Monday, 4 September 2017

Sunshine and Showers - Part 5

It has been a pretty dismal summer holiday for the children here in the UK this year, with only a handful of warm sunny days over the 6 week period they have had off school. We had some nice weather throughout June and into July, but as I am a real sun lover and there is not much I enjoy more than long warm sunny days, it seems that the journey into Autumn is now all too quickly upon us. 

I always feel a little sad that the days will get shorter and colder as we approach the winter months, but that said, September is by far my favourite month from a crochet point of view!  I am always excited by what the Autumn will have in store in terms of projects, shows and events and love the fact that Septemebr is always a really busy and buzzing month.

We will be exhibiting at Yarndale in Skipton on the 23rd and 24th of September – this show is by far my most favourite as it has such a good vibe and is the one show to offer crocheters in particular a chance to see some really great products and design work. We are really excited about the show this year as we have some brand new designs to show you including a new re-coloured version of one of my favourite patterns and a brand new blanket design called 'Fields of Gold' which features sunflower and poppy motifs.



Rather than jump straight into the idea of Autumn for this blanket installment I have tried to capture the idea of the last few flowers of late summer entangled in the trellis in the garden, before the gold, brown and yellow shades begin to appear.

This month you are going to start 2 more blanket strips (both the same). Starting a new piece gives you a chance to revisit the techniques covered at the beginning of the project, such as making a chain and working your foundation rows. 

If you want to purchase a download copy of the patterns for just 95p you can access the Stylecraft Special DK version by following this link and the Yarn Stories version by following this link - please note that step by step images in all patterns are from the Special DK version.

Yarns used:

Stylecraft Special DK 100g balls
1712 Lime
1027 Khaki
1065 Meadow
1067 Grape
1005 Cream
1820 Duck Egg
1722 Storm Blue

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK 50g balls
2516 Spring Green
2501 Bottle
2510 Leaf
2518 Thistle
2504 Cream
2507 Duck Egg
2535 Bluebell

Equipment Special DK:
4mm & 4.5mm hook
Sewing needle


Equipment Fine Merino DK:
3.5mm & 4mm hook
Sewing needle

Dealing with yarn ends: Sewing yarn ends in as you go along makes the finishing process much easier and means that you are less likely to loose stitches or make errors with your tension.

Hook Changes:
Please take note of changes in hook size. Changes will be marked in bold

Blanket Construction:
So far you have been working on 2 blanket strips. The pieces you have completed are not worked on again until the end of the project so you can put them to one side for now. From this point onwards the blanket is made from 2 new strips. All pieces will be joined together later on to make one blanket. You need to repeat each stage so that you have 2 strips of crochet completed to the same point at the end of each pattern stage

Pattern Repeat:

If you are making the blanket in a different size you will need to calculate your pattern repeat accordingly. This piece needs to have the same number of stitches as your other pieces and the pattern repeats over 5sts + 1.

Note: The pattern in written in UK terminology

Method

Using Duck Egg (Duck Egg) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook make 172ch

Foundation Row: skip 1ch, 1dc into each ch to end (171sts), changing yarn shade to Storm Blue (Bluebell) on the final step of the last st, turn

Row 1: Using Storm Blue (Bluebell) & 4mm (3.5mm) hook, 3ch (counts as 1tr), skip st at base of 3ch, 1tr into each st to end, changing yarn shade to Lime (Spring Green) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)

Row 2: Using Lime (Spring Green) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, changing yarn shade to Khaki (Bottle) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)


Row 3: Using Khaki (Bottle) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, changing yarn shade to Meadow (Leaf) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)



Row 4: (RS facing) Using Meadow (Leaf) & 4mm (3.5mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into st at base of 1ch, * 5ch, skip 3sts, 1dc into next st, 3ch, 1dc into next st; repeat from * to last 2sts, dc2tog over next 2sts, place last st on holder, do not turn.

On the next row you are going to work with the Right side facing you - you will in effect be working behind the row you have just made. You need to join your yarn in near the beginning of Row 3 before you can start and it is important that you start in the right place so use the images as a guide.

Row 5: (RS facing) Working behind the previous row, join Grape (Thistle)  into the 3rd st made at the beginning of Row 3 by working 1ch, 1dc into the same st, * 2ch 3dc into next 3ch loop made between 2dc on previous row, 2ch, working behind the previous row, skip ch and 1dc made on previous row and also skip 1dc made on Row 3, work 1dc into central dc of 3ch group that were skipped on previous row; repeat from * 32 times - 3sts remain unused at the end of the row – fasten off.






Return to st on holder. Undo last st and rework to the point where you can change yarn shade to Cream (Cream) on the final step of the st, turn.



Row 6: Using Cream (Cream) & staying on a 4mm (3.5mm) hook 5ch, 1dc into 5ch loop made on Row 4 * 5ch, skip 3dc made on previous row, 1dc into next 5ch loop made on Row 4; repeat from * 32 times, 2ch, 1tr into last st made on Row 4, turn.


Row 7: 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into st at base of 1ch, * 3ch, skip next dc made on Row 5, working around ch made on previous row and into the stitch on Row 5 at the same time 1dc into each next 2sts; repeat from * 32 times, 3ch, 1dc into 3rd ch of 5ch made at beginning of last row, turn.



Row 8: Using 4.5mm (4mm) hook, 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into st at base of 1ch, * 3dc into next ch sp, 1dc into each next 2sts; repeat from * to end, working last 2dc into the same st on final pattern repeat and changing yarn shade to Duck Egg (Duck Egg) on the final step of the last st, turn. (171sts)



Row 9: Using Duck Egg (Duck Egg) 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, changing yarn shade to Storm Blue (Bluebell) on the final step of the last st, turn. (171sts)


Row 10: Using Storm Blue (Bluebell) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, place last st on holder. (171sts)

Each piece should measure approximately 7cm deep and 92/93cm wide.

Work another piece to match
Sew in yarn ends.

The image below shows the preview image for October, the design for which I based on the idea of pumpkins sitting in fields waiting to be harvested for Halloween!

The next set of patterns will be released on the 3rd October


With thanks to the team at Crochet Now magazine.

Hope you have fun with your crochet this month!
Janie x


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Prize Draw - Crochet Club 2013

I am so excited to be able to tell you about the new prize draw to raise funds for Knit For Peace - an amazing charity that works to improve the lives of the needy and vulnerable all over the world via knit and crochet campaings and initiatives.

You may remember that we ran a prize draw over the course of a few months last year and (by asking you to donate a small monetary amount to be in with a chance to win a fabulous knit or crochet project) we managed to raise some vital funds for the charity.


A few months ago we were contacted by a lady called Jayne Bailey whose sister Sally Smith sadly recently passed away. While sorting through Sally's things Jayne came across a complete yarn and bead kit for the 2013 Crochet Club project (pictured above) which Sally had purchased, but not started. Jayne has returned the complete kit to us and has very kindly agreed that we can feature it as the prize in a new giveaway that we are running in Sally's memory in aid of Knit For Peace.




The kit includes 31 balls of Rowan Cotton Glace, 3 bags of Debbie Abrahams beads and all the exclusive download patterns. This kit was only available to club members in 2013 and neither the patterns nor kit are now available, so it is incredibly rare for a complete kit to become avialable, especially as it is much sought after .*

To be in with a chance of winning this project pack, which originally sold for £195, all you need to do is follow this link to make a minimum donation of £2 to Knit For Peace. Each donation equals one entry to the prize draw and you can enter as many times as you like. The prize draw is open to everyone regardless of where you are in the world and runs between now and the 4th of September. The winner will be picked at random and the kit will be sent out to the winner towards the end of September.


We are hoping that this giveaway will raise a really fabulous amount of money for Knit For Peace to continue with their amazing work. You can find out more about the charity and how you can do other things to support them by following this link.

With many thanks to Jayne Bailey and in fond rememberance of Sally.

Jane x

* Please note: Club members paid a premium price for this exclusivity and so patterns and kits will remain archived - please don't email us to ask for patterns or kits!

Sunshine and Showers - Part 4

When my children were small I always looked forward to the summer holidays and in particular the fact that they had the whole month of August off. When they were really little the summer holidays seemed a little long and at times it was hard work trying to keep them occupied for weeks on end, but as they got older and were a little more independent the summer holidays were a time when we would do fun things together, relax and really recharge our batteries! Now that my children are both grown up I do miss the school holidays, but still have that feeling that August is a time for fun and recuperation before the hard work of the Autumn.


If you're in the UK then (like me) you are probably wishing for better weather - it has been so dreary the last few weeks and particularly autumnal feeling here in North London, but looking at the bright and cheery edging on the Sunshine and Showers blanket has gone some way to make me feel a little more cheery and summery, so hopefully it will help you feel this way too!

This month you are going to make the top and bottom edging of the blanket. The edging is made from repeated flower motifs in summer shades – it is not particularly complicated, but it does involve a lot of yarn ends so you will get good practice at sewing them in.


If you want to purchase a download copy of the patterns for just 95p you can access the Stylecraft Special DK version by following this link and the Yarn Stories version by following this link - please note that step by step images in all patterns are from the Special DK version.
Yarns used this month:

Stylecraft Special DK 100g balls
1065 Meadow
1712 Lime
1027 Khaki
1241 Fondant
1080 Pale Rose
1023 Raspberry
1722 Storm Blue
1068 Turquoise

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK 50g balls
2510 Leaf
2516 Spring Green
2510 Bottle
2514 Raspberry
2536 English Rose
2509 Fuchsia
2535 Bluebell
3534 Iced Teal

Equipment Special DK:
4.5mm hook
Sewing needle

Equipment Fine Merino DK:
4mm hook
Sewing needle

Dealing with yarn ends: Sewing yarn ends in as you go along makes the finishing process much easier and means that you are less likely to loose stitches or make errors with your tension. There are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of yarn ends this month, so I urge you to sew yarn ends in as you go along even if this is something you do not normally do.

Hook Changes:
Please take note of changes in hook size.

Pattern Repeat:

If you have decided to make the blanket in a different size you will need to calculate your stitch count accordingly.

One crochet flower takes up the space of 9sts, so the stitch repeat is 9 + 1.

To make this edging work I had to decrease the stitch count once the flowers were completed to get back to my original stitch count of 171.

You will see that on Row 3 there are 190 sts (21 flowers taking up the space of 9sts each + 1 edging stitch) and this is reduced to 170 sts on the following row. 

Note: The pattern in written in UK terminology
Method

The majority of the Sunshine and Showers Blanket is made by working rows of crochet stitches, however crochet can also be worked in the round and so I felt it was important that the blanket incorporated this method at some point.

You need to make a total of 21 flowers in order to create the edging for each end of the blanket. The flower centres are made first – use 3 of the green shades for this and make 7 of each shade.

Flowers (make 2 strips of 21 flowers)

Flower Centre:
Using Meadow (Leaf) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook make 4ch, join with a ss to form a ring

Round 1: 1ch (does not count as a st) 10dc into ring, ss to join fasten off.


Make 13 more flower centres using Meadow (Leaf), then make 14 using Lime (Spring Green) and 14 using Khaki (Bottle) so that a total of 42 pieces have been made.

Flower Petals:

Although each flower has a total of 5 petals when complete, you are going to work 4 petals onto each flower centre first, leaving a gap of 2 stitches on each flower centre – the fifth petal of each flower will be worked into these stitches later on.

Flower One:

Row 1: Using Fondant (Raspberry) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook join yarn into any dc made on a Khaki (Bottle) Flower Centre by working 1ch + 2ch, tr2tog over same st & next st, 3ch, ss into st at base of 3ch, ss into next st [3ch, tr2tog over same st & next st, 3ch, ss into st at base of 3ch, ss into next st] twice, 3ch, tr3tog working 1 st into same st & 2 sts into next st changing yarn shade to Pale Rose (English Rose) on the final step of the last st (as you pull yarn through tr3tog) (4 petals made)







Using Pale Rose (English Rose) 2ch


Flower Two:

Using Pale Rose (English Rose) tr3tog over 2sts of Lime (Spring Green) Flower Centre working 2sts into 1 st & 1 st into next st, 3ch, ss into st at base of 3ch, ss into next st, [3ch, tr2tog over same st & next st, 3ch, ss into st at base of 3ch, ss into next st] twice, 3ch, tr3tog working 1 st into same st & 2 sts into next st changing yarn shade to Raspberry (Fuchsia) on the last step of the st (as you pull yarn through tr3tog)


Using Raspberry (Fuchsia) 2ch

Flower Three:

Using Raspberry (Fuchsia) tr3tog over 2sts of Meadow (Leaf) Flower Centre working 2sts into 1 st & 1 st into next st, 3ch, ss into st at base of 3ch, ss into next st, [3ch, tr2tog over same st & next st, 3ch, ss into st at base of 3ch, ss into next st] twice, 3ch, tr3tog working 1 st into same st & 2 sts into next st changing yarn shade to Pale Rose (English Rose) on the last step of the stitch (as you pull yarn through tr3tog)


Using Pale Rose (English Rose) 2ch

Flower Four: 
Work as Flower Two


The last 4 flowers set the yarn shade repeat for the ‘petal’ part of the flowers, work as set using the flower centres in a 3 shade repeat – Khaki (Bottle), Lime (Spring Green), Meadow (Leaf) - and using the pink shades in the correct order. Work as set until a total of 21 flowers have been made, do not change yarn shade on the final flower, draw yarn through the last st using Fondant (Raspberry).

The string of 21 crochet flowers ends with a Fondant (Raspberry) Flower worked into a Meadow (Leaf) centre. Place last st on a holder.


Sew in all yarn ends except the attached Fondant (Raspberry) yarn.


Row 2: (RS facing) Remove st holder and place st on hook, Using Fondant (Raspberry) 1ch, (does not count as a st) skip 1ch, 1dc into next ch, 4ch, tr4tog over remaining 2sts of same Flower Centre, changing yarn shade to Pale Rose (English Rose) on the final step of the st (as you pull yarn through tr4tog)



Using Pale Rose (English Rose) 8ch, tr4tog over remaining 2sts of next Flower Centre, changing yarn shade to Raspberry (Fuchsia) on the final step of the st (as you pull yarn through tr4tog)


Using Raspberry (Fuchsia) 8ch, tr4tog over remaining 2sts of next Flower Centre, changing yarn shade to Pale Rose (English Rose) on the final step of the st (as you pull yarn through tr4tog)

Work as set, changing yarn shade as you work along the row (do not change yarn shade on final flower) draw yarn through last st using Fondant (Raspberry), 4ch, 1dc into top of tr2tog made on next petal, fasten off.



Sew in yarn ends attached to all petals – leave tail ends that sit at beginning of 8ch to be sewn in later on. You can choose to weave these ends in whilst working the next row if you wish, but they may still need a little sewing to make them secure.

Row 3: With RS facing, using Lime (Spring Green) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook join yarn into 1st dc made at beginning of last row by working 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into same st, 4dc into next ch sp, * 4dc into next ch sp, working around 8ch made on previous row and 2ch made on Row 1 tr3tog, 4ch into next (same) ch sp; repeat from * 18 times, 4dc into final ch sp, 1dc into next st changing yarn shade to Meadow (Leaf) on the final step of the last st, turn (190sts)






Row 4: Using Meadow (Leaf), 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into next 8sts, * dc2tog over next 2sts, 1dc into each next 7sts; repeat from * to last 2sts, 1dc into each next 2sts changing yarn shade to Storm Blue (Bluebell) on the final step of the last st, turn. (170sts)

Row 5: Using Storm Blue (Bluebell), 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, turn. (170sts)

Row 6: 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, fasten off  (170sts)


You will find that the edging strip you have made is approx. 4/5cm wider than last row of the main blanket piece. The edge strip will ease in to size as you join the pieces together.

Joining Row: 

Hold main piece of blanket and edging strip together with wrong side facing you so that the right sides of the work are facing into each other.

Using Turquoise (Iced Teal) and 4.5mm (4mm) hook insert hook into first st on edging and the first st at top of main blanket piece so that 2 sts are on the hook, yarn round hook and draw through, 1dc into each matching pair of sts until 85sts have been joined, skip 1 st on blanket piece, continue to match pairs of sts to the end of the row, fasten off.





Sew in yarn ends

Each piece should measure approximately 25cm x 92cm (10 x 36in)



So, before we know it we will be in September and you can see a preview image of the pattern above. You will be starting 2 new (identical) strips, so you can put your 2 strips already completed (May through to August) away somewhere safe for a while.

 The next set of patterns will be posted here on the 5th September.

With thanks to the team at Crochet Now magazine.