O Little Star of Invincibility

It’s been nearly an entire year since I last completed any craft projects, isn’t that sad!! I’ve had a lot of trouble getting motivated and I kept choosing projects which were too complicated or took too long to complete. So I’m here to show you a little project I’ve just finished :o)

It’s getting closer to Christmas (53 sleeps!) and we don’t have anything nice to put on top of our Christmas tree. Being a fan of video games, I thought it would be really cool if we could put the invincibility star from Super Mario on top of our tree! And lo, my first crafty project in a long time was born.

I decided to sew it, despite being terrible at sewing. Crocheting would be too complicated and I knew I’d give up half-way through. So here is my finished felt invincibility star Christmas tree topper!!

Invincibility Star Christmas Tree Topper
The sewing is pretty bad, it’s a bit wonky and the stuffing is a bit off, but I think it looks okay! And if we get a really tall tree, no-one’s going to see it properly anyway!!

To make the star I found an 8-bit picture of the star, drew a grid on a bit of card and then traced out the outline. I then cut it out using a craft knife to make myself a template. Here’s a picture of my template:

Invincibility Star Christmas Tree Topper Template

One square in the grid is 1cm by 1cm.

I drew around the template onto two bits of yellow felt, cut out the shapes then started on sewing the felt together with yellow thread. I should probably have pinned the felt together to avoid them being wonky, but I didn’t think of doing that.

Half-way through I thought I’d better make some eyes! I cut out two little bits of black felt that seemed the right size, glued them on with Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue then left it to dry for a few hours under some big books.

Once dried, I carried on sewing! A bit further along I realised I’d need a way of sticking the star on the tree. I cut a strip of yellow felt and sewed this on the back. Here’s a picture of the back of my star:

Invincibility Star Christmas Tree Topper

It doesn’t look so great but hopefully no-one will ever see the back of the star ever again.

I sewed for a little while longer until there was just an arm of the star (do stars have arms?) left. I poked in some stuffing until he looked plump enough, although I did my best not to over-stuff him as he was starting to crinkle around his…armpits? If stars have arms, they have armpits too. And then I finished off sewing!!

I enjoyed making this little guy, even though it was simple and he doesn’t look great. I’m hoping that this will give me a kick up the bum to do some more crafting :o)

Here are a few more pictures. I hope you like him:

Invincibility Star Christmas Tree Topper Invincibility Star Christmas Tree Topper

 

Things used:
– 1 x sheet of yellow felt
– A little bit of black felt
– Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
– Big books to squish the glue down
– Card
– Sewing needle
– Yellow thread (Gutermann Colour 106)

Things I learnt:
– I’m not great at sewing, I could do with practicing.
– When sewing two bits of something together, pin them together!
– Use decent quality felt (this felt was from Hobbycraft and seemed a bit thin)
– Stars have armpits

A gargantuan ManScarf – a manly scarf for a manly man

Last winter, I decided my boyfriend’s neck looked far too cold, and was in need of a scarf. Specifically, a crocheted scarf. So I set about crocheting him one.

Being a manly man, this scarf needed to be a manly scarf of epic proportions. I started crocheting a base chain and kept going and going…then I turned and started single crocheting back again.

The problem then began that the scarf was just too long. Winter turned to Spring, then Summer came along and my boyfriend’s neck was still cold (we live in the North of England, it’s always cold here). Nearly a year later and it is finally finished. Here it is, behold the ManScarf:

Scarf

Scarf

Scarf

Okay maybe it’s not that long, but at 100 inches (250 cm) it’s quite long! It’s made from the excellent Indie yarn by Sirdar which feels really nice and is good to work with. It also looks pretty cool.

As the yarn is quite thick, I invested in my biggest hook yet – a 12mm one! Being by far the biggest hook in my box, he ended up being a bit of a bully to my smaller hooks:

A gargantuan ManScarf - a manly scarf for a manly man

He’s just so mean and feels he is superior – he makes the other hooks call him Captain Hook (get it?!).

Despite the scarf taking nearly a year to make, I did like making it as it was straight forward but it does look quite good. The yarn I used is super nice, I’d definitely use it again as there are some funky colours available.

Yarn used:
Sirdar Indie (shade: 0169 – Flint Creek)

A Grumpy Bag with a Happy Lining

Wow, it’s been almost 5 months since I last posted!! I’ve had a lot of problems motivating myself to crochet recently which hasn’t been helped by starting 4 different projects – all of which I’m not too happy with for one reason or another :o( So I’m going to try my very best to finish these projects…then I can start just one project and hopefully stick to it!

The first project I have finally finished (which has been ongoing for about 6 months) is a bag. The problem I had with this was the yarn I decided to use. For some reason, I picked surely the dullest, most boring and dreary yarn there is! I only realised this after crocheting the two main bits, by which point I didn’t want to turn back.

Here is my finished bag (a little bird and bear wanted their pictures taking too!):

Crochet Bag inside

Crochet Bag

Crochet Bag & Bear

Crochet bag - crazy insides

Including my first ever attempt at lining!! The pattern for the bag is from Cute & Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench (available from Amazon). It’s quite straight forward – just single crocheting two big squares and two long straps then sewing them together! For the crochet around the top I made it up as I went along as the yarn was quite difficult to work with, and I didn’t add the little crochet flowers that were supposed to go where the straps meet the bag as I thought they’d look a bit weird. It was very easy to put together and feels well made.

The real battle came with the lining. I haven’t sewn anything for a looooong long time, and I’ve never been very good at it anyway. By this point I just wanted the bag to be over and done with, so where I should’ve done a proper seam to make it look nice, I didn’t. Saying that, this tutorial helped a lot when I had problems, such as turning the bag inside out to sew it. Such a simple idea which I hadn’t thought of! I hoped that choosing a bright and colourful lining would draw attention away from both my awful attempt at sewing and the dullness of the bag itself. I do love the lining, I wish I could us it as wallpaper :oD

I’m sure this pattern would be fine with nice-coloured yarn and better sewing skills, but I really didn’t enjoy making this. I’m just thankful it’s finished so I can stick it at the bottom of my crochet box!

Pattern:

Cute & Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench (from Amazon)

Yarn used:
Bag – Patons Fab Big Colour (shade: 00089 Mermaid Mix)

Edging – Sirdar Bohemia Scarf Yarn (shade: 95 Kasbar)

Lining bought from Spoonangel on eBay

An Itsy Bity Teeny Weeny Owl!

After doing quite a few difficult and somewhat annoying projects, I thought it was about time I treated myself to something simple and quick! I’d had my eye on this owl pattern on Ravely by Josephine Wu for a while, and now was a great time to have a go.

And here he is:

Very Tiny Owl

Tiny Owl - side

Tiny Owl - back

Tiny Owl front

I love him! He stands less than two inches tall and was so fun to make. He took me a little over an hour to make so he was a super quick project, and I think he turned out great. I also decided to use felt eyes rather than the usual plastic ones and I think these suit him just fine.

The only problem is I now want to make thousands! I would definitely recommend this pattern to a beginner, the pattern is wonderfully put together with plenty of pictures and instructions, plus Jo is fine with you selling on the end product so it’d be a lovely little item for a stall.

What I learnt:

  • When getting grumpy, do a nice easy project to feel better about your skills :o)

Yarn used:

  • Teddy Springtime DK (shade 1 – blue)

A Panda wearing a bear hat!

I’ve been around as once more, I lost my confidence in my crochet. As I was unable to find a pattern I really wanted to make, I thought it would be cool to make something and make up a pattern as I went along. It turns out that’s really, really difficult!

My idea was for a little panda with an over-sized head. I was also inspired by the little bear hat in this wonderful post by Vanja at AmigurumiBB. I thought a panda would look quite excellent wearing that little hat.

So here is what I came up with:

Panda with bear hat

Panda - side

Panda - back

Panda!

Bear hat

I’m not too happy with him (I nearly threw him away!) but he is my first attempt at just making it up as I go along.

There are quite a few things I would do differently if I made him again. The bottom half of him is one round too tall, so he has a prominent neck (which no panda should have!). The bottom of his head also looks a bit strange, it should really have been a bit rounded. I’m also not too keen on his arms, I wasn’t sure what to do with those! And again, I became so frustrated with the whole thing that I stopped crocheting altogether for a few weeks. One day I will learn!

What I learnt

  • Crocheting as you go along is really difficult!

Yarn used

  • White bits – Sirdar Supersoft (shade 0830)
  • Black bits – Hayfield Bonus DK (shade 0965)

A Nook Snug – with a handmade button!

It was my mum’s birthday recently, and I bought her a Nook (one of those e-reader things). Of course, every Nook needs somewhere to live so I thought this was a good chance to make one myself! Introducing to you, the Nook Snug:

Nook Cover

Nook cover - back

Nook cover - front

When picking the yarn, I wanted something really chunky. The Nook would probably end up in my mum’s bag, which contains everything (including the kitchen sink) so it had to be well protected. I didn’t follow a pattern – I made it up as I went along.

I made a foundation chain of 12 and then double crocheted for around 30 rows. This gave a long rectangle, which I folded over and sewed up two sides, leaving a flap at the top for the Nook to slip into. I then sewed a loop on the flap and sewed a button on the front. But not any old button…a handmade one!!

My favourite part of this project was making the button. I’ve admired Fimo polymer clay for some time, so this was a great excuse to try it. I used this sparkly purple clay (which cost £1.99 from eBay):

Fimo polymer clay

Firstly, I broke a piece off and started giving it a good squidge. It took ages to make it malleable, but it was fun – good stress relief! After squidging for around half an hour, it became a ball:

Button progress

I used a rolling pin to roll it out flat, only a few millimetres thick. As I didn’t have a circular cutter, I used an egg cup turned upside down and cut around it (improvising!). I then used a match to poke out two holes, so it looked like this:

Button - before baking

Then it was baking time! I put the button on a baking tray and baked it at 110 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes. On taking it out of the oven it was still a bit soft so I was a bit worried, but after leaving it for 10 minutes it was completely solid! And awesome! If a little wonky.

I’d definitely recommend everyone tries polymer clay. It’s lots of fun and it doesn’t cost too much. I used a pretty small amount of clay for my button, and I’ve heard that if you keep the clay wrapped up and airtight, it lasts for ages.

As for my mum, she really loved both the Nook and the cover, and was shocked I’d made it myself (she does that every time I make her something :oD )

 

What I learnt

  • How to make a button from scratch!

Yarn used

  • Patons Fab Big Colour (shade 00080)

An Amigurumi Dragon which dragged on

Last weekend I finally finished my dragon. I started this project a few months ago and from the start I just could not get on with him! I have no idea why, but I had lots of problems with him.

The dragon was made using this FreshStitches design. He looks cute, but he’s a complete devil! First, I’ll show you my finished dragon:

Dragon

Dragon

Dragon - side

Dragon - rear view

You’ll notice straight away, if you’ve looked at the design, that his tummy isn’t right. That’s because after I finished the head and sewed on his features – I was supposed to carry on and start doing the colour change. The problem was the  colour change didn’t line up with where his feature were! I tried to correct it but he ended up with a blank tummy.

I also realised he was too thin! I have no idea what happened there either, but the counting on his body was completely wrong.

Making his features was mostly okay…until his tail. It started off fine but then it got to the long bit, which is just round after round of 6 single crochets. It was soooo fiddley, this is the point I gave up on him for about a month. When I tried again, I used a smaller crochet hook (3.5mm instead of 4mm) which helped, but I got so bored that he ended up with a shorter tail than he should have.

Then I tried to make the wings but just couldn’t for some reason. So I left him as he was – I just wanted it to end!

I really don’t know if it was the pattern that wasn’t right or if I was being stupid, but this wasn’t a fun project at all. I’m so glad he’s finished so I can focus on a brand new project and get back into crocheting!

Just to prove how mean he is:

Meanie Dragon!

Look what I caught him doing to this tiny chick!!

What I learnt

  • If I don’t enjoy a project, it’s okay to just stop in the middle!

Yarn used

  • Hayfield Bonus DK (shade 0835) – dragon
  • Patons Fairytale (shade 04960) – tail/horns

Little bird – attempt number two!

Hi guys! It’s been such a long time since I last posted – two months! Unfortunately real-life things (i.e. work, zzzzzz) took over a bit and I haven’t been doing as much crocheting. I also got a bit stuck on a dragon amigurumi, which I still haven’t finished, that put me off . However I’m back and have a new little guy to show you!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember that one of the first things I made was a little bird. Whilst I love him lots, he is a bit on the holey side! So now I’ve learnt a little bit more, I thought it would be a good time to try again. Here is original little birdy with his new, even littler, birdy brother:

bothbirdys

He is quite sweet! And, as you can see, a lot less holey. When I made the original, I didn’t know about different gauge yarn and hook sizes, so the hook I used was 2mm (!!) too big. This time I used a 4mm hook and the result was much better. Here are some more pictures of him:

Birdy

Birdy - side view

Birdy - back view

I love the colour of the yarn, it’s very Spring-like :o) I’m pleased with how he turned out and it’s nice to see that I am improving at crochet. He was also really quick to make – about a week of crocheting on an evening. For anyone who didn’t see the original post, this pattern is part of the Amigurumi: Woodland Animals course through Craftsy.

What I learnt

  • I am getting better!

Yarn used

  • Hayfield Bonus DK (shade 0956) – body
  • Patons Fairytale (shade 04960) – beak

Big-Footed Bun – an amigurumi bunny rabbit!

With Easter fast-approaching, it seemed a good idea to make a little bunny as a present for my mum. I took the opportunity to use a pattern by someone different so I bought the ‘little grey bunny’ pattern from Bvoe’s shop on Etsy. It cost £3.40 ($5) and Barbara emailed the pattern over very quickly!

Now, you must not laugh at my bunny! Here he is:

Bunny :o)

Bunny - side view

Bunny - back view

Bunny close up!

Bunny

Don’t laugh at his big feet!! The yarn I used for his feet was slightly thicker than what I used for the rest of him, but I didn’t think he’d look silly. After I put him together though, his feet look abnormally big! Annoyingly, after I’d finished him I found a ball of white yarn of the right thickness, boo!

Other than his feet turning out a bit big, I think he looks okay. It’s the first time I’ve sewn on facial details before so it’s not perfect but it was fun to do. Also, I used thread to sew on the insides of the ears for the first time (as opposed to using yarn) and found it to look a lot neater.

The pattern gave me the chance to make my very first pom pom! I was surprised at how easy it was to make, so I will now be making thousands and having a Pom Pom Room.

The pattern itself was relatively easy to follow, it was just the putting-together I had problems with as it was just a matter of following the photos provided. It’s probably not suitable for an absolute beginner but it’s definitely good for a novice wanting a bit of a challenge.

What I learnt

  • How to sew facial features on
  • All yarn should really by the same gauge!
  • How to make a pom pom!
  • Sewing bits on with thread is sometimes better than using yarn

Yarn used

  • Patons Fab DK (shade 02308) – body
  • Sirdar Supersoft (shade 0830) – feet
  • Hayfield Bonus DK (shade 0958) – inside ears

So I bought myself a Brother…

I’d been debating whether to get a sewing machine for a month or so, but after getting a bit of spending money for my birthday last month I finally decided to treat myself to one!

As I know nothing about sewing machines and have never used one, I didn’t really know what I was looking for. After a bit of research I found one that received good reviews and wasn’t too expensive (£112 including a voucher). Say hello to my new little Brother!

Sewing Machine

He’s a Brother XL-2610 and has 25 built-in stitches! And a pedal! And some bits that you can turn! I really have no idea what any of these bits are, so there’s going to be a lot of tutorial-watching going on whilst I figure out how to switch it on. Thankfully it includes what seems to be quite an in-depth manual and a DVD, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. Maybe.

I also bought The Sewing Book by Alison Smith so I have a reference book to get me started:

The Sewing Book

It’s a huge hardback book full of hundreds of pictures and on a quick glance through, looks like it will be useful. It covers everything from tools and different types of fabric, to techniques and a few projects. Saying that, it certainly doesn’t cover any of the basics of how to sew, it really is just a reference book.

It’s exciting having a new thing to learn along with my crochet, so I’ll be posting my progress with this too.

If you have any tips for a complete sewing machine beginner, or links that you think might be helpful, please do comment and let me know! Anything to stop me stitching my fingers together!

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