Sunday, 17 November 2013

Stash-Busting Crochet Pattern

It's probably (hopefully) just this time of year, but there seems to be a slightly endless list of requests from Carrot-Girl's school for donations of food, donations of items for the Christmas Sale, for the Children in Need Sale, followed by a request to send in your child equipped with cash to buy items back from said sales. And then there are the quiz nights, the Pop-Up restaurants, the school photos and the Christmas Tree sales.

They are good causes and I don't mind helping out where I can, it's just starting to seem a bit relentless at the moment. She's only been there 6 weeks, and the above is just what has come off the top of my head.

Anyway, the current "please donate items" is for the Christmas sale, where the children then buy back items to give as presents, for 50p or £1.

I didn't really want to buy things to donate, given that I'm attempting to save as much as possible, so it seemed an ideal way to do a bit of stash-busting and make some quick items.

First things (and I forgot to take pictures of these) where little crochet flowers which I sew onto brooch pins. But, I got to thinking that since "Dad Presents" are often difficult, they were probably going to be short of this type of gift at the sale.

So, a bit of research on Ravelry later, I decided to go with iPhone covers. My pattern is inspired by one from Lottie's Creations which she published on Ravelry. I've altered it a bit, and am not very experienced at writing patterns down, but here goes!

It's written in UK crochet terms.

Firstly, any yarn will do. I have used DK cotton and some aran-ish wool-mix and both have been fine. I am particularly trying to stash-bust the aran-ish stuff, as it has a texture which reminds me of baler twine. No good for anything next to the skin, but for a phone case which will get bashed and bumped in you handbag, briefcase or pocket - perfect.

Leaving a good long tail (20cm), chain 26 (ish) and sl st to form a circle. Measure it around your phone, it should stretch to fit quite snuggly. I used a 4mm hook and 26 chains worked well. But you can increase or reduce to suit your yarn and tension, but it must be an even number of stitches

DC all the way around the circle (26 stitches). You are going to work in a continuous round, so no need to sl st to join.

Skip the first stitch, then DC & TC into the next. Repeat this (Sk, DC & TC) and your iPhone cover will soon grow. This combination of stitches and skips gives a really nice texture:

When it is the right length get ready to start your final row. Make sure your tail is at one side of the cover, when squashed flat and the stitch you are ready to work next is in the centre.

Then work a row of DC (26 stitches) to give a nice firm top edge.

Chain about 16-20 and sl st back onto the row of DC, so you have a loop. Fasten off.

Use the long tail to whip stitch firmly along the bottom and sew in the remaining tail

Sew on a button, so you can close the loop and TA-DAH! It's done!

A quick (about 2 hours) and easy stocking filler present which uses up your odds and ends of wool.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Despicable Me 2 - On the Cheap

Hello again, and thanks to everyone for their kind messages and tweets after the storm.

Our trees survived intact, thank goodness, as did everything else - we didn't even loose a fence panel.

By 9am the next morning the wind had dropped a lot and it was a beautiful sunny day, I got a load of washing out on the washing line, to make the most of the free-drying power of the wind, after all the rain we've had, and we set off for the cinema to see Despicable Me 2.

It was Carrot-Girl's first trip to the pictures and I'm not sure my explanation of what to expect was fully understood ("it's like watching the television on a very big screen, in the dark, with lots of other people. And you have to sit still").

The prices of cinema tickets is very high. For example, a regular ticket t in my local cinema it's £10.45 per ticket. And I wasn't going to pay that three times to then have Carrot-Girl freak out and decide she hates the cinema after 5 minutes.

So, after a bit of hunting the Odeon website, and found the Kid's Club section. It's a much better deal, the films aren't brand new (DM2 came out in the summer) but all tickets are £3.00!

Adding to the fun (in Carrot-Girl's opinion) was the fact we went there on the bus (she LOVES the bus) and that she got to eat popcorn.

The finances at Carrot-Towers don't stretch to cinema priced popcorn and drinks, so like the frugal-mum that I am, I went equipped with a drink and made my own popcorn - it's cheap, easy & very entertaining for children to hear it pop.

The bus was the cheap option too. I'm lucky that our nearest big town has a excellent Park & Ride bus service, as the car parks are extortionate (at least £1.50 per hour). Carrot-Girl and Carrot-Man both travel for free on the bus, so it was just £2.20 for me.

And the film? The film was fantastic! We laughed all the way through, loved the Minions, loved the new love-interest & loved Mr Ramsbottom. The only slight disappointment was the fact the Julie Andrews wasn't in this sequel, as she was hilarious in the original film.

If you aren't familiar with the Minions, enjoy this trailer of their very unique take on The Beach Boys classic, "Barbara Ann":