Crocheted Baby Blanket

Baby Blanket in progress

Work in progress

I haven’t been crocheting for long, so I when I decided to make a baby blanket last September for an expectant friend, I knew I would need to combine all the little knowledge of stitches I had to come up with something that looked worthy of the time and effort that I would be putting in. I started out by using a random ball of white DK yarn from my stash, creating complete rows of the few but different stitches I already knew. Once I was happy with the practice block, I wrote down what I had done and this became my pattern to work from. I used single, double and triple crochet stitches (I’m not too sure if these are the UK or US names for them as I’ve read and watched tutorials from both regions). I also reflected the pattern either side of a triple stitch row and added a couple multiple rows to give a more interesting look and used baby weight yarn. I also added a couple of rows of single crochet around the edges to finish it off properly.

I must confess that the final blanket was completed after the baby arrived, which was early. It took many hours for me to make but it was definitely worth the effort.

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Chakra inspired window dangle

I’d wanted to create something for a friend, which used gemstones and was personal but not jewellery.  After some creative thinking, I came up this is window dangle.

Gemstones used were rainbow moonstone, garnet, carnelian, citrine, peridot, blue agate, iolite, amethyst, white quartz

Gemstones used were rainbow moonstone, garnet, carnelian, citrine, peridot, blue agate, iolite, amethyst, white quartz

The gemstone chips used were inspired by chakra stones and were garnet, carnelian, citrine, peridot, blue agate, iolite, amethyst and quartz.  Rainbow moonstone was included at the very top and bottom of the dangle.  The wire links were made using wrapped loops (much like rosary style links) from 0.4 gold coloured wire.

Starting with Kumihimo

My first Kumihimo braids

My first Kumihimo braids

Just over a year ago I first heard someone mention a braiding technique called Kumihimo.  A few YouTube searches later and I had made a cardboard disk to try out whilst I waited for one I had purchased to come from the US.  Now, I know you can buy them in the UK, but the unique shape of the kumiloom made it possible to create both round and flat braids on the same disk.

After watching on YouTube I wanted to have a go.....immediately!

    After watching on YouTube I wanted to have a go…..immediately!

 

My first braid completed

My first braid completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started out with a 8 warp (strand) round braid which was pretty straight forward – pictured above, then a 16 warp.

This week I tried to make my first flat braid, so far it is slightly more tricky to get even tension across the braid but I’m sure it’s just a case of practising.

***UPDATE 15th July***

I still haven’t quite finished but here is the flat braid so far

10 warp flat kumihimo braid, not quite finished

10 warp flat kumihimo braid, not quite finished

***UPDATE 15th July***

I use bobbins to take the excess cord and use embroidery thread rather than rat tail as the end result is less bulky.  To help keep even tension when creating a round braid, I tug on the centre knot after each rotation.  For the flat braid I made an impromptu weight from a bulldog clip and a spare set of keys, which is easy to move as the braid grows.

If you fancy trying Kumihimo, these are the YouTube videos I’ve used the most.

Basic Kumihimo

Flat Kumihimo

Wirework Suncatcher Elephants

Finished Suncatchers

The finished suncatchers

The summer before last I needed a unique, elephant related birthday present for my aunty.  I had used wire for a while and had an idea of what I wanted to achieve.  The actual making process was pretty organic but I was very pleased with the finished result.  After drawing an initial outline, I used 0.8mm wire for the frames and 0.4mm to wrap the detail with.  I added three coated beads, with saucer shaped spacer beads in between to catch the light and make mini rainbows.  Monofilament was used to hang them as the thread is transparent.

Elephant frame in progress, with plan

I used 0.8mm wire to make the frames. The weave on the legs and trunk were enough to catch the breeze and make the suncatcher turn.

One elephant almost finished, one still in progress

It took a while to wrap the 0.4mm around the frame, but it added sparkle as they moved.

First attempts with wirework

I started working with wire after watching Jewellery Maker channel (sky 655).  I started off by making a seed bead chain bracelet.  At the time I hadn’t realised that the 0.4 wire I had used to make the links wasn’t really strong enough for everyday wear.  I spent whole weekends using the same technique with different sizes and colours of beads and ended up with dozens of unique necklaces.

Then I looked at wire work tutorials on YouTube and my skill set suddenly increased!  One afternoon I made two rings, a herringbone weave link for a future design and a bracelet.  I wore the labradorite ring for nearly a year before I caught it whilst squeezing holiday gear into the boot of the car and distorted the shape enough to want to cut the stone out and remake it.

Wirework ring and bracelet

The ring was made with 0.6 wire and a labradorite stone. The bracelet was made with 1mm wire coiled on a gizmo.

Wirework ring and herringbone weave link

These were my very first attempts at making a wire ring and herringbone weave link.

My first attempts at Crochet

Finished crochet blanket

After getting more wool this blanket became three times bigger!

Last Autumn I bought a craft magazine that said it would teach you how to crochet. Despite all the diagrams and explanations about the different stitches, I still couldn’t get the hang of it.  A visit to my mum and YouTube were needed to help!  Mum showed me how to  make rounds (a bit like granny squares but round) but I found them quite tricky.  Next I watched YouTube and tried working in lines, which looks more like knitting to the untrained eye.  By Christmas I had made a head band and a scarf with approx. 6 or 7mm hook.  I then became a little addicted and started a blanket with a 10mm hook!  The pictures of the blanket were taken before I got more wool, made it three times bigger and added a wavy edge.  Whilst the pattern is simple and relatively plain, it grows quickly.

First rows of my crochet blanket

The sky remote gives an idea of scale

Finished scarf

The finished the scarf looked too plain, so I added a row of triple stitch I’d learnt from trying rounds to give a wavy look to the sides.

If you want to try crochet for the first time I can recommend naztazia Learn how to Crochet Part 1 and 2 on YouTube