Category Archives: how to

On the hook this Friday

mandala madness with spirostar centre

Can you see the hint of a darker turquoise?

This is how she looked just after I added that row:crochet table cloth

Sitting on the table I am making her for. I did wonder whether to stop here and leave it as a large mat for the table as it looked so pretty, but I’m itching to see what this pattern looks like when finished, so on I went.

I’ve had the mahogany table for years and I love the details in the design. I had to take it outside to get a decent photo of it.

vintage mahogany table

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As you can see it is not easy to clean!

The crochet pattern is Mandala Madness by Helen Shrimpton and I have used Spiro Star in the centre. You can see my tutorial here.

I am using Scheepjes Cotton Bonbon and a 2mm hook.

It will measure approximately 1m across when completed.

In the top picture I have just started the 10th ball of the main colour.

It measures 29″ or 74cm across.

The background is one of my unfinished abstract paintings on canvas in acrylic paint.

Pop over to Nanacathy for her weekly gem ‘Knit and Natter Friday’ where you can chat about all things yarny.

 

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In a Watering Can on Monday

watering-can as vase

I was picking flowers in the garden when a neighbour stopped by for a chat, knowing I might be some time I popped the flowers in the watering can – boom! right there – perfect  for IAVOM!

They did make it into a vase as well. (but to me they look better in the can!)

ceramic vases and recycled teabags

The ceramic vases are the ones I bought at the Studio Pottery near Solva, Pembrokeshire, Wales. You can see these sculptural vases in detail in this post.

To cheer up a dark corner I added tea-light holders made of used tea bags.

re-purposed used teabags

My fascination with turning rubbish into art has taken me off at a teabag tangent.

I tear open used teabags, empty out the leaves and then dry them. They can then be used like paper, you can see a greetings card I made here.

For today – some papier-mâché tea-light holders.

teabag art

Add some pressed Japanese Maple leaves between the layers and hey presto a Teabag Tealight!

I think the spiky maple leaves look a bit witchy – do you? Good for Halloween?

Pop across to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what gardeners all over the  world are putting in their vases this Monday.

Photo Tutorial: Spiro Star centre for Mandala Madness

Mandala Madness is such a wonderful pattern created by Helen Shrimpton. Go to Google images to see the multitude of fabulous mandalas that have been created using Helen’s pattern.

I enjoyed doing her Spiro Star pattern so much for the Nuts About Squares CAL, that I experimented with putting it at the centre of Mandala Madness – I’m really pleased with how it turned outMM

and just had to try it in another colourway.

SpiroStar at the centre of Mandala Madness

A few people have asked me to explain how to marry the two together so here goes:

Make the Spiro Star up until Round 11

I followed the Spiro Star video tutorial by Esther from Its All In a Nutshell.

If you prefer a written pattern there is one on Helen’s site: with Photo tutorial.

About 40 years ago, I learnt to crochet from an American Book so all the crochet terms I use are US terms. And, I am left-handed, which you will probably notice in the photos. I have made a few slight variations in the way Spiro Star is worked, which I explain below, but you can simply follow the above tutorials until Round 11 if you prefer and go straight to Joining Round 1.

I am using a 3.50mm Drops Circus hook and Scheepjes Stonewashed 4ply cotton and acrylic yarn.

Round 1: Colour = Moon Stone

Starting with a Magic Ring, work a Ch3 then 15 DC giving you 16 sts.

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The pattern suggests you cut the yarn at this stage, but I try to minimise sewing in as much as possible, so after closing the circle with a slip st in the first Ch3, I open up the loop and pull the whole ball of yarn through and pull tight,DSC_0564 leaving the thread at the back whilst I work the next round.

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Round 2: Colour = Rose Quartz

Worked as the above tutorials suggest.

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Round 3: Colour = Rose Quartz

At the end of the round this is how it looks front and back.

 

I mark which stitch I’m aiming for to start the next round and working on the back

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slip st. up to it. (click on any photo to see it larger)

Then, turn your work to work from the front.

 

Start the next round as instructed.

Round 4 and 5: Colour = Moon Stone

Again, I have not cut the yarn, but pulled the whole ball through the loop as before.

Front:

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Back:

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The slip stitching hardly shows on the back.

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Rounds 6,7,8, 9 : Colour = Citrine

Spiro star

Rounds 10 and 11: Colour = Moon Stone

Slip st along the back, from Round 5, doing 2 chain sts at the end to get in the right position to start with a bphd.

(don’t cut the thread, it will be used for one of the Joining rounds)

Spiro Star in Scheepjes Stoewashed

Joining Round 1: Colour = Pink Quartzite

Working mainly in the back loops (bl).

Work a standing sc in the sc before any fpdbl (which is the point of the star),

*sc the next two sts together, sc, 2 blscs in the next st, 2blhds in next st, 2bldc in next 2sts, 2bltrs into next st, bltr, 2bltrs into next st, 2bldcs into next 2sts, 2blhds into next st, 2blscs into next st, sc.*DSC_0568 (1)

Repeat from * to * all the way round until the last repeat

at the end of this repeat, missing the final sc, slst into the standing sc to close.

Joining Round 2: Colour = Moonstone

joining Spiro Star to Mandala Madness

On the back of the work, slp st with the Moon Stone yarn into position. (into the joining slst).

(If using a fresh colour, join in any sc just before the sc2tog of the previous row)

Ch1 and do a bpsc in the standing sc from the round below, missing out the star point stitch, (effectively dec 1 st at each star point) bpsc in each st until the next star point st, miss this st. Continue round the petals and join with a slst to close the round.

Joining Round 3: Colour = New JadeDSC_0571 (1)

Start on the 4th st back from the star point.

Standing sc,DSC_0572 DSC_0573

sc, miss 4 sts, sc, sc, **ch 5, bpsc round the post of the centre tr on Joining Round 1, ch5, sc in the st 4 sts back from lowest point, sc, miss4 sts, sc, sc.**

Rpt from ** to ** til the last petal, ch5, bpsc on central tr from Joining Round 1, ch5, slst in the standing sc to close the round.

Joining Round 4: Colour = New jade

As Round 17 in Mandala Madness ( which is in Part 2 video made by Esther )

Joining Round 5: Colour = New Jade

as Round 18 in Mandala Madness

Joining Round 6: Colour = Larimar

This is very similar to Round 19 of Mandala Madness with a few little tweaks.

Start with a standing sc in the back loop of the st before the centre of the petal in Joining Round 2. (The central st has the bpsc worked in New Jade on it in Joining Round 1). DSC_0574 (1)Work this together with the sc in front of the bpsc behind the petal from Joining Round 1 , miss a st at the front and work a bpsc through the next st on the petal with the 2nd sc behind in Joining Round 1.

If you watch Esther’s video tutorial, I expect/hope this will make sense.

The stitch count to find those two central stitches at the top of the petal is the only thing that is different in this Round, so I go by the position of the bpsc in New Jade (Green) rather than counting the stitches.

photo tutorial, Spiro Star to Mandala Madness

Feel free to contact me if you get stuck!

So! We’ve done it! We’ve joined the two patterns together! Phew! I hope it worked for you.

Now move to the instructions for Mandala Madness 

You are ready to work Round 20 of Mandala Madness and continue with Helen’s pattern.

Enjoy!

Let me know how you got on. Any problems, please let me know. I am usually able to reply within 24 hours. This pattern has not been tested by anyone else so I would love to know if it works for someone else.

My heartfelt thanks go to Helen and Esther for the wonderful patterns and the amazing videos that helped me through them. A big thank you to both Helen and Esther for giving me their permission to share these instructions with you.

Go check out what else these fantastically talented and generous women have to offer – it makes my head spin to think of all the hours they give to this wonderful crochet community of ours.

Waste

teabag art, greetings card, re-usable greetings card, collage

lend me your ‘shell-like’

this girl dislikes pink

innovate for her

~

Ronovan’s Haiku Prompt words this week are PINK and SHELL.

Yikes – how to marry that with what I had already planned for our Photo Challenge prompt of WASTE.

It is the extra creative challenge I like to give myself each week. Well Miss E does not like pink – I know that card does have a bit of pink on it but ……. hey! I did my best!

~

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows I’m an obsessive recycler AND like to try new crafty things, so this week’s Photo Prompt is right up my street!

~

Life-cycle of a tea bag once it enters my house:

It sits in its box in a cupboard full of all manner of black, white, green, herb and fruit teas. I have at least 12 different varieties in there.

Then in it goes –  into my favourite mug

Nevis design from Dunoon

This is a mug from Dunoon. I wanted a big white bone china mug. I contacted Dunoon and asked if I could have the Nevis Design in plain white – I could! and for about £10 cheaper than the decorated ones – I got two. I LOVE them. ❤

After first use the tea bags sit in the little coloured dish to be used, three together, for another cup.

I told you – obsessive recycler!

And now, courtesy of Pinterest, I have discovered there is a whole new world of art materials to be explored – used Tea Bags! I was astonished to see how much amazing art has been created with used tea bags. You can see some examples on my Pinterest Page, ‘Art Tea’.

Of course I had to give it a go.

So instead of going into the compost after their second use, the tea bags are now emptied and dried. (The leaves still go in the compost) My bean-sprouter works well as a drying rack.

drying teabags for tea bag art

Cutting or tearing some and leaving others as two ply paper

prepared tea bags

Now ….. how to turn them into art ……

 

A bit of collage using some paper napkins and some hand and machine stitching.

The circular tea bag has a picture of a cup stuck on the inside with Modge Podge and  is re-stuffed with a little wadding. I downloaded the picture of the cup from this Education Site

teabagart

I’m wondering about this art form – it nudges towards the “just because you can, do you think you should”. I tried putting it on canvas to go with my ‘making art with found and discarded objects’ collection, adding and expanding on the Beach Clean Art theme. Using waste in art.

I’m not sure it stands up as an artwork so I turned it into a greetings card, with packaging paper put between the layers to stiffen the card so that it will stand upgreetings card of teabags with machine stitching

A little pocket for a gift (in this case a fresh teabag) or message. Then it can be recycled once more and re-used as a card with a different message in the pocket.

And then I realised there was a certain person about to have her 10th birthday – perfectre-usable greetings card, tea bag art

She was thrilled with it and her friends intrigued.

I’m really not sure if my experiments will produce ‘art’ that I feel worthy of exhibiting , but has been fun to try and I can’t throw a teabag away at the moment –  I’m amassing quite a collection, so I’ll have to come up with something arty to do with them.

Update

Coincidentally, I’ve just seen that there is a programme on BBC2 tonight about the making of tea bags: http://www.radiotimes.com/tv-programme/e/fsq8rq/inside-the-factory–s3-e1-tea-bags/

and here is the programme on BBC iPlayer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08ywhdn/inside-the-factory-series-3-1-tea-bags

The sheer scale of tea bag production is mind boggling – and I’m shocked to discover that 25% of the materials used to make tea bags is plastic – Yuck!

 

 

 

Recycle: trousers

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I have vowed via my 17 for 2017 Challenge not to buy any new clothes in 2017.

Part of this challenge is to recycle or upcycle existing clothes. These trousers were bought over 12 years ago and I haven’t worn them for at least 10 years. The colour is a bit startling all in one block, slightly darker and more purple in reality. We are in the middle of a heatwave here in the UK, I need some shorts, so …..

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The (long) shorts come just below my knobbly knees and I shall leave them to fray with wear. The colour is more bearable when there is less of it.

With the bonus of two pieces to play with …

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…. on the left an idea for a small shoulder bag, just right for a child to take to the beach and on the right, fabric for textile books or another piece of textile art – fun!

Have you revamped any clothes recently?

 

Hearts and free downloads

Valentine’s Day is on its way. I’ve been having fun making cards for my 8 grandchildren aged 4 – 9.

Photos of Love Rocks and sketch book pages were printed onto 160gm A4 white card.

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I measured the card into 2″x 4″ sections

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and cut with a craft knife

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giving me enough pieces to make 5 cards.

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Using double-sided sellotape in each corner

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I fixed the two layers together.

Then added some heart stickers and made 5 cards

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They still need a little more decorating to personalise them.

On the next batch I used a doodle page

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Would you like to have a go?

Here is the link to the You Tube clip  I learnt from,

and some PDFs for you to download, just click on the title.

pinks

pnk

tendrils

tendrils

love-rocks

love rocks

If you download them I’d love to see what you make.

 

Ammonites

Eleonora over at Coastal Crochet has created a cute Ammonite Pattern.

Of course, I couldn’t just make one. Once I had the pattern in my head I started making bigger and smaller ones.

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I thought they might combine well with my seahorses, or make some beachy greetings cards.

Ideas are swimming around …..

Thank you Eleonora for the inspiration.

Linking in with Ginny’s Yarn Along 

Ginny suggests we add a book to the post. I haven’t got a book on the go but whilst I am crocheting I’m also watching/listening to a DVD: River Cottage: Edible Seashore

Yes, I’ve been eating seaweed – yum!