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Mosaic crochet fun

I’m so lucky sometimes that I get to spend my time combining the things I enjoy to create cool stuff! My latest project ticks so many of my enjoyment boxes – it’s this mosaic crochet green and beige bath mat.

I love learning new crochet techniques (tick!) and mosaic crochet is really simple to learn (tick!), but it creates gorgeous geometric patterns that I love (tick!).

We had an extension built this year and as part of that we have a new bathroom/utility room. We had plenty of spare towels and other paraphernalia for it, but the one item we needed was a bath mat for the shower enclosure. So when I learnt mosaic crochet (as part of a feature for Simply Crochet magazine), I knew this was the perfect technique for making my own bespoke bath mat (tick!). The mosaic pattern is created at the front of the fabric with overlapping stitches, which makes the fabric pretty thick and sturdy. I used a really big yarn (Hoooked Zpagetti jersey yarn) with a really big hook (tick!) so it only took a day to make (tick!). I used green and beige to coordinate with the colours in the room.

So there we have it, I had fun and made something useful – that’s what crafting is all about!

If you’d like to have fun learning mosaic crochet and making your own bath mat, the tutorial and project are in issue 74 of Simply Crochet magazine (www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk)

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Posted by on August 27, 2018 in Crochet

 

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Experiments in scale

One of the fun aspects of yarn crafts like knitting and crochet is that you can easily play around with the size of a motif or pattern. Just by using a different weight of yarn and a different hook or needle size, you can create the same motif or pattern on a totally different scale.

It’s harder to do this with fabric, although I have seen adult garments scaled down to fit children and also patchwork designs made in mini and maxi sizes for interesting effects.

Anyway, I had fun experimenting with scale recently, using the filet crochet pattern on this table runner that I made in the summer for Simply Crochet magazine:

Table runner

Table runner

I used a chunky yarn (DMC Natura Just Cotton XL) and a 6.5mm (K/10.5) hook to make a runner that measured a whopping 29cm wide and 84cm long. It doesn’t look all that big from the picture above, so just to prove to you how big it is, here’s the uncropped image:

Table runner original

Table runner original

Yes, those are the legs of my tripod – I had to put the runner on the floor (you can just see some of the red carpet in the bottom corners) and hover slightly precariously over it as far away as possible to be able to fit it into one shot!

It’s quite unusual to go so super-sized with filet crochet, but I liked the idea of making filet crochet a bit more modern – it’s traditionally made with fine yarns and little hooks.

BUT the beauty of filet patterns is that they work at any scale! So I decided to try going traditional and work the same pattern using a 4ply yarn (DMC Petra No 3) and a 2.5mm (B/1) hook…

4ply Coaster

4ply Coaster

After one pattern repeat, it was a good size for a coaster so I stopped there. If I make some more, they’ll go well with the table runner and at this time of year, I’ve got one eye on potential Christmas presents!

Anyway, in comparison to the chunky table runner (29cm wide, remember), this one measures just 11cm wide (and 13cm long). If you don’t believe me, here’s a 2-pence piece in the shot to prove its size:

Coaster with 2p

Coaster with 2p

I’m really pleased with the successful results of this little experiment and now I’m wondering what other patterns and motifs I could make in a different size to the original. I’m particularly intrigued by the idea of super-sizing…

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Crochet

 

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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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Cosy cowl

Another cosy crochet make I’ve been working on recently is this chunky cowl for issue 29 of Simply Crochet (on sale now!):

Textured scarf

Textured scarf

The challenge was to create a textured cowl using back loop and front loop crochet stitches. Once I started looking, I found that the options are almost infinite! But in the end, I chose four different textures and made them in four different colours.

From the top (in the photo), I used the beige yarn to make a chunky ridged texture, the lilac yarn was ideal for a lacy crossed double treble texture, I used the baby blue yarn to create a subtle raised texture, and then the teal green yarn was perfect for a wide ribbed texture.

I joined all four pieces together, end to end, to make one long cowl for wrapping around and around. To top it all off, I made a layered flower, placing layers of different stitches in the front and back loops. I think the flower helps to hold the layers together and adds a little touch of femininity. It’s almost like four different cowls in one!

It’s oh-so warm in the chunky yarn, but I’d also like to make a lighter version in different colours of DK cotton for those cool summer mornings.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Knitted slippers

With the weather getting warmer, it might seem like an odd time to be making slippers. But my feet seem to get cold throughout the year, so I can never have too many pairs of slippers!

I’ve knitted plenty of baby bootees in my time, and I have a fool-proof pattern by Debbie Bliss that I use. I recently had a thought that if I used the same pattern (intended for DK yarn), but with a chunky yarn, I might be able to make a bootee big enough to fit my size fives.

It worked a treat!

Knitted slipper © Becky Skuse

Knitted slipper © Becky Skuse

I’m really busy with crochet work at the moment, so I’ve only had time to make one bootee so far. But it’s lovely and cosy and stretchy. Now I just need to sew some fabric to the bottoms to make them a bit more hard-wearing. Oh, and make the second one.

Then I’d like to see if I can adapt the pattern into crochet…

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Knitting

 

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Super-size crochet

I had the idea recently that I could create my own chunky yarn, by putting together a handful of yarns from my stash – perfect for some super-sized knitting or crochet.

I’d never done this before and to be honest, I wasn’t convinced that it would work. I’ve been pleasantly surprised though, by making this lovely little basket:

Bowl

Basket

Let’s back up a bit and start from the beginning. To make my yarn, I chose 8 balls of DK yarn that I didn’t mind ruining. I put them together to form a yarn that was around 1cm wide. I chose cotton-based yarns that would hopefully make something fairly sturdy. I also decided to stick to shades of one colour – I went for blue, which is not one of my favourite colours, but the combination created a gorgeous variegated look.

Now I had my yarn, I decided to crochet with it rather than knitting with it, because I figured that would create a firmer fabric. A chunky yarn obviously needs a chunky hook, so I was really pleased to be able to use my 15mm hook for the very first time!

I started by making a circle, to see how it went. It was a bit of workout to wield such a large hook and yarn, made up of 8 very slippery little strands! But the fabric it made was just brilliant. It’s soft yet firm and holds its shape really well.

I stopped at around 25cm in diameter (partly because it was around midnight!) and pondered over whether to continue growing the circle outwards to make a round rug, or grow it upwards to make a basket.

Eventually, I decided that a basket would be more useful and practical for me, and after a few upward rounds, the basket was big enough to hold the yarn I was using! Neat 🙂

I was determined to use up as much of the yarn as possible, so I kept going upward until two of the yarns ran out. At this point, it was a little too high to hold its shape so I folded it over, which worked well. And it means the bowl is flexible so it can grow to hold as much yarn as it needs to…

Bowl filled with yarn

Bowl filled with yarn

There’s still some leftover yarn from the project, so I’m now making some jolly little circles to decorate it with.

The stash-busting potential of doing this is great and I’m really excited about what sort of yarn colour I can create next, and what to make with it. Homewares are the obvious makes, but I’m also wondering about a chunky scarf, hat or slippers… any ideas?

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Crochet, Knitting

 

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Cosy toes

No matter how warm the weather is, on an evening I always seem to get cold feet. I could be wearing three jumpers and a blanket in a toasty-warm room, and I’ll still have cold feet.

So when I saw some cosy-looking slippers recently, I thought: ‘I could crochet some slippers.’

I didn’t have much time to spare, so I decided to use some chunky yarn and a large hook. Plus, I like the look of chunky yarns and thought they’d be nice and thick and cosy.

Rummaging through my stash, I found I only had a few random balls of chunky yarn, so I decided to combine the different colours in a stripey pattern. Here are the finished slippers:

Crochet slippers © Becky Skuse

Crochet slippers © Becky Skuse

Now, these photos don’t really give you an idea of size, but let me tell you: they are huge!

I think I must have done some miscalculations somewhere along the way… although I’m glad I did because, my word, they’re warm! Yes, I look and feel like a clown, or a child wearing mummy’s slippers, but I do not care.

I’m particularly pleased with the soles, which are so thick, they don’t let any chills through. I anticipated needing a thick sole, so I doubled up the sole, crocheting two rectangles with a grey ball of yarn and two with a red yarn. The grey yarn has become the outer sole and the red yarn the inner sole, which you can see below (I turned the slipper inside out for the right-hand picture).

Crochet slipper soles © Becky Skuse

Crochet slipper soles © Becky Skuse

I like to think the hot shade of the red yarn is somehow making my foot warmer inside the slipper.

At some point, I think I’ll make them again (perhaps a bit smaller though!) and write down the pattern. Although, for me, that’s the beauty of crochet – you just start hooking and see where it takes you…

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Crochet

 

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