April 11 2017

Stained Glass Crochet Blanket – Current Project

This stained glass crochet blanket is another project that has been on my to-do list for a while now. My ten year old has a baby blanket that is a similar design and I have been planning a larger one, with an added touch of magic 🙂 I am not sure what the finished size will be but due to the way it is made, it is very easy to make in any size you wish.

I have decided to add a little number magic into the blanket and use multiples of seven and three were possible within the design. However I have decided to keep to the standard six stitches on the corners for ease of following the pattern and keeping things balanced and even. Each of the squares in my stained glass crochet blanket is made up of seven rows of colour and one row of black border. I am considering adding another two rows of black border as that would mean each square consisted of seven rows of colour and three rows of black. I’m not sure if that will be too much black but will test it out once I have made a few more squares. I will then sew these squares together and then add a row of two of black border around the whole blanket. I will most likely add two rows in keeping with the numbers as there will be three outer rows of black. I haven’t yet decided between two rows of stitches to match the blanket or one row of these and then a row of scallops or another border stitch. On my last blanket I added a row of normal crochet and then a row of scallops in the same colour and was really pleased with how it came out.

 

Stained glass crochet

 

I have not decided on a final size for my stained glass crochet blanket. It will be made up of the smaller squares in either a multiple of seven or three. I am temped to make another large blanket but at the same time to go for something smaller. A nice size for using on the sofa would be good. I suspect that Rowan may claim it once it is finished as he loves blankets.

 

Stained Glass Crochet Blanket Instructions

These granny squares are the first thing I learnt to crochet, many years ago. They are great as they are so versatile and can be made in so many sizes and colour combinations. My eldest son has a blanket made up of lots of small squares whereas the blanket I made my daughter is one huge square that I went round and round. Getting towards the end of that blanket was great as I was able to use it to keep warm too. I was first shown how to make these by a friend when I was at school and made several cushions and blankets. Then I did n;t crochet for several years and had to try and remember the best I could how to create them. I found that they would often come out a little lop-sided or wonky and so I have tweaked what I remember to get a neat square that stays flat and neatly square.

Please note that all terms used throughout the pattern are UK versions. I am using double knitting yarn from various brands. Most is what I have in my stash but I am always on the look out for nice yarns to add 🙂 I used approximately 20g of yarn for each coloured section, to give you an idea of how much is needed.

If you are unsure how to do a treble crochet stitch there are some nice instructions here
Start at step 1.

1. Magic loop

2. 12 triple crochet into loop

3. Join with a slip stitch

4. Chain two, five treble crochet in same hole

5. Skip 3 stitches, 6 treble crochet into next stitch. Repeat twice more so you have four lots of six treble crochet. Join with a slip stitch.

 
Teble crochet square

 

6. Slip stitch along two stitches (like on C2C decrease) so you are in the middle of a group of six treble stitches.

7. Ch 2, five treble crochet in space

8. Skip three stitches, three treble crochet in space.

9. Skip three stitches, six treble crochet in space. (The blocks of six treble crochet form the corners).

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 twice more.

11. Skip three stitches, three treble crochet in space

12. Join with a slip stitch.

 

Granny square

 

13. Six treble crochet into corner

14. Continue adding blocks of treble crochet in this way until you reach the end of the row (six treble crochet in corners and three in all other spaces) until end of the row.

 

Stained glass crochet instructions

 

15. Repeat steps 13 and 14 three times more.

 

Finished crochet square

 

16. Change to black

17. Crochet one full row

Join with a slip stitch and fasten off. Sew in yarn ends.

 

Stained glass crochet blanket

 

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April 7 2017

Craft Project – How to Make Shell Candles

I saw a picture of this shell candle project online a while ago, pinned it and like with so many then forgot to go back to it. Saw it again yesterday while looking through my account for a home ed art/craft idea and decided to give it a try. I have a large box of shells that I have collected over the years. I collected these when we lived near the sea and thought they would be perfect. Any shell that has a bowl like shape should work out fine. The whole project took me less than an hour to complete so it really is a nice, easy and not too time consuming craft to try out. I did it myself but it could also be done with a child, just as long as care is taken with the hot wax.

I decided to use some vanilla scented tea light candles that I had but these could be made using bought wax pellets and wicks. The shell candles could also be made using leftover bits of other candles. If you are using wax pellets or candle scraps you will need to buy fairly short wicks to go with them. I reused the wicks from my tea lights and they have worked out fine. That was another advance to using the readymade tea lights, as I do have some wax pellets but no wicks. This post has instructions based on using tea lights but the steps are very similar whatever source of wax you have.

 

finished shell candles

 

Making Shell Candles using Tea lights

  • I used six tea lights to make my candles but the amount of wax needed will depend on how large and deep your shells are.
  • Remove all of the packaging, including the metal tray.
  • Break the candles into a microwave safe bowl or other container. The container should be easy to pour from or it may be difficult to transfer the wax to your shells. As you remove the wicks check for any glue as some are stuck down. Remove this and discard.

 

wax for shell candles

 

  • Place the wicks into your shells. Try to position them as centrally as possible. This helps to ensure that the finished candle will burn evenly.

 

shell candles

     

  • Heat the wax in a microwave, in 30 second increments. Timings may vary depending on your microwave and wax. My 800 watt microwave took two minutes. Once the wax is almost melted you can simply stir it for a short time to finish melting the last small pieces.You could also melt your wax in a pan on your hob over a gently heat. I chose the microwave as it’s quick; I could use a disposable container and didn’t have to worry about any possible damage to my cooking pans or about cooking food in them afterwards. I really should buy a cheap crafts only saucepan for these kinds of projects. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years but always forget!

    Depending on the shape of your shells you may find that you need to support them to stop the wax spilling. This is just until the wax has hardened. I used the metal containers from the tea lights to do this.

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shell candles waiting to harden

 

If a shell is very unstable it may be best not to use it, as it may be hard to burn it safely. When being burnt the shell candles will need to be placed on a heatproof surface. This could be a glass, stone or metal candle plate or if appropriately shaped a tea light or other candle holder.

 

Do not worry too much about spills of wax or if any is on the outside of the shells. This can be mopped up with kitchen towels now or is easy to remove once hardened.
Leave the candles in a safe place until the wax is completely hard. The time list takes is dependent on various factors such as the heat in the room. Once it has begun to harden you should find that you can move the candles and they will not need supporting to prevent the wax spilling out. The wax I spilt came off the table easily using a plastic modelling tool (for clay). I wasn’t happy with how one of my shell candles looked so once the wax was hardish but not completely hard I used the modelling tool to gently scrape away the excess. I also added a small amount of melted wax to the dip in that candle. I used a small piece from the spillage and gently added it the shell candle.

My candles were dry enough to feel hard and not spill within 20 minutes but I left them overnight to be sure they were dried all the way through. Other than the top centre one, they all stand up pretty well by themselves now. This is due to the wax helping to balance them out. However it’s best to place the shell candles on a safe surface before lighting, just as you would any candle. It will also make any spills of wax easier to clean. I will use a glass candle plate when burning mine. However, I really like the candles and feel like they are too sweet to light! I can’t see any reason why the shells won’t be okay to use again with fresh wax and wicks once these are burned down. I am wondering if the shell will be weakened by the heat but guess I will have to wait and see and experiment carefully.
 

 

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March 7 2017

Random Stripes Crochet Blanket Update – Project Finished

Last week I managed to get my random stripes crochet blanket finished and edged. I started this one in January and then at the beginning of February I discovered C2C crochet and really wanted to give it a try. I wanted to get the stripes blanket finished first but in end gave in and made a start on a large C2C blanket. I am using two strands of DK yarn and a 8mm hook again and the finished blanket will be 160 x 230cm. My biggest crochet piece ever! and I am planing on it being a stash busting project. Will update on that as I go.

The random stripes crochet blanket is a gift for a friends baby. The largest stripe is seven rows wide and smallest is one row, with all sizes inbetween. It was made almost entirely from my yarn stash, I saw a dark plum coloured yarn and really liked it so bought two 50g balls. I wish I had bought more now as it looks really nice used – which makes me not want to use the rest as then it will be gone! ha ha, does any one else save their best or favourite yrans (beads, papers, cords, ingredients…) and then never end up actually using them at all? Can’t just be me 😀 Once I was finished I wasn’t too sure I was happy with the blanket and I am dissapointed in how one of the yarns looks. It’s a furry varigated style and I feel like it look out of place. However I feel like the bits that I am not happy with are all things no one else will even notice. It’s an artists curse – always seeing fault in what others see only as perfect.

crochet blanket

Finishing the stripes crochet blanket kinda snuck up on me. I hadn’t looked at the blanket at all for about a week as I had been working on my C2C blanket but when I took it out of my bag I realised it was getting pretty big for a baby blanket. I like to make my baby blankets so they can be folded in use for extra cold days, which also means that they last a few years before being too small. My youngest is nearly 18 months and his crochet blanket still has loads of growing room in it. With so much work and time going into them it is nice that they aren’t get a short term use thing.

I had decided at the start that the blanket would be edged in black for a bold, contrasting effect. It’s not a traditionally coloured baby blanket at all but that completly suits the recipients tastes. The baby is a little girl but I went for a mix of all colours for variety. I added one row of treble crochet stitches in black but felt that it didn’t quite finish off the blanket properly. It was too abrupt. I had a browse on Pinterest for crochet edgings but choose to go with scallops, which gave the look I was after. Each scallop is made up of three treble crochet stitches and seven on the corners.


stripes crochet blanket

Using two strands of yarn to make my stripes crochet blanket has made it quite a chunky blanket with a bit of bouncy stretch. It is the second blanket I have made that way and I really like the squishy, cuddly softness of the style.


scallop crochet edge

Random stripes crochet blanket

 

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February 13 2017

Random Stripes Crochet Blanket – My Current Work in Progress.

After Christmas I started on a new crochet blanket design. I have had the blanket idea planned out for a while but haven’t had much time to get started on it. A good friend of mine is having a baby in the summer, so that seemed a perfect excuse to grab my yarn and hook and get started.

 

crochet blanket

 

The crochet blanket isn’t a traditional baby blanket in pastel colours but instead features bright and bold colours. I am using (UK) treble crochet and working with two strands of double knit wool. Using an 8mm (size L) hook this combination creates a soft, squishy fabric with a little stretch that I really like. I first tried out this mix when making my rainbow crochet blanket and really liked how it turned out. Seems like my son agrees as he has claimed it as his own! All of the blankets I had made previous had been done using double knit wool and treble crochet but only a 4mm hook (F). That make up a more solid, prehaps even a little stiff blanket. They do soften up with use so its not really a problem.

 

striped crochet blanket

 

The stripes in the blanket are made up of varying number of rows. Sometimes this number has depended on how much of a certain colour yarn I had left, but others I decide as I go along based on how it looks. The largest sections are seven rows. Seven has been my favourite number since I was a child and it adds a little magic to the design. The blanket is 89 stitches wide and so far I have completed 67 rows. The fabrics is now a good size for keeping me warm as I work on. I am planned on continuing until I have 100 rows  and then will add a border and edging to finish it off.

 

crochet blanket

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