Desi Makes

Crafting Gorgeous Handmade Goodies!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Indian Amigurumi Series:Meghana The Odissi Dancer


I am continuing my amigurumi series of Indian Classical Dances. This time : Odissi. Odissi has been a favorite of mine for many years and I was lucky enough to see a few live performances when I was younger. The distinctive white flower arrangement on the head always fascinated me. So I was sure I wanted to keep that as a central part of this design. 

As always I started with some exploratory sketches and these were the ones that I finally liked :

So most of the design effort for this went in the head adornments and the jewellery and waist chain. I got a little more elaborate earrings on this one just because I thought it complimented her head adornment better.I also added some bangles this time as I thought it made her look so cute.







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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Royal Shimmer Cowl :Free Crochet Pattern




I recently went for a trip to Dungeness and then took the steam train to Hythe. In Hythe, while randomly strolling through Hythe we came across Dotty Di's a charming little yarn shop which had a beautiful collection of wool of all kinds. The owner is really helpful and cheerful and I bought some yarn there just because. I had no project in mind while I bought a load of yarn but it was fun to just browse and pick whatever I fancied.

This yarn caught my fancy because if it was shimmering like a box of jewels. Katia Polaris(71) is a beautiful acrylic yarn. It just is a joy to crochet with. I highly recommend this yarn for any colourful project. I only bought a single ball but if I had bought more I think this would make a lovely shawl.


The pattern for this cowl is very simple but very effective in showing of the lovely yarn. This was my aim anyway.

Crochet Pattern:

Material:
Katia Polaris 100 gram (this pattern could be modified to make a longer scarf but would need more yarn than 100 grams)
4.5 mm Crochet Hook
Yarn needle and scissors

Pattern:
Chain 31

Row 1: hdc in second chain from hook, slip st in the next st. (hdc ,slip st) till end . Then ch 1. Turn
Row 2: (hdc, slip st) till end. Then ch 1. Turn.

Repeat Row 2 until cowl is desired length to wrap around snugly around the neck. For me this was 81 rows. Fasten off leaving a tail of 15-20 cm

Using the yarn needle join the two edges.

 Enjoy your new cowl!


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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Summer Baby Vest


Still making cute little things for my baby. This is a baby vest that I made using yarn from my stash using this pattern from the topcrochetpatterns website. It is for a vintage baby smock by Jackie Carreira. This was a really easy and straight forward pattern. I finished the whole thing in around 2 hours and I think it will look adorable on my baby. I am making patterns that are for 3-6 month age now so that I do have things to put on my baby as he grows. So not making too many newborn woollens now. In any case its going to be summer when the baby arrives so its probably more sensible to make things for further ahead.



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The Red Yarn Sneakers

I am still making cute stuff for my baby. These red sneakers are adorable and I got the pattern from one of my crochet for baby books. I wanted to do these so that they almost look like canvas sneakers.
I have made them in the size 3-6 months so not for an absolute newborn. I did this because so far I have made things only for newborn size and babies grow fast I am told. So hopefully my baby can wear these as he grows up a little. The yarn is just red and white DK baby yarn from my stash. I doubt these will be of my practical use. But they are just soooo adorable that I had to make them.



 I still think I might have made the laces too long but I am leaving them alone for now. If I do make more booties, I will probably do small slip in shoes and not the one with laces.
For the sneakers it made sense to keep them like this so I guess it will be all ok.







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Monday, April 30, 2018

Indian Amigurumi Series: Mala the Kathak Dancer


Continuing with interpreting the classical dances of India using amigurumi toys. This time, Kathak!
I was born in Uttar Pradesh and was exposed to Kathak from a very early age. My Mom and cousin sister were trained in Kathak as children and I took Kathak lessons too as a child. Although I remember next to nothing now. I attended many kathak performances when I was young and was always amazed by the beautiful footwork. Kathak is very much like tap dance and the ghunghroos(anklets)  really are effective in letting the audience know how beautiful the rhythms are when the dancers move their feet in time with the different rhythms and patterns.

The hand gestures are relatively simpler and there is not too much of waist movement in Kathak. It's all about the rhythm and the footwork.
Like all my dolls, I started with some exploratory sketches for this and I am sharing one of them here:

The costume in Kathak is not a modification of the Sari. So in that way it is different from the clothes I have designed for my dancers so far. It is more of a Kalidaar Kurti (almost like a flared dress) worn with Churidaar and Dupatta. I also wanted to really do the anklets/ghunghroos to look as close to really ghungroos as possible so used strings of beads wrapped around to get a similar effect.It was tricky to get the Dupatta to wrap around her head as I wanted so had to do multiple passes on that. In the end I had to do the standard amigurumi sphere shape and only work it till the half point. So I got a hemisphere which I stitched over her hair. I did the other elements of the head covering separately and then assembled them together. This was the cleanest way of doing it. I did try initially to do one whole piece of crochet and have it go around her back and do the 'V' shape in front of her torso but it was getting very complicated and I was ending up with lot of lumpy wool everywhere. Hence, my fragmented approach.








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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Baby's first snuggle sweater


I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of my little one and wanted to make an easy and simple crochet jumper for him. I found this lovely pattern from ktandthesquid and it turned out perfect. Thank you Katy for this beautiful and easy pattern! This is my first crochet jumper and I am so happy it turned out so well.

I used Sirdar Baby Crofter Chunky and also Cygnet Chunky Cream for this sweater. Both yarns were really soft and baby friendly and I am sure my little one will be snuggly and warm in it.

I am so proud of this jumper that I took loads of pictures. I will definitely add a picture of my baby wearing it when he arrives and is big enough to fit in it.




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Strawberry Ice Cream Beret

Confession time. I love berets. If I need to make a new hat my first thought is always to do a beret. Sometimes I talk myself out of it just to force myself to be more adventurous in my yarn adventures. But sometimes the yarn just begs to be made into a beret and thats what happened in this case. One of my husbands' friends at work was relocating and I made this hat as a going away present for her.

This pattern is actually very interesting for me because I used a mandala pattern for the top bit from a crochet motifs book and then just added trebles to increase and shape the beret shape. Then used the band pattern from my "Washing my hair with color" hat and it all came together.
I bought this yarn as part of a big lot from the john lewis sale and it had no label on it. So I am not sure what yarn this is. But its DK and super soft and squishy and looks good enough to eat. This is why I call it the Strawberry Ice Cream Beret.

The hat was well received and my husbands' friend was really happy with it.

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Sunshine Booties

I am having a baby! I wanted to make some cute knitted/crochet accessories for my baby and booties seemed like  a lovely way to start. I wanted to go away from the usual pale pink/pale blue/white and so did this combination of bright yellow and gray.

I used a pattern from one of my knitting magazines that I have collected over the years and I am really happy with the way this turned out. I am going to keep making more baby makes in the coming weeks until my bundle of joy arrives. As I am sure I will be very busy once the baby is actually here.

But until then, the needles are out and the knitting is on! I am finding I have rediscovered the joys of knitting. I usually do more crochet than knit but the baby patterns available for baby knits are so cute that I am finding myself knitting more and more.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Marigold Nose Ring Cowl



I always love making cowls which are snug to my face as it gets pretty windy here and I suffer from blocked sinuses. For this one I used the lovely Paintbox Aran in Seville Orange(218). I have not done too much of Tunisian Crochet yet but this is a simple Tunisian Ripple Stitch and this project was small enough for me to get the hang of it without getting to confused. There are many tutorials of this online. I actually learnt Tunisian Crochet at a crochet class and this was one of the stitches taught.

Although this cowl is pretty enough just on its own I wanted to make it a little more Desi and personal which is why I wanted to put a nosering on it.Noserings (Nath) are a really cute accessory for Indian brides but are now back in fashion even for everyday wear.

For me this is the perfect accessory as I get to flaunt a nose ring even though I do not have my nose pierced.

The bright marigold color and the gold embroidery makes this my favourite cowl when I want to feel uplifted on a cold morning.
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Sunday, April 22, 2018

summer scrumptious mini change purses

I designed these small change purses for a few of my dear girl friends as gifts. They all really loved them. I used some colourful DK yarn from my stash for these and just simple white buttons. These were a simple 25 chain dc for 20 rows then folded in half. The outer flaps for two of them started out as a magic ring with a combination of trebles and double crochets. The other one is much simpler.
I made these in a hurry so did not really note the pattern down but will definitely redo one of them and put up a pattern of that in another blog post.

These are really feminine and pretty and are the perfect size for carrying small change, cards etc.
The colours of these remind me of bright fresh spring sunlight and the newly opened flower buds and ice cream sundaes.





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Indian Amigurumi Series:Mohini the Mohiniyattam Dancer

 

Second of my series on Indian Classical Dance Amigurumi Dolls. Mohiniyattam to me is the most graceful of all the Indian Classical Dances. The costume is mostly white in colour with accents of another colour used in the borders or pallu of the dress. The jewellery is also relatively less elaborate than some other dance forms. The hair is arranged in a bun on the side of the head which is very characteristic of this dance form. The dance is very feminine and looks really beautiful and rhythmic.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with this dance form I highly recommend looking at some videos online of Mohiniyattam and if possible catch a live performance. Mohiniyattam is traditionally performed with live musicians and it is really spectacular.

This is what an authentic Mohiniyattam dancer looks like with all the costume and jewellery.






So in my amigurumi version I have obviously simplified a lot of the detail to make it a little crochet friendly and more workable. I still did the side bun on her hair and the flowers around it. Also a version of the costume with the border. Usually the border on the dress is just gold but I wanted to add a bit more colour which is why I have made it blue. I also posed her a little tilted to the side which makes her more graceful I feel.

I always enjoy making the accessories on these dolls and the jewellery and the bindi is my favourite parts of this. Her little jhumki earrings also look really cute to me. 

On seeing my dolls some people have asked me about my design process. I am not a very on the fly crochet kind of person. So for me, all my designs begin with some quick sketches on paper. These are just very rough strokes to find the shapes that I want to design. I try different poses gestures etc. 
I find this is a much quicker way to do the design and it seems to work for me.

Although these sketches are not that pretty to look at, I am still going to share this with my blog readers so they get an idea of how I go about doing things.
 

For this design I felt the seated pose was not going to be easy for me to crochet and get stability. Although with the large heads that I design, even the standing ones need some thought to make them stable. Anyway, I liked the version on the left which is the standing one. I just wanted to giver her a head and torso tilt which is what I did with my final version:



She is a great favorite of mine and I hope to continue doing these dolls until I either run out patience, or run out of yarn. These are intricate and do require a lot of time to do. I typically end up making and unravelling each of these a few times at least until I am happy with the shapes and posture.



Keep watching my blog for more updates.


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Washing my hair with colour hat!




I made this hat a while back as I was craving some colour. The winters in London get very gray and I wanted to make something to cheer me up. I picked up this yarn on a road trip to Torquay. We were just strolling through the town and came upon a lovely yarn store and bought some bright colourful yarn. Just a single 100 gram ball in Aran with these bright hues. It almost looked like a fruit salad to me. Since this is around one year ago I have completely forgotten which yarn store it was and also what the name of the yarn was. If any reader recognizes it, please let me know what it is and I will update the blog post with that information.


I used the pattern from the yarnspiration website which can be found for free here



 What I really love about this pattern is the really snug rib at the forehead. Sometimes with crochet hats, the forehead area gets loose as the crochet stitches do have a tendency to get looser as you wear them more often. Not this one though. Its a great fit and I have found myself reusing just the rib pattern on other hats that I have made with different crown patterns. I did enjoy doing the star stitch in crochet as well which I had not done before. The star stitch does look really fancy and complicated but is actually a very easy stitch to master. I highly recommend everyone to give it a go. I might try
the star stitch for a baby sweater that I want to design in future.

 For now though, it is bright and sunny outside and I am still wearing the hat as there is still a brisk spring wind in the air.




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Friday, December 22, 2017

Mithai!

The best think about Indian Festivals is the food and specially the sweets (Mithai). The best sweets are always home made and I still fondly remember the gujiya's my Grandma made in holi or the besan laddoos my Mom made. I do not have the skills to make Indian Sweets in reality but I wanted to try to do them in Amigurumi. So I made a Motichoor Laddoo, a couple of Besan Laddoos, Kaju Katli, Kaju Roll and a Doodh Peda.

  The Motichoor Laddoo has Silver Vark on top, Besan Laddoos with Pistachios stuck on top, Silver coated Kaju Katli, Silver coated Pistachio stuffed Kaju Roll and sweet and simple Milk Peda.



I will be adding free patterns for these cuties soon so you can have a go at them yourself.


#crochet #amigurumi #crochetlove


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Potli Purse







Potli literally means a small sack and was traditionally used to carry all kinds of things, gold coins, grains and even clothes. In modern times, the potli purse is a great accessory. It is basically a drawstring bag. I made up this pattern as I went along using cotton yarn that I got from a great yarn store in Paris. I love the beautiful sage green, violet and indigo blue combination and this was a quick and easy make.
I used a knitting doll to make the chord using the indigo yarn and it turned out really well.

I have been using this purse a lot since I made it and it seems to be the perfect size to carry a wallet and phone and a few essentials. Since its made of granny stripes, there are holes so I could line it up but I enjoy the look of things peeping through the holes so for now I am going to leave it like it is.
The pattern is pretty simple, started it off as the usual amigurumi spiral increase and when the base was big enough just started granny striping it. After I got the desired length I just did a few rows of decreases by dc2tog and added a scalloped edge to make it look prettier.

The bright colors in this one really cheer me up!


#crochet #crochetbag #crochetgrannysquare #crochetaccessory
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Capelet for the Best Mom in the World!

I wanted to make a smart shawl/cape/poncho for my Mom as a Birthday gift. After trawling the world wide web, I found this absolutely stunning Spring Capelet Pattern on Ravelry by Merri Purdy. 
What I particularly loved about this pattern was that it looked really smart and as my Mom is a professor I thought it would really suit her. In addition, it used the Caron Cake yarn which I had been meaning to try for a while.

I used two yarns for this pattern Cygnet Aran in Cream and Caron Cakes in Red Velvet.

It was great fun making this pattern. Although I have to say Caron Cakes was not as soft as I had expected. I guess its just because it has wool in it. But if I had to reuse Caron Cakes I would probably use the Caron Baby Cakes which I hear is much softer.

It was a fairly straight forward and fast pattern to crochet. I loved how it turned out. I have posted it to my Mom for her Birthday I hope she has a great year ahead!

Love you Mom!



#crochet #crochetcapelet #crochetlove #crochetclothing #handmadeaccessory #caroncakes #cygnetyarns #crochetgirlgang
 
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