Saturday, 27 May 2017

DIY slogan straw bag

The straw bag - a summer staple.

Mine comes out year after year, but to be honest it was a bit of a plain Jane.
Until now, that is...


I've been totally loving the slogan versions I've seen around recently and love the cursive script.

Dolce Vita, Petite Pois, The Future is Female, Take Your Broken Heart

But rather than buy a new one, I hatched a plan to upcycle mine, and all I needed was a long chain of crochet* and a needle and thread.

*don't worry if you're not a crocheter. You could simply find a length of cord or ribbon and stitch that on instead.


Ok. Tis easy peasy. I chose Stylecraft Mystique in Fuxia, because I love the colour, but you could use any yarn from your stash - cotton would work really well, I think. you only need a small amount, so its the perfect stashbuster, too. you'll also need a plain straw bag (mine is an ancient one from Primark), matching thread and a needle.



I decided on Fiesta for my slogan and rather than go freehand**, I printed out a template, using an app on my phone -  Pic Collage and chose 'King Basil' font.


**a little while ago, I tried this crochet-embroidery-type-thing freehand and it was a bit of a disaster. Me and a couple of friends were off to Yarndale and decided to put #Crochet Girl Gang on our denim jackets the night before. The others' looked fab. Mine looked absolutely rubbish. I am still blaming the bucket loads of Prosecco and the fact it was nearly midnight when we started....

See? Disaster. Completely wonky.

Anyhoos, back to the non-disastrous version:


With my fail-safe template to hand, I cut it roughly to shape and then tacked it onto the bag, so that it didn't move when I was working on it. 

I then crocheted a long chain with my yarn (I used a 3.5 mm hook to make a nice, compact chain). Don't worry about whether your chain will be long enough - so long as you begin stitching it on at the knot-end, you can just keep adding as you need it.

Next, I laid the chain on my template and stitched through the bag and template using matching cotton thread. I made short little stitches to keep the slogan secure.

Once that was done, I carefully tore the template away et voila!!




Tis done! 
And I'm very pleased with it, I must say. 



I'm thinking of maybe adding a pompom trim, or some tassels?? 
Or perhaps it's best just plain - let me know what you think!


Sarah xx


Thursday, 25 May 2017

Book review - Colourful Crochet

Would I like the opportunity to review a new crochet book and be a part of its blog tour?
Would I 'eck!!
(Especially when it's been designed by a fellow crochet pal, Marianne Dekkers-Roos)

Marianne and I have 'known' each other through blogging and social media for many years now and I'm very honoured that she has reviewed both my books, so was super-glad of the opportunity to repay the favour - and what a treat it is.

I love Marianne's designs; they're bright, colourful and completely inspiring, and if you follow her on Instagram, or via her blog, you'll know exactly what I mean.

This book does not disappoint.
There are 23 projects listed, but what I really like is that some of them show two or three different items you could make with the motifs - clever, eh?

The patterns themselves are varied and are a mix of projects for your home and accessories to wear. They also range in difficulty from beginner-friendly to something more challenging, too. 
Each project is written clearly, with each step well-explained and there is an accompanying chart too; perfect for those of us who prefer a visual approach to making patterns.


AND, Marianne has a top tip for getting your granny square to stop being squiffy (you know how they kind-of lean?) anyhoos, I cannot reveal the secret - you'll have to read the book.


So, what did I choose to make?
Not an easy decision- there are so many designs I wanted to try, but I settled on the Geometric Triangle Blanket. I was intrigued to see how this pattern came together.


Ok, so I may have lied a teeny bit. 
I have not made a human-sized blanket. I have made a tiddly mouse-blanket.


Here's the first row done. Isn't it clever? I love how the triangles are constructed.


And this is the beginning of the third row. It's a lovely pattern to crochet and not as tricky as I thought it might be - there's a lovely rhythm in its making, with a two row repeat, which I really enjoy. 

If you'd like to join the blog tour and see what other crochet peeps have made (there's some crochet royalty taking part, let me tell you) then take a look here for all the links.

And if you'd like to purchase your very own copy, then see here.

Well done, Marianne - it's a really wonderful book.

Sarah xx

Monday, 1 May 2017

The perfect little bag




It's a bag.

Just a little bag, but so useful. 

The perfect size, in fact for all the essentials*.

What makes it even more perfect is the fact that it takes about an hour to make and it doesn't need lining (what a Godsend - I blimmin' HATE lining bags).

Oh, and it has tassels. 
What's not to love??

Fancy making one?

*There is, in fact a bigger, tote-style bag in my NEW BOOK, Supersize Crochet (and it doesn't need a lining, either - hoorah! Take a quick look over there on the sidebar →



You'll need around 500g/ 71 meters of your favourite t-shirt yarn (I love this shop) and a small amount in a contrasting colour for the tassels, 17cm / 6.5" bag handles (mine are from here) and a 12mm hook.

The finished bag measures around 26 x 19 x 6cm

Pattern notes 

I used the cross-dc variation of the double crochet (US single crochet) stitch - see my post Quest for a Stitch to find out how to do it. If you prefer, you can use the normal dc (sc), the pattern will work just fine.

I also worked from round 2 in continuous rounds without a slip stitch to join or ch1 at the beginning, which was to avoid a seam. If you'd prefer joined rounds, then feel free to do so. Again, the pattern will work.

Don't want tassels? Simply work rnd 5 as regular dc (US sc) stitches and leave off the tassels!

Nope, I'm not crocheting glasses - it's how you work across the bag handles on Round 1


UK Pattern (US Below)

Rnd 1: Make 10dc across the first handle, 5ch, 10dc across the second handle, 5ch. Join with a sl st to the first dc to join. (30 sts)

Rnd 2 - 3: 1ch, 1dc in each st around (do not join - work in continuous rnds from here on).

Rnd 4: (Short row) 5dc (leave 25 stitches unworked).

Rnd 5: 1dc in each st BLO.

Rnds 6 - 12: 1dc in each st around.

Base 

18ch
Row 1: 1tr in each of 12 chains, beginning in the 4th ch from your hook, sk 2 ch, sl st in last ch.

To join base to bag, and with RS facing, sl st through FLO of rnd 12 to stitches around the base piece.

Fasten off.

To make up:
Cut tassels to the desired length and attach to the exposed loops from Rnd 5.
Joining the base to the bag


US Pattern

Rnd 1: Make 10sc across the first handle, 5ch, 10sc across the second handle, 5ch. Join with a sl st to the first sc to join. (30 sts)

Rnd 2 - 3: 1ch, 1sc in each st around (do not join - work in continuous rnds from here on).

Rnd 4: (Short row) 5sc (leave 25 stitches unworked).

Rnd 5: 1sc in each st BLO.

Rnds 6 - 12: 1sc in each st around.

Base 

18ch
Row 1: 1dc in each of 12 chains, beginning in the 4th ch from your hook, sk 2 ch, sl st in last ch.

To join base to bag, and with RS facing, sl st through FLO of rnd 12 to stitches around the base piece.

Fasten off.

To make up:
Cut tassels to the desired length and attach to the exposed loops from Rnd 5. 




Taaa daaaaah!
See? Quick and easy !!

Enjoy crocheting and don't forget to tag me so I can see what you've been making!

Have a fab week,
Sarah xxx


Saturday, 22 April 2017

The One with a SUPERSIZE blog hop



Yep, not any old-sized blog hop - a SUPERSIZED one, of course.

And so, to celebrate the launch of my new book, Supersize Crochet (eeeeeeek!!! totally excited!!!), there's an amazing blog hop taking place from the 1st - 19th May.


It features the most AWESOME crochet bloggers from across the entire blimmin' planet, who will be taking a look at the book and trying out some of the projects, too.


Want to know more?
Here's what's happening:

Monday 1st May - watch out! I'll be taking over the Sew and So Instagram Account
Tuesday 2nd May - read my guest blog over at Sew and So

Wednesday 3rd May - the first of the guest bloggers is Maria from Dinki Dots
Thursday 4th May - then it's Shelley from Spincushions
Friday 5th May - next up, Ashley from Lazy Daisy Jones

Monday 8th May - another great week begins with Tamara from Moogly
Tuesday 9th May - next it's Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch
Wednesday 10th May - happy hump day with Sara from Crochet Me
Friday 12th May - a lot of FriYAY love with Marianne from MaRRose
Sunday 14th May - enjoy the weekend with Ruby and Kim from Frank & Olive
 
Monday 15th May -start a new week with Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence
Tuesday 16th May - then it's Twinkie from Twinkie Chan
Wednesday 17th May - everything is HUGE with Andrea from Woolly Mahoosive
Thursday 18th May - the penultimate post from Kerry at Interweave
Friday 19th May - ah, it's all over. Read the Blog Hop Round Up



Wow! It's a line-up of Mega stars!! I can't wait to see what they all get up to. Join us for the blog hop and don't forget to take part across social media with the hashtags #supersizecrochet and #annabooshousetakeover .

 

Have a great week,
Sarah xx

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A whole load of new yarn

Lucky me!
The postman has been a busy bee, delivering lots of new yarny goodness.

Watch the Youtube tutorial below (or click here )to see close-ups of the yarn and find the show notes with details below.


Have a great week,
Sarah x


Episode 5: The one with all the new yarn. 
Show notes

Yarn: 
Stylecraft Special Dk in Vintage Peach, Buttermilk and Mushroom - 100g / 100% Acrylic
Stylecraft Classique Cotton 4-ply 50g / 100% Cotton
Stylecraft Mystique 50g / 70% Polyester/ 30% Viscose
Stylecraft Head Over Heels Sock Yarn  in Sugarloaf and Etna 100g / 75% Superwash wool / 25% Nylon
Stylecraft Wondersoft Merry-go-round DK in Pastel Rainbow and Dark Rainbow 100g / 100% Acrylic 
Stylecraft Candy Swirl DK in Apple Sour 150g / 100% Acrylic

Bilum PukPuk yarn
Scheepjes Whirl in Slice 'O Cherry Pie 225g / 60% Cotton /40% Acrylic

Blog post with shawl started in Head Over Heels here

Ombre Shawl from Inside Crochet Issue 87
Sheep from Inside Crochet Issue 88