Kelpie hat

I had promised this as a Christmas present but it turned into a rather more complicated make than I had imagined.

The pattern is the Kelpie Hat by the Crochet Project, and is described as being ‘easy’ or for the ‘adventurous beginner’. Whilst I agree that the pattern contains no difficult stitches (it is a slip stitch, UK half treble repeat) there is a lot to remember whilst you are doing it – which is the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ side, have you remembered to join and turn, or did you join and carry on? There is also a typo in the instructions for the rib, where it forgets to tell you to work in the back loop only, and this threw me for the remainder of the pattern, as I thought potentially all the half trebles were back loop only. However, Joanne (who wrote the pattern) was available by email to sort this out, and I did eventually get going…

I used Fyberspates Vivacious dk (as suggested by the pattern), which is a gorgeously soft superwash merino wool, and I chose Deep Forest for the colour. The hat is made on a 4.5mm hook for the rib, and a 6mm hook for the body. My hat took 80g of wool and measures 19cm from rib to crown, and 24cm from side to side when laid flat. I made the small size but added four extra rows to the to the body, as I was in danger of making a skull cap.

I do love the texture of this stitch, and would potentially make the pattern again, but I have written copious notes to simplify it for myself next time!

Twisted rib crochet headbands.

A visitor to the Knitters shop very kindly showed me how to make the ‘knot’ in these, by folding a rectangle of paper into the required shape for the joining seam!

For those of you not lucky enough to have had personal instruction there is a really clear video of it by ‘Just be Crafty’ here.

I have tried them in dk, aran and chunky weight yarns and would say that aran and chunky work best for me. They are made in (UK) half double crochet – back loop only, ending on a row of dc.

These ones are in Rico essentials soft merino (aran) Saffron (066) and Silver-grey (096), and Rowan pure wool superwash worsted Teal wash (discontinued). I used a 6mm hook and started with a chain of 72 for the aran yarn and 62 for the chunky version. Each headband took about 25g of yarn.

Now, who has 25g of yarn to spare to give one a go?

Mosaic crochet headbands

Although it is some time since I have blogged I have actually been very busy with crochet! The Scottish Highlands has had a bumper crop of visitors this year and I have been busy replenishing shelves with various crochet items that have been sold.

All of this has led to a dearth of anything new being created, and it has really only been this week that the pressure has eased and I have felt able to try my hand at something new.

These are adapted from a pattern by Entrelac Cat Designs, using King Cole Riot in in Blue Jeans (3437), Dude (400) and Stormy (3079) with King Cole Panache in cream (2077) and Stonewash (2069) on a 4.5mm hook.

You will notice that the top two have a distinct curve to their shape as the starting chain edge is tighter than the last row. I tried to correct this by doing a chainless foundation (US) single crochet in the bottom one, but I would say that this is still a work in progress.

Interestingly, although mosaic crochet is something new for me, I have used this stitch before; as it is effectively ‘moss stitch’ made in two colours. See my previous projects here, here and here. Which just goes to show that nothing learned is ever wasted!

Even Berry stitch dishcloth pattern.

At this time of year a lot of my crochet time is spent making small items for sale. This has a risk of becoming boring, but one item I never tire of making is dishcloths! This pattern is for an aran weight dishcloth in a lovely textured stitch called Even Berry stitch.

You will need 1 x 50g ball of aran weight cotton yarn. I use Rico creative cotton (aran) or Scheepjes Cahlista, both of which are 85m long. The pattern will use a whole ball, and if your yarn has less yardage than this I would suggest decreasing the stitch and row numbers by two to allow for this. The pattern is written in UK crochet terms. I used a 5mm crcohet hook, which gave me a tension of approximatesly 16 stitches and 16 rows for 10cm.

ch = chain
dc = double crochet (sc/us)
YO = yarn over

Start with a chain of 30, then dc 29 stitches for the first row.

Row 2. 1 dc 1 berry stitch to end of row. You should end on a dc. Don’t worry at this stage that your berries don’t ‘pop’ out. It is actually the next row that pushes them into place.

Row 3 and all odd rows: dc across

Row 4 and all even rows: 1 dc 1 berry stitch to end of row, ending in a dc.

You should have a cloth that is 14 berries wide, so continue until it is 14 berries long, ending with a row of dc.

Now start the border: dc approximately 30 stitches along each side and end of the dishcloth, with 2 dc in the corner stitches. Repeat so you have 2 rows of dc as a border.

Fasten off and sew in the ends and that’s it!

I am sure you will enjoy making it. I think it could be used equally well as a face cloth, and I would be delighted to hear how you get on, and what you choose to use it for.

Happy crocheting.

Little squares blanket no. 2

I have had another go at a Little Squares blanket, this time in a sport weight yarn:

Made in Scheepjes Stonewashed Moonstone (801), Crystal quartz (814), New Jade (819), Amazonite (813), Green agate (815) and Smokey quartz (802) om a 4mm hook. It is 63 x 50cm in size and weighs 285g. I suspect that was 1 ball of each of the five colours, plus 2 balls of Moonstone. I made the border by doing 3 (UK) double crochets into each cluster (so 12 per square) and finished off with a round of (UK) half treble crochet. 

I am not always the biggest fan of thinner yarns, but this grew very quickly and I think the stonewashed palette suits the blanket well.  

Sophie’s brother Seumas

I have been asked to make a couple of Sophie La Giraffe baby blankets since my original post, but this is one has a little twist in the colour combination which I am really quite pleased with:

I have decided to give it a boy’s name, and as I live in a Gaelic speaking part of the world I have chosen Seumas – pronounced Shay-mus if you are interested!

It is made in Rico essentials soft merino aran, the colours are Petrol (25) , Natural (60) and Silver Grey (90). It is 100 stitches wide and made on a 6mm hook.

Little squares blanket

One of the things I really care about is matching the right yarn with the right project, and to my mind this blanket does exactly that. Inspired by the 121 little squares blanket by Little Dove Crochet I have made my own rectangular version:

The blanket has the potential to be quite difficult technically, and I used a really helpful tutorial by the Patchwork heart to get the right orientation of squares for the join-as-you-go method. Each square is a 4 x 4 corner-to-corner block and my blanket is 9 squares wide by 11 squares long. Overall it measures 68 x 57cm and weighs 280g.

I chose a slightly pared-down colour scheme compared to the Little Dove original as follows: Stylecraft Batik Cream (1900), Sage (1908), Heather (1906), Old Gold (1902), Rose (1916) and Pistachio (1910) on a 4.5mm hook. I used 30g of each of the 5 ‘colours’ and 200g of cream. The border is two rows of (UK) double crochet followed by a row of half trebles.

The layout I used is here, but if you are feeling put off by the whole planning ahead thing then don’t be, as once the foundation row is set the other rows can be arranged as you go, ensuring that you don’t have any colour overlap.

Finally a big thank you to Faye at Little Dove designs, who was generous enough to share her colour recipe, and the link to the Patchwork heart tutorial. I love it when we crocheters can work together.

A spring in my step

This little parcel of goodies is on its way to a friend, who commissioned them as a baby gift.

Elephant in Scheepjes stonewash XL ‘coral’ (856), Top knot baby hat in Stylecraft Batik elements ‘magnesium’ (1940) and wash cloth in even berry stitch in Rico creative cotton aran ‘corn’ (25).

I love the non-traditional baby colours, and I think they look quite spring-like.

More scrappy scarves

My second go at making some scarves from scrap yarn.

These ones are made in: Rowan wool cotton bronze (967) and Oxblood (989) with King Cole Drifter Montana (3039).

Drops cotton merino navy (08) and Rowan wool cotton French navy (909) with King Cole Drifter Utah (1358);

Rowan wool cotton Grand (954) and Bilberry (969) with Drops merino extra fine Amethyst (36) and Stylecraft batik elements Galium (1939)

The top one has a definite Hogwarts feel to me!

All are made on a 4.5mm hook in double crochet and are 30 stitches wide. They use 100g of wool-cotton and about 85g of variegated yarn.

Scrappy scarves

One of the things that I really enjoy doing is putting different colours together, and what better opportunity could there be for that than making some scarves from left-over yarn?

I have used different variegated yarns as a way of bringing the scrap colours together. The scarves are made in UK double crochet, and are 30 stitches (18cm) wide and roughly 130cm long. They used 100g of wool-cotton dk and about 70g of variegated yarn each.

My colour combinations so far are: Rowan wool cotton Coffee (956) with King Cole Drifter Kentucky (1356); Rowan wool cotton Rich (911) with Stylecraft Batik elements Magnesium (1940) and Rowan wool cotton Gypsy, Grand and Frozen (910, 954 and 977) with King Cole Drifter Kansas (1373) – that one had a lot of ends to sew in!

Felted insoles

I have been meaning to do this for so long, and I am so pleased I have finally made some felted insoles!

I started off with two rectangles, made in double crochet, put them through the washing machine at 40 degrees C along with the household wash, and then cut the felted pieces with scissors using a pair of existing insoles as a pattern.

My rectangles were between 21 and 25cm x 20cm before felting, but I would say 25cm x 15cm would be ideal. I am a size 5 shoe so you might want to increase this for a significantly larger shoe size. Because I used aran thickness wool I would say these insoles are too thick for a normal shoe, but they are in my Wellington boots just now and are so cosy!

Made in Drops Alaska Dark blue (37), Navy blue (12), Denim blue (57) and Mustard (58) on a 6mm hook. You might remember that this was originally a colour scheme for a hot water bottle cover – so please note: these hot water bottle covers are not machine washable!

The scrappiest of scarves

This is a truly scrappy project – made with left-over yarn from at least two projects:

It’s made in Corner to Corner crochet in bands of 3-row stripes. I used a 7mm hook, and the scarf is 9 ‘squares’ wide and 28 ‘stripes’ long. It weighs 265g (so each stripe used roughly 10g of yarn) and is 17cm wide x 160cm long

The yarn is Drops Alaska in Dark blue (37), Navy blue (12), Denim blue (57), Mustard (58), Off white (02), Grey mix (04), Dark grey mix (05) and possibly some others!

It is perhaps not the most classic of colour combinations (!) but it will be sent to Knit for Peace shortly – and I have no doubt that it will keep someone cosy in the cold.

For the love of it

Continuing with my theme of making dishcloths in seasonal colours here is my February collection (with a nod to Valentine’s day!)

From top to bottom these are: ‘Even moss stitch’ in Rico creative cotton aran Cherry (65); ‘Even berry stitch’ by Daisy Farm Crafts in Rico creative cotton aran Smokey pink (06) and a different ‘Even berry stitch’ which is Sarah Hazell’s stitch no 26, in Rico creative cotton aran Fuchsia (13).

Interestingly the two ‘Even berry’ stitches differed significantly in their ease of production and overall effect. The Sarah Hazell stitch is alternating rows of slip stitch and (UK) double crochet, with slip stitch and berry clusters above it. To get the proper placement of the berries they have to be made into the slip stitch of the previous row, which is fiddly to say the least. In addition Sarah Hazell’s berries end with a chain, which alters your stitch count every other row.

The Daisy Farm Crafts Even berry stitch is alternating rows of (UK) double crochet with double crochet and berry stitches above it. This means you are always working into a double crochet to make a berry stitch, and, as there is no chain to end this version of the berry, your stitch count remains the same every row. You will be able to tell by this description which one I preferred!

Colour recipes

It is a bit of a bug-bear of mine that so many crochet posts on social media are simply pictures, with no accompanying information about yarns, stitches, colours or techniques. Presumably the intention is for the reader to be impressed with the author’s skill or colour choice, but then what? What is to be learned by knowing that other people are making things that you admire, and no more than that?

Long-term readers of this blog will know that I always end a post by giving details of how the project was made. My initial reasons for this were quite selfish – I wanted to use the blog as a personal log, so that if I needed to repeat a project I would have a place to come back to with enough detail written down for that to be possible. I do still use it for that purpose quite often.

The second reason was more public-spirited – I am a teacher by training, and a learner by inclination, and I wanted to share my learning so that other people could benefit from it too. So here, for anyone who is interested, are the colour recipes for my granny rectangle baby blankets. If you find them useful I am glad, and if you do use any of them I would be delighted to know.

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.