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Christmas elf

Meet Elle the crochet Elf, she’s the perfect make for Christmas and I think she might be my best ever make!

Elle is a happy little elf who loves Christmas and giving presents to people. She’d be delighted to bring some festive magic to your celebrations. Create Elle for your family as a festive treat, or as a fantastic gift for someone really special on the big day.

She’s now available as a 23-page crochet pattern in my Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MakeMeDo

Or my Ravelry shop here: http://www.ravelry.com/stores/becky-skuse-designs

The pattern includes separate instructions for UK and US crochet terms, plus a very detailed making up section with LOTS of photos and top tips for a perfect finish!

Elle the elf is quick to make, using only double crochet stitches (that’s single crochet if you’re in the USA). She’s easy to sew together using the detailed step-by-step guide, which explains how to sew the head on firmly and how to create realistic hair. I’ll also show you how to make her arms and legs POSEABLE so that she can wave her arms AND she can sit down or stand up. These little touches really bring your toys to life!

To make Elle, you will need:

• Any cotton 4ply in red, white, brown, green and peach. I used Scheepjes Catona (100% cotton, 25g/62.5m), 1 ball each of Rosewood (258), Kiwi (205), Snow White (106), Nude (255) and Root Beer (157).

• Hook: A 2.5mm (US B/1 or C/2) hook.

• Other materials: Tapestry needle, toy stuffing, weighted stuffing (optional), scrap of blue yarn for eyes, one button or two sequins for the belt buckle.

You might also need to know:

• Tension: Not vital for this project, but it is important that stitches are dense.

• Size: Approx 19cm (7½in) tall with hat (hat is removeable).

• Pattern is divided into 3 sections: Patterns in UK Terms, Patterns in US Terms, Making Up.

The pattern includes step-by-step guides to:

• Invisible decrease

• Attaching the head

• Attaching poseable arms

• Attaching poseable legs

• Attaching realistic hair

Is it too soon to wish you a Merry Christmas?

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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in Crochet

 

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Unfinished objects

All crafters have unfinished objects – those projects that you started with great enthusiasm, but for some reason it’s been abandoned, tucked away in the back of a cupboard and forgotten. I’ve got my fair share of these, usually projects that I start when I’m in between paid commissions -and then I get a commission that I need to focus on instead!

So recently when I was in between commissions and wondering what to do with my impatient hands, I realised that delving into my unfinished objects or UFO bag might result in a quick-finish project. Why have I never realised this before??

Braving the crochet UFO bag (there’s a whole separate one for sewing UFOs!), I found a couple of heads from abandoned toys, some pretty shell shapes that I made far too big, and an orange circle. I think maybe this circle was the start of a summer hat that I realised was just going to attract wasps! So I sat down to think about what I could turn it into…

I could have used it as a coaster, or continued it into a bowl or some sort of cosy. There were two shades of orange so I wanted to find a way to make something out of that feature. And then I folded it in half and realised it looked like a slice of orange! Ooh a fruity purse would be a lovely gift for someone, I thought.

With a quick dig around in my stash, I found a brown zip the right length – not the ideal colour but it’s ok. I was all ready and raring to go, and then I remembered that I had agreed to work a volunteer shift at my local charity shop. So I gathered everything up into my project bag and took it with me. The afternoon at the shop was quite quiet so in between serving customers, I adding segment lines and then sewed the zip in place. People seemed quite intrigued by what I was doing!

Orange purse finished

He’s a surprisingly roomy little purse and when he was finished and I was packing everything away, I realised it might be big enough for all my crochet notions…

Crochet notions inside

When I got home, I found that it did fit all my notions inside and all these bits and bobs helped to pad out the purse and make it look more like a piece of orange – win!

Not bad for an afternoon – UFO complete and a new little notions purse to brighten up my crafting. And yes, I’m keeping this orange guy all to myself – if only to remind me about the creative potential of all my other UFOs!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Crochet, Sewing

 

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Rainbow stripes

As many of you know, I love rainbows. No, I mean, I really LOVE rainbows. They’re my go-to design choice when it comes to colour schemes. The end result of that is that I’m often left with random little balls of yarn in a rainbow of colours and no idea what to do with them…

So I’m always on the lookout for new stashbusting ideas. I found one recently called the Magic Knot technique, which is really easy. It’s basically a simple way to join lengths of yarn together that results in a teeny tiny knot that is barely visible once you’ve hooked it up. It’s a great way to create your own colourful balls of yarn using small scraps that would probably otherwise never get used. I’m such a yarn nerd, I had a lot of fun experimenting with this technique and making various balls of yarn to create different effects in my fabric, such as this little rainbow one:

experiments

Feeling confident in my new skills, I used the technique to make one large project, a diagonally striped rainbow cowl. I gathered up various little leftover balls from previous projects, each one no more than about 10g, and joined them into a rainbow colour scheme. Then I worked a fabric about 25cm wide with a simple diagonal stripe (you just decrease at one edge and increase at the other edge). The yarn just magically changed colour all by itself! So I could just sit back and hook. Before long, I’d finished this lovely cowl (selfie alert!):

As always with rainbows, I love the way in which one colour merges into the next so beautifully. It may be slightly red heavy!

If you’d like to learn this technique or make my rainbow cowl, check out my tutorial and pattern in issue 75 of Simply Crochet magazine at simplycrochetmag.com

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2018 in Crochet

 

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Mosaic crochet fun

I’m so lucky sometimes that I get to spend my time combining the things I enjoy to create cool stuff! My latest project ticks so many of my enjoyment boxes – it’s this mosaic crochet green and beige bath mat.

I love learning new crochet techniques (tick!) and mosaic crochet is really simple to learn (tick!), but it creates gorgeous geometric patterns that I love (tick!).

We had an extension built this year and as part of that we have a new bathroom/utility room. We had plenty of spare towels and other paraphernalia for it, but the one item we needed was a bath mat for the shower enclosure. So when I learnt mosaic crochet (as part of a feature for Simply Crochet magazine), I knew this was the perfect technique for making my own bespoke bath mat (tick!). The mosaic pattern is created at the front of the fabric with overlapping stitches, which makes the fabric pretty thick and sturdy. I used a really big yarn (Hoooked Zpagetti jersey yarn) with a really big hook (tick!) so it only took a day to make (tick!). I used green and beige to coordinate with the colours in the room.

So there we have it, I had fun and made something useful – that’s what crafting is all about!

If you’d like to have fun learning mosaic crochet and making your own bath mat, the tutorial and project are in issue 74 of Simply Crochet magazine (www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk)

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2018 in Crochet

 

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Granny square day

Apparently there was granny square day last week! How could I not know about it?? My family are always joking that I’m late to everything so it seems sort of fitting to be late to this party!

I love making granny squares and a while ago made this rainbow blanket:

I’ve shared the pattern for it in my Ravelry shop at www.ravelry.com/stores/becky-skuse-designs or in my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MakeMeDo.

If you’ve never made a granny square before then you can follow my free guide to make this square here:

Granny square light pink © Becky Skuse

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2018 in Crochet, Uncategorized

 

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Sun and cloud baby mobile

Us Brits love talking about the weather and my latest design is perfectly suited to talking about our changeable weather: sun, cloud, super-hot sun, cloud, rain, sun, cloud, sun, cloud, lightning, sun, and repeat…

In fact, that list could be the running order of my new design – this cute baby mobile, made up of crocheted cloud and sun motifs:

Look at those happy yellow colours!

The motifs are made using Bruges crochet techniques, which are super-easy to learn. I designed and made the motifs as part of my two-part technical guide to Bruges crochet, which was in Simply Crochet magazine recently – part one (the basics) is in issue 72, while part two (how to make circles and this mobile) is in issue 73 (visit simplycrochetmag.co.uk to find out more).

Bruges crochet is especially fun if you don’t enjoy working turning chains – instead of the usual turning chains, you make big loops at the start of each row that become part of the design. The sun motif is basically just one long strip of lacy crochet, with plain loops along one side, which get joined to form the centre of the motif. On the other side are pointed loops (made with picots) that form the sunburst shape – I love a pointy picot!

Sun using variegated yellow and white yarn

For the sun motifs, I used a wonderful variegated yarn in yellow and white, which just seems to capture the happiness of sunny days! Specifically, the yarn is Lily Sugar n Cream Ombres (100% cotton, 56.7g/86m) in Daisy Ombre (00165). The cotton fibre was really easy to work with, especially during the hot weather when my hands were perhaps just a little bit moist! I also used a smaller hook size than usual for the yarn so that the motifs would hold their shape without needing to be starched.

In fact, I enjoyed working with the yarn so much that I challenged myself to try yarn pooling the sun motif. If you’ve not heard of yarn pooling, it’s where you intentionally position the colour changes of a variegated yarn to create a specific effect. So first, I tried pooling the white at the centre:

Yarn-pooled sun with white centre

I should probably mention at this point that most crocheters only try yarn pooling with a variegated yarn that has regular, even colour repeats – and that this yarn does not have that! So unless you really fancy the challenge, I wouldn’t try this at home!

The uneven colour changes made yarn pooling with this yarn pretty hard work and time-consuming, but I LOVE the end result. Eagle-eyed crocheters among you might notice that the yarn-pooled sun above has some extra stitches compared to the first sun motif – I had to add these extra trebles to make the yarn-pooling effect work.

I learned that starting in the right place is vital to making the yarn-pooling effect work – I must have ripped out and reworked the first three rows about six times before I got it right. I also learned that tiny changes make a big difference – if a row didn’t work out quite right, I ripped back and reworked a row of stitches slightly tighter or looser to change the outcome.

I used all of this new knowledge to make a second yarn-pooled sun with the reverse colour scheme – yellow at the centre and white at the tips:

Yarn pooled sun with yellow centre

Ok this one is a little bit like a fried egg, but hey, experimentation and learning are fun and I love testing the boundaries of a technique!

After all this hot sun action, I was happy to cool down with my head in the clouds:

Bruges crochet cloud

This time, I kept the outer loops short so they created that bumpy cloud look, while varying the size of the inner loops so that when they were joined together, the cloud shape was wide and short. It took a few attempts to get the shape right, but now I have a variety of other little cloud shapes to do something else with!

After having played with the sun motifs a bit, I thought it only fair that the clouds had a bit of diversity as well, so I made a few little raindrops for this guy:

Bruges cloud with raindrops

The grey yarn might have been a bit dull to hook with, but I found the flecks of blue lifted the whole mood and made them more whimsical to make. In real life, the clouds actually have a lovely 3D look to them, where one side seems to cave in while the other side seems to bow out towards you. Finally, I added a lightning motif to this little cloud:

Bruges cloud with lightning

I made four clouds and four suns in total, before hanging them all from a large embroidery hoop using different lengths of yarn. At this point, it seemed like something was missing at the centre of the mobile, which looked empty. So I decided to make another sun to place at the centre. This time, I used two strands of the white and yellow yarn held together:

Super sun!

I really like the variegated effect on this one, with the yellow and white dancing around each other throughout the whole shape. It was bigger then the other sun motifs, so I was a bit worried that it might need starching but it actually held its shape just as well as the other motifs. Win!

I loved my adventures with variegated yarn and Bruges crochet – now I’m looking forward to getting the project back so I can gift it to a special baby. I’m thinking that the mobile’s variety in sunshine and cloud motifs will help to teach them about our changeable weather from an early age!

If you’d like the pattern for this mobile, it’s in Simply Crochet magazine issue 73 – visit simplycrochetmag.co.uk to find out more.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2018 in Crochet

 

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Furry fabric

Working on a top secret crochet toy for Christmas already. Lovely furry fabric!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2018 in Crochet

 

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