I’m still here!

I’m so sorry that I have been quiet for the last 10 months, I’m still here but I haven’t had much to say!

Like many people, I’ve had plenty of time for reflection in the last few years. I’ve analysed my design work and realised that, even though I love it, I had become a slave to it. I spent too many hours making items I designed, writing patterns, drawing charts, organising testers and tech editors, and then publishing, promoting and, the most time-consuming, running CALs. I decided the best thing I could do for me is to slow right down and that is exactly what I have done. I confess I like it!

So designs have been minimal and I haven’t even got round to publishing them yet. But I have spent time decluttering and organising. I’ve also used my making time to make things for me, in particular socks which have become one of my easy makes. These are mainly knitted but I have spent time trying to find a great crochet sock – my favourite so far is Riley and Saunders by Joanne Scrace, written for both DK and 4ply yarn in a wide range of sizes.

Over the years, I’ve built a lot of personal stash and, as you will know from previous posts, I have tried to reduce this and did a good job for a while but I need to be more rigorous. So I’ve sorted some stash to sell (this was a hard decision!) and started to advertise it (slowly). So far I’ve advertised only on a facebook group but I may spread further. I’ve also realised that my WIPs have got out of hand so they are having some well deserved love. I’ve pulled out a Cloud Line Wrap that I started last May using some luxury stash yarn and I’m halfway through.

I’m using 4ply yarn in 4 colours and a 4mm hook. I haven’t decided how much of a fringe I want so I’m leaving some lengthy ends. I will do 19 or 20 repeats of the 4 colours using up virtually all the yarn.

I’m keeping some of my precious stash for my own use. I have 6 skeins allocated for more socks and 9 skeins in blues and greens which I may turn into an easy and, hopefully, quick blanket. This may turn into a CAL so watch this space.

Something that will be a CAL is a bag. This will be in blues and greys and will be very similar to the Spring Lifter. This may well emerge later this month 🙂

So I’ve just committed myself to a CAL and there’ll be another blog post soon.

In the meantime, happy crocheting xxx

Round Again CAL – Part 3

How are you getting on with Part 2? I know some of you are still on Part 1 and I have seen even more lovely circles this week. It doesn’t matter what speed you work at, just enjoy the CAL.

So this is Part 3 and I know I shouldn’t have any favourites but these are definitely my favourite variations. They involve what I call ruffles and there are 3 different ruffle variations. They are very effective for single colour yarns.  They all use more yarn than Circle 1, the small and large ruffle used about 3.5g/14m and the double ruffle used about 3.8g/15.25m.

The patterns here are written in UK crochet terms and these are the abbreviations used

st(s) stitch(es)

ch ch

dc double crochet

tr treble

ss slip stitch

ch-sp(s) chain space(s)

Circle 4 – small ruffle

Foundation: 4ch, join into a ring with a ss.

Round 1: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 15tr in ring, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [16tr]

Round 2: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr in st at base of ch, 2tr in each st around, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [32tr]

Round 3: 5ch (counts as 1dc, 4ch), miss 1 st, *1dc in next st, 4ch, miss 1 st; rep from * to end of round, ss in 1st ch from start to join. [16dc, 16 4ch-sps]

Round 4: work this round behind the 4ch-sps from Round 3, 1ch (does not count as st), ss in 1st missed st in Round 2, 3ch (counts as 1tr), 2tr in st at base of ch, 3tr in each following missed st, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [48tr]

Round 5: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr in next st, 2tr in next st, *1tr in each of next 2 sts, 2tr in next st; rep from * to end of round, ss in 3rd ch from start to join, break yarn and fasten off.  [64tr]

I made 16 of Circle 4 for my blanket.

Circle 5 – large ruffle

Foundation: 4ch, join into a ring with a ss.

Round 1: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 15tr in ring, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [16tr]

Round 2: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr in st at base of ch, 2tr in each st around, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [32tr]

Round 3: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 2tr in next st, *1tr in next st, 2tr in next st; rep from * to end of round, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [48tr]

Round 4: 6ch (counts as 1dc, 5ch), miss 2 sts, *1dc in next st, 5ch, miss 2 sts; rep from * to end of round, ss in 1st ch from start to join.  [16dc, 16 5ch-sps]

Round 5: work this round behind the 5ch-sps from Round 4, 1ch (does not count as st), ss in 1st missed st in Round 3, 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr in st at base of ch, 2tr in each missed st around, ss in 3rd ch from start to join, break yarn and fasten off.  [64tr]

I made 18 of Circle 5 for my blanket.

Circle 6 – double ruffle

Foundation: 4ch, join into a ring with a ss.

Round 1: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 15tr in ring, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [16tr]

Round 2: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr in st at base of ch, 2tr in each st around, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [32tr]

Round 3: 5ch (counts as 1dc, 4ch), miss 1 st, *1dc in next st, 4ch, miss 1 st; rep from * to end of round, ss in 1st ch from start to join. [16dc, 16 4ch-sps]

Round 4: work this round behind the 4ch-sps from Round 3, 1ch (does not count as st), ss in 1st missed st in Round 2, 3ch (counts as 1tr), 2tr in st at base of ch, 3tr in each following missed st, ss in 3rd ch from start to join.  [48tr]

Round 5: 6ch (counts as 1dc, 5ch), miss 2 sts, *1dc in next st, 5ch, miss 2 sts; rep from * to end of round, ss in 1st ch from start to join.  [16dc, 16 5ch-sps]

Round 6: work this round behind the 5ch-sps from Round 5, 1ch (does not count as st), ss in 1st missed st in Round 4, 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr in st at base of ch, 2tr in each missed st around, ss in 3rd ch from start to join, break yarn and fasten off.  [64tr]

I made 16 of Circle 6 for my blanket.

Don’t forget there is a paid for pattern on Ravelry which is also being released in parts and has a US crochet terms available too.

I would love to see photos of your little circles, please share them on Facebook and Ravelry.

Until then, happy crocheting xxx

All patterns and photographs are copyright

It has a name!

My 2022 blanket for the CAL has a name – it is called Round Again Blanket. Round because it is made of circles and Again because I’m using scrap yarn so I’m using the yarn again!

In my last post I shared photos of all my little circles and promised I would give you details of start and timescale soon. Well soon is now! Testing is finished and I’m feeling very happy about the CAL.

I’ve had some lovely feedback from the testers including:

  • addictive
  • easy to crochet
  • fly off the hook
  • look great in variegated yarn

These are things I was aiming for and it looks like I have achieved them. So, after being so far behind in the preparation a few weeks ago, I am ready to share the details with you.

The CAL will be released in 6 parts

  1. Basic circle
  2. Variations 1 and 2
  3. Variations 3, 4 and 5
  4. Variations 6 and 7
  5. Squaring off and joining the circle motifs
  6. The border

Size, yarn and hook

The blanket I made is about 110cm by 160cm.  I used approx. 650g/2600m of scrap sock yarn and 200g/800m of a mid grey sock yarn for joining and some of the border.  These figures are approx. because I used scraps of different types and ever so slightly different meterage. I made 187 motifs in total. As I used sock yarn I used a 3mm hook. But of course you could use any yarn you like as long as you use a suitable hook size. And you can make it any size you like.


The stitches used are all the normal sts – in UK terms these are ch, dc, htr, tr, dtr, ss and some sts worked together, nothing fancy at all. Everything is worked in the round, so you need to know how to do this, but otherwise I think a beginner could cope.

The pattern

The motifs will be published here on my blog in UK crochet terms and a comprehensive paid for pattern will be available on Ravelry in both UK and US terms.


Part 1 (the basic circle) will be published here on Saturday 19th February, and each further part follows every Saturday with the final part (the border) on 26th March. The Ravelry pattern will be updated on the same days.

Just before I blocked my blanket I took a few photos including several of the back of the blanket because I think it looks just as lovely on the back, making it reversible. The back doesn’t show some of the detail of the motifs but it does show the lovely colours and it’s amazing how beautiful scraps of sock yarn can be together. It also makes a good sneak preview photo!

If you join the CAL it would be lovely if you share progress on Facebook or Ravelry.

Until next week, happy crocheting xxx

Another revamp

Earlier this year I resolved to update some of my older patterns but after a couple of remakes I’m afraid I slowed down.

This week I decided I must catch up, so I chose another cowl which is a very quick make.  It uses one ball of super bulky yarn and you could make it in one evening.   The original also used some fun fur yarn to give it a fancy edge, but I decided against doing this for the second version.

So here it is:  Christmas Cowl version 2


It uses one ball of Debbie Bliss Roma, a lovely soft wool/alpaca blend.  I chose the colour Teal because I like blues (have you noticed?!).

It is slightly longer, narrower and, because of the lack of fun fur, somewhat plainer than the original

You can find the pattern here and it includes the pattern for the original design and version 2. As usual it is written in English and US crochet terms and has a chart.

I’ve now revamped 3 patterns, and they are all similar in some ways.  So the next revamp will be different – just wait and see 🙂

Happy crocheting xxx

Reviewing and updating

I started to publish my designs over 5 years ago (Phew! where did the time go?), and now I have a portfolio of over 150 designs and 10 ebooks.  But 5 years is a long time in the design world and my pattern layout has changed.  Also I didn’t start making crochet charts until September 2012 (when I purchased the software).  So one of my plans for 2016 is to review my oldest patterns and re-vamp if necessary.

I’ve already done my first review and re-vamp (and it’s not yet the end of January!).  I chose a favourite old pattern that I think doesn’t date and is very adaptable.   The Squeeee-easy Crochet Cowl:


The pattern is re-styled and now includes charts. I also re-made the cowl in some different yarn.  The original was made in lovely soft Mirasol Miski yarn (above), 100% Llama, which is still available but is pricey – the snug version of the cowl would take 2 skeins at a total cost of £13 to £14.

I chose a slightly thicker yarn for the re-make – Lang Sempione, a blend of Wool, Acrylic and Mohair – and I made a slightly larger size, using under 3 balls, and it is more affordable, but just as squishy, at less than £9 total.


The pattern includes details of how I varied it for size and yarn, as well as suggestions for how to adapt it further in size or for different yarns.

You a find the pattern on Ravelry here.  And as a special offer until midnight tonight, you can purchase it for half price, that’s only £1, if you use coupon code RENEW.

My next re-vamp is a more recent pattern, but I’ll save telling you  about that another day, until then

Happy crocheting xx

Here we go……..

Welcome to the Winter CAL 2015.   Today I’m introducing the CAL, providing information on requirements and the pattern for the first square motif, a ‘solid’ granny which should be pretty familiar and which will help you estimate your own requirements if you aren’t using the same yarn.

This post is rather long, so make a cuppa and settle down for a long read !


First let’s talk about yarn.  I’m using a double knit (DK) yarn and I’m making 2 blankets.

My first is a ‘sample’ blanket using 6 bright colours which cheer up winter and the second is also a bright colour palate but will be structured differently. I’m using the second colour set to crochet along with you.

Sample yarn:  John Arbon, Knit by Numbers DK, 100% merino, 100g/250m per skein.  2 skeins each of Blue (039), Pink (063), Yellow (052), Green (071) and Purple (029)  and 1 skein of Orange (015).  This is sufficient for a blanket 7 motifs square, so a total of 49 motifs and a small border.

John Arbon Knit by Numbers
John Arbon Knit by Numbers

CAL yarn: Stylecraft Life DK, 75% acrylic/25% wool, 100g/298m per ball.  I’m using 2 balls each of Teal (2416), Mint (2342), Aqua (2357) and Fern (2311) and 1 ball each of Daffodil (2394), Rose (2301), Melon (2359) and Zing (2356).    The blanket will be 7 motifs square also, the same as the sample, but I will put a larger border on this.

Stylecraft Life DK
Stylecraft Life DK


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


The motifs are square and each motif is approx. 19cm (just under 8in) square after blocking, using the ‘sample’ yarn.


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.  Later in this blog I show you how to you estimate your yarn requirements.


Some of the motifs in this design work well in just one colour, others work well in up to 5 colours.  So whatever you choose, I recommend you have at least 5 colours of yarn.  I used 6 colours in my sample blanket and I’m using 8 colours in my CAL blanket.


There are 8 motif designs, and you can use as many or as few as you like.    The first 2 designs are free and will be published on this blog, so you could use just these 2. The first design is published today, the second design will be published on 26th December.

The other 6 will be published weekly thereafter and will be included in a comprehensive pattern which will be available to buy on Ravelry, it will be published initially on 26th December and updated as each motif is released. Photos of the new motifs will appear on this blog, along with my progress updates.


You can make the blanket any size you like.   The lap blanket I am making will be 7 motifs square – a total of 49 motifs.  It will be just over 1.3m/52in square with a small border.


This is an approximate way to work out your yarn requirement.

First make the motif in this blog.  I worked out it uses an average amount of yarn for all the 8 motifs, so is a good guide as to how much each motif will use.

Then measure your motif.  Using this measurement work out how big you want your blanket to be – so if the motif is 20cm and you want a blanket 120cm square then it will need to be 6 motifs square – that’s 36 motifs.

I prefer my blankets to have an odd number along each side, as visually I find odd numbers more appealing.  So you may prefer to aim for 7 by 7 (49 motifs), or 5 by 5 (25 motifs) or even 9 by 9 (81 motifs).

Whatever you decide, 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 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.

For my bright sample I had 49 motifs, each weighing an average of 20g – so 49 by 20 plus 10% is  1078g and the skeins come in 100g, so I need 10.78 – or 11.

The estimating works if you are using all the same yarn, 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.  I’ll provide information on this in my Ravelry group here if you want it – so just join in the discussion and ask!

Now onto the pattern:

This is the first motif.  It is similar to one I used last year but this has more rounds in total, it’s a ‘solid’ granny square.


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

Solid motif
Solid motif

I made 8 of these in a variety of colours:

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 first 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), 2tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1tr into each tr along each side and (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) in each 2ch-sp on the corner, finish with 1tr in the first 2ch-sp where you started the round and join to 3rd ch from start with a ss. You should have 7tr along each side and 2ch in each corner of your motif.

Rounds 3 to 8: Repeat Round 2.  Each round the number of tr along each side will increase by 4, so at the end of Round 8 you should have 31tr along each side and 2ch in each corner of your motif.

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


In my sample blanket I made 8 of these motifs in just one colour each.   But you can use up to 8 colours, just by changing colour at the start of each round.  I will start my CAL blanket later today and I’m planning on using at least 2 colours on each of my 8 motifs.  I’ll post progress photos tomorrow.


The ‘solid’ motifs can be positioned anywhere in the blanket but I thought it would help to give structure to the blanket if I positioned them around the edge of it.  So here is where I put them in my blanket (shown as 1):

Solid motif locations
Solid motif locations

If you want to chat about this, there is a discussion thread on my Ravelry forum here.

Or you could just comment on this post.

I’m looking forward to seeing what yarns you choose 🙂

Until tomorrow…..

Happy crocheting xxx

Autumn Beaches…

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

A round up!

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

Pastel Cowl

I’ve just been shopping, I don’t normally go on a Saturday as I can go any day of the week and prefer to avoid the crowds.  But today I had to go because I was desperate to buy a copy of the latest Mollie Makes, issue number 55.  I should have received a contributor copy but it hasn’t arrived yet and I just wanted to see it to check  it was absolutely true that one of my designs is in it!   And it is:


I have worked as the crochet tech editor for Mollie Makes for a few years now, and it’s a great magazine to work for, not least because all the people I work with there are truly lovely.  However, I have never submitted any designs before; you see I don’t submit designs to any magazine often as I like to work at my own pace and don’t want the stress of deadlines.   In this instance I was partway through making the cowl and just sent a photo of it to the Deputy Editor (yes, partially made with lots of loose ends – in fact the photo didn’t look at all good!).   So I was very happily surprised to find they wanted it!

Pastel Cowl
Pastel Cowl

Having the evidence of the publication before my eyes, I settled down to a cuppa and enjoyed reading it.  I can’t help lingering over my design though – the photography and layout is wonderful, they have done me proud.  The cowl was a dream to make, because the motif is straightforward, quick to learn and easy to join….and the yarn I used was Drops Baby Alpaca Silk which is sooooo soft (and great value for luxury fibres at less than £4 per ball).

I would love to see any cowls made to this design, so if you are tempted to make one please do share a photo with me.

Happy crocheting xxx


Supporting the Meadow Farm Wool Project

Towards the end of February this year something interesting popped into my twitter feed – rent a sheep through the Meadow Farm Wool Project.  It grabbed my interest straightaway and I popped over to the website.  Within minutes I was renting a sheep!

In due course I will receive yarn spun from the fleece of the sheep (well maybe not the exact one I am renting, but from the same flock).  I am not an expert on fleece but I know Jacob will be strong and probably good for hardwearing items.   This is a great project, with excellent provenance for the wool – grown in Somerset and spun in Yorkshire – British through and through, and by renting a sheep I am also supporting 2 excellent charities – The Teenage Cancer Trust and Headway.

The project will have ideas on patterns for the yarn in due course.   But I am impatient!    So I decided I should design a crochet motif for the yarn, and not just for me.  I think Jane and Annie (who established the project) would appreciate some pattern support, and I think their project is extremely worthwhile – so the design is for them.  They will be sending out the motif to all sheep renters.

Here’s a sneaky peek:

Meadow Farm Motif
Meadow Farm Motif

I can’t wait to receive my yarn, I think I will be making some lovely cushion covers with my motif.

Happy crocheting xxx