A Crochet Cat Cave

For Christmas I decided to crochet my mum a cat cave for her cat Puddy.

cat cave
I made my mum a cat cave for Christmas

I had a bunch of white shirts printed with promotional material, and a bunch of old dye that needed using or tossing. So I haphazardly threw the dye on the shirts. I was impressed how vibrant they came out! Some of the dye had been sitting mixed up for over a year!

dyeing shirts
haphazardly throwing old dye at old shirts
I was surprised how vibrant they turned out!

After the shirts were washed and dried, i cut them all into yarn. I cut the fabric to about an inch to an inch and a half wide. A slight pull to the strips as you wind them into a ball kinda makes them curl in on themselves and makes them easy to work with.

Cutting yarn

I didn’t quite have enough dyed shirts, so I made the base from other plain coloured t shirts I had in my stash.

The base is a crochet circle, increasing every row to make sure it sits flat.

Then a couple of rounds without any increasing to start the sides.

You’ll need to decide where and how big an opening you would like, then start turning to crochet back, instead of crocheting in the round.

Continue like this until you are happy with the height of your opening. Count the amount of stitches you left when creating your opening. Chain this many to cross the gap so you can continue crocheting in the round.

A few more rows of straight crochet, then start decreasing. You could decrease so it comes in flat, or domed, but I decided I wanted to make the top a feature and did a kind of tail. Some fringed pieces on the end give the cat something to play with!

I hope Puddy likes it! It was super fun to make!

I broke a hook halfway through and had to make a mad dash to pick up more sturdy aluminum hooks!
Even before Christmas 2019, the air quality in Canberra was often hazardous or at least poor. On days like this, I shut myself in the bedroom, my little pedestal fan blowing full force whilst watching Netflix.
crochet cat cave
I love how it turned out!

I’m currently at home for another week. Guy requested I not work this week with the air quality being crappy and me being sick over Christmas with bronchitis. Usually I would of argued this with him, but I’m getting too tired to argue lol. I have a few projects to work on, but mostly just resting up!

There has been some great initiatives for crafters to support the animals harmed in the current bush fires. If you’d like to help, check out this Facebook page.

Stay safe everyone! The summer has only just begun!

<3 Cate

Rag Rug

A couple of years ago, my Aunty approached me to do a demonstration at her local museum which she runs. She asked if I could demonstrate a crochet rag rug, which my mum had actually made.

Now, I had not made a rug before, but said yes anyways.

So I spent some time figuring it out, and then writing some instructions, and today, I’m going to share those instructions with you.

Rag rugs are a great way to transform old, worn textiles into something that is both practical and beautiful. You can crochet your own from materials you have on hand.

Last week we looked at ways of making yarn. Now it’s time to crochet!

I will give you a run down on how to crochet an oval rug. You could make it any shape you desire of course! But the oval is a good place to start. With the oval rug, you increase on the ends and maintain the sides. the longer the starting chain, the longer and skinnier your rug will be. The shorter your starting chain, the shorter and fatter your rug will be. Be prepared to wander from these instructions. It is hard to give instructions on how to make a rag rug, as variances in yarn can change the way the crochet material acts.

When choosing a hook, find a nice big one. The size of your hook could depend on a couple of factors. The width and thickness of your yarn, and your tension – how tight or loose you crochet. I am using an 11.5mm, I find a 10mm to be a nice size too. Test out a couple of hooks and see what works best for you, your yarn and your tension.

You will need to know how to work a chain and a single crochet. I abbreviate these through out the instructions to – chain (ch) and single crochet (sc)

To begin, make a chain (ch). I find 12 ch to be a nice number. The last two ch equals 1 sc, giving you 10 stitches to work with.

Work a single crochet (sc) into the second chain from the hook. Continue to sc into each ch until you reach the last ch.

In the last ch do 3 sc to increase. Continue around with 1 sc in each chain until you reach the last ch to increase.

On the sides of the rug you will continue with 1 sc into each. Only at the ends will you increase.

For the second round of increases sc into each of the stitches on the previous row. When you get to the 3 sc increases on each end, do 2 sc into each. Continue to 1 sc into each sc on the sides.

Continue in this manner, 1 sc along the sides and increases at the ends. For each round your increases will get further apart. For example, on the third round you will do 2 sc into one, then 1 sc into one, 2 sc etc. Then on the fourth row increase the sc between increases to 2, so you have 2 sc in once, 1 sc into one, 1 sc into one, 2 sc into one etc. The 5th row you will have 3 sc between increases and son on and so forth until your rug reaches the desired size. You may need to play with where your increases fall and experiment with what works best for your yarn.

This diagram gives you an idea of how to begin a rag rug, and the first few rows of increases at each end.

The finished mat! I added a scalloped edge!

Trouble shooting

Your rug may start to go wobbly or maybe even start turning up like a basket. If it goes wobbly, it means you have too many increases and need to do less increases. If it starts turning up like a basket, it means you have too few increases and you will need to put a few more increases in.

If, when you finish, your rug won’t lay flat, you can try blocking it. To do this you will need to lay it out on something that can get a bit damp. I have a piece of acoustic board which I cover in towels, and I can pin directly into. A plastic sheet on some carpet will work the same as well. Lay your rug out and pin down. Moisten the rug with water. Move your hands over the cloth and press down on any places in need of smoothing out. Stretch, pin and shape as necessary. Allow to dry, then unpin.

Another project in progress. This one became a cat bed. I stopped increasing for the last few rows to allow edges to form. I have made baskets and bags in this way too.

I love working with scrappy yarn, it gives so much texture. There are many different things you could make besides a rug. What else can you think of?

Have a creative week!
<3 Cate

Crochet Shrug

I had an “Aha!” moment one day at work. The children were “make your own costume”ing, in which, they were given a bag fabric fabric and let loose! The pieces of fabric I dug out of the cupboard for this experince were decent sizes, the smaller ones 1m x 50cm, up to pieces approx 3m long.

The “aha!” moment came when a child made a hooded vest from a rectangle of fabric and one line of sewing. They folded the fabric in half, and stitched one short edge together, this formed the hood. They then cut arm holes. This made me realize that garments don’t need complicated pattern drafting, simple can be really effective!

And thus I set off exploring ideas of what I could make with a simple shape of fabric and a few well though out cuts or seams.

I decided to have a go at making a crochet shrug from one granny square.

My shrug story may have started with an “AHA!” moment, but the supplies started with a box of wool roving, leftover from making my wedding bouquet! (I’ll admit, I bought extra, so I could spin some!)
The roving turned into gorgeous hand spun yarn!
And then I started crocheting one big granny square, using my gorgeous hand carved hook I made years ago!
Once I had made a square big enough to go around me (occasionally check by using safety pins to hold it together) I gave it a bit of a wash and then pinned it out onto a piece of acoustic board I picked up at the Green Shed.
I folded the square together and stiched partway along the edges. This made arm holes. After that, I crochet about 3 rows around the main edge.
The finished shrug on the dress makers dummy. I think i need to make a nice wooden shawl pin! It’s currently held together with my wooden crochet hook!
The back view, you can really see the granny square pattern 🙂

It’s still wayyyyy too hot to wear this! But I’m all set when the weather starts to turn! I think it will be nice to wear over a long sleeve shirt for a little extra warmth!

I’m so in love with the hand spun yarn I used for this! I have one ball left! Do you have any suggestions on something small I should make out of it?

As for making garments from simple shapes, there are many more ideas to explore! I’ve seen a few circle shrugs made from crochet, where they leave arm holes in the making process. I would also like to explore something hooded. So many possibilities!

Have a creative week!
Cate

Secret Santas

Secret Santa’s revealed!

This year both Guy and myself were invited to join in a “Secret Santa” in our respective workplaces. I can not remember the last time I participated in one, so I had a little fun with it!

The rules were pretty much the same for both of us, except mine had an additional rule. We were both given a name. We both had a $20 limit. And they both were to be gifted this week. The additional rule for mine was that whatever we bought had to start with the recipients initial – either first or last name initials.

So Guys was easy, and he had an idea straight away. His recipient was obsessed with sausage dogs! And so he requested I make him a sausage dog.

For mine, I had to find something that started with “C”. Easy. Tooooooooooooo easy! Sooooo many ideas! I could have gone with something cute like a cat, or clever like a cactus, instead I went for something a little crazy – A Crochet Christmas Camel! It is a secret Santa after all! They are meant to be a little out of the ordinary! (I may have taken the “has to start with their intial” thing a little too far hahaha)

As for the $20 limit? The materials were way under that, and I’m not adding up the time it took me to make them :). That’s just one of the joys of being able to create stuff. Your time is the real gift! And I think that is one of the most precious gifts you can give!

Have a creative week

<3 Cate

The Half Granny Square Scarf

I’m on  a mad crochet spree at the moment. It keeps my hands busy whilst my mind wanders.

The half granny square scarf has become a staple – around my neck – and on my hook –  since my Mum showed me how to make it a few years back. I’m always wearing one in winter! And I’ve nearly finished a cotton one for those cool summer evenings!

Even though I’m terrible at reading and writing crochet patterns, I think this one is so simple, I can show you how it’s done! And lets face it, if you’ve ever crochet, you’ve probably tried your hand at granny squares, and this is just like that, except missing half the square!

I have written the following assuming you have a little bit of crochet knowledge. Choose a hook that suits your yarn.

You start off like any other granny square – Make a slip knot and then chain 3. Then make a slip stitch into the first chain to form a circle.

form a slip knot

Chain 3

Slip stitch into first chain to form a circle

Chain 3, then make 3 treble into the middle of the circle.

Chain 3

Then 3 treble into middle of circle

Chain 2, then another 3 treble.

Chain 2

Then 3 treble into centre of circle

Chain 1, then 1 treble.

 

Chain 3. Turn.

Chain 3

3 treble into first gap. Chain 1.

Treble into first gap

Chain 1

3 treble into next gap, 2 chain, 3 treble. (This is the point of the scarf. This is the only place you do 2 chain. Always do 2 chain at this point)

3 treble

chain 2

3 treble into the same gap.

chain 1, 3 treble into next gap

Then chain 1, 1 treble into same gap. (This will be how you turn at the end of every row)

chain 1, 1 treble into same gap.

Chain 3 and turn.

Chain 3 and turn.

From here it is pretty straight forward. 3 treble into each gap, with a chain in between. Making sure when you get to the point you do 2 chain so you can fit two sets of three treble. And when you get to the end of a row you add an extra set of treble.

Here’s a rough drawing of how the stitches should work out…

half granny square scarf simple structure

Like I mentioned before, I wear these scarves constantly throughout winter! I wear them with the point at the front (kinda like cowboy style), but have been known to wrap it around my shoulders depending on how cold I am!

This is me wearing the very first scarf I made (photo taken a couple of years back whilst I was trying to master the timer on the camera!)

This is the scarf I wore all winter of 2018. I made it from “Moda Vera Bouvardia” which is one of my favourite yarns to make these scarves from as it is warm, soft and comes in pretty multi colours!

These next two are for sale, so message me if you would like to own one!

Another one made from “Moda Vera Bouvadia” The colours are so stunning!

A cotton/acrylic one! Lovely for summer evenings!

Have a creative week <3

Unicorns!

Sooo some time ago now (a couple of years), I crocheted a unicorn for myself…

The first of a unicorn making obsession 🙂

Then I made a little one for my niece, then she asked me to make her a bigger one… and then it snowballed… and now I’m here.

My niece and an army of unicorns. From left – The first unicorn I made, “Rainbow Rosie” made from hand spun yarns – the second one I made for her, a fabric unicorn made by my sister from a very crude pattern I drew her, and HayJay – the little unicorn I made her from hand spun yarns. (Yes she is spoilt!)

I’ve spent the last two days slowly refining my technique in making the unicorns. You see, I am terrible at reading patterns, which, in turn, means I have no idea how to write a crochet pattern. Every time I pick up my hook to make another one, I’m basically re-writing the pattern in my head. Which means every single unicorn is unique, and they take me forever to make whilst I work out what to do next.

Unicorn body parts littered my bed whilst I worked on technique of bringing unicorns to life!

I now have a more streamlined “pattern” in my head, which is giving me great results so far! I have been able to scale the size up and down by just using thicker/thinner yarn with bigger/smaller hooks!

I have been playing with different combinations of yarn, some with sparkles, some without! This is my favorite bit! And the reason why I have started four unicorns in two days and only finished one!

One finished, three started! different yarns give different effects! Love experimenting!

I have one order so far. And I’ll be trying to put some up for sale (see my Facebook page in the coming days/weeks)

And as my pattern gets more refined, I’ll have a go at writing it down so I can share it with you!

I’m going back to experiment with unicorns some more!

Have a creative week 🙂