Cult of Crochet

crochet has become a bit of an obsession – join me in the madness!

Running Armband

I hate running but gimmicky gadgets will get me to try anything and so I found myself looking forward to a jog around after I installed miCoach from adidas on my phone – it’s really cool and free so I do recommend giving it a try. This means I need my phone with me though and not hidden in a pocket since it needs GPS signals to let me know my speed and plot my route and things. Crochet to the rescue! My first attempt at an armband was just a stretchy band with a simple phone case sewn on. This worked ok but not great – It felt tight enough when I put it on but as I jogged up and down it shifted and felt too loose. This is my improved design with a long strap and velcro so you can pull it as tight as you like and if the crochet stretches or you lose weight or someone else wants to borrow it then you can just pull it a bit tighter. It also has an extra pocket for my keys.

What you will need:

*About 50g of DK weight yarn and a suitable sized hook (I used 4mm)

*A small amount of Velcro (you could use a loop and button to close but then it won’t be adjustable)

*A yarn needle for sewing the work and a regular needle and thread for sewing on the Velcro

*A metal or plastic ring for looping the strap through – I used one from the strap of an old bag – it is square and works fine but having used it a couple of times I think a circular one would be slightly better as it tends to twist.

*Knowledge of English crochet terms – have a look at the conversion chart for the American equivalents.

Step 1. Leaving a longish tail for sewing later, chain the length of your metal or plastic ring (if it’s circular then chain just less than the diameter). I chained 7.

Step 2. Ch1, turn, dc each stitch to the end of the row.

Repeat step 2 until the work is about 4cm (1.5″) long.

Step 3. Place your phone/mp3 player/ipod so that the work is in the centre of one edge and chain to reach the edge:

Step 4. ch1, turn, dc each stitch of the row. Now instead of turning chain until the total length of the work is twice that of your phone/ipod etc:

Step 5. ch1, turn, dc each stitch to the end of the row.

Repeat step 5 until the work is wide enough to cover your phone. If you would like an extra pocket for your keys etc then continue adding rows until the work is large enough.

Step 6. ch1, turn, dc each stitch until you reach the point opposite the end of the initial little tab.

Step 7. ch1, turn, dc the same number of stitches as you chained in step 1. You are creating a strap the same width as, and directly opposite the initial tab.

Repeat step 7 until you have a strap long enough to wrap completely around your arm twice. This will seem very long but wrapping it all around makes it more secure. Fasten off:

Step 8. Fold the initial tab in half and sew it around the ring:

Step 9. Fold the large section of work up and sew up both edges. If you crocheted extra to hold keys etc. then insert your phone and sew up the edge to create two separate pockets. Leave a gap in your sewing at the position your headphones will plug in:

Step 10. Sew a small square of the hook type of Velcro to the end of the long strap:

Step 11. Put your phone/ipod into its pocket and any keys or anything else you’ll be carrying. Insert the long strap through the ring and fold it back on itself. Put the armband on and wrap the strap around your arm. Pull it as tight as feels secure and mark the point the small square of Velcro reaches. Take the armband off and sew a long length of the loop type of Velcro to the strap at the position you marked (this should be on the opposite side of the strap to the first square of Velcro). Line up the centre of the Velcro strip with the position you marked to make the strap adjustable in either direction. The longer the strip of Velcro, the more adjustable the band will be:

Weave in any loose ends you have and go for a jog :)

Filed under: crochet, instructions, useful stuff, , , , , , , , , ,

Watermelon Coin Purse

A crocheted coin purse with lining and zip. I used DK yarn and this purse is big enough to fit several cards inside as well as money. Crochet terms are English so have a look at the conversion chart for the American equivalents.

1. In red chain 3.

2. 3dc in 3rd chain from hook.

3. chain 1, turn, 2dc in each stitch. (6 stitches total)

4. ch1, turn, *2dc, dc

*repeat twice more. (9 stitches)

5. ch1, turn, *2dc, dc, dc

*repeat twice more. (12 stitches)

6. ch1, turn, *2dc, dc, dc, dc

*repeat twice more. (15 stitches)

7. ch1, turn, *2dc, dc, dc, dc, dc

*repeat twice more. (18 stitches)

8. Continue in this way for 9 more rows – adding one extra dc between increases on each row. You should now have 45 stitches.

At this point fold your work in half and notice that because we’ve been increasing in the same places each time the curved section is not smooth and doesn’t match up well. We will now correct this:

9. ch1, turn, dc first 7 stitches, 2dc, dc next 14 stitches, 2dc, dc next 14 stitches, 2dc, dc final 7 stitches. (48 stitches total)

10. ch1, turn, dc first 8, 2dc, dc next 15, 2dc, dc next 15, 2dc, dc final 7. (51 stitches)

11. ch1, turn, dc first 8, 2dc, dc next 16, 2dc, dc next 16, 2dc, dc final 8. (54 stitches)

12. ch1, turn, dc first 9, 2dc, dc next 17, 2dc, dc next 17, 2dc, dc final 8. (57 stitches)

13. ch1, turn, dc first 9, 2dc, dc next 18, 2dc, dc next 18, 2dc, dc final 9. (60 stitches)

14. ch1, turn, dc first 10, 2dc, dc next 19, 2dc, dc next 19, 2dc, dc final 9. (63 stitches)

15. ch1, turn, dc first 10, 2dc, dc next 20, 2dc, dc next 20, 2dc, dc final 10. (66 stitches)

16. ch1, turn, dc first 11, 2dc, dc next 21, 2dc, dc next 21, 2dc, dc final 10. (69 stitches)

Change colour to cream/white

17. ch1, turn, dc first 11, 2dc, dc next 22, 2dc, dc next 22, 2dc, dc final 11. (72 stitches)

18. ch1, turn, dc first 12, 2dc, dc next 23, 2dc, dc next 23, 2dc, dc final 11. (75 stitches)

Change colour to green

19. ch1, turn, dc first 12, 2dc, dc next 24, 2dc, dc next 24, 2dc, dc final 12. (78 stitches)

20. ch1, turn, dc first 13, 2dc, dc next 25, 2dc, dc next 25, 2dc, dc final 12. (81 stitches)

21. ch1, turn, dc first 13, 2dc, dc next 26, 2dc, dc next 26, 2dc, dc final 13. (84 stitches)

Fasten off. Fold in half again and the curved edges should now match up much better than before.

SEEDS (Make 6)

I used black crochet thread and a 2mm hook to create the seeds – if you don’t have these then small scraps of black felt cut to the same shape would work just as well.

1. Chain 6, slip stitch into the 2nd chain from the hook.

2. dc into next chain, (htr, tr, htr) all into next chain, dc, sl.

3. ch1, do not turn but work down the opposite side of the starting chain, sl, dc, (htr, tr, htr), dc, sl. Fasten off.

Sew the seeds evenly around the watermelon.

Fold the work in half with the seeds facing out and whip stitch along the straight edge using the loose tails from crocheting – use red on the red section, green on the green etc.

LINING

To make the lining I highly recommend this fantastic tutorial from futuregirl. I just made my lining up as I went along – it works and I’ll go through how I did it but her’s are things of beauty in their own right.

1. Cut a semicircle of green material to the same size as the crocheted semicircle:

2. Fold in half and sew down the straight edge:

3. Create a hem along the curved edge by folding outwards and sew the zip along the top:

4. Put the lining into the crocheted watermelon and sew along the top edge to secure the lining in place:

5. Use green yarn to hide the edges of the zip.

Filed under: crochet, instructions, , , , , , ,

Thread Butterfly

I saw the pattern for these little butterflies on Ravelry and had to give them a try – they were very easy and quick to make – the second one much faster than the first. The pattern gets you to make a sort of rippled flower that won’t lay flat and when you fold it in half it makes this wonderful butterfly shape. These are the only colours of crochet thread I have at the moment so I just made these two to try out the pattern – I think a couple would look really good added to a basic green hat for a baby or toddler. I used crochet thread I had lying around and a 2mm hook making the finished butterflies ~5cm (2″) across the widest part of the wings. If you want to give them a try the pattern is a pdf that can be downloaded for free from Ravelry called Butterfly Grace.

Filed under: crochet, , , , ,

Experiments with a lap loom

The internet is a wonderful thing. A few weeks ago I posted a photo of something made of yarn and asked if anyone knew how it had been created; within minutes lots of you wonderful people left links with ideas and it turned out to have been created by something called a hexagonal lap loom. You can buy these online but they are from America and I was too lazy to look for suppliers in the UK… And they were expensive… And ordering one would involve waiting for it to be delivered and I’m very impatient. So I decided to make my own and while I’m not sure how much I actually like the results it was easy and works brilliantly so here’s how I did it:

To make a loom like mine you will need some nails/tacks (maybe drawing pins or similar would work if you can manage to push them securely into the wood) a hammer and an old picture frame that is quite wide. Also a ruler and pen for marking where to put the nails.

Use your ruler to mark the centre point on each of the shorter sides of the frame. Draw a line from this point to the corner of the hole in the centre of the frame and continue in a straight line to the edge (as shown by the red line/arrow above). Repeat this for all four corners of the frame.

Now mark on where to put the nails. You will need one nail at each point of the hexagon (so that’s 6 in total) and then the actual number all the way around doesn’t matter – the important points to remember are that you need the same number of nails on opposite sides of the hexagon (nails should be opposite each other) and if you want your patterns to have the same height and width then all nails need to be equally spaced so measure the length of the sides and choose a spacing that will fit nails in evenly (it doesn’t have to be very exact – you can fudge it a bit as long as opposite sides have the same number of nails). As you can see on my loom I ended up with 11 nails along the long edges and 8 nails on each of the short edges all roughly 2cm apart but yours will be different depending on the dimensions of your photo frame.

Now you have your frame you need to choose your yarn and wind it around. I got instructions for winding from LapWeaving.Info which clearly show where to start and how to turn the loom. This step is very quick and easy once you get the hang of it and you can keep going around as many times as you like to make the piece thicker. To create the flower effect in the photo from my earlier post you will need 2 contrasting colours. In the first colour weave around as you are shown in the tutorial but only use every other nail:

Change to the second colour and wind around the nails not used the first time:

From the front it now looks like this (the white tape is to cover up the nail points that poked through!):

All that winding should only take a few minutes but now it’s time for the painstaking part – tying all the sections together. Again detailed instructions are available on LapWeaving.Info. It is very time-consuming and I’m still undecided if it’s worth all the effort! I guess it depends how much you like the results:

I finished off this place mat by crocheting around the outside a couple of times but I wasn’t sure I even liked it at all! The pink and green colours are what attracted me to the mystery photo in the first place but here I think they look a bit too bright and gaudy.

I didn’t want to waste my very first attempt (when the nails weren’t even and the flowers ended up looking stretched) so I cut it up to create some coasters with loose edges and I like these much more than the place mat for some reason:

I also had a go at a more subdued grey place mat:

But I still feel like it’s missing a certain something that I can’t quite put my mind on. What do you think?

Filed under: instructions, Not crochet, , , , , , ,

Back in Business

Sorry for the break in transmission over the last few weeks folks – just after the last post my camera stopped working – I took it to pieces, blew out the dust and prodded the interior a bit but to no avail (it usually works for my pc). I tried using my phone camera but it’s pretty rubbish so I just had to give up for a while. Yesterday I acquired a shiny new camera that I can’t show you (what would I take the photo with) but it’s very nice and of course the very first thing I did was crochet a case for it. Just a very simple case in the style of the flower phone case in chunky wool with a loop and a giant button. Normal crocheting service will resume shortly.

Filed under: crochet,

What is this?

I have these exact colours of yarn and I want to make some coasters/placemats and this pattern is so lovely but what is it? Is this crochet? knitting? embroidery? I can’t figure it out and can’t find anything online. If you know what this is or know of a crochet stitch that gives a similar result please let me know!

UPDATE: I know what this is.

Filed under: other, , , , , , ,

Broomstick Lace Bracelet

This weekend I learnt broomstick lace. I saw a photo of a broomstick cuff on Ravely but the pattern just says “work 3 groups of 5 stitches of broomstick lace for the length of your wrist.” which wasn’t quite the level of detail I was hoping for!

As with the crocodile stitch I’d been putting off learning this stitch because it looked quite complicated and there seemed to be a lack of left-handed written instructions, and again once I got my head around it it was actually quite easy. The most useful instructions I found were detailed written instructions from dayliliescreative.com - as usual though the instructions are for the right-handed majority so I’ve created a photo tutorial here for all the lefties out there to even things up a little.

I think completing this pattern with a fluffy or highly textured yarn would be a bit of a waste – you need a nice smooth yarn that will show up all the stitches. Select your yarn (you don’t need very much for this small project – the finished bracelet with buttons weighs less than 10g) and a suitably sized hook – here I’ve used bamboo cotton and a 4mm hook. You also need something thicker – the broomstick from the name of the stitch. A thick knitting needle would be perfect because of the tapered point for sliding stitches on and off but I don’t knit so I used a 15mm crochet hook instead. The thicker your “broomstick” the longer the lacy clusters will be.

Step 1. Chain 15 and pick up your “broomstick”.

Step 2. Pull out the loop on the hook and place it over the broomstick. Using your hook work your way down the chain, pulling a loop of yarn through each chain and without twisting it placing it around the broomstick.

Step 3. Once you’ve worked your way down the whole chain you should have 15 loops around the broomstick.

Step 4. Turn the broomstick around so the length of working yarn is at the top. Insert your hook under the first 5 loops on the broomstick as shown below. Yarn over the hook and pull under all 5 loops. Yarn over again and through the single loop on the hook. This is a slip stitch completed just once at the start of every row.

Step 5. *Insert the hook under all 5 loops as before, yarn over the hook and pull under all 5 loops. Yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook. *repeat 4 more times (5 stitches total)

Step 6. Push this group of 5 loops off the end of your broomstick.

Step 7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the next group of 5 loops.

Step 8. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the final 5 loops and remove the work completely from the broomstick.

Oh dear – it doesn’t look very lacy and swishy like all those lovely photos you’ve seen does it? Not to worry – pick up the work and hold it vertically so the starting chain is in one hand and the row of stitches you’ve just completed in the other.

Pull these rows apart to reveal the lovely loopy broomstick stitches. There’s no need to be gentle – the work should be quite solid and able to withstand some tugging. This is where using smooth yarn gives another advantage as straightening it up is much easier. If it’s being stubborn then pull on individual loops to even them up – again don’t worry about being rough – you can always pull them back – nothing will unravel.

Phew! That looks much more like it. Row 1 is complete and you should have 15 stitches.

Step 9. pull out the working loop and put it around the broomstick as you did in step 2. Just like step 2 work your way down the row of stitches pulling loops through the work and putting them on the broomstick.

At the end of the row you should again have 15 loops around the broomstick.

Step 10. Repeat steps 4 to 8 to complete this next row.

Continue repeating this process and after a few rows your work should look something like this:

From the couple of sites I looked at I think this is generally considered to be the front of the work but I much prefer the other side which seems more delicate and lacy:

Continue adding rows until the bracelet fits snugly around your wrist. I needed 9 rows. Fasten off and weave in ends.

You could add another row or two and simply slip stitch the work into a ring for a loose bracelet but I preferred it to be snug and actually think the buttons look good and will probably wear them facing out. If you want buttons then sew 3 onto the front side of the starting chain end. The loops of your last row will act as button holes.

Filed under: crochet, instructions, , , , , , ,

Zombie Phone Case

** This pattern uses English crochet terms, an American version is available on the new home of this blog - vampireweasel.co.uk **

I had a request from a friend for a zombie phone case and after a little bit of thinking this was the result. The thing that really makes it great, I think, is the hanging out eyeball and I can’t take any credit for that whatsoever – I saw it on an amigurumi bunny of doom at a blog called A Clockwork Angel and instantly knew it had to be the focal point of the phone case.
To make this case first follow the instructions for the flower phone case in grey (or green would look good) up to step 6. Go on, go do that now – we’ll wait for you….

Done that now? and your phone fits nicely inside? Good then let’s continue:

FASTENING STRAP

You don’t have to have a strap to close the top but I think the fact it’s on one side instead of central and that it hooks around the ‘good’ eye all adds to the creepy/quirkiness. Maybe there used to be a strap on the other side too but that eye just couldn’t take the strain….? If you want a strap too then stop your dc spiralling towards one side and chain long enough to loop down to the centre of the case while the phone is in it. Now dc into the next stitch of the case and slip stitch the next few stitches.

HAIR

If you have fluffy yarn like I did then change to this yarn and complete a couple of rounds of 1dc in each stitch – keep going until there is as much hair as you want. If you don’t have fluffy yarn then fasten off the grey yarn and you could tie lengths of a contrasting colour yarn around individual stitches on the top of the case and trim them into tufts. This will be more time-consuming but you have more freedom for the hairstyle – odd random tufts, male pattern baldness or a Mohican maybe.

FACE

If you are using a strap then the button eye should be positioned first and used as a basis to build the rest of the face. Put the phone into the case to locate the best position for the button so that the strap fastens easily and securely. For the popping out eye I used a small black bead inside a larger white bead but as you can see on the Bunny of Doom just a black bead looks great too. Thread the bead onto a length of pink thread or thin yarn and repeatedly knot the thread to create the eye entrails (or whatever they’re actually called!) until it is a good dangling length. Using black thread sew a patch opposite the button to act as an eye socket and pull the ends of the pink thread through either side of the centre of the socket. Tie the ends together and trim inside the case.

Finally using black thread again sew a mouth as shown in the photos or in any expression you like, I’m sure the options are endless!

Filed under: amigurumi, crochet, instructions, other, , , , , , , , ,

Crocodile Scarf Head

The Crocodile scarf is finished! When I showed it to a crochet friend she said it was an adorable scarf for a child… “yes” I replied, “…a child…. yes…. that’s right…. that’s who it’s for…”

I shall have to remember not to wear it when I’m meeting her – she already thinks I’m odd for crocheting toadstools. She’s right though it would look very cute on a kid.

The detailed instructions and photo tutorial for how to complete the crocodile stitch and start the scarf at the tail can be found in my earlier post: Crocodile Scarf Tail. Check that out then follow the link at the end to come back here and finish off the head.

As a recap here are the general instructions for the tail (for detailed step by step instructions follow the link above)

I am using bamboo ribbon yarn that I’m not sure of the weight of and a 5mm hook which makes each scale ~2.5cm (1 inch) in width and height.

TAIL & BODY

row 1 (tail): 1 scale for as long as you like (I have used a chain of 8 scales for my tail)

row 2: increase to 2 scales

row 3: increase to 3 scales

row 4: decrease to 2 scales

row 5: increase to 3 scales

row 6: increase to 4 scales

row 7: increase to 5 scales

row 8: decrease to 4 scales

Continue alternating between 4 and 5 scales to a row until the body of the scarf is as long as you want it.

Now if you’re using thin yarn then I would recommend continuing until the work is normal scarf length – long enough to wrap around your neck at least once. If like me you are using quite thick yarn then the resulting scarf will be too thick to wrap all the way around. Instead I made a “tab” and sewed it to the underside of the head then you can pull the tail section through to secure the scarf wrapped just around the back of the neck (as shown in the first photo of this post).

For the tab chain about 15 and just complete a couple of rows of double crochet – it doesn’t need to be pretty – it won’t be seen. Then sew it to the underside of the head approximately where the eyes are.

Anyway whichever method you choose you first need to know how to complete the head:

After the body is as long as you want it end on a row containing 4 scales

HEAD

row 1: decrease to 3 scales

row 2: decrease to 2 scales

row 3: increase to 3 scales

row 4: increase to 4 scales

row 5: decrease to 3 scales

row 6: increase to 4 scales

row 7: decrease to 3 scales

row 8: decrease to 2 scales

row 9: increase to 3 scales

Fasten off and weave in ends.

TEETH

With much thinner white yarn and a small hook attach to the edge of the final row of scales. There are no proper stitches here so please excuse the lengthy descriptions of where to complete stitches – I hope it makes sense!

Step 1. chain 1 and dc into the same place you attached the yarn

Step 2. complete 5tr into somewhere halfway between the edge of the scale and the centre of the scale

Step 3. 1dc into the centre of the scale

Step 4. complete 5tr into somewhere halfway between the centre of the scale and the far edge of the scale

Step 5. 1dc between this scale and the next

you should now have 2 teeth attached to the first scale. repeat steps 2-5 for the next 2 scales until you reach the end – you should now have 6 teeth. Fasten off and weave in ends.

EYES

I tried a few different styles of safety eyes but they all made him look a bit sinister so in the end I used white felt and black thread. Experiment with the placement of the eyes to give him different expressions. Mine are placed on the middle two scales of the 4th row from the end.

Filed under: clothing, crochet, instructions, , , , , , ,

Bookmark Becomes Scarf

I liked the pink bookmark so much that I decided to make it into a scarf. It’s a thinnish lacy scarf – A summer scarf. If you don’t understand the concept of a summer scarf you clearly don’t live in the north of England. Summer here consists of a period of a few weeks where you can wear a slightly thinner coat. But an umbrella must, of course, still be carried at all times.

On particularly warm days a coat may be dispensed with altogether if you have a summer scarf as backup. It fits in your bag and can be whipped out when the inevitable clouds roll over. It provides some warmth while the lacy look allows you to cling on to the idea that you’re still dressed for summer.

I used DK yarn, a 5.5mm hook and I made a few changes to the bookmark pattern – instead of bullions I used double trebles (trebles in American terms). 15 of them at each end and 5 for each shell along the length. I couldn’t be doing with the tedium of working out what multiple of stitches the starting chain needed to be so I just chained as long as I wanted the scarf and when I got to the near the end of the first side of double treble clusters I skipped an extra stitch (or one less stitch, or whatever was needed) between a couple of clusters so that it matched up at the end. Then when doing the other side I just made sure the centres of clusters were opposite each other. you can’t tell at all that a few are not quite the same as the others.

I really enjoyed making a scarf ‘lengthwise’ – it felt much less repetitive than working in rows and I liked having a definite end – instead of looking at it every few minutes, wondering if it’s long enough and thinking “just one more row and then I’ll stop”…..

Filed under: clothing, crochet, , , ,

check out my new website: vampireweasel.co.uk future projects will be posted there

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