Welcome 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.
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!
According to Grazia, this is the year when grannies get cool. Apparently all the bright young things will be dusting off their jam pans or signing up for pottery classes. Of course, knitting and crochet get a mention – despite the elegant, modern and stylish designs which regularly appear in print – the media insist on perpetuating the myth that crochet is all about 70’s waistcoats, blankets in migraine inducing colour combos and cute toys.
For some of us, crochet (and knitting) have always been cool, enjoyed by young and old, men and women. It really doesn’t matter what the media think, most of us will carry on making and being inspired by the new generation of designers. Our crafts continue to push boundaries, old techniques are re-imagined in modern yarns and colour palettes.
So why is the term “granny craft” often used as a pejorative term? A way to generate humour or to poke fun? The “old ways”, dressmaking, home preserving and growing our own food never went out of fashion, they were never forgotten. It just seemed, that for a little while at least the media preferred to sell us the myth of the new – the ready made, instant gratification lifestyle – and some of them maybe believed that was reality. To fill column inches by writing about the rise “granny crafts” is to miss the point, it’s lazy journalism. I for one am grateful to Franklin Habit, who hit the nail squarely on the head this week in his piece: “A Friendly Three Point Message to Journalists Who Seek to Write About Knitting and Crochet” This absolutely the best thing I’ve read in ages.Sorry Grazia, Grannies have always been cool, the backbone of society. Providing support to their families, inspiring new generations, passing on their wisdom while holding down jobs, running homes, making and mending in all manner of ways. Grannies, like the ubiquitous granny square, have style, the ability to adapt and remain relevant in a changing society – that why we all love our grannies – in every shape and form.
My favourite Sunday afternoon walk is a stroll along Allonby beach – boy it can be windy – even in summer. So, I always have a few woollies in my rucksack to guard against the chills. My current favourite is this super smooshy cowl which is made in Eden Cottage Yarns Whitfell Chunky. The colour “Tulip”, is even more stunning in real life and the soft baby alpaca really keeps out the cold. I made this version quite large, so I could easily slip it over a bulky coat and I’ll admit to wearing it around the house too!
The button came from Bag Clasps, I spotted these at Woolfest and Julie kindly let me take one away to play with. I think you’ll agree it’s stunning and really sets off the cowl beautifully. If you’re off to Yarndale this weekend, look out for the Bag Clasps stand or visit their website (I have yet to find a website which is so well stocked with everything you need for bag making and Julie is really helpful too, always willing to advise and offer suggestions).
As I was writing this, I realised the Whitfell Chunky / Bag Clasps combo is becoming a bit of a theme in my designs. This gorgeous bag also uses Whitfell Chunky and features straps from Bag Clasps leather range. You can buy the pattern from Ravelry by clicking here
It’s no secret I love working with natural fibres, and alpaca yarns do feature high on my list of all time favourites. Lucky for me Eden Cottage Yarns are launching two new shades of Whitfell Chunky at Yarndale this weekend. I already have plans for these gorgeous shades:
If you would like to buy the pattern for this new design, you can find the Allonby Cowl on Ravelry, or on Love Crochet.
Of course, I can’t write a blog post about Eden Cottage Yarns without a shameless plug for “Drift”. This new collection features some beautiful knitting patterns by a very talented group of designers, and I’m pleased to say you’ll also find three crochet designs by me in the collection. I’ve added a whole page featuring the collection (click on the “Drift Collection” tab to read all about it or you can view the lookbook and drool over the beautiful designs here.