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2015 Review

I’m not usually one for looking back or making resolutions, but it seems to have become a tradition for my blog, so why the heck not…

The past year has been pretty big for me: I fulfilled one of my big dreams of opening an Etsy shop and I’ve even sold some patterns!

My blog has also had some lovely comments, I’ve posted 35 times, and I’ve uploaded over 200 photos. I also started another blog all about vegan food (littlegreenplate.wordpress.com) and I opened a shop on Ravelry dedicated to my crochet and knitting projects (and had a few sales on there as well!).

But looking back, without doubt, my most popular make continues to be this adorable doggy doorstop sewing project – even though he bounded into life in 2012, he’s still my most popular make and I think he’s my favourite, too!

Sewn doggy doorstop – sewing pattern available at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MakeMeDo

But looking at my new projects for 2015,I think this has been a really productive year, where I’ve designed and made some really good projects that I’m proud to put my name on. So these are some of my most popular projects as well as my personal favourites:

Crochet alphabet – pattern available at www.ravelry.com/stores/becky-skuse-designs

Rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf

Crochet rainbow scarf – pattern coming soon to Simply Crochet magazine.

Flowery tablet cosy

Flowery tablet cosy

Crochet flower tablet cosy – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Crochet pinwheels closer

Crochet pinwheels closer

Crochet pinwheels – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Finished crochet popcorn tree

Finished crochet popcorn tree

Crochet popcorn tree – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Sparkly clutch

Sparkly clutch

Crochet and sewing sparkly purse – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Little dragon

Little dragon

Crochet dragon – a gift for my sister-in-law.

Crochet All Sorts

Crochet All Sorts

Crochet All Sorts – my first project for Mollie Makes magazine, the pattern is available on my Etsy shop here. I also posted a step-by-step guide to sewing up one of the sweets:

Start sewing up

Start sewing up

At the beginning of 2015, I made some crafty resolutions and I’m glad to say that I’ve achieved some of them. I’d resolved to post more technical guides and while I only posted one (above), I’m considering that a mild success.

I also resolved to post more projects, for free or a fee and I have managed to post various patterns, either for free on this blog, or for sale on my Etsy and Ravelry shops. I’d like to add more though (I’ve got 20 patterns just waiting to be sorted out!) so getting through some of these will be a key crafty resolution for 2016.

I haven’t achieved my final resolution though: to make a crocheted baker boy hat. So I think I’ll make that a rollover resolution for 2016! Is that allowed? Well, if it’s good enough for the lottery…

My final aim for the year involves this little thing in April (my wedding!) that I’m busy making things for…

In the meantime, best wishes to all of you for the year ahead 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Crochet, Sewing

 

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New iPhone 6 cosy 

At the risk of opening myself up to being mugged, I have a lovely new iPhone 6! Given how much it set me back, I take its safety very seriously so I got an Air Jacket thing and screen protector for it. But that wasn’t quite enough. So I made this:  
Yes, it’s a crocheted cosy! (Well, why not?) It was very quick to make and the drawstring top makes sure the little guy stays safely protected inside. 

To start with, it was just plain but I soon realised that it needed a motif so I added this pretty green flower. It wasn’t just to make the cosy prettier but also so that I knew which way round it was in the cosy! (In case you’re thinking of mugging me, for the iPhone or the cosy, I’ve been keeping the phone’s front next to the motif. You’re welcome.)

So to come full circle, I decided to use my lovely new phone to write this post and take the photo above. I think new iPhone 6 did a pretty good job…

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Flower tablet cosy

I’ve been crocheting lots of flowers recently. They’re great little projects for making on the bus on the way to work, and they make me feel more summery even when the sun isn’t shining. I’ve got lots of little bits of leftover yarn so I made this cute little flower pattern to use them up:

Tiny crochet flowers

Tiny crochet flowers

Then my mum bought herself a tablet and I thought it would be nice to make her a tablet cosy decorated with these flowers, for Mother’s Day. All this coincided with writing a feature for Simply Crochet magazine on surface crochet, so this is what I ended up making:

Flowery tablet cosy

Flowery tablet cosy

I worked the branch in surface crochet and then attached the flowers on top in groups. It was quite time consuming and I had to make several drawings and plans, but I just love the finished cosy; it’s so pretty! (I sort of wanted to keep it for myself, but that’s just between us!).

I used a button and loop to keep the cosy safe, and added a subtle extra touch of surface crochet with a circle around the button:

Crochet tablet cosy back

Crochet tablet cosy back

I’m also crocheting some flowers for the wedding, but more about that another time…

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Cosy cowl

Another cosy crochet make I’ve been working on recently is this chunky cowl for issue 29 of Simply Crochet (on sale now!):

Textured scarf

Textured scarf

The challenge was to create a textured cowl using back loop and front loop crochet stitches. Once I started looking, I found that the options are almost infinite! But in the end, I chose four different textures and made them in four different colours.

From the top (in the photo), I used the beige yarn to make a chunky ridged texture, the lilac yarn was ideal for a lacy crossed double treble texture, I used the baby blue yarn to create a subtle raised texture, and then the teal green yarn was perfect for a wide ribbed texture.

I joined all four pieces together, end to end, to make one long cowl for wrapping around and around. To top it all off, I made a layered flower, placing layers of different stitches in the front and back loops. I think the flower helps to hold the layers together and adds a little touch of femininity. It’s almost like four different cowls in one!

It’s oh-so warm in the chunky yarn, but I’d also like to make a lighter version in different colours of DK cotton for those cool summer mornings.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Feeding the ducks

My makes have had a distinctly cosy feel recently, thanks to the chilly temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in the UK – spring is trying to break through now, but with limited success.

One of my favourite recent makes are these little crocheted mittens…

Wearing mittens

Wearing mittens

Now you can get the pattern to make your own pair by visiting my Ravelry shop here.

I made these mittens over the festive break while watching a couple of Christmas movies, and they were surprisingly quick and easy to make.

I’ve never had fingerless mittens before and I’ve realised they’re perfect for our regular Sunday morning trips to the local duck pond to feed the hungry ducks! My hands stay cosy and warm while I break up our super-seedy bread into little pieces, without getting crumbs permanently impregnated into the yarn. Result!

The mitts were made for Simply Crochet magazine, issue 28, to demonstrate how to work foundation double crochet and treble crochet rows – although you can easily make them without knowing the technique.

I think I might make some more pairs as Christmas gifts – now that’s thinking ahead!

Fingerless mittens

Fingerless mittens

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Knitted slippers

With the weather getting warmer, it might seem like an odd time to be making slippers. But my feet seem to get cold throughout the year, so I can never have too many pairs of slippers!

I’ve knitted plenty of baby bootees in my time, and I have a fool-proof pattern by Debbie Bliss that I use. I recently had a thought that if I used the same pattern (intended for DK yarn), but with a chunky yarn, I might be able to make a bootee big enough to fit my size fives.

It worked a treat!

Knitted slipper © Becky Skuse

Knitted slipper © Becky Skuse

I’m really busy with crochet work at the moment, so I’ve only had time to make one bootee so far. But it’s lovely and cosy and stretchy. Now I just need to sew some fabric to the bottoms to make them a bit more hard-wearing. Oh, and make the second one.

Then I’d like to see if I can adapt the pattern into crochet…

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Knitting

 

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Crochet cables & bobbles

Firstly, apologies for no blog last week – I spent my day off on a training course, although I can’t say I learned an awful lot (it was still good though).

I have been doing a lot of learning elsewhere though, specifically about crochet. I’ve started working on a publication that covers more advanced crochet techniques, such as cables, beading and surface crochet.

It’s not essential that I learn all of these techniques because we have some expert contributors, but there are many that I’d like to learn, so now is the perfect time! Plus, I know it will make me feel more confident when I’m proof-reading pages.

Whenever I’m learning a new technique, I like to actually make something at the same time as practising it. So I made this manly grey cowl for my other half, incorporating some new-to-me techniques:

Grey cable & bobble cowl

Grey cable & bobble cowl

Slate grey is his favourite colour, so I found this DK yarn in my stash and used quite a big hook (6mm) for a chunky feel. I started off working a treble foundation row instead of working chains and then working stitches into the foundation chains (if you’ve never tried this technique, I highly recommend it).

I joined into the round and continued in trebles. On the next round, I used stitch markers to mark out every 10 stitches, which would help me keep track of where to place my bobbles and cables on the following rounds.

On the next round, I worked a 4-stitch cable at every stitch marker. It took me a while to get the tension right – too tight and the whole fabric puckered; too loose and it just looked like strands of yarn instead of a stitch.

On the next round, I worked a 7-treble bobble at the halfway point between two stitch markers. If I made it again, I might work more than seven though because they look a bit more like clusters than bobbles, in that they don’t stand away from the fabric very far. They still look good though (and he won’t know the difference).

So I alternated the cable round and the bobble round, and added an extra round of plain treble stitches at the centre to space out the bobbles a bit more. By the time I finished the cowl, I was cabling and bobbling on auto pilot!

Luckily, he really likes the cowl, as does everyone else who sees it, which makes me smile. In fact, it’s so nice that I’ve started to borrow it (it’s so cosy in the wind and the grey goes with everything!). As you can see, even my bust (I’ve called her Betsy) likes it:

Cowl on Betsy

Cowl on Betsy

Perhaps I’d better make my own cowl while learning some more techniques…

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Crochet

 

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