Wednesday, 19 October 2011

'Mug Hug' - Making Handmade Gifts

I have recently become rather involved in Little Handmade Projects of the gifty variety.  I like handmade.  I love that you can pootle about on the internet and find all manner of inspiration and ideas.  I love that there is such a wealth of good craft books these days, such as this one and this one.  I like finding time to make something special for someone special, someone who I know will appreciate the effort and love that goes into handmade.

I also like the recycling element of it.  Using up scraps of old fabric from tiny toddler dresses and tops that don't fit anymore; finding age old threads and buttons to make pretty things with.  But I also like trips to craft shops to buy the necessary ingredients to make things with too; embroidery floss, pretty textiles, new yarn, unusual buttons...

So, you get the idea that I'm all for handmade making and giving, and with a family birthday looming it was with some excitement that I finally got to make something I'd had my eye on for a while in this book here:

Some of you will be more than familiar with Nikki Trench's book, Cute and Easy Crochet.  I have already started to make that pretty squares blanket, but these little Mug Cosies have been calling me for many moons.

It being Mum's birthday, it seemed like a good idea to make her one of these.  She likes tea, she likes handmade and so I felt I was off to a good start.  What's not to like eh?!!  I'd also seen something in the current edition of Mollie Makes magazine that caught my eye; an advertisement for their next issue featuring this:

Ooooh yes - me likey that!! A little teabag type thingy on the side of the Mug Cosy.  So I thought I would improvise and make my own.  
On looking at the picture and pattern in Nikki's book, I noticed that the cups they had used were straight sided, whereas mine were curved.  I knew I'd have to decrease or add stitches a bit in order for the Mug Cosy to fit nicely, so I ended up making up my own pattern and working from the top down in double crochet and single crochet, with slip stitches in cream to finish.  Would you like to see how it turned out?

I'm really quite happy with it, considering I didn't use the book pattern at all, and it ended up being an Adventure in Crochet as I fumbled my way along and hoped for the best!

To finish off the Mug Cosy (which from this point on I'm calling Mug Hug because it sounds so very warm and huggy which is exactly what it is meant to be and also because it's my own slap-dash pattern and therefore methinks it's ok to re-name it!), I found a little wooden flower button at the very bottom of my button tin!  What luck!  It finished off just nicely!

Next, I found a little piece of creamy muslin and embroidered the message "I 'heart' tea" on it.  I hand sewed the edges and then used daisy stitch to make the teabag string which I just ran up the side of the Mug Hug.

The wool I used for this was one of those bargain buys too - a ball of Sublime cashmerino aran (I used a number 4 hook as opposed to a 5 too, for a tighter finish).  It only cost £1.99 and the cup cost £3.00 from Sainsburys so I reckon that's a bit of a bargain, don't you?!

Anyway, one more bit of hooky news before I go.  You may remember a week or so ago I told you I wanted to give that teeny tiny crochet a crack, the one where you use a really tiny hook, a 1 point something or other and fine crochet thread...well let me tell you I've made a start, I've had a go and boy oh boy do I admire the folks that make ridunculously big scarves using this method.  I have made several circles, it took me forever:

Although I do like them.  Very Much Indeed - and I am thinking that rather than die of overwhelm thinking about making a scarf (thing of dreams at this point in time) I shall perhaps tackle a colourful doily to stand a nice plant on or something.  It's the kind of crochet I've got to be in the mood for, and I've got to have natural daylight to be able to see it well enough as those wee stitches are very tricksy.  So I won't be abandoning my rainbow bliss scarf just yet...oh no, infact I'm hoping that's going to be my next completed project - the chilly weather has prompted me to dig it out and get it finished!

Right - I've a Special Birthday Meal to prepare, so I'm away to the kitchen to be busy!  

See you again soon, thanks for visiting today!

Much love
Julia x x x


  1. Hey Julia, loving the crochet. Hope you and yours are well my love.
    Ali xx

  2. Love the mug hug and the little fabric tea bag is a lovely finishing touch. I'm sure your mum will be delighted! :O)x

  3. loving the mug hug (great name!)
    you're on fire!
    fee x
    (not literally, you understand.)

  4. Hi Julia, I absolutely love the mug hug with the cute little tea bag - gorgeous. I so wish I could crochet xx

  5. all so scumptious and inspiring! what a lovely post thank you the mug warmer for Christmas where's that crochet hook...

  6. The perfect name for it - mug hug. I bet the Molly Makes team will wish they thought of that! It's just lovely and as well as a bargain, a perfect handmade gift - the best kind.
    The teeny tiny crochet is fascinating. I followed some of your links and I am stunned by the patience of some people, but oh so worth it. Looking forward to seeing yours made up soon.
    Becky x

  7. Love the mug hug! I think your little circles would look great hanging on a Christmas tree.

  8. Love the MUG HUG, you have coined a new phrase. Just watch it catch on.

  9. I was only saying yesterday how useful coffee cosies I was burning my hands on a mug! Lovely.

  10. Lovely post today Julia. I love handmade too and agree about the internet - so much out there. The little circles would make a pretty garland too x

  11. I love those mug cosies too, and especially the one in Mollie Makes. Yours is a good version, though being lazy, I would find a straight-sided mug to complete the gift rather than alter the pattern!
    I am intending crocheting face cloths (from Jane Brocket's knitting book) and pairing them with some locally made handmade soap, the soap fragrance matching the colour of the cloth.... a colour called Pumpkin to go with honey and oats soap, lemon wool with lemongrass soap... you get the idea. They will be wrapped in tissue matching with handmade labels. This is for next year, as this years gifts are all ready and waiting!I am one of these women who buys little things I know someone special will like, as and when I see them, 'cos I can guarantee that when I go to look for them nearer the time, they won't be anywhere to be found! So I have a little carrier bag full of pressies for birthdays and Christmas. Organised or what?! A bit of a Monica maybe? (from Friends).

  12. I do love the mug cozies so much. I have seen them before but have not taken the time to make one. Yours is lovely! And your tiny crochet circles are lovely and "Happy".☺

  13. Hi Julia! Mug hug sounds cute and your is beautiful! Great idea!
    Love your tiny crochet! I have made some flowers with the thread we use for stitching and one stone, but as you said it really needs special mood! So much more enjoyable to crochet with 'normal' yarn! I have planned to sew my flowers to a lamp cover or a curtain. How about your lovely circles?
    xxx Teje

  14. I tried making that mug cozy from that book and it is an unusual shaped mug with a large gap from the base to the handle isn't it. Love handmade gifts and yours is fab, strangely I just blogged about handmade gifts too :-)

  15. Your mug hug is delightful! As for your tiny crochet circles, how gorgeous are they, I've had a go myself and like you decided
    a. you have to be in the mood
    b. you have to have excellent light and remember to wear your glasses!
    But the results are worth it I turned mine into little festive Christmas baubles.

  16. Adorable mug hug!! I do love little decorative extras and your tiny tea bag is so cute. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Julia.
    Helen x

  17. Oh isn't it glorious to make gifts for people? I made tons of hats for babies when I was pregnant and even took my crochet a step further and designed a matching pair of hats for someone I know expecting twins! I then went on to design a bible cover for my Grandma's Christmas present and have tons more ideas I want to try out. With a 1 month old baby though my crochet fest has been somewhat slowed down ;) but I still have a few gifts I plan on making in time for Christmas this year!

    I love the mug hug idea, how lovely :) I may have to try making one now!

  18. Love your mug hug!! Brilliant idea. The tea detail is fab too. x

  19. Mug Hug! What an absolutely fabulous idea!

  20. That's an unusual gift, looks perfect to keep that tea warm! Lovely to see your crochet Julia :)I'm still patchworking at the moment but I'm sure to be back to it soon!
    Jess x

  21. Hi Julia, I love this blog post! Your mug hug is indeed very huggy - I love the colour combinations and the perfect addition of the dainty wood flower. It is perfect!

  22. Hi Julia!! i like so much this work is very beatiiful, and the red shoes are beatiful too
    kisses for you from Argentina♥♥

  23. The Mug Hug looks fantastic, though I would be very tempted to go back and buy up all the wool there was at that price (in Oz that same stuff is very exxy!). ANd your tiny crochet circles look like a handful of colourful balloons with their threads hanging down (yes, I turned the puter screen around!). If you get too tired of making them you could always add them to a piece of linen and frame them as is!
    Hugs, Jasmine

  24. I am very seriously drooling over your mug hugs!



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