Friday, 25 July 2014

Oval Crocheted Rag Rug - finish and a pattern



I did it!  I managed to figure my way through the maths of creating an oval(ish) crocheted rag rug and I now have a finished rug and a FAL Qtr 3 list result!

Being totally honest this is my first ever attempt at drafting a pattern and I'm sure it isn't perfect.  More experienced crocheters and pattern writers will no doubt spot flaws but, if you could live with your rug being the shape that mine is above then perhaps you can try the pattern at the bottom of this post for yourself.

Before you get to the pattern, here are some hints and tips from my experience:

1.  Brace your fingers - this is a bit industrial!

2.  Using safety pins to mark the slip stitch at the end of the round and to mark the beginnings of each curved section and each straight section is very helpful for all the counting involved and makes it easier to spot early if something has gone wrong.  Pic to illustrate is on this post.

3.  I used 1" cotton fabric scrap strips for this project.  Again, this post explains briefly how I stitched them into rolls.

4.  This rug is fantastic for using up leftovers from other projects or for recycling cotton or polycotton items you might be finished with.  I used poplins (these were good because they frayed less than others), quilting cotton scraps, klona cotton (which was heavier and a little harder to work with but still possible), old duvet cover and pillowcase remnants, those offcuts from quilt backings like Ikea Nummers which are too small to be useful because of the large scale of the pattern, lighter weight fqs which I ordered before realising they weren't such great quality and a few ugly fabrics that I knew I would never use in anything else (remember, in strips and crocheted in you cannot tell they were once uglies).

5.  I discovered that working with my 1" strips and 10mm hook each round grew the size of the rug by approx 1" width and height.

6.  While I didn't measure how much fabric I was using (because I simply went to my scrap bins to make these rolls) I worked out that 1 dc used approx 6" length of fabric.


7.  Throughout the process my rug was occasionally wavy in the middle (not at the edges where it indicates a problem with the increases).  All it needed was a gentle stretch to flatten it all out each round.

8.  It is a bit messy as all those strips tend to shed fluff and fibres as you work with them.

9.  Although rag rugs aren't particularly something I love, I had a creative itch to scratch just to see if I could make one.  I'm so glad I did.  I had fun making it and I do quite like this wee scrappy rug even if I won't be decorating my whole house with them!

10.  The finished rug is 34" x 24" which, for those of you who are quilters, is approx the size of a large cutting mat.  It would make a great bath mat size too.

Ok, so on to what you came for:


Oval Crocheted Rag Rug - Pattern

Fabric strips 1” wide
10mm crochet hook

Rug approx 34" x 24"

Work dc into the back loop only of the dc from prev round.


NB -  For this rug I made all of my double crochet (dc) stitches into the back loop of the previous row, not through both loop of the prev stitch. (See pic above.)

UK terms
ch = chain
dc = double crochet  (US equiv = single crochet)
sl st = slip stitch

Ch 17. 

(You could adjust this number of chains to elongate the rug.  If you do, you will end up with 2 less dc stitches than the no of ch you make and you will have to adjust the number in blue in the pattern for every round to your number of stitches.)

Round 1
dc into 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc in back loop only of next 15 ch, 3dc in last ch; continue along the other side of the foundation chain (so that you are working in a round) working 1 dc in the remaining loop of each of the next 15 ch, 2 dc in the first ch of this round, join with a sl st to first ch.  (Your curved ends will now have 3 sts each.)

Adding the safety pin marker in the sl st is a good indicator of the beginning of each round
and a reminder NOT to work into the sl st.
(I found it easier to mark this slip stitch with a safety pin and yarn after making it, as you do not want to work into it in any of the next rounds.  Move the safety pin up to mark the slip stitch made at the end of every round as you progress. It also helpfully identifies the starting point of the rounds as you go along.)

Round 2
Ch1, 1 dc into same place as sl st, 1 dc in next 15 dc, 2dc in each of the next 3 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, 2 dc in each of next 2 dc, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 6 sts each.)

Round 3
Ch1, 1 dc into same place as sl st, 1 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next dc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 9 sts each.)

Round 4
Ch1, 1 dc into same place as sl st, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 12 sts each.)

Round 5
Ch1, 1 dc into same place as sl st, 1 dc in each of next 3 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 3 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 3 dc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 15 sts each.)

Round 6
Ch1, 1 dc next dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 2 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 2 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 18 sts each.)

Round 7
Ch1, 1 dc next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 3 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 3 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 21 sts each.)

Round 8
Ch1, 1 dc next dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 2 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 2 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 24 sts each.)

Round 9
Ch1, 1 dc next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 3 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 4 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 3 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 4 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 3 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 27 sts each.)

Round 10
Ch1, 1 dc next 5 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 6 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 6 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 30 sts each.)

Round 11
Ch1, 1 dc next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 6 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 3 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 6 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 3 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 6 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 33 sts each.)

Round 12
Ch1, 1 dc next 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 5 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 5 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 5 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 5 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 5 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 36 sts each.)

Round 13
Ch1, 1 dc next 6 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 7 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 7 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 39 sts each.)

Round 14
Ch1, 1 dc next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 9 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 3 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 9 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 3 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 9 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 42 sts each.)

Round 15
Ch1, 1 dc next 8 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 9 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 9 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 4 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 45 sts each.)

Round 16
Ch1, 1 dc next 6 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 7 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 7 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 48 sts each.)

Round 17
Ch1, 1 dc next 9 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 5 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 10 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 5 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 10 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 5 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 51 sts each.)

Round 18
Ch1, 1 dc next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 12 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 4 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 12 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 4 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 12 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 54 sts each.)

Round 19
Ch1, 1 dc next 9 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 10 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 10 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 57 sts each.)

Round 20
Ch1, 1 dc next 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 13 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 5 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 13 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 5 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 13 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 60 sts each.)

Round 21
Ch1, 1 dc next 11 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 12 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 12 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 7 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 63 sts each.)

Round 22
Ch1, 1 dc next 7 dc, 2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 12 dc, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 8 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 12 dc) 3 times, 1 dc in next 15 dc, (1dc in next 8 dc,  2dc in next dc, 1 dc in next 12 dc)  twice, join with sl st to first ch. (Your curved ends will now have 66 sts each.)

Fasten off.  Stretch out your rug and admire.




If you are keen to try a rug for yourself, I hope that this pattern will work out for you.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

All in the preparation

It's been a while since I've had a paper piecing project on the go.  I have been tempted by some other patterns I've seen lately but when I spotted Fiona's Apple Core quilt in the first issue of Quilt Now it was a clincher.



I like the large size of the pieces and decided to trial two apple cores just to be sure I could manage it before committing to cutting all the fabrics.  Seemed to go together well, though it's definitely different from stitching 1" hexies!

When I was deciding what fabrics to use for this project I wanted something soft and pastel (possibly inspired by the sorbet theme of the Quilt Now magazine) and I wanted to use what I have, not have to go buying more fabrics.  As I pulled, I realised that my selections were beginning to look much like the fabric pull for my Farmer's Wife Sampler a few summers back.



So, I pulled down the FW box and rescued those fabrics from languishing unloved and unused.  It was a spur of the moment thing and in a funny way, I feel a slight sense of relief about them.  I have been trying to decide if I will ever pick up the Farmer's Wife blocks again.  I only made about 20 and haven't known if I should do more to finish or just move on because my motivation for it vanished.  So, it seems I've decided to move on and think the apple cores will be lovely in my previously FW fabrics.


As always with EPP there's a lot of preparation, so this week I've been cutting and cutting and cutting templates and fabrics, and I know there's a lot of basting ahead, but once I get that done I will have a lovely relaxing handwork project.  I really am looking forward to seeing it progress.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

New Inspiration



I'm sure you've heard all about the launch of the latest quilting magazine to hit our shelves.  The first issue of Quilt Now was published last week and there's been a massive buzz on social media since.

To be honest, I don't normally do magazines of any kind.  I want to, but generally find that there's too much advertising and not enough content. I know, I know, bah humbug me.  Anyhow, for reasons unknown to me I was enticed a few months back to sign up to Quilt Now on a great £5 for three issues deal, and I'm glad I did.

Let me say now that I have no vested interest in promoting this magazine, other than sharing that I think the first issue is full of pretty projects you will love.  Taking an hour with a cup of tea to read through the magazine was a feast for my wee stitcher's eyes.


I really loved the layout, the projects, the articles and just the general feel of it.  Have to admit I was also quite excited that a pattern page of full size templates was included.  No having to figure out where to take the magazine to blow up the photocopies to 225%!



I limited myself to just four projects as potentials or I really would get carried away!  Clockwise from top left: I fancy the look of Fiona's giant apple core EPP, the strawberry pincushion free gift, Katy's pixellated heart quilt and the Quilt Now BOM which will be a medallion quilt designed by Reene.


 First, I made up the little freebie strawberry pincushions just for the fun of it.  (Yep, more avoidance.)



Then I got a bit carried away pulling from my stash for the BOM.  As I pulled fabrics I realised that actually I am a blender girl.  My stash is rather devoid of statement prints (except perhaps for my Bonnie and Camille fabrics) and it's interesting that blenders of various kinds are what I obviously tend to choose if I'm not buying for a specific project.  Anyway, this BOM is a mystery so I'm going to try to work from stash (because it really is time to use some of it up) AND I'm going to give low volume background a try for this project.  I'm not convinced that LV and I get along entirely, but if I keep the emphasis on LOW volume and create a very distinctive contrast in my use of colour, perhaps this experiment will succeed.

So here's my version of Reene's central medallion block -



My centre star is a wee bit off on the left side but I'm very happy with it generally and am looking forward to what Reene and Quilt Now have in store for us next time!

If you do happen to spot Quilt Now out there on the shelves and feel even slightly tempted, I really think you won't be disappointed.  As you can see, I have found some lovely inspiration and these are only a few of the projects you'll find inside.

Right I'm off now, I have some apple cores to cut out!



Monday, 21 July 2014

Start to Finish

Last week I continued to "avoid" the larger projects on my list, choosing some more little projects that can be started and finished in a relatively short time.



A number of weeks back my mum surprised me with a little pack of fat quarters she had ordered from a television shopping channel.



Last week I decided they might make cute little cosmetic purses and whipped up a bunch for my mum to gift to her friends.





I find production line sewing a bit tedious normally, so avoid repetition fatigue I varied the designs a little on each one.  I like some better than others, but mum seems to think her friends will like them, so that'll do nicely.




I also snuck in a quick frame purse for myself made up in this lovely Bonnie and Camille fabric - Marmalade on the outside and Scrumptious to line it.




It will replace this tired little box that normally holds my make-up and I think my dresser is looking better already.



I have some more avoidance tactics from the weekend to show you tomorrow when I take pics, but I think that maybe this week I will have to behave myself and get back to that FAL list!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Drawstring Bags

So, how's your summer sewing going?  Are you taking it easy and enjoying creative freedom in the lighter evenings?   Are you valiantly tackling a list of summer plans?  Or are your stitchy moments going in a totally different direction than you'd expected?

Me?  I have a list and I look at it occasionally and then reach for something different!  The quilts on my list are not inspiring me and I just think I'm a little tired and my mojo is a wee bit overwhelmed by them.   I seem to be gravitating towards the more contained projects, rather than longer term ones.




You have to admit that for near-instant gratification on the sewing front, drawstring bags are hard to beat.  Especially when you make them in pretty fabrics - think these are all Lori Holt's Bake Sale line.



Boring, functional, enormous drawstring bags (made as a tent bag at hubby's request 26" x 42") are not so gratifying but at least they are quick!  This one has some reinforced stitching and heavy duty cotton drill fabric to withstand the abuse it will receive.  Hubby is very impressed at the drawstring and spring toggle I fitted - I shall not disabuse him of his misconception that it was tricky.



Aside from the drawstring bags, I have been filling in spare little spaces in my evenings with more counting, hooking and recording for the oval crocheted rag rug.  I didn't manage too much last week but it is growing a little and is now approx 20" x 12".  Shaping up not too badly. I wonder how far I will get before my strip rolls run out?  This is two of the seven rolls I made up.

So whether you are stitching or taking a wee break, I hope you are enjoying the summer so far.

Friday, 11 July 2014

HipBees - July 2014



HipBees' July Queen Bee is the adventurous Indianna Dreams who requested these Scrappy Mini Star blocks using Cindy's handy tutorial.

Four blocks

In the interests of telling it like it is, these blocks are individually made up of 60 pieces each which is a lot of seams to tame to get the block to come in on size and FLAT.  A consistent seam allowance and your iron will be your friend for these babies.  I hope that Indianna Dreams will forgive my inconsistencies and that they will disappear into the quilt when it's all together.

The fabrics are mostly Lark, I think, and they really are effective in the scrappy deliciousness of these blocks.  The secondary pattern is much more obvious when you add more and more blocks together. This should be a scrappy sensation when it's finished.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Case of the Misshapen Aeroplane Bag

It is so nice and sunny out today that it could be a "lashings of ginger beer" picnic and mystery solving opportunity for Enid Blyton's Famous Five or Secret Seven.  So, could they solve the mystery of my misshapen aeroplane bag?


See?  One side is pooching out the other is not.  Not sure how clued up Ms Blyton's juvenile sleuths are on zip fitting in bags, but my money is on the tapering zip!  Never mind, I think it looks pretty anyway!

I made the larger of the two bags in order to maximise what I might be able to carry with me on to a flight, instead of trying to cram everything (unsuccessfully) into a smaller handbag.


There's a ton of room in there and I'm really pleased with the overall size.

I used the Sew Sweetness pattern and some extra, helpful advice from a few friends.  All in all, the pattern was easy to follow and the bag came together well.  I love that I finally found a use for that Amy Butler Daisy Chain print.  I made it with about half an inch to spare on that one.  I think if you plan to give this bag a lot of use and abuse you would be best to make it in something a bit more robust than quilting cotton, but as I don't actually travel very often and intend that it will be carry on luggage only, I imagine it will survive well enough with the stabilisers and interfacings hidden in there.


Not so pretty zip end.

And another one

As I said, I am fairly certain the misshapen sides of the bag are due to my inability to interpret the zip tapering instructions.  I think this caused my problems with not being able to get my needle close enough to the area where the bag edges and lining edges met the zip ends.  I unpicked a few times but my puzzler couldn't work it out. Since it was most likely the tapering itself that was the issue, without understanding fully how that works I'm just repeating my problem.  The result is these funny, bulky "pleats" at my zip ends and a bit of a gap in the lining side of one of the ends too.

I gave it some thought and while one part of me wants to know how to put it right, the other part of me is happy to chalk it up to experience, try to resolve it if there is ever a next time, and just get on and stuff that bag full of necessaries for fun weekends away now and again!


I do believe this finish also constitutes a tick of my FAL Qtr 3 List already!!

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