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!

Christmas is almost here……

…..and I haven’t written a full blog in almost 2 weeks!   So first I must apologise to my readers for being so quiet.

As well as being busy preparing for Christmas, I have also been thinking hard about my designs and how I sell them from next year.  This is all due to a change in legislation relating to EU VAT.  Aimed at making large tax-avoiding companies  pay VAT, it has hit also a huge number of small businesses who sell digital downloads, whether crochet patterns, music or a multitude of other digital downloads or PDFs.  The legislation has been in the wind for 6 years but hasn’t been widely marketed because the legislators did not realise just how many micro businesses there are that operate in the digital world.  And yes, that includes me!   I will not bore you with the details, but from 1st January 2015 I will be limiting my pattern sales to a few websites – definitely Ravelry and also Loveknitting.

Meanwhile the good things that have happened in the last few weeks:

I published my last crochet scarf design of 2014 on 1st December, the culmination of a year of scarf designs.  I called this one The Starflower Scarf for obvious reasons:

Starflower Crochet Scarf
Starflower Crochet Scarf

I used lots of oddments of gorgeous silk yarns from Willow Knits.

Also, I compiled all 12 designs from my monthly challenge into one ebook – My Year of Scarves.

My Year of Scarves
My Year of Scarves

I can’t express just how good it felt when I pushed the button to publish this.  I never expected I would last the whole year on this personal challenge but I did!

Remember the beaded crochet pouch that featured at the Buxton Knitaway? Well that has been published also.

Crochet pouch
Crochet pouch

So I am ready for a relaxing Christmas season, but if course it will always feature some making.   I have a design I need to finish but it requires concentration, which may not be readily available during the holiday season! So I have decided to make a straightforward lap blanket, something that will flow quickly and easily off the hook, and doesn’t need too much concentration.   This is designed (in my head) and will be started soon…..do you fancy joining me in a seasonal CAL?    Some easy quick crochet, perfectly suitable for the holidaytime, great as a stash buster…….if you are up for it, then I will publish the pattern in parts on this blog over the festive season, starting on Christmas Eve.  The pattern will be written as the design comes out of my head, so you will be crocheting along with me.  It should be fun 🙂

With all good wishes for the Christmas season xxx

November update

November is here, already.   Remarkably I published my 11th crochet scarf design of the year last Saturday, the first of November.

Here is Swirling Seas Crochet Scarf, named because the glorious green silk yarn shimmers and the design reminds me of swirling green seas.

Swirling Seas
Swirling Seas

The silk yarn is one of my favourites from Willow Knits.   Anne of Willow Knits has very generously offered a 10% discount on the yarns in her shop on Etsy to anyone who purchases the pattern (details on the pattern).   She doesn’t just dye pure silk yarns, she has some lovely laceweight in silk/alpaca and silk/merino mixes.

And until midnight GMT on 16th November, if you go to Ravelry to buy this pattern you will get 50% off if you use the coupon code NOVEMBER.   Half price pattern from me and 10% off the yarn from Anne – Happy November!

I am delighted and surprised that I have managed to keep up with my personal challenge.  Only one month to go ……………but, although the December design is in my head, it hasn’t quite gone to plan.  The design hasn’t worked with any yarns I have chosen yet – other than the acrylic I swatched with.  Yes, readers I do sometimes swatch with acrylic yarn!  But fear not, I do not plan to make December in acrylic……….(ETA I have nothing against acrylic yarn; these days it is excellent quality and comes in an amazing range of colours, but I do have a preference for natural fibres!)  Yesterday I settled on the yarn and it is silk again, I have a lot of small quantities and will be using 20 colours in this.  I will have to be quick to make it, write the pattern and find a couple of people who will test it for me before December…….wish me luck!

The only thing that will stand in my way is a new design; yet another a challenge.  This time a challenge by Sigrun who is a member of my forum on Ravelry – she asked if I could design a crochet wrap pattern for her 2015 weather project.   It had to be something that could be used with a range of colours that she will use, and she suggested the lovely fine lace yarn that I used for Bohemian Rhapsody.   I do have a few scraps of that yarn left so I did some swatching and designed a motif that I think will work well.  This is now charted and ready for me to start making the sample….and I have been patiently awaiting the yarn.  Yes, it had to be the exact same yarn, and it landed on my doormat yesterday having travelled all the way from France.   I will have great difficulty deciding which of the 2 designs to work on – December or Weather?   I will just have to move between them.

I just managed to finish October instalment of the Kaleidoscope Mystery Blanket Club from the Natural Dye Studio.   Only 2 more instalments to do now, so hopefully I’ll have a new blanket by Christmas.    I have said it many times before, so I am repeating myself……I love this yarn!  The single pure merino is a dream to crochet with.  Here is October (sorry for the photo quality – I finished it at night and photographed inside with a flash).

October
October

I am looking forward to Amanda’s 2015 Blanket Club – Zodiac.   This is available in crochet and knitted versions.  I have an insight on the design and I know I am going to love putting the colours together.  The Zodiac motifs are larger than Kaleidoscope and less than 300 are needed for the blanket, so the project will be quite quick to make.  If you want to join in then you can sign up here.  This is the last blanket club that Amanda will be doing for a while, so sign up now before they sell up!

I’m off now to crochet something…….now do I choose December or Weather?

Happy crocheting xxxxxx

 

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

An anniversary gift…

To celebrate my first blog birthday, I thought I should give all my readers a little gift. So I sat down a couple of days ago with my hook and designed a little flower. I got carried away, I couldn’t just make one…….I became a little addicted.

Here it is:

Anniversary Crochet Flower
Anniversary Crochet Flower

I have written the pattern below, but I have also charted it. If you want the chart you can find it as a free download on Ravelry here.  It is also available on LoveCrochet here.

So here is the pattern:

ANNIVERSARY CROCHET FLOWER

This is written in English crochet terms and uses standard abbreviations.
It is made in the round, like a little motif. It is written as if the same colour of yarn is used throughout, so if you want to use a different colour, just break the yarn at the end of the round, fasten off and start with new yarn at the start of the next round.

Abbreviations used:
MR = magic ring – hold thread in hand and wrap working yarn around forefinger twice to create ring, slip ring off your finger and insert hook to pick up first st, 1 ch, then work the necessary sts for round 1 and close the ring tightly by pulling the loose end.
st = stitch
ss = slip stitch
sp = space
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
tr = treble
htr = half treble

I used a 4mm hook (US G/6) and some DK weight yarn, but you can use any yarn as long as you use a suitable hook.

3 colour flower
3 colour flower

Round 1 – make a MR, 1 ch (does not count as a st), 6 dc in ring, pull end tight, ss to 1st dc to join. (NOTE: sometimes this ss wants to be a st! And you may find when you do round 2 that you have one st too many, to remedy this just do 5 dc not 6 dc)
Round 2 – 1 ch (does not count as a st), [1 dc, 3 ch] in each st around, join to 1st dc with a ss (you have 6 3ch sps)
Round 3 – 1 ch (does not count as a st), [1 dc, 1 htr, 3 tr, 1 htr, 1 dc] in each 3ch sp around, join to 1st dc 1ith a ss. Break yarn and fasten off.

Sew in all ends, then enjoy!

You can get a different look depending on how many colours of yarn you use. For some flowers I used one colour for rounds 1 and 2 and a second colour for round 3. On others I used a different colour each round.

What to make with these flowers? Well, lots of things – brooches, hair clips, embellishments, string up as bunting………….just use your imagination. And please let me know what you make.

Happy anniversary 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 do not copy the pattern and please credit me with the design. Thank you!

Almost a year!

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, I know because I’ve just paid a renewal fee on my domain name! I can’t believe how quickly this last year has gone. I guess I must be enjoying life because I haven’t stopped to review or consider the year, I’ve just ploughed on and enjoyed!

Today I took another big step – I started a facebook page. Just search for Agrarian Artisan on Facebook and you should find me!

In the next few days I will publish the next hexagon in The Hexagon Project 2014 and self publish the Molly Shawlette. And that will bring me to 101 designs (at least that is what Ravelry tells me!). Wow! I need a drink!

Here’s the prototype of Molly:

Molly Prototype
Molly Prototype

And a glimpse of motif no 4 of The Hexagon Project 2014:

Hexagon Project 2014 no 4
Hexagon Project 2014 no 4

Happy knitting and crochet xxx

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

A long weekend

This weekend is one of those long weekends in the UK which result from having a Bank Holiday – yay! I have had a lovely quiet weekend because my husband has been away partaking of his hobby on a racetrack at Castle Donington. So what do I do when he is away – well this weekend I planned absolutely nothing!

It is glorious to be able to wake up and do just what you like with no-one getting under your feet. Apart from the cat, that is. So we (the cat and I) have done just as we like. Naturally this involves a little crafting (crochet) but it also includes a little gardening (pruning), rather a lot of tidying (I have moved my craft room around for the 3rd time in a year – I think I need a bigger room), an unusual amount of cleaning (I cleaned all my kitchen cupboards and threw out lots of items that were chipped, cracked or just plain useless) and plenty of RnR.

Ok, I confess the crochet wasn’t exactly ‘little’. The May instalment of the Kaleidoscope mystery blanket came out this weekend, so I spent Saturday evening in front of the television watching all 6 episodes of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice back to back, with crochet hook in hand and cat cuddling next to me (except on several occasions when said cat decided the yarn was the best play thing in the world, even the decoy ball of acrylic I always have handy wasn’t good enough for her!). Sunday night wasn’t quite so intense but did involve crochet, as did Monday (a bit in the morning and another bit in the afternoon) – so I have finished May.

May Kaleidoscope - just getting a little big to photograph on the table
May Kaleidoscope – just getting a little big to photograph on the table

Part of this drive to finish May was because I was expecting the Janie Crow mystery blanket instalment on 5th May (why oh why did I challenge myself to do 2 mystery blankets?) and had to finish Kaleidoscope before it came out. Except I made a mistake – the next Janie Crow instalment comes out on 8th May – so I have 3 days yet. Ah well, maybe I should do some knitting………!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

Sunshine on a rainy day…………

I’ve been waiting for sunshine. All we have had in the UK this last week is haze and pollution. But I wanted sunshine because I wanted to share a photo with you – a photo of my Summer Garden Throw.
The forecast is for rain tomorrow, and Sunday and maybe Monday. And I can’t wait anymore………

So here it is:

Summer Garden Throw
Summer Garden Throw

For me this is a throw not a blanket, because it is airy and not warm enough for real winter snuggling. It is for summer in the garden.

Actually, I am pretty pleased with this photo. I thought I needed full sun but these rainy clouds didn’t hinder the beauty of the throw. I think the summer flowers have their own inner sunshine.

Throw again!
Throw again!

Ooops, couldn’t resist another photo! The yarn is by The Natural Dye Studio – their glorious Dazzle HT. You can see their yarns here: http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/

The Summer Garden Throw is my first magazine published throw/blanket. As you know, I don’t often submit to magazines, so this was quite an event for me. And I have to say Inside Crochet did me proud – I am a cover girl! Well, at least my throw is! And they have produced a beautiful spread in the magazine. If you can, please buy one – if you can’t then have a look here : http://www.insidecrochet.co.uk/blog/revealed-issue-52-s-cover

I was also very pleasantly surprised to see that Lucy at Attic24 is starting a new blanket here: http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2014/04/jollying-to-the-sea.html, with lovely sea inspired colours. This is quite a change for her – she usually does very bright colourful blankets. But as I mentioned before, I am starting to see a subtle change in the crochet world – less bright and (in my eyes) more beautiful

Happy crocheting xxxxx