Saturday, 18 January 2020

Dinki Dots becomes A Playful Stitch

Hello!

You may have noticed a few changes around here - including a new name and a redirection to my custom domain - www.aplayfulstitch.com - exciting!

I've had this blog for nearly 9 years, and for quite a few of those years I've wanted to change the name.  I just didn't really like Dinki Dots anymore... although now it's gone I feel a bit sad!

A Playful Stitch is a better name, though.  "Stitch" covers quite a lot - sewing, crochet, knitting - and I feel my work is pretty playful.

I've even got a fancy new logo that a friend of mine created for me when we were chatting about my new name idea.  Thank you, Kimberly!


I'm still tweaking the website, so things might change here and there.  I have limited time to work on it, as Emily only takes 30 minute naps!  If I waited until everything was perfect, though, I'd never get round to launching the new name and branding.  So, I'm just going with it!

I hope you like the new name and look!  If all goes well, I should be bringing you lots of finished creations... hopefully more than I managed last year.


Thursday, 9 January 2020

Creation Consolidation - 2019!

It's that time again... when I round up my creations from the previous year!

I'm going to start with the most impressive thing I made...



This little cutie!  Our beautiful Emily arrived in May, so crafting slowed down a fair old bit after that!  She takes a lot of time and energy, but she's completely worth it!

But on to what crafty things I made over the year - click on the headings or pictures to be taken to the blog posts:

Knitted Baby Hat


Filet Heart Crochet Baby Blanket


Hand-Knitted Socks


Cross-Stitch Hoop


Geometric Knitted Baby Blanket


Crochet Coasters


Crochet Christmas Bauble


Knitted Christmas Treat Bag


Felt Mouse Christmas Tree Decoration


Not a lot this year, for obvious reasons!

I've got a lot of works in progress, though - so I hope to get some more things finished at some point soon (or soonish!).  There is also going to be a change of name here on the blog, so keep an eye out for that!

If you are interested, here are my consolidation posts from previous years:

I didn't do a round-up for years before that, but you can see other finished items at the below links:


Here's to a great 2020 for us all!  I am hoping to get my life more organised, but not sure it will happen as it's so hard for me to get anything done with a little one in tow!



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Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Felt Mouse Christmas Tree Decoration

Last year, I started a new tradition to make a Christmas tree decoration each year.  I wanted this year's to be extra special to mark the arrival of little Emily into our lives this year and celebrate her first Christmas.

Cute felt mouse Christmas decoration

For years I'd had the Molly and Mama pattern for this pinned and this year felt like the right time to make this gorgeous cutie!  Yes, now that I have a baby taking up all of my time, a fiddly complicated project seemed ideal (ha!).

I started late November and cut out the little pieces...

Cute felt mouse Christmas decoration

Eventually had time to embroider and sew the face...

Cute felt mouse Christmas decoration

Finally managed to finish the whole project...

Cute felt mouse Christmas decoration


Cute felt mouse Christmas decoration

I copied the pattern as close as I could, with the supplies I had in my stash.  Pretty close!  I made an addition of the letter beads, as I wanted this to be a little Emily mouse!  I'm really pleased with how nice the letters look.

I embroidered the date on the back, as per my decoration last year...

Cute felt mouse Christmas decoration

Very pleased with this, and glad I managed to keep the new tradition going!  Next year I'll pick something quick and easy!

Have a lovely Christmas!!!





Saturday, 21 December 2019

Knitted Christmas Treat Bag

I've completed another Christmas make... this cute little knitted treat bag!

Cute Knitted Christmas Treat Bag

I used the lovely pattern by Sew Sweet Violet - Little Rabbit's Bag.  This was an Eastery pattern, with a bunny tail, but I omitted the tail and gave it a Chistmas twist!

Yarn: Christmas minis from Beehive Yarns - A candy cane effect yarn made the main bag and a funky bright green for the tie and holly.

Pattern for holly: Jolly Holly by Attic24.  

Hook size: 3mm short circulars rather than using magic loop method.

Amendments: I started with less stitches - using 60 - and adjusted the pattern accordingly when it came to reduce.

I love how the yarn looks on the base of the bag...

Cute Knitted Christmas Treat Bag

All ready for some yummy treats...

Cute Knitted Christmas Treat Bag

I hope you like it!



Check out my completed knitted projects here.


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Sunday, 24 November 2019

Crochet Christmas Bauble - Free Pattern

I've started a few things since Emily was born, but was yet to actually finish anything... until now!

I've made a sparkly crochet bauble!  I used my old pattern from a few years back as a starting point for the first 5 rounds then made some alterations as I went along to make the bauble less gappy between clusters as the rounds got bigger.


Click to find this free and easy sparkly crochet Christmas bauble pattern

Materials

Polystyrene ball - 7.5cm diameter
King Cole Cottonsoft DK in white
Anchor Artiste Metallic Yarn in silver and blue
4mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle (to weave in ends)

Click to find this free and easy sparkly crochet Christmas bauble pattern


Pattern

Glossary:
tr: treble crochet (UK)
dc: double crochet (US)
htr: half treble crochet (UK)
hdc: half double crochet (US)
ch: chain
st: stitch

Note - I start each row with a standing crochet stitch and I end each row with an invisible join.  However, you can start each row with chains to count as the first stitch and end with a slip stitch if you prefer.

(UK term first, US term in brackets)

Rnd 1: [In white] 12 tr (dc) into magic ring (12 st)
Rnd 2: [In silver] htr (hdc) ch 1 into gaps between stitches of previous row (12 st 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 3: [In metallic blue] 3 tr (dc) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr (dc), 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 4: [In white] 3 tr (dc) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr (dc), 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 5: [In silver] 3 tr (dc) ch 2 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr (dc), 12 ch 2 spaces)
Rnd 6: [In metallic blue] Into each ch 2 space of previous row work: 1 tr (dc), 2 long tr (dc) one each into the gaps either side of the middle tr (dc) of white rnd 4, 1 tr (dc) ch 1 (12 groups of 4 tr (dc), 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 7: [In white3 tr (dc) ch 1 into ch 1 spaces of previous row (12 groups of 3 tr (dc), 12 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 8: [In silverInto each ch 1 space of previous row work: 1 tr (dc), 1 long tr (dc) into the gap between the two middle tr (dc) of blue rnd 6, 1 tr (dc) ch 2 (12 groups of 3 tr (dc), 12 ch 2 spaces)
Rnd 9: [In whiteInto each ch 2 space of previous row work: 1 htr (hdc), 2 long htr (hdc) one each into the gaps either side of the middle tr (dc) of white rnd 7, 1 htr (hdc) (12 groups of 4 htr (hdc))

Make this twice then sew the two halves together using blue metallic yarn, going round in one direction first then back in the other direction in order to create the crosses.

You can find more details and waffle, if you're interested, in my old pattern!


Click to find this free and easy sparkly crochet Christmas bauble pattern

Disclaimer - I am a tight crocheter and my polystyrene ball is quite big, so you may find yourself needing less rounds.  Although I found I had to stretch this tighter than I had planned in order to sew it together.  Play it by ear, trying your crochet on your ball as you go, and adjust accordingly!

Do let me know if you make any baubles using this pattern!


Check out my crochet items here and my other patterns and tutorials here.



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Thursday, 22 August 2019

Our Beautiful Daughter

Sorry for the silence... I've been a bit busy with our new baby daughter, Emily, who was born in May!


Above is a picture of her at 2 days old, while we were still in hospital.  I was in labour for 49 hours before the decision was made to perform a caesarean, so it wasn't an easy birth!  Completely worth it, though!

Here I am with Emily a few days ago, at 3 months old...


My husband and I couldn't be more happy with our little angel!

I have managed to start some crafting... so I hope to be back with some crafty posts soon!  Check over on Instagram for the odd in-progress craft shot.




Sunday, 12 May 2019

Lime Crochet Coasters

Yep, me again.  I can't seem to produce a baby (1 week late today), so I'm producing crafty makes instead!

We've got a games room / office.  It's mainly my husband's domain (especially now I'm on maternity leave so don't need to work from home) and we've tried to be a bit different with the decoration in that room.  We've not actually finished it but we've painted a lime green feature wall that works really well.

We bought a nice desk for the room, but it's needed coasters for a while.  I finally got onto that...

Make these quick and easy crochet coasters

I'm really pleased with this design as it's quite plain, but still has a bit of interest.  I didn't want anything too frilly or "girly" as we want the room to be a bit funky/cool.

The pattern I used is this one.  But instead of using fingering weight yarn, I used King Cole Bamboo Cotton in DK (in 533 green, which I already had) and a 5mm hook.

After making one, I thought they were a bit big, and was tempted to remove a round.  However, I like that it means the outside decorative edge design still shows when it has a mug on it, so I stuck with that size.

Make these quick and easy crochet coasters

It's hard to capture the lime green correctly on camera - the first picture is probably the most accurate and the wall is more limey than it looks here.

It was fun to work on something quick and easy, after making a couple of blankets etc.  It took hardly any time to whip these three up - most enjoyable!



Check out my completed crochet items here.



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Friday, 10 May 2019

Geometric Knitted Baby Blanket

I've finished another project!  The beauty of maternity leave - I am actually getting chance to craft, without work getting in the way.

Although, the baby is five days overdue... so now I'm getting impatient!

I cast this blanket on right after finishing my crochet heart baby blanket because, as my husband says, this house doesn't have enough blankets.  (Yes, he's being sarcastic!)

Check out this cute and easy geometric knitted baby blanket

Before I went on maternity leave, a colleague came into work with their new baby.  While everyone ooohed and aaahhed over the baby - I spotted a lovely blanket!  It was knitted by her mum or mother-in-law.  I just loved the texture of it and really wanted to make one.

I did some Google and Pinterest searches for various things and managed to find a pattern that seemed to be the same (or similar).  However, it used 2 strands held together of aran yarn, which seemed a bit thick for a baby blanket for this time of year.  I just used the stitch pattern, but made it with one ball of DK yarn - I only wanted it to be a small car-seat sized blanket.  Also time was running out - I only finished it today, and I'm five days overdue, as I said!

Check out this cute and easy geometric knitted baby blanket

I am covered for bigger blankets anyway, so a little one gives a bit of variation.  A blanket for every situation!

Check out this cute and easy geometric knitted baby blanket


The variations I made to the pattern are:


  • Cast on 86 stitches, rather than 106, to make one less pattern repeat and a smaller width blanket.
  • Completed four and a half pattern repeats rather than nine, to make a shorter blanket.
  • Did not finish with rows 10 and 11, as the pattern doesn't ask you to start with them, so I think it would make it uneven.  In fact, I see rows 10 and 11 as below:
    • Row 10 (aka Row 21) - end of pattern repeat
    • Row 11 (aka Row 22) - start of pattern repeat
  • Therefore if I made this again, I would complete Row 11 before starting with Row 1.  Then when ending the blanket I would complete Row 10 only, before the 6 rows of garter stitch.

I used 5.5mm needles, as I wanted a quick, loose, drapey knit.  The yarn was King Cole Cottonsoft DK in Sky (714) - just one ball.  It was one I already had, so I didn't need to buy anything for this on-a-whim blanket!

Check out this cute and easy geometric knitted baby blanket

Maybe now this little blanket is finished, the baby might come??  Please!




Check out my completed knitted projects here.


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Monday, 6 May 2019

YouTube Video / Podcast Four

I've finally got round to recording my fourth YouTube video!  You can find it embedded below...



Or view on YouTube here.


Show Notes

Post on embroidery hoop is here.


Post on knitted socks is here.


Post on knitted baby hat is here.


Post on crochet baby blanket is here.


The crocheted baby gifts were from my friend Anna - find her blog here.



Pattern for the knitted mini baby blanket I'm working on can be found here.



I hope you enjoy the episode!


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Sunday, 5 May 2019

Cross Stitch Hoop

Hello!  I come to you today, on my due date!  Still no sign of the baby... but I have finished another longstanding WIP!

I finished those socks on Friday, and yesterday I finished an embroidery I'd start last summer - maybe June or July.

Baby name cross-stitch in an embroidery hoop

This is a present for a friend who has a baby called Ella.  At the time I started Ella was only a few months old... now she's over a year!

There wasn't any reason for the present - I just felt the need to make this.  You know how it is, when inspiration strikes!  However, the inspiration left me for some time... hence this languishing in the unfinished pile.

Baby name cross-stitch in an embroidery hoop

I found a cross-stitch alphabet online that I liked, and used that to make the name.  The flowers were part of a bigger cross-stitch picture, that I also spotted online.  I used just one flower extracted from the picture, and flipped it over to make the second.

I planned it out in excel, and used embroidery threads I already had.  In fact, I had the threads, the aida, the hoop and the ribbon already - it was a "free" project, if you don't count my time!  (And the fact I bought all the supplies at some point - just not then!)

Baby name cross-stitch in an embroidery hoop

I had actually managed to finish the embroidery off by the end of last year - it was just the backing I had left to do.  That's what I completed yesterday, and the addition of the hanging loop and bow.

Baby name cross-stitch in an embroidery hoop

I used running stitch to draw the aida together and covered it all with a circle of felt sewn on.  The aida was a bit stiff and hard to keep down, so the felt backing looks a bit padded.  I think it's fine, though.

All in all, I'm pleased with this and looking forward to giving it to my friend.  Not sure when I'll see her now, however, with the pending birth!!!  But at least it's ready.  I'm finding it very satisfying finishing off these longstanding projects... maybe it's a creative form of nesting!



Check out my sewing projects here.


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Friday, 3 May 2019

Hand-Knitted Socks

Me again!  You can tell I'm on maternity leave now - what a difference not having to go to work makes!  (I'd better make the most of the free time, before the baby gets here!)

I have finally finished my first hand-knitted pair of socks that I start back in August last year!  I made the first sock quickly, but ended up leaving the second sock partly done for ages.  I finished it off by the end of the year, all bar kitchener stitching the toe together - which really doesn't take long.  I finally did that today!

Hand knitted socks

The pattern matching across socks has come out pretty well!

The sock blockers are from The Knitting Shed and were a Christmas present, the Christmas before last.

Hand knitted socks

They fit well in general, but I think they should probably be a bit longer in the foot.  I can make them fit, but maybe a little longer would have been better.  I just didn't want to end up with baggy socks!

They are certainly wearable though, and once I've got them on they feel perfectly comfortable.  I've not worn them for long periods of time or in shoes yet (I've not long finished them!) but hopefully they'll be ok.

Hand knitted socks

How many pictures of my feet do you need to see?!

Here's another one...

Hand knitted socks

Ok, now onto all the details:

DETAILS

Yarn
Stylecraft Head over Heels in colourway Eiger.

Needles
3mm 25cm circular needles
3mm DPNs

Pattern
Winwick Mum Sockalong Basic Sock

My Specifications
56 stitches
Rib - 16 rows
Leg - 44 rows
Heel Flap - 27 rows
Turn - Left with 16 stitches
Gusset - Pick up 14 stitches on each side of heel flap
Foot - 37 rows (of 56 stitches)
Toe - Decrease to 28 stitches

When/if I make another pair of socks, I might do things differently - but this is just so I know what I did this time!



Check out my completed knitted projects here.


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Sunday, 28 April 2019

Crochet Baby Gifts

My dear friend Anna has been busy crocheting me some lovely gifts for the baby - which I received at my baby shower a few weeks ago...

Crochet baby gifts

Just look at that cute elephant!!!

Crochet baby gifts

Don't you just love the eyelashes?!  My favourite bit!

For over ten years, when Anna crocheted the cutest baby blanket for her daughter, I have been hankering after one of her beautiful blanket creations... and finally the time came!

Crochet baby gifts

I'm a big aqua fan - so she picked my favourite colour!  It's got such lovely soft drape too - gorgeous!

Crochet baby gifts

Thank you so much Anna, I'm so grateful!  What a lucky little girl she is, and she's not even here yet!

Crochet baby gifts



Thursday, 25 April 2019

Filet Heart Crochet Baby Blanket

With 10 days until my due date, I have finished the crochet blanket I've been making for the baby!


Cute heart crochet baby blanket

I'm so pleased with it!

Cute heart crochet baby blanket

PATTERNS

I have amalgamated two patterns to make this.

Heart Squares
The pattern for the heart squares is the Christmas Cheer Heart on Ravelry.

Amendments:
I started each square with a chainless foundation row of dc (US)/tr (UK) instead of a chain row and then the first row of dc/tr.

Instead of the white round in the pattern, I have finished each square with a round of sc (US)/dc (UK) in the same colour as the square.


Cute heart crochet baby blanket

Joining
I used the Continuous Flat-Braid Join by The Patchwork Heart.  I love the effect this join gives!  I could either do the join straight into the squares, or border each square with a round of sc (US)/dc (UK) in the joining colour (white).  I chose to do that as it gave the look I wanted.  Although, unfortunately it meant I needed to sew in 2 extra ends per square - that was 70 ends!!  Worth it in the end, though!


Cute heart crochet baby blanket

Once the squares were joined, I simply went round the whole blanket with hdc (US)/htr (UK).  I worked two into each loop around the edge.  Then when it came to the joins between squares, I worked dc (US)/tr (UK) as they were slightly lower than the rest of the loops - to bring them up to the same height.  I also worked five stitches into those joining sections - two into each loop and one into the middle over the crossing of the loops.  (This will make more sense if you have crocheted this flat-braid join and have it in front of you!)

I contemplated doing more with the border, but decided I was happy as it was.  I think it's a simple edging that finishes the blanket off nicely.


Cute heart crochet baby blanket

YARN
The yarn I used is King Cole Cottonsoft DK in the below colours:

712 Rose
1600 Buttercup
713 Lilac (I think this is discontinued, but I found it on ebay)
715 Mint
716 Candy (I think this is discontinued but I found it on ebay)
710 White

HOOK
I used a 5mm hook, as that is my standard for DK yarn, as I'm a tight crocheter.


Cute heart crochet baby blanket

MEASUREMENTS

It measures approximately 83cm x 115cm.


What do you think?  I love it!




Check out my completed crochet items here.



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