Christmas CAL

I’ve done all my shopping and only have a few pre-Christmas chores to do before I can relax……..well almost, maybe total relaxation will arrive after the dinner is cooked tomorrow!

When your chores are done, pull up a chair, get yourself a glass of something good (with or without alcohol), have a few nibbles in a dish handy for when you feel peckish and ….put your feet up.

Did I forget something?  Ah, yes – grab your crochet hook and a basket of yarn because I’d love you to join me in this Christmas CAL.  It should be an easy relaxing project, perfectly manageable for this season.

I’m making a lap blanket and here are the details to get you started:

SIZE

The lap blanket I am making will be 7 motifs square – a total of 49 motifs.  The blanket will be about 1m/42in square without border, because I haven’t designed a border yet, and I may have to find some more yarn for that!

YARN

I am using Stylecraft Cotton Classique DK yarn, 100g/184m per ball.  I estimate I’ll need about 10 balls.

HOOK

I am using a 4mm crochet hook (US G/6)

MOTIF/TENSION

The motifs are square and each motif is approx. 15cm/6in square.

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

I am using 5 colours, and each motif is one colour.  But you could use as many colours as you like and change colour each round if you like.

These are my colours.

Christmas CAL colours
Christmas CAL colours

So here we go:

ABBREVIATIONS

The pattern is written in English crochet terms.

St = stitch

Ch = chain

Tr = treble (US dc)

Ss = slip stitch

Sp = space

Ch-sp =chain space

The first motif is based on the standard granny square, so you should be able to tackle this easily.

GRANNY 5 MOTIF (I am making 9, 2 in each in 4 of my chosen colours and 1 in the last colour)

GRANNY 5 MOTIF
GRANNY 5 MOTIF

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), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into each of the next three 2ch-sps, 2tr 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), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp,  *(3tr, 1ch) into the next 1ch-sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times (3tr, 1ch) into the next 1ch-sp, 2tr 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), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp,  *(3tr, 1ch) into each of the next two 1ch-sps, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times (3tr, 1ch) into each of the next two 1ch-sps, 2tr in the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.

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

Round 6: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 2tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1tr into each tr and 1ch-sp along each side and (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) into each 2ch-sp on the corners, finish with 1tr in the first 2ch-sp and join to 3rd ch from start with a ss.

Break yarn and fasten off, leaving a long tail of about 3m for sewing or crocheting together later.

You should have 23tr along each side and 2ch in each corner of your motif.

I have a discussion thread on my Ravelry Group here.   Please join in and share your progress or, if you prefer, add comments on this blog.

Stay tuned for the next motif pattern, which I aim to publish on Friday…..or is that too soon?

Merry Christmas xx

 

Now for the legal stuff – I designed this, it’s all my own work and is copyright. Please feel free to make as many as you like, but not for commercial purposes, and please credit me with the design. Thank you!

Stashing down…….

I have been busy for the last 2 weeks, a little bit of designing but mainly ‘stashing down’. What is stashing down? For yarn-aholics like me, stash is the stock of yarn I have acquired over the years. So stashing down means using up lots of yarn so that my yarn ‘stash’ reduces. Now my stash is huge, so large that I keep a spreadsheet to help me manage it and I know how many balls/skeins I have. But it is so embarrassingly large that I can’t even bring myself to tell you what that number is! It does fill a tall built in double width wardrobe and overflow into numerous baskets in my yarn room. Did I ever mention I have a yarn room? Perhaps the less said the better – but it gives you an idea of how much stash I have!

I need to reduce this stash considerably and I decided to use quick simple crochet stitches (such as granny square stitches) that I can do with my eyes shut, and therefore speedily stash down. So I have used these simple stitches and crocheted like the wind. So far I have used 17 balls of my stash and made no fewer 8 gift bags (destined for Christmas wrappings).

The bags are varied, and mainly just improvised. I did start a couple of patterns but changed then, and after that I decided I could just make them up as I went. So here’s a selection:

Market style bags
Market style bags
Granny style bags
Granny style bags

You can tell from the photos that I haven’t used the best of my yarn stash for these bags. But there is a little glitter and silk in some of the yarns I used.

I have also started on some simple but luxurious cushion covers in pure silk. These are a simple granny square design – one for the back and 4 for the front. I plan to fasten them with buttons, so I will need to design a granny-style button flap.
I love the yarn and the colours complement each other well. Unfortunately this photo just doesn’t show the colours in all their glory, nor the beautiful sheen of the silk.

Granny cushion pieces
Granny cushion pieces

I’m also working on a few WIPs – one a second cushion cover to match this one:

Fresh Red cushion
Fresh Red cushion

This is a design from a few months ago, you can find the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fresh-red-crochet-cushion

In the next couple of weeks my stash down will be finished (for now) and hopefully I will have used more than 30 balls/skeins of yarn. Perfect for creating more storage space …….because at the end of September I am going here: http://www.yarndale.co.uk
And I am sure to buy lots more yarn – I guess that’s called stashing up!!!

Happy crocheting xxx

Happy Sunday

Happy Sunday to my readers!

How is your summer going? Here in the UK it is warm, probably the warmest summer we have had for a few years. So evenings have been balmy, wine has been quaffed and a gentle calm fills the air (inbetween the hayfever sneezes!).

My knitting and crochet normally slows in warm weather, warm hands and wool do not mix well. But this July has been different, maybe because one of my long term projects has been in cotton – the Jane Crowfoot mystery blanket CAL. The last clue for this was published a few days ago – I had one large flower motif to make, then a lot of joining and edging. The flower motif is blocking and I have a plan to slowly sew the pieces together rather than get bogged down in too much sewing – I will share the finished project in due course..

I have also completed the July clue of Amanda Perkins’ Kaleidoscope mystery blanket CAL – I’ve told you before that I love this pattern and the yarn, it seems to flow off the hook easily. Here is July:
JULY
My plans for my own mystery CAL are well advanced. I have made a sample and started pattern writing. Just as well, because the first clue will be released on 24th July. The CAL will be hosted on my Ravelry forum here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/agrarian-artisan-designs/2967692/26-50#33

MCAL
Anyone joining the forum and signing up for the MCAL before 1st August will receive all clues free. It is motif based, and can be a scarf, wide scarf/wrap or even a blanket. Suggestions for yarn quantities for 4 ply/fingering and double knit will be provided. It is all about colour, which I am sure everyone will love, and the motif basis is slightly different to normal, which I love but I await response to the final design!

Also I have published my July Scarf which is made in silk. Following the June theme, this scarf is a row of granny squares made in one long piece:
July Crochet Scarf

Pattern can be found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/july-crochet-scarf-continuous-grannies
It is on sale at half price until the end of July using the coupon code JULY

Happy summer knitting and crochet xxxxx

On a roll…..

Somehow I set myself a challenge, I don’t know how or why I did it – it was one of those happy accidents. The challenge is to design one crochet scarf a month and it is very much a personal challenge. But whatever the how or why, it is rolling along nicely. At the end of last week I published my May crochet scarf and I am already well advanced with June.

So here is my roll call:

January Crochet Scarf
January Crochet Scarf
February Crochet Scarf
February Crochet Scarf
March Crochet Scarf
March Crochet Scarf
April Crochet Scarf
April Crochet Scarf
May Crochet Scarf
May Crochet Scarf

All different, and all fun to make! I’m on a roll now but will I keep it up to the end of the year? Let’s see.

Happy crocheting xx

Colour in crochet

I‘ve been thinking a lot about colour recently. Perhaps because I’ve been making colourful hexagons for a few weeks ahead of the launch of The Hexagon Project 2014 which I blogged about yesterday here: https://agrarianartisan.com/2014/01/31/the-hexagon-project-2014/

I like to think I use a subtle colour palette in what I do. If you saw my home youwould see it is fairly modern with plenty of oak and neutral shades everywhere – just odd splashes of colour for accent. But I do love colour in many things, just as long as it isn’t glaring out at me from every corner. So I am not afraid to use colour provided it fits in my world.

You won’t find much multi colours in anything I make or design – just look at my Ravelry project and design pages to see how I use colour!

However, my thoughts have made me reflect on the blankets I have made over the years.

The first blanket I ever made was a granny in shades of blue, mainly pale blue. It served me well at uni. It was thrown out years ago – so I don’t have a photo of it. Believe me when I say it was subtle, not glaring.

The second blanket I made was a small knitted hap blanket – beige with red highlights.

Hap blanket
Hap blanket

Then came Starry Night by Amanda Perkins, I made it in grey, silver and 2 shades of dark blue.

Starry Night
Starry Night

The fourth blanket I made was another design by Amanda Perkins called Lily. This time I started to use more colour – I wanted lots of red – and that is what I got!

Lily
Lily

The next blanket (knitted) was back to my neutral shades.

Heike's afghan KAL
Heike’s afghan KAL

Then no 6 was a baby blanket in ice cream colours

Baby blanket
Baby blanket

And then a small lap blanket in soft blue, green, cream.

Little Hearts
Little Hearts

Then I made a granny style blanket in lots of colour – quite a change for me! It is confined to the spare bed and is very practical. But I do quite like the colour pick-me-up as I walk in that room.

Poppet's Blanket
Poppet’s Blanket

The first blanket for this year is very colourful, it is another Amanda Perkins’ design and I blogged about it here: https://agrarianartisan.com/2014/01/25/kaleidoscope/

I have also made 2 other blankets recently, I’m not going to tell you about them yet, other than to say one is ‘nicely’ colourful and the other is back to my more subtle colour palette.

Now all of this has made me think about the world of crochet. There are so many fields of crochet in the world from the delicate old Irish crochet used frequently in crisp white doillies to the bright colourful world of simple but effective granny squares, with a myriad of styles, taste and colour inbetween. The recent growth in the crochet world has been predominantly in the colourful granny area – after all it is easy to see the impact of colour and grannies are quite quick and easy to make when you are just getting going.

Just recently I have started to sense a slow change in that colourful granny world, maybe, just maybe, it is growing closer to my preferences of subtlety. I think it is about time it should.

Personally, in the world of colourful crochet my preference is always in the direction of Amanda Perkins, her use of colour is exceptional. It is so much more sophisticated than the granny world. If we are to use colour in the world of crochet it is much better to do with sophistication don’t you think?

Yes, I would dearly love to know what you think, so please share your thoughts with me.

Happy crocheting xx

Edit: just after pushing the ‘publish’ button, I read the latest blog by Lucy of Attic 24 which only served to confirm my sense of colour shift! http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2014/02/colour-play.html

A little bit Bohemian…….

It started on 2nd May 2013 with this:

Bohemian Rhapsody - the kit
Bohemian Rhapsody – the kit

Bohemian Rhapsody; a kit with 144 squares to make. I bought it because of the colours – 75 different colours. For me it was an experiment in colour.

I find squares boring (I’m a hexagon girl) so I decided to do a little every so often rather than bore myself with 144 squares. So I set a deadline – 8 squares every 2 weeks. Last week I decided to speed up – I had only 16 squares to go, the end was in sight – so I just raced away, worked fast so the squares didn’t bore me.

And this is the result:

Definitely Bohemian!
Definitely Bohemian!

Do I like it? Yes, I love it – the colours are quite spectacular.
Did I learn from it? Yes, I will be more daring with colour in future!
Did I enjoy it? Yes and no, like I say – I’m a hexagon girl! But now I do feel a little bohemian….

Happy knitting and crocheting xx

Getting Festive

I am sure you are wondering if I met the WIP challenge I mentioned in my last blog. Well I am pleased to say I did – but only just! So for the last 10 days I have had the luxury of starting some new projects.

This year I have not made many Christmas presents, I decided it would be good to take a year off making them and I am sure it will be a relief to my family and friends as they have already received hat, mitts and scarves over the last 3 years! But I still feel the need to make something for Christmas. So my new projects have been festive – I have thoroughly enjoyed making some decorations to adorn the parcels I will wrap:

Wrappings....
Wrappings….

These use some of my festive snowflakes. Pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/festive-snowflakes

And some new bunting to adorn the house:

Festive Bunting - Granny Style
Festive Bunting – Granny Style

Which I absolutely love! Pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/christmas-bunting—granny-style

I also found time to design a new snowflake for Kerry. I am calling it Snowflake 2013 and I think I may have set myself a new challenge – to design a new snowflake each year! This snowflake features on Kerry’s blog. You will find the chart for it there as well as a video tutorial – and it’s free. So pop over and have a look, I am sure you’ll be crocheting your own snowflakes soon!

http://oddmentsblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/crochet-tutorial-christmas-snowflakestar/

Snowflake 2013
Snowflake 2013
Happy Knitting and Crocheting xxx

The Granny Square Blog Tour

If you have ever attended one of my workshops you will have heard me say ‘granny squares are like marmite’ because you either love ‘em or loathe ‘em. But whatever your views it seems granny squares are firmly embedded in the crochet world. Some people have very strong feelings about them, and some could not care less. So which are you?

I confess I used to hate them and I mean really hate them. Why? Well I think squares can be quite boring and I think the repetition of the design is, frankly, unexciting. And I had this view for many years.

In my teens I made a granny square blanket, it went to university with me part finished and I finished it in my first year. It came in very useful! But then I moved right on. And, I’m sorry to say, so did the blanket.

When formulating this blog I decided to have a look at what granny squares I had made recently and I was a little surprised. It seems in the last few months I have been making quite a few grannies:

Flower power cushion:

DSCF0803

DSCF0802

Pin cushion:

DSCF0683

Granny purse:

DSCF0916

Perhaps age has mellowed my views, but now I can see they have their uses and to me their primary use is, to put it simply, colour! Perhaps it is the regularity of the design, but they certainly enable everyone to experiment with colour and somehow bring out the rainbow in all of us. My current experimenting with colour is via Bohemian Rhapsody, perhaps not a true granny but lots of granny elements:

DSCF0840

Now you can experiment with colour in lots of way with crochet, and I absolutely adore the beautiful motif designs by Amanda Perkins – I think they enable more alluring colour experimentation and her blankets are just exquisite, to me so much more pleasing to my eyes than any granny square could be. Have a look at her blog here: http://amandascrochetblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/granny-squares.html she shows how beautiful crochet motifs can be.

The secondary use of granny squares is that they are simple, and thus they enable beginner crocheters to experiment with colour and make useful items with confidence. No-one is a beginner forever, so in time most crocheters do move on from grannies. However, I recognise that some do not – they love grannies so much they just keep making them! So be it – the world is big enough for everyone.

So I no longer hate grannies, I see they have their place in the crochet world. So this blog is part of a celebration of them – the ‘granny square blog tour’, which enables crocheting bloggers the world over to join in and have their say. If you have a blog and want to join in, then please comment on this discussion thread on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/agrarian-artisan-designs/2646102/1-25#11

Next on the tour is the talented Tracey Todhunter, look out for her blog early next week: http://bakingandmaking.com/

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

Inspiration………

I count myself very lucky to have some inspirational crafting friends, they make some amazing things and are always happy to share their ideas and what inspires them. So I am now going to share 2 things that I made thanks to inspiration from my friends.

The first is a sewing project. Whilst shopping in Tesco this week I spotted some lovely tea towels, good fabric with nice patterns – £4 for a pack of 3 – one spotty, one floral (a little Cath Kidston I think) and one plain white waffle. I instantly remembered Riana sharing her tea towel tote, so I knew exactly how useful these tea towels could be. I just needed a bit of webbing, which I found in John Lewis, and in no time I had made this:

DSCF0915

I call it the Tesco Tea Towel Tote! And it is destined to be a present. Thank you Riana!

The next inspiration came from Heike (do have a look at her blog here http://www.madewithloops.co.uk). She shared a photo on facebook of a very colourful granny bag, gathered at the top into some handles. And this inspired me to make a purse along the same lines – here is my take on a granny purse.

DSCF0916

The best bit of this is the lining, have a close look here:

DSCF0919

Yes, it is a white waffle – taken from one of the Tesco Tea Towels.

I can’t recommend tea towel sewing more highly, you frequently find some lovely printed fabrics (Riana made a tote using a cupcake printed towel from Ikea), they are good quality and they are generally very good value. And they are already edged, which reduces the sewing. Next time you go shopping look for tea towels, you may find yourself inspired to make something beautiful from one…or two……

Happy knitting, crocheting and sewing xx

Curvy Star Hexagon

I talked about my hexagon project yesterday and I’ve been pondering ever since.  Maybe you won’t understand my love of hexagons…or will you?  So I thought I would share another small hexagon design with you just to see if it whet’s your appetite!  Please do tell me what you think of it.

As I made it I was thinking of a star but, as so often happens when I get a hook in my hand, it took on a life of its own – and this little curvy star was born.

Image

Do you like it?  Subconsciously I must have thought of the blanket I want to make, which I want to be ‘open’ but snug, because I think it is perfect for what I want in that blanket and that’s what I will make with it. It is 3 rounds and really not too difficult to make if you can crochet in the round.  Here’s the pattern:

This is written in English crochet terms and uses standard abbreviations.

 st = stitch

ss = slip stitch

sp = space

dc = double crochet

tr = treble

htr = half treble

dtr = double treble.

I used a 5mm hook (US H/8) and some aran weight yarn, but you can use any yarn as long as you use a suitable hook.

Foundation – make 6 ch and join into a ring with a ss

Round 1 – 3 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr, 1 ch, (2 tr, 1 ch) 5 times, join to 3rd ch from start of round with a ss

Round 2 – ss into gap between first 2 tr from last round (if you are changing colour join your new colour here), into this gap crochet (3 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr, 1 ch, 2 tr, [into next 1 ch-sp, crochet 1 dc, into the gap between next 2 tr from last round crochet (2 tr, 1 ch, 2 tr)] five times, into next 1 ch-sp, crochet 1 dc, join to 3rd ch from start of round with a ss

Round 3 – ss into top of 3 ch from start of last round (if you are changing colour join your new colour here), [(1 htr, 1 tr, 2 dtr, 1, tr, 1 htr) in 1 ch-sp, ss into 2nd tr along, ss into next tr along] five times, (1 htr, 1 tr, 2 dtr, 1, tr, 1 htr) all in 1 ch-sp, ss into 2nd tr along, ss to first ss to complete the round.  Break yarn and fasten off.

If you want to join the motifs together, join between the 2 dtr at the tip of each curve on the last round.

For those who like charts, here’s one for you (this uses standard symbols)But please note this is copyright – do not repost/pin this or you will be in breach of that copyright:

Image

Now for the legal stuff – I designed this today, it’s all my own work and is copyright.  Please feel free to make as many as you like, but not for commercial purposes, and please credit me with the design.  Thank you!

I am human (yes, I am!) so I am perfectly capable of making mistakes!  So if you spot any errors in the pattern please just tell me and I’ll correct it. 

Happy knitting and crocheting

xx

PS For those who are interested, I use Stitchworks software to chart.