March 4, 2014 § 2 Comments
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:
I 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. 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….
February 5, 2014 § 2 Comments
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. 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: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Tie in position and the chair covers are ready.
December 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
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: Without her flair or photography equipment, I have put together a ‘red’ collage of some of my crafty bits and pieces. 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!
November 19, 2013 § 1 Comment
Ho, 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.
I 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.
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.
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.