Crochet Along: Floribunda Cowl

floribunda 3First of all, thank you to everyone who has responded and downloaded the free patterns for Woolfest. The Floribunda Cowl has proved especially popular. So, I wondered why don’t we croche tit along together? I’ll dive into my stash and find a suitable yarn (Or more likely be tempted into buying something gorgeous from one of the Woolfest vendors this weekend). I’ll take photos as I go along, so if you’re a new or nervous crocheter hopefully they’ll help you out if you get stuck. There’s no official start or finish day, just start hooking when you’re ready and let’s share our progress. You can post photos on Instagram using the hashtag #FloribundaCowl or #GrannyCoolCrochet and I’ll share them in my stories. I rarely host crochet alongs, so this is just a bit of fun for us all.

floribunda square

Free Pattern: Bobble Cowl

Well hello Friday! It’s been a busy week here, lots of design submissions, sample making and even a bit of gardening (and yes, laundry, dusting, housework – I am the ultimate procrastinator!)

Speaking of which, five years since I shared the Bobble Cowl with you, I have finally made a new sample, photographed it and I’ll be uploading the patttern pdf to all the usual places next week.

Meanwhile, for you lovely readers, here is a free version just for you. These are instructions to make the green 4 ply version which I’m wearing in the photo – the grey DK version is made in exactly the same way, just with a bigger hook. You’ll need about 300m, so this is perfect if you have a 100g skein of 4 ply or sock yarn lurking in your stash. Make it bigger by adding more stitches or working extra rounds (you’ll need an odd number of chains).

The bobble stitch is very easy and with only one round to memorise, you’ll hook it up in no time at all. If you have a copy of 200 More Crochet Stitches, you’ll find some photos and a chart to help you with the bobbles on page 57 (Three Colour Bobbles).

So, gather up your yarn, a 3.5mm hook and you’re ready to go! Remember – I write in UK crochet terms.

Technically, this stitch is a cluster not a bobble – but let’s not split hairs! You’ll find instructions for making clusters on p 182 of 200 More Crochet Stitches or p90 of Crochet, Learn It, Love It. After the first round, you’ll be making all your stitches into the chain spaces, so it’s easy to remember where to put your hook – handy if you’re crocheting this in fron of the TV.

Special stitches:

Beginning Bobble (BegBob): 3ch, yoh, insert hook into stitch, (yoh and pull up loop, yoh, pull through two loops) twice, yoh and draw through all loops on hook.

Bobble (Bob): yoh, insert hook into stitch, (yoh and pull up loop, yoh, pull through two loops) three times, yoh and draw through all loops on hook.

Make 90ch, join to make a ring, being careful not to twist your stitches.

Round 1: 1ch (does not count as a stitch), 1dc in same place as join and 1dc in each ch to end, sl st in same place as first dc. (90dc)

Round 2: Make 1 Beg Bob in same place as sl st, 1ch, skip 1dc *Make Bob in next st, 1ch, skip 1dc; repeat from * to end, sl st in top of Beg Bob.

Round 3: Sl st into first ch sp. Make 1 Beg Bob in same place as sl st, 1ch, skip 1dc, *Make Bob in next st, 1ch, skip 1dc; repeat from * to end, sl st in top of Beg Bob.

Round 3: Sl st into first ch sp. Make 1 Beg Bob in same place as sl st, 1ch, skip bobble, *Make Bob in next ch sp, 1ch, skip bobble; repeat from * to end, sl st in top of Beg Bob.

Rounds 4 – 20. Repeat Round 3.

On the 4 ply version, I added a round of crab stitch to the top and bottom. You’ll find instructions for crab stitch on page 121 of Crochet. Learn it, Love It. Or, there are numerous tutorials online.

Fasten off yarn, weave in ends and wear with a smile!

So there you are, I told you it was easy! The beautiful green yarn is a skein of Eden Cottage Yarns Tempo 4 ply. The shade is “Cottage Original”, I’ve got at least 100m left, which I’ll use to knit the feet of a pair of scrappy socks and I’ll make up a few flowers for my Vintage Flowers Blanket. The grey yarns for the dk version were from my stash and I made it so long ago I cannot find my notes, nor can I remember the yarns! This year I’ve resolved to file away my design notebooks more carefully – let’s see how that works out..

Happy Making everyone xxx

Free Pattern – But Not for Much Longer

This week’s Friday Free Pattern is a day early because I’m busy packing for a much needed holiday! This is your last chance to pick this knitted cowl pattern up for free. When I get back it’s going up for sale on my Love Crafts profile. You can find the blog post with all the instructions by clicking here.

Get it while you can knitters xxx

Free Pattern: Colour Pop Cowl

Photo Credit: Kirsten Mavric for Tailor Made Publishing

The Colour Pop Cowl appeared in Issue 125 of Inside Crochet magazine and you can now download the pattern for free via  Eden Cottage Yarns. Victoria and her team have also put together colour kits for this design. It may be too early to mention the “C” word – but this would make an ideal gift for crocheting friends and family. The motif cowl is constructed using the “join as you go” technique and is simple enough for a confident beginer to follow. I had great fun designing and making this and I’m thrilled that the pattern is now available from Eden Cottage yarns, who initially provided yarn support. Collaborating with yarn companies, developing a design or collection is one of the joys of my job. Admin, dealing with pattern sales, enquiries and promotion are less fun. But they are essential to the success of my brand. Many of my patterns for Inside Crochet are available by purchasing back copies or digital downloads of the magazine, others are avilable from Love Crafts and designs commissioned by yarn companies are available directly from their website.

If you’re looking for other accessory designs, you might like the Cavendish hat and mittens set – which made the cover of issue 84 of Inside Crochet Magazine.

 

Hearts and Flowers

Happy February. In a spirit of joy and optimism and I am declaring this the month of crochet hearts and flowers!

This is the month when the garden slowly bursts back into life, with bulbs appearing and shoots making their way through the chilly soil to promise colour and joy all through summer! For me this is a month definied by friendship and (of course) love!

Over the years I have published a number of different versions of my crochet heart pattern, I love the simple construction and the way it cleverly uses increases and decreases to create a recognisable heart shape. The verys first version appeared in Issue 33 of Inside Crochet magazine. Later I published a smaller version in the same magazine as part of a feature on crocheting for celebrations. It has also found its way into other publications and most recently as a motif on an embellished cushion (pattern pdf coming soon!) I’m always surprised that more variations of this simple technique haven’t appeared on blogs or Pinterest. With a little imagination you could add embroidered embellishments, crochet frills and ruffles. I think stripes or textured yarn versions would be such fun to create!

The basic “recipe” is printed below, and you can find more detailed versions of the pattern, with abbreviations lists and yarn suggestions  in my Ravelry or Love Crafts stores (see links below). If you do make a version of this, please share it on my Facebook or Instagram pages.

Another one of my “old favourites” is the heart shaped wreath, which usually hangs on my front door during February. I shall post a more detailed description of how I made this next week, but if you want to try making one yourself try this post.

Basic Heart Pop (this pattern uses UK crochet terms and abbreviations):

Make two the same for front and back.

With 3.5mm hook and dk yarn make 6ch.

Row 1: 1dc in second ch from hook, dc to end, mark centre stitch, turn. (5dc)

Row 2: 1ch, 2dc in first dc, dc to centre st, remove marker, 3dc in centre st, replace marker in centre st of 3dc, dc to last st, 2dc in last st, turn. (9dc)

Rows 3 (4): As Row 2. (17dc)

Row 5: 1ch, dc to centre st, remove marker, 3dc in centre st, replace marker in centre st of 3dc, dc to end, turn. (19dc)

Row 6: 1ch, dc2tog, dc to centre st, remove marker, 3dc in centre st, replace marker in centre st of 3dc, dc to last 2dc, dc2tog, turn. (19dc)

Row 7: 1ch, [dc2tog] twice, dc to centre st, remove marker, 3dc in centre st, replace marker in centre st of 3dc, dc to last 4dc, [dc2tog] twice, turn. (17dc)

Row 8:  ch, dc to centre st, remove marker, 3dc in centre st, replace marker in centre st of 3dc, dc to end. (19dc)

Fasten off yarn and weave in ends.

Making Up:

With wrong sides together, sew a whip stitch or make a dc seam around the edge of the hearts leaving a gap for stuffing, stuff to make a plump heart and sew gap. Slip a cake pop stick through the reverse of each heart and tie a small ribbon bow. A tiny amount of glue can be used to secure the stick.

Alternatively, a piece of ribbon can be stitched to the top of the heart and they can be decorated with beads and buttons.

Happy making x

You can find some of my heart patterns for sale online:

Heart Pops on Love Crafts or Ravelry.  You can find the free flower pattern I used to make my heart shaped wreath in this blog post. For versions in your back issues of Inside Crochet, take a look in issues 33, 64 and 111.

 

Easter Garland

20190410_124011.jpg

This garland might be a little bit brighter than my usual makes – but with Easter almost upon us I couldn’t resist adding a bit of whimsy to my kitchen shelves! The carrots are made using the chilli pattern (which is free on Love Crochet) I used to make this garland for Love Crochet magazine way back in 2014.

chilli string

I’ve given instructions for the daisy below and also added notes on making the carrot tops. To make the garland I simply made a 20ch, slip stitched into the first chain to make a hanging loop and then made a long chain, joining on alternate carrots and daisies every 15 chains by working a dc into one of the  petal loops or the back of the carrots. Once I had added all the flowers and carrots, I made 35ch, then slip stitched into the 20th chain from the hook to make another hanging loop.

20190410_120116.jpg

The colours I used are from the Yarn and Colours Must Have Cotton range (White, Sorbus and Peridot), most of the major yarn companies have suitable cottons in their ranges. Try Paintbox yarns cotton DK (Paper White, Blood Orange and Grass Green) Or Rico Cotton (White, Orange and Fir Green), but I encourage you to dive into your stash for this one (I did)!

I hope you enjoy this project, it certainly makes visitors to my kitchen smile.

Happy hooking x

Daisy Flower:

With orange yarn and 3mm hook make 6ch, join with a sl st to make a ring.

Round 1: 6dc into ring

Round 2: (2dc in each dc) 6 times. 12dc

Fasten off orange and join white to any dc.

Round 3: 1dc in same place as join, 9ch, sl st in same place as dc, (dc in next dc, 9ch, sl st in same place as dc) 11 times. Fasten off yarn, weave in ends.

Press flowers on the reverse once made.

To make the carrots, follow the chilli pattern in this free download. Use Orange yarn to make your carrots.

Carrot Tops:

Join green yarn to any dc on last round of carrot, 5ch, 1sl st in 2nd chain from hk, 1sl st in each of next 3ch, 1sl st in same place as dc, (1dc in next dc, 5ch, 1sl st in 2nd chain from hk, 1sl st in each of next 3ch, 1sl st in same place as dc) in each dc around. Fasten off yarn and weave in ends.

To make the garland you’ll need an even number of daisies and an odd number of carrots. Join a daisy first, then alternate between carrots and daisies, finishing with a daisy.

20190410_123557.jpg

Note: this post contains affiliate link, this means I earn a small commission on purchases made by readers clicking on these links).

 

Free Pattern: Wee Mousie

Hello Little Mouse!

one little mouse.jpg

I make no apologies for my current obsession with tiny cute things – making them is a joy – and being able to make something so quickly is definitely a bonus!

These little mice started life as a sample for a Learn to Crochet Class, I quickly realised that others might fall in love with them too. They’re much cuter than the real thing, which we occasionally spy scuttling across the patio!

Of course, I had to make three (in honour of the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice).

Each mouse is made in a different shade of King Cole Baby Alpaca (I had oddments left over from some other projects, which you’ll see in print soon) and is stuffed with wool stuffing. You can use any yarn you like and as mice come in many shapes, sizes and colours, you can dive into your stash and come up with a unique little mouse.

I’ve used beads for the eyes, but you could use embroidery if you prefer. The trickiest part is the whiskers; it was so hard to come up with a colour and texture that looked attractive. In the end I went for a combination of cotton yarn and sewing thread.

I’ve listed this as a free pattern, which means it hasn’t been tech edited. It has been tested by some of my pupils and proof read, but mistakes can still sneak through. If you spot an error please let me know and I can fix it. You’ll find a full list of crochet terms and abbreviations here.

I always like to start working in the round with a crochet ring, if you prefer an adjustable or “magic” ring, feel free to start that way instead. Remember, the only rule in crochet is there are no rules!

To make your mouse you will need:

2.5mm crochet hook, oddments of dk yarn (about 18m) and approximately 6g of toy stuffing or wool scraps. Two beads or black embroidery floss for eyes.

three little mice.jpg

Pattern starts here: (written in UK crochet terms)

Make 2ch.

Round 1: 4dc into 2nd ch from hk. 4dc

Round 2: (1dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 6dc

Round 3: (2dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 8dc

Round 4: (3dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 10dc

Round 5: (4dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 12dc

Round 6: 1dc in each st around.

Round 7: (3dc, 2dc in next st) 3 times. 15dc

Round 8: (4dc, 2dc in next st) 3 times. 18dc.

Rounds 9 – 18: 1dc in each dc around.

Stuff head and body.

Round 19: (4dc, dc2tog) 3 times. 15dc

Round 20: (3dc, dc2tog) 3 times. 12dc

Round 21: (dc2tog) 6 times. 6dc.

Make tail:

Row 1: 1sl st into next dc, ch16, 1sl st in 2nd ch from hk and in each ch across, 1 sl st in same place as first sl st. fasten off yarn.

Add more stuffing to body if required and close hole using long yarn tail.

Ears: (make two)

Make 4ch.

Row 1: 3ch, 4tr in 4th ch from hk, sl st in same ch. Fasten off yarn.

Sew ears to top of head (use photo as a guide).

Finishing:

Sew eyes, nose and whiskers using photo as a guide to placement.

two little mice.jpg

I hope you enjoy making these teeny mice – you can share your makes on my Facebook page, or on Instagram (just tag your photos #grannycoolcrochet). I do love to see your photos.

Happy crocheting!

 

A Crochet Bouquet

vase of daffodillsThe first daffodils signal the arrival of spring and remind me that warmer days are not very far away. I love making these tiny flowers as they bring colour to my home and mean that I can leave the real blooms in the garden, where they last much longer than in a vase. I’m posting the pattern here, but if you head over to Ravelry or the  Love Crochet pattern store, you can purchase a pdf with extra helpful hints, tips and photos of various steps to help you if you are a less confident crocheter.

IMG_5289

YARN: Any DK weight cotton yarn in Yellow for petals and pollen, orange for trumpet and green for leaves.

I recommend Yarn and Colours for this project, but you can use your favourite brand. You will only need small amounts of each colour, so if you’re buying yarn specifically for this project you might like to consider the 25g mini ball ranges produced by Yarn and Colours, Rico and Scheepjes.

TENSION: There is no need to complete a tension swatch. Make your first flower using the recommended hook and then adjust if you find your stitches are too loose / too tight.

HOOKS AND NOTIONS: 2.5mm crochet hook. You will also need a tapestry needle, florist wire and tape to make the stems.

SIZE: Each flower measures approx. 6cm across

SKILLS: Double crochet, half treble and treble crochet, slip stitches, working in rounds. On the final page of this pattern, you’ll find some photos that may help you to visualise the different stages.

ERRATA: All known edits and errata are listed on my website, please let me know if you spot an error or have question about the pattern.

ABBREVATIONS: For a list of common UK crochet terms and abbreviations please click here.

PATTERN STARTS HERE:

The petals are made in spirals, with right side always facing, do not turn at the end of rounds.

With yellow yarn make 4ch, join with a sl st to make a ring.

Round 1: 6dc into ring. 6dc

Round 2: (2dc in each dc) 6 times. 12dc

Round 3: (1dcblo in next dc, ch5, 1dc in 3rd ch from hk, 1htr in next ch, 1tr in last ch, skip next dc) 6 times. 6 petals made

Round 4: (1sl st in next dc, 2dc evenly up side of first petal, 3dc in ch sp, 2dc evenly down side of petal) 6 times. Fasten off yarn.

Trumpet:

Join orange yarn to any unworked front loop of Round 2. Work Round 1 into the front loops only.

Round 1: 1dc in each dc around. 12dc

Rounds 2 and 3: As Round 1, do not fasten off yarn.

Picot frill:

Round 1: (1sl st in next dc, ch2, 1sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1sl st in next dc) 6 times. Fasten off yarn.

Pollen:

Using yellow yarn cut five pieces, each approx. 3cm in length. Tie a knot in the end of each piece and thread unknotted end through centre ring. Once all five pieces have been threaded through, adjust lengths until you are happy with the final look and then secure on the wrong side using a tapestry needle to weave in ends.

 

Leaf:

With green yarn make 21ch.

Row 1: 1dc in 2nd ch from hook, 1htr in next ch, 1tr in next and all ch to end. Fasten off yarn. Weave in ends

Making up.

Slip one end of floristry wire through the back of your daffodil, bend the wire in half and twist to secure. Wrap floristry tape around the wire, starting at the top and working to the bottom. Wrap one or two leaves around stem and sew in place.

If you prefer, you can use a small amount of spray starch to stiffen each leaf before making up (Be sure to follow the instructions on the can and use on the reverse side only).

I hope these little daffs brighten your day!

Don’t forget, you can find a more comprehensive pattern for purchase on Ravelry and Love Crochet.

Make It and Mend It

5H5A6931.jpgWe all have items lurking in our wardrobe that we don’t wear any more, but can’t bear to throw away. Cardigans with a frayed cuff, a tear in the fabric of a favourite dress or a hole in the elbow of our snuggliest jumper. Instead of letting these much loved items languish in your wardrobe why not try revamping them? With a little imagination and some basic crochet skills we can easily give our wardrobes a new lease of life.

Enterprising crocheters may already be familiar with extending the life of handmade garments for babies and toddlers by adding a decorative frill to lengthen a dress or jumper. This was fairly common in my childhood, and a habit I continued with my own daughter’s wardrobe. A strategically placed piece of crochet applique can hide all manner of stains and fabric mishaps – and patches are no longer the preserve of 1970’s denim – think of a floral embellishment to cover a rip as a “woolly tattoo” or a badge of honour awarded to your favourite jumper for years of faithful service.  It may surprise you to know, that for some time it has been possible to buy “Clothes Plasters”, beautiful embroidered patches, designed to cover up holes, rips and stains in the most attractive way. In fact, it was coming across a display of these in a store which prompted me to pick up my crochet hook and make my own repairs.

5H5A6955.jpg

While we’re used to crochet motifs embellishing our clothes, “visible mending” or the art of the decorative repair is less well known and I think it’s high time we began to think about celebrating those “battle scars” (the stains, the tears, the worn fabric) and putting a little effort into extending the life of our favourite garments There is a growing fashion movement which rejects the “fast fashion” of the high street, preferring instead to search out second hand, vintage or “preloved” clothes and alter them for modern figures and lifestyles. Once you begin to see the possibilities to revamp, repair or refresh a preloved garment with crochet you will begin to see stains and tears as an opportunity rather than a misfortune. And you’ll be in good company. The much admired textile artist Tom van Deijnen (known as “Tom of Holland”) has been championing the old and the imperfect for some time and his Visible Mending Programme has inspired many of us to see our wardrobes in a new light. He certainly reminded me that shop bought clothes deserve just as much care and attention as the ones we make for ourselves.

Just as the Japanese art of Kintsugi makes a virtue of cracks and flaws in pottery by infilling with gold and precious metal , a creative mend or patch enhances the original garment and tells the story of how it has been worn and loved. Once you begin to consider repair as a way to extend the life of your clothes, the mends, darns and patches become opportunities to personalise your wardrobe and each “fix” simply adds another detail. A patch can add a splash of colour, an embroidered flower turns a hand me down scarf into a brand new item for a younger child, while a darned sock reflects the pride taken in making the original pair.

The  projects shown here are garments from my own wardrobe, none of which I made myself. Nonetheless, they are much loved and I definitely consider them “wardrobe staples”. The cotton tunic which I wore so often the fabric began to fade and perish was no longer fit to be seen in public, yet I was loathe to throw it away.  Instead I chose a few complementary colours of 4 ply yarn and hooked up some simple flowers. I’ll admit that it took longer to sew them on than it did to crochet them, but an evening spent hand stitching has been well rewarded. The tunic now has a new lease of life. It is often admired and has sparked many conversations. Yes, it has to be hand washed, as I fear the patches may fade or shrink in the wash, but that is no real hardship for those of us who are used to handwashing our crochet or hand knits.

5H5A6895.jpg

The possibilities for embellishment and decoration are endless and only limited by the time you have available. They are also lessons in thrift and ingenuity.  The elbow patch pictured here was made using tiny scraps of yarn left over from a previous commission. Too small for anything else, these “ball ends” would most likely have been thrown away, so their reinvention as a floral elbow patch also rescued them from landfill.

The cardigan may look like a deliberate act of crochet enhancement, but it hides a frayed cuff. Now, instead of being a cosy “comfort garment” picked up for a couple of pounds in a charity shop, it has  been promoted to “going out” wear. I am tempted to add more buttons, more floral patches to the front and around the collar and each time I open my button tin I see more opportunities for enhancement. These days I look twice at clothes with small flaws, seeing a chance to get creative without the effort of making a whole new garment from scratch or spending and afternoon searching for a replacement on the high street.

5H5A6899.jpg

The simple projects here should be seen as inspiration, use them as a starting point to revive your own wardrobe and a chance to reveal your personality. Invest some time in creating a woolly tattoo or a crochet plaster – you’ll be in good company – and you’ll have a truly unique item of clothing.

This feature was first published in Issue 74 of Inside Crochet, photos by Kristen Mavric are reproduced with permission of Tailor made Publishing

I used two simple flower motifs, sew them together to make a larger patch or sew individually to cover those pesky holes in t shirts.

Flower One (written in UK crochet terms):

Motif is made in a spiral with right side facing. At the end of Rnd 1 do not turn or make ch, simply continue with next Rnd.

Make 6ch, join with a sl st to first ch to make a ring.

Rnd 1: 10dc into ring, sl st into first dc.

Rnd 2: 5tr in next dc (sl st in next dc, 5tr in next dc) 4 times, finish with a sl st into same place as sl st on Rnd 1. Fasten off yarn.

Weave in yarn tails and press lightly if desired before stitching to fabric.

Flower Two (used to make the elbow patch):

Make 6ch, join with a sl st to first ch to make a ring.

Rnd 1: (3ch, tr cl into ring, 3ch, sl st into ring) 5 times. Fasten off leaving a long tail. Weave in beginning tail.

Making up:

Sew 9 flowers together to make each patch (following photo as a guide to placement), using yarn tails to join each flower. Sew to sleeves of sweater using matching thread.

Further inspiration:

Read this blog post from Dottie Angel on her love of the woolly tattoo and admire beautiful examples of her work

Tom van Deijnen holds regular workshops and writes about the art of the visible mend on his website, where you can also view examples of his work.

 

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.

elfin-booties-3

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?

christmas pudding.jpg

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.

jingle bell collage.jpg

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!

JIngle Bells.jpg

I’ll be back tomorrow with more quick makes

Ho Ho Ho xxx