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Seasonal Craft Activities… It Starts Here!

Halloween Kids' Craft

One of the things I have been most looking forward to since becoming a mum has to be getting to a stage when Little Man and I would be able to do some crafts together. I loved creating things as a child, and continue to enjoy it as an adult, so I couldn’t wait to explore this love with Little Man too.

He has enjoyed watching kids’ art programmes on tv for a while now and recently he has really started getting interested in scissors and sticking, rather than simply drawing with pens. So when he received more money for his birthday than he really needed for a few more toys and books, I decided it was time to head to the craft store and buy him some bits and pieces.

We took a trip to Hobbycraft and I swear I could have bought the whole store! I found it rather difficult limiting our shop to a certain budget and so decided to stick to a theme for our crafting adventures. And that theme was “seasonal activities”.

With Halloween coming up, we went with this pumpkin which we plan to decorate with tissue paper and glitter, as well as some leaf shaped foam pieces to use while exploring the changes in nature as we move into autumn, and some more tissue paper, scissors and glue for good luck!

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I couldn’t resist buying a little something for myself whilst we were there. I got this wooden sign and orange paint (I need to dig out the other colours we have stashed somewhere at home) and will try and find time to sit and paint this before Halloween arrives. It is a big celebration in our household, so any new addition to our decorations is always well received!

Christmas kids' crafts

Returning to the bits we got for Little Man, we decided to look ahead and buy a few bits ready for Christmas too. These baubles for painting are so adorable, I cannot wait to see what Little Man paints on them. And the wooden stamp set is for taking our handmade wrapping paper up a gear.

The plan is to start decorating the big pumpkin tomorrow – it is almost October after all. I may also have to try and crochet a few little pumpkins to go with it. I’m so excited.

Tell me, are you planning any seasonal craft activities?

crochet fingerless gloves

What We’re Working On: Crochet Fingerless Gloves

Welcome to a brand new feature here at the Patch – “What We’re Working On”. It’s my version of a “Work-In-Progress” (WIP) round-up, to share some of the fantastic patterns I’ve come across and enjoyed making. I’m going to try and stick to a theme for each round-up, because at the moment my focus is on using up my yarn stash to create handmade gifts for the wealth of birthdays we have in the autumn and (dare I say it?) Christmas. There’s nothing nicer than making a gift for someone, because no matter how small they know it will have taken time and effort. Last year Little Man made his own Christmas wrapping paper, and I am so excited to see what he can get up to this year now that he is a little bit older! I’m also looking forward to making things for Halloween and keeping warm throughout the autumn months too. But for now, let’s get cracking with my first post – fingerless gloves. crochet fingerless gloves This first pair was a absolute dream to make. Despite messing up my stitch count the first time (skipping 3 stitches instead of 2 and making the first glove way too tight) I still managed to start again and complete the pair in just one evening. But don’t let the simplicity fool you… the gloves are very pretty, without being overly fancy. The v-stitch design gives it a lovely finish and the ribbing around the wrists is a great touch. V Stitch Fingerless Gloves Crochet The pattern I used for these gloves can be found both on ravelry.com and the designer’s own blog. She writes on her blog post about how she came about creating this design, which I loved reading, as it is always nice to find the story behind a piece! I made these using Sublime Baby Cotton Kapok (DK) , which is a yarn I discovered when Black Sheep Wools kindly donated 30 balls of it for my Nine Months Of Crochet Challenge last year. I fell in love with the yarn straight away and went out to buy some extra balls just for my own use, and this is what I used some of it for. My next pair is still very much a work in progress… want to see? Crochet Star Stitch The reason this is still a work in progress (WIP) is not because it takes very long – the pattern is really quite simple – but because the star stitch is a new one for me and it took me a while to figure it out. I’ve steered clear of fancy stitches like this for far too long… this pattern has actually been in my ravelry queue for years! But I don’t know why, because it really isn’t that hard once you get the hang of it. However I did have to search for a video tutorial on youtube to figure it out initially, as I just couldn’t make sense of written instructions at all!

Isn’t it pretty though? If you want to learn how to create it I highly recommend checking out this video by New Stitch A Day on You Tube. If you want to try the pattern for the fingerless gloves which uses this stitch, it is right here.

I am making these using rico creative cotton in fuschia. I love rico yarns and have done ever since I found them when pregnant. I am very limited to the fibres I can use due to eczema on my hands and so good quality cotton yarn which is also available on a low budget is a winner in my book! That’s all I’ve been working on this week, but I’m going to cheat right here and share with you a pair I made at the end of my pregnancy. I know we’re not working on them right now, but they do fit the theme, so I’ve decided it’s okay! Shell Wrist Warmers Crochet Unlike the other two, these do not have a thumb hole because they are officially “wrist warmers” rather than fingerless gloves. However I have found that you can easily (and comfortably) poke your thumb through a gap at the base of each shell if you want to use them as fingerless gloves instead. As I say, I made these when pregnant, so several years ago now, meaning I actually cannot remember the specific yarn I used. I know it was a super soft acrylic yarn but that’s about all I remember. If you want to have a go at the pattern, it is one by Drops Designs and can also be found on ravelry here.

The Joys of Crochet

I'm sure some of you remember me introducing you to my "Crochet Guru" earlier on in the year. Well, Jen is back with a post on just why she loves crochet so much. Take it away, Jen!

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Amanda and I have chatted about many crafting projects over the years but none so much as crochet. She calls me her crochet guru, but really it’s because I’m old and have been crocheting for about as long as she’s been alive! There are few crochet questions I can’t answer after all this time, but it’s just the voice of experience.

That said – crochet is not just for Grandma’s! It’s all the rage in high fashion right now, and it not just about making doilies and dishcloths.

I enjoy crochet because it keeps my hands busy… while my mind is focusing on other things. When I need to think things through, I pick up the crochet. When I can’t sleep, I pick up the crochet. When my husband is watching the same show for the 79th time, I pick up the crochet. Do you have something you like to do when you need to settle your mind?

One of the things I really love about crocheting is how emotionally rewarding it can be. I love projects that make someone smile. It might be a silly hat, using special colors or characters, or simply surprising someone with a gift. (Just don’t ask me about my collection of Harry Potter related items!)

I tend to have especially silly fun making hats. I’ve made “Cutie Pies”

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Star Wars villains

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and matching squirrel hats for the two silliest nuts I know.

But I’ve also made someone’s day by making prayer shawls for sick or troubled friends

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and cold weather items for the local homeless shelter.

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I’ve also had incredible moments reaching out to new mothers when my grandsons were born. The first time, the nurses introduced me to a new mother whose own mom had passed away. I was able to stop in and chat for a while, representing Grammas in general, presenting the blanket and my good wishes. The second time, the nurses asked me if they could give the blanket to a baby in the intensive care unit who was not expected to survive. They told me it would mean a lot to the girl’s parents to wrap her in something pretty and so full of love. I never got to meet that family, but I know that was a gift worth giving. 

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It puts things in perspective to reach out to others. There’s nothing better than knowing you brought a little sunshine into someone’s cloudy day. What do you like to do to cheer someone?

I’ve also discovered that I can make my own day with crochet. This shrug is so soft and sparkly it perks me up every time I wear it.

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And my new supersized leafy shawl may be my most favorite project ever.

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Sometimes, we need to nurture ourselves so we can better nurture those around us.

So, pick up that project, take up the new hobby… you never know where it will take you.

Recently though, I received the greatest praise of my crocheting career. My five year old grandson asked me for a blue dragon toy.

Dragon front small

The next time he visited his dragon was patiently waiting. He ran over, scooped up the dragon and gave me a great thank you hug. That day he started to notice the other crocheted items around the house including the flowered doily on the table. He asked me if I made it all by myself out of thread, and when I answered that I had, he touched one of the flowers and said “Good job, Gramma!”

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

 

Jen has very kindly produced a new crochet pattern that will thrill both seasoned crocheters and those who are new to the craft or wanting to give it a try but unsure where to begin. I shall be revealing the pattern on Monday and cannot wait as it is a very special pattern for me.

We'll also be running a giveaway connected to the pattern, so do remember to check in next week to see what it's all about!