Sunday, 3 November 2013

30 Days Of Christmas. Day 2: Knitted baubles

I know I  was going to sew today. But it looks like I'm not in the mood for sewing, all I can think about is knitted baubles. Yes, exactly! Especially after a lot of inspiration found online this morning.

It all started with this picture found on Flickr:

After meditating on that picture for a couple of minutes I went to Google and started searching for some more info hoping actually to find any free patterns. And I found them! Here is a little list of what I found:

1. Three free designs by Marry Ann Stephens (all three in one PDF file):

2. One more bauble by Marry Ann

3. Some really easy baubles by I Like Lemons:

4. Two patterns by Lion Brand:

5. Chevron baubles with pattern and tutorial by Bunny Bosworth

Plus there is a great book by Arne and Carlos "55 Christmas Balls to Knit: Colourful Festive Ornaments" and lots of inspirational pictures online.

I'm going to grab a set of double pointed needles and some yarn bits from my oddments basket and try. Looks like the ones from I Like Lemons are the easiest version. But I really like the chevron ones too...

Saturday, 2 November 2013

30 days of Christmas. Day 1: little crocheted heart

So, today I started a little project. Or is it better to call it a journey? A journey through one of the most unpleasant months of the year to a beautiful Christmas tree... I like how it sounds.

First of all I found a box at home. It even looked like a Christmas box which is ideal. Hopefully in 30 days this box will be full and I will be really proud of myself. Then I searched for some patterns and inspiration. I decided that I won't be supertraditional and really anything as long as I like it and it has appropriate size can be a Christmas decoration. It can be bunnies or any other animals, snowmen, little houses, hearts, apples, angels or any other dolls, balls, trees and so far. The best places to search for inspiration are Pinterest (look at my "Christmas decoration ideas" board there), Google images, any craft magazines like Mollie Makes... There are lots of great ideas in the Internet using all kinds of materials and any skill levels, the most important part here is the creativity.

Now shall we start with the first Christmas tree ornament I made. Today the weather was awful, cold windy and rainy and I could sit in my living room and hear that rain and wind outside. Probably that's why I wanted a bit of romance and choose a little crocheted heart by Taube Skywalker as a first project.
I had that "pattern" for a while and never had a moment to try it out. The way it's written may seem a bit confusing especially for beginners, bud don't worry - I will explain :)

Ok, that is how I did it (not totally followed the instructions, but who cares after all). First of all you need some DK yarn (about 200 m in 100g), a bit of stuffing and a 3mm crochet hook. When I made the solid colour heart I was crocheting in spiral, so no slipstitches in the end of each round were needed, but when I made the stripy heart I was working by rows and each row started with ch1 (I didn't count it as a first dc), dc into the same space, and ended with slipstitch.

We start with two heart "tops":
Round 1: Make a magic ring and make 5 dc into the ring
Round 2: 2 dc into each dc of the previous round = 10 dc
Round 3: 2 dc into every second dc of the previous round = 15 dc
Round 4-5: dc into each dc of the previous round = 15 dc
First top done! Cut the yarn leaving a tail and make the second top using the same instructions, just don't cut the yarn in the end. Now we'll need to join these tops together.
Round 6: dc into each dc of the previous round of the first top, then dc into each dc of the second top = 30 dc
Round 7: dc into each dc of the previous round = 30 dc
Round 8: *crochet 8 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 27 dc
Round 9: *crochet 7 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 24 dc
Round 10: *crochet 6 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 21 dc
Round 11: *crochet 5 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 18 dc
Round 12: *crochet 4 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 15 dc
Round 13: *crochet 3 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 12 dc (start stuffing your heart after this round)
Round 14: *crochet 2 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 9 dc
Round 15: *crochet 1 dc, crochet 2 dc together*, repeat from * to * 2 more times = 6 dc
Round 16: crochet every two dc of the previous round together = 3 dc (I found this round most annoying and difficult as it is not actually that easy to pull the hook through the last two dc).
Now cut the yarn leaving an end, hide that end using either your crochet hook or a tapestry needle and you're done!

Hopefully my explanation is ok :) In fact I enjoyed making that little hearts and I'm now thinking of making some more one day. But for tomorrow we need a new project and I'm thinking about birds perhaps... About something like this one:
And I should make normal daylight pictures of the hearts tomorrow.

My big Christmas adventure. Making handmade Christmas tree decorations.

Last year somewhere in December right before Christmas I actually understood that I really want to make all the Christmas tree decorations myself. Well to be honest I tried but made only four or five... And in the end they all disappeared from our Christmas tree as The Little Man loved them so much that he decided they should live with his toys, especially the crocheted little owls. So this year I had the same idea again, but I had it yesterday.
I know it's only the 2nd of November, but all that knitting, crochet, sewing takes time so I might need the whole month to make my little dream real. Plus I must confess - I hate November. I have no idea how can you really like this:
or this:

I know there is some kind of beauty in all of that and I was honestly trying to find it while me and My Little Man went for a walk today. It was cold, dark (at midday), and windy outside, but we still went as we both need some fresh air and a bit of physical activity. So we found some goose and a swan... But even they looked depressed.

Little Man was quite happy touching the mud, finding dirty stones and running away from me towards the cold dark water (see pic above), so it all was quite stressful and in that circumstances I wasn't able to find any beauty or romance in November really.

In fact the only two things that make November bearable for me are My Little Man's birthday and Christmas decorations that are starting to appear on the streets and in shops windows somewhere around this time.

So I had an idea - why not stretch all of that Christmas spirit for me? What if I would make at least one little Christmas tree decoration each day during all November and then put them all on our Christmas tree in the beginning of December? And it sounded just right!

So starting from today I will start posting the handmade Christmas tree decorations with the links to free pattern, or the pattern itself if it will be my own, and my own explanations and tips. I'm going to crochet, knit, sew them using all the stash I will be able to find in my stash - felt, cotton, beads, lace and ribbons, any kinds of yarn, may be even paper.

Anyone is welcome to join my Christmas adventure - just post the pictures of your handmade Christmas tree decorations in comments. If you have any links to great free patterns or tutorials it would be great if you could share them too!
And now I will leave you and use a bit of free time while Little Man is having a nap to make the first ornament. Will post the picture as soon as it's finished :)