Sunday, 28 August 2016

Crochet Mandala Top

Gosh, am I excited to share this project! It has a wee bit of a story behind it, and I currently cannot stop wearing it!

Around this time last year, my husband and I visited a supermarket. Whilst there, I saw a lady wearing a crocheted cardigan, and my husband approached her to ask her if she had made it herself. This lady was kind enough to send me the pattern and type of yarn she had used. I'll be honest, I ordered the yarn almost immediately, and have been working on this on and off ever since!

The best quality information I can provide for the pattern is on Mi Rincon de Crochet, but you may notice a distinct lack of English translation! (Reverse Google Image Searching some of the pictures may bring you to higher quality versions.) I spent a lot of time on Google in the early stages of this project, but I will try to include some of the most important information further down. If you intend to try it yourself I would recommend printing the pages off, translating the things you need, and just work through it methodically. I had to unravel some sections a few times before it worked right for me!

The yarn is made by Alize, and it is such beautiful yarn that I would recommend for this or a similar shawl. It had a nice sheen to it, stitch definiton, it's soft and easy to work with, and the colours are stunning! This particular yarn is called Miss Batik, which I purchased from YarnStreet. The yarn is variegated - I didn't create all those colour changes manually!

You may notice my cardigan looks a bit different to the one shown in the photographs and pattern... I tried my top on when I had completed the pattern, and I had the intention of making sleeves for it, as it is always the top of my arms that get cold in summer. But I saw how the shape was starting to fall over my shoulders and create a natural sleeve, so I decided to extend this to create a larger finished garment. Added bonus - it meant it could be fastened across my chest if I wished!

Alright, so information. 

  • I'm approximately a UK 12. I used a 4.5mm hook, and I think I used 7 balls of yarn (so 350g). I did however buy 10 balls, because it was very difficult to estimate how much I would need if I wanted sleeves, and I wanted room for error! 
  • If you are able to read crochet symbols, following the pattern shouldn't be too difficult - you start at point A on "Hakelshcrift I" and work outwards. When you have completed "Hakelshcrift I", you progress to "Hakelschrift II" (naturally!) The last round of "Hakelshcrift I", Row 27, is shown as the first round of "Hakelschrift II", to make it easier to follow.
  • I have included a translation of the symbols in my extra diagram below (using American terms).
  • I joined rounds, i.e. did not work in a spiral.
  • Where it says "in gleicher Weisse noch (X)x arb", it is instructing you to repeat that row (X) amount of times.
  • "Armloch nach Angaben im Text" is instructing you to create the armhole according to the instructions. To make the armholes you skip so many groups of (dc, ch, dc), and chain across them. The pattern recommends to skip 9 groups and chain 36, but I wanted slightly looser armholes, so skipped 11 groups and chained 44. I think this means there is 16 groups between the two armholes, but you may need to adjust this!
  • Because I increased the size of the armhole, on R29 I completed 6 clusters (sc, 3ch, 5tr, 3ch) within the armhole chain. 
  • Row 37, "8x irgendwo 1 Stb zun", I translated to mean create 8 dc increases randomly throughout the row. I counted my stitches and it wasn't quite adding up... At the end of row 37 you want 437 stitches, so alter your increases as necessary!  
  • If you reach the end and wish to extend the pattern, I have included a (rather rough) diagram of what I did below. Please ignore the gap in the middle, this was my first attempt at drawing this out! 
  • And please, if you are crazy enough to make this top, block it. It makes such a difference to the way it hangs, it shows the stitches clearer, it just looks better.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Review: Faber-Castell Rue de Paris Watercolour Cards

I'm sure everyone has heard of Faber-Castell, I have used their pens in particular on and off for many years. I recently (ish!) received this set by Faber-Castell from a friend, intended for you to paint your own watercolour cards inspired by Paris. The set includes 6 white cards with envelopes, a black pen, 4 watercolour pencils, a paintbrush, and some colourful brads and flower sequins.

The cards are really well done, and I would say suitable for any skill level. The design is printed on to the cards in the palest blue ink (which thankfully isn't water-soluble!) Using these light marks it is possible to colour in the sections as you please before outlining over the top. The design is forgiving and allows some room for manipulation. Whilst the four coloured watercolour pencils included in the set can make a wide range of colours, I chose to use my full range of watercolour pencils to colour this card to achieve more tonal variation.

I personally didn't feel that the brads or sequin flowers suited this particular card design, so I added some extra details with gold Liquid Pearls. The envelopes included in the set are made from a parchment-type paper, and are perfect for tracing elements of the design to. I love decorating envelopes, especially when I can tie the envelope design to the card design!

This is a lovely set from Faber-Castell and there are more in the series I would like to try. I do recommend them if you want to fiddle with some watercolour painting without designing an image from scratch! Saying that, I'm not sure I can find these for sale anywhere...

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Butterfly Card

Butterflies are such beautiful, delicate creatures. I wanted to send a friend a card that was butterfly themed to decorate her room, and I thought how cool it would be if it could fold up small and open into a big butterfly! Butterflies can look plain when their wings are folded, but when they are stretched out their beauty and detail really shines.

I drew myself a template, which you might have noticed me share over on the Facebook. I attached some beautiful textured paper from my stash to some sturdy white card, and cut around the template.

I wanted some extra interest to the butterfly, and so decorated it with pearl paints and liquid pearls. This adds some lovely shimmer and picks out some interesting details without making the entire card too busy.

What I love most about this design is it can be cut from a piece of A5 card, and fold up to fit in an A6 envelope. The fold works for giving the card enough structure to stand and it implies the body of the butterfly. There is plenty of room for writing inside without compromising on the butterfly shape, and there is the magic of opening what appears to be a standard card to find a huge butterfly inside!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Accessories Holder

My youngest niece recently celebrated her 5th Birthday, and as many of us girls do, she loves her hair accessories! I recently saw this idea online, and thought it would be perfect for her. I'm sure it won't organise her entire collection, but it at least allows her to display and easily access her favourites :)

Assembly was fairly simple, once I had the right equipment! I began with a 15cm square canvas, and attached a layer of wadding on top of it so that there was some give. I cut a square of fabric from my stash (I used to have some of this fabric attached to my jeans!), and attached various ribbons to make four strips. I also attached two small loops at the bottom to hang hairbands from.

I attached a hanging loop at the top, and stitched a ribbon bow on for some extra prettiness :) This particular ribbon bow actually came tying up a set of pyjamas - remember to never throw anything away! I then spread the fabric over the canvas, stapling it at the back. I originally tried to do this by opening my normal stapler out to use as a staple gun, but it was not going well! Thankfully my father-in-law stepped in with a proper staple gun, which worked much better :)

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Summer Brights Birthday Cards

I recently went through a pile of Craftseller magazines from a couple of years ago, and found in them a whole selection of craft papers I had forgotten about! It's lead to some experimenting of mixing patterns and colours I wouldn't normally use, inspired by the graphics provided. It's been a lot of fun :)

This gorgeous tag with the red polka dot balloon was included in the range. I was even more impressed that I had a pink paper in my stash that (nearly!) perfectly matched the pink edge of the tag. I raised the tag with 3D dots, and added a little ribbon bow so it would appear tied on.

I loved this Birthday Wishes graphic, and how it had matching floral papers. I stuck with the red and white theme, mounting it on some hammered white card and red paper. I'm not used to using a graphic as bold as the red and white zig zags (or chevrons, as they're called these days!) but I think I made the balance of pattern work, and raising the graphic off the background helped.

I used some of the floral papers in this card too, for a friend who has a sweet tooth! The colour combination is so bright and fresh, but the empty space balances out the amount of pattern. Although I have to admit to finding these off shaped graphics awkward to work with!

I love this polka dot balloon, and used it to make a smaller card. The graphic uses off white rather than pure white, so I reflected this in the hammered ivory paper, and then picked up the red again in the "gingham" paper. I love the turquoise and red together!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...