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Folk Tales Crochet Along

I am so excited to finally be able to share with you my new Crochet Along in collaboration with West Yorkshire Spinners.

The CAL starts tomorrow (12th April) and will run over 5 weeks, revealing a new square over 4 weeks and the last week will be all about joining and finishing.

CAL Release Dates:

Part 1: Bright Bobbles
Monday 12th April 11am
Part 2: Twists & Trebles
Monday 19th April 11am
Part 3: Scripts & Spikes
Monday 26th April 11am
Part 4: Magical Mosaic
Monday 3rd May 11am
Part 5: Making Up
Monday 10th May 11am

Patterns will be available from 11am each Monday.

This blanket is all about textures and interesting effects. I didn’t want the squares to be overwhelming with lots of colours used per square, but more of what you can achieve with only one or two colours. There will be spikes crochet, bobbles, mosaic and of course front post trebles. Vast array of fab and engaging techniques. Which together with the vibrant colours of ColourLab yarn range produce a striking and modern blanket.

The patterns will be available on West Yorkshire Spinners website and the videos for each part along with introduction from their YouTube channel.

Folk Tales uses the beautiful ColourLab DK, anyone who listens to me will know that I’m in love with that yarn. It is what I call everyday yarn, it is perfect for blankets, garments and anything you can wish for. The yarn has gorgeous and vibrant colours and WYS just added a few more to the range. In the blanket, I have used 4 new colours: Coral Crush, Bottle Green, Electric Blue, Perfect Plum and the all-time favourite Silver Grey.

For the blanket I have used: 5 x Silver Grey, 2 x Coral Crush, 1 each of Electric Blue, Perfect Plum and Bottle Green. With such beautiful range of colours we are really spoiled for choice, the possibilities of colour combination for your Folk Tales are endless, and I cannot wait to see your squares.

If you would like to stay with the colour choices I have used, then you can buy the yarn packs from WYS or lots of their stockists:

Black Sheep Wools, Folklore Yarns, Deramores, Knit & Stitch, Smalls Crafts, Polly Knitter, Wool Warehouse and many more.

Let me tell you a bit about the inspiration for Folk Tales; The name represents old traditions of crochet and other handcrafts, where past generations would sit and make together while telling each other old folk tales. I encourage you to continue the tradition of storytelling while crafting. Maybe dedicate an hour a day or week to spend with your family, friends, or even by yourself to make each square, giving it its own story, with each technique providing a new twist in the tale. Both the blanket and the story can be passed down and cherished.

I also wanted this blanket to have a modern twist in the design to symbolise the here and now. The modern shapes and bright colours bring a modern edge to this traditional craft.

I have also created an introduction video which is on WYS YourTube channel, you can watch it below.

And please use #wysfolktales to share your squares and stories with us on Instagram and Facebook. Please also tag @westyorkshirespinners and me @annanikipirowicz

You can also join WYS Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/west-yorkshire-spinners/4121720/1-25

or

WYS Crafter’s Hub on Facebook to crochet together with like-minded people: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wyscrafters

And please don’t forget to give Folk Tales CAL a heart on Ravelry 🙂

I cannot wait to share with you the first square tomorrow 🙂

Anna xx

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Christmas crochet

With everything that has happened this year it was very important to me to make this Christmas very special with as many handmade decorations and presents as possible. I also wanted to share as many patterns and tutorials with you as possible, so that seasoned and new crocheters alike can find something special to make.

Winter wreath

This blog is really to put all the makes together, so you can find them all in one place.

It all started with this gorgeous frosty wreath for John Lewis & Partners. The leaves and berries are taken from my book, ‘Crocheted Wreaths for the Home’.

You will find the video tutorial on John Lewis website or just click here

I also taught a lovely virtual class over Zoom for them, it was all about crochet snowflakes. I uploaded the video to my YouTube and IGTV so that it’s a good reminder for everyone who attended the class and now everyone can make a snowflake.

You will find the written pattern and chart here

Next up is the lovely Mistletoe wreath I made for LoveCrafts. I show you how to make the whole wreath from the base to crochet leaves, berries and how to put it all together. The base is made from ivy vines and is super easy to make.

You will find the written pattern here

The video is on LoveCrafts YouTube channel here

The final Christmas tutorial is for the adorable crochet stockings which are taken from the Christmas wreath from my book.

I made them into a garland for Search Press, they are super fun to make and perfect for using oddments of yarn.

You will find the video here and the written pattern here

The stockings take me nicely to my biggest Christmas make of this year…..my super-duper fabulous Advent Calendar. I’m completely late with it, but I didn’t actually think I would finish it this year, so I still count it as a win.

The pattern is the same one as for the lovely stocking for Search Press and from my book, but I have used thicker yarn and hook. The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Retreat on 6 mm hook. I have embroidered the numbers, very badly, with DMC gold metallic embroidery thread, number E3821. I have never embroidered with this thread and oh my it is not easy at all! I started with split stitch and ended with whatever, by the time the first few numbers were done I had enough and just used any easy stitch. I didn’t mark out the numbers first I just did it by eye, that’s why they are all different sizes, but I actually like them like that.

When all the stockings were finished I joined them together in 4 columns with strands of the same yarn by just attaching them with knots. Then attached them to the base of the wreath followed by some small baubles which I knotted to lengths of yarn and then to the base of the wreath and added a few to the stockings.

The wreath and baubles I bought in Home Sense a few weeks ago, they have such amazing decorations. The wreath is fab because it has a wire base, so it was easy to attach the lengths of yarn with stockings and baubles.

I finished it off by adding some fairy light to the wreath and hey presto!

I am overjoyed with the Advent Calendar and so happy I finished it before Christmas.

Merry Christmas and happy making,

Anna x

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Mistletoe wreath

I am sure you have probably already realised that I love a wreath and mini ones are the cutest. I’ve created this wreath for LoveCrafts from scratch. The base is made from ivy vines and the leaves and berries crocheted.

You will find the full vide tutorial on how to make every part on loveCrafts YouTube channel

Below is the written pattern for the leaves and berries

Materials

Painbox 100% Wool Worsted

B – Cream

A – Slate Green

3.50mm crochet hook

Pattern note – Pattern is written using UK terminology with US conversion given in abbreviation list.

Abbreviations

Ch – chain

Dc (US sc) – double crochet

Htr (US hdc)– half treble

Htr3tog (US hdc)– half treble 3 together – [yrh, insert hook into next st or as directed, yrh, pull up a loop] 3 times, yrh, and pull through all 7 loops on hook.

Sl st – slip stitch

Yrh – yarn around hook

Leaf (make 14)

With A make 12 ch

Rnd 1: sl st in second ch from hook, * 1 dc in next 3 ch, 1 htr in next 3 ch, 1 dc in next 3 ch *, sl st in last ch, ch 1, working on the other side of foundation ch, sl st in first ch, rep from * to *, sl st in last ch.

Fasten off.

Berry (make 8)

With B make 3 ch, htr3tog in third ch from hook, ch 2, sl st in same ch as htr3tog.

Fasten off.

Weave in all ends.

I blocked the leaves by pining out and steaming then used glue gun to attache them to the wreath.

Happy making,

Anna x

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Crochet Snowflake

I have taught a lovely class yesterday to My John Lewis customers. It was my first class over Zoom and it was a lot of fun.

I promised to post a video on how to make the snowflake as a reminder to class participants and it’s a perfect opportunity to share the snowflake with everyone.

Below you will find the written pattern and chart and the video is on my Instagram IGTV and Facebook page. I’ll post the video with subtitles onto my YouTube later on.

Crochet Snowflake

Materials

Any Double Knitting yarn would be great to use for this project.

3.00 or 3.50 mm crochet hook, size depends on your tension. If you are loose crocheter use the smaller one, if your crochet is tight use the bigger one.

Finished size

After blocking – approximately 8 cm from point to point across.

Abbreviations [] – work instructions within brackets as many times as directed * – repeat instructions following the single or double asterisk as directed Ch – chain Ch-sp – chain space Dc (US sc) – double crochet (US single crochet) Htr (US hdc) – half treble (US half double crochet) Miss (US skip) – omit st(s) Rd(s) – round(S) Rep – repeat Sl st – slip stitch St(s) – stitch(es) Tr (US dc) – treble (US double crochet)

Pattern note

  • Pattern is written using UK terminology, with US conversions given in brackets in abbreviation list.

Snowflake – written pattern

Ch 5, sl st to first ch to make a ring.

Rnd 1: 4 ch (counts as 1htr and ch-2 sp), working into the centre of your ring, [1htr, ch2] 5 times, sl st to second of beginning ch2.

(6 ch-2 sp)

Rnd 2: sl st to first ch-2 sp, ch 1, [1dc, 1htr, 1tr, ch3, 1tr, 1htr, 1dc] all in the same space, * miss next st, [1dc, 1htr, 1tr, ch3, 1tr, 1htr, 1dc] all in the next space, rep from * until all spaces have been worked,

sl st to first dc.

Rnd 3: sl st in next 2 sts, so you reach next ch-3 sp, sl st in ch sp, 

* ch3, sl st in same sp, ch5 sl st in same sp, ch3, sl st in same sp, ch 3, sl st in next ch-2 sp, rep from * until all spaces have been worked, sl st to first space.

Fasten off.

Loop

Join yarn to any ch-5 sp created on last round, ch 15 and sl st to same sp.

Making up

Weave in all ends using tapestry needle.

For best finish, block your snowflake by pining it out on a towel, inserting a pin in every point and steam gently with an iron, being careful the iron does not touch the fabric.

Chart

 A symbol chart is a visual representation of a crochet pattern. Each round is depicted, stitch by stitch, using symbols that represent the stitches.

Once you get familiar with the symbols that represent each stitch, it is easy to read charts. They are designed to read exactly like they look, so the fabric that you are creating in your hands will look just like the visual diagram on the page.

The important thing to know to work from a crochet symbol chart is where to put the stitches. In this chart you will work round-by-round reading images instead of in words.  This chart is worked from the inside out, starting in the centre and working counterclockwise. The end of round is represented with slip stitch which is the black or pink dot.

Also, round numbers are placed at the start of round and each round is different colour so it is not confusing.

Enjoy

Anna xx

Featured

All about crochet socks

I am a bit late with this post as socktober is over!! Well officially anyway, I think it should be socktober all year round.

Many of you have probably noticed I have been crochet socks obsessed and designed few of them recently.

I also made a little video to accompany this blog, you will find it below. I recorded it last week after my live chat with the lovely Merion from LoveCrafts. We chatted all about socks, how to crochet the perfect fit for your foot and a lot about construction. The video and the blog is a little summarisation of what we talked about for those who missed it and for those who want to crochet a pair of socks.

Lots of people stay away from crochet socks as they are unsure whether they will fit well. Crochet fabric has the tendency to stretch lengthways but not much widthways. Unlike its knitted cousin which has lots of stretch both ways, therefore it is so much easier to fit on your foot. Fear not!! There are ways to make your crochet socks fit comfortably and beautifully on your foot.

First of all, you need to find the right fit for your foot. My sock patters come in three sizes: UK shoe sizes 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8. You can customise the sizes to suite you. For example: I wear shoe size 6 but have a chubby foot, I always make size 7/8 in width, but 5/6 in length. Another example is: if you have a narrow foot and wear shoe size 7, I would make the smallest size in width but the longest in length. Of course, if you are making them as a gift, just stick with the sizing of the lucky person’s shoe size, if you are worried that they will be a bit too small you can always block them aggressively.

Now onto construction

One of my favourite construction of crochet socks is toe-up with an afterthought heel. This is how I learned to crochet socks and for a long time it was my go-to way. They are fantastic! You can try them on as you work and the heel is so fuss free, super easy. My Latchmore and Cupid are toe-up socks. Cupid is brand new design for West Yorkshire Spinners, great starter sock with nice rib texture. The pattern is free on WYS website. Latchmore are beautiful socks with a gorgeous pattern worked in two colours.

Latchmore socks
Cupid socks

However, some might find that the afterthought heel can create a bit of tightness around the heel and top of the foot area. The easiest way to avoid this is to when separating for heel crochet the chains loosely. I also crochet additional stitches on each side of the heel opening when picking up for the heel and decrease every other row to make the heel a bit deeper therefore giving the wearer a bit more room. All those tips are included in my patters for toe-up socks.

The other construction is the cuff down with heel flap, as in my Basic Crochet Socks that I designed for LoveCrafts. This is a fantastic heel construction that is created just as in a knitted sock. The heel flap is worked in rows, then heel turn is created, after that you pick up stitches on either side of the heel flap and finally decrease the gusset. This construction gives you more room around the heel and top of the foot area.

I always include increases in the leg area, usually one. However if you find the leg a bit too tight you can always make the increase sooner or add more, just be careful not to make too many as the sock will not hold up and fall down.

Hope you you try crochet sock and fall in love with them as much as I have. They are so comfortable to wear and quick to make.

If you would like to try simple knitted socks, I’ve designed this pair for LoveCrafts. The pattern is free and you will find it on their website.

Basic knitted socks

Happy sock making,

Anna

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Revamping

The make over of my foot stool is finished!! I’m over the moon how it turned out. I had this image in my head of what I wanted it to be and I have to say it looks way better, (please excuse the ugly before pic, it was taken in the garden just before sanding the legs).

Before
After

I don’t remember how I came about to own this stool, I just remember having it for years. It has a beautiful shape, but it has seen better days. I always said I will give it a makeover and after finding all those little squares in my stash it seemed like the perfect time.

Yes, those perfect little squares. I crocheted them out of tapestry wool, which I got few years ago when John Lewis was discontinuing Anchor, and I was able to purchase them at 10p each! It was an incredible bargain. I originally wrote a blog on making them and included the pattern for the little squares, find the blog here.

All those gorgeous colours and my Brick of course 🙂

My initial idea was to make them into a shawl with grey yarn for the joining and edging, but the truth be told when I was laying it out, the wow factor wasn’t coming. It was just too busy for a shawl for me, I would never wear it, because I was only able to make three squares out of each hank of tapestry wool, achieving a true gradient effect wasn’t really an option. They went into my stash to be forgotten about for a long while, just to be rediscovered when I was sorting it out. I’m determined to finish all the small projects and use up all the yarn in my stash, so I couldn’t let them go back in again. It’s a good job too, as I had almost the perfect amount of them, only few squares left over after creating the cover, it was clearly meant to be.

Ollie was determined to help when I was organising them for a shawl.

I started the revamp with sanding down the legs and taking out the metal leg tips. They were only left on two of the legs and one was broken. I’ll get new leg tips in silver, when I get the chance. The little nails holding the tips in came out easily with pliers. I used coarse sand paper to sand them down, no particular reason, it’s the only one we had at home.

Reading about painting furniture now, they say you have to use primer, paint, then top coat. I did none of that, because I didn’t know. What I used is a little pot of furniture paint that I found in B&Q when Dave and I went there to get some gardening materials. They have it in fab range of colours and it’s perfect for small projects. It’s called Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch and I’ve chosen the Dark Grey colour.

I gave the legs four coats, and they look fantastic!!

I decided to keep the outer cover, I never reupholstered anything and was too afraid to start now. Also, didn’t see the point in taking it off, it’s undamaged and I didn’t have any suitable furnishing fabric to replace it anyway. The fabric I had the most of in my stash was cotton/linen mix, not very durable, but the stool never was in use much and it will be covered in crochet squares anyway.

Using my trusty staple gun I folded and stapled away. I just couldn’t get the corner nice and tight. Still, it will be covered and I do love the natural colour of the fabric with the grey legs.

Then I started on the squares. After playing with them for ages, I settled for placing them in diamond shape, that way I was still able to create slightly gradient effect. Also, placing them this way ensured that I was able to fold them nicely around corners without any bulk.

I used Flat Slip Stitch method to join them. You can find the tutorial for this technique here.

After pinning the corners, I joined them with Flat Slip Stitch as well.

I used needle and thread to sew each point to the fabric and along the triangle on the sides, just to keep it in place.

Then the final bit was attaching the upholstery nail stud strips which I purchased from BST Fabrics along with nails. Just the legs tips to go and the transformation will be fully complete.

I’m absolutely delighted with how it looks, I love it!! It will have a pride of place in the house now. Well, Ollie has claimed it as his own now, so we can’t even use it 🙂 Even poor Brick doesn’t get a chance to try it out.

Anna xx

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Methods for joining crochet squares

I’m in process of crocheting a blanket, this is the gradient blanket I’ve designed for Sirdar, the pattern number is 10119. I’ve originally designed it in Hayfields Bonus DK, but I decided to use for my version Rowan Felted Tweed DK.

My Felted Tweed version

When the lockdown started, I thought this will be the perfect opportunity to completely organise my home including my huge yarn stash. Well, so far I only did the stash and I was very strict! I went from 6 containers and few additional bags of yarn and project to just 4 containers!! This is really an achievement for me. I donated all that I was getting rid of to the local church who will share it with the elderly ladies, they will use the yarn to knit for charity. I’m sure they will find it useful especially in lockdown.

While sorting out my yarn stash I came across lots of Felted Tweed, not surprisingly really as I love the yarn. That’s how the idea of actually crocheting a blanket for my home came about, I rarely make blankets for our home, they are usually a design for a yarn company. Of course, as much of the tweed as I had I didn’t have enough colours so had to order some more, but hopefully I will use the full balls so won’t be actually adding to my stash. Any small amounts left over I can use to crochet projects.

Anyway, onto joining techniques. All the squares in this blanket are joined using the Join-As-You-Go method which is a fab way joining squares which end in the granny square way. This got me thinking that I could do a blog about my three most favourite ways of joining crochet squares, so here it is. Below you will find descriptions, picture tutorials and video for join-as-you-go, flat slip stitch and slip stitch joint.

Join-As-You-Go

Please note – I start my granny squares at a corner with ch 5 which counts as a 1 tr and ch-2 sp.

This tutorial shows you how to join squares starting from the point when you have to join to the corner (have 3 squares already joined). The method is worked the same way when you start joining at the start, where you will attach only one side.

To start – You must have one square fully made. Then, start the next square and when you come to the final round, crochet 3 sides as normal and you will start joining to the first square on the last side.

Start with one square fully made

Follow the rest of the tutorial and how to finish your round.

1. Work half of next corner (3 tr), insert your hook in corner space of first square (one above), work a slip stitch in that space.

2. Then make 3 tr into the same corner space of the square you are working on (that corner space is now completed).

3. 1 slip stitch into the next space (of the first square) between 2 x 3 tr’s from the first square.

4. Work 3 tr of next space of square you are working on.

Now just proceed. You are making a ‘normal’ granny square, just adding a slip stitch where you join your squares. Super easy. Don’t forget to keep your yarn on the right side of your hook!

When you were joining your second and third squares to corner spaces you were only working slip stitch into it. When you have three squares already joined and you need to attach a fourth one you will work the corner a bit differently, I like working it this way as it gives you a lovely joint.

5. Once you arrive at the second corner (where all four squares meet).

6. From the wrong side of work. Follow the blue lines shown on pic 5, insert hook into corner chain space of the square above and corner chain space of the square to the left, make a slip stitch.

7. Still working on wrong side of work, now follow the green lines in pic 5, insert your hook in corner  chain space of middle square (one on top to the left) and work a slip stitch and 1 chain.

8. Now work 3 tr in corner space of the square you are working on now to finish it off.

Then just finish your square as usual.

9. I start my square with ch 5 and 3 tr in same chain space. To finish the joint, I work 2 tr in the beginning chain space, then join it to the 3rd of beginning 5 ch.

10. Then slip stitch to the chain space of square you are working on and corner chain space of square you are joining to.

Flat slip stitch

I have used this method to join squares in the Bolderwood blanket. It produces gorgeous flat joint that is very eye catching. I’ve used the same colour to join the squares as for edging and it just ties in everything beautifully. The joint has no bulky seam just a clearly defined vertical and horizontal lines of stitches on the right side of work.

Place the squares side by side with RS facing up. Join yarn and squares with sl st in corner spaces. You will work only into the back loops of stitches.

Position your yarn so it’s in front of your hook, you will be moving your hook above the working yarn.

11: starting with the square to your right, insert hook from front to back into the back loop of the stitch, pull the loop through the one on hook.

12: Insert hook into back loop of next st on the left, followed by back loop of next st to the right, moving the hook above the working yarn.

13: Yarn around hook and pull through all three loops on hook. 

14: You might find it useful to hold the squares with wrong sides facing each other.

15: Continue repeating steps 11 to 13 until all the squares are joined.

16: When working over corners, join a corner of square you are working on with sl st to corner on the opposite side, so that the stitches cross over.

17: This will give you a nice finish.

Slip Stitch joint

This is a fab and super easy joint. I’ve used it in my Cushion CAL and Lisbon Tiles blanket.

Please note – in the video I start by joining two squares at the same time to corners. Both way are fine to do, they really don’t make any difference.

18: Join yarn to any corner chain space of your first square.

19: Insert hook into any corner chain space of next square.

20: Make a slip stitch to join two squares.

21:  With wrong sides facing each other, hold the squares together and with yarn at the back, insert the hook under full stitches (both legs of the V) of both squares.

22: Make a slip stitch.

23: Continue repeating steps 21 and 22 until the whole row of squares is joined. When you come to corner ch-sp treat them as a stitch but insert the hook into the spaces.

Below is a video with all three techniques. Hopefully you will find it useful.

Here’s a breakdown of what technique is at what point in the video:

  1. Join-As-You-Go – beginning to 9.58 min
  2. Flat slip stitch joint – 10 min to 14.05 min
  3. Slip stitch joint – 14.07 min to end

Enjoy,

Anna xx

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My new book

I have realised that I have never written a blog about my new book, Crocheted Wreaths for the Home’. After months and months of secret making and planning it is wonderful for the book to be finally out. I thought it would be good to share few bits about the book with everyone who does not do the social media thing and images and my general happiness about it.

It’s always strange to release a new book into the wild, I’m always worried about how it will be received, but I worried for nothing, I have been over the moon with the receptions, so thank you so much everyone.

My beautiful friend Jade of @bb.creates.joy created the sweetest stitch markers to celebrate the release of the book. They are so sweet and available from my website, there’s a pumpkin, beetroot and acorn. I adore them so much Jade has done an amazing job with polyamide clay, she’s very talented.

The book came out in March and I had lots of very exciting things planned. Book launch at The Yarn Dispensary, lots of classes in other shops, but because of the outbreak of Corona Virus everything had to be postponed until further notice. It was disappointing after so many months of planning, but necessary and I am really looking forward to getting out and crocheting with everyone when it is safe to do so.

The book is all about wreaths, hence the name haha…The idea for it came when I took part in Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas in 2017 (I know, that long ago!). I was a contestant in the wreath making competition where I made a crochet wreath. Search Press though that crochet wreaths would be a perfect project, I had to agree, I mean who doesn’t love a decorative wreath?

I’m a big fan of hanging ornaments and wreaths are just perfect, I never believed that wreaths are just seasonal and I have one hanging somewhere in my house all year around. In this book I wanted to create a mixture of wreaths to celebrate events throughout the year such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween, also seasons, but it was also very important to me to have wreaths that can be displayed all year around such as the Mini Wreaths or the Berry Wreath. When I created the latter wreath, I hanged it on my wall in the bedroom for few weeks just to see if I like it. Even though the wreath looks rather simple, it is fact very effective, a very unassuming statement maker.

 

The book contains 12 wreath designs and each wreath is accompanied by a smaller project that incorporates the main design in some form or other such as bunting, brooch and many others. When designing each wreath I wanted to create projects that not only can be made into a wreath but so the maker can use to create other decorations and accessories.

I created this little mice heist by using the mouse pattern from mini wreath and the berries and ivy leaves from the berry. The two mice are the same ones just on one of them I positioned the ears differently, so it looks like it’s looking down. I’ve changed the hook size and used thinner yarn. I used Jamesion’s of Shetland Spindrift and 2.50mm hook for the mice and small berries and leaves and yarn held double and 4mm hook for the bigger berries, leaves and vine. It’s just to show that you can take elements from each wreath and create other amazing decorations. I’m making a vegetable bunting now.

I have also been creating smaller wreaths with the flowers from The Easter wreath.  I have done few Instagram takeovers and shared a pattern from the book for each takeover, they have been deleted now, but the video on how to make a wreath base from ivy vines, it is still available on Search Press Instagram.

Easter wreath

I’ll also be releasing three blogs to cover few techniques for crochet and finishing that are important for the project in the book, so please watch this space.

If you want to hear about future takeovers and new blog, please follow me on Instagram or Facebook and please follow the blog to be the first one to hear.

Thank you so much for all the love to my book, it really means the world.

The book is available from lots of independent craft and book shops and other retailers:

Search Press

The Yarn Dispensary

Tribe Yarns

Just Knots

The Orry Mill

John Lewis

Stay save and happy crocheting,

Anna xx

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Hyacinth bulb

Around two weeks ago the lovely people at Search Press interviewed me for their blog and also asked me if I had any projects that didn’t make it into my book, Crocheted Wreaths for the Home. There were few but these hyacinth bulbs were my favourite and I had to share them. You can read the interview here.

Nothing symbolises Spring to me like hyacinth bulbs, and they are at the most beautiful when the flowers are just coming out, so of course I had to add flowers to my bulbs. I had this bright idea on Saturday while looking at the bulbs displayed in our bedroom, I adored them, but they needed colour.

I made flowers, followed by crochet I-cord stem and then put it all together and then I was happy.

The pattern for the bulb was only available on the Search Press blog but I decided to gather all the patterns and video here so you can have it all in one place.

The video shows you how to make crochet I-cord stem, insert wire into it and fit it inside the top of bulb. Of course if you are making the bulb from scratch insert the stem at the same time as leaves but I had the bulbs already made and wasn’t going to unpick the leaves.

Materials

Oddments of DK yarn in four colours.

I have used Rowan Felted Tweed DK in Phantom 153, Avocado 161, Frozen 185 and Clay 177.

Brown (A), green (B), pink (C) and few strands of Cream (C)

3 mm crochet hook

2.50 mm crochet hook

Small amount of toy stuffing

Tapestry needle

Lockable stitch marker

Approx. 30 cm length of thin craft wire

Glue (optional)

Finished size

The completed bulb with leaves measures approx. 12 cm in height and 16 cm around the fattest part.

Tension

6 dc and 7 rnd to 2.50 cm square over dc using 3 mm crochet hook.

Abbreviations

[] – work instructions within brackets as many times as directed

* – repeat instructions following the single asterisk as directed

approx.  – approximately

Ch – chain

Ch-sp – chain space

Dc (US sc) – double crochet

Dc2tog (US sc2tog) – double crochet two together – [Insert hook into next stitch (or as required), yrh and pull loop through] twice, (3 loops left on hook), yrh and pull loop through all 3 loops on hook.

Htr (US hdc) – half treble

Miss (US skip) – omit st(es)

Rep – repeat

Rnd(s) – round(s)

Sl st – slip stitch

St(s) – stitch(es)

Yrh – yarn around hook

Pattern notes

  1. Bulb is worked in a continuous spiral.
  2. Pattern is written using UK terminology with US conversions given in brackets in abbreviation list.

Bulb

Using 3.00 mm hook and yarn A work 6 dc in an adjustable ring, enclosing the yarn end as you work, pull tight on the yarn end to close up opening.

Place marker on the first st to denote the beginning of rnd, move the marker up as you work.

Rnd 1: 2 dc in each st to end (12 sts).

Rnd 2: *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st, rep from * to end (18 sts).

Rnd 3: *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 sts, rep from * to end (24 sts).

Rnd 4: *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts, rep from * to end (30 sts).

Rnd 5: *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 4 sts, rep from * to end (36 sts).

Rnds 6-9: 1 dc in each st to end.

Rnd 10: *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 4 sts, rep from * to end (30 sts).

Rnds 11-12: 1 dc in each st to end.

Rnd 13: *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts, rep from * to end (24 sts).

Rnd 14: 1 dc in each st to end.

Start stuffing the bulb now, do not over stuff, but make sure the shape is nicely rounded and the bottom flat.

Rnd 15: *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts, rep from * to end (18 sts).

Rnd 16: 1 dc in each st to end.

Rnd 17: *dc2tog, 1 dc in next st, rep from * to end (12 sts).

Stuff the bulb a little more.

Rnd 18: sl st in st with marker, you can remove the marker now, [ch 3, 1 dc in second ch from hook, 1 htr in next ch, miss st with sl st and next st, sl st in next st] 6 times, ending last repeat with sl st to first sl st. (6 points)

Fasten off leaving a tail of around 10 cm.

Leaves (make 3)

Using 3.00 mm hook and yarn B make 15 ch.

Rnd 1: 1 dc in second ch from hook , 1 dc in next 3 ch, 1 htr in next 9 ch, 4 htr in next ch, working on the other side of foundation ch, 1 htr in next 9 ch, 1 dc in next 4 ch, ch 3, sl st to first dc. (30 sts)

Fasten off.

Flowers (make 11)

Using 2.50 mm hook and yarn C.
Rnd 1: Into adjustable ring work, ch 1, [1 dc, ch 3] 5 times, enclosing the tail as you work, at the end pull on the tail to close up opening,  sl st to first dc. (5 petals)

Fasten off.

Stem

Using 2.50 mm hook and yarn B, leave around 15 cm tail before you start, make 3 st crochet I-cord 6 cm in length.

Watch the video below to show you exactly how to do this, or follow the written instructions to make the I-cord.

Fold wire in half and insert inside the stem, then insert the stem between the leaves on top, using the beginning tail sew in place to leaves.

Making crochet I-cord

You will also need one double pointed needle or short knitting needle or long sewing up needle

Step 1: Ch 3, insert hook into second ch from hook, yrh and pull up a loop, insert hook into next ch, yrh and pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook).

Step 2: Slip first 2 loops onto double pointed needle or whichever needle you have handy. Yrh and pull through remaining loop on hook. Insert hook into first loop on needle, yrh and pull yarn through (2 loops now on hook). Insert hook into second loop on needle, yrh and pull yarn through (3 loops now on hook).

Repeat step 2 until i-cord measures desired length. Cut yarn, leaving a tail of around 10 cm. Yrh and pull end through all 3 loops on hook, pull tight to fasten off.

Making up

Weave in all ends.

Block leaves by pinning out and steaming gently with an iron. Inserting pin under ch 3 sp to create a nice point.

Using photograph as a guide – Insert three leaves with ch-3 sp facing up into the bulb opening on top, followed by stem, using the bulb yarn tail sew to secure in place. 

Attached 11 flowers around crochet I-cord stem. I’ve used glue gun to do this, but you can sew them in place or use a craft glue.

Roots

Cut 6 lengths of C, approx. 10 cm long, using crochet hook feed the yarn around dc from adjustable ring rnd, fold the yarn in half and tie in a knot.

Your hyacinth bulb is finished 🙂

Enjoy,

Anna xx

Featured

Mosaic Crochet – tutorial

Some of you would have already seen the beautiful ‘Clean Lines’ shawl I designed for Inside Crochet magazine, this month’s issue 124.

I have been obsessed with mosaic crochet lately and just had to design a shawl in it. For yarn, I’ve chosen Manos del Uruguay Marina, it’s a gorgeous lace weight single-spun yarn, made from superwash merino wool. Every skein is hand dyed goodness, I went for the semi solids in Luna and Atlantis, but I do want to make this shawl again and I’m thinking of semi solid and speckled.

Mosaic crochet is an amazing technique that might look very complicated, but in fact it’s very easy to achieve. In this tutorial I want to walk you through the basics of it while making a small swatch, so you can all crochet the Clean Lines shawl and fall in love with mosaic.

The tutorial includes pictures and video just showing you the technique.

Mosaic crochet has been around for a long time, I remember coming across it in my friend’s vintage crochet magazine. It has seen a resurge in popularity recently and no wonder, the finished effect of mosaic crochet is stunning, and it is rather simple to achieve. It might take a while to get the hang of it, but once you get going there will be no stopping you.

Mosaic Crochet is very similar to Mosaic Knitting, it follows the same chart, you work with one colour at a time, and both techniques give you the opportunity to create beautiful colourwork patterns without changing yarn in one row or round. In Mosaic Crochet you can simply connect rows or rounds by skipping a stitch and “filling” the skipped stitch with a treble 2 rows or rounds later with the alternate coloured yarn.

I found the best mosaic charts are by Barbara Walker, who has a whole collection of charted patterns.  You can also create your own of course.  And without doubt, knowing how to work off a visual chart is much, much easier than working off rows and rows of text.

Working from chart 

  1. The chart is read from right to left on the RS and from left to right on WS.
  2. Each row is worked twice.
  3. The beginning square on each row represents the starting colour of that row.

It is usually not shown on the chart; we always start off with foundation row of dc, I like to use the chainless foundation as it produces nice row of readymade dc (you can find tutorial by Bella Coco on it here). If you are starting with ch, work one row of dc.

Ideally, foundation row should be in the opposite colour as the first row.

Choose which you would like to be the background colour (black squares) and motif colour (white squares)

In my case: colour A is dark green and colour B is cream

Abbreviations:
Ch – chain
Dc – double crochet (US sc)
Tr – treble (US dc)
Sq – square
RS – right side
WS – wrong side

Note – do not cut yarn after every two rows, carry it with you on the edge of work. Change colour on the last row at the last stage of dc, when you have two loops on hook, finish off the dc in new colour.

Reading Directions

Row 1 & all odd rows (RS) – read from right to left

Row 2 & all even rows (WS) – read from left to right

Each row represents 2 rows (worked in one colour) (Rows 1&2; Rows 3&4; Rows 5&6; etc.)

Reading the rows

Starting at the bottom-right of the chart.

Black row (Rows 1&2):

Row 1: Whenever you see a black square, you dc.

When you see a white square, you ch and miss the next st.

Note: When chaining (to prevent puckering) – 1 sq = 2 ch, 2 sq = 3 ch, 3 sq = 4 ch, etc.

Row 2: Then on the next (even) row (still in black), you do exactly the same.  You dc every black stitch and chain (the same number of chains) as per previous row.

White row (Rows 3 & 4):

Row 3: On the chart, whenever you see a white square over black [White/Black], you dc.

When you see a white sq over a white sq [White/White] (it will actually be over black chains on your work)  you drop tr down 2 rows (into the row of the same colour as the working yarn) and IN FRONT OF the chains below.

Row 4: Then on the next (even) row (still in white), you do exactly the same, but in dc and chains.  You dc every white stitch and chain (the same number of chains) as per previous row.

Rows 5 & 6: Dc on black sq, ch on white sq and tr over Black/Black sq.

Continue working in this way until full chart is completed.

When you want to finish your work on your last row work dc and tr in st do not ch and miss any.

Here’s a video to show you the technique. This is the first tutorial video I made where I’m speaking, I was very nervous, not sure why, but it caused my stutter to be a bit more prominent.

Hope you enjoy the technique and have a go, it is very addictive.

Anna xx

Featured

Sparrow shawl

Hope you are all staying safe and taking care of yourselves and if self-isolating you have plenty to keep you entertained. It is a very frightening time but let’s remember that we are all in the same boat, and we must help, whenever we can, the less fortunate.

There are great websites where you can register to volunteer in your local community: https://covidmutualaid.org/resources/

You can donate food to your local food bank: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/donate-food/

or if you cannot donate food, you can donate money: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/donate-food/

Above all please take care of yourselves, if you are worried and need help please visit this website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-individuals-and-businesses-in-wales

or

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

This shawl might be the perfect project when you are self-isolating, I’m hoping it will keep your mind off the horrible things happening. It is a deep triangular shawl worked top down in traditional granny square style. It’s a stash buster shawl which is super quick and easy make. I came up with the idea for it from simply looking at my yarn stash. All the one balls of yarn that we save here and there will be perfect to use for this shawl, I’m about to start a second version using all the oddments. All you need is enough in your oddments of one colour to complete one row. I have used DK yarns but any weight will be great, just adjust the hook size accordingly, I would go 2 sizes up from what’s recommended for your yarn.

The shawl gets its name from the lovely sparrows that were flying around when we were taking pictures of the shawl at Rye Meads in Hertfordshire.

This version is done with Drops Puna and Louisa Harding Amitola. I don’t even remember what I bought the Drops yarn for exactly, but it is the most beautiful shade of grey. The colour in Amitola is long discontinued and I remember I bought it on sale in John Lewis ages ago. I love Amitola yarns and colours, it has long lengths between colour changes which looks lovely when crochet. I only had one ball of this yarn so decided to spread it out across the shawl.

I have used exactly 5.5 balls of the Drops yarn and almost everything of Amitola, I just had a tiny bit left.

Before you get crocheting, please read these first:

•             Please note that pattern is written using UK terminology with US conversion given in abbreviation list.

•             Do not cut yarns after every stripe but carry it with you – see techniques at the end of pattern.

Materials

Colour A – 6 x Drops Puna sh.07 – 100% Alpaca, 110 m (120 yds) to 50 g

Colour B – 1 x Louisa Harding Amitola DK sh.103 – 80% Wool, 20 % Silk, 250 m (273 yds) to 50 g

5 mm (US 8/H) crochet hook

Tapestry needle

Tension

After gentle blocking 5 tr groups and 11 rows measured over pattern to 10 cm (4 in) using 5 mm hook.

Finished size

The measurements are taken after gentle blocking – approx. 180 cm at the top edge and 88 cm deep.

Abbreviations

[] – work instructions within brackets as many times as directed

*and ** – repeat instructions following the single or double asterisk as directed

Adjustable ring – for a picture tutorial on how to make adjustable ring please visit the tutorial page on my website: https://moochka.co.uk/pages/tutorials

Approx – approximately

Beg – beginning

Ch – chain

Ch-sp – chain space

Dc (US sc) – double crochet (US single crochet)

Tr (US dc) – treble (US double crochet)

Tr group – 3 trebles

Rep – repeat

Rnd(s) – round(s)

RS – right side

St(s) – stitch(es)

Yrh – yarn around hook

Foundation row: Using colour A, work ch 1, 1 dc, [ch 3, 1 dc] 3 times into an adjustable ring, enclosing the yarn end as you work, pull tight on the yarn end to close up opening. (3 ch-3 sp)

Row 1 (RS): ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and ch-1 sp here and throughout), 3 tr in first ch-3 sp, [3 tr, ch 4, 3 tr] all in next ch-3 sp, 3 tr in next ch-3 sp, ch 1, 1 tr in last st. ( 4 x tr groups)

You may wish to place a marker at the centre ch-4 sp to denote the spine of the shawl, move the marker up as you work.

Change to colour B

Row 2: ch 1 (does not count as a st here and throughout), 1 dc in first st, ch 3, 1 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, 1 dc between next tr groups, ch 3, [1 dc, ch 4, 1 dc] in centre ch-4 sp, ch 3, 1 dc between next tr groups, ch 3, 1 dc in last ch-1 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd of beg ch 4. (7 ch-sp)

Row 3: ch 4, 3 tr in every ch-3 sp to centre ch-4 sp, [3 tr, ch 4, 3 tr] all in centre ch-4 sp, 3 tr in every ch-3 sp to last st, ch 1, 1 tr in last st. ( 8 x tr groups)

Change to colour A

Row 4: ch 1, 1 dc in first st, ch 3, 1 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, *1 dc between next tr groups, ch 3* rep from * to * to centre ch-4 sp, [1 dc, ch 4, 1 dc] in centre ch-4 sp, ch 3, rep from * to * to last ch-1 sp, 1 dc in last ch-1 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd of beg ch 4. (11 ch-sp)

Rows 3 and 4 form the pattern.

Keep repeating the pattern working in colour sequence as set below.

Do not cut yarns after every colour change but carry it with you neatly up the side of work catching it in stitches (see instructions below).

Colour sequence

Row 5 – A

Rows 6 and 7 – B

Rows 8 and 9 – A

Rows 10 and 11 – B

Rows 12 and 13 – A

Rows 14 and 15 – B

Rows 16 and 17 – A

Rows 18 and 19 – B

Rows 20 and 21 – A

Rows 22 and 23 – B

Rows 24 and 25 – A

Rows 26 and 27 – B

Rows 28 to 31 – A

Rows 32 to 33 – B

Rows 34 to 39 – A

Rows 40 and 41 – B

Rows 42 to 49 – A

Rows 50 and 51 – B

Rows 52 to 61 – A

Row 62 – B

Row 63 – A

Row 64 – B

Continue in colour B

Row 65 (RS): ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch-3 sp), *1 dc in next ch-3 sp, ch 3*, rep from * to * to centre ch-4 sp, [1 dc, ch 4, 1 dc] in centre ch-4 sp, ch 3, rep from * to * to last st, 1 dc in last st. (133 ch-sp)

Carrying yarns

To avoid frustrations and huge amount of ends to weave in carry the yarn with you up the side of the shawl and do not cut it at every colour change.

For the neatest finish, change on the last stitch of treble row.

1: Stop on the last stage before treble is completed, when you have two loops on hook.

2: Drop the working yarn to the back of work and pick up new colour from the front of work.

3: Finish off the stitch with new colour.

Continue this way when you have two rows between colour changes.

When you need to carry yarn over few rows, catch it twice at the beginning and end of tr: yrh, insert hook in next st, place the yarn you need to carry on the hook, yrh, pull up a loop, making sure that the additional yarn doesn’t come through the stitch but is stays neatly on top of the working yarn, yrh pull through two loops on hook, place the yarn you are carrying on the hook again, yrh, pull though two loops on hook, the additional yarn stays on top of working yarn neatly moving up the sides.

Stop carrying yarns after row 41, the changes between colours just get too wide.

Stay safe and happy crocheting,

Anna x

Featured

Cushion Crochet Along

I’m so delighted to shout about my first Cushion CAL!!

I have never run a Crochet Along so it’s all very new and exciting. I can assure you it will be fun and I even have prizes at the end!!

Let me first tell you everything about it and how to take part.

Timetable:

The CAL will start on Saturday 5th October and run over 8 weeks.

There are three types of squares in the CAL. A new square will be released every 2 weeks:

5th October – Square 1 – Colourwork

19th October – Square 2 – Popcorn

2nd November – Square 3 – Cable

16th November – Making up and finishing

30th November – Prize draw

Patterns:

The patterns are free and include written instructions, charts and picture tutorials where necessary, I have also created few videos. All the photos will be included in the pattern on the last pages so no need to print them out. There will be links to video whichever are applicable to a pattern.

Please note – Patterns are written using UK terminology with US conversions given in brackets in abbreviation list.

Yarn:

The yarn I have used is West Yorkshire Spinners Colour Lab DK – you can see the shades here – https://www.deramores.com/products/west-yorkshire-spinners-colourlab-dk?variant=21474764718162

The lovely people at Deramores have also created yarn packs with the colours I have used. They yarn is at 10% off at the moment so perfect time to get it. For individual colours see link above. You can find the yarn packs here –  https://www.deramores.com/products/cushion-cal-colour-pack-by-anna-nikipirowicz-in-west-yorkshire-spinners-colourlab

Any DK will be fine, you will use around 150m of each colour.

You will need 3 colours 1 ball of each, if you would like to have squares on both side of cushion instead of fabric you will need 6 balls or approx 300 m of each colour.

Finished size:

Completed cushion measures 50 x 50 cm, however, that is if tension is obtained.  If you would like a smaller or bigger cushion adjust your hook size or yarn thickness.

Hook and additional materials:

4.50mm (US 7) or size needed to obtain tension.

I recommend waiting until all the squares are joined before getting all the additional materials below.

The cushion is lined and backed with fabric. The reason I have backed the cushion is because the popcorn squares have quite big spaces in the corners and I love how the colour of the fabric peeps through. Wait before getting the fabric until the squares are joined, so you can measure it properly and get the right amount.

For my cushions I have used 55 x 55 cm of fabric, that has allowed me 2.50 cm on each side for seam allowance.

If you don’t want to make your own cushion cover, just sew the joined squares onto already made cushion cover.   

41 cm zip or size needed for your cushion cover. Get zip few cm shorter than your cushion cover so it has few cm of space on either side.

55 x 55 cm cushion pad – again, get the cushion pad after you have the exact measurements of finished cover. I get 5 cm large pad as I like the cushion to be nice and plump.

Taking part:

The pattern will be available from 9am BGT

If you sign up to my newsletter the pattern will be emailed a day earlier. You will also get a code for 10% off, I have a 20% promotion on my website as well right now, until 6th October.

To sign up to the newsletter, go to my website – https://moochka.co.uk/

The patterns will be available through:

My website – https://moochka.co.uk/

Ravelry – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cushion-cal

I have also opened a Ravley group, If you like, please join here – https://www.ravelry.com/groups/anna-nikipirowicz

The group will be a wonderful place to share your progress, chat and ask any questions.

If you prefer you can also share your progress in the comments in this blog,

Or just use my email to ask any questions or show your finished cushion cover on info@moochka.co.uk

To enter the prize draw please post pictures of your finished cushion on the Ravelry group, in comments on this blog or email them to me.

I have talked a bit about the cushion in my podcast, which I host with my friend Annette – Two Peas in a Woolly Pod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x9ZUYtWAlw&t=174s

Hope you all can take part and I can’t wait to see your squares 🙂

Brick is ready 🙂

Anna x