Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts

Friday, 27 June 2014

Empower International Fundraiser

Today I wanted to let you all know about a handmade fundraiser in which I'm participating.  This Tuesday, 1st of July (AEST), there will be a camel-themed fundraiser organised by The Crafty Camel and Outback Australian Camels to support the work of Empower International (are you seeing where the camel theme is coming from?).

image camel coloured apple cozy crochet vintage button two cheeky monkeys

The fundraiser will be run via The Crafty Camel's Facebook page, where there will be an album of camel-inspired handmade goodies up for auction for one week.  Bidding on items starts on the 1st of July and all proceeds will go to the work Empower International does to help end child sex slavery in Asia, a very worthy cause.  As you know, I'm not in the habit of making camel homewares or jewellery, so I've decided to contribute by crocheting a camel-coloured apple cozy (okay, so maybe I'm stretching the theme a little).  I've had a sneak peek at some of the other creations on offer and there are going to be quite a few delightful offerings for the auction - so I look forward to seeing you online come auction night!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My Creative Space: Crocheted Pebble Magnets

image crochet pebble cozy magnet yellow ombre variegated domum vindemia stone fridge

Yes, yes, yes, I am still supremely excited by my latest crochet venture!  So much so that, even though I was originally planning to launch the new crochet pebble magnet range in July/August, I decided to release a few designs now before my official launch in the coming months.  I am having so much fun creating these sweet magnets and it is veeerrry tempting to fill my fridge and freezer doors with them.  For those of you who can't wait till the official launch to see all of the designs available, you can purchase the early release designs from either my Etsy or Madeit store.  I'd also love to hear your suggestions of teeny designs I could add to the range - do you have a favourite?

image crochet pebble cozy magnet red heart white love domum vindemia stone fridge

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Crochet for your fridge!

image crochet pebbles cozy crocheted stones pink purple domum vindemia rock

Can you remember all the way back to October last year when I first posted about crocheting cozies for stones?  I've been playing around with the technique since then and have made the decision to add a line of crocheted stones to Domum Vindemia.  However, due to the excessive cost of shipping stones (those things are heavy!), I'm currently limiting the range to crocheted stone magnets.  The two you see above are prototypes I made for the Two Cheeky Monkeys, much to their delight.  I'll be making these magnets in a variety of colours and designs and can take custom orders too.  The new magnet range should hopefully be in-store some time in July or August - what do you think?

Monday, 14 April 2014

My Creative Space

In between organising play dates and helping the little Cheeky Monkeys with their Rainbow Looms, I have managed to work on a few crochet projects this school holidays.  A nice, fast project I've worked on this week is this cute mini crochet bag by Spincushions.

image mini crochet bag cute

It works up very quickly while you're watching TV or watching your little people play at the park.  I was thinking of filling a few with Easter eggs for the Cheeky Monkeys, but they grabbed them before I got the chance and now several soft toys are sporting funky little handbags!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Which One's My Cup?

I don't know if your family is as chaotic as the Two Cheeky Monkeys family, but one area of chaos which often causes angst is the confusion over whose cup or mug is whose.  Like most people, many of our drinking glasses and mugs came in matching or identical sets (even some of our plastic kiddie cups did too).  So if more than one person decided to grab say, the Ashdene seashell mugs, this can lead to heated discussions about which mug belongs to whom.

image crochet doilies coasters drinks crocheted moda vera beetle yarn pink turquoise

Mr Cheeky Monkeys really liked the idea of named coasters on the kitchen windowsill for each family member to place their drinking glasses, but I didn't want my windowsill clogged up with cups (or people reaching for their cups), I prefer the Little Cheeky Monkeys to leave their cups on the dining table to remind them to drink regularly (and for easy access) and, to be honest, the whole named/personalised coaster thing seemed a bit dorky to me.  Of course, I finally found a solution to the problem by crafting!

image crochet doilies coasters drinks crocheted moda vera beetle yarn navy blue purple mauve

A quick trip to Spotlight yielded some lovely cotton/acrylic yarn (Moda Vera Beetle) which I turned into fun, crocheted drinks coasters.  Each member of the Two Cheeky Monkeys family was assigned a different colour and I used different patterns for each coaster.  My patterns came from various sources, including Simply Crochet and Mollie Makes magazines, but you should easily be able to find coaster or doily patterns on Ravelry or a crochet blog.  So what do you think, do you like my drinking glass solution?  Would you rather use crocheted coasters or the traditional cork-backed squares found in most homewares and department stores?

Friday, 3 January 2014

Crochet Ripple Blanket Reveal!!!

image rainbow ripple crochet blanket rug you remember my post back in November when I mentioned that I had started making a ripple crochet blanket?  Well, I may have only worked on it here and there when I wasn't busy packaging Christmas orders for customers or helping the little Cheeky Monkeys with their end of year activities, but I managed to finish my blanket just before Christmas.  It's pretty psychedelic as I wanted a rainbow effect for the blanket and always intended for this to be a bit of a scrap-buster project (I managed to use up the remnants of seven balls of yarn!).  I am enjoying the splash of colour this blanket is adding to my home, though I am thinking that one day I really should make the effort to make a blanket with a more muted colour scheme.  What do you think?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Rainbow Crochet Ripple Blanket

image rainbow crochet ripple blanket

As I mentioned on Monday, there has been a lot of crocheting going on in recent weeks!  I have been itching to make a ripple crochet blanket for some time, so rather than putting down my crochet hook after finishing the Christmas stars, started work on the blanket.  I know the last few months of the year are always crazy at chez Two Cheeky Monkeys, but it's been nice to work on another blanket.  Especially with Melbourne's crazy hot one day, freezing the next weather!!!  Those of you who are looking for a ripple crochet pattern can find a few here, here and here.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Christmas Stars

image christmas star ornament crochet

There has been a lot of crocheting going on at the house of Two Cheeky Monkeys this past week, and today I'm showing off the Christmas star ornaments I've been making.  These creations are very quick to make, even novice crocheters will be able to make their own.  I've been making them as small thank you gifts for my children to give to their Sunday school teachers.  The pattern I used was kindly shared over on the Jellywares blog.  The only change I made was to slip stitch back up to the top point of the star at the end of the final round, and adding a chain of stitches (20-25, depending on the loop size you want) for hanging.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Things I Love - Crochet Hooks

Every year my family does a little Christmas kris kringle swap for all the adults.  We only have one person to buy for, and we usually also have a wishlist of things they need or really like to guide us on our gift hunting.  This year is no exception, and I am planning on adding these funky crochet hooks to my wishlist!

I love Ewoks and this crochet hook from The Lemonade Shop is adorable!

Fellow Aussie, The Spotted Hook, makes fun spotty crochet hooks.

A little over the top, but I do quite like Polymer Clay Shed's millefiori hooks.

This hand turned wooden hook by Morgans Mane is simple, but absolutely beautiful.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Crochet Covered Stones: A New Distraction

image crochet covered stones pebbles doily rock stone cosy cozy

Today's post is all about my new distraction...erm, "skill I have learned".  I have admired the quirkiness of crochet-covered stones and pebbles for some time, but put off making any of my own until I could find the "perfect" stone.  Of course, it would have been faster and easier to go to the store and buy some (which I did in the end), but I loved the idea of finding a beautifully sea-smoothed stone.
I did find one beautiful stone on our recent holiday to Port Macquarie (the bottom left one in the photo), and have covered that one following Margaret Oomen's great tutorial over at The Purl Bee.  The designs on the other stones were adapted from tutorials I found at flax & twine and Let's Yarnify.  Once you understand the technique of crocheting a stone cosy, it is fairly easy to adapt any doily or round type patterns for covering your stones.  I am thinking these would make great gifts as paperweights or whimsical home decor.  And I'm even toying with the idea of creating my own designs for selling in Domum Vindemia.  What do you think?

Monday, 19 August 2013

My Creative Space - An Embroidered Crochet Hook Roll

image embroidered crochet hook roll vintage doily navy blue crinoline lady gentle art of stitching

Today's blog post continues with my love of crocheting, although the post is not about crocheting!  Several years ago, I made a storage roll for my jewellery pliers.  I love this roll so much, and it has helped to improve my tidiness and organisation.  So with lots of crochet hooks rolling around various tabletops in my home, I decided it was high time I made a storage roll for them.

image embroidered crochet hook roll vintage doily navy blue cream

The design of this storage roll is similar to the other one, with the exception that I predominantly used felt for this project.  This meant a few alterations were needed to my general pattern, but I am pretty happy with the result.  My favourite part has to be the outside of the roll, which I embellished with a vintage embroidered doily.  The borders of orange and blue flowers were part of the original doily design, which I added to by embroidering a crinoline lady adapted from a pattern in Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Stitching.  The helpful, but slightly annoying, part of having all my crochet hooks in one place?  I've discovered that I am missing one hook, which also happens to be one of my favourite sizes to use, oh dear!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Hyperbolic Crochet - Where Science Meets Art and Craft

image hyperbolic crochet pseudosphere coral

Those of you who have been crocheting for a while will probably have heard of hyperbolic crochet - an amazing use of crochet devised to help mathematics students understand and visualise hyperbolic planes and other forms of hyperbolic geometry.  The idea was first developed by Daina Taimina, a mathematics professor at Cornell University (as well as an accomplished knitter, crocheter and artist) but has since been taken on by others and expanded upon to create beautiful works in other fields, including the mind-blowing crochet coral reef by the Institute for Figuring.

image hyperbolic crochet pseudosphere coral

When I first read about hyperbolic crochet, I hadn't yet learned to crochet, but was fascinated by the concept because I love it when science and art/craft meet and because Mr Cheeky Monkeys is my favourite maths geek and could have gone far in the world of maths if he hadn't had to find a job to support a student wife.  Anyway, since learning to crochet, I have been keen to try out hyperbolic crochet.  I was a little surprised to discover that, though the results look spectacularly complex, the method for creating simple pieces (such as this "coral", or pseudosphere, that I made for the little Cheeky Monkeys) is really very simple.  All you need is some perseverence to keep going (your stitch number does increase exponentially, after all!) and you will be able to create a fun and beautiful piece.  And if you want to try this technique for yourself, a quick Google search will yield a multitude of patterns for you to try out.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Crocheting For a Cause - Part 2

image crochet shawl blanket rainbow licorice allsorts hamlin fistula ethipio addis ababa crochet for a cause
Do you remember this post from two weeks ago?  Well, after almost two weeks of what felt like constant crocheting (amazing how much "free" time one has when one is recovering from foot surgery!), I finally finished the crocheted shawl destined for the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.  There were a few moments of angst when I thought the project would never end (have I mentioned before that I am a bad finisher of things???), but I made it and am proud to say that my count of large crocheted items has now risen to two, he he he.
 image crochet shawl blanket rainbow licorice allsorts hamlin fistula ethipio addis ababa crochet for a cause

If I decide to make another shawl for the hospital next year (shawl collection happens twice a year so that they can be shipped to Ethiopia in bulk), I think I might find a pattern which can keep me a little more interested while I make it.  (Having lots of old NCIS episodes to watch, as well as watching the 100th Tour de France with Mr Cheeky Monkeys helped too!)  But in the mean time, I hope you will all sit back and enjoy the photos of my "Licorice Allsorts" shawl with me.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Crocheting For A Cause

Since I finally learned to crochet more than a basic chain of stitches last year, I have been gradually increasing my skills by trying out various crocheted projects.  My projects have been increasing in difficulty and physical size, with my largest and most ambitious project to date being my crocheted blanket.  Because crochet is a suitable pasttime for me while recuperating from foot surgery, I have several projects lined up for my period of convalescence, including a small crochet blanket/shawl.

This second blanket, however, is not for me or anyone I know, but is a project destined for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.  For those of you who haven't heard about this organisation, I encourage you to look through their website and do some research into obstetric fistulae.  Just briefly, an obstetric fistula is a medical condition which can occur when a woman goes through traumatic childbirth without proper medical care or intervention.  This condition is easily prevented in developed nations, but can still commonly occur in developing nations and is especially prevalent in many African countries.

Hamlin Fistuala Ethiopia supports the work of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, the only hospital to exclusively treat and to help women recover from this debilitating condition.  The hospital not only treats women suffering from obstetric fistulae, but also has a midwifery training college which trains up competent birth attendants who can greatly help to improve the medical situation for pregnant women in Africa.

As a woman who received impeccable medical care during my pregnancies and labours, I am horrified that many women are not so fortunate.  I wanted to help and was pleased to find that I could help in a crafty, creative way.  So after my very long ramble, let me explain how crochet can help!  Not only does the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital treat the medical conditions of the women who come to them, but the hospital also provides each patient with gowns and shoes to wear during their hospital stay and a knitted or crocheted shawl to keep and take home with them.  Those of you who knit or crochet, can whip up a special shawl (or small blanket) for these needy women to show them that someone on the other side of the world cares.  There are specific requirements for the shawls (because these women can't afford much, let alone a washing machine), so please look through the various websites listed below for information.  If you can't knit or crochet, there are other ways to help out too, just look through their website.

To Addis with love (a Facebook group for those wishing to make a shawl).

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Everlasting Cacti

image crochet saguaro cactus
 I have a thing for saguaro and pestered my dad to let me photograph myself with one when we drove through Arizona on our all America trip years and years ago!

I don't know about you, but I have a bit of a thing for cacti.  I'm not sure if it's because I like a little danger every now and then (prickly plants and klutzy people really don't mix!), or if it's the weird and wonderful variety of shapes and colours they display, depending on the species.

image crochet cactus stalk cactus flower
Finding mini plant pots to fit my cacti proved difficult; I think I much prefer using tiny teacups and espresso cups instead.

Although I love cacti, I have a hard time keeping them alive (I didn't inherit my dad's green thumb).  This is due in part to the fact that it's hard keeping something which normally lives in the desert alive in Melbourne's cold, wet winters and all the places I have lived in recent times have had some sort of creature (I suspect possums) which find cacti to be a delicacy.

image crochet round cactus flower

So when I recently saw a photo of some absolutely adorable crocheted cacti in tiny little pots, I was determined to get some for myself.  My plan quickly hit a snag when I realised that the store stocking these cute faux succulents was nowhere near where I live and didn't offer shipping of products.  Undeterred, a quick Google search yielded a multitude of free crocheted cacti patterns.  The patterns I used to make these three sweeties can be found at Little Things Blogged and La Casa de Crafts.  I'm thinking that my kitchen window sill will look much cheerier with these three cacti lined up along it!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Crochet Blankie Reveal!

image crochet blanket afghan rainbow twelve inch square two cheeky monkeys

Yes, yes, yes, after two solid weeks of crocheting (my hands are still a little stiff and sore!), I have finally finished my first ever crocheted blanket.  I'm not going to show you the up close photos of my wonky edges and seams, but I am feeling pretty pleased with myself for managing to get this finished before my next round of foot surgery!

image crochet blanket afghan rainbow twelve inch square

I love the eclectic, rainbow mix of colours I've chosen to use for this blanket, but felt that I needed a neutral border and seams to make my various squares feel like they belong together.  I made my life a little difficult by choosing to make my crochet squares using patterns (from a variety of sources) which weren't intended to go together and by choosing to make a double crochet (US terms) seam between each square, but I really enjoyed the whole process of picking patterns I liked and putting the whole blanket together.  So what do you think, do you like the clash of colours I've chosen, or do you need to have a proper colour scheme for your creations?

image crochet blanket afghan rainbow twelve inch square

Monday, 10 June 2013

Granny Chic - Book Review

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel

This week's book review is for those who love all things "granny chic", upcycled or retro.  Granny Chic, by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel shares, tips, techniques and patterns for adding granny chic to your home.  There are ideas for upcycling or re-using vintage fabrics and supplies, patterns for crocheting tea cosies and granny blankets and even projects showing how to make retro-looking floor rugs and decorating your home with vintage wallpaper and crockery.

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel fabric covered jars

This book is packed with a veritable list of fun, retro projects, many of which are reminiscent of the creations often made by Western/caucasian "grannies" (let me point out that my very Chinese grandmas did not make crafts like this, though perhaps they made the Asian version...).  Besides a multitude of projects, Granny Chic also has a section with suggestions for finding suppliers and resources in the UK, USA and Australia, and blank, lined pages interspersed throughout for jotting down crafty notes to oneself.  I also enjoyed reading the quirky advice and tips dotted here and there giving advice on how to achieve granny chic both affordably and practically.  This is a very casually written book with a relaxed and friendly style akin to reading a blog or a letter from a friend.

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel crochet string bag tote

Granny Chic is a beautifully retro-looking book in both design and photography, and lovers of "old fashioned" handicrafts will be excited by the range of projects included and the relatively easy to understand pattern instructions.  Inexperienced crafters may need more patience in following the project instructions as there are no step-by-step photos to walk readers through each project and many projects assume at least a basic understanding of the techniques involved.  Of note, I found that, when the authors say that readers need a knowledge of crochet to tackle their crochet patterns, they really meant it!  I attempted several crochet projects and found that the patterns seemed to leave out small steps.  I did manage to fill in what I saw as gaps in the pattern instructions and am assuming that more experienced crocheters would not have had a problem with the instructions.  My other gripe about the book is that there were many gorgeous photos of beautiful, handmade items used in the styling of the book's photography which were not included as projects in the book.  This was a little frustrating when I saw something I really liked and then realised I had to work out how to make it myself.

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel embroidered doily vintage

So who do I think would love Granny Chic?  I think this book would be perfect for people who love, and are inspired by, the retro creativity of bygone days.  Although it is more suited to those with at least some knowledge of crafty techniques (especially sewing and crochet), patient beginners should be able to tackle a large number of the projects and experienced creators will find lots of inspiration for adding granny chic to their homes.

Friday, 31 May 2013

My Creative Space

image smoothfox starburst square 12 inch crochet

Yes, the crochet blog posts continue because crazy old me decided to crochet a blanket made up of twelve inch crochet squares!  It seemed like a really good idea at the time, but fifteen squares into my required twenty (and I am SERIOUSLY hoping I don't need more) and I am getting a little bored with the project and my muscles are aching from me hunching over my crochet square and pattern instructions.  For those who love to crochet and are looking for more pattern ideas, most of my patterns were found at the following sites: SmoothFox Crochet and Knit, Dayna's Crochet and MoCrochet.  And if you are interested in smaller squares (say six inch), my friend Shelley has been kindly sharing crochet square patterns over on her blog Spincushions.

image 12 twelve inch crochet square rose flower nicki trench cute and easy crochet

Monday, 27 May 2013

Geek Chic Crochet - Book Review

image geek chic crochet nicki trench patterns

After successfully teaching me how to knit when I was about eight or nine years old, my mum tried, with limited success, to teach me how to crochet.  In fact it has only been in the last year or so that I have rekindled my desire to learn to crochet and have since been scanning the shelves of my local library and newsagents for books or magazines about crocheting (as well as pretty much stalking several crochet-themed blogs).  So it won't surprise you when you see that today's book for review is Geek Chic Crochet by Nicki Trench, the author of quite a few exciting-looking books on handmade.

image geek chic crochet nicki trench patterns granny square bag felted

This book is filled with retro-inspired crochet projects for bags, clothing, hats and more.  It has a very helpful tehniques and crochet stitch section, made all the better by the fact that there are accompanying illustrations.  As a relative crochet novice, I love that the projects in the book have been graded into three skill levels, named "beginner", "improver" and "experienced".  The pattern instructions are very well written and easy enough to follow and the photography and styling are wonderfully done to add to the retro and "geeky" feel of the patterns.

image geek chic crochet nicki trench patterns top jumper sweater

There are so many great aspects of this book that it is hard to find anything wrong with it.  This is a book which would be great for novice crocheters as they can tackle harder projects as they improve and gain confidence.  There are also enough "experienced" patterns to make this book suitable for those who have been crocheting for a while too.  Unlike some books I have read, there is a good variety of patterns in Geek Chic Crochet and harder patterns can still be tackled by more inexperienced crocheters with the help of the "techniques" section of the book and a little patience.  Really, about the only thing I can find to say against this book is that those who only want to tackle the simpler patterns would probably do better to search online for a free pattern an experienced crocheter has written up on their blog.

image geek chic crochet nicki trench patterns crocodile stitch shawl

Overall I would recommend this book to those who love to crochet, no matter what their experience level.  The fun collection of retro-style as well as more "timeless" and modern patterns is sure to have something for most lovers of crochet and/or handmade.  If you are on the lookout for more crochet patterns to work on, then I would recommend adding Geek Chic Crochet to your wish list!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Attic 24: A Crochet Lover's "Go To" Blog

image attic 24 crochet wreath spring easter flowers

You all have to know by now just how much I have enjoyed learning how to crochet, and I thought I would share with you one of my favourite crochet blogs.  For those of you who don't already know it, Attic 24 is an English blog full of beautiful photos of nature, baked goodies and bright and colourful crocheted items.  Lucy very generously shares many fun crochet patterns and ideas on her blog, of which I've tried one or two.  So if you love to crochet and still haven't discovered Attic 24, then head on over to Lucy's blog and check it out!

image attic 24 springtime flowers crochet daffodil bulbs
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