Monday, 8 December 2014

Crochet Christmas Card

This year I decided to crochet a Christmas card to distribute to friends and family by email and social media. 

My inspiration came from blogger Lucy at Attic24I was impressed with this card Lucy made two years ago and then this one she made last week. I love Lucy's work but wanted to make my own design. 

I decided to keep the background simple in shades of grey (no reference intended) then crochet a colourful Christmas tree to sew on top. I gathered my buttons, yarn from my Sweet Summer Ripple Blanket, hooks, yarn needles and scissors. I didn't have a pattern but I had a plan. 
I think it worked out beautifully. What do you think? I placed it on my Cosmic Rays Ripple Blanket to take a photo. I love it but think it needs blocking as the edges look a bit wonky.
So upstairs I go to plug in the iron, fill it with water, pin the piece in place and 'block' it. Always remember to never touch crochet with a hot iron, just steam it with the iron hovering above. Steaming does a great job of relaxing the yarn and setting the shape.
Blocking makes it better, not perfect, but definitely better. The dark grey yarn at the bottom is finer than the mid-grey yarn. It's different enough that the bottom will not relax into a perfectly smooth edge. I don't really mind though as it adds authenticity to the handmade look.
I took a few more photos with different backgrounds. I liked this one on our kitchen tablecloth. Very festive looking, don't you think? Then I took a closeup to remove the wonky edge and see how it would look as a Christmas card. It's perfect and just what I had in mind.
My husband got out his good camera to take a photo. He used Photoshop to crop it. Can you see how much better it looks in his version below? 
I used his image to create our card using MS Word, saved it as a pdf then converted it to a jpg to send to friends and family by email.
So what do you think of our first Crochet Christmas Card? I love the way it turned out and I hope our friends and family don't mind getting a 'virtual' card this year. I also hope our son doesn't mind me using his cutesy name. I just couldn't resist rhyming. 

For family members who either don't use email or prefer a proper card, I created a 'real' version using MS Publisher. Handmade cards are just so much fun. 

Here is a picture in case you're interested. Just two folds make a proper little Christmas card. I can't decide which I like better - virtual or printed? Both look great to me but I think I do prefer the printed one.
You may be wondering what I am doing with my original crochet block. I decided to incorporate it into our Christmas decor. I pinned it to a blank canvas (8"x10") from Dollarama then took photos of it propped in different places around the house trying to decide where it looked best. 

The chair is no good because our cat likes to sit there. It would soon be covered in hair.
The mantle is fine but really rather crowded already so it won't work.
I love it on this little table in the kitchen. Isn't this just the perfect spot?
From this angle you can see the canvas. I think canvas works well for displaying decorative crochet blocks. I could make blocks for every season and celebration. I will be sure to share photos and details if I do.

Crochet Christmas Card How To:

For this project, I did not follow a pattern and did not record exactly how I did it. This was a free flowing, creative effort. I can describe roughly what I did though in case you might like to make something similar. So here goes ...

Stitches used (Canadian terms):
ch - chain stitch
ss - slip stitch
sc - single crochet
scfl - single crochet front loop
scbl - single crochet back loop
dc - double crochet

For the background, I started with dark grey.
Chain 31
Row 1 - sc in back bumps of chain across starting with 2nd ch from hook (30 sc)
Row 2 - turn, ch 1, sc in 1st sc, *scfl in 2nd sc, scbl in 3rd sc**, repeat across, sc in last sc
Row 3 - repeat Row 2 for 6 more rows, switch to light grey
Row 8 - repeat Row 2 for 2 rows (light grey), switch to dark grey
Row 10 - repeat Row 2 for 2 rows (dark grey), switch to light grey
Row 12 - repeat Row 2 for 2 rows (light grey), switch to mid grey
Row 14 - sc across
Row 15 - repeat Row 14 for remainder of background (approximately 30 rows)
My goal was to make a rectangle approximately 8"x10" in size.

Next make the tree and assemble it before attaching to the background.
Tree top (aqua):
Row 1: Ch 13 and sc in back bumps across (12 sc)
Row 2: Ch 1 and turn, skip 1st sc and sc across (11 sc)
Row 3: Ch 1 and turn, skip 1st sc and sc across (10 sc)
Continue until only 1 sc for tip of tree then finish off

Tree bottom (aqua):
Row 1: Ch 25 and sc in back bumps across (24 sc)
Row 2: Ch 1 and turn, skip 1st sc and sc across (23 sc)
Continue for 8 more rows (ending with 15 sc)

Tree middle (light teal):
Row 1: Chain 20 and sc in back bumps across (19 sc)
Row 2: Ch 1 and turn, skip 1st sc and sc across (18 sc)
Continue for 8 more rows (ending with 10 sc)

Tree trunk (red):
Row 1: Ch 7, sc in back bumps across (6 sc)
Row 2: Ch 1 and turn, sc, scfl, scbl, scfl, scbl, sc (6 sc)
Row 3: Repeat Row 2
Row 4: Repeat Row 2
Row 5: sc across and finish off
Leave yarn ends long enough to attach trunk to background

itty bitty crochet star (white yarn) - follow this pattern

To assemble tree:
Hold bottom and middle together with front sides facing
Using white yarn sc across joining bottom section and back loop only of middle section
Straighten 2 joined pieces and turn
Crochet into exposed front look of middle section to make scallop
Ch 2 in 1st stitch, dc in 2nd stitch, ss in 3rd stitch (1 scallop made); repeat across

Repeat same process for middle and top section, leave the front loops of top section open for scallop edge

Add scallop edge to bottom of bottom section

Once the tree was assembled, I decided the background needed to be a bit longer so I added three rows of sc to the bottom in dark grey

Simple Border:
Row 1: sc around with 3 sc in each corner (dark grey)
Row 2: sc around with 3 sc in each corner (light grey)
Row 3: sc around with 3 sc in each corner (white)

Final assembly:
Attach trunk (sideways) using yarn ends, leaving enough space above for height of tree 
Attach tree and star using a long strand of white yarn and running stitch around the edge of the tree
Using another long strand of white yarn attach colourful beads or any other decorative embellishment you like.

For best results, remember to block your square. I like to pin it in place then use a bit of steam to 'set' the edges straight.

I hope you enjoy making a Crochet Christmas Card too. Remember to send me a photo if you do. I'd love to see it.

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