, followed by a pair, and so on. Each round is finished off with a slip stitch. Into the top of the first 3-chain.

The sequence will continue until you reach a series of 8 dc's, followed by a pair of dc's. At this point you will have reached the widest brim of the beret. If you would like it to be wider, you can continue with another couple of rows, increasing each time and keeping with the sequence (i.e. 9 then 10 double crochets, followed by pair) for a nice, even look. Once you have reached your desired width, you will be adding two rows whereby you will chain 3, followed by one double crochet in each stitch and a slip stitch to join. Again, extra rounds can be added at this stage to increase the slouchiness of the hat - just add as many rows of straight double crochet as desired, without increasing the amount of stitches. It is useful to use a stitch marker to keep a watch on how many rounds you have worked.

The hat is now taking shape, and there are only a couple more stages until you're done! At the stage you will be beginning to decrease the size of your rounds in order to fit your head. Chain 3 to begin, and then work a double crochet in the next stitch. Now you will be working the next double crochet into the next two stitches, therefore causing the hat to become smaller. If you are unsure how to decrease in double crochet a good tutorial can be found here.

Continue with your decreases until your hat is a width which fits over your head snuggly but not too tight - you are just looking to get the right sizing at this point, not fit it to your head (so that it secures on) - this will be done during the next stage.
Try the hat on and check yourself out in the mirror - figure out how far back on your head you would like to wear it, and keep decreasing until the sizing seems correct.

If you have got this far, well done - you're almost there! All you need to do now is work the edging. These rounds will finish the hat off allowing stretch at the hairband for fit, and gives a nice knitted look. This achieved by beginning your round with a chain of two stitches, which will count as your first half double crochet. Continue around the stitches with hdc's until you reach the chain two and slip stitch to finish. This round forms the base of the edging. The next four rows are worked as followed; work a chain of two stitches. Now you will begin with a back post half double crochet This means that your hdc will be worked under the stitch below, and around the post - Not in the stitch as a regular hdc is. For the next stitch it is the same principle except you will work in the opposite side and therefore create a front post half double crochet. Continue in this manner, alternating between working your hdc's around the back and then front posts of the stitch underneath. Slip stitch to join at the end of the round and chain 2 to start the next. A total of four of these rounds are worked to create a stylish and functional stretchy edge. Fasten off.

Not all that is left to do is weave in your ends...And Congratulations - You're hat is finished! Thank you for following this tutorial and I hope you enjoy your new slouchy beret :) If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you give this pattern a go, please leave a link to pictures of your work - I love seeing them!

One last thing - please keep in mind that I only write patterns for fun, I am not a professional so there may be some small mistakes ;/ Please contact me if you find a problem! Also, please respect the copyrite of this pattern - I have provided it free of charge for the personal use of readers of this blog. Please do not use it for financial gain. Thanks!

Here is the pattern -

Slouchy Beret in Metallic Yarn

Size –
Adjustable. Measure around circumference of designated wearers head.

Yarn –
Knitting Essentials DK in Grey Sparkle 50g x 2

Hook –

Pattern –

Work 3 ch. ss in first chain to form loop.

Round 1 –
3ch (counts as 1dc). work 16dc in loop. Ss in top of first 3-ch to join. (17sts)

Round 2 –
3ch. 2dc in each st to end. 1dc in same st as initial 3-ch. Ss to join. (34sts)

Round 3 –
3ch. 1dc in next stitch. 2dc in next stitch. *1dc in next 2 stitches. 2dc in next stitch. Repeat from * until end. Ss to join. (48sts)

Round 4 –
Repeat Round 3 (64sts)

Round 5 –
3ch. 1dc in next 2 sts. 2dc in next st. *1dc in next 3 stitches. 2dc in next stitch. Repeat from * until end. Ss to join. (80sts)

Round 6 –
3ch. 1dc in next 3sts. 2dc in next st. *1dc in next 4sts. 2dc in next st. Repeat from * until end. Ss to join. (96sts)

Round 7 –
3ch. 1dc in next 4sts. 2dc in next st. *1dc in next 5 sts. 2dc in next st. Repeat from * until end. Ss to join. (110sts)

Round 8 –
3ch. 1dc in next 5sts. 2dc in next st. *1dc in next 6 sts. 2dc in next st. Repeat from * until end. Ss to join. (126sts)

Round 9 –
3ch. 1dc in next 6sts. 2dc in next st. *1dc in next 7sts. 2dc in next st. Repeat from * until end. Ss to join. (142sts)

Round 10 –
3ch. 1dc in next 7sts. 2dc in next st. *1dc in next 8sts. 2dc in next st. Repeat from * until end. Ss to join. (158sts)

Round 11-12 –
3ch. 1dc in each st. ss to join. (158sts)

Round 13 –
3ch. 1dc in next st. 2dctog. *1dc in next 2 sts. 2dctog. Repeat from *until end. Ss to join. Repeat Round 13 until beret is desired circumference.

To finish with knitted style edging

Round 1 (edging) -
2ch. 1hdc in each st until end. Ss to join.

Round 2-6 (edging) –
2ch. *bphdc in next st. fphdc in next st. Repeat from *.

Fasten off. Weave in loose ends.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Autumnal Inspiration

As the weeks and months of 2013 positively flew past, we are now firmly ensconced into Autumn. This season, although often unwelcome with those living in cooler climates who lament the loss of their summer, is not at all as dreary as many believe. This is a beautiful time of year with leaves of rich browns, reds, burgundies and yellows falling from the trees and shrubs. The light is lower and softer, and gives a golden glow in the early evening. The month of October is also inextricably linked to pumpkins and squashes in bold, vivid oranges. 

When it comes to creating crafts, I love to see what is happening in the world around me- after all nature never gets it wrong with colour themes! If you find yourself stuck for a project or a colour theme for a current work in progress, getting out for a walk or even just looking out the window can help. Take some photos and see what colours seem pleasing to your eye. If you do not happen to live in an area where you can view a lot of vegetation, try researching online - National Trust Gardens are a good place to start. This can be particularly helpful when planning a project such as a quilt or throw where you would like to use a variety of toning and contrasting colours.

A facet of autumn life that I'm
sure many of us enjoy is cosying up on the sofa with a glass of wine, family, friends and a good movie as the dark evenings set in. This led to me thinking that a nice toasty afghan blanket would be the perfect addition to such an evening, and this project is now in progress.

The photos in this post I took whilst out and about to provide some inspiration for this snugly autumnal blanket. If you happen to keep a camera with you/ on your phone/etc I recommend snapping anything that catches your eye. This provides a great resource for your crafting and helps nudge along your creativity when you are feeling a bit low on inspiration.

The initial Granny Squares for the Afghan have been made - here's a sneak preview:-

The rich russets, oranges and browns are set of against a contrasting black edging, which denotes a nod towards the typical orange and black colour theme of Halloween. The rich greens found in the photos are also utilised within the inner motifs.

I will share the pictures of the finished project once the blanket is completed.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Preview - Crochet Slouchy Beret

As the seasons are on the cusp of change and the cold, dark evenings are drawing in, I have started designing a few quick-to-make cosy knitwear pieces that will feature on the blog throughout Autumn. I like the idea of choosing an outfit based on the larger components of your wardrobe, such as a jacket or must have jeans, then being able to whip up a cute matching accessory to keep you toasty warm as well as give your outfit a whole new look. The coming months will reveal patterns for scarfs, fingerless gloves, hats and cowls.

The first project available for you to create is a warm slouchy beret worked up in a gorgeous double knit yarn with metallic threads running through to give shine and detail. Metallic detailing was featured in London Fashion Week as a key trend this autumn so this yarn is ideal!

Here is a sneak peak of the hat...

The full pattern and loads more photos will be featured on the blog next week.


Monday, 7 October 2013

Elephant Amigurumi

And here he is!I have finally finished my elephant amigurumi. He was not too difficult to make - I was just rather lazy when it came to sewing the individual elements together to make the completed toy!

I have tried a few amigurumi projects prior to this but they were all improvised and I couldn't seem to get the proportions quite right. This is my first attempt at following an official pattern, and I am pleased with the results.

I found this pattern in Teri Crews' Animal Amigurumi to Crochet, published by Annie's Attic (2013).

This is a great little resource for crochet addicts looking to test their skills on small scale projects at an intermediate skill level. The instructions are clear and easy to follow but the complete beginner may want to practice their techniques on simpler projects before giving these patterns a try. A wide range of stitches are used and the toys work up comparatively small resulting in rows and rounds which are quite delicate and complex. These are not projects whereby you can let your mind meander in front of the television whilst happily repeating the same stitch, as in for instance, a simple throw. It is essential you keep count of both your row and stitch throughout but the results are well worth it. There are 8 super cute designs in the book, each with its own unique character and would make ideal gifts for children and those young at heart alike. The gorgeous, woolen texture of the amigurumi creates a lovely vintage feel. They make fantastic mascots and would look at home on any craft lovers shelf, armchair or even bed!

One quick word of warning - as with all amigurumi toys please do not give them to children under the age of 3 due to their delicate nature and small parts.

The pattern begins with the body. It is the largest piece of the project and seems to resemble an elongated pear.It is a good component to get your 'eye in' before starting on the trickier pieces.

The head and trunk are crocheted separately, with the end of the trunk remaining open after stuffing to attach to the face. A few strands of yarn are added to create hair. The eyes are stitched on afterwards - Unfortunately I didn't have any of the author's suggested white felt, and therefore only created pupils. I am not 100% happy with these yet, but luckily they can be easily changed if eventually I decide I'm not satisfied with the current look.

Cute flashes of pale blue yarn are used to add depth and interest to the little legs.

Unexpectedly, the ears are perhaps the trickiest section of the elephant to make. It is imperative to keep count of your stitches with these, and a couple of stitch variations are utilised in order to create the shaping and edges.

I think this colourful collar is great touch to break up the potential monotony of the grey body pieces. The bright bold yarns are stitched into small circular, granny-style motifs which are then sewn together.

All in all I am very pleased with this elephant, he was a pleasure to make and I'm delighted with the finished product.

I hope you enjoy the pics and thanks so much for reading,

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Welcome to the Tor Sulis Crafts blog. On this site you will find a variety of articles and tutorials relating to various craft forms, as well as links and information from around the web that I hope will be of interest to readers.

This blog is predominantly for needle crafts, particularly crochet, knitting and sewing. Many other craft forms will be included too, such as card making, jewelry creation and needle felting. If there are any craft forms that readers are keen to see featured on the blog please don't hesitate to send an email or you can contact me through your preferred social media platform. Links to twitter, facebook and google+, as well as various other networking sites can be found at the bottom of each post.

The patterns featured on the site will be of my own creation. These are provided for personal use of my audience and not to be sold on or for financial gain. They are provided as a resource for readers to create their own versions of the featured crafts. I would be grateful if whilst using the patterns, you keep in mind that I am a hobbyist crafter rather than a professional and the instructions may include slight faults or brevity of information. If you spot any issues or require further information, please drop me an email and I will make the necessary corrections.

Thank you for visiting the site - I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Crafting,