Create · Crochet · Resources

Crochet How to – Weaving in ends No 1

Soft Grey Blanket image

Yes that tedious chore of weaving in the ends!  I have made lots of blankets, pillows, scarfs and shawls in the last few years and have learnt very quickly that an essential skill when you crochet is weaving in your ends. Making a good job of weaving in your ends is the difference between making an average crochet masterpiece and a exceptional crochet masterpiece. Your masterpiece should stands the test of time and become a cherished item that the recipient covets for many years. Quality of finishing is therefore essential and worth every moment of your time.

I’m don’t usually agree to make things for other people that are big and take a while. This is not because I don’t want to make big beautiful crochet things for the people I know and love it’s because I suffer from Blanket Fatigue. I call it Blanket Fatigue because I get weary halfway through making a big blanket or shawl and usually divert off to something else for a week or so before I can bring myself to go to something as repetitive, usually because I just want to finish it.

In the last six months I  have only made items that are large and have taken a while so are somewhat repetitive.  I have done this on purpose as I have had to overcome my issues with Blanket Fatigue.

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I have learnt a lot about focus, patients, gauge and pattern complacency.   Pattern complacency is when you think you know the pattern in your head off by heart so you don’t need to read it, write it down or look at it.  Then after many rows of crocheting you realise that something doesn’t look quite right so you think maybe I should just check the pattern?  When you check it, after much work and many, many rows, you realise you got the patter wrong and all the hard work has to be undone and redone.

The blanket shown was a commission for a friend, the pattern is free its not one of mine, it’s by Paton’s I have shared the link below. Because this was a commission I wanted it to be as perfect as crochet can be so finishing was just a important as achieving even stitches. I’ve tried all sorts of techniques to weave in the ends but in my view this one works the best.  The ends might appear after a first wash and initial use but once they are trimmed they don’t reappear again so its worth the effort. Try it out and see the brilliant result.

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Tutorial

You are basically finishing your work by weaving in your ends in a U shape this stops the end from working its way out by holding it tightly in the stitches.  This doesn’t work for all crochet patterns, this blanket is big so its a perfect solution to finish it and make it last. Watch out for future tutorials when I will share more weaving in the ends techniques.

 

Start by stitching horizontally for a few stitches, then vertically, repeat this at least two times to make sure the end doesn’t work it’s way out.

Look out for future posts on how to weave in ends on other crochet projects.

You can follow me by selecting the contact me link in the main menu at the top of the page, fill in your details and press submit and you will receive all my blog posts the moment they are published.

For information on the pattern for this blanket and the supplies I used click here.

Blanket soft grey Pin

 

 

 

 

Create · Crochet

Crochet Blanket – Soft Grey

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In my post Crochet How to – Weave in your ends I shared pictures of this beautiful warm and comforting crocheted blanket.  In this post I’m sharing the link to the pattern, the resources I’ve used and a stitch diagram.

You can follow me by selecting the contact me link from the main menu at the top of this page, fill in your details and you will receive all my blog posts the moment they are published.

Pattern Link

This is the  link to the pattern, I used the same colours but not the same yarn, the pattern is a written pattern so I’ve included a stitch diagram below just in case that is your preference to follow a diagram. Or that you are learning to follow a stitch diagram and want a simple one to follow.

http://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/hibernate-blanket.html?utm_id=5555

Supplies

All the supplies can be purchased from Love Crochet to find the page click HERE

10 balls King Cole Big Value Super Chunky – Colour Grey (0024)

4 balls King Cole Big Value Super Chunky – Colour Graphite (1545)

3 balls King Cole Big Value Super Chunky – Colour Champagne (0012)

10mm crochet hook

Yarn Needle

Scissors

Pattern Stitch diagram

Blanket soft grey stitch diagram v1

Key

Blanket soft grey diagram key

Please note this post contains affiliate links

Create · Crochet · Crochet Patterns

Crochet Shawl – Waves

 

DSC_0062In October 2016  I visited the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in the UK. The Knitting and Stitching show is a well known UK craft show.  Oh my goodness it was huge, I haven’t been to the exhibition space at Alexandra palace before so I didn’t really know what to expect.  I have never seen so many stalls with every kind of yarn, material, sewing thread, sewing machines, tapestry kits, quilting kits and more.  Name a soft furnishing craft and it was there, totally amazing!

The trip was mind mindbogglingly overwhelming but fantastic all at the same time. There was just so much to look at it was an information overload. Whilst there were only a few crochet stands, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more, the crochet kits on sale were brilliant and if you book a couple of weeks in advance you can join classes for a small fee. I love Irish and filet crochet using fine cotton thread and small hooks I like the complicated patterns and uniform finish. As next a step towards lace making  I visited the tatting stand manned by the Ring of Tatters whilst I was there. They had some beautifully intricate items that I could only dream of making.  I did start to learn tatting but started at the wrong time, just before Christmas didn’t give me much spare time to devote to a new hobby.  I still want to learn to Tatt but my focus remains on enhancing my crochet skills and continuing to learn and grow and to design more complex patterns  to share.

In April this year I visited the Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia it wasn’t as big as the Alexandra Palace show so it was much less overwhelming but disappointingly only one crochet stand! Following the few that were at the Alexandra palace show the previous October,  it gave me confirmation that in the UK crochet is still very niche. There was an abundance of quilters stands and some very nice sewing and tapestry stands. What I did enjoy about both shows were the novelty items and new crafts. Felting was big at Olympia, my niece purchased a spinning top to spin her own yarn from raw wool.  She made a very clever tapestry from it.  I purchased two things at the Olympia show, a neat compact pair of scissors perfect to take when you are travelling with crochet and the piece de resistance has to be this beautiful hand died silk and merino.  A 2 ply shank of pure silk and merino loveliness.IMG_2362 (2)

You can see it here adorning my dinning room chair.  This was the first time I have purchased a shank rather than a ball of wool. Next time I will definitely pay for the shank to be wound into a ball as  I did get myself in a bit of a pickle winding it to a ball. I managed to salvage most of it from the knotty mess I made.  The picture shows the beautiful colours in all their glory.

As usual I had purchased for the colour and had no idea what to make with it. At 870 yards (795 m) there were lots of options for different projects . I’ve been busy studying different crochet stitches and patterns from a variety of books and magazines. With a view to designing my own patterns.  I’ve only made myself two things in the last year both shawls that are more for autumn and winter than for summer or a light autumn scarf.  When I saw this beautiful shank of hand died silk and wool as an ideal opportunity to make something for me that was a little lighter and multipurpose.  I purchased this from a lady who hand dyes her own yarn Sheep on Mars has an etsy shop you can find it by clicking here Sheep On Mars.  I recommend having a look, the yarn isn’t too expensive and there are some really beautiful colours to choose from.

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The scarf took me longer than I expected as, as usual, I have many projects on the go and this took a back seat to completing the design and making the pretty beach huts. This scarf has traveled most of the South West of England as I travel for work it has been the perfect travel companion to distract me when I needed to clear my head.  I have been a little lost for something to keep my hands busy since I finished it.

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I found lots of patterns to use this beautiful ball of wool and started two different projects with it, one a solomons knot and one a similar repeating fan pattern but I didn’t like they way the colours showed in them so I frogged (unpicked) them both. If I’ve learnt anything from this make it’s that you need to carefully pick what you make with a variegated yarn.  They are very attractive and enticing to look at as a shank or a ball but they don’t always make something quite as pretty.   Following some further searching I came across a free Ravelry pattern that fitted the bill perfectly.  The pattern is called Lacy Feather and Fan but I think it looks like the sea waves in this pretty hand died yarn. I imagine the sun shining on the waves and giving way to all the pretty colours.  You can find the free pattern by pressing here .

The pattern is a really simple but mightily effective repeating fan, I already have some ideas about how to use it for something for next year in a much thicker yarn.

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The trick with this pattern is to keep your stitches even, tension is important.  I did undo it a few times and took it back to redo a few rows because it didn’t look quite right.

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I spent a long time blocking it too. You need some patients when pinning it out to pull as far as possible. I’m pleased that it has kept its shape  since I made and blocked it.

 

 

 

 

This pattern has inspired my own design which is underway as I type watch this space for a pretty winter scarf designed by me.

 

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Crochet Shawl Pin

 

Create · Crochet · Crochet Patterns

Crochet Baby Blanket – In the Jungle

IMG_2928This was a real last minute make, I just started a new job at work and the lady sitting opposite me was pregnant. When I asked when her maternity leave started she said in two weeks! My fingers have had to start working fast to make her something with love to welcome her new baby in to the world.  She is having a little girl and her baby theme is the juggle.  I had a look around to get some baby juggle themed inspriation,  there are some real cute themes out there. Little angrim monkeys that are so sweet. Soft greens and accent oranges with leafy wallpaper patterns.  Very pretty and soothing for a new baby room.  So I get what she means by jungle theme but what am I going to make? I have bought a couple of crochet stitch books recently  to help me design more of my own projects on consulting them and after making a few samples I decided on a simple granny square for the bulk of the blanket but I needed something special for the border.

There are lots of web sites and publication that I search when I need some inspiration, pinterest is a favourite place to find visual stimulation.  For the border for this blanket I wanted something like a leaf or a jungle flower.  I went to a favourite website My Picot.  It has great stitch tutorials and patterns too and the bonus is they are all free, they just ask that you give the credit were its due when you use the patterns.  You can find it by pressing here .  The border is developed from one of the stitch patterns. There are lots more stitch patterns and other crochet patterns, you can sign up and have unlimited access and if you knit too then there are knitting patterns as well. A great website that I refer to regularly.

This is the final product and I’m really pleased to say was well received.  At the time of publishing baby has yet to arrive and is now officially late. Hang in there Mum it will be worth the wait.

Baby Blanket – In the Jungle

Supplies

4 balls Sidar Snuggly White (251) DK 50g 165m 100% Acrylic (Colour A)

1 ball Sidar Snuggly Wobble (403) 50g ball 165m 100% Acrylic (Colour B)

1 ball Sidar Snuggly pumpkin patch (458) 50g ball 165m 100% Acrylic (Colour C)

1 ball Sidar Snuggly Khaki (450) DK 50g ball 165m 100% Acrylic (Colour D)

These are all available from Love Crochet you can search for them here.

4mm crochet hook

Yarn need for sewing in the ends

Scissors

Special Stitches

Picot

1pct = 1 dc, ch 3, in the next st, sl st in the 1st ch of the ch 3, sl st in the dc

Puff Stitch

1PS = Yo, insert the hook into the st, yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, insert the hook into the same st, yo, pull through 2 loops (3 loops on the hook), yo, insert the hook into the same st, yo, pull through all 4 loops. 1 puff stitch complete.

Pattern

Main blanket Granny Square

Start with a magic circle, or ch4  slst to join and start is the first ch on the hook.

Row 1: Ch 3 2 trc, *ch2, 3 trc*, repeat * to * twice more, pull the magic circle closed, sl st in the top of the ch 3 to join.. Turn

Row 2: ch3, 2 trc in the ch 2 space, ch 2, 3 trc, ch 1,* 3trc in the next ch 2 space, ch 2, 3 trc, ch1*, repeat  twice more end with a ch 1 sl st in the top of the ch 3 to join. Turn

Row 3: ch3, 2 trc in the first ch space, ch 1, *3trc, ch2, 3trc (first corner formed), ch1, 3 trc in the next ch space, ch 1* repeat twice more, 3 trc, ch2, 3 trc into the last ch space, ch 1 sl st in the top of the ch 3 to join. Turn

Row 4: ch3, 2trc in the first ch1 space, ch 1*3trc,ch2,3trc in the next ch2 sp, ch1 3trc in the next ch1 sp, twice, ch 1, rep from * twice more, 3trc, ch2, 3trc in the ch 2 sp, ch1, 3tr into the last ch1 sp, ch1 sl st into the top of the ch3 to join. Turn.

Continue with the pattern until the square measures approximately 31 inches. Finish the row by changing to colour B in the joining stitch.

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Border rows

Note: the corner can either be a trc, ch2, trc or it can be a pct stitch, the picture above shows the corner with a pct st.  The picture below shows a corner with a trc,ch2, trc. The pattern is for a trc,ch2, trc corner.  You may need to adjust at the corner by reduce the miss 2 sts.

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Row 1: (Colour B)  ch 1, *1 dc in the next 2 trc, 1 dc in the ch 1 space*, repeat to the first corner, *1dc,ch2, 1dc in the ch 2 sp, 1 dc, in the next 3 trc,to the next corner, repeat from *twice more, join with sl st in the starting ch 1. DO NOT TURN work the border from the right side.

Row 2: ( Colour B) Ch1, *1 dc in the next dc, 1 pct, ch 2, skip 2 sts, 1 trc, ch2, 1trc in the next st, ch 2, skip 2 sts, rep * to * to the first corner, 1trc, ch2, 1trc, in the corner, *ch2, skip 2 sts, 1 trc, ch2, 1trc in the next st, ch 2 skip 2 sts I pct, sl st in the base of the starting ch1, cast off.

Row 3: (Colour C) Join colour C in the first ch 2 sp between the trc, ch2, trc of Row 2.  *ch1,1ps, ch2, 1ps, ch2,1ps*. Repeat * to * to your first corner, ch2,1ps, ch2, 1ps, ch2,1ps, ch2. *1ps, ch2, 1ps, ch2,1ps, ch1* repeat * to* to your next corner. ch2,1ps, ch2, 1ps, ch2,1ps, ch2. Continue to the end of the round.  Sl st in the ch1 starting ch, case off . Do not turn.

Row 4: (Colour D) Join Colour D in the same space as the starting point for row 3.  Ch 4, 1trc in the ch2 space, *ch1, 1trc in the ch2 space*,repeat * to * to the first corner.
Ch 5 at the corner instead of the ch 1 repeat * to *, repeat three more times, sl st to join in the 3rd ch of the starting ch4.  Do not turn.

Row 5: ch3, 1 trc in the ch1 space, 1trc in the trc, 1 trc in the ch1 space, repeat * to * to the first corner.  2 trc, ch 2, 2trc in the ch 5 space, repeat * to * to the next corner, three more times. Sl st in the 3rd ch of the starting ch 3. Cast off.

Finish the blanket by weaving in the ends and hand wash and dry flat to shape it. The finished blanket without the border should measure 31 inches however you can make it as big as you want to.  Any smaller and its probably a little too small.  with the border it measures 34 inches.

 

Baby Blanket - In the jungle pin

 

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Create · Crochet · Crochet Patterns · Inspiration

Crochet Shawl – Pattern Review

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In the UK its the middle of the summer a perfect time to start thinking about making beautiful crocheted things for autumn and winter.  Its seems a bit crazy to be thinking about winter just now but for me personally I need the time and creative space to make things whilst I continue in my bid to learn as I go. I wrote a pattern review for a Debbie Bliss Shawl I made at the beginning of this year, it was very popular post so I’ve decided to share this one too. I hope you like it and want to embark on the pattern yourself.   I am in the middle of making a a series of crocheted shawls or wraps to extend my repertoire and to understand how I start to design more things for myself. They are in hot demand with my family and friends, there will be something on the blog later this summer for you to try out.

Back to this pattern. Stash Buster Stripes by Laura Strutt aka Made Peachy from the book Modern Crocheted Shawls and Wraps is a great pattern if you are learning to crochet and you want to progress to something slightly more complex and larger to gain more confidence.  Don’t be put off by the size once you get going it actually works up pretty fast.

Here is my finished version beautifully modeled by my sister.

I  have worn it a few times on chilly days and to a couple of outdoor evening events when its been a little cool. If you live in the UK you will know that summer evenings are not hot, except on rare occasions. It has been perfect for a late summer evening  with my husband enjoying the last of the light relaxing after a busy week at work.

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On my crochet journey I want to learn as much as possible, I don’t like to purchase patterns but after making this beautiful shawl in my own colours I had to buy this book. It’s available on Amazon at a very reasonable price.  I highly recommend it, its easy to follow and  has some very enticing images to encourage you to make something from the book.  All of the patterns have a one, two or three star rating so you can choose were to start.  This one is a two star, I found it very straightforward to make and there are lots of different styles to try out.  I have my eye on two more patterns from the book they are the Walled Garden and Woodland Colours patterns.  I really, really want to play around with the crocodile stitch the Woodland Colours pattern will certainly make me an expert in the stitch. That said they will both test my skill and staying power to make bigger crochet items as I do find that I flag halfway through a big project and get a bit bored. Trying out new stuff all the time is really important to keep my interest and motivation going and it helps my creative side think of other ideas for my own patterns.

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This pattern was brilliant for working out the stitch repetitions, growing the shawl with increases at both ends and trying out new stitches.

My advice is to watch the pattern at the start and end of each row make sure you’ve understood the increase at each end or you get a curl going on at the ends.  Once you are into the colour changes its a pain to frog (unpick) your work and redo it so check each time that its correct if you are not sure re do your stitches it will be worth it in the end.

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My other tip is to think about what type of hook you use. I use an Addi Swing crochet hook, they are a little expensive but I have had a couple of operations on my right wrist and value my hands as a result. The cost of the hook is worth it to save my wrist.  They are very comfortable to use especially for a big project, you don’t get a squished finger from holding the hook to hard.  The best thing about them are when you need to do a stitch that needs some even repeating length, because you have a short metal shaft you can do really even puff stitches as you can use the whole of the length of the shaft each time making each loop and each puff stitch the same size. They are great for solomon’s knot too. You can buy them from Lovecrochet.

Here is the link to the Made peachy Stash Buster shawl pattern – Press Here.  Made Peachy has lots of other great stuff on her website so do please go have a look. There are some amazing craft ideas and other great stuff for you.

I used the following colours all from the  Stylecraft Aran Special acrylic yarn range which can be purchased from lovecrochet.

 

Colour A – 1402 Camel 3 balls 100g 196m

Colour B – 1005 Cream  1 ball 100g 196m

Colour C – 1709 Gold 1 ball 100g 196m

Colour D – 1029 Copper 1 ball 100g 196m

Colour E – 1065 Meadow 1 ball 100g 196m

Colour F – 1027 Khaki 1 ball 100g 196m

I love the original choice of colours for this shawl and I love the colours I choose for my version. Have the courage to choose your own colours and really make this shawl your own.

 

 

Create · Crochet · Crochet Patterns

Crochet Beach Huts Free Pattern

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When a very good friend asked me to crochet her something for her beach house on Isle of White we looked at lots of things I could make that would fit with her theme and that I could design and share. We settled on beach huts as epitome of an English summer at the beach.  I went on the hunt for a pattern and I had been looking for a while but hadn’t come across anything suitable.  You will know if you are a regular reader that I don’t like to pay for patterns unless they are very special. Then Coastal Crochet, a very clever lady and fellow crochet blogger, designed a coastal wall hanging for the Hobby Craft blog.  You can find the Hobby Craft blog post here, its a very cute wall hanging.  One of the motifs was a beach hut perfect to help me work out my own pattern for my friends beach house.  The beach huts I’ve made are intended to hang on her stairs which are open to the living room so I had some exact sizing to work to, to make sure they fitted in their final location.

My inspiration for the colours of the beach huts came from the Isle of White.  My friend took lots of pictures of all the beach houses she saw as she explored the different beaches on the island.

Here are some of the pictures :-

There is only one beach hut on the garland that doesn’t exist on the Isle of White, the Neapolitan beach hut featured at the beginning of this post.  Neapolitan ice cream is a favourite for my family, it always reminds me of summer and eating neapolitan ice cream sandwiches on hot day.  The chocolate, vanilla and strawberry sweetness, sticky sweet hands and the delicious vanilla and strawberry ice cream aromas mingled with chocolate.

Here are the finished beach huts on the beach on The Isle of White with the inspiration for the project in the background.

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Pattern Notes & Tips

I have set out the pattern below. At the end of the pattern I’ve given you some options for embellishing a beach hut, an ice cream, a garland and a star.  On my crochet journey I haven’t found many simple stitch diagrams. The big diagrams seem confusing and a bit scary if your trying to read them for the first time. You can overcome your fear and have a go with the simple ones I’ve included for the embellishments.

The garland string  for the whole garland (not the embellishment) is made from garden twine crocheted into a chain, attaching a beach hut at intervals so that the string hangs in between each hut. You should choose your interval to suit your chosen place to hang your garland so I haven’t included it in the pattern.

I think the beach huts work brilliantly as a garland.  Here they are hanging on my staircase waiting to be delivered to The Isle of White. It looked quite bare when they were gone, I guess I’ll have to make something to go in their place.

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Here are a few close ups so you can see the colour combinations I used and so you can see the garland embellishments.

 

Beach Huts Pattern

Supplies

Stylecraft Classique cotton double knit various colours.  As a guide one 100g ball will make five beach huts.

3.5 mm crochet hook or hook to achieve the size

Scissors and a yarn needle to finish

Steam block using spray starch to stiffen for shaping and hanging

Special Stitches and Instructions

Two  Treble Crochet Together – 2trc2tog

YO insert the hook into the next stitch YO, pull through two loops, YO, insert the hook into the next stitch, YO pull through 2 loops, YO, all three loops on the hook.  When stitching the rows that require 2trc2tog work as loosely as you can to keep your rows even.

Ch 3 at the beginning of each row does NOT count as a treble crochet (trc), this will give you more even and straight edges with no gaps in the starting stitches.

Pattern

Main body of the Beach Hut

This pattern is for a plain beach hut. If you want a stripey beach hut change colour at the end of each row when adding the starting ch 3.  Use the edging colour of your choice at row 14.

Ch 23 to start

Row 1: 1 trc in the 4th ch from the hook, 1 trc in each st to the end of the row (20 trc 1 ch3) turn.

Row 2: Ch3, 1 trc in the first trc, 1 trc in each stitch to the end.,  (20 trc, 1 ch3)

Row 3-9: repeat row 2.

Row 10: Ch 2 2trc2tog, 2trc2tog, 1 trc in the next 12 sts, 2trc2tog,2trc2tog, turn.

Row 11: Ch 2, 2trc2tog, 2trc2tog, trc in the next 8 sts, 2trc2tog,2trc2tog, turn.

Row 12: Ch 2, 2trc2tog,2trc2tog, trc in the next 4 sts, 2trc2tog,2trc2tog, turn.

Row 13: 2trc2tog four times, turn.

Row 14 – edging : ch1, dc in the next 4 sts, ch 1, dc in the same st to form a corner. 9 dc in the side of the trc to form the side of the roof, ch1, dc to form the corner of the roof. 19 dc in the side of the trc, ch1, 1dc in the same stitch for form a corner. 20 dc in the back of each of the ch sts in the starting row, Ch1, 1dc to form a corner.  19 dc in the side of the trcs, ch1, 1 dc to  form a corner a the base of the roof, 9dc in the side of the trc to the top, ch1, dc in the same st, sl st in the ch 1 starting stitch to join.  The main part of the hut is now complete.

Roof

Ch 33, 1trc in the 4th ch from the hook, 1trc in the next 14 sts, 2 trc in the same st (3trc in total in the same st) 1 trc in each st to the end.  Cast of leaving a long tail to attach the roof to the main body of the hut.

Door

Ch 11

Row 1: 1 trc in the 4th ch from the hook, 1 trc in each st to the end turn.

Row 2: Ch3 (does not count as a trc) 1trc in the same st, 1 trc in each st to the end turn.

Row 3 – 8: repeat Row 2

Row 9 (border): ch 1, 1dc in the next 7 sts. ch 1, 1dc in the same st to form a corner. 17 dc down the side of the door spacing evenly along the side of the trcs, 1dc, ch1, 1dc in the same st to form the corner, 1 dc in the back of each of the starting chs to the end 1dc, ch1, 1 dc to form the corner,7 dc down the side of the door spacing evenly along the side of the trcs, 1dc, ch1, 1dc in the same st to form the corner. Sl st in to the starting ch to finish. Cast off leaving a long tail to attach the door to the main body of the hut.

Finishing

To make up your beach hut stitch your door from the centre bottom of the main body of the beach hut.  Stitch the roof along the edge of the top of the beach hut, you will have a little bit of roof overhanging the roof edge on the main body of the beach hut.  Make certain that the centre of the roof is in the centre top so the beach hut hangs centrally on your garland.

These three parts stitched together form a basic Hut.

Embellishments

Ice cream cone

The pattern starts with the cone so use your cone colour first.

Ch 7 to start,

Row 1: 1 trc in the 4th ch from the hook, 3 ch counts as first trc, 1htc, 1dc, 1slst, turn 3 sl sts into the back of the starting ch, sl st to change colour to the colour of ice cream you want to use.

Row 2: Turn your so the ch 3 starting sts of the cone are upper most. Ch1, miss one st 1 st, 3 trc in the same st, sl st into the last st, cast off.

Ice cream cone stitch diagram

Bunting

Row 1: Ch 4, sl st in the 2nd ch from the hook, dc, trc, cast off (one triangle created) repeat twice more, three triangles in total. Weave in the ends before you make up the bunting with row 2.

Row 2: Ch 4, attach your first triangle with 4 dc, ch2, attach the next triangle with 4 dc, ch 2, attach the next triangle with 4 dc, ch 4 cast off.  Weave in the ends.

Beach Huts bunting diagram

Star

Row 1: Start with a magic loop, ch 3 (counts as first trc), 9 trc in magic loop. Pull to tighten, sl st to join (10 trc in total).

Row 2: Ch 1, dc in same space, (trc, dtrc, ch 1, dtrc, trc) all in next st, *dc in next st, (trc, dtrc, ch 1, dtrc, trc) in next stitch, repeat from * 3 times, sl st to starting dc. Finish off, weave in ends (5 dc, 5 star points).

Star pattern diagram

I would love to see your finished beach huts, please post them on my facebook page, you can find me @amandajonescrochet or click the facebook logo on this page.

If you find any pattern errors please, please message me via the contact page and I will correct the errors.  A download of this pattern will be available very soon via etsy.

Beach Huts Pin

Create · Crochet · Crochet Patterns

V-Stitch Baby Blanket Pattern

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This is a great baby blanket pattern, its easy and quick.  If your just learning to crochet you shouldn’t be daunted by this one.  You can make your blanket in any colour combination that works for you, or you can use just one colour. I have included the instructions for colour changing you can ignore them if you’ve chosen to make this in one colour.

I’ve been working hard to design my own patterns and seeing how I get on with more complicated patterns.  So when a lady I work with announced her pregnancy I couldn’t resist a pretty hat and blanket.  I chatted with her about her nursery colours and no surprise she has decorated in grey and mustard. Grey is very fashionable in the UK for babies just now and mustard is one of my favourite colours, so bright and warm. She is a modern, fashionable young lady so I new granny squares wouldn’t suit.  She has decided on a surprise so doesn’t know what she’s having, this is what I made…..

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There are many,many opportunities for changing the colours to suit the person you are making this for.  I do love these colours though, I think they work really well.

You can find the hat pattern here – Lacy Crochet  I added a picot to the last row so it matches the blanket edging. I haven’t quite got my head around the increases for a hat yet.

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V-Stitch Baby Blanket

Supplies

1 ball King Cole Pricewise Double Knit, Oyster (145), 100g, 282m – Colour A

1 ball King Cole Pricewise Double Knit, White (001) 100g, 282m – Colour B

1 ball King Cole Pricewise Double Knit, Mustard (1740), 100g 282m – Colour C

4mm hook

Yarn needle

Scissors

Special Stitches

Picot – dc,ch 2 insert hook into the first ch of the ch 2, yo, pull through all loops on hook

V-Stitch – 1 trc, ch 1 , 1 trc in the same stitch

Pattern

Foundation row – Chain  102

Row 1 – (Colour A) 1 trc, “miss one stitch, v-stitch in the next stitch”, repeat to the end of the row finishing with 1trc in the last stitch.

Row 2 –  1 trc in the first st of row one, v-stitch in the chain 1 space of the first v-stitch in row 1, repeat to the end of the row, 1trc in the last st of row one.

Row 3-5 – repeat row 2.

Row 6 – (Colour B) 1 trc, “miss one stitch, v-stitch in the next stitch”, repeat to the end of the row finishing with 1trc in the last stitch.

Row 7 – (Colour C) 1 trc, “miss one stitch, v-stitch in the next stitch”, repeat to the end of the row finishing with 1trc in the last stitch.

Row 8 – repeat Row 7

Row 9 – repeat Row 6

Repeat Row 1 to 9 7 times – 72 rows

Row 73 – 77 Repeat rows 1 – 5

Border

Row 1 – (continue in colour A) *dc in each st to the corner, dc, ch 2, dc*, repeat * to * to the end, sl st to join ch 1.

Row 2 – htc in each* st to the corner, htc, ch1, htc*, repeat * to * to the end, sl st to join ch 1.

Row 3 – htc in each* st to the corner, htc, ch1, htc*, repeat * to * to the end, sl st to join ch 1.

Row 4 – (Colour B) htc in each* st to the corner, htc, ch1, htc*, repeat * to * to the end, sl st to join ch 1.

Row 5 – (Colour C) htc in each* st to the corner, htc, ch1, htc*, repeat * to * to the end, sl st to join ch 1.

Row 6 – repeat Row 4.

Rows 7 & 8 (Colour A) htc in each* st to the corner, htc, ch1, htc*, repeat * to * to the end, sl st to join ch 1.

Row 9 (Colour B) picot in the first stitch, , *miss one st, picot* repeat * to * to the first corner, picot twice in the ch 2 of the last row,  picot in the next st, * picot, miss one st, picot*, repeat * to * to the end using the first corner pattern for the next three corners. sl st to join cast off.

Finish by weaving in the ends and steam blocking after washing and drying.

Stitch Diagram Part A Blanket

 

* see note below

Vstitch diagram v1

Stitch Diagram Part B Border

vstitch baby blanket border legend v4

*See note below

 

 

 

vstitch baby blanket border v4

 

*Note – due to the software used for the stitch diagrams the legends are in American Terms see Crochet Terms UK to US conversion for translation to English Terms

Baby Blanket v2 pin

 

 

 

Create · Crochet

Crochet Terms UK to US conversion

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Confused ? I was ! When I rediscovered crochet I also discovered that there are two different types of instructions UK terms and US terms very confusing when you are starting out. It took me a while to be able to read both types of instructions but now, after much practice, I’ve worked it out and don’t really think about it.  I do still make mistakes and have to unpick (frog) my work but I’ve had no major disasters. Understanding the difference between both has also helped me learn how to read crochet diagrams, art in themselves I now find them easier to follow than a written pattern. When I restarted crocheting I had never seem a symbol chart so when I found some I was just scarred and discarded them as too much for my brain to interpret.

How did I overcome my stitch terror? I did lots of internet research to find a guide to all the confusing dc, sc, trc, htc instructions and spent a lot of time matching the guides to the patterns.

My first crochet symbol chart for the crochet baby blanket post. Its not perfect but if I can do it so can you.

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If you search the internet for Crochet symbols you will find an amazing array of support out there, there are lots and lots of You Tube videos on how to create stitches some are helpful, some not so.  Watch out for a future post on the You Tube videos I found helpful.

What I would really love is a master class that I can go to to either learn a new crochet stitch or get help with a pattern I’m struggling with. You Tube can sometimes help but nothing beats talking to someone who can show you and teach you.  Unfortunately where I live there are no classes and Knit and Natter is when I’m at work so I can’t go.

I have added this page to help you convert my UK term patterns to US terms.  Once you’ve had a go a few times you will get the hang of it I promise.  Its not as hard as it seems. So be confident if you find a pattern written in terms you are not familiar with, use this guide and have a go.

I cannot take any credit for this guide, I could have made my own but time and knowing this is easy to find on the internet made me think I should just share the hard work someone else has already put in and give them the credit for their hard work.  Dabbles & Babbles published the chart below back in 2014.  Click here Crochet chart for a downloadable PDF, please also take the time to have a look around Dabbles & Babbles wed site there are some great crochet patterns and other craft activities for you to try.

I’ve been using this chart and have shared it on many occasions with other newbie crocheters so I am very confident it will help you.  Be confident, if you find a pattern written in terms you are not familiar with, use this guide and have a go.

Crochet Chart Symbols

Here is a link to a great video by Knit Picks to show you how to read patterns too, Knit Picks.

 

 

 

Create · Uncategorized

Crochet Spring Shawl

 

I am constantly drawn to wraps and shawls to make, I enjoy making them, they have purpose and above all I love to wear them.  Christmas, starting my own blog and a couple of commissions has stopped me making for me.  This project has been in the queue for six months. I’m excited to finally have made this Crochet Spring Shawl designed by Debbie Bliss.

I generally don’t pay for patterns, I am always searching for free ones, so for me to buy a pattern book means I like it alot.  This pattern is an exception to my general no pay rule, apart from the odd odd crochet magazine or two of course. When I stumbled across this Debbie Bliss collection I just couldn’t resist it. After much searching I found a website to buy it from, it was the only website and the last one in stock at a price I was prepared to pay, it was published back in 2012 so is a couple of years old.  The Debbie Bliss website doesn’t offer the sale of her patterns which is a little frustrating but understandable. This pattern book will now take pride of place in my pattern library and I will  covet the eleven designs it contains.  I plan to use some of the other patterns as gifts for my nieces as the style of the patterns are so right for them.   I may even tackle the dress you can see on the front cover. This will test my adherence to gauge and adjusting a pattern for sizing and I really like a pretty top for me. Another challenge and one for the project queue.

The shawl was relatively quick to  make up, its difficult to pin point how long because  I had a few projects on the go and I only make in the evenings. I did intersperse making it with researching and practicing flowers for mothers day .  If I had to estimate how long it would take it would be four to five days if you are at home or on holiday and are making this at your leisure.  I’m really pleased with the outcome, the pictures show you lots of ways to wear this pretty shawl.  The pattern was  easy to follow as it repeats until you get the desired length.

Yarn

The yarn I used is Drops Puna a beautiful 100% alpaca, its so soft and warm.  In total I used 8 x 50g balls with about 2/3rds left of the eight ball.  It is yarn group B see Drops website for the description.  Puna  is a light double knit/ worsted weight yarn which is slightly heavier than the Debbie Bliss Rialto recommended for the pattern.  The Rialto is described as a double knit too but isn’t the same type of wool.  I am really please with the outcome it has worked really well.

Hooks

I use a 4mm Addi Swing crochet hook, I have had two operations on my right wrist so using an ergonomically designed hook is very important for me. they are expensive but for me they are worth it. They are very comfortable to use, I don’t get crochet fingers when I use them.  You can buy them from Woolwarehouse ,  Love Crochet or Amazon.

Finishing

I didn’t block the shawl as the weight of the shawls pulls the pattern out nicely.  I just gave it a hand wash with a hand wash liquid, no fabric conditioner and laid it flat to dry.

Future Projects

I can see using this pattern repeat for many shawls and scarfs as its easy to set out in different sizes for a scarf rather than a shawl and easy to work out how to use it with different size yarn and hooks.

What this pattern has also encouraged me to do is design my own wrap, I am researching different stitches and trying out some other patterns as practice before I settle on my own design to try.

I broke the lens on my digital SLR camera taking these pictures, I dropped it because I was focusing too much on arranging the shawl on the manikin. I have now replaced it so there will still be pictures but a lesson learnt that my camera is a very important item in my life.

 

Create · Uncategorized

Crochet Butterfly – Free pattern

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To go with the Easter eggs I wanted something bright and pretty so I’ve made some butterflies.  They started life as a flower pattern but soon became butterflies when I accidentally folded the flower in half.  Not only are the sweet enough to hang on the branches with the eggs they are a great addition to a wrapped gift as a tag or as an applique on a blanket, child’s cardigan or hat.

Can you spot my mistake in some not all of the butterflies??

Butterfly Crochet Pattern

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Supplies 

Assorted 4ply cotton. I used Schjeepes Catona 4 ply.

2mm hook

scissors

Yarn needle

Fishing line to hang

Special Instructions 

Colours (as in the picture above), A= cream B=pale pink C= pink D= yellow

Pattern 

Butterfly body

Round 1: Colour A, start with a magic circle ch5 (1tc, 2ch), *3tr, 2ch in the magic circle* repeat * to* twice more, 1 tr. Do not sl st to join pull the magic circle closed.

Round 2: Change to colour B in 3 ch of the row 1 ch 5. Ch3 (1tr) 2tr, ch2, 3tr all in the first ch2 space. Miss  3 sts, 3tr, ch2 3 tr in the next ch 2 space, repeat to the end, end with 3tr,ch2,3tr in the last ch 3 space.

Round 3: In the 3ch of row 1 join colour c, sl st twice in the side of the row 2 ch 3, sl st in the top of the row 2 starting tr,* 8 tr in the ch2 space of row 2, miss 3 st, 1 dc in the space between the row 2 tr groups* repeat from * to * three times.  (4 x8tr groups), sl st in the top of the last tr of row 2, 2 sl st in the side of the last tr of row 2 cast off.

Antenna

Round 1: Antenna top. Colour D, Ch 13 cast off weave in the ends to the middle of the ch 13 leave the ends.

Round 2: Antenna body. Miss two 8 tr clusters, cast on with colour D, you are going to surface chain up the middle of the butterfly starting at the bottom of the butterfly.  Insert the hook in the base of the butterfly and yarn over pull through the butterfly body, repeat six times until you almost reach the top of the butterfly.  Sl st through the middle of the antenna from round 1 and through the top of the butterfly. Close with 1 further sl st, cast off.

Finishing:  weave in your ends to finish, if your butterfly has curled up then steam press it to flatten it.  You can add a hanging loop using one of your colours I used fishing line so the butterflies look as if they are flying around the branches.

Butterfly pattern

Create

Crochet Easter Eggs

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Easter is a special time of year, spring has arrived, new beginnings are showing every were you look.  When I started searching for free crochet patterns for small Easter gifts last year I came across a few but not a many, pretty lacy crocheted egg patterns. I wasn’t brave enough to have a go at them last year as they looked so complicated so I have waited a whole year to make them.  I love crocheting with thread its so fine and delicate the patterns can be complicated but the eggs are small so not too tricky to work out. They have been easier than I thought they would be so don’t be afraid to have a go.

I’ve been researching  all the pretty things you can crochet that have an Easter theme. Crochet amigurumi are  very popular for Easter and there are lots of free patterns for covering small chocolate eggs. Last year I made a cute bunny and a chick. These small crochet items are ideal if you are looking for something to crochet for a charity and they are great stash busters.  They are quick and easy to produce and very effective.   There are lots of free patterns for pretty crochet garlands to make if you search the crochet websites, Ravelry and pinterest have an unending supply. It’s a fabulous resource for ideas and patterns. The crochet flowers blog post has a link to two pretty daisy patterns, they both make very pretty garlands that could adorn a room for the Easter holidays.

Here are the eggs that I’ve been busy making;

Easter Egg pattern

This Easter is probably the first were I haven’t bough out the supermarkets stock of chocolate eggs.  The children are all getting older so Easter eggs are not top of their list of priorities.  Pretty delicate eggs and appliques can take over for now.

I tried all different eggs to crochet around, wooden ones are hard to crochet around as they are slippery, real eggs are a pain to blow the insides out of and if you are a little to rough they crush to easily.  I found polystyrene craft eggs at our local, The Range store, (uk home, garden and leisure retailer).  Walmart will no doubt sell something similar in the US.  These are perfect for crocheting around as they don’t slip and don’t break if you hold them too tight and above all they hang beautifully from a branch because they are light.  I’ve added some crocheted butterflies to my tree.  I made up the pattern from a flower pattern. I will share the butterfly pattern next week.

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The patterns I have found for lacy eggs have been mostly in other languages so I’ve had to rely on google translate, which isn’t great on the best of days and, guessing how to make them. Having practiced them a few times I’ve made my own pattern, so you can make an egg too without the dodgy translation and guesswork.

Crocheted Easter Egg Pattern

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Supplies

DMC Cebelia No 30 crochet cotton or any size 10 crochet cotton, I used colour 799.

1mm crochet hook, or hook size to match the thread and egg size.

Asorted polystyrene eggs, the egg in the picture is a 2.5inches, the pattern fits this size egg

Pattern

Round 1: Ch 8 sl st to join.

Round 2: ch3 ( 1st tr), 2tr, 2ch, 3 tr, 2ch, *3tr,2ch, 3tr, 2ch, rep from * until you have 8 groups of 3tr separated by 2ch. Join with a ss into the top of the 3ch at the start of the round.

Round 3: ch3 (1st tr)2 tr, 2ch, 3 tr, into that ch.sp. then work 3tr, 2ch, 3tr into each ch sp in the round, join with a ss into top of 3ch. (Eight 3tr,2ch,3 tr groups)

Round 4: ch3 (1st tr),  7 tr.  SS into space between tr group. *Work 8tr into next ch sp, ss into space between group rep from * to complete round.  Join with a ss going through the space between the groups and the top of the starting ch at the same time.

Round 5: Sl st in the next 4 st’s,  ch11 (1 tr, 8 ch), 1 tr in the 4th tr of the 8tr cluster, *ch8, 1 tr in the 4th tr of the 8tr cluster* repeat * to * to the end sl st in the 3 ch of the starting ch 11.

Round 6: 2 dc in the next st, *8 dc in the 8ch space, 2 dc in the top of the tr* repeat * to * to the end, sl st to join.

Round 7: ch3 (1dc, 2 ch) miss 2 sts, *1 dc, ch2, miss 2 sts*, repeat * to * to the end, sl st in the 2 ch of the starting ch 3 to join.

Round 8: ch5, (1hdc, 2 ch) miss 2 sts, *1 hdc in the next dc, ch2, miss 2 sts*, repeat * to * to the end sl st in the 3 ch of the starting ch 5 to join.

Round 9: If your egg is smaller than 2.5 inch try, 8 ch to reduce the size.  Ch 10, miss 6 sts, 1 dc in the top of the next hdc, *ch 10, miss 6 sts, 1 dc in the top of the next hdc*

Round 10: This is the closing round when you get about half way place your egg in the basket you will have created you can move the egg around once you are finished to place it correctly for the pattern.  Ch4, 1 dc in the 10ch space *ch 2, 1dc in the ch10 space* repeat to the end, don’t forget to insert your egg halfway round.  Sl s in the first dc to close.

Finishing: cast off weave in your ends and insert a hanging loop at the top of your egg.

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Happy Easter enjoy the holidays xx

 

 

 

 

Create · Inspiration

Crochet Doilies

 

dsc_0857-2Crochet Doilies are my exploration of something I really enjoy, being so engrossed in a a pattern that it feels like I’m getting lost in it, shutting out the world to make something beautiful is my idea of heaven.
My inspiration for Crochet Doilies comes unexpectedly, from my Grandmother ‘Nanny’. When I started my crochet journey and began to produce lots of beautiful things my Mum gave me a piece of crochet my grandmother madedsc_0999 a beautiful delicate pomander. I had never seen it and had no idea my Mum even had it or that my Nan did this type of crochet. All I remember of the crocheted pieces Nanny made where the beautiful crochet baby blankets she made for each expectant grandchild.  I couldn’t understand why I was drawn to thread crochet but this explained it, it’s in my blood I’m meant to do it.

 

I bought this book, Simple Crochet by Sara Sinaguglia.dsc_0994
You can buy it on Amazon.  It has lots of little projects for different skill ranges for me to practice my craft. I started with the apple cosy you can see on the front page and then moved swiftly on to a small crochet coaster. To start with I made it in a larger thread so it’s more of a jug coaster than a cup coaster. My mum is the recipient, I never took a photo but it was a thank you for sharing my Nan’s pomander.

Crochet Coaster
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This is the second one I made in the correct size thread and using the right hook size. It’s been well used on my coffee table so please excuse the stain. It’s been laundered but tea and coffee are hard to shift on something so delicate. The stitches are very simple, its a really good project if you’ve never crocheted with cotton thread before.

I’ve researched Crochet Dollies and have a stack of projects waiting to be started. Since the simple coasters I’ve made two more beautiful things.

 

This one  I made for a very close friend who married last year. A Nancy Hearne free pattern, she also sells patterns on Craftsy.

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My friends husband is of Irish decent and on researching traditional Irish wedding gifts, Irish lace is prominent for wishing good luck. I found the pattern on Ravelry but Nancy Hearne has a webesite, it’s a bit clunky to navigate but once you worked it out there is a treasure trove of lacy patterns. I want to make lots of her beautiful Crochet Doilies.
I’ve made an ‘easy to travel’ Crochet Doily. This one is from Simple Crochet again and is one of the many Christmas gifts I hooked last year.

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I called it ‘easy to travel’ as it needed to fly to get to my sister in Australia. A jug cover with hearts perfect for the hot climate. I hadn’t quite anticipated starting the blog when I took this picture so it could have been better not a great feast for the eyes in the picture, but it is beautiful in reality.

 

 

This project needed was a challenge for me, thread crochet with beads is very fiddly and you need good lighting as the stitches are extra small. I am very pleased with the outcome it was a real achievement to not get the thread all knotted up with all those beads attached to it.

So what’s next for thread crochet? I’m mulling over two options, this one from Simple Crochet, Sara Sinaguglia writes easy to follow patterns and I’ve admired this pattern since I first bought the book.

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The other option is inspired by my love of gardening. These are two beautiful Dahlia’s from my garden last summer.


After some web research and looking through some of my favourite blog sites, the other option is this one on the US Red Heart web site.

This Crochet Dollie will be for my Mum she wants one for her table and she loves Dahlias as much as I do. So I’m erring towards some pretty spring colours.

 

Whichever pattern I choose watch out for a future blog post on the Crochet Doily journey.

Create · Uncategorized

Mothers Day Crochet Flowers

Happy Mothers Day Mum, with all my love xx

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Last year I had only been crocheting for a short while.  With mothers day looming it was the perfect opportunity to make something pretty for both my mum and my mother-in-law.

What to make? It had to be a flower for mothers day.  I found this great daffodil pattern on Attic 24’s web page.  I also found a book mark on Ravelry , I just exchanged the rose on top for the daffodil.  This was the result, they went down very well and are still being used as book marks today.  After I gave it to my Mum she asked me to get her a box frame to put it in.  I insisted she used it as intended as a book mark but promised to make her a pretty picture of crochet flowers.

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I have been exploring flowers and colours to decide on what I should make.  Last summer I was looking for flower patterns and came across an amazing book of crochet flowers by Claudia Giardina or Creativity Claudia.  You can find her on Ravelry.  Her patterns are amazing, and what a wonderful gift to give, a flower that never fades.  You do have to pay for the book if you want the whole thing.  Having purchased it myself it is worth every penny. As soon as I received it I really wanted to find an excuse to make a flower arrangement, the flowers and leaves are wired which make them stand beautifully.

As well as the Gerber daisy in the picture frame,  I’ve made these from it so far :-

As well as wired flowers I have researched lots of other flowers too.  My friend at work wanted a daisy broach, I found quite a few patterns but needed something small most of the others I found were too big for a broach or wouldn’t convert very well to smaller thread and a smaller hook.  I tried these two:-

They are both free patterns that are easy to follow and you can find them at Yellow Pink and Sparkley, for the more solid daisy on the right.  The pattern is for bunting, I just used 4ply cotton and 2mm hook to make it smaller.  The centre is very robust and will hold a pin really well. The other one, on the left, you can find at Love Crochet, crochet club blog . Another daisy for bunting but it downsized really well by using 4ply cotton and a 2mm hook. Equally it will look fabulous as bunting.  My friend is very pleased with her daisy broach.

To honour the promise to my Mum’s I’ve been busy taking pictures of flowers and either finding patterns or recreating them myself.  The attic24 daffodil was downsized, the gerber daisy came from Creativityclaudias book of flowers,the daisy is the one from love crochet blog but I couldn’t find a pattern for a primrose so I made one up.

You may not have time to make a whole picture for your Mum but you will have time to make this flower it’s quick easy and effective.  You will be surprised by the pleasure it brings the recipient.  Here it is for you to try:-

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Primrose Crochet Pattern

Supplies

4ply cotton yarn, various colours. minimum 15g. I used Scheepjes Catona, it comes in so many pretty colours and you can buy it in 50g balls.  A 50g ball will make lots of primroses.

2mm hook

Yarn needle

scissors

Pattern

Start with a magic circle , (or chain 4 sl st to join)

Row 1: (in the ch4 loop) ch2, 6 dc sl st in the first st to close, pull the magic circle closed.

Row 2: 2dc in each dc sl st in the first st cast off.

Row 3. attach your new colour in any dc, ch 1 dc in the same st, *htc, trc, dtrc, ch 1, dtrc, trc, htc in the same st, dc in the next dc* repeat to the end you should have six petals in total.  Join with a sl st in the first dc, cast off.

Finish: Weave in the yarn ends and trim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create · Uncategorized

My First Commission – Crochet Afghan

dsc_1132 I started my first proper commission in early January 2017. A pretty lacy but chunky sofa afghan. I wanted to make something professionally for someone to see how long it would take me, how much to charge and what making something that I didn’t choose to make would do for my motivation and interest. I’m not a great lover of making afghans I get what I call “blanket fatigue” when I’m half way through.  Then I go into “blanket mourning” when I’m finished.  I always feel I’ve lost something when I’ve finished a big project, I get an emptiness that must be filled by something new to make. This feeling of mourning is usually counteracted by having the item with me to look at.  So making an afghan to give away is a new thing for me and in hindsight I really enjoyed it.

My friend is the lucky recipient of the afghan blanket commission.  We spent some time talking about where and what she wanted to use it for.  She took some pictures of a very pretty rug she had just bought, we discussed colour and I checked out what I thought would meet the brief.

I’ve been really lucky that the commission has worked so brilliantly.  I put this down to a strong understanding of my friend and her likes and dislikes.  In future I’d like to put together a mood board to check I’ve got the colour, feel and pattern right for the client setting out the inspiration before I start.

When we first discussed an afghan for her lounge we started with some items I’ve already made. My friend really liked the shawl I made last year, shown above, a triumph for me as it was my first complicated pattern.  I took my time with it so it took a while but the result has been beautiful and has stood up to a lot of wear over the last few months. I’ve been using it as a scarf rather than a shawl. This shawl project was a real turning point for me, it helped me to realise that I am a very good crocheter and was the trigger to start this blog to record what I learn as I make new things.

dsc_1137 My shawl is similar in style to her beautiful rug, shown above. Since finishing the afghan I want to find a pretty dollie pattern for a side table for her with colours to compliment her pretty cushions. The pattern looks like pineapples to me so I’m researching pineapple thread crochet patterns now.

Making a blanket is an emotional journey, I started this one with the most amazing enthusiasm and made the first few squares relatively quickly.  It wasn’t the only project I was working on at the time, the crochet hearts where a also a being created. I have found that something quick in between something that’s more time consuming works really well to keep my interest and motivation levels high. It counteracts the”Blanket Fatigue”, as mentioned earlier, when I am half way through a big project its hard to see the end and my enthusiasm wanes so doing an alternative small project really helps.

For this project I bought the most essential crochet accessory, a granny blocking board.  It has totally transformed the quality of my work.  It made the end result so much more professional,  I recommend investing in one for anything you make from granny squares. The test squares for my next project are already perching on the block for better shape. You can see the before and after results above.

Yarn, Pattern and Hooks

For this blanket I used Drops Alpaca Eskimo Uni colour in shade 52, light blue grey, super chunky.  In total I used 23 balls and crocheted with a size 8mm addi swing hook.  All purchased from Woolwarehouse.  The pattern is a Drops Designs free pattern called Winter Crystal.  Drops website and patterns are excellent there are even video tutorials if you get stuck or if there is a new stitch you haven’t tried before. I really liked the big wool its so quick to make.  You could use this afghan as a bed throw as below, I’ve shown you below what it might look like.  I can see it in all sorts of colours.   This pattern is a beautiful way to bring crochet up to date, it shows a different perspective on what’s possible.

 

Future Commissions

If you are interested in a paid for commission, I am happy to make something for you.  I don’t yet have an online shop so please contact me via the Contact page on the main menu bar of this page.

 

 

Crochet · Crochet Patterns · Uncategorized

Crochet Baby Blanket

 

This post is dedicated to baby Albert who arrived on 16th February 2017.

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I’ve been keen on making a baby blanket for ages but haven’t had a baby to crochet for as most of my family now have teenagers and they aren’t quite ready for babies yet.  So when a young lady I work with announced her news I took the opportunity to make a crochet baby blanket.

The pattern I’ve chosen isn’t for a baby blanket it was for an Afghan much bigger than I needed.  I like all the baby blankets I’ve seen, however I wanted a pattern that was lacy and delicate but also washable and wouldn’t be itchy for such new and delicate skin.  I have a bit of a granny square obsession at the moment so it also needed to satisfy the slight OCD I have about crocheting in squares. I searched my favourite visual search engine, Pinterest and have set up a board for all types of blankets including baby blankets.   After much deliberating I chose this one.

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The patter is a Red Heats free pattern  that I found searching on Ravelry.  The pattern is for Aran weight yarn but I didn’t need it to be that big so I used a double knit weight acrylic yarn and used a smaller hook.

I wanted some neutral colours that were warm. I didn’t know if it would be a boy or a girl but I didn’t want to use the traditional lemon or pale green and I wanted the blanket to be modern rather than traditional.  I scanned some of the baby websites to see what the latest trends are and settled on grey the ‘in’ colour for baby accessories at the moment.

The pattern is described as a beginners pattern so I naturally assumed it would be quite swift to produce.  This has not been the case.  Some of the intermediate patterns have been easier to follow!  I made two mistakes with this pattern.  If you want to try this pattern and are new to crochet don’t be put off by me, have a go but be prepared for the joining challenge, this was my first mistake. I didn’t take enough time and attention on getting it right by working out what the pattern actually said.  A diagram would be immensely helpful with this pattern. If I ever manage to find the time I will draw and then reproduce this pattern.

My second mistake was not following the instructions for how to join the squares. It is set out on the back of the pattern but I decided to start with the center four squares.  This led to some very interesting options for joining squares that were quite brain taxing. More especially for me because I crochet in the evening usually after a busy day at work.  I’ve now, finally, got the technique for joining the squares but I’m still not convinced its how the pattern tells you to do it.

For now I recommend colour coding the pattern with some different coloured highlighters pens so you can work out each instruction on how to join.

I presented the blanket with a cute hat. I can only include a link to the blog page for Lacy Crochet as instructed I’m not allowed to do anything further with it. It’s so cute and now Albert has finally arrived I can crochet one in an appropriate colour.  The hat is so tiny its so cute.

 

I made up the boarder based on the pattern I’d been following, I have mastered drawing a straight pattern on graph paper.  My drawing still needs some work so I’ve included the written border pattern below the picture. Please do let me know if you try it and it doesn’t work.  I do hate a pattern that has mistakes.

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Boarder pattern for baby blanket

Row 1 – Join in any stitch, dc in each st to the first corner, *dc2, ch2, dc2, dc in each stitch to the the next corner*, repeat * to *, sl st to join.

Row 2 – ch3, trc in each dc to the first corner, *trc2, ch2, trc2, trc in each dc to the next corner*, repeat * to *, sl st to join.

Row 3 – dc in the same st as joined, *ch 3 miss 2 dc, dc in the next trc*, repeat * to *to the first corner, dc in the ch2 space, ch3 dc in the same ch2 space, dc in the next trc,* ch 3 miss 2 dc, dc in the next trc* repeat * to * to the next corner, sl st to join.

Row 4 – sl st to the ch3 space, *dc ch2 dc ch2* in the next ch3 space, repeat * to * to the first corner, *dc ch4 dc* in the ch3 corner space, ch 2 *dc ch2 dc ch2 in the next ch 3 space* repeat to the end sl st to join and cast off.

Welcome to the world baby Albert I wish a long, happy, healthy, successful life whatever that maybe.

 

Crochet · Crochet Patterns · Inspiration · Uncategorized

Five Crochet Heart patterns

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The wall hanging hearts in the Crochet Hearts  blog post traveled to the beach.  Whilst I loved them in my lounge they fit perfectly at the beach. They have a new home on the Isle of White and  I now have a pending commission for beach huts to go with them.

Crochet has soothed me this month and helped me think of happier times as winter is slowly coming to an end.  It has helped to clear my mind and keep me peaceful. I hope you get pleasure from it too. Following the interest in my simple Hearts Pattern, thank you everyone who viewed it, I thought you might like me to share some of the heart patterns I tried whilst researching for these valentine projects.

So here goes, my favourite first :-

Crochet Millan  the first pattern I found and the one I used for my own garland and the beach hearts wall hanging.

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Craftaholics Anonymous a really cute simple heart pattern to try. There are some great pictures to help you get the heart right. This is a great next project if you tried the simple crochet hearts pattern. I plan to give this one away as a key ring.

 

 

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Sandra – Cherry hearts – I love this blog so colourful, a great stitch library and some easy patterns if you are learning.  I bought way to much yarn to add to my stash after reading Cherries blog her pictures are a feast for the eyes. I want to make these hearts in to cup coasters by joining them together.

 

 

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Annoo’s crochet world  I didn’t follow Annoo’s pattern exactly, I did a combination of Cherries heart and turned it into a square with help from Annoo’s pattern.  I can see a heart blanket if time ever allows me to make it.

 

 

 

 

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Last but not least Irish lace, the website isn’t as visually pleasing but this heart diagram was very easy to follow and came out really well.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy trying these pretty heart patterns as much as I have and that you have a very special Valentine to share them with.

Happy Valentines Day 

 

 

 

 

 

Create · Uncategorized

Crochet Heart Pattern

Crochet Heart Pattern – an easy crochet pattern perfect for a beginner

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This is a simple but effective pattern that even the most novice of crocheters can tackle. This is dedicated to two special little girls who are learning to crochet, Bethany and Lucie.

Supplies

4 or 5 mm crochet hook

DK yarn, colour of your choice, I used a cotton dk by Stylecraft

Yarn needle and scissors to finish

Abbreviations (English terms)

ch = chain

dc = double crochet

htr = half treble crochet

Pattern

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Row 1: Start with a slip knot ch 7

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Row 2: Starting in the 2nd chain from the hook dc in each stitch (6 dc)

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Row 3: Turn ch 1, dc in the same stitch, dc in each dc to the end (6dc)

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Row 4: Turn ch 1, dc in the same stitch, dc in each dc to the end (6dc)

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Row 5: Turn ch 1, dc in the same stitch, dc in the next 2 stitches (3 dc)

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Row 6: Turn ch 1, dc in the same stitch, dc in the next 2 stitches (3 dc)

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Row 7: Turn ch 1, dc in the same stitch, dc in the next 2 stitches (3 dc)

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Row 8: continue working to the left, dc in each row end around the edge of the heart (6 dc) to the point of the heart where  your cast on tail is

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Row  8 cont: at the point of the heart 1 htc , htc = yarn over, insert the hook in to the point of the heart, yarn over,pull through all three loops.

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Row 8 cont: dc to the top left of the right hand heart curve (8 dc)

Cast off and weave in the ends of yarn to complete your crochet heart.

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I would love to see what you’ve made send me a picture of your finished heart and I will add it to the blog.  If you get stuck get in touch and I will help you.

 

 

 

Eat

Sweet and Sour Chicken

 

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This recipe is dedicated to a very special little girl. Earlier this year we holiday’d with friends.  I love to cook on holiday because I have the luxury of time and can create whatever the family desires, from sheppards pie in high summer to chicken fajitas I ask for requests before we go and take the special ingredients with me.  I always manage to drum up the requests despite some decidedly doggy cooking arrangement! This recipe was a special request from Neave, she sort of like it but said it wasn’t as good as Mummy’s I can take that as Mummy’s food is always best.  I however think this is of high enough make and taste quality to share it with you.  Don’t be put off by the ingredients list its actually really quick to make.

Serves 4 easily halved

Cooking time: Prep 15 minutes cook 20 minutes, 35 minutes in total

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons rice bran oil

4 skinless boneless chicken thighs chopped into chunks

1 onion chopped

1 small red chilli chopped (optional)

1 chopped red pepper

1 chopped yellow pepper (alternative green pepper)

1 tablespoon tomato paste (alternative 2 tbspns tomatoe ketchup)

1 450g can pineapple chunks, drained reserving the juice

3 tablespoons light brown sugar (alternative: white sugar)

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (alternative: white wine vinegar)

125ml chicken stock from a stock pot (alternative : half a stock cube)

4 teaspoons cornflour mixed with 4 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Ground black pepper to season

150g beansprouts (optional)

2 pouches ready cooked long grain rice heated to serve

Fresh coriander to garnish

Method

In a large non-stick frying pan heat 1 tbspn of oil over a medium heat, add the chicken and cook stirring until lightly browned, remove to a plate.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the onion, chilli if using and the peppers cook stirring until they start to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, pineapple chunks, juice, sugar, vinegar and stock. Turn up the heat until the liquid starts to bubble and reduce. Add the cornflower and water mixture and stir until it starts to thicken.

Add the soy sauce and pepper to taste and stir through the bean sprouts if using until they just start to wilt. Serve with the long grain rice. Enjoy xx

 

Sweet and Sour Chicken pin

 

 

 

Eat · Garden Life · Grow · In the Kitchen

Hot Southern Chicken

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This recipe is adapted from a magazine cutting, the cutting doesn’t have a date but is well worn with use so is many years old. It has stood the test of time as the children have grown up, a perfect autumnal dish to use seasonal vegetables whilst they are at there best. It keeps everyone warm on a cold autumn day and best of all it only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to make. At 383 calories it suits a dieter too. Easy to double up, this freezes really well for a quick meal on another day. An all round winner to feed a busy family.

I use two chillies and leave the seeds in which is quite hot. I recommend you use the right amount for you. If your cooking for little ones 1 chilli with no seeds is plenty. I use Swiss Vegetable Buillion powder to make the stock but use whatever you normally use and if I can’t find new potatoes I use maincrop cubed with their skin still on. If I don’t have fresh herbs to hand I buy the freeze dried herbs from the freezer cabinet at the supermarket they are brilliant for this type of dish and save money as you don’t waste half a packet of fresh herbs that get forgotten about in the back of the fridge.

This freezes well, cool it to room temperature, then label and freeze as quickly as possible. To reheat, defrost on the fridge for 12 hours then reheat in a pan on a low heat for 30 minutes.

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Ingredients

2 tbspns rice bran oil

25g butter (whatever spread you use if fine)

6 skinless boneless chicken breasts, each cut into 3 chunks

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 red chillies de-seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 tbspns plain flour

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbspns tomato puree

850ml vegetable stock

450g small new potatoes scrubbed

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks

340g can sweetcorn or kernels from 2 sweetcorn cobs

175g mixed coloured cherry tomatoes

2 tbspns each chopped fresh mint and coriander

  1. Heat the oil and butter in large pan and cook the chicken in batches, turning, until it’s lightly golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. Lower the heat and add the onions, chillies, and garlic cooking for about 5 minutes until soft but not brown.

  3. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir well. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and vegetable stock, give everything a really good stir.

  4. Return the chicken to the pan with the sweet potato turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low part cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

  5. Check that the sweet potato is just starting to fall apart and that the potatoes are cooked through, if they are still a bit firm leave for another 5-10 minutes.

  6. Add the sweetcorn and tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes.

  7. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes then add the herbs before serving in bowls with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Hot Southern Chicken Pin

Eat · In the Kitchen

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

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This is another family favourite that I’ve adapted from a children’s curry recipe when they were small. Its not too calorific at 270 calories per portion, without sides, you can eat it on it’s own with a wrap or poppadoms.  If you add rice or nan bread it’s a 400 calorie dinner.

I use Alfa One’s Rice Bran Oil, it is cholesterol free has a high smoking point and is a tasteless oil. I have been calorie counting on and off for a while and I’m amazed at how much it reduces your calorie intake when you use a healthier cooking oil. Whilst its a little pricey I highly recommend it, its available at most large supermarket chains.

If you are making this for the children remove the red chilli, use 2 teaspoons rather than tablespoons of curry paste.  When the kids were small I used a Balti or Tika Marsala curry paste. We’ve moved on to a madras curry paste as our heat sensors have adapted.  You should use what you favour in other curry dishes as this will off set the sweetness of the potato’s and will be familiar to your taste buds.  My tip for the kids is to remove the cardamom pods before you feed them, they have a very intense flavour if you bite into one and might put them off eating this again.

 

I use a vegan vegetable stock power Marigolds Swiss Vegetable Bouillon, it’s not too salty and adds a nice flavour to your dish.

This freezes really well, I often batch cook it so we have something quick and tasty to eat on busy days.  Once cooked cool the mixture until its room temperature, portion it up in a suitable container label it with a name and date and freeze for up to 1 month.  Defrost it in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Serves 6

Takes 20 minutes to prep + 60 minutes marinading and 35 minutes to cook, 270 calories per portion

Ingredients

500 g sweet potato

4 chicken breasts

Juice ½ lemon

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground garam masala

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbspn rice bran oil

5 cardamom pods

2 onions

1 red chilli

1 small bunch fresh coriander

2 tbspns curry paste

500ml vegetable stock

500g baby leaf spinach

To serve

1 tbspn fat free natural yogurt,  White long grain rice, Nan Break

Method

  1. Chop the chicken into bite size chunks place in a freezer bag and add the juice of half a lemon and the dried spices.  Shake the bag seal and place in the fridge to marinade for 60 minutes or overnight if you have the time.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the onion, roughly chop the chilli remove the seeds if you don’t like too much heat. Strip the leaves from the coriander stalks put them to one side and roughly chop the stalks.  Puree the onion, chilli and coriander.  This will form the base of your sauce.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid over a medium heat, add the cardamom pops and fry for 1 minute, add the curry paste and cook for 2 minutes to wake up the spices.  Now add the onion puree and fry for 5 minutes until it starts to dry out. Keep watch on the onion puree don’t let it burn.
  4. Add your marinated chicken pieces and cook until they change colour, don’t brown them as you will burn your sauce base.  Add the potato and the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid ajar for 35 minutes.  Stir regularly it’s ready when the sweet potato begins to break up, this will thicken the sauce. You can uncover and raise the heat to reduce the sauce if its a little watery but don’t do this until the end.
  5. To finish stir through the spinach until its wilted, serve with your choice of sides a dollop of natural yogurt and sprinkle over the coriander leaves.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Pin v1