New Year, New Look

Hi!

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

December passed in a blur and I am sure I am not the only one feeling like that. I’ve taken the first few days of January as an opportunity to reflect on what is next for T&T and this blog.

Truth be told, I love crafting but I sometimes find writing about it a drag. Other times, I have far too much to say! So…this year, I am planning to mix it up a bit. I have even written a blogging schedule! I hope you like the new look.

I can’t believe that the last time that I blogged was 25 November. That means that I haven’t shared anything of Christmas at T&T HQ. So, just before 12th night ends, here it is (or was!):

 

 

I’ve included a few pics of the T&T crew because, really, the children were what Christmas was all about. I hope you laughed at our attempt at a gingerbread house! It completely fell apart. Oops!!

Today has been my first day back at the T&T desk (well, actually, the sofa as my desk is covered in Christmas decorations that still need boxing!) and it feels good. I have been furiously planning and preparing.

And, just before I go, I thought that you might like to see the inspiration for T&T for 2016:


Happy New Year!

Much love,

Lou xx

 

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A Christmas Wreath – Holly Pattern

I’m still here, just incase you thought I might have disappeared again! It as been crazily busy at T&T HQ the last few weeks but that isn’t the whole reason that I have been quiet – Instagram also has a part to play! I’ve discovered it in the last month and need to admit that I am totally addicted to hundreds of little pieces of creative magic that are living within my phone at this very moment. If you haven’t investigated it yet – it’s almost as addictive as Pinterest! You can find me at https://instagram.com/tinyandtoad/.

Last time I popped in for a chat, I shared details of my wreath competition the prize being this year’s version of my very first crochet wreath:

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I have received so many compliments on what, I must admit, is my absolutely favourite creation that I decided to time how long it would take for me to hook a replica with a view to making them for sale in my Etsy shop. I guessed at around the 10 hour mark and I was wrong but, sadly, not wrong enough to make it viable for me to make and sell any more of these Christmassy treats.

Here, then, is my Christmas Wreath v.2 (I  wish I could remember how I made the original bow!):

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…these are all of the component parts…:

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…and this is the timer on my phone as I pressed stop for the last time:

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Time and handmade are words which do not fit easily into the same sentence because creativity cannot be measured in minutes, seconds or hours but rather in passion. For the creative me, the need to create something that I perceive to be beautiful is the driving force in everything that I make and time is secondary. For the me that just opened an Etsy shop, time matters and this is a make that just takes a bit too much of it.

I’ve decided tho that that isn’t going to be the end of my Christmas Wreaths, and that the best way to achieve that is to share the pattern. So, without further ado, here is my Holly Pattern.

T&T Christmas Holly

The pattern is written in UK terms

I used a 4mm hook and Stylecraft Special DK in meadow and khaki.

You will find this easier if you hook the foundation chain in fairly loose stitches as you are going to need to crochet into the chain from both sides – you are going to be crocheting around the end of the chain

Stitches used:

Chain (ch) Slip Stitch (sl st)

Double Crochet (dc) Half Treble Crochet (htr)

Foundation Row: Chain 10

Sl st into the first ch from the hook, working along the foundation chain dc, dc, htr, htr, htr, htr, dc, dc, and sl st in  in last ch.

You should now have something that looks like this:
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Now ch1 to take you around the end before you start working back down the other loop of the foundation chain.

Start with a sl st into the other loop of the last ch worked as below:

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Working back along the foundation chain, now dc, dc, htr, htr, htr, htr, dc, dc and sl st into the last ch. Do not join.

Now to make the stem.

Ch4 and sl st into second ch from your hook, sl st into the remaining two ch and you should now have a leaf shape like this:

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…but holly isn’t holly without prickles!

So, let’s add those. You are going to work a second row around the edge of the leaf.

Sl st into both the sl st and first dc from previous row.

To make the prickle, ch3 and sl st into the second ch from the hook. Dc into remaining ch and sl st into next stitch on previous row (dc). Repeat another 3 times until you have created 4 prickles and reached the end of the first side:

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(You need to sl st and ch3 to make the prickle in the following stitches:First htr, Third htr and Second dc. And sl st only into the stitches between these).

The prickle on the end of the holly leaf is made by making a sl st into the back loop of the ch that you made to go around the end of the leaf on the previous row. This prickle is worked slightly differently, so ch3 again and sl st into second ch from hook but, this time, htr into next ch.

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To work back down the other side, sl st into the sl st from previous row. *Sl st into first dc from previous row and ch3. Now create the prickle as before (sl st into second ch from hook and dc into remaining chain) and sl st into second dc from previous row. Repeat from * three times down the side until you have four prickles (sl st and ch3 into the following stitches – first htr, third htr, first dc).

The last stitch is a sl st into sl st from previous row.

Fast off and darn in the ends.

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From me to you, an early Merry Christmas!

Please feel free to contact me if you need any help with the pattern.

Thanks for reading!

T&T

Did someone say competition?

I’m currently having a little down time as it is half term here in the UK. 

It’s been a busy week since launching T&T on Etsy and I have got far too many ideas of what to work on next!

Here’s a few pics from my first week:

   
    
    
    
    
   
I’ve got so many ideas for new projects I barely know where to start.

…but the next one is going to be a competition to win this year’s version of my Christmas Wreath. Last year’s is pictured below:

  
For your chance to win, head over to my Facebook page here.

I can’t wait to start creating my new wreath – first thing on Wednesday morning. Christmas 2015, here we come!

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Don’t be afraid to fail (or, feel the fear and do it anyway)

As a child, I am told, my “little fingers were always busy”. I’m an only child that was rarely bored. In part, because my Mum was great at making sure I had lots of friends over to play (and, of course, that was a time in which ‘playing out’ was the norm – the ‘good old days’) but also because I had a craft cupboard for most of my childhood and I could usually find a way to delve into it and entertain myself.

During the friendship bracelet craze, I’d created my own designs whilst my friends were buying theirs in town, I cross stitched, french knitted, dried flowers, created fairy gardens. You name it,  I was there. Oh, and there was the time when I accidentally knocked a bottle of ink (remember Quink ink for re-filling your fountain pens?) all over my Mum’s beautiful pine kitchen table in the name of some crafty project or another.

Then I became a young woman, went away to university and left crafting at home in a village in Norfolk. For much of the subsequent 12 years, life’s greatest pleasures revolved around cheap wine, great nights out (some of which are best forgotten) and that hunt my 20 something self would never have admitted to, you know, the one for Mr Right (I found him).

Then, in 2009, life threw me a curveball and I became ill, the vices of the previous years fell by the wayside and I needed something to do to keep my hands busy and my mind on something other than the low-risk chemo that I was undergoing. A friend had recently discovered crochet and I decided to give it a try too. I bought a book and, to this day, I am not sure I understand the diagrams but I very much understand how to crochet thanks to Youtube and lots and lots of practice.

I produced some decidedly ropey pieces six years ago, but it was wonderful therapy. Really wonderful therapy. It still is.

In 2011 Toad arrived early one Autumn morning and the nesting instinct re-ignited my interest in crochet. Tiny’s arrival in the summer of 2013 turned it from a hobby into an obsession and, somehow, during the first three months of his life I managed to complete my first big project (after their baby blankets) – an advent calendar for the boys:

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Christmas 2013
This little chap also came to join us for Christmas 2013:

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This is Ahren the elf and, goodness me, wasn’t he a challenge in my sleep-deprived state and without the hours and hours of crochet that I have enjoyed since then. One leg is fatter than the other and he isn’t quite the same shape as the elf from the pattern that I used.

BUT…

Ahren and the mini stockings were something I made for my children without the fear of failure and they led me to be starting this blog which brought me to feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

You see, I had an itch that I just had to scratch. An itch that just wouldn’t go away no matter how much fear I felt so I decided to do it any way – on Friday I opened an Etsy store.

I’m feeling the fear posting this today, I’m feeling the fear about sending out my first orders but I am doing it anyway. I’m doing it because I don’t want to live with the regret of never having tried.

I love to craft, I need to craft, I can’t not craft and now I’m working my socks off in the hope that some folks out there love, need and can’t not have my craft as much as I want them to share in my crafty little obsessions.

So, here’s a peek at the process:

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And here’s what I did anyway (which you can find at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TinyandToad):

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Life is too short to live it in regret so, feel the fear and do it anyway.

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xx