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Broomstick crochet

Learning new techniques is one of the best aspects of crochet – and there are so many different techniques to learn!

Recently, I got my head (and hands) around broomstick crochet, which involves creating long loops of yarn (wrapped around a ‘broomstick’) which you can then work standard crochet stitches into – the finished fabric is beautifully lacy. You can use almost anything as your ‘broomstick’ – I’ve tried it with a large knitting needle (worked well), the handle of an actual broomstick (a bit too big for me) and for the project below, a marker pen! (That worked surprisingly well, too.)

Being new to the technique, I started off by practicing with some spare yarn. Broomstick crochet is actually really easy to do, so I quickly progressed to making this little bracelet. With only 12 stitches to worry about, there wasn’t much for me to get wrong!

Broomstick bracelet

Broomstick bracelet

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It was the perfect opportunity to use a pretty yarn from Bergere de France called Reflet, which combines a soft strand of organic cotton with a sparkly strand. I chose the Ocean colourway, but I’ve got my eye on the other shades for forthcoming projects (watch this space).

I decided to use buttons to fasten my bracelet and chose three that were small enough to pass through the broomstick loops – I think it’s neat that the fabric formed its own little buttonholes.

Bracelet buttons

Bracelet buttons

After finishing it, I was a little worried that the buttons were rather fiddly to undo and do up with one hand, but it soon became clear that wouldn’t be a problem – the next day I showed it to my friend and work colleague Becca Parker (from Knit Happens). The buttons were already done up and before I could say anything, she tried it on by stretching it over her hand. “Nooo!” I exclaimed. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to harm the bracelet, so that’s become my new method of putting it on! Problem solved, thanks to Becca 🙂

A small project like this is ideal when you’re first getting to grips with a new technique, so if you’d like to try broomstick crochet and even make the bracelet, check out issue 42 of Simply Crochet magazine (on sale now), which includes the pattern for the bracelet and a step-by-step guide to the techniques involved.

Broomstick bracelet flat

Broomstick bracelet flat

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Crochet

 

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Crochet guides

So I’m finally ready for the big reveal – here’s what I’ve been working on (off and on) for the last errr 10 months…

Crochet covers

Beginner’s & Pro Crochet Guides covers

These are two huge bookazines (designed like a book, but the size of a magazine), packed with 164 pages each. They’re on sale today and I feel like a proud (but nervous) mum!

The Beginner’s Guide to Crochet is perfect if you want to learn how to crochet, or rediscover the craft, or just brush up your basic skills (even I learnt things I didn’t know that I didn’t know!). My favourite bit is the chapter about amigurumi toys, and the little piggy toy pattern is just so cute.

The Pro Guide to Crochet is for crocheters who already know the basics and are hungry for more! This one really is packed full of know-how, from foundation rows to broomstick crochet, colourwork to designing your own pieces, and loads more in between.

Both are designed like workbooks, so you learn some new skills and then make something fab to practise those skills. Most of the patterns have been previously published in Simply Crochet magazine (so they’re gorgeous, of course). Some of the tutorials have also come from Simply Crochet but most of the tutorials in the Pro Guide are brand new (and many written by yours truly!).

So much of my time, energy, blood, sweat and tears have gone into these two publications, it feels a bit like these are my children going out into the world on their own… so if you spot a mistake, please don’t tell me! No parent is perfect 🙂

They’re £9.99 each for a paper copy, available from newsagents or direct from www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk.
Or they’re £7.99 each for a digital copy, available via the Simply Crochet magazine app – see here for more.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Crochet cables & bobbles

Firstly, apologies for no blog last week – I spent my day off on a training course, although I can’t say I learned an awful lot (it was still good though).

I have been doing a lot of learning elsewhere though, specifically about crochet. I’ve started working on a publication that covers more advanced crochet techniques, such as cables, beading and surface crochet.

It’s not essential that I learn all of these techniques because we have some expert contributors, but there are many that I’d like to learn, so now is the perfect time! Plus, I know it will make me feel more confident when I’m proof-reading pages.

Whenever I’m learning a new technique, I like to actually make something at the same time as practising it. So I made this manly grey cowl for my other half, incorporating some new-to-me techniques:

Grey cable & bobble cowl

Grey cable & bobble cowl

Slate grey is his favourite colour, so I found this DK yarn in my stash and used quite a big hook (6mm) for a chunky feel. I started off working a treble foundation row instead of working chains and then working stitches into the foundation chains (if you’ve never tried this technique, I highly recommend it).

I joined into the round and continued in trebles. On the next round, I used stitch markers to mark out every 10 stitches, which would help me keep track of where to place my bobbles and cables on the following rounds.

On the next round, I worked a 4-stitch cable at every stitch marker. It took me a while to get the tension right – too tight and the whole fabric puckered; too loose and it just looked like strands of yarn instead of a stitch.

On the next round, I worked a 7-treble bobble at the halfway point between two stitch markers. If I made it again, I might work more than seven though because they look a bit more like clusters than bobbles, in that they don’t stand away from the fabric very far. They still look good though (and he won’t know the difference).

So I alternated the cable round and the bobble round, and added an extra round of plain treble stitches at the centre to space out the bobbles a bit more. By the time I finished the cowl, I was cabling and bobbling on auto pilot!

Luckily, he really likes the cowl, as does everyone else who sees it, which makes me smile. In fact, it’s so nice that I’ve started to borrow it (it’s so cosy in the wind and the grey goes with everything!). As you can see, even my bust (I’ve called her Betsy) likes it:

Cowl on Betsy

Cowl on Betsy

Perhaps I’d better make my own cowl while learning some more techniques…

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Foxes or knitting?

It’s been a whopping 7 weeks since my last blog post. That’s long enough to do all manner of things… learn to drive, lose a stone of weight or even gestate a fox.

As much as I like foxes, I’ve been busy doing something else…

I’ve been working on two knitting books, well, book-azines because they’re magazine-sized and sold with magazines in the shops. At 164 pages a piece, there was a lot to do in a short space of time. So the blog got put on the back burner – in fact, almost everything else got put on the back burner!

The first bookazine is called The Beginner’s Guide to Knitting, which covers all the basics of learning to knit. The second bookazine is called The Pro Guide to Knitting, which follows on from the Beginner’s Guide by covering more advanced knitting techniques, such as Fair Isle, beading and short-row shaping.

Beginner and Pro Knit BZs © Future Publishing

Beginner and Pro Knit BZs © Future Publishing

They’re both on sale 31st October 2013 in the UK, or as digital editions wherever you are in the world. Go to http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk to find out more, or visit http://www.theknitter.co.uk/digital to download the free app, within which you can purchase these special editions.

For the Beginner’s Guide, I wrote a lot of it myself and really enjoyed the challenge of trying to think through and explain knitting techniques (that are now automatic for me) in a simple way. I also made a couple of really easy projects for it, along with some colleagues.

Knit projects

Knit projects

It was a whole other challenge to make items using just one stitch type and no shaping! I think my garter stitch bow is my favourite, because it’s so cute and simple, and it works well on my colleague Becca’s ribbed hairband. Although, maybe my bright pink flower is my favourite… It’s just a strip of stocking stitch gathered up and finished with a button. It’s unusual and looks more tricky than it really is, and it was great for decorating my colleague Lizzie’s moss stitch scarf.

So now these two bookazines are on their way to the shops, I can get back to some of the craft projects I’ve started but not finished…

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Knitting

 

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