Time to rock the craft- presenting 15 in 2015

It’s the new year.

It’s probably crazy.

It’s definitely a lot of work.

But I’m not waiting around any longer to be a badass crafter. I’ve been spending a lot of time crafting in the break, and the more I do it, the more positive I feel. I want this to be a year when I achieve something really  spectacular. So it’s time to challenge myself- and if you want, you’re welcome to join me. I therefore present to you:

15 in 2015 logo

What’s that when it’s at home?

It’s simple. I am going to try to take on, and complete, 15 big craft projects in 2015. Some of them are ones that have been started, and are even a fair way along, but are sitting around unfinished. Well, it’s time to actually get them f***ing well DONE and being used and enjoyed. Some of them are for me, some are for other people. All of them require a significant amount of work- some of them because they are big pieces I’ll be using a machine for, some of them because they will need a lot of handstitching, and some include new techniques for me, or ones I want to master.

But the main constant is this: these aren’t things that can be whipped up in a couple of hours (though hopefully I’ll be able to fit a few of those in too. Like I said, probably crazy).

My 15 in 2015:

1) The First T-Shirt Quilt (which has been languishing unfinished for THREE YEARS)

2) The Ladygarden Quilt

3) The Second T-Shirt Quilt

4) The Second Ever Wedding Quilt

5) The Flamingo Dress (seriously, I’ve taken the fabric and pattern with me at least three times intending to start it, and it’s still not done. And I’ve had the fabric for over a year.)

6) A Parfait.

7) An Oolong (bias cut- in other words, asking for trouble…)

8) The Beekeepers Quilt (which I started FOUR YEARS AGO and still haven’t finished- I’ve made 266 hexipuffs out of the 365 I want to make)

9) Mystic Roses shawl (I’ve said this will be the year I master lace knitting. I meant it.)

10: 5 x Misheard Song Lyrics cross stitches (and creating and selling the patterns for them)

11: The Cryptozoology Quilt (incorporating these dot-to-dot embroidery pieces)

12: The Perfect Christmas Jumper (not necessarily for Christmas, but it’s in thin yarn and small needles)

13: The Wheel of the Year quilt (using these embroidery designs from Urban Threads)

14: The Travelling Blanket (languishing since my parents last came out to visit 2 years ago)

15: My first Zine (no I’m not telling you the topic…yet)

This is big, people. This is the most adventurous craft challenge I think I’ve ever set myself and I have no idea if I’ll do it. But I wanted to be accountable, so I’ll be updating you on how the projects are going each week.

How about you? Do you feel like joining me? It doesn’t have to be projects this big, it can be things that feel a little bit big to you. This project feels big to me, it’ll definitely stretch me and require me to be disciplined about making time to craft each and every day. And that has GOT to be a good thing for a punk rock crafter.

I dare you to give it a try with me. Let me know your 15 in the comments, and we can cheer each other on!

Friday Five: Five awesome beginner crochet patterns

My friend Anna has recently taken up crocheting- I’m always excited when someone starts getting into a new craft. She’s already a talented sewer, but in the end getting good at any craft is all down to practice. Now, the easiest and simplest thing to make as a beginner crocheter would be a cotton dishcloth, but if you’re anything like me, you yearn for the beautiful, the silly, the fun. So to celebrate making it through the week, I give you five super-gorgeous, super-fun crochet projects that a beginner could tackle.

Hint- crochet hooks and yarn? Not that hard to get hold of. And there are plenty of books and tutorials out there to show you the ropes. The only thing to be aware of is that American crochet instructions are different to UK ones, but once you know what they mean you’re flying. Another hint- the second pattern on the list includes a handy quick reference to explain the difference between them.

Go on, give it a try- what better time than right now to surprise yourself and make something great?

Best of all, four out of five of these patterns are available for FREE! <3

First up, we have the crochet bow ring from ChabeGS Crochet Design. A little bit pin-up, you could make them in every colour to match your outfits, or use up an entire ball of yarn and make them for everyone you know. They’re super cute and THE PATTERN IS LITERALLY THREE LINES LONG. Can we say instant gratification? Oh yes, I think we can!

The Easy Crochet Owl from the Bunny Mummy blog will teach you how to crochet in a circle, and change colours. Also, OWLS! Yes, I know, ‘we can put a bird on it’ but c’mon people. We all know what YOLO really stands for.  You Obviously Love Owls.

If cute birds of prey aren’t your thing, then how about a kawaii octopus? Because, well, OCTOPODES. Just imagine making a bunch of these in different crazy colours and putting them on your desk at work. Go on, imagine. You could even tell people they didn’t need to start giving you octopi because you already had a bunch of them. Or attach loops to a load of them and have an octopus themed Christmas tree? OK, I’m not doing a very good job of selling this. Just click on over to NyanPon and you’ll see why I had to include this on the list. Added benefit- this is an amigurumi pattern. Amigurumi is a particular technique used to crochet toys and other 3-d objects, and it’s a great thing to learn, especially if you want to make toys. Just Google amigurumi and be amazed at the possibilities.

“This is all very well,” I hear you say, “but what about actual items of clothing?” Well, how about the classic- a beanie? But this one has an awesome twist- I give you (or rather I’m Topsy Turvy gives you)…the bearded beanie! Yes, you could just follow the beanie part and make yourself a lovely hat. But seriously…you can add a crochet beard! I bet you’ve often thought to yourself, ‘gee, what I really need is something to keep the rest of my face warm, not just my ears. But I don’t want to wear a balaclava…’ Well here’s your answer! Also you could pretend to be a super secret spy in your cunning disguise…If nothing else, take a look at this pattern for the ADORABLE photos of the baby bearded beanie. I defy you not to go ‘awwwww’, at least to yourself.

Finally, the only paid pattern on the list. This will make you a master of double crochet. It’s a much bigger project to tackle than the others, but when you look at the results, you’ll see why I had to include it. The Babette Blanket from Interweave Press is, in a word, stunning. To me it looks like the background of a Klimt painting. If you have a look at finished projects (look at Ravelry.com– and if you haven’t signed up there already and like knitting/crochet or want to start, you need a (free) account, stat!) you’ll see the possibilities. The actual pieces that make the blanket are simple to make (I’m working on one at the moment) but there are endless options for colours, as you’ll see. I’m working on one of these at the moment myself, in rainbow colours (what else?). If you don’t want to tackle the full sized blanket, why not make just the middle sections, and create a baby blanket?

I hope one or more of these will tempt you, and that if you haven’t given crochet a go you’ll consider trying. Whatever happens, I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Happy Friday!