Crochet an Octopus for a Preemie

Although I am not a mother myself, I was a prematurely developed baby and so when I saw the work the Octopus for a Preemie charity is doing, I couldn’t help but want to add to the publicity by adding a feature here on Crafty Bug.

If you are not familiar with this charity, its aim is to support premature babies through their first days and struggles by providing crocheted and knitted octopi to soothe the newborn and reassure the parents.  The idea is that when parents aren’t cuddling their babies, the octopi are there to comfort the newborns and give them something (the tentacles) to grip on to.  As the charity’s story on Facebook says” These little toys are to make babies and their parents feel calmer and more safe. Children can play with their tentacles in a similar way they played with the umbilical cord in the mother’s womb. At the same time parents can have the little break they deserve, knowing their little precious ones are more safe and calm keeping tentacles in their little hands instead of pulling the tubes and cables out.

Every child gets its own little octopus or other knitted / crocheted creature which has been prepared with particular care.  They then take it home with them when they are able to leave the hospital.   As the charity says “We already helped many families but there still are many of them who need our support. Every day the nightmare of many families begins. Taking a part in this project is available to everyone who wants to help.”

Get involved

If you would like to put your woolen craft skills to use and would like to get involved with this extremely worthwhile project, may I suggest you take a look at either the charity’s website or its Facebook page.  They provide a coordinator service which not only checks out the crocheted creatures supplied by people to ensure they meet the correct safety standards (extremely important as they are for new born babies!), but also they organize the packing and arrange delivery to the hospitals supplied.  According to the website, there are some 15 hospitals being supplied with these woolly friends for premature babies but with an increased supply of creatures, they can extend the list.

Ideally, you should join the group but you can certainly see the patterns for crocheting and knitting Octopus and friends (Howard the Alien, anyone?) on the Octopus for a Preemie website.  There are also some useful videos on the charity’s You Tube channel to help you with the making your creatures.

I really hope you kind hearted and generous crafters out there are able to help out with this excellent project and create and donate your own octopi for special babies.

Article originally published on Crafty Bug Wool – Knitting, Crochet and Needlefelting at http://woolcraft.craftybug.co.uk/crochet-an-octopus-for-a-preemie/


Using Buttons on Your Homemade Cards

One easy way of adding texture, colour and a non paper element to your card making is to use buttons in your design.

These have the advantage of requiring no additional work or steps before use – just choose the button or buttons most appropriate for your design and simply stick them on!

The card on the left can be found on Pinterest (posted by Joe de Bruyne) and my eye was drawn to it as a simple but efffective method of using buttons to create the design.

The buttons themselves are a range of designs and colours (although all are circular in shape) and are used on their own for the flower heads.  The buttons, in fact, are the key design element and the only 3D one on the card.  A similar design could be created in quite a straightforward manner using recycled buttons

For a basic overview of how to use buttons in card design, take a look at this “how to” guide.

To create a shaped flower head, you could use flower shaped buttons such as these Dill flower shaped buttons.  I love this plum colour and can see these as some gorgeous pansies.  Perhaps with a nice yellow thread through the button holes?  Many other colours are available so you could really go to town!

Here’s another example of how to use buttons to create flower heads.

This card is more intricate in design than the previous example and you’ll note that the “flower” colours have been chosen to work with the background colour of the card.  If you design something like this, then a good approach would be to choose your button “flowers” first in toning shades and then match the background elements to them.

Leaves of two different designs have been added to the flower stalks and give a further element of texture – albeit 2D rather than 3D – to the overall design.

Image source: click here.

I’ve included this image on the left because I love the innovative way in which the buttons have been used in this design.I think that using one of the button holes as the eye for the chicks is just brilliant and I’m not sure I would have thought of this myself.  That’s why the internet is such a great tool to allow ideas to be shared.

You could use buttons in a similar manner to this to create all sorts of other creatures.  The pink on this card makes me think of a piggie nose or two for example.

You can view the image source and make details by clicking here.  If you follow through and take a look at the details, you’ll see that Deanne lives in the USA and used a USA based company for her supplies.  For UK residents, we recommend CraftStash for your cardstock, embossing and die cutting essentials.

Now here’s another way of using buttons in your card design that doesn’t have them portraying flowers.I like the design of this ice cream cone card.  It’s clean and the use of a monochrome palate works really well.  The use of the multi layers and mixed sizes of the buttons creates the illusion of the ice cream spilling over the edge of the cone.

You could take this idea and make it your own by turning it into strawberry ice cream for example.  And perhaps add in a flake!

Image source: click here.

A Handful Of Buttons: Birthday Balloon Card: Another easy way to use buttons on your greetings card is to turn them into balloons.  This gives you a free range over colour to make it as bright and colourful as you like.  Or, of course, you can keep to just a couple of colours to complement your choice of card background .In the card shown on the left, the designer has cleverly reduced the size of the buttons used towards the top of the card.  This introduces perspective to the design and really creates the impression of the balloons floating away into the distance.

The daisies in the foreground add a bright, springlike feel to the overall design, aided by the fluffy clouds which are not completely dissimilar to sheep!

Image source: click here.

I hope this has helped provide some inspiration and show how you can use a textural element such as buttons in your card designs.  After all, who doesn’t have a button tin?

Using Buttons on Your Homemade Cards initially seen on Crafty Bug – Papercraft at http://papercraft.craftybug.co.uk/card-making/using-buttons-homemade-cards/


How to Crochet a Beach Bag

As we are getting towards the holiday season and the weather is improving, thoughts start wandering in the direction of sun, sea, sand and just getting away from work in general. I spotted this “how to crochet a beach bag” recently and as this really chimed with my summer thoughts, I wanted to share this with you.  I love the colours: they are bright and summery but not so unusual that you’ll end up being limited as to what you can wear when toting this bag.


You Will Need

2x Caron Cakes

4.5mm crochet hook

Pompom maker/s

Darning needle


Ch = chain

Ch sp = chain space

Dc = double crochet

Ss = slip stitch

St = stitch

Tr = treble


How To Make

The bag is started from the bottom and worked up. The handles and pompoms are made separately and stitched on.
bottom of the bag_Rosina Northcott


Ch 4 . Join ends with a ss to form a circle.

Round 1: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and 1 ch). *1 tr into ring, 1 ch* Repeat from * to * x11. Join with a ss to the 3rd ch of initial 4 ch. Ss into ch sp. [12 spokes].

Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as a tr), 2 tr into ch sp, ch 1, *3 tr in next ch sp, ch 1* Repeat  from * to * around. Join with a ss to top of initial ch 3. Ss next 2 tr and into ch sp. [12 clusters of 3 tr]

Round 3: Repeat round 2.

Round 4: Ch3, 3 tr into ch sp. Ch 1. *4 tr in ch sp, ch1* Repeat from * to * around. Join with a ss to the top of initial ch 3. Ss in next tr and in the middle of first 4ch cluster (between 2nd and 3rd trs). [12 clusters of 4 tr]

Round 5: Ch3, 2tr in middle of 4 tr cluster. 3 tr in next ch sp. *3tr in middle of cluster, 3tr in ch sp* Repeat from * to * around. Join with a ss to top of initial ch 3. Ss in next 2 tr and into ch sp. [24 clusters of 3]

Round 6: Ch 3 (counts as a tr), 2 tr, *3 tr in next ch sp* Repeat  from * to * around. Join with a ss to top of initial ch 3. Ss next 2 tr and into ch sp.

Round 7: Repeat round 2

Round 8 – 9: Repeat round 4

Round 10: Repeat round 5 [48 clusters]

Round 11 – 36: Repeat round 6

Round 37:  Ch 3, 1 tr in each st around. Fasten off and sew in ends.


pompoms_Rosina Northcott


Handles (make 2):

Chain 101

Row 1: 1 dc in 2nd ch from hook (for a neater finish, work through the back “bumps” of the chain). Turn.

Row 2: Ch 3, 1 tr in same st, miss 2 st. *3 tr in next, miss 2 st* Repeat from * to * along. 2 tr in last st.

Row 3: Ch 3, *3 tr between clusters* Repeat from * to * along. 1 tr in top of 3 ch. Turn.

Row 4: Ch 1, 1 dc in each st along until the end. Fasten off and sew in ends.

Optional: Wind off a ball of the colour from the beginning and ends of both cakes to have different colours for handles and pompoms.

Attach the handles:

Lay the bag out flat and measure across the top (approx 58cm). Mark 12cm in from each side, and pin handles to the inside of the bag (on both sides). Sew to the main body of the bag using plenty of stitches.

Optional: With leftover yarn, make pompoms in a couple of different sizes and sew them to one (or more) areas where the handles meet the bag.

Crochet Beach Bag_Rosina Northcott

Article source: click here.

Although the pom poms are an “optional extra” I actually think they help to bring the whole thing together.  They add that certain, something extra to the design and make the finished product stand out from the crowd.  Worth the additional time to make these and add them on.

If you decide to have a go at making this lovely bag, do send us the photos of the bag in use.  We promise not to be too jealous if the pics show you sporting it somewhere sunny and gorgeous.  Just get in touch using the contacts box below.

Article first seen on Crafty Bug – Wool at http://woolcraft.craftybug.co.uk/crochet/how-to-crochet-a-beach-bag/


Top Sewing Tweets of the Week

Here’s our regular round up of those eyecatching tweets spotted this week.


1. All in a good cause

Great to see youngsters getting involved.


2. Sewing Bird

Never seen this before but I kinda want one now!


3. Innovative

Well, I can certainly see the attraction of this solution.  Not quite sure how she looks when she takes off her leggings!  Aren’t Sharpies permanent markers …?


4. Mixed Materials

An unusual use of sewing patterns, methinks.


5. Straight out of the shower and into a dress

This is terrific – and who would have thought of using a shower curtain like this?  And waterproof to boot!


6. A Labour of Love

Top Sewing Tweets of the Week first available on Crafty Bug – Sewing, Quilting, Embroidery and Needle Felting at http://sewing.craftybug.co.uk/sewing/top-sewing-tweets-of-the-week-19-may-2017/


A Crafty Way to Recycle Your Pringles Tubes

Sometimes it’s the simpler craft projects which are the most effective.  This infographic shows how you can re-use household waste such as an empty Pringles can, and by applying a spot of découpage, end up with a neat storage receptacle.  You get to enjoy the original contents of the Pringles tube, you reduce your waste and end up with a useful container for spaghetti which looks good on your kitchen shelf.  A win win situation all round!

Image source: click here.

Re-using Pringles containers is highly topical at the moment as the Recycling Association has said that they are one of the most challenging items to recycle given the mix of materials used to produce them.  You may be interested to take a look at this article which appeared on the BBC Website suggesting some different uses for a Pringles tube once the contents have been munched.  Most of the ideas aren’t particularly crafty – hence our suggestion above – but I do rather like the re-invention as toys for pets.  Those guinea pigs nibbling away at their treat tubes are very cute!

A Crafty Way to Recycle Your Pringles Tubes originally available on Crafty Bug – Papercraft at http://papercraft.craftybug.co.uk/decoupage/how-to-recycle-my-pringles-can/


Top Tweets of the Week

Here we’ve gathered together some of the most eyecatching and interesting tweets of the week regarding papercraft in its varying forms.

1. Kemono Friends: Crested Ibis Movable Papercraft

2. Paper Vase and Felt Carnations


3. Cherished Memories


4. Intricate Paper Sculptures

This is just amazing!


5. Climb Every Mountain

No difference as far as I can see!


6. Sometimes, that’s just how it goes!



Top Tweets of the Week originally seen on Crafty Bug – Papercraft at http://papercraft.craftybug.co.uk/papercraft/top-tweets-of-the-week-15-may-2017/


Easter Dress

It’s always great to see what craft and sewing projects people have been working on and this girl’s dress for Easter is no exception.  Mum Jess is a just loves sewing and regularly makes clothes for her children.  Here’s an excerpt from her blog showing off the Easter dress she made for her daughter, Ava.


Here we go with the Easter dress posts! Are you surprised I made them this year?  Ye me too.

I’m also showing you the last dress I made first, so it’s all over the place here folks. Welcome to my life.  snort.

This kraken. I swear. She does all her poses. The only ones that were suggested by me are the basic shots.  Everything else is ALL AVA.

K anyways. the dress. I actually made another outfit for her for Easter and then strongly disliked how it looked with Sadie and Charlotte’s dresses (I’ll still blog it, I love it but not all of them together), so I whipped this one up Saturday morning before Easter. Luckily it’s definitely a whip-uppable dress! I used my darling friend Melissa’s pattern which I’ve made once before, the Lizzy dress. (oddly enough, the other time I made this pattern it was also for an Easter dress!)


I sewed up a size 5, with the short sleeve option. Love this perfect gold button I found in my stash to use! The fabric was I believe, from Hobby Lobby awhile back. It’s fairly stiff quilting cotton so not perfect for clothes, but for this dress shape it worked fine.

Article source: click here.

I think you’ll agree that Jess has done a brilliant job and that Ava clearly loves posing in her new dress!


We recommend:

To make a similar girl’s dress you may like this polka dot fun fabric available from Minerva Crafts.  Or perhaps this yellow floral print available here.

Easter Dress initially published on Crafty Bug – Sewing, Quilting, Embroidery and Needle Felting at http://sewing.craftybug.co.uk/dressmaking/easter-dress/