Hi folks! I hope you are all safe, well and happy. We are still in lockdown 3 here in the UK – but as I write this, the use of the first vaccines are being rolled out so we can feel that glimmer of hope and optimism. But in the meantime we can just hope to find some time to settle down with some crochet – and if you are looking for something new then you might want to check out the latest issue of Crochet Now magazine.
Issue 64 is out now with a range of ‘windswept’ themed projects including blankets, wall hangings and a new little amigurumi from me.
Meet Petrok the Puffin! He’s a short and stocky little fellow with a fondness for herring and playtime. His bright beak and pretty spearmint plumage always turn the heads of his other puffin pals.
The spearmint plumage was actually made with Paintbox Cotton DK, which is lovely yarn to work with, and a 3.25mm hook. I used six colours of Paintbox Cotton DK in total to create Petrok, but there was a fair bit left of the 50g balls so there would be enough to make a couple of puffins if you wished to.
I love the opportunity to create something new and a puffin was actually a creature that I had on my list that I wanted to make at some point. It’s also a bird I’ve always wanted to see in real life, they just have such a cute appearance.
The beautiful Isles of Scilly is one of only a handful of sites in the UK where you can go puffin spotting. Back in 2005 we had a holiday there which turned into rather a momentous trip as Mr KCACO.UK asked me to marry him.
Whilst we were there we went on a sea safari boat trip, from St Mary’s, to see if we could spot a glimpse of the elusive bird. Unfortunately we didn’t! We saw seals and gannets, but no puffins – so it’s still on the bucket list!
Here in the UK it’s definitely the time of year for wrapping up warmly and if you are looking for a bright way to start the new year then you might want to check out the latest issue of I Like Crochet magazine.
I’m excited to share with you my first design of 2021! The Sweeping Swirls scarf is out now in the February 2021 edition of I Like Crochet and what better way to wrap up is there than with a warm and woollen scarf. It’s inspired by the comeback of swirling tie dye patterns which have seen a resurgence during the pandemic.
To wanted to try and pull in the mixture of colours you can find in tie dye patterns so I used a Lion Brand Mandala yarn cake, (100% Acrylic); [540 meters] / 150 grams) in Chimera (Shade 204, 1 ball), which is made of blended colours which change as you crochet. The shade I used (Chimera) is actually a range of muted jewel tones which I love; though Lion Brand Mandala‘s are available in a wide range of ‘enchanting’ colours.
Lion Brand Mandala is a double knit yarn which I used previously on my Shades of Grey Scarf. It’s actually really nice and soft to work with and I do like to create patterns that just use a single yarn cake, which this one does. I decided to edge the scarf with a cute turquoise bobble trim, picking up on one of the shades in the yarn cake, and I love the final look.
This scarf utilises filet crochet to create swirls on a backdrop of colour; if you are new to crochet then a filet scarf might seem a bit far out of the range of your talent, but filet crochet is made up of two simple stitches: the chain and treble (US double crochet). This is also a great beginner project as once you get started you will just work back and forth in rows.
This scarf was actually designed with a beginner in mind, though I’m sure a more accomplished crocheter would enjoy it as an enjoyable project too. The pattern is very easy and repetitive, perfect for crocheting on the go or in front of the TV.
As well as my scarf the February 2021 October edition features loads of seasonal patterns and a range of interesting articles. If you SUBSCRIBEyou can get the magazine straight to your desktop or iPad as well as access to lots of other extra crochet bonus material.
If you hook up the Sweeping Swirls scarf I hope you’ll share your projects with me on social media as I’d I love to see them.
Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Hooky New Year everyone! I’m going to start of with a positive greeting to everyone – and I do hope you are all well. 2020 for me and my family has been rather a horror, but I’m not going to dwell on that here, I’m going to talk about what you are all here for – the crochet!
Somehow amidst home-schooling and lockdowns I managed to do ALOT of crochet in 2020. But like so many of you I’m sure, crocheting was just one of those things that helped to calm me, kept me sane and helped me to get through the year.
So let’s have a quick look back at this amass of crochet shall we…you might want to grab a cuppa first, it’s rather a long post.
There was also little Reginald Rat to celebrate 2020 as the Year of the Rat. I’d actually set myself a mini challenge to try to release 12 new independent designs in 2020, I only managed 9, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it, I can always try again this year…
February started off quite exciting with the Waverly Kisses scarf shortlisted in the Unravel a Festival of Yarn 2020 design competition! I still love how the design and the hand dyed yarn work together on this scarf – I really want to make myself another one of these one day in a different hand dyed colourway to see how it comes out.
March and April’s colour scheme seemed to be filled with oranges, reds, yellows and pinks. It was filled with bunnies, which are actually one of my favourite animals to make, such as my Battenburg Bunny and my Deramores Bunny which I think is my first creature to sport a snazzy pair of dungarees.
There was also the Nessa Cowl and a blanket called Don’t Box Me In (which is available for free) that I designed especially for Dear Ewe as sometimes I sneak in some new crochet designs over there too!
May & June 2020
It’s hard to make a designer choose a favourite design but if you twisted my arm some of my favourite designs of 2020 were created in May and June; including Timmy the Tribal Cactus, and possibly one of my most favourite shawl designs ever, the Pelagia Shawl which was inside issue 56 of Crochet Now magazine
As the the weather turned cooler and our thoughts perhaps turned towards Christmas there were some more autumnal makes for September and October – another twelve designs in total, and one for Dear Ewe for luck!
The one that I was really honoured to be part of was creating the pattern for the Remembrance Day poppy for The Royal British Legion and Deramores.
And that brings us nearly up to date with some more recent pattern releases (in fact I’m sure some of the later magazines designs are still available in the shops). There was actually 17 patterns that came out in November and December – though I’ll hasten to add that they were spread out a bit through the year when I was actually making them!
Woah when you look at it like that, that seems like a crazy amount of crocheting! Who knows how many items I’ve actually crocheted this year but counting multiples of things both large and small I’d have to say my output much be reaching the over 100 mark, what do you recon?
It’s been a busy ole year! I’m not sure I’ve ever had a year where I’ve crocheted so much! But I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you, my design work goes to support my family, so when you buy a pattern or a magazine, no matter how big or small, it really does mean the world to us.
What’s in store for 2021?
Well I’m delighted to say that I’ve got some new patterns coming to you soon from some of my favourite crochet magazines, there are a couple of new designs planned for my Deramores Designer Shop, a new exciting summer collaboration with the wonderful Yarn Whisperer, more collaborations with the lovely folks at Anchor Yarn and of course (finally) a BRAND NEW Crochet Along!!! More on that soon soon!! I can’t wait to share it all with you!
I’m not going to set any resolutions specifically for 2021, but what I want to work on is to try and making sure my patterns are more accessible. This will including updating old patterns, releasing patterns that once appeared only in magazines, and making sure that my patterns are available on different platforms like Ravelry, LoveCrafts and Etsy to give people the choice of where to purchase from. As you can imagine it’s quite a feat to get all my patterns in order – and it won’t be quick, as if I’m honest they do get pushed to the bottom of the list more often than not, but it is on the list!
I’m also looking forward to bringing you some new free patterns here on the blog for you to enjoy too, I’d love to hear what you’d like to see, more amigurumi? Blankets? Things for the home? Let me know below!
Here’s to a thoroughly hooky 2021!
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
I think I say it every year that one of my favourite things to make are Christmas decorations, and it’s become somewhat of a tradition that I create a new free tree ornament pattern for you to enjoy too. This year I’ve gone a bit non-traditional but still fun – it’s a Christmas Mushroom!
Well actually it’s probably a Christmas toadstool but I’ve been singing Christmas mushroom to myself in my head so I’m afraid that title has stuck.
Apparently the red and white speckled fungi are known in German as gluckspilz which literally means ‘lucky mushroom’ which I really like and I think we can all do with a little luck to get past 2020 don’t you!
I’ve added a little twine to the top of my mushrooms so they can hang from the tree, but you could easily incorporate them into a wreath hanging on your door or even as part of a holiday table centrepiece.
They also don’t have to be just red, I experimented, because I got a little bit addicted to making mushrooms, with a few different colours – so you could match your fungi to your own decor.
Last year you may remember that I made a little Christmas bell tree decorations (FREE pattern here) with some Anchor CraftsCreativa Fino from my stash. I really like Creativa Fino to work with, it’s a nice firm mercerised cotton which I think works particularly well for amigurumi and ornaments like this one so that’s what I’ve used this year too.
The following Christmas Mushroom Tree Ornament pattern is free here on the blog but it’s also available in my Ravelry store, LoveCrafts or Etsy store, where there is a nominal fee for a downloadable PDF pattern if you’d prefer.
The pattern is available in both UK and US crochet terminology via the PDF download; the pattern below is written just in UK terms.
Pattern will work in other hooks and yarns though finished size will be different.
Hook: 3mm (US size D/3)
You will also need:
Small amount of toy stuffing
Length of twine for hanging loop
Gauge: 5dc = 2.5cm / 1 inch
Obtaining the correct gauge is not critical to this project but if your gauge does not match then your finished item will be a different size.
Finished Size: 9cm / 3.5 inches
ABBREVIATIONS: UK Terminology
st sl slip stitch
dc double crochet
dc2tog double crochet two together
htr half treble
Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and draw through all loops.
Double Crochet (dc): Insert hook in st indicated and draw up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, draw through both loops on hook.
Double Crochet (dc2tog): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), insert hook in next st, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook.
Half treble (htr): Yarn over, insert hook in indicated st and pull up a loop (three loops on hook), yarn over, pull through all three loops on hook.
Magic ring:is also known as a Drawstring Ring or Magic Loop and is often used as a start for working amigurumi. If you are not familiar with this technique you could substitute with a ch2 and then work in the second ch from the hook.
Working in the round: This pattern is worked in the amigurumi style (unless specified), in a spiral without slip stitching or turning chains
Working in the Back or Front Loop Only (BLO / FLO): If you hold your piece of crochet in front of you with the Vs of the stitch on top, the part of the V closest to you is the front loop. The part of the V farther away from you on the opposite side is the back loop. When a pattern asks you to crochet into the back loop or front loop only insert your hook into the relevant loop and crochet as instructed.
Top of Mushroom
Rnd 1: With YARN A; working into a magic ring, 6dc. 6sts
Note: Do not pull magic ring too tight as you will thread some twine through the centre.
Rnd 2: [2dc] around. 12sts
Rnd 3: [1dc, 2dc] around. 18 sts
Rnd 4: Dc around.
Rnd 5: [1dc in next 2sts, 2dc] around. 24sts
Rnds 6-9: Dc around.
Rnd 10: [1dc in next 3sts, 2dc] around. 30sts
Fasten off YARN A with a sl st to the next st and weave in ends.
With YARN C embroider some spots on to your mushroom top
Create a hanging loop from twine and thread the loop through the centre of your magic ring with a knot to secure.
Underside of Mushroom
Rnd 11: Attach YARN B to the BLO of any st; [1dc in next 3sts, dc2tog] around. 24sts
Start to stuff, continue to stuff as you go.
Rnd 12: [1dc in next 2sts, dc2tog] around. 18sts
Rnd 13: [1dc, dc2tog] around. 12sts
Rnd 14: [dc2tog] to end. 6sts
Fasten off and use yarn tail to sew up the last 6sts
Rnd 1: With YARN A; working into a magic ring, 8dc. 8sts
Rnd 2: [2dc] around. 16sts
Rnds 3-5: Dc around.
Rnd 6: [1dc in next 2sts, dc2tog] around. 12sts
Start to stuff the mushroom stalk; continue to stuff as you go
Rnds 7-9: Dc around.
Rnd 10: [1dc in next 2sts, dc2tog] around. 9sts
Rnd 11: Dc around.
Rnd 12: BLO; Dc around.
Rnds 13-14: Dc around.
Fasten off with a sl st to the next st but leave a long yarn tail.
Rnd 15: Attach YARN C to the FLO; of rnd 12; ch2, 2htr in same st, 3htr in each st around until end, sl st to the beginning ch2 to join. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Stitch the mushroom stalk onto the bottom centre of the mushroom top.
Happy Solstice everyone! Today is the last day of the make along that has been hosted by The Yarn Whisperer and myself – though I know there are still plenty of people around the world who are just starting, or are continuing to make the Solstice Garden Wrap.
If this is the first you’ve heard about the Solstice Garden MAL you can read more about it here, but it’s the result of a wonderful collaboration between myself and Kitey, aka The Yarn Whisperer, on a unique crocheted wrap design called Solstice Garden.
It’s made us both incredibly happy to see the photos of folks sharing their progress with us on social media and I hope you will continue to do so as you finish your shawls.
I thought I’d just share some photos of my finished shawl so you can see the final design if you haven’t already. I’m really pleased with how this wrap turned out, it is one of those designs where the yarn really knew what it wanted to be.
I think I mentioned that for this design I looked into some of the traditions of solstice time. The wrap features circles, which the pagan’s used to represent the year and stylised wreaths or blooms to symbolise the turning of the seasons. There are also symbols of protection, unity and balance with enclosing borders and repeating stitch patterns.
With everything that has happened this year this MAL and design has definitely been a highlight, and as always a lovely part of any MAL, (or CAL), has been the wonderful joining of the crafty community, the taking part, chatting about the design and making friends!
In fact there’s a Solstice Zoom catch up TONIGHT at 8pm for a final MAL meet up – doesn’t matter if you are just starting or finishing off it would just be lovely to see you. You can find the full details over on the Yarn Whisperers instagram grid.
Although there is an end date to the make along, it doesn’t really end because you can still make the pattern later. Kitey is currently taking a short break for the holidays though he’ll be re-opening on 26th December (for stock items). His dyed to order yarn, like the Solstice Garden colourway kits will be available again from January 4th 2021. The bead kits to go along with the yarn will still be included but the extra special kit exclusive ‘freebies’ will no longer be available. Kits cost £37 + postage.
If you’d prefer to use yarn from your stash then you can do the pattern alone will be available from my usual stores from 1st February 2021 onwards.
We do hope that you’ve enjoyed this fun make-along, I know Kitey and I have thoroughly enjoyed it – in fact we might just have some secret plans to work together again in the future! All I’m going to say is that I might just have in my possession THE MOST BEAUTIFUL yarn for a summer design that you are not going to want to miss out on! Make sure you are signed up to the blog (or my newsletter) and / or The Yarn Whisperer newsletter to make sure you are the first to know when the new collaboration project is revealed!
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Winter is well and truly here now and it’s the perfect time to snuggle up with a crochet magazine or two! And if you are looking for a wonder-ful project, then I might just have some for you in the latest edition of Crochet Now magazine.
You have just been able to spy a couple of them on the bottom of the cover of Issue 63! Anyone here a fan of Alice in Wonderland? It was one of my favourite books as a child and I think I wore out our VHS of the Disney movie, so it was such a delight for me to have the opportunity to design The Wonderland Gang!
The Wonderland Gang are made up of four of the classic Alice in Wonderland characters. First we have Alice ready to meet all kinds of curious creatures! And what would Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland be without the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat!
Now you can tumble down the rabbit hole with this charming set of Lewis Carroll’s famous characters and create an all-new amigurumi adventure.
For Alice and friends I used some of my favourite Ricorumi DK yarn with a 3.25mm hook which comes in the cutest 25g balls which is perfect for making these little multicoloured amigurumi characters.
I couldn’t resist having a little Wonderland photo shoot of my own! And whilst I love all the characters, I have a special place in my heart for The White Rabbit, in fact my eldest daughter has said I need to make her one!
Alice in Wonderland is one of those books that have remained enduringly popular with readers old and young, and these much loved characters are perfect for Wonderland fans and book loving family and friends everywhere.
Issue 63 is packed full of 41 patterns for crocheters of all abilities and it’s all about snuggling up with some frosty-inspired crochet makes such as blankets and wall hangings.
Who likes crochet kits? I personally love a good crochet kit, it’s so nice to have everything you need altogether in one place for a project. This is why I’ve had a plan for a while to turn some of my patterns into crochet kits – and I’m excited to say that the first one is ready!
For my first crochet kit I have chosen the Leafy Boughs Wrap which you may remember made it’s debut in Happily Hooked Magazineback in 2018 (Issue 48), it was then later chosen as a crochet along for Happily Hooked members.
It’s been one of my most popular shawl designs and is personally one of my favourites, I still love how the design turned out. The Leafy Bough‘s Wrap is a light and airy shawl that’s easy and relaxing to make as it only uses simple stitches – it’s a breeze to hook up once you get used to the row repeats.
The crochet kit includes everything you need for your project; from a gorgeously soft Scheepjes Whirl (in shade Pistachi Oh So Nice), a fully tech edited pattern booklet all contained in a handy drawstring cotton project bag to keep everything together. The kit comes with the option to purchase with or without tools for those that prefer to use their own hooks.
I must just show you a close up of the drawstring bags which are exclusively just for the KCACOUKDesign kits, I love the hooky hands, they came out just how I wanted, and once you’ve finished your shawl the project bag would make a great place for yarn storage or for other WIPs.
I think the shawl would make a great gift – whether as a project or a finished item or as an excellent gifts for crafty friends and family (or maybe as a well deserved treat for yourself!).
To celebrate the launch of this kit I’m offering 10% discount in the whole of my KCACOUKDesign Etsy store. This discount includes the kit and any of the patterns in the store; just use code KCACOUK10 before the 18 December 2020 to save!
Although there aren’t many kits and patterns in the store yet my plan is to change that in 2021 – if you want to be kept in the loop about any new pattern releases or kits then make sure you are signed up to my newsletter (link below).
Until next time, happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Wool on the Exe is a yarn store in Devon that brings local knitters together to socialise and make items for charity. They specialise in beautiful British yarns, especially those produced locally in Devon and Cornwall.
Back in April / May time whilst lockdown was going on here in the UK I saw a call out for submissions for, either local designers or designers inspired by Devon and the surrounding area, to come up with something that might be suitable to appear in a book they were putting together.
Well I do love a bit of a suggestive brief, and as a family we’ve enjoyed many happy holidays down in that part of the world, so I felt inspired to submit an idea – which was then excitingly accepted.
The Iska Mitts were inspired by the River Exe, which flows along the length of Devon, and whose name derives from ‘Iska’ meaning ‘water’ or ‘abounding in fish’.
The fingerless mitts are worked in textured crochet stitches that represent the movement of water and waves. The pattern starts with the cuff, worked flat and then joined. The hand is then picked up from the cuff and worked in the round with thumb gusset shaping and I’ve included two sizes for medium or larger hands. I would say that this is an easy to make fingerless mitt pattern suitable for advanced beginners.
I used a new yarn to me called Fyberspates Vivacious DK which is a robust high twist 100% Merino wool! When you say merino I always think it’s going to be gorgeous and it was, and for a hand dyed yarn it’s really robust, you can machine wash it (which is a bonus in my book).
The double knit (light worsted) yarn comes in a proper twisted skein and the colourway I used for the Iska Mitts was called Denim (Shade 831) which, as you can imagine, is a mixture of dark and mid blues reminiscent of denim jean.
Now it just so happens that I’ve recently reached the milestone of 4K followers on Instagram so I’ve decided, to coincide with the launch of the book, to do a giveaway of a copy of the book over on Instagram.
I’m waiting for my copy of the book but when I receive it I’m going to take a photo for the giveaway, just so you can see it but I’m keeping that copy, what I’ll do is purchase a new copy and get it sent directly from Wool on the Exe directly to the winners door – so make sure you look out for that giveaway coming soon!
But if you can’t wait until then the book costs £12 and contains a collection of eight knitting patterns, five crochet patterns, two needle-felting tutorials, an essay, and a recipe. Handily purchase of the print book will also include a download code for a digital PDF version too.
Brrr things are certainly feeling rather chilly here in the UK… it feels positivity Arctic! Which allows me to neatly segway into telling you about my new design – who would feel right at home in the cold!
Allow me to present Paul the playful Polar Bear who is ready for some frosty fun with his pretty white fur and cute grey paw pads. He’s an adorable soft amigurumi friend for the little ones in your family to cuddle with, or for playtime at the zoo.
I have to admit I’m not a fan of cold weather (or dark winter nights). I’m one of those people that more often than not feel cold, so much prefer being inside, wrapped up in a blanket, with the fire on, and with a crochet project on my knee – who’s with me!?
For my polar bear I used Deramores Studio DK in Frost, Ebony and Smoke and a 3mm hook. If you are a follower of this blog you’ll know that I’ve used Deramores Studio DK for several designs and projects and I really enjoy working with it.
I really like anti-pilling yarn for anything I’m making for children as it’s great then for washing (which you can do at 40°C in the washing machine). If you wanted to make this bear for an under 3 year old you could always replace the safety eyes with some embroidered ones.
The Polar Bear is now available in my Designer Shop; you can pick up either a single pattern, for £1 / $1.30, or the design as a kit with everything you need (pattern, yarn and stuffing) to make your polar bear.
So for the cosiest cuddles in the whole Arctic, skate on over to my Deramores Designer Shop and pick up Paul the Polar Bear! And if you are looking for more cute crochet projects to hook up there are bears, bunny’s, dogs, cats, donkey’s and horses and poppies all available in my Deramores Designer Shop
Sometimes when you do work for magazines designs get shuffled round to fit a particular issue and that’s happened to me just recently and has meant I actually have THREE designs in the latest edition of Crochet Now magazine.
You might just be able to spy one of them on the bottom of the cover of Issue 62 – it’s Pusheen! If you aren’t familiar with Pusheen she’s a tubby little kitty that was created back in 2010 as a comic strip and has since taken the world by storm in sticker sets on social media platforms.
We are big fans of Pusheen in this house so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to create her in crochet. As it was for a festive issue of the magazine I even got to give her a teeny tiny Christmas hat!
For Pusheen I used some of my favourite Ricorumi DK yarn with a 3mm hook which, as it has lots of colours to choose from, had the perfect ‘Pusheen’ type shades I was looking for.
I have to say I’ve seen some of the Pusheen’s you have been making from the magazine, from tags on social media, and it’s been an absolute delight! They have all turned out so cute! I hope you have enjoyed making her as much as I enjoyed designing her.
Issue 62 is all about getting your crochet hook moving and working on those last-minutegifts for friends and loved ones. There’s lots of quick gifts including a chunky stocking from me.
As it’s made with really thick yarn you can whip up this fabulously chunky stocking in no time. I used King Cole Timeless Super Chunky with a both a 8mm hook and a 9mm hook. The finished stocking works up at about 50cm long x 21cm wide so plenty of room to fit in presents!
Last but not least I have a wreath pattern in Issue 62. Have you ever crocheted around wire? Well for the Frosted Flowers Wreath that’s what I did to create a delicate wreath which you could have to suit your own home decor this Christmas.
To create the flowers I used DMC Natura Just Cotton with a 3mm hook and some florist (or it’s also used with sugarcrafts) green wire. There are some guidance photos on how to incorporate the wire with your crochet in the magazine, it can be a bit fiddly but once you get into the rhythm of joining them together it get’s easier.