2019 Blanket CAL Part 4

Part 4 of the 2019 Blanket CAL – Down Memory Lane – has been published.  If you purchased the pattern you should find it in your Ravelry library.  If you are following the free version read on for details of how to adapt free patterns.

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Motif 7 is based on Openwork from Winter Blanket CAL 2015.   I have extended it with a bit more lace.  If you are following the free version then what not substitute with a variation of the first square from my Christmas Blanket CAL 2014 here, just add 4 more rounds of trebles (US dc) to get to the correct size and stitch count.

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Motif 8 is my absolute favourite, Octoghan, which I have extended by one round.  If you are following the free version then you can find the original free pattern here, simply add one round of trebles to get the correct size and stitch count.

Next week both squares are based on free patterns.

I love to see what you make, so please share progress on Ravelry here.

Happy crocheting xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for…….

International Crochet Month – the 4 mini CALs.

Tomorrow is 1st March and the start of International Crochet Month.  I have 4 mini mystery CALs planned for the month.  The first one starts on Sunday 3rd March when I will release part 1 of the CAL.  The second and final part will be released  on Wednesday 6th March.   Thereafter a further 3 CALs will be released in 2 parts on the following Sundays and Wednesdays.

These are mystery CALs each finished item will not be revealed until Part 2.  However, to help you prepare these the materials you need:

Double Knit Cotton yarn – I used Stylecraft Classique DK Cotton – be as colourful as you like!

Some jute twine (about 10m) – I used Nutscene Jute Twine which comes in a variety of colours.  This is needed for mini CAL 1 only, which is a free forever pattern.  Look at these lovely colours:

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Of course, you could use plain natural jute twine if you prefer.

Some large-holed beads – large enough to fit your crochet hook through.

This is my selection of materials:

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You will also need:  a 4mm (US G/6) crochet hook, a yarn needle and 9 stitch markers.

The CALs will be hosted in my Ravelry group

I hope you can join the CAL – it should be fun!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

International Crochet Month

March is International Crochet Month and to celebrate it this year I am running 4 mini mystery CALs.   These are fun, short CALs making useful items for the home.  Each one has 2 parts and they are easy makes which can be made in a few hours.  The first one will start on Sunday 3rd March, with the second and final part on Wednesday 6th March.  The following 3 mini CALs will be published on the 3 following Sundays and Wednesdays in March.

The CALs will be hosted in my Ravelry group but will be announced here and on Facebook.

The first CAL will be free forever.  The other 3 will be free for a very short time with a coupon code on Ravelry.

All need DK cotton yarn and a 4mm (US G/6) crochet hook.  One also needs some jute twine and one needs some large beads.  These are some of the colours I’m using.

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Not only are these mini CALs useful little items, but they would make fabulous gifts as well – perfect for those little Easter gifts and calorie-free!

If you have any questions, please ask away.

Happy crocheting xxx

2019 Blanket CAL Part 3

It is Saturday so it is new squares day!

Part 3 of the Down Memory Lane Blanket CAL has been published.   If you purchased the pattern on Ravelry then you will find the new pattern in your library.  Once again 2 versions are available – UK terms or US terms, so make sure you select the correct one.

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Motif 5 is a variation of Posts.   The original ‘Posts’ was an 8 round square in the Winter Blanket CAL 2015.  This was a paid for pattern so if you are following the free version why not try using square number 6 from my Blog Blanket CAL 2015 – you can find it here.   Just add 2 extra rounds of trebles (US dc) to get it to the correct size).

This version of Posts has been adapted to continue the posts until the 9th round.  I love the texture, lace and distinct pattern.

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Motif 6 is a version of ‘The Square that got away’ which was published on my blog in 2015.  It’s another square I love for the simplicity of the design.   If you are following the free version look here.  Work the pattern to 10 rounds.

Part 4 will be published in a week – one based on a free pattern and one based on a paid pattern.

I’ve seen some beautiful completed squares on Ravelry, why don’t you join in and share your progress on Ravelry here.

Happy crocheting xxx

PS Stay tuned tomorrow for an announcement for International Crochet Month!

Unravel

Unravel is a yarn festival at Farnham Maltings in UK.  The 11th Unravel is held this weekend from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th February – 3 days of lovely yarn inspiration!

It has workshops and talks as well as over 70 exhibitors selling all yarny related fare.   I have never been to Unravel, but I know people who live more local to the event who go every year and they tell me it is one of the best yarn festivals in the UK.  Some of my favourite indie yarn dyers will be there.   So one day I will visit.

Although I am not there I will have a virtual presence on the Willow Knits’ stand.   Willow Knits has the most luscious silk yarn which Anne dyes in beautiful colours.  I have the privilege of working with Anne on several projects.  At her last outing at Waltham Abbey she took some kits of my designs, some patterns and copies of my book.  The kits are a new collaboration using Anne’s glorious yarn and a crochet scarf design of mine – called Silk Sorbet.   If you haven’t tried silk yarn before, then these are a great introduction to the glories of working with pure silk as they include just 50g of 4ply yarn at a great value price.

Silk Sorbet is the 2-colour scarf on the left of this photo.  Doesn’t the silk yarn glow?

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At Unravel Anne will launch a new collaboration kit – the Bilateral Mitts.  These are unusual in that they are knitted and crocheted.   There are 2 variations in the pattern – a simple version where the knitting is straight and would be good for those who are not confident knitters but can crochet and a more challenging version where the knitting is in the round so would be good for a confident knitter who just wants to try a little crochet.  The kit uses 50g of worsted weight yarn and is also at a good price and a great introduction to the yarn.  I can’t show you a photo of the kits yet as they are being created as I type – but this is a photo of the simple mitts.

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After Unravel Anne will have these kits available in her etsy shop.

If you do go to Unravel, I would love to hear what you think and even see any photos you take 🙂

More information on Unravel can be found here.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

2019 Blanket CAL – Part 2

Part 2 of the 2019 Blanket CAL – Down Memory Lane – has been published.  If you purchased the pattern on Ravelry you will have received an update linking to the update in your library, which includes the full written pattern for each of the new squares and the charts.  If you are following the free version read on for details of where to find this week’s 2 squares.

These are 2 favourites for different reasons.  First is Agathi which is named after the maker/owner of a lovely shop in Kassiopi, Corfu.  You can read all about it and find the free pattern here.  All I have done for this CAL is add two rounds of trebles (US dc) to make  the square the correct size.

The second is based on one I designed for the Friends Around the World Anniversary CAL 2 years ago – it is called Flower Compass.  This is a favourite because it is one of those designs that almost hooked itself!  I started with a little flower and it just grew organically.  You can find the pattern here.  All I have done for this blanket is add one round of trebles (US dc).

Both of these designs would work with one or more colours.

Next week one of the designs is not based on a free pattern, and it uses front post stitches so you may wish to brush up on your front posts!

Don’t forget to share progress – here or on Facebook or on Ravelry

Happy crocheting xxxx

 

 

2019 Blanket CAL part 1

Today’s the day!  Part 1 of the Down Memory Lane Blanket CAL is now available on Ravelry.   Part 1 is an easy start with 2 simple squares.

If you have purchased the pattern you should have received notification from Ravelry that it has been updated.    There are 2 versions – UK and US crochet terms, so make sure you select the correct one.

If you are following the free version then Motif 1 is a sold motif found here and Motif 2 is a more lacy motif found here.  In each version you need to make 10 rounds to get the correct size.

Both these photos are of the unblocked motifs.   I recommend you block before joining!

I always start blanket CALs with easy motifs, as they help you work out your size/tension and allow you to play with your colours without getting stressed over a more complex design.  These 2 are also pretty sturdy squares which give good weight to the blanket, which makes it a proper blanket not a throw!

Motif 1 is also useful in working out your yarn requirements.  I worked out it uses an average amount of yarn for all the 12 designs of motif, so is a good guide as to how much each motif will use.  Here’s a brief guide on how to do it:

First make the motif in yarn you know the weight and meterage (or yardage) of.   Then measure your motif. Using this measurement work out how big you want your blanket to be – so if the motif is 25cm and you want a blanket 150cm square then it will need to be 6 motifs square – that’s 36 motifs.  Whatever size you want let’s just say the number of motifs you want is N
Now weigh your motif – it doesn’t matter if you weigh in grams or ounces. Let’s just say that weight is W
For the motifs you need yarn with a total weight of N times W, but you need to add a margin for joining, colour matching/changing and a border. I recommend a minimum of 10% (which works for a very small border and if you are careful with colour matching) or 20% (which works well with a larger border) or 25% (if you aren’t confident about colour matching and/or don’t really know what you want to do for a border).
So take N by W, add 10%, 20% or 25% and then divide by the size (weight) of skeins/balls for the yarn you are using.

The estimating works if you are using all the same yarn throughout the blanket, if you use different brands of yarn then you should look carefully on the ball band to find out how many m or yd are in each brand – they vary quite a lot. If yours vary, then you’ll have to do some more maths to work out your requirements. Essentially you need to work out the meterage or yardage of your motif, rather than just the weight.

The blanket I have is 7 by 7, so needs 49 squares.   I made 4 of each of these first 2.

Please join the discussion on Ravelry here and feel free to ask any questions.

Until next week….Happy Crocheting xx

It’s blanket weather!

Here in the UK it is definitely winter. We have had snow this week and temperatures well below freezing. This is perfect blanket making weather and a good time to introduce my 2019 Blanket CAL.  As usual this is a mystery but here is a sneak peek:

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Whilst preparing for this blanket design I reflected on all the squares I have designed over the last few years. Many of them are favourites which I return to regularly but when I looked I realised that my ‘squares’ blankets all had slightly different sizes.  So the concept developed of a blanket using my favourites but which would all be adapted to the same size. This blanket is called Down Memory Lane.

Today I’m introducing the CAL and providing information on requirements.

YARN and HOOK
I’m using a double knit (DK) yarn and all of it is from my stash, double memories for me!
As usual with DK yarn, I am using a 4mm crochet hook (US G/6)

MOTIF/TENSION
The motifs are square and each motif is approx. 25cm (10”) square after blocking.

MOTIF DESIGNS
There are 12 motif designs, and you can use as many or as few as you like.
8 of them are variations of motifs that I have published free, either on this blog or on Ravelry.  So you could use just these motifs if you like.  I will provide an explanation (here on the blog) of how to adapt the free patterns to the correct size.
4 of the motifs are variations of motifs in the Winter Blanket CAL 2015 and Wrapped in Memories CAL 2018. There will be a special offer on the pattern price for those who have previously purchased either of these patterns on Ravelry. Details will be available on Ravelry in the discussion group here.

TIMING
The first 2 designs will be published on 9th February, the other 10 will be published 2 at a time and weekly thereafter.  Photos of the new motifs will appear on this blog.

SIZE
You can make the blanket any size you like.  The blanket I am making will be 7 motifs square – a total of 49 motifs.  It will be just over 1.8m/71in square with a small border, which makes it a large throw or double bed size.  In DK yarn, my blanket including borders uses a total of 19 x 100g skeins, with skeins of between 220m and 250m each.

ADAPTABILITY
You can use any yarn you like, as long as you use a suitable hook size. And you can make it to any size you like. It is a perfect stash buster.

COLOUR SCHEME
Some of the motifs in this design work well in just one colour, but most work well in several colours.  I’m using 9 different colour groups in my blanket.  For me, it really is a perfect stash blanket 🙂

You have a week to start thinking about your blanket. So until then….happy crocheting xxx

A New Yarn Club

I am a bit addicted to yarn clubs and there are some luscious clubs out there! I’ve seen clubs range in price from £20 to £40 per month for one skein of yarn. Paying over £20 per month for one skein of yarn is costly to some people but for me it is well worth it. The first yarn club I joined was The Natural Dye Studio, and I so miss their lovely yarns.  The one I’m in currently is Triskelion Yarns sock club – oh my, I love the surprise of the yarn and colour each month 🙂

I am delighted to say I have found another yarn club which I think is very good value. Not only that but the company is North West based (so fairly local to me), the yarn is spun in Yorkshire, dyed in Lancashire and the company take their environmental responsibility seriously, are a living wage employer and are members of an ethical supply chain. All of which makes me feel good when I purchase from them.

I stumbled upon their yarn club before Christmas, the thing that struck me first was the colour of the yarn in the December box. There are 2 x 100g skeins of natural yarn in each box and December had teal and grey. I had been thinking of a shawl design in just those colours for some time, so I had to give it a try. This is what I received:

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The box was delivered in a larger cardboard box and the yarn was wrapped in lovely tissue paper – not a hint of plastic anywhere.

As well as the yarn, there was a lovely pattern for a crochet cushion and the buttons required to finish it. There were no gimmicks included (I don’t need a new crochet hook each month, nor extra stitch makers, teabags or sweets!).
The great thing is the price – it starts at £21.95 per month for two skeins – For December that was 800m of Bluefaced Leicester 4ply yarn.

It wasn’t long before I started crocheting. The yarn is lovely to work with and is slowly becoming a new shawl.

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I can also say the company customer service is great. I was confused when purchasing as I wanted a one-off box before committing to a monthly subscription. I thought I’d ordered December but orders had actually closed and I’d ordered a January box. However, when I queried it they sent me the December box very promptly without a quibble.

Three Bears Yarns also do cotton in different weights, and some Bluefaced Leicester aran. I look forward to trying these in due course.

Now I have to confess I joined their affiliate scheme. It was an accident really, I wanted more information and somehow managed to sign up. So please be aware that if you click on the link on the top right of the page and subsequently purchase from Three Bears Yarns, then I will receive a small commission. I am not in any other affiliate schemes, and I did think twice before adding the link, but the company environmental credentials swung it for me.

In due course I’ll share my new design with you, meanwhile I’m enjoying working the yarn.

Happy crocheting xxx

2018 Review

2018 is drawing to a close.  This is my opportunity to reflect on my design achievements for 2018 and start planning for 2019.  When I looked at what I had designed in 2018 I was astonished to find 26 new designs, ranging from small brooches to large blankets – how did I fit it all in?  Here are some of my 2018 designs:

I am a little late in planning 2019 but perhaps that is because I have started slowing my pace already.  I am trying to free up some time for  ‘me’ in 2019, so I can do some spinning, sewing and weaving.   So I plan to organise myself better and clear some space in my cupboards so I can select my crafts more easily.   As for designing, maybe I’ll slow a little but I do have a blanket CAL planned for early 2019 and I have a new shawl design on my hook, so it doesn’t feel any slower than normal!

I hope you enjoy your New Year celebrations and that 2019 brings you all you wish for.

Happy crafting xxx