Not a Slip Knot

The join of a round isn’t always the neatest part of a crochet motif is it? There’s the turning ch, and the join at the end of the round, which can make it a bit irregular and lumpy.

Here’s one way of starting a round with a new colour which is great for motifs. Instead of a slip knot, the yarn is twisted around the hook, so that you can make use of a ‘standing start’. A standing start can be used for all stitches that are taller than a double crochet (US single crochet). Instead of joining a new colour in the top of the stitches of the previous round and working a turning chain, you can just start with a regular stitch worked into the stitch or space where it is needed.

This will only work where you’re joining in a new colour, or starting with a new piece of yarn and the first stitch of the round is a taller stitch. It does away with the turning chain, and with the slip knot at the start of the round; that’s two fewer lumpy bits!

 

 

Chevron Tastic crochet skirt front page

Chevron Tastic

Woop woop! My first independently published pattern has landed!

I’ve been building up to this for what seems like ages, but finally, I have published one of my own patterns on Ravelry.

This sassy little number is made from Cascade Fixation which is a stretchy cotton – genius if you need a garment to be close fitting without sagging. It’s a fairly easy make with a couple of specialised stitches, but instructions, and yes, even an extended tr3tog walkthrough are included.

It’s available in two lengths (the one in the image is the shorter length), so if you’re not quite so sure about putting your pins on display, you’ve got the choice. I have worn this loads since I made it last year, and it’s really versatile.

Writing patterns is my thing, and this pattern is an extravangaza. There are loads of charts, and I’ve spent a long time trying to get the layout right, and trying to make it as accessible as possible. If your heart is sinking right now on the chart front, don’t worry, I have written out full row-by-row instructions too.

Download a preview of the first two pattern pages, which include schematics, a full measurements chart, materials, yarn details and quantities.

What are you waiting for? Get your hook out and your skirt on! Oh, and click on the button to buy the pattern. 🙂

Isometric

screenshot of the Isometric ipad app My Mum tells me that when I was a baby I used to stare at the patterns on ladies’ dresses (well, it was the 70’s, so they were probably way out there, and either orange or brown!) So when I discovered the isometric ipad app just before Christmas, I was in my element. Isometric paper is that grid paper that’s ruled into equilateral triangles. All the lines are at 60 degrees from one another (I think…), and you can draw pictures on it that look like they are in perspective. The isometric app lets you draw with diamond shapes that snap to one another to align perfectly, and they automatically change colour depending on the orientation of the diamond. The image above is made with diamonds in one orientation only, but you can see some other examples of the 3D effects possible on their ‘Made with Isometric’ Tumblr feed.

While I was playing around and creating my own patterns, it occurred to me that the app would be a great resource for designing quilting patterns, and would also work with crochet motifs. I’ve recently finished a project made from equilateral triangle motifs in different colours, and I was really pleased with the result. The next step was to try working with diamonds in the same way. First I had to find a regular diamond motif, that was as near as possible to two equilateral triangles joined together. There’s probably a correct mathematical name for this – the Isometric app page mentions ‘rhombus’?? After a bit of diligent Pinterest-ing I came up with the following motif from a Red Heart Yarn pattern called ‘Prairie Star’. I have tweaked it a bit from the original, as I’m not using the same number of rounds in each motif, and I’ve changed the points slightly to make them more ‘pointy’. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to cope with making anything very large from separate motifs, so I chose to make each motif smaller so that they were in proportion to the finished piece. Here is one of the motifs worked in DMC Petra 3:

diamond crochet motifI chose the colours from a selection I already had in my stash, although I have ordered a couple of greys that I am hoping to add to the mix when they arrive. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add to my colour palette of DMC Petra – I love working with this yarn for the colours available! Initially I thought I would arrange them like the ‘3D cube effect’ that I had seen on the Isometric app, but when I laid them out, I preferred them all aligned in one direction, as in the image below. group of diamond crochet motifs I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet, although probably an accessory of some kind, because I know I will get bored with making too many motifs! I’ll let you know how it goes….

Chair Back Covers

Crochet chair back covers Gosh, it’s been a while! 🙂 Won’t bore you with the details, but despite my best intentions it has been very difficult to find any time for blogging of late. Without further ado, here is a little project that I completed a while ago, which is nice and easy, with practical results. I made these for my dining room chairs after repairing the wall in the hope that it might save me having to do it again too soon. It has. 🙂 The photo above was taken recently, and they have had a little wear, and perhaps look a bit saggy round the edges. So try and ignore that and look at the crisp clean ones in the images below, ok? Squares As you will have no doubt realised, the good old granny square is the basis for this design. It doesn’t matter which method you use. I haven’t included a granny square pattern because most people won’t need one and they’re readily available on the internet. Cotton would be better than wool for this because it needs to be hardwearing and less stretchy. I used Wendy Luxury Supreme Cotton DK  and a 3.5mm hook. My first complete granny square is below. You can vary the size according to the depth that you want the chair back to be, but it probably needs to be at least 8cm square in order to have enough staying power when you fit it to the back of the chair. granny square image - part of crochet chair back cover walkthrough Once you’ve made one, you will be able to judge how many squares you will need to fit across the back of the chair. I made four to fit across one side of the chair, and slip stitched each square to the next as I worked, slip stitching into each of the spaces along the side of the square. Ideally your squares should fit across the front of the chair and overlap the sides slightly, so that you can make the same number of squares for the back and join the two together to fit all the way round the chair top. You want it to be quite a snug fit, so make sure that it is pulled taut when you are measuring. My four squares weren’t quite long enough, so once I had joined them I worked another couple of rows of granny square trebles (US double crochet) on each end so that the strip went half way round the chair top. You can then make an identical piece for the back of the chair and join it to the first to form a tube that will fit around the chair: squares joined for chairback cover Edging When the squares are joined, work an edging along the bottom with a row of granny trebles and ch-3 picots in between as per the illustration below. Double crochet (US single crochet) evenly around the top edge, which will form the base for the piece that fits over the top of the chair. diagram for chair back covers Top Flap At this point, make sure the tube is placed symmetrically on the chair and mark the two double crochet stitches which fall at the two front corners of the chair. You can see in the third image above that I’ve marked these stitches with safety pins. These stitches will be the beginning and end stitches of the rows forming a flap to fit over the top of the chair. Rejoin your yarn in the marked stitch on the right hand side (left if you’re left-handed), and work a row of double crochet until you have worked in the second marked stitch and turn. Continue working rows of double crochet until the flap created meets the top edge of the squares running along the back of the chair. It may help to mark the two corner stitches at the back, in the same way as before, to help you see how long the flap needs to extend, and to ensure that the ‘back’ is the same width as the ‘front’. You can see one corner marked with a safety pin in the image below. top flap on chair back cover When the flap is the right size, fasten off and pin the edge of the flap to meet the back edge of the squares where it will be joined. Rejoin the yarn at the front corner and work a double crochet seam through both layers around the two short edges and the long back edge. Remember to increase at the corners – I worked 2dc stitches in 2 stitches at each of the back corners. Don’t fasten off when you’ve finished this seam. pin and join top flap on chair back cover I wanted to create a cushioned ridge along the back edge of the chair to give some extra protection to the back corners. To do this, I carried on crocheting another two rows worked onto the double crochet seam, and then rolled this extra piece in and sewed the last row to the base of the double crochet seam. top ridge around chair back cover Ties I used two pieces of cotton tape to tie the cover to the chair, but in hindsight I think it might be better with an extra one in the middle as well to keep the cover from sagging. Each piece of tape measured approx 40cm with a little extra allowed for finishing the raw ends. This was long enough to tie around the bar running along the top of the chair frame, but not so long that the tapes hung down beneath the bottom of the cover. You may need to adjust the length according to your own chair. Measure in from each side of the chair to see where these will be placed, making them far enough in from the edge to avoid the frame of the chair back. measure width from end of chair for tapes on chair back cover Mark the same distance in from each end of the cover. Find the midpoint of each piece of tape and sew the tapes to the cover on the inside, so there is an equal amount front and back to tie. sew tapes to inside of chair back cover Tie in position and the chair covers are ready. tie tapes onto chair for chair back cover

Red

It is no secret that I love the colour red. My friends will tell you that it is my favourite colour to wear. I have owned a succession of pairs of red shoes or boots (although I don’t have any at the moment, tut, tut!) and I have a stash of lace weight yarn with a definite bias towards red. I saw some of Hilda Grahnat’s work on Flipboard a couple of weeks ago, and her wonderful vintage collections by colour inspired me to do a post on a colour theme. Here’s her red collection: Vintage collection from Hilda Grahnat Without her flair or photography equipment, I have put together a ‘red’ collage of some of my crafty bits and pieces. collage of red crochet and other red craft items From left to right, top to bottom: 1. A doll I made from Simplicity pattern 1900, with red polka dot dress. It was Miss Maggie rabbit that set me off on the doll sewing track. I enjoyed making her so much that I decided to do a bit more sewing. I don’t know what it is about making dolls that I find so appealing! If you had said to me that I would like making dolls I don’t think I would relate to it at all. I think the word ‘doll’ conjures up images of scary plastic things with clothes knitted in acrylic. It must be partly because the clothes that you make for them are small, and I am hopeless at finishing larger garments. 🙂 2. The Russian Ami Santas I posted about recently. I found out last week that you can now get the pattern for the large Santa from Simply Crochet for free. Download the Simply Knitting app on Apple Newsstand and you can find it under the ‘free content’ link. As it is packaged with some other Christmas patterns, it probably won’t be around for ever, so go and get it now! 3. DMC Petra 3, in shade 5666. I love using this yarn for crochet. I usually use a 3mm hook, although a 2.5mm works well too. There are so many fantastic colours, and 1 ball always seems to go quite a long way. 4. My crochet lampshade from the first issue of Simply Crochet. I give the link to the options for digital editions here because I don’t think the print edition of Issue 1 is still available. I’ve got the lampshade at home again now, but the paper lantern got a bit battered so it needs sorting out. What I want to do is to stiffen the crochet so that it holds it’s shape without the lantern, but I’m not sure how to go about it at the minute. Yet another job on my to-do list. 5. A necklace I made a while ago from coloured felt beads with seed beads. Still one of my favourites. 6. A WIP shawl from the recuerdos de infancia pattern on Ravelry. The main stitch pattern is nice and easy, but I wanted to add a different border. Once I had worked the main body of the shawl, it was a more ‘pointy’ shape than I wanted, so I decided to try adding further staggered rows on either side to make the angle more shallow. This worked ok one one side, but not the other, and I still haven’t worked it out. Another project consigned to the pile!

Russian Ami Santas

Russian doll amigurumi SantasHo, ho, ho! Christmas is coming, whether you like it or not! I’m still in denial, even though it was a couple of months ago that we were ‘doing’ Christmas on Simply Crochet. I think that’s part of the problem. I am lulled into a false sense of security because we are forced to think about it early, but this makes me feel as though I am doing something about it, when actually, I am not.

Simply Crochet Issue 12 coverI present to you my amigurumi Santa, from Issue 12 of Simply Crochet. He does get a cheeky look-in on the cover, but you will find him on p.85. When I made him I had the idea of doing three of them in different sizes like Russian dolls, but there wasn’t the time or the space really for the pattern. Now I have managed to accomplish the task here they are, Little, Large, and er, Middle Sized. The full pattern for the Large version is in the magazine, and there are guidelines below for making the other two, although you may need to refer to the original pattern for some of the details. Yes, this is deliberate, because a) I will be in trouble if I reveal too much of the pattern from the mag ;-), and b) I would love you to be acquainted personally with the awesome mag that is Simply Crochet.

The diagram and table below (click on the image for a full-sized version) show the general shaping instructions you will need, and also how many rounds to work in each colour. You start at the top of the Hat and work down. There is also a stitch diagram for the moustache, as this differs slightly from the one for the Large size. Use the same pattern for the moustache of the Middle and Small, but use a 2.5mm hook for the Small.

Russian doll amigurumi Santa diagram
Click on the image for a full-sized version

Further instructions for the details are as follows (with a gentle reminder that I am using UK crochet terms): Hat Bobble Make a slightly smaller bobble for both these two, using only 3 rounds. Make the first round 6dc, the second 12dc, and the third 6dc. You might like to use a smaller hook for the Small sized one.

Hat Brim Follow the same principle as for the Large Santa, by working a plain round of dc, followed by a round where you increase evenly around, and then another plain round of dc. For the Middle Santa increase by 6sts evenly on the increase round, and for the Small Santa increase by 5sts evenly.

Beard and Face For the Middle Santa start with 10dc and follow the pattern as for the Large Santa. For the Small Santa start with 8dc. For the Face, follow the same principle as for the Large Santa, working 4 rows for the Middle, and 3 rows for the Small.

Russian doll amigurumi SantasIf you do have a go at multi-sized Santas I would love to see a photo. Meanwhile, I had better do something about Christmas!