Z&R Crochet Podcast 93. Pop a Puff in.

Welcome to Episode 93 of the Zeens and Roger Crochet Podcast. To watch the episode please click on the picture above. Or hop over to the whole You Tube channel HERE.

Links to the Crochet Good Stuff

Stashtober 21 CAL in the rush to film the podcast I forgot to mention many things. I forgot to tell you that throughout October you can get 25% off all my patterns on Ravelry and Etsy. The code is in the Stashtober blog post.

Mixtape Medley CAL

Flyy Dyed Yarns

Moorit magazine

My Ravelry designs. Please add your Zeens and Roger makes on your projects page.

My Etsy shop

Join the Patreon community!!

Thank yooooo! x

Stashtober 21. Stash Busting Crochet!

Bust that stash with a cosy cardi

Stashtober 21

Do you know what will never not be popular? Stash busting! The art of using up yarn scraps and leftovers so nothing is wasted. We all have stash hidden somewhere in the house and rather than keeping it tucked away, how about getting the whole lot out and using it!?

Busting your stash can be a real feel good experience. It can also lead to an absolute dog’s dinner of a disaster but let’s just say that we all learn from those situations and move on. Using up every last scrap is hugely satisfying and there are a number of crochet patterns out there to aid you in your exciting mission.

I was watching Claudia Carpenter’s crochet vlogcast on You Tube the other day (I’m sure you know Crochet Luna). I am pretty sure she said “No CALs”. It made me laugh when, just a couple of days later, she got in touch with a handful of designer friends to ask, how about a stash busting Crochet Along? We’ll call it Stashtober!

C2C bag

Crochet Along

For a general overview on what a CAL is go HERE .

Crochet Alongs are extremely popular these days, in fact, I’m taking part in another one right now. Have you seen the Mixtape Medley? It’s a crochet blanket I designed with Knitcraft and I see it as the ultimate stash buster. We’re currently on Week 2 and I’m mentioning it as it fits in perfectly with Stashtober 21.

But I’m not going to talk about that CAL because this post is about Stashtober 21! So, should you wish to partake, Claudia’s idea is for crocheters to choose a pattern or many patterns from the selection of designers she has invited to take part. One of them is me! To make life a bit easier I’ve put together a bundle on Ravelry especially for this event. You can find it HERE. I added patterns (both free and paid) that I thought would be great for using up lots of lovely stash. Especially for Stashtober, during the month of October, you can get 25% off any of my patterns on either Ravelry or Etsy. At the checkout please use the code: STASH21

If you don’t fancy making one of my designs, there are other contributing designers with the perfect pattern waiting for you.

Mixtape Medley, a blanket perfect for stash busting

The CAL Designers

Other crochet designers taking part are some of my absolute favourite people in the crochet community. A lot of us have known each other for a long time and are firm friends.

Claudia is the brains behind it all and has a couple of designs that would work brilliantly for Stashtober. I really enjoyed making Encanto, a scarf with lots of lovely twiddly stitches. Pop over to her Etsy shop to peruse the good things.

Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast is a champion of artisanal crochet design. I wouldn’t mind working up Loft in a collection of colourful yarn. Crochet and stripes are a brilliant match.

Hannah from the Cozy Cottage Crochet is so lovely. Lovely Hannah! Pop over to the Cozy Cottage crochet for a Ravelry chatter thread for the CAL. And check out her designs while you’re at it.

Caleisha of the Quirky Monday Craftcast designed my favourite scarf of last year (or was it the year before?), the Just Feel Festive shawl. I used loads of DK acrylic scraps. It was totally worth all the ends.

Clarisabeth from Crochet Cakes has fab designs to choose from. If I have the time, I absolutely have to make some of Clarisa’s Vintage Wave socks. Check them out.

Michelle aka Dora Explored/Dora Does, has garment making savvy by the bucketful. I might find myself making her latest design dedicated to busting stash, the Waste Not, Want Not sweater. There a couple of other designs that are perfect for stash busting too.

Heather from HG Designs is all about the granny square. The granny square is the most famous stash buster of all time and Heather has some awesome granny designs out there. Making Revival was an absolute joy!

We are an eclectic bunch, it’s guaranteed that you will find a huge variety of crochet styles between us and therefore, you are bound to find the perfect pattern.

Stash Bust Rules

Fear not, there aren’t really any rules other than the projects you make must be made from yarn you already have. Do not buy new yarn! That is it! Also please ensure that your project is not already over 50% complete before the 1st October. So WIPs do count as long as it’s not close to being finished. And don’t forget to choose designs from the crochet champs above.

On the 23rd of October Claudia is also hosting a live Zoom chat. It’s 8pm BST. I have something else in my diary that day but I would love to be there so I’m going to see if I can pull some strings!

Double whammy. My Dreckly mittens with Heather’s Revival jumper.

Crochet Community

There are no prizes for this CAL, that’s not the point. But there are loads of other great reasons to dive right in.

This is an opportunity to create the satisfying feeling of putting old yarn to good use. It’s about community. And also, perhaps it’s introducing you to a designer who you were previously unfamiliar with. There are so many good reasons to take part that prizes aren’t needed! These aspects are rewarding enough, don’t you think? What’s usually used as a CAL prize? It’s new yarn! That’s the total opposite of stash busting!! Not gonna happen for Stashtober!!

I love that Crochet Alongs are community led, it’s better than any other prize I know. You can be as active or as quiet as you choose. Perhaps you’re happy to just loiter and see what others are making. Or, you might fancy chatting on Ravelry or Instagram, or wherever else! It’s entirely up to you. This should be the ultimate No Pressure CAL.

Hopefully we will see you and your makes throughout October! Let us know what you’re making, what stash you’re using etc. We would all love to hear from you. #Stashtober21

Cheers. x

Mixtape Medley CAL. A New Crochet Blanket Pattern

Mixtape Medley Crochet Along

Hallooooo! Happy autumn!! What better way to celebrate a new season than to crochet yourself a new cosy blanket? Fancy it?! The Mixtape Medley blanket is ideal for mixing up classic stitches that you probably already have in your crochet repertoire. The only thing that’s really different is that they’re all brought together as one, with a jazzy, stash busting colour palette.

When I was asked by Knitcraft back in April to come up with ideas for an 8 week Crochet Along I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The brief was to create a design that would introduce beginners to new stitch combinations with a palette that used a variety of different shades (not too rainbow bright, not too autumnal). Much like the rest of my design work, I wanted this to be a bit different!

When you think of classic crochet, what stitches do you come up with? Granny is there, isn’t it? Bobbles too? And I bet those who know me will immediately say Corner to Corner!! It’s all in the Mixtape Medley! And recent favourites such bold colour blocking and plaid feature as well (I’ve been calling it plaid but perhaps it’s gingham?). I desperately wanted a ripple stitch in it but that wasn’t to be. The inevitable concertina effect would have been a nightmare. Instead, I invented a new puff wave stitch. The undulating waves are most welcome, plus there’s the added bonus of delightful texture with some plump puffs!

How to find the Blanket Pattern

You’re probably here to find out more than just the back story so let me tell you what’s what. Aaaages a go I wrote a blog post to explain what a CAL actually is, it’s HERE if you’d like to find out more about crochet alongs (bear in mind it is an ancient blog post though).

This Mixtape Medley Crochet Along is hosted by Knitcraft on the Hobbycraft website in their Ideas section. Knitcraft is the yarny arm of Hobbycraft. Over the next few weeks the written pattern will be released bit by bit so that you can enjoy a few hours of crochet each week. And the best bit is that this is a free crochet pattern!! FREE! Fully tech edited and tested as well, which I love. Everything has been extremely well thought out.

OMG there’s a competition too!! If you share your progress on social media you could win £100 worth of yarn and accessories. So don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram with the hashtags #MixtapeMedleyCAL and #MixtapeMedleyComp

How to find it easily: Go HERE, scroll down a bit, you’ll see a “Go to” section, hit the “Helpful docs & software” link to download the pdfs each week they’re released.

Crochet video tutorials

At the beginning of August I travelled along the coast to a studio in Southampton to record video tutorials. We recorded videos for each stitch and included other helpful bits of information too. It was a really interesting and exciting day! Not something I’ve done before. A few weeks later, once the videos had been put together, I watched them through so I could write a script. Then, it was back to the studio to record the sound.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying the video tutorials are HERE! You might notice that I look a bit like deer in headlights and that’s OK. I may seem super chilled out in my podcasts (usually amateurishly filmed at home in me jammies) but that’s a completely different kettle of fish. No hot studio lights, clapper boards or people you’ve never met wiring you up with a mic n stuff. The experience of working in a studio was awesome and nerves should never stop anyone from doing something new.

In the studio!

Crocheting Together

Seeing everyone getting their boxes of yarn is so exciting! As well as being able to buy the yarn kits from Hobbycraft in super special Mixtape Medley boxes (OMG they are totally gorgeous!), you could also bust your stash and go your own way with colours. This isn’t the kind of blanket where rules apply….well some rules do (count your stitches folks!)

Multiples are given so you could easily make adjustments to make it smaller, or bigger if this isn’t big enough (it’s a single bed sized blanket). I fancy a scarf version myself and hope to make one during the CAL. Hey, you could even get your nails done to match if you wanted to!

Well blow me down! Look at these nails from @the_squirrel_collective

I think that’s it for now. If you have any questions then ask away. I’ll try and get to them as soon as I can but the idea is that you can find all the info you need on the Hobbycraft website so do go there first as details about yarn and sizing etc is all there.

Right, I’m off to work on some crochet. And maybe do my nails. Cheers. x

Drape it over your legs as you work. That’s what this pic is!

Z&R Crochet Podcast 92. Super Gran

Well well well, if it isn’t time for a new crochet podcast! Please join me for a crochet chat about all the good things including information on the Mixtape Medley CAL and some other brand new designs.

To watch the episode click on the image above, or go HERE to the Zeens & Roger YouTube channel.

Cheers! x

Links to the crochet good stuff:

The Mixtape Medley Crochet Along blog post is HERE. It has links to what you want to get your hands on!

Moorit magazine. Issue 1 has my Super Gran shawl, otherwise known as Gudrun.

Pinterest. Please have a look around, follow and pin some pins!

Patreon. I love my Patreon peeps, they’re awesome. Fancy joining in? You would be most welcome.

Check out the lovely Rachel at Flyy Dyed yarn. I’m using the colourway Ductile, which I think might be a OOAK. The beauty of Rachel’s’ colour designs is that they’re unique so grab them when you see the colours you love!

Blacker Yarns. I’m curious to know what their new Woodland range would be like in a jumper.

Looking for the Granny cowl? The Ticking Mitts? Baskerville? All the places I sell patterns are: Ravelry, Etsy, Lovecrafts and Ribblr

Perfect Mohair Cardigan

Mohair yarn is the candy floss of the wool world. Its popularity has been on the rise for a few years and it is now everywhere you turn. It’s hard to avoid it and it seems that repeated exposure to colourful, fluffy yarn online means that I have joined the floof party.

Working with mohair in other recent crochet projects has provided me with the material to write a future blog post all about it. But that is being saved for another day because what this post is about is the Perfect Mohair Cardigan. A crochet cardigan that ticks all the right boxes for a fun, bright and cosy garment.

Perfect Crochet Cardigan

A few months ago I released the Perfect Cardigan, a crochet cardigan pattern that is perfect for anyone who has mastered the basics of crochet and wants to try and make a proper wearable garment. Using that pattern I made this mohair version. However, because the yarn is chunky kid silk mohair (I bought it from MYPZ) the gauge is ever so slightly different. For those wishing to make one like this, I thought it would be helpful to provide you with some useful tips and info on the adjustments I made.

For the tldr crowd, the easiest way to get yourself a cardi that looks something like mine, is to use the original pattern but make a size smaller than you would ordinarily choose. It might end up longer than the original so watch out for that (it’s what the rest of this blog post is about). Being someone who enjoys making life difficult, I did lots more faffing than just dropping down a size…

The original Perfect Cardigan by Zeens and Roger.

Adjusting handmade garments

Generally speaking there will be no “one pattern suits all” when it comes to making your own clothes. That’s a given. Whilst I have done my best to design a garment that will universally suit all, we all have different tastes and preferences. With a bit of jiggery pokery, you can make a few adjustments to tweak it into becoming perfect for you.

Adjusting patterns is usually a case of having a play around, frogging and trying again (on repeat). Lengthen the depth of cuffs, waist or button bands with additional stitches, widen them with more rows. Add or subtract rows of the main body to crop or lengthen the body. Begin sleeves with additional stitches to create more volume. There are lots of variations to experiment with. However, this is problematic with mohair. You run into the risk of frogging! You definitely want to avoid frogging your work because mohair never wants to let go once it’s snuggled comfortably into a row of stitches. It’s better to have a good idea of what you want before you travel down that path.

Let’s be honest, mohair might not be the best yarn to start learning how to make garment adjustments. It would be beneficial to have already made a few crochet clothes beforehand. If you’re interested in the ultimate guide to making crochet clothes that fit, I recommend this ebook from Dora Does. Michelle, an amazing designer and tech editor, gifted me a copy, she provides an absolute wealth of information on the subject.

Aaaanyway, here are some tips to consider when you make a Perfect Mohair cardi. Please bear them in mind when you embark on making your own version!

Tip number one

When turning this into a chunky mohair cardi is, take your sweet time! It’s a quick make anyway so there’s no reason to jump the gun.

Tip Number Two

Make sure you have enough yarn! The yarn is different but not massively so, which is why it’s OK to substitute it. My mohair cardigan (a sort of mash up of sizes 2 & 3) weighs 575g (the MYPZ chunky is 100m/50g). The original (size 3) weighs 656g (the Paintbox Worsted wool I used is 200m/100g, so the numbers kind of suggest it’s match). The light and fluffy fibres of the mohair means it comes a bigger size though. The chances are, the body and sleeves will be longer and wider (see Tip 4).

I used 11 colours. 13x 50g balls of mohair. 2x Dark grey, 2x Taupe, 1 of each in: RAW Dark Blue, Peach, Bright Purple, Neon Pink, Neon Yellow, Turquoise, Warm Purple, Orange, Mint.

By the way, 2 balls of the Dark Grey were required but I only purchased one. A deep stash dive came up with a grey Drops Melody, which is the yarn used for the button band.

There’s some yarn left but the striping has an effect on the amount of each used. I have not calculated the yarn needed for the other sizes in the mohair version but sizes larger than a 2 will need additional balls. It might be a case of the fewer colours, the better. You’ll use more of what you’ve got without fannying around with individual stripes of all the different shades. Look at my leftovers below, not quite enough of some but plenty of others. No Mint shade left at all. Collectively, there is probably enough yarn left to make the next size up without running out but that is quite the game of yarn chicken!

The leftovers

Tip Number Three

Go up a hook size. Perhaps get a swatch or two on the go to decide which you prefer. I started with the recommended hook size but couldn’t see the stitches! My poor eyes! I like loose stitches with mohair, you can see them better and the drape is good.

Tip Number Four

Try it on as you go. The way the pattern is worked, you can hold it up against you to see if you like what’s going on. I did this and decided to start the decreases and sleeve splits a couple of rows early as it was looking a bit long. At this stage you could brave frogging back a row or two, just do it sloooowwly.

Post split, I followed the decrease pattern for the size 3. I paid zero attention to stitch counts as they would have been different. If I dropped or gained a stitch or two, so what?! It’s not going to be noticeable in amongst all the fluff.

If I remember correctly I also binned off the last couple of rows near the shoulders too. Knocking off an extra few of rows overall meant that the length was almost the same as the original.

Mohair Measurements compared to the original:
Length: 54cm (about the same).
Width: 59cm (5cm wider)
Sleeves (including cuff): 49cm (6cm longer than the original but still not overlong as I made the cuff ribbing smaller, which helped balloon and gather them).

Speaking of sleeves, I held these up to my arm as I began nearing the top. They should be, at the very least, 40cm in length and then you can adjust the depth of the cuff to suit you. Remember that they are drop sleeves so they start below your shoulder rather than on it.

Tip Number Five

Break the rules! The tips above are an attempt to show the difference a few small tweaks made but ultimately, you can do what you want!

For example, I wanted a balloonier sleeve at the cuff so I added an extra 6? 8? stitches to start of my sleeves but followed the size 3 increases in the pattern (again, I ignored stitch counts). I stopped about six rows early so they would still fit the gap in the main body. They were also long enough at this point. You could afford to stop even earlier (I have long arms).

I haven’t even bothered counting the waist band rows, just made it four inches shorter than the main body. It is probably several rows less than the written pattern. Button holes are gone too, I didn’t want buttons. It’s fine. Whatever.

And I have absolutely no intention of blocking it! Ugh, just no.

Everything comes together

I did a couple more tinkerings and typed up notes on my Raverly Project page, which has the adjustments I made there in a shorter format. If I have left out something and you have a burning desire to ask a question about the cardigans, please do so. I will help where I can, if the pattern and/or the info here doesn’t cover it.

You can buy a copy of the Perfect cardigan from Ravelry, Etsy and Lovecrafts.

Hope you like it! Cheers.

Z&R Crochet Podcast 91. Finished Objects

Hallooooo! Welcome to the Zeens and Roger crochet podcast. This is episode 91. Hopefully all the good stuff is here but I did have recording issues. I lost some video but most of it was safe. I think I will need to find an alternative method because the camera I bought especially for podcasting is not good enough!! Bah.

Aaaaanyway, it’s lovely to have you here,I hope you’re well? To watch this fabulous crochet podcast, please click on the picture above, or go here to my YouTube channel.

Links to the crochet latest:

Moorit magazine. I will talk about the name next time. It’s a fun story! How excited are you for Moorit magazine!!!?

The Granny Go Round jumper is finally complete and I LOVE it!!! It’s a pattern by Claudine of Iron Lamb.

The Decked Out shawl is in the latest issue of Inside Crochet mag. Issue 138. I used a really nice sport weight merino from Milla Mia. I have used this before in Seven Summits and One Way or Another.

The Perfect Cardigan! I am super proud of my very first garment release. It was A LOT of hard work and even more learning new skills!! You can read about it HERE. I’ve written up the Ravelry notes HERE for my crazy mohair version, which to be honest, is my new favourite thing! I have added the notes because I made adjustments. I could probably have just made a size smaller than in the pattern and it would have been fine.

I used MYPZ chunky mohair to make the floofy mohair version of the Perfect Cardigan. Super nice yarn and I want more! Not sure if I can justify the stash build but I’m sure I will find a reason.

The cobalt mohair is Drops Kid Silk, a budget lace weight yarn. This brand is perfect if you’re on a budget. I bought mine from Wool Warehouse.

Another yarn discussed are Kingcole Cottonsoft It’s pretty much the only cotton (so far) that I like using!

What I didn’t talk about and wanted to bring up was Patreon. If you would like to support my crochet adventures and join a really fun community, check it out. I am sporadic with my postings but I share behind the scenes stuff and the different tiers all have different treats n stuff.

FYI there are a couple of affiliate links used in this post. It’s no extra cost to you, it just means I get a small percentage of the cost of any yarn you buy through the links.

Z&R Crochet Podcast 90. No Will Power

Halloooo! How are you!? It has been an absolute age since last time.

I have been itching to get a podcast done but there have been lots of jobs and family things to do and there just hasn’t been time. But yesterday I sat down to record. Crochet fun at last!

For Episode 90 of the Zeens and Roger Crochet podcast, please click on the picture above and you will be taken directly to the episode. Or, you can go HERE to the whole YouTube channel of crochet good stuff.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

Links to Crochet, Yarn and all the good stuff:

Before I get to all the other links, the first thing I want you to know about is the Christmas in July crochet pattern bundle, which runs from the 12-16th of July and then it’s gone forever!! The affiliate link is HERE. Purchasing through this link means I get a commission on the bundle and therefore payment for my contribution, it also gets you a further freebie in my Companions cowl & wrist warmers pattern when you buy the bundle via me.

There are 44 patterns in the bundle and I have provided my Granny Christmas hat pattern, which in itself is a goodun because it’s two for one (the main hat pattern plus the mini hat tree decs/bunting). I will be sharing more info over on Instagram throughout the week (but will try not to overdo it!).

There are also loads of automatic entries into competitions to win prizes from Furls (they’re the event sponsors), there are additional discount codes and the chance to buy other discounted ebooks n stuff. I will be buying it too because there are some quality garment patterns in the bundle that I want to make! And I have a shortage of crochet stockings too, that needs to be rectified asap. It’s the bargain price of $19 dollars, which is ridiculous for 44 quality patterns!

OK, I think I’ve given adequate plugging time to the fabulous bundle so here are some links to the rest of the crochet and yarn things I talked about in episode 90…

The granny square top I’m making is inspired by Emma Escott’s top from her Romantic Crochet book. Everything Emma does as Lulu Loves is beautiful. This kind of top is quick and easy, therefore, the perfect antidote to working on fiddly stitches that give you RSI (thanks, other WIP)!

The first attempt at the granny top is being turned into a bag. It didn’t take much scrolling on Pinterest to find a guide to the best way to lay out squares to do it. I’ve saved the Pins in the Crochet Bags board and the Crochet Techniques board. I’m using King Cole Cottonsoft DK, which is a cotton yarn that I do enjoy using (unlike loads of others!). It’s also cheaper than I said it was!

If you would like to join the small but perfectly formed Patreon Gang, then pop over and have a look at what each tier offers. There are three different options to choose from. In the Granite tier we get together every month for a Zoom chat to talk about everything crochet related as well as everything else! We also have a group chat in Instagram (I’m midway through set up so it’s growing all the time!). Cheers.

MYPZ chunky mohair yarn. 8.50 Euro, not 9.50! Sorry, daft brain plucking random numbers from nowhere. I am really excited about making the Perfect Cardigan in these amazingly colourful yarns. And apologies, MYPZ is a dutch company, not danish. I’m ashamed to say my geography knowledge is poorer than it should be.

Fancy making yourself a Bucket style sun hat? I have just the pattern you need. Will I get round to making it wide brimmed? Who knows!?? I made mine from Wool and the Gang’s Ra Ra Raffia.

The Quayside CAL will quietly bubble away until the first of September when I will send off donations to the two charities I chose. You can read more about that HERE.

If you haven’t checked out my Granny square printed cards, you can do that on Etsy. You can buy them as packs or singly. If shipping prices look like they are a problem, let me know. I set it to be £6.00 or £6.50 worldwide but had a message the other day to say Etsy was charging $66!!!! What? That wasn’t me who did that!

I think that’s all for now but if I’ve missed something, give me a shout! Let me know what you think about everything, I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers. x

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Podcast ready!

How to Choose Colour in Crochet!

Bright cakes of colourful
 yarn

Colourful Crochet

Playing with colourful cakes or balls of wool is up there as one of the most satisfying things about yarn crafts. I’m sure you’d agree that colourful crochet can put a smile on anyone’s face! But having to decide which shades to add to a new crochet project can be mega stressful too. How on earth do you choose the best hues to have?! It can be a bit of a head scratcher, especially if the doubt creeps in. But, please! Don’t be afraid of the big beautiful wool, learn how to play with it instead!!

I wrote a fairly decent blog post about how to choose colour in crochet back in 2016 and I’ve just read it. It still stands and I’m pretty pleased about that. However, since 2016 my palette has definitely evolved. In that post I mention about going for random selections of colour and yep, you can definitely see that that was what I was doing. I was clearly going through an Ugly Granny phase too. Not a bad thing.

I have learned an enormous amount from playing with random colour palettes, which has been, hands down, the best part of my crochet adventure!

So how has it evolved from there? The short answer is I dunno, it just happened! Hmm, what about a longer answer that might actually be helpful?

striped crochet mittens

Colour Evolution

My crochet adventures started in 2010 without much of a clue. Colour consideration wasn’t top of the list. I was too busy darting into yarn shops; grabbing balls in a panic! I didn’t belong and didn’t want to outstay my welcome. What a way to start a mindful hobby! It’s obviously absolute nonsense but I know others feel the same. That’s just anxiety talking, stamp that sucker down and be proud.

[OMG! Side moment: the penny has just dropped about why I was making Ugly Grannies! It was all the panic bought yarn being used up! Not quite the same mentality as my Nanna’s make do & mend approach, but kind of similar… Aaannyway…]

After a lot of years mucking about with different yarns I realized that I have two very definite colour personalities and I am so happy about that. My ultimate goal is to tinker and play to see where a mash up of both might lead. I love modern brights, love em! They are great in smooth merinos and fluffy mohair, and let’s not forget; perfect for top quality acrylics but I am also head over heels for natural tones and yarns too. I need toothy wool with bits of straw, and it’s exciting to use yarn when I know it has been spun just up the road from me. Just because I love crazy brights doesn’t mean I can’t also love an undyed alpaca. Natural, earthy colours aren’t boring, they are classics to be revered. They are the cool kids; the brights are kawaii cute.

What I will say is don’t expect to have it down pat right from the start. Using colour in your craft means having a certain amount an expressive freedom and you need to explore that to discover what works for you. I have always been guided by my mood, by the seasons and by what everyone else is up to. Who isn’t?! Trends have a role to play in this whether you like it or not. We absorb fashions like osmosis, we’re all influenced whether we know it, or not.

Essentially, it’s about getting knee deep in a lifelong experiment of matching colour with crochet. If you want.

a crochet shawl
The Grainbow Shawl

The Basic Principles of Colour in Crochet

The nutshell version: it’s all about balance.

You want to know more? Um, I’m not sure how to expand on the original blog post where I say balance warm with cool, and light with dark. Balance out your brights with a neutral, plop in a navy amongst your pastels. If you don’t want to bung them anywhere, think about their placement, even distribution is a safe bet.

If you use these principles as a basic starting point you won’t go far wrong. In 2016 I hadn’t refined the colour palettes I was using, instead, I just chucked all the balls in the air to see what landed where. Sometimes literally. Now I like to think my choices are more deliberate.

Whilst (arguably) using more polished palettes in 2021 I am not a fan of too many rules. Therefore, please don’t feel like you have to dutifully follow some strict formula. Ultimately, go with your gut. If it works for you and it makes you happy, then that’s a winner!

And just to contradict myself with another side note, I do have one rule when working with colour for crochet. The stitches of crochet don’t always look their best in colour-pooling yarns. Where this might create brilliant stripes in knitting, it creates a blocky pixel in crochet and I’m not keen. I will always bear that in mind if purchasing a non solid colour base.

colourful crochet blanket
Havana Nights C2C blanket.

Put it into Practice

I like big stripes of crazy colour combos but also a whole hotchpotch of them fighting each other too. If in doubt, try this: use your go to shades but swap out just one samey ball of colour for one that you’d not normally go for. Nothing bad will happen, honest! If you’re feeling queasy about diving straight in make a swatch first. Then perhaps make a smaller project like a bag or hat. Big blankets and garments can follow later.

This is part of a process, a journey if you like (ugh, I hate that word!). It’s not an overnight change.

Obviously Instagram is a great source of inspiration and I love to mindlessly scroll through Pinterest too but you’ll find it in nature, architecture and places you hadn’t even thought of.

Teh Perfect Crochet Cardigan
The Perfect Cardigan

As long as you remember that it’s all about balance then you won’t go far wrong. Also, use of colour in crochet is totally subjective! What I think looks awesome isn’t going to work for everyone. There are times when I’m not fussed about that thing other people say is the bees knees. It really doesn’t matter. Conversely, someone else will put together a crochet colour palette that will blow my mind! I wish that I’d come up with it! Wistful envy pops up to say hello but I try to remind myself that others feel that way about my dodgy choices sometimes too! A full circle of different ideas.

Each time you put a load of shades together you’ve learned more about what works and what doesn’t. And if nothing else it’s a very good excuse to buy more yarn. Keep going.

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Revival, a jumper design by HGDC. All the crazy colours in lots of neutral grey.
The best crochet cardigan. A JW Anderson inspired crochet cardigan.
A cardigan inspired by the Harry Styles / JW Anderson number
A colourful crochet purse
https://zeensandroger.com/2018/08/20/hotchpotch-c2c-crochet-bag/
Colourful crochet.
The Making of ZZ Block. My C2C baby blanket
How to Choose Colour in Crochet

Crochet Bucket Hat – A Free Pattern & Tutorial

How to Crochet a Bucket Hat: click the pic for the YouTube tutorial

A Crochet Bucket Hat

The promise of summer is here! To celebrate, how about a crochet hat pattern!? Using just one roll of raffia, you can make a straw hat that’s perfect for protecting yourself from summer sun.

An impulse purchase has led to me having a roll of Wool and the Gang’s Ra Ra Raffia sat in my stash for about two years. I thought that one day inspiration might strike for it to become a cute clutch or little tote. Nope, it was a hat that won out in the end. This was due to some fine weather that was forecast for last weekend. A beachy time in Cornwall beckoned and I needed a hat! Alas, the hat wasn’t finished in time for Cornwall; such a shame because photos against a backdrop of sandy beaches would have looked awesome (although I did get some fab photos of my Perfect Cardigan)! Actually one version of the hat did get finished in time but I ended up frogging it half way down the A30. It was too big.

The tangled ball of papery yarn did not look quite so fancy anymore. Thankfully, it worked just as well after being ripped back. With some tweaks and adjustments, the second hat was completed yesterday and it fits like a dream!

Frogging on the A30

Seeing as I’m off work this week I have found some time to film a crochet hat tutorial and write up the crochet pattern. It’s called the Bucket hat because that is exactly what it is! Other name suggestions were “Kick the Bucket” and “Bargain Bucket.” Not sure either of those are the best names though…. What about the Blossom Bucket? Did you watch Blossom on telly back in the 90’s?! That’s a blast from the past!

Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day so me and the boys took a stroll down to the river for a few snap shots. The eldest was paid a few quid to be a photographer for me. Unfortunately, there aren’t many river pics included here because the river’s beaches were busy with loads of people. There was lots of joyous laughter and cheerful frolics going on. Those guys were definitely making the most of the first day of June.

The boy did a great job as chief photographer; he didn’t seem to mind when more shots and more angles were demanded. But I guess you don’t want a massively long story and to be honest, it doesn’t need one. So here follows the pattern….

Next book on the reading list. Haven’t started it yet.

To make a bucket hat, you need:

  • 1 roll of Ra Ra Raffia in Desert Palm (affiliate link).
  • 4mm hook
  • Stitch marker or 2.

Notes & tips

  • The pattern is written in UK terms but, honestly, it’s dead easy to convert: UK htr stitch = US hdc. UK dc = US sc.
  • My head measures 57cm – about average I guess…
  • Every two stitches measures approx 1cm.
  • You can make a hat smaller by missing out the last increase round, this will reduce the size by 4 sts.
  • You can make your hat bigger by working an extra (4 st) increase round.
  • Raffia has a bit of stretch to it. If it feels slightly tight at first, worry not, it will give after wear.
  • Made top down, the hat is worked as a spiral, increasing as you go.
  • Use the stitch marker to note the first st of each round, move after each round.
  • Watch the YouTube tutorial HERE.
Channeling the 90’s with a Blossom style hat!

Crochet Bucket Hat Pattern

  • Rnd 1: 8htr into a magic ring.
  • Rnd 2: inc around – 16 sts.
  • Rnd 3: *1 inc, 1htr; work from * 8 times – 24 sts.
  • Rnd 4: *1 inc, 2htr; work from * 8 times – 32 sts.
  • Rnd 5: *1 inc, 3htr; work from * 8 times – 40 sts.
  • Rnd 6: *1 inc, 4htr; work from * 8 times – 48 sts.
  • Rnd 7: *1 inc, 5htr; work from * 8 times – 56 sts.
  • Rnd 8: *1 inc, 6htr; work from * 8 times – 64 sts.
  • Rnd 9: *1 inc, 15htr; work from * 4 times – 68 sts.
  • Rnd 10: *1 inc, 16htr; work from * 4 times – 72 sts.
  • Rnd 11: *1 inc, 17htr; work from * 4 times – 76 sts.
  • Rnd 12: *1 inc, 18htr; work from * 4 times – 80 sts.
  • Rnd 13 – 22: htr around with no increases.
  • Rnd 23: Repeat rnd 3 – 120 sts.
  • Rnd 24- 27: htr around with no increases. (Any more rounds than this and the brim will curl in on itself).
  • Finish by making 3dc stitches followed by 3 slip stitches. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Half way hat. Before the brim was started. Finger indicates last increase round.
Crochet Bucket Hat
Side view of a crochet bucket hat.

And That’s it!

Such a quick and easy hat to crochet! You can wear it with the brim turned up or turned down. I added four rounds to the brim in the end. However, it did look good with just three rounds. Try playing around with different rounds to see which you prefer. This sort of hat is very forgiving (I am a big fan of forgiving crochet, it hides a multitude of sins!).

OK, I think that’s it for now. I will let the photographs below do the talking. But before you scroll on, if you enjoyed this fabulous pattern, please support my crochet work by buying me a Ko-fi or, join the Patreon community. You would be very welcome! Thanks ever so much! x

Don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram #zeensandroger

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Crochet a hat for summer
Not quite Blossom
Crochet Bucket Hat
Tiny dot of a buzzard
Making hay whilst the sun shines
A crochet hat ready for summer sun
Zeens and Roger crochet bucket hat

Made it this far? Haha, well done!! But also, thank you. xxx

My First Garment Design! The Perfect Cardigan.

A Crochet Cardigan

For the longest time I have been too chicken to venture into designing crochet clothes despite having loads of brilliant ideas. Honestly, there are so many sketches and swatches stashed around the house that have been waiting for me to bite the bullet. Past me has made way too many excuses about why it was never a good time to get those garment ideas down on paper. After a drawn out period of procrastination though, voila! My very first, fully formed, crochet cardigan pattern!!

It turns out that garment designing is a wee bit trickier than a shawl or scarf pattern. This is one of the reasons that it was on the back burner for ages. But, with a bit of research and a lot of hard work, I have fulfilled a huuuuge ambition to up the ante with my crochet skills… I bring you the Perfect Cardigan!

The Pattern & Yarn

OK, here I’m putting the good stuff here because I know you don’t want to scroll through the life story of a crochet cardigan to get to the pattern.

For the foreseeable future the Perfect Cardigan is available exclusively on Lovecrafts. This is because they gave me yarn support to make the design. I used Paintbox Yarns 100% Wool Worsted Superwash, which was lovely to work with (this is an affiliate link by the way). The colours are similar to, if not the same as, the usual vibrantly colourful Paintbox colour palettes. They are modern, bright and beautiful shades of yarn that I use all the time.

Go HERE for the Perfect Cardigan crochet pattern.

The Perfect Crochet Cardigan!

The Perfect Cardigan

Over the last couple of years I have been on a mission to perfect my garment making skills. I want crochet to be the very best it can be. First, there’s learning the basics of construction. It’s essential to just crochet crochet crochet; I have made other designer’s patterns, been involved in pattern tests, and eventually made up garments from scratch using simple stitches and some basic number crunching. (I’ve begrudgingly learned to respect maths but it’s still not my friend). It took a while but now is the time to go for it.

Last year I made up my first crochet cardigan based on the infamous JW Anderson cardigan (it is all over Pinterest, I’ve seen loads of people make their own versions and even Mollie Makes magazine interviewed me about its popularity (issue 128 if you’re interested) . Then I made a new (better) version for my sister’s Christmas present. The first version was oversize and not quite right in terms of decent construction but it set things in motion. Whilst too overwhelmed to write up more than a basic cardigan recipe, it gave me the kick up the bum to do what scared me: write my first crochet garment design!

Basically this stripey crochet cardigan is an evolved and much improved version of the first incarnation. It’s a comprehensive written pattern, with links to videos to help you make it. Everything you need is there to make your own size with advice to adapt it a bit too, should you want to.

Garment Grading

A big stumbling block was the maths. I am not a numbers person! How on earth do you grade a pattern so that it is inclusive of lots of sizes?! There are loads of free resources online but they are mostly for knitting and sewing. There has never been much out there for those wanting advise for crochet design. Quite frankly, I didn’t have the time or inclination to Google everything and piece it all together.

Coming in at just the right time was Heather from HG Crochet Design. I tested Heather’s first garment design, Revival, which led to an opportunity to beta test her grading workbook, aimed specifically at crochet designers. You can check that out HERE (this is an affiliate link to Heather’s products). I won’t give a naff sales pitch but I will say that I found it very helpful for spreadsheet formulae, which you need for pattern grading and calculating yarn amounts).

Not So Perfect

Behind the scenes things weren’t totally perfect. The making of the cardigan was a breeze, the grading took plenty of concentration, but pattern writing is a bane in the otherwise brilliant job of a crochet designer.

It is an understatement to say that this pattern was a struggle to write! Oh lordy, how often I would stare into space thinking it was beyond me! Actual (fleeting) terror was experienced…. about crochet! Yes, it’s daft but I really wanted it to be good. Perfect, even. Writing a pattern for a one size item is OK, just boring, and sometimes slightly taxing on the brain. Bring in all the different sizes and then it’s a juggling nightmare! The first draft was ugly and made no sense. Luckily it was only seen by my tech editor who quickly, and kindly, pointed out the atrocities (thanks, Michelle!).

Panic was to blame for not seeing wood for the trees. I wanted to call it the Cardigan of Nightmares, or, My Worsted Nightmare but no, who wants to buy a pattern with negative connotations like that? So it’s called the Perfect Cardigan because, briefly, it felt like it was anything but. However, it is also called the Perfect Cardigan because after that perceived drama, it is actually a blinkin’ good crochet cardi!

An Easy Crochet Cardigan

An excellent crochet pattern should be tech edited and tested by a variety of makers. Not all patterns require both but one or the other is good. All sizes of this stripey crochet cardigan have been tested by crocheters with different skill levels, (apart from the size 9, there were no takers for size 9). There has been some brilliant feedback and I cannot thank testers enough. THANK YOU!!! I won’t mention the grab and run people but know that you will be remembered!

Because of the gang of awesome testers, I know that the Perfect cardigan is easy to make for crocheters who have never made a garment before. Hearing that feedback was music to my ears!! A crochet pattern that is easy to follow, well, need I say more?! The aim of the design is to have a wearable wardrobe item that looks great but is also fun to make.

Most techniques in the pattern link to a video tutorial. Those techniques have been carefully considered so the cardi is seamless (figuratively as well as literally!). None are difficult but maybe some of them are different to what’s seen in other patterns. Those who are new to crochet and/or garment making shouldn’t be short changed on the good stuff! Also, I will help you! Ask me questions and I can explain or point you in the right direction.

Crochet Construction

Talking about techniques, employing methods that are easy to do but look good is the aim of the game. I can’t stand a single crochet rib so it’s not here, instead it’s a stitch that is a firm favourite and based on the half double crochet (that’s htr for UK peeps). Oh, by the way, the pattern is written in UK terms but don’t let put you off, it is dead easy to switch terms, I promise!

This is a bottom up cardigan, worked in once piece so there is no seam down the sides. Don’t worry it is all explained in the pattern. It adds to shaping on the cardigan too in a kind of bomber jacket way. Before you make your version, check out the measurements, you might decide to try a longer version. No problem! Playing around and experimenting is one of my favourite things about crochet. I quite fancy a version with really deep cuffs…. perhaps all in one main colour with contrast colour ribbing. You don’t have to make yours stripey either. There are lots of possibilities and you could make them all!

There are lots of other ways for adapting the design too: make it long, super crop it, have stripes, don’t have stripes, make wider ribbing etc. I love that a maker has so much freedom to explore options. Crochet is fabulous for this sort of thing. But you know, make the actual pattern, that’s fine too!

And there you have it, the Perfect Cardigan! I hope you like it. I reckon I’ve probably mentioned most things about it but if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask. One of the things you’re paying for in a pattern is support.

Although I’ve mentioned where to find the pattern up the top, HERE is the link again.

Have you made crochet garments before? Are you a crochet designer wanting to give garments a go? Hopefully I’ve reassured you rather than scared you away! Let me know! Cheers. x

Are you on Instagram? Use #ThePerfectCardigan

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