Thursday, 22 January 2015

Up-cycled Jars

Hi all

Brrrr it's so cold out there - you'll find me tucked away in my crafty corner, and today it's all about up-cycling.
As you know I have a bit of an obsession with not throwing away things that I think can be used for something else, especially jars and pots.  I was lucky enough to be given some very tasty biscuits for Christmas and although they are long gone, I just couldn't throw the tube away.
It is such a useful size (although I would argue that ALL empty tubes and jars are the right size for something) that I just had to give it a makeover

I hope you love this once boring cardboard tube as much as I do

If you would like to have a go you will need the following

Emtpy jars or tubes
scissors (Adult supervision required here)
paper or fabric
ribbon or any crafty bits you want to add 

First, make sure that the tube or jar is clean and dry

I like to have some idea of what I am going to make so I have roughly chosen what I intend to use for this project

I am a huge fan of sticky back material.  It's something that I have only just found and it was just perfect for this.  It did remind me though of a big plaster and unlike glue, there is not much room for error as it seems to grab the tube or jar and if you crease it, it can be quite a challenge to rectify.

The first thing you need to do is prepare the tube. I wanted to have a white background as the material has white polka dots on, but I'm sure it would have looked just as nice left black.  The downside of sticky back material is it tends to be quite thin, so you will probably need to cover the whole tube so that the details of what was previously in it, doesn't show through

It is best to do a few thin layers of paint and you will need to make sure that the paint is completely dry between coats as it will lift off the previous layer and spoil all your hard work

Once you have painted the tube you can now start making it look pretty

Measure the material so that it fully goes round the circumference of the tube - you could also use pretty wrapping paper or you could even design your own paper

I wanted to use two different colours in a stripe pattern so I cut two strips of the beige polka dot and stuck it on carefully around the tube

The neater you can cut the strips, the nicer the top and bottom edges will be, although as you will see later, I tidied mine up with lace

I then cut a strip of the pink polka dot and wrapped it round the centre of the tube.  As you will see, the other fabric is showing through so to rectify this I decided to add lace

And a pretty pink satin ribbon

And some buttons, evenly spaced around the centre. I used a strong glue for this as I don't want them pinging off as I open and close the tube

I also thought it would bring the effect together if I added pink to the lid, so to do this I drew around the bottom of the tube and cut it out making sure that I cut inside the line
On my first attempt, it was still a bit big for the top, so I carefully cut a bit more off evenly around the circle

All that I needed to do then was re-pierce the hole in to top of the lid and make a loop out of garden twine and thread it through from the inside and secure it with tape so that it doesn't fall out

I now have a really pretty pot and I know just the thing that I am going to store in there

And of course I couldn't stop there !


Became this

Then I changed my mind (well that is a ladies prerogative isn't it)

And I usually make my glass jars a crochet jacket but this jar has had a classy makeover too

I think they look so much better now and no-one anywhere will have the same storage jars

Please note, that obviously they can only be wiped clean and not submersed in water but as they cost next to nothing to make, once they start looking worse for wear, I can simply make some more

Why not have a go and I would love to see your designs

Happy Crafting


Friday, 9 January 2015

Crochet Jar Covers

I absolutely hate throwing things away and am always looking for ways to upcycle everyday objects that would otherwise be heading for the bin

I have an obsession with saving glass jars and using them to keep all sorts in - pens, hooks, knitting needles, stationary and lots more things - tall jars are great as vases and cost next to nothing to make. They are really boring to look at bare so I make them jackets using jute (garden twine) to make them look very chic

From this 

To this

This is a quick, fun and easy project so grab your crochet hook and some old garden twine and give them a go

You will need:

Empty jars
Jute (garden twine)
Crochet hook
Big eye darning needle
Stitch marker (optional)

Firstly a quick note about jute - there are different quality ones in the shops and I have used most. In my opinion, the only real difference in the cheaper ones, is it tends to be more lumpy and not as refined, but it does give a more rustic look, so it really comes down to personal preference. It can also be a little bit harder on the hands, trying to work the thicker bits that appear along the yarn, but if you slacken the tension slightly its fine

Right lets get started

In this tutorial I have used the cheaper twine and a 5.5mm hook, which was fairly hard going as the hook was a bit too small, but it did give me a tighter tension, which was the effect I was looking for

If you are new to working with this medium, then start with a slightly bigger hook and if the tension is too loose for you, work down hook sizes until you find one that you are comfortable with and like the effect it achieves

First work a chain that is longer than the circumference of your chosen jar

I always make my chain longer than needed, as it is much easier to unpick any excess that you have after the first row has been completed

Once you have your foundation chain work a treble into the 3rd chain from the hook

The stitch to the far right looks like a real treble but is made up of the missed chains making it the dummy treble

Continue to work back along the foundation chain with treble stitches until your chain is just shorter than the circumference of your jar

We need to make it slightly shorter so that it hugs the jar 
We don't want it to fall off when we pick the jar up 

We do however need to have a total number of trebles on this row that is divisible by 4 - I had 32 stitches on my base row so I knew that I would have a pattern with 8 sets of stitches in each row

If you find that you are struggling to get the right length you may need to change your hook size 

Once you are happy with the length of your base row, close the row by working a slip stitch into the top chain of the dummy treble worked at the beginning of the row

Make sure that your work isn't twisted before you close it

Once you are happy with the base row, simply unpick the excess chains, up to the bottom of the dummy treble worked at the beginning

Work a slip stitch in-between the trebles to the left of your hook
to centralise your yarn ready to start the next row

As I have already done a slip stitch, I personally like to work a two chain at the beginning of my rows as it gives me perfect height for a treble but if you prefer, work a 3 chain which will count as your dummy treble

Now work a further 3 trebles into the bottom of this chain to complete one pattern on this row

As I have 32 stitches, 32 divided 4 = 8 so I will complete 8 sets of these in total for this round

Next, miss 3 chains and work 4 trebles into the next chain space - for this row I like to work the trebles into the top of the stitch as opposed to the big gap at the bottom 

Continue in this way until you have completed the correct number of sets of 4 trebles - if you have done it right, then before you close the round you should have a 3 chain space

To close the round work a slip stitch into the top chain of the dummy treble worked at the beginning of the round

For the next round we will working the set of 4 treble stitches in the middle of the previous row set of stitches. To get to the right place in order to start the next row, we need to work a slip stitch in the middle space of the previous rows 4 trebles to the left of your hook

Now work a 2 or 3 chain (whichever you prefer) to make your dummy treble 

Then work a further 3 trebles into the previous rows centre space

To complete the round, work 4 trebles into each of the previous rounds centre space in the treble pattern and close the round with a slip stitch into the top chain of the dummy treble at the beginning of the round

Every now and then, fit the cover on to the jar to see how many rounds you need to complete

As you will see, as mine is a small jar, I'm already nearly at the top so I just need to work a closing round

With most jars, they naturally get slightly thinner at the top, so I need to make a closing round that is slightly smaller than the ones I have been doing

For my closing round I work a simple round of trebles - but to ensure that this round is tighter, I work fewer trebles than in the previous round

As above work a 2 or 3 chain (whichever you prefer) to make your dummy treble and then work a treble into each of the pattern spaces but do not work a treble in the larger spaces between the 4 treble patterns - that way you will work 8 less trebles on this round and create a nice tight round that will hug the neck of your jar

This round may be a bit of trial and error, if you find the neck is too tight perhaps work a treble stitch in a couple of the large spaces evenly in the round

Close the round with a slip stitch in the top chain of the dummy treble worked at the beginning

Put the cover on your jar to check that you are happy with the fit

Now all you need to do is sew the ends in using a large eyed darning needle 

I like to weave my ends back and forwards and back again to ensure that it won't unravel

All you need to do now is fill it with your hooks !

You can add a bit of glamour with a ribbon

For the pot below I used chunky cotton yarn and worked in continuos rounds of double crochet.
It is better to use a stitch marker when making this design so you know where the start of the rounds are

Once it was almost the height I wanted, I worked a row of trebles and then slip stitched a top row. I was then able to easily thread a pretty ribbon through the trebles and it now sits on my dressing table with my make-up buds
Why not have a go at glamming up your jars and I would love to see what you make

If you have any questions just ask and happy crafting