Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Sunshine and Showers - Part 3

I love the month of July! It’s a month full of hope and promise for a lovely summer. It’s a time when the evenings are long and when (with a bit of luck) we can all relax in the sunshine and have a few special days out at the beach or drive out into the countryside to spend a few hours in a pub garden or special cafĂ©. 



When I was designing the pattern for this month I wanted to capture the feeling of the warm days and the longer evenings and so felt that a design styled on the sun itself would be very fitting. Techniques include fan stitches and decrease stitches.

We have received a few emails about the construction of the blanket - it is made in a total of 4 pieces (2 x 2). You need to make 2 pieces (named below as 'part one') which are patterns 1 - 5) and 2 pieces (named below as 'part two') which are patterns 6 - 12. So then, for each piece that you make you will need to make another to match. I have placed a layout diagramme below to help you visualise what you are doing:

If you want to download the PDF copies of the pattern - available for juts 95p each then you can follow the links below:

Stylecraft Special DK version
Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK version

Yarns used this month:

Stylecraft Special DK 100g balls
1080 Pale Rose
1722 Storm Blue
1065 Meadow
1241 Fondant
1820 Duck Egg
1709 Gold
1005 Cream

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK 50g balls
2536 English Rose
2535 Bluebell
2510 Leaf
2514 Raspberry
2507 Duck Egg
2502 Burnt Sienna
2504 Cream

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.

Pattern Repeat:

If you have chosen to make the blanket in a different size you will need to calculate your pattern repeats accordingly.

Sunshine pattern (Row 26 & 27) is worked over a repeat of 12sts

To make the repeat work with 171sts the pattern has a shorter repeat over the first 10sts (not 12) at the beginning of the row (so I have started with 5dc and not 7dc) and then has a remainder of 5dc (instead of 7dc) at the end of the row.

Note: The pattern is written using UK terminology.

Method:

Undo last st and rework to the point where you can change yarn shade to Pale Rose (English Rose) on the final step of the st, turn.

You can choose to weave in one of your yarn ends over the next row if you wish – this is a technique that was shown in last month’s blog post.

Row 20: (RS facing) Using Pale Rose (English Rose) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook, 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, changing yarn shade to Spice (Rouge) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)


Row 21: (WS facing) Using Spice (Rouge) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each next 2sts, * 2ch, skip 2sts, 1dc into each next 2sts; repeat from * to last st, 1dc into next st, changing yarn shade to Storm Blue (Bluebell) on the final step of the last st, turn

Row 22: (RS facing) Using Storm Blue (Bluebell) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each next 3sts, 2dc into next ch sp, 1dc into each next 2sts; repeat from * to end, changing yarn shade to Fondant (Raspberry) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)



Row 23: Using Fondant (Raspberry) work as Row 21, changing yarn shade to Duck Egg (Duck Egg) on the final step of the last st, turn

Row 24: Using Duck Egg (Duck Egg) work as Row 22, changing yarn shade to Meadow (Leaf) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)

Row 25: Using Meadow (Leaf) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, changing yarn shade to Gold (Burnt Sienna) on the last st, turn (171sts)


Row 26: (RS facing) Using Gold (Burnt Sienna) & 4mm (3.5mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each next 5sts, * skip 2sts, 7tr into next st to make fan, skip 2sts, 1dc into each next 7sts; repeat from * to end, omitting 2dc on final pattern repeat, turn (14 fans made)




Row 27: 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each next 3sts, * 1ch, skip 2sts, [1tr into top of next tr, 1ch] 7 times, skip 2sts, 1dc into each next 3sts; repeat from * to end, changing yarn shade to Cream (Cream) on the final step of the last st, turn (14 fans made)


Row 28: (RS facing) Using Cream (Cream) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st), * 1dc into each next 2sts, skip next st,  [1dc into next ch sp, 2dc into next ch sp] twice, [2dc into next ch sp, 1dc into next ch sp] twice; repeat from * to last 3sts, 1dc into each next 3sts, changing yarn shade to Duck Egg (Duck Egg) on the final step of the last st, turn (199sts)



The following row includes the instruction dc3tog (double crochet 3 stitches together) and dc2tog (double crochet 2 stitches together). These stitches are worked as a way of decreasing the stitch count. It is common to find the instruction dc2tog or dc3tog within everyday crochet patterns, but decreases like these can sometimes be worked over more stitches.

To work dc3tog insert your hook into the next st, wrap the yarn around the hook and draw through the stitch, repeat this action twice more so that 4 loops are on your hook (one loop was already there before you started the decrease) wrap the yarn around the hook again and draw through all 4 loops.

To work dc2tog work as for dc3tog but pick 2 loops up over 2 stitches instead of 3 loops over 3 stitches.



Row 29: Using Duck Egg (Duck Egg) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into next st, dc3tog over next 3sts, 1dc into each next 11sts, dc2tog over next 2sts, * 1dc into each next 12 sts, dc2tog over next 2sts; repeat from * to end, turn (183sts)


The following row includes the instruction dtr2tog (double treble crochet 2 stitches together)

To work dtr2tog wrap yarn around the hook twice, insert your hook into the next st, wrap the yarn around the hook and draw through the stitch, work the dtr stitch until one loop of yarn (plus the original loop) is left on the hook, thus stopping one step before completing of the stitch, repeat this action into the next stitch so that 3 loops are on your hook (one loop was already there before you started the decrease) wrap the yarn around the hook again and draw through all 3 loops.




Row 30: (RS facing) Using 4mm (3.5mm) hook 4ch (counts as 1dtr), skip st at base of 4ch, 1dtr into next st, * 1tr into each next 2sts, 1htr into each next 2sts, 1dc into each next 2sts, 1htr into each next 2sts, 1tr into each next 2sts, 1dtr into next st, dtr2tog over next 2sts; repeat from * 12 more times, 1tr into each next 2sts, 1htr into each next 2sts, 1dc into each next 2sts, 1htr into each next 2sts, 1tr into each next 2sts, 1dtr into each next 2sts, turn. (170sts)

Row 31: staying on 4mm (3.5mm) hook, 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each next 84sts, 2dc into next st, 1dc into each st to end, working last st into tch made at beginning of last row fasten off. (171sts)



Work other piece to match.
Each piece should measure 19cm. (7 1/2in)

Next month you will be given the patterns for a lovely flower edging - its a little bit complicated but so worth the hard work!

The next patterns will be available 8th August.




With thanks to the team at Crochet Now Magazine


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2017

I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to nominate me within the 'Favourite Crochet Designer' category of the 2017 British Knitting & Crochet awards. I am chuffed to bits to report that I have made the short list of designers alongside some really big names and voting is now open!


You can vote in many different categories, from favourite local yarn shop to favourite authors, bloggers and yarn brands. You can follow this link to lodge your on line votes and simply by submitting your form you can be in with the chance to win some fabulous yarn goodies!

Awards like this one mean a lot to everyone involved, but for independent yarn dyers, designers and little yarn shops these awards are seen as an amazing recognition by the industry, so just to have been nominated means a huge amount.

Thank you! Janie x

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Sunshine and Showers - Part 2

I am a little tardy with this post today, so apologies if any of you have been waiting patiently for me to post part 2 of the patterns.


Late May and early June is a time when my garden usually looks it’s best, although we have recently had a major clear out so it is looking a little empty and, with the weather being so bad the last few days, I haven't got around to planting my hanging baskets, but as a general rule at this time of year the grass is still healthy and green thanks to the rain of late spring and all my favourite flowers are in bloom. 

I wanted to capture the colours and shades of an English garden in this month’s crochet along patterns. Within this set of patterns I will talk you through weaving and sewing in yarn tails, making puff stitches and working back and front loop double crochet which gives a lovely textural effect to your work.



The blog patterns are written for the Stylecraft Special DK version with the shade and hook alternatives for the Yarn Stories option written within brackets. You can choose to purchase a download version of the patterns for just 95p a copy (total of 12 patterns). There is a link to the download copy for the Stylecraft Special DK version here and for the Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK version here. Please note that all step by step images are for the Special DK version.

Yarns used this month:

Stylecraft Special DK 100g balls

1712 Lime 
1027 Khaki 
1023 Raspberry
1068 Turquoise
1241 Fondant
1820 Duck Egg

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK 50g balls
2516 Spring Green 
2501 Bottle 
2509 Fuchsia 
3534 Iced Teal 
2514 Raspberry 
2507 Duck Egg 

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. 

Pattern Repeat:

If you have chosen to make the blanket in a different size you will need to calculate your pattern repeats accordingly.

On Row 10 the Puff Stitch Flowers stems are worked over a repeat of 5sts + 1

Note: The pattern is written in UK terminology.

Method:

Undo last st and rework to the point where you can change yarn shade to Lime (Spring Green) on the final step of the st, turn

Weaving in: Rather than sew in all your yarn ends, you may wish to weave some of them in as you work. You can do this with Right Side or Wrong Side facing, but it is best to weave over just one yarn tail at a time and you must make sure that the yarn is carried to the back of the work. Weaving yarn tails in works best when you are crocheting double crochet stitches as on the next 2 rows:

Hold the tail end of yarn you wish to weave in in line with your crochet leading over to the left.




Work your crochet stitch over the yarn tail so that you trap it within the stitch
Weave the yarn end in on at least 10 stitches to ensure it is securely trapped within your row of stitches.
Trim yarn end

Row 8: (RS facing) Using Lime (Spring Green) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook, 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, turn (171sts)

Row 9: (WS facing) 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 10: (RS facing) Using Khaki (Bottle) & 4mm (3.5mm) hook 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr into st at base of 3ch, 2ch, skip 4sts * [1tr, 1ch, 1tr] into next st, 2ch, skip 4sts; repeat from * to final st, 2tr into final st, changing yarn shade to Raspberry (Fuchsia) on the final step of the last st, turn (35 flower stems made - 33 complete stems and 1 partial stem at each edge)



Row 11: Using Raspberry (Fuchsia) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st), 2dc into st sp between 2tr, 2ch, skip 1tr & 2ch & 1tr, 4dc into next 1ch sp (between 2tr made on previous row), * 2ch, skip 1tr & 2ch & 1tr, 4dc into next 1ch sp; repeat from * 31 times, 2ch, 1dc st sp between next 2tr, 1dc into 3rd ch of 3ch made at beginning of last row, changing yarn shade to Turquoise (Iced Teal) on the final step of the last st, turn. (35 flowers made)

Row 12: Using Turquoise (Iced Teal) & staying on 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into next st, 3dc into next ch sp made on Row 10 working around previous row also so that 2 lots of ch sts are covered, * 3ch, skip 4dc, 3dc into next pair of ch sp made on previous 2 rows as before; repeat from * to last 2sts, skip 1dc, 1dc into next dc, fasten off. Do not turn.

This is a good point to sew in your loose yarn ends. I tend to use a large blunt sewing needle:




Sew through the middle of at least 5 stitches – again it is easier if you sew at the reverse side of double crochet stitches. It is a good idea to sew back on your self a couple of times to ensure the yarn is secure.

MP (Make Puff)
On the next row you need to make some puff stitches as follows:

* Yarn round hook, insert hook into stitch and pull up yarn loop; repeat from * twice so that there are a total of 7 loops on the hook (one loop was already there before you started the puff stitch), yarn round hook, draw yarn through all yarn loops on the hook







Row 13: (RS facing) Using Fondant (Raspberry) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook, join yarn into top of 1st dc made on previous row by working 1ch + 1ch (counts as 1htr) 1htr into same st, 1ch, * skip 3dc made on previous row, working in front of 3ch made on previous row so that you are working into the sts made on Row 11 [MP into next st, 1ch] 3 times; repeat from * 32 times, skip 3dc made on previous row, 2htr into final st, fasten off. Do not turn



Row 14: (RS facing) Using Duck Egg (Duck Egg) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook, join yarn into 2nd ch made at beginning of previous row by working 1ch, 1dc into same ch, 1dc into next st, * working in front of ch sts made on previous row 1tr into central dc of next 3dc group made on Row 12 [skip puff, 2dc into next ch sp] twice, skip puff; repeat from * 32 times, working in front of ch sts made on previous row 1tr into central dc of next 3dc group made on Row 12, 1dc into each next 2sts, turn (170sts)

Row 15: (WS facing) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each next 85sts, 2dc into next st, 1dc into each st to end, turn (171sts)

Working into the front and back loops:
On the next 4 rows you are going to work into the back or front loop of the chain that runs along the top of your stitches. This gives a textural appearance to your stitches.
It can be a little bit tricky to get used to this stitch as the back loop is not always visible as you are working along the row, my advice is to look down on your work a little more than you usually would.




Row 16: 1ch (does not count as a st), * 1dc into front loop of next st, 1dc into back loop of next st; repeat from * to last st, 1dc into front loop of next st, turn (171sts)







Row 17, 18: work as Row 16, turn (171sts)

Row 19: work as Row 16, place last st on holder




Work other piece to match. 

Depth of each individual piece is equal to 12cm (4 3/4in)

With a bit of luck by the time we get to July we will be basking in some glorious sunshine! I know I am not alone in hoping for a nice warm month so hopefully the patterns for July will be fitting to the weather - a sneak peek is below:




Next set of patterns will be posted here on the 4th July.

With thanks to the team at Crochet Now magazine.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Supersize Crochet

This lovely new book by Sarah Shrimpton landed in the office yesterday, along with some other fabulous titles (including Emma Varnham's super 'Cute Crocheted Animals' toy book), which will be added to the web site over the next few days. Supersize Crochet includes 20 quick crochet projects made using super chunky yarn - and when Sarah describes the yarn as super chunky she means it - the projects in this book use crochet hooks ranging in giant sizes right up to 40mm!  




The book has a range of great projects - theres a cat bed, baskets, bags, rugs, shrugs and hats to name a few and all of them will be quick easy and fun to make!


 
Using jumbo hooks takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you get the technique there will be no stopping you and you can use just about anything to crochet with such as string and cut up strips of fabric, but there are also some great retailers selling scrumptious giant yarns too, such as Woolly Mahoosive and Hoooked and I particularly like the Rico Gigantic Mohair.

Big yarn and giant hooks are perfect for beginners as it is so easy to see and recognise stitches and the projects Sarah has made are simple in construction but well thought out, making them perfect for the novice crocheter. The styling of the book is retro yet wonderfully contemporaray and I particularly like the string hanging plant pot holder (which is like something straight out of my 1970s childhood) and the incredibly comfy looking cosy shrug which is now on my wish list along with a thousand other lovely projects!

Supersize Crochet by Sarah Shrimpton is published by SewandSo Books and is available from all good book shops for just £14.99!