Archives for the month of: March, 2016

I’ve been addicted to the little pixie squares in this blanket, which I’ve named Pixie Squares Blanket.  I had to stop at a lap blanket because I ran out of yarn, otherwise it would be a huge Queen size by now!!

Here it is:

DSC01332 detail chair photos 30 mins in total

The pattern will be published soon, very soon I hope 🙂

Happy crocheting xxx

It’s week 2 of this amazing CAL and, once again, I’m the lucky designer chosen to publish the pattern.

First I’d like to do a recap of the square I published last week.   I have been overwhelmed by the love for this square!   There have been so many photos shared on the Facebook group that I have completely lost count.  I can tell you that as of today there have been over 1,500 pattern downloads from Ravelry.  I can’t tell which languages have been downloaded but I know from Facebook that the 10 translations have been very well received.

There were a few questions in the group about yarn and hook.  Whilst the designs were all specified to be in aran/worsted weight with a 5mm (US H) hook, you can make these squares in any yarn you like, just make sure you use a suitably sized hook.  Also there have been questions about the size – the squares were designed to be 12″ across, but don’t get too worried if you don’t make this size.  Wait until you have made a few more squares from different designers and then see what you maximum sized square is, you can adjust the others when you join.  But that is a way off, there are plenty more squares to be published yet!

I’d like you to join me in thanking all the admins, testers and translators for all their great work.    They have put so much work into developing this CAL and assisting the designers, without all their extensive work this CAL would not be happening.  SO a huge round of applause for them please 🙂

Are your hooks at the ready?

Here it is:

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This is called Flower Compass, because there’s a flower in the centre surrounded by 4 points that look like the points of a compass.  Pretty apt for a square for ‘Friends Around the World’.  There are no complicated stitches in the square, so a new crocheter should be able to tackle this.  I made mine in one colour, but this would look gorgeous if you made the flower centre in different colours.   I can’t wait to see all your colour choices!

You can find the pattern on my Ravelry page here.

Who’s going to be the first person to finish this one?

Happy crocheting xxx

ETA:  for those who would like a stitch count, these are the stitches along each side (excluding the corner chain spaces):  Round 5 –  15, Round 6 – 19, Round 7 – 23, Round 8 – 27, Round 9 – 31

 

 

 

 

Remember this blog post?   Well, it worked – I was shamed into finishing my blanket and it is now blocking, a good sized lap blanket……….  pattern to follow in due course.  Meanwhile a reminder of how far I was just 3 weeks ago:

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Happy Easter and happy crocheting xx

 

Recently I discovered a facebook group called North West Fibre Arts Trail, which is helping promote fibre artists from the North West of England and encouraging them to hold open days and events during the fortnight of the trail.    When I saw this it immediately struck a chord.   There are so many small independent fibre artists, most of whom do not attend the regular large fibre festivals because they are, well, small.  So the opportunity to be part of a Fibre Arts Trail is very attractive and should give those fibre artists access to a wide range of fellow fibre lovers.

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The inaugural North West Fibre Arts Trail runs from 30th September to 14th October this year.

I pondered for a while as to how I could hold an open day.  I  hold regular workshops in a local community centre and wondered if I could hold an open day there, but maybe I’d need a larger area.  I investigated other local venues and chanced upon a lovely village hall, very modern and well equipped and with excellent parking……but it was just too big for me.   That was the point I had a lightbulb moment – how about collaborating with other fibre artists in the area for a joint open day/event?   Without thinking much more about the practicalities I jumped straight in and contacted my friend Nic who owns Yarns from the Plain, we’re already collaborating on other things and she thinks very much like me (at least I think so – she has a good business brain and a huge dollop of common sense!).   Funnily enough she had been having almost identical thoughts!   So within a few short weeks we find we have launched the first Cheshire Fibre Festival, we’ve invited a few more fibre artists to join us, all with complementary arts within the fibre world.

The date of the Cheshire Fibre Festival is Saturday 1st October 2016.

The venue is Marthall Village Hall in Marthall, Cheshire.

You can find a new page here, which I’ll update with details of all the plans as they emerge.

It’s rather exciting, if a little terrifying!

Happy crocheting xx

 

A year ago a new crochet Facebook group was created called CAL – Crochet A Long, a fabulous group of crocheters who share their progress on various CALs around the world.   The success of this group can be shown in the membership, in just a year it has grown to well over 20,000 members, which is all due to the hard work and dedication of the administrators.

To celebrate the one year anniversary, the administrators hit on the brilliant idea to host an anniversary CAL and to invite designers from around the world to design a 12” (30cm) square or two, they even volunteered themselves to design a square (quite a new prospect for many, and I’m so very impressed by them).  The plan is to publish the squares over a few months as a mystery CAL, at the end of which everyone who joins in will have a beautiful afghan blanket.

I feel privileged to be chosen as the designer to publish the first block design for this event, the “Friends Around the World” 1 year Anniversary CAL.

It was such an honour to be asked, especially when you see the list of the great and the good of the crochet world (from around the globe!) who are participating, but to be asked also to be ‘first off the blocks’ (ooops, no pun intended!) is beyond any expectations I had.

For those of my readers who have not yet found the CAL group on Facebook, you can read a bit about it and join here.

And to those who are in the CAL group, welcome to my humble little blog. I do hope you like the design I am publishing today.

Before I show you the square, I must give huge thanks to the team of administrators, organisers and testers – so much hard work has been going on in the background to make this all possible. They have even translated the patterns into another 10 languages, so it is truly global and reaches as many crocheters as possible.

The brief – I was asked to design a 12” block using aran weight yarn, a 5mm or 5.5mm hook and one which a beginner should be able to tackle, in one or more colours. Now this brief  is ideal for me; I love one colour block designs and used them in a couple of CALs before and I like to reach newbies and experienced alike, so aim for patterns that are easy to follow.

I expect you are getting a little impatient now, so here it is:

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It has texture and lace, and is best made in just one colour.  I used under 100m of Drops Nepal yarn in colour Light Olive (8038).

I’ve called it Octoghan, as it has 8 raised ‘legs’. These raised legs are made using front post stitches, which may be appear a little tricky for a beginner but they aren’t that difficult, it’s just a case of placing your hook around the post of the stitch in the previous round, rather than into the top of the stitch. You have to be careful with your tension though, so I’ve given a sizing after 3 rounds to help you adjust the hook size if necessary.

The pattern, which also includes a chart, can be found on Ravelry here. There are 12 versions to choose from: English terms, US terms and the 10 translations:  French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Italian and Hebrew.

I can’t wait to see lots of Octoghans being shared on Facebook!

A new design will be published each week, so keep your eyes on the facebook page to see when the next one is out.

Happy crocheting xx

Last year at Yarndale I was fortunate to have 2 of my designs on display at the show, one was the Simple Scarf which was on display at Willow Knits:

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The other was Medina Cowl on the Inside Crochet stand:

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Yes, they were in similar autumnal colours in luscious silk yarn!

I would love to attend a show as an exhibitor, and maybe one year I will, but not yet.  So I was overjoyed when Nic from Yarns from the Plain asked if she could use some of my designs in kits which she’ll sell at shows.  She is very local to me, and even attends the same knitgroup from time to time, so is a natural partner for me.  Not only that but her yarn is British, which I love.  So I’ve been busily swatching a few of my designs in her yarn bases, estimating quantities and re-writing a the patterns to fit with the yarns.  We even spent a lovely afternoon drooling over a huge rainbow of her yarn, selecting colours for the designs.

It is a long run time before anything emerges, the samples have to be made, and Nic is doing most of that herself as it will help her to understand the patterns when she puts them on her stand, new photographs taken and the packs developed.  I have started to see the results of the first sample and I can promise you they will be colourful and beautiful!  I really can’t wait…..but I have to be patient.   So if you want to see my designs at the shows this year, just follow Nic and see where Yarns from the Plain is showing!

Happy crocheting xxxx

 

The newspaper didn’t arrive this morning, which threw my normal routine out. Early morning chores complete, tea and cereal on the table but no paper to read!   As soon as I polished off the cereal I went into my ‘yarn’ room to find something to occupy myself whilst drinking the tea.  The early morning light was shining on a basket that I haven’t touched for a long time.   So I pulled it down and put it on the breakfast table.

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In it is a partially made ‘scrappy’ blanket. I started before I even thought of the Winter Blanket CAL, and it has languished unloved in the basket since then.

So I decided I must finish it, I even designed the border whilst drinking my tea. But there’s a lot of crocheting to do before I get to the border and I need a huge push to make me do it.  I realised the only way I will finish this quickly is if I share it with you, because I’ll feel so guilty once you know about it, I’ll just have to crack on with it!

Happy crocheting xxx

I love cowls, it’s no secret and I’ve told you many times before.  A cowl is circular (normally) so the best way to make them in the world of crochet is ‘in the round’.  Of course, you can make them lengthways and join them like I did on this one:

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But there is one thing that really annoys me….. people who make cowls lengthways and join them with an ugly seam!  I can’t think of anything worse; beautifully made stitches the whole length of the cowl then….shudder……an ugly, untidy seam.

Why do people do this?   It isn’t necessary at all, crochet is so incredibly versatile that you can join without the need for a seam.  Want to see how?  Have a look at this join:

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OK, I made it a bit tricky by adding a double crochet border to cover any ends.  But you can’t see it can you?  The join is just below the stitch marker on this photo:

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So follow me and find out how I did it, and how you can do it also…..

I’m going to make a cowl lengthways using the V stitch.  The V stitch is easy, you work the stitch into a chain space which is easy to spot and work into.  But you need to add an edge stitch like the treble (this post is all in English crochet terms, so a treble is a double crochet if you crochet US-style).

Here’s my example using 100g of aran weight yarn.  I used Stylecraft Malabar a cotton/silk blend which is soft to the touch.  It is also a ever so slightly uneven in the spin, giving the finished item a slightly irregular but lovely look.   I used a 5mm crochet hook and one stitch marker.

STEP 1: First I take some scrap aran yarn and crochet a foundation chain, at least as long as the pattern requires.  It is best to use a slightly larger hook, I used 5.5mm.   I made mine  32 chain long.  I don’t fasten off, I just put a stitch marker in the last stitch to lock the chain,  this is because I will undo the chain when I join.

Now I work into the foundation chain just as I would with the pattern.  But I turn the chain over and work the stitches into the BACK LOOP of the foundation chain.  The back loops are the bumps on the back, this is a loop here:

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STEP 2: Using your cowl yarn, start with a standing treble into the first back loop (I like a standing treble but if you don’t know how to do this, just slip stitch into the back loop and work 3 chain). *Miss 2 stitches and work (1 treble, 1 chain, 1 treble) in the next stitch (remember to do this in the back loop), repeat this (from *) across your foundation chain until you have done it a total of 9 times.  Now miss 1 stitch and work the final stitch – a treble – in (the back loop) of the next stitch (you will have one or two stitches left on the foundation chain, but that doesn’t matter).   This is my first row:

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Now turn and start the pattern.

STEP 3: Pattern Row:  3 chain (counts as your first treble), (1 treble, 1 chain, 1 treble) in each 1 chain space along, finish with  1 treble in the top of the 3 chain you started with on the previous row.  Turn.

This pattern row is repeated as many times as you like until you have the cowl the length you want.  I worked until my cowl was just under 90cm long, but make sure you finish with you hook at the same edge of the crochet piece as the stitch marker (if you don’t, you’ll have a moebius cowl!).  Bring the end of the last row of your crochet up to the beginning, ready to do the joining row.  Now this is the tricky bit, but it is worth the effort.

STEP 4:  First undo the stitch marker at the end of your foundation chain and pull the first chain out – you will find that your first stitch of Row 1 now sits on a strand of yarn, that’s the 2 loops shown below (it’ll look a little different if you started Row 1 with 3 chain, but it is just the base of your first stitch):

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Work the first 2 chain of the next row of your cowl, then take your hook off your working crochet and insert it in the 2 loops from left to right:

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Now put the loop from your working crochet back onto the hook and pull it through the 2 loops:

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Yes, all the way through:

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What you’ve done is put the first stitch from Row 1 of the cowl onto the 3rd chain at the start of your final row.  Make the final chain to secure it.

STEP 5: Now continue your final row by working the first treble of your first V stitch into the first 1 chain space, make one chain.   Pull the foundation yarn a little more so the next 2 stitches from Row 1 sit on a single thread:

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You want to put your working loop through these 2 stitches.  So remove your hook, place it through the 4 loops forming the base of these 2 stitches, and replace your working loop on the hook:

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Pull the loop through and lock it with a chain, then complete the 2nd treble of the V stitch.

Repeat STEP 5 until you have done all your V stitches on your last row.

STEP 6: Now work the final treble.  Pull your foundation chain again until the last stitch of Row 1 sits on a single strand.

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Remove your hook from the work, and slip it into the these 2 loops on the strand from left to right.  Put you working loop back on the hook:

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And pull it all the way through the 2 loops, and work your final treble into the top of the 3 chain.  Your join will look like this:

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You can see exactly where the foundation yarn sits along the ‘join’.

All you have to do now is pull the foundation yarn out and finish your cowl.  I finished mine with a row of double crochet along each edge (2 in each row end).

I think this is the neatest way to join a lengthways cowl, and there is no ugly seam.   The process can be adapted to just about any crochet stitch, all you are doing is working the top of your last row through the base of your first row.  Yes, it’s fiddly to start with, but the end result is worth the effort 🙂

Have a go and let me know how you get on.

If you have any questions about this technique, please feel free to ask on the blog, or on my facebook page or in my Ravelry group.

ETA:  there is an even neater way to do the join on this, which involves crocheting the final row, cutting the working yarn and then ripping the final row back and threading the working yarn through the base of some of the stitches from Row 1 as well…….but that would have been a much longer blog post!

Happy crocheting xx

Legal note: the photos and instructions are copyright and for your personal use only. Please don’t copy them, but feel free to direct people to my blog to help them with this joining technique.

 

 

 

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