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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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Crochet tension

One of the biggest problems that new knitters and crocheters encounter is in understanding tension. It’s taken me a while (and some very patient crafty friends) to get to grips with it.

But now that I do understand, it’s great fun to play around with the tension of a pattern, by changing the yarn (from DK to chunky, for example) or the hook/needle size.

So I was happy to help when Simply Crochet magazine asked me to put together a feature on tension and come up with a pattern for people to practise on, to help them understand tension too.

Here’s the cute flower brooch I made as the pattern:

Crochet layered flower

Crochet layered flower

The brooch uses the same yarn (in different colours) and the same pattern, but each layer uses a different hook size so each flower is a slightly different size. Put them together and you get a multi-dimensional brooch that’s pretty and clever. Bonus!

The feature and the pattern are in issue 23 of Simply Crochet, which is out now – see more at www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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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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Sewn backpack

I just finished making a backpack for Sewing World magazine.

I can’t show you the whole thing until it’s the magazine comes out, so for now, here’s a little sneak preview of it:

Drawstring bag tab 1

Backpack

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Sewing

 

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Laundry set

Some of my favourite makes are ones that make it that little bit more enjoyable to do household chores: a crocheted dishcloth for doing the washing up (like this one), a handmade apron for cooking, a DIY chalkboard for writing your shopping list, a knitted hairband for when you’re gardening (like this one).

Doing laundry is one of my least-favourite chores, and I’ve already made this linen basket liner to help ease that pain. I recently made another set of laundry goodies, hopefully to help make laundry day fun for everyone!

On sale this Friday, 21st March, the April issue of Sewing World magazine includes the pattern and instructions for making my laundry bag:

Laundry bag

Laundry bag

And also the pattern and instructions for making this peg bag (it’s made just like this one I made before):

New peg bag

New peg bag

The lovely fabric is Makower UK The Henley Studio Retro Bake 1215/1 and Makower UK The Henley Studio, Retro Bake Spaced 1214/B.

I’ve just had them sent back from the magazine, so now I can start using them. Hopefully, this little pair will make our clean (and dirty) clothes a bit more fun to play with!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Sewing

 

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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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