Category Archives: crochet

PROJECTS Market & Grocery Bags

Since single-use plastic bags are being phased out in Canada, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the good old-fashioned string bag. I could be wrong, but I feel like we were doing well reducing our plastic before COVID, but the pandemic seems to kind of disrupt that progress. Setbacks happen, we’ll just get back on the horse and forge forward! The following are some of my favourite patterns … both knit and crochet. I prefer crochet because the nature of the crochet stitch strengthens the structure of the bag, but in the end, it’s really all good, as long as we’re cutting back on plastic.

Qualities I look for in a yarn for making string bags:

  • Washability: I want to be able to throw it in the washing machine.
  • Strength: it needs to be strong enough to carry stuff and not break.
  • Resilience: it needs to wear well, I want it to last.

Why Bother?

Some philosophies believe that we are connected to everyone and everything on this planet. Since there is now garbage in orbit around the planet, I’ll just extend it a little further and say that you’re connected to everything in creation. You are tethered to everything, and this connection is centred in love. You are important, what you say is important, and what you do is especially important. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says we should be impeccable with our words, but I think it’s time we learn to be impeccable with our actions (as an aside, the audiobook narrator Peter Coyote is EXCELLENT).

During the early COVID shut-downs I noticed a LOT of plastic bags leaving the store, and it made me kind of queasy, so I started switching over to paper bags and biodegradable shipping bags. But paper isn’t the answer – it decomposes and recycles, but it’s substantially more expensive than plastic, it’s resource-heavy, and its manufacture and distribution generate lots of greenhouse gases. The solution is to not use resources that you don’t need to. We have to make new habits, but when you do, try to do it from a different context, try it from a place of love. Most of us live from a centre of fear, but I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s working for us. When you approach things from a foundation of fear everything seems to be slow, jerky, resistant, and hard. When you come at it from a paradigm of love, things just seem to flow, they’re easy, and they move naturally. We have a lot of changes ahead of us, so if you can find a way to lean into it gracefully you’ll be leagues ahead of the game.

For more on the subject of living from love …

P.S. (Video Tutorials)

I tried to find you a suitable pattern with a video tutorial on Youtube, but while I was previewing them I started feeling really angry and frustrated, so I passed. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow one if you find one you like, it just means that I didn’t find anything that met my standards for referral (a combination of accessible skill level, clear instructions and happy energy).

P.P.S. (COVID Related Supply-Chain Disruptions)

Distribution disruptions due to COVID are still in the works, and I received a note from the distributor last week that the price of Cascade Ultra Pima is going up to $14.97/skein. Our inventory is still at the old price, $11.97/skein, so if you were thinking of picking some up best to do it before we have to raise the price.

MORE FREE MARKET BAG PATTERNS

French Market Bag (crochet)

Here’s a great one for the people who aren’t afraid of the hook – a gorgeous french market bag crocheted with cotton! I’ s a substantial bag that will hold a lot of whatever you’re carrying. We made our store sample with Cascade Ultra Pima and we used about 320m of yarn. I’d like to try it with a linen, like Quince & Co Sparrow, I love the sturdiness and resilience of linen. If you want an even bigger bag, level up to a 4.5mm or 5mm hook and use Lion Brand Pima Cotton.

Suggested Yarns

Other Materials

Ilene Bag (knit)

Ilene is a great free bag pattern that’s been around a long time. It holds a lot, but if you want it bigger just make the body longer, and you can make the handle longer or shorter to suit your carrying needs.

Yarns

Other Materials

Crochet Grocery Bag

I designed this little bag many, many moons ago and it’s still one of my favourites. My favourite version were the ones I made a few years ago with some Quince & Co Sparrow Linen – they’re sturdy, light, and put away up nicely! This bag also makes a great little gift.

Suggested Yarns

Materials

Monteagle Bag (knit)

I’ve always liked the Monteagle bag because it’s just really groovy looking and reminds me of macrame. It’s like on larger needles to play up the stringiness of the string bag.

Yarns

Other Materials

Weightless Produce Bag (knit)

Materials

Portofino Bag Set (crochet)

This mesh bag set is the ultimate duo in accessories! A roomy tote for market scores, beach day essentials, or picnic must-haves in addition to a chic bottle bag to ensure you are always hydrated make the perfect pair this season. These quick projects are stylish, quick, and functional – the best combo!

Suggested Yarns

Other Materials

STORE HOURS Victoria Day Weekend

Victoria Day Weekend Store Hours

Friday May 20: 12 to 6 pm

Saturday May 21: 12 to 6pm

Sunday May 22: CLOSED

Monday May 23: CLOSED

Victorian Knitting Manuals

Normally I post a little pattern for you, but I feel like a national celebration of the birthday of a long-dead Monarch (Queen Victoria) deserves something a little more …. today I share the digitized collection of Victorian Knitting Manuals, gratis the Univerity of Southampton’s Knitting Reference Library & JStor. There are 67 books in the collection, so it should keep you busy.

I like the Silkworm Series: Myra’s Knitting Lessons no.1, it has lots of stitch patterns you can swatch & experiment with. You can also find free old-timey (and more recent) knitting books on the Internet Archive. The Art of Knitting from 1892 (brought to you by the Smithsonian), has a bunch of patterns worth exploring.

It just goes to show, you can take the girl out of the library and put her in a store full of yarn, but apparently, you can’t take the library out of the girl!

NEW KIT Zelie Crochet Top

Zelie

Whenever I find something up to scratch for the crocheters I like to include it … there aren’t enough pretty patterns for crochet. This top is also a fairly simple piece, so you don’t need to be especially experienced to make it.

Zelie is a boxy, loose-fitting, simple summer crochet top that lets the yarn do all the work. The back and front are worked separately and seamed – that’s it, it’s just two pieces. It’s made with a simple half-double crochet stitch throughout. It’s a K.I.S.S. top (Keep It Simple Sister)! I also really like the way this yarn crocheted up – it’s like a colourful camo …. so you can blend seamlessly at the botanical garden.

Need a little review? See our CURATED LIST OF CROCHET SKILLS!

The Yarn

Berroco Summer Sesame is a soft, light, and comfortable summer yarn with texture and colour. Its bright, happy shades of colors ebb and flow to make this self-striping worsted weight yarn a perfect summer choice. This cotton blend yarn is light to the touch, breathable, easy to work with, and machine washable. 100g/270 m (295 yds). 47% Cotton, 44% Acrylic, 9 % Nylon. Machine wash separately in cold water on delicate cycle. Lay flat to dry. Made in Italy.

Size

  • Bust: (36, 40, 44) [48, 52, 56, 60] {64, 68, 72}” / (91.5, 101.5, 112) [122, 132, 142, 152.5] {162.5, 172.5, 183} cm
  • Length: (20, 20½, 21) [21, 21½, 21½, 22] {22½, 23, 23½}” / (51, 52, 53.5) [53.5, 54.5, 54.5, 56] {57, 58.5, 59.5} cm
  • Shown in size 40″ / 101.5 cm. 
  • Recommended ease:  Approximately 4–8″ / 10–20 cm positive ease.

Gauge

  • 20 hdc and 13 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in hdc with larger hook

Kit Includes

Kit DOES NOT Include

Pre-Order

These kits are a special-order but we are stocking this yarn in the store on a regular basis through the spring and summer – you have the option to order it any time (it will be available to purchase as long as the manufacturer makes it available to us). Your kit will ship or be available for pick-up once it arrives, and we will contact you. If you need your kit for a specific date please let us know and we can find out if it’s feasible. 

PRE-ORDER NEW Moorit Crochet Magazine

PRE-ORDER Moorit no.2

Moorit is a beautiful new luxury CROCHET magazine from Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s printed in the same magalog style as Laine and Pompom (softcover, high-quality printing on heavy, high-quality paper), but is devoted exclusively to beautiful, wearable crochet patterns. You can also download a digital version of the magazine with your purchase (download code is included in the magazine).

Pre-orders will ship/be available for pick-up on the release date is March 29, 2022.

MOORIT NO. 2: PROJECTS & PATTERN DETAILS

The distributor sent me a copy of the first fall issue and it’s really a lovely magazine (the bird got at the cover, so I can’t sell it, but if you want you can see it in-store). If you want to order Moorit no.1 it is also available for pre-order on our website.

In Moorit no. 2 the designers looked to the sea for inspiration; Clear Waters, to create pieces that feel like a breath of fresh coastal air.

Discover 12 patterns inspired by the movement of the ocean, the colours of the seaside, and magical moments on the beach. And with 8 tops to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect spring garment to make.

The issue also includes a tasty recipe from Helda Penagary and a feature on The Birlinn Yarn Company by Meg Rodgers.

Designs are by… Aklori Designs, Claudia Dingle, Emilia Johansson, Fay Dashper-Hughes, Ines Rodgers, Jeanette Bøgelund Bentzen, Linda Skuja, Michelle Boucher, Michelle White, Stephan C. Burse Jr., and Yessabett Bueno Fernández.

Crochet Crush

If you like the looks of Moorit you may also be into Crochet Crush from Laine Press, which is relatively new (it came out last December).

PROJECTS Crochet Macrame

If you love the look of macrame, but aren’t presently interested in learning a new craft, there are some beautiful patterns for macrame-like projects made with crochet.

Photo:

Crochet Macrame Curtain

This gorgeous crochet piece is inspired by macramé and embodies the Modern Boho Chic style. It works well as either a curtain or a wall hanging and is worked side-toside so creating the width you want is a breeze. The written instructions also include a chart, making this pattern an easy to follow how-to!

Size

  • Approximately 77” 196 cm wide X 6” 15 cm tall, excluding fringe.
  • Note: When fringe is attached, work will stretch to approximately 7” 18 cm tall plus fringe
  • Diamond Repeat is approximately 5 1/2” 14 cm wide

Yarn Optionst

Materials

Photo: Erin Black

Crochet Lumbar Pillow

Front-post stitches, back-post stitches, and chains combine to create a macramé style crochet design in this gorgeous pillow. This pattern includes complete instructions for how to make and assemble both an inner and outer cushion cover. The written instructions also include a chart, making this pattern an easy to follow how-to.

Size

  • +16” X 26” 40.5 x 66 cm.

Yarn Options

Materials

Photo of teal bedroom by Photographee.eu and available from Shutterstock, Photoshopped by Erin Black.

Crochet Macrame Square Pillow

Front-post stitches, back-post stitches, and chains combine to create a macramé style crochet design in this gorgeous pillow. This pattern includes complete instructions for how to make and assemble both an inner and outer cushion cover. The written instructions also include a chart, making this pattern an easy to follow how-to.

Size

  • 20” 51 cm square

Yarn Options

Materials

Photo: minimalism with yarn

Simple Macrame Inspired Crochet Wall Hanging

Admiring the works of macrame artists as a crocheter, I created this wall hanging to honour the sophisticated simplicity of macrame knots by using just crochet techniques. With this FREE easy crochet pattern, you will be able to create a simple yet sophisticated wall hanging that will surely leave your fingers yearning to make more than just one! Experiment with different fibers and weights of yarn, and you may well create yourself a whole wall of crocheted wall decor, adding simple texture to the walls of your home, child’s room, or nursery.

Yarn Options

Materials


Macrame Inspired Table Runner

This macramé-inspired crochet table runner is a textural masterpiece! The pattern comes to life with a simple 4-row repeat. Featuring back post treble crochet, you’ll love the versatility of this pattern that’s easy to shorten as needed, to fit your table. It’s ideal for everyday use and special occasions. Make a set in a different color for every season!

Size:

  • Approximately 15″ x 90″ [38 x 228.5 cm]

Yarn Options

Other Materials

NEW T-Shirt Yarn Phildar Phil Creativ’

Phildar Creativ’

 Phildar Phil Creativ’ is a super bulky weight T-Shirt yarn made from recycled fabric reclaimed from the garment industry. T-Shirt yarns are generally great for home projects, they are especially popular to making baskets! ‘Tarn’ is extremely good for crochet, and also works extremely well for wall hangings.

  • 100% Recycled Fibres (50% Polyester, 50% Other Fibres)
  • 400g/ 90m to 100m
  • 10mm/US15 to 12mm/US17 needles/hook
  • Knitting Tension: 9 sts & 13 rows = 4″/10cm
  • Made in France

Projects for T-Shirt Yarn

Here are a few searches for patterns that feature “T-shirt Yarn” or “Tarn” :

Photo: viliana

Mandala Floor Mat

Materials

Photos: Eilen Tein

Nest

Nest is exactly what it looks like – a nest for your pet (or someone else’s pet). I would make one of these in a second, but unfortunately small enclosed spaces encourage breeding behaviour with birds (which comes with hormonal shifts), and Gruau has already getting a little too personal with my lunch bag.

Materials

Photo: Heather Moore

Grasslands Hanging Basket

The hanging basket is a new-ish idea for me, but I quite like it, as it serves a dual purpose of oragnizing stuff (getting it off the floor) and decorating.

Materials

Photo:  Thilde Folke Olsen

T-Shirt Yarn Basket

How much do you want to fill your house with little crocheted baskets? This pattern is from the UK, so the terms are slightly different than north America, so here’s a UK/US a Chart of US vs. UK Crochet Terms . The only difference in this pattern is that dc (double crochet) means sc (single crochet).

Materials

So You Wanna Make your Own T-Shirt Yarn …

If you are feeling inspired to make your own t-shirt yarn, I unfortunately don’t have a lot of insight for you – I’ve tried it a couple of times but didn’t get very far. Here is a tutorial for you, and a few of my insights:

  1. You need A LOT more material than you think you do. Like WAAYYYYYY more. In the tutorial they suggest 7 to 8 XL sized t-shirts to make a basket. So it’s probably a good idea to collect your materials ahead of time and then start cutting.
  2. The quality of the fabric matters. The really inexpensive t-shirts fabric fray, I suggest passing those over.
  3. The fibre content makes a difference. You know how some shirts have more give than others, some flows and some are stiff? That’s going to be a factor for your t-shirt yarn, because the yarn will behave differently, stretch more or less, and end up different thicknesses.
  4. It also goes that if you want to make something that is stiff and stands up, like a basket, you’ll want to start with fabric that is stiffer and has less give.

STORE HOURS Victoria Day + Summer Hours

Porcupine lace Washcloth by Jennifer Hansen, featuring a mid-Victorian lace pattern

Victoria Day Weekend

Saturday May 22: 11 am to 5pm

Sunday May 23: CLOSED

Monday May 24: CLOSED

Porcupine Lace Wash Cloth

Crochet Grocery Bag by Knit-O-Matic

Summer Store Hours: May 23 to Sept 13

We’re shifting over to our Summer Store Hours after the Victoria Day long weekend, so please note that we are CLOSED ON SUNDAYS. We go back to the regular store schedule the week of September 13th.

Monday to Saturday: 11 am to 5pm

Sunday: CLOSED

Crochet Grocery Bag

4 Retro Inspired Baby Blanket Kits

The Yarn

Most of these projects are made with Berroco Vintage, a soft, worsted weight machine washable wool/synthetic blend. A knitting store staple, it features a wide color range, an incredibly soft feel and yardage that goes on and on. Its unique fiber blend makes laundering a breeze and perfectly suited for easy care garments for both children and adults. 52% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 8% Nylon, 100g/199m (218 yds). Made in Peru, machine wash inside out in cold water, gentle cycle, lay flat to dry.

Pre-Order

These kits are a special-order and we aren’t stocking them in the store on a regular basis, but you have the option to order them any time (they will be available to purchase as long as the manufacturer makes it available to us). That said, we Berroco Vintage in stock all year and are always reordering, so if the yarn is in stock your kit will be available very quickly. Your kit will ship or be available for pick-up once it arrives, and we will contact you. If you need your kit for a specific date please let us know and we can find out if it’s feasible. 

High Fidoodlity Crochet Blanket Kit

This colourful depiction of sound waves makes a cheerful blanket (and a great tent). If you’d like to make a grown-up sized throw you should purchase two kits. This piece is worked in blocks and sewn together. If you don’t have it in you to do that you can try using the instructions from the wavy blanket. I’ve played around and worked out some colour palettes that are harmonious with the design, but you can also choose your own colours if your inspiration leads elsewhere.

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Size: 38″ wide x 46″ long
  • Gauge: 16 sts & 20 rows = 4″ (10cm) in single crochet stitch

Kit Includes:

  • Berroco Vintage2 skeins each of 4 colors, 1 skein in one colour of (total
  • of 9 skeins).  Shown in colourway 01: 5104, 5121, 5125, 51180, 5107.
  • Pattern

Kit DOES NOT include:

Vintage Baby Blanket Kit

The Vintage Baby Blanket is a retro-inspired sampler of color, texture, and cable stitches. The design is closely tied to the mustardy yellows and browns popular in the 1970s. We’ve sat down with the yarns and come up with a the colour combinations that match just right and will make your project pop. You can also choose your own colours if your inspiration takes you in another colour direction (I love seeing what other eyes come up with!).

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Size: 30” wide x 36” long
  • Gauge: 20 sts & 27 rows = 4″ (10cm) in stocking stitch

Kit Includes:

Kit DOES NOT include:

Moderne Baby Blanket

This blanket is inspired by the colours and geometric construction of mid-twentieth-century artwork. It’s made of twenty garter stitch blocks – some blocks are knit in a solid colour and others are worked in multiple colours. It’s an easy project to tackle, one square at a time. The small squares also make it easier to work on in warmer weather, and make it easy to pop in your bag. I’ve worked out some additional colour combinations, but like always you are welcome to choose your own colour adventure!

Kit Includes:

Kit DOES NOT include:

Glamping Blanket

The Glamping Blanket was extremely popular when it was first came on the scene, so much so that the company ran out of the suggested yarn colours and had a hard time getting more because of COVID. Now that the company is starting to catch up, I think it’s a viable option again, especially for a fun baby blanket.

The Glamping Blanket is a graphic combination of colours and textures. The yarn, Berroco Vintage Chunky, is the PERFECT blanket yarn – it’s soft and cozy, it knits up quickly, and it’s easy to wash – ideal for comfy snuggling for all ages. I went to town, working on new colour combinations that will work in balance with the design, in including (but not exclusive to) grown-up palettes, and I even came up with a few Christmas colourways (for those of you who go all-out at the the holidays). Like all our other kits, please feel free to choose your own colours!

Skill Level: Intermediate (trying different stitch patterns)

Sizes

  • Cat Blanket: 18″ X 22”
  • Baby Blanket/Small Dog/Portly Cat: 24″ X 36”
  • Dog/Lap Blanket (or a larger baby blanket):  35″ X 44”
  • Sofa Blanket: 46″ X 58”

Kit Includes

  • Berroco Vintage Chunky: colour A. 1 (2, 3, 5)hanks, colour B. 1 (2, 2, 4) hanks, colour C. 1, (2, 2, 4) hanks, colour D. 1, (1, 2, 3) hanks.
  • The sample blanket is done in: A: 6121 Sunny (yellow), B: 6101 Mochi (off white), C: 6110 Fondant (pink), D: 6104 Mushroom (beige).
  • Pattern

Kit DOES NOT Include

PROJECTS 3 Market Bag Patterns

People have been asking a lot about market bags this summer, so I’ve put together a little bit of inspiration for you. I prefer crochet for market bags, the stitch reinforces the strength. Plus crochet is fun in the summer, it’s an extremely comfortable way to work with plant fibres. A basic crochet bag (like the second below) is also a great next level project for new or inexperienced crocheters.

FYI: All the Yarns Listed Below are 20% OFF until July 31st!

denim 1.JPG
Photo: eLoomanator

French Market Bag

Here’s a great one for the people who aren’t afraid of the hook – a gorgeous french market bag crocheted with cotton!

Suggested Yarns

Materials

Crochet Grocery Bag

I designed this little bag many, many moons ago and it’s still one of my favourites. My favourite version were the ones I made a few years ago with some Quince & Co Sparrow Linen – they’re sturdy, light, and put away up nicely!

Suggested Yarns

Materials

Provence Summer String Bag

I love the lace in this bag – it’s vintage without being too much. You can easily change the handles to make them longer.

Suggested Yarns

Materials

FINISHED Cruz Bay Crochet Cardi

Cruz Bay

I finished my Cruz Bay crochet cardi! It turned out really nicely, it’s a great summer top, I’m very happy with it and wearing it in the store.

The Pattern

It wasn’t a crazy hard piece, but I’d say it was an advanced beginner to intermediate level of crochet pattern. I used a larger hook because my tension was looking too tight in the pattern stitch (luckily you start the pattern from the bottom of the sleeve so it sort of serves as an opportunity to check your tension). I had a few pattern questions that needed clarification and the designer, Donna Yacino, was incredibly fast and helpful. I put my modifications& details in my Ravelry Notes. Keep reading for more details from my project experience.

The Yarn

Berroco Estiva is a soft, machine washable 100% cotton, made in Italy. It works up in a gradient, from light to dark (or vice versa). It was easy to crochet with and worked up reasonably fast (for a tape yarn). I used 2.5 cakes of yarn for the smallest size. Each sleeve/side used its own cake of yarn. I started from the dark end of the cake and worked to the light. I used the remnants from the sleeves/sides to start work on the medallions around the neck and then started my third cake at the light end.

FYI: Berroco Estiva is 20% OFF until July 31st!

Size

The fit for this cardi is oversized and unstructured.

  • Bust (closed): 36 (40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64)“
  • Length: 13 (13, 14, 14, 15, 15, 16, 16)” including lower edging
  • Shown in size 36 this blog post (my finished size ended up: 40″ body circumference, 12″ sleeve cuff circumference, 16″ upper sleeve circumference. My tension was 3 stitch pattern repeats & 14 rows = 4″/10cm)

Materials

Notes

I didn’t always find the pattern instructions incredibly, explicitly clear … I don’t know if it was my limited experience with crochet sweater patterns or because the pattern was written during COVID and the designer and editors were totally stressed – either way Berroco and Donna Yacino were both great.

The instructions for the rows on the body were a bit vague and I kind of fudged it (crochet is more flexible than knitting, you can do this … and after previously emailing Donna twice I decided she had earned a break) except I didn’t really keep track of what I did on the first side … and then COVID brain kicked in. As you can see in the picture above, it’s a good idea to write down what you did. I didn’t. Ooops. My general approach to this project was “Does it look like the picture? Good enough!” I am very appreciative to Apple for making it possible for me to embiggen images on my iPad.

FYI: If you decide to make this pattern with another yarn I strongly suggest you swatch first.

Ron’s Patterns Review

My beau, Ron, is sitting next to me while I write this blog post and he doesn’t understand why I have so much to discuss. His review: “I sat next to her and she didn’t swear at all during it, so I’m guessing it’d be good for an advanced beginner or low level intermediate.” Sage words.