An African Flower Crochet Blanket… Part ONE

New project!! Whilst waiting to place a new yarn order to finish the Basket Weave Stitchblanket, I sorted through my yarn stash to start something new!

A while ago, I made a few African Flower animals by Heidi Bears which are so much fun to make!  I even entered the dragon into the Royal Melbourne Show crochet competition and came 2nd place!! ๐Ÿ™‚ very proud moment!!

So ever since I made these animals, I have been wanting to make an african flower blanket. I have seen such wonderful inspiration on Pinterest (My Pinterest ) of blankets made with African flowers, and decided its time I give it a go.

For my blanket I have used 8ply cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills in 7 colours:

  • Daffodil (yellow)
  • Sky (blue)
  • Blush (pink)
  • Wild Lavender (purple)
  • Peach (orange)
  • Honeydew (green)
  • Snow (white)

I used the Daffordil (yellow) for all the flower centres and the Snow (white) for the joining and the last round of the flowers.  That leaves 5 different coloured flowers. For example –  5 x pink petal flowers, 5 x blue petal flowers etc, with each pink petal flower having one of the other colours as the border.  That makes 30 flowers in total (i had 2 flowers left over as spares).

Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Thirteen

To make the flowers, I used the same tutorial from Heidi Bears.  All flowers are hexagons, so they have 6 petals. and 6 sides.  They are quick and quite simple to make!! And you can make the flowers all in one colour too, if you would like.  Link is here – Heidi Bears Hexagon Tutorial

So once I have made all the flowers, I lay them out on my table.  I am quite a bit OCD when it comes to layout, and didnt want any of the same colour flowers to be touching.  Made me think of little kids who don’t like their food to touch haha i am the same with my crochet.

Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - One

When making these flowers, I try to crochet over the ends as much as I can as I go, so I do not end up with a million ends to sew.  Ends are just horrible! My least favorite part.  I left the ends for the last round, the white, as I will sew them in as I join the flowers together.

Now with the joining.  You can use the JAYG (join as you go) method to join these together.  If you decide to use the JAYG method, stop crocheting the flowers before the last white round, as this is the round you will do as you join.

Instead I decided to sew the flowers together using my tapestry needle.  This is how I joined them:

Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Eight

First I worked in rows, by just attaching one side of each flower together for the first row.  Take one flower and align the 2 sides together.  One side is 7 stitches.  Start by inserting your needle into the chain 1 stitch of the first side, and sewing across the side until you reach the next chain 1 (7 stitches).  Make sure you sew into the chain 1.

Then start with the next flower for that row, it will look like this:

Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Seven

Continue till you get to the end of the first row.  Then do the same for the next row.  Sew 2 sides of 2 flowers together, until you reach the end.  Now you can sew together the first two rows.  Using the same method, starting at the chain 1 at the end of the row, and working all the way across until you reach the chain 1 at the end of the row.

Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Three

Once you have the first 2 rows sewn together, you can then join the 2 sides of each flower on the 3rd row (like you did for the first) then sew that row onto the 2 rows already sewn together.  And so on, until you have finished sewing all the flowers together!  Sew over the ends from the last round as you go, that way you will just need to snip the tails off when you are done!

Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Six Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Nine Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Ten

And there you go!! All your flowers have now been joined together!! Now of course you can do as many flowers as you want, you can make the blanket as wide or as long or as BIG as you want as well.

To finish, you could do a single crochet or a double crochet border all the way around, or simply leave it as it is.  I think the shape is quite different and unique, and would look pretty just as it is.

However, I am going to add a little bit more detail and pattern to this blanket, as I would like it to be BIGGER!! Join me soon, for Part TWO!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you found this useful, and you love making African Flowers!! See you for Part Two soon, love Nat xxx

Little Cosy Things - African Flower Crochet - Eleven

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Work in progress.. the Basket Weave crochet stitch

I wanted to try something different and do some mindless crochet. My first love has always been crocheting blankets. I haven’t done one in a while, so I searched around for a new stitch, and feel in love with the Basket Weave Stitch!

It’s quite an easy stitch to learn, and once you have the hang of it, it works up quick and you don’t need to pay much attention to what you are doing. Perfect for something to do when you just want to unwind.

The stitch also makes your yarn extra thick, soft and squishy. With no gaps in between it makes a very warm blanket. Would even work as a rug or mat.

 
I have used 10 ply wool yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills in the Luxury range, and I started with just plain cream. I have been using a 5mm hook. You could go down a hook size to create a tighter weave too, especially for a rug.

 
I then began adding some splashes of colour, I love colour and thought the plain cream would get boring after a while. Although a plain cream baby blanket with a colour border would be gorgeous!! 

The next colours I have added are Aquarium (green/aqua) and Lavender (purple). i wasn’t sure about doing a colour change with this stitch, as it’s normally worked in just one colour, but I’m loving the different pattern it creates.

 
I then did a few more rows of Cream, then added a row of Sunflower (yellow). And am now continuing with Cream again.

I’ve now run of yarn for the blanket!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ but now I got an excuse to place another order ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

I don’t have a plan for this blanket, and am just changing colour when I feel it needs it. I’ll do an update once I’ve done some more!

One complete row of basket weave is actually 3 rows of stitches. Then you alternate to create the weave look.

To do basket weave, you need to crochet into the Front Posts and Back Posts not the stitches. It actually makes it a lot quicker to work up this way as you’re not fiddling around looking for the stitches.

  
I started by chaining in multiples of 8, plus 3 for turning. Basket weave is done using all DC stitches (US terms).

You work dc stitches into the front posts for 4 stitches, then the back posts for 4 stitches, then back in the front posts etc, this creates the weaved look. You will follow this pattern for 3 rows, then you alternate by starting with back posts, then front posts for 3 more rows, and you continue alternating every 3 rows over and over again. 

 

working in front posts

  

working in back posts

 
There is a fantastic video tutorial on how to do the Basket Weave Stitch available here by The Crochet Crowd.

Love Nat xx

Let’s get physical.. Aerobics Giraffe! Amigurumi Giraffe Crochet in 80s style

Whilst sorting through my yarn, deciding on a new project.. feeling a little lost and lacking inspiration (it happens sometimes) I put these two yarn balls down next to each other.. and Voila! Inspiration!

Orange & Pink, not colours I would normally put together BUT instantly Olivia Newton John and “Let’s get Physcial” popped into my head.. and since I’m an 80s baby I thought, why not do an Aerobics Giraffe!! Leg warmers, sweat band and all.

I used cotton yarn from my favorite yarn shop,ย Bendigo Woollen Millsย in 8ply. Colours – Peach (Orange), Blush (Pink), Wild Lavender (Purple) & Sky (blue, for the eyes).


Aerobics Giraffe, fresh from the gym. Featuring an acrylic felt sweatshirt, over a purple and pink leotard. Perfect for an aerobics class.


A purple sweat band, so her electric blues eyeliner stays in place.

And purple leg warmers finish the ensemble, to match her leotard and sweat band of course.

Don’t forget your sun glasses with this giraffe!! She’s bright and incredibly colourful. Perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

ย And she’s quite the show off too!! Demonstrating here how she can do the splits!! A very talented giraffe I must say!

Ideas of doing an upcoming aerobics video are now coming to mind.. so stay tuned!! Haha how can I resist?!

I love making these giraffes, and now I have many more ideas for giraffes from different eras, and costumes. I had way too much fun making her, it’s always such a thrill when you see a little idea in your mind created in person. Oh how I love to crochet!! I hope you love Aerobics Giraffe too ๐Ÿ™‚ if you have any ideas or suggestions for another themed giraffe or costume, I would love to hear your suggestions.

Love Nat xxx

Ps. Pattern for giraffes are by Kornflake Stew. Find Alison on Instagram @kornflake_stew or the pattern in her etsy store – ย ย https://www.etsy.com/shop/KornflakeStew

Aerobics Giraffe is also ready to purchase in my etsy shop –ย https://www.etsy.com/listing/233816168/giraffe-stuffed-animal-crochet-giraffe

Amigurumi Crochet – Sleepy Bunny – pattern testing for Kornflake Stew

  
I was very excited to be asked by lovely and talented Alison from Kornflake Stew (details below) to test her new pattern for a Sleepy Bunny.

I was already a HUGE fan of Alison’s patterns, as I’ve been making her gorgeous giraffes. So I was thrilled when she asked me to test her new pattern for this bunny.

I used 8ply cotton yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills in Snow and Pink Rose. Cotton is my favorite yarn to use, especially with Amigurumi. I’ll write a seperate post about my love of cotton and why I prefer using it soon.

  
I love how Sleepy Bunny ears have been made using tapestry crochet to create little hearts. A technique that isn’t daunting as it looks, as Alison describes in great detail how to make the hearts if you’ve never done tapestry crochet before. And once you’ve done some tapestry crochet, you will want to do more!! I fell in love with this style of crochet after a couple of months of learning to crochet and am planning on doing some tutorials in the future on how to make blankets.

Sleepy Bunny’s arms and legs are very quick to make too, as they are small rounds, and they aren’t stuffed. But they look so cute with the stripes that look like little leg warmers.

The technique of doing the eyes is very well explained in the pattern with photos to guide you too. These eyes are great for babies and little ones, as they are so much safer that the plastic safety eyes. And they create such a cute little personality for bunny.

  
And that little crochet cardigan, so cute! Also part of the Alison’s wonderful pattern!

  
You can find Alison’s patterns on her Etsy store, she has loads to choose from, and I can’t wait to try more.

Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/shop/KornflakeStew

Instagram – @kornflake_stew

I hope you enjoy making a Sleepy Bunny as much as I did! Thank you to beautiful Alison for allowing me to test this pattern for you, you are incredible and I’m a big fan of your work ๐Ÿ™‚ xx 

Happy hooking!

Nat xxx

This finished Sleepy Bunny is available via my Etsy shop to purchase – https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleCosyThings

What’s in the box? – some crochet tools I use (and recommend)

   
 If you follow me on Instagram (@littlecosythings) you’ll see these boxes in a lot of my photos. The small one was given to me by my gorgeous sister in law for Christmas when I first started to crochet to store all my bits and pieces! Such a beautiful gift. I loved the box and the sentiment, so I went and bought another matching one! These boxes are always by my side.

So what’s in the box? In the little box I store all my yarn ends and bits of embroidery threads. In the big box, I store all my tools, hooks, and bits and bobs.

Let’s have a look inside the box..

  
You’ll see my set of clover hooks, stork scissors, stitch marker, stitch counter, tapestry needles, and a chopstick. Yes, a chopstick haha.

I’ll go into each in a little more detail, and compare them to different styles I have tried and which I like best.

First let’s start with what every hooker needs – Crochet Hooks

 
These are the hooks I use, they are called Clover Armour hooks, and I bought them in a set from size 2mm to 6mm. There are more sizes available, and they can be bought individually too. 

(Let me just say I’m not way associated with clover or being paid by them, this is just my personal opinion I want to share with you)

Comparison of Clover Armour hooks, to other hooks I’ve used before:

   
All these hooks are the same size (5mm) on the left we have a blue Clover Armour hook, in the middle is a metal hook, and the one on the right is a bamboo hook.

I prefer the Clover Armour, firstly for that squishy soft handle. I found I could crochet for hours longer than I could with the metal hook and the bamboo. I don’t like the feel of the hard metal hook, and my hand would slide around. The bamboo hook was a bit nicer to hold, but the yarn would sometimes snag on the hook part.

The downfall with the armour hook is that space between the hook metal part and the handle. If you are doing a project that needs you to keep more than 5 or so loops on your hook, then it gets quite tight as the padded handle gets in the way. Whereas with the metal and bamboo hook, you don’t have to worry about space.

Next is the way the yarn glides on the hook. As soon as I used the clover Armour hook the very first time, I noticed straight away how beautifully the yarn slides on the hook and how it slides so effortlessly between stitches. Which made my crochet so much faster! I was able to hook for longer and faster with the new hooks. 

Once a week I give my crochet hooks a wash in warm soapy water. The oils from your hand can leave residue on your hook handles and make them harder to hold. Plus they can get pretty grimy and germy too. Yes, it might be a little OCD.. but I find washing them can make a difference.

Tapesty Needles

You will need these to sew in ends of your project. The horrible little ends lol I’m still hoping for a magic end fairy to come and sew them in for me, but until that happens, think we have to do it ourselves.

I bought these little metal tapestry needles for crochet, and I love them so much more than the plastic ones.

 
They came in a few different sizes for different thicknesses of yarn. I use the smaller metal needle for my cotton and 8ply or thinner yarn. And I use the big needle for 10ply plus yarn. They have a blunt end so they won’t snag or split your stitches, and they can’t break like the plastic ones. Like the hooks, I found these metal needles so much easier to work with, as they glide in between the stitches so effortlessly and they can squeeze into those tight stitches. It made sewing in ends a tiny bit less tedious.

Stitch Markers

  

Those little plastic horrible snappy breakable tedious cheap stitch markers drive me crazy. There are fiddly and time consuming to open and close and they snag your stitches and break. I really don’t like them.

Now look at these adorable little glass stitch markers (I brought these from lovely @flaminbeads on Instagram). They are not only totally cute, and brighten up my world, but they don’t snag the stitch, they are easy to open and move to the next row or spot, and they don’t break. There are lots of adorable stitch markers on Etsy and some amazing people who make them on Instagram. My two favorites are @flamingbeads & @pedro_plaques who also has an etsy store – http://www.etsy.com/shop/pedrosplaques 

What are stitch markers for? And why do I need them?

Stitch markers are to mark a stitch. Haha. But why do I want to mark a stitch? They are mostly used for amigurumi or any project that requires you to continuously work around without chaining and/or turning your work to start a new row. When you are doing a project, like a beanie, you work in spirals around and around. But you need to remember where you started your row, which is where you will end that row. That’s why you need a stitch marker! It hooks onto the last stitch of the row you just finished so when you work around in the spiral and reach the stitch marker again you know you’ve done 1 row ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Scissors

Crochet needs scissors too, to cut your yarn of course! I love my little stork scissors, because they are pretty and they are super sharp, which means that cut a nice crisp end on my yarn, which is easier to thread into the tapestry needle when I need to sew it in. Plus the scissors are small and easily fit into my box, or your project bag, or handbag or wherever you are taking your crochet.

Stitch Counter

 
I’ve had a lot of people ask me what this is and what I use it for? And when I tell people, and they go buy one they don’t know how they didn’t have one before! I loooove this little tool, and apart from my hooks, it’s my most used tool.

This stitch counter is by Clover as well, like my hooks. But there are lots of different ones available. Find them at yarn shops, and craft stores.

What is it for? It’s a counter.. and I use to keep count of my rows. So, if I’m doing a project and the pattern says:

Row 12 – 18: 1 sc in each st (16)

So that means I need to do 7 rows of the same amount and type of stitch.

 How do I keep track of how many rows/rounds I have done? I click on my stitch counter at the end of each row! And it keeps track. Phone rings, hubby talks to me, I want to make a coffee, or if I’m putting down my project.. i can remember how many rows I have done and what I was up to. It’s fantastic!! I don’t loose count and I can put my project down and come back to it without wondering where I was. This particular counter has a little lock on the bottom, so it can’t accidentally be knocked or clicked.. (great if you have kids! or for your project bag).

Chopstick 

So why the chopstick? It’s for stuffing! It comes in handy when doing amigurumi and you need to stuff into a small space or for example stuffing a leg or giraffe neck and you need to get the stuffing nice and tight. I use the flat square end of the chopstick to push the stuffing into the amigurumi. You can use a pencil or the end of a hook, but I find a chopstick works the best!

Well that’s it for what’s in my box! It’s given me an idea.. maybe a competition on Instagram (stay tuned!)

Hope you’ve enjoyed my first blog post!! I hope it’s helped and you’ve got some new info. 

What crochet tools do you love? How do you store your supplies? I would love to know what’s in your crochet box/bag/basket?

Love Nat xxx