Issue 55 of Crochet Now magazine is out now and I’ve got a brand new pattern inside that I’m quite in love with! Allow me to introduce the Pomtastic Tassel Basket! It’s a fabulously large basket, complete with pompoms and tassels for a fun finish, that’s perfect for storing lots of yarn in!
One of my favourite things to make is a basket; as a person who just seems to accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’ I just find it so satisfactory to be able to make storage solutions! I wanted this design to be a nice large basket so it’s got a circumference of 107cm and a height of 29cm – which means there’s more than enough room to hold all of your yarn for a big project.
I used Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK in four different colours (Wheat, Shrimp, Apricot and Fuchsia) combined with Ecru Stylecraft Craft Cotton (DK) worked doubled with a 5.5mm hook. It may seem that a 5.5mm hook is quite small for working two lots of double knit, but I was aiming for a nice tight fabric.
It was my first time working with Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK but I really like it, I think there’s about 30 odd different shades, so lots of choices to come up with some fun and modern colour combinations.
The large pom poms and tassels on the sides worked really well in the cotton too – I think it was my first time making either tassels or pom poms in cotton rather than acrylic!
With this design I also tried to overcome the challenge of having the basket become too floppy – which can happen when you are trying to make a larger basket. The key to a good basket, I’ve found, is having a sturdy base. This foundation is then and it’s supported by working in double stranded cotton with a nice tight stitch pattern which helps the sides stand up on their own.
Crochet Now is available in supermarkets and online from CraftStash and you can also read Crochet Now digitally at www.pocketmags.com and it comes with a pom pom and tassel maker – perfect for if you want to get making the basket!
If you are reading this post in real time then you are perhaps coming to terms with the fact that we are about to start another 3 weeks of staying at home and social distancing. Or if you are one of those amazing people that are continuing to support the community in some way; you are combining these troubling times with work.
It’s stressful to say the least isn’t it! Some of us are facing unemployment and / or uncertainty about what the future might bring, and also many of us are worrying about loved ones – that perhaps we are now only speaking to virtually!
I think it’s only natural that we are going to have times where we feel low, worried, bored, anxious, helpless, frustrated and lonely. I’ll be the first to confess that I’ve been find everything quite hard to deal with at times.
Now with a slogan like ‘keep calm and crochet on’ I bet you can guess what I’ve been doing to try and help keep my worries at a lower level – that and drinking copious cups of tea!
The wonderful thing about crochet is that it has that mindful quality of making you present in the moment. You have to concentrate on what you are doing sometimes so you can’t think of other things, or you can just let your fingers dance with the yarn and feel a sense of peace from a repetitive project.
Here are some suggestions that I’ve been trying to do to try and take care of my mind and body;
Do things you enjoy: When you are anxious, lonely or low you may do things that you usually enjoy less often, or not at all. You could re-discover reading, writing, playing games, doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaws or drawing and painting.
And if you just love crochet but you’ve lost your crojo how about looking for a new project? I’ve got loads of free patterns that I’ve now bundled together on Ravelry if you are looking for some inspiration.
Join a CAL / support others: CALs are great places to make friends, feel part of a community and work on a large project. Just by being there you might also be able to help those around you by answering someones question about something – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.
Connecting with others: Thanks to apps like Zoom,WhatsApp and FaceTime you can keep in touch with friends and family and see their faces at the same time. I think it really does make a difference to not only see someone’s voice but to also see their face! I’ve also sat in with some fab virtual crafting sessions with friends to – there are many virtual knit and natter groups popping up everywhere, just keep an eye out for them.
Talk about your worries: It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about what is happening right now. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling with family and friends can help them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, try these NHS recommended helplines.
Look after your physical wellbeing: Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. I’ve been joining in with the free PE sessions with Joe Wicks each morning and it really has made me feel a lot more positive (and I’m not really a typically exercise kind of gal!).
We’ve also been trying to get outside whilst the weather is nice – we are really lucky to be close to areas of space we can freely walk around in without seeing hardly anyone, but even just a walk around the block to get a bit of fresh air can make a world of difference.
Look after your sleep: Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep, this is the one I’m really struggling with at the moment! I’ve started listening to audiobooks to help me get to sleep, or rather than tossing and turning I get up and go and crochet for a bit to calm down.
Another important one for me has been to try and managing my media intake, as it can make me feel more worried. I try now, especially before I go to bed, to not look at a screen and just read before turning off the light.
Do you have any other suggestions that you’ve been doing to keep yourself active and drive down stress? I’d love to hear them.
Wishing you all the best wherever you are!
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
If you are reading this in real time then if you’ve received a parcel recently then you’ve probably had to put it in quarantine due to Covid-19. It’s a very strange (but needed) thing to do, and it actually led to exciting ‘opening’ anticipation – because I signed up for my very first fibre swap experience.
I’ve never tried a yarn swap before so thought I’d try one as an experiment; the one I chose to go with for my first time is called WoolSwap. I’d heard about WoolSwap through Dear Ewe (as we’d signed up to give a discount for woolswappers) and thought it looked really fun.
If you are unfamiliar with yarn-swapping programmes in a nutshell you pay a fee to be part of a swap, you are paired with someone, and then you swap your yarn. The fee part is there to help cover anyone that doesn’t end up getting a present for whatever reason, so I didn’t mind paying that, plus it’s all organised for you. Through the swap you get the opportunity to meet someone new, and get a fun yarny present in return.
As it was a trial run for me I signed up to the small package deal which was $8.00 / £6.45 with a minimum of 100g yarn to swap. Then you wait for your match with the person you are sending to being the person you will also receive from.
My match could have been anyone in the UK (though I chose to keep just to the UK this time rather than worldwide) and I had to laugh as I was paired with the lovely Jane who lives about 13 miles away from me.
I got a little bio about her from the Woolswap team, with her details, which gave me some details of the sorts of things she liked. She said that she was a crocheter (which was good for me!), that she liked greens and purples and she’d love some heavier weight yarns as she had a lot of sock yarns already in her stash.
Although the minimum was to send 100g you could decide on an amount to send each other, and we chatted a bit over Instagram before we made the initial swap. That was the only thing I found tricky, not the talking to Jane (who seems lovely), but I would have loved for things to have been a bit more specific, only because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, and I was a bit unsure how things were supposed to be with it being my first swap.
What I sent
I totally forgot to take a photo of what I sent Jane, as I wanted to get things sent off, but I decided to go with ‘green’ as my theme (as I do so love a theme). I sent 500g in total in all DK and Aran weights including: 2 x West Yorkshire Spinners Aran – Aire Valley in Mojito and one of the same brand in a corresponding solid green called Emerald. I thought 300g would be enough to make a good shawl or small lap blanket.
I also sent a 100g skein of Cascade 220 Superwash DK called Heather’s just because it’s called ‘Heathers’! I chose a gorgeous green called Forest Heather (and I may have treated myself to some Heather yarn for myself too -ooopss!) and a 100g skein of hand dyed DK yarn by the fabulous indie dyer Siobhan Crafts which I want to say was called OOAK mermaid (but I could be wrong).
And as little gifts I sent her some Dear Ewe goodies including a WIP project bag, as I thought it would be a handy place to put her new yarn, some WIP project cards, for all her new projects with her new yarn, and some of the yarn lovers prop cards, for photo opportunities once she has made some lovely things from her new yarn.
What I received
When my box came out of quarantine I was super excited to finally open it, I even did an unboxing on IGTV filmed by my lovely 9 year old. Yarnwise I received 2 x 50g of Hobbycraft ‘Catch a Wave’ yarn which I’ve never tried before, I got 2 x little 10g yarn and colors mini’s to try (green & purple), which again I’ve never used before and a 25g ball of White Ricorumi which I use a lot so that will come in handy.
I was also gifted 2 hand dyed mini skeins which I think were both from Mothy and the Squid; one is a 20g which is variegated reds with black flecks called ‘Red Octopus’ and the other looks to be 10g mini that is orange with black flecks (this one I couldn’t see a label, though I might have thrown it away by accident in my opening frenzy). I’ve always wanted to make an amigurumi in hand dyed yarn and these might be fun to use for that with them just being little amounts – maybe I should take inspiration from the yarn name and make an octopus!
Then the pièce de résistance in terms of yarn was an absolutely gorgeous 100g skein of RiverKnits hand-dyed yarn called ‘Mermaid’ which is a Superwashed Blue Faced Leicester yarn. I recently purchased from Provence Crafts the Positivity Spiral Cowl as part of #OperationSJW and because it’s gorgeous. It uses 100g so I think I’ll use that to make the cowl, and it seems highly appropriate as if you’ve ever watched Faye’s Crochet Circle Podcast you will know she’s a big fan of RiverKnits yarn.
The rest of the parcel was filled with fun little knick knacks including; a little crochet cactus amigurumi, Clipper organic sleep easy tea bags, a grey faux fur pom, some Easter Caramel Shortcake bits, a little cactus print mini project bag, some mini Little Box of Crochet pattern books and goodies, some stitch markers, some crochet hooks, mini notebooks and pen and a thriller book.
All the gifts were beautifully wrapped, with little handmade messages on, so it felt like Christmas! Jane also sent a gorgeous handmade felted scene card which was beautiful.
Final thoughts on Woolswap
I really enjoyed the whole WoolSwap experience. I had great fun putting together a parcel for my swap partner, and have a little more ideas of things I could include in future swaps. It’s been a great way to get to know new people as Jane and I chatted about other things other than the swap including kids in lockdown. And aside from the fun of just receiving a gift / parcel just for me, it’s been really fun to receive yarn that I’ve never tried before.
All in all it’s been a very positive experience and a fibre swap is something I will definitely consider doing again in the future. Have you done fibre swaps before? How was your experience? Would you recommend any particular one you’ve tried? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Hey folks, hope you are all okay out there in the strange world in which we find ourselves at the moment! But ‘don’t worry, be hoppy!’ – I’ve got a brand new FREE pattern to share with you all today.
You can tell it’s nearly Easter when I’m making all things bunny themed! This is my third bunny themed pattern I’ve released so far this year!
What I love about this Bunny Rabbit, though you can’t really tell from the photograph, is that the dungarees are removable, there is even a little hole in the bottom for his tail to poke through. His pockets are totally functional too – perfect for stashing away a little carrot or two.
The pattern includes details on how you can make some of the Bunny Rabbit‘s favourite snacks!
For my little bunny I used Deramores Studio Baby Soft DK which I’d not used before but it’s sooooo nice! It’s lovely and soft, and has anti-piling technology too which I love. I’ll definitely be thinking of using it again in another project, it would make such a soft blanket for instance.
Deramores Studio Baby Soft DK comes in 19 different colours at the moment, and it’s not just all ‘baby’ pastels as the name ‘Baby Soft’ suggests either. There are a couple of bright colours in the mix – and I hope they’ll add some different colours in the future (it would be nice to see a red!)
Hey folks, how you all doing out there? Today has felt like a looooonnnggg day! So in an aim to focus on more positive things, I’ve got a brand new pattern release for you today! Meet the Batternburg Bunny, she’s as sweet as marzipan and some’bunny’ you should really get to know better!
Do you like Battenburg cake? It’s one of my eldest girls favourites, but I think marzipan in a bit like marmite isn’t it, you either love it or loathe it!
This is one of those designs that I had around at least a year ago which popped up into my head again, and then I couldn’t shake it, I really wanted to try and combine some tapestry crochet and amigurumi to make something new!
She’s a fun project to make, and really not too tricky once you get into the flow of things.
I was actually going to call this bunny the Patchwork bunny until one of my friends suggested it looked like a Battenburg cake and then it just had to be the name!
My bunny is made from Scheepjes Catona that I’d got in my stash (I have a lot of Catona in my stash! You may have noticed it’s one of my favourite yarns to use for amigurumi), but the pattern will work with other yarns.
The 6 page Battenburg Bunny pattern is now on sale over on Ravelry (available in UK and US terms).
In fact if you are looking for something to do I’ve put ALL my patterns on sale in my Ravelry store until 3 April 2020. Just enter code: LOCKDOWN for a discount off all patterns you add to your basket.
In light of what’s happening in the world at the moment and in a bid to focus on something positive I’ve got a brand new crochet pattern to share with you today.
I’ve had in mind to design a bag, specifically a saddle style bag, for awhile now, but it wasn’t until I came across some Gorgeous Knits yarn in my stash that I began to develop the idea a little more.
The yarn, described on the label as ‘Aran Wool and Alpaca Blend Knitting Wool’, is what I would call proper woolly wool, that sort of hard-wearing wool best suited for non-clothing items – just perfect for a bag! I’d got 350g in total and I pretty much used up every scrap working this pattern double stranded.
I’m in love with the texture of this bag, it’s the type that just makes you want to run your fingers over it (or is it just me that does that?).
The memorable stitch pattern makes a dense, sturdy fabric which is just perfect for a bag, I don’t think you’d even have to line it, though I probably line mine at some point just to give it that completely finished off feel.
This pattern is perfect for advanced beginners that would like to learn a new stitch, or as a versatile update to an accessory collection for an intermediate crocheter! And it’s now available for purchase from my Ravelry or LoveCrafts store.
3: Click “buy it now,” click “use a coupon code,” enter code, click apply and the pattern will be yours for free!
4: If you are reading this after the promotion has passed you can purchase the bag from either my Ravelry or LoveCrafts store.
I can’t wait to see your versions of the Bramble Saddle bag and what colours you will chose to make them! I hope you’ll share your photos with me on social media (facebook, twitter or instagram) or as a project on Ravelry – I love to see what you make!
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Well what a time we are having folks! Covid 19 or coronavirus has many of us feeling anxious I’m sure. It has already impacted on every aspect of our lives and we’re left feeling worried about loved ones. Although crafting isn’t the answer to everything it can provide us with something positive and practical to focus on can’t it!
So in the hope that I can momentarily distract you or keep you occupied during lock down I was going to tell you that I’ve had my Waverley Kisses Scarf back from the Unravel Festival.
It’s now available for purchase on Ravelry but I thought I’d spread a little cheer by having a giveaway! So I’m giving away a couple copies of the Waverley Kisses Scarf pattern here on the blog, a couple on Facebook and a couple on my Instagram (so if you don’t have one method of entering you might have another).
This lovely and organically shaped wave scarf includes a fun crossed stitch in the design which creates a lovely subtle texture that you just want to run your hands over. Combine that with some beautiful yarn to make a winning combination scarf!
🎉 GIVEAWAY 🎉
How to enter simply tell me what colour you’d make your scarf in and be sure to let your friends know about this giveaway too!
Bonus Entry: Re-pin any of the pictures on this post and copy & paste the URL of your re-pin in the comments below.
Winners will be randomly chosen on Friday 27 March 2020
Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends x
Hang on, I hear you say, what IS the Spring Crochet Pattern Bundle? Well you’ve probably seen times where a group of crocheters get together to offer a limited time bundle of patterns, at a heavily subsidised price? Maybe you’ve even bought one? I know I have! Well it’s just that, and this time I’m joining in with one of my designs.
There’s some really fab designs on offer in this bundle! All the designs have been carefully selected to provide you with a good range of crochet patterns from amazing designers!
This bundle has every Spring worthy pattern you could ever need – I think you’re going to love them! You can see all 40 designs available in the Spring Crochet Pattern Bundle here, and because we have all joined together they are heavily subsidised which means you guys get 90% discount off buying them all individually.
In the bundle is my Spring Blossom Wrap which you may remember appeared in the April 2016 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine. It’s an airy shawl that provides just the right amount of warmth for a chilly spring day and can add a fabulously floral feel to any outfit!
From shawls and sweaters to adorable amigurumi and toys, the Spring Crochet Pattern Bundle has every pattern you could ever need as we travel into a more temperate season or, if you are a fun seasonal project.
What’s in it for you? Well not only can you pick up 40 great patterns for next to nothing, you also get to support some indie crochet designers who potentially get a little bit of commission money if you click on and buy the bundle from their link (pick mine ‘hint, hint’ – but only if you want to xx).
But here’s the key bit about this bundle! The sale only lasts for FIVE days! After Friday (midnight PST on 13 March 2020), you won’t be able to grab the Spring Crochet Pattern Bundle anymore – it just won’t exist! It’s a limited only deal – so make sure you don’t miss out on snagging your copy of the Spring Crochet Pattern Bundle.
So celebrate and enjoy the Spring season with us and grab your bundle here.
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
I know it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, but it’s because I’ve been frantically working on some fun projects behind the scenes that have just taken up my time. That does mean lots to show you soon though!
However I’ve got a couple of new patterns that have just been released in the latest issue of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine. And if you are longing for sunshine and Spring, like I am, then these might just be the ticket!
How about a little pocket sized sheep! This little lamb is such a cute little project and is a quick and fun springtime project. If you decorate for Easter or for the changing of the seasons Mandy the Lamb would look great sitting on a shelf or your mantlepiece.
I also had fun creating a sweet little bunny bonnet which was modelled amazingly by baby Dylan, that gummy smile!! I used felt that I cut out and sewed onto a crochet ear shape, it seemed to work really well and helped give the ears a little more structure.
There are lots of other fab things in this month’s edition too – the patterns I particularly love are the Decorative Eggs by Sarah Shrimpton, because eggs are always and ‘eggsellent’ idea to hook up for Easter, and I also love the Root Veg by Sarah Louise Read!
You can pick up the Root Veg patterns for FREE right now over on topcrochetpatterns.com. And whilst you are there you might want to pick up some patterns of mine for FREE here.
And although I can’t personally knit I absolutely Eloise Doll the (on the front cover) by Sachiyo Ishii because she’s just so darned cute!
There are 61 Spring patterns in this months edition along with news, articles and tips. It also comes with a six yarn pack a hook and knitting needles.
Using five different shades of Freccia yarn I’ve put together a fun fashion scarf which is perfect for spring and summer accessorising. Allow me to introduce the Freccia Flor Scarf which is available for FREE from the Anchor website (see link below).
Freccia yarn is a high quality twisted mercerised cotton which is a structured yet flexible yarn that’s available in a range of bright colours. It comes in 6 different thread thicknesses, the thinnest thickness is Nº 20 and the thickest is Nº 6, but it was the 3ply (No. 6) that I got to play with in the 50g balls.
The yarn is ideal for fashion wear because it’s fine but strong, it can be washed with hot water in the washing machine up to 95ºC and you can potentially iron it at a high temperature.
I used a 3mm hook ( roughly equivalent to a US size D3) to create this scarf which measures 160cm long x 15cm wide (63 inches long x 6 inches wide). The perfect length for a carefree look wrapped around your neck with the loose beaded flowery ends hanging down in front.
I wanted to create something that was pretty and feminine and with it’s simple crochet pattern, for the main body of the scarf, it’s a very mindful project which I enjoyed making.
Finally I encorporated beads onto the fringe to add weight to each end of the scarf. The scarf really benefits from having the extra substance to the fringe to allow gravity to help keep it in perfect shape and drape – and who can resist an extra bit of bling (not me)!
I’m not going to lie it does take a while to add the beads, but it’s so worth it in the end, it adds a wonderfully tactile finish; it’s so lovely to run your fingers through the fringing when you’re wearing the scarf!
Scarves, like the Freccia Flor, are the perfect way to introduce colour to an otherwise plain outfit and you could repeat the pattern in a variety of different colours – I think a grey main colour and an ombre effect of pink flowers would look particularly nice for instance.
The Freccia Flor Scarf is a free download available directly from the Anchor Crafts website here where you can just download the pattern or register for an account. It doesn’t cost anything for an account, but by signing up you’ll gain access to loads of other free patterns by other talented designers too.
This pattern is perfect for beginners, as it only uses simple stitches, or for anyone that just wants a fancy scarf to add to their accessories.
If you hook up the Freccia Flor Scarf I hope you’ll tag @kcaco.uk on Instagram using the hashtags #kcacouk or #frecciaflor and #proud2craft or #anchoryarns (so the folks at Anchor Yarns can see) or share your projects in my Facebook group as I love to see your finished work!
Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx