Stacked V’s baby blanket

This is a development from the Dinky diamonds blanket that I blogged about earlier, using the V-motif as a repeating pattern, with no intervening diamonds.

Because the V-stitch is so stretchy I used a (UK) foundation treble crochet starting row to provide a sufficiently elastic start to the blanket. I followed Cherry Heart’s tutorial for this here. My blanket is made from Sirdar no. 1 dk in wishbone (202), spearmint (205) and fog (213) on a 4.5mm hook. It is 90 stitches (44 V’s) wide and 79 rows long. It measures 71 x 59cm and weighs 330g. I used 100g each of the spearmint and fog colours, and 130g of wishbone.

A huge plus of this blanket is, as it uses 3 colours of yarn in a repeating sequence, there were only 6 ends to sew in at the end. If I make another one, I would make it 80 stitches (39 V’s) wide I think, and be more confident of finishing using only 1 ball of each colour.

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R.I.P. Duo shawl

My first venture into Scheepjes Whirl territory, and possibly my last in this precise form:

The pattern is the Duo shawl by Felted Button and is available free here. The shawl is based on a stitch called ‘interlocking shell’ (Stitch no. 60 in Sarah Hazell’s book ‘200 crochet stitches’, and there is a video tutorial for it by New Stitch a Day here). What makes Felted Button’s pattern special is that she uses a technique where the rows are completed in pairs: two right to left, then two left to right. This technique means that the entire shawl can be crocheted continuously with no colour changing at the end of rows.

My problem is that my tension has varied significantly over the course of the shawl, becoming looser as I have got more used to the stitch. I feel now that even blocking is not going to correct it. My current plan is to frog it back to a point where the tension was consistent, and turn that portion into a cowl, leaving me with two almost complete whirls to start a new project with. I admit to having felt fairly disheartened by this experience, but hopefully the cowl will be worth salvaging and inspiration will strike me for the remaining parts of the whirls – a two stranded project perhaps? 

Made in Scheepjes Whirl Tasty Nom Nom (789) and Lavenderlicious (758) on a 4mm hook.

January blues

This is not a reference to my current mood, but to the co-incidence that I have spent part of January practising new crochet stitches and turning them into blue dishcloths!

The top and bottom dishcloths are in a stitch called ‘Urchin’ published as a free pattern by Bendigo Woollen mills which I have to thank StitchNSew for introducing me to. You create a simple loop of (UK) dc, ch2, dc into alternate chains of the starting chain, and then repeat this, working into the loops of the row below. It creates a very elastic fabric, which seems well suited to its intended role! I modified the pattern slightly by ending each row with a (UK) dc, which straightened the edges out a bit, and I made a final row of dc into the ch2 stitches to even out the top edge. Mine was made with a 5mm hook for the starting chain and 4.5mm hook for the remainder. The stretchiness of the stitch definitely needs a looser starting chain, or you could do a chainless starting row. The yarn is Rico creative cotton aran in Petrol and Sky blue, and a 28 stitch wide cloth took exactly 1 ball of yarn.

The middle dishcloth is in a stitch called ‘Even moss stitch’. There are some good videos on Youtube for this stitch, notably by Daisy Farm crafts and Bella Coco. This stitch alternates (UK) htr stitches with slip stitches, repeating the pattern each row to create a ‘stack’ of half trebles on top of each other. The raised diagonals of the pattern are the third strand of the half treble stitch left behind on each row. Mine was made with a 5mm hook. The yarn is Rico creative cotton aran in Turquoise, and a 32 stitch wide cloth took exactly 1 ball of yarn.

For both dishcloths I stopped crocheting once the cloth was square and finished off with a border of (UK) dc until I ran out of yarn.

Yarn Art Flowers XY scarf

This is the first of my finished projects since establishing the ‘Rule of four‘:

The pattern is the XY scarf by Mijo Crochet. Made in Yarn Art Flowers shade 263. It comes as a 250g cake and is 55% cotton, 45% Pac (which I think may be polyacrylic). I made mine on a 4mm hook. It is an asymmetric triangle shape – 156cm along the base and 82cm high. 

The rule of four

I am not usually a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I am working on one this year that seems to be hitting the spot..

My new rule for 2021 is that before I do any ‘new’ crochet in any given day I should do four rows of a long-standing unfinished object (UFO). Interestingly all of my unfinished items at the moment are in 4-ply yarn, so the rule of four is doubly well named. I have made some good progress on one UFO already. Watch this space ….

Dinky Diamonds baby blanket

This is a new pattern for me by Cottonpod, a UK designer I had not come across before. The pattern uses a V-stitch formed by crocheting in-between two adjacent treble crochet stitches to force them apart, with interspersing rows of tiny diamonds (hence the name).

The original pattern requires a colour change every row, and therefore lots of sewing in of loose ends. I got round this by changing the direction of the coloured rows so that the white V-stitch rows could be crocheted continuously. This made hardly any difference to the pattern visually, but cut down on loose ends by 50%!

Mine is made in the original Cottonpod colours of Drops cotton merino off white (01) jeans blue (16), lavender (23) and ice blue (09) on a 4.5mm hook. It is 80 stitches wide and 32 V-stitch rows long. It measures 65cm x 50cm. I used 40g each of the three colours and 150g of off white.

It was a quick blanket to work up, and I like the colour play possible with the repeating sequence of 3 colours plus cream. If I have a criticism at all it is that the overall fabric has a lot of drape, and I felt it really needed the border to keep it in shape.

Granny stripe baby blanket.

Always on the lookout for stash-busting patterns I decided to revisit the Granny Stripe baby blanket. My previous attempts were intended for teddies and so were on a very small scale, but I enjoyed the colour-play that these allowed, and felt I would like to try something bigger:

Mine is made in various greens and yellows from stash, supplemented by Drops cotton merino, off white (01) and pistachio (10) along with Drops merino extra fine light yellow (24) on a 4.5mm hook. It is 58 granny clusters wide, and 37 stripes long. It measures 66cm x 53cm and weighs 330g.

Given the overall size I decided not to do a border, so if I were to make another I would try 52 granny clusters wide which would give more scope for a border. You will notice that I played rather safe with colours this time too!

Blue and gold – like the night sky

That was what I was asked for when I offered to make a hot water bottle cover for my favourite 13 year old. And this is what I came up with…

Made in Drops Alaska Dark blue (37), Navy blue (12), Denim blue (57) and Mustard (58) on a 6mm hook. Hiding behind it is another basket-weave bottle cover in Drops Karisma Grape (83)

The cover is made in two-row stripes of UK double crochet and is 28 stitches wide over the bottle, and 16 stitches wide over the neck. I had two goes at this to make the stripes work and my final version was 20 stripes long for the back section, then 15 and 7 stripes long for the front sections. The neck sections are 6 stripes long.

The main front, back and neck sections all start with Dark blue (12) and the top front section starts with Denim blue (57). The pieces are joined together with Navy blue (12) using UK half treble crochet.

Catching the Christmas post

These were a commission from a friend who wanted some small Christmas gifts that were easy to post – I think they fit the bill!

Made in Rico creative cotton fir green (23) and cherry (65) on a 4.5mm hook. The pattern is by Lilleliis and is available here.

Mine are 10cm high by 6cm wide and would make a good hanging ornament or present topper.

As warm as a Welsh sheep

I was given some lovely Welsh wool a while ago by the Snail of Happiness, and have now found just the right project to use it for:

The stitch is Basketweave, and mine is 13 blocks wide at the base of the bottle and 7 blocks wide at the top. The back is 17 blocks high on the main section and 5 blocks high at the top. The two front sections are 14 and 5 blocks high on the main sections, giving an overlap where the two sections meet. I joined the pieces together with half trebles.

The cover weighs 180g and the yarn is double knitting, made on a 4.5mm hook. The stitch is quite time consuming but it gives a lovely textured effect, and I have no doubt that it will make a good insulating layer for the hot water bottle.

The old and the new

You might remember some hot water bottle covers that I made a while ago. Well I have had a go at re-vamping them in some new yarn:

The yarn is Drops Alaska, in off white (02) grey mix (04) and dark grey mix (05). I used a 6mm hook and the cover took 1 ball each of the paler colours and 2 balls of dark grey mix. The stitch is linen stitch.

Having finished this one I have remembered why I stopped making them – the three colour change in linen stitch leaves lots of loops at the edge of the work, and it is really tricky hiding these when joining the pieces. If I make another one I might join with half trebles rather than double crochet – a lesson learned!

Sophie La Giraffe baby blanket

This was a request from a family friend, for a baby blanket with mustard in it, and I was sent the picture here as an inspiration

The stitch has quite a few names – I have seen it called moss stitch, linen stitch and woven stitch in various places, and an Internet search tells me it is also called seed stitch and granite stitch too! Despite the complexities of naming it, it is very simple to do, and there is a good tutorial, and chart, on the ‘Look at What I Made’ blog here. It is stitch number 18 In Sarah Hazell’s book 200 crochet stitches, for those of you who have it.

Made in Rico essentials soft merino Aran, colours silver grey (096), saffron (066) and cream (061) on a 6mm hook. Mine is 70 x 55cm, it weighs 310g. It is 100 stitches wide and 16 stripes long, each stripe is 8 rows. it used 3 balls each of grey and cream, and one ball of mustard, with a bit of each left over… I would happily make another one. Commissions anyone?

Quiet but not idle

It seems to have been a while since I have blogged, but I have not been idle! I have reverted to my old friend the granny rectangle, and have been busy making (lots of) baby blankets:

These ones have been safely received by pramdepot and will soon be part of their magnificent baby boxes which are put together from new, recycled and gifted items to support vulnerable mothers.

For these blankets I start with a chain of 21, which gives me a 5 granny cluster mini-rectangle, then build up 28-30 rounds of granny clusters to make a blanket of roughly 60 x 50cm.

The octopus is a little extra – pattern from crochetforbabies here.

Freedom Works

We have a lovely new shop in our next-door village, and I am excited to say that they are stocking some of my crochet. The shop is Freedom Works in Kishorn, right on the North Coast 500 route in the Scottish Highlands, and a regular haunt for locals too.

They are stocking some well known local artists including Cindie Reiter and Aileen Grant, along with some folk who are new to me. I have already sold a few things (and bought a few too!)

It is lovely to see a local shop selling locally made goods – and I wish Ali and the shop every success.

Top-knot baby hat – pattern launch

Thanks to those of you who volunteered to pattern-test this, I now have an easy and free pattern to make a top-knot baby hat in three sizes (premature, new-born and 0-3 months).

Top knot hat crochet pattern JH

You are welcome to make and sell as many top-knot hats as you wish. You may also pass on the pattern to other people, but please leave the link to my blog on the pattern.

Mine are made in Scheepjes merino soft Copely (634) Waterhouse (649) and Titian (647), Rowan baby merino silk Teal (677), Iceberg (699) and Rose (678 – discontinued), and an odd ball of King Cole baby alpaca plum (509), and weigh approximately 40g for the 0-3 month size.

A nice pot of tea

I am definitely of the, rather old fashioned, view that the nicest cup of tea is made in a pot. So it was a pleasure to have the chance to make a teapot cosy for a friend recently:

The colours are based on my Orla cushion which sits in pride of place in the same friend’s kitchen. Some of the original colours have been discontinued, so one or two modifications had to be made, along with a change in stitch to provide more insulation. The final colours chosen were Drops Muskat vanilla yellow (30), sky blue (76), light yellow (07), red (12), and taupe (24). I made it in (UK) double crochet on a 4.5mm hook, using a paper pattern from the teapot measurements. If all goes well it should be warming a nice pot of tea shortly!

The animals went in two by two

I have been meaning to have a go at these little crochet elephants for some time, and am so glad that I have now made some:

The pattern I used came from Irene Haakt here, and there is also one available on Ravelry by Studio Madelaine here. Mine are made in Erika Knight gossypium cotton in Gift (503) on a 4.5mm hook, and some 4-ply grey cotton from my stash on a 3.0 mm hook. The large elephant weighs 30g, and the small one 15g.

I now have an order for some blue ones to be getting on with – watch this space!

Back to basics

I am developing a bit of a yarn crush for James C Brett Stonewash. The yarn itself is not lovely (100% acrylic) but the colours are very pleasantly subtle, and when mixed with other yarns it makes a nice blanket overall. You might remember these Granny rectangle blankets from a while ago, well I have now made them in two new colourways:

Made in James C Brett Stonewash SW14 with Sublime extra fine merino wool 448 (organza) and Drops merino extra fine 01 (off white); and James C Brett Stonewash SW11 with King Cole Majestic DK 2649 (grey) and Drops merino extra fine 01 (off white).

Top-knot baby hat

Having seen a few ‘top-knot’ hats on line, like this one by Annelies Baes, I thought I would have a go at making one myself:

Mine is made in Drops cotton merino dk in Lavender (23) on a 4.5mm hook. I actually started off with a free pattern by Justbehappylife, but ended up modifying it rather a lot, to make it in UK double crochet. I did scribble down what I was doing, so when I have had a chance to make another one I will share the pattern with you.

This one is for Molly Drew.

Sea greens and sea pinks baby blankets

Since I discovered the Scheepjes merino soft, Ella Rae baby cashmerino and Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino could be substituted for one another, pretty much metre for metre, I have been playing around with their combined colour range to see if I can make some rather more subtle combinations than is possible with a single brand. These are my most recent efforts:

Made in Scheepjes merino soft Ernst (653) Pissaro (651) and Raphael (602) with Ella Rae baby cashmerino Icicle (29). The pink version is in Scheepjes merino soft Copely(634) Waterhouse (649) and Titian (647) and Raphael (602), but to be honest I am not so pleased with that as a colour combination. Why do I find pinks so difficult?