Monday, 15 July 2013

Going Potty

As a sufferer or depression, I find myself clutching at anything that makes me happy. Bright colours and flowers cheer me up on days with the blues.

And sitting in the sunshine, topping up the vitamin D levels too.

When I'm depressed I find my concentration span is very short and crochet and knitting become infinitely more difficult. So I thought I'd share these little gems, simple enough to do when you're feeling a bit flakey or you want to watch telly at the same time as doing a spot of crochet, and small enough to complete in one sitting. I was inspired by the Attic 24 blog, in which Lucy covers a herb pot. I've modified the concept somewhat and interpreted this lovely idea in my own way.

For my first attempt I used lovely bright colours, similar to those Lucy uses on hers - with all these colours to choose from I found myself wanting to use ALL THE COLOURS because they're so vibrant and happy. But to make the cover more durable, I used a 10.5cm diameter galvanised pot holder I had bought some years ago in Ikea for a few pounds - it is the perfect size to pop a basil plant bought at the supermarket into - and it stops water going all over the sleeve and shelf when you water the plant. I used Rico Essentials Cotton Aran with a 3.5mm hook to give the pot sleeve some substance.

I added a simple flower to the bright stripey sleeve, and embellished it with a bit of very easy, basic embroidery (I am no embroiderer!)

Do be careful using this sort of yarn - it's very stranded and you can easily pull threads or miss a thread when pulling your hook through. Despite using plain double crochet and some treble crochets for the flower, I managed to miss a thread on the top right petal of my flower, but I didn't realise until AFTER I'd embroidered it onto the pot sleeve. Grrr!

Once I had made this pot sleeve I remembered the spider plant lurking in my bathroom - it had out-grown its pot, so I thought I'd have a go at potting it on and make another pot sleeve for it. I didn't have any suitable planters for this, so I improvised with an ice cream container.

Using a craft knife I carefully cut the rim of the container away since the tab to open the ice cream was rather unsightly. My cut was a bit wobbly but that's OK - your sleeve covers it!

To make my pot sleeve more personal - and a bit different - I decided to have a go at a chevron stitch rather than plain stripes - this design is based around a 9 stitch repeat, so I made sure that I used a multiple of 9 in my foundation chain. The chevron is really simple - 3 trebles, 3 trebles in same stitch (this makes the peak), three trebles, and three trebles together (this makes the trough). You just repeat this pattern to create a nice simple chevron. 

Now to repot the spider plant... Disaster struck! I am not naturally green fingered, so imagine my horror when I discovered the spider plant was too fat around its root ball to fit in the new pot! Oh no... So I girt my loins (so to speak) and chopped the plant into three. There were, admittedly, three main stems of plant in the pot. It was a bit scary chopping it up, but I have been assured by a green-fingered friend that the spider will survive. Phew! Now to find two more pots... And cover them :-)

I have a slightly sad confession to make... I will willingly pay extra to have my food packaged in something nice - and these olive oil tins were no exception. I could imagine infinite possibilities for them after the oil was finished. I used my fancy new "safe" tin opener to cut the top of the can off. This tin opener is brilliant - it cuts the lid off without ever spilling the contents of the tin. How many times have I tipped tomatoes all over myself, or had the tuna leak water over the work tops? AND the cut is made magically safe - you can actually run your fingers along the top of the can after it's cut and not slice open your finger. If that weren't enough, it comes in red, pink, lime green and turquoise!!! 

That's enough bragging about my tin opener - when I get so dull that a tin opener makes me happy? Well, make the most of these moments of joy! 

So now I have two more plants that need a sleeve. One is going to sit on my desk in my studio. I've recently decorated in there and there's a colour scheme of pink, green and cream - with splashes of colour (of course!). So I made a stripey sleeve, this time in half-trebles, with a scalloped edge along the top.

Oopsie! I finished a wee bit prematurely. Oh well, I added another row and a scalloped edge to the bottom of the sleeve to even it up. But these pastel stripes are a bit boring. So I had a wee rummage in my yarn cupboard and got some Rico Essential Cotton DK out - again it comes in vivid rainbow colours - and using a 2.5mm hook made myself some little flowers, then embroidered them again. This time I made 5 flowers - all different sizes and stitches and heights. I just made them up as I went along. I made up the embroidery as I went along too!

So, one more to go. This time I plan on keeping the plant in the bathroom. I really want to decorate my bathroom, and plan to have it fairly plain (white) with chrome accessories, some of my stained glass mirrors and nice new fluffy green towels. So it will be crying out for a splash colour. Looking around for some inspiration I spotted a painting I keep on my dresser - a gift from my sister and her children at Christmas. It's a sea scape with vibrant turquoise water and sky. I had some yarns that leant themselves to reproducing a seascape, and made stripes of greens, yellows and blues. Then, using more of the Rico DK yarn (which has a nice sheen like thick embroidery floss) I embellished the sleeve with some gulls, some grasses and a few sail boats.

I think I could do with a bit of practice with my embroidery, but I rather like how this turned out. It was like painting with yarn - really fun to do.

So, never throw away containers, you never know when they could be useful. And keep your yarn scraps and use them for some little projects like these. Giving a room a splash of bright colour is cheep and easy and fun. And when you get fed up with it and fancy a change, you just whip the sleeve off your pot and make yourself a new one.

Happy hooking xx


  1. You must have a lovely home with all your colourful creations, retro pots and pans and eclectic stuff. Come to think of it, it sounds like MINE. (Minus the handmade stuff. That would just be an atrocity!)

  2. My home is kind of interesting... also known as messy ;-)

  3. Mine is pretty neat, but the cats make it hard work.

  4. I love these! All of our plants are in these huge pots so I'm not likely to be trying to make any of these myself - although I might transfer the idea to something else :)

    1. I think they're pretty versatile - you could make a desk pot for your pens, cover a wide pot and keep your cotton pads for removing your make up in there, or have a really small one for your earrings... You could yarn bomb the whole house!

  5. You are clever Rachel. I think I'm going to give these a go too, my home needs spicing up very badly. Annie. xx

    1. These pot sleeves are really easy - I need to make another now because I bought a large pot of basil this week and it doesn't fit the pot! lol