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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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Rainbow scarf

I seem to have made quite a few scarves and cowls recently, but I think this one is my favourite – I haven’t been able to stop wearing it since I finished it (and I may even have worn it for a while before it was fully finished!):

Rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf

You may recognise those colours from my granny square blanket here. When I was finished with the blanket, I had about 10g of each yarn left and I wanted to make something wearable so that I could carry a little piece of the blanket magic out and about with me.

I wanted to have a ridge in between each colour stripe, so I made each stripe separately using the treble (US dc) foundation row technique, and then joined them together using a double crochet seam and cream yarn. To finish, I added a cream border and buttons to hold the wrap shape in place. The great thing about the buttons I chose was that they fit in between the treble stitches so I can use any gap as a buttonhole!

Rainbow scarf detail

Rainbow scarf detail

It’s nice and cosy without being too hot, and I’ve had lots of nice compliments about it since I started wearing it, which is always flattering. Hope you like it, too!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 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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…99, 100!

The day has finally come. I’ve reached 100! No, not years, but colourful squares.

Almost a year ago, I set myself the challenge of making 100 colourful granny squares for a crochet blanket (see my first post about it, here).

The first square I made was red, and then quickly came orange…

One, two...

One, two…

Many more months later and after 96 squares, I reached the 99th square this evening – which turned out to be a yellow one, for some reason. So I couldn’t rest my hooking hand until I’d made the 100th, a turquoise square.

...miss a few, 99, 100!

…miss a few, 99, 100!

Whenever we played hide and seek as children, we would always count: “One, two, miss a few, 99, 100!” And that’s how I felt tonight, looking back at how many squares I’ve made.

So, now all I need to do is join the last 30 squares to the rest of the blanket, and then do the border. I might just get there before the year is up!

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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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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