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    Entries in crochet (28)


    Thornbury beanie - a new crochet pattern

    Recently I taught a beginner crochet class on how to crochet a beanie. I always try to write my own patterns for classes to avoid any copyright difficulties, and so Tina (the owner of The Wool Stop) and I decided on the yarn to use & I whipped up a simple hat. And so, the Thornbury beanie was born. It was promptly stolen by one of my 12 year old boys. And then my husband asked for one.

    Following the course, most of the attendees have made more than one hat already. They seem to be addictive! The yarn that we used is a great price and comes in really interesting colours. We used Rico Creative melange chunky (the darker coloured hat), you only need 1 ball and it comes in at under £4. For a hat. Bargain! I also used West Yorkshire Spinner's Blue faced leicester variations roving yarn, which is gorgeous. It's the lighter coloured one in the photos. If you can get hold of some - do so!

    The pattern is written with beginners in mind, and includes ideas for personalising/ changing the shape to a slouch or tam style hat. The pattern download will cost you a bargain £1!

    You can buy the Thornbury beanie pattern by clicking the button. This will take you to my Ravelry store - you don't need to be a member or Ravelry to buy, and you can pay with Paypal. 

    Let me know if you make a Thornbury beanie of your own. And then be careful who you show it to - they might want one of their own!



    Sweater surgery - and crochet edging tutorial

    Well, another absence from the blog after getting flu. Please, 2014, I think that's enough stupid bugs now. I've been ill pretty much continuously since christmas and I'VE HAD ENOUGH! I'm normally pretty healthy, as are the rest of the family but it seems that living in times of flooding makes us ill :(

    In an effort to restore some sort of order we decided to clear out the twins clothes as they have grown a lot recently & their room is full of clothes that don't get worn. In amongst their unworn clothes was a jumper. An extra large mens cashmere jumper that had got felted in the wash. It was too small for my husband, too big for the kids but was sooooo soft & cosy that I decided it would be mine.

    The neckline was disastrous on me. A high v neck, the back of the neck had got weirdly mis-shapen and lumpy. It made me look like a large breasted hunchback with a tiny head. Not my best look....

    But the fabric had felted. And you can cut felt. So I did. With no planning or forethought, I marked a deep v level by putting a needle through the fabric while I was wearing it so that it marked the depth I wanted to reach. Then I put the sweater onto my rotary cutting mat, arranged it so it was pretty mucheven and started cutting!I cut a deep V, wider than the existing neckline & took the wierd bump off the back neck.

    Initially, I thought I would sew some bias binding around the neck to stop it stretching out of shape. But the only binding I had that was not too skinny and that was long enough was black satin. Which just felt a little too.....predictable. Boring even. So my next thought was a crochet edging. I picked up a ball of left over variegated sock yarn (Araucania Ranco multi), and started to sew a blanket stitch edging around the cut edge.

    Blanket stitch requires no real sewing skill - just catch the yarn behind the needle as you do a simple overstitch & you get a perfect edge for adding crochet. I did this from the wrong side, but it doesn't make a huge difference.

    Once I got all the way around, joining lengths of yarn by spit-splicing them together so I didn't have lots of ends to sew in, I reattached the yarn with the right side of the jumper facing, and worked double crocht (US terms - single crochet) in each of the horizontal bars around the neck. I did take the time to check whether I had similar numbers between the shoulder & the point of the v on either side. I didn't, so I had to work 2 dc stitches into some of the bars to end up with the same number of stitches on either side of the V.

    I used a 3.50mm hook. Once I had worked around once, I slip stitched the last dc to the first and without turning, ch1, continued to dc around. When I got the the shoulders, I worked a dc3tog, to help keep the edging lying flat. At the point of the v I did another decrease- this time a dc4tog. Decrease at the other shoulder, sl st to 1st ch to join.

    Repeat this rnd, decreasing stitches at the shoulders & point of the v - as many as looks right.

    On the 4th - 6th rnds I didn't decrease at the shoulders, but did at the point of the V. It looks good like that, and I nearly finished there. But then I decided to improvise a little shell edging, so if you want to give it a try, here it is:

    Edging:*(dc,ch1,dc,ch1,dc) into same st, sk1, sl st into next dc, sk1;rep from * to end. Improvise around the point of the V so you don't have a shell in the centre. Fasten off, weave in ends.

    Get out your ironing board, iron & some pins. Arrange the neckline on the board, pin the shells and steam to even out any irregularities in the neck. Let cool before taking off the ironing board.

    I'm really pleased with the end result. I've got a casual, cosy, sloppy jumper that is easy to wear and individual. And free! 

    It looks ok too - I couldn't get a good photo, so please excuse the no make up, still looking pale & interesting post flu, slightly skew selfie - it's as good as you're getting right now. The neckline is straight - but lifting one arm to take a photo makes it look a little wonky. Also, my hair is quite bright red just now, so I'm not sure what has gone on with the colour! But you'll get the general idea. What do you think?




    I meant to post this a little while ago, but viruses & life got in the way. However - these are the workshops I have planned over the next couple of months:

    To book workshops for The Wool Stop, Thornbury, contact Tina on  01454 419912 or email

    For the Kingshill House workshop, book online here or call 01453 549133

    Sat 25th Jan, The Wool Stop

    You knit me right round, baby! Knitting on dpn's & circular needles, demystifying magic loop.

    10am - 12.30pm £22

    Thurs 30th Jan, The Wool Stop

    Basic sock knitting. Cuff down socks on dpns. All you need to get going - but be warned - it seems that sock knitting might be addictive!

    10am - 2.30pm £32

    Tues 4th Feb, The Wool Stop

    Get your granny on - the ever popular granny square made simple. Hook & yarn supplied.

    12pm - 4pm £28

    Sat 8th Feb - Kingshill House, Dursley

    Sewing Machines 101 - sewing for beginners & the terrified. Master your machine! Learn to maintain & troubleshoot, and make a tote bag & a drawstring bag in the process

    10am - 4pm £33

    Thursday 13th Feb, The Wool Stop

    Crochet a hat - Make a simple beanie. Pattern and materials supplied. Suitable for complete beginners

    7pm - 9pm £19

    Weds 26th Feb, The Wool Stop

    Carry on hooking - next steps in crochet. Learn to follow patterns & decipher charts. Suitable for improvers, ideal follow on from Get your granny on.

    1pm - 5pm £26

    Sat 1st March, The Wool Stop

    Toe up, two at a time socks. Exactly what it sounds like! Lovely Hiya hiya circs are included. Ideal for people who have mastered cuff down socks & are looking for a new challenge or for adventurous beginners up. Should be confident with knitting, increasing & ideally have some experience of knitting in the round (not essential)

    10am - 2.30pm £32

    There we go - a fairly busy schedule covering a fair range of topics. If there is something that I've missed and you would like to learn - let me know & I'll try to fit it in the next lot )




    Sorry for the blog absence recently - I've been poorly & it's knocked me for six. I do have a pattern more or less ready to go for you - so keep checking in! 

    More or less normal service will be resumed shortly x

    In the meantime - I've discovered crochet socks :)


    2013 Design roundup

    2013 has been a busy year. I just looked at my designer page on Ravelry. I had more than 20 designs published in the last year!

    This might explain why I have stopped submitting to magazines for the time being - I will submit again, but not yet. I have been feeling jaded, design wise. I think I need to refine my designs so that they are more coherent. There have been some patterns that have been smooth and easy this year - and a few more that have roundly kicked my butt!

    Crochet design has really kicked in this year. The first pattern, Aquilegia is one of my favourite ever designs and one that I am really proud of. It is an easy to wear hat, flattering for lots of face shapes and interesting to make. The crown decreases are unusual and effective. It is also one of my least popular designs and barely sold.  I have no idea why - wierd, huh?

    Next up was a crochet supplement for Knit Now magazine. All the designs (5 in total) were made with Bergere yarns, and were aimed at new crocheters, so all have simple construction & easy stitches. The granny squares cowl & mitts didn't especially appeal to me, although I loved the autumnal colours of the yarn. Since I've had them back though, I've worn them a lot, and they have really grown on me. I am thinking of putting the pattern on the blog as a tutorial next year. 

    The same issue included my first foray into doilies, bith crocheted & knitted - 5 in total. Suprisingly fun to make. I might try some more :)

    In June, I released my first collaboration with The Natural Dye Studio, Blithe. In addition to the dk weight silk version I made for them, I used some laceweight handspun to make my own shawl. Again, I've loved wearing this with its unfussy body & detailed border.

    I had two designs published in The Knitter this year (out of 2 submissions as far as I can remember!). The first was the Tendril socks that I recently released as a pdf. I am making myself a pair with gorgeous purple-pink hand dyed yarn by Stocking Stitch Studios. This is probably my favourite pattern of the year.

    The other pattern in The Knitter was my Camden cardigan. It's my first garment and while grading for multiple sizes was really hard, I was fairly pleased with the finished result. The colour is great & the oversized, cape like shape is what I was aiming for. I think with the benefit of hindsight I would choose a more drapey yarn, but it worked fine as a cape alternative for the autumn.

    October saw another crochet design for The Crochet Project, Melas, which I talked about here. This was another design that fought me all the way, and it didn't turn out as expected, but I was really pleased with the end product. The Fyberspates vivacious yarn has become a favourite - if you get the chance to buy some, do!

    Knit Now published a christmas collection in October too - another 6 designs that I talked about here & here. These were fun to do & caused lots of interest as I was frantically knitting away at the dentist this summer on my many many visits with the boys! The twinkle twinkle star almost made itself - maybe lace stars are my thing?

    The last magazine patterns of the year were published in November. StEEK! are mug cosies that let you practise the art of cutting your knitting, and the Toffee Apple shawl has all over lace, a shape somewhere between a triangle & a crescent, and crystal drops at the points. It's really pretty, even if I say it myself :)

    So I reckon that makes;

    5 doilies

    2 hats

    1 pair fingerless mitts

    1 sock

    1 cardigan

    1 cowl

    3 scarves

    4 shawls/wraps

    1 bag

    6 other small makes (counting the mug cosies as 3 separate designs)

    That's 25!

    I might just manage to squeeze another one in on the blog tomorrow - time permitting xx


    PS you can see pictures of all the patterns on my Ravelry page or my Pinterest board: