Book News

draft amazon coverMy new book “200 More Crochet Stitches” will be published in the UK on January 15th.  I will be selling signed copies via my Etsy shop, if you would like me to let you know when these re available, just send me an email or contact me on Instagram. This book is also available in America with the title “The Step by Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches” and you can read a fabulous introduction to the content here.

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Also available now is the reprinted edition of “Crochet: Learn It. Love It”, which was previously published as “The Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet”, it’s the same great content, but now the cover matches the USA and Australian editions!. Signed copies will also be available via my Etsy shop, and you can buy signed copies of the original Woman’s Weekly version at a discount in my Etsy shop. The listed price includes UK first class postage. Please contact me directly for overseas postage rates.

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I am thrilled that both books will also be available in your local library, so do look out for it there (did you know that most libraries now offer an online ordering service? Here in Cheshire we can order any book held by a Cheshire library for just £1 and collect it from our local library).

I hope you enjoy these new books and that you will continue to drop by for news, free patterns and to share your makes in 2019.

Happy crocheting

Tracey x

The Best of the Rest

So, while I’ve been hooking up stars, holly and garlands a whole gang of crochet designers have been sharing their makes too.

So, as I wrap up my blog until the New Year for my annual social media break here’s my round up of some great patterns you can find right now:

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I am definitely making a few of these cracker hats  by Emily. They are seriously the most original crochet make I’ve seen this Christmas. I think they’ll go really well with my crochet paper chains (search my 12 Makes for Christmas post for links).

I shall also be putting these on my list for next year’s making:

Just Pootling’s Christmas pudding mouse, A Toft Angel (in fact if Santa’s reading any of those gorgeous Ed’s Animals – they are so adorable. And, if you still need inspiration and ideas for this year, do make sure you’re checking out the hashtag #amigurumiadvent2018 on Instagram –  every day I’m having “I wish I had thought of that moment! I am constantly amazed by the creative genius of crochet designers.

I hope you all have a wonderful festive season – don’t forget to drop by my Instagram feed, where I shall still be posting photos of my festives makes, bakes and crafty inspiration.

Thanks for all your lovely comments and messages, I’m so glad that many of you have found something new to hook this month. I’ll be back in January.

Happy festive making x

Felted Baubles

Another one of my very early designs for Inside Crochet, these felted baubles have become a Christmas tradition. I love to find new ways to decorate them. Hand stitched with beads or covered in sequins, they always look spectacular. Remember to use a natural fibre such as wool or mohair, not a superwash wool or they won’t felt.

Of course, you can make the same pattern in cotton yarn and just add more stuffing – they look great hung on the tree in jewel bright colours. I like to finish them with a couple of rounds of metallic thread for extra “bling”!

If you want to try making some for yourself, you can buy  the pattern on Love Crochet

Cute Little Booties

I have a soft spot for these. Not only so they look impossibly cute, they were one of the first of my patterns to be published in Inside Crochet back in 2012. They look very pretty strung with ribbon and hung on a tree, but they will also fit a newborn.

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You can buy the pattern on Ravelry, or hop over to Love Crochet, where you can download a copy for free.  You won’t need much yarn, I usually use double knitting weight superwash wool, but you can use whatever you have available. My top tip if you’re making these for a child is to buy a ball in each shade and make two pairs – invariably babies will lose at least one bootie and it’s great to have a “back up”!

I hope you’re enjoying these quick festive posts, they’re certainly helping to put me in a festive mood. Now, I’m off to crochet some sprouts – because everyone loves sprouts at Christmas – don’t they?

 

Christmas Puddings

20151023_112939.jpgType the words “crochet Christmas pudding” into any search engine and you’ll pull up thousands of photographs and ideas!

Over the years I’ve come up with several ideas and often my favourites are the simplest. A combination of cream and brown wool, topped with a few red beads or sequins and some green leaves can give you several options.

Tiny puddings look so cute strung on the tree, or you can glue them to wooden pegs to hang your Christmas cards (these ones were painted with gold spray). Or why not make pencil toppers or key rings?

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My favourite is my festive pin cushion. The glossy berries were rescued from a wreath I had bought years before. The mice had nibbled most of it away when it was stored in  the attic at our old house, but I managed to rescue the berries and they came in very useful for  topping these puddings!

Here’s my basic “recipe” for a crochet pudding. You can easily modify it by working more rounds of increases (then work a corresponding number of straight rounds and then follow the same principle for decreasing). As usual, use a size smaller hook so that your stuffing doesn’t show through. I always start my crochet with a chain ring, if you’re a fan of the “magic” ring, by all means use that instead. Whatever the crochet police might tell you, it comes down to personal preference and I stand by my chain ring! Let’s be honest, once you’ve stitched on a couple of leaves and some beads, no-one will know the difference anyway. I always feel so frustrated when ladies come to my classes and tell me they’ve seen some gorgeous crochet patterns, but they don’t know how to make a “magic ring” so it’s obviously “too hard” for them (insert sad face emoji). Shameless plug – you can find instructions for lots of different ways to start crochet in the round in my book – with photos to help! Of course, try the method recommended by the designer, but if you get in a pickle, there’s no shame in sticking with what you know. For 40 years I only knew one way to cast on my knitting, but that didn’t stop me making all kinds of toys, scarves and jumpers – and no-one ever said I wasn’t a “real” knitter! Anyway, I digress. Back to our puddings.

I write my patterns in UK crochet terms and you’ll find a list of abbreviations here (links to Inside Crochet – a great resource for crocheters).

Pattern starts here:

With white yarn, make 4ch. Join with a slip stitch to make a ring.

Rnd 1: 6dc into ring. 6dc

Rnd 2: 2dc in each dc around. 12dc

Rnd 3: [1dc in next dc, 2dc in next dc] 6 times. 18dc

Fasten off white yarn and join Brown to any dc.

Rnds 4 – 6: 1dc in each dc around.

Rnd 7: [1dc in next dc, dc2tog in next dc] 6 times. 12dc

Stuff pudding with hollowfibre toy stuffing, old tights or wool tops.

Rnd 8: [dc2tog] 6 times. 6dc

Cut yarn and use a tapestry needle to draw the yarn through the remaining stitches, pull tight to close and weave in ends.

Use oddments of green yarn to make leaves.  For tiny ones, make 4ch, skip first ch, make 1dc in each ch, slip stitch in same place as last dc and fasten off.  You can also cut leaves from felt. For my pin cushion, I used my free mistletoe pattern (you’ll find links and more ideas in the “12 Makes for Christmas” tab. Or, look out for my holly leaf pattern tomorrow, when I’ll be unveiling my 2018 British Wool wreath.

I don’t  know about your house, but over here it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas…

 

 

Jingle All the Way

JIngle Bells 2.jpgWelcome back! I’ve just opened Day 4 of my advent calendar and I’m starting to feel very festive. It won’t belong before I succumb to the charms of a gingerbread latte and curl up on the sofa to watch Elf (the best Christmas film ever – except for Die Hard of course!!!)

Inspired by Elf and in an attempt to bring some more traditional colour to my festive decorations, today I’m sharing a simple Jingle Bell decoration. The bells I’m using were bought from a high street craft shop in a pack of 12. I’m sure you have your own favourite craft suppliers, where you’ll find the same or similar. You’ll also need some ribbon, a metal hoop (I’m using a thin child’s bangle, bought in a multi pack on the high Street), green yarn and a crochet hook. A tapestry needle is useful for threading the bell. You can use any yarn. I used 4 ply cotton from my stash and a 2.5mm crochet hook.

Begin by working  double crochet (that’s UK terminology – dc, if you’re in the USA you probably call that a single crochet!) around the hoop (think of the hoop as an an extra large magic ring or chain ring). Work enough dc to fit comfortably around the ring, but allowing the stitches room to move (otherwise you will find the next round puckers). Slip stitch into the first dc to finish the first round. Now you get to choose. For a narrow hoop make one slip stitch in each dc, for a wider hoop work dc around.

Whichever you choose, slip stitch into your first stitch to complete the round and fasten off your yarn.

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Thread the jingle bell through the top of the hook, tie a piece of ribbon in a bow to decorate and hang on your tree, the kitchen window, on a door handle — wherever you like and let’s hope the jingle jangle doesn’t annoy you by the time the big day arrives!

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I’ll be back tomorrow with more quick makes

Ho Ho Ho xxx

A Bright Bauble Christmas

Yes, eagle eyed readers have seen this wreath before, especially when Simply Crochet magazine featured it on the front cover of the Crochet Christmas collection in 2016. I just love these bright colours!

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bobble wreathThis pattern can be bought from Ravelry or for the special price of £1.00 plus VAT on Love Crochet. You can choose to follow my bright colour palette or stick to more festive shades. Just remember to cover your polystyrene wreath in fabric or ribbon as some glues will cause the plastic wreath to melt! I have also made a version using a card circle, cut from the bases you sometimes get with frozen pizza!

 

I do hope you’re enjoying these festive makes and feeling inspired to make a few handmade additions to your Christmas decorations. Don’t forget to share your makes with the hashtag #grannycoolchristmas, I love to see what you’ve all been making!

 

Gingerbread Man Pattern

I used to love making gingerbread dough when my daughter was little, Rolling it out, cutting the shapes and then best of all we would go to town with sparkly sugar balls, sugar strands and icing. These crochet versions might be a “healthy” option, but they still give you lots of opportunities to decorate and embellish. Raid your button tin, use up all those oddments of ric rac and ribbon. Go wild and fill your house with happy smiling gingerbread families! This is another free pattern, as usual a pdf is available on Love Crochet and Ravelry and I would be thrilled if you share photos of your makes using the hashtag #grannycoolchristmas.

Happy making my crochet friends x

A Granny Cool Christmas

20151013_120321Well, it’s the 1st of December and with no apologies I’m launching into a full month of festive crochet! I love this time of year. I Welcome the dark afternoons as an opportunity to light the fire, wrap up in snug blankets and crochet.  While others will tell you this time of year makes them glum and tempted to hunker down and wish for spring I am full of excitement. Early morning walks in the forest are filled with birdsong and in the garden we welcome the return of winter birds and the beautiful colours of tree stems and berries.

I fill my house with nature finds. Fir cones, feathers and seed heads. And, with the 1st December, out comes the advent calendar and a growing collection of festive decorations. This year I wanted to share some of my favourites with you. They are all quick and most are very simple, so that even a beginner can manage them. I will try to post a few step photos along the way too. Most are free and a few are sold on Love Crochet or Ravelry. Anyway, you can find the crochet star pattern on Love Crafts or on Payhip.

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Today’s pattern is a very simple star.  You don’t need to stop at one or two – a lovely garland can be made by stitching your finished stars to a length of ribbon. Or you can stitch a hanging loop to the top point and hang them on your tree. If you’re feeling a little bit nervous, I hope the collage of step photos below will make the steps clearer – you’ll be seeing the stars again in a few days time, along with the holly in another new pattern.

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Use sparkly yarn, festive shades or plain white. Have fun and experiment. Don’t forget to share your makes on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #grannycoolchristmas.

Books, Books, Books

Hello there! well, it’s been a while since I dropped by. But, I have been very busy and have lots of news, patterns and “secrets” to share.

Womans Weekly Guide to Crochet

First of all, I still have a few copies of the “Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet” for sale via Etsy. You can order a signed copy, with a personalised message here (just let me know the message you’d like me to write on the “Message to seller” option. Otherwise your book will be signed “Happy crocheting! Best wishes, Tracey Todhunter”. Sorry, this offer is only available for UK delivery. Order by 10th November for guaranteed delivery before Christmas as I will be closing the shop after that date.

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Pre order my new book on Amazon (or your favourite bookseller)! Due for publication in January, “200 More Crochet Stitches” will take you though texture, lace, cables and more! I will be taking orders for signed copies in January and there will be a few events to promote the book confirmed soon (including a top secret” TV appearance … watch this space!) Each stitch has a close up photo, chart and step by step written instructions and I wrote it with newbie crocheters in mind, so there is something for everyone. Every month through 2019 I shall be giving you ideas of projects you can make using the stitches in this book.

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Some of you will also know that “Crochet. Learn It, Love It” will be available in the UK from the end of December (this is the same content as the Woman’s Weekly edition, but with a new name and a new cover). I shall also have copies of this available in January.

Finally, I have something special planned for December. Every day I shall be adding a new crochet decoration to my crochet advent garland and I’ll be posting the patterns here (some free, but one or two paid for patterns). I know some of you get very nervous about following written instructions, so there will be a few photos, tips and friendly advice to help you. You’ll be able to find the latest pattern here on the blog, with photos on Instagram and Facebook – share your makes with the hashtag #grannycoolcrochet – and my favourites will win a small prize!

Oh – and I almost forgot – I have just confirmed my first workshop dates for January at Ditzy Rose Makery in Tattenhall, Cheshire. We’ll be running a three week crochet for complete beginners starting on the last Friday in January. I’ll be posting more details soon.

Happy (festive) making!

Tracey x

Knitted Cowl

canopy-cowlLet me introduce you to the Coffee Kitchen Cowl. Named after one of my favourite coffee stops in Cockermouth. This is a simple make, comfortable, practical and sure to be essential on those days when you need something you can tuck inside a coat or jacket without adding bulk. The yarn is called Canopy and is produced by the The Fibre Company, I’ll admit I was seduced by the colour and bought it with no project in mind. It is the softest yarn to wear and the colours just gleam.

For a long time it was simply called the “draught excluder”, but now I have finally got around to publishing the pattern I felt it needed a better name. So why the Coffee Kitchen? Well, firstly that’s where most of this sample was knitted earlier this year. Secondly it shares a lot of the same qualities. It’s comfortable, reliable and will always make you you feel warm and cosy – just like the cafe itself. If you ever find yourself in Cockermouth, look it up and peruse their extensive coffee and tea lists, then take yourself round the corner to the bakery and treat yourself to a loaf of real bread.

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This is a cowl that suits all ages – as you can see from the photos it’s equally at home in the city or in the wild outdoors. You can even make a narrower version and wear it as a head band. The cast on and cast off edges will roll naturally to give a gently curled edge. This pattern is now available as a pdf from Love Crafts or Payhip.

The Cheat Sheet:

I always tell my pupils that in yarn crafts there are no “rules”, do what you love and do what you want – and don’t let the knitting police tell you otherwise.

  • It’s fine to substitute the yarn, I won’t get cross (but do check out the Fibre Co, the quality is amazing and the colours are stunning).
  • You can substitute any 4 ply or fingering yarn. Shilasdair luxury 4 ply works well and the now discontinued Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply was perfect. Fyberspates Vivacious would be great.You’ll need about 200m for the size as written. Choose something special as it’s going to be close to your skin. Yarns with a “halo” like Mohair and Baby Alpaca aren’t so great as the stitch definition can be lost – but try them if that’s want you want to use. Look for a soft, smooth yarn with a high natural fibre content. Silk or viscose blends will have a sheen that reflects the stitches well.
  • If you prefer to knit on double pointed needles or magic loop, then go right ahead – it’s your knitting.
  • Cast off your way. You might prefer  a stretchy cast off or to use a size larger needle. Either way, the choice is yours. No-one but you will ever know…
  • Want it longer, wider? Just increase the cast on stitches in multiples of 4 – but you’ll need more yarn. Work more rounds as you wish until the cowl is your perfect size.
  • Make these for friends and family as a quick festive make – if you have horse riders, climbers or cyclists in the family I’m told these are great as they don’t “dangle” and keep out the wind!

Buy this pattern via payhip

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How to Crochet Mistletoe

Crochet Mistletoe free pattern
Photo Credit: Andrea Ellison

It’s five years since I first published this pattern and still I haven’t been able to improve on it. I thought it was too early to start thinking about festive or “Holiday” crochet patterns, but this week “how to crochet mistletoe” is my most popular pin on Pinterest! So, here it is again, complete with the original photos! For those of you who keep asking why I write patterns when you find photo tutorials so much easier, this will make you happy (I hope!!)

How to crochet mistletoe
Photo Credit: Andrea Ellison

If  you have 5 minutes to spare, some green yarn and a crochet hook, you can make this – really – even if you only have the most basic crochet skills. Last year I used these to adorn my home made Christmas cards, this year it has been transformed into a rustic  style garland which will soon be hanging in my kitchen window.

Here’s how: (note – I write in UK crochet terms)

With any weight yarn and a suitable crochet hook to make a firm piece of fabric (I used Rowan Pure Wool  Double Knitting and a 3.5 mm crochet hook for these photos, but it works equally well with an aran weight or chunky yarn you could even try holding your yarn double and see if you prefer the result).

Chain 9, making sure you leave a long tail when you make your slip knot.

Turn, skip the first chain and work a treble into the second chain from the hook. Work a treble into each of the next 5 chains.

Work 1 slip stitch into the last 3 chains.

Using the long tail from the slip knot and yarn, chain 3, fasten off and tie a knot. Cut yarn.

Now make a second in exactly the same way. Sew the two leaves together and stitch 3 small beads in place as berries. Now sit back admire your festive endeavours! I can’t wait to see what you all do with them …

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