Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Posts tagged ‘crochet’

Inspiration: Lovely Old Lace

There is a cabinet of lovely old lace fragments at my local museum, which always serves to remind me that it is good to tackle a more complicated craft project every now and then, and that it is amazing what craftsmen and women could make with their hands before machinery started to do it for us.

These pieces of handmade lace are so delicate and intricate, and must have taken an immense amount of time to complete: they certainly show the benefits of patience and dedication.

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Crochet Christmas Gifts

amigurumi

I have made a start on a few of the smaller presents that I am making for Christmas with these crochet amigurumi. The rabbit is for a work colleague, and the alien and elephant were requests from two small children I know, who were intrigued to see me crocheting!

The patterns are my own designs; using a few basic shapes/forms it is amazing how many different animals/creatures/aliens you can make! The elephant is only just over three inches tall, making these quick projects too (always a bonus in the run up to Christmas!).

Handmade Crochet Hooks DIY

handmade-crochet-hooks

With Christmas approaching, this is a great handmade present for a lover of crochet: a set of hand-carved crochet hooks, in a handmade case. Of course, if time is short, you could always just make the case, and fill it with a set of bought crochet hooks.

decorated-crochet-hooks

To make the crochet hooks I used:

Freshly-cut twigs from an apple tree (of a slightly larger diameter than I wanted the finished hooks to be)

A sharp pen knife

Clear varnish

A paintbrush

Acrylic paint

A hacksaw

Sandpaper

hand-carved-crochet-hooks

The crochet hooks were made by first cutting the twigs to length using a hacksaw. Next, a penknife was used to remove the bark from the twigs. The hook was carved using first a hacksaw, and then a penknife, and was refined using rough sandpaper.

In this project I embraced the slightly rustic look, as without using a lathe it would be incredibly difficult to carve beautifully straight crochet hooks (especially for a novice wood-carver like me!). I made sure that I got a lovely smooth finish to the wood, but showcased the slightly wonky shape of the twigs- this does have the added bonus of showing that the crochet hooks were handmade!

crochet-hooks-DIY

The hooks were made smooth using sandpaper, and I also cut a decorative groove around the handle to mark the edge of the painted area.

It is much easier to make the crochet hooks using green (freshly cut) twigs, but after carving they need to be left to thoroughly dry out before painting, as they will shrink slightly when drying.

I chose to paint a cheerful polka dot pattern on the handles, and once the paint was dry I coated the painted area with clear varnish (as the acrylic paint on it’s own wasn’t as shiny a finish as I wanted).

crochet-hook-case

I used a knitting and crochet gauge to find out the sizes of the hooks, and then used metal number stamps to impress the size just below the painted area on each hook (you could instead paint or write the size on to each hook).

I was surprised how easy I found it to make these hooks, it just took careful selection of appropriate twigs, and some patience (particularly when waiting for the wood to dry out after carving, which took 3-4 days). The wood I used was from an apple tree in my parents’ garden, which added a bit of meaning to the gift as I made the crochet hooks for my mum.

handmade-crochet-hook-case

The case was made to fit this set of handmade crochet hooks, and I chose to sew it by hand. The case is fastened simply using a loop of elastic that hooks over a decorative button. The basic design of this case could easily be adapted to store other craft tools, such as pens, paintbrushes or knitting needles etc.

Hand Knitted Baby Boots

Knitted Baby Boots 1

A friend has recently left work and gone on maternity leave, expecting her first baby in a few weeks time. As she doesn’t want to know the gender of the baby in advance, I had the challenge of making a present that would suit either a girl or a boy.

I enjoy knitting baby boots as they look great, and are such a (relatively) quick project, and I thought that cream and pale green wouldn’t be a gender-specific colour scheme. I also thought that this colour combination has a nice vintage vibe to it. As I didn’t want the mother to go without a present (after all, she will be the one doing all of the hard work!), I made her a flower brooch from some of the same yarn.

The boots were knitted, but the flower brooch and the cream frill on the boots were crocheted. As the boots are sized for a new born baby not much yarn is required (and even less is needed to make the brooch), so this is a good stash-buster project!

 Knitted Baby Boots 2

I hope the present is to their taste, and I would love to know what you think of this project- do you think the boots are suitable for both girls and boys?

Image

Crocheted Flower and Neon Pompom Garland

crochet flower and pompom garland

This garland hangs above a print tray in my studio that contains a rainbow of vintage wooden cotton reels. I enjoy crocheting, and had wanted to make a crocheted flower garland for ages, but I struggled to find the time in between other projects. However, with the help of a 50p crocheted mat from a charity shop (see picture below), and some pompoms left over form another project, I managed to make a quick and easy version, that is still handmade.

The garland is a great project for using bits and pieces of vintage haberdashery, or odds and ends from your craft/sewing stash! This is how you can make your own:

crocheted flowers

  1. Wash and iron your mat (handmade mats/doilies like this can be found in charity shops and at car boot sales with relative ease. The great thing about this project is that if part of the mat is torn or stained, then you can discard that section and still use the rest!).
  2. CAREFULLY unpick the stitching that holds the individual flowers together.
  3. Select- or make- your pompoms.
  4. Attach a pompom to the bottom of each flower. I sewed mine on, but this was time consuming and fiddly. With the benefit of hindsight, next time I will glue the pompoms to the flowers, taking care that none of the glue is  visible on the final piece.
  5. Select, or make, the string that the flowers will be suspended from. I crocheted a base chain to the desired length, as I felt that it was in keeping with the flowers.
  6. Sew the flowers to the string. I don’t think that glue could be used for this stage, as it would be visible on the finished garland.
  7. Hang up your garland and enjoy!

crochet flower and pompom garland close-up

  There are many variations that can be applied to this project: try dyeing the crocheted flowers; use a brightly coloured ribbon or piece of ricrac for the string; use feathers, buttons or beads instead of pompoms; try crocheted flowers of different sizes on the same garland; use pompoms all in one colour for an understated look, and/or match the colour of the pompoms to the string or flowers; make a large pompom from yarn, and attach a smaller crocheted flower beneath instead of on top…etc…..

 

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