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.

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.

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.