Sunday, 24 April 2011

Girls Sumer Hats and Free Flower Pattern

Firstly, can I wish you a Happy Easter and if you don't celebrate Easter then a Happy sunny Sunday to you!

Well it is that time of year when the school has started to ask the little people to wear their sun hats when they play outside, so I decided to make the girls new hats for this year.  Last years hats were gorgeous but as I had made them from 100% cotton, one play outside with water and the cotton gave into the laws of gravity and dropped something dreadful!
So this year I decided to use a blended yarn, a cotton and acrylic mix, so the hats still look and feel like cotton but hopefully (fingers crossed!) the acrylic should help the cotton stay in the shape I make it.

The pattern I used last year and re-using this year is the Sofie Floppy by Adrienne Engar and this pattern can be found here.
I love this pattern and it suits my girls totally, here is them wearing their hats.

Now you will see that I have added pink and yellow flowers to the hats and it is this pattern that I am going to give you.
Before I start I would just like to point out that this pattern has come out of the confused scrambledness of my head but I am not totally 100% sure that it is original or if at some point I have read this pattern elsewhere and stored it away until it surfaced again ( I do have my original scribbles and notes), so if this pattern bears any resemblance to yours or to someone that you know then I would like to apologise as I did not mean to copy.

This pattern will be written in UK terms, US terms will be in brackets ( )
Stitches used
slst - slip stitch
ch - chain
dc (sc) - double crochet (single crochet)
tr (dc) - treble crochet (double crochet)
2trtog (2dctog) - work a treble but stop before the last yarn over and pull through 2 loops, work the next stitch to the same point then yarn over and pull through all 4 loops on hook.
2 dbtrtog (2trtog) - work a double treble (wrap yarn over hook twice before starting) but stop before the last yarn over and pull through 2 loops, work the next stitch to the same point then yarn over and pull through all 4 loops on hook.

I am using DK weight yarn with 4.00mm hook, but any yarn weight with suitable hook will do, tension (gauge) is not important.
(For those that are going to use the photo tutorial, please accept my apologies for the fact that blogger has decided to change some pics from landscape to portrait and I cannot seem to change them back again!)

- 6ch and join into a loop with a slip stitch
- 1ch, 15dc (sc) into ring

- sl st in front loop only to close

- with new colour - (if changing colours)
Work the rest of this round in front loops only
- *2ch in sl st, work a partial tr2tog (dc2tog) over next 2 sts - do not complete the final yarn over and pull through 2 loops, repeat in next st before final yarn over and pull through remaining 4 loops, 2ch and sl st in next dc (sc)

- rep from * 4 more times making 5 petals, sl st in 1st ch (change colour at sl st if changing again)

Now at this point you might be thinking this flower looks hideous, all straggly and ugly but bear with it, it will improve immensely when the back loops are worked into and pull it all back into shape
The back of your work should look like this

Now with the yellow yarn from round 1 that you dropped before, sl st into the back loop of the sl st from round 2

Now working in the free/back loops from Round 2
To make these petals visible behind the first petals these need to be taller so they will be worked like this
- *3ch, work a partial 2dbtrtog (2trtog) (wrap the yarn over the hook twice, pull loop through, yarn over and pull through 2 loops 2 times in each st before yarn over and pull through remaining 4 loops), rep from * 4 more times making 5 larger petals.

Your finished flower should look something like this

Now weave in your ends and Vóila, one double layer flower!

The flowers can be done in 1, 2 or 3 colours and in each instance will give many different results depending on colours used.

And for those of you who just want the pattern, here it is just written out, no pics;

- 6ch, join with sl st into a loop
- 1 ch 15 dc (sc) into loop and join with sl st - optional colour change
Work this Round in Front Loop Only
-  * 2ch, 2trtog (2dctog) over next 2 sts, 2ch slst into next st, rep from * 4 more times - 5 petals
Optional colour change here 
- Work this Round in Back/Free Loops of round 2
- *3ch, 2dbtrtog (2trtog) over next 2 sts, 3ch slst into next st, rep from * 4 more times - 5 petals.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Show and Share = Amigurumi Mouse

Every week in my daughters Nursery, it is a new letter of the alphabet or sound of the week and on a Friday it is 'show and share' where the children are asked to bring something in to school that starts with the sound of the week.  Being the scatty mum that I am I frequently forget and provide much amusement to the other mums as I walk up to the gate and mutter once again, 'Oh no, show and share!'

Anyway, just before the school holidays I remembered that it was show and share the Thursday night and the sound of the week was M, could I think of anything that began with the letter M, no, not a one!  I can think of lots now, Milk, Money, Mop etc etc, the only thing that I could think of was Mouse, could not think of anything else, even when I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep, all I could think about was mouse, mouse, mouse!

Even when I woke up it was still mouse mouse mouse!  So that was it, she needed to take a mouse to school, so while the littlies were eating their breakfast, I sat there creating a pattern for a mouse and making it at the same time, considering it was such a rush job (45 mins) and was being made up as I went along I think it turned out alright and because of that I decided to right the pattern down so that I could make it again.

I did make it again, today as a matter of fact as I am making some cute little amigurumi animals to put in my Folksy shop, and because the pattern works well I have decided to share it with you all.
Here are the little fellas in question....

Cute or what?  Anyway here is the pattern if you are interested in making your own little mouse.

Yarn of choice, in this case DK acrylic - MC
Hook 3.5mm or hook of choice for yarn (remembering to go down half a hook size or a whole size when making amigurumi as it makes for a tighter fabric and the stuffing will not show through as easily)
Contrast colour of yarn for bow CC - if making one
Black crochet thread or embroidery thread for facial features
Safety polyfill stuffing
Split ring marker or piece of contrast yarn to mark beginning of rows
Yarn needle for sewing in ends and embroidery

Stitches used:
I use UK crochet terms, US terms will be in brackets.

dc - double crochet   (sc)
dc2tog - dc decrease (sc2tog)

If you have made crochet toys or amigurumi before then you may have been slightly annoyed by the spaces and/or bumps left when decreasing in the round which is why I now use the invisible decrease (instructions for this can be found here)

With MC, make a magic circle or ch2, leaving a long tail to be used later
Round 1 - ch1, 6 dc (sc) into magic ring or 6 dc (sc) into 2nd ch from hook - do not join rounds - 6 sts
- Place marker for beginning of round and move up with each round
Round 2 - 2dc (sc) into each dc (sc) around - 12 sts
Round 3 - 2dc (sc) into next dc (sc), dc (sc) into next, rep around - 18 sts
At this point, using your yarn needle, secure the magic circle with a knot and then pass needle through from wrong side to right side and leave the long thread for later.
Round 4 - dc (sc) into each dc (sc) around - 18sts
Rounds 5 - 11, rep round 4 - 18 sts
Round 12 - dc2tog (sc2tog), dc (sc) in next st, rep around - 12 sts
- Start stuffing at this point.
Round 13 - dc (sc) in each dc (sc) around - 12 sts
Round 14 - dc2tog (sc2tog) around - 6 sts
 - Stuff the nose as much as possible while keeping the shape of the mouse then with yarn needle, weave end through remaining stitches and cinch closed then pass the needle through the mouse and pull through thread and cut, hiding end inside the mouse.

Ears - Make 2

With MC, 2ch and 4 dc (sc) into 2nd ch from hook
- ch1 and turn, 2dc (sc) into each dc (sc) across
- Fasten off leaving a long end for sewing ear to body, sew in beginning tail.
Sew the flat edge of each ear to mouse in a slight curve, facing forward.

Bow for girlie mouse

With contrast yarn CC, 5ch, dc (sc) into 2nd ch from hook, dc (sc) into each ch across - 4 sts
 Row 1 - ch1 (does not count as dc (sc)), dc (sc) into each dc (sc) across - 4 sts
Rows 2 - 4 rep row 1
Fasten off and weave in ends
Cut a long piece of same yarn, join at middle back of rectangle then wrap around and around middle to make a bow shape, sew to keep shape, then use same yarn to sew into place on mouse's head, I put mine between her ears.

Remember the long tail of yarn from the beginning, well now you need to tie a knot so far down the tail and then cut excess off leaving about 1.5cm after the knot for fraying.

Now, using black thread, embroider on nose and eyes, then cut 3 pieces of thread, using needle pass through from one side of nose to the other, knot close to face on each side and trim to whisker length.

And there you go, your own little mouse!

Please feel free to let me know if I have made any glaring mistakes in this pattern, not much point putting it up for free if it doesn't work, thanks for reading and I hope you have fun making some mice.

Catch up soon.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Apple Blossom

Wow, its been a while since I have been on here, lots and lots of stuff going on, making stuff for the daily listing club on Folksy (will blog about that soon!) amongst day to day life (and the school holidays!).

Anyway, I thought I would just do a quick post about apple blossom (just in case you didn't get that from the title)

I have two apple trees in the little space behind my mid terrace house in inner city Liverpool, they are only young trees and we have had them for about 3 yrs now.  The first year we got one Bramley apple, I was so pleased but in the second year only one tree blossomed so neither tree bore fruit that year, but this year both trees have oodles and oodles of blossom, see...

Don't you just love blossom?
(please feel free to ignore the grey block wall, has just been repaired by landlord as another well fell and took ours with it and I haven't got round to painting it yet to match the rest of the yard!!)

Anyway, with so much blossom I would love a bumper crop of cooking apples this year so to try and encourage this I was out there this morning with a little paintbrush, moving pollen from one tree to the other in case the insects cant be bothered.  I will do this regularly while the trees are in blossom and hopefully this will help yield a bumper crop this year.
(It also helps that the walls are quite high so no-one can see the strange woman painting her flowers!)

So keep your fingers crossed that my attempts at pollination work and I shall report back any new findings.

See you all for now, x

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Wedding cake part 3

Finally, its time to relax!  The wedding was yesterday and it was gorgeous, everyone had a great time, the bride looked stunning and the groom cut quite a dashing figure in his suit and it meant that finally I could relax, the cake had been delivered to the venue and was in pride of place, I could just enjoy myself and the party.

Getting the cake to the venue was a tad stressful, all layers were boxed, I had collected the cake topper from my cousin (the grooms sister) and that was also boxed but I knew the groom had a slight problem staying on his feet (as sometimes in real life I believe! Love you Ste, x), I had visions of him marking the brides dress in transit, was worrying that the other layers would slide around in their boxes leaving marks all over the icing, the only one I wasn't worried about too much was the largest layer that I had hold of on my knee as the box I had been sold for this was too small!

Getting the venue was going fine until we hit a traffic jam on the flyover in to town, a slow moving jam so panic mistress here was starting to stress even more as we had to find the venue, deliver and sort the cake get back home and get all 4 of us ready to get back into town with an hour or so...aaaarrrrrgh!

But as usual with most of my panicky moments, it is never as bad I tend to make out, found the venue, sorted the cake and home again quite quickly, sort all 4 of us out and back into town to the registry office, turnround time 45 mins or so....not bad!

So here after all of my waffle is a pic of the finished item, bride and groom very pleased with the cake so everyone happy!

Not too sure if I will ever offer to make another wedding cake..........wait n see.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Wedding cake Part 2

Right, icing the cakes...hmmm, normally my cakes are either glacé iced or butter-icing iced, but this is a wedding cake, nice smooth finish required which means fondant icing, ready-to-roll stuff, which means never been used before stuff!

But first, lets do what I can do, fill the middle of the cakes, easy peasy,

Now for the interesting (!) part, made sure I watched a Youtube video last night about how to ice a round cake, all info taken in and ready to be put into action, well apparently I didn't put enough icing sugar down on the worktop to stop it sticking, start again, apparently I didn't put enough down the second time either!  Third time lucky as I managed to get the stuff off the worktop and onto the cake.  Fondant icing is soooooo easy to mark as well, think I spent as much time smoothing out marks that I left trying to smooth out marks that I had made!

Finally, after more hours that it should take anyone to ice a cake I had finished, I will show one just one layer done and then tomorrow I will take a pic of the whole cake, topper included.

Next issue...transport, hmmm..............

Wedding cake Part 1

Morning all, following the panic over the last few weeks making stock for a craft fair last Saturday, this weeks panic is getting a wedding cake right for my cousins wedding tomorrow.

I can make cake, thats not a problem, I can make very good sponge cakes (as my family will tell you) and my cousin has asked for sponge cake so nothing to panic about, right?.........WRONG!
It is probably just because it is for a wedding and that there is going to be a reasonably large party afterwards, but Oh My, has making this cake got to me.

Yesterday I made the sponges, 3 of them, a 9", a 7" and a 4"

Phew, can breathe a sigh of relief that they have turned out, here is a better idea of how the cake is going to look...
Right, so today is now going to be spent icing the cake, my other cousin (his sister) is making the cake topper so I dont have that to panic about and having seen pics I am seriously hoping I can get my bit to look as good!

I will be back later with more pics.......keep everything crossed for me please?