Archives for posts with tag: Design

I can’t believe a week has passed since I introduced this CAL.   But here we are ready to start Part 1!   I hope you have selected your yarn and beads.  I have seen a few people considering the colour of beads, so if you are undecided I suggest you wait until you’ve done a bit of Part 1 and then try the beads against the crochet.

I am joining the CAL as well, and this is my yarn choice, plus some beads (I’m undecided on the beads):

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The yarn is vintage Natural Dye Studio Cobweb, I have 50g with approx 360m – maybe I have enough for 2.  That would be good as I am so undecided on the beads – it gives me the option to try another colour of beads!

So are you ready?  Well, let’s start 🙂

First weigh your yarn.  Sometimes the ball is a slightly different weight to that expected.  Mine was only 22.95g rather than 25g but it had been lurking in my stash for years, so I may have used a little of it on a project.

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You will need to weigh your remaining yarn regularly as you work.  So make a note of the amount you started with and keep those scales handy as you work.  Now do a little maths – first divide by 2 and then add 0.2g.   For me this was:

22.95 divided by 2 equals 11.475, add 0.2 equals 11.675.  I rounded this up to 11.7g

Keep a note of your number because you need to stop crocheting the first part when your remaining yarn weighs this amount!

What if you have more than a 25g ball?   Well, you work until you have used about 12.3g or the length is half what you want.

Tension/gauge does not matter for this design, but you do need to ensure you keep a loose stitch for a light and airy feel to the scarf.    For this you must allow the hook to decide the stitch size and do not pull the yarn tight when you complete each stitch.

I found 22.95g was sufficient for a scarf approx. 10cm wide by 220cm long (in Rowan Kidsilk Haze yarn, 22.95g is about 190m).   So unless you want a very long scarf, and provided you have a full ball of yarn, then you can afford to do a little tension trial to start with.  Try the first 4 rows – this should measure approx. 10cm wide and 5cm long.  It doesn’t matter if you are a bit out.  But if you are a lot out (say more than 20%) try using a different hook – bigger hook if your swatch is too small, smaller hook if you swatch is too big.  Having said that, if you like the look of your tension swatch it really doesn’t matter if it isn’t the correct size!

Now we can start crocheting!

The pattern is written in UK terms only, so here are the abbreviations I use (with US in brackets, if different):
st(s) = stitch(es)
sp(s) = space(s)
ch = chain
ch-sp(s) = chain space(s)
dc = double crochet (US single crochet)
tr = treble (US double crochet)
t2tog = work 2 treble together (US dc2tog, work 2 dc together)

Foundation: make 21ch

Row 1: Turn and work 1dc in 2nd ch from hook, (1dc in next ch, 1ch, miss 1 ch, 1dc in next ch) repeated until last ch, 1dc in last ch, turn.  You should have 6 1ch-sps and 14dc.

Now to make life easy for you when doing the next row, place a stitch marker in every 1ch-sp, like this:

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Row 2: 2ch, *(1tr, 1ch, 1tr) in 1ch-sp (where the stitch marker is), missing all the dc inbetween; repeat from * to last 1ch-sp, in this last 1ch-sp you do something slightly different: (1tr, 1ch) in last 1ch-sp, tr2tog placing first part in the same 1ch-sp and second part in last dc on the Row, turn.  You can remove your stitch markers now.

The first 2ch and 1tr together count as a tr2tog – so you start and end the row with a tr2tog which helps give a firm edge.

Row 3: 2ch, *(1tr, 1ch, 1tr) in 1ch-sp; repeat from * to last 1ch-sp, in this last 1ch-sp you do something slightly different: (1tr, 1ch) in last 1ch-sp, now tr2tog placing first part in last 1ch-sp and second part in last st on the Row (this is the top of the 2ch at start of last Row), turn.  You should now see that the pattern is a series of V sts.

Row 3 is the pattern, repeat it until your remaining yarn weighs that magic number you calculated – it must be no less than this number, so you may want to weigh your yarn regularly and estimate when that magic number will be reached.   I did a total of 77 rows.

This is how my stitches look, light and open with a lovely haze:

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Do not break yarn when you reach the end – wait until next week when I show you what to do next!

Some tips on working this design:

As I mentioned in tension, let the hook decide the size of your stitch – do not pull the yarn once the hook is through the stitch as this will tighten it too much and you won’t get the open cloud-like effect.

It is very easy to miss the yarn and hook a bit of the fluff instead.  So check that you have placed you stitches correctly at the end of each Row.   It means stopping for a few seconds to look, but it is worth the effort as that check can save some frogging later.

If you do have to frog, go very slowly and use the hook to help break the fibres that somehow manage to blend together in the fluff, don’t use scissors as it is easy to have an accident and cut your yarn!

If you have plenty of yarn and want a wider scarf, then increase your foundation chain in multiples of 3ch, each 3ch extra gives an additional V st to each Row.

Please feel free to ask questions, here or on Ravelry or on Facebook.  And please share progress photos!

Until next week, happy crocheting xxx

It is now the latter half of August and many of the usual UK summer festivals are over, but there are still a few to go and just enough time for you to make yourself something retro to take with you. To inspire you here is my quick make festival bag:

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When I was making it I thought wouldn’t it be fun if people who visit the Cheshire Fibre Festival could come wearing some festival garments or accessories.  Summer will be over by the time of CFF but we could brighten it up couldn’t we?  So are you up for it?  It could simply be a bag like this, or anything else you want to wear/make.     I’m happy to bring my bag and I may wear some flowers in my hair!

To help you – here’s my recipe for the bag.

It is made from scraps of DK yarn (Stylecraft Special DK) and based on 2 granny squares.  I made two 9 round grannies in slightly different colours, and the bag ended up approx. 24cm square excluding the pompom trim and handle.   But you can make it any size you like.  Mine used a total of 70g of yarn, but the blue edging and handle was the most – probably about 30g (but this isn’t accurate, just my guesstimate).

Abbreviations :
St (s) = stitch (es)
Sp = space
Ch = chain
Dc= double crochet
Tr = treble
Ss = slip stitch

Start with a couple of granny squares.

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Then using the colour for the joining, edging and handle (blue in my case), work dc  all the way around 3 sides of the first square, I did 1dc per st or sp along the edge, and (1dc, 1ch, 1dc) in the corner sps.  Do not break the yarn but carry on and work dc similarly around 3 sides of the other granny, your grannies will be joined at one point.

Now put the grannies wrong sides together and join by working dc through both granny edges all around the 3 sides.

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Do not break the yarn but make a chain the length of the handle (I did 100) and join to the other edge of the bag with a ss.

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Now turn and work a round of dc all along the handle and then around the top of one side of the bag.   Do another round of dc along the handle and the same top.  Break yarn and finish off.

Rejoin yarn to the underside of the foundation ch of the handle and repeat 2 rounds of dc along this side and the other top of the bag, on the last round when you reach the centre of the top of the bag make a ch loop to fit a button – I did 8ch.

If you make a bigger bag you may want a wider handle, if so just do more rounds of dc either side of the handle.

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Sew the button to the other side of the bag and make a tassel and attach to the button loop.

You could finish there but I wanted an edging all around the sides and I opted for little crochet pompoms.  You can find out how to do them here  (beware it is in US crochet terms!).   I made mine all the way around 3 sides, leaving a 3 st gap between each pompom chain.   You could just do a fringe if you  like.

If you make one, please share a photo of it.

Happy crocheting xxx

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

 

Part 6 of the Winter Blanket CAL has just been published.   It includes some texture in the form of raised stitches as well as some openwork.

Here it is:

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There are 4 of this square needed for the blanket, and that means that the centre 25 suqares are now released.  Do you want to see what it looks like?

Well here it is in all the glorious colour:

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One of the 6 published squares isn’t seen on this block, but the other 5 are there.

Only 2 squares and the edging to go before it is all complete!

You can find the pattern here and join in the discussion here.

Happy crocheting xx

 

 

 

 

……and I’m getting excited!  Also, I am preparing for the day in my usual fairly organised way.  So I thought I’d share how I prepare as a visitor:

What do I wear?  It’s pretty obvious really – some comfy trainers (the floor is solid concrete and warm socks are a necessity), trousers (not a skirt as it may be chilly!) with a secret security pocket, lots of layers, a pair of fingerless mitts (excellent for being able to fondle yarn and get your cash out easily) and my favourite type of neckwear for shopping – a cowl.  When I thought about this I came to a bit of a standstill, you see I do like to co-ordinate what I wear and I’m taking some lovely crocheted fingerless mitts in blue but I don’t have a blue cowl!    So my last minute challenge was to stash dive and make a cowl that matches.   So that’s where I’ve been this afternoon – searching through piles of stash (which makes me wonder just why am I going to Yarndale!?).   I have found some lovely NDS dk yarn called Stardust in blues and lilac, not an exact match for the mitts but should be ok.  And my challenge for this evening is to make a cowl……wish me luck!

NDS Stardust

NDS Stardust

The next stage of my prep is to get the bag packed.  Ah yes, the bag – it is a good sized canvas bag which I can fling over my shoulder, not too large as I don’t want to inadvertently bump it into other visitors (which is very easy to do in a crowd).

I have reviewed the exhibitor list and floor plan already, so I have a printed copy marked up with my ‘must visit’ stands.  This is the first item to go in my bag. .

I always take a packed lunch.  There are cafes in Skipton and food stalls at the show, but the queues can be long.  So I find it easier to pack my own lunch – and a few snacks.  I’m travelling there by coach so I have a snack before arrival which helps keep me going until lunch!   So this afternoon I made sure I had sandwiches, snacks and some bottled water ready in the fridge.  They will all go into my bag just before I leave tomorrow morning.

Also in the bag is a market shopping bag, you know the sort of old fashioned string bag – you could crochet one yourself but I have a few ‘turtle bags’ so I use one of those.  It’s perfect as an overflow expandable bag.

A lightweight fleece is the next item – just in case it gets really cold.

The last item in the bag is a pack-a-mac.  I prefer this to an umbrella for two reasons – firstly it can provide an extra (and windproof) layer if it gets cold and, second, umbrellas can be difficult to manoeuvre in a crowd and possibly a bit dangerous!  I have checked the weather forecast and it looks good, but this is England so it is best to be prepared for rain.

Also, I have a small cross body handbag for money, phone, lippy, comb, small packet of tissues, keys etc.   It has some good little zipped pockets which are great for security.   I put my mobile on charge overnight, so it is fully charged for tomorrow.

Money is another thing to consider.  Some, but not all, stallholders have mobile visa machines but the signal isn’t always good, so it’s much better to have cash and cheque book.  I don’t keep cash all in one place which is why those little security pockets in trousers and bag are handy.  And it’s good to have small denomination notes and  a good supply of pound coins, stallholders love them!

Finally, an early night is in order.  I want to be fresh as a daisy tomorrow!

I’ll be wearing my Ravelry badge at Yarndale, so if you spot me you’ll soon tell if I won my cowl challenge, although I may still be crocheting it on the coach!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

I had a lovely afternoon today 🙂

My friend, and amazing crochet designer, Amanda Perkins popped round for a chat.  We don’t often get the opportunity to chat face to face, since I live in the North West and she lives in Devon!    But today she stopped off on her way to Yarndale, the festival of woolly wonders which is on this coming weekend.   Amanda has a stand there and it will be the first time she is exhibiting purely as a designer.   It was fantastic to see her and get a real opportunity for a good chat.

I will be going to Yarndale on Saturday, and will see her again, but we won’t really have any quality chatting time as Yarndale will be buzzing!   She has told me her plans for her stand, which include some of her amazing blankets, some yarn (the last of the now very rare Natural Dye Studio yarn, and some of the gorgeous John Arbon Knit by Numbers) and an array of her gorgeous patterns.   Her stand is right in the centre of Yarndale, very close to Lucy’s Knit n Natter lounge. So please look out for her on stand number  80.

The second thing to make me happy today was what Mrs Postie delivered – my contributor copy of Inside Crochet issue 70.  I have a design in it, the Medina Cowl.  This is made with some luscious silk from Willow Knits.

Medina Cowl

Medina Cowl

I am very pleased with this design. It uses 3 beautiful colours of silk and the components are quite simple, but the joining is a feature which may prove a bit challenging to some (although it will become easier the more you practice). Willow Knits is also at Yarndale, so please pop by and see Anne on stand 101, I am sure she’ll have these beautiful autumnal colours of silks!

Finally, do also pop by the Inside Crochet stand (159) – you may even see Medina Cowl ‘in the flesh’!  And I’ll be there at around 2.30pm.

I do hope to see some of you at Yarndale.

Happy crocheting xxx

This time a month ago I was very happy that I had 2 designs feature in 2 different magazines – I blogged about it here.

It felt wonderful!  And I really didn’t think it could get better, but it has!  My latest design for Inside Crochet (issue 69) has made the front cover.   This is Autumn Beaches, a motif scarf that uses just one skein of Yarns from the Plains’ Mobberley DK.

Photo courtesy of Nic, Yarns from the Plain

Photo courtesy of Nic, Yarns from the Plain

It is called Autumn Beaches because the colours of the yarn reminded me the shades in the ripples of sand created by the tide going out.  It is reminiscent of childhood holidays, playing on the beach (British beaches because we never went abroad for holidays).

However, this colour is called Malted Chocolate and I love chocolate so couldn’t resist!  When I saw the yarn originally it wasn’t the colour name that attracted me, it was the yarn base name – Mobberley.  Why? Because I live in Mobberley!    Nic who owns Yarns from the Plain lives not far from me in Cheshire and all her yarn bases have names of local villages and towns, and when I saw Mobberley I just had to have a skein (mmmmm……maybe I bought more than one!).  And when I touched the yarn it was so soft, it is made of 70% Exmoor blueface/30% British Alpaca and is entirely British.   So British yarn, dyed in Cheshire, using Cheshire names and reminiscent of British beaches – it all fitted together well for me.

The design of the motif is one I swatched last year, ok I say ‘swatched’ when what I mean is ‘doodled’ because that’s what I do with a hook and yarn in my hand, I make crochet doodles.   Originally I was thinking of making a small pincushion and the design was my first attempt at a crochet cover for it……..but it never made it to a pincushion.  You see I doodled it in DK, and I loved the look of it in DK, so I set it aside and waited until the right yarn came along.

And it did….and it was perfect.  So that’s how Autumn Beaches was created.  Whilst it is beautiful in the Malted Chocolate colourway, I think Nic has some fabulous colours in Mobberley DK and I would love to see the design in some of these – I love Libby and Sweeties, and my favourite is Bewitched.  What colour would you choose?

Happy crocheting xx

The last few posts on this blog have been about the Anniversary CAL, but I have been doing a lot more than just finalising the pattern for the CAL.  Patterns are generally written well ahead of publication, then tested and refined – the publication hasn’t taken much of my time at all.

So today I will share a round-up of activity from the last few weeks.

First I was happy to have 2 designs published in different magazines both of which were released on the same day!  What a very happy co-incidence!   Again these were prepared and written months ago, but the excitement of receiving the magazines and seeing the designs in print (and beautifully styled) is immense.  And, of course, I give myself plenty of time to read the magazines over a cup or 2 of coffee!

The first item is the Lariat Belt I designed for Inside Crochet, issue 68. 

Lariat Belt

Lariat Belt

This one is a flexible design – it can be a skinny scarf, a lariat necklace or a belt – the perfect item to pack for holiday.   It is made in some of my favourite yarn, WillowKnits handdyed worsted silk, and it is relatively quick to make, so even if you are off on holiday next week I am sure you can make this in time.

The second design is a retro Boho Top for Mollie Makes, issue 56.

Boho Top

Boho Top

I had such fun making this!  It comes in 2 sizes and I designed it so it is made in one piece and requires very little sewing up.  I know that finishing a crocheted or knitted garment is generally one of the most disliked tasks, and I know of many pieces that languish in cupboards and drawers awaiting sewing up.   For the boho top the motifs are joined as you go and the bodice is made upwards from the motif section, the edging is incorporated into the bodice as you make it and there are probably less than a dozen sewing stitches required to  join the shoulders.    So once you finish hooking it takes minutes to finish the garment!

You may recall I mentioned a while ago that I treated myself on the spur of the moment to a set of Hamanaka crochet hooks from Janie Crow.   I had my eye on these for a while, they looked small and neat, and being double ended meant that I could carry a large range of hooks in a small bag.  They haven’t disappointed me at all.   I haven’t used anything else since I bought them!

I bought a set of 5 regular sizes, a set of 3 small sizes and a small case for them.   The hooks are lovely to handle and, for my small hands, a perfect size.   I added a small pair of scissors, some tapestry needles and stitch markers to the front pocket in the case and I now have a perfect little crochet kit.

Hamanaka - heaven in a hook!

Hamanaka – heaven in a hook!

I have been working on a simple granny square cushion in lovely handdyed 4 ply silk, and you can tell from this photo that I have used the hook a lot (evidenced by the dye accumulating on the handle near the hook shank – don’t worry, I know from experience that this will wash off easily).

Another thing I like about these hooks is that the 3mm and 4mm sizes are on the same hook, and these are the sizes I use the most – so if I want to travel light with crochet, that is the only hook I need carry.

I’ve also been indulging in some more mandala designing, this is a special mandala which is just in the pattern writing stage:

The special

The special

And I have been making some ‘mini bunting’ from a pattern by Emma Lamb published in Mollie Makes Crochet, another great selection of crochet patterns.  This now adorns the headboard of the spare bed.  Previously my Anniversary Crochet Flower mini bunting adorned the bedhead but I felt it was in need of a refresh and a narrower colour palette – 2 of Emma’s flowers from the book were perfect for this.

Mini flower bunting

Mini flower bunting

So what has been keeping you busy this last month?

Happy crocheting xx

Today part 2 of the Anniversary CAL is published.   You can find it on Ravelry and LoveCrochet.

Part 2 has a new motif – a large one!   And it is included in this mini cushion I made:

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As you can see the 2 motifs work together well, I designed the sizes so that they did!  Part 2 of the pattern includes a suggested layout if you’d like to make a blanket or throw with just these 2 styles of motif, but there are plenty of other options available – just use your imagination (and maybe a little maths!).

If you haven’t already joined in the CAL, please do – I love seeing what everyone makes with the motifs.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

I have just pressed the publish button on Ravelry and the 3rd Anniversary CAL is launched!

The pattern is now available at a discount for a week – part 1 is included now, parts 2 and 3 will follow.    You can find it on Ravelry and on LoveCrochet.

As usual this ia a scary moment for me – will you like the design?   Will anyone want to join in the CAL?  These and other questions are flooding my mind!

To tempt you here’s a sneaky peek at part 1:

Part 1 in progress

Part 1 in progress

Please do join in the CAL on the Agrarian Artisan Designs’ forum on Ravelry – you can chat about progress, ask questions and generally have great fun.   And post finished projects on the thread to be eligible for the prize draw.

As well as all the excitement of the CAL I’ve had another couple of designs published – Lariat Belt in Inside Crochet and Boho Top in Mollie Makes – what a week!!? I’ll post more on these in another blog post, meanwhile……

Happy crocheting xxx

 

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