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      February 28th

      Crocheted gift ribbon and embellishments
      I am rubbish at wrapping gifts, years ago before children I spent ages making my gifts look beautiful but over the years that has fallen by the wayside until recently.  I am a yarn addict and am happy with either a crochet hook or knitting needles in my hand, so along came the idea to embellish my gift in yarn adorned mini makes.

      It began with making the gift ribbon and then having fun with the little motives.  This can be personalised to the recipient, from bottles of wine to work tools, cars, diggers and more girlie items such as flowers and hearts.  Your imagination is your only limit when it comes to this. Below are some of mine that I have made recently.

      Puff flower - crochet embellsiment

      With Easter just around the corner, make some
      cute bunnies to add to the crochet gift ribbon

      This month's Little Box of Crochet, I could not
      resist embellishing this rainbow addition too!

      To make the gift ribbon I ensure I have the box or wrapped package to hand and then chain enough to cover once around with maybe 3 chains spare as the overlap and for connecting.  Depending on the size of the gift determines for me the stitch used, the smaller the gift the smaller the stitch, this is so it does not overpower.  I then crochet whichever stitch I have decided upon into each chain.  Once that is complete I take a contrasting colour and dc (UK) sc (US) on each side so that the ribbon effectively has 3 stripes.  Sometimes as with the Little Box of Crochet I actually slip stitched along either edge, just depends on the look you want.   To complete the ribbon itself I either sew the ends together or crochet them with slip stitches.  I tend to then place the ribbon on the package and then sew the motives onto the ribbon in situ making sure I have them placed on the gift exactly where I want.

      Choosing the motives is fun and there are so many to be found on the internet, I will let you find your own.  Hope I have given you an idea or a spark, let me know if you give this a try.

       How do you gift wrap your presents?


February 24th

I was asked..."Can you make this, please?"
Amiigaarami, no amicurami, no that's not right it's ami something, ah amigurumi!  It took me months to get this word right, spell check had not heard of it and so my initial efforts back in 2014 of trying to find out what this form of crochet was all about was impeded by my lack of spelling ability.

I was asked by a large company if I could make a mascot for their environmental week to raise awareness of recycling and could I please make it so he looked like the orange and green drawing you see here on this blog post.  My first commission and I immediately screeched yes me, me, me replied calmly, of course, I could before they realised their mad fool mistake of asking a complete amigurumi novice.

So what is amigurumi?  It's a form of crochet believed to have originated in Japan and is hugely popular.  Think cute little-stuffed toys, often with large eyes and you get the picture.  Obviously, over the years it has developed and now is seen all over the internet, (on Instagram alone there are almost 1.5 million hashtags devoted to amigurami, you just cannot get away from it.  So what is it?  Amigurumi is a mash of two Japanese words ami meaning crocheted or knitted and gurimi meaning stuffed doll or toy.  This encompasses people and even inanimate objects now.

My first amigurumi, meet Eric the Hero

Amigurumi is mostly crocheted as knitted items can stretch whereas crochet tends to have a denser thicker consistency.  As long as you can do the basic crochet stitches and the all important magic circle, no it's not from Harry Potter, and can stuff things evenly, you laugh but a lumpy stuffed toy is no joke and it happens.  If you can sew in loose threads then you can crochet in the amigurumi style. Oh and it helps if you can master the invisible decrease too, really no, this is not something from the school of Hogwarts.

You cannot see it but Eric the
amigurimi also had a swishing cape
hidden behind his paunch of a belly
Most items in this style are crocheted in the round to allow the 3D shape to magically form in your hands,  It really is quite an exciting process seeing something take shape that is not flat.

An amigurumi doll from the Little Box of crochet, here a
beautifully completed one by the talented Kate of Just Pootling
and mine to the right, these boxes are great for travelling as
everything you need is to hand, here I am at an airport.

Amanda has also included several amigurumi's in her
monthly crochet box sets, including this Baby box

The reason for the post is that today I travel to the South West to teach a beginner crocheter how to construct yarn into a 3D shape. I am both nervous and excited at the same time. I have been teaching crochet for two years so that is nothing new, but I have never taught amigurumi. Eek!

Last minute preparations for teaching amigurumi 

Hoping you have enjoyed my 5 amigurumi photos and I leave you finally with the thought:   here's to continued learning for all of us, tomorrow it will be me in teaching something new and for the student learning something completely different.  

Wish us luck 

Joining in with Amy sharing my five with you.  Have a great week x

Teaching Classes

February 17th

Next week sees me teaching two different crochet classes.  Part of the enjoyment is working out what I'll teach, making a model to show and sometimes the half completed almost here's one I made earlier Blue Peter model.

On the Tuesday cake and crochet night, this course will focus on the ladies completing projects they have already begun as well as each week I will teach them how to make a 'small' item.

We will have the current CAL by Lucy over at Attic 24, the gorgeous Moorland blanket, mine is almost complete, just the border to go.  Look at those colours and the way they migrate from one colour scheme to another...

Moorland crochet blanket modelled by Pip

A couple of ladies are still crocheting the Scheepjes CAL from 2016 and are making an excellent blanket learning many new stitches along the way.  Unfortunately, I no longer have my model blanket to show them, but they have all seen it,  it's now been gifted to my sister.

Some of the crochet squares for the Scheepjes Cal of 2016

The small item for this week will be how to make crochet triangles and make a mini bunting, here is my show and tell piece at the blocking stage.

Mini bunting 

On Friday I travel towards the South West to teach crochet to a beginner who is keen to learn how to crochet in the amigurumi style.  I've prepared some cacti for us to make...

A trio of crocheted cacti

And also classic crocheting in the round, some easy to make balloons, these make great cake toppers by the way

Crochet mini balloons

I still have to decide which cake to bake for the Tuesday class any suggestions?

Joining in with Amy hoping you enjoyed my 5 teaching crochet projects and you all have a great week end ♥  

Galentine Day

February 13th   

supersize crochet
Happy Galentine's Day  Some of you will know to that which I am referring but if like me this is the first you've heard of it, let me explain.

The past few years the day before Valentine's day has become an increasingly popular day to celebrate girl's friendships.  I am ALL for that. For more information see here

Today unwittingly I made myself a deep red handbag, thinking I was gifting a little Valentine present to myself, him in doors and I don't really 'do' the commercial forced lovely dovey thing, I've now come to realise that I have actually on Galantine's day made myself a 'girl' bag.  I'm so in tune with the world, I didn't even know it!

The yarn which is of the t-shirt variety has a lot of 'give' or elastic you may call it and must not be crocheted too tightly, loose hooking is called for.  I was actually making something else this morning with it, but realised that it was becoming a spectacular fail.  Enjoying hooking with this Boodles yarn, I thought to try it out as a bag.  With no pattern and just my imagination an hour later and a rummage through my crafting cupboard to find the acrylic see through handles that I bought years ago but have never had the need for, I had my very own bag and I must say I'm a little bit in love with it.

I used hdc as it's quick to give height and fast to hook up

acrylic handles

Within 15 minutes of completion, it was put in use

Supersize crochet bag

Happy Galentine and Valentine Day wherever you are

PS  Anyone know what has happened to Boodles yarn?  Bought mine a few years ago and today when googling them the site was not available?

Hygge, so it begins

February 10th 

I have writer's block or more accurately blogger's block.

Today I have sat at the blank screen and looked at it on and off for hours.

Nada.  Nothing.  Zilch.

I blame a certain blogger amongst us she who shall not be named who told me earlier this week how she crafts, sculpts and moulds her often humorous posts on her brilliant blog.

No wonder her blog has such hits as she nurtures and loves the beast that is a blog.  It's left me in tatters and the words are not pouring out.

So instead I leave you with the test swatch made this week for the new CAL (crochet-a-long) in town that begins next Wednesday, further details can be found here:  Hygge  I am already excited and a teensy bit in love with it.  Hope this continues for the next 10 weeks or so that it carries on for.  Will keep you updated on its progress.

I had to down hook size from the recommend 4.5mm
hook to a 3.5mm to obtain the correct size, shows
how important a test swatch is.
The completed test piece measures 10cm x 10 cm and the heart was made in cross stitch, I'm loving the effect of the rainbow colours of cross stitch on the crochet background, great texture and visually pleasing to the eye I thin.  Great design.  apt shape for nest weeks' Valentine's day don't you think?

The completed swatch made in Scheepjes
stonewashed and accent colours in Scheepjes Catona

The below images are not mine but are from other hookers within the International Facebook group showing what they have done with their completed test piece.

A popular choice was to make it into a pincushion.

I thought this a great idea, a mug cosy and even more
 fun a utensil cosy adding in the wooden 'hygge'
button that came with the kit

Once the cal is complete we should have a fairly unique shawl, (I say unique I think there are over 20 000 being hooked all over the world, so maybe not quite a one-off.)  But with all the cross stitch that will adorn the crochet shawl, it will need to have a fabric backing.  Below are the samples that the designer has used, all 100% cotton.  I confess to being tempted to use one of these, except I do wonder about lining mine in a single vibrant colour that would suit the rainbow feel, or something even a bit plush with some give in, something like velveteen, how would you line it?

Fabric to line the shawl with

Hoping the creative words fall from my pen nib or more accurately the computer keyboard soon, in which case you'll be hearing from as soon as, in the mean time,

  hope life is treating you all well my friends

Selma xxx

Joining in with Amy today sharing with you five photographs from my week x

Oops... as a one off I'm sneaking in the below photographs, to show you what I have done with my test piece, it's framed and I shall gift it to John along with my Jar of hearts gift. 

Both on going CALs, the Attic 24 Moorland
blanket and the Hygge Shawl

A jar of hearts

February 3rd

A jar of  love from my daughter
Where do you get your inspiration from?

For me, it can be anywhere but my latest idea came from my daughter and the gift she gave to me. My last birthday, I received the most thoughtful present ever from her, it made me cry and it has become a present that just keeps on giving.

A jar of gifts from daughter to mother

From cleaning the house for me to sitting watching
a weepy movie with popcorn, such thoughtful ideas

Each 'gift' to be opened when I either: needed to talk,
wanted to share my knowledge or for when I want
to go on strike, just a few of her ideas.

In our household, we are not BIG on Valentine's day but I feel my husband has been working so hard and could do with some extra love and attention, bring in my daughter's idea for a gift and you have a classic valentine present, look...

A jar of hearts

Messages and gifts to my husband

I used a variety of different heart patterns and thought you might be interested.  Rather than redesign the wheel, there are so many patterns out on the www there that I used those instead of creating my own. Here are the five that I used and enjoyed.

Small 3D heart: 3D heart ~ 3 sizes

3D crocheted heart

2D flat hearts tiny: 2D mini heart

Mini 2D crochet heart

2D medium size heart: 2D heart

Medium sized 2D crochet heart

My favourite heart: Heart with magic circle

A crochet heart full of texture

Danish heart: Danish heart

Classic Scandinavian crochet hanging heart

My jar of hearts for my love

sharing 5 quick heart patterns for you this Valentines

 Joining in for the first time this year with the lovely Amy
do pop over and see what others are sharing.

And finally, I leave you with this beautiful quote from an inspirational woman...

Love recognises no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

Maya Angelou

Hygge or Lagom?

February 2nd

2016 saw the explosion of the Scandinavian word hygge and many many are still reading the vast number of books being published on the subject but those in the know understand that fads and phases change as quickly as the British weather and the current 'in' Scandinavian word hails from Sweden, that of lagom.

Being of Norwegian descent I know this Swedish word, in fact we have it too but for us it merely means suitable, comfortable and fitting.  The Swedish version sits well with the current trend for the Scandinavian well-being and way of life.  In Swedish the word means the right amount, just enough, it's about not going without but not over indulging too.

As a child and as a mother to young children I followed the very Scandinavian approach to sweets. My children were allowed them and I did not forbid sugar, but it was a Saturday treat, in Norway known as lørdag godteri, translated to Saturday sweets.  In the shops in Norway you can find ready filled bags labelled Saturday Sweets.  So enjoy yourself but just by the right amount.

A great article that sums up lagom for me personally was written by Anna Hart recently, pop and have a read, the Scandis do know how to do things well.

The photo tat 'hooked' me in
However saying that I shall harp back to hygge as the most exciting CAL (crochet along) I have seen for ages is about to hit the online world, hosted again by Scheepjeswol, you may recall that I took part in their CAL last year and was uber impressed with the weekly written pattern, help on social media and great hand holding, but it was Ester's marvellous video tutorials that had me hooked from the off and again Ester will be holding everyone's hand with new video tutorials.

This hygge cal features lots of embroidery onto of the crochet, this is something I have often thought to do but as yet am to try, so learning new skills will be fun.  Want to see what it's all about...

The photo was enough to hook me in and so I have opted for the rainbow set as I feel the colours just pop, besides I have nothing like it in my wardrobe as I often wear black and greys and felt this may 'lift' me.

Just look at the detail
To see all the shawls click on link to Ester's blog page:  All the hygge shawls

A great range of colours to choose from 

And here is my set all ready to begin in a couple of weeks

So even though after my last post telling you that I have too many WIPs, I succumbed to this one and just cannot wait to get going...

 I am too old and set in my ways to change!

Just found this gorgeous picture of the rainbow shawl on the International Facebook as well as on Ester's blog page,  just look at those colours, don't they just come alive!

Rainbow hygge shawl

Blogger blogging block

February 1st   

So already month 2 and this is my first post of 2017.  May I wish you all a belated happy healthy and prosperous year ahead.

Why the silence?  Well... I could list a multitude of reasons but that would bore you half to death, so needlessly I won't list my excuses suffice to say I am back, maybe not with a vengeance but I am back.

All has been it's usual hectic time here in the eclectichome, nothing new to report on my state of crafting except to inform you I still suffer badly from beginning way too many projects and failing to complete many of them, anyone else the same? Here is my shameful list of those projects I have begun in 2017 and as yet not completed:

3D knitted and felted chicken:  used the wrong wool and did not felt as it should and now I've lost all desire
Failure 1, but I am still tempted to give it another try

2D knitted and felted chicken: again wrong wool, will I not ever learn

Failure 2, again love the idea of this chicken, so will try again

Attic 24 Moorland CAL: it's an on going current online CAL so I am on track, yay!

At least I am on track with this blanket and
I love the gentle rhythm of it

3 crocheted cati all in various stages of incompleteness, need to source mini terracotta pots so at a standstill

These were such fun to make and are going to be used
on a crochet class I will be teaching, so
must get a move on and complete them

Knitted mittens, on the second one, it's nearly done: must get a wriggle on

The easiest ever mitten pattern, am 3/4 way
through mitt number 2

Small doll crocheted  amigurami: not looking as good as I had hoped so a little 'off' this project

Am totally out of love with this and
may just abandon it

Now that I have publicly shamed myself for too many WIPs and failures, I better hop along and try to rectify the situation, I had said I would not have any resolutions this year, but this post is making me think that I should really sort out this syndrome of mine and finish SOMETHING...ANYTHING...

until next time, stay well and safe...