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

Thank you

Last week, Annette and I released our first podcast/vlog, Two Peas in a Woolly Pod, into the wonderful world of the web and we have been overwhelmed with you response.

We just wanted to say the biggest thank you to all of you for every view, comment, like, word of encouragement and for every little yeey.

We wanted to start a podcast for a while now as we just love the idea of them and they look like a lot of fun. We had a hoot recording it and are so overjoyed that you liked it too

Few words from Annette:

Thank you for watching our new podcast. Your response has filled us with joy. 

The idea of a podcast is something we’ve been toying around with for a while. We’ve been friends for ages, and have always nudged and guided each other with our creative ideas. Doing it together just seemed the natural thing to do. Working on this podcast, will give us an opportunity to combine our individual personalities, and hopefully give you something a little different to watch, and to share our joy of this community we are all a part of.

Do join us each month as we bring to you our love of yarn, crochet and knitting. We love it all! There’ll be wips and occasional fo’s. Patterns that have taken our fancy. Maybe some stash enhancement. We even hope to have some k/cals as we go along. We can’t promise it won’t be haphazard, but we’ll do our best. lol

We hope this will lead to many more episodes. There’s always something new to inspire us.

Here is the podcast/vlog for those who hasn’t seen it yet 🙂

See you next time,

Two Peas in a Woolly Pod x

Blankets

I wanted to write this blog for a while now, since the blankets were released really, but things kept mounting up, and recent events meant that I kept pushing it back. At this moment I crave occupying my mind with my soothing craft and even writing a blog again.
Let’s talk about blankets…………….
When the lovely people from Deramores approached me for design ideas I was overjoyed, I haven’t really designed crochet blankets, and this was the perfect opportunity.
I had ideas brewing it was just a case of making them a reality.
My love has gone in every stitch of designing and making them, it was truly a joy thinking of stitches and colourways. I wanted to use the new Colour Lab DK yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners as I worked with it on Runswick shawl and Melmbery socks and I’m crazy about this yarn, but then what’s not to love about it? The range of colours is beautiful, it’s pure wool and very affordable with good metreage, a winner all around. 
One idea, three blankets – When designing these blankets, I wanted the maker to be able to customise it to reflect themselves or the person they are making the blanket for. I took four interesting stitches and made them into squares which are fun, portable and quick to make, but I also wanted those stitches to be able to make one large blanket, without having to join squares.
Bolderwood is named after the beautiful forest which is also a deer sanctuary in New Forest. This is made out of four types of squares which use all four stitches, which are then joined together to form a large blanket. You are in complete control of how large you would like the blanket to be. I have laid them out diagonally in a style of traditional patchwork quilt; starting from the corner you have rows of textured squares, followed by rows of plain squares, each row uses one or two colours.
 
I have loved making this blanket as you can’t beat the portability of a crochet square, you can take them anywhere. I made sure that each square uses one or two colours only. They are also great way to try out stitches you haven’t before. 
 
I have used combinations of textures and plain stitches in colour sequence 
Spike stitch
Cable lattice stitch
Linen stitch
Plain stitch
 Green and grey colourway
 Pink
 Brown and cream
And I used the gorgeous flat slip stitch joint which is my all time favourite 
You can make Bolderwood blanket as large or as small as you like, you are in total control.
If you would like to change the size, make a little layout diagram to help you, use some coloured pencils to see if the colours will look good together.
 
Batchworth is named after the gorgeous lake in Hertfordshire where some of the photos were taken. This blanket is made in one piece using three of the stitches. It starts at the centre in linen stitch, expanding into plain stitch, followed by textured section using cable stitch, ending with a small edging in half trebles and finished off with slip stitch lines along edges of plain section. It is a perfect blanket to make when you are curled up on the sofa watching your favourite shows. 
Little Cloud takes its name from the sweet fluffy clouds. It is a baby blanket that uses the same idea as Bolderwood blanket but using three types of squares: linen, plain and spike. I have designed this blanket in a multi-use size, perfect for cots, prams and as a comfort blanket.
I used the sweet West Yorkshire Spinners Po Beep DK.
 
Dave and I had so much fun taking some of the photos by the lake. The weather was just right for perfectly moody photos. The Batchworth lake is really stunning location and I have used it before for photos, it never disappoints.
Big thank you goes not only to my Dave but also to Carmell for letting me use her stunning house for the Bolderwood blanket photos and for lovely Melinda for arranging it all. Also, to Annette and Magda for all their help, I have wonderful people in my live and I’m so grateful.
The patterns for the blankets are free and available at Deramores website along with yarn packs. 
The yarn packs are also at 10% off for limited time, perfect time to get them 🙂
 
Click on the blankets name below to take you to Deramores. 
 
And of course giant pompoms are a must 🙂
Happy crocheting, 
 
Anna xx

Little crochet trees


Time for another Chrismassy make.

I have designed these little trees for one of my classes at John Lewis Oxford Street. They are a great little project to try out tapestry crochet, which is very addictive.

Not only are they fun but also very quick to make, once you get into swing of things you will be able to make one in 45 minutes.

They make fantastic decorations for your tree and around the house. You can also make them into cat toys, just omit the stick, start with magic loop and include catnip in stuffing.  

The tutorial on how to work in tapestry crochet is below. I have written the instruction for the colour changes instead of a chart as the project is quite small so it’s not too overwhelming to follow the written instructions. 

Pattern notes 
  • Pattern is written using UK terminology with US conversion given in abbreviation list.

  • The pattern is worked in continues spiral, which means you will not ss to join round or ch 1 at the beginning of rnd, place marker to denote the beginning of rnd. 
  • From rnd 4 you will work in back loop of every st on every rnd. 
 

Materials

Small amounts of 2 colours of DK yarns: colour A – pine, colour B – white

I have used Ricorumi in Fir Green 050 (A) and Cream 002 (B)

3mm crochet hook

Toy stuffing

Piece of garden twig approximately 9 cm in length

1 x lockable marker

Finished size

One finished tree measures approximately 7 cm in height and 12.5 cm around the biggest part.

Tension

5 st and 5 rnds to 2.5 cm square measured over dc worked in back loop of every st.

Abbreviations

Ch – chain

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

Dc2tog (US sc2tog) – double crochet two stitches together

Rnd(s) – round(s)

RS – right side

Ss – slip stitch

St(s) – stitch(es)

WS – wrong side

Snowy chevron and plain colour

With colour A make 4 ch, ss to first ch to form a ring.

Rnd 1: ch 1, 8 dc in ring, ss to first dc.

Rnd 2: ch 1, 2 dc in every st to end, ss to first dc. (16 sts)

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

You will now work in spiral and in the back loop of every stitch only.

Rnds 4 to 6: 1 dc in every st to end.

Rnd 7: [dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts] 4 times, 1 dc in next 4 sts. (20 sts)

Rnd 8: 1 dc in every st to end.

Now you will work using the tapestry technique, join yarn B at the beg of next rnd and carry it with you all the way through a rnd using when needed.

If you are making a one colour tree just work the next two rnds: 1 dc in every st to end.

Rnd 9: with A – 1 dc in next 2 sts, [with B – 1 dc in next st, with A – 1 dc in next 3 sts] 4 times, with B – 1 dc in next st, with A – 1 dc in last st.

Rnd 10: [with A – 1 dc in next st, with B – 1 dc in next 3 sts] 5 times.

Brake off yarn A and continue only in yarn B.

Rnd 11: [dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts] 5 times. (15 sts)

Rnd 12 and 13: 1 dc in every st to end.

Insert the garden stick in the middle of foundation ring (see below), start stuffing the tree around the stick, making sure that the shape is nicely rounded.

Rnd 14: [dc2tog, 1 dc in next st] 5 times. (10 sts)

Stuff the tree a little more, but do not overstuff.

Rnd 15: [dc2tog] 5 times. (5 sts)

Break off yarn, leaving approximately 10 cm tail, using tapestry needle feed the yarn through the stitches of opening, pull tight to close opening.

Weave in all end.

Deep snow

Work as given for snowy chevron to rnd 5.

Rnd 6: [with A – 1 dc in next 11 sts, with B – 1 dc in next st] twice.

Rnd 7: with A – dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts, with B – dc2 tog, 1 dc in next st, with A – 1 dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog, 1 dc in next 5 sts, with B – 1 dc in next 2 sts. (20 sts)

Rnd 8: with B – 1 dc in next st, with A – 1 dc in next 6 sts, with B – 1 dc in next 4 sts, with A – 1 dc in next 6 sts, with B – 1 dc in next 3 sts.

Rnd 9: with B – 1 dc in next 2 sts, with A – 1 dc in next 4 sts, with B – 1 dc in next 6 sts, with A – 1 dc in next 4 sts, with B – 1 dc in next 4 sts.

Rnd 10: with B – 1 dc in next 3 sts, with A – 1 dc in next 2 sts, with B – 1 dc in next 8 sts, with A – 1 dc in next 2 sts, with B – 1 dc in next 5 sts.

Brake off colour A and continue only in colour B.

Starting with rnd 11, work the rest of rnds as given for snowy chevron. 

Techniques

  • To get a neat colour change we need to change colours one stitch before: For example; if the third stitch needs to be a different colour, change yarns on the second stitch. Work to one stitch before colour change, stop when you have two loops on hook.

  • Drop colour A and finish the stitch with colour B.

  • We need to work one st in colour B and the following sts are in A – work next st in colour B but stop when you have two loops on hook, drop colour B and finish the stitch with colour A.

Continue changing colour as described in the last 3 steps.

Tip – To avoid yarns twisting, make sure you keep your colour B to your right and colour A to your left.

Carrying yarns

Usually when working in tapestry crochet you carry the yarn not in in between the stitch, however when working in the round I prefer to carry it inside the work and catch the yarn every third stitch when not in use.

  • When inserting hook to work dc make sure that the yarn to be stranded is placed on top of the hook at the back of work.

  • Work dc as normal, enclosing the strand in the stitch. Continue repeating the last 2 steps, enclosing the yarn not in use every third stitch.

Stuffing the tree

Insert the garden stick through the foundation ring and stuff the tree around the stick, that way the tree will have a nice rounded shape. 
Happy Crocheting, 

Anna x

Birdie brooch

Last week I had the pleasure of taking over the Lovecrochet Instagram account. It was huge fun and lovely meeting so many new makers. The biggest thank you to LoveCrochet for inviting me.

I created a little bye bye gift to say thank you to all those that said hello and joined me at the LoveCrochet Instagram. I posted pattern for this brooch at the end of my takeover day, but here it is again 🙂
This birdie is to get you ready for warmer days. I love winter, especially the white fluffy stuff but I can’t help and dream of Spring.
The little birdie brooch is perfect little addition to your favourite cardigan or jackets…. Of course, you don’t have to wait until Spring, get crocheting now to wear it as an appliqué or brooch on your hat or scarf.

To make this lovely little bird you will need: two colours of any DK yarn, I have used Paintbox Cotton DK
3.5mm (US E/4) crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Few lengths of thinner yarn in different colours.  
 

Please note I’m using UK terms, US terms are given in brackets in abbreviation list. 
Abbreviations
Ch – chain
Dc (US sc) – double crochet
Htr (US hdc) – half treble
Tr (US dc) –treble
Sl st – slip stitch
St(s) – stitch(es)
Bird
Work 6 dc into adjustable ring, enclosing the tail as you work, sl st to first dc and pull tight on the tail to close up opening.
Round 1: ch 1, 2 dc into ever st to end, join with sl st to first st. (12 sts)
Round 2: ch 1, 1 dc into next 4 st, 2 htr into next st, 1 tr into next st, 2 tr into next st, ch 3, sl st in the base of last tr, 1 dc into next 2 st, [2 htr into next st] twice, ch 2, sl st in top of last htr, join round with sl st to first st. Fasten off
Wing
Make 8 ch.
Row 1: 1 tr into 4th ch from hook, 1 tr in next ch, 1 htr in next ch, 1 dc in next ch. Fasten off.
Attach wing to the middle of bird, so it covers the centre. I have tied few strands of fluffy yarns held together to the tail part, just to add a pit of colour and play. 
Happy crocheting 
Anna xx

Ramble mittens – tutorials

The sun appears to be shining but it’s still freezing cold!! Despite the wonderful scene of snowdrops in Batchworth Lake, Spring seems to be still avoiding us.

To keep warm I decided to design these lovely Ramble mittens, well, one reason is to keep warm, the other is that I really wanted to try out the crochet waistcoat stitch and one more reason was a chance to play with the new Willow & Lark yarn.

These cosy mittens are worked from the cuff, which is worked flat then seemed. Stitches for the body of the mittes are worked in raw ends of cuff, which is worked in waistcoat stitch. The colourwork pattern is worked using Fair Isle technique. The stitches are picked up for the thumb at the end.
The mittens are finished off with embellishment worked using double crochet (US sc) around the colourwok pattern, picture tutorial included in the pattern.
The cuff and first 8 rounds of the pattern are written, the rest charted

The pattern for Ramble Mittens is free and available at:

 I have create a picture and video tutorial which are below. The picture tutorials are also included in the pattern.

Waistcoat stitch is just fantastic!! It looks like a knit stitch, in fact it’s also referred to as the crochet knit stitch.
It is a beautifully tight and firm stitch that’s perfect for mitts, hats, bags and anything that requires dense fabric and it doesn’t twist the work like a standard dc (US sc). I absolutely love it as it looks fantastic and makes a nice change from a standard dc and if that wasn’t enough, it is also great for working Fair Isle colourwork.
The only difference from working a standard dc is that you work wst into the body of the stitch, in between the strands (the V) of the stitch below.

Before you start working in waistcoat stitch it is important that you get a pointy hook and remember to keep a relaxed tension, don’t pull your stitches too tight, you will have to work into them on the next round.

1 & 2: Inset the hook in between the strands of the stitch (between the V) as marked by red lines in pic 1.
3: Yoh and pull up a loop, 2 loops on hook.
4: Yoh and pull through 2 loops. One stitch made.
Continue repeating the 4 steps throughout.

Waistcoat stitch video 

                             
                                   In the video MC stands for main colour and CC for contrast colour

How to work crochet Fair isle

Waistcoat stitch is perfect to work crochet colourwork as it doesn’t twist the work therefore the colour changes look better.
1: To get a neat colour change we need to change colours one stitch before: For example; if the fourth stitch needs to be a different colour, change yarns on the third stitch. Work to one stitch before colour change, stop the last stitch when you have two loops on hook.
2: Drop colour A and finish the stitch with colour B.
3: Work next stitch with colour B, but because we need to go back to colour A on the next stitch, finish this stitch with colour A, ready for next stitch.
Continue repeating the 4 steps while following the chart.
Tip – To avoid yarns twisting, make sure you keep your colour B to your right and colour A to your left.

Fair Isle video

Carrying yarn
When working Fair isle you need to carry the yarn not in use with you all the way around, but only carry the yarn on the rounds that it’s required. The neatest way to do this is to catch the yarn every other stitch when not in use.
1: When inserting hook to work wst make sure that the yarn to be stranded is placed on top of the hook at the back of work.
2: Work wst as normal, enclosing the strand in the stitch. Continue repeating the 2 steps, enclosing the yarn not in use every other stitch.

Happy crocheting,

Anna x


Inherited knowledge and talent – Tabula Rasa post by me


I felt compelled to write about the inspiration behind the name of the De Anima shawl and about what it means to other people and questions it raises. I have asked designers and overall very talented people, whom I admire a lot, to write from their prospective about Tabula Rasa and whether they believe that we, as people, are born as a blank canvass or whether we genetically inherit knowledge and creativity.
I want to thank them all for contributing by writing such personal insights. If you would like to read the blogs again here are the links:

Today is the final day of Tabula Rasa posts and I thought I’ll give my two cents on the matter.

Tabula Rasa refers to the idea that we are born without built-in content, a ‘’blank slate’’, and that all we know comes from experience and perception. It is a truly fascinating concept, and I very often ponder it when I teach knit and crochet. We acquire skills through practice, some of us are taught those skills at a young age, but do we possess them already in our unconscious mind? The same can be said for talent… do we acquire it or are we simply born with it? In western philosophy the concept of Tabula Rasa originated in treatise of Artistotle – De Anima or On the Soul (hence the name of the shawl).

I tend to agree more with Pluto and his Theory of Forms that the human mind is born with ideas. I believe that we genetically inherit instinctive knowledge, like a new born who innately knows how to suckle onto mother’s breast. In the same way as you can observe in animals, like cats with hunting or elephants with geographical knowledge. Based on that, what other information is passed down, which can be later reinforced through teaching? Form the first day we rely on parents, our surroundings, then later on teachers and people around us to help us develop and enhance that knowledge. Do we naturally possess creativity/talent in the same way we possess instinctive knowledge?  
Teaching knit and crochet gives me the perfect opportunity to observe all stages of ability. In a group of ten people who never tried crochet, you will have four that instantly show natural ability and will be crocheting within half an hour with ease. Then you have few that just can’t get to grips with it. We are all wired differently and predisposed to be good at different things. However, maybe knitting and crochet are not the best examples of talent as we can learn how to do it and obviously enhance our knowledge and ability through willingness and lots of practice, but let’s take photography for example. Everyone can learn the rules of staging a good photo but only few have a natural eye for capturing a truly amazing image. You can have twenty photographs of the same person taken by different people but only one will capture the person’s soul and encapsulate the mood of the subject.
How much of that wiring and ability we possess is in part down to any knowledge we inherited? I’m not sure, but maybe I have a romantic view of it that we do pass more that we think down to the next generation. 
Anna xx