23 February 2017

The Love of a Handmade Gift

Handmade gifts are always a good idea. They are more personal, unique, and show that you truly care for someone. Plus it's always fun to put on your crafting cap and let your creative side take over. Next time you have the chance to give a gift to someone, try making a gift for them. Even if you make something simple like your own card instead of buying one - it's fun to do, and the recipient will most likely love the gift even more. Besides, isn't it the thought that counts?  :) 

This month, I made a gift for my sister Margeaux who had a birthday! Birthdays are a big deal and I always jump at the chance to go a little overboard when it comes to parties and presents. Plus, I'll use any excuse possible to spend time crafting, crocheting, sewing, painting, or pretty much anything that doesn't include studying for school. So for my sister's birthday, I crocheted her a bohemian style mandala doily. 

Eventually, I will do a post on the basics of crocheting so that those of you who want to learn can have some introductory instructions. If you happen to already know how to crochet, then this will be a fun project, though I would consider this pattern to be intermediate. I got the pattern from here so I won't write it out on this post, but it is a very simple, straight-forward pattern. 

I chose my own colors for this project based on the Bohemian home styling posts my sister shared on Pinterest; gotta love Pinterest, right?!  I used Crafter's Secret Cotton yarn, available at Hobby Lobby, which I also love (I could seriously spend all day in that store). You will only need one skein of each color, and I chose seven colors. Here is my list of supplies used for this project: 

Yarn Colors: 
Dark Teal

Other Materials:
US size H/8 5mm crochet hook
threading needle
small fabric scissors 
a little snack to keep you going

I didn't follow a specific color pattern - I just went for it and chose a random new color for each round. This is after round 11 of 26. 

This is the final product! It is 26 rounds and the diameter is just shy of 2 feet. 

After you finish your mandala, it might be beneficial to do some blocking. This will help to keep your mandala flat and equally spread. Here's what I did to my finished product:

  • Get a piece of cardboard large enough to fit your mandala. 
  • Lay out your finished project, then start pinning it down with some basic sewing pins. As you pin it down, work from the center outwards.
  • When you get to the outer layer, pin the edges in somewhat of an X pattern. To do this, pin the edge on one side, then pin your next pin on the opposite edge. Continue doing this until your mandala is fairly flat. Then you can start pinning around the edges any way you like. 
  • When your mandala is pinned down, lay some damp towels over the project. Be sure to cover the entire thing.
  • Using an iron, steam your mandala. Be very careful! Do not actually place your iron on top of the towels, as the heat can melt your yarn. Rather, hover your iron over the project to steam it. 
  • When you're done with this, remove the towels and let your yarn dry. I ended up using towels that were a little more wet than I intended. After leaving the mandala out to dry for a little bit, I found that it was still damp. So I steamed it again, but this time without towels. Again, only hover over the project! 
  • Once you have steamed your mandala and it has dried, remove the pins. It should now be flat and perfect. 

Now you have a beautiful new addition to your home, or a beautiful piece of decor to give to a loved one! This is an easy project that can add some personalized touches to any home. If you try it, let us know and share your photos in the comment section! Happy crafting!

xo, Kate Holland 

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