King Size Blanket Finished!

It’s been a while, again, I always promise I won’t leave it so long but life and doings¬†gets in the way. That’s what happens when you have two kids and are trying to run two businesses ūüôā

Anyway the blanket I made for my brother in law’s girlfriend is now finished. It took a while and took up a lot of room but 16 balls of stylecraft special dk and a lot of hard work later and here it is ūüôā she’s a beaut!

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I love how it’s turned out. I’m going to have to make myself one as its lovely and warm and heavy. I love a good traditional granny afghan!

As well as this beasty i have also been making some other items. Super chunky and knitted ribbed bobble hats were very popular over christmas with my lovely customers so I have been making quite a few of those, I made some lovely baby blankets too including this chunky ripple blanket in graphite, mustard (Cygnet Chunky) and cream (stylecraft). I love how this turned out and it is now for sale (see our facebook page for details http://www.facebook.com/offthehookbrum).

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Grey and Mustard ripple blanket
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ripple chunky blanket made using cygnet and stylecraft chunky yarn

Most recently I have been working on some cushion covers for my boring sofa. The first is finished now and was made using a ‘danna square’ pattern which can be found for free on ravelry. I used leftover yarn from the king size blanket and some other bits I had left from making Alfie’s blanket. For the back of the cushion I just did a simple striped tc pattern.

Currently I am making another cushion cover using triangle granny squares and a baby blanket using the sunburst granny square pattern which i’ve been wanting to try for ages. Here’s how it’s turning out so far..

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I really do need to update this more often as it looks like I’ve been crocheting like a ninja and really I just haven’t updated my blog in forever! I’m now going to have a catch up with other bloggers and see what you are all up to. Happy crocheting ūüôā

 

Crochet, crochet & more crochet

So I said I wouldn’t leave it so long and for once I stuck to my word, the fact that I have time to write this because ebay is annoyingly on the blink is not the point, I’m still here!

Since my last post I have been working on a few projects, some are finished but most have been added to the ever growing WIP (work in progress) pile.

As well as getting on with the day to day running of JMCrafts I’ve also been working on a few customer orders for¬†Off the hook (www.facebook.com/offthehookbrum).¬†First is for my brother in laws partner.

She requested a purple king size throw for her bed. She helped pick the colours and decided on Emperor, lobelia, violet, bluebell, magenta, boysenberry and Lavender. She wants the border to be in emperor. So far I have made 2 squares and still have another 7 to make. Here’s a picture of the squares so far I love the colours (which are available here in the Stylecraft Special DK range.

Obviously the above project is going to take quite a while but I am planning on getting it finished this year. I also have a star blanket to make for my daughter for which she picked the colours (again from the stylecraft range). I admit I wasn’t entirely enamoured with her choice but now I’ve started working the piece up it looks quite bright and cheery.

I’ve finished another blanket which is for sale. WP_20151120_19_44_22_Rich (002)¬†I wanted to make a simple car seat blanket in aran yarn which means it’s nice and warm and perfect for a newborn. This one is for sale now for ¬£12 plus postage¬†just visit our¬†facebook page if you’re interested ūüôā¬†in any of the items.

Last but not least I am about half way through making a thick striped rainbow pastel blanket. This one is more pram / cot bed sized so perfect for a toddler. ¬†WP_20151123_14_13_52_Rich (002)I’ve made it in a mixture of Cygnet dk¬†(lilac, flesh, pink) and King cole pricewise DK¬†(lemon, baby turquoise, baby sky, skylark, baby green).

Its coming out lovely and this will be for sale when it’s finished.

So that’s all for now, as you can see I’ve been a busy bee! ūüôā Any questions about the yarn please email us at joanne@jm-crafts.co.uk

If you would like a custom item making or would like to purchase an item we have made please email us at off_thehook_@Hotmail.com or visit our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/offthehookbrum. TTFN x

 

New venture

It’s been a while since my last post, so thought I’d update with a few makes that I’ve done in the past few months.

I’ve decided to start a new venture as I am constantly crocheting and knitting I thought I may as well start selling some stuff, there’s only so many granny blankets I can fit in my bottom drawer!

If anyone would like to ‘like’ the facebook page here is the address for Off the Hook. Even if you’re a fellow crafter I post regularly about things I’ve made and if you are interested in what other’s create (as I am) then pop along ūüôā

Secondly we’ve started stocking Stylecraft yarn which is exciting. I love growing the business and trying out the new stock. I’m¬†loving the vast colour range that the Stylecraft Special DK yarn offers. I think it sits really nicely alongside the Cygnet DK and King Cole Pricewise DK which we have stocked for a while. The colour combinations are what excited me most… the endless possibilities!

11062733_1617784548486518_3384694206760622830_o¬†Since I last wrote I have been working on a few things, mainly hats as I enjoy making them. I’ve crocheted quite a few Super Chunky hats using King Cole Big Value¬†Super Chunky (I especially love the new shades ‘Airforce’ and ‘Rust and think they look rather lovely together as you can see from the pic) and good old Cygnet Super Chunky. 12182879_1617784545153185_3119699814985983947_oThe Super Chunky Prints crochet beautifully into a hat as you can see in this one which uses the fabulously neon shade¬†‘Flamingo’.

I’ve also been crocheting some blankets. I’ve made another star blanket¬†using one of my free favourite free patterns available here . This one was for a little baby in pink (SNG6) and cream (SNG4) using James C Brett Supreme Baby DK. I love this yarn it is so soft and really good quality considering the price.

Here’s a picture of the blanket, not a very good one but you get the gist.12112145_1613172065614433_2683310567269835584_n

Continuing on the theme of blankets I made what I would call a ‘modern granny blanket’. Blocks of colour and edged in white. For this blanket I used a combination of yarns. King Cole Big Value DK in ‘lipstick’, king cole pricewise dk in ‘baby green’ and ‘surf’ and cygnet dk ‘white’ and ‘pink’ all yarns seem to have a similar tension (as far as I can tell anyway). WP_20150925_10_49_48_Rich

Here’s the finished result.

I love this blanket and am planning to start a similar one in different colours soon.

The latest blanket I made, in fact I only finished it today, was for my son. I wanted something that I can throw over his pram to save buying a foot muff. Unfortunately despite trying to work out how many chains I needed to crochet (I used maths and everything) it didn’t come out right so is probably too big, however I love it so much and couldn’t face undoing it 11222639_1618303221767984_8783159737981651323_nall when I realised the size was a bit skewwhiff. For this blanket I used Stylecraft Special DK in Silver, Grey, Graphite, Duck egg, Sage, Storm Blue, Teal, Meadow, Lime and Gold.

I love the colour combination I think it’s pretty but still boyish. Another bonus is that it goes with my cushions in my living room – I’m sure Alfie will get the blanket…. eventually!

One of my favourite free crochet patterns – Star Crochet blanket

As well as running an online yarn store I spend the rest of my spare time (short as it is with 2 kids to look after) crocheting and knitting. I love going on instagram, pinterest and Facebook pages for inspiration so thought I would post some links in my next few blog entries to a few of my favourite patterns. I use these patterns again and again. I like simple straightforward designs that can be recreated in many different colours to make items that are vastly different but beautiful (hopefully!)

This post is about a pattern which is available for free on Ravelry (the link is below)

9 Pointed Star Ripplie Blanket by Gene Saunders

I love love love this pattern, it is easy to do, once you’re past the first few rounds you can put your pattern to one side and just relax into it. The colours you pick and the order you use them can make a massive difference to the finished item. You can change colours every round or every few rounds to make thicker ‘stripes’.

Here are a few I have made, they make lovely baby blankets or are great for lapghans (afghans to warm your lap).

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This blue and green star blanket is made using King Cole Pricewise DK in Royal, Jade, Surf, Sea Green and crcous all available at JMCrafts the yarn is just £1.79 a ball so this blanket was really cheap to make. I use a 5mm crochet hook for these blankets.il_570xN.766308853_ny4v

I love rainbow crochet items and this is the first star blanket I made using this pattern. Perfect for a pram or a bright nursery, the colours used in this are Cygnet DK £1.69 per 100g from JMCrafts in red, orange, sunshine, Saxe, Electric Blue and Regal and King Cole Pricewise DK in Jade. I think it came our really well.

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The latest star blanket I made was this girly baby blanket. I used James C Brett Supreme Baby DK which is my favourite value baby yarn. It is really soft and the colours in the range complement each other really well. I picked 2 shades of pink and a meadow green, complemented with a soft cream to make the stars POP!

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Adventures in Yarn Dying

I loved dying stuff with Dylan fabric dyes when I was younger. I remember washing up bowls and buckets full of dye, elastic bands and dad’s old t-shirts; Rubber cloves and bamboo sticks from the garden shed used to stir the blue / green / purple liquids which would soon magically transform our boring clothes into, well, something a little bit more ‘interesting’.

It’s not surprising then that when reading about yarn dying on another blog I thought I would have to give it a go myself. I didn’t fancy forking out for new pans and kitchen utensils to use until I knew¬†I could get good results so was pleased when I read about the ‘kool aid’ dying technique using an American cordial powder. I gave it a go and it worked! I¬†was hooked but the Kool aid colour range was a bit limited, mostly reds and pinks.

I read up and purchased some landscape dyes which can be used to dye natural fibres like wool and cotton as well as some cheap saucepans, jugs etc.

I think I’ve finally cracked the technique. Here are some pictures of the yarn I’ve dyed and I’ve included a little step by step tutorial below in case you fancy a go. We sell the 100% Merino yarn I’ve used here.

To dye your yarn you will need

100% Wool yarn in a skein

Wool dyes (we’ve used landscape in Clematis and Desert Pea for the yarn below)

An old saucepan (not one you will use for cooking)

An old Spoon (again keep separate from your cooking utensils)

An old teaspoon to measure the dye

A measuring jug (old again)

Rubber Gloves

A sink

20150417_090609First of all soak your yarn in water for 30 mins. I use the pan but you can use the sink. It’s important to make sure the yarn is soaked through so the dye spreads evenly through it but 30 mins should be plenty for 100g yarn.

Boil the kettle and mix about 1/2 teaspoon of dye in boiling water (maybe 200ml) stir it and make sure it is dissolved.

When the wool has soaked remove it from pan and fill the pan with warm water, set the pan on the boil on a medium – high heat and stir in the dye mixture.

With this particular yarn I wanted to dye half of it red and half blue. When knitted this effect gives a few stitched in blue and then a few in red so you get a random effect. I dipped half the yarn into the red dye (sweet pea) and draped the other half into a small saucepan. Make sure (obviously) if you do this that the pans are touching and the yarn is not over hanging the flame. 20150417_105238

Put the heat on a very low simmer. For the first five minutes gently move the yarn around to ensure that it all gets dyed and then leave it for 30 minutes. By this time the dye should have set. Using rubber gloves remove the yarn from the saucepan (I just tip the lot into the sink) then I repeat the process for the other half of the wool. For the second half I used 1/2 teaspoon of blue dye (clematis) and made sure all of the white and some of the red yarn (maybe an inch or two) was submerged in the blue water. This meant that my finished yarn had a bit of deep purple in places.

When the yarn has been dyed rinse it through in hot water then gradually bring the temperature down to cold. Don’t bung the boiling wool straight into cold water as it may felt. You can then hang it on the washing line to dry.

Here is a picture of the yarn drying and then after I have re-wound it into a skein.

Spring Summer 2015 Trends – Sewing Patterns

Spring summer 2015 Trends

It’s that time of the year again, the sun has finally got it’s hat on and the bees are buzzing. It’s time to hang up our big winter coats and think about our summer wardrobe.

The shop rails are filling up with trends for the upcoming season, but if like us you’d rather make your own, here are some of our favourite on trend patterns to create your perfect Spring / Summer 2015 wardrobe.

Jumpsuits

jumpsuit

Jumpsuits were big on the catwalks last year and the trend has followed through to the high-street stores. We love this jumpsuit from H&M and think it is ultra feminine, at just £29.99 it is a bargain. But if you want to try and make a similar one here are our favourite patterns from JMCrafts. Click here to follow link to patterns.

Butterick B6130 makes not only a jumpsuit but also a dress with various length options. It is perfect for evening wear made out of silky material it would be a great alternative to a long dress for a special summer party.

Butterick B5652 is a fast and easy sewing pattern perfect for the beginner. Again it is a very usable pattern as not only can you make a jumpsuit it also contains instructions to make a tunic top and a long cool dress. Perfect for hot weather.

Newlook 6291 is an easy, casual jumpsuit pattern – it also contains a dress pattern and the length variations mean this would be lovely to wear at the beach or poolside.

kimonoKimonos

Kimonos have been in the shops since last year and are the perfect coverup for summer as they are often made in light weight and sheer materials.

They are available all over the place at the moment in various lengths and fabrics but we especially love this one from Miss Selfridge for £65.00. We love love love the fringe detail and the pale green fabric. It would look gorgeous paired with cowboy boots and denim shorts.

If you can’t afford the price tag though or you’d like to have a go at one yourself they are one of the easiest things to make due to their square design. Here are a couple of our favourite patterns so you can create your own. Follow link to see the patterns in our store

Newlook 6217 Sewing Pattern includes an elbow length kimono pattern with a straight bottom edge and also a top, trouser and skirt pattern. These designs could be made again and again so this pattern is a bargain.

Butterick B6176 is a new Spring Summer 2015 sewing pattern to make a kimono. It can be made in various lengths and has straight and shaped hemline variations and optional fringe. Boho chic!

Sheer and Mesh

sheerAnother top trend in the shops and on the catwalks is sheer and mesh clothes. From lace to cut-out fabrics we think this trend is perfect for the summer as it’s easy to layer. Worn as a cover-up to protect you from the sun (or to protect¬†your modesty) it can be worn dressed up or down in the warmer months. We¬†found this lovely see through top from Forever 21 with it’s pretty print, worn as shown¬†with shorts it is sexy yet subtle.

Below are some of our favourite patterns in stock which are perfect for sheer fabrics.

Newlook 6342 is a simple shift dress pattern with an optional overlay which can be made in lace, cut-out fabric or the same fabric as the dress for a layered look.

Newlook 6306 is a top pattern with an optional peplum hem or double ruffle hem. We love this made in lace but it could just as easily be made in chiffon or georgette.

Newlook 6350 is a mini skirt pattern which can be made with a sheer fabric overlay to give a casual floaty effect. The overlay can be maxi length or high at the front and low at the back. Also included in this pattern are wide legged trousers and shorts.

Postage on our patterns is free over £25 or just 80p to the UK for 2nd class delivery.

We can’t wait to see what you all decide to make this summer. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and send us your pictures.

Can’t get enough of crochet blankets at the minute!

So I recently blogged about the v-stitch blanket I had started and as one project begins another ends. il_570xN_753339260_sl9nLast night I finished a quick and squidgy baby blanket using James C Brett Supreme Baby DK. I love this yarn it is soft and lightweight and gorgeous to work with. It is a great quality considering the price too. For this blanket I wanted something really light and bouncy so I used a bigger hook than I usually would (5mm). The finished item is intended for use with a pram and i wanted it to be the perfect size to¬†fling over a car seat. I like to imagine the recipient will keep it for years to come as a comforting reminder¬†of childhood that can be¬†draped over chilly knees in the winter months. I wanted something that would be suitable for a little boy or girl so stayed away from the pinks and chose a meadow green (SNG7) Grey/Beige (SNG10) and pale blue (SNG13). I also kept the border simple as i didn’t want anything to frilly.WP_20150406_19_22_08_Rich I had to make a matching beanie hat too – just imagine little eyes peeping out from under the brim whilst snuggled up warm in the matching blanket! Here is the finished results. The main blanket was made in granny stripes. I started alternating colours 1 row at a time then the main body of the blanket is colours alternated 2 at a time and that back to 1 per row to make it symetrical. The beanie was completed using half trebles (UK crochet term) I used 3 balls (1 of each colour in total) and had left overs – The finished blanket measures about 26″ square. WP_20150406_19_15_34_Pro The Border was from one of my favourite crochet books by Edie Eckman called, appropriately enough, ‘Crochet Borders’. I love this blanket will definitely make something similar again when I have finished the million other projects I have on the go ūüôā

V-Stitch / Zig Zag Blanket

I’m currently working on about 5 different blankets so I¬†thought hey, what’s one more?! I’ve seen a lot of posts on Instagram recently about the V-stitch blanket trend so thought I’d give it a go. After trying a few patterns online (a lot of which had chains in between the V and didn’t look how I wanted them to), I finally worked out one that I liked.

The pattern is simple. Make a chain of an even number of stitches. I prefer to use a larger crochet hook to make the chain so it’s not too tight. For this blanket I used a 5mm hook for the chain and then switched to a 4mm hook for the actual blanket.

1st row

Crochet 1 tc (treble crochet UK term) into the 4th chain from hook, skip a chain stitch and then crochet 2 tc in the next chain stitch, so working 2 tc into alternate chains along the work.

2nd row

join a new yarn (if you want each line to have a different colour like I chose to) and chain 4, then work 1 tc into the top V part of the previous stitch. After this simply work 2 tc into each V stitch so the stitches are going into the gap between the 2 treble crochet’s from the previous row. See picture below

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Each row change colour and voila

The colours I chose for this blanket are King Cole Pricewise Surf, Lipstick, Salmon and Cygnet DK Saxe, Cloud, Cerise I wanted something blue and pink, I alternated a dark shade and a light shade, I think the salmon shade here makes the blanket as it is a nice bright colour. It really pops!

You can click on the links above to purchase these yarns from JMCrafts Website

I will post more pictures when I’ve finished the blanket and chosen the border :). The finished blanket should be roughly crib blanket size, a great lap or pram sized blanket.

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Kwik Sew Pattern K3740 Ladies Cowl Neck Top Sewing Pattern

Beautiful pattern from Kwiksew, just thought we’d share a quick photo of how ours turned out. Review to follow later

The pattern is K3740 from Kwiksew available at JMCrafts.K3740 The sewing pattern has the following sizes in one envelope

XS (31.5-32.5 inch bust), S (34-35 inch bust), M (37 Р38.5 inch bust) L (40-41.5 inch bust) XL (43-45 inch bust)

It is very easy to make, a small number of pieces make up this top pattern, suggested fabric is jersey or other textured knits.

And these are the photos of our finished top

K3740
K3740The pattern is available from JMCrafts as well as other sewing patterns from Kwiksew, Butterick and Newlook.

Kwiksew K3740

The pattern is just £7.99 and 80p P&P. JMCrafts offer free delivery on all UK orders over £25.