Crochet Heart Pattern

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Over the past month or so I’ve have been giving beginner’s crochet classes to a lovely group of women at my local library. I think the classes went reasonably well. I massively underestimate how long it would take to teach the basics to a group of seven. This is no reflection on the course attendees, simply a matter of scale. When learning crochet the most important and hardest thing is knowing where to stick your hook. Having to stop at each step to check everyone is getting theirs in the right space is time consuming when you multiply it by seven.

By the third class though, everyone had made a heart. Through this they learnt to increase and decrease stitches which made it an excellent project as well as cute.

I promised them faithfully that I would send them the pattern, but I wanted to check it was right as I hastily noted it down during the class (hey, I only charged £2 a go, I’m not exactly a crochet sensei yet!) The pattern is below. The heart it makes is about 3 inches, but it could be easily scaled up by repeating rows 10 and 11 (obviously with different stitch counts). This is my first published pattern so let me know if there are any problems.

Heart Pattern

Abbreviations

St(s) = stitch(es)
Dc = double crochet
Dc2tog = double crochet two stitches together
Ch = chain

2ch
Row 1: 2dc in 2nd chain from hook (1st chain) chain 1 then turn (2 stitches)
Row 2: 2dc in each stitch, chain 1 then turn (4 sts)
Row 3: 1dc in each stitch, chain 1 then turn (4 sts)
Row 4: 2dc in 1st stitch, 1dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in last st, chain 1 then turn (6 sts)
Row 5: 1dc in each st, chain 1 then turn (6 sts)
Row 6: 2dc in 1st st, 1dc in next 4 sts, 2 dc in last st, chain 1 then turn (8 sts)
Row 7: 1 dc in each st, chain 1 then turn (8 sts)
Row 8: 2dc in 1st st, 1dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in last st, chain 1 then turn (10 sts)
Row 9: 1 dc in each st, chain 1 then turn (10 sts)
Row 10: 2dc in 1st st, 1dc in next 8 sts, 2 dc in last st, chain 1 then turn (12 sts)
Row 11: 1 dc in each st, chain 1 then turn (12 sts)

Continue, making the first curve of the heart

Row 12: 1dc in each of the first 6 sts, chain 1 then turn (6 sts)
Row 13: 1dc in each st, chain 1 then turn (6 sts)
Row 14: dc2tog, dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog, chain 1 then turn (4 sts)
Row 15: dc2tog x 2 (2 sts)
Tie off

To make 2nd curve of the heart join new yarn in the 7th st of Row 11, i.e. in the middle next to the 1st curve

Row 12: 1ch then dc in the same st, 1dc in next 5 sts, chain 1 then turn (6 sts)
Row 13: 1dc in each st, chain 1 then turn (6 sts)
Row 14: dc2tog, dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog, chain 1 then turn (4 sts)
Row 15: dc2tog x 2 (2 sts)
Tie off

Sew in the ends.

Happy Hooking!

Home is where the heart cushion is

This old thing? We just call it home.
Erm, other people call it Middleton Lodge, home of Lady G's Cookery school.

We live in a rented house. Yes we are mature married adults with two children and we don’t own a house. This mostly doesn’t bother me. In the current climate I am glad we didn’t listen to the family members who insisted that we get one of those 100+% mortgages a quite frankly we’d be screwed right now.

 

It bothers me sometimes. I can’t think of any of our friends who don’t own their own house. Every now and then I have a bit of a freak out thinking “OMG we’ve got no mortgage we are going to be working until we’re 105 or else we are going to be destitute on the street “. But my issues have only ever been financial ones. The last two flats we lived in were fab. The first one was a raised ground floor Victorian flat. It had an avocado bathroom suite, which let me tell you, I loved. As I went blinking and bleary eyed into the bathroom to do my morning ablutions I was soothed by the calming green and wood panelled bath, rather than a glaring white thing. The flat was in a fashionable area of town, with leafy avenues and poncey shops. The alcoves either side on the marble fireplace were bowed with the weight of our books. I loved it. Our last flat was On the first floor of a beautiful Regency villa. The living room was over 30 long and had 4 original 9ft sash windows. The flat was lovely and bright and big, and we had furniture and wicker baskets slung casually around the rooms, and our furniture was just the right side of shabby chic. We bought a massive 4 seater sofa, which conveniently hid all of Betty’s toys behind it. Both these flats were minutes walk from the fashionable town we lived in. In both these places I felt completely at home.

 

Both flats were sold from under us. The first when Betty was 3 months old. The second when I was 6 months pregnant and had a toddler. We were devastated. We now live in a boxy new build, nearer to the not-so-fashionable city, in walking distance of a Co-op and the school. One the upside we have central heating and double glazing. Our energy bills are next to nothing. We have a garden for the kids to play in. We have two floors; no snotty cow above us stomping around in her stilettos; no slacker below us, filling our flat with the fumes of stale marijuana. But this house feels a small and boxy, we are crammed into a suburban development in the middle of more suburbia. Our 9ft sofa that was dwarfed by our old flat now looks monstrous, and the shabby chic furniture looks shabby shit against the magnolia walls and plasticky doors. But mostly, it has no soul. It’s definitely what you would call a ‘first-world problem’ to feel depressed by a house, especially a brand new one, but I can help but feel a little down about it sometimes. DH feels the same. The house almost sucks the soul out of us. What an awfully trite complaint, hey?

 

Anyway, there is a point to this soul bearing, and it is that in this house more than any, we have had to work at making it feel like home. We can afford to move. We’d be mad to. Our landlord isn’t going to sell anytime soon, we have a garden, and a garage, it’s near Betty’s school, and needs absolutely nothing doing to it. Flat no.1 that we lived in hadn’t been decorated or remodelled in 20 years. We just have to make the best of it. But making a place feel like home when you have a constant sense of impermanence is hard. Much of it depends on the flexibility of your landlord, but you have to find ways of making the house feel like it is your home, adding your stamp without the stamp duty.

 

The reason I’m writing this blog post now is because recently I was discussing the issue with another blogger Life of an Expat Parent and she decided to host a link up. We want to have a series of posts about how to make a house a home. Most home style books and blogs rarely take into account renters and the lack of permanence and control we have over our houses. A lot of the crafting I do is to this end. Some of this will be familiar to my die hard readers, but to those who haven’t been following my blog I hope I can offer some inspiration.

Cushions are a really easy way add a bit of your own style to a house. I prefer an eclectic assortment. I say assortment; I have two currently, but am working on more. Cushions are really easy to make yourself, and simple cushions in bright fabrics can be a quick crafting win. These two took a little longer, more details on the heart cushion here and the wolf one here.

 

Blankets are another way of adding a bit of colour to your living space. Unfortunately due to being whatever the opposite of a completer-finisher is, blankets are my nemesis. These crochet squares never quite reached their dream of becoming a beautiful blanket, but were destined instead to brighten up a cheap upligher.

This cute chalkboard is great for keeping track of your shopping list, writing messages to other members of your family, or just doing seasonal drawings. It’s easy to make and easy to put up and take down. For the record, toothpaste is meant to be good for filling holes left by nails (caveat: I’ve never tried this!).

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We’ve had this stool since we lived in flat number two, where we could afford to have random pieces of furniture strewn around. Now it just gets moved around the kitchen out of the way according to which cupboard I need to get to. Or else the baby takes it so that she can reach something she shouldn’t have. We originally bought it from an antique shop but I expect a forensic analysis of the paint samples would date it to circa 1990. Anyway, I thought it was time to tart it up.

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A lick of paint and some easy crochet circles and it looks fresh and bright to match our new, modern and often messy kitchen.

 

I’ve never been a huge fan of the vintage/retro/nostalgia fashions that are popular now, nor am I a fan of ultra modern or contemporary fashions that will date. I am really inspired by the bright fresh colours and Scandi sleekness of By Frydd, and the eclectic mix of decor in Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers.

And this one is on my wish list:

 

And finally for cheap furniture and accessories that aren’t completely devoid of style you just can’t beat Ikea. So in essence, renting a house doesn’t mean you cant make it feel like home. There’ll be more from me on this. My home is still a work in progress.

Love is Making It’s Way Back Home

I forgot to blog about the little Valentine’s Day present I sent to my mum. She reads my blog so I didn’t want to give the surprise away beforehand.

 

The idea came from Crochet Spot which has a pattern, but actually it’s as simple as can be, a crochet square folded into an envelope. This is a great project for novice crocheters who are just experimenting with squares but want to actually make something.

 

The origami heart comes from Girligami but there are instructions for a similar heart here.

 

While we are on the subject of love, you have to check out this video Love is Making It’s Way Back home, made solely with over 12,000 pieces of construction paper. It’s a visual delight. I came across this fab creation via the Meet Me at Mike’s blog.

 

Spread a little love yourself, you don’t need 12,000 pieces of paper! One is enough to make an origami heart for the one you love. Have a lovely day!

Sling when you’re winning

I’ve had an exhausting day today. My mum came up, along with my sister, sister in law and their respective sons. The boys are aged 20 months and 7 months, so along with my two you can imagine how full our little house seemed. I spent the day cleaning, shopping, cooking, baking and pacifying various children.

I gave my sister in law the mei tai sling that I was desperately trying to finish at 10.30 last night. I have several ‘pinjuries’ as a result but I’m pretty pleased with it.

There are some scrappy bits. I’m not brilliant with a sewing machine, and if truth be told I don’t love doing it. May I will love it more if I become better at it, vicious cycle really. But I do love the pleasure of having made something myself. And I just hope other people don’t see the scrappy bits which are glaringly obvious to me. This is the tutorial that I based the sling on, though without a headrest.

Hold on to your uteruses ladies!

Final update on the heart. Sadly no one game enough to email me their message. Nor did I hear from the flower recipient. However, a local photographer emailed me. He thought my heart was a great idea and blogged about it here.

Write your message here!

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I am so ridiculously excited by this yarn bomb. I expect you are all bored of me harping on about it by now, but you have to admit it looks awesome!

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I was amazingly organised, I even whipped up a little eraser to rub out previous messages. If this doesn’t last till tomorrow I WILL actually cry! I’m going to check it out in broad daylight tomorrow over a stealth cup of tea. I may even leave a message for my own loved one…

 

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This one is on a nearby bike rack. It reads “Pssst…forget to buy a Valentine’s present? I got your back. Give this to someone who deserves it” and I left my blog dtails. If you picked it up let me know!

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And this one? Well, this one is a surprise for someone at a secret location…

 

Cushty

I Heart My Homemade Cushion

So I mentioned that we’ve been trying to make our house a little more of a home. DH and I have had the week off this week, with big plans, but as usual, with two young kids, everything takes much longer than you think. But we managed a few things. I’m incredibly pleased with my crocheted heart cushion. No, I’m not obsessed with hearts by the way (don’t get me started on grown women ‘collecting’ things like hearts, elephants, Disney memorabilia…!). But hearts are so nice and cheerful, are they not?

 

I used a pattern from The Left Side of Crochet, which I love and will definitely use again, especially as by now I know it off by heart (excuse the pun!). I whip stitched the 16 squares together, then whip stitched (is that an Americanism? I’m not sure what the UK equivalent is) the crocheted cover straight onto a cheap and cheerful, plain white Ikea cushion. I didn’t do the back, just stitched the from straight on. The cover doesn’t even come off the Ikea cushion. I’m hoping that the whole thing can go straight in the wash if necessary *crosses fingers*.

Guerrilla woolfare

My heart is pumping, I look left and right to see who might be watching me, in the dark of the night. My hands quiver as I try to quickly tie up my package. I curse myself for not picking the ideal position in my anxiety for haste. Too late now, I have to finish the job I started. I whip my blade out to cut off the ends. I stand back to survey my work. With my camera phone I take two quick snaps as evidence then quickly walk back the way I came, hands in my pockets, aiming for casualness, but not quite carrying it off. I chance one last glimpse behind me. Is that someone stopped in the spot where I was just standing? Will my package be where I left it by morning? Or will the short arm of bureaucracy sweep away my symbol of hope in a world of steel and concrete, for no good reason other than doing the Right Thing rather than the Nicest Thing. I don’t know how long I will last in this game. If anyone asks, you haven’t seen me right? You know nothing.

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