Free cat toy crochet pattern… upcycle and entertain your kitty at the same time.

Happy New Year!
I was hoping to make this post before Christmas, just to offer you all the chance to create a simple and fast crochet cat toy for your own kitty, but as usual life happens and I didn’t manage to do so.

I hope you will enjoy the pattern anyway and hopefully your furballs will enjoy it even more.

This is the final look of the cat toy:

To make your own you will need:

  • 4 mm crochet hook
  • scraps of DK yarn in 2 shades (A & B)
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • 1 small organza bag (or small piece of light fabric tied up)
  • catnip
  • 1 small jingle bell (optional)
  • tapestry needle to weave the ends in

The toy is worked from the bottom up, in spiral rounds, so there is not join slip stitch at the end of each round.

Round 1: With colour A work 6 sc in the magic ring (6 scs)

Round 2: work 2 sc in each sc (12 scs)

Round 3: work *2 sc in the next sc, 1 sc* – repeat till the end of the round (18 scs)

Round 4: work *2 sc in the next sc, 2 sc* – repeat till the end of the round (24 scs)

Round 5: work *2 sc in the next sc, 3 sc* – repeat till the end of the round (30scs)

Round 6: work 1 sc in each sc in the back loop only (30 scs)

Round 7 & 8: work 1 sc in each sc (30 scs)

Round 9: Change to colour B ch 2, 1 hdc in each sc, (30 hdcs)

Round 10: Change to colour A, work 1 hdc in each hdc (30 hdcs)

Round 11 – 18 Repeat rounds 9 and 10 (total 10 rounds of hdcs)

Round 19 & 20: work 1 sc in each hdc (30 scs)

Round 21: work 1 sc in each sc in the back loop only

Round 22: work *2 sc tog in the next sc, 3 sc* repeat till the end of the round (24 scs)

Round 23: *2 sc tog in the next sc, 2sc* repeat till the end of the round (18 scs)

Fill the bag or the fabric with catnip and place it inside the paper tube

Round 24: *2 sc tog in the next sc, 1 sc* repeat till the end of the round (12 scs)

Round 25: 2 sc tog till the end of the round ( 6 scs)

Round 26: ch 30, cut the yarn leaving more or less 35 cm long tail (or enough for you to work a slip stitch into each chain) with the aid of the tapestry needle thread the yarn through the jingle bell, slip stitch in each ch stitch.

Secure the yarn tightening the center of the last round. weave the ends in.

This toy has been tested on all of our 5 cats… in particular Nimue and Romeo have really appreciated the tail of the toy with the jingle bell.

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Wedding time! .. No, not for me, do not panic!

We are in May and wedding season has officially started.

Both here in the Uk and back home in Italy from now till September will be the busiest period of the year for weddings.

I am not getting married (God knows I tried, but the boyfriend doesn’t hear from that ear) but on the other hand I was invited not to one, but to four weddings! I already attended first one in April. We were in the beautiful Rome and it was organised in a medieval village. Needless to say it was lovely.

The next three ones will all be in September, one will be here in the UK and the last two will be in Italy.

All this love and marriage fancy in the air was inspirational.

I decided to create something that would be traditional in the use, but a little unconventional in the look.

I chose to create a ring bearer pillow (or cushion, there seems not to be an international agreement on how to call it) with a crochet cover.

My first attempt was definitely close to a classic design:

I really loved the design, and it fitted perfectly the small satin pillow I had prepared. Thrilled by it I felt adventurous and I experimented with unusual colours. I tried a dark purple

and, yes, a little extreme, but I also tried black!

I am aware that those are bold colour choices, but I think they represent quite a good balance between classic and modern. I know there are few people out there who might choose to have a goth themed wedding that would go for something like this.

NOW… It was time to experiment with some different designs!
My little experience with my Christmas items helped a lot when I put down the pattern with this lacy one in Cadbury purple.

And my past experience at crochet doilies, allowed me to come up with this summer- inspired orange (maybe too full?) one:

I started feeling a little like a wedding crochet fairy ! Nothing could stop my creativity ! Another colour, another design! Why not try and combine two different sides together? To avoid making it look too weird, I decided to stick with a traditional rose pink.

I really enjoyed making these, and I am also considering publishing the patterns, but for now I will just see if anyone likes them as much as I do. So far I got two commissioned for friends and family, not too bad as a beginning!

They are available at my Etsy shop if you want one 🙂

Now … time to take out the hook and come up with matching wedding favours!

All the pillows, but the white one have been created with Rico Essentials Crochet.

Reminiscing of the past holidays.

Hello everyone. It has been some time since the last time I update the blog, I feel quite ashamed for it. Apologies.

Since I now live in the UK, Christmas has become the occasion when I push myself a little harder,travel back to my home country (Italy) and spend time with my family and the friends I left there, But despite how much you wish to do everything and see everyone, it seems you never have enough time in a day.
In addition this year I had a little additional problem to deal with… victim of the British icy cold mornings I fell at the beginning of December and I ended up like this.

and yes in case you are wondering I am left handed… I have to admit that having a splint didn’t prevent me from crochet, but knitting was out of the question.

The Christmas hanging decorations I was preparing took a backseat as I had to rush into making the last presents for my family. I am not going to lie, this year I thought I would end up not making them in time, but unexplicably I managed.

My first project was a set of two placemats for my cousing and her fiance. Since they always joke around being supporters of two different Italian football teams (Juventus and Milan A.C.) , I thought it would be nice to play on their playful rivalry. I hooked some Lily Sugar’n’Cream cotton in red, black and white and I set to work.

I love how they turned out and the button in the middle of the placemat, in the shape of a soccer ball really fit in nicely.

My other project was a special present for my brother. We share many passions, from computer games to music and comics. I decided that he deserved a mammoth project, like a blanket!

I scouted the internet for a suitable chart, I knew the present was going to be Super Mario (Nintendo) inspired, but I didn’t have a clear design in mind yet. I came across this pattern and chart on Ravelry and I knew it was the one Super Mario Mushroom Rug. I have nothing against granny squares, but I knew I wanted a more solid look for my squares. I eventually settled for this square pattern (only doing 3 rounds). And the crochet square marathon began..

As I landed in Italy (14th December) I was so far behind that I wanted to cry… I only had 20 white squares ready. For the next days there was no place I went that I didn’t bring my crochet with me. Eventually, the squares started to multiply.

For many many nights I didn’t hit the sack before 3 a.m. but I was determined, especially because as the squares took over, the blanket really started to take shape. It was exhilarating… for all the 180 squares I made.

A naughty little pink square tried to escape the pre-assembly picture, but it was put back into place soon after.

If preparing the squares took time, sewing them together was a task I seriously underestimated… yards and yards of whips stitches later… at 11 .a.m. of Christmas morning… the Mushroom blanket was ready.

Ok, after I finished I noticed I eventually had placed a pink square instead of a black one, but I thought it looked great anyway.

My brother was also very happy receiving it, and the little spark in his eyes (he will probably deny it was a tear) made all this huge effort worth it.

Pretty and big. If I had had more time I would have probably filled the edges with more black squares to make it more blanket like, and I also offered my brother to do so, but he said he loved it “just the way it was”.

This closes my (belated) Christmas posts. I know it sounds absurd, we are in February and we are already all immersed into Easter projects… but I really felt this projects and their stories deserved to be shared.

New exciting news (for me) coming up this year, so as soon as eveything is set up and running I will write about it.

I would love to see any of your family and friends projects, please share them below in the comments!

Christmas .. there is no better time to get hooked !

Hello everyone! First of all let me say I am sorry for the long silence.

Many things have happened since September that prevented me from posting in here; namely I lost my little gallbladder (not that I am sad it is gone, because lately it misbehaved creating me great discomfort to say the least).

I was away from the blog but I was not on rest from my crochet projects and my knitting needles.

This year Christmas has really creeped on me, and I am not proud to say I am falling behind making all the handmade presents I promised to family and friends.

In addition I will also be attending my first proper Christmas Craft Fair (exciting isn’t it?) this weekend and since my adventure as a crafter has just begun, I had to work hard to have something to display on the day.

I have now a few projects that I am happy to share wih you with the hope to inspire those of you who are still looking for ideas for gifts for family and friends.

I have to admit I fell in love with the idea of decorating Christmas baubles (side note: from a foreigner point of view I voted the word bauble as the most difficult to pronounce for year 2014).

I found many excellent ideas and pattern out there, these are a few:

I loved the pattern at first sight, and I was delighted to see the pattern creator made a VIDEO tutorial or us to follow.

As you can see I used unconventional colours (that’s my style) but I am sure any more tamed colour would work just as well. My version protrays Rico Essential Crochet in shades Purple, Light Green and Turquoise on a 2 mm hook.

As I know people might also want some sparkly Christmas ornament I scouted Ravelry and I went for this design:

For this one I was inspired by this Christmas Ornament by Susan M Allen that is on sale on Ravelry. I modified the pattern to fit my bauble which was made with Anchor Glitter in Silver shade and 2 mm hook. If you are in this sparkly traditional style I would seriously advise to browse her Ravelry Shop page as she really have many different designs available (click here to see her store page).

One more Christmas ornament decoration:

This also comes from a video tutorial made by the Crochet Crowd

I modified their pattern as I didn’t like the idea of cutting the yarn and restarting at the top of the loop (I am for more practical designs) especially since I used Grundl in Bronze shade with a 2 mm hook and metallic thread is a bit resistant to manipulations.

My last Christmas project for the day is a present for the daughter of friends (teenagers who love hand made yarn presents are the best). Her parents told me she was really into  Baby Groot for the movie Guardians of the Galaxy and asked me if I could make one for her. I also am in love with that little dancing twig,  have a look at it and I dare you not to find it cute.

I scouted the internet for help (it is not a immediate shape and construction) and I found this fantastic blog entry from Krawka crochet blog. Unfortunately I didn’t have any white pot and I had to improvise due to the limited time frame  I had before Christmas, but overall I am happy about my own version of Baby Groot.

Now I just need to polish the pot and send it over to a hopefully happy girl.

Next blog entry will be about crochet hanging decorations, I am still experimenting a bit with them so be patient, they will make an appearance as soon.

If you have any project to share I will be more than happy to see what you have been up to!

Crochet baby trainers, too cute not to make.

By now I think you all know that I love making baby inspired projects. The problem is I have no baby myself or around me. Since I relocated to the UK all my friends who are spawning little people are now in Italy.

Despite this, I still enjoy making little tiny things in the hope I will be able to gift them or sell them at some local craft event.

Recently I was smitten by this crochet pattern I found on Ravelry Crochet Baby Converse created by the talented Suzanne Resaul (she is also distributing the pattern for free, I love her!!).

I had some leftover cotton yarn (some Lily Sugar’n’ Cream and some Stylecraft Classique Cotton) so I decided to test the pattern. Since the two yarns have different weight, the shoes came out in two different sizes. I was left wondering which one would be the best fit for the tiny feet of a baby.

One day I was talking with my neighbour and she mentioned she had two very young (below 1 year old) great-granddaughters. I honestly jumped on the occasion and asked her if she was willing to check the size of a new project of mine on them. Bless her, she not only did that for me, but also loved these little shoes so much that she asked me to make two pairs for her great-granddaughters.

Weeeee another commissioned work for me!!

She asked for some yellow and pink shoes, so we chose the colours together and after the fantastic Wool Warehouse delivered me the new shade of Lily Sugar’n’Cream yarn I set to work.

These are my little crochet baby converse style shoes.

4 shoes

 I have to admit I am beyond happy about the outcome.

4 shoes 2

As I said before I used Lily Sugar’n’Cream cotton yarn in shades Ecru for the soles, Sunshine and Hot Pink.

yellow

pink

I have also prepared a kit for the items that I sell; it includes care labels (required by the Trading Standards) and some other information about the item.

Since the shoes are so small I really couldn’t saw the care label on them (they might irritate the baby’s feet), so I came up with an alternative positioning.

tags

I thought my neighbour would appreciate some wannabe professional packaging, so I also placed them in the cellophane bag I use to display my clothes on  sale.

Here they are, tagged and ready to be handed over.

packageI really hope many of you crochet lovers will try to make these as well, the pattern may be a little fiddly in a couple of points, but the result is too cute not to give it a go.

Cat coasters, because you never have enough cat themed stuff around.

I share the love for yarn with many of my real life friends, We share and we discuss many different ideas, patterns and techniques.

In fact, It is not uncommon to send each other pictures to tempt ourselves into prove we can always come up with something new.

My best friend and I also share the love for cats, so when she sent me the picture of these cat coasters I fell in love with them in an instant.

Cat crochet

They were linked to me from a Facebook page, that in its turn redirected to a craft website. The bouncing from website to another wasn’t finsihed. These coasters were indeed featured in the Etsy page of Shanna Compton called hooks and balls.

I think it is important to give people credit for their work, especially if their work inspire you to create something similar.

RIght, now that I had uncovered the origin of the idea I decided to make a different version of it that would suit my taste better (I love the originals but I thought the pink in the centre was too much of a graphic detail). I also decided to make a simplified version of the different colors, maintaining a single color block for each one.

Luckly I had some Stylecraft Classique DK Cotton in the shades of white, orange (Seville) and beige, plus a small amount of some black coton of the same weight.

Making one coaster really does not take much yarn so you could also try and use the leftover you have around. Free your imagination, there are all different sorts of cats in the world, and this is your chance to portray them .

Right, this is what my 4 cats look like.

I free handed the body and the other bits of the black one, as you can see, since it looks a little different from the other three. As I made the black one though, I realized it was a nice quick project that I could write down for you to try your hand on. This is why the other three have a more consistant shape. As usual, I hope you can have fun making them, and let me know if you have any comment or suggestion about the pattern.

Happy crochet!

Use 4 mm crochet hook.

In magic ring work 6 sc.

Round   1          Work 2 sc in each sc (12 sc)

Round   2          Work * 1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in the next sc * repeat ** till end of the round (18 sc)

Round   3          Work * 2 sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc * repeat ** till end of the round (24 sc)

Round   4          Work * 3 sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc* repeat ** till end of the round (30 sc)

Round   5          Work * 4 sc in next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc* repeat ** till the end of the round (36 sc)

Round   6          Work * 5 sc in next 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc* repeat ** till the end of the rond (42 sc)

Round   7          Chain 10, from 2nd chain from hook work 9 hdc, 1 hdc in the next sc (tail)

Round   8          Work 14 sl st in the FLO of next 14 sc

Round   9          Chain 5, from 2nd chain from hook work 4 hdc, 1 hdc in the next sc (leg)

Round   10        Work 7 sl st in the FLO of next 7 sc

Round   11        Chain 5, from 2nd chain from hook work 4 hdc, 1 hdc in the next sc  (leg)

Round   12        Work 20 sl st in the FLO

Round   13        Cast off and weave ends in

 

The tail and the legs chains always start on the first of the 2sc in the same sc of the previous round, the 1 hdc after the ones worked in the chain is worked in the 2nd sc of the 2sc in the same sc of the previous round.

 One more picture of the detail of one of the cats to help you interpret the pattern.

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Crochet Lace Doilies … Yay or Nay?

In the last days I decided to take out my crochet hook and enjoy the feeling of creating something that wouldn’t weigh a ton.

I had bought a few balls of Rico Design Crochet Essentials cotton and I was itching to explore how it would perform.

I first decided to create some free hand coasters featuring all the colors I had.

This is what I realized with a size 2.00 mm hook.

Doily 1
Doily 2

I am not such a skilled crochet and lace weight always feel intimidating. My only previous experience was a set of four coasters I had made for mum for Christmas… and you know… usually mums never harshly critique the crafted presents they receive from their daughters.

I think the red opaque cotton (which was a leftover found at the bottom of my grandmother stash) was a delight to work with.

heart doily

The pattern of this red coaster is free and provided by Red Heart. I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, I felt it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone, and I selected a little more complicated pattern to do. You can see it on Cylinda Mathews’s Ravelry Page or if you don’t have a Ravelry account you can access it here.

Admittedly it wasn’t an easy ride, even if the instructions were really clear, I blame my little skill.

Overall I am really happy with the result and this project gave me enough confidence to explore more works of this kind.

Big Doily

What about you? Are doilies too old fashioned or you believe they can be spruced up and reinvented into modern fashion?