Friday, 18 August 2017

Pom poms!

Around 12 months ago (maybe more i loose track of time soooo easily!) i bought the fabulous Pompomania book by Christine Leech (get it here). The book is filled with great pom pom designs and projects, and i have to say it got me hooked on the good old pom pom.  I love that pom poms can be customised, colour mixed, and made into just about everything (earrings, shoes, blankets, the list is endless!) In spirit of this i thought i would curate a list of my favourite pom pom projects for my lovely readers. Not only is there something theraputic about crafting a gorgeous yarny pom pom, but its a craft for all ages and one that can be done as a family ☺️ So without further ado lets begin    1. Pom pom fairies from RaisingUpRubies
This craft is super cute. I love all things magical so i have to add this to the list. Its also something the kids can do, and is very unique. Use them at christmas, string them onto a set of fairy lights for added sparkle, and if you have a tinkerbell fan, you can make one for each of the fairies. A lovely craft for kiddos and parents alike, and also a great gift for a little girl.   2. Pom pom bouquet from Camille Styles 
These are gorgeous, and so simple. I love that natural materials have been used here too, it makes the bouquet much more authentic and unique, the fact that you can make any colour bouquet you like i a plus, and you could even mix it up having large and small blooms in the same bouquet. A simple yet effective craft with the ever versatile pom pom, and no special tools required, these pom poms are made using just your hands!   3. Pom pom headband from a subtle revelry 
Pom pom headbands are the must have seasonal accessory, from festivals, to party in the park, it seems everyone is wearing them. So why not create your own with this fab tutorial. Consisting of cheap and easy to come by materials this is sure to be a staple accessory, and only cost a couple of quid, win win!   4. Pikachu pom pom by Flying Mio 
This youtube video shows you how to create your own super cute little pom pom pikachu! I just had to include this, its adorable and gets the kids involved, and possibly the boys too, in my experience boys arent really into crafts, however this pokemon inspired craft may just tempt them!    5. Pom pom wreath from Wool and the Gang  
Who doesnt love a pom pom wreath? I know i do, and this little baby from WATG doesnt dissapoint. Whats more, its so easy to make, doesnt require a glue gun (yes you heard correctly) and can be made bit by bit adding more pom poms for a fuller look with whatever takes your fancy. Another great ones for the kids too as like i said, no hot glue gun required.   6. Pom pom solar system from we are scout
This is ingenious. A great craft for the kids, a science project you can get on board with, and quite frankly brilliant. This great tutorial complete with fab images shows you how to make the planets from yarn. Planet pom poms. A great craft, and educational project too.   7. Pom pom paperclips from Raising up Rubies
Another great tutorial from Raising up Rubies. Planners and accessories are hot right now and these would make a great planner clip. Super easy, customisable and made in any colour and size you like, simple yet perfect!   8. The cutest bunny from pom maker
For those of you who havent heard yet pom maker blog is the next big thing in the pom pom world. Their doghnut shaped pom makers are especially cute, and their tutorials are ingenious and one of a kind. With both video and clear picture tutorials their pom poms are not only awesome, but achievable too.   9. Pom pom pillow from A Kailo Chic Life
Another bright inviting home accessory that screams 'cuddle me im so soft and scrumptious and colourful'! Ok so enough of my being weird, on a serious note does this not make you smile?! Its a super easy tutorial, glue gun, pillow case, pom poms, ta dah! You can upcycle some old pillows, or buy second hand cases, and if you're not fussy on colour or pattern its a great way to use up any leftover yarns.   10. Pom pom rug from sayyes
A pom pom roundup wouldn't be complete without a pom pom rug. All of the tutorials out there are very similar, pom poms, non stick mat backing et voila. Super easy, simple and cheap, without being cheap looking. I chose this particular tutorial because i love the colour combination, and there isn't a pom pom maker in sight, proving that just about anyone can make a pom pom, simply, with very little tools needed.    Lastly if you dont have any fancy dancy pom pom makers, dont despair, this wonderful post from heart hook home, shows you a veriety of ways you can make pom poms using forks, loo roll tubes and just your hands. A great post again confirming you dont need to spend a lot to get fantastic results. 
To see all of these projects and more, check out my pom poms board over on pinterest   Id love to see your pom pom projects please do tag me over on Instagram, or use #woollypops.   Comment below for how you use your pom poms.   Happy hooking from down the rabbit hole x

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Crochet Book Club

Ooooh its that time again! Crochet book club time! Now for all of you that follow me on social media (if you dont come on over 😊), you'll know i love amigurumi. When im making, its 99% likely im making an amigurumi mouse, or cat, or bear, or rabbit etc etc. So, it was only fair (to myself 😂) that this months book club was amigurumi related.  Without further ado, this months book is Drum roll please................ (the suspense is killing you right?!) 
My crochet animals by Isabelle Kessedjian
And what a wonderful book it is. For those of you not familiar with Isabelles works, she is a wonderful French artist. Also the author of my crochet doll, and very talented crochet designer and artist. Check her out here. She even has her own app on itunes! The book begins with a gorgeous array of superb photographs of Isabelles animals, there are 9 in total not all pictured, including, a koala bear, a wolf, a pig, a bear, a bunny, a moose, a panda, a fox and a racoon. 
I have to admit, i did flick through at first thinking, 'have i bought a picture book and not read the description properly?!' Of course i hadn't, but im so used to pattern books having the image on one page, pattern on the other of a double page spread, it threw me a little! Another thing that makes this book unique. The animals are oh so cutely laid out in their appropriate settings, donning their gorgeous clothing which there are also patterns for in the book.
In fact everything in the book that is photographed, can be hooked, even the piggy butchers meat!
  Towards the end of the book are the patterns. Each in chronological order to match the pics.  The instructions are really well detailed, with more great images, and each pattern has the corresponding page number of where the picture for the animal can be found. Its very organised and well laid out. The animals themselves are so cute, and there is a 'basic elements' structure as it were to each animal (standard pattern for the arms and legs for each animal, for example), which is great because once youve got the hang of it the possibilities are endless.
One of the main reasons i bought this book was for the clothes. I love hooking amigurumi but find very little by way of crochet clothing out there too, so for me this is a delight, and again once youve got the hang of that mini rabbit bonnet, it can be a bonnet with a bow, or with beads on the tails. The book gives you a foundation, along with inspiration for your own ideas, its deffinitley not a 'set in stone' pattern book, and deffinitley one i can gurantee you'll pick up time and time again. Im currently working up a little baby boy bunny from the book (its taking longer than id like due to custom orders i have going on, and the garden project!) but its a delight, i have to say, easy to follow, works up quickly, and a lot of the stitches are great for beginners as theyre very simple (the bunny has so far been single crochets, increases and decreases).
Id so recommend this book to any avid amigurumi hooker beginner or otherwise, just the pictures alone are a delight 😊 I bought my book on Amazon as this was the best price at the time, and you get free delivery on book orders over £10. Hopefully you'll give it a look and be working up cute critters in no time. Happy hooking from down the rabbit hole x  

Monday, 31 July 2017

Free Crochet Pattern - Amigurumi hat and bow

 
Materials
Any yarn and hook you desire. I used a 4mm metal hook and stylecraft DK acrylic yarn to achieve a hat measuring 5.5 cm or 2.5 inches in height and 4cm or 1.5 inches wide. 
Bare in mind smaller hook and yarn smaller hat, likewise bigger hook and yarn, bigger hat 😉
If you wish to make the hat larger add more increasing rounds at the top BEFORE crocheting in the back loops. This will give the hat a wider circumference. 
Pattern Notes
Written in UK terms
It is recommended that a stitch marker is used to mark the beginning of each new round. Hat is made in the traditional amigurumi method, do not join after each round.
Dc - double crochet
Sl st - slip stitch
(1) - number of stitches you should have at the end of each round
** - repeat the instruction in between the stars around
Blo - crochet in the back loops only
Flo - crochet in the front loops only
Inc - increase
Any problems please do leave me a comment, or contact me on social media.
Okay let's hook and roll!
  1. 6 dc in a magic ring, pull the ring closed (6)
  2. Increase around 2dc in every stitch (12)
  3. *1 dc, inc* around (18)
  4. Blo - 1 dc in each stitch (18)
  5. In both loops - 1 dc in each stitch (18)
 6-15. Repeat round 5 (18)
  1. Flo - 1 dc in each stitch (18)
  2. In both loops - 1 dc around (18)
  3. *2 dc, inc* around (24)
  4. 1 dc in each stitch (24) fasten off.
Et voila your hat is complete.
I stuffed mine to attach it to my kitty, but it's really up to you how you style it out.

   
For kitty's bow I simply did the following;
Chain 7 turn
1 dc in second chain from the hook to the end, chain 1, turn (6)
1 dc in each stitch, chain 1, turn (6)
Repeat once more. Fasten off
Tie a long piece of yarn around the middle of the length of crochet to make a bow shape and sew in place.
My daughter says he looks like a circus cat 🤔 not the look I was going for but I'll take it 🤣 she thought he was very cute.

I hope you enjoy styling up your amigurumis. The kitty pattern i used is from the super talented Sarah Sloyer at Critterbeans you can visit her on Ravelry here. Happy hooking from down the rabbit hole x  

Friday, 28 July 2017

Back To School Pattern Roundup

I know, i know, theyve only just finished school for the holidays, and already im on back to school kit, but there is a very good reason, you only have 6, yes, 6 weeks to ensure theyve got everything they need for the new term.   Back to school essentials can be really expensive, the average UK household will spend a mega £330 on back to school essentials, and those of you in the US will top us by nearly double with the average household spending almost $800. So why go money mad, when chances are you have spare yarn lying around screaming at you 'use me save money'! Now all of the patterns below arent necessarily essentials, but they are things youre most likely (bar uniforms) to spend the most money on. So save a few quid (to spend on holiday perhaps 😁) and hook up a storm this summer. Lets get to it shall we 1. Back to school rucksack from Yarnplaza 
This is soooo cute. I love the design and colourway, and how it looks super suave, but actually its lots of granny squares very well constructed to make a fab rucksack. Simple enough, and with a well writen pattern to boot. This bag can be made in any colour you like, and is great for little munchkins and trendy teens alike. Get the kids involved picking their own colour and they're much more likely to love it. The average backpack costs around £20 if you hooked this from Paintbox cotton yarn currently on offer at just £1.92 per ball, and used the amount the pattern requires youd save £10.40 win win to me 👍🏻   2. Mini bow hairclips from hello yellow yarn
Now i know hair accessories arent going to be at the top of the list, in fact if youre anything like me youll send them with any old clips in! But this year we had a set of uniform rules, and i quote "hair fashions are not encouraged in school" (bye bye jojo bows!) "hair accessories in school colours are permitted for functional usage" in lamens terms for our school, blue and yellow clips are ok. Hence why making your own is a money saver, and you know youll always be able to replicate them should they go astray, get misplaced etc, during the year. 3. Rainbow Lanyard from the Moogly blog
This ones more for the older kids. Not sure if youve noticed but at college or uni nowadays everyone needs id. Great, it keeps our kids safe, and also its more functional (id card opens 100 doors type functional!). Saying this the plain black lanyards they get issued are booooring, and this is where Moogly comes in. Functional, stylish, customisable, super easy. What more can you want in a pattern. 4. Crocodile pencil case from lets knit
Isnt this just the cutest?! Okay its more for younger kids, but youre sure to be a hit if you work up this for your kiddo. You do have to register with the site to get this pattern, however you wont be dissapointed, the site has huge amounts of free knitting and crochet patterns, all of different skill levels and tastes. This pattern does require a bit of skill to complete, but is worth mastering as its super cute, and can be worked i a variety of colours, im thinking purple and pink 😁👍🏻  5. Octopus pencil topper from topcrochetpatterns.com
Ok so not at the top of the list again, (and probably doesnt feature on many lists!) but this is one of those cute things you can use to jazz up otherwise boring pencils, and then be able to get away with buying a pack of 10 for 50p from b and m as opposed to a £2 pack that look pretty! Again you have to register with the site to download this pattern, but this is another site its totally worth doing for. Made in traditional amigurumi method, the pattern also includes an angelfish and whale in the download too.  6. Rainbow pencil case from the diaper mum
A schoolbag staple, and extremely easy to whip up. This pencil case has very basic instructions, easy to put together and easy to customise. The pattern also shows you how to line the bag and add a zipper. Personally i wouldnt line the case as its only for school, but i suppose that all depends on the maker. Use any stitch or colour you like for this case with loads of possibilities.  7. Chic rucksack from Kate Eastwood
Now, i know ive included 2 backpack patterns, my intentions here were that this pattern is perhaps more suited to an older girl than a younger one, and i didnt like to leave out those of you with older kits. This backpack is super stylish, comes with comprehensive, well detailed instructions and pictures in the tutorial, and appears simple enough to make, with a simple method of construction. Again for those of you with a few skills up your sleeve you could omit the edging, or even add a pattern or colourwork into the design. I have to say i just love the style of the backpack. Its very cute. 8. Rillakuma phone sleeve from sweetorials 
Again this is more for the teens in your life, a great way to keep their phone safe. This is soooo easy. The tutorial is on youtube and the video is only 6 minutes long so you can imagine how quickly this will work up. The video has good writen instructions alongside the video and is good quality and easy to follow. A super simple but very cute way to keep those phones safe, and kawaii is very on trend right now. 9. Coin purse / pouch from zipitzippers.com
Ok so this has a multitude of uses. This is great for the smaller kids to take into school with money for trips, dinners, or a morning snack in. Some schools here in the uk let you take in a purse for the week with money in and leave it in school, this is perfect for that. For the older kids its a cool purse, great for keeping headphones, usb drives etc in. For the girlies its a great way to conceal those products they may only use once a month if you get my drift! 10.  Mini granny square tech case by sugarbeans
Oh i do love granny squares. Theyre so versatile, and can be made in all the colours of the rainbow. I love this pattern for many reasons, its super cute, useful, and mixes the kitsch granny with girly detailing in the shell stitch border. Its practical and can be adapted for laptops, phones, ipods, ipads you name it 😁. A super easy make, with great pictures detailing the construction of the case. Great for beginners too and can be styled to suit.   There you have it. 10 super patterns for all the family members that could save you a few quid if nothing else. If youd like to see more im constantly adding to my pinterest boards here. Happy hooking from down the rabbit hole x

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Paris Stitch Pouch - A Free Crochet Pattern



Hi hi beautiful people, and welcome to my first ever pattern!

im so thrilled to be sharing this pattern with you. A few weeks back I shared a tutorial for the Paris stitch here on the blog. After writing it up I got thinking, what cute fun accessory can I turn this stitch into. I played around a tad, and eventually came up with this.

Ta daaaa!

Fun, funky and bright, a cute accessory pefect for summer. so without further ado scroll down and the pattern will be waiting.

Materials

You  can use any yarn and hook for this project depending on the look / feel you want your pouch to have, or the size you want it to be.
I used a 4mm hook and Stylecraft  acrylic DK yarn in sunshine, turquoise, and cream. For a pouch with a finished size of 15cm high unfilled and with a base of 15cm in diameter.
Scissors
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends


Pattern notes


written in uk terms


YO - yarn over
Ch- chain
Dc- double crochet
Trb - treble crochet
Inc - two double crochet into one stitch
Hdc- half double crochet


The base of the pouch is worked in continuous rounds. I used a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round ( similar to amigurumi method).


The Paris stitch will be worked into the last round of the base. The Paris stitch is made from a set of stitches divisible by 3+1 extra stitch. To make the bag bigger or smaller just add or eliminate rounds based on this stitch count.


Ensure you have the correct number of stitches after every round.


1. Dc 6 into a magic circle (6)
2. 2inc in each stitch around (12)
3. (1dc, inc in next) repeat around (18)
4. (2dc, inc) around (24)
5. (3dc, inc) around (30)
6. (4dc, inc) around (36)
7. (5dc, inc) around (42) 
8. (6dc, inc) around (48)
9. (7dc, inc) around (54)
10. (8dc, inc) around, on last set (8dc, 3dc in last stitch) this will give you the desired number of stitches divisible by 3 plus the extra stitch for the Paris stitch (61)
11. Begin the Paris stitch. Ch3 (1trb+1ch) in the first stitch work the following (1trb, 2ch, 1dc) *skip 2 stitches work (2 trb, 2ch, 1 dc) in the next stitch. Repeat from * around joining with a slip stitch to top of the beginning chain.
12. Ch 3 and turn. Work 1trb, ch 2, 1dc in the first ch2 space from the previous round. *in the next ch2 space work 2trb, 2 ch, 1 dc. Repeat from * around. Join to top of the beginning chain with a slip stitch.
13. Repeat round 12. Change colour if desired at the end of the round.
14. (Decrease round) Paris stitch decrease. Begin the row, ch3, decrease in next 2 chain spaces (yarn over, insert hook into first ch2 sp, yo, pull through 2 loops (2 loops on hook) yo insert into next ch2 sp, yo, pull through 2 loops (3 loops on hook) yo pull through 2 loops (2loops on hook) yo pull through last 2 hoops) decrease finished, trb,ch2,dc into same ch2 space as decrease ended in . Continue round to end. Slip st in first decrease st.
15. Repeat round 12.
16. Repeat round 14 (decrease round) change colour if desired at the end of the round. 
17. Repeat round 12
18. Repeat round 12
19. Repeat round 12. Change colour if desired at the end of the round.
20. Repeat round 12
21. Repeat round 12
22. ch3, skip a stitch, 1 hdc in next * skip a stitch, 1 hdc in next* rep around. Note, count all stitches in this round (trb and dc from previous round) as 1 stitch each. Count ch2 spaces from the previous round as 1 stitch. Join into 1st hdc space made.
23. ch3, hdc in each space made in the previous round. Slip st into first space made in the previous round. Change colour if desired.
24. Paris Stitch in every other space around. Join with a slip stitch.
25. Ch 3 Paris Stitch around. Join to the top of the chain with a slip stitch. Fasten often.
Weave in all ends (the boring bit I know!)


With two colours of yarn together chain a length of your choosing. Thread the chain through the hdc spaces made in round 23. 


Make two tassels and attach them to the ends of the chains if you like (I think it gives the bag a fun cute vibe!)


Ta daaa you're done 🙂


Please do tell me how you like it, any feedback would be gratefully received.
Happy Hooking from down the rabbit hole X

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Yarn Review - Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK


Hello beautiful people and welcome to my Stylecraft classique cotton DK yarn review.
Now for a long time I've struggled to work with cotton yarn, I mean I have used it but always felt like it was so stiff, hard, the strands split, it was stiff to push my hook through etc. It just wasn't living up to the hype!
I've tried drops yarn, lily sugar and cream, and Rico creative cotton in the past, but I just, for want of a better phrase, can't get down with them.
When I first ventured into cotton yarn the promises from other patterns and websites were softness, natural cool fibres for summer, and many people said it was a joy to work with. So imagine my disappointment when these yarns just didn't live up to the hype. Don't get me wrong I'm not 'dissing' any of the yarns above, I love the colours sugar n cream offer, and the drops price tag is fab, but they jut aren't my cup of tea. 
So this year I made it my mission to find a cotton yarn I love.
Now in my posts you'll no doubt have heard me harp on about how much I love Stylecraft yarn. It's no lie, I do, most of the yarn I buy is Stylecraft, so it was only natural I tried a Stylecraft cotton yarn next. Would my faithful trusty yarn brand let me down? Well let's find out shall we.
Composition 

Ok let's start with the obvious, it's a 100% cotton yarn, in a 50g ball. 92 meters or 100 yards of DK cottony goodness. The packaging leaves a bit to be desired (yes I'm fickle I want my yarn labels to be as pretty as the yarn!) but it's not the worst out there by any means, and it's simple, and let's face it fancy packaging means bigger cost so I'll let it slide! This yarn is as I've said double knit cotton, so requires a 4mm hook to work up. 
Look and feel

Looks wise (its like yarn dating!) the yarn has a bit of a sheen to it, not in a ghastly way, more in a polished, I'll make your project look radiant kind of way, and the colours of the strands is very consistent and vibrant. Once worked up the stitches are very vibrant, and clear, the work looks very neat and uniformed and each individual stitch shines. I can see this being great used in a pattern with more intricate detailing. The colour is bold and eye catching, even in the darker shade, and this is consistent both as a ball and once worked up. 
There's no doubt this yarn is soft. When the package arrived and I pulled the balls from the bag, I was expecting a hard feeling rough ball, you can imagine my surprise when I picked up this silky, soft ball instead. As a ball it's soft and super squidgy (like a yarn stress ball!) in a yarn store I would definitely buy it on feel alone. Once worked up the piece is still very soft and not at all stiff. It has a slight elasticity to it and I can imagine it would feel great against the skin made up into a garment.

Ease of use

Now I said before, my bad experiences of cotton partially come from the splitting yarn or stiffness when crocheting, but there was none of this with good old Stylecraft. Don't get me wrong, when pulling my stitches tight (I crochet tightly, I'm not sure why it's just my style) I could feel that familiar stiffness I'd found with other yarns, so I was apprehensive. However the my hook just slid through the stitches with ease, gliding in and out like they were a match made in heaven! No splitting yarn here either, I hooked up my whole piece (yes it's not ginormous but still!) without encountering one split in the yarn, and no snagging on splitting yarn when pulling through stitches, what a joy.
The yarn also didn't fluff to much with handling. This is particularly important for me as I'm using it to make teething products, and fluff is rough when you're chewing on it.
Another plus, no stretching strands. Again this is due to my style, I'm forever pulling the strands to keep my work tight, and occasionally you get the yarn that stretches so the strand is 5 times thinner than when you started. Not here though. Here it seems consistency is key.
Colour choice

As you can see the brightness of the colours is not a problem at all. There are however only 28 shades to choose from, which isn't many if you consider paintbox yarns 56 shades or DMC's 73. This as the case may be there is in my opinion one of every colour, and the colours are bright and consistent throughout the ball, you just don't get as much choice when it comes to shade.
Price

Finally we come to the price. I bought my yarn here as at the time if you spent £30 on yarn you got 30% off! Which is a whopping great discount. The yarn is currently retailing on the site for £2.45 which when you shop around is the average price. It's not the cheapest on the market by all means, but equally it's not the most expensive either (some cottons retail at £4+!) and yes I'm stingy when it comes to spending! It's a good mid range price, and in my opinion well worth paying for. 

If you look below you'll find a handy pros and cons list.
As you can see I made up a super cute baby teether (bunny ears are adorable!) to test out the yarn. I was particularly drawn to cotton this year as I do want to expand to sell baby items in particular, so I thought what better tester to make than a mini bunny teether.
I have to say worked up id be happy to give this to my own child (if she wasn't 5 going on 15!) its very soft to touch, yet feels durable, and no doubt will soak up all that gorgeously gooey baby saliva!!!
Happy hooking from down the rabbit hole X