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

Introducing the Farndon Scarf

Hello there! Issue 132 of Inside Crochet just landed on my doormat and I couldn’t wait to see how my latest design had been styled and photographed! I certainly wasn’t disappointed – the photos are fabulous. So, with permission of Inside Crochet I’m sharing a few here.

You can find the patern in issue 132 of Inside Crochet, which goes on sale this week. It’s filled with brightly coloured makes that are sure to bring a smile. I’ve already got my eye on a couple of sweaters in this issue and a cute pair of stripey mittens.

I used West Yorkshire Spinners Colour Lab DK for this design, it is has such a vibrant colour palette and it’s made with British wool, so even better in my opinion! I used a simple stitch, so all you need to worry about is remembering to change colour (and there are a LOT of colour changes)! I hope you like Farndon as much as I do, it’s certainly been getting lots of compliments on Instagram!

Easter Garland

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

Sofia and Sparkles

Sofia and Sparkles Family Group 2019.jpgWell hello – and thanks for stopping by! I want to introduce you to Sofia and Sparkles. Sparkles the mouse made her debut on Instagram before Christmas, but it’s taken me three months to write up and check the pattern, meanwhile she was joined by Sofia, a little bunny with an impossibly cute pom pom tail!

There will be a wardrobe of clothes for these little cuties –  I just need some decent light to photograph the samples – it’s so wet and grim here in Cheshire at the moment. Sparkles and Sophia were both made in Alpaca yarns, Sparkles is Whitfell DK in natural and Sofia is made using King Cole Alpaca in Grey. I loved using these yarns. Alpaca is so soft and it gives a lovey fur like texture. The clothes are made with oddments of double knitting yarns and Sofia’s pom pom tail is made from some leftover silk / mohair (Kidsilk Haze would be perfect). To stuff them, I used a natural wool fibre stuffing, which you have heard me talk about before. It’s so lovely to find an alternative to man made fibre stuffing. I buy mine from Wool Warehouse, but you can find other stockists.

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Both Sofia and Sparkles are ideal for beginners who can work into a ring. They are constructed using double crochet in rounds, with some increasing and decreasing for shaping.

While making these toys I also discovered my new favourite crochet tool – a felting needle! Because these amigurumi use all natural fibres, you can needle felt the ears and limbs into the most pleasing position and be sure they’ll stay put! You can also needle felt the head if it feels a little floppy. I am currently experimenting with adding  colour to my makes, spots, stripes and patches could be so much simpler than working colour changes whilst crocheting (which I know is something lots of my crochet pupils struggle with). To be honest, I often find the colour changes on such small numbers of stitches can look a little “clunky”, so using a simple needle felting technique might be the answer.

Sparkles Mouse March 2019

 

I hope you like Sofia and Sparkles, I imagine them getting up to all kinds of mischief and adventures. Both patterns can be downloaded now from Ravelry  or  Love Crochet soon. Look out for more clothes and accessories, which I’ll be adding here over the next couple of weeks.

Free Pattern: Wee Mousie

Hello Little Mouse!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

New Learn to Crochet Class

20151018_121740I have a new crochet workshop class starting in March. This class will take place at the  Ashton Hayes Pavilion, Cheshire (the village where I live), on Tuesday mornings 12th, 19th and 26th March. I am running this class as a fund raiser for Ash-worth Timebank, a charity that is based here in the community and supports local residents by offering social activities, support and advice to everyone. Our venue for these workshops is fully accessible, has free parking and is easy to find. You can download the Crochet Poster made by the Timebank for all the contact details.

There are only eight places available and we already have some bookings, but if you would like to register for a place please contact Caroline at the Timebank or fill out the enquiry form below and one of us will be in touch.

Update: I am now taking direct payments for this class – use the contact form below if you would like to book!

Note

Using the contact form is a “private message” – your details will not be published.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Heart Pops for Valentines

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Just in time for Valentine’s day I’ve released my little Heart Pops pattern. These simple little hearts are very quick to make and look fabulous strung as a garland or made into wall hangings. Some of you might recognise them as part of a feature I wrote for Issue 64 of Inside Crochet in 2015.

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You can use any yarn for these. I’ve suggested double knitting, but you can use aran or chunky to make larger hearts, or 4 ply for tiny ones. Use a size smaller hook than usual to create a dense fabric (you don’t want the stuffing to show through).

Although it’s traditional to make your hearts in red or pink, I chose bold pastels for mine and they look very cheerful decorating a spring table.

You can find the pattern on Love Crochet or Ravelry.

Happy Crocheting xxx

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

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?