Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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 Source: Crochet an Octopus for a Preemie from
Crafty Bug

Saturday, 14 October 2017

How to Make a Felt Halloween Pumpkin Mask


Now we're into October, we are heading towards Halloween at a rate of knots.  For anyone planning a "trick or treat" outing, we've seen a tutorial for this easy to make cute felt pumpkin mask.  It's very straightforward and so effective, you’ll be at the front of the queue to collect all the treats going.  It's suitable for complete beginners and will only take around an hour to make. Tutorial by DMC.

You will need:

How to Make

1. To begin, cut two of the larger shapes of out of the orange felt. These will be the body of the pumpkin. Cut two of the smaller shapes out of the green felt. These will be the stalk.

step 1

2. Next, draw the pumpkin design onto one side of one of the orange shapes to help guide your stitching.

step 2

3. Using backstitch, stitch three vertical lines onto one of your green stalks. For this we used DMC #703.

step 3

4. Join both green stalks together using whip stitch; covering the back of the stitching. For this, we used DMC #699.

step 4

5. Work in chain stitch onto the front of your mask, following the lines you drew in step 2. For this, we used DMC #721.

step 5

6. Using the same colour thread, now add your french knots. We did 16 knots on this pattern but you can have fewer or more.

step 6

7. Next, use blanket stitch to join your two orange peices together, making sure they line up around the edges. This will make your mask stronger, and will cover up the back of your stitching. Whilst blanket stitching, place the ends of your elastic between the two pieces and stitch over it to hold it in place. For this, we used DMC #972.

step 7

8. After this, attach the stalk to the top of the pumpkin using whip stitch.

step 8

9. Once your mask is assembled, work in blanket stitch around the eye holes. You can make your eye holes bigger or smaller, or change where they are positioned on the mask. For this, we used DMC #310.

step 9

Your carriage awaits! Your magical mask is ready to transform you into the best looking pumpkin in the patch.


Original article can be found: here.


While you are in Halloween preparation mode, you might like to have a go at making this fab needle felted skull.  If you'd love to have a go but have never tried needle felting, then take a look at our Beginners' Guide to Needle Felting which will set you off to learn a new skill.

How to Make a Felt Halloween Pumpkin Mask is courtesy of http://craftybug.co.uk/

Friday, 13 October 2017

A Spooky Needle Felting Project for Halloween

Now that you've started using your newly acquired needle felting skills, you could try putting them to use to make a creation for Halloween! I spotted this "How to Make a Halloween Felted Skull" project recently and wanted to share it with you as it's needle felting with a difference. This project is ideal for beginners but does give you a rather specialist outcome at the end. A great way to get kids crafting and interested in learning needle felting all in one fell swoop!

You Will Need

How to Make

Pull off tufts of the white wool roving and lay them over the polystyrene skull. Use the pink Clover tool to stab the wool so that it adheres to the polystyrene base. You’ll need to use enough wool to cover the whole skull hiding the polystyrene underneath. Ensure there are no loose bits of wool as this will create a solid base for the rest of your wonderful creation.

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Needle Felting the Eyes and Nose

Lay a small amount of bright pink roving over the eye socket, use your finger to push the centre of the wool to the back of the socket and fold in the edges and use the pink tool to stab into position.

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Work all the way round the inside of the socket. Add some semi-circles (from sheet of templates) to add the petal shapes to the outside of the sockets.

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Take one end of the black yarn and one single felting needle. Outline the flower eyes. Only cut the yarn when you have outlined the eyes and got back to your start point. Use the pink Clover tool to stab over the whole surface of the eyes to ensure it’s well and truly secured.

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Use the black yarn to outline the shape of the nose, so that it looks like an elongated upside down heart.

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Pull off a small tuft of black roving, lay it over the outline of the nose and stab it into place, folding it back on itself where necessary.

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I decided at this stage to create some black centres to my pink flower eyes with the black wool roving, in order to give them a bit more depth.

Needle Felting the Teeth

Draw a line with your yarn through the centre of the teeth, using the single felting needle to tack it into place.

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Starting from the corner of the mouth use the yarn to draw ten semi-circles, keeping them approximately the same width but getting slightly longer as you reach the two front teeth. The bottom teeth are easier because you’ll already have the shape and width of the top row to use as a guide.

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Making a Sheet of Pre-Felt

Make a sheet of pre-felt for cutting out shapes to add as decoration to your skull. Lay out some wool roving across your needle-felting pad (in one direction and not too thick), layer more roving across the top at 90 degrees. Ensure there are no visible gaps and stab it all over with the Clover tool. Every now and then carefully peel the pre-felt from the pad, turn it over and continue stabbing from the other side. Hold it up to the light and if you see any thin patches just add more roving. Eventually you will have created a sheet that is strong and which you can cut shapes from.

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Make a sheet of pink and a sheet of turquoise for the following steps.

Decorative Flowers and Petals

Use the pink pre-felt to cut out the large flower shape and four teardrop shapes (see templates) Use the turquoise pre-felt to cut six tear-drop shapes.

How to Make a Halloween Felted Skull #halloween #skull #felted #needlefelting #diy #decoration How to Make a Halloween Felted Skull #halloween #skull #felted #needlefelting #diy #decoration Place the large flower over the centre-top of the skull and use the Clover tool to stab it in place securely. Outline it with the green yarn and bundle up a little of the turquoise roving and stab into the centre of the flower.

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Arrange and stab the tear-drops into a symmetrical pattern. Outline them with the green yarn and add a few spirals! Be as creative as you like – the brighter and more colourful the better!

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Original article can be found here.

Originally seen on A Spooky Needle Felting Project for Halloween. Read more at the website

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

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?

The blog post Using Buttons on Your Homemade Cards was originally seen on http://www.craftybug.co.uk/

Monday, 9 October 2017

Needle Felting Projects for Beginners

Having got the idea of how to do needle felting, it's time to make a start on some easy, straightforward projects. Actually get to grips with the craft and make your first felted item. Once you've started producing your own items, you'll soon get inspired to make your own designs but meanwhile to help you gain confidence and experience, we've put together some easy projects to help get you going.

Here's a short tutorial showing you how to make a needle felted mushroom. It guides you through every step, demonstrating how to work the wool. As the tutorial is in video format, you can easily press the "pause" button if you want to work your own mushroom at the same time and not get left behind. I can just picture a group of these little fellas mixed into a bowl of decorative dried seed heads for an attractive autumn feel.

Needle Felting Kits

One really easy way to get started on a project is to buy a needle felting kit. This not only gives you everything you need to complete the task: the wool, felting needle, felting mat, embroidery needle and thread but easy to follow, step by step instructions.

We've spotted a needle felting kit for making this rather cute hedgehog and think this would be a great way to get going with your new craft. If you are interested in having a go at this yourself, you can buy the kit here.

The completed hedgehog measures 6.5 x 6.5 cms and will take around 4 hours to make.

This next video shows you how to make some really pretty little needle felted flowers. It's just under 7 minutes' long so doesn't take up too much time to watch. The trick here is to use mini cookie cutters to create the basic flower shape. If you don't already have any suitable cutters in your baking drawer, then try these star shaped cutters from Amazon which should do the trick nicely.

Once you've got the basics of felting these mini flowers, I'm sure you can find a myriad of uses for them! They would make a really great addition to a beautifully wrapped gift - I can just see them as embellishments, perhaps in bright spring colours, for an Easter gift, for example. Or how about using them on your homemade birthday cards? A glass bowl filled with these flowers in a mixture of shapes would really liven up a coffee table or sideboard. If you have a go at making these little flowers, do get in touch and share your photos of how you've used them in your finished projects.

Article Source: Needle Felting Projects for Beginners. See more by visiting Crafty Bug's Woolly Blog

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Beginners Guide to Needle Felting

Felting is a craft which uses wool fibres to produce your creation. There are two types, dry and wet felting. With needle / dry felting, a specially shaped needle is rapidly pushed in and out, multiple times, between wool fibres causing friction between them, thus tangling them together to create a denser volumed object. You use a barbed needle (so take care!) and stab repeatedly at your wool against a resistant object in order to tangle and compress the wool. Using this technique, you can make any number of 3D objects in any sculptural form you want to. The only limit to what you can do, is your imagination!

For the would be needle felter, or indeed for anyone just interested in learning more about how to felt wool, we've gathered together on this page some "how to" videos to help you get started with this interesting craft.

This first video gives a good overview of how to needle felt and is ideal for the absolute beginner. It's not very long - under 5 minutes, so you don't have to sit glued to your device - and so is perfect if you've always wanted to know what needle felting actually is but haven't asked the question. The sound track is music only with information being supplied by caption, and thus is ideal if you want to watch the video but can't have the audio on.

Good for:
  • absolute beginners
  • those without audio
  • anyone wanting a quick introduction.

The next video I've collected for you is a little longer at a fraction over 10 minutes. Whereas the previous one was a quick overview of the needle felting process, just to introduce the idea, this one goes into some more detail and is really easy to watch. It has an audio explanation of the process and is very informative.

Good for:
  • a slightly more detailed look at the craft
  • those with audio
  • anyone who likes a commentary.

So by now, you'll know that needle felting uses wool or wool roving. This next video is all about the wool. In it, the presenter explains what different wools you can use in needle felting and in which circumstances you would choose to use which type.

Good for:
  • an introduction to the types of wool used in needle felting
  • those with audio
  • anyone who likes a commentary.

I hope you've found these introductory videos helpful and are tempted to have a go at needle felting yourself. There are so many things you can make using this technique and you really are only limited by your imagination. We've seen some really cool results, particularly mega cute needle felted animals! For example, check out an earlier Crafty Bug post here to see some gorgeous little sheep.
We'll be adding more videos, "how to guides" and needle felting project ideas so do come back soon and check out what's new.

To get you started

If you now want to try out this fabulous craft for yourself, you are going to need some basic equipment. As you'll have seen in the first video, the main items you'll need are:
  • a needle felting tool (ie a needle!)
  • wool
  • a needle felting mat (your work surface).
This needle felting tool from Hobbycraft has five needles in one, an easy to hold handle, a clear plastic protective cover over the needles for that all important added safety and has great customer reviews too. Given that you are working with needles, you really need a needle felting mat to act as a work surface not only to protect your table / knees or whatever you are working on, but also to help extend the lifespan of your felting tool. And, of course, you'll need some wool roving for practice and to start working your inventive magic on. We like this assorted bundle of 100% wool in a 5 different colours. Other bundles with particular colour themes are also available.
Article Source: The Beginners Guide to Needle Felting. See more by visiting Crafty Bug

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

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 Source: How to Crochet a Beach Bag. Find out more at Crafty Bug

Monday, 22 May 2017

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


The blog post Top Sewing Tweets of the Week was first published on sewing.craftybug.co.uk

Saturday, 20 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 d├ęcoupage, 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!

The article A Crafty Way to Recycle Your Pringles Tubes is courtesy of papercraft.craftybug.co.uk

Thursday, 18 May 2017

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!




The following article Top Tweets of the Week is republished from papercraft.craftybug.co.uk