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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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Hairpin crochet

I love learning new craft techniques, unfortunately I don’t always have time. But at the moment, I’m getting paid to write about some advanced crochet techniques, which means I have to learn them!

The latest one I’ve learned is hairpin crochet, which looks very intricate but is sooo easy to do. This gorgeous top from Tesco in the UK combines delicate hairpin crochet with standard crochet.

Anyway, if you want to try the hairpin technique, all you need is some yarn (try DK), a crochet hook (try 4mm) and a hairpin loom (widely available in yarn stores or online).

Set the loom prongs to 4cm apart (this is a good width to start with). Make a slipknot and place it on your hook. Hold the hook in the centre of the loom, between the two prongs. Take the working yarn over the front of the right prong and around the back so it lies across the back of the loom, on the left-hand side (if you’re right-handed). Hold the working yarn in your left hand (if you’re right-handed), so it lies under the left prong. It should look a bit like this:

Hairpin Step 1

Hairpin Step 1

Now hook the strand of yarn that lies across the back of the loom, like this:

Hairpin Step 2

Hairpin Step 2

And pull a loop of yarn through the slipknot (you will have made a slip stitch):

Hairpin Step 3

Hairpin Step 3

Tighten up the slipknot and make sure your hook and stitch are in the centre of the two prongs.

**Now move the hook to the back of the work, by lifting it up and over the right prong, like this:

Hairpin Step 4

Hairpin Step 4

Turn the loom over, anti-clockwise, lifting up the right prong and bringing it to the left so that this becomes the left prong (as long as you keep hold of the working yarn, you can let go of the hook while you do this). The yarn will have been wrapped around what was the left prong, which is now the right prong, and it will lie across the back of the loom again, like this:

Hairpin Step 5

Hairpin Step 5

The hook will now be at the front, ready for the next steps. The left prong will have a loop of yarn around it – insert the hook under the front strand of this loop, ready to work a double crochet stitch (US single crochet) into it:

Hairpin Step 6

Hairpin Step 6

Now hook the working yarn, as it lies across the back of the loom:

Hairpin Step 7

Hairpin Step 7

Pull the strand of working yarn through the loop on the left prong, like this:

Hairpin Step 8

Hairpin Step 8

Now hook the working yarn again:

Hairpin Step 9

Hairpin Step 9

And pull this loop through all the loops on the hook, to finish your double crochet stitch (US single crochet):

Hairpin Step 10

Hairpin Step 10

That’s it! Repeat from ** to work more and more stitches in the same way to create a lacy strip.

Hairpin Step 11

Hairpin Step 11

You can make hairpin strips as long or short, narrow or thin, as you like. Just be careful to keep the stitch in the centre of the loom. Have fun experimenting!

I’m thinking it might be nice to use the technique to make a scarf – perhaps a chunky yarn made into a wide strip and edged with more double crochet stitches…

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Joining crochet motifs

It’s official: I’m halfway through my rainbow blanket. It’s this one:

Rainbow strip

Rainbow strip

There are 10 colours so that’s 100 squares, and I’ve made and joined 50. (I’m quite a slow crocheter, so it’s taking me a while.)

But I have sped up the joining process by using a different technique…

For the first 4 rows, I worked the cream yarn around the edge of each square, one at a time, slip stitching it to the adjoining square at the start and end of each half treble cluster.

But this was taking a long time, not least because of all the ends that needed weaving in.

So on row 5, I’ve done this:

Row 5 Joining

Row 5 Joining

I worked a row of half treble clusters all the way along the edge of Row 4, worked into each of the 10 different coloured squares for Row 5, and also slip stitching into the corners to keep things neat.

Then I worked around the side and top of the far-right square (the green one), and down the left side of the green square (in the gap between the green and yellow square), slip stitched into the corner and then worked back up the side of the yellow square.

Row 5 close-up

Row 5 close-up

I wasn’t sure whether it would work or look right, so I was well prepared to undo the whole thing. But I was pleasantly surprised that it worked so well. This technique is going to save me so much time when I join the next row.

I just need to keep going with my squares – I’ve got another 15 made, so there’s only 35 left to go…

 
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Posted by on March 12, 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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