Granny Square Crochet Cushion Cover: Ta-da

This cushion cover was my New Year project. I needed something to replace the very old and threadbare original cover.

IMG_9053To my surprise, I realised that very few of my previous projects have required joining so I had to think quite carefully about how I was going to do it. I don’t really like sewing crochet together, I think it probably has a greater tendency to work loose and this cushion is going to get some rough treatment from my children. In the end I decided to make four strips of four squares and then join each strip together. I placed the squares right sides together and used a slip stitch through the back loops only to join everything together. Although this creates a slight ridge, it’s barely noticeable once the front and back are joined.

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I felt that it would be a good idea to create an edge to the whole thing so I did a row of treble clusters in the deliciously named ‘pomegranate’ (pink) colour and completed the front with a row of trebles in ‘sherbet’ worked singly.

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Then I had to think about how I was going to make the back. I enjoyed doing the row of single trebles so much that it seemed like a good idea to keep going in the same style. Before long I had decided to work the back in random, stripy rows using the same colours as the front. It also wasn’t long before I realised that I was going to like the back better than the front.

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As much as I don’t like sewing crochet together it was the best option for the edges. I left a tail of yarn at each end of the row and used this to sew the stripy back to the square patterned front. The opening for the cushion pad is about a third of the way down and the flaps are overlapping slightly.

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This picture was taken in artificial light so the colours don’t show up so well but you can see that I was trying to work out how to place my buttons. The final stripy row that I did included some gaps made of chains to use as button holes.

IMG_9271Here is the finished product: the stripy back and the granny square front. Or is that the other way around? A stripy front and a square patterned back.

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So, only another two of these giant covers to create. Maybe I’ll have finished them by next New Year.

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New Year – New Project: Granny Square Cushion Covers

If you read my self-indulgent Christmas wish list you will know that I was after some newer, larger cushions. In the end, I was able to get some plain cushion inserts in the size I wanted but there was nothing available (ready made) that I wanted to cover them with. So, I bit the bullet and bought some fabric. Goodness knows why because I’m not really much of a sewer. Here it is – quite floral and chintzy but I liked the colours in it. I’ve shown it next to our checked curtains and our ancient leather sofa.

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IMG_4380I only bought enough fabric to cover the two new cushions that I bought but I already had an old, threadbare cushion that, being the biggest on the sofa, is the one the children fight over like the most. I decided that the quickest and easiest way to cover it would be to crochet something. I also had it in mind to use up some of my acrylic yarn stash.

IMG_4365Because I wanted this to be a quick and easy make I thought simple granny squares would be a good idea. I’m also hoping that good old fashioned grannies will be in keeping with the slightly vintage floral feel of the print.

But, it’s always worth having a wander around the internet to see what ideas other people have had. I had a good look around on Pinterest, searching for ‘Granny Squares’ and I found lots of lovely projects. I also found that the term ‘Granny Square’ covers a multitude of stitches and patterns. If you want to look at some of the things I pinned, you can visit my board ‘cushion inspiration’ by clicking here. For me though, a granny square should only be made up of trebles (double crochet in US terms) clustered together, with each cluster usually separated by a chain stitch. Something like this in fact.

IMG_4368This is the first test square that I made. If you look carefully, you might be able to see that some of the rows have clusters of four trebles together while some only have the traditional three. What you might not be able to tell is that there are no chains separating the clusters, except at the corners, where there are two. I want my squares to be as dense as possible so that eventually, the plain white cotton underneath doesn’t show too much so I pinched the ‘no chains’ idea from here. I am also using a 3.5mm hook. I like the fact that it contains all the matching colours I found in my stash. I also like the fact that the last row is a similar colour to the sofa. What’s more, I found that making 16 of these should be just the right size for one side of my cushion.

IMG_4382I was pretty happy about the colour combinations but not too sure that I had enough of the two central turquoises. I attempted to find out by weighing my yarn and weighing a tiny square made just from the first two colours. I wasn’t going to have enough of the second, lighter colour so I bit the bullet and bought a new ball of Stylecraft Special 100% acrylic in ‘sherbet’.

IMG_4366It is a lovely colour so I have no regrets. I’m already mentally covering my other old cushions in this yarn.

So, I had to start making another test square, slightly different this time and ending in the bright red in preparation for the ‘join as you go’ technique. This time I made all the clusters of four trebles, just as an experiment and it seemed to work quite well.

IMG_4369Off I went, making 15 more new squares, one colour at a time.

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IMG_4370When I got to this stage I  started to thing that I should have made the whole cushion from a much more limited colour palette. And, there was something bugging me about that bright red. I photographed a few new combinations and I think I am going to replace it with this pinker shade. I’m not entirely sure what it is called. It’s definitely another Stylecraft Special dk, I think it’s ‘Pomegranate’.

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IMG_4385Progress has slowed somewhat this week as I have been working on a commission – a  garland of rainbow coloured stars. Normally they don’t take too long but I decided to try a new joining method. It turns out my method was a very bad idea, it takes forever. I’m hoping that by this time next week I will have finished the garland and finished at least a few of my squares so I can really see how this new colour combination works.

On the hook – bags

I started making this bag in the spirit of my homemade Christmas gift challenge after Mum admired the pattern in one of my books (Cute and Easy Crochet). In reality, I don’t think she is going to be getting it. It’s not that she doesn’t deserve it, I just think it’s more my colour than hers. Honestly.

IMG_6462I am very pleased with how it’s turned out. It is very chunky acrylic yarn (Patons Big Fab) worked up in rows of double crochet with a 7mm hook. The result is a strong, dense fabric. The worst part about this project was testing out the tension (no fun) and the fact that it was tough going at times, working with such thick yarn in a tight stitch. Sewing the lining was a bit of a new departure. At first I thought it was a bit pointless to crochet a bag and then go to all the trouble of lining it. However, it makes it much more practical and I really enjoyed choosing the fabric. Strangely I actually quite enjoyed hand stitching it in place too. The picture above is not quite the finished article. I experimented with a few more flowers.

IMG_6455This one was made with the pattern from the book. It’s nice but somehow a flower with four petals doesn’t seem right. I’m sure mother nature prefers five petalled flowers. No problem, just add another one in….

IMG_6457The petals got changed around again on the next one…

IMG_6456I started off with five in the centre and ended up with three on the final round with three, pointy leaves behind that. The beauty of crochet is that it is easy to switch things around like this. Changing the number and type of stitches, quickly gives a different shape. When making something small like flowers it’s not too demoralising if it doesn’t quite work out. You can just frog it (rip-pit out) and try again.

IMG_6453Originally I thought this flower looked a bit too much like a cauliflower. Adding some pink at the petal edges and a few seed beads prettied it up nicely.IMG_6521

Ta-dah. The finished product. And so to my next WIP…

IMG_1889These squares, that I started last April, were supposed to become a sleeveless cardigan for The Middle Miss. The colours were chosen with the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics in mind. I completely missed that deadline. The fact is I made this project way more complicated than it needed to be and I got a bit fed up of the fiddly-ness of the changing colours and mixed-up patterns. But now that I have these pretty, little squares, I feel I should do something with them. After all, the yarn wasn’t cheap and it is lovely to work with.

IMG_1894So now I’m thinking that this is going to become a small, patchwork bag, four squares by four squares with another square at the sides to give it depth. This one really will need lining because it is much more ‘holey’ and delicate than the pink one. Fingers crossed that I can squeeze enough squares out of my remaining yarn.

Celebration Clothing Inspiration

I mentioned a couple of posts back that I wanted to create a red, white and blue crocheted number for babykins. Last week I made a test square of single crochet in my new Patons dk cotton yarn. I was thinking that when I had done that I could work out the gauge and perhaps make a chart so that I could create a Union Jack pattern. It would be quite an ambitious project, I’ve never tried to do anything like that before. I still fancy giving it a go but I’m worried that it could be 3012 by the time I get it done.

So my plans have changed slightly. I still want to mark 2012 by dressing up my children in a patriotic fashion but I think I am going to make something for the Middle Miss. I thought I could go for simplicity. I was visiting a lovely LYS (local yarn shop) on Tuesday when I suddenly realised I could create a cute cardigan from granny squares. Sure enough, when I looked around on Ravelry there was plenty of inspiration:

Of course, while I was visiting said LYS I couldn’t leave without a purchase. A bit indulgent really as I already mentioned, I have recently acquired a small stash of Patons 100% cotton DK yarn. However, I bought that with decorative projects in mind, rather than garments. The Patons yarn is lovely, smooth and slightly shiny but it is not particularly ‘drapey’. I ummed and ahhed a bit over my choice of new yarn but ultimately it was the colours available that made the choice for me. I nearly bought some Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK. It was beautifully soft and had a very vibrant red colour. I finally plumped for some Sublime Egyptian Cotton that came in slightly more subtle shades.

So here is my first little test square.

A combination of bobble stitch (which gives the dense centre), trebles and half trebles. Designing something new gets my head buzzing. There are so many possible combinations. I definitely haven’t got the kind of brain that can ‘see’ exactly what I want my finished article to look like. Cross your fingers that this turns out ok and is finished before the first weekend in June!