Hello

Workshop Dates at Farfield Mill

I’m very pleased to let you know I’ll be heading back to Farfield MIll for two workshops in 2022. Farfield Mill is a beautiful setting in the village of Sedburgh, close to Junction 37 of the M6 and serves particularly nice lunches!

ON 25th June I’m running an “Improvers” day, which will be suitable for anyone who has mastered the crochet basics or has attended one of my Learn to Crochet Workshops (here or at another venue). The focus for this workshop will be motifs, we’ll start with a granny square and then move on to other motifs and I’l teach you some easy ways to join your motifs together. WE’ll also take a close look at crochet charts and symbols as these can be especially helpful when learning to crochet motifs.

If you can already crochet a granny square, but need some advice on trying different motifs or how to turn your squares into projects this is the perfect dau for you. While the others get to grips with squares, I’ll show you how to make granny circles, triangles and hexagons!

I have a couple of lovely patterns to send you home with. The first is my lovely Floribunda Cowl, which first appeared in Issue 89 of Inside Crochet magazine (gorgeous photo taken by Leanne Dixon and used with permission of Inside Crochet). This uses just one 100g ball of 4 ply or sock yarn, so it’s not an expensive make. This pattern includes a crochet chart, so you’ll be able to practice the skills you’ve learnt in the workshop. You’ll also take home a copy of my Tiny Pops of Colour Cowl. This also featured in Inside Crochet (issue 125, with beautiful photos by Kirsten Mavric) and is available as a free download from Eden Cottage Yarns, who kindly supplied the yarn for the magazine sample. This motif features a circle inside a square and can be used to make scarves, blankets or the lovely cowl featured in Inside Crochet. It’s also the perfect way to use up all those tiny scraps of wool that accumulate when you knit or crochet!

This is a full day workshop and you can book directly with Farfield Mill – the online booking facility should be available this week.

Before that. I’ll be teaching a Learn to Crochet Day on 30th April. This is suitable for complete beginners or “improvers”. The main project of the day will be a simple flower wreath and during the day you’ll learn several different techniques for making flowers and practising basic stitches. If you attended my previous workshop at Farfield Mill, this would be a perfect “next step” if you still need a bit of confidence building – or be brave and book on my Motifs day – you’ll be able to keep up I promise!

I hope to see some of you at 2022 workshops – do let me know if you’re coming or if you have any questions.

Happy Making!

Tracey x

Credits: I am eternally grateful to Inside Crochet Magazine for permission to use the photos from the magazine for these patterns and to Claire Montgomerie for her beautiful styling – all images are (c) Tailor Made Publishing and used here with kind permission of the editor.

Workshop Dates 2022 Announced

Hello Crochet Friends!

I’m delighted to let you know that I have confirmed dates for crochet workshops in 2022. These will take place in Cumbria at some beautiful venues and I’ve made sure to include all skill levels. I’ll be posting more details in the Learn to crochet Section of my website and on Instagram.

Saturday 19th March:

lakes and Fells Workshops, Renwick (Near Penrith) Learn to Crochet Now available to book.

Saturday 30th April:

Crochet Flowers Day at Farfield Mill, Sedburgh. THis class is suitable for beginners and intermediates. (Bookings open soon)

Saturday 25th June:

Skill Building Workshop (Crochet Motifs) at Farfield Mill, SEdburgh. A special class for intermediates or anyone who has attanded one of my learn to Crochet Workshops at any venue and would like to extend their skills. (Bookingsopen soon)

Saturday 3rd September

learn to Crochet at The Maker’s Mill, Keswick (Bookings open soon)

Phot Credits: (c) Inside Crochet Magazine

Workshops Are Back

It’s been too long since I sat around a table and turned a bunch of want to be crocheters into fully fledged hookers! But, finally it looks like workshops will be running again this autumn. First up is a two day Crochet Weekender at Lakes and Fells in Renwick, near Penrith. This is a whole weekend of indulgent crochet, designed for beginners, this weekend is also suitable for anyone who wants to refresh their crochet skills and gain some confidence reading patterns and learning new stitches. The venue hosts are the lovely Liam and Lucy and their dog Rhubarb. They’ll keep us well fed and refreshed with tea, coffee and home made goodies throughout the weekend. I can promise you it’s going to be lots of fun. You can find full booking details on the Lakes and Fells website. Please note that accommodation is not included in the booking fee.

Then, in October I’m heading over to Keswick to teach a Sunday morning workshop at the Maker’s Mill, an amazing venue and craft space. I’ll show you how to make your own T shirt yarn and you’ll learn how to make a simple crochet basket of any size and using any yarn. This is aimed at beginners, but if you want to refresh your skills or just have a fun day out with other crocheters you’ll be very welcome.

More dates are coming soon and hopefully lots of bookings for 2022. It’s been a bumpy and unpredictable year, but rest assured all the venues I work with have done their best to provide a welcoming work space and have refund / rebook policies in place if Pandemic guidance changes. Believe me, after a year of shielding I’m as keen as anyone to get back to workshops, but I understand the need to keep everyone safe and feeling comfortable with their surroundings. 

Everything you need is provided on the day and I’ll have books, wool, hooks and crochet kits for sale too. I’m really looking forward to welcoming back some familiar faces and meeting new crocheters, so pop pver to the relevant venue for full prices and booking details.

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

Some Big News

Well, here’s some rather exciting news – the Wool Clip have a new member – and it’s me! Regular Woolfest visitors will know the Wool Clip as the organisers of this fabulous annual celebration of all things wool. They also have a shop in Caldbeck village, Cumbria and a website.

It was a lovely surprise to be invited to join and a real honour for me. I’ll be working in the shop a few days each month and some of my ready made crochet items will be for sale online and in the shop. If you find yourself in Cumbria, do come along and say hello. You’ll find a wondrous selection of hand made items from woven wraps, to tufted rugs adn even Herdwick ties in a tin (the perfect Father’s Day gift perhaps?). I’ll be working on Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May, so do drop by and say hello if you’re nearby. You can find more information about  the Wool Clip and their address on their website.

Best of all, is the gorgeous selection of British wool. The selection includes hand spun and  hand dyed wool from native breeds, real wool with a real connection to the lakeland Fells. This is your perfect destination for wool that has been reared, sheared and spun here in Cumbria by members of the Wool Clip. I often used to visit the Wool Clip to buy wool for projects or to seek out gorgeous presents. It’s a hidden gem and right next door there’s a coffee shop selling delicious cakes and great coffee.

Have I tempted you to come and visit? Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting photos of some of the items I’ll have for sale. The best place to keep up with new additions to my stock is to follow me on Instagram (@GrannyCoolCrochet) or to follow my new shop account where all my stock will be added with links in my profile to buy direct from the Wool Clip or to download patterns. At the moment, most of my stock is blankets and small accessories to keep out chilly winds, but as time goes on I’ll be adding more gift ideas, kits and patterns.

Finally, don’t worry if you can’t make it to Cumbria – Woolfest 2021 will be online in June this year – you can find more details on the Woolfest website and I’ll be posting updates on Instagram.

Crochet Flower Crown

It feels like spring is in the air! I’ve noticed lots of crocheters are hooking up spirng floral designs – particularly this simple flower crown I designed for Inside Crochet Issue 104. There have been some lovely examples on Instagram this week, inclusing one lovely reader who made a version with brown and pink yarn to resemble cherry blosssom – what a lovely idea.

The pattern is very simple and can easily be made using oddments of cotton yarn in your favourite colours. You could also stitch the flowers to a brooch pin or hair clip. 

You can buy the crochet flower crown pattern on Payhip or this week it’s a £1 special offer on Love Crafts.

 

Cute Little Bunnies

These cute little bunnies are my latest pattern to be made available as a single pdf download. They originally appeared in Issue 113 of Inside Crochet magazine and with Easter fast approaching I thought it might be fun to share this cute pair with their adorable little outfits!

You can buy the pattern on Payhip, and it can be downloaded from  Love Crafts. Sewing features is often the hardest part of amigurumi projects, a slightly wonky eye or a misplaced nose can totally alter the character of your makes. So,  I have included a couple of close up photos which I hope will help you. The pattern consists of six pages, with full instructions for making the bunny and all the clothes. You’ll need to be able to crochet in the round and read a crochet pattern written in UK crochet terms.

Most of this week I’ve been “stalking” the Postie, waiting for new yarn to arrive for a commission. It finally arrived today and I wish I could share it with you – it’s the beautiful shade – but you’ll just have to wait until it appears in print for details (or follow me on Instagram for sneaky peeks)…

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!

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

Clara Bolster

This is another design that is perfect for using up all your odds and ends to make a multi stripe project, or if you have single balls of a similar weight, you can combine them to make repeating stripes. The original version used Rowan Pure Wool Aran, which has sadly been discontinued. But, there is a handy substitution guide on the Rowan website if you want to choose an alternative from their range. Or, substitute any Aran weight yarn – Paintbox Yarns Pure Wool Worsted would be great and has very generous yardage.

I used a variation of half treble, which is worked into the space between stitches to create a lovely linen stitch effect that is perfect for stripes. When you join theyarn for each round, simply work your first stitch into the same place you joined the yarn to create lovely even stripes. Work over the yarn ends as you crochet so you don’t need to weve them in when you finish.

This design first appeared in issue 49 of Inside Crochet and was reprinted in several compendium editions here and in Germany. Digital editions of the magazine are available from Inside Crochet or you can fnd the pattern pdf for the Clara Bolster on Payhip or Love Crafts.

Vintage Flowers Blanket

Probably the most beautiful blanket I’ve ever made – and certainly the most colourful! This simple motif blanket was inspired by a version made by my Dad in the early 1970’s. He used oddments from clothes he had made for us girls, baby blankets, granny squares and to be honest any oddments he could lay his hands on! When Inside Crochet commissioned this, we chose Rooster Almerino DK to make the sample (above) , it had an excellent range of colours to make bold and bright motifs. The original version is shown below – you can see how many different colours were used!

I have included a suggested colour chart with the pattern, but to be honest I really would encourage you to just go wild and make each motif in a random collection of colours and yarns. One of the things I’ve noticed this week is that the oddments and left overs in my yarn stash seem to fall into distinct colour groups. There’s lots of blue, purple and grey, a little yellow and very little green which means that a blanket made up of oddments in your stash will likely reflect your own colour preferences.

Each motif uses just 5m of yarn and works up very quickly. I don’t do “how to” videos or step by step photos, but I have included a little collage here showing one or two steps just to illustrate how easy this is. If you haven’t used the “join as you go” method before, it’s really very simple and very satisfying to know you won’t have to sew all those motifs together at the end. If you feel daunted by making a complete blanket, you could make a cushion cover. Or, my plan for this year is keep a basket by my sofa and every time I complete a project I’ll make a flower motif to add to a blanket that will record my year of making.

You can buy the pattern on Payhip, or from Love Crafts (no affiliate links – just direct links to the patterns).

The original pattern appeared in Issue 76 of Inside Crochet, photos are by Kirsten Mavric and copyright Tailor Made Media.

Shop Your Yarn Stash

Photo credit: Kirsten Mavric for Inside Crochet

This year, with the continuing lack of access to bricks and mortar yarn stores due to the Covid restrictions I have been drawn back to my yarn stash.

My “stash” of yarn isn’t huge. I tend to buy what I need as I need it. But, I do have a few special skeins bought at yarn festivals or from my favourite wool shops. I also have lots of wool left over from design commissions and a few balls sent to me by yarn companies. These tend to sit in boxes or on shelves, forgotten and unloved. So, this year I have been inspired by the beauty trend to #shopyourstash – where beauty bloggers have been using their existing products instead of constantly buying new “stuff”.

Of course, there’s an environmental and sustainability angle to this – it’s much better to use what we have than to always be buying new, but this also about opportunities to use and love what we have in a time when our choices are restricted.

I know lots of us are reluctant to break into those “special skeins” of luxury yarns for sentimental reasons, or because we’re worried we won’t do them justice. So this year I’ll be encouraging you to be braver and more resourceful, to use what you have, to rediscover the joy of “making do” and making room – so that when are able to visit our yarn stores again we can stock up with a clear conscience (well, “clearish” at any rate)! Each week (I hope) I’ll be sharing a new design or an old favourite here and on my Instagram feed, some will show how you how to use up odds and ends of yarn, others will be single skein projects and others will combine yarns in new or unusual ways in order to make the best of what you have. I’ll give you ideas for suitable yarns and fibres, suggest an appropriate choice if you need to buy something new and hopefully we’ll all learn more about the qualities of yarn fibres and be more confident to wind those skeins and put them to good use.

I know lots of yarn bloggers and influencers have started stashbusting themed projects this year, but this is slightly different. It’s a challenge to myself and an opportunity to unpack the boxes of yarn that have sat in the corner of my craft studio since we moved a year ago. I hope you’ll feel inspired to join in and share your makes with me as we progress.

To start us off, this week’s project is a true stashbuster and one of my consistently popular downloads.

The Stashbuster Pouffe, first appeared in issue 54 of Inside Crochet magazine, so if you hang on to your back copies, you may already have it. Alternatively, you’ll find a purchase link at the end of this post.

This design is worked in rounds of double crochet, so the right side is always facing you. This means you can weave in the many ends of yarn as you go along – and any “mess” is hidden on the wrong side! The size is easily adjusted and you can use any yarns so long as they’re all a similar weight.

Before you begin, you’ll need to seek out all your left over scraps and part balls. Orgaise them by size, starting with the smallest oddments and begin with those. You can either put all your yarn in a big basket and choose at random, or pick colour sequences that appeal to you. Whichever method you choose, bold and bright is the way to go – and don’t be worried about clashing colours – it will all work out in the end!

One of the advantages of this design is you don’t need to complete each round in the same colour, in fact it looks better if you change colours in different places each round as this makes the colour changes less obvious.

Mark the first stitch of each round with a stitch marker to keep track of increasing and a row counter or scrap of paper and pencil will help you make the correct number of increases on each round.

My sample for Inside Crochet used cotton yarns, but you can use a variety of fibres, just make sure they’re all a similar weight or thickness. I used double knitting (DK) yarn, but you could use 4 ply or aran weight if you have lots of those in your collection.

Don’t forget, many of our favourite yarn stores also sell online, so if you can’t find the perfect yarn for any of these projects, you can always buy something new, confident that you’ll have a better chance of choosing an appropriate yarn.

Above all, have fun and enjoy your make. This is definitely the time of year for curling up with easy projects, with a cup of tea at your side and maybe your favourite box set on the tv or podcast in the background. Let’s be kind to ourselves, indulge in some fun projects and make the best of what we have.

You can buy the Stashbuster Pouffe pattern on Love Crafts

Next week, look out for the Vintage Flower Blanket – another stashbusting project, this one uses tiny motifs joined “as you go” to make a stunning blanket – this photo shows the one my Dad made in the 1970’s – still loved and used today!

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