29 Apr. 2012

Crocheted Hats - my first crocheted wearables

This is my first big projects. By "big" I mean bigger than little flowers, bows and butterflies which are purely for decorating. And it's wearable.
I followed this Olivia's Butterfly tutorial. It was quick and easy. Only took me 1.5 hours. I planned to make it for DD2 who's 19 months, but it turned out big, perfect for DD1 who's 5yo. Lucky I've got two girls in the house.
I was excited that I finally crocheted something someone could wear. So I started trying another tutorial: Crochet Sun Hat (Granny Stitch), and made a brimmed hat for DD2. It took me 2.5 hours, and it turned out too small for her. :( I gave it away to a friend's 1yo.

Lessons learned. I started using rulers and existing hats to ensure I get the right size. So the second brimmed hat I made turned out quite good.
It would be perfect if DD2 would allow me to put it on so I could take a photo of it in action. :(

Crochet hooks holder

I bought a set of crochet hooks and have used them frequently. The hooks came with a plastic holder which is very handy. But as with all plastic products, the holder starts to tear and can't really hold some of the hooks any more. I find myself having to look for lost hooks from time to time.

So I decided to make a crochet hooks holder. I have seen crayons holders online before, and thought it's a good idea to make a similar one for the crochet hooks. So had a quick google, and found a quick tutorial, and had a quick look, and grabbed a piece of fabric that I was going to make something else but never got the motive to contine, and after over an hour on the sewing machine, I got a very pretty crochet hooks holder:

It's a thick velvety upholstery fabric that (I think) I got from the bargain bin in Spotlight years ago. The fabric feels very nice and strong and I think I can make very nice items out of it. It's been laying around having done various jobs such as covering the table when we played majong, covering the floor when DD2 had dinner in the dinning room which is covered by carpet, all sorts of things. I finally cut a piece off it the other day hoping to make a bag but gave up soon after I started. But today when I was trying to find a piece of fabric to make the crochet hooks holder, I fount the cut piece the perfect size for the project. So a piece all ready to sew!

The fabric is so thick, strong and tight that it's very hard to sew. I had to slow down the speed of the stitches so that I don't have accidents on the sewing machine. The last few stitches was a struggle and I don't think the machine could handle any more sewing on this fabric.
The strap on the side is from a bag of scrap trims that I bought from the Remanent Warehouse earlier this year. This is the whole length of the scrap trim. I was looking for a ribbon or something to sew on to the holder as a fastener once it's rolled up, and saw this piece and thought the colour would go with the holder, and it looks quite unique. The good thing about it is that it's easy to fasten with this piece.

The small black piece to hold the scissors was actually cut off a bra's shoulder strap. I was hoping to find a dark coloured elastic piece and going through my scrap box I found this maternity bra which is perfect for a pieces of black elastic.
It was a difficult project in terms of sewing, and the product turned out quite thick, but I think it's strong and will last a long time. I like the details of the project, the feeling of the velvety fabric, the strong and pretty fastening strap...

The start of my crocheting

I haven't sewn a lot of things lately. Mostly because I've been too busy. In the last couple of months I was working 4 days a week, looking for jobs, preparing applications and attending interviews, and when at home I still need to look after housework and my two little girls. I wouldn't say it was the busiest time of my life, as I've often had busy times since I had my first daughter, and I can't really remember which is the busiest, but the last couple months I found it really hard to cope and I kept forgetting things and finding things undone.

Good thing is that period finally ended with a new job, full time, about 40 minutes drive away from home. At least I don't have to look for jobs any more which took a huge load of pressure off me. I'm yet to see if I can cope with working full time though...

Anyway, before I started looking for jobs, I started my new hobby: crocheting. I had a very small amount of yarn from some of my crafting activities, then I was given some balls of yarns by a friend who left for overseas. I didn't think about what to do with them. Then one day I started thinking about learning to crochet. I was never interested in working with yarn before, but things like this happen, when suddenly you feel you want to get your hands on this. It's just about the right time, the right trigger. And I can't remember what triggered me. Maybe it's the frustration that I couldn't find time to sew but I still wanted to create things. Anyway I bought a set of hooks on Ebay from China. At that time I had no idea what kind of hook I would need to crochet, so I just bought the whole set, which cost me...I can't remember, maybe a couple dollars. Then it took them very long to arrive, maybe a month. During that time I read a lot of things about crocheting, including some books borrowed from our local library. As I spent over 1 hour each day on train commuting to and from work, I read the books on the train every day, so in my head I had a rough idea how crocheting works, which made it very easy when I started practicing later.

Then when I got the hooks I started learning. The first item I learned was crocheting a flower. I just went youtube, seached "crochet flower" and picked a video and followed the video. I think this one is the one I started with. The first flower I made had only four pedals. I must have done something wrong. But later on I got better and better. I made a few five-pedal flowers, then I started learning to make bows, butterflies etc. I attached them onto plain hair clips. I gave some of them to DD1 who loved them, and some to my boss at work who also had two girls about the same age range of my DDs. I think they make very good little gifts.

After some small projects, and my job stuff got settled, I started making bigger projects, which I will mention in other posts.

At the moment I put all my crochet stuff in a handbag. Most of the stuff are yarns, some are leftover cotton yarns from a freecycler, some are leftover from my projects. I don't have big amount of same yarns as I haven't started big projects that need a few balls of the same yarns yet. But I think I soon will need to buy some as a small collections of a big variety cannot satisfy the need for a big project such as a scarf, shawl, or a top.

In the crochet handbag there's also the roll of the crochet hooks, ranging from 2mm to 8mm. There's also a small pair of scissors, and some bits and pieces of small craft stuff such as plain hair clips that I can attach some final products on.

The hand bag is very handy as I can take it anywhere and crochet away whenever I want. I find crocheting better than sewing as it is mobile, needs minimum amount of supply and equipment, and I can use small amounts of time here and there. I often crochet in my bed before sleep, or on the train commuting to work, or in the train station waiting for the train.

So stay tuned, I will soon have some new posts about my crochet projects!