Are you ready for the Spring Blossom CAL?   It starts a week today ……  I’m getting excited!

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Some of you may watch Facebook and Ravelry, but for those who don’t here is my latest design:half-halfIt is named after my mother Muriel.   Ok, it looks odd in the photo, that is because it shows 2 shawlettes.  Each made from one skein of sock yarn. The one on the left is the ‘solid’ version and is slightly smaller overall than the ‘open’ version on the right.

For me this is the perfect one skein shawlette for that favourite skein of yarn.  You want to see the yarn and not have the colour compete with a ‘fussy’ pattern, simplicity works best and that is what this shawlette provides in 2 variations and 2 different borders.

You can find the pattern here.  And until midnight tonight (or until 20 people have purchased, whichever is sooner) you can buy it on Ravelry at 50% off the purchase price if you use coupon code BEQUICK at checkout.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

So you have almost 2 weeks until the Spring Blossom CAL starts, plenty of time to sort out your yarn.  But what if your hook is itching and you have a huge stash and want to use it?  Well make some big blocks and make a quick blanket!

By ‘big blocks’ I mean crochet squares that are at least 30cm/12” square and preferably in one colour so there are no stops to change colour and fewer ends to sew in (this makes it even quicker).  For my tension this means a granny square of 9 rounds in aran weight yarn or about 12 rounds in dk yarn.   But everyone’s tension varies, so you may find a 9 round aran granny is 11” or even 13” – if you’re making a blanket using scrap yarn then the tension doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that 9 rounds (or 12) are pretty quick to hook – so the squares make up quickly.  And you won’t need many for a blanket, so you’ll soon have one.  But why stop at just grannies?   This quick blanket includes 4 of my designs, all roughly same size, they look good in one colour but can be adapted to more than one colour.  Using these you’ll soon have a blanket!

There are lots of these types of square available free on the internet if you look.  In fact have a look at the Friends Around the World CAL here.  The first 2 squares are the 2 that I designed as my contribution to the Friends Around the World CAL, so some of you may find them familiar!

My blanket was made of 16 squares – 4 by 4, and it has a narrow border, so the finished size was 1.2m (4ft) square.  If you want to make a blanket before the CAL starts then  you just need to make 8 squares a week – can you manage that?    Here it is:

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Yarn:  Each square used roughly 85m of aran weight yarn – I used Drops Nepal at 50g/85m per ball and I used 8 colours – 2 balls each of 6 colours and 3 balls each of 2 colours (the ones in the border).  You could use as many colours as you like, but for a blanket of similar size you will need at least 18x50g balls of aran weight.

Hook: 5.0mm (US H/8) crochet hook

The first 2 squares are called Octoghan and Flower Compass, these were used in the CAL last summer.  I made 4 of each and used all 8 colours.  You can find the patterns here and here.  Of course, you could just use a simple granny or some of the other designs from the FATW CAL

Again I made 4 each of the last 2 squares and used all 8 of my colours.  The patterns for these use standard English crochet terms.

The first is Large Agathi. This is based on a square I designed for a CAL over last winter – it has been extended by one round.

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Rounds 1 to 6 are the same as the original Agathi which can be found here 

Round 7: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 1tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1ch, *(1tr in next st, 1ch, miss 1ch-sp) twice, 1tr in each of next 3 sts, 1ch, miss 1 st, (1tr in next st, 1ch, miss 1ch-sp) 3 times, 1tr in next st, 1ch, miss 1 st, 1tr in each of next 3 sts, (1ch, miss 1ch-sp, 1tr in next st) twice, 1ch**, (1tr, 2ch, 1tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times, then from * to ** once, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.

Round 8: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 1tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1ch, (1tr, 1ch) in each tr along each side (missing all the 1ch-sps and the centre tr of each group of 3tr) and (1tr, 2ch, 1tr, 1ch) in each 2ch-sp on the corner, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.

Round 9: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 2tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1tr into each st and 1ch-sp around, (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) into each 2ch-sp, and work a final 1tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.  Break yarn and fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing or crocheting together later.  You should have 35tr along each side and a 2ch-sp at each corner.

And the last one:

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Foundation:  Make a 4ch foundation ch and join into a ring with a ss

Round 1: 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 2ch) 3 times into the ring, 2tr into the ring, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.

Round 2: ss into 2ch-sp, (note for this and each subsequent round: this ss is to position the start of the round in the right place) 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 1tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1ch, *1tr in next st, 1ch, miss 1 st, 1tr in next st, 1ch, (1tr, 2ch, 1tr, 1ch) in next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times, 1tr in next st, 1ch, miss 1 st, 1 tr in next st, 1ch, 1tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.

Round 3: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 2tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1tr into each st and 1ch-sp around, (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) into each 2ch-sp, and work a final 1tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.

Round 4: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 1tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1ch, *(1tr in next st, 1ch, miss 1 st) repeated until next 2ch-sp, (1tr, 2ch, 1tr, 1ch) in next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times, (1tr in next st, 1ch, miss 1 st) repeated until first 2ch-sp, 1tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.

Round 5: as Round 3
Round 6: as Round 4
Round 7: as Round 3
Round 8: as Round 4
Round 9: as Round 3.  Break yarn and fasten off, leaving a long tail of about 6m for sewing or crocheting together later.  You should have 35tr along each side and a 2ch-sp at each corner.

Joining the squares:  You can join your squares in any way you choose.  For my sample, I opted for joining through back loops only using slip stitch from the reverse of the blanket.

I had limited yarn left, so I opted for a simple 2 round border.  The first round was slip stitch into back loop all the way around.  The second round was (1dc, 1ch, miss 1 st) repeated around.  Whilst simple this also gives a nice finish.

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So there you have it – a quick blanket with big blocks, and very rewarding.  You have just enough time to make one before the Spring Blossom CAL starts!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

Happy New Year!  I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity in 2017.

The turn of the year means spring is on the way, so today is a good time to introduce you to the Spring Blossom CAL, which is a blanket CAL starting on 21st January 2017.

What does it look like?  Well, there’s a bit of mystery in it, but here’s a sneak preview:

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The name Spring Blossom comes from the scattering of pale colours, some of a floral design, over the whole blanket.   It is made of hexagonal motifs in 4 designs with a finished size, including border, of approx 165cm by 150cm.

The introduction to the pattern is available now here.  The full price is £4.50 but there is a discount code available until the start of the CAL (21st January), use code BLOSSOM at checkout to get £3 off the full price.

If you want to join in the CAL you’ll find the following information on construction, colour and yarn useful:

The motifs are designed to be made in 3 colours: the central section in 2 colours and a wide border in 1 colour, which I used as a main colour.  I used only 3 colours for the central sections and one colour for the wide border, because I wanted a pale and simple design. However, you could use many more colours if you wish – I would love to see this in lots of colours!  My main colour was cream and the centres are pale pink, blue and lavender.    But imagine what this would be like with a green background and lots of floral colours, or a sky blue background, or an autumnal sky background with autumn colours – the possibilities are endless.

The motifs are join-as-you-go, which I think gives a neat finish, but you could opt to join later by other methods (although this will need more yarn). The pattern includes details of my layout but you do not have to follow my layout or make all the styles of motif. In fact, if you don’t like one style just swap it with another. The border is simple but be aware that it requires 120m of each of the 3 contrast colours – so if you decided to use more than 3 colours you must ensure you will have sufficient of 3 of them to complete the border.

Yarn: I used Stylecraft Malabar Aran, 78% cotton/22% silk, 100g/165m per ball:
11 balls in Buttermilk 2520 (Main colour M)
3 balls in Petal Pink 2528 (Contrast A)
3 balls in Powder Blue 2525 (Contrast B)
3 balls in Lavender 2529 (Contrast C)
Unfortunately this yarn is being discontinued so an alternative is:
Stylecraft Special Aran, 100% acrylic, 100g/196m per ball.
Background requires 10 balls
Colours require 3 balls each in 3 colours of your choice (9 balls in total).
Hook: 5.0mm (US H/8) crochet hook

If you prefer you could make the blanket in a DK yarn using a 4.0mm (US G/6) crochet hook. The motif size using DK yarn is smaller and the finished size is estimated to be approx. 125cm by 140cm.
Recommended yarn quantities using Stylecraft Special DK, 100% acrylic, 100g/294m per ball.
6 balls in main background colour
2 balls in each of the 3 contrast colours (6 balls total)

There’s already discussion and a little excitement building on my Ravelry forum.  So please join in the fun.

Happy crocheting xxx

A summary of my designs in 2016, few words but plenty of photos!

5 blankets:

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Some mandalas and tableware:

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Bags and a purse…………………………scarves, cowls and shawl:

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And the Advent CAL decorations:

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Phew, what a year!

Happy crocheting xx

The topic for the last Crochet Club of 2016 was ‘Last Minute Christmas’ and I provided several patterns of little items to make quickly as last minute gifts. One of the popular makes was a quick purse pattern or ‘recipe’ which I thought I’d share with you.

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This can be made in a couple of hours if a small purse, or you could use the same methodology to make a bigger purse or bag which would take longer.

The materials we used were:
8cm (3¼”) wide curved purse frames with a ‘kiss’ fastener and holes for sewing the fabric to (I sourced them from ebay)
Double knit yarn (only a small amount needed – 25g should be ample)
4mm (US G/6) crochet hook
Tapestry needle for sewing in ends.
Large eyed sharp sewing needle and thinner yarn or sewing thread

Your tension should be quite firm to create a strong fabric with no holes, so you may need to use a slightly smaller hook to get the fabric firm.  The advantage of making a firm fabric is that the purse will not need lining!

Abbreviations
English crochet terms used
St(s) = stitch(es)
Ch = chain
Ss = slip stitch
Dc = double crochet.
You also need to know how to make a magic ring

Recipe
The purse starts with a circle and increases in a similar way to a mandala, you are aiming to get the circle the right diameter to fit the frame for sewing to.  So start with a magic ring (or 4ch joined with a ss), work in a continuous spiral with 6dc for the first round, 12dc for the second round, 18dc for the third round etc until your circle is the correct size for the frame.

Find the correct diameter by folding the circle and hold against the closed frame, you need to ensure part of the circle creates a gusset at the sides of the frame.

Once you have the correct diameter work rounds with no increases for about 6cm (2½”), break yarn, fasten off and weave in ends.

Finally sew the purse to the frame.  I used cotton dk yarn which I was able to split to make a finer thread to sew the purse to the frame, but you could use matching sewing thread.

For my purse I did 9 rounds of increases (to a circle of 54 sts around) then 13 straight rounds, but some people in the group used more sts and rounds as their tension was a little tighter than mine.

If you make one of these as a gift, you could pop some ‘universal gift vouchers’ inside!

Happy crocheting xxx

There’s lots of news on CALs this week.

First the Advent CAL is now up to pattern 9:

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And here are patterns 1 to 8:

The Ravelry group is very active – over 100 photos have already been shared of various Advent CAL decorations and many people are doing more than one of each.  Some are using just one colour, but others are using up to 3.   There are some sparkly yarns and many embellishments,  and even a lovely set of felted decorations.   Do have a look on the finished objects thread on Ravelry here.

There are still another 3 patterns to be published.  Pattern 9 is one of my favourites from the set of 12, but my most favourite is number 12; I’m saving the best til last!

Second CAL news – Over the festive period I am running a Christmas Mandala CAL.  This will start on 26th December 2016 and each day from then until 1st January 2017 a round or 2 of the pattern will be published.

The sample for the design uses cotton dk yarn in 5 colours, but it can be made in any yarn weight and any number of colours provided you use a suitable hook size. The mandala in dk cotton yarn on a 4mm hook measures 17½cm (7”) across.

Here’s where you can find the pattern:  link; only the introduction is available at the moment, from 26th December the pattern will be updated as each new round is published. There is a discount code on Ravelry, available until midnight on 26th December (GMT), giving a 50% discount on the price of the pattern – details on the Ravelry group.

Finally starting in January I will run a hexagon blanket CAL.   This will run for several weeks.  There are 4 designs of hexagon and they are join as you go (although you could join in a different way if you like).  I’m using aran weight yarn and my blanket is well advanced.  More details will be available after Christmas.

CALs are great fun and I would love you to join in one!

 

Happy crocheting xx

I haven’t reviewed my pattern prices for a long time.  When VAT on digital downloads was introduced (and hence my digital pattern sales on various websites became subject to VAT) I decided to absorb the VAT rather than have people around the world pay different prices.  At that time I intended to review my prices after the whole VAT situation settled down, but I never did.  So I am long overdue a review.

Pricing is very hard, but the one thing I do know is that I should not undervalue my work.   So I have done a thorough review and the result is that I will increase most of my prices from 1st January 2017.  This may not happen instantly on that date as it takes time to update all the individual patterns on the websites I use, but within the first few days of January each pattern will have been reviewed and the price updated.  In general the pricing structure changes for the 3 main types of designs will be:

Shawls and scarves are currently priced between £3 and £3.50  – they will rise to between £4 and £5

Cowls are currently priced between £1 and £3 – they will rise to between £3 and £4

Blankets are currently priced between £3 and £3.50 – they will rise to between £4 and £5

All prices are inclusive of VAT, so everyone pays the same (apart from the effect of currency fluctuations that I cannot control).

I do hope you appreciate the need for this review and update.

Today I published the 4th pattern in the Advent CAL collection of 12.  You can find it here.

These are the first 4:

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There are lots of variations of these appearing on Ravelry, well none of number 4 yet as it was published only this morning but there are more than 50 photos of numbers 1 to 3!

Have you joined the CAL yet?   There’s lots of fun to be had……and prizes!

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Happy crocheting xxxx

Pattern 2 has now been added to the Advent CAL.  You can find it here.

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Don’t forget you can still get a discount until midnight GMT tonight, details on the Ravelry group here.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

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