Seeing stripes in the laundry

A little while ago I was thinking out loud on this blog about how I should go about making my own washing basket, crochet style. After lots of research into patterns, craft techniques and the fabric materials I should use, I settled on a making a DIY rag rug style basket with a giant crochet hook and second hand sheets. I’m pretty pleased with the finished result as you can see here!

crochet washing basket

I couldn’t decide on a particularly intricate pattern especially as I’ll be moving and probably redecorating pretty soon, so I stuck to a simple yet striking design of purple and white stripes.  I used a size 12 crochet hook and 4 double bed sheets (2 white, 2 purple, bough cheaply from eBay), ripping the sheets into strips of fabric about 1 1/2 inches thick. 4 sheets sounds like a lot of fabric, but it gets used up very quickly! The finished basket was pretty stiff but not completely upright, if you wanted a more rigid structure I’d recommend making the strips 2 inches thick. 4 sheets makes a basket about 20 inches tall and 14 inches in diameter, which manages to squeeze well over a load of washing into the basket, with a little fabric left over to make a lid, or maybe some mini baskets.

The pattern was inspired by this basket pattern on the Crochet in Color blog, but a little simpler. I used double crochets throughout the pattern, but the line definition was created by only putting your fabric through one of the loops on every other row. Super easy for any crochet beginners looking for a new project, but a willing to put in a bit of muscle into a new project!

Crochet washing basket

I think this basket is definitely going to be the start of a new motto to stop buying things I don’t like, and keep making things I love instead.

Have you made any household crochet items with a giant crochet hook? Be sure to share in the comments, as I’ll need some more project inspiration soon!

 

 

A Friendship Patch… How to Crochet a Clustered Spike Stitch or Leaf Stitch

When my friend Naomi called on her friends to make patches for a university project, naturally my inner craftster screamed and jumped at the opportunity. Her project was to make a portrait of herself, and on choosing to make a patchwork bedspread, asked her friends and family to all create 20x20cm square in a pattern of their choosing, but it had to represent the relationship and was made of materials that you already had.

I (obviously) had loads of spare wool, and am always looking for new opportunities to put new crochet patterns into practice. I had found this pattern on Pinterest some time ago, and thought it would be perfect to figure out how to make it. I could say that on a deeper level that I picked it because our friendship overlaps and is joined by all of our other shared friends (we met through a mutual best friend), but really I picked it because I loved the pattern and  it reminded me of lots of the patterns and beautiful retro things that Naomi wears and I gorge over in her room whenever I visit. There isn’t a name to the stitch, but I’m going to call it a leaf stitch – but if you know of the proper stitch name, let me know!

Crochet Leaf stitch

Crochet Leaf stitch

And here is my patch:

Crochet leaf pattern

Tackling the pattern was quite easy as the pin came with some visual instructions, but I’ve modified them a little. So I’m also going to include some helpful instructions to my recreation so you can also give it a go. My patch was created with Stylecarft DK wool and 4mm hook – but in hindsight I should have used a smaller hook. This is also my first attempt at writing a pattern, so here it goes!

Crochet Leaf Stitch

1) Do a foundation chain in multiples of 8 – for a 20cm square (with 2cm seam allowance) I did 56.

2) Ch 2, Tc 3, (Ch1, Tc1, Ch1, Tc in the next stitch, Ch 1, Tc3), repeat to the end, Tc1 in last stitch, turn.

3) Ch2, Tc 3, [ (Ch1, Tc next stitch)x3, Tc 2 ], repeat to the end, Tc in last stitch, turn.

4) *Change colour* Tc4, (Leaf Stitch, Tc 4 ), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

5) Ch 2, Tc 4, (Ch 1, Skip 1 stitch, Tc 5), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

6) Repeat steps 2-5

It’s quite difficult to explain the special leaf stitch, but hopefully the diagram below will explain… Basically you need to pull your wool twice through the five gaps you’ve made, and then pull through all the stitches at the end. It’s tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it, I promise.

templateFINAL6steps

And there you have it – a very special crochet pattern. Beware, it eats up your wool, but it’s very luxurious. Kinda looks a little like maple leaves too with the colours I’ve chosen. I can’t wait to see how the bedcover turns out too :)

crochet2

Comment below if you’ve tried this stitch, I’d love to hear from you!

08/03/14 Update: As Jyneffer rightly pointed out in the comments, this is a Clustered Spike Stitch – always good to know the right technical term! :)

Hair – from TV to online tutorials

I don’t blog often about my BBC day job, but recently I was involved in something pretty special that you all need to check out. A new BBC Three show called Hair starts on Tuesday 25th Feb, at 9pm, which you should all watch a) because it’s hair-tastic, and b) I guarantee you’ll be inspired to be more creative with your beautiful tassels. And if you are… there are some pretty special online hair tutorials videos which you can watch to get some tips and tricks. I lent my blonde barnet to the crew and was filmed as hair model for one of the YouTube videos.

Hair model

image003

The tutorial I was in was the backwards plait & bun, made by the lovely Katie, which looks gorge. The great thing about my tutorial is that you can also do yourself it at home. Yes… REALLY! Look, I’ve just done it on myself, messy style.

Upside down plait bun

I’m also really liking modern beehive and the fishtail plait tutorials, I’m going to give those a whirl next party time. I’d love to hear if the videos (or the show) inspired you to re-create the styles at home, drop me a comment if so!

What shall I make next? A laundry basket project

The road to crafting glory is a tremulous one. You always start with the giddy excitement of a new project, fantasizing about how amazing the finished article is going to look. Soon after, you encounter the frustrations of trying to get your head around learning a new technique, going wrong and (often in my case) starting again. And again. And…. damn it not again! Time disappears. It will always take twice as long as you think it will take. You’ll get asked to make something else in between. But then the feeling of finally finishing and parading your new wares around the house/friends/internet, oh the smug joy! And then the joyus craft cycle begins again.

Usually I have about three projects on the go, but I’ve just finished all three within the last few weeks, all of which I’ll blog within due time. So now I have to decide on what to make next. And I just don’t know. One thing we really need in the flat is a washing basket, as we’re currently using a very unsightly plastic box for our dirty laundry, but that will mean buying some thicker rag style yarn. Why is it always the case that with a new project it always means buying more materials?

I’m thinking a basket like this on the Crochet in color blog would be perfect. But with a lid.

Crochet in color - Chunky crocheted basket

If I don’t want to shell out £££ for more yarn, so I could try ripping up old T-shirts to make a rag style basket as featured on valzcorner. But who has that many T-shirts? *Raids the boyfriend’s wardrobe*

valzcorner - crochet with old T-shirts

I love the colours and simple DC crochet pattern in this basket on Dknits. It could be a contender.

donaknits - Laundry basket

If the colours were plain, then putting a decorative motif would be a must, like on this rug featured on the Upcycle magazine blog.

Upcycle Magazine - How To: Make An Upcycled Crochet Rug

But why stop with one motif? Like this Pinterest pin, tapestry crochet could be the way forward! I could make an entire scene… or try and striking fair-isle knitting pattern. It’s time to raid my knitting patterns Pinterest board!

Crochet tapestry

I definitely need to have a think and a sleep on this. A basket is a for life, not just for laundry!

Have you got any new projects on the go? Or have you got a pattern for a laundry basket that you want to share? Let me know in the comments!

How to turn an old folder into a handy (and cute!) stationery organiser

geometric stationery folder

Letters. Bills. Bank statements. They all end up in piles littered across the flat, never-ending and never tidied. That is until now! I’ve always been a bit jealous of my boyfriend’s correspondence folder, with handy compartments to divide up all that essential filing. But I wanted one that was a bit snazzier.

folderorganiserlowres-1905

So when I came across this tutorial on the damask love blog, I knew I had to make one. But (as always) I didn’t have all the essential bits of craft kit to make it, but managed to do so with some old materials I already had in the flat. So here is my tutorial to make your own stationery folder, you’ll never be disorganised again!

YOULLNEED

 An old lever arch file with the metal arch removed (You can do this with a hammer)

Old A4 card file dividers, at least 15 (the more colours the better)

A3 wrapping or patterned paper (mine was from Ohh Deer)

Normal and double sided sellotape

Scissors

STEPS

Steps

1) Take 4-5 of your file dividers and fold them horizontally into zig-zag strips, about 2-3 cms wide. You can measure them with a ruler if you like to be super precise, (or you’re making this as a gift) but it’s not essential. Pick colours that will compliment the pattern of your paper, as these will be visible on the outside. Then cut your strips horizontally, so you are left with a folded V shape, a guillotine will help here if you have one. You’ll need two strips for each divider (minus 2 overall). So if you have 10 dividers, you’ll need 18 strips.

2) With the normal sellotape, start attaching the your V strips with the rest of the file dividers, so that the V is facing out rather than in. Your folder pocket should be bigger than A4 so there’s room for all your documents.

3) Put the double-sided tape on the outside of your folder and tape your patterned paper. Do each section at a time and not all at once, remembering to bend the folder when you start sticking to the spine. Make sure you leave about 3cm as a border and stick it down on inside of the folder. If you’re using an A3 sheet, save the excess paper, cut it in half and you’ll find those two sections is just enough to stick on the inside – just like magic!

4) Using the double and normal tape on the top, bottom and sides, attach your divider sleeve to each side of the inside folder, leaving a 1cm gap at the spine. The more tape, the better.

Geometric stationery folder

DONE! Mine took me 2-3 hours to make, so it’s a great evening project that costs nothing to make and no mess to clear up. You can use a ribbon to tie it up, or just put in all of your letters and stack it on a bookshelf, mine fits in perfectly next to my pink crepe paper roses. And no-one needs to ever know what horrors(or pretty things) might lurk inside… Thanks to Amber at Damask Love for the inspiration – check out her blog for more card crafts.

Let me know in the comments what you think of this project, or if you have any tips in sorting out your stationery!