Thursday, 1 December 2016

Crochet Santa Cushion

I have now made my santa corner-to-corner crochet panel into a festive cushion...

I bordered the square with a round of half double crochet (UK half treble) in white and then a round of double crochet (uk treble) in red.

The back is all grey C2C crochet with the same two additional rounds as the front, but all in red.

I then joined the front and back with a round of single crochet.

I'm going to give him to my little nephew, as I'm hoping he'll like a cheery santa cushion!

For all details on pattern, yarn, and tips used to make the santa square, see this post.

Check out my crochet items here.

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Crochet Bauble - Free Pattern

I've become hooked on crocheting Christmas baubles!

These are so much fun to make!  As soon as I finish one I want to try another in a new colour combination!

There are a lot of these springing up on the blogs and Instagram - these and these got me the most inspired to give it a go myself!  I thought I'd give you the pattern I came up with for mine.  Nothing particularly ground-breaking and I'm sure there are lots of similar bauble patterns out there, but here goes...

You will need:
- 7cm diameter polystyrene balls (mine were ordered from ebay and they actually seem to be 7.5cm in diameter when I measure them)
- DK yarn in colours of your choice
- Gold or silver yarn - I used Anchor Artiste Metallic yarn from Hobbycraft in gold and silver
- (If you want added sparkle, a couple of my baubles used Anchor Artiste Metallic yarn in red)

Tension and Bauble Size
Everyone has different crochet tensions (I'm quite a tight crocheter) and the polystyrene ball sizes can vary, so it's important to try your crochet on your ball as you go, to check it seems to be creating a snug fit.  Nobody wants a baggy bauble!  If it seems to be too loose, then adjust the pattern accordingly - maybe get rid of the chain spaces between clusters of stitches.  You might also find you need to do one less row if it seems to be too big.  You want to have to pull the two halves to get them to meet for sewing together so that it creates a nice tight fit.

tr: treble crochet (UK)
dc: double crochet (US)
htr: half treble crochet (UK)
hdc: half double crochet (US)
ch: chain
st: stitch

To make the standard bauble with only one silver or gold metallic:

Note - I start each row with a standing crochet stitch and I end each row with an invisible join.  However, you can start each row with chains to count as the first stitch and end with a slip stitch if you prefer.

Rnd 1: 12 tr (dc US) into magic ring (12 st)
Rnd 2: [In silver or gold] htr (hdc US) ch 1 into gaps between stitches of previous row (12 st 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 3: 2 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 2 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 4: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 5: [In silver or gold] 3 tr (dc US) ch 2 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 2 spaces)
Rnd 6: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 2 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 7: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 8: 3 tr (dc US) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr, 12 ch 1 spaces)

Make this twice, place over your bauble and sew together in silver or gold.

To sew the two halves together, I lined up the last row on each side so that the middle of the cluster of three tr (dc US) on one side lined up with the ch 1 on the other side as you can see above.  I used metallic yarn to sew through the outer loop of the top of each crochet stitch of the final row on both sides, which creates a slanted stitch around the bauble.  I then reversed and sewed back round, giving an oppositely slanted stitch, hence making the metallic crosses you can see.  It sounds a lot more complicated than it is - with crochet stitches being what they are, by sewing through the loops and matching up on both halves, this naturally happens by itself.  Leave enough yarn at the start and end of the stitching to tie into a hanging loop for your bauble.

To make the more sparkly bauble with additional metallic yarn:

These follow the same pattern, and rounds 2 and 5 (the silver/gold rounds in the above pattern) are left as they are, with metallic yarn.

As the metallic yarn is thinner than standard DK, if you change any of the other rounds to metallic then this was my method:

2 tr (dc US) becomes 3 tr (dc US)
3 tr (dc US) becomes 5 tr (dc US)

I haven't tried the initial round in metallic, but I would keep that the same, with 12 stitches into the magic ring.

Everything else remains the same.  I also like to end each half with a non-metallic yarn, as I think it give a more stable final round to grip around the polystyrene ball and to sew together.  It would probably be fine with metallic too, really, but I've not tried it.

You don't need to follow this pattern rigidly, though - this is just what I did to make mine.  There are so many ways to do it, try different ideas and see what happens!

If you do use this pattern, please let me know as I'd love to see what you made!

Check out my crochet items here and my other patterns and tutorials here.

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Crochet Snowflakes

I've been well into the Christmassy and wintery crafting lately!  I've been a bit slow at getting items finished and on the blog - but on Instagram (@dinki_dots) you can see more frequent snaps of what I've been working on.

A friend of my Mum's gave her some very thin crochet cotton to pass on to me, as she knows I crochet.  It is a size 20 - which is sooo very thin!  I wasn't sure what to make at first, as I usually crochet with DK at the thinnest, so this was a big change.  Then it hit me... a couple of the colours would be perfect for delicate icy snowflakes!

My lovely friend Anna had previously given me the book 100 Snowflakes to Crochet* by Caitlin Sainio, and I thought that I'd have a go at a few designs from the book. (*affiliate link)

I think the delicate thread and these colours works really well for snowflakes.  I'm planning to make more and turn them into a pretty snowfall along the lines of this beautiful one!

I used a 2.5mm hook for these.  The thin thread calls for even smaller, but I found it far too tricky!  I'm a tight crocheter anyway, so I think this does the job.

They come out quite crinkly when first made, so this is one project that definitely needs blocking.  Blocking transforms them.  Here is a snap from my Instagram which shows how one of the snowflakes looked before blocking.

A photo posted by Maria (@dinki_dots) on

Once blocked I also sprayed hairspray on the snowflakes to give them a bit of firmness and stability.  As the cotton is very thin and delicate it doesn't take much.  With thicker yarn, perhaps other more robust methods might be better.

These are the patterns I've used from the book, in case it is of any use:

18: Ice Flower

17: Kossava

6: Polar Glacier

I'd better get a move on and make more if I want my snowfall before winter is over!

Check out my other crochet projects here.

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Sunday, 2 October 2016

Santa Corner-to-Corner Crochet

Now, I'm not sure if it's too early to show Christmassy makes?!  But I figure that in the crafting world thoughts of Christmas need to start earlier, as handmade takes time... so if this it to prove as inspiration, it would help to get it now!

I'd been seeing lots of corner-to-corner (C2C) crochet blankets popping up here and there on blogs and instagram, and thought it was something I'd like to try.

I'd also seen and saved this pin to my Christmas Pinterest board.  (Actually, after I've finished this post I'll have to have a good look through and see what else I've pinned and forgotten about!)

This santa square pattern is by Repeat Crafter Me, and can be found here.  It is designed to be one part of an amazing Christmas blanket - which is so clever and fun!  You can see that here.  Looking at it now, I kind of wish I had the patience to make the whole thing - it is excellent!

But... I think (for now) I'm just sticking with the one square - and I have plans for it which I will reveal to you as soon as I have completed them.

Not sure if it's just my eyes, but the white looks grubby here - it is actually nice and white, I think it's the light!

The square looks very wobbly - it probably needs a good blocking!  Once I've finished with it, it should straighten up.

So... how did I find the whole C2C experience?  It is great easy fun crocheting as it stands... although adding the colourwork adds a bit of complication to it.  Having a few different coloured balls of yarn on the go certainly made for some tangled messes!

I used this post from One Dog Woof - aptly titled 'Learn C2C Crochet: Everything You Need to Know'.  It was very helpful, and I wish I'd followed the advice on bobbins to separate the yarn.  I was impatient, though, and just went with the tangled mess approach instead!  Ah well, it all worked out in the end...

Yarn Details:
Stylecraft Special DK in Grey, White, Lipstick and Candy Floss.  I had all these colours in my stash, which is very satisfying - no purchases required!  I'm not sure the make of the black yarn, it was left over from the zebra hat I made.

Now I have the challenge of turning this into something - watch this space!

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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Amigurumi Crochet Elephant

Well, following on from my last post... I've ended up making another amigurumi animal!  This is a birthday present for my Mum.  She loves elephants and lilac, so I decided to combine the two!

A little lilac crochet elephant!  With some pretty tilda fabric on the ears...

I used this pattern which is a translation into English of a Japanese pattern.  I liked the cute design, and also the minimal sewing on of limbs appealed greatly to me!  The way the legs are crocheted onto the body is a method I've never seen or tried before, but I love the seamless finish it gives.  It also means there is no having to try to line and match them up evenly, which you'd have to do if sewing on.  As it was, sewing the tail and ears onto the elephant gave me enough trouble - I do hate that bit!!

I found it a bit fiddly in places, and I don't deny some cursing and angry words towards the end!  But, as is most often the case, I'm glad I made it (now it's done)!

Now I'm just off for my Mum's birthday celebration... I hope she likes her little elephant!

[Edited to add: My Mum loved it - makes it all worthwhile!!]

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Friday, 9 September 2016

Five on Friday: Crochet Amigurumi

I thought I'd share five things with you today... five crochet amigurumi projects I've made.  Amigurumi is not my favourite form of crochet at all, and yet I always love what I make when I do give it a go!

1)  Penguin - I made this when I first started crocheting, a few years ago now, once I'd mastered the granny square.  It was the first time it clicked how to crochet into stitches (with the granny you crochet into the gaps) and it was surprising how long it took me to figure it out - hard to imagine now!

The pattern I used for this was actually a crochet egg pattern, which I then embellished with felt and a couple of beads to create the penguin.

2)  Owl - This came shortly after, using the same egg pattern and same idea...

I love these little guys - so cute and dinky!

3)  Pink Monkey - This was a little more tricky and a definite favourite of mine.  I just had to have a pink monkey!

You can find the pattern here.

4)  Blue Monkey - Fast forward a couple of years and I made one for my nephew, in a top with his initial on...

5)  Snail - Then more recently, you will have seen the crochet snail I made for my sister-in-law...

More details and pattern here.

The last two are with their new owners, but the first three hang out with me at home...

What do you think?  Is amigurumi something you enjoy?

I'm linking up with Love Made My Home's Five on Friday - thanks to Amy for hosting it!

Check out my other crochet items here.

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Decorated Gift Box

Last week I showed you the cute crochet snail I made.  Now you can see how I packaged it to give to my sister-in-law.  If you're expecting skill, sophistication, creative genius... you'll be disappointed!

I started with a box I already had.  An alarm clock had been packaged in it, and I'd been saving it for the last one or two years as it was a good little box, in brown kraft paper/card (or some such similar material).

The box was a bit damaged where I'd removed the labelling, but decorating it would cover that.

I started by drawing and cutting out a big flower out of some pretty green and pink paper to cover the worst of the damage...

... then I remembered I had some cardstock flower stickers in my supplies (from my card-making days) - so I thought, why stop there with just one flower?!  Let's not be stingy!  I decided to add more flowers to that side of the box.  Well... then I just carried on and covered the whole thing!

As I said... absolutely no skill required here!

The box was a perfect fit for the snail.  A bit of pretty spotty tissue paper...

...and snaily was happily ensconced in his temporary home!

I used washi tape on the underside of the lid, to cover an alarm clock related sticker that I couldn't remove - the pattern goes well with brown box I thought.  And an extra flower sticker for fun!

There you have it - cheap and cheerful!  What do you think?

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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Crochet Snail

A short while ago I finished making this cute crochet snail for my sister-in-law, as a little gift.  She has now been presented with said snail, so I am sharing him with you here!

I'd had this pinned on one of my Pinterest boards for quite some time, so was excited to finally get round to making it.  It is the Sofie Snail by Stipenhaak, and you can find the free English pattern here.  Fantastic pattern, clear and easy to follow - and makes the cutest of snails!

He was crocheted in King Cole Bamboo Cotton, which I think is perfect for amigurumi crochet, as it creates a lovely smooth finish.  I used small black buttons for the eyes, and white felt for the spots on the shell.

I'm so pleased with how he turned out!  What do you think?

Check out my other crochet projects here.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Tilda Blog Hop - Cabbage Rose and Memory Lane

I was lucky enough to get the chance to play with part of the latest Autumn 2016 range of Tilda fabrics, before they were released!

This was as part of a blog hop organised by Stitch Craft Create.  I was sent a selection of fabrics from both ranges to try out.

Four from Memory Lane...

...and four from Cabbage Rose...

Which fabrics to use first?!  I decided to make a zipped pouch using a couple of the designs, which I thought went together well.

This actually looks better in real life than it looks in this picture - it was hard to capture it well.  It's padded with cotton batting/wadding and has boxed corners to make it nice and roomy inside.  I designed the pattern for the pouch myself, but there are so many tutorials for zipped pouches online, if you want to make your own.  The fabrics I used were:

Bottom Section:  Memory Lane - Flowercloud Dark Slate
Top Section:  Cabbage Rose - Tess Red

Cabbage Rose - Tess Red

I also used the bottom outer fabric for the tabs at each end of the zip.  You can see one of them a bit clearer here...

But I hadn't finished with that red fabric.  For a couple of years I've had fabric strawberries on my 'craft to-do' list and when I saw that Cabbage Rose Tess fabric in the red colourway, I knew it would be perfect... the time had come!

I thought one of the other Cabbage Rose fabrics would work well too, for a bit of variation.  The fabrics I used were:

Cabbage Rose - Tess Red
Cabbage Rose - Tilly Red

I absolutely love these strawberries!  I used this adorable strawberry pincushion tutorial - but with a few changes.  I made them smaller as I wanted them to be real strawberry sized and to be decorative rather than pincushions.  I think with a keyring loop on, they'd make lovely keyrings.  I also skipped the extra leaves and flower and didn't sew the green felt flat to the strawberry, as I wanted the points to stick out a bit, for a more organic look.  (As organic as a fabric and felt strawberry can look anyway!)

Then I thought I'd give the mustard/olive fabrics a go - not my usual choice of colour, but I have fallen in love with the dinky little fabric tray I've made!

I used this pattern, so lovely!  I think I'll be making more!  The fabrics I used were:

Memory Lane - Flowercloud Olive
Memory Lane - Solid Fabric Olive

The trinket tray can be used for jewellery...

Or in the sewing room, for your crafty bits and bobs...

And I'm sure there are a myriad of other uses too!

As expected, the fabric is fabulous quality, but I'm sure that I don't need to tell any Tilda fans that!  

This has only made a small dent in the fabrics I was sent, and there are three patterns still to cut into, so no doubt there will be more creations using them here on my blog in the future - be sure to check back and see what else I make.

And if you'd like to get stuck in to some sewing with these ranges too, Stitch Craft Create are running a competition to win a fabric quarter bundle of this fabric and one of Tilda's friends (a fabric fox or rabbit).  You can find it over on their facebook page, so good luck!  Alternatively you can buy Memory Lane here and Cabbage Rose here.

Thanks to Nadine of Stitch Craft Create for inviting me to take part - it's been great fun.  Check out my other sewing projects here and follow me on bloglovin to keep up to date with my latest crafting projects!

Below are links to all the other blogs taking part, so go on over to see their lovely makes...

1st August – Stitch Craft Create
2nd August – Stitch Craft Create
3rd August – Vicky Myers Creations
4th August – Strawberry Patch Ramblings
5th August – Charm About You
8th August – Crafting Not Cleaning
9th August – Popular Patchwork
10th August – Dinki Dots
11th August – Little Black Duck
12th August – Tea and a Sewing Machine
15th August – A Saucy Stitch
16th August – Very Berry Handmade

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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Tilda Fabrics

I've been working on some projects using the below Tilda fabrics, from the new Autumn 2016 ranges - Cabbage Rose and Memory Lane...

I was sent 8 fat quarters from Stitch Craft Create.  What do you think of the patterns?  What would you have sewn with them?

Looking at them arranged like this in my photo, I can picture a pretty quilt.  Check back on Wednesday to find out more and see what creations I came up with!

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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

I've spent most of my spare time lately making tissue paper pom-poms for an up-coming party.

The birthday-girl doesn't like balloons, so this was an alternative to bring colour to the hall.  A lot more work than blowing up balloons, though!

There are plenty of tutorials out there for making these, so I won't go into instructions here, but do let me know if you have any questions.  They are fun to make, in small doses - but I have made 73 of them, so I'm pretty much pom-pommed out now!  55 large ones, and 18 small ones - you can see 5 of each below.

I went for warm fiery colours - tissue paper in burgundy, red, orange, yellow and hot pink.  I was nervous about my colour choices at first, but I'm actually really pleased with the bright colourful look!  Someone on Instagram mentioned that it looks like a fiesta - well, that's ideal!  (Thanks Chrissie!)

Here are the 55 large pom-poms stacked up in the spare-room (they were taking up most of the living room floor as I made them!)...

I wanted to give you an idea of how big the pile was - but it seems a lot bigger in real life!  The next challenge is transporting them to the venue and stringing them up somehow... eeek!

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