Monday, 13 December 2010

Bi-festival decorations

I am very happy to say that my blog has been featured in one of my favourite design and craft blogs. On the main page of Bloesem today you can see this very post. Thanks Irene!

Here in our own little melting pot the festivities are underway. Like so many Londoners we celebrate two festivals: Hanukkah from my side of the family, Christmas from Mr Year's. Two excuses for lights, presents, feasts and fried stuff. And of course handmade goodness.

The beautiful scene above the shop last week as Hanukkah ended...

...and today as I got the tree (still alive, just a bit bald) out from the garden:

The crochet snowflakes and mushrooms are very quick and very easy. The cotton reels are old wooden ones that I have saved. The owl is from Caravan in Shoreditch, east London and the things on our mantlepiece are treasures (painting by  my grandad, Miss Piggy car from my 70s childhood, ceramic cube clock from Brussels flea market, vase and coffee pots from here and there, the Sherlock Holmes face complete with moving quizzical eyebrow I made in woodwork aged 11. Oh yes) made and found.

If you feel so inspired to make your own - and you really don't need to be an expert crocheter - please find tutorials for the snowflakes and mushrooms below. Do let me know how you get on.

Crochet mushroom pattern
You will need:
Red wool (can be any kind really, even acrylic is fine)
White wool
Knitter's sewing needle
Any size crochet hook
Old tights or clothes to cut up for stuffing

This pattern is worked in the round. The size of your mushroom will come out depending on the size of your hook ie. large hooks make a big fungi, small make a small. You might find it helpful to add a little marker at the beginning of each row to keep track of where you are.

row 1  (white yarn) chain 6 stitches and slip stitch to the first stitch to make a circle.
row 2  chain 1, double crochet (dc, US triple crochet) 1 into each stitch: 6 dc
row 3  ch 1, 6 dc
row 4  ch 1, 6 dc
row 5  (add red yarn) ch 1, 6 dc
row 6  2 dc into each dc: 12 dc
row 7  alternate your increase as you make 1 dc then 2 dc into each dc so you end up with 18 dc
row 8  dc 2 tog, then 1 dc into next, so you decrease back down to 12 dc
row 9  dc 2 tog all round: 6dc
row 10 6 dc

Then, using a little running stitch, or better still a french knot, do three white spots. Point your needle up through the mushroom to the tip to make a hanging loop. Tie a little knot in the base of the loop to secure it. Sew the end of the white thread through the mushroom to hide it. If you are making bigger mushrooms, pause around row 9 to stuff with fabric scraps.

I made a few of different sizes, sometimes I changed the increase and decrease a little, giving me different shaped mushrooms as shown above. As with most crochet these got quite addictive so I had to stop as it was getting a little out of hand.

Crochet snowflake pattern
You will need:
Any kind of white wool, acrylic or cotton. Mohair would be especially nice.
A medium sized crochet hook (UK 4-7 mm)

You can make these as long or as short as you want. They are a sort of bobble stitch joined by roughly 30 chain stitches. You just keep bobbling then chaining until you can do no more. It is nice to keep the tension loose so don't worry too much if you only have a big hook.

Make a bobble circle like this:
Chain 5 then slip stitch to first chain to form  foundation circle.
Chain 3, yarn over, insert hook through foundation circle, yarn over, hook back through stitch (3 loops on hook), yarn over and pull through 2 loops (2 loops left on hook).
Then yarn over and insert hook through same stitch again, yarn over, hook back through stitch (4 loops on hook), yarn over and pull through 2 loops (3 loops left on hook), yarn over and pull through all 3 loops.

When you have finished the bobble circle, slip stitch to the first stitch to secure the circle then ch 30. Begin the next bobble with the final 5 ch of the 30 chain making the new foundation chain.

If all that leaves you stumped there is a video here:

and a very clear pictorial explanation here:
the bobble circles are the used as the centre of her granny squares.


  1. lovely to see you pop up on bloesem. gorgeous post. x

  2. I love your decorations, very tasteful and charming, the crochet snowflakes are perfect.

  3. Hi Miriam, just saw you on bloesem, and thought I'd drop by and say hi. Love the mushrooms, I actually used them for my Hanukkah decor this year too! I don't know if you've ever seen my blog, but I think you'd like it, the only Jewish crafting site of its kind and always full of fun craft ideas for the kids and mom too. So do drop by for a visit, and once my linking party resumes in january, would love to see you there sharing your creativity!
    all the best, Sara

  4. Gosh you're place is looks like such a festive delight!

    Belatedly, merry christmas and happy new year!



a year above the shop

a year above the shop