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Zigzag broomstick 

When I first started crocheting, I read somewhere that there were two classic types of project you had to try: one with granny squares (been there, done that) and one with zigzags or chevrons. Never one to do as I’m told, I let my crochet journey take me where it naturally wanted to go. And years later, it’s finally led me to zigzags.

As you may remember from my last post, I’ve been experimenting with broomstick crochet for Simply Crochet magazine. For part two of the how-to guide, I needed to think of a project that involved changing colour, increasing and decreasing, all in broomstick crochet. Blam! That was the sound in my head as the idea hit me: stripy zigzags.

Making a blanket with the technique would’ve been nice, but I didn’t have that much time so I decided on a shawl/wrap instead. Simply Crochet gave me some beautiful Cascade Ultra Pima cotton yarn in purple, yellow and lavender, and here’s the result:

Broomstick wrap flat

Broomstick wrap flat

I actually crocheted this over Christmas and New Year, so evokes really joyful feelings for me. There were so many rows to work that I took it almost everywhere, trying to squeeze in more rows at every opportunity, even to family gatherings. A girl can crochet and mingle, you know – although having a broomstick involved as well makes it slightly more challenging!

In total, I worked a whopping 111 rows, changing colour at least every three rows, sometimes more. I made a plan of the colour changes about 25 rows in, and then ignored the plan when I felt like doing something different! My only regret was not weaving in my ends as I went. It took me about as long to weave them all in as it took to work 30 rows. Groan.

But when it was finished, it all seemed worth it. I love the zigzag shape and how the colour changes create a different geometric effect all the way along. The lacy broomstick rows give the fabric a gorgeous drape, while the double and treble rows make sure the stripes are solid and keep their zigzag shape. Looking at the whole wrap, the pattern reminds me a lot of sound waves and tree rings – it almost vibrates with positive energy! Even close up, the pretty colour combinations and gentle wavy shapes have a relaxing effect. It’s just divine.

Broomstick wrap close-up

Broomstick wrap close-up

If you’d like to make your own broomstick zigzag wrap, it’s in the new issue of Simply Crochet (issue 43). Feel free to formulate your own colour scheme using any colours you want, but if you like the look of my wrap and want to use the same colour scheme, here’s a list of which colour I used for each row:

Row 1 Yellow
Row 2 Yellow
Row 3 Yellow
Row 4 Purple
Row 5 Purple
Row 6 Lilac
Row 7 Yellow
Row 8 Lilac
Row 9 Purple
Row 10 Purple
Row 11 Lilac
Row 12 Yellow
Row 13 Yellow
Row 14 Lilac
Row 15 Purple
Row 16 Purple
Row 17 Lilac
Row 18 Yellow
Row 19 Purple
Row 20 Yellow
Row 21 Lilac
Row 22 Lilac
Row 23 Lilac
Row 24 Purple
Row 25 Yellow
Row 26 Purple
Row 27 Purple
Row 28 Lilac
Row 29 Lilac
Row 30 Purple
Row 31 Yellow
Row 32 Yellow
Row 33 Purple
Row 34 Yellow
Row 35 Lilac
Row 36 Lilac
Row 37 Yellow
Row 38 Lilac
Row 39 Purple
Row 40 Purple
Row 41 Purple
Row 42 Yellow
Row 43 Yellow
Row 44 Lilac
Row 45 Purple
Row 46 Lilac
Row 47 Yellow
Row 48 Yellow
Row 49 Lilac
Row 50 Purple
Row 51 Lilac
Row 52 Lilac
Row 53 Yellow
Row 54 Yellow
Row 55 Lilac
Row 56 Yellow
Row 57 Purple
Row 58 Purple
Row 59 Yellow
Row 60 Purple
Row 61 Lilac
Row 62 Purple
Row 63 Purple
Row 64 Yellow
Row 65 Yellow
Row 66 Purple
Row 67 Yellow
Row 68 Lilac
Row 69 Lilac
Row 70 Yellow
Row 71 Lilac
Row 72 Purple
Row 73 Yellow
Row 74 Lilac
Row 75 Lilac
Row 76 Lilac
Row 77 Purple
Row 78 Yellow
Row 79 Purple
Row 80 Lilac
Row 81 Lilac
Row 82 Lilac
Row 83 Purple
Row 84 Yellow
Row 85 Purple
Row 86 Purple
Row 87 Purple
Row 88 Lilac
Row 89 Yellow
Row 90 Purple
Row 91 Lilac
Row 92 Purple
Row 93 Purple
Row 94 Lilac
Row 95 Yellow
Row 96 Yellow
Row 97 Yellow
Row 98 Yellow
Row 99 Purple
Row 100 Purple
Row 101 Lilac
Row 102 Lilac
Row 103 Lilac
Row 104 Yellow
Row 105 Lilac
Row 106 Yellow
Row 107 Yellow
Row 108 Purple
Row 109 Yellow
Row 110 Purple
Row 111 Purple

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Crochet

 

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Make: crochet dishcloths

Blogging can sometimes be a lonely business. I quite often feel like I’m talking to myself. Which is fine. I’m happy to listen.

So it’s great when something I’ve made, written about or photographed is noticed and liked by other people. That’s what happened with this image of some simple crochet dishcloths I made:

Crochet dishcloths

Crochet dishcloths

A lot of crocheters like to make dishcloths and these ones are nothing special. But I remember making a special effort to photograph these ones nicely. So it’s great to discover that the image has been re-posted on a few other blogs as well as on Pinterest. It’s very nice.

Anyway, I thought it was about time that I posted the pattern, for anyone interested in making these dishcloths. They’re super-simple and beginner-friendly to make.

Dishcloths

You will need
Any DK-weight yarn (I used Yeoman Soft Cotton DK)
A 3.5mm (US E/4) hook

Measurements
Finished dishcloth measures approx 20cm (8in) square

Notes
Pattern uses UK crochet terminology: UK treble crochet is US double crochet, UK double crochet is US single crochet.

Dishcloth
Using 3.5mm hook, ch42.
Row 1 Tr in fourth ch from hook and each ch to end, turn. [40 tr]
Row 2 Ch3 (counts as tr), tr in each st to end, turn. [40 tr]
Repeat Row 2 until dishcloth is square (approx 20cm/8in).
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Edging
Join a contrasting shade of yarn using a slip stitch in any stitch of final row.
Round 1 Ch1 (does not count as st), *dc in each st to end, work 3dc in corner st, rotate to work into row ends and work approx 2 dc into the side of each treble stitch, work 3dc in corner st; repeat from * around, dc in each st until you reach the first dc, ss to first dc to join round.
Round 2 Ch1 (does not count as st), *dc in each st around working 3dc in each corner st, ss to first dc to join round.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 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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Baby blanket

My cousin is expecting a baby in the first week of June, so I’ve been busy crocheting a baby blanket as a gift. Here it is finished…

Baby blanket is finished!

Baby blanket is finished!

It’s not particularly complicated, just some large, colourful squares of treble crochet (double crochet in the US), with contrasting double crochet edgings (single crochet in the US). The squares were joined in white with a double crochet seam, and the whole thing edged with more double crochet stitches.

Once that was done, it looked good, but I wanted to make it a bit more stimulating for baby and add a bit more character.

So I added the shapes, in bright yarn colours. The extra dimension is that I added something noisy underneath each shape!

Baby blanket top row

Baby blanket top row

On the top row, the red triangle has a crinkly plastic bag underneath it. Under the yellow circle is a little key inside a very slim, round memento holder (intended for scrapbooking) – it makes a satisfying rattle when you shake it!

Baby blanket bottom row

Baby blanket bottom row

On the bottom row, there’s a little bag full of seed beads underneath the green square, which sounds a bit like a maraca. At the centre of the cream flower, I attached a little bell very firmly – the jangle noise is very pretty and hopefully means my cousin will always be able to find it in the baby bag!

My hope is that they’ll be able use this when they’re out and about, either as a light cover-up (all the yarns are cotton) or a mini play mat to keep baby amused. Fingers crossed…

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Hearts

They’re such pretty shapes, I’ve always liked hearts. Just drawing them makes me smile. Then colouring them in is so much fun. I’m always amazed how different shapes and colours of hearts can change the emotion that they convey. Here are a few that I just drew:

Heart shapes

Heart shapes

My favourite is the wide heart, in magenta. Although the dark, deep red shade is gorgeously intense.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about hearts recently in my crafting. I was inspired by a secret little treasure that I rediscovered recently. I’d forgotten all about this heart:

Shiny heart

My heart

The heart shape was originally the fancy packaging for some chocolates – the two plastic halves pull apart and the chocolates were stored inside, wrapped in red foil. At the top is a little hole in both halves, and there’s a little fabric rose that slots into the hole.

After the chocolates were eaten, I wanted to craft the little heart into something special that I could keep. So I flattened out some of the red foil wrappers that the chocolates came in, and used them to line the heart shape on the inside. The trickiest part was getting the two halves to close without creasing the foil.

Anyway, I kept this little heart for years, just gathering dust… And then I met Jonny.

I gave him this heart, and my actual heart, 10 years ago this week. (I recently discovered that he keeps it under the bed!)

I wanted to mark our special occasion by crafting another heart…

A few months ago, when we were having a clear out, he found some thick wire that he didn’t need anymore, which I pounced on for my craft stash.

With biceps at the ready, I bent a length of the wire into a heart shape, and glued and taped the ends together. Then I found some suitably pink yarn and worked around the heart in double crochet (single crochet in the US). The yarn was DK weight, but I had to use a 2.5mm hook to get the stitches close enough to cover the wire completely.

Wire crochet heart

Wire crochet heart

I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m really pleased with it. Jonny liked it too.

Yes, it’s a little bit wonky and a little bit plain, but no one’s heart is perfect 🙂

Wire crochet heart closeup

Wire crochet heart closeup

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Crochet

 

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Make: crochet granny square

They’re quick, they’re easy, they’re fun, they’re colourful: what’s not to like about crochet granny squares?

There are lots of different patterns for granny squares out there, but the classic granny is the one I’ve been using for my rainbow granny blanket recently (by the way, I’m on my third strip of the blanket now!).

This is the simplest type of granny square and uses clusters of trebles. So I thought I’d share the pattern with you…

Granny square light pink © Becky Skuse

Granny square light pink © Becky Skuse

I used a DK yarn and 4mm hook, but the classic granny should work with any weight or type of yarn, as long as you use the appropriate size of hook for the yarn you’re using (see the yarn’s ball band).

Here’s the pattern I used:

Classic crochet granny square (UK terms)
Make a foundation ring using your preferred method (I used Magic Loop, but you could just ch4 and ss to the first ch to join).
Round 1: Ch3, tr2 into the loop, ch3, tr3 into the loop, ch3, tr3 into the loop, ch3, tr3 into the loop, ch3. Tighten the Magic Loop. Slip stitch to top of the 3-ch at the start.
Round 2: Slip stitch into the next two sts. Ch3, tr2 into the corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1, tr3 into the next corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1, tr3 into the next corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1, tr3 into the next corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1. Slip stitch to top of the 3-ch at the start.
Round 3: Slip stitch into the next two sts. Ch3, tr2 into the corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1, tr3 into the next side space, ch1, tr3 into the next corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1, tr3 into the next side space, ch1, tr3 into the next corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1, tr3 into the next side space, ch1, tr3 into the next corner space, ch3, tr3 into the same corner space, ch1, tr3 into the next side space, ch1. Slip stitch to top of the 3-ch at the start. Fasten off.

Classic crochet granny square (US terms)
Make a foundation ring using your preferred method (I used Magic Loop, but you could just ch4 and ss to the first ch to join).
Round 1: Ch3, dc2 into the loop, ch3, dc3 into the loop, ch3, dc3 into the loop, ch3, dc3 into the loop, ch3. Tighten the Magic Loop. Slip stitch to top of the 3-ch at the start.
Round 2: Slip stitch into the next two sts. Ch3, dc2 into the corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1, dc3 into the next corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1, dc3 into the next corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1, dc3 into the next corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1. Slip stitch to top of the 3-ch at the start.
Round 3: Slip stitch into the next two sts. Ch3, dc2 into the corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1, dc3 into the next side space, ch1, dc3 into the next corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1, dc3 into the next side space, ch1, dc3 into the next corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1, dc3 into the next side space, ch1, dc3 into the next corner space, ch3, dc3 into the same corner space, ch1, dc3 into the next side space, ch1. Slip stitch to top of the 3-ch at the start. Fasten off.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Crochet

 

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