Crochet A Circle Cushion With Free Pattern

I am on a bit of a crochet kick at the moment and my latest completed project is this. I know it looks just like a doily and that is sort of the point but it is going to be a cushion soon so I wanted to make it from scratch rather than just just a doily and dye it.

To make this I used DK yarn and my trusty 4.5mm crochet hook. I made it up as I went along while trying to make sure I had the correct number of stitches in each round and I have done my best to write down for you what I have done. As usual I am writing with the english stitch names.

First ch6, ss into the first ch to form a ring.
Round 1: ch3 (counts as first tc) then 14 tc into the ring (15 total) and join with ss to form a circle.
Round 2: ch3 then 2 tc into each st (30 total) and join with ss.
Round 3: ch3 and put 2 more tc into the same st. Then miss a st and put 3 tc into the next st. Continue making cluster of 3 tc's all the way around until you can ss into the first one. (total 45 tc OR 15 clusters)
Round 4: ch3 and then 2tc into the space followed by ch 1, then put 3 tc's into each space between clusters from round 3 with 1 chain in between. Ss together the circle. (total 45 tc and 15 ch OR 15 clusters with ch 1 in between.)
Round 5: ch2, then dc into each tc below and 2 dc into each space. Ss together.
Round 6: ch3 and tc into same st then tc into 4 st, followed by 2tc into next stitch. Repeat this all the way round and ss together. 
Round 7: ch3 and tc into same st then tc into 3st followed by 2tc into next st. Ss together. 
Round 8: to make the scalloped edge count along to the 3rd stitch from where your hook is, in this stitch put 5 tc's, then count along to the 3rd stitch from here and ss into this stitch. This makes your first 'scallop'. Repeat this all the way around. As you get near the end check you have enough stitches left to make whole 'scallops' and if not you make need to count along 2 or 4 stitches for a few scallops to make sure they fill the space but mine worked out perfectly so yours should too.

The outer rows of crochet are slightly more complicated and sadly did start to become slightly 'wobbly' near the end so I may have no counted correctly.

Round 9: Once you have finished the row of scallops you need to ss along the first 3 stitches of the first scallop so that your hook is joined in through the top of one scallop instead of the gap between two. When you get to here you need to chain 7 and ss into the top stitch of the next scallop. Continue to ch7 then ss into the next scallop all the way around.
Round 10: ch3, 8tc into the space and then tc into the stitch at the top of the next scallop. Repeat this all the way around and then ss together.
Round 11: ch 2, then 1 dc into each of the next 4 stitch's. 2dc  into the next stitch (the one at the top of the bump) then 1dc into the next 8 stitches until you get to the top of the next bump and put 2dc into here. repeat this all the way around.
Round 12: This round we are attempting to get rid of the wave that was put in when we did the scallops. So you are currently at the bottom of a wave, so ch3 (counts as first tc as usual) then put 2 tc into the same stitch, ch1 and then 2dc into the stitch that is 'this side' of the bump, ch1 and then 2 dc into the stitch that is 'that side' of the bump, ch1 and put 3 tc into the stitch in between the two bumps. This makes a sort of 'reverse wave' and fills in the gaps. Do this all the way around until you reach the first tc and ss together.
Round 13: This round is made up of clusters of 3tc into the spaces below. So ch3, then do two more tc into the same space. The sequence on this round goes 3tc's into space, ch1, 3 tc's into next space, 3tc's into next space, ch1, 3 tc's into next space. And continue this all the way around. I.e you need to do ch in between every one cluster of 3tc's. When you finish the round ss together.
Round 14: This last round is very similar to round 8. From where your hook is, count to the 3rd stitch and then do 6tc's into this space. Then count to the 3rd stitch along from here and ss into this stitch. Repeat this all the way around until you get back to the beginning and you're finished.

I hope you find this pattern useful (for personal use only though) and as usual feel free to ask if it's unclear. Soon I'll show you the finished cushion. Zoe xx

Vintage Sheets Octagon Quilt: Fabric Cutting

Two weeks ago I introduced my Vintage Sheet Octagons Quilt and today I am going to talk you through the first step of making it, so if you are making your own then read on!

After collecting together all your fabric you have to start cutting it up. For first time quilters you can do this with scissors but it is much easier and quicker if you have a cutting mat, quilters ruler and rotary cutter. Work out how large you want your quilt to be (mine is 180cm by 240cm give or take) and then workout how many blocks (patches) you want. I want 20cm patches so I need 9 across and 12 down, a total of 108. Usually quilters use a 1/4" seam allowance and most sewing machines even have a handy 1/4" line so as you sew you can line up the edge of your fabric with this line. I wasn't being too precise about this and my cutting mat is in cm not inches so I just added a 1/2cm seam allowance. Because we are going to end up stitching together sqaures you won't notice this in the end any way.

A quick tip for first timers, try to use your ruler to cover the fabric that you are going to use so that you avoid accidentally cutting through it. This isn't always possible but often is. As you can see in the picture above the idea of using a quilters ruler in that you line up the straight edges of your fabric with the lines on your mat so you can precisely cut the right measurement. Simply measure the right amount of fabric and cut, or you can make it easier by counting the squares, I needed 21cm so I counted 21 squares: easy. Once you get the hang of it to save time you can usually cut through several layers, so fold up your fabric and cut away. I managed to cut through 8 layers at once but try to make sure you are cutting near the edge and not leaving too much to waste.

If your quilt is the same size as mine you need to cut these:
108 x 21cm squares of your pattern fabric
108 x 9cm squares of you background fabric.

If your quilt is a different size then you will need to work out how many squares across you need and how big they should be.  But if you are going to make the octagons then make your 'background squares' slightly less than half of the length of the pattern squares.

Once you have cut these, use your quilters ruler to cut each background square into four triangles like this:

Thats it! All the cutting is done. I am saving almost all of my off cuts. The teeny ones:

I am throwing away. I have an idea in mind of how to use the strips that are an inch wide of more:

Even bigger ones I am putting in a box with other fabric pieces for another quilt.

When you have done all this come back in two weeks and we can start putting it all back together again. Zoe xx

Upcycle: Painting an old Bed

We bought ourselves a new bed on ebay several months ago and I have always been intending on painting it, but this has been one of those projects that has never been at the top of my priority list (i.e I had more fun things to do). Since the weather has been nice recently and painting outdoors is about 50,000 times more convenient I finally got round to it.

If you're thinking of painting a piece of furniture these are the steps I followed. 1. Clean your furniture with sugar soap solution. Then gently sand the surface, just enough to roughen up the texture so the paint will stick. 2. Paint the furniture with the your chosen colour. 3. Varnish your furniture with clear varnish. That's it. I used to think varnishing after painting would make it look too shiny and totally change the look but I now I love the stuff. It doesn't change its look much but it makes the paint much more durable.

Origionally I intended to just paint the bed white but then I thought it would be cute to dip the feet in a colourful paint. The husband wouldn't go for pink (he said it was too girly) but he was totally happy with purple (his favourite, and very manly, colour).

And what a good decision this was! Love it! Its in our room now, with my new (but actually old) apple crates as under-bed storage. I'll show you a picture of the finished bed when I have also finished my Octagons Quilt. Zoe xx

Crocheted Angry Birds: Red Bird

As much as I enjoying making pretty quilts and clothes for my daughter and I, I also have two sons. My eldest is currently totally obsessed with Angry Birds and so I decided to crochet him a set of Angry Bird characters for his birthday. His birthday isn't until October but when I get an idea I like to get started straight away, plus I have lots of other things to do before then too so why not get going?

I have made up the pattern for 'Red Bird' myself so I thought I would also include this pattern here, just in case any of you ever find yourself needing to make him. I am using the english stitch names and I worked in double crochet (The American Single crochet). I used double knit yarn and a 4mm hook.

First start with the body, this is worked in the round and I started in a pale brown.
Round 1: Ch6 and then ss into the first ch to form a ring
Round 2: 2dc into each st
Round 3: 2dc into next st and then 1dc into next st, rpt until the round is finished
Round 4: 2dc into next st and then 1dc into next 2st, rpt until the round is finished
Round 5: 2dc into next st and then 1dc into next 3st, rpt until the round is finished
At the end of this round cut the brown yarn and tie in some red yarn
Round 6: 2dc into next st and then 1dc into next 4st, rpt until the round is finished
Round 7: 2dc into next st and then 1dc into next 5st, rpt until the round is finished
Round 8: 2dc into next st and then 1dc into next 6st, rpt until the round is finished

Rounds 9-11: dc into each st from the previous round
Round 12: dc 2 st together, dc into next 6dc, rpt
Round 13: dc 2 st together, dc into next 5dc, rpt
Round 14: dc 2 st together, dc into next 4dc, rpt
Round 15: dc 2 st together, dc into next 3dc, rpt
At about this stage you'll need to stuff the body, fill it with some rolled up wadding (batting) or use cotton wool if thats all you have handy.
Round 16: dc 2 st together, dc into next 2dc, rpt
Round 17: dc 2 together, dc into next dc, rpt
Finished the ball by dc crocheting together 2 stitches until it is complete.

Next make the little hair tuft:
ch4, turn, ch1, dc into each st, ch3, turn, ch1, dc into each st.

To make the eyes cut out a pair of eyes from white felt and using your yarn needle embroider on some black pupils.

The eyebrows (or eyebrow) is make simply by chaining 10 in black yarn.

The tail is made by using the black yarn:
Ch3, turn back on yourself then ch 1 and dc into each st from the first row, when you get to the beginning ch3 and again turn back on yourself, ch1 and dc into each st from the second section. When you get back to the beginning again ch3, turn, chain one and dc into each st. You should get the 'T' shape as above.

The nose is made with two triangles, each made with yellow yarn.
Row 1: Ch5, turn,
Row 2: dc into each ch (4 total, don't need to ch1 up to second row, this is how the row gets smaller), turn
Row 3: dc into each dc from row 2 (3 total)
Row 4: dc into each dc from row 3 (2 total)
Row 5: dc into one dc from row 4
(I hope this makes sense, I literally made this bit up having never made triangles before! But this is an accurate description of what I did.)

 When you have all these pieces ready, you need to sew them all together. I would suggest sewing the eyes on first, then the beak and eyebrows. When you sew the beak on, try to make them curve around into a mouth shape and sew the eyebrow into a 'V' shape. Finally sew on the tuft of hair (or feathers I guess) and then the tail.

And now you have made your very own red bird and can make the child in your life very happy. I'll share the patterns for the others I make with you when I do those too. Zoe xx

Update: Click here for yellow bird, here for blue bird and here for pig and king pig

The Vintage Sheets Octagons Quilt: An Introduction

Vintage sheet For the Quilt

As you may know I have been collecting together some vintage fabric so I can make myself a quilt. I have finally decided what it should look like. I am going to update you every couple of weeks to the progress of this quilt and if you have been thinking about trying out quilting it will be a very simple pattern so you should consider quilting along. I am making a VERY large quilt so if you decide you want to join in then you also might consider making it smaller but the basic principles will still apply.

If you want make one yourself then go out and get yourself some fabric. You can buy it or you can just collect together some old clothes or sheets. As long as you like the colours and they look nice together you can make it work, although it is easier if all the fabric is of a similar type and weight. The easiest is some medium weight cotton, and very heavy cotton or upholstery fabric is really tough to use. Once you have this you can think about how large you want your quilt to be. A standard double quilt has around 20 fat quarters or 5m of fabric, so aim to collect around this amount but of course you may want to make your quilt a different size. These baby quilts, for example, used 5 fat quarters to make the quilt top. Try to also get some plain fabric, I am using an old plain white sheet.

An example of one of the octagon blocks

I realised as I looked around for inspiration for the patchworking that I didn't want each patch to be too fussy because I want the fabric to be the feature of the quilt-top. I was tempted for a while to make a simple squares quilt not unlike the baby quilts I shared last week. In the end I decided to go for octagons of the vintage fabric broken up with small white squares. To make joining in even easier you can omit the steps that turn the pattern fabric into octagons and make youself a square quilt. So if you want to learn how to make a quilt but want to stick with just squares for now, you can follow along with these instructions too.

If you do join in then I would love to see so post your photos on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag 'Tadpegs' or you can post them on the Tadpegs Facebook page, or add a link to your photos in the comments. Also if there is any part of my instructions you don't understand then just ask in the comments and I'll get back to you (even if you don't get round to making it until a year from now I will try and get back to you.) Come back in two weeks for the first stage of instructions! Zoe xx

If you would like to see the other sections of the quilt the links are below:

Fabric Cutting
Assembling the Quilt Top
Making the Quilt Sandwich

Making Bunting

Obviously this is not a new idea. In fact sometimes it feels like there is so much bunting around that you might get all tangled up in it. That said, I do normally love it. I made this bunting a while ago for my daughters room. It's slightly different to traditional bunting because each flag is a separate flag. I wanted to be able to use it in one place, then maybe make it longer or shorter for somewhere else. Or maybe mix it up with other fabrics to make mismatching bunting (like this). So I made each flag separately and tied them together.

I simply cut two triangles of my fabric and pinned them right sides together. I machine stitched along the two long sides of the triangles. After turning it out the right way I pressed it flat. Then I pinned the open edges in the centre of 1m of pre-made bias binding and stitched it shut.

One flag is so easy to make and can be made with leftovers from other projects so its a fun way to start a bunting collection. Zoe xx

Electric Photos

This week I have been away camping with some of the young people from my church. One evening I was messing around with the long shutter speed option on my camera and took this photo. Apparently they're called 'electric photos'. Ill be trying this again soon I think. Back to normal crafting this week too. Zoe xx
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