It’s Monday…….Time to make some tough decisions… See what’s happening with Vickys Handcrafted Designs

Hi everyone hope you are all well. Its been a rollercoaster of a year some great things happened and some not so great things happened. Some happy and some very sad and devastating. Its been a year of great changes, triumphs and tragedies. Its also been a year where some tough decisions had to be made.

Part of my reason to start my crochet page was to develop a business along the way. I did do that and had many years of enjoyment running my own business, but as time went on and the pandemic hit, it became more difficult to keep going. I persevered in the hope that things will improve. They didn’t, I became more disillusioned, more unhappy, couple that with other things happening at the time and crocheting seemed more like a chore rather than something I looked forward to. Something had to be done and now!

I decided to let go of the business component, forget about marketing and selling and just enjoy the art of crochet and all the other crafts I like to do. Its been four months since I made that decision and already I can see the benefits. I am no longer tied to a clock, having to produce product by a certain time. I am free to create or not depending on what my schedule is. It has also allowed to me explore other crafts that I like such as drawing and painting and also weaving. Being your own boss is great but sometimes the business ends up being the boss, that is something I definitely wasn’t happy with.

There are also so many work in progress projects I had commenced and never got the chance to finish.

  1. coasters –
  2. handbag
  3. table runner

I had started projects 2 and 3 quite a while ago and the coaster this week using a loom weaving technique. I am planning on adding some crochet motifs to it. I am hoping to finish as many as I can and showcase them each week. I will also try and include the pattern or if I made the pattern up include that.

All in all its been a great decision and something I am glad I made! What has been your epiphany this year? What changes have you made that has helped in your daily life?

Thank you as always for reading my posts. Until next time happy crafting

Vicky

Work in progress Wednesday…..Working on Block 4 of the crochet blanket I am making.

Block 4 – Tunisian Crochet Blanket

I am very excited to start Block 4 of the sample blanket from a book called Tunisian Crochet from Absolute beginners to Advanced written by Dijana Warrender. The book is available on Amazon. It is a really good book if you are just starting out learning about Tunisian crochet. It details the stitches in this craft and how to make them and also has a pattern for a beautiful sample blanket which details the stitches in the book.

I am up to Block 4 of the blanket. It is a neutral colour comprising of two different stitches. One being the Tunisian Pearl stitch (TPS) where you leave the yarn at the front of your work and insert your hook behind the front post. Bring a loop through and then yarn over and pull loop through again which remains on your hook. Then you will do the Tunisian Knit Stitch (TKS) with this stitch you place the hook in the space between 2 stitches and yarn over and pull through a loop which remains on your hook. This stitch combination brings a beautiful texture to the pattern. It especially looks good when using one colour only.

With the completion of Block 4, I can then sew the first four squares of the blanket together. Stay tuned next week for more updates. This blanket has been fun to make and I have learnt so many different stitches so far.

Thank you as always for reading my posts. Take care and catch up with you all next week!

Vicky

Work in Progress Wednesday…..more progress on the Tunisian crochet baby blanket I am making.

Tunisian crochet

When I first started to learn Tunisian crochet I really was horrible at it and thought there is no way that I am going to get the hang of this. I am glad I stuck it out and kept going until I really did get it.

There are so many more forms of crochet I would love to learn still, so far out of what I have learnt this is my favourite.

I have been working on a blanket inspired by a design from crochet designer Dijana Warrender from the book Tunisian Crochet from absolute beginner to advanced.

It’s in 100% cotton using a 4.5mm Tunisian crochet hook. I love the simplicity of this blanket and at the same time the intricate basket weave pattern.

I can’t wait to finish this and continue on this wonderful crochet journey. What is your favourite type of crochet.

Thank you as always for reading my posts. Catch up with you all soon.

Vicky

Work In Progress Wednesday – My latest projects – Tunisian Crochet blankets

Recently I wanted to learn a new form of crochet – Tunisian crochet – Its been on my to do list for a long time and finally I am able to have a chance to learn this exciting new craft. Its basically a combination of knitting, crocheting and weaving using a long crochet hook to catch the stitches and creating a number of different types of stitches. Its amazing how many different stitches you can make using this method.

Quite simply you start by making a chain as you would in normal crochet, then you turn the chain to the back and you will notice a ridge between each chain. Insert your hook into the ridge and yarn over and pull through. Instead of completing the stitch you leave it on your hook. Repeat this for as many chains you have made. This is equivalent to your foundation row in normal crochet. Then you complete what is called the “return pass” you yarn over and pull through one loop, yarn over again and pull through two loops on your hook, continuing yarning over and pulling through two loops until you get to the end. And basically that’s it. Simple and quick to start!

I bought a book on Amazon called Tunisian Crochet from absolute beginner to advanced written by Dijana Warrender. Its an amazing book and as suggested in the title, it is quite suitable for a beginner. It details what equipment you need to start as well as how to complete each type of stitch and as I have stated above it teaches you how to start each block. It has a number of gorgeous projects to complete using the stitch library, including a sample blanket with each square dedicated to the stitches you have learnt as well as a mobile phone case, fingerless gloves, bath mat and so much more. You will definitely be able to use your new skills in these projects. I have started on the sample square blanket and I am also making another baby blanket using the pattern for the bath matt. Below are blocks 1-3 of the sample blanket.

Block 1

Block one teaches you how to combine colours and and also some of the basic stitches. It looks complicated but once you master the art of changing colours you will enjoy making this square. The colour combinations are endless. I chose to use white, caramel and beige to compliment my living area.

Block 2

Block 2

Block 2 is a gorgeous basket weave pattern using two alternative texture stitches. When using one colour texture stitches are great to add detail and interest to the square.

Block 3

Block 3

Block 3 continues the theme of changing colours with each row using a simple stitch and what is called a reverse stitch. With the simple stitch you pass the hook through the front of the post in each chain and the reverse stitch you grab the back of the post in each chain. Similar to front post/back post in normal crochet. This creates a “3D” effect. This works well with contrasting light and dark colours.

Baby Blanket

Basket weave pattern baby blanket

This is actually a pattern for a bath matt, a customer of mine loved the pattern so much she asked if I could make a baby blanket using the same pattern. This blanket is in 100% cotton using a gold thread. It will be available for sale in the Asiki store in Erskineville Sydney, later this year.

And there you have it for now. A little look at what I have been making so far. I really like learning this form of crochet and can’t wait to learn more. What’s your favourite type of crochet? Thank you as always for reading my posts. Have a wonderfull day!

Vicky

  • Please note with the links I do not make any money from them, I have included them in case you are interested in reading further on the products or suppliers I have noted.

Vanilla Swirl Cake

I know recently I promised you a chicken pie recipe, I am still working on that….But this well it couldn’t wait, after all its cake and cake with two types of chocolate in it!

Yesterday my youngest finished high school and I had promised him a grand dinner to celebrate finishing his 12 plus years at that dreaded place as he calls it. I thought I was doing well getting things organised when my daughter said “mum what about the cake!” (Insert face palm here) How could I forget a cake! I couldn’t believe it. I had an hour left until dinner and there was no way I could run out and get one! So I thought well I will just try and whip one up. With no time to look through recipe books, I came up with this recipe, a one bowl recipe that is quick to put together and only takes 30 minutes bake. So without further ado, here it is!

Vanilla Swirl Cake

Recipe by: Vickys Handrafted Designs

Ingredients

450g Self Raising flour

175g Caster Sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 Olive oil

375 ml milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon essence

50 g milk chocolate

50g dark chocolate

Prep time: 10 minutes Baking time: 25-30 minutes

(See end of post of nutritional information)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spray a 20 cm round cake tin with oil and line bottom with baking paper.
  2. In a large glass bowl, sift flour then add caster sugar. Mix with wooden spoon so that the sugar is evenly distributed amoungst the flour
  3. Add eggs, oil, milk, vanilla and lemon essenses and mix with wooden spoon until ingredients are incorporated and mix is free of lumps, use hand mixer if you prefer.
  4. Pour mixture into cake tin and set aside
  5. In a heatproof bowl, break the milk and dark chocolate into peices, microwave on high heat in 10 second intervals until chocolate starts to melt. Once it starts to melt, take out of microwave and mix to combine chocolate into a smooth mixture.
  6. Drizzle into cake mixture and with a toothpick or skewer run it through the mixture in a figure eight formation to distribute chocolate through cake.
  7. Place in heated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Check cake after 20 minutes as some ovens cook faster than others.
  8. Serve with berries and your favourite ice cream or fudge topping.

Nutritional Information (per serving size)

8 Servings

Each serve equals : 70.8g

Net Carbs: 70.8g

Protein: 9.2g

Fat: 14.2 g

Calories: 453

Dietary Fibre: 2.2g

And there you have it, a one bowl, easy to put together cake, you can whip it up and serve it to your guests in 40 minutes! Hope you enjoyed this recipe. Let me know if you tried it. It’s a new recipe so I am curious as to how it goes for you guys.

Thank you for reading this post as always and I will try and get this chicken pie recipe to you as soon as I can.

Vicky

Tools of the Trade….. Take a look at what I use to block my crochet squares

With any type of trade or craft, the tools you use make all the difference in your finished work. With crochet getting that perfect finish is not always easy, but lucky for us there are many gadgets on the market that can help.

I found this amazing blocking square on Amazon. It is cheap and effective and you can move the pegs to suit your size square. Best of all you can layer squares one on top of the other to save space. The pegs hold the squares tight into place and once you remove them they keep their shape. I leave mine on the block for a few days so that they keep their shape. To give them an extra boost. Spritz each square with water so that they dry into shape as well.

There are many more blocking tools on the market. Including large foam blocking squares and pins for blankets and larger items. I have found Amazon to be a treasure trove of many tools and gadgets for crocheting and other crafts. I definitely will be looking there in the future for more items I need.

What is your favourite place to shop for your tools and gadgets? Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I will keep you updated on more items I have found on amazon.

Vicky

Looking for a quick and easy Friday Night recipe?….. Read further for details

Friday night is usually the end of the working week for most people, the night you just want to go home and crash on the couch with your favourite show to binge watch. Cooking is the last thing on your mind! Before you reach for the Uber eats app, take a look at what you have in your fridge or pantry instead, with a few key ingredients you can whip up a healthy meal and still be sitting in front of your tv or computer ready to begin your binge watching marathon in no time!

This recipe is quick and easy and cooks in 15 minutes!

Grilled Chicken fillet and steamed vegetables

Grilled Chicken with mixed vegetables

Servings: 2

Cook time: 15 minutes

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

500g chicken breast

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon all purpose seasoning

1 tablespoon plant based butter or margarine

2 pouches of steam ready vegetables (any type of vegies you like)

Method

  1. Pre heat grill and set on a medium heat.
  2. In a microwave proof dish melt butter/margarine
  3. Wash and slice chicken breast into fillets
  4. Place in glass bowl and add , melted butter, herbs and seasoning. Mix through to coat chicken
  5. Place on grill tray and grill until golden brown and cooked through (appox. 15 minutes for thin style fillets) If you cut them thicker leave for longer, appox. 20 minutes) When grilling turn fillets over to other side halfway through cooking time.
  6. In the meantime place one pouch at a time of the steam vegetables into the microwave and cook for specified time.
  7. Once chicken and vegetables are cooked place on a plate and serve. Can be served with a salad or your favourite bread.

If you like you pan fry the chicken instead for quicker cooking. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this recipe.

Nutritional information

Net carbs: .01g

Total carbs: .4g

Dietary fibre: .3g

Protein: 51g

Fat: 10.5g

Calories: 302

Vicky

Work in Progress Wednesday…..Take a look at my latest crochet project this week

Well its the bane of any crocheter’s existence, multiple projects on the go. No matter how many you have you will always start one or two more. I have lost count to be honest but below are a few.

SOME OF MY LATEST PROJECTS

http://https//:www.instagram.com/vickys_handcrafted_designs

Included in the photo above are: Top left – granny squares to make a throw pillow, top right, the Aster rug Pattern by Stitchedupcraft, bottom left a bobble stitch dish cloth and bottom right sample Tunisian crochet squares. And that is just a sample, there are more hidden away! I have made it my mission to take six months off from customer orders and just concentrate on finishing off these projects. Hopefully I stick to this!

I have also been busy shopping on Amazon. It is an amazing treasure trove of items for basically anything you need. I purchased this set of crochet hooks and crochet accessories. I needed new hooks as the ones I was using were too long for my hands and they didn’t have the handles like these. I have found these hooks to be amazing, they are the right size for my small hands and have a thumb imprint where you can rest your thumb will crocheting. I have found this has increased my speed and my hands don’t hurt as much.

Well that is it for today. Thank you for reading. I have also bought some new crochet books too. I will talk about those more in upcoming posts.

Vicky

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