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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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Hairpin hairband

I’ve become somewhat addicted to hairpin crochet recently. Partly because it’s so easy that I can switch off the old brain box and just let my hands do the work. Partly because it creates a really pretty strip. And partly because I was asked to put together a few features and patterns on hairpin crochet for Simply Crochet magazine…

You might remember that I posted a step-by-step guide to hairpin crochet, here, which looked a bit like this…

Hairpin Step 11

Hairpin Crochet step-by-step guide

The technique is so quick and easy, I like how you can get results really fast. So it didn’t take me long to make this little hairband…

Hairpin hairband

Hairpin hairband

You might be able to see in this photo that I used a sparkly Wendy yarn (Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton Sparkle DK), but you could use any yarn you’ve got handy – you’ll only need around 10g so it’s perfect for using up a spare length of some special yarn.

I’m not sure whether you’ve noticed, but the world of yarn seems to be full of sparkle at the moment. I love a bit of bling so I’m not complaining!

Hairpin hairband on me

Hairpin hairband on me

I hate tight hairbands, so I made this one fairly loose and it’s very comfy. Although, it was only when it came to shooting it on me that I remembered how hairbands really don’t suit me! It took a real pro (my other half) to capture this photo where I look almost half-decent in it.

Anyway, if you’re interested in the pattern, it’s in issue 35 of Simply Crochet magazine and the free pattern will be coming soon!

I’ve also been making some other hairpin projects, so look out for them…

 
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Posted by on September 12, 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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Crochet guides

So I’m finally ready for the big reveal – here’s what I’ve been working on (off and on) for the last errr 10 months…

Crochet covers

Beginner’s & Pro Crochet Guides covers

These are two huge bookazines (designed like a book, but the size of a magazine), packed with 164 pages each. They’re on sale today and I feel like a proud (but nervous) mum!

The Beginner’s Guide to Crochet is perfect if you want to learn how to crochet, or rediscover the craft, or just brush up your basic skills (even I learnt things I didn’t know that I didn’t know!). My favourite bit is the chapter about amigurumi toys, and the little piggy toy pattern is just so cute.

The Pro Guide to Crochet is for crocheters who already know the basics and are hungry for more! This one really is packed full of know-how, from foundation rows to broomstick crochet, colourwork to designing your own pieces, and loads more in between.

Both are designed like workbooks, so you learn some new skills and then make something fab to practise those skills. Most of the patterns have been previously published in Simply Crochet magazine (so they’re gorgeous, of course). Some of the tutorials have also come from Simply Crochet but most of the tutorials in the Pro Guide are brand new (and many written by yours truly!).

So much of my time, energy, blood, sweat and tears have gone into these two publications, it feels a bit like these are my children going out into the world on their own… so if you spot a mistake, please don’t tell me! No parent is perfect 🙂

They’re £9.99 each for a paper copy, available from newsagents or direct from www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk.
Or they’re £7.99 each for a digital copy, available via the Simply Crochet magazine app – see here for more.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Hairpin crochet

I love learning new craft techniques, unfortunately I don’t always have time. But at the moment, I’m getting paid to write about some advanced crochet techniques, which means I have to learn them!

The latest one I’ve learned is hairpin crochet, which looks very intricate but is sooo easy to do. This gorgeous top from Tesco in the UK combines delicate hairpin crochet with standard crochet.

Anyway, if you want to try the hairpin technique, all you need is some yarn (try DK), a crochet hook (try 4mm) and a hairpin loom (widely available in yarn stores or online).

Set the loom prongs to 4cm apart (this is a good width to start with). Make a slipknot and place it on your hook. Hold the hook in the centre of the loom, between the two prongs. Take the working yarn over the front of the right prong and around the back so it lies across the back of the loom, on the left-hand side (if you’re right-handed). Hold the working yarn in your left hand (if you’re right-handed), so it lies under the left prong. It should look a bit like this:

Hairpin Step 1

Hairpin Step 1

Now hook the strand of yarn that lies across the back of the loom, like this:

Hairpin Step 2

Hairpin Step 2

And pull a loop of yarn through the slipknot (you will have made a slip stitch):

Hairpin Step 3

Hairpin Step 3

Tighten up the slipknot and make sure your hook and stitch are in the centre of the two prongs.

**Now move the hook to the back of the work, by lifting it up and over the right prong, like this:

Hairpin Step 4

Hairpin Step 4

Turn the loom over, anti-clockwise, lifting up the right prong and bringing it to the left so that this becomes the left prong (as long as you keep hold of the working yarn, you can let go of the hook while you do this). The yarn will have been wrapped around what was the left prong, which is now the right prong, and it will lie across the back of the loom again, like this:

Hairpin Step 5

Hairpin Step 5

The hook will now be at the front, ready for the next steps. The left prong will have a loop of yarn around it – insert the hook under the front strand of this loop, ready to work a double crochet stitch (US single crochet) into it:

Hairpin Step 6

Hairpin Step 6

Now hook the working yarn, as it lies across the back of the loom:

Hairpin Step 7

Hairpin Step 7

Pull the strand of working yarn through the loop on the left prong, like this:

Hairpin Step 8

Hairpin Step 8

Now hook the working yarn again:

Hairpin Step 9

Hairpin Step 9

And pull this loop through all the loops on the hook, to finish your double crochet stitch (US single crochet):

Hairpin Step 10

Hairpin Step 10

That’s it! Repeat from ** to work more and more stitches in the same way to create a lacy strip.

Hairpin Step 11

Hairpin Step 11

You can make hairpin strips as long or short, narrow or thin, as you like. Just be careful to keep the stitch in the centre of the loom. Have fun experimenting!

I’m thinking it might be nice to use the technique to make a scarf – perhaps a chunky yarn made into a wide strip and edged with more double crochet stitches…

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Foxes or knitting?

It’s been a whopping 7 weeks since my last blog post. That’s long enough to do all manner of things… learn to drive, lose a stone of weight or even gestate a fox.

As much as I like foxes, I’ve been busy doing something else…

I’ve been working on two knitting books, well, book-azines because they’re magazine-sized and sold with magazines in the shops. At 164 pages a piece, there was a lot to do in a short space of time. So the blog got put on the back burner – in fact, almost everything else got put on the back burner!

The first bookazine is called The Beginner’s Guide to Knitting, which covers all the basics of learning to knit. The second bookazine is called The Pro Guide to Knitting, which follows on from the Beginner’s Guide by covering more advanced knitting techniques, such as Fair Isle, beading and short-row shaping.

Beginner and Pro Knit BZs © Future Publishing

Beginner and Pro Knit BZs © Future Publishing

They’re both on sale 31st October 2013 in the UK, or as digital editions wherever you are in the world. Go to http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk to find out more, or visit http://www.theknitter.co.uk/digital to download the free app, within which you can purchase these special editions.

For the Beginner’s Guide, I wrote a lot of it myself and really enjoyed the challenge of trying to think through and explain knitting techniques (that are now automatic for me) in a simple way. I also made a couple of really easy projects for it, along with some colleagues.

Knit projects

Knit projects

It was a whole other challenge to make items using just one stitch type and no shaping! I think my garter stitch bow is my favourite, because it’s so cute and simple, and it works well on my colleague Becca’s ribbed hairband. Although, maybe my bright pink flower is my favourite… It’s just a strip of stocking stitch gathered up and finished with a button. It’s unusual and looks more tricky than it really is, and it was great for decorating my colleague Lizzie’s moss stitch scarf.

So now these two bookazines are on their way to the shops, I can get back to some of the craft projects I’ve started but not finished…

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Knitting

 

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