Tag Archives: crochet

Ghost Post

Or “The Post Who Walks”

I’ve been doing a lot of crochet of late.  I don’t know why it is.

I can go for ages without picking up a hook and I think I’ve given it up, but then, for no reason, I get haunted by ideas for woolen items and my fingers itch for my crochet hooks and my over-abundant stash of yarn.

Here’s one of the latest creations my itchy fingers made.  It’s more than a little daft, which I think is why I like it so much.

Phantom Tea Cosy

I made it for my cousin Joey Ramone. (actually, he’s Mr Knightley’s cousin, but, along with all his good ballpoint pens, I like to claim my husband’s extended family as my own).  If you are Facebook friends with my blog, you might know Joey as a regular and supportive commenter (only he calls himself ‘Adam’) for both my and Matilda’s posts.  In fact, Joey has been very supportive of our homeschooling efforts all year, and it was his birthday and I wanted to say thank you.

Joey Ramone is a big fan of The Phantom.  I’m pretty sure he has a tattoo of Lee Falk’s most famous character on his arm (or leg?  I can’t remember…).  Plus he loves a cup of tea, so a Ghost Who Walks tea cosy seemed the obvious choice.  But, strangely enough, I couldn’t find a pattern for such a creation.

Phantom Tea Cosy

When I searched for “The Phantom”, I got a lot of hits for “The Phantom of the Opera”, so I searched for “The Phantom the Ghost Who Walks Crochet”.  Google asked, “Did you mean “The Phantom The Ghost Who Walks crotch?“, which I thought was highly disturbing.  No, Google.  No I didn’t.  You are sick, Google.

In the end, I designed my own pattern (oh, yes, I totally did).  It took me a while to understand that Kit Walker’s head is more of a rounded rectangle than an oval or a circle, and then everything else fell into place.  I had a go at drawing my design onto graph paper, and then hooked it in rows following my little pattern.  I made a basic cover for the teapot, finishing it with a button from Nan’s stash and then sewed the motif on.  I wanted to stitch “The Ghost Who Walks” on the reverse side, but it looked lame, so I left it blank.

Graph paper pattern

Joey Ramone was really happy with his birthday present and I was really happy with his reaction (I might have hopped around and clapped my hands a bit.)

If anybody would like a go at making a Phantom motif (I can assure you, it exists nowhere else on the internet!), drop me a line in the comments.  If enough people are interested, I’ll draw up a tutorial and post it in my “Hooky Business” section.

It would be really cool if The Phantom had a famous catchphrase that I could sign off with here, but I don’t think he does.  “See you in the Skull Cave!”? “Old jungle saying: tea cosy keep tea hot!”?  Nope.

Bye, then.

Wedding Boast

I just wanted to show off.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a beautiful wedding.  I got to spend the day feasting with friends and celebrating a very exciting event.  I was aware that the happy couple would be living in a small apartment that was already fixed up with toasters and cutlery and wine glasses and towels and that the present they would most like would be money, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was a little impersonal. Cold hard cash.  How could I turn it into soft, friendly currency?

The first idea I had was to buy them a tea-pot and make a cosy for it and put the money inside, but then I remembered that the wedding was going to have a bit of a Star Wars theme, as it was being held on May the forth (be with you).  Also, they might never open the tea-pot.  They might spend the rest of their days drinking only coffee and thinking bad thoughts about their tight-fisted friends…

So, after talking it over with a few friends, I came up with this:

Crocheted Yoda

I got the pattern from Lucy Ravenscar on Ravelry.  I don’t usually buy patterns, but I bought this one as it was exactly what I wanted and there wasn’t anything as good for free online.  It was worth the money – a clever pattern, beautifully written with plenty of pictures.

Loaded Yoda

And here’s how I included the (warm and fuzzy) monetary element.

Naked Yoda

And here’s how he looks without his robe.

Yoda from above

And here’s an aerial view (OK, now it’s getting ridiculous)

Having done such a great job on this one I decided I was a creative genius and went on to do a handmade card as well.  I’ve received cards before that involve simple motifs sewn onto card with a basic machine stitch.  I had an idea of doing something clever with lace.  Cute and personal.   Fresh, clean lines.

Sewing isn’t really my strong suit.  I aspire to be a clever sewing lady, but I’m not there yet.

So I got up a design and I pinned everything in place and I tried to sew it and it got a bit wonky so I tried to fix it but it was definitely asymmetrical and you couldn’t tell what it was supposed to be, so I drew all over it and it was no longer chic or minimalist and it looked a bit of a strange mess, but I’d spent so much time and energy on it that I decided to go ahead with it anyway and in the end it looked like this:

The Card

Hmmm.  I need to learn to quit while I’m ahead…

 

Boast Post

I have a backlog of finished projects I want to share with you, and I figured the best way would be in one big, long, self-indulgent post. Don’t feel too impressed, though: it might look like I turned out a whole lot of of projects at once, but some of these are months old. I just never got around to telling you about them.

Here are some presents I gave to my friend at her baby shower:

Monkey Hat

This is a monkey hat, from Mamachee’s most excellent pattern.  Just because.

Flora Rabbit

And this is Flora Rabbit, made using Greedy For Colour’s fabulous pattern. You may remember this is the pattern I used as a base for my Peter Rabbit George the Public Domain Bunny creation last Christmas.  I put a little bell inside so that it made a nice noise when you shook it.  Do you know how hard it is to make a bell ring from within a stuffed toy?  Of course, you can’t put it directly into the stuffing – it won’t ring.  But I discovered my usual trick of putting it within a Kinder Surprise plastic egg (I usually put beans or rice in to make a shaker, I haven’t tried a bell before) also didn’t work, because it sealed and there was no way for the sound to escape (or something.  What am I?  A physicist?)  In the end, I made a contraption from half an egg constructed in such a way that the stuffing didn’t enter it and the sound could still get out.  When my friend opened it and politely thanked me, I proclaimed “SHAKE IT!  SHAKE IT!  IT RINGS!  IT RINGS!” with a manic look in my eye.  She shook it.  It rang.  She was impressed.  But I suspect she was more concerned for my general wellbeing as I wrung my hands together and muttered to myself “itrings…itRINGS..itrings…ohappyday…happydaaay…”

Anyway,

tea tray

Here’s a present I gave to a lovely young couple I know who got married recently.  They were kind enough to invite me to the Mass and put on a lovely afternoon tea in the parish hall afterwards.

teapot with cosy

I made this tea-cosy from an alpaca/lambswool blend which I’d originally bought to make a jacket for my niece, before deciding that it was too hairy for a newborn.  I’ve since been using up this stash in various ways, including the rabbit-who-shall-not-be-named.  The pattern is one of my own devising, but it’s based on Rheatheylia’s Divine Hat,  which is another lovely pattern that’s fun to work with.  I had another go at this pattern for my mother-in-law, using yarn from her mother’s stash.  But, as this yarn was a cotton blend, it wasn’t nearly as stretchy and took a lot of muscle to put onto the pot!  So it works fine, so long as you don’t ever want to drink tea or anything…

cup cosies

I used the same shell-stitch to make little sleeves for the mugs.  They look straightforward, but it took a surprising amount of jiggery-pokery to straighten out the edges (so they weren’t diagonal, don’t you know).

construction of cup sleeve

I used some gorgeous vintage buttons from Mr Knightley’s Nan’s stash.  It gives me such satisfaction to use such lovely buttons, but I also get a bit of a pang to part with them!

vintage buttons

The bride has a two-year-old son, and it’s important he wasn’t left out, so I had fun making this:

child's cup with cosy

I still have a whole heap of this rainbow yarn left over and any suggestions of what I can make with it would be greatly appreciated!

bunting

I’m a little embarrassed about this one.  If you go back far enough, somewhere at the start of my blog, I mentioned I was working on some bunting for Matilda’s room.  I was so excited by the little granny flags that I took pictures of my work in progress and even made them into my blog’s banner photo.

Then I kind of lost interest in the project and forgot about it for, like, a year.

I finally managed to get it finished in time for Matilda’s birthday party.  Here it is:

bunting

The light’s a little dodgy, but you get the idea:

bunting2

Matilda’s birthday party had a ‘night at the movies’ theme.  Here’s what we did for popcorn:

popcorn bar

And here’s the cake:

clapboard cake

While I’m at it, here’s the cake from Mr Knightley’s birthday party.  The theme was Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (he turned 42):

hitchhikers guide to the galaxy cake

I think that has exhausted everything I have to skite about at the moment.  When you read enough of my ‘fail’ posts, you will understand that sometimes I need winning moments like these to boast about to balance it all out.  If you have read all the way to the end of this post, you are a good and patient friend and I thank you ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Christmas Boast

Please excuse my very long absence.  I’m on summer holidays at the moment and it’s been a little difficult to blog amongst the anarchy.  I have a few longer posts on the way, including a Fail post, a God post, a Holiday post and a Newsy post, but in the meantime, here is a completely self-indulgent one.

Here are some handmade gifts I wanted to brag about:

blue star garland

This is a crochet star garland I slipped in with my sister-in-law’s KK present.  It doesn’t really do anything and it kinda looked better in my head than in real life.  The stars are a mix of Lucy from Attic24’s very addictive Little Lacy Stars and my own Star Snowflake.  You can’t see it very clearly in the picture, but the ribbon is a sweet blue-and-white check pattern.

IMG_2138

I made some more Lacy Stars (I told you they were addictive) for my mother-in-law (“Mrs Knightley”?).  Do you remember this tree from last year?  I don’t know why I didn’t choose red the first time around.  It looks so much better.

brown packages

These presents don’t really deserve to be included, as I didn’t make them myself, but I couldn’t resist.  These were Christmas presents for the ladies at Harry’s occasional care.  I gave them Pippi’s handmade soaps (like what I gave away on my blogiversary) and wrapped them in lunch bags with nice ribbon.

jars of gingerbread

Here are the presents I gave Harry and Matilda’s teachers (Matilda had two teachers this year).  This photo is a bit dodgy.  I made the lid covers in purple yarn, but in this picture, they look blue.  The gingerbread is baked from a recipe I found on The Green Dragonfly, which is awesome and I will use always and forever until the end of time.  And I drizzled melted white chocolate on top.  Can you tell from the shape that they’re supposed to be stylised Christmas trees?  Maybe if you squint a little and turn your head to the side?  I get a little tired of rolling out all the waste dough again and again when cutting biscuits, so I chose a shape that tessellates to save me time.  Efficiency plus!  I tried to explain this method to several people over the course of Christmas, but their eyes all tended to glaze over, or dart about desperately for someone who could save them from the conversation.  I think it’s interesting…

Peter Rabbit

And at last, the pièce de résistance.  I made this bunny – who might bear a remarkable resemblance to Peter Rabbit, but for any lawyers from Beatrix Potter’s estate who may be reading, I will refer to only as George – for Lovely M’s son, who is Christopher Robin’s best friend, and who actually happens to love Peter Rabbit, when he’s not trying to act all grown up.  This was one of those situations where the idea for it flew into my head and then I just couldn’t rest until I had created it.  I followed Greedy For Colour’s Flora Rabbit pattern (one of my favourites) and then invented limbs and a cardigan to transform Flora into Peter (I mean George!).  Lovely M’s son was suitably impressed with this gift (although he tried hard not to look too much so in front of Christopher Robin, until Christopher cheerfully mentioned his own favourite toy dog who still sleeps with him) and I’ve been assured that Peter/George has been fed carrots at the table every night and goes to sleep in his owner’s bed.

And that’s it!  I should probably mention, before you start feeling too impressed, that I failed to send any Christmas cards at all this year and I’m pretty sure there are some people I’ve lost touch with who think they’re no longer on my list.  Maybe next year I’ll be better organised…

Pippi and Lovely M’s Granny Square Tea Cosy

Free Crochet Pattern (C) Laptop on the Ironing Board 2013

tea cosy

This tea cosy pattern is designed for those sleek looking teapots that don’t really have much of a spout, but pour out of the top.  I’m sure the pattern could be modified to suit other types of teapot, but for now, we’ll stick to this kind.

You have permission to sell the finished products from this pattern but re-writing, re-selling, distributing, or copying this pattern itself is prohibited.

This is my first ever crochet tutorial.  I hope you’ll be patient with me and let me know of any errors.

another angle of the lovely cosy

I made these cosies with DK acrylic yarn (mine were Kmart brand) and a 4.5mm hook.  You will also need a button and a needle and thread to sew it on.

button detail

Here are the stitches used in this pattern.  I have used UK terms throughout:

Chain – “ch”
Slip Stich – “slst”
Double Crochet – “dc” (US sc)
Treble Crochet – “tr” (US dc)
Double Crochet Decrease – “dc2tog”
Treble Crochet Decrease – “tr2tog”

I had planned to give you a little description of each (you know “yarn over, insert hook, pull through a loop” and all that malarkey), but I think it would be better for both of us if you typed any stitch you’re unsure of into YouTube and watch one of the many excellent stitch tutorials available there.

Now, let’s get started!

Chain 4 in loop

To begin, ch 4 and slip stitch into beginning chain stitch to make a loop.

chain 3 - counts as first tr

Now ch 3 – this counts as your first treble stitch

2 tr into loop

Now work 2 tr into the loop you made at the start

work 3 more shells into loop and join

Now *(ch 3 and work 3 tr into loop).  Repeat from * two more times.  You should have 4 “shells” in your loop.  Ch 3 and attach to the top of your first 3 ch with a slst.  Fasten off and change colour.

Attach new colour with sl st in corner space

Now, attach your new colour with a sl st in one of the corner spaces (doesn’t matter which one) and ch 3.  This counts as your first tr.

work 2 shells into corner space

Work 2 more tr into the same corner space, then ch 3 and work 3 tr into the same corner space.

first granny square

Next, * (ch 1 and move on to the next corner space.  Work 3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr into this space) repeat from * 2 more times, then ch 1 and join with a sl st to your original ch 3.  Fasten off.

Take a moment to admire your first completed granny square.  You will need to make enough of these to make a little belt for your teapot.  I needed six.  Also, because I can’t stand sewing squares together, I used the joining-as-you-go method, which I learnt from the lovely Lucy at Attic24.  Here’s a rundown:

joining as you go

Work the first two corners as before, then work your first 3-treble shell into the third corner.  This is the point when you would usually work a 3 ch space, but because this is the side you want to join, work 1 ch and then 2 slip stitches into the corner of the square you’ve already made.

joining as you go

Next, work your 3 tr shell as usual.  Then, instead of working a ch 1 space, work a sl st into the corresponding side space of the square you want to join.

joining as you go

Now work your 3 tr shell into the next corner and, instead of your usual 3 ch space, work 2 slip stitches into the corner space of the square you want to join and 1 ch.   Then work your next 3 tr shell and complete the square as usual.

two joined squares

Heave a small, happy sigh and admire your handiwork.

six joined squares

Continue in this way until you have enough squares to wrap around your teapot (if you were to make this for a traditional teapot, you would need two strips, which together are long enough to wrap the teapot.  In the next step, you would need to make 2 bridges to join both together)

joined thread

Join your next colour to your granny strip on one of the long edges, but not at the corner.  Dc in each stitch/space to the end.

little bridge

Now it’s time to make a little bridge.  Ch 3

little bridge

And bring the other end of your granny strip around and make a slip stitch into the first corner.  You’re making a little belt for your teapot.

dc around

Now continue to dc around until you get back to the start.  Join with a sl st to your original ch 1.

treble round

Now for a round of decreasing trebles.  Ch 2, *(2 tr, tr2tog) around, then join with sl st to ch 2.

decreasing doubles

And now some decreasing doubles.  Ch 1, then (2 dc, dc2tog) around.  Join with a sl st.

final round

Finish off with a round of double crochet.  Ch 1, then dc around.  Join with a sl st and fasten off.

Working the other side

Now flip your work upside down.  We are going to work into the other long side of your granny strip (as an aside, anyone who reached this page by googling “granny strip” needs to sit down and reflect on the direction their life is taking).  Attach your yarn with a slip stitch into one of the end corners.

working the underside of the tea cosy

You will be working in rows from corner to corner in a similar way to the rounds you just did.

Row 1: ch 1, dc in every stitch/space Row 2: ch 2, ( tr in next 2 st, tr2tog) repeat to end Row 3: ch 1, (dc in next 2 st, dc2tog) repeat to end

dc all around

Now do a row of dc.  When you get to the end, work 3 dc into the corner stitch.  Do not turn.  Continue working dcs up the side of your granny strip, around, and down the other side.  When you get to the end of the second granny square edge (about 2 cms from the end of the row), you’ll be at around the right place to work a button-hole loop.  The size of this will depend on the size of your button, but I will say ch 8 and join with a sl st to the same stitch.

Completed cosy

Then continue on your way, working dcs until you reach the other corner.  Join with a sl st and fasten off.  Dance a quiet jig (just a wiggle in your chair will suffice).

decisions, decisions!

Next comes the exhilarating task of choosing a button and the less-than-exhilarating task of sewing it on (you want the cosy to button up snugly under the teapot handle).

teapots with cosies

And you’re all done!  Just what you need to bring a snug, homespun touch to your (or your lucky friend’s) kitchen!

teapot

Like this pattern?  Think it needs some adjusting?  Please leave me a comment and share this pattern with your friends – they might end up making one for you!

A Real True Proper Crafty Blog

tea cosy

Oh, I’m so excited!  I just posted my first ever crochet tutorial on my blog!  I know a lot of my lovely readers aren’t excited by crochet, but please indulge me on this one.  It makes me feel like my little blog is all grown up and being productive.

another angle of the lovely cosy

This original pattern is called Pippi and Lovely M’s Granny Square Tea Cosy, copyright 2003, Laptop on the Ironing Board, Inc.

button detail

I might also post the tutorial as a blog post after this.  I hope you don’t mind.  It’s just that I can’t work out how to tag it when it’s in page form, and I want all the people out there searching for a free tea cosy pattern to be able to find this one!

teapot

While I was at it, I also updated my About page, which was in dire need of some tinkering.

For those of my wonderful readers who tune in to hear stories of my children misbehaving, take heart!  The more I faff about with crochet tutorials, the more mischief my children achieve, so it’s win-win.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must encourage Christopher Robin to stop watering the washing…

The Joy of Giving

I just had to share:

teapots with cosies

I made these tea cosies for my two dear friends, Pippi and Lovely M.  You might remember Pippi as my friend who made the soap for my blog candy giveaway.  She gave it as a gift for the blog and wouldn’t accept any payment for it.  If your memory is really good, you might remember Lovely M from my socially awkward misadventures in Label Fail – the Sequel.  I wanted to give M a new name as everyone else in the blog seems to be named after some literary character (or Brady Bunch member).  In some ways, M is like Little Friend Susan to my Milly Molly Mandy.  But Little Friend Susan is sensible and hardly talks, and that doesn’t describe M at all.  Anyway, Lovely M is happy to be called Lovely M and I think it rather suits her.

In a world of self-contained school mothers with blow-waved bobs and glacial conversational skills, Pippi and Lovely M provide an oasis of genuine friendship and spray-coffee-through-your-nose laughter.  That, in itself, I think, is enough to warrant a present, but as it happens, both Pippi and Lovely M have recently moved house (from near by to even nearer by!), which means I get to make them housewarming presents (my favourite kind!).

When Pippi and Lovely M received their presents, they made all the right exclaiming noises to ensure plenty more handmade gifts come their way.  In a strange way, I love that something I made will live in their home.  Does that make sense or is it vaguely stalker-ish of me?

Anyway, here’s the most exciting part:

The pattern is my own design!

I’ve never designed my own crochet pattern before, unless you count my star snowflake, which is really more of a modification than an original design.  I think I will call it Pippi and Lovely M’s Granny Square Tea Cosy.   When I get organised, I will put a tutorial (with rather dodgy photos) in the “Hooky Business” section of the blog.  Just like a real grown-up craft blog!  And I can put it on Ravelry and everything!

I’ve also just finished a blanket for my brand-new nephew.  I struggled a little with this one, but we got there in the end (meanwhile my nephew is six weeks old):

blanket

I wanted to sew a cloud motif on in the corner, but with the variegated yarn it just looked weird, so I left it off.

And finally:

parcel

This parcel is bound for Tennessee, for Sandy from Craftsnotherstuff, the winner of my birthday blog candy giveaway.  I’m thinking of sneaking in some Tim Tams (choc biscuits) and other Aussie treats, but I’m still working out how to do it without getting chocolate over everything…

Oh!  It’s all so exciting!  Giving gifts is even more fun when I can boast about it all over the internet…

And The Winner Is…

snowflakes

I’m just about to draw the winner of my blog birthday prize giveaway using a random number generator.

And the winner is…

Number 14!

Congratulations to Sandy of Craftsnotherstuff!  I’ll be sending you a parcel of goodies just as soon as I work out where on earth you live!

loot

Thank you to everyone who participated in this birthday celebration.  I would have loved to give you all prizes, but, sadly, I just don’t have that many stamps…

I Want Candy!

As you may know, my humble blog turned one on Monday.  In honour of this momentous occasion, and because I want to thank you for being such faithful and engaged readers, I’m having a BLOG CANDY GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you want to see the loot?

bells

Here are some blue bells similar to the ones I used to yarnbomb Bells Beach;

snowflakes

And here are some snowflakes, similar to the ones I stressed out about last year, including a star snowflake, which is my one-and-only original pattern published on this site.

soap

Aaahhh…if only this blog had smell-o-vision!  Here is a delectable soap made by my dear friend whom I will call Pippi.  It’s hand-made from all-natural materials and really makes your skin feel nice.  I hear it’s good for those with allergies too.  Plus it smells amazing.  And I have a thing about smells (there are many fragrances I can’t stand.  If Mr Knightley buys scented baby wipes or scented toilet paper, I throw a small temper tantrum)

swap cards

Finally, here are some fun educational swap cards about Australian animals.  Our supermarket gives these out with each purchase, so this part of the prize is really only for an international winner – I’m pretty sure if you’re Australian, you have enough of them floating about!

loot

And here we have the complete prize haul.  As you can see, I made a rather lame attempt to fashion the loot into the shape of a Christmas tree, but didn’t think about the position of the sun, hence the lovely shadow.  Plus, can you see the alluring glimpse of t-shirt at the bottom of the photo?  Pure photographic genius!

So, would you like to get your hands on all this sugary goodness?  Here’s how you can do it:

1. Follow this blog, or like the FB page, if you haven’t done so already

2. Leave a comment after this post – you don’t have to write anything profound, but it will act as your virtual raffle ticket

I will give each commenter a number and use a random number generator to pick the winner.  I will draw the winner at 12:30pm next Thursday November 14 and notify the winner by email (so make sure you don’t use a fake address).  You don’t have to be a regular reader to enter, so feel free to tell your friends and family to put their names in the hat too.

A note to my male readers – I’m sorry this prize is a bit girly, but if either of you were to win, you could use the prize as gifts, so please enter just the same!