On the Cover!

15085650_1266999010026114_3931670987280840634_nYep, that’s me – right there on the cover of this month’s Inside Crochet magazine – well not literally “me, but my design. I have worked with the Inside Crochet team for several years now and this is the first time one of my designs has been chosen as the main cover image. It was so exciting to see it for the first time.

The Cavendish beanie and wrist warmers are really quick and easy to make using Aran yarn. I used West Yorkshire Spinners Blue Faced Leicester Aran, which is gorgeous to work with. The set is sized from baby to adult, the model is photographed in medium (60 sts) which is a little big for me, but I have a small head. I’m sure that now the samples are back I’ll have no trouble finding a willing recipient for it!

Also in this issue, I have a super skinny scarf pattern which uses just one 400m skein of  luxury 4 ply (or you could use sock yarn). I’ll be back with photos of that soon and more about the lovely yarn I used.

Meanwhile, go check out issue 84 of Inside crochet, which is out now and full of gorgeous designs and quick makes for Christmas.

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Free Pattern: 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. It’s getting easier to find the Fibre Co. yarns in the UK.  I usually buy my yarn online from Tangled Yarn, but there are other stockists.

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.

canopy-cowl-pic

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.

So, here’s the pattern.  Don’t forget to check out the cheats and hacks at the end.

Coffee Kitchen Cowl:

Size: circumference 48cm, height 17cm (after blocking)

Tension: 25 stitches = 10cm (measured over stocking stitch in the round using 3.25mm needles or size needed to obtain tension)

You will need:

3.25mm circular needle with 40cm cord

stitch marker to mark beginning of round

1 skein of Canopy Fingering (Made by the Fibre Company) 50m/200y. Yarn composition: 50% Baby Alpaca, 30% Merino, 20% Viscose Bamboo. Shade used: Macaw

Abbreviations: See end of pattern

Cast on 120 stitches, join for working in the round, being careful not to twist stitches. Place marker to indicate beginning of rnd.

Rnds 1 -5: Knit

Rnd 6: *k3, p1; rep from * to end of rnd.

Rnds 7 and 8: As rnd 6

Rnd 9: *sl1 (purlwise), k1, yo, k1, psso last 3 sts; rep from * to end

Rnds 10 – 12: *k3, p1; rep from * to end

Repeat rnds 9 – 12 until work measures 16cm from cast on edge.

Knit 5 rnds.

Cast off loosely.

Finishing:

Weave in ends and block by soaking in tepid water. Squeeze out excess water (do not wring) and  leave flat to dry

Abbreviations list:

k: knit

p: purl

yo: yarn over

sl 1: slip 1

psso: pass slipped stitch over

rep: repeat

rnd: round

st(s): stitches

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!

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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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Free Pattern: Back to Basics Cushion

craftseller cushionThe time of year for snuggling up on the sofa, drinking hot chocolate and watching box sets by candle light is almost here and so my thoughts have turned to cosy homewares. I always loved this cushion and the Mid century styling when it was published in Craftseller (no longer in print). It’s really simple, a proper “back to basics” pattern. It’s crocheted in the round, using treble  (US Double) crochet and you can make it in any colours you like. Even a beginner could make this. Cosy up with yarn and hook and in a couple of evenings you’ll have a super cushion to adorn your living room!

craftseller cushion pale

Add a neutral shade, or raid your stash and make a multi stripe version.

How to Make a Round Crochet Cushion

You will need:

4.5mm crochet hook

2 buttons

A long needle to sew on button

40cm round cushion pad

Approx 300m Dark Green Aran weight yarn

Approx 200m Leaf Green aran weight yarn

Yarns pictured here are King Cole Fashion Aran shade: 387 and King Cole Bounty Aran shade: 111

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

dc : double crochet

tr: treble crochet

ch: chain

st(s): stitch(es)

ss: slip stitch

Tension: First two rounds measure 10cm diameter when worked in tr with 4.5mm hook.

Pattern begins here: Make 2 the same for front and back

Pattern is worked “in the round”, do not turn work, join with a ss into top of 3 ch at the end of each round as indicated. In each round, 3 ch counts as a stitch.

With 4.5mm hook and Dark Green make 4 ch, join to form a ring

Round 1: 3 ch, 11 tr into ring, join with a ss into top of 3 ch (12 tr)

Round 2: 3 ch, 1 tr into same st as ss, *2 tr into next st, repeat from * to end of round, join with a ss into top of 3 ch (24 tr) fasten off yarn

Round 3: Join Leaf Green into any tr, 3 ch, 1tr into same stitch as 3 ch, [1 tr in next st, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last st, 1 tr in last st, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (36 sts)

Round 4: 3 ch, 1 tr in same st as 3 ch, [1 tr in each of next 2 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 2 sts, 1 tr in each of last 2 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (48 sts) fasten off yarn

Round 5: Join Dark Green into any tr, 3 ch, 1 tr into same stitch as 3 ch, [1 tr in next 3 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 3 sts, 1 tr in each of last 3 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (60 sts)

Round 6: 3 ch, 1 tr in same st as 3 ch, [1 tr in each of next 4 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 4 sts, 1 tr in each of last 4 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (72 sts) fasten off yarn

Round 7: Join Leaf Green into any tr, 3 ch, 1tr into same stitch as 3 ch, [1tr in next 5 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 5 sts, 1 tr in each of last 5 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (84 sts)

Round 8: 3 ch, 1 tr in same st as 3 ch, [1 tr in each of next 6 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 6 sts, 1 tr in each of last 6 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (96 sts) fasten off yarn

Round 9: Join Dark Green into any tr, 3 ch, 1tr into same stitch as 3 ch, [1tr in next 7 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 7 sts, 1 tr in each of last 7 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (108 sts)

Round 10: 3 ch, 1 tr in same st as 3 ch, [1tr in each of next 8 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 8 sts, 1 tr in each of last 8 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (120 sts) fasten off yarn

Round 11: Join Leaf Green into any tr, 3 ch, 1tr into same stitch as 3 ch, [1tr in next 9 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 9 sts, 1 tr in each of last 9 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (132 sts)

Round 12: 3 ch, 1 tr in same st as 3 ch, [1tr in each of next 10 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 10 sts, 1 tr in each of last 10 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (144 sts) fasten off yarn

Round 13: Join Dark Green into any tr, 3 ch, 1tr into same stitch as 3 ch, [1 tr in next 11 sts, 2 tr in next st] repeat to last 11 sts, 1 tr in each of last 11 sts, join with a ss to top of 3 ch (166 sts)

Round 14: 1ch, 1dc in each tr to end, join into top of 1 ch with a ss (166 dc)

Round 16: 1ch, 1dc in each tr to end, join into top of 1 ch with a ss (166 dc)

Fasten off yarn

Making Up:

Weave in all ends

With wrong sides facing, join front and back together by sewing or by working a dc seam using final round of dc as a guide. Leave a gap to insert cushion pad and continue to join seams.

Attach button by sewing through centre of cushion and securing to create an upholstered “deep button” effect

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Crochet Pattern

114samantha-web-sized

I am very pleased to say that I have just added one of my favourite cowl designs to Love Crochet and Ravelry online stores. The Linoleum Cowl first appeared in issue 73 of Inside Crochet and uses two of my favourite yarns from Eden Cottage Yarns. Askham and Milburn both have a silk content in combination with natural fibres (Askham has baby Alpaca and Milburn has Blue Faced Leicester), so they both have beautiful sheen and drape. The colours (and hence the name) were inspired by a photograph on Instagram of an old linoleum floor. The colours just looked so great I had to try and reproduce them in a design.

Over on Love Crochet I have suggested a few yarn alternatives as they don’t stock Eden Cottage Yarns, but you can always buy the pattern from them and then head over to Victoria’s website to buy the yarn – feel free to use the same colours I have or choose three balls from the same range – Milburn has some excellent colours to choose from – and the Blue Faced Leicester is British, so I have a particular soft spot for it. Askham’s blend of Baby Alpaca and silk makes it feel very luxurious and it is gorgeous to work with. If you’re looking for a different colour combination, I’d be tempted to choose Blossom and Air from the Askham range and Natural from Milburn to make a really feminine version. This is quite a speedy make, so if you’re looking for handmade gift ideas, this would be great.

I might also suggest that if you’re looking for a gift for a crocheter, then this pattern combined with three balls of Eden Cottage Yarns and a crochet hook, packaged together in one of Victoria’s beautiful project bags would be the perfect gift. (hint hint Todhunters – I’ve already mentioned a beautiful colour combo above).

Priced at £3.60 (inc VAT), the pattern is written in UK crochet terms and includes a chart for the motif used.

Happy Browsing x

Photo credit: Leanne Dixon for Inside Crochet

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