Friday, 21 October 2016

Geode Pillow

Hi there!!!
Do you know what is a geode ?? Simply, geologically speaking (!!!), it is a small/big cavity lined with crystals or other mineral matter. Typical are the geodes filled with quartz crystals, very often with agate.

The pillow I made, which has no cavity (apart some holes made on purpose to jazz up the pattern),  reminds me of a geode, especially when I look at it on my sofa..

I think the "problem" is due to the fact that I crocheted a round pillow cover, but the pillow to cover was not round... in fact it's a square !!!! ;oD

I was curious to experiment the result of the union between round and square and, mostly, I wanted to use some colours, like yellow and lilac, which I'm not really in love with... You have to exit your comfort zone sometimes, right?

So, I decided to crochet two circles, using only double crochets (US crochet terminology), arranged in various ways ...

At a certain point, the front was done ...

... so I had to start the back of it ! I decided, first, to use just one colour and simple DC, but I hadn't enough lilac, so I added some stripes ....

... and I joined front and back using single crochets, just a round of them ...

.... so the pillow was quickly ready for my sofa ...

.... oh well, Margot likes this new pillow and its vintage appeal ...

xxxx Alessandra

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Pattern tester, why not?

As you know, I really like to write my own patterns and to publish photo tutorials ...
Very often it is a time consuming kind of task and the amount of work is huge, even when the item the pattern is written for is not that big...
I know that many crafters had a go with my patterns and surprisingly there have not been complains about problems in understanding my words or crochet passages... phew!!!

I love to try patterns written by other crafters, too. I like it especially to be aware that there are different ways to explain a work, different styles, different range of difficulties and new things to learn ... always something new to learn!!!! A pattern written by another person gives you new challenges and pushes your curiosity to new levels, right? I love all that, I really do!!

So, I was really excited to join a selected group of crocheters (Nicole @tangleandstitch , Janet @janetleigh37 , Conny @frogs_crochet ,  Heather @hgdesignscrochet , Julie @meiguidesigns  and Jenna @quirky_crochet : all these addresses are of their Instagram profiles!)  to test a pattern for sale, written by Miki the colourful hostess of Set Free My Gypsy Soul blog (her Instagram profile : HERE ) : the QUEEN G FRINGE BAG now in her Etsy shop !!!!

What I really liked of this pattern were essentially the followings :

the freedom to choose the yarn weight and the kind of fibre
the freedom to adapt and develop the pattern as you prefer
the variety of stitches to keep you interested
the fringes!!!


This bag was a quick make and in few days it was ready to be shown to the rest of the world ...


The "big" differences between my bag and the one in the pattern are just a few :

I didn't knot the same amount of fringes as Miki did, simply because I'm so worried to ruin them!!!
I didn't sew the triangles, but crocheted them along the bag sides
the handle of my bag has some colourful picots!

The only part I didn't like about being a "pattern tester" was the moment when you sit down and write what was good or not so good of the pattern you've tested....

I don't want to offend anyone and I try to put down my impressions in a proper way, with no misunderstanding or else....sometimes I find so hard not to write down in my own mother tongue...

Anyway, it seems I passed the test, as Miki and I are still friends!!! ;of

xxxx Alessandra


Friday, 7 October 2016

Tobia's "Blue Diamonds Blanket"

Sorry, but it took a while to edit some pictures and to put together all the ideas about this blanket!!!

Before the start of last summer holidays and so before the end of last scholastic year, too, I started to think about a way to join diamond motifs together with the "as you go method" ... It was quite challenging, but not impossible : I was sure of that! So, I started to crochet a basic diamond and from that I developed different (!!!) patterns and motifs.... All my summer was dedicated to this research and the result is in a booklet for sale on Ravelry : Designs with Diamonds !!!

Today in this post I will give you all my notes about this blanket (my birthday gift for my son Tobia), but there will be no written pattern or tutorial. I just followed one of the main patterns developed for my booklet ! In specific, if you are interested to make a similar blanket and you are willing to buy the booklet on Ravelry (in this case : thank you so much! <3), you have to follow the Design C: smooth top, uneven sides and bottom (see below picture).

To start a blanket like this one, you need to take measures of the bed you intend to cover with this beauty. I took the measures of the single mattress of my son's bed, including the thickness.
I took, also, the average measures of a diamond motif crocheted with a 4mm hook and some dk yarns from my personal stash. Once you have all these data, you can sketch your blanket on a graph paper/squared paper : you will have a certain number of vertical strips, which will be long as you need and will be many as you need to reach the right width!

In my specific case, each strip is made of 12 or 11 and a half diamonds (yes, the strips are not all of the same length, as you can see from the above pic) and I crocheted a total of 39 ( 20 with 12 diamonds and 19 with 11 and half diamonds)!!!

About the amount of yarn you need....
I didn't buy new yarn for this project. I have to admit that my personal yarn stash is huge! I bought a lot of yarn when I was living both in Cairo and Jakarta in the previous years. I buy yarn each summer I go back to Italy... But here in Maputo I don't have a good shop of yarns... yes you can find some, but very thin or not enough for a big project... Anyway, I had to de-stash a little, so this project was a good cause to do that...right?
For each strip, more or less, I've been using an average of 70g. I suggest you to have, at least, a supply of 100g for each colour/strip, just to stay safe and not to have the opportunity to shout some bad words when the yarn ends before the strip is done... yes it happened!!!

 To work a blanket like this one, you need to crochet strips from left to right and each strip is worked from bottom to top! All joined together with the "join as you go" method, so that you will not have a huge pile of motifs to sew together later!!! ;oD

I can give you a list of yarns I've been using for this blanket, but be aware that some of them could be discontinued or with no labels .... :

strip 1 : AK-SOFT by KARTOPU , shade k634
strip 2 : PURE GOLD DK by ELLE YARNS, shade 003 spritz
strip 3 : PATONS FAB DK 100g, shade 02342 petrol
strip 4 : KNITTING YARN by Crafty from Indonesia
strip 5 : BALMY PLUSS by BBB filati, shade 287
strip 6 : sublime cashmere merino silk dk by sublime yarns, shade 0163
strip 7 : PURE GOLD DK by ELLE YARNS, shade 059 azure
strip 8 : PURE GOLD DK by ELLE YARNS, shade 005 midnight
strip 9 : KNITTING YARN by Crafty from Indonesia
strip 10 : SIRDAR SNUGGLY DK, shade 0260
strip 11 : ATOMO by SANDILANE, shade 31
strip 12 : SIRDAR COUNTRY STYLE DK, shade 0397 periwinkle
strip 13 : AK-SOFT by KARTOPU, shade k657
strip 15 : FILATI CERVINIA CAPRICE, shade 1632
strip 16 : FILATI CERVINIA CAPRICE, shade 1514
strip 17 : FILATI CERVINIA CAPRICE, shade 1583
strip 18 : KARTOPU GONCA , shade k515
strip 19 : KNITTING YARN by Crafty from Indonesia
strip 20 : CASCADE YARNS PACIFIC , shade 56 Kelly Green
strip 21 : CRAWFORD NICOLE DK from Indonesia
strip 22 : KARTOPU GONCA, shade ?
strip 23 : FILATI CERVINIA CAPRICE, shade denim blue
strip 24 : CLICK Baby Pastels 4 Ply shade 067 bubblegum
strip 25 : CARON SIMPLY SOFT, shade 9779 green
strip 26 : yarn from Egypt, shade turquoise
strip 27 : SIRDAR WEAR 'N' WASH, shade 300 original denim
strip 28 : Filati da Collezione MERINELLA, shade 38
strip 29 : KATIA OXFORD, shades 206 and 207
strip 30 : APOLLO SCHACHENMAYR nomotta, shade 00067 wllow
strip 31 : LANE MONTEROSA "SOFFICE" shade 461
strip 32 : SIRDAR SNUGGLY BABY SPECKLE , shade 128
strip 33 : yarn from Egypt, shade aqua
strip 34 : yarn from Egypt, shade teal
strip 35 : yarn from Egypt, shade turquoise
strip 36 : TIGER GARN, shade green/blue
strip 37 : KNITTING YARN by Crafty from Indonesia
strip 38 : APOLLO SCHACHENMAYR nomotta, shade 00054 hellblau
strip 39 : CARON SIMPLY SOFT, shade 9771 chartreuse

Anyway, the hook was a 4mm !!! The blanket measures : 200cm x 140cm (not considering the fringes).

Once reached the right size, you just need to trim some ends and decide for a border!
My customer didn't want anything fancy (being a 14 years old boy.... just imagine!) and honestly I didn't want anything to distract the attention from the main body of the blanket, so "BE SIMPLE" was my motto to follow to reach my ideal solution !


I decided to use one of the colours used in the blanket. I made a slip knot on my 4mm hook and started from the top of the blanket, with the right side facing me. I worked a first row of single crochets ( US crochet terminology), remembering to work 1 SC (=single crochet) in each diamond top and 10 SCs along each half diamond. When you reach the top left corner of the blanket , you need to work 3 SCs in same corner. In that way, you can start to crochet along the left side of the blanket! For this side, just work a line of slip stitches and stop doing that when you have "slip stitched" half of the last diamond of the strip! You have to leave all the bottom points of the blanket "rough" : the fringes will do their magic later! Cut the yarn and trim in ends.

Using the same yarn and hook, make a slip knot on it and start to work another line of slip stitches along the right side of the blanket. Even this time, you will work with the right side of the blanket facing you and you will start the slip stitches from row 10 of first diamond of last strip (starting from the blanket's bottom). When you reach again the top of your blanket, make 2 more SCs in the same space of your first SC and join with a slip stitch in first SC.
Now you can start the second row of the top border : in correspondence of each diamond's peak work 1 SC, while in correspondence of each half diamond's base (made of 10 stitches ) work 1 SC, 1 half double crochet, 2 double crochets, 2 trebles, 2 double crochets, 1 half double crochet and 1 SC.
Repeat this pattern until you reach the end of the row. Cut yarn and fasten off. Trim in all ends!


I cut some different lengths (30cm each) of yarns (5 turquoise, 5 dark blue, 3 variegated) and with he help of a big hook (7mm) I pulled the loop of fringes from front to back , more or less like HERE!

When all put in place, just remember to trim them a little and obtain a more even result (not mandatory)!!!

Now you have a blanket ready to use!!!!

On the bed of Tobia ...

... and some showing off on my balcony...

This is all!!! Hope you like it!!!

xxxx Alessandra


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