Category Archives: Blog

Social Media Confusion

Sometimes, there are so many social media outlets to read and chat on I find myself lost and confused!

Social Media Confusion

I find something that I think everyone will love but I don’t know whether to tweet it, blog it or add it to Facebook.  When I’m working on something and I want to share it, should I add it to Pinterest, Instagram or do I post about it on Google +?

It usually takes me so long to figure it all out that, I either lose the will to post or, I go into overdrive and hit them all :/

So, anyway, today I was cleaning up my website and I clicked on my Rebelmouse tab to see if anything needed fixing.  To be honest, I haven’t visited Rebelmouse for so long, I’d pretty much forgotten that tab was even there.  Sorry Mr Mouse.

TheMouse

But, guess what, it’s working really well and doing everything it’s supposed to.  Instead of the reader having to try and guess where I will be posting from day to day, it actually gathers stuff from all the different places.

It’s a great way to get a daily fix of ‘pretty’ and often ‘awesome’ without having to trek around the houses to find it!

You can view my Rebelmouse Stream any time here, or at Rebelmouse.  Why not subscribe for daily updates and you can be sure you won’t miss anything worth seeing :)

It really is the easiest way ever to keep an eye on what’s happening in the handmade world without jumping from site to site.  So, enough of the chatting, let me plump up your cushions, grab you a cuppa and you can put your feet up to watch the feed go by ;)

[rebelmouse site_name=”TCDesigns” more_button = 1]

Crochet Pebbles in Progress

I’ve been busy re-decorating for a while now and my crochet has been sadly neglected. But, my new project combines both decorating and crochet so I’m a happy hooker again!

Introducing the oh-so-simple Crochet Pebbles Rug.

Here’s my Work In Progress picture so you can get an idea of what I mean :)

Crochet Pebbles

I’m using an an IKEA rug (which costs around £1.20).  The idea being that I won’t have to back the pebbles with a non-slip coating to make it safer to use.

There are 5 different sizes of crochet pebbles (crochet instruction below in UK terms) and I’m using 5 different shades of DROPS Safran Combed Cotton 4 ply yarn.

Pebbles 1 to 5

I’m about half way through making the crochet pebbles so I should be ready to glue them all into place by the weekend (time permitting) :)

If you fancy having a go at this really simple project, download the crochet instructions PDF for each of the pebbles.  It’s in UK terms so bear this in mind when you are working it :)

Pebble Rug

I’d love to hear what you think and, if you give it a go, please do pop over to my Facebook page to share your pictures.

Rick Rack Tutorial

Quick and simple project – great for beginners

Rick Rack (or ric rac depending on where you’re from) is  a flat narrow zig zag braid with a ton of uses.  I personally love it as an edging on clothing and blankets but I’m sure you’ve got a host of other ideas.

The rick rack I’m going to show you today is a crochet version which is super simple and great for using up leftover oddments of yarn in your stash!  You will need about 7 yards/metres of yarn for 12″ of rick rack.

You will also need a crochet hook that works well with whatever yarn you choose.  I like to use a 2.50 mm with fingering/4 play, a 3.50 mm with double knitting and a 4.50 mm with Aran or worsted weight but, depending on how loosely/tightly you crochet, this will differ…feel free to experiment.

Begin with a magic loop.  (If you’re not comfortable with using these, simply make 2 chain and work into the 2nd ch from the hook – this will work equally as well in this case).

So, let’s begin.

Into the magic ring (or second ch from hook) work 3 UK dc (US sc).

3dc into magic ring

TURN

Turn so hook is rhs

Work 3 UK dc (US sc) into the first st.

3dc in first stitch

(a) TURN

Turn again

(b) 3 UK dc (US sc) in first st

3dc in first stitch again

Keep repeating the steps labelled (a) and (b) above and, that’s all there is to it!

pink aran rick rack

Try using different colours…

DSC_0022

different thicknesses of yarn..

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Mix it up and use up all your scraps…

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Use them to trim pictures, sunhats, baskets, wrap around presents!

Why not try this thicker curvier variation!

UK) 3htr into the magic ring, *1ch, turn, 3htr in first st, rep from * to desired length.

US) 3hdc in magic ring, * 1ch, turn, 3hdc in first st, rep from * to desired length.

IMG_3601

I’d love to see how you get on.  Drop me a line over on my Facebook page with any queries, comments, pictures or suggestions ♥

 

Romanian Point Lace Cord

When I first heard about Romanian Point Lace, I just assumed it was another lace making technique.  I had no idea that parts of it were actually worked with a crochet hook.  Of course, when I discovered this, I just knew I had to try it out!

I’m currently having fun experimenting with the cords and braids as I think they can be put to great use with conventional crochet to create jewellery or as edgings.

The first, and possibly easiest to demonstrate is the basic cord.  It makes a sturdy flat braid with decorative edges – I’ve used it in this fun kiddies’ bracelet.

Children's crochet Bracelet

To make one like this, YOU WILL NEED some smooth cotton yarn, an appropriate sized hook, a small button and a needle for neatening the ends and stitching the button.

I’m using Cascade Ultra Pima DK weight yarn and a 3.50 mm hook.

Let’s begin by making the cord – leave about 20 cm (8″) of yarn at the start.  You will use this later to attach the button.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

step 8

Step 9

Step 10

Step 11

Step 12

Now you know how to make the cord, keep going until the piece is about 2.5 cm (1″) longer than the wrist circumference.

Once the cord is finished, make 5 chain and join with a slip stitch to the top of the cord to form a loop.

UK terms: Work (1dc, 1htr, 1tr, 1htr, 1dc) 5 times into the loop.

US terms: Work (1sc, 1hdc, 1dc, 1hdc, 1sc) 5 times into the loop.

It’ll be a tight squeeze but the stitches will go!

Keeping the working yarn over the top of the cord, slip stitch to the first st to join the flower petals together.

Select a button that just fits through the opening in the flower.

Weave the 20 cm (8″) initial tail tail through the cord about 2.5 cm (1) from the end, and firmly stitch the button in place.

Neaten any remaining ends.

There you have it – Romanian Point Lace Cord used to make a fun children’s bracelet.  It’s a great way to use up those odd scraps of yarn….give it a go!!!

Children's crochet Bracelet

If you have any questions or comments, why not pop over to my Facebook page for a natter!

What’s with all the different crochet techniques?!?

Do I need to know them all?

Yes and no!  Hehe helpful aren’t I?!?!

But, seriously, in ALL crafts, there are many many techniques to achieve the same thing, and this is most certainly true of crochet.

For example, making a loop of chains, using a magic ring or working into the furthest chain from the hook – each one of these is a great method for starting a circle!  But, each of them also has a certain style or appearance that may make them a more suitable choice.

Another example is foundation stitches versus a traditional row of stitches made into a chain. Neither method is necessarily better than another but, there are times when one method will sometimes be more appropriate.

And, what about turning chains?  Or, more particularly, the stitches and methods we use to represent them?  It seems not a month goes by that I don’t see another method of substituting the initial UK treble/ US double crochet.

The fact that there are so many choices can be confusing for a new crocheter (or, old, for that matter) so how do you decide what crochet technique to learn or use?

Well, if you’ve bought a pattern from a designer, hopefully, he/she has done that experimentation for you and made the best choice for that pattern.   That said, none of us is perfect and I’m pretty sure some of my early patterns used chain loops when a magic ring would have given a superior finish ;)

But, if you’re free-styling a pattern, it’s all got to come from you and you will possibly need to try more than one method to find the best.  Luckily, the key to successful experimentation is having a fully stocked arsenal at your disposal and the Internet is overflowing with some of the best for you to stock up on!!!

For hints, tips and tutorials, you can’t beat YouTube…yup, that link is a shameless plug for my sparse but slowly growing channel :O Here’s a much better link to some awesome video tutorials :)

The other great way to find out about different crochet techniques is by joining groups or forums where you can chat to people who share your enthusiasm for hooks and yarn – while I seem to be plugging my own stuff, there are some crackers on Ravelry and Facebook ;)

So, do you need to know them all?

My answer is still an indecisive yes and no!

But, what I will say is that learning them is never going to hinder you in any way so you may as well try as many as you can, find out what you like, what you don’t like and don’t be frightened to ask questions ♥  You don’t need to know every technique but some of them are sure going to make your life easier so start filling that portfolio with awesome ♥

To start you off, here’s a quick tip from me.  I call this the no-knot start.  It’s great when you need to start any time with chains – pull the tail tightly after you’ve worked your first row of stitches and it’ll lock into place easily – the finish will be as sturdy as a slip knot but without the knotty bump.  Weave the tail in as you normally would ♥

Head on over to my Facebook page if you want to comment or ask anything♥

Foundation Stitches

UK Foundation Half Treble (foundation htr)
US Foundation Half Double Crochet (foundation hdc)

In preparation for a new pattern I’m releasing soon, I thought I’d do a quick refresher on this foundation chain and stitch combination.

This method is particularly useful for necklines since the edge will be more elastic than if the chain and stitch were worked separately.

That’s all the hints you’re getting, you know ;)  So let’s get on with the tutorial.  You can click the link below to view in US terms if you prefer :)

UK Version (Alternative US Version)
Abbreviations 

CH – chain
HTR – half treble
YRH – yarn round hook

1.  Using the hook and yarn you’ve chosen for your pattern, make 3CH

2.  YRH and insert the hook into the 3rd ch from the hook (i.e. the first of the 3CH you made)

3.  YRH again and pull a loop through the stitch – you now have 3 loops on your hook:

So far the stitch has been worked in the same way as you would normally make a HTR.  But this is where it changes.

4.  YRH once more and pull the yarn through the first loop on your hook – in effect making a CH next to the hook – you will still have 3 loops on your hook.

5.  Finish the foundation HTR by working a final YRH and pulling the yarn through all three loops.

6.  To work further foundation HTR, we first need to turn the work to look at the side of the stitch just made and locate the CH made in step 4.  We will be working our next foundation HTR into this CH.

Foundation half treble (foundation half double crochet)

7.  YRH and insert the hook under both loops of this chain ((Note:  some people like to work under just the front loop of the CH but I prefer the finish when it is worked through both loops).

8.  YRH and pull yarn through first loop on hook to make the CH for the next stitch.

9.  YRH and pull yarn through 3 loops on hook.

To make further foundation HTR, repeat steps 7, 8 and 9.

US Version (Alternative UK Version)
Abbreviations 

CH – chain
HDC – half double crochet
YO – yarn over

1.  Using the hook and yarn you’ve chosen for your pattern, make 3CH

2.  YO and insert the hook into the 3rd ch from the hook (i.e. the first of the 3CH you made)

3.  YO again and pull a loop through the stitch – you now have 3 loops on your hook:

So far the stitch has been worked in the same way as you would normally make a HDC.  But this is where it changes.

4.  YO once more and pull the yarn through the first loop on your hook – in effect making a CH next to the hook – you will still have 3 loops on your hook.

5.  Finish the foundation HDC by working a final YO and pulling the yarn through all three loops.

6.  To work further foundation HDC, we first need to turn the work to look at the side of the stitch just made and locate the CH made in step 4.  We will be working our next foundation HDC into this CH.

Foundation half treble (foundation half double crochet)

7.  YO and insert the hook under both loops of this chain ((Note:  some people like to work under just the front loop of the CH but I prefer the finish when it is worked through both loops).

8.  YO and pull yarn through first loop on hook to make the CH for the next stitch.

9.  YO and pull yarn through 3 loops on hook.

To make further foundation HDC, repeat steps 7, 8 and 9.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Hi Everyone – Happy Valentine’s Day ♥ ♥ ♥

Yes, I know I’m a bit early but, I have a little present for you.  Plus I figured, if you’re going to make this by Valentine’s Day, I’d better get it to you with time to spare ;)

So, without further ado,

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Here’s My Valentine’s Cowl for you!!

Valentine's Day Free Crochet Cowl Pattern

My Valentine’s Cowl uses DK yarn (less than 300 m) and is created with front and back post stitches for fabulous snug thickness and texture.  You can make it deeper or, with a little bit of planning, adjust the width to work with other yarns.  If you have any trouble working this out, just give me a shout.

The pattern is fully written in both UK and US terms with a little chart for reference purposes.

I hope you like it ♥

PS Just in case I haven’t got the hang of this flip-book thingamajig, here’s the link to download the pattern for free on Ravelry

Keeping Accounts

Before I begin, I’d like to make it 100% clear that I am not an accountant and have no experience of keeping accounts other than for my own personal use.

What information YOU need to keep in your accounts will vary, depending on your type of business, what level of income you have and what country you are in, among other things. If you’re in doubt as to what records you need to be keeping, you should probably seek advice from someone who knows.

But, for me, I’m in the UK, below the VAT threshold and simply need something to record my pattern sales, so that I can declare the income to the tax man at the end of the year.  If that sounds like you (or you simply want to keep household accounts), and you have access to Microsoft Excel then you may like to read on :)  Please note, I am running Office 2013 – it should open in older versions but I haven’t tested it.  Feel free to let me know via my Facebook page :)

Okay, so this is the Excel file I have designed for my accounts:

Accounts-Basic-Ready-to-Edit – you may need to click enable editing, depending on your security settings.

It consists of two Worksheets.

The first sheet, “Data Entry”, consists of 7 columns.

Date – enter the date of the transaction you are recording

Description – enter a brief description of the transaction (e.g. pattern sale, yarn purchase, web hosting, etc.)

Money In – enter the value of an incoming transaction

Money Out  – there are four columns dedicated to outgoing transactions.

Fees/Ads and Discounts – PayPal fees, advertising costs, coupons redeemed
Consumables
– paper, yarn, pens, printer ink 
Web Costs
– hosting, mobile data charges
Equipment
 – PC, printer, camera

These headings are fully customisable (they could just as easily read utilities, insurance, groceries and car if you are monitoring your personal accounts) Simply click in the cell and edit the contents.  Just remember that these last 4 columns are outgoings and will be treated as such within the calculations of the Worksheet.

While we are looking at customisation, you may also notice that you can change the logo for one of your own and edit the header to contain your Company Name and Address or personal info.  The information you enter in the middle of the header will be automatically copied onto the “Summary of Accounts” sheet.

Once you have done this, you are ready to make your first data entry.  I’ve added one as a sample so simply click in the cell that reads 28/8/2014 to begin.  This may say 8/28/14 if you use US date format on your PC.

Type today’s date then use the TAB key on your keyboard to move to the next cell.  Keep doing this, filling in the relevant information (don’t forget to delete the sample income if your entry is an outgoing).  At the end, simply click ‘enter’ to start entering the next transaction.

Okay, so you’ve got the hang of data entry now, yes?  I hope so :)  Let’s take a look at the “Summary of Accounts” sheet.  You can reach this by clicking the Hyperlink in the header (top right) or by using the built in Excel Sheet Tabs at the bottom of the Workbook.

In here you will see a running total of your income, outgoings (in whatever headings you entered them) and your net income.  You don’t need to edit any of the values in here…they will update automatically whenever you enter data in the other sheet.

You may also notice that the header information has updated (assuming you customised the other sheet, that is).  If you plan on printing it out later, you might like to change the logo on this page while your here ;)

All done?  Okie dokie!  To return to the “Data Entry” sheet click the Hyperlink in the header (top right) or use the built in Excel sheet tabs at the bottom of the Workbook.

I think that’s about all there is to keeping your accounts with this file.  Don’t forget to save when you exit ;)  If you have any questions, comments or would like to see something else included don’t forget you can reach me on Facebook.  I’d love to hear if it worked for you :)

Blog

What is a blog?

According to this,blog

it’s a personal website or webpage on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc on a regular basis.

By that definition, this isn’t actually a blog ;)  Despite my best intentions, my posts are far from regular – they come in fits and starts and usually more frequent around special occasions or during term time, when my mini helpers are out of the way.

So, if it isn’t a blog, what is it?  I would say it’s a collection of posts about things I like, things I’ve done and things I want to do – it’s a mish-mash of ideas, works in progress, small successes  and (hopefully) smaller disasters.

But, most of all it’s my online home.  The hub of Thomasina Cummings Designs.  It’s where I come to share my news and to have a permanent record of events (well, as permanent as the hosting company see fit).

So, welcome to my home <3  I hope you’ll come back often, stop for a chat and click a few buttons to show your appreciation :)

Who knows, with your tender love and care, maybe one day it’ll become a real blog ;)