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Zigzag broomstick 

When I first started crocheting, I read somewhere that there were two classic types of project you had to try: one with granny squares (been there, done that) and one with zigzags or chevrons. Never one to do as I’m told, I let my crochet journey take me where it naturally wanted to go. And years later, it’s finally led me to zigzags.

As you may remember from my last post, I’ve been experimenting with broomstick crochet for Simply Crochet magazine. For part two of the how-to guide, I needed to think of a project that involved changing colour, increasing and decreasing, all in broomstick crochet. Blam! That was the sound in my head as the idea hit me: stripy zigzags.

Making a blanket with the technique would’ve been nice, but I didn’t have that much time so I decided on a shawl/wrap instead. Simply Crochet gave me some beautiful Cascade Ultra Pima cotton yarn in purple, yellow and lavender, and here’s the result:

Broomstick wrap flat

Broomstick wrap flat

I actually crocheted this over Christmas and New Year, so evokes really joyful feelings for me. There were so many rows to work that I took it almost everywhere, trying to squeeze in more rows at every opportunity, even to family gatherings. A girl can crochet and mingle, you know – although having a broomstick involved as well makes it slightly more challenging!

In total, I worked a whopping 111 rows, changing colour at least every three rows, sometimes more. I made a plan of the colour changes about 25 rows in, and then ignored the plan when I felt like doing something different! My only regret was not weaving in my ends as I went. It took me about as long to weave them all in as it took to work 30 rows. Groan.

But when it was finished, it all seemed worth it. I love the zigzag shape and how the colour changes create a different geometric effect all the way along. The lacy broomstick rows give the fabric a gorgeous drape, while the double and treble rows make sure the stripes are solid and keep their zigzag shape. Looking at the whole wrap, the pattern reminds me a lot of sound waves and tree rings – it almost vibrates with positive energy! Even close up, the pretty colour combinations and gentle wavy shapes have a relaxing effect. It’s just divine.

Broomstick wrap close-up

Broomstick wrap close-up

If you’d like to make your own broomstick zigzag wrap, it’s in the new issue of Simply Crochet (issue 43). Feel free to formulate your own colour scheme using any colours you want, but if you like the look of my wrap and want to use the same colour scheme, here’s a list of which colour I used for each row:

Row 1 Yellow
Row 2 Yellow
Row 3 Yellow
Row 4 Purple
Row 5 Purple
Row 6 Lilac
Row 7 Yellow
Row 8 Lilac
Row 9 Purple
Row 10 Purple
Row 11 Lilac
Row 12 Yellow
Row 13 Yellow
Row 14 Lilac
Row 15 Purple
Row 16 Purple
Row 17 Lilac
Row 18 Yellow
Row 19 Purple
Row 20 Yellow
Row 21 Lilac
Row 22 Lilac
Row 23 Lilac
Row 24 Purple
Row 25 Yellow
Row 26 Purple
Row 27 Purple
Row 28 Lilac
Row 29 Lilac
Row 30 Purple
Row 31 Yellow
Row 32 Yellow
Row 33 Purple
Row 34 Yellow
Row 35 Lilac
Row 36 Lilac
Row 37 Yellow
Row 38 Lilac
Row 39 Purple
Row 40 Purple
Row 41 Purple
Row 42 Yellow
Row 43 Yellow
Row 44 Lilac
Row 45 Purple
Row 46 Lilac
Row 47 Yellow
Row 48 Yellow
Row 49 Lilac
Row 50 Purple
Row 51 Lilac
Row 52 Lilac
Row 53 Yellow
Row 54 Yellow
Row 55 Lilac
Row 56 Yellow
Row 57 Purple
Row 58 Purple
Row 59 Yellow
Row 60 Purple
Row 61 Lilac
Row 62 Purple
Row 63 Purple
Row 64 Yellow
Row 65 Yellow
Row 66 Purple
Row 67 Yellow
Row 68 Lilac
Row 69 Lilac
Row 70 Yellow
Row 71 Lilac
Row 72 Purple
Row 73 Yellow
Row 74 Lilac
Row 75 Lilac
Row 76 Lilac
Row 77 Purple
Row 78 Yellow
Row 79 Purple
Row 80 Lilac
Row 81 Lilac
Row 82 Lilac
Row 83 Purple
Row 84 Yellow
Row 85 Purple
Row 86 Purple
Row 87 Purple
Row 88 Lilac
Row 89 Yellow
Row 90 Purple
Row 91 Lilac
Row 92 Purple
Row 93 Purple
Row 94 Lilac
Row 95 Yellow
Row 96 Yellow
Row 97 Yellow
Row 98 Yellow
Row 99 Purple
Row 100 Purple
Row 101 Lilac
Row 102 Lilac
Row 103 Lilac
Row 104 Yellow
Row 105 Lilac
Row 106 Yellow
Row 107 Yellow
Row 108 Purple
Row 109 Yellow
Row 110 Purple
Row 111 Purple

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Crochet

 

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Crochet pinwheels

I love the seaside. I’d happily go every weekend. Or just live by the sea.

So I’m a sucker for anything seaside-themed: blue and white stripes, twine, sand, and most recently, pinwheels. Crocheted pinwheels, to be exact, which I’ve crocheted in four different sizes:

Crochet pinwheels closer

Crochet pinwheels

I love the unique light by the sea. It’s so pure and clean, making colours look brighter and more saturated. I think that’s part of the joy of the seaside: everything looks like it’s been turned up to 11.

In an effort to try to reflect a little bit of this effect, I wanted to use some DK yarns that looked like in-between colours: bluey green, orangey brown, purpley pink and sandy grey.

Each pinwheel is made up of four ‘petals’, which are really easy to crochet and join together. But the most fun part was finishing each pinwheel with a gorgeous button. You’ll know how much I love buttons, if you’ve read this post or this post so I spent a lot of time choosing just the right button to suit the yarn. Buttons are the best.

Then I attached each pinwheel to a barbecue skewer so they’d stand up in sand or grass, or just arranged in a vase. The pack of skewers I bought includes 100, so there’s plenty of scope to make more…

In July, we took them with us to the seaside to take these photos, specifically Sidmouth, after a trip to The Donkey Sanctuary. Part of me wanted to leave them in the sand, for random strangers to take home. But then I realised how nice it would be to have a touch of the seaside at home with me all the time.

Crochet pinwheels

Crochet pinwheels at the seaside

If you’d like to make these pinwheels, the pattern is in the latest issue of Simply Crochet magazine, on sale now.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Make: Easy bunting

Today’s post is all about brightening up dark hallways, with super-easy tassels, pompoms and fringing – in the shape of this cute bunting I made back in July for Simply Crochet magazine…

Tassel bunting

Tassel bunting

Below is the free pattern to make this bunting – and it only involves the tiniest bit of crocheting so anyone can make it!

The only conditions are:
• Please don’t claim the design as your own.
• Please only make this bunting for your own personal use, NOT to make any money out of it.
• Please let me know if you make the bunting! Thank you 🙂

You will need
DK cotton yarn (or any yarn) in three different colours (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton DK, 100% cotton, 50g/85m, 1 ball of each: Blue John (365), Bee (364), Florence (350), Ecru (251))
A 4mm (US G/6) hook
Spare cardboard
Standard-size fork
One stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Measurements
Bunting string measures approx 2.5m
Tassels measure approx 7cm long, 1.5cm wide
Medium pompoms measure approx 4cm in diameter
Small pompoms measure approx 3cm in diameter
Tiny pompoms measure approx 1.5cm in diameter

Notes
You can adjust the length of the bunting to suit you. Make the tassels, pompoms and fringing in any size you like, and add as many as you like, using any combination of colours. Dig into your stash and see what you can find!

Make the tassels
Cut a piece of cardboard measuring 5cm wide and 7cm long. Make a 1cm cut on one of the short ends of the card.

Tie a knot in one end of your yarn and secure it around the slot. Wrap the yarn around the length of the card to the thickness you require. If you’d like to use more than one colour, knot the yarns together at the base of the card and carry on wrapping around.

Cut a small length of yarn and thread onto a needle. Pass the needle under the yarn wraps at the top of the cardboard and tie the two ends in a knot to secure. Cut through the bottom wraps of the tassel and snip off the starting knot.

Cut another length of yarn and wrap it tightly around the tassel, approx 2cm from the top, to form the head. Thread the yarn end onto a needle and insert it down inside the head wraps. Trim the end to the same length as the tassel. Trim the ends of the tassel to neaten the edges.

Make one tassel in yellow, one in orange and two in blue.

Make the medium pompoms
Draw a ring onto a piece of cardboard, 5cm in diameter, with a hole in the centre that’s 2cm in diameter.

Wind your yarn into tiny balls that are small enough to push through the narrow hole at the centre of your cardboard rings.

Hold the two cardboard rings together and wrap your yarn around them, threading it through the centre and working all around the cardboard until it’s covered by several layers of yarn.

Once the rings are covered, insert a pair of scissors between the two pieces of card and carefully cut the yarn around the edge of the rings. Try to ensure none of the yarn slips out of position as you do this.

Cut a separate length of yarn and knot it tightly around the middle of the bundle of yarn between the two rings. Ease the rings off the pompom and fluff up the yarn. Trim any uneven bits with scissors.

Make one medium pompom in yellow, one in orange and one in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 4cm in diameter.

Make the small pompoms
Use a standard fork to make the small pompoms. Wrap the yarn around the outer edge of all four prongs of the fork, the prongs should be approx 3cm apart. Then knot a length of yarn around the middle of the wraps. Cut into the loops on both sides and then trim into a spherical shape.
Make two small pompoms in yellow, two in orange and two in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 3cm in diameter.

Make the tiny pompoms
Use a standard fork to make the tiny pompoms. Wrap the yarn around three prongs of the fork, the prongs should be approx 1.5cm apart. Then tie a length of yarn around the middle of the wraps. Cut into the loops on both sides and then trim into a spherical shape. Make four tiny pompoms in yellow, four in orange and four in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 1.5cm in diameter.

Make the bunting string
Using Ecru and a 4mm hook, make a chain the length that you’d like your bunting to be. Fasten off and weave in ends.Then sew the tassels, medium pompoms and small pompoms in place onto the chain length.

This is what I did: Using Ecru and a 4mm hook, ch6, ss to first ch (to form hanging loop), ch50, join blue tassel in the last chain you made, ch25, join small orange pompom, ch25, join medium yellow pompom, ch25, join small blue pompom, ch25, join orange tassel, ch25, join small yellow pompom, ch25, join medium blue pompom, ch25, join small orange pompom, ch25, join yellow tassel, ch25, join small blue pompom, ch25, join medium orange pompom, ch25, join small yellow pompom, ch25, join blue tassel, ch50, place marker, ch6, ss to marked chain (to form other hanging loop). Remove marker. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make the fringing
Cut eight lengths of Ecru yarn, approx 13cm long.
Take one length of yarn and fold it in half. Count 8 chains to the right of where you attached the blue tassel.
In the 9th chain, attach the first length of fringing yarn. To do this, insert a 4mm hook into the chain, loop the yarn length over the hook and pull back through the fabric. Pull the yarn through to make a loop next to the hook. Pass the ends of the yarn through this loop. Pull tight to secure.
Attach the remaining 7 lengths of fringing yarn in the next 7 chains.

Repeat this process in each gap between the pompoms and tassels (12 areas of fringing altogether).
Trim any uneven lengths of yarn for a neat finish.

Sew the 12 tiny pompoms to the bunting string, positioning each one at the centre of each fringing area. Attach the tiny yellow pompoms between the blue and orange decorations, the tiny blue pompoms between the yellow and orange decorations, and the tiny orange pompoms between the yellow and blue decorations.

Weave in any remaining ends and hang up.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Crochet, Other Crafts

 

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ABC crochet

Before Christmas, I embarked on a pretty ambitious project for me, involving charts, different yarn colours, letters and motifs.

As you might know, I put together the technical features for Simply Crochet magazine (overseen by their wonderful technical editor, Cara) – sometimes I also make a project to go with the feature and demonstrate some of the techniques talked about in the feature.

For issue 27 (out now), the subject was ‘how to use a crochet chart’ and for the project, I was really keen to do something with letters. We came up with the idea of monogram coasters, which could also be used to personalise garments, such as a pocket for a cardigan.

Crochet letter coasters

Crochet letter coasters

These are the first three letters in the alphabet that I crocheted and I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out. I made crochet charts for the whole alphabet, which you can purchase in my Ravelry shop, here.

After making these three, I was then left with the question of what to do with them. Well, it just so happens that my cousin had a gorgeous little baby boy in June (I mentioned this here) and I thought it would be lovely to create a cube using these letters.

I’m no maths genius, but I quickly realised that I would need to make three more squares to create a cube! So I decided to make a motif to go with each letter…

For A, I thought the yarn colours were perfect for making an apple:

A is for Apple

A is for Apple

For B, I made a grey bell on a green background:

B is for bell

B is for bell

For C, I made a car:

C is for car

C is for car

Aren’t they cute?! I particularly like the car.

I must just mention that it was actually my other half who created the initial charts for these three motifs – I told him what I wanted and he made a rough chart, which I polished up afterwards. It was nice to collaborate and have him take such an interest in my makes!

After some firm blocking (to make the squares more um square), a bit of careful seaming and plenty of stuffing, here’s my finished cube:

Crochet baby cube

Crochet baby cube

As an extra touch, I added a little bell inside the stuffing so it’s a stimulating treat for the ears as well as the eyes and hands. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it in time for it to be a Christmas gift, but it will be a New Year gift, which I think is a nice way to spread out baby Mitch’s treats (that’s my story, anyway!).

If you’re interested in crocheting your own apple, bell or car motif,and making the cube, you can find the pattern in my Ravelry shop, here.

They use a 4ply yarn (West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in grey and apple), a 3mm hook, and double crochet stitches (US single crochet), to make ‘squares’ that measured 13cm wide and 13.5cm tall.

The possibilities for using these letter and motif charts are near-infinite. I like the idea of crocheting the car in a superchunky yarn to make a really big square for a cushion, mat or lap blanket.

If you do use these charts in your crafting, do let me know – I’d love to see how you get creative with them…

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Review & resolutions

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year for Make Me Do. Some posts have been surprisingly popular while others have flown under the radar somewhat. I didn’t quite manage my posting once-a-week aim, but 37 posts out of 52 is pretty good.

Since I posted a review of 2013 at the start of last year, I felt like I should stick with tradition and review 2014. From a strictly numbers-based perspective, my most popular posts have been for my peaked baker boy hat patterns, whether that’s sewn like this one

Denim hat © Becky Skuse

Denim hat © Becky Skuse

Or knitted, like this one

Baker boy hat

Baker boy hat

I love the shape and style of these hats and I like the idea that there could be people walking around wearing a hat made from one of my patterns! You can buy both patterns here. I’d really like to make a crochet version of the hat so I think I’ll make that my first crafty resolution of 2015.

One of my favourite makes, personally, in 2014 was this laundry bag, which makes me smile every morning when I wake up…

Laundry bag

Laundry bag

I have the pattern for this bag on my ‘to post’ list so I think I’ll make that my next resolution for 2015, alongwith plenty of other patterns I’ve got ready to post.

Another popular post has been my Doggy doorstop and you can now buy the pattern here

Doggy doorstop

Doggy doorstop

Talking of cute crafty makes, I loved making this crochet amigirumi bear, which I called ‘Cookie’…

Cookie bear waving

Cookie bear waving

Cookie happily sits on a shelf next to me when I’m sat on the sofa in the evenings – he’s no trouble and always has a smile on his face.

Back to the numbers and apparently, the most popular day on my blog in 2014 was in May, when I posted the step-by-step on hairpin crochet

Hairpin Step 11

Hairpin crochet

So in 2015, I’ll try to do a few more technical guides. Any requests?

I think three resolutions is a good start, so here goes for 2015…

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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Rainbow blanket finished!

At long, long last, my rainbow blanket is finished…

Rainbow blanket

Rainbow blanket

I first had the idea to make this blanket in early May, 2013, so it’s been a pretty long time in the making. But I’m still totally in love with each and every colour of the granny squares – I could just look at them for hours…

My first blog about making these granny squares was here and it’s funny to look back at the humble beginnings of my simple but beautiful blanket.

It was too big for me to fit the whole thing into one shot, but I’ll try again over the weekend.

I just love this blanket and I’m so proud of it. At the same time, part of me is almost sad that the project is over…

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Busy, backpack and bunting

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been too busy crafting and working to write about what I’ve been doing. More about what I’ve been working on soon – in the meantime, here’s a run-down of my recent crafting projects…

I learned Tunisian crochet recently and made this stripy sunglasses case for Simply Crochet magazine. I love the woven look of the fabric, which is thick and sturdy, and also how you can create two-tone rows. I wanted a button fastening (well I am in button club) and managed to find the perfect one – a little sunglasses button! It’s really cute and looks a bit like a little pair of eyes…

Tunisian crochet sunglasses case

Tunisian crochet sunglasses case

In sewing news, the backpack I made a while ago (see here) is appearing in Sewing World magazine this month. The original idea was to make it a children’s backpack, hence the super-cute fabric (it’s Critter Community Frames Cool, Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman, from Fancy Moon), but I think it’s great storage for any age. The backpack itself is just a simple rectangle shape so it’s quite straightforward to make – but in designing it, the construction was a real challenge because I wanted it to be lined and all the seams enclosed! To do that, I had to make a fair few buttonholes, which wasn’t as scary as I thought, so now I’m wondering what else can be buttonholed…

Sewn backpack

Sewn backpack

If you saw my post about pompoms here, you’ll know that I’d made a lot of them! Well, this is the project that I used them for – a long string of totally touchable bunting, for Simply Crochet magazine, using tassels, pompoms and fringing. The colours are so cheerful, they make me smile. It’s now hanging in our hallway, brightening up the space…

Tassel bunting

Tassel bunting

More makes and exciting crafty things to tell you about soon…

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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