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Filet table set

I discovered a whole new arm of crochet recently: filet crochet. Have you tried this before? I didn’t know much about it, but just assumed it would be difficult, old-fashioned and boring. How wrong I was! It’s actually really easy (using only chains and trebles), it has loads of creative potential, and I think it’s particularly suited to creating modern geometric looks that are so popular now.

So I set about proving that it’s quick and easy to make modern goodies using filet crochet, hoping I could set others a good example by making some of my own! First, I made this chunky table runner:

Table runner

Table runner

Filet crochet has been around for at least a hundred years, and it was originally worked using very fine yarns and tiny hooks, to look like lace – the most sought-after and expensive fabric at the time. Filet crochet was much easier to work than traditional lace so it was a great money-maker for poorer families and especially women.

Nowadays, filet crochet still tends to be worked with finer yarns (such as 4ply), but usually to create images and scenes within the mesh. To make my filet crochet table runner more 21st-century-friendly, I used for a chunky yarn in the bold, modern colour of hot pink, worked into a simple geometric pattern. There are so many other eye-popping geometric patterns you could work though – I sketched out several designs using zigzags, pinwheels and cross-hatch patterns, before deciding on this one. (Top tip: I found patchwork patterns a great source of inspiration!)

My focus on filet crochet was sparked by being commissioned to write a two-part feature on how to do filet crochet for Simply Crochet magazine. For the second part, I covered lacets and bars, which again I thought would be really tricky. Wrong again! I’ve fallen head over heels in love with lacets and bars, and made these little coasters using DK yarn:

Filet coasters

Filet coasters

What I love about these coasters is that the stitch patterns look pretty complicated, but they’re so straightforward. I think the simple checked lacets design (the top two coasters) is my favourite and I’d love to make a light summer scarf using this stitch pattern. I also love the lacet trees though (the bottom two coasters) and I can imagine working a row of these across a child’s jumper. Both stitch patterns are made by following a chart, but it’s much easier to follow than any other sort of chart – it’s just like following a code where each symbol represents a combination of chains, trebles and double crochet stitches.

If you’re interested in learning more about the technique or making either project, you can find them in issues 32 and 33 of Simply Crochet magazine – see here for more info. And I’ll post the pattern here as soon as I’m allowed!

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Posted by on June 3, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Make: Easy bunting

Today’s post is all about brightening up dark hallways, with super-easy tassels, pompoms and fringing – in the shape of this cute bunting I made back in July for Simply Crochet magazine…

Tassel bunting

Tassel bunting

Below is the free pattern to make this bunting – and it only involves the tiniest bit of crocheting so anyone can make it!

The only conditions are:
• Please don’t claim the design as your own.
• Please only make this bunting for your own personal use, NOT to make any money out of it.
• Please let me know if you make the bunting! Thank you 🙂

You will need
DK cotton yarn (or any yarn) in three different colours (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton DK, 100% cotton, 50g/85m, 1 ball of each: Blue John (365), Bee (364), Florence (350), Ecru (251))
A 4mm (US G/6) hook
Spare cardboard
Standard-size fork
One stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Measurements
Bunting string measures approx 2.5m
Tassels measure approx 7cm long, 1.5cm wide
Medium pompoms measure approx 4cm in diameter
Small pompoms measure approx 3cm in diameter
Tiny pompoms measure approx 1.5cm in diameter

Notes
You can adjust the length of the bunting to suit you. Make the tassels, pompoms and fringing in any size you like, and add as many as you like, using any combination of colours. Dig into your stash and see what you can find!

Make the tassels
Cut a piece of cardboard measuring 5cm wide and 7cm long. Make a 1cm cut on one of the short ends of the card.

Tie a knot in one end of your yarn and secure it around the slot. Wrap the yarn around the length of the card to the thickness you require. If you’d like to use more than one colour, knot the yarns together at the base of the card and carry on wrapping around.

Cut a small length of yarn and thread onto a needle. Pass the needle under the yarn wraps at the top of the cardboard and tie the two ends in a knot to secure. Cut through the bottom wraps of the tassel and snip off the starting knot.

Cut another length of yarn and wrap it tightly around the tassel, approx 2cm from the top, to form the head. Thread the yarn end onto a needle and insert it down inside the head wraps. Trim the end to the same length as the tassel. Trim the ends of the tassel to neaten the edges.

Make one tassel in yellow, one in orange and two in blue.

Make the medium pompoms
Draw a ring onto a piece of cardboard, 5cm in diameter, with a hole in the centre that’s 2cm in diameter.

Wind your yarn into tiny balls that are small enough to push through the narrow hole at the centre of your cardboard rings.

Hold the two cardboard rings together and wrap your yarn around them, threading it through the centre and working all around the cardboard until it’s covered by several layers of yarn.

Once the rings are covered, insert a pair of scissors between the two pieces of card and carefully cut the yarn around the edge of the rings. Try to ensure none of the yarn slips out of position as you do this.

Cut a separate length of yarn and knot it tightly around the middle of the bundle of yarn between the two rings. Ease the rings off the pompom and fluff up the yarn. Trim any uneven bits with scissors.

Make one medium pompom in yellow, one in orange and one in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 4cm in diameter.

Make the small pompoms
Use a standard fork to make the small pompoms. Wrap the yarn around the outer edge of all four prongs of the fork, the prongs should be approx 3cm apart. Then knot a length of yarn around the middle of the wraps. Cut into the loops on both sides and then trim into a spherical shape.
Make two small pompoms in yellow, two in orange and two in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 3cm in diameter.

Make the tiny pompoms
Use a standard fork to make the tiny pompoms. Wrap the yarn around three prongs of the fork, the prongs should be approx 1.5cm apart. Then tie a length of yarn around the middle of the wraps. Cut into the loops on both sides and then trim into a spherical shape. Make four tiny pompoms in yellow, four in orange and four in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 1.5cm in diameter.

Make the bunting string
Using Ecru and a 4mm hook, make a chain the length that you’d like your bunting to be. Fasten off and weave in ends.Then sew the tassels, medium pompoms and small pompoms in place onto the chain length.

This is what I did: Using Ecru and a 4mm hook, ch6, ss to first ch (to form hanging loop), ch50, join blue tassel in the last chain you made, ch25, join small orange pompom, ch25, join medium yellow pompom, ch25, join small blue pompom, ch25, join orange tassel, ch25, join small yellow pompom, ch25, join medium blue pompom, ch25, join small orange pompom, ch25, join yellow tassel, ch25, join small blue pompom, ch25, join medium orange pompom, ch25, join small yellow pompom, ch25, join blue tassel, ch50, place marker, ch6, ss to marked chain (to form other hanging loop). Remove marker. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make the fringing
Cut eight lengths of Ecru yarn, approx 13cm long.
Take one length of yarn and fold it in half. Count 8 chains to the right of where you attached the blue tassel.
In the 9th chain, attach the first length of fringing yarn. To do this, insert a 4mm hook into the chain, loop the yarn length over the hook and pull back through the fabric. Pull the yarn through to make a loop next to the hook. Pass the ends of the yarn through this loop. Pull tight to secure.
Attach the remaining 7 lengths of fringing yarn in the next 7 chains.

Repeat this process in each gap between the pompoms and tassels (12 areas of fringing altogether).
Trim any uneven lengths of yarn for a neat finish.

Sew the 12 tiny pompoms to the bunting string, positioning each one at the centre of each fringing area. Attach the tiny yellow pompoms between the blue and orange decorations, the tiny blue pompoms between the yellow and orange decorations, and the tiny orange pompoms between the yellow and blue decorations.

Weave in any remaining ends and hang up.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Crochet, Other Crafts

 

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Towel restraint

It’s been lovely and sunny in the UK over the last few weeks, which has been a rare summer treat. So I’ve taken advantage of the good weather to sit out in the garden as much as possible (hence why there’s been less blogging here!).

Over the years, I’ve put together an essential stash of items to make my sitting out in the garden that little bit more comfortable. I recently made a new little gizmo to add to the outdoor stash, a ‘towel restraint’.

The stash already includes: a beach towel and a cushion to sit on, an extra little cushion to keep my back/neck from aching, a radio (set to BBC Radio 2, always!), and an old washing-up bowl filled with cold water (great for rinsing off my hands after applying sun cream, and I also like to pop my feet into the bowl to cool me down if it gets too hot).

Of course, I also make sure I have sun cream, a water bottle and a craft project with me. Recently, that craft project has been the border of my rainbow blanket, which is so close to being finished!

While I was sat outside the other day, comfortably crocheting away, the wind picked up and it kept blowing my towel off the back of my chair and into my face. Eventually, I got so hot and bothered that I had to do something about it – nothing interrupts my crocheting!!

So I popped inside, grabbed a spare ball of super chunky yarn and a suitably chunky hook, and I started chaining. I chained for about 1.5 metres, then slip stitched to the fourth chain from the hook to make a loop. I fastened off and then passed the starting end through the loop at the other end. I placed the whole thing over the top of my chair with the towel in place, and pulled on the starting end to tighten it up. Et voila, a handy towel restraint…

Towel restraint

Towel restraint

With this quick little make around my chair, I felt very smug every time the wind blew. And then gradually, the wind loosened it up and the towel fell on my head again! So I replaced the restraint and knotted it into place – it’s worked every time since then.

I love how us crafters can use our skills to solve little problems in our daily lives. Now all I need to do is figure out a way to crochet money… any ideas?? 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Crochet

 

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