Monthly Archives: April 2019

Granny B’s Granny Purse

I have to admit to loving small purses for change and other bits and pieces, so after my clasp purse I thought I’d have a go at crocheting a granny square purse.  I always show folk on my workshops all the different things that you can do the humble granny square, and these little purses have to be one of the easiest.

To begin with, you need a granny square!!  The size of the square will depend on what size you want your finished purse to be and the number of rounds you have to crochet will also depend on the thickness of yarn that you’re using.  I still have an enormous stash of double knitting yarn, so decided to use that for my purse.

 

My top tip for working the first round of any granny square is to pop a hair grip into the circle you make when you join your 4 chain stitches together.  This is where you’ll be working all the trebles and it can sometimes be really hard to spot.  If you pop a hair grip in then you’ll always be sure of exactly where your hook needs to go.

Keep going until your square is the right size and don’t worry if the edges don’t look straight or the corners don’t look particularly pronounced.  All you need to do is block your granny square.  To do this, lay your square flat on the ironing board (or on one of those rubber children’s mats which are ideal) and pin it into shape.  Now just simply give it a steam with the iron, leave it to dry, and it will look beautifully crisp and square like!

The next step is to cut out your lining.  I laid my granny square on to my chosen fabric and cut it out leaving a good 1.5cm allowance all the way round.  I then ironed the seam allowance towards the wrong side of the lining fabric, and laid it onto the granny square so that the wrong sides were facing.  I popped a short piece of ribbon in under the lining at one of the corners, then carefully hand sewed the lining to the back of the granny square, making sure to secure in the ribbon.

Once the lining is secure you can fold in the bottom right and bottom left corner to the centre of the square and sew up the two edges.

All that’s left to do is to sew on a button and that’s your purse complete!

I just have to decide what to use it for now.   Maybe somewhere to store all my stitch markers perhaps?

Going Round in Circles

Over the past few months I’ve certainly made inroads into my yarn stash, but there’s still an awful lot left!  I got rid of quite a bit of the chunkier yarn when I used my peg loom to weave a couple of car mats, so I thought I’d have a go at a different type of weaving using an embroidery hoop this time.

To prepare your embroidery hoop for weaving, you take off the outer ring and leave to one side.  You then attach your warp thread (I used some DK yarn) to the top of the hoop and bring it down and under the rim directly opposite before bringing it back round to the front and up and under the top in a figure of eight pattern.  Each time you bring your warp thread back up to the top you need to move it roughly 2cm away from the last thread to produce evenly spaced ‘spokes’.  You can find a really useful video tutorial on how to do this here.

It’s important to make sure that you end up with an odd number of spokes on your hoop, or else your weaving won’t work.  Once you’re satisfied with the warp thread it’s time to put the outer ring of the hoop back on and tighten it to ensure your warp stays securely in place.

 

Now the fun starts!

The most effective weaving is made up using yarns of different thickness (although this really is personal preference).  I started out with DK weight which I’d threaded onto a darning needle.  Leaving a tail end of about 6cm, pass the yarn over and under the spokes and keep going for as many rounds as you like.  Make sure that  you end in roughly the same place as you started and you can tie the start and finish finish tail ends together on the back of your work to secure it.

Continue weaving making sure you maintain the pattern of over one spoke then under the next, and varying the yarn you use along the way.  As well as yarn you could try ribbon, shredded plastic bags, string, strips of old clothes etc.  I have quite a lot of wool tops from my spinning, so I popped some of that in too which gave a lovely texture to the finished item.  It wasn’t possible to thread the tops through a needle, but it was very easy to simple thread it over and under with my fingers.

Remember to keep pushing your work towards the centre of the hoop as you go to ensure you don’t have any holes in the middle, but it’s simply a case of keeping going until your hoop is full!

This was a really enjoyable project to make and I think next time I’ll experiment by adding some charms to the weaving too.  I love the fact that it has a ready made frame and is all ready to simply hang on the wall once you’re finished weaving 🙂

Clasp Purse

Well, I’ve been wanting to have a go at making a clasp purse for a while now, so was delighted when I discovered two clasps at the bottom of a basket that I’d totally forgotten about!  I thought it would be sensible to start with the smaller of the two first and see how I got on.

 

 

First of all I chose fabric for the outside and the lining of my purse, and I also needed interfacing too as the cotton was quite thin.

 

 

 

To make the pattern, I drew around the top of the clasp and then sketched out the shape for the rest of the purse.  I did this on a bit of greaseproof paper so I was able to fold it in half to make sure that both sides of the purse pattern were symmetrical.

 

Once I was happy with the shape, and I’d marked on where the hinges were, I added a seam allowance of 1cm all the way around.

Now I was ready to cut out 2 pieces of outer fabric, two of the lining and 2 of the interfacing.

 

The interfacing I had was fusible, so I ironed one piece onto the wrong side of the two floral outer fabric pieces.   I then placed these two outer pieces (now complete with interfacing attached) right sides together, and placed the clasp in position so that I could use a couple of pins to mark whereabouts the hinges came.  I did the same thing with the two lining pieces as well.

 

I was now ready to sew the bottom half of the purse between the pins on both the outer and the lining pieces, then trim off the excess fabric.

 

 

The next step was to turn the lining inside out and insert it inside the purse so that the right side of the lining was facing the right side of the purse.  Then I pinned both layers of fabric in place before sewing them together (making sure to leave a small gap to allow me to turn the whole purse inside out!)

Then I carefully hand sewed the gap (where the pins are in the final photo above).

 

Now that the purse itself was complete, it was time to attach the clasp!

I folded the purse in half to allow me to find the centre top, then counted the holes in the clasp to find the centre hole, and married up the two so the clasp would be symmetrical.

 

Attaching the clasp was definitely the trickiest part, and it took me a few goes to get the hang of it.  Basically you’re working a back stitch through the holes whilst trying to make sure that your stitches don’t show on the inside of the purse (the idea being that they should be hidden under the back of the clasp but this is easier said than done!)

I’m definitely not 100% happy with the final result, but it’s functional for now and I’m going to have another go at the stitching when I have a bit more time.  I’ve really enjoyed having a go though and am looking forward to making the large purse next.  I think I’ll experiment with the shape of the next purse too!

 

Bee Happy!

At last year’s Yarndale festival in Skipton I was lucky enough to attend a workshop run by the amazingly talented Jaki Bogg, learning how to make what she referred to as ‘rip and stitch’ brooches.  I’d seen quite a few of these kinds of brooch on Pinterest and was keen to have a go myself – you’ve probably seen them – they tend to feature little sayings or quotes on them and feature a lovely decorative kilt pin.

Needless to say, I didn’t get my brooch finished during the workshop, but brought everything home to finish off at my leisure.  I’ve come across the bits on several occasions over the last few months and I every time I saw them I thought, ‘I really must finished that brooch off’ but somehow never quite got round to it!

 

This is what I brought home with me – the basis of the brooch, along with a small selection of old cotton fabric, a button and some bits of embroidery thread.

 

 

 

When I spread everything out on the table, I remembered that I wasn’t entirely happy with what I’d done so far which is possibly why it’s lain in my basket for so long!  Basically, the brooch consists of a firm-ish piece of wadding cut to whatever shape and size you fancy and then covered in fabric.  I’d attached my fabric using a series of running stitches but I hadn’t stretched it out carefully enough and the bottom section of my brooch wouldn’t lie flat.   To rectify this I simply unpicked the stitches along the bottom and made a better job of spreading out the fabric this time before I sewed another row of running stitches to hold it in place.

During the workshop I’d attached 2 small pieces of ripped cotton on the top section of the brooch using a small running stitch interspersed with cross stitch, and I’d sewn on a button.   Now it was just a case of deciding what to put on next!

I experimented with some ribbon from my stash but decided that the neat edges didn’t really go with the ripped, more rustic style of the brooch (when you rip rather than cut fabric, you get a lovely rough edge). Instead I decided on a piece of rather lovely tie dyed effect fabric which I ripped into a narrow rectangle.  I pinned this in place and popped one of my remaining bee charms on to see what that would look like.

While I was making up my mind about the bee, I decided to stitch my wording onto the brooch and it didn’t take me long to decide on ‘Bee happy’!  Using small stitches, I back-stitched the letters through all the layers of the brooch so that the bottom half of the tie dyed fabric was secured in place too.  I then tried placing the bee charm at the top and a button at the bottom to see what that would look like, and was suitably pleased with the result.

Once I’d sewn both the charm and the button in place, the tie dye fabric was nice and secure without the need for any additional stitches which was great.

At this point, the front was all finished, so it was now a case of fixing the kilt pin in place before tidying up the back.

I wrapped a piece of plain cotton over the hook side of the pin, then sewed a row of small back stitches all the way along as close to the pin as possible.  Once I’d secured the fabric to the pin, I could place it on the back of the brooch, right at the top and pin it in place.

The final step was to back the brooch to hide all the loose ends of thread and to secure the pin in position.  I placed the largest piece of cotton under the brooch and cut all the way around leaving a good sized hem allowance of about 2cms.  I then folded the hem over, and held it in place as I worked my way around attaching the backing to the brooch with a series of tiny stitches.

And there you have it – one ‘Bee happy’ brooch to brighten up a coat or a bag maybe, or even to hang on the wall as a little mini pendant – the choice is yours!

 

 

 

From Peg Loom to Leg Room!

Well I think my yarn stash must be magic – it seems no matter how much of the stuff I use, I still have bags of wool hiding under my table!

This time I thought I ought to use up some of the chunky wool I have, so I decided to make 2 little mats to go in the back of the car.

 

My lovely Dad had made me a little peg loom a while ago, so when Harry went out the other night I sat myself down in front of the telly and set to.

 

 

Peg loom weaving is wonderfully easy to do, and very therapeutic.  A small loom like mine fits nicely on your lap and you work with the weaving away from you so that it covers your legs as you go (all will become clear!)

To start, you need to thread each of the pegs in the loom with a long piece of yarn.  I used a darning needle to get my yarn through the holes and made sure that the yarn was plenty longer than the size I wanted my finished mat to be (this is to allow extra yarn to tie off the ends and make tassels).  You’ll end up with 2 strands of yarn hanging down from each peg and these are known as the warp threads.

Once your loom is set up, pop it on your knee, make sure you have a bag of yarn and a cup of tea to hand, tune in to Poirot, and you’re ready for the off!

To start, you simply weave your first colour in front and behind each of the pegs in turn.  When you come to the end of a row, bring the yarn round the last peg and continue the pattern.  Keep going for as many rows as you want with this colour.  Once you’re ready to change, get to the end of a row, trim the old yarn (leaving a nice long end to weave in), and attach your new colour with a slip knot just like in the picture above.  You’re now ready for the off again, making sure that  you keep the ‘in front then behind’ pattern correct as you go.  For neatness always change colour at the same edge of your loom.

 

As you weave, your work will progress up to the top of the pegs.  Once you’ve got to this stage, it’s time to clear the pegs to allow you to continue.

 

 

You do this by carefully lifting up one peg at a time from its hole, pushing the weaving down the warp threads and replacing the empty peg back into its hole.

Your work will slide safely down the warp threads and you just have to push it back up again once all the pegs are back in their holes.  You’re reading to continue weaving.  Repeat this process until your work reaches the required length.

To finish your work, take it off the pegs but don’t push it back up this time.  Instead make sure you leave a good 6 inches of warp thread showing and then snip the warp close to the pegs to remove them.  You should now have your weaving with long warp threads on either end.

 

In order to secure your weaving, you’ll need to knot tassels at either end.  To do this you take one warp thread from one channel, and one from the channel next to it, then knot them together (see the two single threads in the photo)

 

Do this at both ends of the weaving, then trim the tassels to whatever length you like.

All that’s left to do then is to weave in the loose ends on the back of the mat.

 

Once I finished my first mat, I made another the same size and they now have pride of place in the rear footwells in my car 🙂

 

Spring has Sprung

I’ve made quite a few different crocheted flowers over the previous few months, but this latest project to make a Spring wreath saw me crocheting a daffodil which I’ve never attempted before!  I had some polystyrene wreath bases (which I’d used at Christmas) but thought if I was going to make a Spring wreath, then the twig one I had would be more appropriate.

 

The patterns I used all came from the Simply Crochet magazine 2019 Calendar.  The calendar features four stunning wreaths all designed by Kate Eastwood who has a wonderful book out  – Crocheted Wreaths and Garlands which I can highly recommend if you fancy treating yourself!

 

Obviously you could use any flower and leaf patterns, lots of which are freely available with detailed instructions on the attic 24 webpage.

 

Once you’ve decided on your chosen wreath base, it’s simply a case of setting to work and crocheting a selection of flowers and leaves (or you could knit them if you preferred, or sew them from felt or scraps of fabric).

 

 

 

Once I’d made a few, I placed them on the wreath and experimented with various positions.  If I liked the arrangement then I took a photo of it so that I’d be able to replicate it if I moved them about a bit to try other positions.

 

 

 

  

Keep going until you have enough to complete the wreath.  Remember, that you don’t have to fill it in completely if you don’t want to, a few strategically placed flowers can look really effective, but do have a good play around until you’re happy with how it looks (and remember to leave space to pop a ribbon on so  you can hang the wreath).

 

To attach the flowers and leaves I decided to use the glue gun, so it really couldn’t have been easier.  However, once they’re stuck then they’re stuck, so make sure you’re happy with the arrangement before you glue!

 

 

The final flourish was to add a daffodil head to the front of the ribbon – eh voila!