December 1st – Mary

 

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the virgin, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel.”

Isaiah 7:14

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Mary is the first figure to be taken out of the pocket for Day 1 of our Advent Calendar. All the figures stand about 4-5 inches high and are perfect for little fingers to play with.

For Mary, and actually the majority of the figures, I used this pattern by Carolyn Christmas from Ravelry:

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Her photography skills are certainly better than mine! It is a paid for pattern but definitely worth it. The instructions are easy to follow; she suggests using a bottle lid in the base to help the figures to stand and I found this worked well. For my Mary I used traditional blue and white. I used Stylecraft Special DK for all the figures, with some other odds and ends from my stash when the colours needed it. She suggested 4mm eyes which I found on Ebay by celloexpress.ni.

Here’s a couple of photos of my grandson with the Advent Calendar, (it’s huge) so excited!

I hope you enjoy this new series through Advent. I will try to post daily, but just in case life takes over, pop over to my DressedInCrochet Facebook page where I hope to have at least a picture of the figure for each day, if not a blog post.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Crocheted Nativity Advent Calendar

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I decided to make a crocheted nativity set for my grandchildren: Benedict (3) and Rose (1). I had been collecting possible patterns for a while and knew that this year they will enjoy telling the Christmas Story through their own play. Then, looking at Advent Calendars and not seeing eating chocolate every day as a meaningful preparation for Christ’s birth, I realised I could combine the two. So I set about planning my 25 figures – yes 25 because you have to put Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Day and not before! 25 figures…. 3 wise men, 3 camels, 3 gifts, that’s 9 already. We could have a few shepherds and a whole flock of sheep, it could be possible! I could just picture Benedict and Rose getting a new figure every day and telling the next part of the story. So we would need to start with Mary, Joseph and a donkey, then an innkeeper and so the nativity would develop.

But how on earth to store these figures? They are amigurumi, about 4 inches tall, but quite chubby. A pocket storage organiser to hang on the back of a door should do it. But by this time I was rather busy trying to get all 25 figures crocheted before December 1st so I asked my mum “Ganna” to join in and make this a project for 4 generations. With a little trip to Hobbycraft, a lot of scissors and glue, and getting the trusty sewing machine out again, she came up with this:

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Thanks Mum! The pockets are the perfect size, even for the camels. The pockets are felt squares, the backing is hessian and there is a doweling running through the top for it to hang from.

So we are nearly ready for Advent; waiting for the Lord. I just have 5 more figures to make this weekend and it will be ready.

I hope to post on the blog each day with a photo of the figure, the link to the pattern and I’m hoping Tess will add some photos of the children playing with them onto my DressedInCrochet Facebook page.

Finishing WIPs

I’m been finishing off a lot of WIPs (Work In Progress) and its such a lovely feeling 🙂 Most of them are baby related, some for my new granddaughter Rose and some for a new baby soon to be born to Jess at work.

Here we go with the photos:

WP_20151007_001 1This is a knitted babygrow; I do prefer the look of knitting to crochet for clothes, but am more prolific at crocheting, hence why I make so many blankets. The babygrow is from a Deramores pattern, I love the colours here: Stylecraft Shrimp and Saffron, and the contrasting colour changes hopefully make it a little more unique.

I also made an aran all-in-one for wearing outside with little wooden toggles, again this is knitted:

WP_20151124_001 and here’s a close-up of the cable:

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I’m going to have to get some photos of Rose wearing it, hopefully those photos will look better! Rose grew out of the shrimp and saffron one before I had finished it, so I have made his one extra long to fit. She’s going to be a tall girl!

Another knitted one: a tiny pink cardi with rosebuds and a little pearl button from the Sublime pattern book:

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A crocheted blanket for Jess’ baby using the Cedar River pattern from Deramores. It’s my first C2C blanket and a joy to make:

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I have also been making some Christmas baubles inspired by Heather at the Patchwork Heart:

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This is one of Heather’s photos, doesn’t she do beautiful staging. I’ve traded some crocheted baubles for some good photos of my own so I’m hoping they’ll make an appearance on my Etsy shop soon.

Continuing the Christmas theme, I have crocheted a gorgeous little stocking ready for Rose’ first Christmas, see the little red rose on the cuff so Santa knows whose presents to put in?

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Well blogging is an exhausting business, as is taking photos! So I shall get back to my restful hooking and continue with the Christmas bauble production line. And good news on the M.E. front: I have been given the go-ahead for a new wheelchair with a tilt-in-space mechanism. For those not au fait with wheelchairs and their tricks, it will hopefully mean that I can rest from my wheelchair, spend less time lying flat in bed and hopefully be sociable for longer before crashing. Happy days 🙂

 

Christmas Gifts; mug hugs and gloves

I’ve been busy finishing Christmas gifts for family members, but obviously couldn’t post photos before they were given. Firstly I did bow tie mug hugs and tea cosy. The pattern is from Simply Crochet magazine Issue 11 and easy to make.

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I had to adapt the pattern a little to fit the mugs I had as I needed a button to go through the handle. Choosing good buttons is part of the fun so spotty red was perfect.

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My mum specially requested some fingerless gloves. I had a pattern in The Art Of Crochet which I collected a couple of years ago. I see many of these patterns have now been released in a set of books by Nicki Trench which you can find at Amazon here.

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Its so satisfying making something like these; you can run them up in an evening – such a feeling of achievement.

Christmas Tree Tea Cosy

I’ve finally finished it – a Christmas Tree Tea Cosy!

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It was a request from my sister-in-law for her husband’s birthday which is in the middle of the Christmas season. I couldn’t find a pattern anywhere which was exactly right so I adapted patterns and invented my own bits. Firstly I used a pattern from millionbells at Ravelry:

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But this pattern meant sewing on all the branches individually and I hate sewing. So I used her base/lining as the shape and then made the outside of my teacosy using crocodile stitch. I had just mastered this through Mikey at Crochet Crowd’s brilliant video from youtube. So lots of crochet and very little sewing, my kind of project. I threaded little silver bells and red beads alternately onto my yarn so I could include them at the end of each crocodile stitch “branch.”

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When sewing it up I left a hole for the spout, and the handle on the other side. I joined the bottom with elastic. The pattern suggested a button but there are people in my house who would have the tea all over the table if they had to do up a button at the base of a tea cosy. The elastic worked just fine – it held the 2 sides together while giving enough stretch to get it over the teapot.

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Here’s a close up of the crocodile stitch, although the little silver bells don’t show up so well on these photos:

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and again, another photo of the finished tea cosy, with the star on the top from millionbells pattern:

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It was a lot of work, trial and error to get it just right. But I think it’s rather fun!

Christmas Stockings

After making some as presents for my younger nieces last Christmas, I have had a request to crochet stockings for the rest of the family. Its a pattern that I made up myself, using a 5mm crochet hook and I used Robin DK acrylic in Claret and Emerald, lovely Christmassy colours. Making the leg of the stocking is just perfect for today when I need something easy and relaxing. I’ve been having a bit of trouble with the Christmas tree tea cosy in crocodile stitch; it’s the first time I’ve done crocodile stitch and crocheting with beads and I’m finding it a little fiddly so today I fancied a relaxing change a whizzed through a stocking! Here it is as I’ve just made the heel;

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Last year when I made the stockings I chain stitched the name on the cuff. However I recently learnt how to do surface crochet which I far prefer; it gives the same result as chain stitch but you’re crocheting instead of sewing.

Here it is before I joined the cuff to the stocking:

Sarah on stocking

There we are, it is finished now. I hope it’s big enough for all her presents!

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Planning for Christmas

I love this time of year. I’m just starting to think about what Christmas presents I can crochet for friends and family. So I’ve had a lovely time browsing through pattern books and magazines, choosing presents I can make. Then of course there is the complete lack of guilt when I’m buying the yarn for these creations as I would have had to spend the money anyway. This way I get to crochet and they get beautiful handmade presents – win win all round I say!

I found this lovely pattern on Ravelry for mug hugs:

My brother-in-law has a thing about tea, so I want to make him a fun tea cosy. I found this one on Ravelry from millionbells:

It is soooo cute with little jingly bells dangling from each of the branches! But the downside of this design for me is that there’s lots of sewing together at the end as all the branches are made individually. So my plan, my cunning plan, is to use this pattern as a base but create the branches in crocodile stitch so I have no sewing to do. I’ve not made anything in crocodile stitch before but I found a great tutorial from the Crochet Crowd on youtube and now I think I can tackle it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

And for all the teenage girls / young ladies I will be buying presents for this year, I thought a cream chunky crochet cowl would be good. There was one in Simply Crochet magazine Issue 1 which I thought I’d try, or maybe just make it up as I go along.

Lastly Fr T will get his long socks for his wellies. I started them last year and he was expecting them for Christmas but I had just heard the exciting news that I was to be a grandmother, so his socks were abandoned as I busied myself crocheting baby clothes. Being poorly the last few days I needed some very simple crochet to do and long socks fitted the bill perfectly so they are back on track.