Category Archives: Crochet

Crochet Embellishment: turn an ordinary item into a special gift

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Stork teas seem to bring out the creative side in most of us!

For a particular little pink foot called Lea, the theme was very feminine with antique tea cups filled with moss and violets.

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To add to the theme I crocheted tiny violet flowers from embroidery thread.

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Sewed it to a plain white outfit to make something really special.

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The little outfit turned out to be what we think somewhat cute!

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For another little pink foot called Juliette, I did a few more crochet embellishments. A friendly cow:

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A little strawberry heart:

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Wise old owl to keep watch over her:

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And a flower with a beautiful picot edge:

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We certainly hope that we have inspired you today!

7 Lessons learnt from a stork tea blanket

What a lovely idea to get all the family and friends attending a stork tea to crochet or knit a few squares for the new pink foot and sew it into a blanket?

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The intention was pure, but the process proved less than perfect with many challenges!

As this is a really lovely idea, we would like to share a few lessons learnt and a few potholes to avoid.

Lesson number 1: Brief the participants very carefully on the requirements. Merely saying 10cm x 10cm blocks is not enough.

Lesson number 2: Place emphasis on the size of the blocks. If the requirement is 10cm by 10cm, then 10cm x 11cm is not. Be friendly, but firm  about this - it will avoid many headaches. This knitted block (look at the lovely lace work!) is absolutely stunning, but is a rectangle and didn’t fit so well with the other blocks.

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Lesson number 3: Blocks that curl at the sides make the task very difficult and should be avoided. If they do curl, the blocks will not lie flat in the blanket. Be sure to mention this in the brief. Here is an example.

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Lesson number 4: Blocks cannot be stretched by blocking them – they need to be the correct size without forcing them into a mold. If they are not the correct size to begin with, they will only revert back to their true size.

Lesson number 5: Blocks that are knitted from the corner in diagonal rows often result in a diamond and not a square – this results in the diamond pulling the other squares where it is attached.

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Lesson number 6: Crochet or knit an edge around the blanket, this flattens out the blanket. Crochet a foundation double crochet chain (UK terms) and then sew this to the blanket by hand for a flatter edge. This also provides a solid foundation to crochet any beautiful edge on.

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Lesson number 7: ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.‘ John Lennon. I am sure this project would have taken half the time if I crocheted it myself from the start but I manage to puzzle all the pieces together and it turned out rather pretty. Given the fact that so many family members and friends crocheted and knitted along – this blanket has a ton of sentimental value which makes it really special and worth the extra effort!

Crochet for Beginners 3: Magic Ring

Learn the easier technique for starting crochet squares, circles and other motif patterns!

This technique replaces the string of chain stitches closed by a slip stitch to form your starter ring. The biggest advantage of this technique is that it is adjustable and therefore neater! It is also faster  to make and you do not have to pull your work to hide the unsightly bulge caused by the slip stich. Once you’ve learnt this technique it will be your go-to starter! This tutorial is for right-handed crocheters. Ready? Here we go:

1.    Place the yarn across your left hand like this:

2.    Hold the end with your left thumb and wrap the yarn around your index finger from the bottom  of your finger and across the yarn that is lying on top of your index finger:

3.   Use your crochet hook and put it under the bottom thread to hook the top thread and pull it through. Like this:

4. Pull the loop through and twist the hook into the loop (there is a bit of a wrist action to do this!)

5. Chain 3

6. Add trebles (UK terminology) and adjust the size of the ring by pulling the loose end.

 

7. Add as many trebles as the pattern requires and close the ring with a slip stitch.

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Weave away the loose end at the back. Also see the tutorials on Ending Off your work!

How to line a crochet or knit handbag

How to line this cute little knitted bag:

I chose a thick cotton print fabric and bamboo handles. Cut the fabric, the size of your bag.

The top of the bag will be somewhat smaller than the bottom of the bag. A series of pleats or tucks are sewn at the top of both sides of the lining.

It is done by drawing lines 1cm apart on the wrong side of the fabric. Draw a horizontal line half way down the lining to show where you will stop sewing the pleats.

Start in the middle and fold the fabric on the line in the middle. Sew along the 1cm line marked. Fold the next two lines together and sew along the line to form another pleat. Sew from the middle out to the sides to the desired width.

Sew a seam in the lining at the top of the bag for both sides. This will create a neat look when you open your bag. Place right sides of the lining together and sew the bottom and sides together.

Sew the lining to the bag either with your machine or by hand. I prefer to do it by hand as I find it easier.

The finished bag! A lining strengthens the bags and protects the knitting.

Sunday Inspiration: Pierre le Riche

We came across this South African artist’s work last week and think this installation work of his is just beautiful.

The Rainbow RoomThe work is called ‘The Rainbow Room’ and is a marriage of yarn bombing and installation art. We love the amazing contrast between the white objects and the brightly coloured yarn (17 km of it!).

Pierre knitted covers for over 150 rugby balls in the colours of the gay pride flag as his works is a playful but critical look at Afrikaner masculinity and homosexuality. Visi magazine published an interesting interview with him for those of you who would like to read more.

Heirloom Blanket

In February we like the silliness of hearts and lots of red and pink but most of us crafters show our love by making something for those we really care about. Elaine van Wyk, who is the founding partner of I Love Yarn, makes blankets! She has made many blankets for her children, nephews and nieces (and I can reveal that there is a to do list for quite a few more). The most beautiful of all of her gift blankets is a special one she has made for her husband who is very supportive of her and also our new venture.

It can be a challenge to make something that is masculine enough but also fits in with the general decor of your home. Elaine decided on a simple geometric pattern that is softened significantly by the use of a variety in textures and colours. Apparently the colours were picked with a photo of a Mediterranean landscape as the starting point.

The colours used in the motif of the Heirloom Blanket is combined according to personal taste.

The colours used in the motif of the Heirloom Blanket is combined according to personal taste.

The kit for this blanket can be bought from our online shop. We combined different types of yarn in four colour ways; blues, greens, pinks and peaches. There is approximately 2.3kg yarn in each kit and the pattern with diagram and written instructions. The blanket will be approximately 110cm x 192cm in size. Each blanket made will be truly unique as the colours and yarns are combined according to the personal taste of the maker. This blanket will be passed on and kept in families for generations to come!

Sunday Inspiration: Sophie Digard

Every time I see a Sophie Digard crochet item it takes my breath away. This French designer creates very labour intensive crochet items that are made in Madagascar. Her exquisite small motifs are repeated in a sophisticated colour palette using linens, wool and other natural fibres. She produces mainly scarves but also handbags and smaller items like necklaces. The items she makes will be beautiful and coveted in a hundred years still and that is why she is this week’s inspiration!

Clematis is inspired by the flower and fine linen is used:

Clematis via The French Needle

Clematis via The French Needle

I have a secret love affair with velvet and this scarf uses both velvet and merino wool! Pretty much the perfect combination of fibres for me!

Fifty Fifty via The French Needle

Fifty Fifty via The French Needle

This could be the inspiration for a personal necklace project:

Circle Necklace via Pinterest

Circle Necklace via Pinterest

Lovely fine repetition on this handbag (and we all know how many loose ends there will be with so many colour changes!):

Sophie Digard handbag via Pinterest

Sophie Digard handbag via Pinterest

Also see our Sophie Digard Pinterest board.

Sunday Inspiration: Itoamika Jungjung

We are enormously inspired by the Japanese craft culture. The quality of the yarns, the stylish patterns and the beautifully published craft books that we pore over even though we cannot understand a word of it. There is an attention to detail that can only come from spending time on really mastering your craft. We are also big fans of Itoamika Jungjung for her beautifully crocheted art pieces of plants, flowers and vegetables. It is super fine work using hand dyed yarns to get the colours just right.

ball string leaves 1 cells 1

fern 1 Fine mushrooms 1

leaves 1 madeliefie 1

tiny beets 1 tiny flowers 1

All images from jungjung.jp - also see our jungjung pinterest board.