Summer break

Well hello there! While the British summer may have been a bit of a washout so far, I have had a lovely break (cue photo of French sunflowers!) and now it’s back to work.

sunflowersWork in “the book” continues, with some exciting stuff this week, which involved a trip to Tunbridge Wells – I can’t wait to tell you more and reveal a new departure for me – you’ll have to wait until all is revealed, but I can tell you it was very exciting (for me at least) and involved some fabulous people and a rather amazing publication which I’ve been reading since childhood!!

In between designing some rather cute Christmas commissions (yes, magazine commissions work on a different “time zone” to ordinary mortals!) I have been swatching motifs, I have a blanket in mind, but I’m not sure what form it will take yet, much playing with yarn will follow until I feel I’ve got it “just right”. This swatch two beautiful shades of Eden Cottage Yarns Whitfell DK, a yarn I’ve been using a lot recently.

WHMEalpaca swatch

Meantime, I’ve been teaching myself how to design amigurumi figures. Apparently it’s “all in the proportions”, so many part finished dolls and critters swamp my desk as I write!

LITTLE CUTIE PIE

Also this week, the lovely team at Rooster Yarns sent me some of their gorgeous Almerino – now here’s a yarn I’ll use again. It’s so soft and the colours are stunning. A practical blend of baby alpaca and merino, it comes in dk and aran weight. I used 2 balls of dk to make this pretty cowl. It started life as a Friday night swatch, but soon turned into this little beauty – which I will admit to wearing already – like I said – summer has been a bit of a washout.

rooster cowlFinally, I am slowly editing all my patterns ready to re -release my single downloads in the autumn and post some brand new free patterns in preparation for your seasonal gift knitting and crochet (you see, I can’t even mention the “C” word in August – even though I’m been humming Christmas carols and knitting baubles since July!)

Whatever you’re up to this summer, I hope you find some time to put down your hooks and needles and spend some time outdoors in the sunshine.

Thanks for dropping by

Tracey x

 

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Buntings and Garlands (free patterns)

crochet paper chains 2I do love the summer, a chance to spend time in the garden with friends and families. I often decorate the garden with crochet bunting, especially for celebrations such as birthdays, weddings and christenings. I counted up, over the years I’ve published over a dozen patterns for garlands, wall hangings and bunting and I’m sharing two of my favourites with you today. You’re welcome to make and sell items from these patterns, but as always a credit is nice – and don’t forget – I love to see photos of your makes. You can share them on facebook, instagram or twitter or link to the ravelry listing for these patterns here.

bunting triangles 1Both are suitable for beginners (in fact the “Paper Chains” pattern used to be standard in my learn to crochet class). The triangle bunting is made using simple decreases and is great fun to embellish. It’s shown here with cute little felt balls, but you can add buttons, pom poms or even embroidery to make yours really special.

For some reason, July always makes me think of red, white and blue, probably reminiscent of 4th July parades or visits to French towns in the run up to 14th July. Whatever the occasion, these simple patterns look great in any colour and any yarn.  My preference is always for wool or cotton, raid your stash and make pretty multi coloured bunting or chose several tones of the same colour for an ombre style.  You can find the patterns below.

Happy crafting!

Paper Chains

crochet paper chainsThese also look great at Christmas or in shades of pink for a little girl’s room. No tension is given, make the first chain and if you prefer a tighter or looser fabric, adjust your hook size accordingly. The yarn used here is Rowan wool dk and I used a 3.5mm hook. Pattern is written in standard UK crochet terms. 1 ch at beginning of rows does not count as a stitch.

Make the first chain link:

Make 25 ch

Row 1: 1 dc in second ch from hook, 1 dc in each ch to end, turn. (24 dc)

Row 2: 1 ch, 1 dc in each dc to end, turn.

Rows 3 – 6: As Row 2.

Fold chain link in half and join side seam using dc (or if you prefer, fasten off yarn and sew side seam). Turn chain link “inside out” so seam is on the inside.

Second and following chain links:

Follow pattern above until the end of Row 6, slip the fabric around the previous chain link and join the side seam as before.

joinng paper chains first Fasten off yarn. Continue to make and join more chain links in the same way.

joining paper chains 1

joining paper chains 2Basic triangle bunting

This is just about the simplest crochet triangle you can make. No tension is given, make the first triangle, and if you prefer a tighter or looser fabric, adjust your hook size accordingly. The yarn used here is Rowan wool dk and I used a 3.5mm hook. Pattern is written in standard UK crochet terms. 1 ch at beginning of rows does not count as a stitch. bunting triangles 5

Make 16 ch

Row 1: 1 dc in second ch from hk, 1 dc in each ch to end, turn. (15 dc)

Row 2: 1 ch, dc2tog, dc to end, turn. (14 dc)

Rows 3 – 14: As Row 2

Row 15: 1ch, dc2tog.

Fasten off yarn weave in ends.

Edging:

You can edge each triangle in the same or a contrasting colour. Join yarn to top right edge  of triangle, 1 dc in each dc to end of row, 1 ch to turn, 1 dc in each row end to base, 1 ch to turn, 1 dc in each row end to start. fasten off yarn.

Joining:

Make 20 ch in chosen colour, pick up first triangle, 1 dc in each dc along top edge, 15 ch, pick up second triangle, 1 dc in each dc along top edge. Continue until all triangles have been joined. Work second and subsequent rows in dc or trebles as you wish. Decorate hanging loop with ribbons or surface crochet (pictured here in blue).

Embellish your bunting as you wish and most importantly have fun.

These triangles are great fun for kids of all ages – minor imperfections are easily disguised and decorating  to suit your own taste is half the fun!

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Ravelry Pattern Sale

Over the summer I shall be redesigning and re branding all my knitting and crochet patterns, some will be “retired” for ever and some are being made with new yarns in new colours. Before I remove them all from sale here’s your chance to grab a bargain. Most patterns are now reduced to just £1 (plus VAT), so head over to Ravelry and choose your favourites. They’ll only be available until 1st July.

 

 

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Personal Project: Mouse House

20150614_094244This fabric Mouse House sits in an upstairs bedroom at my Mother in Law’s house. She made it over 20 years ago  and all the grand children have loved it. I have often said I would love to make a crochet version, but time and inspiration never seemed to allow the opportunity to sit down and really think about doing it justice. I have seen lots of versions on Pinterest, but none really appealed. They didn’t seem to have the cute, cottagy charm of Jean Greenhowe’s original.

20150614_09442720150614_09434720150614_094352I have searched online for inspiration, thinking how nice it would be to sit and follow someone else’s pattern, but there are very few examples on Pinterest or Ravelry (there are some gorgeous crochet toadstool houses, which are lovely, but not really what I’m looking for. I have seen this one (and versions of it) on Not on the High St and I like the idea of a “proper house”, but what seems to be coming off my hook is something a bit different, a bit quirkier.

Image from Loulou and Deer, finished house for sale on Not on the High St

It would be very easy to translate this traditional doll’s house into crochet. Meanwhile I have been sitting with my notebook and sketching little ideas, so that as I finish up work on the book and magazine commissions slow down for the summer, I can give some time to personal projects such as this. I’m not making it with the intention of writing up the pattern or as a gift for anyone in particular. It’s just a whimsical idea and I’ll keep you informed of progress.

Over on my Pinterest board “Crochet Inspiration” I’ve been pinning ideas which may find their way into the “Modern Mouse House”, do pop over and take a look (you may even find something to inspire your next project.

If I were to try and recreate a sewn toy house, I would definitely be looking at this on from UK Lass in US – the instructions look so easy to follow and the end result is beautiful. The idea of using plastic canvas for extra strength is brilliant – I may try that with mine. In fact, if I could sew as well as I crochet, I would just make this. I doubt it can be beaten for creativity.

PS: Jean Greenhowe’s pattern is sadly out of print, but you can read about the original design here.

 

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Free Crochet Patterns

Just “popping in” to let readers know that you can now find lots of my crochet patterns for free here. All previously appeared in let’s Get Crafting magazine and mostly they are homewares and accessories – but do check out the patterns by other designers. There’s a super collection here.  Take a look – you might find something you like here!

All images are (c) Aceville publications and originally appeared in Let’s Get Crafting.

 

 

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New Pattern: Picnic Hamper

Image (c) Immediate media

Image (c) Immediate media

The May / June issue of Love Crochet goes on sale this week and I’m thrilled to see  a couple of my designs on the cover. My favourite has to be this picnic hamper, which was a challenge for me as it has a sewn lining (I’m no sewer!). The hamper is made in flat pieces and seamed to fit a cardboard box frame. The stitches used are very simple, making this ideal for someone new to crochet. The yarn I used is new for this summer, DMC Natura XL has all the features I love about the Natura Pure Cotton (great stitch definition, amazing colour selection), but in a chunkier weight, making it ideal for accessories, toys and home wares such as this hamper.

The leather straps were kindly supplied by Bag Clasps, a great online supplier of all manner of handbag making supplies (I am a big fan of her metal purse frames, which I used for my collection with Eden Cottage Yarns). The leather straps come in several colours, and I love the flash of red against the green yarn.

You can find Love Crochet in the shops now (or order online). For details of DMC yarns click here, and visit the Bag Clasps website, click here.

FInally, if you want to know what I’ve been up to when I’m not crocheting and designing, all non yarn related blog posts can be read here.

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Just a Granny Square (free pattern)

I love granny squares, there’s so much you can do with them. This simple scarf has been among my free patterns for years and it lends itself to almost any yarn. You can vary the length as you wish.

This  pattern can easily be tackled by someone new to crochet as the skills required are simply Double Crochet and the ability to make a granny square. The yarn and pattern notes can be found at the bottom of this post.  This would make an ideal gift for a loved one and is bound to impress – the secret is in choosing great colours and letting the recipient imagine the hours you spent creating it!

Crochet Scarf pattern:

Yarn: 4 balls Drops Nepal ( 2 in each shade) Photographed in shades 0500 (Light Grey Mix)  and 3608 (Deep Red)

3.75 mm crochet hook (I used a smaller hook than you would expect for this Aran  weight to make a sturdy scarf that holds it’s shape and because my tension is always looser than you would expect).

Tension:

14 DC to 10cm

Finished dimensions (after blocking):

length: 160cm

Width: 10cm

Abbreviations:

DC = Double Crochet (Pattern written using English crochet terms)

Yarn substitution:

Any Aran weight yarn will work for this pattern. The total length I used was 300m. If you make your scarf longer or wider you will need extra yarn. But as Drops Nepal retails at £2.00 a ball it’s possible to make a great scarf for under £10.00

Using yarn A (in these photos, shade 0500) begin by making a 180 chain, to make a longer scarf simply make your chain longer.

Work in Double Crochet throughout, except for granny square

Work 4 rows of DC in yarn A

Fasten off and work 4 rows in yarn B

Fasten off and work 4 rows in yarn A

Work 4 more rows in B and finish with 4 rows in A. 20 rows in all. To make wider scarf, simply work more rows.

Make 2 granny squares, starting with 1 round in A, followed by 1 round in B, work a further row in A and finish with a row in B.

Fasten one square to each end of the scarf using double crochet with right sides facing. Work one row of double crochet in yarn B around the outside of the scarf to give a neat edge.

Weave in all ends and block by soaking in cold water for 10 minutes, squeeze out using towels and lay flat, pinning the granny squares to match the width of the scarf. (Alternative blocking: pin to shape and spray with cold water, easing the granny squares into shape).

Once dry, wear or give with pride

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