October 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
My crochet nativity set is now available for download on Apple Newsstand! There are 12 patterns included, for Mary and Joseph, the crib with Baby Jesus, 2 shepherds, 3 wise men, an angel, a sheep, camel and donkey. There are more images over on the Simply Crochet blog, and if you’d like a free taster, the angel pattern is posted there too.
To download the pattern from Newsstand, search for and download the Simply Crochet app, and it is available from within the app. It’s also available within the Simply Knitting, The Knitter and Mollie Makes apps.
If you make it, please do let me know, and send me some pics – I’d love to see them!
October 23, 2013 § 3 Comments
Waterstones have put a free project download from the Mollie Makes Crochet book on their website, and it just happens to be the monster Kindle cover I designed – yay! It turns out that Waterstones have a hidden treasure-trove of craft projects hidden away in the ‘Waterstones Card’ section of their website. For a direct link to the project pdf, click on the image above.
I love this little guy, he was such fun to make! He is one of a set of three monster gadget covers and some Russian dolls I made for the book – see my previous post, Mollie Makes Crochet Book.
October 21, 2013 § 6 Comments
I love crochet edgings! They’re quick and easy to do and add a lovely hand-made touch to something a little bit ordinary. When I was designing these edgings for Issue 11 of Simply Crochet magazine, I was mindful of the fact that edgings are sometimes a bit of a faff to do. Very often you know how long the edging needs to be, but if you’re following an edging pattern that starts with a foundation chain, the chain itself isn’t a very reliable guide to how long the finished edging piece will turn out. Foundation chains are notoriously fickle, and once you’ve worked a few rows, the finished piece can turn out quite a different length from the original chain because the tension of the chain, and the tension of rows of stitches, varies quite a bit.
One of the solutions to this problem is to work a foundation chain quite a bit longer than you think you will need, because it’s a relatively easy job to unpick the extra chains that aren’t needed after you’ve worked a couple of rows. This was the instruction I gave for a couple of the edgings above, but the one on the outside of the image is worked using a different method. Instead of making a chain as long as the edging needs to be, the pattern is written to be worked back and forth in short rows, so you can adjust the length to fit as you work.
I thought I’d try and come up with some more patterns like this that are ‘back and forth’ edgings, worked in short rows. Here are three more designs, with the most straightforward one at the top.
For all of these edgings I used DMC Petra #3, and a 2.5mm (US B/1 or C/2 hook). UK crochet terms are used throughout.
This first one’s nice and simple to work. It would be an interesting way of starting off a piece of work too, because you could then rotate the edging and work into the row of chain spaces along the long edge:
Ch6 and ss into the first ch to join into a ring.
Row 1 (RS) Ch4 (counts as first dtr), 3dtr into ring, ch4, 4dtr into ring, turn. [8 dtr, ch-4 sp]
Row 2 Ch3 (counts as first tr), (3tr, ch3, 3tr) into ch-4 sp, tr into top of beg ch-4, turn. [8 tr, ch-4 sp]
Row 3 Ch4 (counts as first dtr), (4dtr into ring, ch4, 4dtr) into ch-4 sp, turn. [9 dtr, ch-4 sp]
Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until your edging is the desired length, fasten off and weave in ends.
You could add more colours to this edging by threading lengths of chain through the spaces along the long straight edge, or do the same with narrow ribbon:
Row 1 (RS) 4dc beg in second ch from hook, turn. [4 dc]
Row 2 Ch1 (does not count as st), 4dc, turn.
Row 3 Ch4 (counts as tr, ch1), skip st at base of ch, tr in next st, ch1, skip next st, tr in next st, ch3, rotate 90 degrees to work in sp created by tr just worked, tr4tog with first 3 ‘legs’ in space created by tr, and last leg in end of last row of dc, turn. [3 tr, 2 ch-1 sp, ch3, tr4tog]
Row 4 Ch3, ss in top of tr4tog from previous row, ch4, skip ch-3 from previous row, (dc in next tr, dc in next ch-1 sp) twice, turn leaving top of turning ch unworked. [ch-3 picot, ch-4, 4 dc]
Row 5 Ch4 (counts as tr, ch1), skip st at base of ch, tr in next st, ch1, skip next st, tr in next st, turn. [5 sts]
Row 6 Ch1 (does not count as st), dc in each of next 4 sts, turn, leaving top of turning ch unworked. [4 sts]
Rows 7 and 8 As Rows 3 and 4.
Repeat Rows 5-8 until edging is the desired length, fasten off and weave in ends.
This is my favourite because it’s so well behaved! I like the way the trebles without any turning chain make a neat firm edge along the top, and of the three this one is most suited to working around curves like a neckline because there is a bit of ‘give’ in it. Incidentally, in the first image above I shot it from the wrong side, so I’ve flipped the image below to match the chart and the direction of working.
Row 1 (WS) 4dc beginning in second ch from hook, turn. [4 dc]
Row 2 (RS) Ch1 (does not count as st), 2dc, ch4, tr in next dc, ch4, tr around post of last tr worked, turn. [2 dc, 2 tr, 2 ch-4 sp]
Row 3 Ss into first ch-4 sp, ch4, ss into same ch-4 sp, ch4, dc in next ch-4 sp, ch1, tr in each of next 2 dc, turn. [2 ch-4 sp, dc, ch-1 sp, 2 tr]
Row 4 Ch1 (does not count as st), 2dc, ch4, tr in ch-1 sp, ch4, tr around post of last tr worked, turn. [2 dc, 2 tr, 2 ch-4 sp]
Row 5 Ss into first ch-4 sp, ch4, ss into same ch-4 sp, ch4, dc in next ch-4 sp, ch1, tr in each of next 2 dc, turn. [2 ch-4 sp, dc, ch-1 sp, 2 tr]
Repeat Rows 4 and 5 until edging is desired length, fasten off and weave in ends.
October 14, 2013 § 7 Comments
This post is otherwise known as ‘getting a bit further beyond trial and error’! Whenever I sit down to start shaping part of an amigurumi figure, there is always a certain amount of undoing and re-doing that goes on. I have in mind the shape I am trying to achieve, but there is often more luck than judgement involved as to whether it will turn out as I expected on the first attempt, and sometimes even the second, or third….
The basic technical points are these, as will be familiar to anyone who has done a little amigurumi-type crochet. If you start working in the round with double crochet (US single crochet), and increase by 6 stitches evenly every round, then you will end up with a flat circle. If you start with 6 stitches and work evenly on those 6 stitches without any increasing or decreasing, you will have a tube. In between those two extremes, if you increase by the same number of stitches every round, choosing a number between 1 and 5, you will get a cone. So if you increase by only 1 stitch every round you will get a narrower cone (closer to the tube), and if you increase by 5 stitches every round you will get a much wider cone (closer to the flat circle). If you need to brush up on the basics, try this Basic Guide to Amigurumi Part 1, and Basic Guide to Amigurumi Part 2.
I know this in theory, but what I want to be able to do is to visualise what a ‘1-stitch’ cone looks like, and what a ‘3-stitch’ cone looks like. In my mind they always translate into various kinds of hat, as that is often what I am making when I want to form a cone! Is this a wizard hat (narrow and pointy), a gnome hat (slightly less pointy), or an Asian-style rice hat (altogether much flatter)? Now this isn’t rocket science, but it occurred to me that if I make versions of all these cones then I can use them for reference later, and I will be able to judge what kind of gradient each number of increases will give me.
For each cone I worked 8 rounds. For the 1-stitch cone I started with 6 sts into a magic loop. You could always start with fewer stitches than this for a more pointy-ended cone, but any fewer than 4 is tricky to work with. Each round is listed on the picture, with the total number of stitches at the end of the round in red.
And the 3-stitch. The maths tells me that this should be half-way between the tube and the flat circle. If you folded a flat circle in half you would get a semi-circle with 180 degrees angle at the top, and the 3-stitch cone, being half way to this has an angle of approx. 90 degrees at the top:
These are the three I think I would use most often for ‘hat-type’ shapes, so these are the ones I have written out in full. Here are all the cones from 1-stitch to 5-stitch together. Looking at the gradients for the larger cones could help in trying to judge increases on more complicated shapes, even if they weren’t used as often as cones. A note about the 4-stitch and 5-stitch cones; it’s difficult to start a 4-stitch and a 5-stitch increase round from a base of 6 sts, as I used for the others. Guess what? Start with 4 stitches in the first round of the 4-stitch cone and 5 stitches for the first round of the 5-stitch cone. Easy!
October 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
Well, Part 2 was a little longer coming than I had hoped for, but better late than never! I posted a pattern for a Hedgehog purse last week, based on the pattern I had used in Simply Crochet magazine. This was for the basic hedgehog, but I thought it would be fun to come up with a few alternatives. Here is girly hedgehog, complete with fetching ribbon and bow:
I used some Gold DMC embroidery thread – all six strands, and worked some double crochet stitches half way around one ring, a few chain stitches and then the same in the other ring. A bit of red felt gives him a bow tie.
I also had an idea that the flap for the purse could be used as a flap for a pocket, say on a child’s garment. And it would be easy to turn the purse into a slightly bigger bag by attaching a longer chain and double crochet cord on the top: