Category Archives: crochet

FREEBIE Moorland Inspiration

Cascade Ultra Pima Moorland Palette.jpg

Today I’m feeling inspired by Attic24’s Moorland Blanket … pictured above is Cascade Ultra Pima (on SALE until the end of July) in the following colours:

  • Upper Row, left to right: 3716, 3809, 3766, 3762, 37613746, 3734, 3774
  • Lower Row, left to right: 3733, 3732, 3725, 3726, 3772, 3777, 3708, 3709

I should warn you, the colours aren’t exact pairings with the original pattern, I’m not canonical about these things (and I like the blues more than the greens, they’re better at binding together the palette). That said, you could use this palette to make any of Attic24’s Blanket patterns, they’d all look great, I think the Hydrangea Stripe would look amazing. 16 skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima is enough to make a large throw blanket (I’d normally use about 10 to make a lap blanket).

 

KNIT HACK Stash-Busting Sock (Part 3)

 

Crochet Blanket Swatch BLOG.jpg

For all the posts in this series, you can go HERE!

Swatching

Before you start your project I urge you to swatch, especially to find the right needle or hook size. For crochet, holding one strand of sock weight yarn, a 3.5/E hook is generally good (if you are a tight crocheter, if you are loose go down). For knitting, holding 2 strands of sock weight yarn together, 4.5mm/US7 or 5mm/US8 needles should be good. Everyone’s tension is different, so play around to find the size that you are comfortable with.

I always keep track of my choices in my Ravelry Projects, it’s a great place to keep your notes because they never get lost and you can look info up from your smartphone.

Now, everyone emphasises how important swatching is for the success of your final project, and I can’t *make* you swatch, but I think I can motivate you to swatch. I made a small swatch and am glad I did, as I found out several VERY useful things …

I made a smallish swatch (see picture above), about the size of a blanket for a doll, and am glad I did, as I found out several VERY useful things … knowledge is power! 

Hook Size

I preferred a 3.25mm crochet hook since my crochet tension is on the loose side. I also found out that I have two D hooks made by the same company (in different styles) that are actually different sizes: one is 3mm and the other is 3.25mm. 

Project Changes

I wasn’t loving my yarn worked up in a log cabin style, it didn’t suit the predominantly smooth texture and mostly variegated colour ways. I am changing to a granny stripe blanket .

Enjoyment

I found the granny stripe blanket quite easy and simple. I thought I might find it a bit boring, but I think it’s actually kind of zen, and frees up my mind to play with colour.

Accurate Measurements

I now have a more concrete tension measurement. The pattern is a multiple of 3 plus 2, so I swatched with a chain of 41 stitches, which measured approximately 8.5″ (I laid it flat on a table and measured with a ruler. I did not get around to blocking, but for a true gauge measurement you really should, as textiles can loosen up). Your tension will not be the same as mine, you need to check yours for an accurate measurement.

Project Size

I have a lot of yarn, but I’d like to finish this project this summer, so I’ll make it a lap blanket size, approximately 6 feet or 1.8m (182cm) wide should be sufficient. A chain of about 348 should be right. The pattern is a multiple of 3 plus 2, so 347 would be the right number.

Alternate Techniques

I followed the pattern and did not enjoy the long chain that you start with (the prospect of 347 wobbly chains doesn’t appeal), or how you have to enter the stitches in the first row. I’m not a novice, so I’m going to try starting with a “foundation since crochet” (FSC) chain. I like the idea of starting with an FSC because it gives me a good idea of how wide my work will actually be (unlike a regular chain, which really isn’t helpful in that department), and it will be easier to work the first granny Row into. I’ll swatch this first to make sure I like the look and the technique works for me (no point in making 340 stitches and finishing out I don’t like it). Before I start the real project I’ll also have to decide if this is the colour I want the first border to be. And of course, I have to practise the FSC, it’s been a while since I’ve done it and I need to consult a tutorial for a refresher (The best instructions I’ve ever come across is in Jennifer Hansen’s Broomstick Lace Craftsy Class, but Purl Soho has a decent tutorial on their blog).

NOTE: after a practice go I also found that the FSC was tight on a small hook and should be worked on a slightly larger hook, I’ll try a 3.25mm or 3.5mm next time. Oh, and if you go with the FSC, most tutorials will tell you to put a pin in at a specific point -DO THIS, especially if you put your work down in the middle (otherwise you’ll never find where you are supposed to pick-up).

Colour Choices

I’ve been sorting out my approach to colour and experimenting as I swatch ….

1. The first aesthetic choice was to evict all of the muted colours. They weren’t making me happy blended in with the more saturated colours, so they are outie and can emerge at a later date in another project. The second colour issue I found was that I am very uncomfortable with the random look.

2.  I found that I am very uncomfortable with the random look.

3. The granny stripe pattern works with two rows per colour, but I like one row, it looks scrappier.

4. I like the occasional row of semi-solid colour, I have a lot of  yarn with complex colouration and the solids seem to break up the business of the variegated colours.

5. I like alternating between a dark/muted colour and a light/bright colour.

6. I think I will cycle through a row of each type of colour: red, orange/peach, yellow/gold, warm green, cool green, turquoise/aqua/teal, blue, cool purple warm purple, light pink/dark pink.

Fibre Choices

I’m enjoying the multi-ply yarns more than the single ply yarns. I don’t think I want this particular project to be a melange of different textures and just kind of stick to playing with colour.

 

Choosing a Colour Palette

If you are NOT artsy

If you are bad with colour and not very artsy, the most expedient choice would be to work with an ombre or a gradation. This means working through your colours in the order of the rainbow or something similar (see the colour wheel below for an idea) and within each colour group from light to dark. I like the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Sister! Another approach is to browse through other people’s projects on Ravelry.com, Pinterest, or instagram and find something that you enjoy – there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel, right? 

If you are KIND OF artsy

You have a choice to make: do you prefer chaos or control? Do you want your colours to complement each other and be harmonious and designy, or do you want them to clash and look random and scrappy?

colour wheel 1

Harmonious

If you want it harmonious consider placing cool colours (green, blue, purple) next to each other and warm colours (red, orange, yellow, pink) next to each other. Hold colours next to each other and squint your eyes (or remove your glasses) to get a better idea of whether they blend or clash.

Above is a colour wheel, which is kind of mysterious to people who have not been to art school or taken art classes. The colours opposite each other in the circle are a VERY high contrast and make each other ‘pop’ (it’s a bit of a harsh combination to my taste, I don’t really like them together). Colours next to each other in the circle are blendy. The colour next to the one at the opposite end of the circle often look nice

Clashy

If you like it clashy, combine colours that are opposites. Put bright or light colours next to dark or muddy colours. Place warm colours (red, orange, yellow) next to cool colours (green, blue, purple). Use a random number generator app (available free in your phone or tablet app store) to help choose the next colour group.

Personally, I like a controlled chaos. I’ll use a random number generator, but if I don’t like the choice I’ll run it again (and again, and again) until I come upon a colour combination I like.

If you ARE Artsy

You don’t need my help, you’ve already got it goin’ on.

KNIT HACK Stash-Busting Sock (Part 2)

For all the posts in this series, you can go HERE!

On Tuesday I talked about blanket projects that are perfect for sock weight stash-busting. Today I’m going to help you make your blanket look GREAT!  In 2014 I ploughed through my stash of bulky weight yarn and made my parents a magnificent house-warming blanket, and I’ll share my system with you.

NOTE: If you don’t have suitable stash yarn but want to make a Granny Stripe or Corner to Corner blanket (or something along those lines, I suggest using Cascade Ultra Pima and a 4mm hook (you’ll need at least 10 skeins for a lap blanket)

What You’ll Need

  • Large table or flat surface to work on
  • Large Ziploc bags, about 10 to 20
  • Masking tape & permanent marker
  • Digital kitchen scale (optional)

blog scrappy blanket 4.jpg

Preparation

1. On a large table or flat surface lay out your stash and group yarns by colour: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple, brown, cream, grey. Personally, I have broken my stash down into subsets: light pink, dark pink, red, orange, peach, yellow, warm green, cool green, green-blue, turquoise & teal, blue, cool purple, warm purple, brown, cream, light grey, dark grey.

2. If you have variegated colours that you don’t know where to put them, hold them next to each colour group and choose the one it blends with. If it doesn’t match anything (I had one odd-ball), you can either keep it as a wildcard or leave it out of the project.

 

blog scrappy blanket 3.jpg

3a. Bag your colour piles. Each subset gets it’s own bag.

 

blog scrappy blanket 2

3b. If your project is going to be a gradient or ombre, label each bag with it’s order of sequence (1, 2, 3, 4, … etc) with masking and a sharpie, and leave space on the label to write the weight later.

Blog scrappy blanket 1

4a. Weigh each bag and write down the weight on the bag. I recommend using metric measurements (grams) if your sale allows, it is precise (you can always convert to imperial measurements afterwards) and I round down.

4b. Add up the total weight of your yarn, and subtract about 50 to 100g for good measure. My total is around 3800g, which is probably enough to make a Queen sized bedspread. This doesn’t mean I *will* make a queen sized bedspread, I may not use ALL of my yarn, I might get bored with some colours, or only want to use a portion of them because I have so much (I’m heavy on the greens). About 1000g is ok for a lap blanket.

5. Evaluate your spectrum for gaps. You may or may not have noticed that I have next to no red in my stash, so I’ve bought myself a skein of red Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Ruby. I don’t have much yellow, but that’s ok, it’s kind of an accent colour, so I won’t use a ton. I also don’t have much in terms of a medium ‘pinky’ pink, just light and dark pinks, but I think I can live with that (if it starts to bother me I’ll buy some).

6. Wind up skeined yarn, but keep the label with them. If you don’t end up using that skein you’ll want to know what it is and how much of it you have.

7. Choose a project and/or method, for example:

Crochet

Knit

OK, I think we’ve done enough work for a day, in upcoming posts I’ll discuss strategies for combining colours and swatching. I know, swatching is a total turn-off, but my suggestions are sincere and come from my own, actual experience – it’ll be fun and EXTREMELY helpful. Seriously, I promise, it’s so, so, so useful. So good.

 

Blog scrappy blanket COMBO

FREEBIE Busting Sock Stash (Part 1)

For all the posts in this series, you can go HERE!

 

If you have a bit of a sock yarn (or fingering weight yarn) collection (and by collection I mean a hoard) you are in good company. Most of us are guilty of picking up something pretty on a whim but never getting around to using it. And then somehow that skein multiplies, and somehow you find yourself with a very large collection of pretty skeins. How many small shawls can a person wear? Do you really see yourself making that many pairs of socks? There are certainly people who can and will made those socks and shawls, but for the rest of us, we need an alternative.

The option I propose – a project that will utterly deplete your sock yarn stash and rid you of stash-shame – is a scrappy crocheted blanket. It’s simple, mostly brainless, and satisfying. The granny stripe version has been very popular on Instagram lately and I think it is a brilliant idea (plus, the people making them seem to be very happy and satisfied with their projects). You can also find ideas under the following hashtags:

How Much Yarn?

A lap blanket uses approximately 1000g (1kg) of yarn (the average skein of handpainted yarn is usually 100g, so you would need about 10 skeins).

Stash Busting Protocol

This type of project will use up a large portion of your sock/fingering weight stash, and banish stash-shame. That said,  many people (including myself) usually end up coming into the store for an extra skein or two of yarn to complete their project. Don’t feel bad, it’s very normal, your stash probably won’t have the full spectrum of colours you want to use, or you might not have quite enough yarn – whatever, it doesn’t matter because you get a gold star for using up your stash!

Hook Size

For sock weight yarn use a 3.5mm/E crochet hook.

Crochet vs Knit

I prefer crochet because it is faster, you weave in the ends as you go, it doesn’t require any seaming, and the aesthetic is well suited to a scrappy aesthetic. That said, you can certainly knit your blanket too … see our Easy Baby Blanket Pattern (a Corner to Corner style blanket) for an easy knitted option. To expedite the project I would hold 2 strands together and work with a 5mm/US8-36″ (or longer) needle.

Granny Stripe COOMBO 2

Granny Stripe Blanket

Attic24’s Granny Stripe Blanket is a great way to use up sock stash. If you have a really, really big stash you can group the colours before starting and create something in an ombre or chromatic style (above right, Scrappy Granny Stripe Blanket by louisap).

If you like a totally random, cottagey aesthetic, just go with the flow and grab whichever colour you like (above left,Molly Weasley Cozy Scrappy Granny Blanket by StitchingPlaza). When I do things like this I usually put colours together that have a high contrast, in both colour and intensity.

 

C2C COMBO

 

Corner to Corner Blanket (C2C)

A Corner to Corner type blanket is a great alternative to the Granny Stipe, especially if you don’t know how large you want your blanket to be. Like the Granny Stripe, you can organise your stash ahead of time and create a chromatic look (above left, Gradients C2C by GameCakes), or make it a bit more random (above right, Corner to Corner Stashbuster by coxabey).

granny stripe COMBO

Photos: Judymac21 and coxabey

 

 

FREEBIE Crochet Grocery Bag

Quince Sparrow Crochet Market Bag 2

Crochet Grocery Bag

Oh crochet, how I have MISSED you! I just finished this handy-dandy grocery bag with less than one skein of  Quince & Co Sparrow organic linen. I wrote this simple pattern a million years ago, and it’s kind of nice to revisit an old friend. Plus it’s a fast & portable project, a cool summer yarn, and makes a great hostess or teacher gift.

The yarn & hook size are slightly smaller than the original, so check out our project notes for modifications. I also put a locking stitch marker (actually calabash pins worked well with this yarn) in each round to help me keep track of where I was (especially useful around round 12+).

Working with Linen

Pure linen is kind of a ‘product’ fibre, rather than a ‘process’ fibre. You’re going to love the project once it’s done, but it isn’t the easiest yarn you’ve ever used. In the skein it is stiff, but rest assured that it will loosen up as it is knitted, and then completely after washing. I’m not telling you this to put you off, but rather to help set your expectations for a different kind of textile experience. Quince & Co Sparrow is the most beautiful 100% linen I’ve ever come across and I’m always extremely happy with my projects made with it. I definitely suggest you give it a try!

Materials

Other Options

If you want to make the project as it was originally written you can use a 4mm/G crochet hook and one skein of Cascade Ultra Pima.

If the idea of a market bag gets you going but you aren’t into ours, here are some other options:

PROJECT IDEA Queen Anne’s Shawl

Queen Anne’s Shawl

Queen Anne’s Shawl is a super fast & easy crochet – and a convenient go-to wardrobe piece. It only takes 3 skeins of silky (& affordable) Cascade Ultra Pima Fine or two skeins of linen Quince & Co Sparrow (which it was designed with). The pictures in turquoise are made with Cascade Ultra Pima Fine, the off-white (below) is Quince & Co Sparrow. Not sure which yarn you want to use? Make two shawls – it makes a quick, easy & affordable gift!

Yarn Options

Cascade Ultra Pima Fine:  3 skeins  ON SALE!

Quince & Co Sparrow:  2 skeins ON SALE!

Other Materials

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

queen anns shawl quince COMBO

queen anns shawl tangled 4

FREEBIE Seashore Bliss

 

Seashore Bliss

I love the classic mix-n-match lace aesthetic of this pretty crochet top, it’s classic, beautiful, and a great cool garment for summer. And how considerate was it f them to provide the pattern in 3 variations?! Silky soft Cascade Ultra Pima is the perfect yarn, or if you want to make it a bit smaller try using Cascade Ultra Pima Fine and a 3.5mm/E hook (just keep in mind the skeins are smaller and you’ll need different quantities).

Sizes

  • Pullover: 41.5(44, 49.5, 54.5, 58.5, 61.5)inches or 104(110, 124, 136, 146, 254)cm at bust
  • Cardigan: 39(41.5, 45.5, 51, 56, 59)inches or 98(104, 114, 128, 140, 148)cm at bust
  • Top: 41.5(44, 49.5, 54.5, 58.5, 61.5)inches or 104(110, 124, 136, 146, 254)cm at bust

Yarn

Cascade Ultra Pima

  • Pullover: 5(6, 6, 7, 7, 8) skeins
  • Cardigan: 5(6, 6, 7, 7, 8) skeins
  • Top: 4(5, 5, 6, 6, 7) skeins

Materials

 

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w